Chapter 25 – The Return

TVD TOMORROW IS GOING TO BE EPIC! DE!DE!DE! Excuse my fangirly outburst. That is all.

Warning: There's a small part here which some people might find disturbing. I apologise in advance for any discomfort.

RECAP: Just as Elena decides to choose Damon, Damon is kidnapped by Katherine who is hellbent on getting the device. In attempts to save him, Elena is taken and tortured by Katherine right in front of Damon's eyes. Worst still, Katherine has a witch cast an irreversible spell, linking Damon to Elena so he feels every single slash of her wrist as Katherine compels her to harm herself.

All hell breaks loose, as a human blood drinking Stefan, Alaric, Anna and Jeremy attempt to save them. Jeremy is turned and John is killed at the hand of Katherine.

As the chaos ensues, Katherine takes her chance and drags Elena outside to kill her. She is saved, however, as Isobel's conscious finally shows, as not only did she feed Elena her blood to heal her wounds, she also distracts Katherine long enough for Elena to stake Katherine.

Katherine's witch (Ruby) is sorry for her actions and explains her reasons for doing so - her sister (Paige) was being held captive by Katherine.

Bonnie helps locate the sister, and once again, they set off to save her (Minus Stefan who had left to hunt and has not yet returned). The plan is, that Elena (while wearing John's protection ring) would impersonate Katherine, long enough for everyone to save Paige.

The plan goes awry as Julian (Dracula/Original Vampire) sees through Elena's deception and attempts to rape her. Of course, Damon saves her, but not before Julian kills her.

Back at the BH, Elena wakes up to find that she is neither vampire nor human - she is somewhere in-between - a being called a dhampir - and worse still, her touch hurts Damon.

Stefan comes back from his wild night out and tells his story. He killed to girls and almost killed Liz. Damon saves her and she is forced to stay at the boarding house until Damon can compel her to forget.

Meanwhile, the two witches (Ruby & Paige) are invited to stay at the boarding house. After a dream/premonition, Paige comes across Stefan looked in the basement and realises that he is the man from her dreams.

Liz was slowly going crazy. She had been cooped up in the stuffy room for two days now. She sat in a battlefield of broken furniture and broken glass – the perfect place for a broken woman. Liz sat on a large rug beside the barely open window and watched the dust in the air shine against the sunlight. She felt delusional, having not slept well for days. Her head pounded against her skull like African drums in a mystical ritual – it was persistent – beating like the constant sounds you hear from the game, Jumanji – enticing people before stealing their sanity.

Was her sanity gone?


"No. It couldn't have."

Oh dear lord, she was talking to herself!

She just needed to talk to someone – Anyone. She would even settle for him.

The very thought of him made her blood boil, so much so, that she could swear she felt it simmering beneath her skin. He betrayed her; lied to her and used her. Liz knew he saved her life, and the very thought that she 'owed him one' made her want to scratch her skin clean off with her fingernails. She felt sick to her stomach knowing that she had vampire blood in her. His disease was flowing through her system, infecting her with his evil.

That what his kind were - Evil.

Liz repeated this to herself over and over again. At times, a small voice in her head would tell her of all the times he made her smile, all the times she called him her friend and genuinely meant it. If only she could take a scourer to her mind and scrub away all those thoughts - she couldn't deal with the fact that besides the fact that he was a vampire, she still loved him as a friend. It pained her and killed her inside.

"Breakfast is served," Damon chirped as he swung open the door, breaking Liz from her thoughts, or lack thereof.

Liz's stomach growled involuntarily and Damon laughed as he slid the tray against the floor. She still hadn't figured out how one earth he'd managed to keep her in the room. What other powers had these bloodsuckers kept from her – not only could they walk in the sun, but to – Liz couldn't think of the words to describe it – blame it on sleep deprivation – but to keep her here was crazy.

Liz glared at Damon as he stood at the doorway before disappearing down the hallway. Once he was gone, Liz made a beeline for the tray of food - Orange juice (in a plastic cup, of course) and cereal – just what she wanted (!)

Hours had gone by, dawn turned to dusk, and dusk turned to dawn, and Liz still sat on the floor, leaning back against the large bed. Her mind kept wondering to Caroline; what story had Damon come up with to explain her absence. Did Caroline even notice? Did she care? They had been slowly drifting apart for quite some time now – hardly spoke to one another anymore, and when she did try, she was met with one word answers, eye rolls and exaggerated sighs. Liz was lucky if she was even in the same room as her daughter for longer than five minutes.

