She laced her fingers through his as they took a walk down to the dock. The moon hung in the night sky beautifully as it was surrounded by a million little stars. As the moon shone brightly, the sparkly and icy snow reflected beautifully on the lake. The atmosphere was perfectly beautiful. He looked down to see a wide smile on her face, her gaze intent on the snow covered trees across the lake. He loved the way she saw the beauty in the simplest things, albeit snow on the trees or flames in the fireplace. She saw the beauty in everything, and that was one of the thousand things he loved about her.
"You're staring," she commented before tilting her head up, a grin on her face. He smirked at her before cupping her face with his hands to kiss her full on the lips. He pulled away too soon for her liking, his face indifferent. She could see something behind his eyes that she couldn't decipher, but there was an intensity she's never seen before.
He was looking at her because he's happy. He's looking at her that way because she is the most beautiful thing that he has ever seen in his life. He's looking at her like that because he can't remember a time that he didn't feel this way. He's looking at her like that because he's so terribly in love with Elena Gilbert, he doesn't know any other way to look at her. He's looking at her like that because he is at a point where he doesn't know how to live his life without her.
"Marry me," he blurted out. She looked at him, her gaze a mixture of confusion and adoration as he took her hands in his. He looked her in the eye, but her soul felt the gaze as it penetrated through her entire being. She could feel tears building up behind her brown eyes as she looked at him, a look so powerful it made his heart ache.
"What?" she whispered incredulously.
"I want to marry you," Damon repeated. "I want to fall asleep with you in my arms and wake up next to you every morning. I want you to be the mother of my children. I want to watch our grandkids laugh and play. I want to grow old with you. I want to die in your arms; because that's the only place I can think of where life makes sense. I want to be with you, today, tomorrow and whatever comes after that. I love you and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Marry me, Elena."
They both stood like that for what seemed like forever. Minutes passed, but it felt like hours. His gaze remained locked on hers as they stared intently at the other. Elena opened her mouth to say something, but her breath hitched in her throat instead. She let out an incredulous laugh before she finally got the courage to say what she needed to say. "I love you so much."
Damon's eyebrows knitted together in confused hope as he searched her eyes for a definitive answer. "Is that a yes?" he questioned. Elena let out a breath she didn't know she was holding as she finally opened the gates, the waterworks spilling from her eyes.
"Yes," she whispered, incredulity in her eyes. A genuine smile fell on his face as his hand slid into his jean pocket. Her eyes widened when he slid a diamond ring on her finger. It sparkled in the moonlight and shone so brightly she could cry. He took her face in his hands and kissed her fiercely. It was one of their more memorable kisses as it was tainted with the taste of her salty tears and their fearless love. "I'll marry you," she said quietly.
It was the most beautiful thing. They stood in silence, snowflakes falling on their bodies as well as adding to the blanket of snow. The moon continued to shine and the stars began to align. Damon and Elena were falling in love all over again, as they did every single day, and as they would for the rest of their lives. Everything was perfect.
He took a deep breath as he wrung his fingers together nervously in front of his stomach. His heart was racing in his chest and he wondered if the silent crowd could hear it too. He received a small nod of reassurance from the minister before a warm smile from Miranda as she sat at the very front. Suddenly, he didn't have time to feel anything but ready as the music swelled in the background.
The crowd stood up as the wedding march began to play. Emerging from the back doors was Grayson Gilbert, a proud smile on his face and a blushing daughter on his arm. The crowd gasped in awe as her father walked her down the aisle. Rose petals were scattered under her feet as she walked, each step bringing her closer to her dream.
The crowd faded away with every passing second, the gasps and awes becoming nothing but a humming buzz in the ears of Damon and Elena. He looked at her with such passion; it was as if they were the only two people in the room. Her heart crashed in her chest harder than before with the way he looked at her. She walked down the aisle with the confidence that eighty years from now, he'd still make her heart sing.
Finally, she was there. Grayson disentangled their linked arms and gently placed her hand in Damon's. She offered her father a small smile, one that silently thanked him for everything. He nodded in understanding at their unspoken conversation before shaking Damon's hand and tearfully kissing his daughter's cheek.
She took a deep breath as she walked up onto the altar. Suddenly, her hands were in his and their gazes locked. His ocean blue eyes were sparkling with a happiness that only existed when she was around. Her chocolate brown eyes were glistening with tears that threatened to spill over. His breath hitched in his throat, his eyes caressing her body as he took in her appearance.
