The Better Man: Two Delena Drabbles

Few people understood that when Damon seemed to be acting like an insufferable ass, that was usually a sign of deep affection and playfulness. He didn't show that to just anyone. When Damon felt like being an actual ass, he had a strong tendency to snap people's necks. It was kind of his thing. He may have been a manipulative, murdering psychopath, but that didn't mean he was always that guy. That was Katherine's Damon. Elena's Damon, though still manipulative and occasionally murdering, was decidedly more mellowed out. Maybe that was because Katherine had never looked at him the way Elena did. Suddenly, to his shame, he was constantly striving to earn that look. For all his decades of trying to be a badass, to be a match for Katherine's megalomania- that had never really been who he was. That was Stefan.

No one ever saw that, of course. Just because Stefan brooded, and ate fluffy little woodland creatures and kept a fucking diary, he was the sensitive one. He brooded because he was pissed that he wasn't killing people. He ate bunnies because he was terrified that his pretty blonde parole officer would show up, chain him to a tree, and "fix" him again. And he kept a diary because he was a graphomaniac, exhibit "A", his sick little wall of shame in Chicago. Stefan had always been a tiny bit of a head case. But, of course, Damon's end game had always been to win Katherine. So, he tried to be more like his twisted baby brother, who she loved.

Once Damon knew how much he didn't love Katherine anymore, it had hit him that part of the reason he had been such a dick was because he hated who he had become. He admittedly, was no saint, but he was anything but heartless. Elena understood that better than anyone ever had.

When Elena had walked in to find him lounging on her bed, fear had crossed her face briefly. He knew what he was doing. He was forcing her to face the fact that she liked seeing him there, in such an intimate place. He had been pleasantly surprised when she didn't ask him to move, but crawled in next to him. She told him about Rebekah, and he was impressed for the thousandth time by her boundless compassion. He didn't need enhanced senses to see the meaningful look she gave him when she talked about Rebekah loving recklessly, even if it consumed her. Just like us, it said. They were both that way, having been fiercely in love with people who chose something else over them. When Elena talked about saving Stefan, he heard himself talking about getting Katherine out of the tomb. And, Damon knew, Elena wasn't just talking about Katherine and Stefan. They were both standing on the precipice of a volcano. If he was honest, he was as terrified by his feelings as she was of hers'. Damon had lived enough to know that if she ever gave in to the pull that was between them, they would have something unstoppable. He was starting to think she knew it too.

He held her gaze as she fell asleep, seeing that tell-all expression blazing behind her reservations. When her eyes were closed and her breathing even, he let himself go. He caressed her face, her hair, loving her so much he thought he might never be able to leave. He stayed until a few hours before dawn, not wanting her to wake up and be frightened away again. He smirked, thinking how tragic it was that he was so impatient for his life to begin when it was technically already over.

o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o

She wanted to let Stefan go. She had held his face between her delicate little hands and gazed at him with those incredible brown eyes, and for a moment, she was his. He could feel the step they had taken. Since she had kissed him while he was dying, he had known that some small part of her returned his feelings. Actually, he had always known that, but it was the first time he truly felt he had a chance with her. Elena had stayed with him, held him, kissed him, and accepted him for the person he was. And here she stood, looking at him with that same look behind her eyes. That look acknowledged that whatever was between them was growing. It had long since been more than friendship, but Elena had chosen to compartmentalize it. She had been trying to convince both of them that they were just family to each other. That look revealed that she didn't believe it for a second. He knew he didn't have the courage to move in. He dropped his gaze slightly, Elena following suit as his phone rang- mercifully cutting the tension that he knew would consume him.

Although he was relieved, he was also irritated at the bitter irony that Katherine had to be the one to interfere with his moment with Elena. He was grateful for her part in protecting her, and glad to have her on their side, even if it was only temporary. He poured himself another drink, and gave Elena the space she always needed after an intense moment. Truthfully, he probably needed it more. He was so distracted that he didn't notice her come up behind him.

He turned to find her just inches from him again, her eyes burning. She was trying to find the courage to make a move. He knew that. He would wait for her, because if he took the step, he'd never know if she had been ready. It wouldn't be real. She knew how he felt. His heart already belonged to her. As he watched, her resolve began to waiver. He accepted it, leaning in to kiss her gently on the cheek before starting to turn away. His heart clenched as her hand caught his and tugged him back. She looked up at him all of a second before replacing her hands on his face and abruptly closing the distance between them. Damon made a small noise in the back of his throat and tangled his fingers in her long hair, kissing her with everything he had. He wanted her to know how much this meant to him, to make sure it could never be interpreted as anything but a firm and solid declaration. She responded with as much passion. As his hands found the small of her back, she ran one of hers' down his chest, gripping his shirt near his navel. He forced himself to relax his hold on her, pulling back slowly before he let himself get too far gone.

Elena's eyes held no trace of regret, but Damon had been rejected enough in his life to need reassurance. He knew that she wanted him, that she had strong feelings for him. That hadn't been enough with Katherine, and it definitely wouldn't be enough with Elena, who he loved more that he had ever loved her. It wouldn't be enough to love Elena physically. He needed to know that this time, he was being chosen, and that it would last. She seemed to read his emotions. She took a deep breath. He spoke first.

"Elena, what about Stefan? You love him." The words hurt as much as they always did. Elena was still holding his gaze.

"I do, Damon. But not like I thought. Not like I used to. I love him, but I don't think I can be in love with him anymore. He isn't the Stefan I thought he was, and he never will be again. And…you've been right all along. I can't fight this anymore. I know it makes me like Katherine, and I'm so sorry. I'm falling in love with you, Damon. I have been for…well, always, I guess. The more I know the two of you, the more I know I can't be with him, and…the more I know I have to be near you. You've always been the better man, through everything. I'm sorry for trying not to see that." Her honesty was about to break him. He felt a thousand emotions at once. She regained her hold on his shirt, waiting for his response.

"You're sure you want this? Because, I can't go back once you're mine. I want to be with you. I want everything, Elena. This won't be half-assed for me. I love you too much. I can't be a rebound." He kept searching her face for signs of hesitation. He couldn't find any.

"I know that. I've been waiting for months to be sure. Caroline has been all over me about this since September. Kissing you changed everything for me, it had to. There were already too many feelings to ignore, even though I tried to. I think part of the reason I was so set on finding Stefan was that I was scared to be alone with you. I've never felt anything like this, Damon. No matter what happens with Stefan, if he comes back or not, I'm sure."

"Thank you." Damon said with more tenderness than he normally would have allowed, leaning down to kiss her again. Her face was wet with the tears that had escaped during her speech. He wiped them away. "So, what does Blood Bank Barbie think of this?" He gave her a wry smile.

"She thinks I'm an idiot, or course." Elena smirked back. "I wouldn't recommend using her as a relationship reference. You were kind of a dick back then."

"Still am." She chuckled as she leaned into his chest as he wrapped his arms around her.

o.o.o.o.o.o

This is officially my first Delena/TVD story. I just watched all three seasons of TVD in one week (I know.)I'm not anti-Stefan, but I kind of like him with Katherine, especially after the finale. I think there's something really dynamic there.