09. “I’m sorry.” 114 (Top Ten Damon/Elena moments)
This hug is iconic. In some ways it is the Damon/Elena scene for me (indeed, the TVD scene). It doesn’t tell you everything you need to know about Damon and Elena because their relationship is nothing if not, well, for want of a better word………… epic. Yeah, I went there.
But really, there is so much to them that it would be impossible to say the essence of them is encapsulated in one moment of unexpected tenderness, even if unexpected tenderness is one of the things they are all about.
Having said that, when I think D/E, my mind does jump to this image (sometimes it jumps to much more naked images, but we won’t go into that). I see dark woods. I see Damon, downcast, his entire reason for being the monster he is a trick - a lie - a manipulation - a mistake, maybe. He’s like a child who’s just found out that Santa isn’t real - that Santa, in fact, is the creepy guy who hangs around at ballgames handing out candy, only in a cheap red velour suit with a stick-on beard.
Love is pointless. Hope is a bitch.
And then there’s Elena, who, the moment her brother is going to be okay, is turning - even before Damon’s own brother - is looking up at this figure of misery, standing up, making her way toward him. Elena understands loss all too well, understands all too well what Damon has just been wrenched from. She understands all too well the sudden absence he has been holding onto for 145 years, because there are absences inside her too. And in that moment it is all that matters to her. She doesn’t care that a little while ago he was shoving blood down her throat and threatening to kill her. She doesn’t care that most people would stick their nose in the air and tell themselves whatever, he deserves it. She doesn’t care that his brother - her boyfriend - is standing right there and that this show of compassion will trouble him as much as it charms him.
Why? Because it’s not just compassion. It’s intimacy. It’s that understanding these two have.
That’s why she pulls him into her arms like it’s obvious - like it’s allowed - like they’ve been doing it forever, this hugging thing. That’s why she wraps her arms possessively around his back, whether he is able to lift his or not. He doesn’t reciprocate? It doesn’t matter. She’s not embarrassed. She’s not fearful. She’s resting her cheek against his shoulder like it’s exactly where she belongs.
And she’s telling him she’s sorry. She’s telling him his pain matters.
You lost her too.
When she said that she thought he was just a guy who had loved just a girl who had just died. Damon turned out to be a vampire who abused her friends and tried to kill them. But Elena is still treating him like a person - a person who will receive kindness whether he deserves it or not - whether he’ll admit he needs it or not. And that, my friends, will make all the difference.
And I just love the way Stefan looks on from a distance, feeling so many things - sympathy for his brother, sorrow, even shame, at the fact that his girlfriend can offer comfort to him when he cannot, regret for the awful things loving Katherine did to them, (perhaps a nagging disappointment at not seeing her again after all these lifetimes), and above and beyond all else, a burgeoning awareness of history repeating in new and strange ways.
Elena will be Damon’s someday. In some untold, untouched way she already is. And Stefan already knows it.