A/N: Thanks again for all the great reviews, favs, and alerts! Y'all are the real reason this story got past a single chapter.

Answer to the Kevin Williamson movie reference: "But now y' must tell me, cara mia, what did y' get from Deputy Dewey back dere? De suspense is killin' me." 'Deputy Dewey' is a reference to Deputy Dwight "Dewey" Riley (played by David Arquette) from the Scream franchise, the first, second, and fourth films of which were written by Kevin Williamson. I felt it was rather appropriate since Scre4m recently hit theatres.

Disclaimer: The only parts of The Vampire Diaries I own are a DVD and soundtrack of the first season.

Chapter Rating: Mature (Language, violence, gore, suggestive dialogue, and lemony content)

Special Thanks:

People who reviewed: SecretNightfall, TheCuteVamp, Replica Velocity a.k.a. X5 714, Terapsina, The Green Eyed Cat, David Fishwick, LunaLight and StarFire Cast, Jorisho, and unclesamslair.

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Written While Under the Influence of: AC/DC-Back in Black, Ryan Star-Losing Your Memory, The Black Keys-Next Girl, Nickelback-I'd Come For You, Shakespeare Sister-Stay, Lady Gaga-Teeth, Rihanna-S&M, Breaking Benjamin-Evil Angel, Pop Evil-Somebody Like You, Snow Patrol-You Are My Joy, Red-Not Alone, Jay Gordon-Slept So Long, Hurts-Stay, Onerepublic-Secrets, Vitamin String Quartet-Your Guardian Angel (Tribute to Red Jumpsuit Apparatus), Florence + the Machine-Cosmic Love, and John Donne's "The Flea."

Chapter Six: Blood of My Blood

"Ye are Blood of my Blood, and Bone of my Bone.

I give ye my Body, that we two might be One.

I give ye my Spirit, 'til our Life shall be Done."

-Diana Gabaldon, Outlander, Scottish Blood Vow

Anna's shriek echoed throughout the forest, reverberating off trees like a banshee's wail and leaving Jeremy frozen as he stared at her with confusion and hurt in his eyes. She scrambled backward as far as possible within the confines of the fire-warped husk of the body bag, slick congealed blood squishing beneath her frantic fingers and hindering her escape. Her horrified brown eyes never left Jeremy's face as she huffed out short panicked breaths, now cornered at the back of the body bag with her knees drawn up protectively to her bare chest.

"Anna. Anna. Anna!" Elyse shouted to get her attention, slowly kneeling down beside the female vampire with her hands raised in plain view to show she meant no harm. Neither Damon nor Caleb dared move for fear of ratcheting up the already thick tension even further.

Almond-shaped brown eyes flitted toward the woman, blinking perplexedly. "E-Elyse?" Anna finally gasped, looking almost as though she'd forgotten how to speak.

"Yes," the witch replied with a comforting smile. "It's okay, Anna. It's all over now. Y' safe."

Anna just stared at her uncertainly, still huddled in a tight ball in the corner of the body bag.

"Remember when I told y' I'd pay y' back one day? I guess t'day was dat day," she continued in a whisper, touching the ruby amulet around her neck for emphasis.

Tears filled Anna's eyes and a relieved sob burst from her lips as the witch's words seemed to finally get through to her. She clamped her arms like a vise around her raised knees, shuddering violently as her breathing accelerated to the point of hyperventilation.

"Anna?" Elyse asked, placing a concerned hand on the girl's shoulders only to immediately draw back and yank off her leather jacket. "Damn it, I was afraid o' something like dis. Get y' coat off," she commanded Jeremy. "Caleb, we need a blood bag now." The witch draped her jacket around Anna's torso without even sparing a glance at either young vampire.

Jeremy nearly ripped his coat in two to remove it as he crawled closer. "Afraid of what?" he demanded, dark eyes wide with fear.

"She's goin' into shock. I knew de transition from de other side back t' dis realm wouldn't be easy, but I was hoping her being a vampire might help."

"You knew that something like this was gonna happen to her and you didn't even mention it?" Jeremy hissed accusingly, enveloping Anna's shoulders in his coat and protectively cradling his arms around her.

"Yeah," Elyse spat sarcastically, glaring at him with furious blue eyes, "b'cause I always spend my weekends resurrecting ancient vampires. I've never done dis spell b'fore, so I couldn't possibly know what her reaction would be!"

"If anything happens to her…" the teenage vampire let his threat hang in the air, feeling blood rush to his eyes and his fangs extend.

"Shock isn't fatal. We just have t' keep her warm and get her t' feed t' get her strength back," she snapped, taking the blood packet Caleb handed her and bringing it to Anna's lips. "Anna, y' need t' drink dis. Can y' do dat for me?"

When she didn't respond, Jeremy pulled back from Anna just enough to tug his long-sleeved thermal off over his head and wrap it around her bare legs. He then yanked the blood packet from Elyse's grasp, brought it to his mouth, punctured the flimsy plastic with his own fangs and replaced it before the female vampire's lips. "I've got it from here," he said coldly. His hostile red stare added the words: You've got two seconds to back the fuck away or I bite you instead.

"Don't y' dare talk t' her like dat, y' spoiled little-" Caleb angrily stomped toward the huddled trio, but the witch had already complied allowing Jeremy to tend to Anna alone.

"No, it's fine. Let him handle dis," Elyse said, intercepting Caleb with a hand to his chest and drawing him away with her.

A soft sucking sound let them know Anna had begun to feed and Jeremy wrapped his coat tighter around her shaking body, rubbing his hands along her arms and torso to help warm her faster. Within seconds the plastic bag dropped to the ground, drained of every last crimson drop.

"Jer-emy," Anna whispered, still shivering but far less severely than before, and lifted her face to his.

"I'm here," he replied, forcing the anger from his expression as he looked down at her.

She hesitantly raised one slim, pale hand and lightly traced over his features, her coffee-colored gaze intently following along the route her fingers took.

"Is this real?"

The pain and uncertainty in her voice tore at him, but he still managed to respond, his own voice thick with emotion, "Yes."

Tears of relief and joy welled up in her eyes and Anna flung her arms around him, crushing herself against him with every ounce of strength she possessed. The breath Jeremy had been holding ever since she'd screamed in fear of him whooshed out his lungs and he returned her embrace with equal fervor, one arm encircling her back while the other slid under her legs, pulling her into his lap. She burrowed her face in his neck, murmuring his name like a prayer of thanks over and over again as warm tears flowed down his bare chest.

Jeremy pressed a kiss against her forehead and ran his hands soothingly over her back, tears stinging his own eyes as he silently vowed that he'd never allow Anna to be taken away from him ever again.


Wanting to give the reunited couple some much needed privacy, Elyse and Caleb moved back to the dirt altar and began collecting the items they'd brought with them for the spell.

"Ungrateful lil' enculé," Caleb muttered as he roughly slammed shut the water cooler and started toward the SUV with it.

