Author's Note: I should have probably added this AN when I first posted it but when I re-read this piece, I noticed (and fixed) some grammatical errors. I was really excited to post this, I had this in my head since 3x15 but I wanted to wait for the finale to see where DE was taken. Anyway, I would really love to hear your opinion on this - and I'd really love it if you would tell me your favorite quote/line/part. Anyways, please leave a review!
You hold me without touch, you keep me without chains
I never wanted anything so much than to drown in your love and not feel your rain
She wants to blame him; it'd be easier that way. His love for her is a reflection of everything she's afraid of. His eyes alone, emit such unwavering passion and devotion; a love that is so unyielding, somedays she thinks its her gravity. But she went and threw it in his face, their conversation from the night before flying to the front of her mind, and the weight on her chest doesn't seem heavy enough.
"Now you're mad at me for including Stefan?"
"No, I'm mad at you because I love you!"
"Well – maybe that's the problem."
All she can do now is apologize.
Her words have an air of rehearsal when she calls him, but when he picks up on the first ring, voice thick with sleep and annoyance, all thoughts and apologies flee her brain, her defensive wall is back in place. "Hey. I called you ten times last night; we need to talk."
"Sorry," he says, but his tone implies he really isn't sorry at all. "I've been busy."
She can feel the frustration seeping into their brief conversation on both ends. "Damon, if you're mad at me – you need to get over it," she says warningly, albeit slightly pleadingly.
She can practically hear him roll his eyes when he promises her, "Oh, I'm over it."
She stands on the porch of the place that has been more of a home to her than anything else in her life, and inhales deeply because heaven help her, she can't breathe. She readies herself for the brush-off he'll inevitably attempt to deliver, but she's not having any of his crap today. Raising her fist, ready to knock, the door swings open and her heart breaks.
She's not sure what's worse – seeing Rebekah smiling with her torn, ruffled dress and sex hair, or Damon's look of something akin to satisfaction. The blonde looks at him with lust in her eyes and a smirk on her face before brushing past the dumbstruck brunette, leaving heartbreak and destruction in her wake. It's only when the blonde is out of earshot that he acknowledges her presence with a smirk.
Without a word, she follows him back inside the house and watches with disdain and disbelief as he pours himself a morning drink. "To what do I owe the pleasure?"
His nonchalant attitude does nothing to ease the tension and she barely hears him anyway, because she's too busy trying to see things from his perspective, but its all too skewed. She can't come up with a reasonable or logical explanation for his reckless actions other than the notion he did it in a feeble attempt to get back at her for the things she said the night before. "Is this how it's gonna be from now on? I – I hurt your feelings and this is how you lash out at me?"
"Maybe – for once - something I did had nothing to do with you."
"What, then? It was her good company? Damon, she tried to kill me less than forty-eight hours ago! Wait a second, are you still drinking vervain?"
He lets out an empty, incredulous laugh. "You think Rebekah had to compel me? Newsflash, Elena – I'm a big boy. I make my own decisions, some of which don't include you. I don't need Barbie Klaus to enjoy her company, and I sure as hell don't have to take any crap from you about it."
She sighs, silently relenting. She doesn't want to fight – that's not why she's here. "Well I'll get to the point then. You should know that Esther is planning on killing her entire family; she's linked them with a spell and whatever happens to one happens to all."
"That's great. Klaus will finally be dead. We win." He takes in her pained expression and continues to make a mockery of her by asking, "Why do you look like someone just shot a panda bear?"
Her eyes narrow in confusion, as if her logic is the most obvious thing in the world. "Because to kill Klaus, she has to kill all of them – including Elijah, and he doesn't deserve this."
"And I'm supposed to care about Elijah?"
Fury and jealousy course through her veins – which is more prominent, she isn't sure. "Shouldn't you at least care about Rebekah?"
"Two seconds ago you were pissed that she tried to kill you. It's a win, win. Don't do anything to screw this up."
"Why are you doing this?"
"He's right you know," another voice sounds from behind his big brother. "Klaus has to die. They all do."
"See," he says with pride. "It's democracy in action."
She finds herself at Bonnie's, ranting and raving about the blue-eyed vampire that can get her blood boiling like no other. "He was gloating – like actual, legitimate gloat; almost as if he was proud to sleep with her or something." She takes in her friends silence and frowns, switching subjects. "Is it working?"
The door swings open and Caroline walks in, an annoyed expression on her face. "No, it's not working. I can hear everything you're saying about Damon the vampire gigolo."
They try the spell again, and Bonnie tells her that she and her mother will help Esther kill the originals tonight. No one, not even her best friends, can understand her need to save Elijah – so she gives up trying to make people understand.
