"No, I'm mad at you because I love you," Damon said without even thinking.
Everything in Elena's demeanor softened. He hadn't said the words since he was dying, although she knew how he felt, it was different when he said them out loud, even in anger. "I'm sorry," she said softly as her hands reached for him. She was already feeling horrible about her betrayal to Elijah and the last thing she wanted was to have Damon hate her too. He was her rock, kept her from losing her mind. There was so much more she wanted to say to him, but this was hardly the place.
Damon sighed as one of his arms came around her bare shoulders, and she happily pressed her face to his chest, blinking her tears away. She clenched her eyes closed forcing the tears down as she tightly wrapped her arms around his middle, muttering another apology. "Let's get you home," he said softly.
She didn't know what came over her, maybe it was the million pounds of guilt crushing her chest, but her arm stayed around his waist as they moved through the sea of people. She'd let Damon do pretty much anything he wanted, as long as he wasn't angry at her. She didn't care if her friends saw her, or even if Stefan saw her wrapped up in Damon's arms. It felt right to have him hold her this close in public, and she wasn't going to lie, she felt special. All she wanted was make sure that she and Damon were okay, and if they weren't, she would do everything to possible to make it right. She was happy to be leaving another horrible event, and once they were away from the party in the privacy of his Camaro, she turned toward him. "She needed a little bit of my blood to do a spell to kill Klaus," she said softly.
Damon's brows knitted together. "And how is she doing that?" he asked curiously.
Tears stung her eyes. "By linking all her children together and killing them all," she whispered.
Damon's jaw dropped a little. "Are you serious?"
"Yeah," she said, ducking her head. "I lied right to Elijah's face. I wanted to tell him so badly what was going on, but… I want Klaus dead too." She felt like she had an understanding with Elijah, he had tried to save her, and he seemed to have trusted her, and she betrayed that trust, like she often did.
His hand moved over to tangle with hers, finding the shallow cut on her palm. "Maybe he's a lot smarter than you give him credit for," he said softly. "I'm sure he's not entirely trusting of mommy dearest."
"I hope so. I hate when I have to lie, especially to someone's face," she said, squeezing his hand. She leaned her head against the head rest, her thumb stroking his knuckles as the rest of the ride back to her house was silent. They were going to have to talk about what happened with Stefan, and it wasn't going to be pretty, but she didn't want them to do in the car. "Will you come inside for a little bit?"
Elena never invited him in, he always did as he pleased, but this felt different. He nodded and headed inside with her. She was opening a huge can of worms, sending him very strong signals, and her stomach was ready to turn inside out from nerves. Her hand stayed secured in his and she led him upstairs, pausing outside the bathroom. "Just give me one minute to get out of this dress," she said giving him a small smile before slipping into the bathroom. Her heart was slamming against her ribs as she pulled the zipper down. She hung the dress on the back of the door and washed her face before pulling on shorts and a tank top from the laundry bin and heading to her room, where Damon was standing by her window, his jacket hanging on her chair. "I know you're mad," she said softly.
Damon sighed a little and turned to face her. "I always get mad when you make silly decisions," he said, folding his arms, his face indifferent from whatever was on his mind. "It's how we work."
"You know this was different," she said. "I didn't… want to go behind your back I just… didn't see another way."
He ran a hand over his face as he sat heavily on the end of her bed. "So what is the deal with Stefan?" he asked carefully.
Elena chewed on her lip but turned to face him head on, knowing what he was really asking her. "Nothing," she said, firmly. "I know that doesn't make sense, but I was just using him to keep you safe, because I knew that you would be in danger if you kept me from meeting her. And I know you're going to give me some… stupid crap about how you don't need protecting, but I don't see it that way. We sent Jeremy away to keep him safe and you're the only one left that has a bright red target on their back, just because of me."
"You're right," he said. "You're not making much sense."
How could he not see what was right in front of his face? Why did she have to spell it out for him? "You'd be the first one they'd go after just to get to me," she said softly, tears stinging her eyes. "And I need you, so whatever I have to do to keep you from getting hurt, I'm going to do. Just like you would do for me."
He couldn't argue with her on that. Damon put himself in danger all the time to help her. He gently reached out to grab her hand with the cut on it, raising it to his lips. His tongue stroked over it tenderly, making it disappear. "I'm… not that mad really," he said, tugging her closer to him. "It doesn't really surprise me that you try to play the heroine, even if I think it's silly for you to do be doing for a vampire that's lived his life."
Elena stared at him for a long moment, struggling with what to say. "That may be but only three of those years were with me," she said shyly. "Don't you want more?"
"Of course I do Elena," he said, his hands making a bold choice to rest on her hips as she stood in front of his knees. "You know I do. I just don't want… Stefan to be a part of your plans."
"No more Stefan," she promised. Her skin was on fire where his hands innocently sat. For such a harmless gesture, she knew it was much more than that, she could feel the shift between them, and for the first time since her life had been turned upside down, she felt at peace. Her eyes caught her reflection in the mirror above her bed, and for a moment she saw Katherine staring back her, but she knew she was not. She had never lied to Damon or to Stefan about her feelings. Her eyes met his blue ones that had darkened two shades, but he was giving her all the control. Ever so slightly she inched closer to him, her tiny hands framing his face as they often did during their epic moments. But it wasn't going to be ruined or unfinished this time. It was the barest of touches, her lips almost ghosting over his.
"I thought I wasn't allowed to kiss you again," he whispered against her mouth.
A tear escaped her eye, leaving a wet trail down her cheek as she smiled a little. "That was before I realized I was in love with you," she admitted. She half expected for the house to cave in or fire to rain from the sky, but the world kept turning just as it always had. No apocalypse to face just because she was allowing herself to love someone else.
Damon leaned back a little so he could see her face, his eyes searching for something. "What did you say?" he asked like an idiot.
Elena licked her lips, her tongue brushing against his bottom lip briefly. "I love you," she said firmly, as she nudged him back onto her mattress, crawling up his body. Her lips sought out his, moaning as his hands mapped every inch of her he could reach. Her bare legs rubbed sensually against his trousers, which did nothing to hide his desire for her.
With some serious effort, he managed to pull away from her. "Elena," he said, his hands cradling her face. "This feels like a dream."
"I know," she agreed, curling up against him, her legs tangling with his while his fingers gently stroking her hair and back. Her chest rose and fell quickly with labored breathing as she felt this enormous weight lifted off her shoulders. "You should spend the night."
His heart lurched in his chest but he chuckled. "I don't have my pajamas sweetheart," he said in a light voice.
Elena pressed a kiss to chest where her head was pillowed. "If I let you sleep naked, think we can keep it to sleeping?" she asked, tilting her head to look up at him. "I'm just… don't want to rush anything. And I'm sure Ric would appreciate us not scarring him for life."
Damon lips captured hers again. "I waited this long, I don't think one more night is going to kill me," he said.
Elena's hungry eyes followed his movements as he climbed out of her bed and she had to give herself a serious pep talk to not jump his bones as she turned the light off. Damon was half kidding about pajamas, as he slid next to her in his boxers, pulling her back against his chest. "I love you," she said kissing him softly.
"I love you too Elena," he said nuzzling her, allowing them both some much needed peace that they had been deprived of for months.