No. Caroline wasn't missing her. She was probably using her home as the go to place for parties – riddled with under-age drinking and under-age – Liz didn't want to think about that.

Leaving Liz with her thoughts was for the best, after all. It had been a long time since Liz had actually sat down and analysed her relationship with her daughter, other than brushing it off as teenage tantrums. Caroline had had it tough – past the bubbly exterior laid a fragile soul, afraid of being forgotten and afraid of being left behind. She wanted to put things right between them – start afresh and be the mother she knew she could be.

But then it dawned on her, if he wiped her memories, would all this be forgotten? It surely would. Liz's heart sank at the prospect; she had been elated just seconds before her realisation only for it to be deflated as quickly as they had come.

As if he could read her mind his voice sounded. "Today's the day."

Liz glanced up and saw him. He had a sombre expression as she stood up; taking a deep breath, Liz stepped towards him. "Can I ask you something?"

Damon looked at her for a moment before he gave a short nod.

"Was any of it real, or were you just using me to get to the council?" She tried to keep her anger at bay, but it kept fighting to come to the surface. Her hands balled in fists as she waited for an answer - she needed to know.

"At first, yes, it was. But as I got to know you, I really did become to like you. Whether you believe it or not, you were my friend."

"...and still will be once you're done with me," Liz added under her breath.

Damon heard it. It hurt.

"You were fine with me then. Nothing's changed other than a teeny tiny detail. I'm still the guy who helped you, still the guy you came to for advice."

Liz looked up to Damon. "You tricked me into liking you with your charm!"

Damon laughed. "Charm, huh?" he smirked devilishly, looking at her intensely with his eyes. "You think I'm charming?"

"Maybe that's another trick you people have. You glamour them into liking you."

"Glamour? This isn't True Blood, Liz. We compel people; and yes, some people use it to get their way, but I find I get my way the old fashioned way," Damon smirked.

Liz couldn't help but feel infuriated yet amused by him, though she hid the latter well.

"How can someone who hates vampires with such a passion watch a show purely about the very thing she despises?"

Liz didn't answer.

"I must say, they've got almost everything spot on. Except for werewolves – where the fuck did that come from!" Damon laughed to himself.

"I actually like that storyline," Liz said quietly.

"Of course you would," Damon said. "At least werewolves are normal for thirty days of the month."

Liz felt oddly relaxed around Damon now, and despite talking vampire shows with him, she had for a second forgotten about his condition. Perhaps compelling her to forget was the best thing. She'd like to go back to being his friend without the knowledge of his secret.

Liz was conflicted.

"Why did you help us? You killed Logan, the blonde vampire, saved Caroline...saved me. Why would you do that?"

"I did it because contrary to what you believe, I actually like this town. I actually –" Damon stopped before he revealed too much. He couldn't show his new weakness to Liz – the weakness that he cares. That he actually feels.

"You actually what?"

"I actually have somewhere to be and need to make you forget. Like now."

Liz finally noticed Damon's attire - he was dressed in a black suit, black tie and crisp white shirt. He was going to the funeral, Liz realised. "What happened to John?"

"You know what happened to John," Damon replied.

"Was it you?" Liz asked, afraid to hear the answer.


"Stefan?" She asked.

"No. Another vampire." Damon noticed Liz's eyebrows rise. "Don't worry, she's dead. The town's safe."

Liz nodded in relief.

"We should get this over with," Damon said after a moments silent.

Liz attention perked up and she looked up to Damon, sudden desperation in her eyes. "Wait," Liz said. "I'll keep your secret. You don't have to do it." She clung onto all the things she wanted to say to Caroline – all the things she should have said a long time ago.

"I wish I could believe you... But I can't," Damon said flatly. "You ready?"

"To have to look inside my mind and do god knows what. No, I'm not."

Liz braced herself for what was about to come.

Damon's eyes dilated as he spoke.

She had to forget.

It was the day of John's funeral. Elena got ready silently; she wore the same black dress she found herself wearing more and more often, so often, soon she'd have to stock up on these black dresses, she thought depressingly.

After applying light make-up, Elena slipped on long black gloves before heading downstairs. Jenna and Jeremy were waiting for her; Damon would meet them at the church.

"You ready?" Jenna asked.

