Author: JenniferH (arabian)
Summary: Damon reminisces about his mother with Elena. (Damon/Elena)
Spoilers/Timeline: Takes place between seasons 2 and 3. Only a vague spoiler to the events of 2.21 ("The Sun Also Rises.")
Word Count: 1,944
Disclaimer Not mine. Wipes tear away.
Notes: Thanks to vale_nian for the translation, and linsell_farm for the read-over.
Lastly (and most importantly), this is dedicated to distant_autumn, who played along with my top 10 TVD favorites game and got herself this fic in return based on her prompt. :)
Elena looked up as Damon walked toward her. He raised an eyebrow. "I thought you were long past the 'sit by my parent's graves and write emo entries in my diary.'"
She frowned at him. "It's not about being emo, Damon. It makes me feel better."
"Sitting in a graveyard makes you feel … better?"
"Yes." She pointed to her mother's gravestone. "Just seeing her name, I can feel her presence. I think of the good times we shared. I remember her and it eases some of the emo." She grinned.
"Whatever works." He sat down on the soft grass next to her. Idly, he reached out for her diary, flipping it over in his hands without paying much attention to it before setting it back down. He glanced past her, gazing at something in the distance. Elena looked at him, a sudden thought occurring to her.
"Stefan never mentioned your mother." Elena sent him a considering glance, quite aware that Damon hadn't ever done so either. That, of course, was the point of her comment.
"Subtle," he smirked.
She responded with a rueful smile and a slight shrug of her shoulders. "So …"
"Stefan never mentioned her because he barely remembered her. My mother –" he broke off with a sigh. Elena sat up straighter, picking up on his use of 'my' rather than 'our.' She stayed quiet, waiting.
"My mother died when I was ten. Stefan was two, so yeah, he doesn't remember enough to mention."
"How did … I mean, what happened?"
"She was fine, and then she wasn't."
"What do you mean?"
"That. She was fine, and then one morning, she wasn't. I wasn't even allowed to see her. She seemed better that night, but we couldn't see her the next morning because she was sick again. I remember that Stefan ran into her room before anyone could stop him, and I followed. She was sleeping. Her maid was there, the curtains drawn." Damon stopped and looked away, a frown appearing on his face. "I haven't thought about that day in years. More than a century, in fact. Not since I was even younger than Stefan. But I remember.
"He started yelling for her, scrambling up on the bed. She woke up and screamed at the maid to get him out of there. She looked up and saw me. She cried, begged me to take Stefan away from her. So I did."
Abruptly Damon rose to his feet, shoving his hands in the pockets of his jacket. He looked into the distance again, his voice quiet. "The next morning, father told me she was gone. The funeral was a few days later, but I never saw her again. She wasn't laid out, there was no viewing. She was just … gone."
Elena stood up; she moved to his side and placed a hand on his arm in comfort. "I'm sorry, Damon."
"It was a hundred and sixty years ago." He shook his head, but didn't shake her hand away. "Her grave is there," he pointed straight ahead to an elaborate gravestone too far away for her to properly make out.
Giving his arm a squeeze, Elena shifted closer. "Do you want to go and visit her?"
"No." He answered sharply, moving then, and her hand fell away. Elena sighed, feeling a bit guilty that she'd unintentionally brought up such a painful memory for him. She bit her lip, trying to think of something to lighten his mood. He surprised her by speaking again, his tone softer, and gentler.
"He just wanted to hear his song." He looked over at her, his expression clear, but it was obvious that his head was stuck in the past. "That's what she would do. Every morning as far back as I could remember, she would sing "Mio Dolce Ragazzo" to me, and –" he stopped, nodding slightly to a silent beat. He shook his head. "No, I don't remember Stefan's song. He was only two, so she'd only been singing it for those few years, and most of the time, she sang to him when I wasn't around and vice versa"
He turned to Elena, a smile on his face. "But I remember mine." Just the slightest note of wonder entered his voice. "It's been one hundred and sixty years since she sang it to me, but I can still hear it so clearly in my mind. I can even hear her voice still." His smile was soft, an innocent slant to the cynical mask he usually wore. Then his expression suddenly hardened. "A few weeks after her death, father caught me singing it."
He was silent for a few moments, prompting Elena to push him. "And?"
"He told me to stop. Said he never wanted to hear it again. I asked him why and he took me to his office for a whipping." Damon let out a sharp bark of laughter. "I never sang it again."
They were quiet for a long moment, and then with a firm nod, she filled the silence.
"Well, sing it now."
He raised a brow.
"You said you remember it. Your father's not gonna stop you. Sing it." She moved close to him again, a wistful smile crossing her face. "I want to hear it."
"Elena," he all but whispered, an aching tear in the unsteady laugh that followed. "One hundred and sixty years. It's been that long."
