Disclaimer: I do not own The Vampire Diaries, its storyline, dialogue, or any of its characters (though I wouldn't mind to have my own real life Damon Salvatore ;). Please don't sue me. I have no money.

Much of the storyline will be the same in the beginning because it's pretty much incredible. However, I hope to portray Elena's POV and her struggle to not feel for Damon, which will happen sooner rather than later, as opposed to the TV show. I may also write from other POVs if I feel I'm able to do so true to the character but I'll always label whose POV is being portrayed if I choose to do that.

This story starts at episode 1.19, Miss Mystic Falls, right before Elena and Damon dance together. It may seem boring or unoriginal in the beginning because it's going to follow the storyline for a while but it will differ eventually. I hope you all stick with me up until then.

I watch Caroline glide down the stairs in her emerald green dress, stunning as ever. I'm thankful for her push to stay in the pageant. She's right. I'm doing this because it was something my mom wanted for me… because it was important to her. Despite the events of the last year, losing my parents, falling for a vampire, being sucked into a world I never dreamed existed, Stefan's struggle with bloodlust… despite it all, that hasn't changed. She would want me to do this, even if she can't be here. Who knows? Maybe she's out there somewhere, watching me, smiling. I was never big on the belief that there could be anything after death but if vampires and witches are real, it doesn't seem like such a stretch anymore.

"Elena, you're next." Mrs. Lockwood says, pulling me from my thoughts.

I take a deep breath and start towards the stairs.

"Mrs. Elena Gilbert escorted by Mr. Stefan Salvatore." The mayor announces.

I take one more deep breath, plaster on my smile, and head towards Stefan. This day has definitely gone differently than I anticipated months ago when I first signed up… but that doesn't mean it can't be a good day. I'm here with Stefan, who I love deeply despite that he lied to me and stole from the hospital. I can't forget that his spiral downward is because of me. Even if I had no idea what my actions could cause, I'm still the one that fed him the blood, MY blood, in the first place.

As I round the curve on the stairs, I almost stop in my tracks. Stefan isn't there. I'm about to be stood up and head to the dance floor to dance… by myself. Before my imagination can get away from me, Damon slides in front of the last escort, offering his hand to me. Relief floods through my body and I can't help but smile a little looking into his icy blue gaze.

"Where's Stefan?" I whisper immediately, my gratitude for Damon's intervention slightly marred by the fact that Stefan is missing just minutes after I learned of his recent lies. There's no way this is a coincidence and my heart jumps at the thought that he could be in danger of the choices he makes. He's not himself and he could really be in danger if he sparks the interest of Council members through his actions.

"I don't know." He replies coolly.

We make our way to the dance floor and line up on our respective sides. The music begins and we step towards each other.

"What are we going to do?" I whisper quickly.

"Right now, we just have to get through this." Damon says, still seemingly unaffected by his little brother's absence.

We put our hands up and I remember the practice with Stefan, Mrs. Lockwood explaining how this portion of the dance emphasized the intimacy of the near-touch. It had seemed silly and, yet, I feel my heartbeat quicken and a jump in my stomach, soon followed by the guilt of my reaction to dancing with Stefan's brother. Still, I find myself unable to tear my eyes from his, hypnotized by their piercing color, and when we complete the third turn and step into hold, my heart skips a beat. I expect a sly smile, sure that he heard it stutter, but, if he did, he doesn't show it, only continues to stare into my eyes. He's a wonderful dancer, leading me across the dance floor so fluidly that I don't have to think as we twirl gracefully and seamlessly through the other couples. He smiles slightly and, in spite of my growing guilt, I return it, feeling slightly disappointed as the song comes to an end and I am forced to step out of his arms.

I drop my gaze from his, hating myself for what I'm feeling, and head inside to line up with the other girls to await the announcement of which of us will become the new Miss Mystic. I step up beside Caroline.

"Where's Amber?" She whispers over the clapping of the audience.

"I don't know." The last time I saw her was right before Damon told me about Stefan. She'd gone outside to get some air… And Stefan is missing, too.

