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Title: Priorities

Pairing: Gen; hints of Stelena & Delena

Rating: T

Warnings:Spoilers up to and through 3x16 "1912"

Summary: Damon confronts Elena about her reaction to seeing Stefan after feeding.

A/N: This scene is something that kept replaying in my head after seeing Elena’s reaction and the effect it had on Stefan.  That and my unending sympathy for Damon and his usually good intentions.  DISCLAIMER: None of the characters or this universe belongs to me.  All credit goes to LJ Smith and the CW.

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AO3|

 



 

Damon sees the look in Elena’s eyes as she and Matt stumble upon them.  He sees the hurt, the horror…the undisguised disappointment.

 

It’s this last emotion that lingers behind her tears as Stefan stammers her name, pleading.  Damon can sense the pain radiating from his brother, the agony caused by Elena’s disappointment in him.  And it makes Damon angry.

 

When Matt has dragged Elena away and Stefan has shoved past him, Damon just stands there with an unconscious woman at his feet and a well of barely contained anger and irritation.  He shakes himself to regain focus.  First he needs to deal with the subject of his impromptu experiment, the outcome of which balances precariously on a thin line.  He tucks the woman safely back into her car, wipes away the blood from her neck, and then vanishes into the night.

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

He doesn’t realize that he has made the decision to see Elena until his treacherous feet come to a halt on the front lawn of the Gilbert household.  He can hear Elena and Matt murmuring to each other in the kitchen, and for a moment he considers turning around and heading back to the boarding house.  Then he remembers the waves of pain he sensed from his brother earlier that evening and the anger he’d shoved down surfaces full force.

 

Damon knocks on the door with more force than usual, reining his volatile emotions in with slow deep breaths.

 

When Elena answers the door, the look of despair on her face quickly morphs to anger.  “Go away, Damon,” she growls, and moves to slam the door in his face.  One day, he thinks, she’ll remember how pointless it is to try keeping him out.  He shoves past her and walks a few paces into the lobby before turning to face her.

 

“I don’t want you here,” Elena tells him, though she shuts the door behind her.

 

“Well it’s a good thing I’m prone to not giving a damn, isn’t it?” he flippantly replies.  “You and I need to have a quick chat.”

 

“Hey!” Matt interjects from the entrance to the kitchen.  “She said she wants you out, man.”

 

Damon rolls his eyes, fighting down the urge to knock Matt out and avoid future interruptions.  Unfortunately he needs Elena to really hear what he’s come to say, and that won’t happen if she’s too busy berating him for giving her ex a concussion.

 

“I will say this once, before you end up out cold on the floor,” Damon says.  “Mind your own business for the next five minutes and then I’ll be out of your hair.”

 

Matt glares at him in a valiant display of defiance, but makes no further comment.  Good boy Damon thinks with a smirk.

 

“Now,” he says, turning back to the volatile brunette, “where were we?”

 

“You were about to leave,” Elena says.

 

“Wrong.  You and I are going to discuss your innate gifts of poor timing and emotional manipulation.”  The mildly irritated look in her eyes immediately evolves into one of true anger and disbelief.

 

Are you kidding me?” she practically screeches, and Damon winces as the sound reverberates in his sensitive eardrums.

 

“Nope.  Everything was moving along quite smoothly tonight until you came along and sent Stefan on a one-way train back to broodiness.”

 

“You were letting him drink human blood, Damon.  You know what happens when he drinks human blood!” Elena shouts.  Damon registers Matt shifting a bit behind him but doesn’t react.  “This is what you want isn’t it?  You want Stefan to go back to being a monster!”

 

“Newsflash, Elena,” Damon snaps.  “We are monsters.  It comes with the whole immortality package, a fact you should be well aware of by this point!”  She opens her mouth to retort, but Damon isn’t finished yet.  “And you have no idea what I want, Elena.  Stefan is my brother, the brother I just spent ages trying to rescue from evil hybrid clutches and suicidal revenge missions remember?”

