title: nobody stays in this place anymore
rating: hard r
summary: These days, she looks in the mirror and sees Katherine. [post season finale. elena's pov]
warning: this makes use of a minor 'season 3' spoiler. Also, if your question is 'WTF IS THIS?!' your guess would be as good as mine.
a/n: ever_neutral This is your fault. You and your 'Elena is my woman' discussion. And now you have to live with knowing that all your life.
disclaimer: disclaimed. graphic source.
“Damon”, she hisses, clenches her teeth, clutches the towel tighter around her like it changes anything, “you have to stop doing that.”
She looks at him and hates him a little, sprawled across her bed like he belongs there or something. And he needs to stop doing this because someday (god, no) she’s going to forget he doesn’t.
He looks up, his glance disinterestedly sliding across her body, as it moves to her face. And it annoys her at some stupid level that her brain is obviously functioning on. She’s not wildly unattractive. And she’s wearing a towel. It’s something out of a straight-to-DVD movie, except he’s taken to wearing this bored expression like he’s trying to change the script, turn it into an Oscar winner. Whatever, it’s not like they haven’t had enough practice at pretending.
“And hello to you too, Little Miss Sunshine,” he drops her teddy back on the bed. She clenches her hand before she can hold it out for him; the bear, Damon, she doesn’t know. Doesn’t particularly want to know, “how does this fine day find you?”
“Is there a point or purpose to this or should I start guessing?” she’s snapping, but at least she’s not begging him to run away with her, stay with her, sleep with her, all those things she thinks about with monotonous regularity that she will absolutely refuse to admit to under gunpoint (knowing her life, under a pointed fang, more likely). The thing is; if she doesn’t say it, it’s almost like she doesn’t think it.
(These days, she looks in the mirror and sees Katherine.)
“You’re getting crabby in your old age,” Damon notes and fuck—he doesn’t—he can’t possibly know it’s—
“Happy birthday, Elena” he says, eyes inscrutable. It’s strange, because she used to be able to read him, all the pressure points, the danger signals, those other looks as if he was in l…ike, as if he…but now he’s looking and she doesn’t know any longer.
“Thank you,” she says, ungratefully. Mom would’ve been ashamed of her. But it isn’t like she’s here. Or dad. Or Jenna. Or any of them. If she didn’t kill them through drunken parties, she killed them by existing. Through her completely unoriginal face. But birthdays are so stupid, she’ll just get older and older and die anyway; all the ‘let’s save Elena!’, ‘let’s protect Elena!’ schemes gathering dust with the bones of all the people who died for her, because of her.
And it doesn’t even make her sad, not really, not at this moment. She’s more devastated that she’s eighteen and older than S…omeone she used to know. But that was a long time ago. It feels like a long time ago. The boy in front of her reminds her of someone else sometimes. He has such a beautiful face; it’s gut-clenchingly unfair.
He’s still looking at her, and sometimes she just wants him to
never stop, “was there something you wanted here, Damon?”
He gives her an unmistakable look, his eyes flashing over her again, almost too quickly to notice. She does notice, though. Because apparently she’s that girl who notices when guys look at her that way. Who wants guys with faces like his to look at her that way. Maybe she always was that girl and it just got lost somewhere in the middle with fake curses, and mirror images, and people who loved her too much for no reason at all.
“Any plans for the day?” he asks, casually, like he’s offering her a crash course in reality. His bed, his lips, her arms didn’t change things all that much apparently.
“Nothing,” she says shortly. She should go. Back. Go back into the bathroom, change and pretend that they didn’t leave normal somewhere thirty miles back, clinging to his sheets. But her arms and legs feel too heavy to move right now; maybe she’ll try again after five minutes.
He shrugs, “vampire Barbie’s throwing you a ‘surprise’ party, thought you should know.”
Caroline, she almost groans, and then feels a fierce love for the blonde. She would do that. In middle of everything, Caroline would throw a party. That’s who she is. That’s who Elena wishes she could be.
“I’ll remember to be surprised,” she says. Katherine would never say something mundane like that. Katherine would be inviting and stunning and how is it that the woman who wears her face is more beautiful than she is?
“Good. Blondie might stake me otherwise.” he says, shoves his hands in the leather of his jacket. They’ve become awkward. They’ve been a lot of things, bitter, angry, tense, attracted, quiet. They’ve never been awkward.
He glances up again, gives her that half-smile that she remembers, that still makes something inside her constrict, she hopes to god he never comes to know, “fancy an early morning birthday gift? Go ahead, drop the towel.”
