waltzmatildah: (tvd: ian somerhalder is hot)
[personal profile] waltzmatildah
Title: Here For The Echoes
Fandom: The Vampire Diaries (television series)
Characters/Pairings: General cast. Hints of Damon/Elena. Established Stefan/Elena.
Word Count: 2100
Rating: M
Prompt: From [livejournal.com profile] miss_blanche. Damon is in danger of some description and Stefan and Elena are standing aside helpless. Elena is distraught and certain feelings are revealed when Stefan questions her.
Summary: Damon POV. Season 2 AU. The inky black swallows him whole. Settles, cape-like, across the planes of his hunched shoulders. It's a trip that should take him minutes but the moon rises 'til it's high above his head and he calculates a distance that has him at not even half way there.
Author's Note: Title and cut text from “In The Veins Of Death Valley”, Birds of Tokyo.

Part 1: You tell me that everything is fine here, and you can handle it...
Part 2: Struggle to fight the feud within, to face what you've become...
Part 3: Straight to the heart, good luck, you're finished for sure...

He follows after them at a staggered lope. Falls heavily to his knees more than once. Barely manages to regain shaky footing that is fading fast.

The inky black swallows him whole. Settles, cape-like, across the planes of his hunched shoulders. It's a trip that should take him minutes but the moon rises 'til it's high above his head and he calculates a distance that has him at not even half way there.

Figures that he's already hours, days, too many years too late.

- - -

He tumbles down the last of the wide, stone steps. An unceremonious arrival that bleeds his vision to black and grey and pale, pale pink.

His heartbeat echoes valiantly inside his chest. Rocks his body to the beat of a thousand drummers marching. A hacking cough floods the back of his throat with the copper tang of blood and sustenance.

His own.

The sensation is chilling.


A resounding silence fills him to full and mostly overflowing.


Hands and knees and skin stretched to too tight over fingers that claw at the chalky earth.



The tomb is closed and he struggles back in time to his last visit. Desperately searches through a catalogue of memories that have somehow tumbled, dust and debris, to the feet and inches of space that is just out of his finger-tipped reach.

Was it closed the last time he was here? Is this new? Is she in there? Are they both in there together?

A low growl rips through his abdomen, has him staggering to upright and lurching towards the heavy barrier. Shoving it aside and then stepping back before the effort required to carry out the motion catches up to him.

Almost drops him back to his knees.


- - -

She appears slowly. Mirage-like.

Sad and scared.

She looks worn down, tattered and torn. And he can't help but wonder just how much time has passed.

Just how significant his failings have been...


The word trips and falls from her tongue. Scratches at his fast evaporating resolve. Fills his cavernous insides with an insistent hum that threatens to tear away at all his carefully constructed seams.

“Elena, I'm-”

She laughs then. Cuts him off sharply. A vicious bark that scalds a path down his spine.

“Oh, Damon.” Her mocking mirth sends dust motes skidding and sliding. “Look at you, all Elena. How disgustingly pathetic...”



He drags hands that shake and slide across his earth stained face. Scrubs viciously. Half wonders how hard he'd need to rub to erase himself completely.

“Where is she?” A rekindled brand of panic swells. Forces the air out of his lungs in a rush that has him staggering back a step or several.

Shoulders shrug, head tilts to the side, impassive, “How am I supposed to know?”

The implied why am I supposed to care? is received, loud and clear.

He doesn't believe her. Not for a heartbeat.

“Where is she?”

She's leaning causally against the stone wall. Just the wrong side of the sealed entrance. Tantalizingly close. A deliberate ploy, of that he is most certain.

“Best guess? She's with Stefan. At least...” she lifts her eyes to stare up at him through ink black lashes, “... that's where I'd be if I were her...”

- - -

He tries once more. Musters steel and venom and fire and ice and spits the words at her feet.

Where is she?

“Well, clearly she's not here is she?”

“Where's the moonstone?”


He coughs, swallows more of his own blood and fear.

Where is the moonstone?”

“In a safe place.” She's examining her nails. Not even looking at him. His desperate fury threatens to explode him to shattered shards.

“I can't- Can you-” He stops and starts. Trips over the words that rumble around inside his skull. That fight for position against the ever present agony that has taken up residence there.

“Look. She's not here. She hasn't been here. I have no idea where she is. I have no idea where Stefan is. Though, seriously, fig-”

“She was coming here. She said she was-”

“Well, she lied.”

“No.” His head is shaking wildly. Side to side to side in adamant defiance. “No. Stefan said-”

“Then Stefan lied. Someone lied. She's not here, Damon. Though this conversation would be infinitely more entertaining if she were...”

- - -

He's on his knees now. Empty and heavy and hollow and sinking all in the same shattered exhale. Can't quite remember how he even got to there in the first place.

He lifts his head. Feels the vertebrae in his neck shift and slide at the jerked movement.

And Katherine is right where she's always been.

Ahead and above and only just out of reach.

“What the hell have they done to you anyway?”

The bored exasperation in her voice is coloured by a layer of something that he can't quite bring himself to name.

Something that might taste a lot like concern probably does.

“Damon, what have they done to you?” Softer this time. A voice that isn't really hers anymore but he wonders if it might have been. Once.

The reverberating agony is wearing down his newly constructed defenses.

One hundred and fifty years and now...


She slumps to seated, eye to eye. Presses her palm flat against the invisible wall that stands between them.

That has always stood between them.

“Let me look after you...”

And it's not only his skull that might crack neatly in two.

“Don't. Please. Please...