"Before I crown the winner, I'd like to offer a personal thank you to all of these young ladies for their efforts to better our community." Mayor Lockwood says, inciting a round of applause from the guests. "So, without further ado, it is my honor to announce our very own Miss Mystic Falls, Ms. Caroline Forbes!"

I smile, genuinely happy for her. Even though I wanted it for my mom, especially since she was a former Miss Mystic, I also realize how little I contributed to the community in the months following the accident. With all the effort she'd put into the community and to our school, she truly deserves this.


"I actually won!" She replies with an unnecessary amount of shock. She can be so hard on herself.

I hug her and watch as they place the ribbon on her, applauding her along with the rest of the crowd.

As the crowd disperses, I walk directly towards Damon, who grabs my arm and leads me out of earshot of the guests.

"What is it? Did you find him?"

Damon lowers his voice.

"There were signs of a struggle in the upstairs bathroom. There was blood. And that Amber girl is missing."

My mind immediately rejects the idea that Stefan could have done anything to her. Everything I know about him tells me that he's not that person, that he's not someone that could hurt an innocent.

"Oh, my God. No, he wouldn't hurt her. He won't."

"Let's just find him, okay? Let's get your coat. Come on."

I notice his reluctance to say whether he believes Stefan is capable of hurting Amber or not and I can't help but feel a little uneasy that he chose to not comment. He grabs my arm and leads me towards the room where our coats are hanging up and we head out into the cold.

We barely make it past the driveway and into the grass before a scream pierces the air.

"Stefan!" I yell, completely caught off guard that he is, in fact, feeding on Amber shamelessly not 100 feet from the front door of the Mayor's mansion.

"Stefan." Damon repeats as Stefan drops Amber to the ground and turns toward us, blood dripping from his mouth and his eyes wild, "Come on, get control of it. Come on."

Damon puts himself between me and Stefan and walks slowly towards him, arms raising in front of him, attempting to coax him into gaining control of his bloodlust.

"Come on," He repeats, "It's okay, come on. Breathe through it."

Unexpectedly, Stefan grabs Damon and throws him at least 20 feet. Before I can wonder whether Damon is hurt, he's on his feet again, back in a defensive position.

"Stefan, stop it!" I shout, terrified he's going to hurt Damon and appalled at his behavior. He has always been so calm and in control that I don't know how to react to this side of him.

Suddenly, Stefan grabs his head and I realize we've been followed. Bonnie looks on as he cripples under the pain she's causing him. Slowly, his eyes lose the primal look in them and he regains consciousness of his actions. Bonnie releases him from the torment she was causing but as he looks into my eyes, wide and betrayed, a completely different torment overcomes him.

"It's okay." Damon encourages, watching his little brother stumble, drunk on the blood of an innocent girl. "Stefan."

He glances back and forth between us before running into the woods, leaving us behind with unanswered questions and Amber's unconscious body.

"She doesn't remember what happened."

Sheriff Forbes walks towards us from talking with Amber who is now conscious and wrapped in the heating blanket offered by the EMTs to help keep her warm after her substantial blood loss.

"It's a good thing the girls got here when they did. She lost a lot of blood." Damon says, mirroring my own thoughts.

"You didn't see anything?" She asks, looking towards me and Bonnie.

I turn to look at Bonnie. I'm unsure of what her answer will be. I know she doesn't want to lie, especially after what she saw… after what she saw Stefan become. It just adds to the list of things she hates about vampires and why she can't trust them. Surprisingly, she slowly shakes her head, though I can see the effort it takes for her to hold her tongue.

"No," I elaborate, "We just found her and then called Damon."

Damon nods his approval at our statement.

"Is she going to be okay?" Bonnie asks, speaking for the first time.

"Looks like it, yeah. Why don't you girls head back to the party? Damon and I can take it from here."

"Okay." I say, looking at Damon before turning to head back inside.

Once we are out of earshot, of the humans, at least, I try to talk to Bonnie.

"Bonnie, can we talk about this?"

