Elena has always been a nice person.
She knows how to keep herself in check, and she can deal with just anything; after all, she's had a lot of practice. It's better this way. She's tried yelling and raging, hell, she's even tried blaming the vampires, but none of those things ever worked. So Elena doesn't get angry any more; her problems are big enough without her blowing them out of propotions. Instead Elena chooses to be reasonable; she deals with stuff, and then she moves on.
Stefan might be gone, at least for now, but sooner or later Klaus is coming back for more blood, and Elena needs to be prepared. So two days after the Homecoming she resumes her training with Alaric, and Damon joins them, even though nobody asks him.
Rick doesn't have that much time for her, so it happens more and more often that she's stuck only with Damon. It takes a couple of days for her to realize how surprisingly not awkward it's going; Damon really tries be helpful. He is full of useful advice, no provocations or strange innuendos (it's entirely possible that she's just stopped noticing them), and even when he gets too close, it seems like the most natural thing in the world.
Elena is fine (she should be fine), but there is something building up in her she can't quite explain. She has no reason to be angry right now, she just can't be angry, and yet she gets annoyed by things so silly she's almost ashamed to mention them, little fights with Jeremy or Alaric putting a frying pan in a wrong drawer.
“Oh, just hit me already,” says Damon impatiently after four or five days. “If it' makes you feel any better...”
“I am hitting you.”
“No, you are training with me. Just hit me for real, and let's be done with all the tension.”
Elena clenches her fists, but she does nothing; at least not that day. A week later, when Damon deliberately puts Caroline in danger just to get more information about Klaus, Elena punches him so hard she hurts her hand.
Damon is always there for her to be annoyed with (she has no reason to be angry, she keeps telling herself, right now she has no reason). Sometimes it feels that he deliberately picks fights with her, so after the incident with Caroline she snaps at him so often she's lost count.
“I brought peace offerings,” he announces when she is sitting in his library after yet another argument, holding on to a book and focused on breathing like a normal person.
“I'm not mad at you. Why are you apologizing?”
“Of course you are mad. And I'm not apologizing. I just thought you could use a drink.”
She takes a few sips, because it's a polite thing to do, but refuses to go any further.
“We can't be like that,” she tells him. “I can't fight with you all the time.”
“Of course you can. I mean, if I were you, I'd fight with me all the time.”
“That's not how friendship is supposed to work.”
“Sure about that?”
Elena moves out of Mystic Falls right after graduation, and she doesn't even care about the mess she's leaving behind her. She needs her life to be normal, she needs to be happy and date a nice guy; she needs to start over, and she is going to do it even if it kills her.
There always is some background noise in her head, but she learns to ignore it. She decides to work for a year before she goes to college, so she finds a job, and everything is just splendid; she has a good place to stay, and her job isn't as tedious as she thought it would be. She even manages to make some friends and have the kind of social life like she used to have before the whole vampire drama.
She expected that Damon would follow her and fail miserably at properly hiding his presence, but it does surprise her how much she doesn't mind. She simply ignores him, lets him observe her from the other side of the street or wander around her apartament, and one night when she is out with friends and so happy it nearly chokes her, she makes a lame excuse, runs away and takes a seat at the bar, right next to him.
When she finally sleeps with Damon, it's the most comfortable sex she's ever had; she is naked and angry, and he doesn't even try to calm her down, he just follows. There is no broken furniture or torn-up clothes, because it's Elena who is in charge, and she doesn't need this kind of show. She is done with yelling and slapping Damon's face; now it's enough for her to touch him like she means it. Elena lets her anger build up slowly, and then she lets go, and suddenly her mind is all clear.
It's hardly the most satysfying sex she's ever had, but that's strangely fitting. It's not like she did it because she needed Damon to rock her world; the point was for her to rock her own world.
“How are you?”, she asks when they are done (when he is done), and she can feel him shifting slightly under her as he lets out a quiet laughter.
“Fine, I guess. And you?”
“Calm. I feel calm.”
There is a moment of silence, and it's not entirely impossible that Damon would choose it to say something silly, like “I love you”, but he does no such thing. Elena is sure that this subject will come up eventually, and she might even tell him she loves him back (neither of them knows what love is), but right now Damon is smart enough to know that this is not an accurate word at all.
“Roll over,” he tells her instead. “Your turn.”