This is a oneshot for part of the author to author Valentine's Day exchange, hosted by elizabeth85cec, using the prompt by notenoughpotter:

"Mine is following canon...kind of.

I'd like to see this as a post-whatever-the-heck's going on with the current Damon/Stefan/Elena dynamic.

Damon is still in love with Elena, but he's stepped back because of whatever sense of guilt he has because of his feelings for her (and the fact that Stefan loved her first). Elena hasn't chosen to go back to Stefan, though, she's stayed single.

And Valentine's Day is coming.

She's trying to act like it doesn't bother her, but she never expected to be "unattached" as a high school senior.

Damon can tell that she's sad, and he decides he can be her secret Valentine without her knowing it's him. Throughout the day/week/whatever time you want, he leaves little gifts (or just something special tailored to her). At the end of the day, he's pretty pleased with himself for doing such a good job of keeping his identity a secret.

Until he walks in his room and finds her there. He never fooled her...and she's there to let him know.

You can keep this as teen or mature as you want - I have no preference.

Bonus points: getting Ted-DE in on the act, having Damon pick her up at some point (as in carry her - not drive her home)"

It's more fluff than smut, but Valentine's Day is supposed to be fluffy, right? ;)

The gravel crunched softly beneath Damon's boots as he made his way slowly across the nearly deserted school parking lot, his gaze sweeping across the few cars still parked there. The one he was looking for wasn't there, and he sighed as he felt a mix of relief and disappointment flood through him. He didn't come to the school anymore. In fact, he made it a point to not go anywhere she might be, even going out of town when he wanted a drink, not wanting to bump into her at the Grill accidentally. It was just better that way. For everyone.

But, Ric wasn't playing ball today. Damon had sent him a message, asking him out for a drink, and the history teacher had agreed. However, apparently he was behind on grading papers, and so had told Damon to meet him here. Damon had seriously considered just telling him to forget it, had even driven right to the edge of town with the intention of going out on his own, before he had cursed out loud and turned the car around. Ric was his only connection to her these days, and he had to at least know she was okay, even if he didn't give in to his urges to see her, to call her, to talk to her, to touch her. So he had driven back to the school, mentally upbraiding himself for not being able to move on.

It's what he should do, after all. The evil was gone, Stefan was back, everything was all sunshine and daisies in the town of Mystic Falls once again. So what was he even still doing here? The moment all the trouble with the Originals ended, he should have packed his bags, got in his car and driven as far away from this place as he could get. Actually, he had packed his bags. Three times, to be correct. But that was as far as he had ever gotten. He would wake up, decide to leave, and pack all his stuff. Then he would blur down to the front door, hoping to leave the memories of his time here behind him. But then he would stop, just outside the parlour, and the feel of her hands on his face as they had stood in front of the fire would ghost over his face. And then he wouldn't be able to take another step. Even though the front door would beckon to him, promising freedom, escape, he couldn't do it. He was chained to her, in both the best and worst way possible.

And so he stayed in town, avoiding her, avoiding her friends, avoiding his brother. Though they might still live in the same house, he and Stefan hardly spoke more than a few words to each other once a week. Damon would stay out all night, and sleep during the day, while Stefan was busy at school, rebuilding his life and his relationship with the girl they both loved. Not that it had happened yet. But it would, Damon was a hundred percent certain of that. And so he stayed, like he was waiting for something that he knew without a doubt was an impossibility. So he stayed, wishing he could leave but knowing he couldn't. He stayed, wishing she would tell him to leave, but knowing that she would never do that, avoiding her in case she did. He stayed, waiting and wishing and avoiding. In a way, he was right back to where he started when he breezed into town looking to destroy it. He was still alone, still waiting to live, even after more than a century and a half. He'd find it funny if it wasn't so painful.

He stood outside the school entrance and pulled out his phone, sending off a quick message to Ric to tell him to get out and come meet him. Then he waited, trying not to think about her, and failing miserably. After a while – well okay, maybe more like a minute – there was still no answer. Rolling his eyes in irritation, he stepped up to the door and walked through, his footsteps echoing through the stillness of the empty hallways.

