Chapter: 18 – Make Me Smile [Featured Characters: Elena, Caroline, Stefan, Rebekah, Damon, Jeremy and Ghost!Ric]
Author: JenniferH (Arabian)
Rating: M (For future chapters/language, sex, violence)
Summary: Post 3.22 -- Elena grapples with who she is as a vampire, struggling for control as she tries to find herself and accept who she loves (spoiler: it's Damon!) while her friends and enemies grapple with their own choices in this new world.
Word Count: 5,026
Disclaimer: The Vampire Diaries, and all her characters as presented, belong to Kevin Williamson, Julie Plec, the CW, etc., etc., so on and so forth. ;)
Notes: Thank you to my group of wonderful beta-readers who made this fic a ton better than it would have been otherwise. Following canon here, so there will be Stefan/Elena and as portrayed on the show, but fear not, this is very definitely a Damon/Elena story (with other pairings referenced, and some featured (Stefan/Rebekah, Matt/Rebekah, Stefan/Caroline, Jeremy/Bonnie, Klaus/Caroline).
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18: Make Me Smile
Elena's fangs descended and she lowered her head, taking in the sweet taste of her friend’s blood. And it was sweet and delicious… and weird. Pulling back, she sent an apologetic look Caroline’s way. Caroline just sighed and offered up an uneasy smile.
“It’s OK, Elena.” She pushed her wrist forward a bit. Frowning, Elena leaned forward and once more sunk her fangs in. After just a handful of seconds, she withdrew, feeling sated enough.
“Yeah, I’m good. Thanks.” Her face flushed red, and she let out an unsteady breath as her heartbeat slowed down and her temperature cooled. She wiped at the corners of her mouth.
Caroline walked to the sink and ran some water over her wrist, grimacing slightly. She turned around and met Elena’s self-conscious expression. “I’m sorry. It’s just—
“Yeah, I know.” Elena shook her head. “Maybe this is too much trouble.”
“No, no. Don’t be silly. What’s a little blood-sharing among friends?” She sighed and then leaned forward and pulled Elena into a hug. And now that feels weird, Elena thought as both girls pulled away quickly. Their eyes met and both flushed slightly. Silence filled the air before they finally burst out laughing.
“We’ll figure it out, Elena. The important thing is that you are feeding, you’re not going crazy, you’re not attacking people and you know, maybe as things get kinda closer to normal, you and Stefan…” she trailed off suggestively.
Elena shook her head. “I don’t see that happening, Caroline.”
“You don’t know…” Elena couldn’t help the annoyed glare that crossed her face. God, I really don’t need this. Caroline trailed off again, and held her hands up defensively. “OK, I recognize that look. I will back off. It’s your life, if you don’t want to be with a guy who loves you and I know you love him—“
“I slept with Damon.”
“You did what!?”
“After I turned, when I said things happened, that’s what happened. I didn’t tell you yesterday because I didn’t want you to get all judge-y.”
Caroline opened her mouth to protest, but closed it quickly at a look from Elena.
“I love Stefan, you’re right, I do, but I’m not in love with him anymore. When he left, things just… shifted. Between me and Stefan, *and* me and Damon. Look, I don’t know what I feel for him. I just know that it’s not like anything I felt for Stefan or Matt. But it’s enough that I can’t be with Stefan any more. So, please, be my friend, and don’t judge me.”
Caroline was quiet, her mouth still hanging slightly open, her eyes wide. Elena continued to gaze intently at her. Finally, Caroline pursed her lips together tightly and nodded. “OK, fine. You and Stefan are done.” She faked a smile. “And you had sex with Damon.” Rolling her eyes, she sighed with a hint of laughter. “Yay, we have something new in common,” her voice dropped a low murmur. “Although, I’ve mostly blocked that out because he was an evil jerk to me.”
“I know. He’s changed. He’s not like *that* anymore. Fine. Fine. I’m good, we’re good.” Caroline let out a low breath and then a genuine smile spread across her face. “Really, we’re good. What is important is that you are better. And you are and I know that Damon is part of that.” She clapped her hands together. “I’m gonna go see Stefan, I haven't had any luck reaching him since you told me about you two. I’m not trying to make you feel guilty,” she rushed in with. “I just— I’m his friend too and he needs one right now.”
Elena nodded. “I’m glad he has someone. Especially you being that someone.”
Heading out to the foyer, Caroline paused at the sound of the doorbell. “Want me to get that?”
