Series: The Vampire Diaries (television series verse)
Word Count: 621
Characters, Pairings: Damon/Elena, Stefan/Elena mentioned.
Summary: He’s not sure either of them knows how to let him go.
Warnings: Spoilers if you haven’t seen up to 3x09, mild language, angst, comfort-fic.
Notes: This was a prompt requested by linsell_farm at the TVD comment ficathon here. Prompt was: Damon/Elena: Then we’ll let him go.
This is the second time she’s come to his bed to offer him the comfort that he won’t admit he needs. He knows she’s standing there—he doesn’t even have to open his eyes for a visual confirmation (he can smell her, hear her soft breaths), but he does anyway.
She is beautiful, her hair down and messy, her face makeup-free, her eyes full of concern (for him) and pain (that she won’t speak of, because she thinks he needs her now more than she needs him). He wants to reach for her and he almost does, but he stops himself at the last moment, changes his mind and waits, because it’s the right thing to do (and he may not always be great at doing ‘the right thing’ but when it’s worth it, he sure as hell tries).
“Scoot over,” she says, voice rough with the emotion that he knows she can’t dispel. She’s been crying, but probably for him more than for herself, because that’s just how she is.
He tries to tease, because he’s good at it and because it’s what he does: “Why, Miss Gilbert, are you trying to seduce me?” His attempt is a failure for the most part, for no amusement colors his tone even though it does tug a smile from her lips, and he supposes that is better than nothing.
“Yes,” she answers, and the response is neither serious nor playful, it just is. “This is how I always look when I’m trying to be sexy.” The sarcasm is there, but just barely. Her nose is a little red and the skin beneath her eyes is somewhat puffy. If circumstances were different and she came to him like this, offering herself, he wouldn’t hesitate.
But he knows that that isn’t what this is about, and so he makes room for her, and settles into her embrace when she slides into bed beside him, wrapping her arms around him. It makes him feel a little calmer, a little less broken.
“I don’t know,” he says a few moments later just to break the silence, “some guys get turned on when the girl cries.” Another pitiful attempt at humor that mostly falls flat.
“Shut up,” she replies, voice muffled.
He does, and for what feels like ages, he just listens to her breathing and he focuses on the way her body relaxes within the circle of his arms. Yes, they will survive this, but it’s not going to be easy. Why is it that the things that begin with the letter ‘L’ are always the hardest to do?
“We’ll let him go,” she repeats—perhaps to reassure. Perhaps to validate. Perhaps to emphasize. He doesn’t know if he should be angry or relieved or hurt over the fact that she’s willing to give up on what she’s been fighting for ever since he himself came back from the brink of death.
For the most part, he realizes, he just feels a strong sense of empathy, because he’s in this with her—she isn’t alone. Nor is he.
He nods an affirmative, nuzzling lightly at the top of her head, breathing her in. After all of these years (over a century) of chasing after his brother, of watching over him in his own way… after all they’ve been through together and after all these years that he’s held on… he’s not sure that he even knows how to let go.
He isn’t sure that she knows how, either.
They’ll fall, one way or the other. They’ll learn, or they won’t.
The only thing he’s sure of (as her arms tighten around him) is that they’ll figure it out together, and for now, he’s okay with that.
Yes, I am an unrepentant sap. :)