"He's worried about de girl he loves. I'd think y' o' all people could understand and maybe cut him a lil' slack," Elyse hinted, carefully returning the athamé to her now full messenger bag as she walked alongside him.

"Anna's only alive right now b'cause o' what y' did and he knows dat. De fuckin' least he could do is act a lil' appreciative." The vampire gave the water cooler a violent shove into the back of the vehicle, still fuming.

"Hey," she called, reaching out and uncurling his clenched fists, entwining her fingers with his. "Everything worked out, Anna's alive and nobody got hurt. Let's just focus on dat, okay?"

He released a heavy sigh, closing his eyes in an attempt to will the anger away. "I know, I know. I'm overreacting, but after watching what y' went through back dere…"

Elyse pressed her fingers to his lips, silencing his explanation. "It's over. We don't need t' dwell on it," she murmured, rising on tiptoe to kiss him.

Caleb pulled his hand from hers, arms fervently encircling her waist and drawing her against his chest. He immediately deepened the kiss, urging her soft lips open and slipping his tongue inside. But instead of tasting her, the unmistakable flavor of blood bloomed in his mouth and he drew back, thinking he'd accidentally bitten her in his haste to block out the memory of her tortured screams.

The moment Caleb pulled away she went limp in his arms, blue eyes rolling back in her head as dark red blood poured from her nose, trickling in alarmingly fast rivulets over her lips and down her chin.

"Elyse!" he shouted in horror and shock, hurriedly swinging her motionless body up into his arms before she could fall to the ground. As her head lolled onto his chest he noticed more scarlet fluid flowing from her ears as well.

"Elyse, chérie, talk t' me!" Caleb shook her gently but she remained non-responsive in his arms.

Panic exploded in his chest and he did the only thing he could think to do. He turned his head toward the clearing where the others were still gathered and bellowed, "HELP! WE NEED HELP HERE!"


Once it'd become clear that Anna and Jeremy were both okay, Damon detached himself from where Elyse and Caleb stood and returned to Stefan's side. The burns were slowly melding back into his brother's flesh and he appeared to be slowly regaining consciousness.

"Stefan, you back with us?" Damon asked, squatting beside the vampire in question.

The younger Salvatore gave a low groan of pain in response, wincing as the blistered skin on his face pulled with the movement.

Damon stifled a laugh and reached over to help him stand. "I'll take that as a yes."

Stefan hissed in pain once he was on his feet, a wiry arm slung over his brother's shoulders to keep from collapsing. "Jeremy?" he asked, eyes instantly searching the clearing for the young vampire they were both responsible for.

"He's fine. And with Anna right now. The witch actually had good intentions, it seems. Go figure…

"Here," Damon continued, reaching into his jacket, "I swiped a blood packet when the Cajun lovebirds weren't looking. I figured you might want it to help speed things up with those burns."

Stefan recoiled from the pilfered bag of blood Damon held out to him like it was the foulest smelling thing on the planet. "No. No. I'll go hunting again later," he replied shaking his head decisively.

The black-haired vampire gave a blasé shrug and tucked the blood bag back into the inner pocket of his leather jacket. "Suit yourself, but hunting is gonna be interesting since you can't even stand on your own."

"I'll manage," Stefan growled as he took a step forward, grimacing in pain the entire way.

Damon was about to deliver another of his patented sarcastic quips when Caleb's booming call for help cut through the otherwise quiet night like a knife.


The Salvatore brothers hobbled their way to the back of the SUV where the other young vampire was crouched on the ground with the witch slumped lifelessly across his lap.

"What the hell happened?" Damon questioned, brows furrowed as he took in the blood dripping from the dark-haired woman's nose and ears.

"Get in de car and drive us somewhere I can take care o' her," Caleb bit out, pressing his own bleeding wrist to Elyse's open mouth.

"Dude, relax. Give it just a second and she'll be fine," the elder Salvatore explained, lips twitching into a grin.

"Get de fuck in dere and start driving now, damn it!" Caleb screamed, brown eyes wide with anger and dread.

The grin slipped from Damon's face as the seriousness of the other vampire's words sunk in. "Jeremy, come on! We're headed back to the house now!" Damon shouted as he half-dragged, half-carried Stefan around the SUV and helped him into the front passenger seat.

He circled around to the driver's side while Caleb carefully maneuvered himself and Elyse into the back, managing to keep his wrist over her mouth as he did so.


"Anna, I'm gonna carry you to the car, okay?" Jeremy asked as he shifted forward with the female vampire still on his lap.

She nodded against his chest and tightened her arms around his neck as he stood up with her swaddled form pressed securely to his bare torso. He sped to the SUV, popping open the door to the back and sliding onto the seat. He barely had time to readjust Anna across his lap before the vehicle lurched forward and took off like a shot through the winding forest roads.

"Jesus, Damon where's the fire?" the teen snapped, annoyed as the high speed twists and turns jostled Anna.

"C'mon, chérie, open y' eyes for me," Caleb's tear-choked voice answered from behind him.

Jeremy twisted in his seat and found the other vampire cradling the witch's head in one hand as he urged his own lifeblood down her throat with the other. His annoyance immediately died as he noticed the pallor of her skin and the dried blood smeared on the lower half of her face and ears.

"Elyse?" Anna's concerned voice sounded beside his ear as she lifted her face and saw the scene in the very back of the SUV herself.

His throat felt like it was closing up when Jeremy realized the probable cause of what was wrong with her: the spell. She'd done this to herself all to save Anna, someone she was clearly friends with. And just minutes ago he'd been giving her hell about the female vampire going into shock for just a few seconds. If Elyse survived he was going to owe her one serious apology… If she survived…

He didn't want to think of how awful he'd feel if she died right there after all she'd done and how he'd acted toward her. Luckily for Jeremy, he didn't have to worry much longer. Elyse's eyes began to flutter beneath their lids and one of her hands almost instinctively reached up and wrapped around Caleb's wrist, pressing it hungrily to her mouth.

"Dat's it, petite," Caleb sighed, relief dripping from his words as he gently rested his chin against the top of his girlfriend's head while she fed from his wrist.

Jeremy could see a mirrored emotion on Anna's face as she let herself tiredly settle into place against his chest once again. He couldn't think of a word good enough to describe the feeling of her snuggling closer to his body heat, especially because he could tell where her bare skin touched his that she was much warmer than before. The teen let his hand smooth slowly and rhythmically up and down her back and felt himself genuinely relax for the first time in what seemed like forever. It'd taken him too damn long to realize that this—having Anna right here next to him—was where he'd always been meant to be and he would never be so stupid as to take that fact or Anna herself for granted again.

He had every intention of showing her exactly how he felt about her every day for the rest of forever…if she let him.


Madison Heights, Virginia

Katherine Pierce sauntered up the steps and onto the wide white veranda of a massive Southern Colonial-style house standing alone atop a hill just outside Lynchburg, Virginia. She twisted the overly-ornate doorknob and stepped inside, the sound of loud pop music meeting her ears but not entirely drowning out the hoarse cries of pain emanating from the basement. A smirk played across her mauve lips as the vampire made a beeline for the door leading down to the darkened room.

