it's a long way down
vampire diaries | anna; damon/anna
pre-series | pg-13 | 1550 | oneshot
all she can think of is how her hair will be a frizzy mess tomorrow.
They all look when she sits down, orders a beer, anything. The wow, her parents really fucked her over sort of look. It’s not like she can compel an entire bar into believing she’s of age, the bartender alone will have to do. They’re welcome to think whatever they want as long as they don’t say it to her. Because then they’ll probably just have their necks snapped off and bodies drained of blood and that’ll be sort of sad.
Sometimes they approach her— single girl, obviously underage, sitting alone in that come-hither dress and probably massive issues, daddy didn’t love her enough, mommy wasn’t around too much, and so now she’s here, asking for it.
She goes with them anyway. Plays at innocence, looks at them with wide eyes, bites her lips just so, then sinks her teeth in, kills, sometimes lets live, whatever. She’s almost a goddess then.
Her mother was the real goddess; she’ll only ever almost be one.
They meet again, fifty miles south of nowhere.
"Kids running around ruin these places.” he says, “are you even old enough to pretend to have an ID?" and she curses herself because she didn't notice him sitting beside her. She's a vampire for fuck's sake, how on earth is she supposed to find her mother if she doesn't even have better reflexes than the sixteen year old she looks like? She needs to be faster than she was, stronger than she is.
She shrugs, she's older than him and he knows it; even if it doesn't show, even if it’ll never show, "Salvatore", she acknowledges.
"Annabelle, what a pleasure, how are you this fine night?"
There's one thing she's realized with absolute certainty in the almost-three-centuries of her life, Damon Salvatore is a jackass.
"Fine," she says and goes back to her drink. She feels his eyes on her, assessing her, taking in the clothes, the hair, so different from the girl she used to be, the girl he used to know. He doesn’t know her anymore.
"Oh, come on, Annabelle, don't you want to reminiscence about the good ol' days? Maybe share your existential crisis, talk about how times have changed?"
"No," she says briefly, "I want you to crawl back to whatever hole you crawled up from. I want to shove something hard and wooden through you. But what was that Rolling Stones song again?"
"Maybe you'll get what you need, instead, then." he's looking at her through half-lidded eyes.
She stays silent.
He shakes his head in mock sadness, "all that pent up emotion. Did you talk to your psychiatrist about me? Tell him that your undead mother’s stuck in some tomb because of my father? Cry about how you were in love with me and I betrayed you?"
She jerks her head up; because there’s no way in hell he knows that she—
He doesn’t, she can tell by his eyes. But then he’s looking at her closely, too closely with those goddamned eyes of his. And then he does.
“Well that’s an interesting turn of events,” he says, almost to himself.
She picks up her bag and gets up, leaving her dignity at the bar table. It wasn’t worth much anyway, just a few hundred years of being in love with the guy she hates.
He follows her, of course, because he’s a sadistic bastard.
“Really, Annabelle, is this any way to treat someone you’ve been pining for a century for? Wasn’t your mother around long enough to teach you better?”
And because there’s no one around, she has him by the neck against a tree. She barely reaches his throat and he’s smiling like he’s amused and she’d punch his face in if she could free a hand.
There’s nothing else now, it’s all the same, hate, lust, love, guilt, grief— hunger.
“Don’t you fucking dare mention my mother,” she says through gritted teeth, “I’m not Annabelle. Annabelle died a long time ago.” She doesn’t scar anymore.
He raises his hand in a gesture of defeat, she still wants to punch his face in, “calm down, kitten, retract your claws. We’ll start over. I’m Damon Salvatore and you are…?”
“Anna,” she says, doesn’t want to say, doesn’t know why she says, and leaves him.
He’s still behind her, through the rain and the night which is drawing out much too long. She can’t hear him, but that doesn’t matter, she can still feel him, her senses working overtime.
She stops, and seriously, through everything that’s happened, all she can think of is how her hair will be a frizzy mess by the next day. And hates him because he can do this to her. After two hundred and seventy seven years, he can still make her feel sixteen.
Sixteen and awkward and madly crushing on the eldest son of the house her mother’s friend lived in. Sixteen and stupid and writing long fantasies under the light of the gas lamps. Sixteen and far too old. Sixteen and much too young.
(And loves him because he can do this to her. After two hundred and seventy seven years he can still make her feel sixteen.)
She sits on a slab and watches water flow down the gutter, thinks it’s the metaphor for something; just doesn’t know what.
“What do you want, Damon,” she’s too tired to run now; she’s been tired since a century.
He slides down beside her, his expensive leather jacket will probably get ruined by the rain and it’ll serve him right.
“Nothing.” he says, and stares ahead like he knows what the gutter is a metaphor for. She remembers he always seemed to know everything.
They sit in silence; she fills it up with his mouth, his eyes, his skin. It’s weird because he’s right there but he’s still more real in her mind. And she realizes she’s missing him, desperately, more than she ever has. Now, when he’s close enough to touch. It’s odd.
“Where’s Stefan?” she asks conversationally, like they’d never stopped being who they used to be, puts her hand out to catch the raindrops, wishes she could still feel the cold. Wishes she could still feel.
He shrugs, “Don’t know, don’t care. Haven’t seen him in a long time. Probably brooding somewhere or working on his hero-hairdo or running around with that bitch of a girlfriend of his. Lexi whatsername.”
She turns to hide a smile because she knows a lot of things about Damon Salvatore and she’s sure he knows where Stefan is, even if Stefan himself doesn’t know it.
It’s odd, this moment, because she’s imagined this so many times, playing in her head in an endless loop and now they’re both sitting together and she doesn’t know what to say. And then she thinks maybe he wants to talk. That all he wants to do is talk. Nobody listens. She's lived long enough to find that out.
She wasn’t in love with him. That would be ridiculous. But he’d always been there, and he was beautiful and she was just that shallow. He’s still that beautiful. She’s older though, wiser, deeper. Or good at feigning, anyway.
“We’ll get them back, you know,” he says abruptly, like he knows he’s being a sap and hates it because it doesn’t fit in with who he pretends to be most of the time, “Pearl. Katherine. All of them. Forever’s a long time, kid.”
She tightens her hold on her jacket, mimicking the clenching of her heart. He doesn’t know. Doesn’t know Katherine’s not in the tomb. That she never was in the tomb. That she hadn’t loved him enough to know he was lost. That she hadn’t loved him enough to come find him.
And she’s sorry. So sorry because she knows he’ll have to know some day. So sorry because they’re both stupid, dead and sitting out in a thunderstorm in love with people who’ve never wanted them. So sorry she could almost kiss him. Almost.
“Yeah,” she says, letting the quiet grow because they’re both never been good with words, but they’re good with silences, “we will.” She doesn’t add the maybe, possibly, never, oh god please. Doesn’t want to spoil this.
He gets up from the slab, and he’ll go away, of course, and maybe she’ll never see him again. Or maybe she will. Forever’s a long time, kid. Next time, she’ll be over him.
He hauls her up roughly, bending down with mock graciousness to kiss her hand. Her chest floods with tenderness, she doesn’t have that innocence anymore, she lost it in the dust and heat and blood and long drawn days and endless nights, but he won’t touch her because she’s still a child to him, she’s still sacred.
And then he’s looking down at her, smirking in a way that’s completely a new-Damon thing, and it's a little sad because she’ll never get to know whether this Damon is as worth her love as was a beautiful boy with his face she used to know a long, long time ago.
“Annabelle,” he says, tipping off an imaginary hat as he turns to leave and she watches him walk away, doesn't correct him. She’s Annabelle right now.