pairing: damon/elena. stefan/elena. post season finale.
summary: "Uh, no." he tells her, "big boys go out and fight. Girls stay at home and cook. Where were you when they taught Patriarchy 101 at school?". [damon's pov]
"Uh, no." he tells her, "big boys go out and fight. Girls stay at home and cook. Where were you when they taught Patriarchy 101 at school?"
"Shut up, Damon." she's in his car, before he's started it, and maybe he should've guessed this would happen. Or maybe he should've stopped pretending so hard this wasn't going to happen and actually done something to make it not happen.
She looks out the window, as he starts the car and it's uncountable miles of Elena and I forgive you and his sanity.
Blondie calls her every day and talks clothes and movies and Lockwood shirtless, like it still matters or something. Like they're still normal instead of forty degrees south of fucked up.
But then she's laughing, really laughing, clutching the phone to her ear, her hair a cover for the pillow, and maybe someday they could get down to normal, not a lot, but just about.
Each night she sits by the windows of the hotel rooms and writes in her diary and it's another piece of her he keeps with him. Along with all the stupid little things that make his fingertips ache and mouth dry. Like the way she looks when she gets up in the morning and the way she brushes her hair and the tune she hums in the shower and that she can't sleep without her stuffed bear. Things he never learnt about her because he was never the one.
She's breaking down, bit by bit, and he pockets all the parts she lets fall unconsciously. She's going to go back to Stefan, he's not stupid, he knows that. She'll go back, but he'll still have the memory of her foot tangling with his at night and the brush of her skin against his hand as she walks past and maybe that'll be enough.
Katherine tells him about the blood and Klaus and Stefan, and for a moment he feels sick because this was supposed to be him. He was supposed to be the one dead. Not alive because his always-ready-to-play-the-lead-role brother had bargained himself away in exchange for his life.
He doesn't tell her because she's seventeen and she's a child and she doesn't understand that yet. That some things have to be done because it's war. All of it, every damn bit of it is blood and loss and things that used to matter and don't matter anymore. A true war story is never moral; he's been through many, he should know.
She looks at him then, with tired, seventeen year old eyes, "I know, I trust you."
"You're not capable of trust".
He's trusting her.
They start and they end. They usually end up six feet apart, shouting at each other in the middle of the road and he's so angry he punches a hole through outhouse doors because she's so fucking stupid; coming along with him like he knows what the hell he's supposed to do. He's not good with the 'cue: enter hero' bullshit; she should know that by now. But she still wants him to do more and be more and some days he wants to leave her in the middle of the road and walk away and not look back.
They wander through tracks that cars have never seen and she usually ends up blistering her feet because she won't allow him to carry her. He rolls his eyes and lets her, he's always been a fan of learning the hard way anyway, and all those shouting matches about 'it's her choice, Damon' seem to be working. She can cut up her legs all she wants; he stopped caring fifty miles back.
And then she makes these soft sounds of pain and tries to hide them and he's so pathetic it's not even funny.
"Do you need help, Elena," he asks through gritted teeth, the sarcasm settling around him like second skin.
She gets that look of defiance which she only ever wears around him, "I'm fine."
Five minutes later, he's got her foot under the river and he's down on his knees, massaging the soles of her cramped foot, as she rests his hand on her shoulder and grimaces as his fingers hits the wrong spots.
"You're so stupid, Elena. Didn't being around Saint Stefan teach you anything about being a hero?" his hands don't stop, her skin softer than he can bear, her hand burning a hole through the leather of his jacket.
And speaking of madness, he's bending further down, kissing her feet, worshiping her like he always has in his mind. And she's pulling away, like she always does, startled, as if she can't believe he could actually do something like that. But then he's looking at her looking at him; her eyes wide, her skin flushed and he thinks something could happen. Right now. This moment. If he just stays on his knees, touches all the skin he can reach, maybe they could, maybe she would—
"I mean, are you in this car because you want to help your little brother save the girl that he loves or is it—is it because you love her too?"
He lets go of her foot, and doesn't look at her, can't look at her. They walk on.
They're going to find Stefan. He knows it. He's going to save him or die trying, and anyway he's been alive way past his expiry date, it's not like it's going to be devastating or anything. He's lived much too long enough and died far too many times for it to matter anymore.
And sometimes, when she smiles at him, like she did the first time she met him, when he wasn't anyone in particular, just this man in a house she happened to be in, he knows it. He knows it's going to end. She'll go back to Stefan, and he'll be left, the credits rolling on the story they never had. Pretending he doesn't want her with every breath he doesn't need to take. But he's going to do it anyway.
He's no savior, but he'll be the understudy, fit in the hero's shoes, play a part he doesn't know the lines for, not steal the girl, whatever.
He's no savior, but this time, he's going to be the one to save his brother.