Of all the things in the world, the one filled with the most woe is to do a good deed with pure intent, and in so doing, destroy the one you most wish to help.

Now why would he be thinking of that? It must be some remnant from his studies as a boy. Damon paced the room. He felt caged, trapped. He was filled with the consuming need to somehow do something, anything to help Elena. But she did not want his help, and had made it pretty clear she preferred his space to his company. She was in her house with St. Stefan by her side. She did not want him or need him.

He needed to sulk and brood a while. But supposed that he should fetch his car back. No. Let Elena or St. Stefan bring it back, she took it, why should he have to go near the Bennett witch to get it?

Damon stalked out of the house and into the woods; the trees seemed to swallow him.

Back in her room Elena was exhausted, beyond exhausted really, but her sleep was never restoring, and now it was beginning to take a noticeable toll on her. She had trouble thinking and processing. She would start a sentence only to forget what she was talking about before she had finished.

Stefan was getting seriously worried; he was almost considering taking her to the hospital, fearing there was a head injury that had been overlooked.

He looked over to where Elena was dozing on the bed, she was tossing fitfully. He walked over to her and sat near the head of the bed, stroking her hair, hoping to calm her down, to enable her to relax, but it never happened.

The next morning Elena was still determined to go to school, She rode with Stefan, silent the whole drive. It seemed that every person in school had heard and was staring at her. She pulled her hood a little farther over her head and walked faster. He reached out his hand and took hers. He had to leave her once inside, he kept telling himself it would be fine. He just wished he believed it.

When she got to her locker she pulled her books out, then stood still till Bonnie walked up to her,

"Elena? Are you alright? We are going to be late."

"Oh, sorry Bonnie…I, uh, I am… well, I cannot remember where to go!"

"Math, of course. Hey, Elena, are you sure it is not too soon to come back?"

Bonnie looked at her narrowly.

"No, I am fine; I think the pain meds are making me a bit fuddled, that's all!"

"Did you get any sleep last night?"

"Of course I did, I do not have trouble sleeping, but I just do not feel rested after I do, and no, I am not having bad dreams or any dreams at all for that matter."

"Well, I will come over to your house after school, I can try that spell again, I re-read it last night and think I have got it down now."

Elena nodded, then the two of them walked towards their class.

It was a hard day, she dozed off twice, but her teachers said nothing to her, probably having heard all about what had happened.

It was after lunch that it happened, she was going to her locker, the hall was crowded and students were jostling to get to class. A petite girl ran full into Elena, she apologized and hurried off, but Elena stood there, paralyzed. Suddenly the noise of the students seemed to engulf her. Her hands started trembling, her heart raced. She took a deep breath to compose herself. It did not work.

What was wrong with her? There was nothing wrong, nothing wrong, nothing wrong…

A icy hand was on her arm, firm, controlling. She was being pulled. She stumbled to keep pace, her vision tunneled, dark spots started to swarm towards her.

A door shut close by. Fragments of voices floated around her in the ether.

"…was standing in the hall, not looking well."

"…Gilbert girl. Poor thing…"

"She is about to fall, set her down.."

"I can take her home,… on my way."

"Mr. Salvetore, are you sure?"

She was going to be sick… She leaned over the chair and wretched till her stomach was empty. There was a flurry of activity; she did not feel the shame that normally would have come after throwing up all over the school carpet.

A cold rag was put on her head.

Her mouth was full of the bitter taste of bile.

She was being supported, pulled to her feet. Then she could feel fresh air on her face, she took a deep breath, her heart slowed to a more normal pace.

Her vision cleared and she saw Damon standing beside her.

"Feeling better?"

She stared at her feet; she had vomit on her shoes.

"I lost both of my parents in a freak accident, learned that my boyfriend is a vampire, been hunted by sadistic denizens of the underworld, been gang raped and beaten up, I am loosing my mind, people close to me are dying, some thanks to you… all in one year. So, yeah, thanks for asking Damon, I feel great."

The speech would have been more effective if she had not been sick again right after.

Damon had her in his arms, guiding her to the closest bushes, holding her so that he still supported her as she heaved.

When she was done she pushed at him.

"Go away, Damon. Just go."

"Nope, not going to do it."

She took a deep breath.

"I should have died with them."

She felt a hand on the side of her face.

"Never think that, not for a moment, you are mine and I am not ready to surrender you, not ever."

"In your dreams, Damon."

Then he turned to her, his face brightening.

"Of course, it is so simple… could it really be that simple?"

Elena looked at him dully, he was not making sense to her, but she was not sure if he was actually not making sense or she was not comprehending his words.

In a flash she was in his car sitting in the passenger seat, he was leaning close to her.

"Elena, this is important, think, when was the last time you ingested vervain?"

"Wha…?"

"Take of your locket!"

It was not a request.

"No." Elena looked at him like a petulant child.

Then she gave a small cry as he reached and snapped off her necklace, giving a grimace as his hand was burnt. He dropped it in her lap.

Then, he grasped her upper arms and held her still, forcing her to make eye contact. His pupils widened.

"Elena, you are tired, you are going to fall asleep after I am done talking to you. Elena, you will start dreaming when you sleep, they might not be pleasant dreams for a while, but you know you are safe. Nothing can hurt you anymore. Dream, sweet Elena. And always know you are safe, because I am watching you."

Elena's eyes drooped, she relaxed into the seat.

Damon fastened the seatbelt around her, a slight smile on his face.

How foolish of him not to have seen it before, when he came to her room during the nightmare he had said she would not dream, and that had meant that she had not been able to enter into REM sleep. No wonder she had been falling apart, the memory loss, irritation, fatigue, all due to his well meant intervention.

At least he had corrected it in time.

He turned into Elena's drive. He picked her up in his arms and carried her to her room. Once there, he placed her in her bed, then took her hand.

She may not know it now, but she belonged to him, because every fiber of his being was hers. All the years he had spent as driftwood, the eternity he had existed in the abyss of immortality, all was over, for he had found his anchor. And now that he had found her, he could wait as long as it took till she woke up to the fact herself.

Finis