Elena nodded. To be honest, she just wanted this all to be over as soon as possible. Did she really want to pay her respects to the man who had sat back as she was being tortured? She had to do this for show – had to keep up appearances. He was family, after all – her father.

Elena cringed at the thought. She had a father, and a great one at that.

Elena smiled as she answered. "I'm alright."

The whole town had gathered to send off their beloved council member, though no one had gotten up to speak. They simply sat in silence as they listened to the minister conduct the service. It was long and laborious, and with the lack of ventilation, Elena felt as if she was suffocating.

After what felt like the longest time of her life, everyone started to slowly make their way outside to the adjoining church cemetery.

Elena noticed Liz within the crowd. She looked good for a woman who was seconds to dying not three days ago. Liz caught her staring and gave a sympathetic smile, a smile Elena reciprocated.

She was none the wiser.

Elena smiled softly at Damon and began following the crowd. She walked close to Damon, so close, their hands brushed against each other as they walked. She was content in just this small act and smiled as she realised they walked in sync.

Jenna watched her niece; she was confused yet happy for her all at once. The way he looked at her and the way she him gave her goosebumps. The only other time that had happened was when she'd seen her sister with Grayson. Jenna smiled to herself as she remembered Miranda; she knew she would be proud of both Jeremy and Elena, and she knew she'd approve of both Damon and Anna.

"Hey, can I talk to you for a second," Jenna said to Elena as she caught up with them.

Damon rested a hand at the small of Elena's back as he leant in to talk to her. "I'll see you in a bit."

Elena smiled as she watched him leave; Liz had caught up to him and began walking with him. She knew how much doing what he did had affected him, he tried to hide it, but she saw straight through his brave face.

"So, when did that happen?" Jenna asked, breaking Elena from her thoughts.

Elena turned to Jenna after taking a moment admiring Damon as he walked away. A soft smile graced her features as she spoke. "Very recently," Elena answered. "It just sort of hit me. That he's the one that I want."

"Please don't break out in song, Elena." Jenna laughed light-heartedly. "I get it. You don't have to explain."

"You do?" Elena asked.

"Just looking at you two reminds me of how Miranda and Grayson were. So in love," Jenna smiled.

Elena smiled at the comparison. She just wished her mother was alive to meet Damon.

"A bit like you and Alaric."

"A bit," Jenna allowed, smiling to herself.

Elena and Jenna walked the short distance to where everyone had congregated. They all stood around the coffin as they listened to the minister say the final words before the coffin was lowered.

"...Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust..."

The wind picked up, sending an odd scent in the breeze. Elena turned to see Isobel in the distance. Elena had expected Isobel to be halfway around the world by now. She doubted she had had come back to pay her respects to John, so was confused as to why she had returned. Dread filled her as Elena waited for the service to end and after a few hugs and sympathetic 'I'm sorry for you loss'', Elena waited for the crowd to disappear before she made her move.

"Elena," Isobel said, surprised at her speed. "You're a vampire?" She said in disbelief.

"Close, but no," Elena replied.

"What are you then? What happened?"

"A vampire called Julian happened."

"You met him?" Isobel said alarmingly, her posture changed from relaxed to alert. Not many humans met the acquaintance of Julian and lived to tell the tale.

Elena nodded. "It's a long story. One I want to forget," Elena replied.

"What did he do?" Isobel growled out. She was overcome with the sudden need to protect her daughter.

"He killed me and turned me into half-vampire."

"A dhampir," Isobel said slowly. "They are all but a memory now."

"Well, I'm bringing it back." It seemed light humour was the only thing she could do right now. Getting into the root of it all this just made her angry and depressed.

"Where is he?" Isobel pressed on more urgently; she scanned the cemetery, expecting him to be lurking in the shadows.

"He left. He doesn't know I'm still alive, and we're going to keep it at that."

Isobel breathed a sigh of relief. If Julian had his heart set on getting something, he'd make damn she he'd got it.

Isobel seemed like she was in her own little world. Her paranormal psychologist side was probably jumping at the chance to study her.

"About my problem...," Elena started, breaking Isobel from her thoughts. "Do you know if there's any way of reversing it?"

Isobel shook her head. "It's permanent, Elena. There's no going back, only forward."

"Forward? You mean..."

"Turning into a vampire."

"Do you think I should?"

"It's up to you. Being a dhampir and being a vampire both have its perks, but both have their downsides too."

Isobel glanced to Damon before she spoke again. "And I'm guessing you don't like the downsides so much."

