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hold me (like I was born to be held)

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Her thighs are slick, and his cheeks are smooth.

Her toes curl in the sheet as she raises herself up to meet his lips, soft and wet and quick to wrap themselves around her. His tongue, not forked, though she wouldn't be surprised, flicks with the kind of precision bred of experience. She has to bite her lip to keep each stuttered moan stuck behind her teeth, raises a hand to cover her mouth when he takes her clit between his lips and sucks. Her head falls back, neck strained, and her chest arches up, heart pounding behind her breasts, nipples throbbing along with her clit.

His hand slides up her stomach – slow, tender, fingers spread wide – and she feels every touch like fire burning from the inside out. He plucks at her nipples like they're the taut strings of a guitar. If she were his kind of music, she'd be Def Leppard. She'd be 'Pour a Little Sugar on Me,' so loud it would make her ears bleed. That's how he likes it; wild and angry and loud enough that his body vibrates with a phantom pulse. Bonnie's not Def Leppard, or so she thinks. She's Nina Simone. She's 'Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood'; good intentions and terrible outcomes. That doesn't stop him from playing her.

One of his hands curls around her leg, fingers lazily stretching from her hip to her underarm, teasing at her ribs to make her squirm. He tucks his fingers into the crease of where her hip meets her leg and keeps her still when she tries to rock up and search out his tongue. He wants to taste her at his leisure, to keep her on edge until he sees fit to push her off. She knows this, and still she tries to force his hand. It only makes him smirk against her, his tongue licking and swirling and teasing her.

His other hand curls around her breast, kneading gently, thumb rubbing around her nipple until it aches. She closes her hand around his, fingers slotting together, but she still lets him just skim the surface. Sometimes his touch is so light, she wonders if she's imagining it. She can feel the goose bumps spread over her torso, every tiny hair raised in anticipation of him.

For a moment, all she can hear is her own breathing, and then the fog clears and she can hear his mouth on her, sucking gently, his own panting breaths as he buries his lips against her, licking her up as she shakes and quivers and reaches a hand down her stomach toward him. She wants to grab his hair, shove him down, demand he make her come. Another part of her wants to just feel the angles of his face, the high arch of his cheeks, trace his eyebrows with her thumb. Prove to herself he's real, he's there, he's not going to leave her behind.

She needs to be reminded sometimes. That she's home. She's alive. She's not alone, not with Kai, not trapped in some prison world.

He's learned how to read her body language, he knows when she's starting to question reality, and that's why he knows which nights she needs him. She tells herself that's why he does this. There's no other reason. No underlying feelings. It's release. Release of fear and tension and uncertainty. They're friends. Friends who know each other in every way they can and more intimately than most. But still. Friends.

Because she cannot afford to love someone who will never love her. Not the way she wants or deserves.

His heart was written off in 1864, when he fell in love with a face and a dream that only took 145 years to come true. She can't compete with that, so she doesn't try.

She just takes.

She takes what he offers. She takes his tongue and his fingers and the grunt of her name against her ear as he sinks inside her. She takes the quiet moments after, where he holds her and strokes her back until she falls asleep. She takes the kiss he presses to her hair before he leaves her bed. She takes and takes and enjoys every second of it.

Except later, in those moments when the sheets go cold and she misses his scent and the weight of his body next to hers and the tender way his fingers write on her skin like she is parchment and he is ink.

But she doesn't like to think of that, of the bereft aftermath where, for just a moment, she wonders what it'd be like to have his heart. To hold it not in her hand, but in her own heart, guarded, kept safe, sealed off from the hurt he's known for too long.

She's poetic in the moments before she puts up her own guard, locks her heart away in a steel box so it won't be touched by the sharp beak of a scavenging crow.

When he finally lets her come, she is shaking head to toe. She is a trapped scream in her throat and the curl of her toes. She is a back arched up so abruptly, she fears it might break. She is blurred eyes and shallow breaths and pleasure so absolute that she can taste it.

