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30 January 2011 @ 03:50 pm
These Hard Times (5/?)  
Title: These Hard Times
Rating: PG-13 (for now)
Pairing: Damon/Elena
Verse: Showverse
Summary: Katherine and Elena hear some disconcerting truths from one Damon Salvatore. Will it change anything? AU from 2.04 "Memory Lane"
Warnings: None unless you're a die hard Stefan fan.
Spoilers: I'll be cherry picking from season 2, so yeah, you should probably watch that first!
Disclaimer: If I owned them, Damon and Elena would have been together a LONG time ago!
Author's note: Ugh. Lateness. Again. Writer's block can be a bitch. Just sayin.

Chapter Five

It felt like the there were thousands of ants crawling under his skin. Constant and itchy and maddening. His throat was parched and aching. Stefan had no idea how he'd managed to get Elena home without draining her dry. The wound in her arm where she'd fed his brother her life's blood taunted him. Just one sip, the devil on his shoulder kept chanting. All you need is one. But Stefan knew better. One sip would inevitably lead to another and another and another until Elena lay dead in his arms. That image was the only thing that stood between him and what he craved so badly. After making sure that Elena was safely home, he'd bolted without a word.

Now here he was back in the basement of the boardinghouse staring at the fridge full of bagged blood. He knew this was a bad idea. He knew he was hanging by a the thinnest of threads. But he couldn't bear it if something happened to Elena because he'd been too slow. Too slow. Too weak. Elena dead. Hand shaking, he reached into the fridge and extracted a bag of O negative. The calm that washed over him as the blood ran down his throat overrode his inner tug of war. He was content and sated.

“Feels good, doesn't it, Stefan?” Katherine purred.

Stefan whirled around and found her leaning nonchalantly in the doorway. “What do you want, Katherine?” He didn't bother to ask how she'd
gotten in. As ancient a vampire as Katherine was, she could go anywhere she pleased.

“Why do you ask questions that you already know the answer to, Stefan?” she shot back.

“I know about the moonstone.”

Katherine laughed. “What makes you think I want the moonstone? I'm here for you, Stefan.”

Stefan scowled. “So you keep saying.”

“You can believe whatever you want, Stefan. It's the truth.”

“Katherine, I don't think you've ever told the truth in your whole life.”

Katherine actually looked hurt. Stefan, despite his better judgment, felt a little sorry for her. “I didn't mean...” he began.

“See, that's what I love about you. Ever the white knight.”

Stefan kicked himself. He'd done it again. What kind of hold did she have on him? Still, after all this time, she could make him feel for her. As horrible and wicked as he knew her to be, Stefan was powerless when he faced her. Elena, he thought furiously. You love Elena.

Katherine must have seen the guilt that crossed his face. “Aw, thinking about your precious Elena? Trying to convince yourself that you love her? That you don't see me when you look at her? You and I both know the truth, Stefan.”

Stefan shook his head. “I do love her, Katherine.”

“And you love me. Deny it all you want, Stefan. I can see it in your eyes.”

“Whatever I felt for you died a long time ago, Katherine,” Stefan shot back, trying to convince not only her but himself. Because Katherine was right, and he did still love her, then he had no idea who he was anymore.

“You keep telling yourself that, Stefan. I don't think Elena will believe you anymore than I do.”

Stefan grimaced. “Despite our...difficulties,” he said slowly, “she loves me. I know she does.”

“And yet there is Damon.”

“What about Damon?”

“You'll just have to figure that one out for yourself.” She grinned. “I believe the Lockwood masquerade is in a few days. I do love a party!” Katherine went on tiptoe to whisper in his ear. “Don't forget my moonstone.”

Stefan could do nothing but stare as she disappeared.

 

Elena arrived at the boardinghouse later than she intended. When Damon called to tell her about the proposed strategy session, it was the first time she'd talked to him since their confusing encounter by the Lockwood well. She'd wanted to see him – to find out how he was doing, of course – but each time she chickened out. She hated feeling like a coward, but she couldn't help it. Everything about Damon scared her. The way he looked at her when he thought she wasn't looking. His determination to protect her no matter the cost. The loyalty and devotion that she didn't believe she'd earned. Loving her despite believing that she could never love him in return. All of it scared her witless. There wasn't anything special about her; she was about as ordinary as they come. So why did this extraordinary, frightening man love her? She honestly didn't get it.