The sexy jazz singer and muscled cowboy that'd once upon a time been Isobel's playthings—now Katherine's playthings—were in the middle of the room, oh-so-obediently entertaining her houseguest while she'd been away in Mystic Falls. Frank held his former master's head steady as Cherie's gloved hands forced a sprig of vervain into the vampire's mouth, then clamped her jaws shut so she couldn't cough it back up.

"Merci, Cherie," Katherine murmured, dismissing the human woman and striding toward the vampire she'd ordered to be tortured.

Isobel hung by her wrists on a rope strung over the wooden rafters with a large metal trough placed underneath her to catch the various fluids dripping off and leaking from the vampire. She appeared to have blacked out from the pain immediately after regurgitating the offending flower.

Well that simply wouldn't do.

The brunette vampire grabbed one of the half-dozen plastic buckets of clear liquid off the floor and flung its contents into the battered and bleeding face of her traitorous descendant. Isobel shrieked as the vervain hit her skin, eating the flesh away like the most caustic of acids. Black veins popped up across the irritated surface of her cheeks as she lurched forward as far as her bonds would allow, snapping her teeth viciously at her tormentor.

"I'm surprised you still have this much fight left in you, Isobel. It's been what, four days? Five? Maybe we should up the intensity of this exercise a bit, just so I know you've gotten the message." Katherine strolled over to the workbench along the back wall, letting her fingers skim teasingly over the assortment of blades and sharpened bits of wood upon it. She lifted a long serrated knife and pretended to examine it for a moment, testing the sharpness against her thumb.

"Hmm," she murmured approvingly, licking the bead of red welling up from her pricked finger as she approached Isobel with the knife in hand. "This one should do nicely.

"Makes me almost wish I'd thought to bring it with me for my little visit with Johnathan Gilbert. That butcher knife I had to improvise with was so dull I had to really shove it in there to get it all the way into his stomach," Katherine continued tauntingly as she dipped the blade into a fresh bucket of vervain, dragging its wet point over the other vampire's face, down her neck and chest—putting just enough pressure to break the skin—before plunging it into Isobel's own abdomen.

"Of course," she began, speaking right over the growls of pain falling from the other woman's lips, "it probably didn't help that I used that knife to chop his fingers off with first. But I didn't exactly have time to stop and sharpen it before I filled his chest with holes," Katherine hissed into Isobel's face as she yanked the blade out and just as quickly shoved it back in.

"Oh! That reminds me. I brought you a little gift," the curly-haired vampire cooed with a smile, leaving the knife embedded in Isobel's stomach as she reached into the front pocket of her skin-tight black jeans, retrieving the large ring that had until recently resided on Johnathan's finger.

Isobel's face contorted with pain and fear at the sight of the blood-encrusted ring and she ducked her head, blackened eyes closing in defeat, but the older vampire's hand shot out and clamped around her cheeks forcing her head back up.

"Open your eyes right now or I'll slice your eyelids off so you can't help but look at me," Katherine commanded, yanking the blade free and holding it up to her eyes.

Isobel reluctantly complied and she continued, "I didn't kill Johnathan because of your betrayal, Isobel. He was dead the moment he agreed to find the device to kill the tomb vampires. You, on the other hand, I was going to allow to live. But now your survival is a bit up in the air, so I suggest you pay rapt attention.

"The time you've spent down here was an opportunity for you to look back and reflect on your mistakes. First, thinking you could hide anything from me. And second, being stupid enough to believe you could then just walk away unscathed.

"My gift is just a little reminder that if you ever try to pursue your own interests above mine again that I can and will destroy everything that matters to you. Johnathan isn't someone you'd really miss, but he's just an example of what's to come. Next it'll be Alaric, and him I'll really have some fun with first before I take that ring off.

"And then," she whispered, putting her lips right next to Isobel's ear. "I will kill Elena. Slowly."

Isobel lunged forward, fangs primed to tear out Katherine's throat but the vampire twin of her own daughter moved effortlessly out of the way, chuckling at her futile efforts.

"I think I've made myself clear, don't you? Now all that remains is for you to decide if you can be a good little pawn or if this is where you'd like to die. Don't worry, I'll give you a few more days to think about it." Katherine turned with a dismissive wave and languidly strode over to the stairs, a self-satisfied smirk on her face as she pocketed Johnathan's ring.

The last thing she expected was to hear laughter burst out of her captive.

"What's so funny?" Katherine demanded, annoyance coloring her features as she faced Isobel.

"You, talking like you've got all the time in the world," the other vampire shot back hoarsely, still laughing.

"Did all that vervain fry a few brain cells? I'm a vampire. Time is what we've got in spades."

"If my present predicament is any indication, even vampires can run out of time, Katherine." She spat a mouthful of blood on the floor in her direction. "And yours is rapidly growing short."

"Really?" the brunette retorted, a perfect eyebrow arched doubtfully. "Do tell."

"I spent the last six years of my human life doing nothing but research, Katherine. You honestly think I wouldn't do some digging into you?"

For the first time, an expression of fear crossed the tanned planes of the older vampire's face.

"That's right," Isobel continued, a bloodstained grin on her ravaged face, "I know what you're really afraid of. Or should I say who. So go ahead and kill me. Try to go after Elena and Ric if you want to, but in the end you won't be able to outrun him anymore. And at least I'll die with the satisfaction of knowing that you won't be far behind me, you selfish bitch."

Katherine just stared at Isobel with wide brown eyes, then blinked and that unconcerned mask slid back into place.

"Maybe. Too bad you won't be around to find out."

With that she sped over to the workbench, grabbed the end of a sharpened broom handle and shoved the point into Isobel's chest.

A soft gasp was all the sound that escaped the vampire's mouth as the life poured out of her body, leaving a decaying gray corpse dangling limply from the ceiling. Katherine stepped back from Isobel, mind working furiously. She hadn't planned on getting rid of that particular asset so soon, but the damned bookworm just couldn't help sticking her nose where it didn't belong.

But that didn't matter. Katherine would manage as she always had. She just needed to be a bit more cautious than usual so that nothing else spiraled out of her control. She couldn't risk having too many pieces out of place this far into the game.

Isobel's dead eyes stared right at her, wordlessly echoing her ominous last words. You won't be far behind me. An involuntary shiver danced across Katherine's shoulders but she forced herself to ignore it. She spun on her heel, facing Cherie and the cowboy, Frank.

"Set this place on fire. I don't want anything to be left. And forget everything you saw and heard down here," Katherine spoke evenly, nodding her approval when they parroted the instructions of her compulsion.

She hurried up the steps, assuring herself it was the urgency of her plans—not fear—causing her to flee the basement. Katherine forced herself to stop as she hit the third riser, banishing the panic from her mind and calling out to the two humans again, "On second thought, after you get the fire started make sure neither of you leaves this room alive."

There, that was much better, Katherine thought with a grin as she leisurely ascended the remaining stairs.