And then she can taste him, his tongue, still wet with her, dipping into her mouth, his lips molding to hers like they are one in the same. He draws her legs around him, his hands memorizing her from her ankles to her knees to the backs of her thighs. He cups her, hands gathered under her ass, and he lifts her up to meet him as he presses into her. Slowly. For a man who epitomizes impatience, he sure knows how to draw things out.

He likes the way her mouth falls open, how that tiny gasp escapes like a traitorous offering to her downfall. He sucks on her bottom lip, nipping at it, not quite hard enough to break skin, and pulls his cock out just a little before dipping back in, deeper. He does that, over and over again, until he's finally as deep as he can reach. And then he watches her, her eyes fluttering, her mouth still left open. He watches her as pleasure crosses her features each time she moves, squirming, desperate for him to just fuck her already. He kisses her chin, her stubborn chin as he calls it, and her neck, long and graceful and salty with sweat. He sucks on her pulse, scrapes his teeth over it, and she hums, her arms around him, nails digging into his back, not quiet desperate enough to beg, but definitely thinking about it.

He kisses every inch of her neck and her shoulders and he bends to suck one lucky nipple into his mouth, his tongue twisting all around it. And then he's level with her face once more and he drags his mouth over hers and down her cheek. She can feel his eyelashes, leaving wispy kisses on her skin, and she hates the way emotion clings to her throat. Heavy and burning, because he isn't supposed to be tender. He is fire and ice, jagged and sharp, passion and rage. He kisses her behind her ear and down, to the hinge of her jaw. He drags his nose along her neck, breathing her in, and then pauses, his chin between her collar bones.

"Say my name," he tells her.

As if she could forget.

As if she doesn't know exactly who is between her legs.

As if there's anyone else.

Still, she bites her lip, because she never does. Not in the darkest rooms or in the most frenzied of nights. She seals her mouth before his name can leave her because she might need him to remind her that she is real and safe and alive, but she doesn't need to recognize that this, what she's doing, who she's with, can break her. And he will, if she lets him. She never wonders if he'll put her back together after. The answer is no. The answer is always Elena. Elena first. Elena always.

Still, he wants to hear it. He wants to hear that cracked cry of his name, that exclamation that he has won, he has conquered, he is King.

For a man who isn't hers, he's entirely too territorial.

"C'mon, Bon-Bon…" He licks a strip up the front of her neck, and grins when she shivers. "What've you got to lose?"

Too much. Her heart, most of all. But her dignity, her control, her safety, too.

So instead she rocks her hips up and she squeezes tight, until she's not the only one with their mouth left wide open. He lets out a noise, somewhere between a groan and a whimper. And he can't help it when he pulls out and thrusts back in, a ricochet of pleasure zinging through her. His hands squeeze her ass reflexively, holding her up as he kneels before her. Like she is an idol to be prayed at, a Goddess for him to lay his offerings to. His hands unclench only to skip up her back. And he lifts her, leans back so she falls into his lap. Her arms raise, coming around his shoulders and his neck to keep herself steady.

Her breath leaves her in a rush; he's still so deep inside her and every movement is one tiny tremor closer to an earthquake.

Her head falls forward until they're face to face, and he gazes up at her, his blue eyes bright. He reaches up, fingers stretching over her cheek, and he shakes his head. "What's it going to take, hm?"

His eyes bounce all over, like they're trying to memorize her face, as if he hasn't seen it a thousand times before. She wonders what he sees. What insecurities and flaws are written into her skin with glaring accuracy. His fingers stroke down to the corner of her perpetually upturned lips.

"I can see you in there, trying to come up with excuses, trying to keep me out even when I'm halfway in…"

He shifts his hips and she gasps, desperately biting at her lip to keep it from happening again. His thumb is quick to release it from her teeth, soothingly stroking back and forth.

"What do you wanna hear? Huh? You want me to get sappy? Tell you I can't live without you, you're the only witch for me, that I fell in love with you without even knowing it until it was almost too late. Is that what you wanna hear? Or maybe how all those months in Kai's prison made me face things I never thought I'd have to. Made me appreciate you in all your self-righteous, judgy, hopeful glory."