As he made his way to the history department, faint music floated to him from the other side of the school. He frowned. All the kids were supposed to be gone by now, as well as most of the staff. Thinking that maybe Ric would be there, he turned down a corridor, heading for the source of the noise. As he got closer, he could make out other sounds beneath the cacophony of whatever boy band was being played. He could hear voices and the occasional laugh or curse. As he rounded a corner that he knew led to the cafeteria, he was suddenly able to pick up on a heartbeat. The was another one too, signalling the fact that there was at least two people in the room beyond the closed double doors, but this heart in particular was so familiar to him. He could feel a sense of calm wash over him as the beat he was so attuned to resounded through him. There could be a thousand humans in that room, and he would still be able to pick this one out of all of them.

He paused for a moment, torn between wanting to run in the opposite direction, and wanting to sidle closer, to hear her voice, to peek through the glass and take a look at her. Almost unconsciously, his body slid closer to the doors, staying in the shadows, and he looked through the window.

"Damn it! Why won't these stupid things just stick together?" Caroline stomped her foot and threw the paper hearts down on the table in frustration.

"You keep using too much glue. Here, give them to me." Bonnie leaned over the table and grabbed the pile of paper, arranging them in a pattern according to colour.

"Is that it? Can I be done now?" Elena dropped a pair of scissors down and handed Bonnie another stack of freshly cut hearts, stretching her fingers to work out the kinks. "I've been cutting things out for nearly two hours, I think my hand is about to fall off."

"We just need one more pile of the dark pink," Caroline smiled her winning smile and pushed another stack of coloured paper over to her friend.

Elena groaned and flopped back in her chair. "Can someone explain to me why it's just us three planning this stupid dance?"

Caroline rolled her eyes. "I've already apologised for this. I just forgot, okay? You try being in charge of all the school events and see how many you do perfectly. It's actually a lot harder than I make it look."

"Are we at least going to get some others to help us decorate the gym?" Bonnie stood up and pulled out the length of paper hearts she had just fixed together. "If it's just the three of us, I don't think we're going to get it done on time, not even if we don't sleep."

"Don't worry, I've got some of the football team coming in to help with that." Caroline looked pleased with herself as she looked down at the list of things to do she had written. "Right, we just need to finish these streamers, and then we can put the posters up. Oh my God!" She sat up straight, her eyes widening in shock. "We still need to repaint the bus!"

Bonnie laughed. "Care, you painted that thing with enough glitter for the prom. I'm sure it still looks fine!"

"But it won't match with the colour scheme! That glitter was purple, and we're doing pink and black!"

Elena leaned forward and patted her friend on her arm. "It'll be dark inside. Trust me, nobody will notice." She leaned down and picked up her bag from underneath her chair. "I really have to go home now. I told Jeremy I'd make him dinner, and I can't be late."

"How's it going for you two?" Bonnie asked her friend seriously.

"Well, he's started talking to me again, so I think we're making progress," Elena sighed, a sad smile gracing her lips as she thought about her brother. "We've talked about it. He doesn't like it, but he gets it. He knows that I only did what I did to protect him."

"You mean what Damon did to him," Bonnie says, slightly harshly.

Elena shot her a look. "He only did what I asked him to do, Bonnie." She shut her eyes tightly. "He always does," she murmured to herself, too quietly for Bonnie to hear. When she opened her eyes though, she saw Caroline looking at her questioningly. Elena shook her head slightly, indicating she didn't want to talk about it, and the blonde turned away.

"Anyway," Elena stood up and slung her bag over her shoulder. "I'm hoping that by attempting to cook for him, Jer will forgive me a little, so I really need to go now."

"Does he know I knew?" Bonnie asked suddenly, fear in her eyes.

Elena looked down at her friend and shook her head. "No. I figured he had enough to deal with knowing that both Ric and me were in on it, plus... Well, I just thought he had enough to deal with, so I didn't tell him."

