I've been rather awol lately, sorry! I'm going away for a couple days, but I'll catch up with everyone as soon as I'm back. (I'm supposed to leave in three hours and I spent the last two hours doing this, instead of, y'know, sleeping. What is my life even?) I was required to fill a prompt before the show returns (YES) because I gave one, so.
Oh, and HAPPY NEW YEAR you guys, I do love you madly. :D
title: but the world may end tonight
warnings: post 3x09
a/n: written for the de holiday xchange over at tvdmixing
for xxsummerfairyxx's prompt about what goes inside Damon's head when he looks at Elena. [I suck at smut, which is what the exchange was about, so possibly no one wanted this, but, alas, I wrote it anyway].
The whole, we’ll-get-through-this, being-the-strong-one thing lasts for an entire night. Almost.
She stumbles through the door, and then it starts over, that familiar hammering inside his skull to the tune of her heartbeat. And there are these moments when he wonders just when exactly he became this guy.
(And there are other moments, lasting five fractions of eternity, when he’s too in love, too in worship, to wonder about anything except the curve of her neck, the slope of her shoulders, the arch of her back).
“Seriously? I didn’t think you were going to exhaust all the John Hughes version of Teenage Angst possibilities in the first five minutes of the grand 'we'll survive this' speech.”
So fine, he’s pathetic in the way that most people aren’t. But then again, she’s beautiful in the way that most people aren’t. He’s pretty sure those things cancel each other out through some law of informal logic that wasn’t taught while he was still at school. And again, he’s pretty sure that that puts the blame squarely on the system. (Standard stuff, he always goes for the standard stuff).
“Your mouth is moving,” she slurs, stumbling into his arms (that’s cliché #548) “your mouth is moving, but no sense. You don’t make sense. Too big. The words. Show off on your own time.” She smells flammable, part Petrova blood, part salt water, but mostly just alcohol. And he thinks if he was one of those guys, he’d secretly write poetry about fire and vulnerability, and use metaphors no one else will, about how she’s the intoxicant in his bloodstream, how he’s drunk on her, with even the possibility of her. Whatever the hell happened to that guy anyway?
“So why did you decide to drink your body weight in alcohol again?”
Is sorry he asked just as soon as it’s out of his mouth. It’s the same reason the memory of broken glass hides in invisible scars on his skin. There are never any real scars left anymore; his skin heals too fast for that. God, he needs to stop breaking his best glasses.
"I'm not fat," she says, indignantly, coherent, "you're implying I'm double my usual size." she's just as lost as he is. Too drunk, not drunk enough.
She breaks away from his grasp, flounces towards his couch. Leaves him hard, wanting. Like a fucking kid jacking off to magazines he’ll never read a single word of. His skin has flesh memories of her, the touch of her hand tangled somewhere in his neurons and synapses. Graphic. Fake. His head is always in permanent zoom mode when it’s his hand at night and the memory of hers. He doesn't see all of her, just her lips, just her eyes, her fingers. Because he hasn't seen all of her. And it's unreal, some pefect body from a late-night movie wearing her smile.
(He still tries though, sometimes. Imagines her breasts, her legs wrapped around him, her hair over his chest. Comes to the image of her eyes either way. There’s a moral in there somewhere. )
“You’re in love with me, right?”
“In love,” she points at him, like he didn't get the question the first time because he’s dim-witted, “with me. You.”
“Elena.” Damon, please don’t go there.
“Just checking,” she shrugs her bare shoulders, clenches her dress in her hands.
“Why,” he asks because he’s a fucking idiot. I care about you. Listen to me, I care about you.
‘Because,” she stops. He’s always been in love with those eyes, that face. And now he probably will always be in love with those same eyes, that same face. Which is just sad. And by sad, he means lame, obviously. “Because I don’t think you’ll give me an honest opinion about the dress.”
“Honest,” she says, emphasizing, “I want to know if I look good in it. But you’re in love with me, so you’re—” stops again, searches for the word, “biased. You probably think I look good in the night pajamas with the cows on them.”
He thinks she looks beautiful in them, he thinks he wants to take them off most times, he thinks if no one else does him the favor, he might as well stake himself soon.
“I asked a guy at the bar,” she continues conversationally, “he said ‘yeah whatever’ and walked away. Everyone walks away, it’s an interesting phenomenon.”
I love Stefan, it’ll always be Stefan.
‘I won’t’, he doesn’t say. Because it’s stupid. Because it isn’t something he hasn’t already said a thousand times before. Because he thinks he might fall to his knees in front of her in the space between the two words and this moment will be even more broken, sadder than it already is. And by sad, he means lame, obviously.
“I could stop being in love with you for two minutes,” he suggests, ups the tragi-comic ante of their tableau; he’s read the literature, he’s good at this shit, “just enough time to give you an honest, unbiased opinion.”
She bites her lips, looks at him from under her lashes and he falls in love (over and over and over and), “okay.”
He assesses her, saves her at the back of his head, her heartbeat throbbing at the base of his skull, “you look” gorgeous, god, you're so “presentable. In the dark. Avoid too much light; it won’t flatter your complexion. The red's good for your hair, but it's too obvious, too out there, too already-been-done-to-death.”
She stares at him, wide-eyed, all of eighteen to his thousand and one, “you’re rude. Feel free to go back to being in love with me anytime now”
“Just honest,” he steals her shrug.
She considers that, not looking at him looking at her. He can almost count the second down to when his brother disappears from those eyes for a moment, replaced by the overhead light in the room. “Oh.” And smiles.
You and I, we have something. An understanding.
(Later, he’ll try imagining her out of the dress. Fail. Come to the sound of her voice.)