But the day goes on and nothing goes as planned and at the drop of a hat – she's underground, cold and seemingly alone until Rebekah appears, more than eager to take her life again. Time passes and she finally finds safety in the barrier that separates humans from vampires, but before she can heave a sigh of relief, the blonde vampire is thrusting gasoline anywhere she can, announcing her attempt to shake things up a bit.
"I've been feeling spontaneous," she smirks wickedly, her voice lowering as she adds, "It's probably why Damon likes me so much."
She tries to remain impassive – nonchalant, but her eyes betray every emotion that she feels. His tryst with the woman in front of her has stirred up a whirlwind of emotions within her, far too many to decipher and identify at once, even if she tried.
More time passes, and her tormenter is taking a video with her phone, speaking with insurmountable pleasure in her voice. "So, Elena, how does it feel knowing these may be your last moments?"
It was that moment that she decides two can play at this game. "I don't know, you tell me. I'm not the one whose mother is trying to kill you. But she's not doing this because she hates you, Rebekah. She told me that she – she just doesn't have another choice."
But that's a lie – you always have a choice.
"Spare me your pity, Elena. We're not girlfriends. Want me to prove it?" she asks, lighting a match. "Just say the word, and you'll go up in flames."
"You won't do it," she says suddenly – surprising even herself. Her voice is firm and demanding, betraying every ounce of anxiety she feels. "There's a chance that you might still be alive tomorrow and if that's the case – if you live to see another day and you kill me now, you'll have used up all of your revenge – wasted it – and isn't that what you want? You want revenge because I pretended to like you and then I stuck a dagger in your back? I mean, that's why you slept with Damon, right? That's why you're tormenting me – because I hurt your feelings."
The look on her face tells her everything she needs to know. She successfully called Rebekah's bluff.
She'll live to see another day. They both will.
Hours pass and finally, Rebekah is at the barrier that separates them, announcing that her boyfriends (she ignores the label) had taken care of the problem. "Damon turned your witch friend's mother into a vampire. It's quite clever, actually. They needed to sever the witch line and well – you can't be both a witch and a vampire. In any case, you're free to go. Oh, and by the way you were right. I do prefer to take my time watching you suffer – it's much more satisfying."
Matt Donavon has been and always will be many things to her – you can't go through what they've been through and not be something. There was a time where he was the best friend, and then the boyfriend, but now he's just Matt – and she needs him now more than ever.
Their quality, human time together is interrupted when her phone rings, announcing that her guardian has been arrested for murder. She can't get to the police station fast enough, but when she does, she runs into him – and he is less than compassionate about everything that happened the night before, the havoc he's wreaked. He makes a joke and offers to send lasagna, and she can't help the anger she feels.
But she also feels something else; something akin to sadness for the man in front of her. So her anger and sadness roll into one when she asks, "How can you be so arrogant and glib after everything that you've done? Part of me thinks I shouldn't be too surprised because some things never change, right? But this version of you – it's not you anymore and if you keep pushing people away, you're gonna end up alone. Don't do that to yourself."
"Elena – are you sure about this? I hate to say it but isn't it possible that Mr. Saltzman just – I don't know, finally reached his breaking point? The guys been through hell," he says tentatively.
"Matt – he's innocent, I just know it and I'm not gonna stand by and watch him take the fall for something he didn't do. Sure, he may be a borderline alcoholic with relationship issues, but he's a lot of things and a killer isn't one of them. Matt, he's all Jeremy and I have left and I'm gonna do whatever it takes to prove he's innocent. So are you gonna help me or not?"
"Okay, I'm in – what's the plan?"
"Well," she smiles innocently. "How do you feel about a little B and E?"
He should be surprised, but he's not. He's come to learn there's nothing Elena wouldn't do for her family. "Yeah, sure, I haven't done anything illegal lately anyway. The human life is way too boring – thankfully I have you to spice it up. What's our first stop?"
"Meredith Fell's apartment."
Naturally, everything that could possibly go wrong with her plan – goes wrong. But apparently being best childhood friends with the Sherriff's daughter your whole life has some rank, so she lets the two desperate teenagers off with a very stern warning – and a maternal, genuine plead to stay out of trouble.
They make it back to her house and find themselves sitting at her kitchen table, mugs of hot chocolate and a world of unwavering friendship between them. "Matt, thank you for everything today, I mean it. I know how – overwhelming all of this can be and I really appreciate your help; it means a lot that you did this for me – and for Jeremy."
He laughs. "I kind of had fun – I mean, obviously not the getting caught and almost getting arrested part, but you and me – we used to be partners in crime. It was nice to have that back for a little while, even under the circumstances."
"We make a good team," she agrees with a smile, but it doesn't distract her from the evident confusion in his gaze. "Okay, just say it."
"I just – I don't get it. I don't understand your thing with them."
