The One to Steal Her First
Here's something to tide us over until 3x19...
Damon had just poured another glass of bourbon when Rebekah stepped inside the house. "I don't have the stake yet. We're working on it. Be patient," he said over his shoulder.
"I'm not here about that," she snarled.
"Well sorry, darling, but I'm not in the mood. Feeling slightly… drained."
"Actually, I'm not here about that either."
Damon turned slowly to face her in the doorway. "Then what do you want?"
"My brother is crazy."
"No argument here," he said before drinking the entire pour in one sip.
"He was mean, and he spoiled my fun. So I'm spoiling his."
"Are you twelve?"
Rebekah crossed her arms, squinting at him. "Don't be a bastard, I'm helping you. He's planning to steal Elena and vanish somewhere you'll never find them, to start working on that ridiculous hybrid army of his. Soon. As soon as he gets that last stake."
"Oh come on," Damon sniffed. "Your grubby little paws were digging around in my mind for hours. Taunting me with my own worries? I'm done with your torture, Rebekah."
"It's true. But if you don't believe me –" She spun on her heels to leave.
Damon rushed up to her and caught her arm. "What's the catch?"
"No catch. I just hate him a little bit more than you right now." She easily pulled her arm out of his grasp and sauntered back into the night.
Damon wished he didn't have to wake her up. She looked so peaceful, so untroubled, when she slept. But he couldn't waste any time. He snuggled under her covers and put his head next to hers on her pillow. "Wake up, sleepy head.
Elena's eyes fluttered open. "Damon? Seriously?"
He brushed a hair from her cheek. "Seriously, Elena. You need to wake up. And pack."
"Do you trust me?"
"Yes, but I'm sleeping."
He let her close her eyes again, wishing none of this was necessary. But he knew it was. He kissed her forehead, and her eyes flew open. "We're leaving in ten minutes. You need clothes and a passport."
"No, no way. I can't leave, not now. Not with everything that's happening. We have to find the stake." She rubbed her eyes, reluctantly waking up.
"Bonnie and Stefan are on it."
"And Alaric, he needs me. He needs you."
"Nope, he needs Bonnie. The rest of the gang is worrying about Alaric and the Originals. I'm on Elena duty. Now pack."
"But why now?"
"Precious minutes flying by, Miss Nosey-pants."
"Let's talk about this in the morning."
Damon pulled the covers off. "We have to leave, now. Elena –"
"Damon!" She grabbed at the comforter, but he held it down.
She was infuriating. He spoke slowly through his teeth. "Your welfare is all I care about. Eight minutes, tick tock."
She glared at him a moment and then started to pack.
Elena slept through the rest of the night, lulled by the roar of the Mustang. As day dawned, the calls started coming, first from Stefan, then Caroline. Damon switched his phone to vibrate and kept driving. Eventually, daylight woke Elena.
She stretched in her seat. "Where are we?"
She took a deep breath and watched Damon drive. He could feel her eyes on him.
He raised an eyebrow. "Yes?"
"Why are we in Ohio?"
"Because I am an expert at highway driving." Damon smirked at her and she smiled, in spite of herself.
"You're not going to tell me what's going on."
He reached across the seat and took her hand. It would be so much simpler if she would just let him keep her safe. But she deserved to know, and they were far enough away now that she might not ask him to turn back. "Klaus was coming for you, but I stole you first."
She had begun to pull her hand back at the mention of Klaus, but stopped, leaving it laying lightly over his.
It had been dark for a few hours when Damon finally parked in front of a large Victorian inn in Lincoln, Nebraska. They had been driving nearly non-stop since the middle of the night before, and even he was too tired to go on any longer. He carried their bags up the walk to the front door.
"Don't eat any of the guests, okay?"
Damon pretended to be hurt. "Who do you think I am, Elena?"
She knocked on the door and a sweet-looking elderly man opened it.
"Is this your establishment, sir?" Damon asked, the picture of politeness.
"Yes, please come in."