That there was an intense, palpable connection connection between them was something she couldn't deny, even to herself. Not anymore. She'd realized that the night she heard him say that he loved her, but it wasn't until she'd fed him her blood that she truly understood it. She didn't have that kind of connection with Stefan, as much as she wished that she did. She loved Stefan. So if she didn't feel the same thing with Stefan that she'd felt with Damon, what did that mean? And the fact that she could feel these things for him despite the awful things he'd done – not only to her, but those around her – disturbed her greatly. Elena wondered for the nine hundredth time if it made her a horrible person. She knew there was good in Damon; she'd seen it. But he was afraid of it. He'd built up a wall of cynicism, indifference and ruthlessness to protect himself. It wasn't something that he could just turn off like a switch and to expect him to was unfair. God, she was so confused. She wished her mother were alive so she could talk to her about it. Miranda would know just the right thing to say.

Pushing her confusing thoughts aside, Elena entered the huge living room. She was the last to arrive; Stefan, Alaric, Damon, Caroline, Jeremy, even Bonnie had gotten there before her. She raised her eyebrows questioningly at Bonnie, who shrugged.

“Now that Elena has decided to grace us with her presence,” Damon said, “we can actually get some work done.”

“What's going on?” Elena asked.

“Stefan had a visit from the Ice Queen last night,” Damon said.

“Oh my god, Stefan! Are you alright?”

“I'm fine. She knows that we have the moonstone. She wants it back.” The look on his face almost made her think there was more to it than that, but she didn't get the chance to ask him about it.

“You're not actually going to give it to her, are you?” Bonnie asked, incredulous.

“And there goes Little Miss Judgy jumping to conclusions again,” Damon said snidely. “Give Stefan some credit. He's not quite as dumb as he looks.”

Out of the corner of her eye, Elena saw Jeremy roll his eyes. “So what are we going to do about Katherine?” Jeremy asked. “Because Bonnie's right, we can't just give her the moonstone.”

“No, we can't. Which is why we're going to kill her,” Damon said, matter of factly.

Elena blinked, momentarily stunned. Of course, when Katherine breezed back into Mystic Falls, she'd known it could come to this. But to hear it expressed out loud was something else entirely. There was no doubt in her mind that Katherine had done some despicable things that merited death; evidence of that was in front of her. Damon and Stefan were only two of the people whose lives Katherine had ruined. Not to mention that Katherine wanted her dead for reasons unknown. Elena hated her more than she'd ever hated anything in her life. It was kill or be killed, a matter of survival. But she didn't want the people she cared about most to put themselves in harm's way either. Which was illogical, she knew. Who else was there?

“What's your plan?” Bonnie asked.

Together, Alaric and Damon outlined the plan. Elena was only half listening. She kept glancing at Stefan. He looked torn, conflicted. His eyes had a far away look about them, like he was somewhere else. She walked over to him and put a hand on his arm.

“Stefan?” she asked quietly. Just past Stefan, Elena saw Damon staring at them, but she managed to ignore it. “Stefan?”

He seemed to snap back to the present. “Elena. Sorry, I miss have zoned.”

“I'll say. What's going on with you, Stefan?” She paused, not knowing if she wanted the answer to her next question. “Something happened with Katherine, didn't it?”

“I told Damon not to involve you in this,” Stefan said.

And even though she knew he was deliberately changing the subject, anger replaced worry. “Why would you do that? I have a right to know what's going on! She wants me, Stefan. What do you expect me to do? Sit around and knit while you put yourselves in danger?”

Stefan frowned. “I only meant that...Elena, what if something happened to you? I can't handle that.”

“And how do you think I would feel if something happened to any of you? It's a two way street, Stefan. I'm not some Disney princess you can keep locked away in a tower. I'm a part of this whether you like it or not.”

Elena distinctly heard Damon laugh, which he then tried to cover with a cough. Elena ignored him. Stefan sighed, defeated. “Elena, I know we're not...together anymore, but I still want you safe. Taking on Katherine will be dangerous. Just promise me you'll be careful.”

“Of course, I will, Stefan,” she answered. He was hiding something, she could tell. There was something off about him. He was distracted, distant.

“Are you guys done being all Movie of the Week over there?” Damon called. “We've got a psychotic bitch to take out.”