"There's nothing to talk about."

"Bonnie, please."

She turns suddenly.

"I told you I wasn't going to make you choose… but I have to make the choice for myself. Please just leave me alone."

With that, she turns her back on me and walks away.

Though I had planned on going home with Alaric, Jenna, and Jeremy, I know that I can't leave things as they are with Stefan. Even after everything he's done, I know he can be saved. I know he can. There's no way that the past few days could have erased everything that he worked for and everything he fought to be. He needs to know that I'm still here for him, that I believe in him. He needs to know that I still see a part of him worth saving, even if he's lost sight of that himself.

On the ride to their house, I explain my plan to Damon and then sit quietly, trying desperately to ignore the burning in the pit of my stomach that never quite left after our dance together. I feel even guiltier, now, for this unexpected reaction to being close to Damon, so, I use it to fuel my desire to help Stefan regain control of his hunger, pushing all thoughts of the eldest Salvatore brother from my head.

We reach the mansion after he does and I immediately head up to Stefan's room. He's already there, the wild look back in his eyes as he rips off his shirt. He immediately senses me behind him.

"You shouldn't be here." He says, not even glancing in my direction.

"I know." I remain cautious, though I'm not sure what good it will do. I'd never stand a chance against him.

"Now, you know." He says, his voice full of self-loathing.

"That wasn't you."

"Oh, it was absolutely me. I'm a monster, a predator. It's who I am Elena."

"That's what the blood makes you."

"The blood brings out what's inside of me and, if you think any differently, then you're an idiot."

His words are like a slap to the face.

"I know this isn't you, Stefan."

"I wanted to drain every ounce of blood from that girl's body."


"It's who I am, Elena."

"No. You can't scare me off." I push, sure that's what he's trying to do.

"Why would you risk it? Why would you come here?" He asks, and I can hear the pain behind his question. I can hear the part he left off: How can you still love me?

"Because I did this. This is my fault, I'm the one that made you drink the blood."

"All you did was expose me to who I really am."

"This isn't you."

"Stop saying that!" He yells, lashing out and sending the books on the table flying.

Stunned, I stand still in disbelief, trying to think of how I can get through to him. How do you convince someone you believe they are capable of being saved if they don't believe it themselves? Slowly, I walk towards him.

"Don't get any closer to me." I can hear the fear in his voice.

"I'm not going to let this happen to you." I inch closer.


"Stefan, I'm not going to give up on you. I believe in you."


He comes at me and I back into the wall, terrified like I've never been with him before. He hits the wall in anger and I stand as still as possible, gasping for breath.

"I'm so sorry." He whispers.

"It's okay." I say back, still reeling with the rush of adrenaline from fear. "It's okay."

He drops his head, breathing almost as heavily as I am.

"I don't know what's happening to me." He sounds haggard and almost as afraid as I feel.

"It's okay, Stefan, shhh. It's okay. You're gonna be okay."

I take a deep breath… and I stab him with the vervain dart I got from Alaric. He stills and drops to the ground with a thud. With a shaky hand, I push the hair from my face and look over at Damon coming up the steps, still dressed in his suit from the party.

"Sure you want to do this?"

I think of the wild look in his eyes when we found him in the woods, the bite of him calling me an idiot, the fear as he came at me like he never had before.

"I'm sure."

Damon carries him to the basement where the vervain is kept and locks him in. I try to feel guilt for what we're doing but I can't because every part of me knows that we're only doing it for him. And he'll know that, too, once he's back to himself.

"There's no guarantee this is going to work." Damon says in his typically cynical fashion.

"It has to."

He nods but doesn't reply, which might be for the best. I just want to believe this is going to fix everything, no matter how naïve that might be. He starts towards the stairs.

"You comin'?"

"I'm gonna stay here." And wallow in guilt while I wait for the old Stefan to return.

Much to my surprise, Damon turns and slides down the wall, sitting across from me. The burning in my stomach returns full force after its absence during my fight with Stefan. He leans his head back and closes his eyes, giving me the opportunity to study him without his sarcastic comments and sexual innuendos. He sighs and opens his eyes again. I jump at almost being caught looking at him. He must have a lot on his mind if he didn't notice the jump of my heartbeat in the empty hallway.

