Tell me where to now 'cause the lights are up
And the covers and the gloves are off
There's no win or lose so go ahead make your move
Let's just pray that it's good enough
There's a war in my heart getting tired of fighting
When you say that you love me it hurts like lightning
In the end, he couldn’t stay. He tried; God knew he tried. He wanted to be there for her, to make sure she made the transition all right. For as long as he could, he stayed. He fought with Stefan and went toe-to-toe with Matt and snarled for her right to choose her own path rather than being forced to be what Stefan wanted her to be: some other version of himself, fettered to human morality.
Damon knew what it was to lose yourself; to lose everything you hoped for and dreamed of; to let go of your life; to have to forge a new one. Stefan was going to keep her trapped in a cycle of denial, for fear of what she could become, but…
But she’d chosen Stefan. It didn’t matter that she had to know, now, that she’d met him first. Didn’t matter she likely remembered <i>everything</i> he’d ever made her forget. She’d chosen Stefan.
And a few minutes later, Ric had died in his arms, and after that he didn’t see much point in sticking around.
Besides…he’d promised to go.
* * *
There hadn’t been much reason to stay. Elijah said they’d done enough. Nothing left to bury; nothing left to burn. He was angry, she thought, at what she’d done. Or maybe he was just angry at their mother, or himself. She couldn’t be certain. Where Nik’s anger was obvious, and he never had let you wonder about what you’d done…Elijah was cold. Contained. Remote.
Rebekah wasn’t sure if it was anger, then, or who it was aimed at, or if he had just shut down in grief, shattered into pieces he couldn’t pick up.
If he was angry at her, he didn’t lash out. When she cried, he held her; when she woke in terror from nightmares, he was there.
But he wouldn’t let her in; wouldn’t let her see his own grief; most certainly wouldn’t talk about it.
The modern world was still new to her, and she drifted through the streets of New York, so changed from the last time she had visited it with Nik, before they’d gone to Chicago. Kol came and went; Elijah stayed; and she wondered if she would ever get the chance to really live, or if the next thousand years would be a more grief-stricken version of the last.
* * *
He hadn’t meant to follow them. That wasn’t his intention, at all. Honestly, it wasn’t until he saw her across the park, hunting the shadows, just as he was, that he realized where she and Elijah had gone. Stilling, then pulling back further into the dark, he watched her from downwind, the gleam of her hair in the sporadic lights, the grace with which she moved.
For a moment, he wanted that damned stake, wanted to lash out, blame her. But he remembered the screams when the flames burst out of the coffin, remembered the tremble under his fingers when he’d used everything he had to pull her back, to make her leave.
He still wasn’t certain why he’d done it. Maybe to protect Elena. Elijah could possibly have forgiven the death of Klaus, would still have gone and left them alone, taken his siblings and gone on the run. But if Rebekah had died…Damon was pretty certain the Original would have ripped Elena’s heart out himself.
Maybe he’d just remembered how she looked at him, vulnerable and hopeful; how she’d slid into his arms; how she’d felt against him. He’d told himself she deserved what he’d done, that it was a matter of survival.
It didn’t change that the look in her eyes was like looking in the mirror.
He slipped out of the park without confronting her.
* * *
Someone was following her. Rebekah caught glimpses, flickers out of the corner of her eyes. The shadows moved, sometimes, full of more than just darkness, but always out of reach of even her vision.
She tried the direct approach more than once, darting toward them in a blur, but always nothing and no one was there. Another vampire, then. She could have caught whoever it was—none of those walking the earth were faster or stronger than she was, except maybe Elijah. But she didn’t know which direction to move in, and the scents of the city masked the trail, though the scent…she knew that.
Aware of the scrutiny, she slipped into a bar, wondering if he would show himself if she just stayed still. Glancing around the bar, Rebekah settled on the barstool and ordered herself a glass of wine. On a whim, she ordered a whiskey as well, putting it in front of the stool beside her. When some human tried to sit there, she told him to get lost.
No one came.
She tried again the next night.
* * *
By the third night, Damon saw the edges of her patience—never all that good—wearing very thin. Honestly, he was surprised she’d tried the lure a second night. He was less surprised she knew he was there, but he’d stayed at enough distance to elude the direct search.
Nibbling at his lower lip, he watched her through the window, considering. A light rain was falling, the air chilling around him. Inside, humans were laughing and flirting and making plans for something more around the lone girl at the bar.
He didn’t need to come in out of the rain that was no more than an annoyance, and he snarled something to himself under his breath, and started to leave.
Somehow, he found himself inside instead, making his way through the laughing throng of mindless people unaware of the death that walked among them, that waited at the bar.
There was symmetry to it; another bar, another drink, another taste.
He’d been hurting that night, too. So had she.
It seemed nothing had changed in some regards, except the holes inside them had grown.
Damon settled on the empty bar stool and reached for the whiskey.
“Took you long enough,” she murmured.
He studied her for a long moment, then lifted the glass in a salute. “Luckily, time is on our side.”
* * *
It could have been a trap. Elijah would worry, if he knew. He’d plotted to kill her. She’d bled him nearly dry. His best friend had killed her brother. She’d killed the girl he loved.
It was foolish to find herself pressed up against the door of his townhouse, little whimpers escaping to mingle with the harsher moans he made. There should have been more blood and tears, but the lines drawn in red were from the needed scrape of teeth over skin and quickly soothed away by darting tongues.
Even more foolish was falling asleep in his arms again, closer than the last time, the two of them pressed skin to skin. She expected him to kick her out; she really thought that she should leave.
But when morning filtered through the windows and her phone started buzzing with frantic messages demanding to know if she was all right, she woke to find his arm still curled around her while his shoulder pillowed her head.
Reaching groggily for the phone, she pulled away for a moment.
Once she’d sent a reassuring message winging back across town, Damon tugged her back against him, fingers ghosting over her skin. She rolled him to his back, sliding atop him, and pressed herself back onto him, letting him fill her one more time.
Just for now, she’d stay.
Someone stop the clock before the good gets lost
Before my heart has to start again
Will I go alone or will you bring me home
You see through my eyes like broken windows
So tell me if we're dying before I let go