Elena rolled her eyes, exasperated. Her suspicions about Stefan would have to wait.

 

As far as ridiculously lame plans went, Damon didn't think theirs was too bad. He would never be so foolish as to call it foolproof – he was way to cynical for that – but it stood a fair shot of actually working. That was, of course, if nothing went wrong. Famous last words. Damon hated putting his faith in other people to do what they were supposed to do; it went against his nature. He'd been relying on himself for so long, the idea of trusting someone else still made his skin crawl. He knew that he didn't have a choice, however. He couldn't take Katherine out by himself. So here he was milling around the Lockwood estate waiting for Alaric to give him the signal.

Damon could see Elena across the huge veranda. She was talking to Jenna and she did not look happy about it. Damon smirked. Elena had practically thrown a tantrum when she found out that she would be on Jenna watching duty during the party. But since she didn't have a magic ring or witchy powers, it was the safest thing for her. She'd gotten out voted and accepted it with poor grace. Now she kept looking daggers at him every so often, like it was his fault. That was okay with Damon; he'd rather she be pissed at him than dead.

Unfortunately, he hadn't counted on her stubborn streak. The next time he glanced at Jenna she was alone. Damn it. As if they didn't have enough problems. But it turned out Elena hadn't gone far. He felt someone tap him on the shoulder; he knew without turning it was Elena.

“Jenna not stimulating enough company for you?” he asked, turning to face her. She was stunning in a dress of dark forest green that came down to her knees, her long hair knotted behind her head and her deep brown eyes glaring at him through her mask. It wasn't often that a woman managed to make him speechless, but Elena managed it routinely without even trying.

“Can't you ever say something that doesn't involve a double entandre?” Elena shot back.

He smirked. “You're the one reading seeing meaning that may or may not be there, Elena.”

“Fine. If you say so. Can you be serious for a second? I'm worried about Stefan.”

Damon sighed. Of course. Always Stefan. “Stefan's a big boy, Elena. He can handle this.”

“I'm not talking about the plan.”

Well, that was interesting. Damon's eyes narrowed. “Dance with me.”

“Damon, I'm trying to have a serious conversation here,” Elena said, annoyed.

“Yeah, and if I have you hear you go on about Saint Stefan's problems all night, I want a dance. You still owe me one.”

Elena opened her mouth to protest, but promptly closed it again. “Fine. One dance.”

Knowing better than to give her a chance to change her mind, Damon gestured toward the dance floor. “Ladies first.”

Elena moved past him and headed toward the center of the throng of dancing couples. Damon followed her closely. When they reached the middle, he grabbed her hand and took her into his arms. He tried not to focus on how well they fit together or how her eyes softened ever so slightly. If he did that, he might not have the strength to let her go. Instead, he concentrated on guiding her through the crowd. He was vaguely aware of the odd looks they were getting, but they were insignificant. Everything seemed to fade – the music, the people – everything except the feel of Elena in his arms. It felt the same and yet it was so very, very different. The last time they'd danced together, he was merely filling in for his brother. It was the moment he'd realized that he was in love with her.

Elena, however, was more self conscious. “Damon...” she whispered.

“Just five minutes, Elena. That's all I ask,” he pleaded softly.

Elena looked up at him and nodded, the ghost of a smile on her face. The joy and relief he felt was palpable. That it could be his only chance to do something like this with her was not lost on him. He burned every step, every turn, every glance into his memory. It would have to last an eternity.

When the song ended, Damon silently led Elena from the dance floor. Selfishly, he wanted the moment to last as long as possible. Soon she'd start babbling about his brother. Damon steeled himself; he could practically feel his walls come back up.

“Thank you, Damon,” Elena said, startling him.

“For what?”

“I don't know. For putting up with me. For just being there when the world gets crazy.”

“That's what friends do, don't they?”

“Yeah.” It was probably the closest he'd get to her admitting that he had regained that friendship that he thought had been lost forever. But he'd wasn't going to call her on it. He'd just take what he was given and be grateful. And try not to fuck it up again.

“So. What's wrong with Mr. Gloom and Doom?” he said, trying to lighten the mood.

Elena frowned. “I can't put my finger on it exactly. It's like he'd hiding something. He's...distant,” she finished lamely.

“I don't know, Elena, could be because you broke up with him.”

