Series: The Vampire Diaries (television series verse)
Word Count: 1617
Characters, Pairings: Damon/Elena, Stefan/Elena, Stefan/Rebekah, Damon/Rebekah, Stefan/Katherine, Damon/Katherine.
Summary: They don't choose to love them both—but then again, who does?
Warnings: Spoilers up to the end of season three. Language.
Notes: This was a prompt requested by swirlsofblue at the Elena Gilbert comment ficathon (part 2) here. Prompt was: Elena, Katherine, Rebekah; let’s talk about that thing the Salvatores do; the one where they make you fall in love with both of them, and then act like you’re the one with options as they tear you in two. Yay for inspiration! Lyrics to U2's 'Walk On' scattered about.
(and love is not the easy thing)
He's asking her to choose, she knows, and it isn't fair. It's not fair—it never has been, not for any of them. He's made her love him (no, no, she's allowed herself to love him and for once she's going to take the blame instead of letting him do it; he's taken the fall enough for her and it's time that she takes it all on her own; it's called responsibility. It's called being 'an adult.' It's called--it doesn't matter anymore because it's too late).
She never wanted to love him. She never chose to love him.
(She never had a choice at all, in spite of the fact that she likes to pretend that she does. It can't really be okay to love them both, right?)
He's waiting for her to make a decision, and that isn't fair either. She's crying and her words are getting stuck in her throat (it burns and there's this lump that won't go away no matter how many times she swallows). She doesn't know how to answer him. She doesn't know how to answer herself.
She never thought she'd ever fall for both of them. She never thought she'd consider what it would be like—having both of them (nevermind that she's had them both all along anyway).
She never thought she'd have to choose which one to say goodbye to.
She has to choose now, though: time will not wait and Damon is expecting an answer. She can hear the desperation in his voice, the hope, and it tears into her in ways that a knife or a set of fangs never could.
She is aware of the words that are suddenly spilling from her lips, but it's like she's listening to herself speak underwater; she feels disembodied and maybe this is her heart's way of dealing with the hell that it's putting itself through.
She tells him that she's going back to Stefan; she says, “Maybe if I'd met you first.” It's true that she loves Stefan (she knows it, feels it deep down in her bones) but she is aware of the fact that she's just making excuses. She's aware of the fact that she's terrified and that she's an utter coward.
There's the soft sigh of resignation—of defeat. “It's always gonna be Stefan.”
And maybe what hurts the most is the fact that he doesn't sound surprised at all.
(the only baggage that you can bring)
Emotional baggage isn't something that she wants to carry around with her, but she's come to the conclusion that getting rid of said baggage is more or less an impossibility. Her family is dying one by one (the latest to fall was Klaus, and she shouldn't care so fucking much but she does—the tears sting as she frantically blinks them back, keeping them at bay for a little longer) and she doesn't doubt that she is now on The Salvatore brothers' shit list permanently.
She also shouldn't be bothered by this, because the fact that she is an Original means that she is stronger than both of them put together; she could crush them under the heel of one of her pretty stilettos if she wanted to.
(if she wanted to.)
She's already given Damon a taste of her special brand of cruelty, and now she's given the brothers a reason to truly mourn; she's given them a reason to hunt her down and she's given herself a reason to kill them both.
But like the stupid human girl that died tonight, she finds herself inexplicably drawn to the Salvatores. She can't fathom why—Stefan never truly loved her anyway (she knows without having to be told; she was nothing more than a distraction for a little while even though he was honestly an object of her affection), and he doesn't love her now. His eyes and his heart are all for the girl that has now learned the true meaning of mortality (too bad for her that she learned it too late).
Damon, she's realized, is altogether different from Stefan. He's manipulative and unlike Stefan (or rather, unlike this Stefan that seems to have something akin to a conscience as opposed to the Ripper Stefan that she actually prefers), he doesn't care who he hurts as long as he achieves his goal, which isn't really a bad thing altogether but she's already shown him that when he fucks with her (her emotions, her body), he's fucking with the wrong Original.
