Oh dear... here we are, the epilogue. I can't quite believe that I'm done with that story but alas, I really am. Now, for the last time (at least for this story) I thank all my readers and reviewers and more than anyone else, my dear beta AVECIA. First, she was the one who made me write more than one chapter. Also, without her help, NONE of these chapters would have been good enough to post here. So, THANK you, my dear.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything about TVD, I just mess with them for fun.
Aaaaand: On with it!
The soft, slightly red tinged morning sun made the parlor of the Boarding House look like a scene frozen in time. Amidst an assortment of still blood-crusted weapons were a few crystal tumblers, some empty, some still half full with whatever had been in there. The light broke on the intricate cut of the glasses, painting the desk, weapons and walls in sprinkles of light.
Dirty shoes and carelessly thrown jackets were on the floor, adding to the overall unreal feeling everything had right now.
She had gotten up only a few minutes ago, barely believing that everything was over now. Finally, she entered the room fully, slowly making her way to the lone figure on the couch, sitting down on an armchair across from the other woman.
They sat there for a few minutes, neither one speaking or otherwise acknowledging the presence of the other. But then the older one (at least, in looks) sat up straight and began to speak.
"So… It really came to an end then. I knew that Emilie would fall, she was too full of herself, and hadn't thought of the consequences the death of both Elena and Damon would bring. But it kind of is surreal, don't you think? That she is gone, and no one despite those two had to die."
Katherine rolled her eyes then. Isobel always did stuff like that – looking down at life as if it was worth nothing. Not even she, herself, was so utterly shut off. Not since she had taken it upon herself to help Elena through the changes that death had brought her.
"Yes Isobel, it is quite a wonder. Now, is there a reason for you being here, or did you just come to irritate me; because let me tell you, I'm not in the mood."
Isobel just grinned and took one of the tumblers off the table, sniffing it.
"Blood and Bourbon? I was under the impression that that was Damon's idea of a cocktail – before the little Bennett witch made him half of who he was."
"Yes well, sometimes he did have good ideas. Alcohol and blood. The latter to quench the hunger, the first to help with everything else. That's mine, so put it back down."
Rolling her eyes, Isobel did what she was told and then got to her feet.
"Well, as nice as this little chat was, I just came to say goodbye. I packed my stuff and am about to leave this deathtrap of a town. But as everyone else is still firmly buried underneath pillows and blankets, I guess you'll have to tell them for me. I would say 'have a nice life' but… first, I don't actually wish that you will have it nice, and also I am sure that we will see each other again… unfortunately. So, see you."
With that she turned, and blurred out of the room, the entrance door slamming shut behind her.
Katherine just shook her head then got up herself – taking her glass, emptying it in one swallow, setting it back down on her way past the table – and went upstairs again.
No reason in wandering around the house with no one else around to help her chase her thoughts of the fight away. Because every time she closed her eyes, she could see everything again, as if she was still there on the clearing.
She saw Elena crashing into Emilie, the both of them quickly disappearing from sight, sinking into the murky waters of the river.
She saw Damons hollow expression – saw how his eyes first went wide with horror and sorrow, and then turned soft and gentle and resigned.
Then there was Emilie, coming out of the water again, lugging a pale Elena after her.
And then, everything was Elena. Elena lying on the ground, Elena's eyes, still half open, looking at nothing; her skin ashen, her lips blue… her lungs not working and finally her heart giving out on her.
As the last thud of that precious heart rang in her ears, reality set back in with a vengeance. She saw Damon, lying on the ground beside her descendant, equally still.
It was only a small consolation that Emilie lost grasp on her borrowed life, playing 'Gone With The Wind' right beside them… the wind literally carrying away the dust that was left of her.
Shaking her head, she forced herself back into the present, away from last night. It wouldn't help anyone to live in the past.
She silently knocked on the door to Damon's room then, waiting for an answer. There was none, of course, so she just opened the door and went inside.