She smiles tentatively. "I know it doesn't make any sense but in the beginning, after my parents died, there was something about being with Stefan that just felt – I don't know, safe." He questions her sanity, using the word safe and Stefan in the same sentence, reminding her that he's a vampire. "I know it sounds crazy but it's like I knew that he would never stop loving me; like he would never," she trails off.
She can't continue. Matt's a lot of things to her – her best friend, her first serious boyfriend, a constant reminder of the life she used to live, but underneath all that, Matt Donavon is still the boy she left behind when she fell in love with Stefan. He is still the boy that pined after her when she thought she needed time, only to fall in love with someone else. "It's okay, Elena – just say it."
"It's like I knew that he would never die."
There's an inherent understanding that passes between them – the same understanding that she has with Bonnie, Caroline and Tyler; the understanding of the girl she used to be. The girl before tragedy turned her world upside down.
Then he asks about Damon.
She understands his curiosity – it's the same curious look and tone she receives from Bonnie and Caroline every time they attempt to understand what they have. How can she have feelings for someone that's done so many things to so many people?
But they don't know him like she does. There is a whole other world to Damon Salvatore, a world that she's taken advantage of, a world that she fears will consume her, but a world that she yearns to be a part of, the world that holds his humanity – his heart.
"Damon – just sort of snuck up on me. He got under my skin and no matter what I do – no matter what he does, I can't shake him."
He smiles a nonjudgmental, tentative, honest smile and says, "Once you fall in love with someone, I don't know if you can ever shake them."
What she wants to do, and what Damon would want her to do are two very different things.
Her first instinct is to go to him. It's to save him from whatever hell is being thrust upon him. It's to smile and promise him that it will all be okay, even if she doesn't know herself because that's what they do. They save each other but she doesn't go to him and she doesn't save him; she waits.
She's at the boarding house when they arrive home. She's been waiting for a few hours now, praying to a god that she doesn't believe in that they both make it home safely. When they arrive, it's almost as if all the wind is knocked out of her lungs. His clothes are torn and tattered, his skin slick with blood and sweat. Even still, his lips pull up into a smirk and she breathes a sigh of relief because although he may be bruised, Damon Salvatore is not broken.
An inherent relief washes over her body when she sees him – alive and well. This is exactly what she wanted for him; a normal life.
In this moment, she is nothing special.
She is not a doppelganger. The blood that flows through her veins is not all that is holy in the supernatural world. Her life is not one giant game of dice. Her knowledge of things that go bump in the night does not go past Halloween. Her heart is not torn between two brothers.
She's just an ordinary girl.
Except she isn't, and soon, the cloud of reality is hovering over her again.
She is a doppelganger. The blood that flows through her veins is the key to every lock in the supernatural world. Her life is one giant game of dice. Her heart is torn for all to see.
She hooks her fingers through the fence and smiles sadly before finally breaking the safe bubble he's been living in, "Jeremy."
"Why don't you let people see the good in you?"
She thinks that if he showed people a fraction of what he showed her; they would understand him enough to care.
They would understand how he managed to become one of the people she would sacrifice her life to save. They would understand why she tore through the town, desperate to see him – to save him. They would know that it wasn't a pity kiss. They would know it was a goodbye kiss; a goodbye to the man who changed her world – a goodbye to the man that she never wanted to say goodbye to.
"Because when people see good they expect good," he replies softly, turning to look her in the eye. "And I don't want to have to live up to anyone's expectations."
Their gazes lock, and in his eyes, she sees nothing but a love that is so delicate and raw, it makes her want to cry. She warmly rolls her eyes, not out of anger but rather out of disbelief and she lies on her back, eyes looking anywhere but him. But then her hand falls and he touches her skin so gently, takes her hand so tenderly, she can't breathe anymore.
She doesn't want to run away from him but that's all she knows how to do.
He wouldn't be Damon if he didn't make things harder for her, but still, she pleads softly, "Don't." The word falls out of her mouth before she can think about what it means - but he seems to get it.
"Why not?" His question is the key that unlocks many answers; but for the life of her she can't think of one. Instead, she shakes her head and hopes the gesture suffices because dammit, she could throw him the whole, damn dictionary and it still wouldn't explain the whirlwind of emotions she's fighting right now.
But he breathes her name like a gentle caress her name and she can't fight it anymore. Consequences be damned, she needs this.
She needs him.
Throwing caution to the wind, she launches herself forward to the only man that could possibly understand the amount of passion and intensity she's craving when she kisses him. He catches her instantly, his arms wrapping around her body and holding her against him and all she can think of is all the times their lips have ever met.
"You're the liar, Elena. There is something going on between the two of us and you know it. And you're lying to me, and you're lying to Stefan but most of all, you're lying to yourself. I can prove it."
