A/N: THE FINAL CHAPTER! HOPE IT'S EPIC ;)
"No!" Elena cried, breaking out of Damon's half-hearted grip and running towards Isobel's lifeless body. She knelt down, tears already spilling down her face. "Don't be dead!" she begged, pulling the stake out of Isobel's heart. "Please…"
Alaric stood frozen, staring down at the woman he had loved. She was gone…this time, she was really gone…
"There's nothing you can do," Stefan whispered, trying to pull Elena away from Isobel's body, but she angrily brushed him off. "Come on, Elena…"
"No!" she shouted, shoving him away. Stefan tried to grab her arms, but she struggled furiously, "Get away from me!"
"I'll kill you for this!" Alaric roared, blindly running towards Katherine.
Katherine rolled her eyes, blurring to block his path. He sputtered as she tightened her fingers around his throat, "You—you cold bitch!"
"Yes, I am," she agreed, but suddenly she gasped in pain and stumbled away from Alaric, clutching her head.
Damon hurriedly pushed Alaric out of the way, and nodded at Bonnie in gratitude. She smiled back at him grimly, her power not wavering the slightest.
"You…little witch," Katherine hissed, raising her head in fury. "Your pathetic powers can't kill me! You don't stand a chance—"
"Seems like she's doing a pretty good job," Damon interjected with a grin.
Katherine gasped again, and fell to her knees.
"Almost there," Bonnie breathed, concentrating all of her energy. She wasn't about to admit it, but taking down Katherine was using a lot more power than she was used to. Both Stefan and Damon had been much easier to overpower…damn her superior age…
Damon took half a step towards Bonnie worriedly. He could see her knees starting to shake from the effort she was expending. Bonnie shook her head at him, warning him not to get in the way.
Elena looked up from where she had been kneeling over Isobel's body, realizing what was happening. She stood up slowly, and went to stand next to Alaric. His arms were crossed, and his expression held so much hatred that she barely recognized him.
Katherine screamed suddenly, her hands clenching into the dirt on the ground. When she looked up, her gaze was wild, and she looked crazier than ever. "You owe me, Bennett!" she bit out agonizingly. "If it wasn't for me, you wouldn't even be here!"
"Ignore her," Stefan ordered, his eyes narrowing as he watched Bonnie struggle to keep standing.
"If it wasn't for me, Emily Bennett would've been burned at the stake long before she died!" Katherine spat out spitefully. "How would your ancestors feel about you being the one to kill me?"
"I suspect they would be thanking her," Alaric snapped.
"They would be rolling over in their graves! You would be nothing without me! You hate vampires so much? Then, you should know about the blood bond I shared with Emily..."
"Wh—what?" Bonnie frowned, her concentration flickering for a second. Then she shook her head, "No, that's not true…"
"Ask Damon…ask Stefan…they know the truth…"
Bonnie's gaze flicked towards Damon, but he looked away from her. "IT'S NOT TRUE!" she shouted.
Katherine was back on her feet in an instant, and she hissed as she began moving towards Bonnie, "Payback's a bitch, Bennett!"
"No!" Bonnie gasped, realizing what had happened. She tried to focus her power on Katherine once again, falling to her knees with the last of her energy.
Katherine faltered, her expression a mixture of anger and pain as she clutched her head again. "You can't last much longer…" she glowered, her mouth twisting cruelly.
Elena silently picked up the stake that had been used on Isobel, but Alaric pulled her back. "Don't!" he whispered, "Stefan and Damon can't go near Katherine because they don't want to get in the middle of Bonnie's spell. If you or I go near her, she'll be able to use us as a shield, and it'll ruin all the effort Bonnie is using."
"Bonnie can't do this herself," Elena whispered back, eyeing her best friend worriedly. "She looks nearly spent out…"
Damon and Stefan had both reached the same conclusion. They exchanged a look, which spoke volumes. Damon smirked and held out his hand, "Think it's time for the Salvatore brothers to make a comeback?"
"I think it is," Stefan agreed, shaking Damon's hand with a grin. They both crouched, vamping out.
"Oh crap," Alaric muttered, and Elena's eyes widened.
Bonnie breathing had become labored, and her eyes began to close. "I...can't..." she breathed, throwing one last look of hatred towards Katherine.
Then she passed out.
At that moment, both Damon and Stefan rushed towards Katherine, obviously hoping to take her down while she was still weak.
She growled in anger as she was slammed against a tree. "You two would never be able to kill me," she hissed, trying to regain her strength.
"Actually," Damon corrected with a snarl, "I think we can." He turned to Elena, who tossed him the stake.
As he raised it to strike Katherine's heart, she suddenly taunted, "Fine, kill me! Without me, you'll never be able to find Jeremy!"
And in that one second, all hell broke loose.
"GET THEM!" Katherine shouted.
There was a flurry of motion in the trees above them, and then something whizzed by Elena's face. Startled, she jumped backwards, knocking both herself and Alaric to the ground. "Sorry, sorry," she muttered, scrambling as she got up and looked around.