Mystic Falls, Virginia

The heavy wood front door of the Salvatore boarding house rapidly swung open, knob banging into a cream-colored wall as Caleb Arceneaux burst through the entryway with a barely conscious Elyse St. Clair cradled in his arms. He rushed to the plush leather couch before the fireplace and gently laid her across it, crouching on the floor beside her and taking her hand in his.

"I'm fine," the witch managed weakly, trying to smile reassuringly at him but her ashen complexion belied her words.

"Y' were unconscious and bleeding for almost ten minutes. And dat was with vampire blood in your system. Y' most certainly are not fine," he growled through clenched teeth—angry with her, himself, and the damned vampire that'd caused all this, but most of all with the situation that rendered him powerless to protect the woman he loved.

Caleb was barely aware of the Salvatores entering the room, only taking notice of Damon when he tapped him on the shoulder. He couldn't help the protective snarl that burst from his throat at the unwanted intrusion as he whipped around and bared his fangs at the black-haired vampire.

"Down there, Cujo," Damon grumbled with a frown, blood packet held out in his hand. "Here, you should drink this. Keep your strength up."

"Thanks," Caleb replied, snatching it away and returning his attention to Elyse.

"There's blankets and pillows in the linen closet just down the hall," the elder Salvatore added in an uninterested tone, pouring himself a drink from the crystal decanter then moving quickly toward the stairs leading to the cellar—trying to dispel the rising sympathy within him along the way.

Stefan watched his brother go with a furrowed brow; if he didn't know any better, he'd have thought Damon was actually affected by the pain of two other people. But he did know better. Compassion was an emotion that'd ceased to exist in the heart of his brother over a century ago. And any hope Stefan had ever harbored that Damon might be capable of changing was always crushed—a point the other vampire consistently drove home, usually via a bloody corpse or two.

His musings were interrupted as Jeremy stepped past the threshold with a barefoot Anna pressed tightly against his side. The teen's thermal and black coat now hung loosely on the female vampire's small frame, sleeves rolled back several times to allow her to hold his hand tightly in both her own while the hem of his shirt fell midway down her pale thighs.

"I'm gonna take her upstairs," the teen whispered to Stefan, nodding to Anna. "Let me know if they need anything, okay?" Jeremy glanced warily over at the pair huddled together before the fireplace, clearly suffering the effects of a guilty conscience where the witch was concerned.

"Yeah," the younger Salvatore promised, managing a grim smile.

"Could you give this back to Elyse for me?" Anna spoke so softly and without looking up that both young men weren't entirely sure she'd actually said anything.

Stefan took the leather bomber she handed him and immediately replied that he would.

"I'd do it myself," she explained almost apologetically, still not meeting anyone's eyes, "but I think I'm the last person Caleb wants to see right now."

"Hey," Jeremy murmured, turning her chin toward him, "she's gonna be just fine, okay? You have nothing to feel guilty about." He stared into the depths of her chocolate eyes, begging her to believe him.

Anna finally nodded and pressed herself closer to Jeremy, but Stefan could see the teen was having a harder time convincing himself. He caught the older vampire staring at him and gave him a look imploring Stefan to do everything he could not to make liar out of him. The spiky-haired Salvatore gave a slight nod and watched the young couple head off up the stairs, Jeremy mouthing a thank-you before they disappeared behind the banister.

Stefan moved gingerly into the living room, the relief of having Jeremy back unharmed lasting all of two seconds before the scent of human blood reached his nose. He could feel the veins branching out beneath his eyes as he watched Caleb feeding from the blood packet Damon had given him, and it honestly took every ounce of restraint in him not to rush over there. But it was the realization that it wasn't the blood bag he really wanted to rip from the other vampire's hands and drain dry—rather the much more tantalizing, warm and very much alive young woman on the couch—that kept him frozen in place.

He clamped his eyes shut and took a deep gulp of air to clear his head of the desire, only opening his eyes once he was sure he had the urge firmly stymied.

"Here. Anna wanted me to give this back to you," Stefan began as he walked stiffly toward the couch, intentionally stopping with the large armrest between him and the woman as he held her jacket out to Caleb. "Will you two be okay alone for a little while?" he asked, immediately retreating to a safe distance from the witch once her boyfriend took the garment from him. "Those burns really took it out of me and I need to feed."

"We're fine. Thank y' for allowing us t' stay here," Caleb bit out, barely contained rage vibrating in his voice. "But we won't be staying much longer, just until Elyse feels up t' being moved."

"I'm sorry 'bout burning y'," Elyse rasped, a truly apologetic expression on her delicate porcelain face. "I was just trying t' stop y' from ruining de ritual."

"Don't worry about it," Stefan replied in a rush as he all but ran to the backdoor in the kitchen, fighting with every step that familiar itch to tear into the flimsy barrier of the witch's neck and drain her blood drop by delicious drop—she was far too weak to fight back and that vampire boyfriend of hers was young, he'd be all-too-easily dealt with. A flick of the wrist would be all it'd take to break his neck, giving him a few unhindered minutes with the woman, or Stefan could just rip Caleb's heart clean out so he could really take his time and savor the kill…

Stefan slammed the door hard behind him, eyes scarlet and fangs glinting in the moonlight as he shot through the woods, sprinting past startled bunnies and squirrels without even a glance. Tonight he needed something big. Big and wild and able to put up a halfway decent fight to ensure he wouldn't end up falling back off the wagon again. Because as Stefan had recently discovered, it was getting increasingly difficult for him to go cold turkey each time he indulged on human blood.


Jeremy ushered Anna into his bedroom at the Salvatore house, wincing at the mess he'd left behind in his hurry to leave the house with Elyse and Caleb before. He muttered a quick apology and sped through the room, gathering the assortment of clothing scattered on the floor and shoving it hastily into the bottom of his closet.

"You missed these," Anna said with a tiny grin, dangling a pair of his boxers between her thumb and index finger.

Embarrassed, Jeremy snatched the underwear from her and tossed them in with the rest of his clothes. He turned back to her, hands shoved deep into the pockets of his jeans as he watched her take in the room. She ran her fingers over the rumpled bed sheets, slid a palm across the wooden dresser then stopped at the window to peer out at the night sky—all with the same vaguely amazed expression on her face. Reacquainting herself with the world she'd left, he realized with a lump in his throat.

He wanted to say something to her, something to make things better, to take her pain away, but had no earthly idea what the hell he was supposed to say.

It wasn't like he could just open with: Sorry you got killed because of me, but hey I helped bring you back so that makes things cool between us, right? Even he knew that wouldn't go over too well. Jeremy wanted Anna to feel safe and secure around him, to know without a doubt that he'd never let any harm come to her ever again. He wanted to tell her how much she meant to him, how much he'd missed her.

Hell, if he weren't worried that it might be too much too fast for her he'd take Anna in his arms right this instant and never let her go. But the memory of how terrified she'd been in the woods was all too fresh in his mind and Jeremy didn't think he could stand to see her recoil from the very sight of him again.

