title: ipso facto, using up your oxygen
pairing: damon/elena. mentions of stefan/elena. post season finale.
summary: She looks at him with wide eyes and he knows she’d expected him to ignore it. Shove it in some corner of his mind, push it down to the back of his throat, add it to all the things they never talk about, let it fill the air a little more. [damon's pov]
disclaimer: I own nothing, including Beckett's Waiting For Godot. And Badly Drawn Boy's Something to Talk About, where the title is from.
He leans against the door, hands crossed in front of him, “don’t even think about it”.
She looks back, startled, one leg still over the window. Her expression flits from shock, to annoyance to resentment, till it very definitely comes to rest on ‘who the fuck do you think you are.'
She slowly slides her leg back, turning to face him, hands over chest, mirroring his pose, “are you stalking me?”
He shrugs, because duh, “I prefer the term ‘looking out for’.”
“I prefer the term ‘I don’t want you here’.” she says crossly, it’s mildly amusing how easily he can evoke that particular expression. In fact, it probably belongs to him, that look, he hasn’t seen her use it for anybody else. He wonders if she knows that.
He mockingly puts his hand to his heart, pretends he can still feel the steady beat, pretends the sound of hers is his own, “ouch, Elena. Is that any way to treat a guy who declared his undying love for you? And for someone who isn’t going to die, that’s serious business.”
She looks at him with wide eyes and he knows she’d expected him to ignore it. Shove it in some corner of his mind, push it down to the back of his throat, add it to all the things they never talk about, let it fill the air a little more. It’s so very heavy already, their air.
She stops for a second, looking hard at him like he’s some sort of ridiculous crossword thing that really doesn’t need to be solved, but she just feels good if she solves it. Not just that girl who looks stunning in red and has had guys lining up for her all her life, but also the girl who sits in her spare time, trying to solve crossword puzzles and reads books by foreign authors whose name she can only approximately pronounce because it makes her feel smarter.
For a moment he thinks she’s going to ignore his remark, change the topic, leave lines uncrossed. They’ve already crossed too many anyway.
“Your argument is invalid,” she says primly, “because technically you were dying at the time. So your undying love wasn’t worth much…monetarily— capitalistically—existentially speaking.” She breaks off, flustered, trying to find the right words.
He clenches his hands, before he can do something stupid, like ruffle her hair, kiss her again, because she’s doing it for him. The pseudo-logical language covering up for you should have met me in 1864.
“Yeah well,” he says, “obviously my taste is suspect.”
She looks at him indignantly, and he almost smiles because she doesn’t love him but she wants to be loved (adding a ‘by him’ just makes it something it’s not, and he’s been making a lot of things what they aren’t, he needs to stop).
“Whatever,” she says, flopping down on her bed, all seventeen year old injured pride.
He picks up her fallen bag off the floor, “seriously, that was your grand plan of action, chips and a stake. A stake and chips?”
She flushes, the blood making its way inside her veins, he can feel the tip of his fangs biting into his tongue.
“So maybe I didn’t think it through exactly,” she says defensively,
“Or at all,” he adds.
She glares at him, “but I would’ve figured it out. I was going to ask Bonnie and—”
“No you weren’t,” he says casually.
“Yes, I was. You don’t know everything there is to know about me Damon Salvatore.”
“But I do know this,” he says, “because Bonnie wouldn’t have let you go. She’d have knocked you over with that Harry Potter mumbo-jumbo stuff and imprisoned you in the house.”
She slumps on her bed, defeated, “it’s Stefan.” She looks up at him, begging him, willing him to understand, “it’s Stefan, Damon.”
It’s you, he doesn’t say, it’s you, Elena.
“I’m pretty sure we can find Stefan without you being rewarded a posthumous Nobel Peace Prize,” is what he does say, “and fair warning, you’ll lose out on that because they don’t award the Peace Prize posthumously. Think Gandhi.”
She traces patterns on the sheet, her heartbreak spilling out through the tips of her fingers on the linen, “would you have chosen him over me.”
I will always choose you.
“What?” it’s not a question.
“Like he,” she stops, swallowing, the sound adding to the cacophony inside his head, “like Katherine, what she said…and everything…would you, you know, like he did.”
He thinks about her then, everything, nothing, whatever. Laughing with her in the kitchen, fighting with her in the kitchen, getting drunk with her, on her, sitting on the ground with her, hearing the sound of her heartbeat speed up, making up for the emptiness of his, kissing her, loving her, I like you now, just the way you are.
“Yes,” he says, honestly, because he would.
She turns then, looks at him straight in the eye, like she hasn’t since yesterday, since his bedroom and her hands on him, her lips on his, her smell lingering on his sheets.
And then she smiles, suddenly, radiantly.
He turns to leave; he’ll stand outside, obviously, because he’s pathetic like that.
“Stay,” she says quietly.
He looks back, she’s unconsciously running the tips of her fingers over the scar on her neck, the scar that he left (he’s good at those, scars), “I mean,” she amends hastily, “you can stay or whatever. Because you’re just going to stand outside anyway, and you don’t need to sleep, so you can stand near the door and be all stalkerish, as per the usual.”
“Knew you couldn’t live without me,” he declares, because she’s only going to be able to get over yesterday if it’s not important enough, if he can mock it himself. And he’s been around a long time, he practically wrote the first book on pretences.
She rolls her eyes and sticks her tongue out at him, “your manwhority is shining with startling clarity, don’t you dare pull any sort of a move. I’m armed right now.”
“Pull a move,” he schools his expression into outrage, “Do I look like the kind of guy who’ll pull a move? I’ll just stand here by this door and fulfill that weird Edward Cullen fantasy that you so obviously have, maybe think of investing in a bit of glitter. Anything for you.” Anything for you.
She laughs, the sound muffled by her pillow, as her eyes close, "you should have met me before mom and dad died," she mumbles, half-asleep, "you would've liked me."
I love you now, just the way you are, he doesn't say because that's cheesy as hell and he's Damon fucking Salvatore and he's not dying.
He knows what she thinks about his unwanted, unwilling confession. That he’ll soon fall out (if he’d ever been in love with her at all, she’d reason), and that there’s a lot of him that wants her because he doesn’t have her and Stefan does. And that someday that’ll pass and he’ll find someone else, like he found her after Katherine. He has forever after all.
She knows he loves her, he’s told her too many times now, whether she remembers them or not, but he hopes to god she never realizes how. Much. How much. That he loves her with that aching, gut-clenching desperation that makes his mouth dry, that makes him take involuntary, unneeded breaths because she’s breathing the same air, that makes him want to take her against the door and never touch her because he doesn’t deserve to. That he wants to feed her his blood and break her neck because he can’t stand the thought of not having her there, glaring at him, hating him, whatever, but he won’t because he can’t stand the thought of her dying, even for those few seconds.
He'll stay, because she said it this time and he doesn't have to make up an excuse for why. He's running low on those.
(He'll wait. For as long as she wants, as long as it takes. He’s pretty sure his life is a study in absurdism.)