I sat in my room, sitting on my bed, replaying Stefan's words over and over in my head. They were all I'd heard since I'd watched him leave. You're better than him, Elena. You're better than both of us. He was wrong. I wasn't better than anyone. Just like the both of them, I had flaws. I wasn't perfect, and didn't deserve perfection. I kissed Damon. I'd kissed him, and I didn't regret it. I didn't push him away this time, like I'd done so many times before. In that moment, I needed it. I needed him to kiss me, because it was out there on that porch that I realized that I loved him too. I'd fought the feelings away for so long, hoping that maybe they'd go away, but they didn't. They got stronger with time, and it all lead up to that point. Did I feel guilty? A little. Did I regret it? No. If I could go back would I change it, would I? Probably not. Maybe Damon was right about what he said. I knew he'd known my feelings all along, even when I didn't want to admit them.
"It's right… just not right now." I whispered softly, recalling his words from the porch last night.
"It's true." He said. His voice caused me to jump. I looked up to find him standing in my doorway, leaning up against the door frame.
"What are you doing here?"
"Figured I'd stop by and check on you. See how everything went." He told me. I rolled my eyes.
"Stefan told you what happened, didn't he?"
"Yes. I should have gone with you. I would have been able to handle it, and none of this would have happened had you not said no." He said, crossing his arms.
"I don't think you would have been able to do anything with Jamie's wooden bullets lodged into your chest."
"I would have managed." He said. He took a few steps into my room, and sat down on the edge of my bed. He turned to look at me. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine..." I said.
"What were you thinking about before I said something?" He asked.
"I told Stefan that we kissed." I finally said. I noticed that he reached up and rubbed his jaw.
"Yeah, someone had to tell him. It's probably better that you did. I'm sure I would have told him in a more… entertaining way." He said, smirking slightly. I rolled my eyes. "I guess that probably explains the right hook I took to the face when he got home."
"He hit you?"
"Why wouldn't he? I kissed you." He said.
"He didn't want me anymore. It's none of his concern what I do now." I said, shaking my head. I'd felt compassion for Stefan for the longest time, regardless of how things had turned out. He apologized for the bridge, and kidnapping me and I'd forgiven him… but what I would never forgive him for is giving up on me. He walked away from me, when I was ready to help him, save him no matter what the price. It then became obvious that he didn't want to be saved, that he was over me, us, and any future we might have had. He had no right to be upset. He had no right to tell me who I was and wasn't better than. He gave me up. It was his fault.
"Was he upset?" Damon finally asked me.
"He told me I was better than you… that I was better than the both of you." I said, as I met his electric blue eyed gaze. He stared at me for a few seconds before he looked down.
"He's right." He murmured softly, as if he were deep in thought. I shook my head, and scooted closer to him, laying my hand over his.
"No… He isn't right. Damon, I've watched you grow so much. I've watched the man you've become. When I first met you, and found out what you were, I thought you were a monster, but you're not. I don't care what you've done, how many people you've killed, or turned, or any of that. It doesn't matter now. What matters is that you're not that person any more. I thought you were a heartless person, but you're not. You're a vampire, yes. You're instincts are constantly telling you to kill… I know that too, but what I really know is that you're so much more than that. You've become so much more than that. You are amazing, and to be honest… I don't know where I'd be without you right now." I said, the words flowing out of me. I'd never planned on telling him any of that, but I could tell by the look on his face when I told him what Stefan said, that he needed it.
"Elena…" He started. I watched as his eyes trailed down my face to my lips, and back up to meet my eyes. He leaned in and laid his forehead against mine, his eyes boring into mine. It was moments like these that I felt so vulnerable, because it was like he could see into my soul. Damon knew me, knew me on a level so profound, it was crazy. It was in his eyes, I could see that he wanted to kiss me, but he wasn't going to make the move, afraid of my reaction. I didn't give him time to decide. I leaned in, and pressed my lips to his, reaching up and touching his face gently. The kiss lasted longer than the one we'd shared on the porch, not that I was protesting in any way. He cupped my face in his hands and pulled away. He didn't go far, leaving maybe an inch between us. "I love you." He whispered, the words dripping sincerity. I could see it in his eyes, that he meant it more than anything he'd ever said to me before. I knew I could break him in this moment like I had so many times before, like the time I told him that it would always be Stefan. I wouldn't do that again, because I knew now that that hadn't been true. I smiled.