It was then that he realized the beauty of her white, strapless dress. It hugged and accentuated her every curve before flowing down at the waistline. Her wavy brown hair was curled and pinned to the right while a few loose curls framed her beautiful face. Her brown eyes were accentuated with light bronze eye shadow and her lipstick was a shade of pink that matched her lips.
"Ladies and gentleman, friends and family. We are gathered here today to witness and celebrate the union of Damon Giuseppe Salvatore and Elena Marie Isobel Gilbert in marriage."
She smiled at the man in front of her, her brown eyes glistening with tears of happiness as the realization set in that she was marrying him. "I love you," she silently mouthed. His gaze softened as he repeated those three words back to her silently. It was as if the world had faded away, even the words of the minister faintly playing in the background like a record player.
Official words fell from the minister's mouth as he talked about people falling in love and joyous unions as if they were just another boy and girl who fell in love and were now getting married. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see the minister looking at him expectantly. He coughed awkwardly, offering Elena's hand a tight squeeze before a genuine smile fell on his lips.
"Elena," he began with a quiet voice. "I remember the first time I saw you and I remember thinking that I'd never seen anything more beautiful in my entire life. You are the epitome of everything I never knew I always wanted. My father once told me that the best kind of love is the kind that awakens the soul and makes us reach for more, plants a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds. That is what you've given me and more. And that is what I hope to give to you forever. I can't promise that it'll all be rainbows and butterflies, but standing here means that I'd rather fight with you than be with anyone else. I'm going to love you until the day I die."
Elena took a deep breath as she pulled her hand away to wipe a tear from her eye. She let out a shaky breath, her eyes warm as she looked at the man in front of her. "Damon," she said softly. "From the moment I met you, you turned my world upside down in the best way possible. You've taught me so much. You've taught me that love is worth waiting and fighting for. I can't even begin to explain to you how much I love you. You are my best friend and my soul mate and I'm going to love you until the day I die."
More words were exchanged, the official vows and before they knew it, Damon and Elena were exchanging rings as tokens of their unwavering and undying love for each other. And the moment the minister granted them a kiss to seal the deal, Elena's face was cradled in Damon's hands as if she were the most precious thing in the world, and he put all his love into that one kiss, leaving Elena breathless as the minister finally pronounced them husband and wife.
There was a silent exchange between the two as they twirled around the dance floor. Every so often he would lean down and kiss her, each touch sending her breathless. She smiled effortlessly that night, for her heart was so full of love and joy she could hardly contain her happiness. He tightened his grip around her waist as they swayed back and forth to the pretty melodies. He was waiting for someone to pinch him and tell him that it was a dream, she was so perfect.
"I love you," he murmured halfway through their fourth dance as a married couple. Elena smiled against his chest before lifting her head to look up at him. Her brown eyes were glistening with tears as she fought them back. The words she wanted to say were on the tip of her tongue but she didn't know how to tell him.
She offered him a small smile as she wrapped her arms around his neck, her fingers tangled up in his hair as she brought him closer to her. He leaned his forehead instinctively against hers as she closed her eyes in contentment and took a deep breath. "That's good," Elena said quietly. She let out a breath she didn't know she had been holding before she opened her eyes, her gaze meeting his. "Because there's going to be a lot more of me to love."
His eyes almost instinctively darted to her stomach, disbelief etched on his face. "Are you saying what I think you're saying?" he asked quietly, his voice barely a whisper. Elena nodded against his forehead, a small smile on her face.
"I'm pregnant, Damon…" she paused. "We're pregnant."
He couldn't help the instinctive smile that fell on his face at those two words. She was pregnant. They were pregnant. They were going to have a family. She was going to be a mother. He was going to be a father. "I'm going to be a father," he whispered, his voice laced with incredulity. He couldn't help but let out a breathy laugh of disbelief as he looked at Elena, a wide smile on his face. "I'm going to be a father," he repeated.
Elena nodded, tears running down her face as she brought her hands to the sides of his neck as she cradled his face in her hands. "You're going to be a father," she confirmed. Suddenly, she was in Damon's arms. Her arms were wrapped around his neck as he picked her up off the dance floor and spun her around. She couldn't help but laugh at the excitement from her husband.
Neither of them cared as they looked like two teenagers in love as he picked her up on the dance floor. They were in love, they were married and they were going to be parents. The rest of the world didn't matter.