So he decided to let Anna control the situation for now, he'd wait until she let him know what she wanted him to do. If she wanted to talk, he'd talk, if she wanted him to just be quiet and let her explore the room all night, he'd do that, too. And if she wanted him to walk away and never come near her again, he'd oblige her wishes, even though it'd tear his heart out to do so.

"I think I'm gonna get a shower now. I'm a real mess," Anna announced, turning toward him with that pixie grin he loved on her face, shyly patting her wild hair and chuckling as she pulled free a dried leaf.

It took every ounce of self-control Jeremy possessed not to rush over and kiss her in that moment. But he knew he wouldn't stop at just a kiss.

Jeremy had been too worried about her before for her state of undress to really register in his mind, but now it was all he could think of. How her smooth, pale legs were almost entirely bared by his shirt; the way he could see the clear outline of her breasts through the fabric; and how that adorable grin of hers absolutely begged to have his lips crush into hers. The sight of her standing just feet away looking like some gorgeous exotic nymph sent blood thrumming through his veins like never before, but he was determined not to rush her into anything.

He'd been so selfish with her all this time, but from now on he'd put Anna first.

"Okay," Jeremy replied thickly, all but running into the adjoining bathroom. He needed an excuse to get away from her for a few seconds so he could try to get the thoughts of everything he wanted to do with her under control.

He snagged a fluffy white towel from the cabinet beneath the sink then popped open the glass shower door and twisted the knobs, adjusting the water for her. The teen turned to leave, freezing as the sound of his coat hitting the tile floor reached his ears.

Anna had soundlessly padded into the bathroom after him, and now stood tugging his thermal off over her head, leaving her completely naked in front of him.

Jeremy couldn't help staring at her petite curves as she purposely strode up to him, dark brown eyes boring unabashedly into his as she rose up on tiptoe and kissed him. He was too shocked for a moment to respond—the dual sensations of her soft mouth and hardened nipples grazing his skin banished any semblance of conscious thought—then slowly let his lips move along with hers. She pulled back all too soon for his liking and stepped into the shower stall, the steaming spray instantly plastering her long dark curls to her shoulders.

"Stay with me?" Anna asked softly, never taking her eyes off him.

The plea in her voice was all it took to convince Jeremy she still wanted him as much as he wanted her. Keeping his brown eyes fixed on hers he quickly shed his clothes and stepped into the stall.

Anna's hands trailed up his chest to his shoulders, feeling strong muscles jerk beneath her fingertips as she pulled him up against her under the showerhead. Jeremy immediately wrapped his arms around her, anchoring her bare form to his with one hand on the small of her back, the other winding through her wet locks as he leaned down and kissed her. She tugged gently on the strands at his nape as she pressed harder against him, eagerly opening her mouth for him when his tongue swept over her lower lip.

She felt the growl rumble through his chest as their tongues met and her mouth quirked into a grin as the hand at the small of her back tightened, gluing her torso to his as though he wouldn't be satisfied until he'd pushed her into his body. A giggle bubbled up her throat at the thought that it'd actually be the other way around.

"What's so funny?" Jeremy panted, smiling as he drew back and rested his forehead against hers.

"Nothing. I just missed you. Missed this." Anna ran her hands over the arms wrapped securely around her bare torso for emphasis, beaming up at him.

"I'm so sorry," he abruptly apologized, brown eyes filling with regret.

Alarmed by his sudden mood shift, Anna cupped his face in her hands. "You have nothing to feel sorry for. The only thing you should feel is how grateful I am to you for what you did to bring me back." She punctuated her statement with an open-mouthed kiss, tongue teasing his lips apart in an attempt to make the cloud that'd fallen over his expression disappear. "Very grateful."

But the seriousness didn't leave Jeremy's expression with her suggestive words, however it shifted, becoming almost disconcertingly passionate. His fingers threaded themselves even deeper in her hair as his dark brown, nearly black, gaze locked on hers.

"I will never let anything happen to you ever again, Anna."

The ferocity of his promise sent a shudder of equal parts pleasure and trepidation through her and she shifted in his arms, drawing as close to him as possible.

"I'm not going anywhere," Anna whispered, reassuring him both with her eyes and body that he had nothing to fear. His lips crashed into hers, cementing both their promises beneath the streaming water.


Elyse was on her feet and shrugging into her leather bomber with Caleb standing an arm's length away, protectiveness practically radiating off him as his dark gaze never once wavered from her, when Damon walked back into the spacious den. All traces of blood were gone from her skin, yet she still looked weak and tired—the usually revitalizing effect of consuming vampire blood oddly absent from her features.

"You get over that house being dropped on you yet?" he asked, smirking as he refilled his Scotch and refusing to linger on just how much the young vampire reminded him of himself 145 years ago.

"It'd take more dan dat t' get me t' turn my toes up and die," the witch responded, shooting her boyfriend a warning look as he instinctively shifted closer to her.

"Good to know. Where'd Stefan get off to?"

"He said something about needing t' hunt and headed out into de woods," Elyse answered the elder Salvatore.

"Well bunnies beware, big bad Stefan's back on the prowl," Damon joked, drowning his relief with a mouthful of amber liquid.

"Much as I'd like t' stay and continue exchangin' witty one-liners, we need t' be going. But could y' give Anna dis for me, please?" the witch requested, handing the black-haired vampire a folded piece of hotel stationery.

He pursed his lips, his first instinct to open it but he ultimately shoved it into the back pocket of his jeans with a nod.

"Thanks." She turned to leave, Caleb immediately taking her hand as she reached him.

"Hey," Damon called after her reluctantly. "Thank you. For what you did back there for Anna. She didn't deserve to die."

"Y're welcome, Damon," she replied, an expression of slight surprise on her face as she turned back to face him, "although, it's not like y' actually care or anything, right?" Elyse gave him a disturbingly knowing grin as she and Caleb exited the house and disappeared into the night, arms encircling each other's waists.

Damn, he hated witches, too nosy and judge-y for their own good.


Elyse managed to make it to the bottom of the front steps before her feet gave out under her and Caleb swept her up into his arms, wordlessly rushing his girlfriend into the SUV and switching on the radio to prevent anyone from eavesdropping on them.

He immediately rolled up the sleeve of his leather jacket, exposing his wrist to feed her his blood again.

"Don'," she began, grabbing his forearm and cutting off his motions. "I'm fine, just tired."

"Stop saying dat," Caleb demanded in a harsh whisper, jerking free of her hand. He glared off into the night, clenching both hands around the steering wheel—every tendon visibly standing out beneath his skin with the strain—before shifting into drive and gunning the engine. "Y're not fine, damn it!" The vampire barely restrained himself from shouting the words at her as he pulled out of the driveway.

"It's taking more and more blood just t' keep y' alive every time now. And soon even dat won't bring y' back." He stared straight ahead, jaw set and eyes unblinking—holding back tears, she realized.