“You think I haven't considered that? This feels like more then post-breakup awkwardness. There is something seriously wrong with him.”

Damon felt his phone buzz. He yanked it out and checked the message. Everything's ready.

“It's show time.”

“What? Now?

“Yes, now be a good little doppelganger and stay here.” Damon didn't give her a chance to respond; he was off in a blur.

 

Elena let out a little huff of frustration. She finally got a chance to voice her worries about Stefan and Damon had to go running off to play superhero. While she was stuck babysitting her aunt. Well, she wasn't just going to stand there and let the people she cared about fight without her. She didn't care that she didn't have some magic ring to protect her. She didn't care that she wasn't a witch. It wasn't in her wiring to stand by and let other people fight her battles for her. She was no coward.

As fast as her ridiculously high heels would allow her, Elena navigated her way through the crowd. She wasn't sure which room Bonnie had warded, but she had a feeling it was on the second floor of the mansion. It had to be as far away from the party as possible. When Elena crossed the threshold of the house, however, she found a very determined Caroline barring her path.

“You have got to be kidding me.”

'Damon had a feeling you'd try and do something stupid,” Caroline said apologetically.

“Caroline, please.”

“Damon's a lot scarier than you, Elena.”

“This is insane,” Elena said in exasperation.

“It's for the best, Elena,” Bonnie chimed in. Bonnie and Jeremy emerged from behind Caroline. Bonnie was a little disheveled, but otherwise okay. Jeremy kept glancing back toward the house nervously.

“E tu, Bonnie?”

“They just want to protect you, Elena. I can't help but respect that.”

Elena was trying to calculate her chances of distracting the three of them so she could make a run for it when she felt a sharp pain in her back. A wound materialized out of nowhere; Elena could feel the blood start running down her back. She cried out and doubled over in pain.

“Oh my god,” Jeremy said. He had his arm around her in the next second. It hurt so much. Elena barely noticed as Caroline bolted, her bloodthirst nearly overwhelming her.

Elena panted, trying to regain her breath, but it felt like her lung had been punctured. Tears streamed down her face. Jeremy held her but that only made the pain worse.

“Do something, Bonnie,” he pleaded. He sounded so much the lost boy he'd been; it broke Elena's heart.

Bonnie was frantic. She threw every healing spell she knew, but nothing worked. Elena felt another deep scratch blossom across her cheek. She cried out. She was beginning to lose consciousness; she was loosing too much blood.

“It's like something's...blocking me,” Bonnie cried. “Almost like another spell. I can't break through it.”

“Katherine,” Jeremy said angrily. “This has something to do with Katherine. Stay with her, Bonnie,” the young man ordered. He took off.

 

Damon threw everything he could think of at her. The vervain tipped arrow still stuck out of Katherine's back It hardly phased her. She managed to hold both Salvatores at bay and had hardly a hair out of place. Stefan had had at least two clean shots at Katherine and had failed to take them. Instead, the bitch just kept smiling smugly at them – wounded, but not dead. It was madness. After everything Katherine had put them through, why was Stefan hesitating?

Jeremy came running up to the door; he was covered in blood. “Stop! You have to stop. You're hurting Elena!” he shouted.

Damon turned, stake in his right hand. He'd been about to go in for one last desperate plunge.

What?”

Whatever you do to her,” he pointed at Katherine, “you're doing to Elena too.”

Damon dropped the stake like a hot potato. Then in a rage, he flew at Katherine, pinning her against the wall. She didn't try to throw him off; she just stood there grinning.

“What?” she asked innocently.

“Whatever you're doing to Elena, it's going to stop,” he growled.

“Or what?” Katherine shot back. “You'd be dead before before you could take a breath.”

Damon punched the wall next to her head in frustration. When he pulled it out, it was covered in blood but he didn't care. If anything happened to Elena, he'd never forgive himself. It was his idea to include her in the plan. He should have listened to Stefan.

“Katherine,” Stefan said. “What did you do?”

Katherine edged out from around Damon and faced his brother. “Let's just say I have a...relationship with the Bennetts.”

“But Bonnie would never...” Stefan said, confused.

Katherine rolled her eyes. “Believe me, Stefan, this kind of magic is way above Sabrina's paygrade.”