 

Her eyes narrow.  “So what?  Getting Stefan away from Klaus was enough and now that he’s finally going back to being the Stefan that I loved you want to sabotage him?”

 

Damon feels the final threads of his control snap and he has her pinned to the door before she can blink, their noses almost brushing as he leans in.

 

“Listen to me very carefully, Elena.  I love you, more than you can ever imagine…but it’s not always about you.  Stefan is my little brother, and I have walked this miserable earth with him for over a century and a half.  And as much as he pisses me off and infuriates me with his self-righteous broody state of being, I am doing and will continue to do everything in my power to make sure ripper Stefan never makes another appearance!”

 

Silence reigns in the house as wide brown eyes stare in shock into icy blue.  Finally she murmurs, “I don’t understand.”

 

Damon sighs and steps back, feeling the bulk of his anger dissipate at the helpless confusion in her tone.  He spares a glance over his shoulder to see Matt standing in the same spot with a dumbfounded expression on his face.

 

“Look, Elena,” Damon says, “it has to be done.  Like I told Stefan earlier, he can’t keep living in extremes.  The bloodlust is a part of our nature, and Stefan has let it control him since the day he turned.  You both keep operating under the stupid assumption that it’s either psycho ripper Stefan or neutered bunny-eating Stefan.”  The brief snort of amusement from Matt’s direction brings another smirk to Damon’s lips.  “I was trying to help him learn moderation tonight…to control the bloodlust instead of letting it consume or terrify him.”

 

“But-”

 

“There are no buts anymore,” Damon sighs.  “If Stefan quits cold-turkey then it’s only a matter of time before something happens to trip him up and trigger the ripper, starting the whole damn cycle over again.  Worse, with all the supernatural trouble you and this God-forsaken town seem to attract, not being able to handle human blood could get Stefan killed.  I am not willing to stand by and let that happen.”

 

When he meets her chocolate gaze once more, there are tears trickling down her cheeks.  Gently, he brushes the moisture from her face, indulging in the touch that he’s been denying himself since turning Abby.

 

“What do you need me to do?” Elena finally whispers.

 

Damon looks at her for a long moment, taking in the almost defeated slump of her shoulders.  He knows she loves Stefan still, wants him to be the Stefan he was when they first met.  He also knows that it’s taking everything in her to try and let that desire go, despite what it could mean for the future relationship that was just starting to reemerge between them.

 

Damon sighs, reminding himself of the words he spoke to her on a night that seems so long ago now.  He loves her too much to be selfish with her, and while he’ll never admit it, he cares about Stefan just as much.  Love is his curse, and he knows that one day it will probably be the end of him.  Soaking in the feel of her soft skin warm beneath his cold touch, Damon allows his hand to fall heavily to his side.

 

“Damon?”

 

“I need you to stop trying to make Stefan-” me “-into something he’s not.”

 

“I-”

 

“I know you love him, but your reaction tonight may have blown any progress I’ve made with him,” Damon tells her honestly.  “I get that you aren’t intentionally trying to guilt-trip him, but the way you reacted tonight…hell the way you react every time he gets near human blood is only reinforcing his immense guilt complex.”

 

“I’m scared of losing him again, Damon,” Elena admits softly, and Damon feels another piece of his heart shatter.

 

“I know, Elena.  And helping him learn to control the bloodlust will keep that from happening.”  He gives her a searching look, trying to determine if she’s on the same page.  “The best thing you can do for him is to support me in this.  Otherwise he’ll just refuse my help because he’s afraid of losing you.”

 

Damon pauses, giving her a moment for his words to sink in.  “Can you do that?”

 

A small treacherous part of him hopes she’ll refuse.  He watches as she gathers her resolve.

 

She nods.

 

“Good,” he whispers.  “Good.”

 

He brushes past her and leaves before she has time to stop him.  He can hear Alaric’s car coming down the road, but he feels a little too shaky to talk to the man right now.  He silently resolves to check in with Ric tomorrow.

 

 

Besides, right now he has a broody little brother to go convince.


 

 

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