"Stefan? Damon? Anyone? Hellooo..." Elena shut the heavy oak door behind her and stepped into the Salvatore boarding house. She walked forward and called again. "Is anyone home?"
"Boo." Elena felt breath tickle her ear and shrieked, her body involuntarily leaping backwards. She heard a thunk, before a sharp pain spread forward from the back of her head. Elena fell backwards and landed on the floor with a huff of pain, wondering how she had gotten there in the first place.
"Why Elena, it's impolite to jump someone as soon as you walk in the door. And you're not really supposed to head butt them when you do it."
"Damon, you ass. Why did you have to go and make me jump like that? My head is killing me now." Elena whimpered, clutching her head. She looked behind her and saw that she was sat on Damon's lap on the floor.
"Sorry, I didn't think you would leap about six feet into the air, then bring me down with you." Damon waited for a reply and was disappointed when he didn't get an answer. "Does your head still hurt? I really wouldn't stand up...
"Damon, I'm fine." Elena struggled to get up out of Damon's arms. Things were awkward enough between them already.
"Fine, go for it. But just remember, when you fall I won't be there to catch you." She looked up at his smirking face and resisted the urge to laugh. This was serious. She would prove Damon wrong. Even though he always seemed to be right. Ass.
"Well part of me standing up kinda involves you letting go of me?" The statement came out as a question without her meaning it to. Without waiting for an answer, Elena grabbed the nearest stable object and hauled herself up.
Unfortunately she had expected Damon to pull her back in some way, rather than just to remove his arms completely. So instead of pulling herself gently and gracefully to her feet as planned, she overestimated the amount of force needed and hurtled forward head first.
There was only enough time for a small squeak to leave her mouth before she felt arms lock around her stomach and swoop her onto her feet.
Or so she thought. Her feet still hadn't come into contact with the floor. Confused, she peeked one eye open, then widened them both in alarm.
"Oh my God Damon let me go!" For Elena was hanging upside down with Damon holding on to her ankles. To make matters worse, Damon was perched casually on a ceiling beam, merrily swinging his legs this way and that. "Damon! Dammit, this isn't funny!" Damon, on the other hand, was finding this situation pretty darn hilarious.
"Really Elena? You want me to let you go? Well, if you insist..." He let go of one ankle.
"Gah! No no no no no! You know what I meant you ass!" There was a strange rushing sensation, and Elena found herself sat on the beam next to Damon, one of her arms linked through his. She inwardly sighed with relief, glad that she had something to hold on to besides air.
"So I'm an ass huh?" Damon smirked dangerously in Elena's direction. Only someone incredibly brave or incredibly stupid would say yes.
"Yes." Elena replied simply.
Well there we go. A menacing glint appeared in Damon's eyes. Elena saw this and leaned back as far as she could. "Damon...Stop it..." Elena was leaning further and further backwards in a failing attempt to escape Damon's advances. Soon she could lean back no further, her back was stretched out as far as it would go.
"So...am I still an ass?" Damon leant even further forward and Elena responded by attempting to retreat. But Damon's arm was locked around hers and she was worried that if she leant any further back she would fall.
Elena skipped through her options in her head. Sure, she could say no Damon wasn't an ass, and he would let her sit right back up. But could she really be able to stand the look on his face if she relented? The answer was no. So, really, there was only one option left.
"Yes Damon, you are still an ass." She replied defiantly. Unbeknownst to Elena, Damon had been watching these thoughts play across her face. She was incredibly expressive...stubborn too. Now, what can be done about that?
"Hmm... You know, stubbornness is not an attractive trait in a lady." There we go. He saw the tell-tale disbelief in her face at his comment, quickly turning to anger. This was how to get to Elena. Make her angry. Damon grinned evilly as he ran through the rest of his plan in his head. Oh she would so regret challenging him!
"Did you really just say that?" Elena asked, the indignation clear in her voice. She was still bent backwards but now she brought her hands up against Damon's chest and attempted to push him away. Damon simply regarded this with amusement.
"Elena. I am a 160 year old vampire. You are a 17 year old human. Who do you think is going to win this?"
"Me!" Elena pushed with all of her might against Damon. He didn't move an inch.