"How have you been feeling?" Dr. Thomas questioned, a warm smile on her face. Elena let out a shaky breath as she settled her hand on the top of her abdomen. She exchanged a look with Damon, as if to gather some strength from his eyes. She was anxious to come to the doctors, almost on the notion that every time you went – you somehow got bad news. He offered her a reassuring smile that of which sent Elena to answer the doctor's question.
"I've been feeling pretty good other than the occasional fatigue and nausea," Elena explained with a small smile. The doctor nodded as she jotted down something on her clipboard. She asked a few more questions, those of which Damon and Elena both answered to the best of their abilities. Finally, the doctor announced that it was time for the ultrasound. Elena shivered under the coolness of the ultrasound gel, but as soon as the wand touched her skin and the sound of a fast beating drum emanated throughout the room, she couldn't even think about the gel.
Elena instinctively reached out for Damon's hand as their eyes were trained on the monitor. A single tear fell down Elena's cheek, a smile breaking out and falling from her face. The doctor smiled at the happy couple, her finger pointing to the screen. "It's so small," Damon choked out, disbelief in his eyes.
"Your baby is developing just fine. Everything looks good," the doctor told them. Elena nodded, her eyes still on the monitor. Dr. Thomas let out a low chuckle before wiping the gel off of Elena's growing baby bump. "I'll give you two a minute."
Damon and Elena sat in silence for a few minutes, absolutely mesmerized by their baby. Damon was especially shocked. So far, he'd only been able to experience the pregnancy objectively. He'd been dealing with Elena's cravings, which of course sends him to drive to McDonald's at 2:30am. But seeing their baby up close and personal made the whole thing that much more real.
Reality had never seemed so beautiful.
"Come on, Elena! You can do this!" the doctor said eagerly. Elena shook her head in disbelief and agony as she collapsed back onto the pillow. Tears and sweat were streaming down her face. All she wanted to do was curl up into a ball and sleep. At this point, she would be perfectly content with her baby half in, half out if she could just get some sleep. She didn't have the energy to push anymore. She couldn't. She was in so much pain; if she didn't know any better she'd think she was dying.
"I can't!" Elena cried out in pain as she ran a hand through her sweat matted hair. "I can't push anymore. I'm sorry. I can't," she said as another shooting pain wracked through her body. by the time she had gotten to the hospital, it had been too late for the epidural and the baby was already crowning. Translation: Elena could feel everything.
"Elena, look at me…" a different voice said. Elena fought through her exhaustion and opened her eyes to look into the ocean blue eyes she'd spend forever swimming in. "I believe you can do this, okay?" Elena shook her head in protest before his hands were on either side of her face, willing her to look at him. "I would trade places with you if I could but I can't. You are the strongest person I know and I know you can do this."
"One more big push, Elena. One more push and your baby will be here," the doctor promised. Elena's face contorted into pain as another sob wracked through her body. She didn't want to push anymore. She couldn't push anymore. She was just so tired.
"I love you," Damon whispered in her ear. Somehow, that was the push she needed. She took a deep breath and she didn't know how she did it – but against all odds, she did. She braced herself and grabbed onto Damon's hand for dear life and she pushed. She put everything she had into that final push and only seconds later, the piercing cry that emanated throughout the room made it all worth it.
"It's a girl," the doctor announced. Elena collapsed onto the pillow, her eyes drooping as she fought for consciousness. Her heart was swelling in her chest as she watched Damon cut the umbilical cord. She could faintly see a tear fall down his nose as he watched the doctors clean up the baby. He immediately turned to Elena, brushing her hair out of her face to kiss her forehead.
"I'm so proud of you," Damon whispered. "You did it. She's here. Our daughter is here," he promised her. Suddenly, she was caught up in his warm embrace as she cried tears of joy into his chest. "She's here," he told her again. Elena nodded happily against him as they waited. Finally, the doctor walked towards the happy couple, a tiny baby in her arms. Elena instinctively straightened up as best she could and lifted her exhausted arms. The doctor slid the baby into her embrace, and Elena swore her arms were made for this life.
Elena leaned against Damon as he had his arm around her tired frame, his hand gently massaging the scalp of their daughter. They were absolutely mesmerized by her. Damon and Elena fell in love all over again, somehow both with each other and their daughter. What made their fairytale more perfect is that their child was Damon and Elena combined. A love story has never had a happier ending.