"No," Elena admitted.

"I'll help in any way I can. My research at Duke –"

"Alaric already has it. There's not a lot more it says. It mentions the clan of Originals –"

"Don't go messing with Originals, Elena," Isobel said sternly.

"You can't tell me what to do, and we're not going after them. We just wanted to know more about them," Elena defended herself. She paused midway to study Isobel. Suspicion rising – yes, she had saved her life, she still couldn't trust her.

"Why did you come back?"

"I came to check on you," Isobel said quickly.

"Oh..." Shock had taken her aback and she didn't know how to answer. "Thank you," she said feebly.

"I'll be staying in the old mansion I stayed at last time. If you need anything, just let me know," Isobel said.

"What mansion?"

"Damon knows which one," Isobel replied cryptically.

"I'm glad you're okay, Elena," Isobel said before she vanished, leaving Elena standing alone.

Fifteen minutes earlier...

..."You stay if you want. It'll your funeral - and I won't be going to it," she said coldly, turning to leave...

Those words she said to John before his death ran across Isobel's mind as she watched the funeral from afar. Regardless of what she said, she could never leave without saying her final goodbye. Isobel looked to her daughter and smiled inside, her exterior as unreadable as ever. She had leant that a long time ago; to show no emotion – to be the cold hearted person they all thought her to be. What he thought her to be.


She had a good life but it wasn't enough. His love wasn't enough for her. He would have moved heaven and earth to please her yet she left him. She saw him now, his hand clasped around the hand of another woman's. A tinge of jealousy seeped through her veins as her eyes darkened.

She had the urge to hurt her, but wouldn't. Hurting her would hurt him, and she didn't want that – She never wanted that.

He kissed the top of her head and smiled against her hair as he squeezed her hand that little bit tighter.

Isobel felt nauseous. They should really get a room.

She knew that smile. It was a smile he used when he was around her – reassuring, genuine, and loving.

He was happy – finally.

She had thrown it all away, and for what. So she could become the very thing she researched.

Was it worth it?

There was no point in thinking such thoughts. What good would it do?

A warm breeze passed her and she watched as Elena looked straight into her eyes.

She knew she was here. But how?

Isobel slunk back behind the large oak tree, away from view. She had no intention of running - no, she intended to stay.

Elena looked to the empty space she'd last seen Isobel in. It had dawned on her that she was the only parent she had left. The fact that she showed she cared made her feel loved. She remembered back to the time she'd first met her - how cold she'd been; how she'd cried after the anti-climatic meeting at The Grill - she'd been expecting a reunion, for her to at least show some regret for giving her up - she found none, and as much as she didn't want it to - it hurt.

Damon took his time making his way to Elena. She had her 'in deep thought' face on and thought it best to leave her to them. The leaves crunched beneath his shoes, alerting Elena to his presence. She looked up and smiled.

"Nice of her to show her face," Damon said softly. "What did she want?"

"Nothing. Just confirmed what we were all afraid of. There is no cure."

"That she knows of," Damon added.

"No. The only cure of this –" she said motioning between the two of them, "Is if I turn."

"We don't have to decide straight away. We've all the time in the world," Damon said.

Elena moved her hand to hold his and smiled.

"About what Isobel said...about knowing where she was. What was that about?"

"I paid her a visit after the first time she came to down..."

"And..." Elena pressed on.

"Asked her kindly to leave town."

"You threatened her," Elena stated.

"Naturally," Damon smirked. "No one comes to my town and hurts the people I care about," Damon said fiercely.

Just as those words left Damon's lips, a terrible feeling washed over her. She needn't have looked up to know who it was - she just felt it - Julian was nearby. Her gloved hand squeezed against Damon instinctively as he breathing hitched and panic set in. Damon felt her fear and looked down at her. She simply traced the number 3 rapidly on his palm with her finger. Damon looked briefly to the side and saw him. His grip on her hand increased, if she was still human her bones would've broken.

"Where are you, you son-of-a-bitch. Show yourself," Damon growled.

Julian was before them in an instant. "Well, hello," Julian spoke eloquently. He wore a tailored black suit with a crisp white shirt – the first few buttons undone allowing all to see his sculpted chest. If Elena hadn't had the displeasure of meeting him a few days ago, she would have called him dashing. She knew now, that he was far from it. Yes, he was beautiful, but he was ugly inside.