She slides the tip of one finger down the surface of the spell's creation. “Baby, please...Let me make it all better...” Doesn't stop 'til her hand is fisted in the rough ground, just inches from his and pleading.

And it's everything that he's been waiting for. Everything that he thought he could ever want. But he was nothing to her for a century.




He scrambles back from the entrance, crab-like and clawing. Doesn't stop 'til his back meets solid stone. Uses it hastily as a crutch to support his own diminished resolve.

She's laughing again. At him and for him and, “My God. You really are a whole new level of pathetic now, aren't you?”

She stands, raises her arms above her head and leans forward against them.

“You know she's dead, don't you-” He stiffens but doesn't speak. Can't speak. “At the end of all this, no matter which way it plays out, the only possible conclusion is the death of the doppleganger. I know I, for one, am quite looking forward to it.”

- - -

He makes it back to the surface. The sky is beginning to brighten. The moon no longer hung in position high above his head.

Katherine's words tumble around inside his chest. The struggle to breathe air in and around them is exhausting. Destroying.

She lied.

She's dead.

Let me look after you...

You're pathetic...

You're nothing...

You're nothing...

She's dead.

He thinks he gives up in that moment. Something in him shifts to sideways and down and the desire to right it all again evaporates in a fleeting heartbeat.

He wonders if this is what dying feels like.

Slow and excruciating.

No gunshot wound to the chest to sever his misery this time.

The boarding house might as well be on the other side of the country for all the reserves he has remaining to drag himself back there.

He works his ring down to the last knuckle. Lets it slip and slide the rest of the way to off without hesitation. Threads his hands through the grass beneath him and settles in to wait.

Feels his remaining fight leech out and into the cold ground. It's an ending so far shifted from what he wants. From what he's always dreamed would be his one moment of glory.

Manages to reconcile his defeat with the knowledge that finishing all of this will bring Elena a moment of blissful reprieve.

- - -

A light goes on. His eyes blink to open and alert.

More awake than he's felt in years.

The back of his left leg is on fire. The first reaches of the early morning sun have finally found his shallow grave.

The ferocious burn whites out his vision and the sensation is horrifyingly familiar. But the horizon slides back into focus with a resounding clatter that has him sifting through the matted grass for his ring before scrambling for shade and shelter at a blur.

He pushes the safety net he'd managed to snag back into place. Flexes his fingers around the weight of it and draws in a solidifying breath.

A familiar exhaustion settles deep in his bones. A permanent weariness that he doubts all the sleep in the world could ever hope to cure. But the skull shattering agony is gone.

Gone with a completeness that has him wondering if it was ever really there in the first place.

Possible explanations play out, movie-like. Each conjured scenario more horrifying that the last as Katherine's words grate across nerves that are still more than a little red raw.

She's dead...

The realisation that it's probably true has him turning wildly in the direction of the boarding house. In the direction of answers he doesn't think he'll ever be brave enough to hear.

- - -

He's just inches from the front door when it flies open with a lightening crack.

He skids to a stuttered stop. Breathless, dizzy.


“Damon!” Her excitement in that split second is genuine and the moment shifts the ground beneath his feet. She skips a step and he's three quarters to convinced she's about to throw herself into his arms when a voice over her shoulder stills her to rock solid in front of him.


Stefan appears in the shadows then, “What the hell took you so long?”

He shrugs evasively because there's something off about this entire scenario. They're not surprised by his appearance, but oddly excited instead, and he's not sure what the correct answer to his brother's question actually is just yet.

He steps around them both and strides with a feigned purpose into the depths of the house.

Stills to rock solid himself at the scene that greets his return.

They're lined up, soldier-like, eerily reminiscent of his last encounter with them. Bonnie is here this time, though. Shoulder to shoulder with Caroline, their fingers twisted together in knots and he can't help but think that it's not over yet.

Whatever this hell has been, it's not over yet...

- - -

“Don't you get it?” They're all seated now. Everyone except for him. They've slumped into position at various points around the room while he paces erratically between them all.

“It was never about Elena... It was always about you...”

“No.” He shakes his head with a fresh determination. Presses fingers to his lips to push back the unholy screams that are steadily building up behind his teeth.

“Think about it, Damon.” He whips around 'til he's face to face with Bonnie. Almost loosens his grip on the screams for just long enough to remind her that she started it all in the first place. “Why would my family build something into the spell that would endanger Elena? Why would Stefan let her go anywhere near that tomb to get the moonstone?”

It didn't make sense to him at the time. He remembers that it didn't make sense to him at the time. Them risking everything to save-

“You tricked me?”

The heavy sound of puzzle pieces sliding into place.


“No. Stop... I don't- You mean... you all knew? You all knew what was going on?”

His switch as been flipped and his default 'off' seems so desperately out of reach. He wants to be angry or, better yet, he want to be nothing at all, empty and emptying. Like before. But she's flipped his switch and worn him down to a point of no return.

“It was the only way, Damon. It was the-”

There can be no returning from this.

“You should have told me.” He spins to Elena, thrumming with a tension that he could never know the words to describe, “You, you should have told me. I thought-”

“I know what you thought. It was the only way, Damon. And I'm so sorry it had-”

“Stop. Just... Katherine was right. She said you lied and I didn't believe her but she was right. The one time, the one time I don't listen to her... and she's finally telling the truth.”

He laughs. It's bitter and hollow but oddly unfamiliar. Everything is coloured now. Thoughts and emotions and subtle variations of what was.

What will never be...

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