“Mmhmm,” Elena murmured while she followed a few steps behind as Caroline opened the door.
“Damon.” Caroline’s voice was flat.
“Always a pleasure.” He smiled and smoothly slid around her, stopping at the sight of Elena. She stood still, her face flushed anew.
“Damon,” Elena managed, clearing her throat. “What are you doing here?” She could hear the breathlessness in her voice, and saw Caroline roll her eyes behind Damon.
“I’m gonna go. You two—“ She broke off with another roll of her eyes. “Whatever. Bye, Elena.”
“Bye,” Elena responded, not taking her eyes off of Damon. “Hey,” she said because she didn’t know what else to say.
He shut the door behind him, his eyes softening along with his smile. “Hey.” Leaning back, concern flitted across his face. “How are you?”
“I’m good. Caroline was— I’ve been feeding from her.”
Straightening up, his brows rose in surprise. “Why Caroline? Why not— how could Stefan have a problem with this?”
“He doesn’t. I mean, I don’t know. I— why don’t you come and sit down.”
Looking perplexed, he followed her into the kitchen, settling himself in a stool.
She moved around to the other side, nervously sitting down. “I talked to Stefan—”
“Yeah, I figured. And, of course, the two of you made up and the angels sang and all is right in the universe." His voice turned sharp. "So why aren’t you feeding from him?”
“I talked to Stefan,” she repeated, an edge in her voice at his interruption. “I told him everything. About what happened with Jeremy, and Dr. Fell, you giving me your blood, that it worked.” She smiled, and then it faded as she lowered her eyes and let out a long, low breath. Giving a quick nod, she forced herself to look back up at him. “I also told him about us, what happened when I turned.”
Damon was silent, his expression unreadable. “Huh.” He finally offered. And that was it.
“I don’t know what this is with us. And I know it frustrates you when I say that, but it’s true.” He remained silent. “But I do know that things aren’t working with Stefan, and after some talking, he agreed.”
Leaning forward, Damon rested his arms on the countertop, his eyes narrowed. “Are you saying…” he trailed off, but his question was clear.
“Yes.” Elena took another deep breath. “We broke up.”
His eyes widened as he straightened up, the ghost of a smile flitted across his lips and then once more his expression went blank. His jaw hardened. “It’s OK. Give it a few days, you’ll get back together again.”
“No, we won’t.” She didn’t look away from him this time; she couldn’t. And so she saw every rush of emotion fly across his face – hope, joy, uncertainty – before he finally stood up and turned his back to her.
“OK.” He stood still and silent for a few moments longer. She waited. “So now what?”
“Now, I figure out me. I'm still trying to deal with this whole vampire thing. It’s too much right now, still. I’m all out of whack, things are, you know… off.”
Damon turned back to her. “What do you mean?”
“I’ve fed from Caroline three times now and it’s weird every time. It’s not going away. I get all flushed and uncomfortable, and I know that she is too, and I think it’s because she’s embarrassed and she’s feeding off of my emotions,” she laughed nervously. “No pun intended.”
He shrugged. “You’re turned on.”
Elena’s eyes widened. “What?”
“How you’re feeling from feeding from Caroline has nothing to do with being a new vampire, you’re just turned on.”
“What do you mean?”
“When you fed from me, things got a little… hot.”
She nodded. “Yeah, but I thought that was… you know.” She shrugged. “Because I was so hungry and mostly because it was,” she shook her head with a laugh, her face flushing red, unable to look at him. “You.”
“As flattering as that is, no.”
“No?” She did look at him then, confusion outweighing her embarrassment.
“When vampires feed on each other, it’s sexual. It’s always sexual.” He sat back down. Waggling his eyebrows, he grinned. “Next time you and Caroline have a go at it, I’m more than happy to watch, make sure you two are doing it right.”
His smile grew wider and she couldn’t help but smile in response even as she rolled her eyes. And then sighed. “So it’s always gonna be weird when I feed from her?”
“If by weird you mean hot?”
Elena sighed. “Well, in that case… even if it’s not from the vein, the vampire blood is better than the animal blood and I don’t want to drink human blood even in blood bag form. So… would you mind saving some of your blood for me and just dropping it off every few days?”
He was quiet, and her breath caught as he looked at her, no doubt realizing just as she did that if she wasn’t drinking from the vampiric source, there would be no sexual high so it didn’t really matter whose blood she was drinking. Damon’s, Caroline’s or whoever’s. But I want it to be Damon’s blood, she admitted to herself, refusing to retract her request.