"I like you now. Just the way you are."
"If I'm gonna feel guilty about something, I'm gonna feel guilty about this."
But this kiss is painfully different, but still one of the most beautiful things she's ever experienced. There is no reverence, no hesitancy, no stillness or tranquility between them. There is only passion, fire, and a love so steadfast and unyielding, its the only thing holding them to the ground.
It's their gravity.
Nothing with Damon was ever easy; but there was always a small voice at the back of her mind that promised her it would be worth it - that he would be worth it.
His words kept replaying over and over in her mind like a record on repeat. "What if I didn't lash out, Elena? What if there was no bump?"
The hope in his eyes was so tangible, so beautiful, she could feel tears prick her own eyes but naturally, his love had numbed her into oblivion and she had no idea what to say.
What if there was no bump?
She's never known a world with Damon that didn't have bumps, but maybe that was the point.
Her heart instinctively races at the very idea that if she got out of her own way and let herself be happy; he could give her everything and more.
They would still be Damon and Elena; they would still fight like an old married couple, talk like best friends, flirt like first loves and protect each other like family. They would probably challenge each other like no tomorrow; sometimes about life and death, sometimes about trivial things like who gets to pick the movie. There would be nights that she would dress up fancy and he would take her out to dinner and show her off, hold her hand because he just wants to be able to touch her. There would be mornings she'd wake up and he'd suggest they take a roadtrip - to everywhere and nowhere. They would make love until the sun rises, and she would fall asleep in the safety of his arms under the pale moonlight.
They would still be Damon and Elena; and they would still be beautiful.
She's never spoken truer words in her life than when she looked the Salvatore brothers in the eye and said, "I know it's selfish. I know it seems like I'm stringing you both along. But if I chose one of you, I lose the other. And I've already lost so many people I can't stand losing either one of you."
In a lot of ways, she already lost Stefan once. He gave himself over to human blood and he became a version of himself that not even her worst nightmares could have conjured up. She had lost her safe harbor, her safe love. She had lost his warm embrace and the warmth of his emerald eyes, she lost her safety net and comfort blanket, she lost her first love and the boy that had made her glad to be alive.
But if Damon left - she wanted to follow. Everything between them was so painfully real, living without him just wouldn't make sense. She could not imagine a universe, no matter how many dimensions there were, without a Damon in it. There was no world for her, if there was no Damon. It was as simple and as complicated as that.
"He saved my life, you know," she begins tiredly. "I never told you that; the night that my parent's car went off the bridge, Stefan is the one who saved me. And it's not that I feel like I owe him, it's just - after the accident, I kind of felt like I didn't know how to live anymore. Like I didn't want to. But then being with Stefan - somehow I figured it out. And that's what love should be. You should love the person that makes you glad that you're alive."
Matt looks at her with a confused understanding, and asks, "then what's the problem?"
What was she supposed to say? What was the magic answer that everyone wants to hear?
Did they want her to tell them that she loves him? That she can't breathe without him? That she would rather die for him than live without her? That he's everything she never knew she wanted?
"The problem is Damon," she says softly. The words make her grimace, bringing her back to a night where she told said man his love was a problem. She was wrong then, and depending how she looked at it, she was wrong now. "He consumes me. When I'm with him, I can't breathe and when I'm not with him, I need to be."
"Elena, Damon's not with them," Matt tells her. "He's 100 miles outside of town. I can keep driving to him, or I can turn around and go back to Stefan. It's your choice."
And in that moment, one face, one name, one person came to her mind.
But before she can tell him that she will always choose him, she's drowning.
The water is rising and her vision is blurring and her lungs are filling with water instead of oxygen and all she can see light.
It's almost pitch black at the bottom of the quarry, but the light is almost blinding. Every instinct in her body is begging her to walk into it - to let the white light swallow her whole and take her to another world, a world that she would find peace.
But there's something else - flashes. Flashes that feel like things she's forgotten to remember.
"You want a love that consumes you. You want passion, adventure, even a little danger. But I want you to get everything you're looking for. But right now, I want you to forget this happened."
"I love you, Elena. And it's because I love you that I can't be selfish with you. I don't deserve you, but my brother does. God, I wish you didn't have to forget this. But you do."
And then her body gives up, her heart gives out, and her world fades to black.
She wakes up to a world where he is the only choice.
It's right. It's was right then and it's right now.
And in that moment, one face, one name, one person came to her mind.
She looks into his eyes; eyes an ocean blue like the water she drowned in, a sadness so tangible it makes her heart ache. She doesn't ask where she is or how she got there or what happened because all she can say is, "It's you. I was always supposed to choose you."
Even in death, they are still Damon and Elena.
They are still beautiful.