She drew in her breath sharply.
Both Damon and Stefan were on the ground, darts sticking out of their bodies. "What the—?"
"Vervain darts," Katherine said calmly, coming out of the shadows, flanked by two vampires. Elena flinched when she recognized the vampire on the left as the guy who had tried to kill her outside Alaric's home. He snarled at her.
"Raoul is rather upset that he didn't get to kill you the first time around," Katherine warned. "Make one move and he'll get another chance..."
"Haven't you learned anything, Katherine?" Elena asked brazenly, placing her hands on her hips.
"Don't speak to me in that tone of voice—"
"This is now the third time you've tried to kill me," Elena interrupted in a steely tone. "The first time was when you sent that huge vamp after me. You almost succeeded then...but Damon fed me his blood and saved me."
Stefan muttered something, his gaze shifting to look at his brother accusingly. Damon groaned, trying to speak. "Elena...don't..."
She ignored them.
"The second time, you sent Raoul to drain me. But we outsmarted you then, too. What makes you think this time is going to be any different?"
"Third time's the charm?" Katherine snapped, looking angry. "You and Alaric are the last ones left standing! Isobel is dead, your witch friend is unconscious, the Salvatore brothers are under vervain and couldn't help you if they tried. What exactly do you plan to do, anyway?"
"What makes you think they're the last ones left standing?" a voice asked, sounding amused.
Katherine whirled around, her eyes widening.
Led by Tyler.
She stared in shock. "You're...you're not—"
"Not dead," Tyler confirmed, crossing his arms. "Bonnie hooked me up with her little potion, too..." he trailed off as his gaze landed on Bonnie's unconscious form. His eyes snapped back to Katherine furiously.
"Am I supposed to be scared?" Katherine asked, raising her eyebrows. "Have you forgotten that I studied werewolf law? You are bound by blood to refrain from killing without reason. Meaning, you can't kill me."
"True," Tyler acknowledged, "But—" he broke off as a mini explosion suddenly burst in their midst.
Elena screamed, temporarily blinded by the flash of white light. She fell to her knees, hearing everyone else shouting around her.
Then all was silent.
She cautiously opened her eyes, her mouth dropping open when she saw a glowing figure standing before them. "What—what's going on?"
The figure turned to face Elena, and she instinctively held up her hands to shield herself from the glow. "Elena Gilbert," the woman (girl?) acknowledged. "We meet again."
The girl glanced at Katherine, who had backed away in horror. Then she walked towards Damon, and knelt down. "Hello, Damon."
"Emily Bennett?" Damon groaned, "Why would I be dreaming about you?"
"This isn't a dream," Emily informed him with a smile. "But I wanted to thank you."
"For honoring our agreement. I see the Bennett line is holding strong. Thank you for protecting them."
But Emily turned away from him and faced Katherine once more. "You deserve everything coming to you. I hope you know that." She then walked over to Bonnie, and held her hands over Bonnie's body. The light glowing from her palms seemed to penetrate into Bonnie. Emily closed her eyes, murmuring some phrases under her breath.
Within seconds, Bonnie stirred. She opened her eyes slowly, her eyes widening.
"Don't be scared," Emily said gently. "You are the one that called me here."
"Your spell to call supernatural creatures to Elena's house," Emily reminded Bonnie. "You called me."
"Supernatural creatures?" Bonnie repeated, sounding confused. "But...what are you?"
"A spirit, of sorts," Emily replied slowly. "I cannot stay in this realm for long. But I saw what was happening, and I knew I had to intervene." She paused to glare at Katherine, "Blood runs thick, my lady," she gave a mock curtsey. "Especially Bennett blood."
Katherine didn't respond, and took a step backwards.
"Kill her," Emily's voice echoed and she began to fade away. "She has betrayed our bond. Kill her."
The night seemed blacker than ever as the last of Emily's light disappeared.
Elena blinked, her eyes trying to adjust to the darkness.
"I think it's time we honored her wishes, don't you?" Tyler grinned, and abruptly transformed into his werewolf form. Marvin did the same, and they both rushed at Katherine. She growled, trying to fight them off. Her fingers dug into Tyler's fur and he howled in rage.
Bonnie was on her feet in an instant, and she grinned as she spread her arms. A wind swirled around her and she pointed at Katherine. The two vampires that she had brought with her abruptly burst into flames, lighting their surroundings. Bonnie narrowed her eyes at Katherine, focusing her renewed power.
Katherine screamed in pain, and the two wolves dug their teeth into her arms, pinning her against the tree. "You—you'll never see Jeremy again!" she shouted to Elena.
"Oh, you mean her brother?" one of the other pack members asked with a laugh. He disappeared into the trees, and came back in a minute.
"Sorry, but we already found him."
Elena's mouth dropped open.
