Disclaimer: Sadly, I don't own TVD or any of the characters.

Summary: Post 3x22. Damon left town like he promised Stefan. The problem is that Elena simply won't let him go. "I know that I'm betraying Stefan and that I'm using you, but I need your help, Damon."

Author's Note: I haven't written anything for this fandom (or any other) in so long! However, after watching the season finale I kept going through the whole thing in my head and the things that could happen in season four. I think Elena becoming a vampire will either make or break the show this upcoming season. It'll either make the show that much better or it could be what makes it jump the shark. I'm hoping it's the first one and I hope the writers will handle it well. Until we find that out I figured I'd give into my imagination and let out a little bit of my creativity. I hope you like it.

I barely checked this for spelling and grammatical errors, so I apologize for those in advance.

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"A part of kindness consists in loving people more than they deserve."

Joseph Joubert

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Selfish love

Elena looked around the small clearing in the woods, realizing she had no idea where she even was. She had failed to clarify their meeting point in her text beyond 'meet me in the woods', but she was hoping that he'd be able to find her nonetheless. In the numerous of other texts she'd sent him in the weeks before she didn't remember being any more clear on where to meet and he'd always managed to track her down, so she doubted today would be any different. She had simply started to run right after sending out the message, with the intention of getting as far away as possible, away from the chaos she had created once again.

"What is it this time?" His voice suddenly echoed around her; a side effect of her newfound vampirism. Sounds weren't only ten times louder than she remembered from her human state, but they also left an unwanted ringing in her ears. She believed he had assured her that this would fade with time, but she couldn't be entirely sure. He had been feeding her so much information that it was difficult to keep up.

The lack of emotion in the tone of his voice didn't surprise her. He'd been like this from the very start of this and she couldn't blame him. Half of the time she didn't even know what she was doing or why she was doing it, but she was always aware that she was not being fair to either one of the brothers. However, her selfish side had taken over much of her personality the day she turned, another side effect of becoming a creature of the night. Personality traits she would usually be able to suppress when she was still human now simply made an appearance whenever they felt like it and there was very little she could do. Once again he'd assured her that eventually she would be able to control this more and more, too.

"I couldn't help it, Damon." She spoke, panic shining through her voice as she turned to him. He was standing on the other side of the clearing, always determined to keep a certain distance between them. "He just smelled so good and…"

"Who?"

"Jeremy. I bit him. I didn't mean to, but…"

Damon rolled his eyes at her. "That's why you texted me? I told you this was bound to happen, Elena. Your blood thirst is out of control right now. I'm assuming Stefan stopped you in time?"

Elena nodded, taking a few steps closer to him, trying to read the expression on his face to see how far she could go. "If he hadn't…"

"You would've killed him." Damon shrugged, unimpressed by what she was trying to tell him. "And you would've enjoyed it."

"Don't say that!" She ordered him, horrified by these words.

"It's the truth. And you knew something like this was going to happen sooner or later. It's why I told you to keep Stefan close at all time."

"What if I had killed him?"

"You didn't. No need to freak out."

Elena sighed, disappointed by his distant behavior, although she had come to expect nothing less by now.

"It's not just that." She shook her head, looking down while tucking a few loose strands of hair behind her ears. "It's everything. It's not just the hunger I can't control. It's the light that hurts my eyes, the sounds that are deafening and give me a headache that never ends, it's the fact that I can't even carry on a conversation with anybody without getting restless. I can't focus on anything, Damon! My emotions are completely out of control. When I'm mad I just attack and when I'm sad I just cry for days. And it's not getting better. You said it would, but it's not and I just don't know if I can do this anymore!"

Damon took in a deep breath, but to her it sounded as if he was inhaling an entire tornado. On bad days faint whispers sounded like uncontrolled yelling to her and daylight felt like non-stop lightning bolts piercing her eyes.

"You should record this speech on tape. That way you wouldn't have to repeat it every time you see me." He eventually spoke and it felt like an arrow through the heart. Her first instinct was to burst into tears, but the next second her emotions shifted to the opposite side, the way they always did nowadays.

"Don't be an ass!"

"What are you looking for, Elena?" Damon countered her anger, now also stepping forward, obviously challenging her. "What is it that you want me to say? Do you want my pity? Do you need me to tell you that it's all going to be okay?"

"I need you!" She exclaimed, not even realizing the truth to those words until they were out.

"Maybe you should've thought of that sooner! I can't be there for you anymore. You made your choice and we both have to live with it. It's why I left. I promised him I would."

"You didn't leave!" Elena objected, frowning. "You said you did, but all I have to is press a button on my phone and you're here!"

The tone of her voice was almost like she was mocking him. And maybe she was.

"And it has to stop. It will stop." He assured her, raising one eyebrow as if to warn her and back up his words.

"Then do it." She challenged him, now mocking him for sure. "Leave! Turn around and just leave."

"Elena…"

"You can't and you know it!"

"And you're proud of that?" He casually asked, looking her straight in the eye. "Are you proud of yourself right now?"

Elena brought her hand to her forehead, letting out a sigh, fearing her frustration would take over and would cause her to express it in a physical way instead of just using words. She knew that first one would be a losing battle. He would always be stronger than her, although nowadays she came closer than before. For some reason she managed to get her emotions under control for just a second, or perhaps they just shifted again, all of a sudden she felt calm and sad.

"Of course I'm not proud." She softly spoke, looking right back at him. "I know that what I'm doing is not fair. I know that I'm betraying Stefan and that I'm using you, but I need your help, Damon."

"Stefan should be helping you."