He stares at her searchingly, his face wide and open and sincere in a way she's only used to at night, when he's stroking his fingers over every inch of her body just to remind her that she made it, she's okay, he's got her.

She tries to turn away, because this isn't what she expects and she's not sure what to do with it, but she's very sure she doesn't believe it.

He catches her, his hand at the nape of her neck, squeezing gently. "Don't. Don't turn away. Look at me," he says, demands, pleads.

She folds her lips and raises her chin up, turns her eyes to the ceiling.

He presses an open-mouth kiss to her neck and moves, rotating his hips and pressing up into her. He starts off slowly, his hand reaching down to steady her, and he thrusts up, sinking himself inside her, quicker and deeper each time. She digs her nails into his shoulders and pushes down to meet each stroke, her breasts rubbing against his chest, her heart hammering away. This she understands. This she gets. This is him, and them, and it needs no thinking.

He tips her head down and she lets him, meets his slanting mouth, hard and bruising, their teeth knocking together and their noses bumping. But it feels good, it feels both heavy and light, like being set free even as he holds on so she doesn't float out of reach.

She could get lost in him. She could lose herself to his hands, dragging down her neck, clutching her ass, stroking her body, directing it, loving it in the only way he can. She could lose herself in his eyes; eyes that watch her and watch out for her and drink her in with the kind of devotion she's never seen directed at her before. She could lose herself in his body, cold and hard, seductive and powerful. She could lose herself in every part of him, from his dark hair to his white skin to everything underneath, volatile and uncontrollable, loyal and passionate, cunning and relentless.

She could. She could.

But will she?

"Look at me," he says again.

And this time she does. She lets her eyes meet his and she lets a cry escape. She slides her hands down his back, hugging him, pulling him, clutching at him. He finds her nape once more and he brings her in, their foreheads meeting, and she reaches up, hand at his chin, fingers tucked under the curve of a usually smirking mouth. He's not smirking now, he's not smug or cruel or angry.

"Say my name," he tells her, breathless, beseeching.

She squeezes her eyes shut and he fucks her harder, his arm gripped tight around her waist.

She can feel her climax creeping up on her, making her thighs shake and her stomach twist and her heart struggle. But she knows him, she knows he'll slow down right before—

A desperate groan leaves her and she bares her teeth angrily. "Don't stop," she grits out.

But he does, he slows his hips and slides her down his shaft until she's firmly seated on him, his hand at the small of her back so she can't pull back and do it herself.

"No. Not until you say it."

She wants to cry, the desperation clawing at her chest. She was close. She was so close. "Please," she says, squeezing around him.

His breath catches, but he stays firm.

So she kisses him, she sucks vengefully on his tongue and bites at his lips, and sinks a hand between them, searching out her clit. He catches her, keeps her hand just out of reach, braids their fingers together and holds on.

She's panting, biting down his neck, sucking at his skin, leaving bruises that will fade, her mark never stays. She scrapes her teeth over his shoulders and tries to move herself against him, pulling up and pressing down, desperate for friction. But his hold is stronger and no matter what she does, it's not enough to get her off.

"This isn't fair!" she tells him angrily.

"Nobody's ever accused me of fair play," he says simply, shrugging off her accusation. "I'm tired. If this is how I get you to wake up, so be it."

She scowls at him. "What exactly are you trying to prove?"

She's ready to fight, to argue, to scream and yell and push him. She's ready to snarl and rage and put him in his place. If he thinks he's going to get the better of her, that he'll tear her down, make her like all the rest, all those people he used and discarded, like they were nothing, he's got another thing coming. She is not disposable, and she won't let herself be. She's spent too much time sacrificing herself. Well, no more. She's better, smarter, stronger, and she won't let herself be swallowed by the Tsunami that is him.

"Stop. Pretending," he growls back. "Quit acting like this isn't just as important in the daylight. I'm not your trauma pillow, for you to hold onto when you're sad but ignore when you're happy. If you want me, then want me. Have me. But don't pull me close only to shove me away, I've had enough of that. More than enough. I'm not the puppet you pull the strings on whenever you need an orgasm. This is a two-way street. So either go all in, or stop giving me hope."