"He's perfectly fine," he reassured her before turning back to Katherine with a smirk. "Did you forget that werewolves have an excellent sense of smell?"
Katherine sputtered, clearly realizing that she no longer held the upper hand.
Bonnie laughed, and waved her arm. The stake lying on the floor was swept up and landed mid-air in front of Elena.
Elena picked it up, tightening her grasp around the object as she neared Katherine. "You'll never be able to hurt the people I love again," Elena breathed, watching as Katherine tried to remove herself from the werewolves' teeth.
But she was trapped.
"You'll end up just like me, Elena," Katherine warned, her voice deadly. "One day—soon—you'll beg Damon or Stefan to turn you. Then, what will you be? Just another vampire in love with the Salvatore brothers...it's your destiny...don't forget..."
"That'll never happen," Elena hissed. "Unlike you, I'm only in love with one of them."
Curiosity flashed across Katherine's face.
"Too bad you'll never find out which one," Elena smiled.
And then she stabbed Katherine in the heart.
Damon shifted his shoulders tiredly as he let himself into the boarding house. He had just come back from an extremely long Council meeting, where he'd basically had to regurgitate everything that had happened with Katherine.
Leaving out key information, such as Bonnie's witchcraft, and the Lockwoods' family secret, of course.
Even to him, the story hadn't sounded very convincing.
Luckily, the entire Founder's Council was so sick and tired of the near-constant "animal attacks" that they had bought his story readily.
"As long as you're sure she's gone," Sheriff Forbes said wearily. "This town has had enough to deal with over the past few weeks."
"Yeah, she's definitely gone," Damon answered, "I saw her staked."
Damon stopped short in his living room.
"Hey," she smiled up at him. "How was the meeting?"
"They think I'm a hero," Damon smirked at her as he slid off his leather jacket and casually thew it on the couch. "Drink?" he offered as he poured himself a shot.
"Isn't it kind of early?"
"It's 5 o'clock somewhere," Damon returned, but grinned and put the glass down without taking a sip. "So, what brings you here?"
"I keep having nightmares," she shuddered, "that Katherine will come back—" Elena gasped as suddenly Damon appeared before her, looking concerned.
"She's gone," he said quietly, taking one of her hands within his own. "You saved us, Elena."
"It was more of a team effort," Elena smiled slightly, laying her other hand on his. "But I'll admit that it felt pretty good to stake the woman who was making my life a living hell."
Damon nodded, looking down. "I'm sorry...about Isobel, and about John, and—"
"It's not your fault," Elena interrupted gently. "I don't blame you for any of this, okay?"
"I know you don't blame me, but...I blame myself," he admitted, "If it wasn't for me, then Katherine—"
"Don't carry around guilt for something you didn't do," Elena chastised. "Katherine's actions were her own. And she got what she deserved."
Damon regarded her silently for a moment. "Do you remember being in the hospital after Founder's Day? After you fainted?"
She nodded, looking at him questioningly.
"I swore to myself that day that I would personally put an end to Katherine. Even if it was the last thing I ever did..." His voice tightened, "I didn't want her to ever hurt someone that I loved again."
"Someone you loved?"
Damon didn't reply, and met her gaze almost warily.
"Did you know," Elena smiled at him slightly, "That I've heard it from nearly everyone's lips but yours?"
"You mean Isobel? Yeah, she has a way of—"
"And Jenna, and Alaric, and Bonnie, and Stefan..." Elena listed off, counting on her fingers.
Damon froze, "What? Stefan?"
"Yeah, I had a long talk with him," Elena heaved a sigh. "Apparently he has known for a while, but didn't want to believe it."
"What..." Damon cleared his throat, "What did you say?"
Elena met his gaze squarely, "I told Stefan that I would always love him. But that he wasn't the Salvatore that I was in love with."
Damon grinned at her, feeling an inexplicable sense of relief. He stood up, holding both of her hands within his so that she was pulled up with him. "Do you remember what you said to me after I told you the story of how I kissed Katherine, thinking she was you?"
She shook her head, marveling at the way Damon's blue eyes were lit up with such intensity. He wrapped his arms around her waist, and she placed her own arms around his neck, enjoying the feeling of closeness between them.
He recited, "You said, 'I would have said there was no need to thank me. Because you are worth saving...'"
"I still believe that," she said firmly, wondering if that was why he had brought it up.
He leaned towards her, searching her gaze. "Even after everything that has happened? You still think I can...be redeemed?"
She stood on her tip-toes to gently place a kiss on his lips. "Does that answer your question?"
He kissed her again, holding her tightly in his arms. Elena ran her hands through his hair, deepening the kiss. "Will you be my redemption, Elena Gilbert?" he murmured against her lips.
Elena leaned back slightly to meet his gaze and smiled, "I will, Damon Salvatore."
"You were always my humanity," he whispered, as their lips met once again.
THE END :)
*thank you VERY MUCH to everyone who ever reviewed this story and inspired me to keep writing! you guys rock!