"And that's too long." She stepped closer to him, once more reaching out, her hands now holding onto both arms. Her warm gaze demanded that he meet her eyes. "You loved your mother. You clearly loved this song. Your father," she shook her head, a quick burn of disdain crossing her features, "took that from you once when you were a child. Don't let him take that from you for, what, forever? That's not fair, it's not right, and it gives him too much power. Hasn't he hurt you enough, Damon? Didn't he take enough from you?"
He wanted to look away; she could see that on his face; he wanted to hide the vulnerability, the pain that was there so clear for her to see. But she wouldn't let him, she wouldn't look away. She wouldn't release her hold on him. With everything that had happened since the sacrifice, Damon had been there for her, and maybe she couldn't give him what he wanted most from her, but if she could give him some peace, a measure of comfort then she would do that.
"I don't know. The melody is barely there, the words, I only recall a phrase or two, and --"
"Fine, I'm lying, Elena." He jerked out of her grasp and backed away. "I don't want to. It's not him, it's --" he broke off, looking around, his eyes frantically searching for a spot upon which to fix. Finally, his gaze held still. Elena turned and followed it, seeing it locked upon his mother's grave in the distance. "It's her, Elena. You don't understand. She was it. She was the only person in my whole life, living, undead, whatever, the only person who ever loved me. Completely. No judgment, no in spite ofs, no despite who I am. She just loved me. And I know it's because I was only ten years old when she died. I know that if she'd lived longer to see what I became, who I am, she'd hate me, at least a part of her. God, I hope, just a part, but she would. She'd hate me, but she didn't live to see that, so the only memory, all I have of her is her loving me without condition."
"So remember her, Damon!"
"I can't! It hurts. Elena, it hurts to remember."
She took a step toward him, her hand rising again, but he stepped back. Like a wounded animal, she thought. Which, of course, was exactly what he was. Her hand fell to her side, and she closed her eyes for a moment, and took a deep breath.
"Doesn't it hurt not to?" She finally asked.
His head snapped back, and he looked at her, his eyes wide and searching as he processed her words. And then, "yes," he breathed. "It does."
"So, sing me your song. Maybe it will hurt less to remember her, remember her love." She bit her lip and moved quickly to capture his hand, curling her fingers around his. Her eyes fell just as he absently caressed her skin. She released an unsteady breath, and her voice dropped to a near-whisper, as she forced herself to meet his gaze once more. "And maybe it will help you realize, maybe a little bit, that if you would just let yourself, you could be worthy of love."
He was quiet a long moment, so long that she expected him to refuse again, or outright walk away without a word, but he surprised her. "It's in Italian." He sounded almost shy; she couldn't help but smile in response.
Elena shrugged. "So, I won't know what you're saying." She squeezed his hand. "But you will."
"I am not a good singer."
"I don't care," she laughed.
"Really, I suck. One of the very few things at which I will freely admit that I am not amazing."
He rolled his eyes, and then closed them, but his fingers tightened around hers. He began to sing, his words slow and halting at first, before picking up strength as the melody, the lyrics came back to him.
Quando la stella brilla
Lo fa per te, amore mio.
Quando la pioggia cade
Il suo tocco è dolce come te.
La fioritura della rosa solletica il mio cuore
però sei tu, amore mio,
Che arrossi la rosa.
Ragazzo mio, ragazzo mio, ragazzo mio dolce
sei tu, amore mio.
Elena was quiet, but she was smiling. "That was beautiful," she whispered.
"Yeah," he smiled. And then, softly, sweetly, "Thank you. It … was nice. Remembering. It was good."
His gaze was warm, and then warmer and the air between them suddenly thickened. Her breath caught, as his eyes fell to her lips. She snapped her gaze shut, and then forced herself to look away before she opened them. In her line of sight now was the gravestone in the distance. She couldn't help it; her gaze returned to Damon, before quickly dropping to their joined hands. Still. She let out a shaky breath, and reluctantly, too reluctantly, she let go and stepped back. Damon shoved his hands in his pockets, and cleared his throat.
Elena struggled to think of something, anything to say to dissolve the tension.
They both laughed. "You first," he offered with a gesture of his hand.
"Two things. What's the translation?"
He shrugged. "Something about stars and roses and how a sweet boy – that would be me – makes them shine and tickle hearts and turn red."
She raised an eyebrow.
"Well, that's not an exact translation, but close enough. What? It was children's lullaby from the 1800's. What did you expect? A Taylor Swift diary entry?"
Elena rolled her eyes, and Damon grinned.
"You said two things."
Elena, nodded. "Oh right," she stepped back and turned around to scoop up her bag. With a bright smile, she faced him and then began to head out, glancing over her shoulder to see if he was following. He was; a curious expression upon his face.
He smiled, "yes?"
"You are a terrible singer."
His smile turned to a laugh; his laughter tickled her heart.
* Actual translation of the song:
When the star does shine
It does for you, my love.
When the rain does fall
Its touch is as sweet as you.
The bloom of the rose tickles my heart
Though, tis you, my love,
That reddens the rose.
My boy, my boy, my sweet boy
Tis you, my love.