"Are you even trying?" Damon made a show of yawning and patting his hand.
"Well it's a bit difficult when I'm bent over backwards like this." Damon simply raised an eyebrow. "That was a hint for you to let me back up, genius."
"I'd love to Elena. However, you see, to have forgotten why you were bent backwards in the first place." A frown puckered Elena's brow.
"I don't know what you're talking about Damon." She said carefully, desperately fighting to keep her face open and innocent.
"Oh really?" Damon saw through her act in an instant. "I think you're lying. I think that you do know, but you're pretending not to so that you have an excuse to get close to me." Elena's eyes widened and she blushed a tremendous shade of red.
"What? No, I, you..." She stammered, avoiding his gaze.
"Are you sure? I mean, what other reason could there be? Surely you haven't forgotten already, right?"
He was too close, much too close. She forgot what she was saying. Damon looked at her with big eyes, his face dejected. "Am I really an ass Elena?"
Elena was frozen, a look on her face akin to a rabbit in headlights. Almost without realising it, she shook her head, her gaze still held firmly in place by Damon's beautiful blue eyes. Damon regarded her thoughtfully, still staring. She had just backed down. He could read in her face that she hadn't even realised it. Was he compelling her? He couldn't be, she had her necklace on, right?
"Elena, are you wearing your necklace?" Damon asked, his musical voice almost hypnotic. Elena nodded this time. Hmm. Interesting. Was it him? What else could he ask her? Would she come to if he moved away? How was this even working? All of these questions flashed through his mind in less than a second. Screw it, Damon's mind whispered to him, just think of this as an experiment.
He decided to start out small. "Elena, was I right about the fact that you shouldn't have stood up so quickly?"
No. Elena's mind whispered urgently. Don't back down. But, held like this by Damon's gaze, she found that she couldn't lie to him.
"Yes, you were right." She couldn't even register the shock on Damon's face. Elena Gilbert, the most stubborn person he had ever met (and that was saying something) had just admitted that he, Damon Salvatore, had been right. He watched her, dumbfounded, as she stared blankly back. Now's your chance. His mind sang at him. She's not going to lie to you. And you haven't even compelled her. Go on, ask her what you've always wanted to.
"Elena." Damon began carefully, his eyes scanning her face. "You've known that I like" love, his mind corrected. "You for a long time now. How do you feel about me?"
He watched the question process through her brain. She took so long, that Damon thought she wasn't going to answer.
"I hate the fact that you can always look so freaking good all the time."
Well that was unexpected. All at once he pulled back and chuckled. "You, my friend, are seriously going to regret saying that."
The words barely registered. Elena felt as if she had just surfaced from being underwater. She took a deep breath and wondered if she had even breathed these past few minutes. She sat in a daze for about 30 seconds as she processed what had just happened. What she had just said.
"Oh God." She whispered.
"Oh God indeed. So...I look freaking good all the time do I?" He winked.
"This is not happening. This is not happening." Elena was mortified. How could she have told him this? How did her get her to tell him this? "Damon, what did you do?"
"Nothing." He replied easily, drawing the word out. "How could I have? You've still got your necklace on."
"Well I would never have told you that willingly!" Elena cried obstinately. She would have folded her arms too, if it weren't for Damon still keeping one armed looped with his.
"Oh come on, just admit it, you can't resist my puppy dog eyes."
Elena snorted. "Yeah right. I-" She stopped abruptly as Damon turned the full force of his eyes on her.
"Elena, do you really think I'm hot?"
"Oh my God Elena, you are so weak!" Damon crowed as he broke the eye contact.
"Dammit! Damon stop it, that's not fair!" Elena looked deliberately at his shoulder as she said this.
"And why, do tell, is it not fair?" Damon inquired, attempting to catch her eye.
"Because you're a vampire, so you're obviously much stronger than me. Plus you've got compulsion and you know that I always cave whenever-" Elena snapped her mouth shut. No. She would not tell him that. If she did she would never be able to keep any secrets from him again.
"Whenever what?" Elena simply pressed her lips together and shook her head. "C'mon Elena, please?" Damon ducked his head down, getting in her personal space, trying to make her look at him. But Elena, thinking on the spot, shut her eyes tight.
