waltzmatildah: (tvd: damon and elena black and white)
[personal profile] waltzmatildah
Title: Inspire In Me The Desire In Me (To Never Go Home)
Fandom: The Vampire Diaries
Characters/Pairing: Elena, Elena/Damon
Word Count: 1050
Rating: PG
Prompt: From [livejournal.com profile] bluesuzanne at [livejournal.com profile] softly_me's TVD Ficathon. Hey, hey, just one more and I'll walk away. All the everything you win turns to nothing today. And I forget how to move when my mouth is this dry, and my eyes are bursting hearts in a blood-stained sky. Oh it was sweet, it was wild, and oh how we...
Author's Note: This prompt, and the song it was taken from, are stunning and I only hope I've managed to do them both some semblance of justice... (Prompt lyrics, title and cut text from "Homesick", The Cure.)




In the shell-shocked aftermath of Rose's demise a shift of sorts realigns them into something unfamiliar. Patterns of mono-chromed ink that paint pictures of how things will never be.

No matter how much they may want for them to.

He blames himself. It is a deserved recrimination after all and no one will deny him that.

He disappears for hours on end. And a layer of dry ice develops in her veins as Stefan watches him surreptitiously through squinted lids. Like he can see things that she can't.

Like he knows things that she never could.



*



He sits at the mouth of the tomb. She finds him there on occasion. Pretends she's just passing by and he doesn't bother to dispute the obvious lie. She hangs back. Lets the shadows envelope her in their mottled dark. She doesn't see him go any further than three steps to down.

Would give anything to be privy to his thoughts.

Over one hundred and sixty years and some things will never change. Death and betrayal being two of the very most important...

The significance of this location is not lost on her.



*



He takes to sleeping on her porch again. She catches sight of him through drapes pulled askew. He doesn't announce his presence, nor does he provide her a reason as to why.

Though she thinks she could probably count them all off. One by one by one...

If she were to be honest with herself.

Instead, she allows him his private penance. One thousand Hail Marys asked and delivered.



*



Nights become weeks become slow turning calendar pages. Winter arrives, wreaks vengeance with a ferocity she struggles to recall. Snow drifts muffle footsteps that come every so often, but mostly go, and the cold air builds a wall of ice between her and everything that used to be.

Fingers frozen, locked in place. A drifting of sorts...

He leaves town after that. Goes in search of the memories that he wears draped around his neck. A crown of thorns, slipped and slipping. She watches his retreat with baited breath and counts down the ticking minutes 'til she can slip quietly into the night behind him.

His shadow.



*



There is something about his unravelling that she can't tear her gaze from. A silent form of disrepair that she doubts her hands will ever be strong enough to piece back together.

Isn't entirely convinced that she wants them to.

She follows at a distance. Uses the remnants of himself that he loses along the way as her unwavering guide.

Catches up with him somewhere between the before that they're denying and the after that they're so desperately hiding from. A safe middle ground where none of anything else seems to matter all that much...

Her fingernails scratch at the door of a motel room he's calling home for the night. Chalkboard raw. It cracks open with a shriek.

A warning perhaps.

A warning that she fails to heed.



*



His dark is filled with nightmares that he refuses to acknowledge.

But so is hers and she is not one to judge.

Not this time.

Cheap hotel linen pools between their ankles. Summer comes, brings with it a searing kind of tension that coats their skin, salt water slick.

In-boxes fill. Remain resolutely un-emptied. And it would seem that the world refuses to turn without them in it.

The validation in that knowledge is as surprising as it is bitter on her tongue.

She erases the taste with his lips.



*



He forgets to run for a moment. And she forgets to remind him.

They still to stalled in the New Mexico desert. Cars parked shoulder to shoulder, a united show of solidarity that is lost on neither of them.

Two hundred and eighty seven days have passed. A line scratched into her visor for each and every one as the motels change their names but not their d├ęcor and Albuquerque becomes Phoenix becomes somewhere just outside The Strip.

And it all starts to sound the same in the end.

If that is what this is.

The end.



*



But then he's gone before she wakes. Dust motes tumble one over the other through the streak of sunlight that criss crosses the empty half of the bed they had shared.

A note propped on the pillow that she doesn't bother to read. Red ink that she thinks looks a little too much like blood, maybe even her blood for it feels like she might be missing some. She tucks the slip of paper into her purse for later.

To throw in his face at the back of the next town over.

An enraged fuck you, too that she won't need consonants and vowels to articulate.



*



It's three nights and fours days before she can bring herself to catch him up. Shadows elongate across sharp features that crease in confusion at her dogged determination.

His implied why is received. Loud and static free.

He keeps his hands out front and centre. Refuses to open the door this time. Whether for her preservation or his she can no longer tell...

They were never the same thing, after all.



*



She slides her car into the gravel at the shoulder of dusty road in a city that could be Twin Falls but probably isn't.

Elbows her way into a phone-booth and drops coins into the ether. Dials Caroline's cell from memory. Slides to seated down the shattering glass as an automated message spells out instructions for her to leave a message after the tone...

But she has no message to leave. The handset drops, dangles freely between her knees.

A face, pressed to the fingerprint streaked glass, raises eyebrows in a manner that is wholly familiar.

Something in her chest bursts and the pieces that had shifted all those weeks and months ago drop resolutely back into place.



*



He threads fingers through hers. A tight knit weave. Hauls her to her feet.

And she can't for the life of her imagine what letting go might feel like as the black of the night meets the black of the highway ahead.

Split only by headlights that fail to point in a direction that might one day lead them home.
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