He's crass and improper, and maybe it's the differences that drew her in, that made her consider him (and he's good in bed as well, so that helps his case). Or maybe it's the fact that he stepped into her life when her guard was down and he turned on the charm and flashed those pretty white fangs at her and gave her a ride that was wilder than she'd imagined it could have been.
She understands the appeal, but that doesn't mean that she welcomes the attraction that she feels for him. For them.
She realized when she was reunited with Stefan that she never stopped caring for him. She knows now that he will never stop caring for the girl who drowned in the river.
Damon is just as fascinated with that backstabbing bitch (literally speaking) as Stefan is. Damon has made it known that she was only a means to an end for him—a key for a very specific lock, an outlet for his frustrations.
Logically speaking, she chooses neither of them because when it comes to them, she has nothing to gain and everything to lose.
If she could, she'd go with logic (with common sense), but she can't.
She can't, because her stupid, fragile (dead) heart has already (unfortunately) chosen them both.
(is all that you can't leave behind)
If there's anything she wishes she could truly leave behind (aside from all this Klaus-trouble), it's them. The memories. The feelings, the truth. But she can't leave any of it behind (she's tried), and so she takes it all—takes the memories of them and all the complicated feelings and she drives and she drives.
She makes pit stops along the way; she charms gorgeous men and beautiful women, fucks them and then leaves them bleeding on the floor (some of them will recover, some of them will never see the light of day again). There should be some sense of guilt or regret in this (maybe, perhaps), she thinks, but her only regret is that they are not here to enjoy it with her.
(Stefan wouldn't, not now, not anymore; he is no doubt turning back into that gentle creature that he was prior to Klaus' meddling and after Lexi's guidance.)
(But Damon... oh, now that's another story. Or could be, would be, if he wasn't in love with his brother's girl.)
She wonders how they're doing, but doesn't bother calling. She'll return someday, when Klaus is no longer in the picture and when Elena is only dust and bones with nothing clinging to her but old memories, twin flames. She'll return and maybe they'll be singing a different tune; maybe they'll all start over and get it right for once.
(Maybe she'll figure out how to put them first and herself second—that's no way to survive, but it seems to be the way to love.)
(She's not going to hold her breath on that one.)
It's fittingly ironic how, with each mile she places between them and herself, she finds her thoughts focusing on the brothers more and more. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, she supposes.
As much as she would like to pretend that she only ever looks out for herself, she's proven (especially lately) that the Salvatores are still her weakness (or perhaps it's her cursed humanity, or a little bit of everything minus the kitchen sink). She could have let Stefan die. She could have let Damon die.
But she didn't. She cared enough about Stefan to urge him to feel again—to become himself again. She cared enough about Damon to screw with the plan a little; she cared enough to tell Stefan to save his brother despite the fact that if he hadn't, they would all be free from Klaus by now (and Damon would be dead, but that's another kind of freedom, isn't it?).
She loved them both. Loves them still, even though they're less inclined to believe her considering their history. Yes, she looks out for herself, but she's always looked out for them as well. Probably always will, too, in her own little way.
Once upon a time (and it should seem so long ago but it doesn't), they wanted her to choose. One or the other; they wanted her to choose one and to break the other. She thought she had. She thought she'd chosen—she thought she'd picked Stefan and left Damon to pick up the pieces (and how like her doppleganger to follow in her footsteps and give a double-whammy).
What you think isn't always what you know. There is a difference, a huge chasm between the two.
It's always been both of them. Not the one and not the other. Both. They don't love her back—not like they used to, but she supposes that will have to be all right. They have eternity, after all, and who knows? They might change their minds one day.
“It's okay to love them both, you know. I did.”
She's only recently started to believe her own 'words of wisdom.'
And whether she believes it or not isn't the issue—it's still the truth. Always has been. Always will be.
I'm not sure how I feel about this one, really. I feel rusty, but I did give it a shot. I hope you all enjoyed.