Damon considered her for a moment. Sure, he could probably 'convince' her to open her eyes and look at him, but where was the fun in that?
So he gave a theatrical sigh, feeling Elena tense beside him as she wondered what he was planning on doing. As the minutes ticked by she began to relax again, but she never opened her eyes.
He studied her face carefully and saw all worry drain from her face. He grinned. Now to strike when she least expected it...
Elena was lost in thought, unashamedly about what she was going to have for dinner. Y'know... She mused quietly to herself, I haven't had pasta for a couple weeks...
She was so deep in thought that she didn't realise until too late that she was hanging upside down by her ankles again. Damn.
"So Elena, are we gonna do this the easy way or the hard way?"
Elena's eyes, which had flown open in shock, locked tight back together again. Damon took that to mean the hard way.
"Fine. You leave me no choice."
And with that he released one ankle. Elena was now dangling one-legged in the air. Still she didn't open her eyes or talk to him.
"So, you cave whenever...dot dot dot. Would you be so kind as to fill in the blanks?"
Eyes still clamped shut, Elena replied "Nope. And don't even try getting me to tell you, it won't work." Elena considered something briefly. "Do your worst."
"That was your biggest mistake today." Damon growled close to her ear. And then he dropped her.
"Damn." He muttered, impressed. "She is good." For Elena still had neither opened her nor uttered a word. Rolling his eyes, Damon leapt to the floor at vampire speed, effortlessly catching Elena, and jumped back up to the ceiling beam that they had just previously occupied.
Now what could I do? He wondered. Making her think she was going to fall was my trump card!
Elena appeared to be thinking along the same lines. "Damon, I told you to do your worst." She taunted. "What could you possibly have in store now? Because if that's your worst you're never gonna find out." She even opened her eyes to prove her point.
And jumped when she saw how close Damon's face was to hers.
"Oh Elena, you have no idea what you are talking about. For example, have you checked your necklace recently?"
Stunned, Elena glanced down and saw that her necklace was not in fact there. Sure enough, when she returned her eyes to Damon, there it was, dangling in his hand.
"What? How did you-? When?"
"I'm a vampire Elena." Damon rolled his eyes. "Super speed, that sorta thing. C'mon, you're familiar with this." He flashed her a sudden grin. "So, I'll ask you again. You cave whenever what?"
"You wouldn't dare."
"Oh wouldn't I? You've seen me do a hell of a lot worse Elena. And besides, what's a little mind control between friends?"
"I have vervain in my system Damon." Elena tried to appear brave, weakness was not helpful when bluffing.
"You're lying to me..." With vampire speed Damon lifted Elena's chin up so that she automatically looked up at him. "Elena in exactly two minutes I want you to tell me something very embarrassing about you, something that no-one else knows. Unless of course you tell me what makes you cave. Make it something...blackmailable. Do you understand?"
"I understand" Elena replied monotonously.
"Good." Damon pulled back. "Time's a wastin' Elena. Better tell me what makes you cave." Damon had her and he knew it. There was no way she was going to tell him something blackmailable. He'd never let her live it down.
Elena was thinking along the same lines. Her mind was frantically searching to find a way to not tell him anything. Unfortunately she came up blank. "Damon..." She began.
"One minute thirty. This better be good Elena." He warned. "Because you would be wasting your precious time. Speaking of which, you have one minute left."
"I'm no telling you Damon." Elena hoped she sounded a lot more confident than she felt.
"Then you're a fool Elena. 45 seconds."
"C'mon Damon, I'll tell you anything else!"
"Really? Anything else? All to protect this one little secret? Now I want to know even more. 30 seconds."
Elena stared uncomprehendingly at Damon. He sighed. "What could it possibly be that you're willing to risk me hearing something incredibly embarrassing about you? Oh well, 20 seconds."
"Am I? Well I guess we'll find out in...fifteen seconds won't we?"
"Damon don't do this."
"If I tell you I'll never be able to hide anything from you again."
"Did you really think that would convince me? Now I know that I have to get you to tell me. 9 seconds."
"Damon, c'mon. I thought we were past this?"
"Nice try. 7.”