"He can't. He wants to, but he can't. Every time he looks at me he's just so disappointed. He won't say it and he never will, but I know that's what he feels. I'm no longer perfect, little Elena. I lash out, I lose control and he just doesn't know how to deal with it. He can't even look at me when I drink blood." She smiled a sad smile at the irony of that last sentence. "He's trying to be there for me, but he can't do it."

"He needs time to adjust. Just like you need time."

"I don't have time! I'm losing my mind. I need help and I need it now. And you've been giving it to me. You understand me without judging. And I know you hate me for doing what I did, for still messing with your feelings, but I can't help but be completely selfish right now. The fact that I need you is about as far as I can think. I can't think about what I'm doing to you or to Stefan. I know it should matter how you feel and I know I should care about that, but right I just don't. I just need to help myself and this is the only way to do it."

"So I help you until you have things under control, until you don't lash out anymore, right? And then what? By that time Stefan will probably have gotten used to the situation and you won't need my help anymore. So then what happens? Then you pick him over me again? Is that what this is leading up to?"

Elena closed her eyes for just a second. "Maybe. I don't want to be this selfish, Damon. But I am. I just am."

"It's not that. I don't judge you for that. Never have."

"You could walk away, you know." Elena smiled, but she felt a tear rolling down her cheek. It was just another sign of how out of control her emotions were. "I'll survive. Well, so to speak."

A small smirk appeared on Damon's face, the first sign of kindness he'd showed her in weeks. "I know you will. And I should walk away."

"I wouldn't hold it against you. I think I even want you to. You should just take away my power to hurt you, because right now I don't think I can help myself."

"I think you already mocked my inability to walk away earlier in this conversation. No need to go over that again." He shrugged, once again smirking.

"I didn't mean to mock." She apologized, but noticing the amusement in his eyes. "It just kind of happened."

"You'll be okay, Elena."

"How do you know?"

"I know you. I know how strong you are. You think you need me, but you don't."

"I wish I didn't. I wish I could just let you go."

And in that moment she meant those words, experiencing guilt for the first time since turning. Maybe she was making progress after all. Damon looked down at those words, but before she realized it he showed up right before her. She should be used to that by now, possessing the ability to move that fast herself, but it still took her by surprise. He gently reached out to her and brushed her cheek.

"I'm not sure I mind holding on to you a little while longer." He then whispered, the words finally also sounding like whispers to her.

Their eyes locked in the familiar fashion, although they hadn't done so since her transformation.

"I don't deserve this. I don't deserve you." She told him, truthfully.

Damon chuckled. "Funny. I used to think the exact opposite."

He lowered his hand, but remained impossibly close to her.

"And now?" Elena dared to ask.

The amusement in his eyes became apparent before he even answered.

"Now you're just a raging bitch who'd be lucky to have me." He shrugged.

She laughed as her hand reached out to playfully hit him in the chest, like hundreds time before, momentarily forgetting that 'playful' wasn't so playful anymore with her new vampire strength.

"Ow!" Damon exclaimed, taking a step back, but smirking. "An abusive, raging bitch."

She continued to laugh for the first time in weeks, almost having forgotten what it felt like. When her laughter died out she looked up at him again.

"Thank you."

"Any time."

"I promise I'll stop being a raging bitch soon."

"You will. I'll make sure of that."

She nodded, believing in his every word like she had from the beginning. There was nobody else she trusted more. If he told her she was going to be okay, then she really would be.

"I should probably get back."

"Probably." He agreed.

"I'll try to stay away." She offered weakly.

"You need to stop saying that. You know you won't."

"Well, if it helps, I'm sorry. I really am. Which is a huge step forward when you think about it."

"I'll be here, Elena. Until you decide to let me go." Damon spoke. "I keep the right to bitch and moan about the unfairness of it all though."

She smiled as she looked down for a second. "Sounds fair."

"Can I ask you something?" He suddenly asked, forcing her to look at him again.

Elena nodded.

"Did you make the right choice?"

It was the question she'd been fearing. She'd seen the same one on Stefan's face these past few weeks, but thankfully he'd been too afraid of the answer to ask it. Damon was rarely afraid of anything though, always wanting to know the truth and she had known he would speak these words sooner or later.

"I don't know." She answered truthfully. "And maybe that says it all."

He nodded slowly. "Maybe."

A silence fell between them and Elena once again felt guilty and she was almost happy about this, knowing this meant progress. He had helped her forward once again, like the times before and the no doubt many times to come.

"I'll see you around, Elena."

He gave her a quick nod, something resembling a smile appearing on his face. Then without warning he disappeared into the woods, leaving her by herself once again.

"Yeah." She whispered.

Because she was too caught up in her thoughts, she didn't realize that for the first time since turning and getting her ring, the bright daylight didn't burn her skin and hurt her eyes. She wasn't even thinking about the hunger for a change, no longer craving her next meal. For the first time she managed to forget that she was no longer human and that her life had changed forever. All she could think about was that one day soon she'd feel better and wouldn't need Damon's help anymore. The problem with that scenario was that she'd still need him; she was always going to need him. He'd told her he would be there for her until she decided to let him go. Elena feared that day would never come.

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A/N: I realize it might be difficult to sympathize with Elena in this story, but I feel like she's been selfish when it comes to the two brothers for so long now and I don't see why that would go away just because she turned and supposedly "chose" Stefan. I think it will continue in the new season and might even get worse, because of her vampire traits. I'm a little concerned that Damon came off as a lovesick puppy in this one though. I suppose he kind of is, but he should really just grow a pair and turn his back on her. And I think he's tried to do that several times, but he never manages to stay away, so I figured that won't change either in the new season. We'll see though. I can't wait for it to start again. Anyway, this was my story. Thank you so much for reading and I'm curious to read what you think!