"Okay, I'm not fine," Elyse conceded, running a comforting hand over his shoulders, feeling how stiff the muscles were. "But I can't afford t' look weak in front o' a bunch o' vampires we don' know. Especially vampires dat know Katherine Pierce," she added in a whisper.

The only response was the loud buzz of the wheels running over the bumps marking the shoulder of the road then Caleb bit out through clenched teeth, "Katherine is here?"

"She was here," the witch hedged. "I'm not sure if she is anymore. Jeremy's memory o' her wasn't very specific."

Caleb let out a harsh sigh, running a hand roughly through his hair as he continued staring too intently at the road, refusing to look at her. "Okay," he began, voice marginally calmer, "doesn' matter if Katherine's here or not. B'cause we won't be. We'll pack up and get de hell outta here tonight b'fore she even knows we were here."

"We're not leaving yet," Elyse retorted simply.

"Why de hell not?"

"Dere's another witch here dat's mucking things up. She's de reason Anna got killed."

"Lemme guess, de great all-fuckin'-knowing loa want y' t' have a lil' chat with her and set her straight?" Caleb questioned bitterly.

"Dey want me t' just talk t' her, I wanna do a bit more dan talk," she answered, blue eyes churning with anger. "We won't stay dat much longer, okay? I just have t' do a few things here den we'll go back home."

When he didn't reply, she continued, "And I promise t' be a good girl and let y' be as overbearin' and suffocatingly protective as y' want till we do." Elyse held up three fingers in the Girl Scouts' salute, grinning at him.

That got him to crack a smile, but it quickly faded away as Caleb turned to look at her, brown eyes pleading, and confessed, "I keep thinking dat de next time I won't be able t' get t' y' quick enough and y'll die right dere in front o' me b'cause I wasn't fast enough.

"I can't lose y', Elyse. I'd die first."

She swallowed a lump in her throat at the raw anguish in his voice, it combined with the fact that he'd called her by her name and not his usual flirty term of endearment almost convincing her to abandon her plans and let him take her back home to Louisiana. But she forced that urge down, her place in events here too clear in her mind to ignore—despite whatever she might want to do to prevent the man she loved from feeling more pain because of her.

Instead the witch reached out and ran her fingers over his right hand on the steering wheel, pulling it away and bringing it to her lips. "Y' won't lose me. Ever," she promised against his skin, sealing her words with a kiss.

Caleb sighed and she could feel the tension begin to leave his body, smiling reassuringly up at him as his fingers wove between hers and held tight.

Elyse carefully controlled her expression until his eyes returned to the road, blinking back tears and praying that she wouldn't be made a liar.


Stefan wrenched his mouth away from the neck of his kill with a satisfied growl, allowing the limp body to fall to the ground. He wasn't even sure what the now unrecognizable lump of twisted fur and bone before him had originally been, he'd been too wrapped up in the hunt and subsequent feeding to notice. All he remembered was a rumbling snarl, a flash of sharp teeth and desperately slashing claws against his chest before he pounced, snapping the legs but not killing it so that it still struggled against him as he fed.

That was the best part, the struggling. It kept the blood pumping so perfectly.

Some part of him knew he shouldn't think that, didn't that make him bad? But Stefan couldn't quite remember why he should feel that way. He staggered to his feet, too drunk on fresh blood to rebuke himself for the thought. He'd do it later, Stefan promised himself. He'd brood and call himself a monster like always, but right now he couldn't bring himself to do it. Couldn't he just this once enjoy himself? It's not like he'd killed a person after all.

The younger Salvatore started back toward the house and stumbled on the twisted carcass of another dead animal. Blinking in confusion he looked behind him, confirming that there were in fact two instead of the one he remembered hunting. But as Stefan turned he spotted a third. And then a fourth. And a fifth.

His blood ran cold as he realized that the entire clearing around him was dotted was mutilated animal corpses, the tell-tale bites on their throats confirming he was the one behind the slaughter. Stefan racked his foggy memory, trying desperately to recall exactly what he'd done. But all that was there was a terrifying blank.

He remembered this feeling. He'd had a similar experience just after he'd been turned, waking up in an entire house full of dead bodies and only recollecting the deaths of one or two of the occupants. Back then he'd killed not just to feed, but for the thrill of it. Ripping into a warm body just as much to hear them scream as to quell the ache of hunger.

Stefan ran a shaky hand through his hair, only for it to get caught in his spiky locks. He pulled his hand free, realizing in horror that it was coated in blood all the way up to his forearm. The other hand was no better, blood-soaked to his elbow with tiny tufts of fur clinging to the wet skin.

He wiped his hands reflexively on his shirt, closing his eyes in disgust at the feel of the torn fabric clinging wetly to his chest.

The shrill ring of his cell phone cut through the night and he immediately dug it out of his pocket, bloody fingers leaving red smudges across the LED screen. Elena. A harsh sigh left his lips at the sight of her name. It was a perfect coup de grace after what he'd just done.

Seeing what he really was in sharp contrast to who he pretended to be. The good, in control vampire worthy of building a happy, quasi-normal life with the woman he loved.

Frowning, Stefan let the call go to voicemail and shoved the phone back into his jeans. He didn't deserve to even speak to her right now. Maybe he would later, when he'd scrubbed the blood from his body and got himself under control.

Stefan trudged back to the house trying to ignore the voice inside his head taunting him about control being as much a fallacy as him ever truly cleaning the blood from his hands. Sure, his skin would come clean eventually, but that was only on the surface. Beneath his skin the stains of his sins remained, unable to be washed away so easily.

The dark part of him that relished the excessive violence of the kill and that he thought he'd finally suppressed after decades of rigorous self-denial and commitment felt its shackles weaken that much more as Stefan disappeared into the forest.


Jeremy strode blindly into his bedroom, Anna's arms and legs tightly encircling his torso with his mouth resolutely fused to hers. He carried her to the bed in the center of the room, stopping when he felt the mattress against the front of his thighs. Reaching back behind his neck, he gently unlocked her tight grip in his hair, urging her down onto the soft bedding.

She was absolute perfection against the sheets. Damp dark curls fanning out over cream-colored sheets, pale olive skin luminescent as lingering beads of water caught the light and made her entire body glisten like an opal.

God, what had he ever done to deserve her?

Despite the incredible temptation to do otherwise, they hadn't made love in the shower. Instead, Jeremy had merely helped Anna wash away the caked on blood, dirt, and ash from her skin—the simple intimacy of taking care of her while watching her relearn his body as he committed every inch of her nude form to memory was almost enough for him. Almost.

He wanted her. More than he could ever remember wanting anyone or anything before. Even the crippling ache of hunger was nothing compared to the craving coiling low in his abdomen at the sight of her spread across his bed.

It was almost frightening, the intensity of his desire for her. And for the first time ever Jeremy found himself worried that he might actually hurt her. Before when he'd made love to her as a human he had no fear whatsoever of hurting her; Anna could literally lift him off his feet with one hand so how could he possibly hurt her?