"So," Caroline said brightly, in an attempt to interrupt the tension. "Are we all going to meet at my house to get ready for the dance?"

Elena looked at her in shock. "You're going? Who with?"

"With you too, of course!" Caroline laughed lightly. "Come on, it'll be fun, like when we were in junior high!"

Bonnie groaned. "Caroline, I really don't think I want to go to a Valentine's Day dance."

"But you have to!" Caroline looked indignant. "This is our senior year! We can't miss out on a dance just because none of us have a romantic life at the moment."

"It's just one dance, Care, what would it matter if we miss it?" Elena said, sharing a look with Bonnie. Neither of them wanted to go to a romantic dance when they had nobody to go with them.

"It does matter!" Caroline's voice rose. "It does! We are going to go to that dance, and we're going to act like it doesn't matter that we don't have dates. Okay?" She put her hands on her hips to emphasize her point.

Bonnie and Elena sighed in unison. "Fine, Caroline, we'll go to the stupid dance. But now I really have to get home."

Elena waved at the two other girls as she walked towards the door, the smile dropping from her face as loneliness enveloped her. It wasn't that she minded being single, she really didn't. It's not like she absolutely had to have a guy on her arm. It was more that ever since the danger that she had been living in had passed, she had begun to feel more and more alone, and a Valentine's Day dance was just the thing to rub it in even more. As she pushed open the doors, a flash of movement caught her eye, but when she looked up, the corridor was empty and silent. She sighed. Kind of like her life right now.

Elena wiped at her forehead and frowned down at the recipe book in front of her. The book was supposed to be full of easy meals that one could create, but this was anything but easy. Sighing in frustration, she pushed a strand of hair that had fallen out of her messy ponytail behind her ear and prodded the wooden spoon dejectedly at the stodgy lump that was supposed to be a creamy sauce.

"Is something burning?" Alaric walked into the kitchen with his nose wrinkled, shedding his coat and placing it over the back of a chair.

"What are you doing here? I thought you were going out with..." She stopped, and tried again. "You sent me a message saying you were going out."

"I was, but it didn't pan out."

"Aww, you got dumped?" Jeremy patted Ric on the back as he walked into the room. "What is that smell?"

"Well, it was supposed to be dinner," Elena trailed off and closed her eyes in defeat.

"It was a good effort," Jeremy said, peering down into the saucepan and grimacing. "How about Chinese instead?"

"I'm sorry, Jer," Elena said, unhappy that her plan hadn't worked out.

"It's okay, Elena." Jeremy gave her a quick smile. "You don't have to keep trying to cook stuff. You're never going to get back in my good books by poisoning me, are you?"

She caught him grinning at her, and she felt some of the tension between them ease slightly. Maybe they were going to get past this after all.

"I'll tell you what, why don't you pick out a film while I order?"

"You sure you can handle that?"

"Hey, I may not be a good cook, but I can use a phone just fine, thanks."

Jeremy grabbed a bag of chips and headed into the living room. "I was talking about the movie I'm going to choose."

Elena turned to Ric. "He's going to put on that Japanese stuff, isn't he?"


"Great," Elena sighed. Looks like her punishment wasn't completely over yet. "You in for some Chinese?"

The three of them spent the evening eating take out and watching Manga, and then Elena sat in an armchair, watching Jeremy and Ric play computer games.

"So, who stood you up, tonight?" Jeremy asked, trying to throw Ric off his game.

Alaric paused for a moment. "Damon," he said eventually, purposefully not looking in Elena's direction.

Jeremy cursed as he lost the game, then turned to face Elena. "Talking of him, how come he's not around so often anymore? The last time I saw him was when he came to get me from Denver."

And that's the million dollar question, isn't it? Elena thought to herself, as she shrugged back at her brother.

"I don't know," she said, unfurling herself from her seat. "I'm going to go to bed, Caroline pretty much worked me into the ground today. See you guys tomorrow."

