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The two begin to kiss passionately before getting interrupted - it is later revealed that it wasn't Elena he kissed, but Katherine Pierce.
Later in the season, it also implies that he actually feels human emotions, such as pain and love, which helps the viewer sympathize toward his character in some situations.
However, when Rose, Damon's old friend who turned Katerina, suffers from a werewolf bite, he gives her the memory of her life prior to becoming a vampire, and helps her remember how good it felt to be able to walk and feel the sunlight, without it burning her.
He kisses her forehead and says he wishes she could remember this, but she cannot.
After on-again/off-again relationship with both brothers, Elena chooses to be with Damon in the series finale.
The initial casting call for the character required an actor in his early- to mid-twenties to play a "darkly handsome, strong, charming, and smug vampire who can go from casual and playful to pure evil in less than a heartbeat." Damon Salvatore is a vampire, turned by Katherine Pierce 145 years prior to the series' debut.
The arrangement transpired after a bargain for his blood that would cure Damon of the werewolf bite he had received from Tyler.
At first, he is reluctant to involve Elena in the rescue attempts, employing Alaric Saltzman, Elena's guardian, instead as Klaus does not know that Elena is alive after the sacrifice which frees Klaus' hybrid side.