But Jeremy wasn't human anymore. He was a vampire, and Damon had warned him about how easy it'd be to lose control of himself around people he felt strongly for.

And there was no one Jeremy felt more strongly for than Anna right now.

But as he stared down at her looking so gorgeous, small and feminine compared to him, Jeremy was torn. He wanted her, and the longing burning in her fathomless brown eyes left no doubt in his mind that she wanted him. But could he give in without hurting her? He'd sworn that he'd never let any harm come to her ever again, and it would utterly kill him to be the one to hurt her yet again.

Anna apparently sensed his indecision and reached out for him, pulling him halfway on top of her and kissing him in a way that expressed far better than words ever could that she wanted and trusted him implicitly, and Jeremy was determined to deserve that sort of devotion.

He opened his mouth to her, lightly brushing his tongue against hers before retreating from her embrace with a parting nip to her full lower lip. Anna stared up at him, eyes like dark coffee, and let her arms drop to the mattress over her head, daring him to make the next move. And Jeremy had no intention of disappointing her.

The young vampire let one hand slide teasingly up her thigh, watching with great satisfaction as her breasts began rapidly heaving beneath the flimsy barrier of the towel wrapped around her torso. Jeremy paused with his fingers over the knot holding the towel in place, drawing out the anticipation between them until it was almost painful, and slowly pulled the end free, leaving Anna completely exposed under him.

He hovered over her body just staring for what seemed like an eternity, eyes darkening as she wriggled trying to alleviate some of the need vibrating through her. Anna clenched the sheets in her fists to keep herself from reaching for him and putting an end to his scrutiny. Although the unfulfilled desire to touch him was driving her insane, she'd let him do this at his pace. For now.

Jeremy framed her small but perfectly curved hips with his hands, relishing the feel of her smooth skin as he trailed his palms slowly upward, enveloping her narrow waist. A grin twisted his lips at her gasp of pleasure and he pressed a deliberate kiss to her bellybutton, nuzzling the soft flesh there and indulging in her sweet scent.

He traced a blazing path up her torso with his mouth, determined not to leave even a single inch of her flesh untouched by his lips or tongue. Jeremy stopped just before he reached her breasts, waiting for Anna's gaze to fall on him before he continued; the moment her brown eyes met his he cupped both supple mounds in his hands, fingers gently massaging her sensitive flesh and loving the way she arched into his touch, soft moans of his name tumbling from her lush lips.

Her reactions were making it extremely hard for him to take this slowly, but Jeremy refused to think of his own desires. He wanted to give her as much pleasure as possible before feeling even an ounce for himself.

Speaking of Anna's pleasure, he thought with a wicked smirk as his mouth replaced his hand on her right breast, from the sound of the strangled scream that echoed around him at the action, Jeremy was doing a damn good job. A low growl rumbled through his chest when Anna curled her fingers into his hair, tugging the strands none-too-gently to urge him on. He was more than happy to oblige, sucking hard on her pebbled nipple then lightly scraping his teeth across it—earning another painfully pleasurable yank on his hair.

Jeremy drew back to pay the same attention to her other breast, but the expression on Anna's face stopped him cold. Her head was thrown back in pleasure, full lips slightly parted allowing him a glimpse of her fangs, that familiar dark cascade of veins spilling down her cheeks. But that wasn't what had really shocked him, it was the way seeing her like that affected him—he felt blood flood his eyes, among other places, and his own fangs extend as a confusing blend of bodily hungers rushed through him.

Her closed eyes popped open and, catching sight of his expression, Anna used her grip in his hair to bring his mouth to hers. He maneuvered himself completely onto the bed on top of her, his half-clothed form pressing into her nude one. Her lips crashed into his with bruising force, tongue insistently pushing past his lips and sensually caressing his. Jeremy felt her hand sneak between their bodies down to his waist, impatiently yanking the towel covering his lower half away. He grinned against her lips at her eagerness, only to almost jump out of his skin as her fingertips trailed lightly over the veins on his cheek.

Jeremy pulled slightly away from her, bracing his weight on his forearms as he stared down at her in question.

"Doesn't it feel good to you?" Anna asked, a frown creasing her brow.

A chuckle burst from his lips as he leaned forward to touch his forehead to hers. "Good doesn't even begin to describe it," he told her truthfully, focusing an intense brown gaze on her. "It was like you were touching me everywhere at once."

That was a huge fucking understatement, Jeremy thought, watching as the frown disappeared and Anna's lips curled into a satisfied smile. He'd felt her simple touch on his cheek shoot like a lightning bolt down his spine, arcing outward through every extremity in an electric surge of pleasure unlike anything he'd ever felt before.

Watching her face carefully, Jeremy lifted one hand waiting until the veins reappeared on her cheeks and experimentally traced along the length of them with just his fingertips. Her mouth fell open in a silent cry of pleasure and the hand at the back of his neck slipped down to his shoulders, fingernails digging into his skin. Anna's reaction nearly sent him into a frenzy—his free arm shot out and snaked around her back, roughly driving her body up to his as his hips instinctively bucked against her, pressing his hardness into her thigh.

They both gasped at the sensation, and Anna ground her pelvis against his muscular abdomen, desperate for some release from the building tension. Jeremy dropped his head into the crook of her neck, letting out a hiss of pleasure against her skin, lips opening of their own accord. He'd pressed his fangs against her flesh and was about to sink them into her pale throat before he even realized what he was doing.

Jeremy immediately recoiled in a mix of disgust and horror, Anna blinking up at him in confusion.

He didn't want to confess what he'd almost done to her and ruin the moment so he crushed his lips to hers, hands running hungrily down her torso to her thighs, hastily hooking her legs around his waist. Anna linked both arms around his neck, urging him on.

Jeremy tore his lips from hers as he pushed into her tight warmth, releasing a deep groan of pleasure and restraint at the feeling of her silken walls enveloping his hardened flesh inch by incredible inch. Her legs squeezed his hips forcing him deeper and he gritted his teeth against every instinct in his body demanding that he throw caution to the wind and fuck her senseless.

He braced his arms on the mattress, holding his body above hers as he began to move within her. Jeremy had thought it'd be safer if he weren't so close to her, but the new angle allowed him to watch as they made love, chipping away a bit more of his already fragile control as he slammed harder into her. Anna writhed beneath him, perfect alabaster breasts heaving as she rolled her hips in time with his thrusts into her wet core. Her chocolate brown eyes were glazed over with pleasure as they stared into his and he felt his fangs press into his lower lip.

Realization flashed in her eyes and she arched her neck, dark gaze holding his, and moaned, "Go for it."

Jeremy clamped his eyes shut, an agonized groan escaping his lips.

God was punishing him. That's what this was. Definitely.

It wasn't bad enough that Anna had never looked sexier than she did now, naked and glistening with sweat as they made love, but she had to echo his own words from the night he'd told her to feed on him as she offered her neck to him. Granted, some twisted and deeply male part of him thought it was the hottest fucking thing he'd ever heard—her giving him permission to bite her during sex—but the rest of him was sickened at the thought of it.