She walked swiftly out of the living room and up the stairs. It was true, he hadn't been around since that night. After everything had calmed down from the fight with Klaus and his family of hybrids, she had sent Damon to go and get Jeremy, asking him to remove the compulsion and bring him back home. He had done so, bringing her brother in and smiling softly at her, before quietly retreating through the door to give them some privacy. Jeremy had been angry, although not nearly as angry as he had been the last time she had asked Damon to compel him to forget, and she had been exhausted by the time he went upstairs to his room. Then Stefan had appeared at her front door, seen how emotionally frayed she was, and hugged her. For a moment, she had let him, but she quickly realised that it didn't feel right. She wasn't sure it would ever feel right, not after everything that had happened. So she had told him that she needed space. He had been upset, but he hadn't pushed her, although the longing looks across the classrooms at school were becoming a bit much to bear. So she had said goodnight to him and gone upstairs to her room, half expecting to find someone else sitting on her window seat. But he hadn't been there that night. He hadn't been there any night after that, either.

She entered her bedroom and kicked off her shoes, her eyes drifting of their own accord towards the empty window seat. A small sigh escaped her and she closed her eyes briefly, then headed into the bathroom. After a few minutes she came back, heading over to the vanity unit to put away her jewellery. She looked up at the photos surrounding the sides of the mirror, reaching out a finger to lightly touch each one, as she does every night. She sighed again, and was about to step away when she noticed something. A rectangular box, wrapped in a red ribbon, sat on the desk. She picked it up and turned it over in her hands, and then she looked around her room. Slowly, she retreated to her bed and sat down, pulling at the ribbon until it came undone. She opened the box and gasped. Pulling out the bottle, she smiles down at it gently. It was a bottle of perfume, the kind that her mother used to buy for her. She pulls off the lid and sprays it on her wrist, closing her eyes to drink in the smell, to drown in the warm memories of her mother as she taught her how to wear it. Still smiling, she placed the bottle on the table beside her bed and crawled under the covers. She looked at the bottle for a moment, and then turned off the light and closed her eyes.

Damon sat in his living room, sipping at the bourbon he had just poured himself. He didn't know why he had just done what he did. It was just that she had looked so lonely. Maybe if she thought that there was someone out there thinking of her, she would feel a little bit better, and she would start to smile again, that smile that manages to simultaneously take his breath away and break his heart. He had left the gift for her anonymously though, because she wouldn't want it from him.

The front door opened and closed, and Damon immediately blurred up the stairs to his room, remembering to grab the bottle of whiskey on his way. He didn't want yet another tension filled brotherly moment right now. He sat down on the edge of his bed and mused quietly. She may have apologised to him for what she had told him at the ball, but he knew she was just trying to keep the peace between them all, so they could work together. Even if he had hoped that she had meant it, seeing her fall into Stefan's arms after Jeremy had returned was enough to dash them. He made a face at himself. Great, now he was starting to brood. He knocked back the rest of the bourbon from the glass and stood up, moving over to the bathroom. It was time to go out.

Elena dropped her school bag on the floor in the hallway and put her keys on the cabinet. She moved tiredly into the living room and flopped down on the sofa. Caroline had kept both her and Bonnie working at the school for most of the evening, trying to get the decoration sorted for the dance. Elena's back was aching from all the stretching she had had to do, and her knees were shaking from all the ladders she had climbed. All she wanted to do was crawl into bed and sleep until this damned holiday had passed. There wasn't much chance of that though, because Caroline would kill her if she missed it.

"I made dinner," Alaric said, peeking around the door. "You want some?"

Elena shook her head. "I'm not really hungry. Besides, I don't think I'm physically capable of lifting my hand to my mouth to feed myself right now."

Alaric laughed. "I think Caroline sometimes forgets we don't all have supernatural stamina like her."

"Huh, you're joking. She was this bad before she turned." Elena groaned as she sat up. "I think I'm just going to crawl into bed and pretend that I don't hurt all over." She pulled herself up and limped over to the stairs. "Night, Ric."

