pairing: damon/elena. mentions of stefan/elena. post season finale. road-trip-verse.
summary: And the fact that he can’t stop looking at her, even if it’s just the tense line of her back, just makes it twenty different shades of pathetic.[damon's pov]
a/n: this is for badboy_fangirlbased on her prompt, for being awesome and encouraging and just so much fun. And in return I hopefully get Boone/Shannon!! [See, major excitement]
disclaimer: I own nothing.
don't you wanna hold each other tight/don't you wanna fall asleep with me tonight
don't you wanna stay here a little while/we can make forever feel this way
It starts like it usually does.
Actually, he’s not sure how it usually starts but it usually seems to end with them on the opposite sides of the road, glaring at each other, threatening to leave. They never do though, and maybe if he was that guy who gave a damn he’d think it means something. But he’s not. She should remember, he’s not that guy.
She’s standing by the side of the car, staring at the miles of field, the small incongruous cabin in the middle of it, trying to get a bearing of where exactly they are. Or maybe just trying not to look at him. And succeeding. And the fact that he can’t stop looking at her, even if it’s just the tense line of her back, the strand of her hair that’s managed to escape its rubber confines, just makes it twenty different shades of pathetic.
“Where are we?” she asks, turning, crossing her hands over her chest, in that half-blank, brittle tone she’s taken to using whenever they talk, as if she can’t bear to use the same pitch, the same language as I forgive you, I like you now, just the way you are.
He looks around, pretends to, whatever, “I don’t know, Elena, you looked so confident there with the steering wheel, I was sure you knew everything there is to know about anything.”
She can’t help the soft sound of tiredness that escapes her, he knows this because if she could, she would, she hates to let him see her weak. “Seriously, we’re going to do this? Now?”
He shrugs, doesn’t trust himself to speak, to not say something stupid. He’s already said enough stupid things lately to cover for the entire eternity he’s going to be alive. (Elena, I-- you should’ve met me in-- you have to know-- I love --)
His arm hurts like a bitch, and there’s one moment where he just wants to take a chainsaw and hack it off. And of course she notices. This is Elena, she can’t stand his guts, but she always notices. And he can never figure out whether he hates her or loves her, more for it.
“Is your hand fine?”
He flexes his fingers and tries not to flinch, “All thanks to you, it’s well rested.”
“God,” she breathes, “you’re such a bastard. I was just trying to help, okay.”
‘Bastard’ is something he does well; he’s had over a century of practice in it.
“Yeah,” he says, sarcasm cutting through the stone of her expression, carving it in something akin to disappointment, like she’d been thinking he was better than this. Well big fucking surprise, he’s not, “you’ve helped.”
“I don’t even,” stops, tries to stop her voice from shaking; “I don’t even know why I try.”
He doesn’t know either.
“Fine,” she says again, ignoring his silence, “if you knew where we were supposed to be, why didn’t you just tell me.”
“Oh, was I allowed to do that?” he can’t seem to stop, but at least it’s better than falling at her feet, telling her he loves her again and again and again, “I was so sure it’d violate some ethical code pertaining to your choice to do whatever insanely stupid thing you’ve taken it in your head to do.”
And now it’s the night and they’re nowhere and he has a sickening feeling this is all he’s ever wanted.
“The only reason,” she’s gritting her teeth, he can live with that, he can’t live with her looking at him like she did that night, he can’t live with her pity, he can’t live with her holding him and being in love with his brother, but he can live with her anger, “the only reason I asked to drive was because you’re obviously not fully recovered and--”
“—your overactive Martyr Syndrome wouldn’t allow the suffering of a fellow human being—oh wait, that’s a bit of an overstatement, because guess what, Elena, I’m not human, and I can handle myself perfectly fine, thank you.”
He can barely stand, and he knows his stumbling’s giving lie to his words, he can see the concern in her eyes, even in the dark, even though she can only just see his face. She reaches her hand out, as if to touch him, then pulls it back again. This is how they let all their moments go, he knows that. A broken series of almosts.
“We’ll stay in the car,” he says, breaking the silence, he can’t stand silences with her, “till tomorrow. Move on.” He’ll be fine till then, he has to be.
“We can’t,” she sounds tired, so tired, “it’s going to rain. We don’t know this place; it won’t be safe to stay in the car. Especially with lightning or something.”
It’s odd he hadn’t noticed she’s right; the air’s filled with warning signals, the sight, smell, sounds.
