Author's Note: This fic is co written by forever-ami92 and S K B C. This is our joint account, but we'd love it if you read some of our other stories. We both love The Vampire Diaries, and we hope you all enjoy the story :) This chapter is set straight after Blood Brothers, just after Elena has convinced Stefan to stop drinking human blood. This fic is rated T for the moment, but may change to M in later chapters.
Disclaimer: We don't own The Vampire Diaries….although we wish we did.
I drove away from the Salvatores' house to spend what would be my first night at home in a while, feeling more at peace than I had for weeks. I'd done it. I'd convinced Stefan that the right thing for him to do was live.
I had no words to express the relief I'd felt when he'd slid the ring onto his finger, when he'd pulled me towards him and kissed me, hard enough to make me forget the pain of the past few weeks. Things were going to be fine now. It was over. It was all over.
I drove through the forest towards home, lost in my relief at Stefan seeming healthy again, focusing the quiet whir of the engine as I accelerated slightly, wanting to get home.
The next second, however, the whir had stopped, replaced by an unhealthy splutter as the engine slowed. I slammed on the brakes, bracing myself as the car skidded forward, sliding to a halt just before the engine cut.
The impact threw me back against the seat, where I remained for a few seconds, breathing deeply, calming myself. Then I leaned forward and tried the ignition. Nothing. Again. Nothing. I reached into my pocket for my phone, knowing the best thing to do would be call Stefan and ask him to pick me up. As I did so, I couldn't resist a nervous glance around in the dark.
Before I'd left, knowing I should really go home before Jenna noticed me missing yet again, he'd made me promise I would keep safe. Despite the fact that Anna thought the tomb vampires had all left town, we didn't know where they were and one could theoretically jump out at me at any moment. And the only warning I would have was the compass in my pocket.
As the phone rang, I slid the pocket watch that concealed the compass out of the pocket of my jeans, absently running my thumb around its edge. I dug my nail into the side, pulling out the little knob that would have been used to set the time, had it been a real watch.
'Stefan's phone,' Damon answered jauntily. I groaned inwardly. I really did not have time for this right now. The heating had switched off when the engine died, and I was shivering despite my leather jacket.
'Damon, put Stefan on the phone,' I ordered, praying he'd do it.
'Elena! What a pleasant surprise!' came the cheerful, cocky reply. 'Couldn't survive without me for five minutes then?'
'Damon, I mean it. Put Stefan on the phone. I need his help.' I said through gritted teeth.
Instantly, his tone changed. 'What's wrong Elena? Are you OK?' In the background, I could hear Stefan yelling something about wanting the phone.
'Damon, my car's broken down.' I said simply, deciding not to waste anymore time. 'I'm in the middle of the forest, not far from you and I need Stefan to come and pick me up.'
As I spoke, I twirled the little dial on the watch with my thumb, not really concentrating on what I was doing. There was a pause, then a high pitched noise emitted from the watch, and my vision seemed to go fuzzy, then refocus, like a badly tuned TV. I instinctively threw my hands over my ears, letting out a scream before I could stop myself. Both the watch and my phone tumbled into the footwell of the car. I could hear Damon's voice coming out of the phone.
'Just wait there Elena, I'm going to be there in a few minutes….Elena? Elena? What's going on?' He sounded increasingly panicked. Apparently the noise was loud enough to reach him through the phone.
I leaned down to reach for the phone, wanting to tell him what was going on, but at that moment nausea swept over me, and a second later everything went black.
I came to, but something was definitely very wrong. I began to pull myself up, slowly…wait. Why was I lying down? That wasn't right. Where was the car? Had someone pulled me out of it? Why would they do that?
Breathing deeply to ward off my increasing panic, I got to my feet, looked around, then almost fell to the ground again in shock.
I was still in the forest, and it looked vaguely familiar, but my car was gone. So was the road. I was in fact lying on what looked like a crude dirt track. Fear gripping my insides, I spun around, looking for anything I recognised. There was nothing, apart from a load of trees that were no help to me in figuring out my location.
I dived for cover behind one as I heard something coming towards me, instinctively not wanting to show myself until I knew where I was and what had happened. There was something strange about the noise. It sounded like….a horse. But why would someone be riding a horse through the woods just outside Mystic Falls? My body pressed against the tree trunk, I craned my neck in the direction of the noise, straining to see its source in the trees.
Dropping Stefan's phone to the floor, I sprinted to the garage. I was in my car, key in the ignition, before Stefan caught up to me, hopping over the side of the car and into the passenger seat before I could stop him.
'What the hell is going on, Damon?' he yelled. 'What's wrong with Elena?'
'I don't know,' I snarled, too worried to even formulate a sarcastic comment. 'As I'm sure you heard as well as I did, seeing as we're vampires and have super hearing and all, she screamed and put the phone down. I don't know anything more than that.'
I reversed out of the garage and sped down the road at at least twice the speed limit. I didn't even want to think about what we might find in the forest. If one of the tomb vampires had come back….
We'd barely been driving two minutes when we saw Elena's car. Well, to be more accurate, almost hit Elena's car. It was sitting in the middle of the road, and Elena was nowhere to be seen.
Stefan was out of the car and searching the surrounding forest before I'd even stopped. Part of me wanted to join him, but instead I approached the car. The keys were still in the ignition, and in the driver's footwell were Elena's phone and…the vampire compass.
If my heart was still beating, it would have stopped in that second. I actually had to clutch the car for support. She'd taken the compass out. Did that mean she thought a vampire was near her? Had one come out of the forest and….?
No. This was Elena. She could defend herself. She would have said something on the phone, she knew I could hear her. No one had hurt Elena. That just wasn't possible.
Not wanting to listen to my own feeble, completely pathetic arguments, I looked down into the footwell, and then reached for the compass, noticing something odd about it. The outside still functioned as a pocket watch, and the little dial on the side that was used to set the time had been pulled out. As I picked it up, I noticed another strange thing. The whole thing was vibrating slightly, and was warm to the touch, the way an electronic device gets hot after long use.
I clutched it tightly. The compass had never done this before. Was it possible something involving it had happened? Was there any possible way Elena could be safe?
I had no idea, but I thought I knew where I could find out.
'STEFAN!' I bellowed, getting back in the car and preparing to go and track down John Gilbert.
The noise was coming closer. It definitely sounded like a horse. My heart was pounding painfully in my chest. I didn't understand. What was this? Where was I?
A shadowy shape was coming into view. Creeping out from behind my tree in order to get a better view, I crouched down in the shadows. I only had to wait for a second.
A black horse, invisible in the dark except as a shadow, came into view, pulling an old fashioned carriage containing two passengers. As the carriage passed, I could see through the window. The girl closest to me had her head turned away, towards the man next to her. I looked at him and immediately jumped back in shock, slamming into the tree. It didn't matter how different he looked. I could still recognise him, knew without a doubt that it was him.
In the carriage was a younger, more innocent looking Damon Salvatore.
Then the girl turned her head towards me. For a second, her eyes met mine. Then I was running, running away from the carriage as fast as I could.
It had been like looking into a mirror. Her every feature was identical to mine, except there was something cold in her face, something hard that I didn't even want to see again.
I could hear them pursuing me and knew they would catch me. I couldn't outrun the horse, but I had to keep trying. Fight or flight. The most basic of all human instincts. And I knew I couldn't fight the girl in the carriage and win.
I now knew, impossible as it was, what had happened. I was back in the 1800s, with Stefan and Damon before they'd been turned. And…with Katherine.
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