She made her way slowly up to her room and went straight into the bathroom, hoping a hot shower would soothe her aching muscles. She stood under the spray until she felt the water start to turn cold, and then she stepped out and wrapped a towel around her. She walked out into her room and flopped down on the bed, too tired to even think about finding some pj's for the night. As her head turned on the pillow, she noticed that her teddy was sitting slightly differently than usual. She pulled herself up into a half sitting position to look at him. He sat high on her pillow, and nestled between his legs was a red satin box. She reached out and picked it up, once again looking around her room. But she knew she would find nobody there. Slowly, she opened the box, and her mouth fell open. Inside was a charm, an ice blue heart shaped crystal. Carefully, she picked the charm up between her fingers and held it up to the light, smiling at how beautiful it was. She got up from the bed and moved over to her jewellery box, and pulled out the bracelet that had once belonged to her mother. She attached the charm to the bracelet, and then slipped it onto her wrist, turning it this way and that, so that the facets of the crystal would catch the light. It was beautiful.

Damon stood across the street in the shadows, looking up into the window of her room. He had just wanted to see if he had made her smile, but now he couldn't seem to make himself turn away. His eyes took in the tangle of her wet hair as it fell over her brown shoulders, the beads of water pooling above her collar bone, and the smile that graced her lips as she looked at the bracelet on her wrist. It was both painful and pleasing in equal measure. Pleasing, because he had managed to make her smile, and he didn't get to do that very often. But it was painful because he knew that she wouldn't be smiling if she knew that it was from him. The light in her room clicked off finally, and he sighed. If he got closer, he would still be able to see her through the darkness. He shook the thought off and made his feet start moving. It was long since time for another drink.

"So, have you both decided what you're going to wear?" Caroline chirped as they headed towards their cars after school.

Elena held in her groan of despair and settled for just rolling her eyes at Bonnie. Caroline had been almost unbearable in her enthusiasm for this stupid dance.

"I think I'm going to go with the black dress," Caroline continued, oblivious to her friends' lack of interest. "You know, the one with the silver criss cross pattern on the front?"

"Sounds good," Bonnie said, attempting enthusiasm and failing miserably. Luckily Caroline didn't notice. "I haven't really thought about it yet."

"What do you mean? The dance is tomorrow!" Caroline stopped in her tracks and turned to Elena. "Please tell me that at least you have been thinking about it?"

"I... Yeah, I've thought about it." Elena hedged, her mind rapidly flicking through the contents of her wardrobe. "I thought maybe the blue one?"

Caroline frowned at her. "Elena, you wore that to the Miss Mystic Falls dance, you can't wear it again!"

"Okay, okay, I'll have a look when I get home."

Thank you." Caroline swung her firm gaze at Bonnie.

Bonnie sighed. "Fine. I'll have a look too."

Caroline beamed. "There! That wasn't so hard now was it?" She linked her arms through each of her friends' and continued walking. "Do either of you need a lift home?"

"Yes please," Bonnie replied, grateful that the conversation had moved on.

"Not me, I drove in today." Elena pulled herself free of Caroline and leaned round to give them both a hug. "I'll see you both tomorrow, okay?" She waved at them and then headed off in the other direction, towards her car. They were later than everyone else again, having spent yet more time organising the dance after school. The parking lot was almost deserted as she made her way over to her car and opened the doors. As she slid into the seat, a smell overwhelmed her, and she looked around, trying to find the source. Sitting on the passenger seat was the largest bouquet of red roses she had ever seen. As she reached out and picked them up, she noticed that every single flower was perfect, not a single wilting petal could be found. She lifted them to her nose and breathed in the heady scent, smiling widely. Then she started the car and drove home, her hand stretching out every so often to caress the blooms.

Damon stepped into the foyer of the Boarding House, and immediately tensed up.

"Where've you been?" Stefan asked, leaning against the wall, obviously waiting for him to come home. This did not bode well.

"Out. How was school today?" Damon breezed past his brother and headed straight for the bourbon, pouring himself a large measure.

"I wanted to talk to you," Stefan followed him, ignoring the question, as Damon knew he would.

"Go right ahead." Damon sat down and took a large gulp.