Damon looked to where Jeremy stood, but he was already gone. Probably to convey the news to Bonnie. If anyone had a chance of finding this new Bennett witch it was Bonnie. Damon had no intention of letting Katherine out of his sight until Elena was safe and then he'd plunge a stake into her heart.

 

Elena was barely conscious when Jeremy returned. She felt like the human version of a punching bag. Bonnie managed to drag her to an out of the way alcove so as not to attract attention to them. Turned out the she needed have bothered; there was too much commotion going on on the other side of the house for anyone to notice them.

Bonnie jumped to her feet. “What is it? What's going on?”

“There's...There's another witch,” Jeremy panted as he skidded to a stop.

“Another witch, but how?” Bonnie paused. “Wait a minute, I felt something earlier. There was this woman...I thought she had an aura about her, but I was distracted.”

“Do you think you can find her again, Bonnie?”

“Pretty sure. Give me five minutes.”

“Be careful, Bonnie.”

“I will.”

Elena, despite the pain she was in, saw the way her brother looked at her friend. She was about to ask him about it, when Alaric showed up.

“Thank god. I've been looking for you everywhere. Damon said there was trouble.”

“Katherine had a witch put some sort of binding spell on her and Elena. Whatever happens to Katherine happens to Elena too,” Jeremy said.

Alaric looked horrified. “Why would she want to do that?”

“So that they couldn't kill her,” Elena said weakly. She looked up. “If killing her means killing me...Katherine knows they could never do that.”

“How did she know we would try?”

“Wouldn't you?” Elena asked. “Katherine's been one step ahead every time.”

“Well, we've got even bigger problems now,” Alaric said dejectedly. “Tyler accidentally activated the curse.”

“He what?” Jeremy practically shouted.

“There was a fight...Matt...”

Elena's blood ran cold. Not Matt. “Is Matt okay?”

“He's fine,” Alaric said. “Caroline stepped between them, but then this other girl – I don't know who she was – stabbed Tyler with a letter opener. He shoved her and she fell and hit her head...She didn't make it.”

“Oh god,” Jeremy said. “Poor Tyler.”

“Caroline thinks Matt and the girl were compelled.” The “by Katherine” went without saying. Was no one in Elena's world safe?

How long the three of them remained there, Elena didn't know. It felt like a long time. Jeremy paced back and forth; Elena had to stop watching him, he was making her dizzy. It was something their father used to do when they were in deep trouble. The longer Grayson Gilbert paced the more trouble they were in. Elena didn't know when Jeremy had picked up the habit, but it was oddly reassuring. Alaric did his best to make her comfortable, but there wasn't a whole lot he could do for her. Still, Elena was grateful for his concern.

Jeremy abruptly stopped pacing when Bonnie appeared around the corner. Directly behind her, there was an older woman Elena didn't know.

“Who's she?” Jeremy asked.

Bonnie stepped in front of the newcomer before she spoke. Clearly, the witch expected trouble. “This is Lucy; she's the witch who cast the spell on Elena and Katherine.”

Jeremy's face darkened. Bonnie held up a hand. “It's okay, Jeremy. I convinced her to lift the spell.”

Lucy's dark, apologetic eyes turned to Elena. “I'm so sorry, Elena. I didn't know what Katherine wanted the spell for. She saved my life once; she said I owed her.”

Elena smiled grimly. “Katherine has a habit of making people 'owe' her. I understand.”

Jeremy clearly wasn't going to be as magnanimous. “Can we sing Kumbayah later? We still have to do something about Katherine.”

“Leave Katherine to me,” Lucy said.

 

What on earth was taking them so long, Damon wondered for the tenth time. How difficult could it be to find one measly witch? This wasn't the first time he regretted keeping the promise he'd made to Emily Bennett all those years ago. If he'd have known then, what he knew now, he'd have let the lot of them burn. Were there no competent witches in the Commonwealth of Virginia?

“When did you turn into the broody Salvatore, Damon?” Katherine asked, tearing him out of his thoughts.

“Not really one for brooding, Katherine. I'm more of the plot revenge and kill type myself.”

Katherine laughed. Damon realized how wrong it sounded. How could he have ever loved her? “Is that what you think is going to happen here? What would Elena think of this thirst for revenge?”

“As long as you wind up on the wrong end of a very pointy stick, I don't think she'll care all that much.”

“Damon,” Stefan said, shaking his head from behind Katherine.