She stares at him, confused; her brow furrows and her mouth parts, but there are no words. Because that's not victory in his eyes, that's not triumph in his words, that's not him getting one over on her because she finally succumbed to him.

"You want me," she says quietly.

He snorts. "Obviously. You think I spend this much time chasing after just anybody?" He shakes his head. "I might've been slow on the uptake, but you're putting snails to shame."

Bonnie frowns. "But Elena. I thought—"

"I told you. How many times do I have to spell it out? Elena chose to forget me. Did it hurt? Yeah. Like hell. But I probably wasn't up for any Boyfriend of the Year awards either… I saw her after. How happy she was. And maybe it stung that I wasn't worth fighting for like I did for her, but she was better off. Probably the least selfish thing I ever did, and it was all your fault. Four months stuck with you and I did my fair share of growing up. So congrats, you nagged me into being a better person. I'll erect a judgy little statue in your honor."

She's still slack-jawed, because yes, he's mentioned before that he was over Elena. They've been back for eight months now and he hasn't been pulling any of his old tricks to get her back or get her to fall in love with him again. But she just chalked it up to a long term plan she wasn't privy to. Because Damon without Elena has never been an option, not one she can imagine.

"What do you think I've been doing since you got back?"

Honestly? "Biding your time."

He's incredulous. "For what?"

She swallows tightly. "The inevitable."

He laughs, a scoff of a noise. "That's funny, because I've been thinking the same thing. Only my inevitable—" He points at himself and then pokes her shoulder, "—is not what you think is inevitable."

Her eyebrow arches. "What?"

He shakes his head at her, looking amused, and reaches up to stroke her hair back behind her ear. "Me and Elena aren't inevitable, Bonnie… We're over." He dips his head down and presses a kiss to her chest, nuzzling his nose against her. "Now, me and a certain stubborn witch…? That's inevitable."

She looks down at him then, that swell of emotion in her throat threatening to choke her. "Why do you leave after?" she wonders.

He leans back and gazes up at her. "You didn't ask me to stay."

She thinks about that, about all the things she never says or asks. She thinks about all the words they never share, all the things she wants to. Her thumbs rubs his cheek and she watches, heart wrenching in her chest, as he closes his eyes and leans into her chest.

She's been called judgmental and sacrificial before. She's been called too focused, biased, too stubborn for her own good. But she never realized how blind she was until the truth was staring her right in the face.

"You're in love with me."

He doesn't answer right away, but he goes still. And then, slowly, his eyes open, and he stares up at her staring back at him. "So what if I am?" He's a little defensive, like he's expecting her to tell him he's wrong, or he doesn't, or he shouldn't.

Instead, she leans down, her lips brushing his, and she says, "Damon."

She can feel him smile against her mouth. He lets out a little laugh and then he kisses her, rolling them until she's on her back and he's on his knees. He raises her up by her thighs and he sucks on her lips and this time, he doesn't stop. A happy Damon is a generous Damon. When he's not kissing her mouth, his lips are wrapped around her nipples, plucking them with lips and teeth, his fingers stroking her clit, and his cock sliding in and out of her with one goal. To make her see stars.

She says his name a lot after that.

She chants it until it's a blur while she comes, gripping the pillow behind her head, rocking up to meet him, every muscle in her body tensed almost painfully.

Even after she's come, while she's floating in the afterglow, she still says his name, like she's trying to make up for all the nights she didn't. And he presses sweet, soft kisses all over her skin, ending at her lips, before he falls to the side and gathers her up in his arms, her head falling to his chest as she still tries to catch her breath. She nuzzles her nose against him and hums contently then, stretching her body out against his, trying to reach his toes with her own and falling a few inches short.

She doesn't tell him she loves him, not yet, not when she's only just now let herself hope for something more. But she will. Soon. When the time's right.

Instead, with her eyes drifting shut and his fingers trailing up and down her back soothingly, she murmurs, "Stay."

He kisses her forehead, lingers there a long moment, and nods.

When she wakes the next morning, he's still there, holding her, and it's the dawn of something beautiful.