"I'm going to ask Elena to the Valentine's Day dance." Stefan stated, moving to stand in front of Damon, his arms crossed over his chest. "I need to know if you're going to have a problem with that."

"You mean you're not thinking of asking me? I'm hurt, Stefan. Really." Damon put a hand to his chest and smirked.

Stefan sighed at his big brother's theatrics. "Listen, I know how you feel, but-"

"But nothing," Damon interrupted, standing up to refill his already drained glass. "I don't have a problem. I've moved on."

"But you haven't. You're still here."

"I'll leave when I'm ready. I'm not ready."

"When will you be?"

Damon put down the glass and picked up the bottle. "Don't worry, you'll be the first to know when I am, Stefan." He patted his brother condescendingly on the arm and blurred up the stairs to his room, the bottle of whiskey still in his hand.

Maybe it was time to leave. Maybe this one could be the last present to her, and then he could leave, let her have her life with his brother.

Elena had just finished washing the dishes when her phone started ringing.

"Have you found a dress yet?" Caroline asked, by way of greeting.

"I've only just finished dinner, Caroline!"

"Well if you've finished, that means you can go look now. You describe them to me, and I can tell you if they're right or not." Caroline said decisively.

Elena sighed and moved towards the stairs in defeat. "Fine. But then you have to call Bonnie and give her the same treatment."

"That's the next thing on my list."

"Okay," Elena walked into her bedroom and opened her closet doors wide. "I've got that short black one-"


"Or that orange strappy one-"

"Are you kidding? You'd clash with all the decorations!"

"Fine..." By the time she was finished, her wardrobe was practically empty, all the dresses that Caroline had vetoed strewn haphazardly across her bed. "Well, that's it, Caroline, so unless you want me turning up in jeans, I suggest you pick one on the list."

"You sure that's all you've got?"

Elena groaned as she moved over to the window seat to sit down. But then she stopped. Resting on the seat was a large box, tied up with a cream ribbon.


"Hang on, Caroline..." Elena put the phone down and picked up the box with trembling fingers. Slowly she pulled the ribbon apart and lifted the lid. She gasped as she lifted the tissue paper and discovered the dress delicately folded inside. Ignoring the squawks coming from the direction of her phone, she pulled out the dress and held it up, her fingers slipping through the silky fabric. It was beautiful. Deep red, the colour of the roses that currently sat in a vase on her vanity unit, it was strapless. Even just holding it up, Elena could tell that the bodice would hug her curves perfectly, letting the skirt billow down around her legs to brush the floor.

Without taking her eyes from it, Elena felt around for her phone and held it up to her ear.

"Hello? What the hell is happening?"

"I found it." Elena's voice was husky from the emotions currently swirling around inside her as she continued to stare in wonder at the dress.

"Found what? Why do you sound so weird?"

"I've found the dress I'm going to wear tomorrow." Oh yes, she was definitely going to be wearing this dress tomorrow.

"Ugh. Please don't tell me it's that orange one?"

"I have to go, Caroline. Go bug Bonnie for a while, okay?"

"Bug? I don't bug! I help!"

"Night, Care." Elena hung up the phone and stood up holding the dress to her and turning to look in the full length mirror at her reflection. Smiling widely, she placed it carefully back inside the box, and started throwing her clothes haphazardly back into the wardrobe.

"You look like a girl with a plan," Alaric commented a few minutes later, leaning around the door to find her pacing up and down, biting her lip, deep in thought.

"I am." Elena stopped her pacing and looked up at Ric, her eyes shining as an idea finally came to her. "And I need your help."

"Does it involve climbing mountains on a full moon?"


"Then I'm in. What do you want me to do?"

So this was it. It was time for Damon to leave Mystic Falls. It was kind of ironic that this place had started to feel more like home for him than it ever had when he was human, but that was really beside the point. Life moves on, and so should he. Stefan had gone out to 'hunt' a while ago, so now was probably the best time to do it. He pulled out his bag from under his bed and moved over to his chest of drawers. His phone sprang to life in his back pocket and he pulled it out, hesitating as he saw the name flashing on the screen.