Damon flashed a grin at Elena and motioned for her to enter first. After a quick compulsion, they had the top floor to themselves. Elena followed Damon up the stairs.
There were two queen-sized beds against the far wall. Damon heard Elena sigh with relief. He set their bags down as Elena took out her phone. "I have a million messages. What am I supposed to tell them?"
"Don't tell them anything," he said as he stacked their bags in the corner.
"Damon, I can't just run away like this."
"Clearly you can, because you did and everything's fine back home."
"How do you know?"
"Because if they're texting you, they aren't dead."
Elena rolled her eyes but couldn't disagree. Damon pulled his own phone out of his jacket pocket and flicked through the messages. There was one for both of them, from Stefan.
Elena noticed at nearly the same moment. "There's one from Stefan. 'I was right. I still love you both.'"
Damon shifted on his feet, the familiar jealousy rising to the surface. "Of course, Stefan has to remind you he loves you, in case you forgot about him for two seconds. Plus a bonus guilt trip just for me. Thanks, bro." He glanced at Elena, whose gaze had wandered to the window. "But what was he right about? I don't remember him having, well, any right ideas lately. I mean, even the way he saved me was pretty wrong. Not that I'm complaining, but did he have to tell them about the stakes?"
Elena's voice was quiet as she turned to face him. Her eyes were suddenly soft and serious. "He was right about me."
"What are you talking about?"
"Stefan thinks that I have feelings for you."
Damon froze as his heart leaped in his chest. He hated that he continued to hope, after so many disappointments with this girl. He shouldn't ask, but he couldn't help himself. He swallowed carefully and faced her. "Do you?"
She hesitated, her eyes pleading with him to take back the question.
"Never mind," Damon murmured. Would he never learn to protect his heart? His love for her was the problem, she had said it herself. He couldn't expect her to love him back. And this was going to be a long road trip if he didn't shut down his feelings, fast. He turned away from her, but she grabbed his arm and turned him back.
"Damon, wait." He looked into her eyes, watching the recognition dawn on her that she had arrived at a turning point. "I don't know. It's not the same. With Stefan it was so clear and easy. But with you, it's…. I can't control how I feel. I've tried. I mean, you're unpredictable, controlling, vicious –"
"I get it," he muttered.
"No, Damon, you don't. Because, in spite of everything, I don't think I can deny how I feel about you anymore."
Damon couldn't speak. Elena slid her hand up his arm, onto the side of his face. Still as a statue, he savored the warmth and the delicate pressure of her hand. Her gaze drifted to his lips, and his to hers, and then he felt her pulling him toward her. He bent his head, almost imperceptibly, as the fingers of her other hand unfurled in his hair.
Their lips came together, for a moment softly, and then with a passion Damon had only imagined from Elena. His arms encircled her, one hand grasping at her lower back, another in her hair, twisting her head to yield more exquisitely to his kiss. She curved her body into his, humming with delight. He licked along her top lip and heard her heartbeat quicken.
A low, sensual growl started deep in his throat as he tightened his hold on her.
He paused, unable to tear his gaze from her lips.
She shook her head. "It's more complicated than that. We can't."
"You have to be kidding me."
"Think of what this would do to Stefan. I know you don't want to hurt him. I don't either."
"Don't use Stefan as an excuse. This is about you and me," Damon said, pulling away.
"He's your brother!" She took a sharp breath in, pain in her eyes.
Damon sighed and let go of her. He waited for her to continue, but she just shook her head again. He began to pace as she lowered herself onto the edge of the bed. "So it's always going to be Stefan, and only Stefan, because… what? He got to you first? I can't live with that."
She stared at the ground. "Right now, it's the only thing that seems fair."
"Fair?" His voice rose in anger. "This, Elena, this whole situation is not fair! You, so close to me, if you want me even a tenth of how much I want you… but somehow Stefan can still come between us. Do you have any idea what this has been like for me? I've been pining for you like a school girl!" He couldn't look at her. "It kills me to know what we could have, what we could be, and you still choose Stefan. Even after he all but gave us his blessing."