He’s exaggerating it, making his voice go low, raising his eyebrow in pretend lasciviousness , like he hasn’t thought about it ever, hasn’t wanted it ever. And she’s sorry. So sorry she did this to him.
She drops the towel.
She’s never seen him like this, but she knows who he is right now. He’s the guy she should have met in 1864. The one she would’ve liked. She doesn’t like him so much; his expression’s too soft, too worshipping, too in love. It scares her a little. She hasn’t ever deserved his devotion, but she’s always been too much of a coward to tell him that.
“Nothing you haven’t seen before”, she says instead, substitutes five easy words for three much harder ones. Katherine probably looks better than her naked as well.
“What the hell, Elena—” he’s angry now. The guy she knows. It makes it easier.
“I’m a woman now, Damon” and she hates, hates, hates her voice for shaking, for betraying her, in the moment when she needs to feel—confident, sexy, something, anything, “make me feel like one.”
She cringes at the sound of her own voice. If her life had a personal editor, the cheesy, stupid line would’ve never made it to the final cut. She probably stole it from some movie. But then again, if she had a personal editor, this scene would’ve never been written at all. She’s not sure the audience would respond well to this; girl tries to seduce absent boyfriend’s older brother. It actually sounds more like the synopsis of a pornographic film; it makes her feel a little sick, the thought.
God, that’s what she’s doing here, seducing Damon. She’s an awful person.
“What are you doing?” he asks quietly.
“I don’t know,” she says. ‘Seducing you’ doesn’t sound right. ‘Asking you to make love to me’ sounds like she ripped the pages off one of those novels Caroline keeps at the back of her desk. The kind she used to read under newspaper covers when she still believed in heroes and glory and things worth fighting for.
And he’s just standing there. What the hell?
She shivers because it’s cold. Obviously because it’s cold. Not his eyes. Never his eyes.
He’s in front of her before she can even resister the shift in air. She shifts her head a little, his mouth landing on the side of her neck. She wonders if he can smell the rush of blood inside her veins. Hello, vampire. Obviously. It makes her wet. Which probably makes her a bad person. It's so hard to always keep track of all the reasons why not.
And she’s glad, so glad he doesn’t say it; are you sure you—I won’t be able to stop if—do you really want—this is so—we can’t—That isn’t who he is. Who she needs him to be right now.
“It’s legal to fuck me today,” she says; crude, completely in his face, they’ll make war before they ever make love.
He pulls back to look at her again. She looks back. Tries to. Fails. They give medals of appreciation for that sort of a thing.
His hand slips down without preamble; find her clit with practiced ease. If she could think, she’d maybe not be so surprised; he’s probably pleasured this body uncountable number of times.
She’s a little ashamed of her body’s responsiveness, like maybe it should have some reluctance of its own, not listen to the mind she has so obviously lost. But then he’s slipped two finger inside and it feels, it feels—
“You’re so,” he says, stops, sliding a third, breathing hard, and there’s this moment when she’s not the only one. That would suck.
She makes a sound she has no redemptive name for, but it makes him do that again, and it’s pretty much all her world’s reduced down to; his fingers and his eyes and his unnecessary breaths.
She comes hard, holding his shoulder much too tightly, clenching her thighs against his hand in a way she’d be mortified by if she could still think. If she could still think she’d have closed her eyes and imagined S...omeone else, pretended something else. But she’s stupid and she didn’t and now it’s just Damon. And every time she thinks about this, it is always going to be just Damon.
She shoves him away, gets down on her knees, her legs shaking, “your turn.”
Because really, all she’s learnt the past year, from that birthday to this one is how to hurt people. It’s a good skill. Katherine would probably like her better for it. And approval from the family elders, that's important, right? In the grand scheme of things family is important. And Katherine? She’s fucking family.
He looks down at her, eyes hard, “I wasn’t doing you a favor, Elena. But if you’re so eager, I’m sure we’ll have plenty of time after your birthday. You can give me my turn as many times as you want.”
He learnt how to hurt from Katherine too. They’re tragic, really. Or maybe closer to comic. Stupid, self-important people who can’t save anyone.
She stays on her knees, it’s too hard to get up again, too much effort. Maybe if she could just stay this way for a little while, forever, she could—
And then he’s down in front of her, “breathe” he says and for crazy moment her resolve is to never breathe again because that’s what he’s told her to do.
And then she’s already taken in the air. Apparently, after everything, after everyone, she's still alive.
“Happy birthday,” he says suddenly, his fingers still wet with her, it’s ridiculous and bizarre and absurd.
“Thank you,” she says. feels. means it.