Almost as if aware of her thought process, he smiled slightly, one corner of his lips quirking upwards as his eyes glittered with restrained glee. “Sure.” He nodded, rising to his feet. “Let me grab a couple of ziplock baggies and I’ll donate to the Elena Gilbert wing of the Red Cross.”
As he turned around, rummaging through kitchen drawers, Elena couldn’t help but smile as she watched him move. Maybe she wasn’t ready to put a name on what she felt for him yet, but she did know one thing. Damon Salvatore always knew how to make her smile.
Stefan was silent as he stared into charred remains of the last fire lit two days ago by Damon. Stefan hadn’t seen him since. Where he was holed up, he had no idea, but he had a suspicion that his brother was with Elena. He closed his eyes, hating the image of the two of them entwined that appeared in his mind.
His eyes snapped open. Turning slightly, he looked up at Caroline as she entered the room. “Hey,” he managed. His voice sounded dry from lack of use.
She smiled, but it was a sad one and he knew that she knew. Without speaking, Caroline moved to where he was and sat down on the opposing sofa. She sighed heavily.
“How are you?” Oh, yeah, she knew.
Shrugging, he asked the question anyway. “You know?”
Hesitating just a moment, she finally nodded. “Yeah, I tried to text, call. You didn't answer.”
“My phone’s…” he trailed off and gestured randomly, realizing in that moment that he didn’t remember where he’d put it last. “I don’t know. Not with me.” He lowered his head, his voice low. “Have you seen her?”
“Mmhmm, we're— she's feeding from me. It's kinda weird. We might have to figure something else out.” She laughed shakily, but it petered away in the silence.
Stefan shook his head. “Doesn't matter, she'll go to Damon soon enough.”
“She's not with him, Stefan.” Caroline immediately countered.
He laughed harshly and looked back up at her. “Did you know?”
“What?” And she looked genuinely confused.
Fuming silently, he bit it out. “That she was *with* him?”
She was quiet, long enough, that he knew she understood what he was asking. Finally, she nodded. Anger suddenly burst to life in him at yet another person betraying him. She must have picked up on that because she shook her head fiercely, her voice rising and her eyes wide in apology. “No. I swear I just found that out today. Stefan, I didn't know before.”
“Would you have told me?” he asked her bluntly.
“Maybe. No. I don’t know. I—Stefan, I don’t know. I’m sorry. I know you’re hurting right now. I don’t know what to say. I wish I knew what to say. Everything’s a mess. I’ve screwed everything up with my love life, trust me, I would’ve just made things worse for yours. I promise you that.”
He shook his head, making little sense of her rambling or even caring to at the moment. But he was glad she was there. He’d been alone for the last two days, doing nothing but stewing. Caroline’s presence was… soothing. I should have called her, he thought, and then suddenly some of what she said registered.
“You and Tyler? Klaus getting in the way?”
“Doesn’t matter. We had a little fight. It’s… it’s nothing. Stefan…” She trailed off, and then rose to her feet. She sat down next to him. “What can I do for you?”
“Nothing.” He turned to look at her, managing a ghost of a smile. “I've just been thinking about it, everything she said. So much was on me. ‘You left,’ that's what she said. And I did, I left her and things changed. That's when I lost her.”
Caroline reached out and laid a gentle hand on his arm, rubbing lightly. When she spoke, her voice was soft, understanding. “You left to save your brother.”
Her hand tightened for a moment on him and he looked at her. “Still? Stefan. Would you change it? If you could go back would you not save Damon just to keep Elena?”
He gave her the same reason he’d told himself that he had done what he did. “I... I wouldn't be the guy I want to be for Elena if I didn't save my brother.”
Caroline shook her head, her eyes flashing with emotion. “That’s not what I asked. Was losing your girlfriend worth your brother not being dead-dead?”
Pulling from her grasp, Stefan stood up and moved across the room. He was quiet, thinking about the day of the funerals, Damon telling him about the fatal werewolf bite. And then the next day, Damon standing in the sun, burning up with his ring lying on the ground before Stefan threw him into the shadows to save his life. He shook his head. He couldn’t let Damon die. He could never have forgiven himself if he’d let his brother die.
“If there was a way to save him, I couldn't... not do it.”