“Elena's not the delicate flower you seem to think she is, Stefan. I recognized that the moment I met her.”

“Something things just don't change, do they?” Katherine said. “You see, Stefan? This is what I tried to warn you about. I've lived long enough to know that history always repeats itself.”

Stefan looked torn. So, so torn. In that moment, Damon knew what he had to do. As soon as Elena was safe, he had to leave Mystic Falls. He could feel his heart shattering his silent chest, but it hurt him too much to see his brother like this. He could never be the kind of man Elena needed; Stefan could. If his leaving meant that they would be happy, then he would go as far away from Mystic Falls as he could get. Damon would carry his love for Elena forever, he knew that. But his misery was a small price to pay for his brother's happiness. There'd been enough bitterness and strife between them. It had to end.

There was a commotion in the hall. All three vampires turned to see Jeremy, Bonnie and what had to be the mysterious Bennett witch headed toward the warded room. The newcomer was carrying the moonstone.

“Ah, Lucy,” Katherine said in delight. “I see you have my moonstone. Well done!”

Lucy smiled tightly. “The wards are down, but before I give this to you, Katherine, I want to make one thing clear. Have I fulfilled my obligation?”

Katherine rolled her eyes. “Yes, yes. You're free and clear, blah, blah, blah. Can I have my moonstone now?”

Lucy handed Katherine the moonstone. The second it touched the vampire's skin, she started to convulse. Katherine's rolled back in her head as she collapsed to the floor, the moonstone still clutched tightly in her fist.

Stefan knelt at her side. “What did you do to her?” he asked.

“She's not dead. It's a kind of mystical coma. She'll come out of it in a few hours. I suggest you have her locked up by then.”

“Or we could just stake her before she can cause anymore trouble,” Damon drawled. He looked pointedly at Lucy. “You did lift the binding spell, didn't you?”

Lucy nodded. “Yes.”

“Good.” Damon reached for the stake. He was surprised when Stefan stopped him.

“Wait.”

“For what?

“We can't kill her, Damon.”

Are you insane?” Damon demanded. “After everything she's done to you, to me, to Elena, you want to spare her miserable life?”

“We can lock her up. We'll put her in the tomb,” Stefan pleaded. “Please, Damon.”

Damon couldn't believe what he was hearing. Why would Stefan want Katherine spared? Unless...there was some small, sick part of him that was still in love with her. Damon recoiled from his brother in disgust. “Let's get one thing straight here, Stefan. There is no we. You do this. And if it comes back to bite you in the ass, I will be the first person to say 'I told you so'.”

Damon didn't see Stefan's resigned nod; he walked away from his brother and didn't look back. The idea that Stefan could still have feelings for Katherine when he had Elena's love was mind boggling. Although Damon guessed he should have seen it coming. He wanted to have his cake and eat it too, the selfish bastard. Damon didn't even want to think of what this would do to Elena. But he couldn't hide it from her even if he wanted to. And he desperately wanted to. She didn't deserve this kind of pain. But Damon couldn't – wouldn't – lie to her. All he could do is be there for her – if she wanted him to. He'd help her pick the shattered pieces of her heart and then get out of her life. No good could come from lingering. For either of them.

 

Relief washed though Elena when she saw Damon come around the corner. The physical pain had already begun to to subside when Lucy lifted the binding spell, but she was sick with worry regardless. Seeing Damon there was a balm to her aching, worried soul.

“Where's Stefan?” she asked.

Damon grimaced. “If all goes to plan, putting the Kat in her cage.”

It was Elena's turn to frown. Why was he doing that? She was about to ask, but thought better of it. Maybe having Katherine locked up was a good idea. Elena certainly had some questions she was convinced only her vampire double could answer. She trusted Stefan. Besides, all she wanted right now was to know that her loved ones were safe and a nice long sleep in her own bed.

“Is everyone okay?”

“Yeah, everyone's just peachy,” Damon replied. He looked down at her; his eyes widened as he got a good look at her injuries. “That bitch,” he muttered.

“I'm fine, Damon.” She struggled to her feet, or tried to. Damon was at her side in an instant. Despite her attempt at bravado, she found herself leaning on him. “Thanks,” she said quietly. Damon smiled tightly, but said nothing.

“I should take Jenna and Jeremy home,” Alaric said suddenly. Elena had completely forgotten he was there.