Damon and Elena both were on the bed, facing each other, hands entwined. Katherine smiled at the sight – it really was ridiculous how sweet those two looked together.
Then she slipped out of her shoes and into the bed, lying down right beside Elena and throwing an arm over her waist. For a moment she buried her nose in Elena's neck, and when she looked up again she looked into a pair of blue eyes.
"You do know that usually, when no one answers the door that either there is no one inside, or someone is inside, wanting their peace, right? Either way you're not supposed to come inside."
Katherine just smiled and put her hand over the joined ones of the other two.
"Don't care. Needed to be here and have proof that she is still alive. That you both are still alive."
Shaking his head in exasperation, Damon opened his mouth to give a flippant opposition. But then he realized what she had said and closed it again. Rolling his eyes and huffing a little bit, he reached for the blanket that covered him and Elena, and pulled it over Katherine, too. He wouldn't outright say that she could stay here for awhile, or that he appreciated the sentiment of her wanting him not dead. This would have to do and, considering the soft smile on her lips (which kind of freaked him out… Katherine didn't do soft. Or smiles.), it did.
Damon closed his eyes again, quickly relaxing, and fell back asleep. Katherine wasn't so lucky, but this time as her mind wandered back in time, it wasn't just unpleasant thoughts.
As she saw Elena lying there, virtually dead, it nearly brought her to her knees.
She had thought it was bad back when the girl first had died, by her own hands. But back then, Elena was only a descendant. Now though, she was her sister, her best friend, the one person she could confide in. She was family; real family, not just a random person with a trace of her blood flowing in her veins. But she couldn't break down, not right now at least. Sure, there was no breath escaping her lips, nor the soothing sound of a heartbeat. But there was no lethal wound anywhere on her. Her neck wasn't broken, her organs were still intact. It was just a little water.
And so she blurred over to her and sank down beside her. Rolling her onto her back, she didn't waste any more time. First she put pressure on her chest, pushing down again and again in the rhythm of an imaginary heartbeat. She wanted to change position to force air into her lungs, but then the witch was there and did just that. And so they worked together, desperately waiting for Elena to breathe on her own; for her heat to start beating again.
Katherine had tears running down her cheeks, but she ignored the foreign feeling, just letting them flow, dripping down her chin, landing on Elena's already water-soaked shirt. Every moment that passed without chance made her more desperate, made her lose her composure more and more. And just as a sob wanted to break free, Elena suddenly took in a shuddering breath and started to cough. It was a wet, rattling sound but it was like a damn symphony at that moment.
As she leaned back to make room, Bonnie helped Elena into a sitting position so she could breathe easier. Beside the still coughing woman, Damon started to move, groaning slightly and finally regaining consciousness again.
End of Flashback
No, certainly not only bad memories. With a smile painted onto her face – a smile that really could have been mistaken for one of Elena's herself – she finally fell asleep, content with the world.
As Elena entered the kitchen later that day, it was bustling with activity. Damon was standing at the stove, barking orders left and right. Bonnie was standing at the counter beside him, expertly cutting tomatoes and some sort of fresh herbs, while Jeremy and Tyler were at the kitchen island behind them, working on putting together four different kinds of salads. Caroline and Matt had rooted themselves across from them, mixing drinks – Elena had the feeling that they chose this place so Caroline could send death glares at Damons back every time she looked up. Jenna and Alaric were busy setting the table in the dining room – getting a vehement no as an answer every time they tried to help with the food.
Katherine was standing in the doorway watching them with some sort of morbid curiosity, Stefan right beside her. A house full of vampires, witches, werewolves and self-proclaimed vampire-hunters and… they were cooking. Together. And it looked quite expertly too, as if they had done that before. Which they probably had.
Smiling she went past Katherine and came to a stop behind Damon, wrapping her arms around his waist, looking over one shoulder.
"Hey. What are you making?"
Damon turned his head slightly to the side and pressed a feather light kiss on her nose.