Striding forward, vehemence lit Stefan’s voice. “But I had the chance. After Homecoming, I was free. Klaus freed me from the compulsion, but, Caroline, I kept the switch off.” He shook his head, nearly in disbelief at his own remembered actions. “I couldn’t deal with the guilt.”
Caroline cocked her head to the side, thinking on his words. “Wait, so, you had the choice and you chose to stay away?”
He was silent, and then bowed his head, fresh guilt sweeping through him. “Yes.”
“And when you came back, you were...”
“I came back to get revenge on Klaus. Not for Elena. The switch was still off.”
She was quiet for a moment, looking in his direction, but not at him. Finally, she spoke. “Well, Stefan, that was your choice.” She took a deep breath, and then rose to her feet with a sharp nod, facing him. “I think you two breaking up was the right thing.”
Surprise flooded through him. “What?”
Caroline shook her head, a tight smile on her face, but her eyes were filled with compassion and apology. “Stefan, saving your brother is one thing, but not wanting to deal with the guilt? Don’t get me wrong, I get it.” She closed her eyes briefly. “I still think about Carter, and Deputies Flynn and Marshall. I made sure to learn their names. I’ve made sure not to forget them. But sometimes I want to because when I think of them, I feel so terrible. So, I’m not judging you, Stefan, I do get it.”
Stepping forward, she made sure to capture his gaze. “But escaping that guilt was more important than fixing things with Elena? She should have been worth the guilt.”
A flash of heat curled in him at her blow, and it hurt. He strove to defend himself. “But how could she be with me after what I did?”
“Have you met Elena?! She's a forgiver. She forgives everything, everyone, all the time.”
“But I couldn't forgive me!” He yelled. “I couldn't be the guy I want to be with her.”
Stepping close to him, Caroline’s eyes were wide as she looked at him. “What about the guy you want to be for you?” She threw her arms out. “God, Stefan, you keep making this about Elena.” She shook her head. “It's about the choices *you* make. Not Elena's or Damon's or anyone else's. It's about you.” He shook his head, trying to deny her words, but she kept talking. “What Elena did wasn't about you or even Damon. It was about *Elena.* She was doing what was best for her.”
Reaching out, Caroline poked him in the chest. “You, Stefan Salvatore, need to start doing what's best for you and not have it all revolve around a girl! Oh my God!” She stepped back, her eyes wide in shock. “Listen to myself, I can't believe I'm even saying this.” She looked at him, and her lips twitched just before a bubble of laughter burst out. “Look at what you’re making me say? It’s just wrong.”
She kept smiling, and even though she’d been yelling at him two seconds ago, her eyes were warm and her smile was for him. Despite his pain, he couldn’t but smile back.
But it didn’t last. There was too much pain.
Hers faded as well. “But it's true, Stefan. You can't only be about the person you love. You have to be about you.”
“Bravo, someone should stitch that on a pillow.”
Stefan swung his head to the entrance, letting out a huff of annoyance at the sight of Rebekah smiling. “What are you doing here?”
Tossing her hair back, she entered the room. “I was bored, thought we could have a little chat.”
Caroline stiffened beside him. “Stefan doesn’t want to talk to you. Neither do I. Or anyone else in this town.” She cocked her head to the side. “Probably on the planet.”
“Don’t you have a werewolf to tame?” A sly smile curved Rebekah’s full lips. “Tyler… or Niklaus. Not much of a difference to you, huh?”
“I really don’t like you,” Caroline hissed, and then turned to Stefan. “You can throw her out any time.”
Remembering that flash of connection barely a week ago, Stefan shook his head slightly. “She’s harmless. And she’s right, you should go see Tyler.”
“Or Nik…” Rebekah murmured softly.
Stefan ignored her, and smiled at Caroline. “He’s more important than me. And thank you.”
She shook her head. “For what?”
“You. Coming over. You made me smile.” He reached out and gave her arm a light rub. “So thank you.”
Caroline was quiet for a moment, then nodded and threw him a bright smile. “OK. And you’re welcome.” Turning to throw a glare Rebekah’s way, her voice grew frosty. “But she’s *not* harmless. Don’t forget that.” And then she pouted. “Seriously, Stefan, just don’t even talk to her.”
“I’m fine, go.” She didn’t move. “Caroline, go. Fix things with Tyler. She won’t do anything.”
With a quick shake of her head, her shoulders slumped. “Fine.” Walking past Rebekah, she gave her a final cool look. “If you mess with him…”
“You’ll what? Throw me off the prom committee? You certainly can’t hurt me.”