June 24th, 2003 was the day that Damon and Elena felt something that felt a lot like love. Three years later on that exact day, Damon and Elena felt something that changed their lives forever. They felt a love they never knew existed, and a hope they didn't know could ever be found. It was the day that their lives really began. It was the day that their daughter, Ava Grace Salvatore was born.
Elena was exhausted, but she fought through her exhaustion against the doctor's wishes to see her family and friends meet her little miracle for the first time. It was so worth it. Miranda and Grayson were over the moon to meet their first grandchild. Tears of joy were streaming simultaneously down Miranda's face as she held her granddaughter for the first time. Jeremy came with Anna, a big balloon in tow as they placed it in the corner of Elena's room.
Damon almost had to use the Jaws of Life to pry Ava from Caroline's hold. She was so in love with a baby that wasn't even hers, it made Elena's choice that much easier about who godmother was. Bonnie was next, flowers in her hand as she came with Matt and Tyler, congratulatory smiles on their faces. Alaric and Jenna came later in the day, Alaric congratulating his best friend while Jenna asked Alaric to make a baby with her. They left shortly after that.
The visitor that proved most surprising to Elena was Audrey, Lucas and their son Jackson. Her eyes widened with recognition, her stomach starting to turn uncomfortably. Ava was sleeping soundly in her arms while Damon was downstairs getting coffee from the cafeteria. Figures, the one time Elena finally convinces him to take a break, she needs him more than ever.
Elena was glad that Audrey came by. Apparently Lucas' parents live in Georgia so they flew in less than a week ago. Audrey was getting sick of her mother-in-law-to-be and so she convinced Lucas to visit Elena once they saw the announcement on her Facebook, courtesy of Caroline. Jackson was barely a year old and yet somehow, Audrey already had his wife picked out – Ava.
As soon as Damon got back and got wind of that notion, he shot that down immediately. The color drained from their faces when Lucas told Elena that Stefan was waiting in the waiting room. He wanted to see her, but only if she was okay with it. She reluctantly nodded, exchanging a look with Damon. It was evident that he wasn't thrilled about the idea, but the look in Elena's eyes told him that he should be. He nodded regretfully before Elena nodded to Audrey.
Minutes later, Stefan entered the room. His hands were shoved in his pockets and his head was hung low. Even from across the room, Elena could see the sparkle that once sparked his eyes was gone. He was just the ghost of a man she used to know and tried to love. This thought pained her more than she wanted it to. "Hey," she whispered kindly. "It's good to see you, Stefan."
"I hate to turn up out of the blue…uninvited…" Stefan said quietly. "But I heard that you settled down. Like, really settled down. Marriage and a baby and all that jazz," he whispered. Elena could tell he was trying to lighten the mood, but you can't lighten the shadow of heartbreak. "I heard that your dreams came true," he said suddenly.
Elena nodded, a small chuckle falling from her lips. Her laughter forced as it was when they were together. Her thoughts were interrupted by a low whimper from the baby in her arms. Suddenly, a warm smile fell on her face as her gaze fell on her new daughter. She shifted Ava in her arms, tilting her tiny body towards Stefan so he could get a better look at her. "This is my daughter, Ava."
"She looks just like you," Stefan said quietly. He paused, heartache reflecting in his eyes. "She's beautiful…" he paused again, a regretful smile on his face as he tried to be happy for the woman he loved. He took a deep breath as he stepped forward. He stood at the side of her bed, his hands still in his pockets before he gently reached out to brush his finger along the side of Ava's cheek. "You seem happy," he said quietly.
Elena looked between the baby in her arms and the man standing quietly in the doorway. Damon tried to give Elena privacy, but the two most important people in his world were in that room with the man that almost married his soul mate. Of course he'd stand in the doorway and look out for his wife and daughter. "I am happy," Elena breathed after exchanging a silent look with Damon. "I'm very happy."
Stefan nodded, a pained expression on his face. Elena felt sorry for him as it was painfully obvious he was struggling to move on. "Then I'm happy for you," he told her. Elena nodded, biting her lip to hold back the tears that threatened to fall. "You deserve to be happy."
"So do you."
"I wish nothing but the best for you," Stefan whispered.
"Thank you," Elena returned.