"Nothing much. Just pasta. But we thought that something warm and actually self-made – and no Saltzman, adding water to a pack of Ramen is not self-made – would be nice after the last few days."
Elena nodded and whispered a silent 'I love you' to him before she let go of him, going to help her aunt with the dishes. This was nice. She had her friends and her family back. And she had Damon and for once, there was no trouble looming on the horizon.
Bonnie sat on the desk in Damon's room; silently watching as he took all the postcards down from their vantage point over his bed.
He was putting them into a box, sorting them by the date they were written. The last week had been slow and relaxing, everyone still testing the waters of so much… well, peace. It had only been a matter of time till that got interrupted though. It wasn't as if this was a bad thing… but she would miss Damon and Elena.
But they had decided to pack their stuff and visit all the places that Elena had been to with Katherine. But this time, it would be just them, and they would travel the world and see everything with new eyes.
Or something like that. She had tuned them out as they started to sound like some of those romance novels old people read. It was kind of funny though, how sweet they were. Tough, ass-kicking Elena, with her neat sword and her tendencies to rip Kitsune apart, and the 170 something year old not-quite-vampire… and they spend their days cuddling on the couch, or sitting and whispering, smiling, laughing and generally being happy.
Now, their bags were packed and the flight to their first destination was already booked.
"You're coming back, aren't you? And I don't mean after you visited all these places on the postcards. You'll come and visit us before that, right? Because I swear to god Damon Salvatore, if you wait six years like she did, you're going to regret the day you were born!"
Damon just looked over his shoulder, one eyebrow raised and a grin firmly on his lips.
"You could just say that you're going to miss me, you know? I know that you said so to Elena, so I don't know where the problem is."
For a moment she contemplated to ignore what he said and to go on with her lecture but…
"Oh alright. I'm going to miss you. Please show up around here every once in a while. And bring Elena, because I would hate not to see my best friend for so long again. There, happy?"
"Very. Now, come here."
He turned around then and opened his arms. No contemplating this time – she just went and hugged him, burying her face in the crook of his neck. They let go after a few minutes and Damon finally put the last postcard into the box before picking it up with one hand.
Then he took the two remaining bags and went out of his room, Bonnie following at a slower tempo.
Downstairs the others already awaited them. Most of the others had sad looks on their faces, as nobody wanted to say goodbye – especially to Elena, who they had missed for six long years, not even knowing that she was alive. Well… Caroline couldn't quite bring herself to plaster a sad look on her face. She would miss Elena, but she couldn't be happier about Damon leaving.
Elena left her place beside her brother and stepped to him, taking one of his bags in one hand, and intertwined his now free hand with hers.
Then she turned around and pulled him after her, throwing a smile over her shoulder.
"We're going to call you as soon as we are in our hotel. Don't miss us too much, we're going to be back here to visit sooner than you think, promise!"
Nothing more needed to be said, as they had said their goodbyes earlier that day. Katherine had already left over an hour ago – planning on visiting her old home. They would meet up to spend a few days with her in just over a month.
Then Damon put his bags in the trunk of his car before they both piled in. Damon started the car and sped out of the driveway, all the while looking at her out of the corner of his eye. They had each other, the road and eternity ahead of them. Perfect.
In the end, everything was not as they had expected only a few years back. But then again, it would have been a boring life, getting exactly what was expected.
So. Done. No more of this story. Now I have to do a little bit of whining… For some reason, I got very few reviews for the last two chapters, and I was kind of unsure… maybe my story wasn't good enough anymore? Well, whatever it was, PLEASE go and review this last chapter, because I REALLY want to know what you guys think. Of this last chapter, and the story as a whole. Thank you all that you stayed with me for this ride, I REALLY enjoyed working on this story! Keep your eyes open for something new, too, because I'm already working on a new multi-chapter fiction. I'll start to post it here, as soon as I have two or three chapters done! Now: Reviews are love and…