"We never got around to that drink," Alaric said as Damon held the phone up to his ear.


"Wanna get one now? I have to chaperone this dance, I think I'm going to need the Dutch courage."

Damon thought for a moment. Maybe it would be good to get a last drink in with Ric before he headed out. "Sure. The Grill in an hour?"

"Sounds like a plan."

Damon ended the call and picked up his bag, putting it back in its place under the bed. Stefan had already left to go hunting, but still there would be plenty of time for him to pack his stuff when he got back. He tended to travel light anyway. He picked up his keys and headed out to meet Ric.

"Are you sure you should be having another?" Damon asked amusedly as Ric knocked back his eighth shot in about thirty minutes. "What if you're needed to do teacher-like things at the dance?"

"Then another teacher can do them. I'm just there to make up the numbers." Ric poured them both another drink and picked up his glass. "I don't like you."

Damon clinked his glass against Ric's and smirked. "I know."

"Just so long as we're clear." They smiled at each other and knocked back their drinks. A buzzing sounded in Damon's ears and he watched as Ric pulled out his phone. He clicked a few buttons and then put the phone back in his pocket. "Right, I'd better get going." He slid off the barstool and pulled on his jacket. "You going home now?"

"Yep, I gots things to do." Damon threw some bills down on the counter and stood up.

Alaric looked at him long and hard for a moment, his mouth opening as if he wanted to say something, but then he snapped it shut and shook his head. "Okay then." He nodded once and then turned on his heel and walked out of the bar.

Damon watched him go, slightly puzzled at his friend's behaviour. Maybe he realised that this was their last drink together. He shook his head slightly and walked out to his car. Now it really was time to go pack up his stuff and leave this life behind.

As soon as he opened the front door he could smell it. He stopped in his tracks, trying to work out why his foyer smelled like the perfume he had given her as a present. Warily, he walked through into the hallway, turning his head as another scent drifted towards him. When his gaze tripped over the stairs, he groaned in frustration. Red rose petals adorned each step, trailing a path to what could only be Stefan's room. Great, just great. Damon stood looking at the flowers for a moment, contemplating just going back out the door and getting in his car. He had hoped he wouldn't still be around to witness his brother getting back together with her. He looked up the stairs in frustration. His leather jacket was still hanging over the back of his chair in his room, and he couldn't leave without that.

Making a decision, he blurred up the stairs, but came to an abrupt halt at the very top. The trail of flowers didn't lead into Stefan's room, as he had predicted. He followed the petals, and stopped short in surprise as he realised they led directly into his room. The door was slightly ajar, and he could see soft flickering light coming through the crack. Holding his breath, he pushed open the door slowly, his eyes following the trail of roses that led right up to his bed. And there she was, sitting cross legged on his bed, surrounded by petals, looking for all the world as if she belonged there.

"What..." He tried to speak, but his throat had closed up.

"It's a good thing you gave me so many roses," Elena smiled at him as she turned to look at him. "This is such a big bed, I didn't think I'd have enough to cover it."

Damon blinked at her for a moment, before realising what she'd said. "You knew they were from me?"

Elena nodded and slowly unfurled her legs. "I only ever told you about that perfume. I didn't think you'd remember that."

"I remember everything," he whispered, still frozen in his place in the doorway.

She smiled again as she moved off the bed, slowly, as though he were a frightened animal. "I know. Are you ever going to look at me?"

Damon slowly moved his gaze from the petals on the bed and looked into her eyes for the first time in weeks. "Why are you here? Why have you done all this?" He gestured at the flowers surrounding his room.

"To thank you," Elena replied simply, taking a step towards him.

"Did Stefan ask you to the dance?" He asked abruptly, and she stopped inching closer towards him.

She nodded once. "He did."

Damon didn't understand what was going on. If she was back together with Stefan again, why had she done all this? To torture him?

"But I said no."

"You did?" Damon's eyes flew back up to hers in surprise. "Why?"