He loved Anna and he would never feed on her, especially not when he'd promised never to hurt her again.

Although, that other part of him argued, hadn't he enjoyed it when Anna fed on him that night in the kitchen? After the initial fear had passed—Jeremy had had no idea at the time if she would leave him alive once she was finished—it had felt amazing. Sure, there'd been pain, but it'd been a pleasurable pain, akin to fingernails digging into his back hard enough to leave scratches or a too hard nip on his lip during sex. Those situations where the lines between pain and pleasure blurred just enough to create a single, intensely erotic sensation.

His thoughts were interrupted as he felt himself being flipped onto his back. Jeremy opened his eyes to find the little pixie vampire settling herself on his lap. A grin twitched the corners of her berry lips upward as she pressed her hands to his sculpted chest, keeping him flat on his back and holding herself up.

"Maybe it'd help if I showed you how good a bite from another vampire can feel first," Anna whispered, eyes sparkling with mischief.

Before a word could pass his lips, those beautiful brown eyes of hers turned red and she lunged at his throat, razor-sharp fangs easily piercing his flesh as her lips locked over the wound. Jeremy jumped, more in shock than anything else, letting out an instinctive cry as he tangled a hand in her hair. Just as when he'd been human, there was pain but it was tempered by an overwhelming amount of pleasure surging through his body, making him even harder as he arched toward her, tipping his neck back for easier access.

Anna dug her teeth deeper into his skin and he couldn't help the shout that burst from his lungs, sure the entire house now knew exactly what was going on. Jeremy had never been a particularly masochistic person before, but if it always felt this way when Anna bit him then he wanted her do it every single day of his life. He felt her grin against his neck at his reaction and she shifted in his lap, aligning her core with his erection.

Jeremy allowed one hand to slip down to her hips, determined not to move the other from Anna's hair where it kept her mouth pressed to his throat, gripping the small of her back tightly as she teased his tip with her entrance.

"Anna…" he growled, begging or warning her to move even he wasn't sure.

With a satisfied sigh, Anna slid down onto his length, sheathing him completely inside her in a single fluid stroke. She reluctantly detached her mouth from his neck, leaning back so he could watch her ride him.

Jeremy tried to sit up but she kept her hands pressed firmly against his chest, intentionally holding him down. He wanted to be irritated but could only look up at her in awe as she licked his blood from her lips, fangs disappearing as her eyes returned to normal. She gently rocked her hips against him, starting out maddeningly slow and building in tempo with each movement. He gripped her hips in both hands, yanking her down harder onto him in time with his thrusts.

Her head fell back in pleasure and he grinned, seizing the opportunity and rolling her under him. Anna's dark eyes flew open, fear bleeding into desire as she took in the crimson eyes and bared fangs of her lover looming over her. Without taking her eyes off his she brushed the hair back from her neck and repeated the words that instead of paralyzing him with shock as before, now filled him with undeniable desire, "Go for it, Jeremy. I won't break."

He launched himself at her neck, fangs sinking into the beautiful, fragile column of her throat. Her blood poured into his mouth, sweet and warm and tinged with lust—so unlike how it'd tasted when he'd been human—as Jeremy sucked greedy mouthfuls down. His erection twitched inside her as Anna cried his name and buried a hand in his hair, holding him to her as he'd held her, the fingernails of her free hand raking down his spine and eliciting a shudder.

He reared back and thrust into her at the same time as he plunged his fangs deeper into her neck, growling as her fingernails bit into his shoulder. Jeremy wrenched his mouth from her throat, staring down into her desire-filled gaze with her blood shining on his lips. Anna used the hand in his hair to urge him down to kiss her, their tongues immediately meeting to taste blood and one another.

The mutual feeding drove them both into a frenzy, groping, kissing, nipping, and scratching as their passion reached its peak. They were heedless of the twin trails of blood from the bites on their necks dripping down onto both their chests, their two bloods mingling into one in an immortal promise.

Jeremy shoved himself into her as hard as he could on every stroke, all restraint long gone as he pushed his vampire body to the very limits of its strength to pleasure Anna. She pressed her lips to his with a wild cry, tongue stroking his as she bucked her hips roughly into his. He let his hands slither down her body, fondling her breasts before moving down to grab her ass and using his hold to shove her into his thrusts.

Anna gasped into his mouth, body tightening and pulsing around his hard length as the pleasure inside her built to a fever pitch. Jeremy kept his open lips pressed to hers, sharing ragged breaths as his own release barreled down on him. He slipped a hand down to her core, fingers sliding through the slick folds to rub the sensitive nub he knew would send her into oblivion.

He was not disappointed.

Anna's body arched into his, fingernails digging into his strong shoulders until he felt blood trickle down his back and she screamed his name at the top of her lungs as her climax ripped through her. Jeremy dropped his head to her neck, growling her name as he buried himself deep inside her core one last time and came. Complete and total release exploding through every fiber in his being as Anna's wet heat clamped down on him, holding him within her just as her arms held him against her.

Jeremy lifted his head from her neck, knowing this was the perfect moment to tell her he loved her for the first time but before he could get the words out Anna slid her fingers into the sweat-damp strands of his hair and guided his lips to hers. The kiss was soft, lips barely brushing one another's in a loving caress that sharply contrasted their intense lovemaking.

Afterward, he collapsed against her, exhaustion overtaking them both as he drew the sheet over their bodies and they fell asleep, both truly at peace for the first time in their lives, in each other's arms.

A/N: Well, that was my first ever sex scene! I've written a few intense make-out scenes before but nothing that went all the way. So please tell me: too much, not enough, more detail, less detail, too flowery, not raunchy enough? I prefer to keep things sexy without resorting to overused, coarse terminology, it's just not my thing.

Anyway… Let me know what you guys think of the REAL reunion of Anna and Jeremy, since the first was sorta a tease on my part. ;-} Also, how about Katherine? I'd planned on having her kill Isobel even before Isobel died in the show, so I hope my version was an interesting alternate take on events. And what about Damon and Stefan's situations this chapter? I kinda like exploring Dark Stefan but not so much Good Damon, he's so much more fun as Anti-Hero Damon, don't ya think?

Elyse and Caleb aren't done yet but they probably won't stick around for the whole story, but before they leave they get to have some fun with Bonnie—whom I've decided I completely hate now—and also shed some light on some other character's situations. Vague enough for ya? lol

Please, please, PLEASE REVIEW people! Favs and alerts are all well and good but I REALLY find reviews to be the most constructive. I don't want to withhold updates unless I get a specific number, but let's say if I don't get like 10 or more considerable reviews—as in more than one line—on this chapter I'll devote more time to my other fics instead of working on this.

Oh! Again I made a reference in this chapter. I listed John Donne's "The Flea" as one of my influences for this chapter, if anyone can guess the line I augmented from his poem and put in Jeremy and Anna's love scene I'll definitely do a request from them. That poem is AMAZING, especially if you know what it's really about! ;-}

Thanks for reading!