“Ugh.” Caroline stomped off, and Stefan couldn’t help but smile at her dramatic exit. The smile still played along as his lips as Rebekah sauntered further into the room.
“Hmm…” she murmured.
His smile fading completely, he walked back over to the couch and sat down. “What are you doing here, Rebekah?” he asked again.
“I need you to do something for me.” Stefan let out a bark of laughter. She looked appropriately offended. “It’s the least you could do.”
“You killed Elena.”
“And saved your brother. Didn’t we already go over this? And, my God, she’s still here. You’d think she was six feet under the way you all go on about it.”
“Fine, you saved Damon and she’s still here. I still don’t owe you anything.”
“You broke my heart.”
Her words, simple and quiet, moved him in a way he wouldn’t have thought possible. He didn’t know if it was because he had loved this girl once or because his heart had just been broken by the girl he loved now, but she moved him.
“What do you need?”
“Tell your girlfriend to tell Matt that she forgives me.” She waved her hand carelessly. “I really don’t care if she actually does, just ask her to do it for you.”
He looked at her incredulously. “Are you kidding me? Again, you killed Elena, nearly killed Matt. She's not gonna do it, and he’s not gonna care.”
“His near-death was an accident and I saved his life.” She sniffed. “So you just remind her of that and make her do it. And he does care. I know he does. He feels something, and, Stefan, I like him. I haven’t liked anyone like this since… you.”
“For you that would be like two months ago.” He laughed bitterly. “Wow, I feel loved.”
“Will you do it?”
A flash of hurt lit her eyes before anger hardened her face. “Of course not. Why I even bother…” she trailed off and turned her back on him, silently fuming.
“She’s not my girlfriend.”
Rebekah froze, and then slowly looked to him. “What do you mean?”
“You’re out of the loop, Rebekah. She broke up with me two days ago.” He tightened his lips, fighting a fresh surge of pain.
“Why? I thought she was the love of your life.” She offered airily with a smirk.
“Well, apparently I’m not the love of hers.” His eyes were dry, but the threat of tears stung.
She sat down slowly, any sign of amusement fading. “Is she with Damon?”
Stefan’s head bowed, and he laughed. It was a harsh, aching laugh that hurt. Barely in play, and yet even Rebekah knew to ask that question.
“No,” he answered truthfully, and then seeing a glimpse of genuine sympathy on her face, he allowed himself one more truth, a brutal, painful one. The very one he had told her after Damon was tortured by the woman before him. The one he’d heard in the cadence of every word Elena had said two days ago. The truth that he’d refused to think upon in the time since.
“But she’s in love with him.”
Damon turned the ignition off as he parked in front of the Gilbert home. Hopping out, he grabbed the cooler of blood he’d been steadily building up for Elena over the last twenty-four hours. It was as good an excuse as any to stay in his room and avoid his brother.
Since Stefan was avoiding him too, that made it doubly easy.
The front door opened as he reached the steps. And there stood the reason for the sibling avoidance.
“Elena.” He smiled, as his heart beat just a little faster in joy at the sight of her. As always. I am so far gone for this girl, it’s fucking ridiculous. Everything about her generally just made him happy. Elena Gilbert just made him want to smile for days on end.
“Hey.” She shut the door behind her, her gaze flitting nervously from him to the side, back to him, and then the sky, the ground, but always back to him. She cleared her throat, and gestured to the bag in hand. “What’s that?”
He held it up. “Cooler, some blood for a slightly cannibalistic vampire I know.”
Her eyes widened and she let out a bark of shocked laughter. “Damon!”
“Well, when you think about it…”
“No, no. Just— no.” She laughed again, her eyes dancing in merriment. “But thank you.” She rolled her eyes. “Says the slightly cannibalistic vampire.”
Damon grinned. “Aha, you see it now, don’t you?”
“Stop.” Reaching out, she grabbed for the handle even as she spoke, suppressed laughter in her voice. “Give me that.”
“No, I just.. ate. But the ziplocked blood is all gone. So, really, thank you. I didn’t realize just how badly I was starving myself until I stopped.”
He took a step back and to the side, leaning against the column. “Glad to be of service.” He paused then, sending her a considering look, feeling her out. “Uhm, I packed enough for a few days, but I was thinking maybe… as a treat, if you want, you could just feed directly from the source every now and then.”