“Good idea,” Damon said. “I'll take Elena to the boardinghouse.”

“Damon...” Elena said. She didn't think it was a good idea for her to be away from her house right now, Jenna might get suspicious. She and Stefan were broken up after all.

“No, Damon's right, Elena. He can look after you much better there. I'll tell Jenna you went to Bonnie's for the night; she'll understand.”

Elena nearly stamped her feet in frustration. She was fully capable of taking care of herself, damn it! “I don't need to go to the boardinghouse!” she said harshly. “I just want to go home!”

“And how would you explain this?” Damon said knowingly, gesturing to her bloody dress.

Elena groaned. Her dress was wrecked, soaked in blood and torn. Even if Damon could get her into her room without Jenna seeing her, she still had to dispose of the dress. But she shook her head stubbornly. “No, Damon. I need to go home. I need to sleep in my bed.”

“You're the boss,” he said sarcastically. He looked at Alaric. “Give us a fifteen minute headstart.”

Alaric nodded. “You got it.”

A short car ride later, Elena climbed painfully out of Damon's car. The path to the front door was dark and she tripped when the heel of one of her shoes got caught in the pavement. Damon had her in his arms before she hit the ground. Elena rolled her eyes.

“I think I can walk twenty feet, Damon.”

Damon smirked. “Could you stop trying to be Xena, Warrior Princess for five minutes?” he asked. “I know you can. But those mystical wounds can carry quite a punch. There's no shame in accepting a helping hand every once in a while.”

As much as Elena hated to admit it, Damon was right. Her wounds were healing, but they weren't gone. The least she could do is accept his help as graciously as he offered it. She nodded.

Carefully, Damon carried her into the house and up the stairs. When they got to her room, he put her down. “See?” he said. “That wasn't so hard now, was it?”

“Thank you, Damon.”

Damon rolled his eyes, clearly his helpful streak had been exhausted. “Go. Change,” he said pointing at the bathroom. “I'll take the dress and burn it. The others will be back any minute. Wouldn't want them to find me up here. I don't think I could take another one of Jenna's disapproving glances; they make me twitchy.”

Elena had to bite back a laugh. As quickly as she could, she gathered some pajamas and went to bathroom to change. She peeled off he bloody clothing and showered. She instantly felt better. Not completely 100%, but definitely better. After wrapping her hair in a towel, she put on her pajamas and shoved the ruined clothes into a bag. When she opened the bathroom door, Damon was sitting on her bed with his back to her. His shoulders were slumped and his head was down. Elena wanted to ask what was wrong, but Damon was too quick for her. The next second he was up and appeared to be his usual cocky self.

“Perfect timing. I'll take that,” he said, reaching for the bag in her hand.

“Damon...”

He cut her off. “Everyone's home; Alaric said he's spending the night. You'll be safe, Elena.”

And before Elena could even open her mouth, he was gone. Something was wrong; she was sure of it. But she was too exhausted to pursue it. Tomorrow, she promised herself. She'd talk to Damon tomorrow.

 
 
Current Location: Gilbert Gables
Current Mood: bouncybouncy
Current Music: Knights of Cydonia - Muse
 
 
 
damon_s_86damon_s_86 on January 31st, 2011 08:06 am (UTC)
a) as always I loved it.
b) is there a tomorrow for them? will Damon be here to pick up the pieces of her life?
c) what are you up to?
michellemtsu: Damon Salvatoremichellemtsu on January 31st, 2011 12:37 pm (UTC)
a) Thanks!
b) If I told you, it would spoil the story! lol
c) Not up to much. Mostly getting caught up on all the writing and TV watching and reading I had to forgo while in school. I lead a very boring life! ;) I've started chapter 6 of this story and I'm really excited about it!
damon_s_86damon_s_86 on January 31st, 2011 01:36 pm (UTC)
That is great to hear. Can't wait for the next chapter.
~ danika jaidyn ~persephone_20 on January 31st, 2011 09:49 pm (UTC)
All of it scared her witless. There wasn't anything special about her; she was about as ordinary as they come.