"What do you think he'll be like tomorrow?" My voice seems too loud in contrast to the silence around us.

He sighs again.

"He won't be himself as soon as he wakes up. We need to let the human blood leave his system and get him back on the bunny diet. Then he will be back to broody Stefan in no time."

I roll my eyes but can't help the smile that spreads across my face. I lean my head against the wall and rest my tired eyes. So much has happened in one day. This morning, Stefan was happy and smiling and so was I, completely unaware of what the rest of the day would bring. Uncovering lies, among other things.

My mind drifts back to the pageant, dancing with Damon, his crystal blue eyes seeming to bore into my very soul, the way he drifted gracefully across the dance floor. My memory becomes a dream and all the other contestants and their partners melt away until it's only Damon and I dancing, staring at one another. I lift my hand to touch his face, his hair, his lips. How soft, yet firm… how I long to kiss them.

No. I can't. I'm with Stefan. I love Stefan.

I look down and breathe deeply, still frozen in hold with Damon. Though we are no longer dancing, I'm unable to pull away completely for some reason, like I'm bound to him. I look back up into his eyes and I'm taken all over again. I find myself drinking up every detail of him from his disheveled hair to the intoxicating scent the surrounds him. He smiles the sexy half smile only he can pull off and I can't contain myself any longer. I push myself upwards to press my lips to his and, just before they touch, I jerk awake, gasping slightly.

Damon eyes me wearily and I can feel myself getting warm at the realization that I was dreaming of kissing my boyfriend's brother, who happens to be sitting less than two feet from me. A thought hits me and anger spreads through my body, burning away the shame.

"Were you just in my head?" I accuse, catching him off guard.

"No." He answers with enough confusion that I know he's telling the truth.

"Oh," is all I can manage as embarrassment overcomes me.

I stand and step over him to head upstairs. Stefan clearly isn't going to wake for a few more hours and, if I want to be there for him like I need to be, I will have to sleep on something a little more comfortable than the stone floor of their basement. I make it to the top of the basement stairs before Damon is suddenly there, blocking my way. I avert my eyes.

"Excuse me, Damon. I'd really like to get some sleep." I say, still not looking at him.

"Why would you think I was in your head?"

"Never mind. Please, move. I'm tired."

He steps out of the way but follows behind me, unwilling to let it go. I should have known better than to ask that to begin with.

"Answer me, Elena. Why would you think I was in your head?"

"Let it go, Damon."

Suddenly, he's in front of me again.

"Why, Elena?"

"Because I was dreaming of kissing you, okay?!" I glance at his shocked face and look down again, licking my lips. "I thought you were in my head because I was dreaming… of kissing you. And because I know you've done it before."

I look up at him and try to remember all the bad things he's done, all the people he's killed, including Matt's sister, Vicki, and Stefan's best friend, Lexi. But for some reason I can't hold onto those thoughts… they seep from my mind like water through my fingertips and all I can see is the potential in him to be good. I see a man worth saving, worth loving, just like his brother.

I look down again, afraid of what I might do if I don't.

"Can I just go get some rest now? Please?"

Instead of stepping out of the way again, this time he steps toward me, and I stiffen. This isn't a dream; this is real. And my real boyfriend is sleeping soundly in the basement after I vervained him to save his life.

"Please, don't. I can't."

I look into his blue eyes and try to keep my resolve, even though every part of my body is screaming for me to give in.

"I can't do that to Stefan. He needs me." I say, more to myself than to him.

His eyes bore into mine again, just as they did hours ago, and I can feel my strength starting to wane so I turn away only to be pulled back by his iron grip. Before I know what's happening, we are nose to nose, our lips less than an inch from each other.

"Please, Damon." I beg, barely able to breathe. "Please, don't make me do this."

My heart is a jackhammer in my chest and, just as I'm about to give in, he releases me and steps away.