"I love you too." I whispered, running a hand through his hair. He smiled slightly, his eyes sparkling in the glow of the moon coming in through my window.
"You don't know how long I've waited to hear you say that." He admitted. I looked down and back up to meet his gaze.
"You don't know how long it's took me to figure it out for myself." He chuckled.
"Yeah, I do." He said. I smiled. I watched as his smile faded slightly. "I have something to tell you." I could tell it was serious. It was bad, I know… but Stefan was the first thing that ran through my mind.
"What?" I asked. He pulled something out of his leather coat, and handed it to me. It was a dagger, one of the daggers that were used to stake an original. I stared at it for the longest time before I looked up at his. "What did you do?" I asked.
"I undaggered Elijah."
"Why would you-? I don't understand. Why would you do that?" I said, on my feet.
"He can help us, Elena. He's pissed off at Klaus. Klaus daggered him when he promised to reunite him with his family. Do you really think he'd been on Klaus' side?" He asked.
"We trusted him once and he betrayed us. What makes you think he won't do it again?" I demanded.
"Elena, he did what he did because of family. He loves his family. That doesn't make it right, no… but I understand where he's coming from to an extent. He's pissed off and vengeful now. I think he can help us."
"And what if he doesn't? What if he's on Klaus' side? What then, because we'll be screwed." I told him, running a hand through my hair as I paced. I couldn't believe he'd done it, but at the same time… I could. Damon was a bit impulsive, and if he thought it was right, he was going to do it.
"Then I'll dagger him again, and he won't be an issue." He said, standing up and stepping in front of me to stop my pacing. He took my face in his hands. "I'll handle this. I just wanted to let you know in case you run into him."
"You won't be daggering anyone, Damon. You know it will kill you."
"If it'll protect you, Elena… I'll have no choice." He told me. My blood ran cold.
"No!" I said, shaking my head. "You cannot do that. Damon, promise me you won't."
"If he becomes a problem, it's my responsibly Elena, I undaggered him." He said. I shook my head.
"No, Damon… Promise me you won't do that. You can't take yourself away from me." He met my eyes. I grabbed his face. "Promise me!" I demanded. He sighed.
"Alright, I promise." I shook my head.
"I can't imagine a world without you in it, Damon… You can't do that to me." I told him. He smiled and pulled me into his arms, holding me tight against his chest.
"I'm not going anywhere." He whispered into my hair.
"Good. I can't take losing you too."
"I know." He murmured. I looked up at him.
"It hasn't been until just recently that I realized… I really have lost everything." I said.
"You haven't lost everything."
"You're all I have left. You, and Alaric, and Bonnie. That's pretty much it."
"You're forgetting vampire Barbie." He told me. I rolled my eyes.
"Caroline hates it when you call her that."
"That's why I do it." He said. I shook my head.
"Jenna's dead, my real mother and father are dead, along with my other parents, Stefan's gone, Jeremy's gone too. I mean, really… everything has been taken away from me. So, you have to understand that I don't ask you to promise me things like this because I want to annoy you. I do it because I can't take losing another person."
"I know, Elena." He said, running a hand through my hair. I wrapped my arms back around my waist, and laid my head against his chest.
"Thank you." I whispered.
"For what?" He asked.
"For being here."
"I'll always be right here." He promised. It was dangerous to promise me that, but it soothed me a little more, so I didn't care. I yawned, causing him to smile.
"Get some sleep. I'll see you tomorrow." He said.
"Don't leave." I asked.
"I'm sure… I don't want to be alone." I said, looking down. He just nodded. I crawled into bed, as he walked around the other side, and kicked off his shoes, crawling in beside me. I buried my face into his chest as he wrapped his arms around me.
"It's like for the first time in a long time, I can breathe." I told him. He pulled my face up to look at him.
"That's all I want you to do. Keep breathing." He said, pressing a quick and gentle kiss to my lips.
"Goodnight Damon." I whispered.
"Goodnight." He said. I looked up, my eyes falling on my window. Outside on the branch, I swear I saw a pair of green eyes looking in my window. I disregarded it, and nuzzled myself closer into Damon's side.