This was my favorite line. I love how you sort of pointed this out in narrative, because we generally think it in the audience when one person gets this kind of attention ;)
michellemtsu: Damon/Elena - Near Missmichellemtsu on January 31st, 2011 10:44 pm (UTC)
It's the way of most heroes/heroines, isn't it? They can never recognize their own awesomeness. Hopefully, by the end of this Elena will understand a little bit more why she inspires that kind of devotion. :)
ambling_about: Kirk/Bones laughambling_about on February 3rd, 2011 05:13 pm (UTC)
“Elena's not the delicate flower you seem to think she is, Stefan. I recognized that the moment I met her.” Oh snap!

Action-packed, love it! I also love how Damon was being all snarky and intent on killing Katherine, while Stefan just stood there doing...I'm not sure what. He says he loves Elena, but he's just too confused about Katherine to make sure Elena stays alive, I guess. And locking her up? That's gonna come back to bite them in the butt, me thinks. And Damon is gonna have to be there to pick up the pieces. You are just too good! And can I just say how much I love that Damon is the one taking care of Elena at the end of this, while Stefan is with precious Katherine? Priceless. Poor Elena is all confused about the boys, but hopefully you'll have her sort it out. ;)

So mad I didn't catch this earlier! Stupid new semester. Can't wait for the next chapter!!
michellemtsu: Daon/Elena - USTmichellemtsu on February 3rd, 2011 05:55 pm (UTC)
Don't worry about missing it. It took me so long to post it I was worried that people had lost interest in this story. So thanks for the epically long comment. ;) I'm working on chapter 6 as we speak, I should have it up sometime this weekend.
brightstarmarabrightstarmara on March 1st, 2011 01:33 pm (UTC)
Just letting you know I'm still reading ;) I have some late shifts coming up, so I'll comment more soon!

You know, I'm blaming you for my new interest in Damon and Elena ;) I even joined a comm!
michellemtsu: Damon Salvatore - Wetmichellemtsu on March 1st, 2011 01:48 pm (UTC)
Blame away! LOL Not many can withstand the Damon/Elena awesomeness. ;)
brightstarmarabrightstarmara on March 2nd, 2011 02:47 pm (UTC)
I'm slowly trying to figure out how it could happen. Still think she's a little young for him and too jugdy. But she will probably wake up to it soon. They do have all sorts of tensiongoing on...
michellemtsu: Damon/Alaricmichellemtsu on March 2nd, 2011 02:57 pm (UTC)
I don't think it's going to happen anytime soon. They both have a long way to go. But the show's not over yet. Elena is still a kid in many ways. But she gets Damon in a way that no one else (even Stefan) does. The reverse is true, I think. And Damon's not getting any older; they've got all the time in the world. Provided they can survive Klaus, that is. lol
brightstarmarabrightstarmara on March 4th, 2011 08:45 pm (UTC)
OMG, LJ notification is being mean to me lately!

I think you're right about Elena. In all the ways you list hereis it evil of me that I can't wait to see what they do with Klaus? And that I'm already worried about the big hiatus in the summer? All I can say is that True Blood better be good this season...

You! You have me very confused about Elena and Damon and even Stefan! I'm still more into Damon as a character, but you've got me looking at the bond between Damon and Elena differently. But now I'm all confuzzled!

So... is your muse already awake for more chapters?
brightstarmarabrightstarmara on March 2nd, 2011 06:27 pm (UTC)
What hold does Katherine have on Stefan?! I agree with you (with your story) that Stefan has at least unresolved feelings for katherine. He hasn't dealt with it at all and he's not dealing with it now.

Your description of Elena's thoughts about Damon are awesome. Wether or not people agree with or believe in any kind of romance ever happening between those two, there is obviously something there. Nobody can deny that. I think Damon makes her feel conflicted in so many ways. She has feelings for him, I'm sure. But she is loyal to Stefan.

He's not quite as dumb as he looks. Thsi cracked me up! Next to Damon he does seem like the less smart one. Even though Damon doesn't always use his smarts...

Another thing I love about your story is that you have Damon see the brave side of Elena more than Stefan does. I think she doesn't get enough credit for the fact that she has a spine of steel!

And Damon would leave it he thought it were best for Elena. He does so many things for her...

Stefan will probably be the weak link. Even though everybody wants Damon to be the one.

I think fandom in general is not even willing to think about what it is that goes on between Damon and Elena. Glad not everybody is like that. I'm still trying to figure those two out. Maybe if Elena becomes a bit more aware of the hold she has on Damon and the fact that she does own some of the responsibility...