"I told him I was going with someone else." She started moving closer again.

"Oh." He was trying, he really was, but words with more than one syllable had escaped him. For a second, he had felt hope swell inside him, only to have it ripped out again.

"But that was a lie," she continued, still inching towards him. "I want to go with someone else, but he hasn't asked me yet." She was now standing less than a foot away from him, and he was finding it hard to concentrate, and his gaze dipped back to the petals on the floor. "I thought about asking him instead, but the problem with that is that for some reason he has been avoiding me." Elena raised her hand slowly and placed it on his cheek. "Why do you think that is?"

Damon continued to stare down at the ground for a moment, before taking a deep breath and looking back into her eyes. "Maybe he thought it would be best for you to be with someone else."

Elena smiled at him, moving her thumb across his cheek bone. "I'm only ever at my best when I'm with you." And she leaned up on her tiptoes and pressed her lips to his.

"Elena," Damon mumbled, as she drew back slightly.

"Shh," she whispered, placing a finger across his lips. "I'm sorry it took me so long, I'm sorry I didn't tell you sooner." She brushed her mouth across his again.

"Tell me what?" Shock, hope and disbelief were coursing through him as she stepped closer, pressing her body against his, and he thought he might just fall over.

"That I love you. I should have told you months ago, but I was scared, and confused." Elena brought her other hand up to run her fingers through his hair. "But I'm not now. These last few weeks have shown me what my life would be like if you weren't in it, and I can't bear it."

"But, what about Stefan?" He asked. Maybe it was the masochistic side of him poking it's head out, but he needed to know."

"I told him." Her hands slid down his chest to find his, and she linked their fingers together. "He said he understood." She pulled him further into the room. "Now, are you going to kiss me back?"

He didn't need asking twice. Using his foot to kick the door closed, he stepped forward and pulled her into his arms. She responded immediately, throwing her arms around his neck and moaning as their bodies melted into each other. Damon kissed her deeply, and she stepped back towards the bed, dragging him with her. As they fell down onto the bed of roses together, he broke the kiss, only to trail his lips down her jaw.

"So?" She gasped raggedly, her nails raking his back as she pulled his shirt up hungrily. "Will you take me to the dance tomorrow?"

Damon looked up at her, drinking in the sight of her beneath him, her chocolate tresses fanned out on his bed. "I will take you everywhere."

Damon pulled to a stop outside the Gilbert house, and turned to look at the girl sitting next to him. She looked beautiful, the dress he had given her suited her perfectly; the only jewellery she wore the bracelet around her wrist, with the ice blue crystal heart dangling from it.

"Tonight was wonderful. Thank you." Elena smiled and leaned over to kiss him gently.

"Should I walk you to your door? Isn't that what happens after a high school dance?" He smirked at her.

"Yes, you should," she giggled.

Damon blurred out of the car and round to open her door, offering his hand to help her out. She used the opportunity to pull him closer and place a burning kiss on his lips.

"Mmm. Keep that up and it might not be just your front door I walk you to." He waggled his eyebrows at her.

Elena winked mischievously. "Maybe that's what I'm hoping for."

Damon picked her up into his arms and blurred to the front door, stopping for a moment to push it open. "Good. Because I was never going to leave anyway." He sped up the stairs and into her room.

Once there, he placed her gently back down on the floor, and slowly pulled down the zipper on her dress. Elena pushed his jacket off his shoulders and threw it onto the floor, grabbing his tie and pulling him over to the bed. They took turns removing articles of clothing, taking time to kiss and caress the skin that was revealed. Finally, once everything had disappeared between them, Damon kissed her slowly, and looked into her eyes.

"Happy Valentine's Day, Elena."

Elena's eyes drifted over to the clock on her bedside table. "You can't tell me that now. It's past midnight."

He frowned down at her and she giggled lightly. "But don't worry," she reached up to nibble on his bottom lip. "You can tell me next year."

So, I hope you all like it, and I hope that everyone has a wonderful love-filled Valentine's Day tomorrow!