"That was a lovely service, very touching. I think I even shed a tear of two," Julian laughed menacingly. You could see the darkness and evil in his eyes. He was no man.

Anger punched through Damon as the memories of his mother's death came back. "Do you even remember?" Damon growled.

Julian, of course had no recollection. His mother was just a faceless victim of his vampire games.

"Well it was only the other day, how can I not remember having this delectable girl in my hands - so warm, soft, wet…" Julian licked his lips at the thought. He had been so close to claiming her as his own.

Damon's eyes darkened until they were almost black, quicker than the eye could see, he fist connected with Julian's jaw. Julian's head whipped to the right at the impact, but turned his head back immediately, his face, enraged. Another punch was coming at him and Julian acted quickly and efficiently as he grabbed Damon's fisted hand and twisted his arm behind his back.

With a gasp, Elena acted immediately and moved to pull him off, when Julian's head snapped to hers.

"Don't move," he commanded.

Elena froze on the spot, eyes watering at the shock of what he'd done. Julian had somehow placed her under compulsion.

Looking back to Damon, Julian watched Damon's face contort to confusion at his actions, before he could say anymore, however, Julian had broken his arm and quickly moved to snap his neck with a very audible crack.

Damon fell to the floor and Julian focused his attentions on Elena.

"How very odd. Your heart is beating," Julian mused. "Looks like I'll have to stop it again."

Elena heart stopped in her throat at his words.

Julian's eyes dilated but he said nothing. She found herself able to move, yet the moment she tried, he backed her up against a tree and held her there effortlessly.

Slowly, Julian lifted his hand to her cheek and gently caressed her skin. So lovingly and so soft he stroked her as he looked in her eyes.

He felt no pain.

But Elena did.

Tears grew in her eyes as she fought back the urge not to scream. Julian smiled at the revelation; his eyes twinkled in malicious glee.

"How interesting," Julian mused.

Julian lifted her face with one hand while the tucked a stray hair behind Elena's ear. He rested his palm gently across her cheek and growled lowly. "Soon, my dear." He saw the fear in his eyes and smiled. "Luckily for you, I have a prior engagement I need to attend to. Rest assured, however, you will be seeing me very soon," Julian said ominously before his lips met hers. Elena gasped in shock and pain and Julian took his chance, he bit into her lip, drawing blood, letting him have a taste before pulling back. He leaned in against her ear, "You're mine, dhampir," he whispered

Elena fell to the ground, the shock of what had just happened rendering her incapable of moving. She simply shook uncontrollably, sobs leaving her quivering body. She crawled to Damon's side and shook him desperately. He had to wake up. His eyes were closed as he lay there unmoving.

Damon's fingers twitched as his body regained its strength. At the movement, Elena cried harder as she called his name.

At her voice, Damon jolted upright and instantly stood. Elena did the same and hugged him tight, not caring that her touch hurt him. Damon didn't seem to care. He simply held her.

They stood there in embrace for what seemed like forever until her body stopped shaking. They pulled apart and Damon face turned vampiric as a silent rage took over him.

"I swear, I'm gonna kill him!" Damon said lowly. Unexpectedly, he spun on his heel and punched the tree beside him; it cracked beneath his fist but didn't fall. He raised his fist to punch again -

"Please, Damon," Elena sobbed. "Don't."

Damon's anger receded as he took a deep breath and turned to her. "Are you okay," Damon asked Elena, he had felt her pain as he touched her skin.

Elena nodded quickly, her eyes watered as she forced herself to keep the pain inside.

Damon felt it. He knew what she'd gone through. It just pushed him more to - motivated him to kill him.

"He can hurt me," Elena said to herself. It still hadn't sunk in. Elena wiped the wetness from her cheek and look up to Damon. "He'll be back," Elena said urgently. "We need to prepare."

Damon nodded; his expression tense. It took everything in him not to throw Elena over his shoulder and take her somewhere safe. He knew she wouldn't want that - her friends and family were here and she would never put them in danger - Julian seemed the type not care about collateral damage.

Yep, so know the story picks up again. I really do hope to carry on with an update a week, but with this being my final year at uni – work's starting to pile up...

If you have 15 minutes to spare, can you please help me with my university project. It's an online survey. If you want to help me out, send me a message either here or on my twitter KaraRK3 and I'll send you the link. (The quicker, I get this done, the quicker I'll be able to update all these stories...)

If ten or more people help me out, then I'll write a new M rated DE one-shot and I'll bump this story up to an M...