He knows the car is probably the safest place there is, it’ll act as a Faraday shield in case of lightning, but he’s not familiar with the district and he’s not in the mood for a freak storm destroying their only means of getting back—getting somewhere.
“You have a better plan?” more to be a dick than anything else.
“We’ll have to go there,” she turns back to the cabin, and that’s the last thing he’s been expecting her to say, because she can’t be that clueless. It isn’t a good idea; it’s the worst fucking idea in the entire world actually.
“Sure,” he says, “if you’re going through the ‘top twenty’ list of romantic clichés, fair warning, it’s going to end with simultaneous orgasms and a declaration of everlasting love.”
The color rushes through her veins, spreading through her skin, and it’s only at moments like these he remembers how young she actually is. He doesn’t have time to remember it when she’s breaking through windows, trying to save everyone around her, trying to offer herself up as a sacrifice, trying to fight vampires with makeshift stakes, or any of those ridiculous things she does with monotonous regularity, as a force of habit. And it’s odd, because she’s old enough to make his saintly brother swear, whisper her name like a chant elenaelenaelena, she’s old enough for her soft sounds of pleasure to be the soundtrack of his own release, alone in his room, listening in, hating himself. But she’s still not old enough to not react, to hear it, say it. She’s still not old enough for that. He hopes to god she’ll never be old enough for that. Hopes they won’t take that away from her, like Katherine did from them.
“I--” she stops, starting to shiver, “there has to be love for it to be a ‘romantic cliché’, Damon.”
Touché. She’s not in love, she’s just alone, searching, lost.
He hauls his bag from the car; it’s heavy as hell, when the fuck did that happen? She walks alongside him, stumbling over the stones. He pockets his free hand, resists the urge to take hers, stop her from falling, because he knows he won’t be able to let go again. She’ll stay here with him a little while, but he can count the seconds off in his head when she’ll be much too far again.
The cabin is exactly like any other cabin the middle of nowhere, “not the dream vacation spot you were imagining, huh.”
“Not exactly,” she refuses to take the bait, and sometimes she’s older than him. Or maybe just not in love. There’s nothing grand about the feeling, it sucks and it’s pointless and overrated and it ruins perfectly good one-liners, “good thing we’re not spending forever here.”
He could if she’d stay, he wouldn’t mind forever feeling this way. Or maybe he could just stake himself and put the world out of its misery.
She sits gingerly on a broken down couch, the humid air making her clothes stick to her skin, her hair plastered to her head, one hand reaching up to untangle the mess, mouth turning down in frustration. She’s inviting, seductive, provocative, and still Elena. She used to remind him of Katherine sometimes, now Katherine reminds him of Elena. It’s the same, but it’s not, he doesn’t know what changed. Doesn’t want to know what changed.
“Take a picture,” she says suddenly, eyes still closed, “lasts longer.”
“How do you know I don’t already have some?”
She opens her eyes, looks straight at him, “do you?”
A shrug, well calculated, “no.”
“I have yours,” she says unexpectedly, “on my mirror at home.”
He remembers those photographs, different memories and different people and all those things that still matter even with Klaus and vampires and werewolves and death and war. Somewhere along the way, you decided I was worth saving. I wanted to thank you for that.
He pulls his arm closer to his body, the pain is distracting, and he needs distractions.
And then she’s taking off her shirt, and he’s pretty sure some part of his brain shuts down. Probably that part which lets him take the breaths he no longer needs.
“Mrs. Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me.”
“Shut up,” she says fiercely, pulling down her tank top, like it changes something, tearing her shirt into neat strips.
It’s only two minutes later, when she’s got his arm in an improvised sling, that he realizes why, and god, she needs to stop doing this.
She looks up at him, pleased with herself, her smile bright and open, and something inside him clenches with tenderness. He hates this feeling. He can handle wanting her. He can make crude remarks, let his gaze wander, imagination transform his hands on his cock into her mouth, but he can’t handle being in love with her. He’s not good at it.
He falls down on the couch, too tired to even pretend to not be. She watches him in concern and he’s supposed to be the big bad vampire here, saving her, but mostly she ends up saving him, and it sucks.
“How--” she clears her throat, “how long haven’t you fed in.”
Too long, “you don’t need to worry about that.”
She scrunches her face in irritation, “yes, I do, if I’m going to be sleeping with you—”
He laughs, unnecessarily, immaturely, but there are only some things he can hold on to now, and he’s damn well going to hold on to them.
