~ The Vampire Diaries ~

Damon Salvatore

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Blood Ties (1)
(after season 4 -- Elena has chosen Stefan, and Damon is leaving Mystic Falls)

Stefan watched silently as I loaded my bags in the trunk of the Camaro and closed it, ready to set on my way. I felt his urge to say anything that could stall me, to find the right words that could convince me to stay, but he also was aware there was nothing to say to top the deal we stroke a long while ago – the one she doesn’t choose leaves. Now, as I stood beside my loaded car in awkward silence under the twinkling early summer stars, it occurred to me I had known right from the start how this would pan out. It pained me back then when Stefan offered it, but I never felt myself in the position to fight him about this. By the look on his face, it was obvious he never guessed I would be the one leaving. He selfishly wanted to get either a relief from his heartache or both the girl and his brother if the dice rolled in his favor. It did, but the further I assessed the situation and my odds, the more I became convinced I could take no more heartache to favor his brotherly inclination to keep me by his side. It had been a hectic week, and an even harder decision, but it was done.
Elena was sleeping peacefully in her – Stefan’s – room and knew nothing of my sudden departure. I asked Stefan to keep it that way until my trail got cold. I foresaw the goodbyes and the ghost of guilt in Elena’s eyes I would definitely notice if she were here at this hour. I spared us both – or maybe more so myself – this torture. It was miserable enough as it was.
Stefan kept silent, but his eyes were glistening with all the pleading he yearned to let out but didn’t let himself. I shook my head slowly and gave a faint, somewhat sad smile.
“It’s okay, brother. Just so you know, I want you to be happy.” I glimpsed a twinkle in his eye – tears? – and turned away hastily to grope for the driver’s door handle. “I’ll be in touch.”
“Damon…” I looked at him, bracing myself, and bore it stoically, with the same faint smile that froze on my face like a constant spasm of pain I didn’t recall from the days of long-gone past when I was obliged to leave the house and my little brother because my father was directing my life as he pleased. This time, though, I was the villain in the story. And the deeper feeling of something being torn out of me served like a whip that drove me away from the Boarding House.
“It’s okay, Stefan,” I repeated, as though trying to believe it myself. “Really. You’ll be fine, and I… I need some time.”
“Don’t try to stay away against your will, Damon. Promise me as much.” I nodded, wasn’t able to say anything else and slipped into the car, thrusting the key into the ignition lock and twirling it.
As the town quickly disappeared behind, I rolled the side window open and for a long while couldn’t steady my breath – my throat felt too tight with tears I never spilled.
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