He shrugged his shoulders, a small smile on his lips replacing the ghostly smirk. He opened his mouth to say something else but couldn't think of anything. Instead, he took a deep breath and gently brushed his lips against her forehead. "I'll see you around," he said kindly. Elena nodded, a small smile on her face as she waved goodbye to him before her attention was on her daughter for the umpteenth time.
Damon nodded to Elena from the doorway before following Stefan out the door. "Stefan!" Damon called out after nearly jogging after him. He took a deep breath and gestured towards the hospital room they had both just come from. "Uhh," he stammered, searching for something to say that wouldn't make everything awkward. "I'm sorry," he settled on.
Stefan's forehead contorted into confusion as he looked at the man in front of him. He wondered if his face was green with envy as Damon Salvatore had everything he wanted, everything he couldn't have, and everything he'd never have. "For what?"
"I know better than anybody what you're going through," Damon said quietly. "It isn't lost on me that you're hurting right now. And believe me, I get it. Elena's a lot to lose and I wouldn't wish what you're feeling and what I felt on anybody. It's probably one of the worst things someone can go through and I'm genuinely sorry that you got hurt after everything. You seem like a good guy and I'm sorry."
Stefan chuckled lightly, incredulity evident in his emerald eyes. He couldn't believe he was talking to the husband of the woman he loved, just as Damon couldn't believe he was talking to his wife's ex-fiancé. "You're good for her," he said awkwardly. "Better than I ever was. And as weird as it sounds, I think everything turned out the way it was supposed to."
"I got worried when you didn't come to bed," Elena whispered as she leaned on the doorframe. Damon smirked at her from the loveseat that he was sitting on. He extended his arms and soon Elena found herself nestled securely in his embrace. She laid her head on his chest, her arm wrapped around his waist while he held her close to him. They lay in the dark on the loveseat, their eyes trained on the small rise and fall of Ava's chest as she slept soundly in her nursery.
"We made it, didn't we?" she whispered after a few minutes of silence. "After everything we've been through…" she trailed off. She took a deep breath, her gaze never leaving Ava as she stirred slightly in her slumber. "I used to dream about nights like this," she admitted. She shifted in his embrace, bringing her hand up to gently touch the contours of his face. "I love you."
Damon stared at her with an intensity that branded her soul. His heart was racing inside his chest as he looked at her. There was wonder and awe in her eyes as they glistened with tears of amazement and fascination. He could spend forever with her in his arms; his gaze locked with hers and forever still wouldn't be long enough.
"I love you," Damon murmured against her hair. She lifted her head slightly, her gaze locking with his as he saw curiosity reflect in her brown eyes, a small smile on her face. Their thoughts were simultaneously interrupted by a small whimper from the tiny human not ten feet from them. Damon instinctively relinquished his embrace around Elena, allowing her to pick up their daughter. Only seconds later, Elena was back in Damon's arms, Ava in hers.
Their eyes remained trained on Ava as her eyes were wide with curiosity, glistening with tears that craved love and attention, two things of which Damon and Elena were not lacking to give her. "She's ours," Elena whispered after a few minutes. She let out an incredulous chuckle, leaning down to brush her lips against Ava's forehead.
"We made that," Damon added, a smirk on his face. Elena chuckled lightly before leaning nestling further into Damon's warm and comforting embrace. "And you're right," he whispered after a few minutes of uninterrupted silence. Elena tilted her head slightly, her eyebrows knitted together in confusion. "About what you said before," he clarified. "We made it; and Elena, I'm so glad we did because I don't know who I am without you or our daughter."
Elena tilted her head up to look at him. She opened her mouth to speak but was silenced by his lips on hers. The kiss was slow and methodic, but it was so full of everything they felt for one another and it was certainly enough to take her breath away. He pulled away too soon, his thumb brushing across her cheek, catching a fallen tear. He smiled at her before their gaze fell on Ava, their perfect Ava.
Somewhere between in whispering sweet nothings in each others ears to planting feather light kisses on Ava's forehead, sleep consumed them. "All of you, forever…" Damon mumbled. "You and me, everyday…" were the last things he whispered to his family before he fell asleep, his world safe and secure in his embrace.
AN:I'm so sorry it took so long for me to update. I had a major brain fart for this chapter but here it is, the final chapter. Thank you so much to my faithful readers, I couldn't have done it without you. I have already started (and posted) another Damon and Elena AU/AH story titled "Lights Will Guide You Home". Check it out! Thanks again, I love you all. Don'tforgettoreview!