“I don’t want to wake up drained of blood. That’d really put a damper on this dysfunctional rescue mission.” her voice falters, and in her way, she’s just as obvious as he is.
She moves to his bag, unzipping it, and he watches as she takes out bottles after bottles of alcohol, it’d be amusing if his arm didn’t hurt so much, if watching her didn’t make his head hurt.
She turns to him, after the last one’s out, “seriously?”
He grins, “you’re the one who forced your company on me on this trip, I’d packed just for myself.”
She walks towards him, determinedly, and leans down, till she’s close, too close, and why the fuck is she standing so close? She pulls down the strap of her tank top and shifts her hair to the side, raising her shoulder slightly.
He pushes her away, face hard, eyes lingering on the half-healed scar on her skin; they’ve been here before, “no.”
“Good going, Damon!” the sarcasm doesn’t cover the fear, “this is exactly the time to be driven by morality.”
“You’re falling to pieces,” she says, grimly, “I don’t know why, what Klaus’s blood did to you. But don’t you fucking dare collapse on me, not here, not now, not ever. Stefan did it, when he needed to. And you need this right now.”
“You’re in love with Stefan,” he bites out.
“So, it’s different,” she should know that, “it doesn’t hurt. It’ll hurt you right now--” if I do it, he doesn’t add, doesn’t need to.
“You don’t get to make choices for me, Damon,” she’s glaring now, and he wants her so badly, it makes every part of him ache, “You don’t get to choose to play the hero whenever you feel like it.”
“No,” he says again, as long as it takes for it to get through. He won’t.
“Fine,” she breathes, her face kaleidoscopically reflecting emotions, too fast to judge, “fine”, and breaks his bottle. Picking up a shard, cutting into her skin, and of course she would fucking do this.
“You idiot,” he’s so angry, he can barely speak, barely form words, concentrate on anything other than her blood, “you idiot.”
He tries to get up, walk up to her, and finds he can’t, he should’ve died. He deserved to, it would've been better than this. She walks up to him instead, kneels down, fulfils about a million of his fantasies, bringing her wrist to his mouth. And he’s weak, so weak, and he hates being this way, hates her seeing him like this.
“Please,” she says, her face breaking into tiny shards of pain, “don’t do this right now. Please, Damon.”
He tries to resist, for about a fraction of a second, gives up, gives in, reaches down, taking her hands in both his. Swallows her blood, Elena’s blood, his tongue flicking against her wrist, trying to stop the bleeding, trying to draw more blood, he doesn’t even know. She holds in the soft sounds of pain and bends her head, resting her forehead against his, breathing hard, breathing so fucking hard. He’s painfully aroused, wonders if she can tell, wonder if his senses weren’t dull, he’d be able to smell her arousal, stops wondering when her lips touch his forehead. Unconsciously slides his hand between her legs, her soft cry of his name, he’ll keep that in memory, just the way his name sounds when she says it like that.
Her hand becomes limp in his and he realizes he’s taken too much blood, and it’s so hard to stop, to pull away, to pretend he isn’t going to become addicted to this.
But he does, it’s Elena, and he does. His arm doesn't hurt as much, he realizes. He can’t look up at her.
“It’s okay,” she whispers, like she knows he needs it, like she somehow always knows, “it’s okay.” And she’s wrapping her hands around him, like she did once, like she always does, no matter what he does to her, no matter how many times he does it. She always stays.
He tries to pull back, apologize, make a crude remark, do what he always does to screw up, whatever.
"It didn't hurt," it's a confession of something more, or maybe not, maybe it's just for him, for his sanity, but he'll take it, keep it, hold on to it, "it felt...okay."
Someday he'd like to show her that, how good it can feel, be in her deeper than anyone has been before, his blood in her veins, someday.
“Stop.” She says, avoiding his eyes.
“Stop looking,” takes a deep breath, “at me like – that.”
“Like what,” he asks, prolonging the moment.
She looks into his eyes, “like that.”
He can’t, he should tell her, shifts his hand, loses the moment, “we’ll have to sleep in the car.”
She looks back at the rusty nails sticking out, unconsciously holds her hand with the other, thumb across the cut, “this was a stupid idea.”
“Those are your forte,” he tries, she laughs, makes his night.
In the car she holds onto him, falls asleep on his shoulder, the rain making trails across the window, drowning the whole world. He stays awake, though.