Her eyes widened, a blush immediately lighting her cheeks. “I…” she trailed off, as a tentative smile curved her lips, and he could hear her heart race just a bit faster. Then the smile died and she gave a quick shake of her head, her voice firm. “No.”
Damon stiffened, and his lips formed a tight line. He ruthlessly tamped down the disappointment, and looked away. “Sure.” The carefree mood that had filled the air moments before completely disappeared.
Taking a step forward, Elena sighed. “It’s not that I don’t want to, Damon.”
His gaze flew back to hers.
“I do. That’s… that’s the problem. I want to a lot. Just the fact that it’s your blood I’m drinking, it’s what I want, but…” she trailed off with another sharp shake of her head. “I can’t, Damon. I can’t. It’s still too much. Trying to deal with everything, coming to grips with it all. It’s just that being around you, and, wow, feeding from you… it’s just too tempting.” She smiled softly, a sweet yearning in her eyes. “I just want you too much.”
He was silent, a lightness filling his chest, but not at her words. He’d heard those before, plenty of times, but the way she said them, the look in her eyes, on her face, that beautiful smiling curving her lips, those were new. Her voice was soft, so sweet. The pain and the misery that had dragged down every syllable of those very same words before was gone. She wanted him. She could say that she wanted him, and it didn’t hurt anymore to say it. It didn’t hurt to want him.
“OK.” And then he smirked, a mischievous spark in his gaze. “I get it. I can’t help it that I’m irresistible.”
Elena laughed. Stepping close until she was only inches away, she reached out with her free hand and lightly touched his chest, her eyes never leaving his. “Yes, you are.”
His eyes widened and he clenched his fists at his side, suddenly fighting every instinct and urge in his body to drag her inside, find the nearest bed and take her fast and hard.
Her smile faded and her lips parted as she gazed at him. They were both still, then she slowly, carefully pulled her hand back, stepped back until they could both breathe again.
“I’m gonna go.” Her voice was barely audible. She lifted the cooler slightly. “Thank you.”
He remained frozen as she moved past him. A car horn finally roused him, and he turned to see Elena slip into Bonnie’s car, her eyes still locked on him. He raised a hand in farewell and watched them drive away.
“Hey.” Damon turned back to see Jeremy step out. “Can you give me a ride? I forgot some groceries the other day. Left milk in the car overnight. My car does not smell... good.”
“What? Oh, yeah, fine.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out his keys. “You ready?”
“Yeah, I was gonna catch a ride with Bonnie, but I saw your car and figured it’d be cooler to drive up with you instead of my sister and my ex.” He paused, his eyes widening before a smile broke out across his face. “Hey.”
Damon looked behind him, and of course, saw nothing, but he spoke anyway. “Ric?”
“Yeah.” Jeremy answered for his dead best friend.
Damon smiled and again raised a hand in acknowledgement, but dropped it quickly because he figured he looked like an idiot waving at thin air. He turned back to face Jeremy who clearly didn’t have a problem looking and sounding like an idiot as he casually conversed with a ghost that no one but him could see. Damon tried to make sense of what they were talking about, but a one-sided conversation that was mostly comprised of “uhm” and “yeahs” wasn’t very revealing.
After a minute or two, Jeremy looked at Damon. “Ric says ‘hi.’ He’s gone now.”
Nodding, Damon dug his hands in his pocket.
“Yeah.” Then Jeremy frowned. “He wanted me to tell you something.”
Damon looked up. Jeremy was quiet. “Well? Spill, kid.”
He took a deep breath and then with a decisive nod, looked Damon square in the face. “He said that he’s been hanging around, keeping tabs and he wanted me to tell you that he gives you and Elena his OK. I mean, his blessing. He gives you two his blessing to be, you know, together.” He winced. “You know what I mean. Like a couple.”
“Oh.” Damon was quiet, digesting Jeremy’s words. Or rather, Alaric’s blessing. A small smile curved his lips and he looked upwards, knowing that if there was a heaven, fuck this ghost purgatory where Jeremy saw him now and then, Alaric Fucking Saltzman was in that heaven.
He glanced over at Jeremy. “Thanks.” Turning, he headed to his car, but Jeremy’s next words stopped him cold.
Slowly, Damon turned around to look at the kid. “What?”
“I give you my blessing. Elena loves you, she just needs time to figure it all out. But she loves you, and you love her. You take care of her. So, yeah, me too.”
Swallowing heavily, Damon was still and silent for a moment. Then he gave a measured nod. “Thank you, Jeremy.”
TO BE CONTINUED