A/N: I had intended for this story to be much longer, but the second series of the Vampire Diaries beat me to it. So I shall be making this the last chapter of this particular fanfic, and am content to watch what the show has in store for us. With my fingers crossed for more Delena moments. Thank you to everyone who supported me with reviews and faves/alerts for this story x

Chapter Four : Belonging to This World

Elena took a deep breath and held it tight. She felt the pressure in her lungs tighten, the air inside her stale and desperate to escape. But the feeling barely registered for her, not against the pain and effort of holding back her tears. Even the hammering of her heart went ignored as she fought against the sobs rising in her. Slowly, Elena took a shaky step forward, her hand reached out for the support of the wall. Very carefully she started to move away barely trusting her own strength.

Carefully she allowed herself to breathe once more, concentrating on every step, every breath, every heavy fast beat of her own heart. She felt a tear escape down her cheek; one last tear for what Katherine had caused her to do.

She saw in her mind, Damon's face, eyes closed, his head turned to the side, his cheek against the pillow. It had caused Elena every ounce of strength she had to walk away. To ignore the comfort he would offer her. She did not know how she had managed to get herself down the stairs and to the front door.

Elena met herself on the porch. Katherine was sat in the darkness, staring out into the early morning. There was still no sign of the sun, yet a eerie blue tint seemed to touch everything Elena saw.

"Impressive," Katherine said, not bothering to turn around. "Subtle, yet effective. Perhaps you're more insightful that I first imagined."

Elena leant against the wall of the house and said nothing. She felt no fear from the monster sitting near her, which in turn alarmed her. She supposed her body was too emotionally drained to feel anything more, and couldn't sustain her terror any longer. Instead she waited and resigned herself to fate.

"Reeling him in, and then knocking him back… clever," Katherine continued. Elena could see the edge of a smirk on her face.

"You told me to do it."

"Yes, I did. But now I begin to wonder whether you know Damon Salvatore a little too well. You seem to know just how to hurt him… in here," Katherine pointed to her heart. "But worst of all, in here," she added touching her head.

"I did what you wanted," Elena replied, refusing to admit to anything else. "What else could I do."

Katherine turned her head, and Elena fought to keep a look of disgust from her face. Katherine's eyes were so dark that they looked like blank black spaces on her pale face. Her perfectly curled hair barely moved in the breeze that passed over them, whilst Elena knew she was sweating, shivering and frightened. But she was still human, still living, everything that this thing before her could never be again. The strength of knowing she belonged in the world gave the courage to stay standing.

"Who's game are you playing Elena? Yours or mine?"

Elena felt Katherine's black eyes boring through her, looking into everything in her soul, and weighing up what was of use to her, and discarding the rest. Elena realised that they both regarded each other with the same level of contempt, and with the knowledge that they could not coexist in the same world. It was a sobering realisation, and a shiver ran through her.

"I'm not playing any game. We made a deal," Elena reminded her.

Katherine shrugged.

"Stefan would have believed you if you'd claimed I'd kissed Damon, such is his belief in you, or rather his blind hope."

Elena opened her mouth to speak, but couldn't find anything to say. She had not even considered lying to Stefan, it had never occurred to her. Was Katherine right? Would he have believed her? Or would he had just pretended to, and ignore what had happened since? Could Stefan live with such a lie hanging over them? Elena looked down at the ground, ashamed that she was even contemplating such a lie.

"I will not lie to Stefan," Elena replied.

"But you have no problems with lying to Damon," Katherine taunted, her smile was mocking and Elena knew that she would never be satisfied until she'd broken her down. Elena looked away confused.

"No, that's not true. I'm doing this to protect him from you."

"And when he finds out, that you care nothing for him, that you're just using him, like I did… What then?"

Elena refused to answer; she had nothing further to say. She realised that no matter what she did, Katherine was never going to leave her alone. She should have never started this stupid game. It was her own pride that had convinced her that she could save Damon. What had she been thinking?

Elena backed into the doorway, as if being inside the house would make her safe. Katherine smiled as she watched Elena; she stepped forward and held the door open for her.

"Bye bye Elena, I'm sure we shall meet again soon."

The door slammed in Elena's face, with an echoing heavy noise, which made her heart jump. She turned and found Damon waiting for her.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to disturb you," Elena said not meeting his eyes.

"Whom were you speaking to?"

"No one."

"Are you lying to me Elena?"

Elena hesitated. This was her chance to tell him everything. All that Katherine had said, all that she had been persuaded to do since. All her lies, all her true and false feelings. How she felt when she was with him, how she had tried in her own stupid way to protect him from Katherine.

"Yes," she whispered, feeling her heart hammering so loudly.

Damon paused, not daring to interrupt her.

"Yes I have been lying to you…" Elena began, not knowing how much her fluttering heart would allow her to say next. "Damon, I have something to tell you."