"What?" Elena blinked in confusion.
"I still love you both. Don't you see? He assumes we've already slept together, and it doesn't change how he feels about us. It's classic Stefan. He said that because if the roles were reversed, he would have done the same."
"You don't know that."
"Yes, I do. He did it with Katherine." The echo of old jealousy came over him in an instant.
Elena seemed to bristle at the mention of her name. "I'm not Katherine."
She was missing the real point, stubbornly focusing on the surface issues. Damon could barely contain his frustration. "I need some air."
"You're leaving?" she asked, incredulous.
"Don't go anywhere." He stared her down. "Or do. I don't know, Elena." He slammed the door behind him on the way out.
Elena was pretending to be asleep when he got back after midnight. Most of his anger had melted away after some bourbon, some blood, and a long walk. He silently slipped off his boots and jacket, then unbuttoned his shirt.
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw her watching him. He pretended not to notice and stifled a grin. When he turned toward her, her eyes were closed again. He didn't even consider climbing into the other bed.
He sat down on top of the covers and leaned back onto the pillow, his arm behind his head, watching her. Her hair was still wet.
"You shouldn't have left. You promised," she whispered with her eyes still closed.
His voice was barely audible. "I know. I'm sorry."
"I'm sorry, too."
He grinned and reached down with his right hand to hold hers, lightly stroking her skin with his thumb. She purred. He warned himself to remain cautious, not to give in to his hope, but it was impossible. The idea that she cared for him made him feel reckless. He brought her hand up to his chest, then let go to reach around her shoulders. He kissed the top of her head, savoring the sweet smell of lavender in her hair.
She sighed into his shoulder. "You were right. I can't stand in the way any longer. It's not fair to you… and it's not fair to me." She pulled his shirt aside and kissed his chest lightly. She turned her face up to his and for the first time he didn't doubt the love he saw in her eyes. "Damon, forgive me."
Damon pulled her face close and kissed her the way he'd wanted to since they first met. Their lips fit. All of the devotion he had tried to hide away he finally unleashed. His hands were on her face, in her hair. He rolled her onto her back, wishing he had the patience to kiss up and down her entire body. Elena returned his kisses with equal urgency and soft, gentle murmurs of enjoyment. She pushed his shirt off his shoulders and dropped it on the floor, then took the lead until she was straddling him. He watched, smirking, as she unzipped his jeans, leaving kisses in their wake.
When she was done, he sat up and took off her camisole, delighted to find she was wearing the lacy red boy shorts he had admired before their last road trip.
"I almost don't want to take them off of you. Almost."
In a flash, they were off.
Elena was breathtaking, kneeling before him on the bed. After all of her refusals, her rejection, her fear and hesitation, she somehow finally wanted him. Despite what he was. She raised her hands to his neck, vulnerability in her eyes. Was she nervous? Could she actually imagine that he would change his mind? He seized her face and pressed his lips to hers. She gasped and smiled against his mouth. Damon breathed in her delicious scent. This magnificent creature had chosen him. His knees expertly lifted her, rubbing and then opening her legs. He tasted her warm skin, his tongue drawing a trembling line along her collarbone and up her neck. She shivered. They moved in rhythm, his hips against hers. He bent her back and took the hard peak of one breast between his teeth, then licked around it. She hissed, digging her nails into his skin.
He had only hoped it would be like this. Her capacity for abandon was astonishing. She pulled him back onto the bed, between her legs, and there was no question that she was ready for him. He wanted to be careful, to enter her gently, to prove he wasn't always a brutal monster, but she grabbed his waist and lifted her hips to surround him. He kissed her deeply, moving his tongue slowly along hers as he felt her wrap her long legs around his thighs. Within moments, they succumbed to the inevitable rhythm.
Soon she began to whisper his name, like a mantra, over and over again, louder and louder. He cradled her head in his hands and watched her, her head thrown back, her mouth open and inviting, as she came. The contractions drew him along with her.
Damon kissed her lips.
"You know I love you," Elena hummed.