Chapter 23

Damon drove through Mystic Falls, Elena in the passenger seat. After a few days at the hospital, she was discharged. Elena was just looking out the window, her face expressionless. She didn't move at all during the car ride, her hand resting limply on Damon's. He squeezed her hand, but she didn't react.

Damon couldn't blame Elena for being so depressed. Her parents were dead. Gone forever. He took a deep breath as they pulled into her vacant driveway. Jeremy was staying at a friend's house for the night, unable to even be in the house. Elena didn't really mind where she slept, knowing she'd find comfort in being close to the memory of her parents.

"You're home," he said slowly, carefully. Elena nodded, her eyes still vacant, as she timidly opened the door. Damon was by her side in a second, rushing to her room with his vampire speed. He set Elena down on the bed, and she took a deep breath. It was sort of eerie, the state she was in. Elena was in shock, yet completely aware of her surroundings. She could move and talk if she wanted to, but chose not to. She was completely shutting down. He could tell that within moments her mind would be completely gone.

"Elena," Damon breathed. She didn't even turn her head. The sigh was the last thing he had heard come from her. He wrapped his arms around Elena's waist. Still no reaction. He kissed her neck, her lips…

Nothing. She was a hollow shell of what once was Elena. Completely in shock.

"What's going on up there?" he asked playfully, knowing he wouldn't get a reply. Damon knew what was happening. Elena's mind was somewhere far away, reliving the moment of her parents' death.

Soon, her lips started moving, first slowly without words coming out, until she whispered, "Jonah's dead."

Then she spoke, "Dad's dead. Mom's dead."

And then Elena's voice reached a crescendo as she yelled at the top of her lungs, "Everyone's dead! It's all my fault!"

She continued yelling these things over and over again, until her body joined in. Soon she was thrashing, and Damon had to pin her down to keep her from hurting herself.

"Jonah's dead! Dad's dead. Mom's dead! Everyone's dead! It's all my fault!" she continued to shout, the volume decreasing each time. Damon was on top of her, holding her violent arms down. After another minute of fighting, Elena's arms fell, her chest heaving with labored breaths.

Damon stroked Elena's wet cheek with the back of his finger. "It's all my fault," she muttered again. Damon shook his head, denying the words. He pulled Elena closer to him, her head resting on his chest. He whispered random things into Elena's hair, telling her how everything was going to be alright someday, how he promised she'd see them again someday. Damon was a little shocked at how mushy he was being, but at the moment he didn't really care. All that concerned him was Elena's well being. He'd do anything for her.

Anything at all.

After a long while, Elena's tears stopped. "Damon," she whispered frantically, grabbing onto his black shirt.

"Hey," he whispered, rubbing her hair gently. "You're okay."

She took a few shaky breaths, and whispered, "No, I'm not." She raised her head and looked at him so desperately. She looked lost, completely, utterly lost. Elena's chocolaty brown eyes lacked their usual excitement, and it pained Damon to see her like that.

"Elena, don't worry. I'm going to take care of you. I promise," he confirmed looking at Elena with the most serious expression he had ever used.

"You can't promise!" she snapped, shoulders shaking. Damon grabbed those trembling shoulders, attempting to comfort Elena in her vulnerable state. Within seconds, the tears started up again. Water poured down Elena's cheeks, an endless waterfall of sorrow and loss. Without knowing what else to do, Damon let his lips meet Elena's.

His lips fell upon hers with such force that Elena had to kiss back. It was her first reaction. Damon possessively wrapped his arms around Elena's waist, her hands going through his hair. But he could tell that her mind was still somewhere else, somewhere it would be for a long time now.

Someplace that he would never be able to reach.

Far too quickly, Elena pulled away, still panicked. "No, Damon!" she practically shouted. "No! I can't act like everything's okay! It's not! Everybody's dead, and it's all my fault!" Elena lifted her hands to her aching temples, desperate to relieve her pounding headache.

"It's not your fault," Damon started with an exhausted tone.

"And now, you're still my secret boyfriend," Elena continued, too lost in her own rant to even notice that Damon was speaking. "My secret boyfriend with a secret! Great, everyone's dead and my life is full of secrets! What am I supposed to tell people, Damon? 'My parents died in a car crash because they had to pick me up when my vampire boyfriend killed his vampire best friend who wanted to turn me and make me his for all of…'"

Elena didn't care that she was babbling. She couldn't help it. Every single thought in her head just escaped her lips, without a filter. She could tell from Damon's troubled expression that he was worried, yet it still hadn't completely registered in her mind.

"You'll make it through this," Damon said again, trying to comfort her. She just shook her head at him, picking up a pillow and throwing it at the bed violently.

"I won't!" she screamed, crying her eyes out. Damon was by her side in an instant, holding her face. Elena closed her eyes, wanting just to curl up on the floor and… die.


"Damon, go away," she whispered softly, venom throughout her voice. "Just go. I don't want you to see me like this."

"No," he said, standing tall. "I'm not going to leave."

"Please," she demanded, wincing. "I don't want you here. You shouldn't see me now. It just makes it hurt more."

Damon was completely shocked, and just looked at Elena with desperate eyes, but she was stern. He knew what he had to do, to make Elena better. It would be difficult, but he would do it for her. Like he said before…

He'd do anything for Elena.

Reluctantly, Damon took the Vervain out of Elena's back pocket, throwing it out the ground. He took a shaky breath, and looked at her directly in the eyes, pupils dilating.

"You do not know me," he said flatly, compelling her. "Damon Salvatore never existed. You are going to forget about me completely, and live on your own, a life free of secrets and lies."

"I do not know you," Elena confirmed, lost in his gaze.

"You will remember me when the time is right. I'll come back for you someday. But until then, your heart is free of me. You won't miss me, you won't look for me. You'll forget about how much we loved each other. Everything will be completely normal for you."

Elena just nodded, and Damon gave her one final glance before disappearing into the darkness.

"Until we meet again," he whispered into the loneliness of night, leaving Mystic Falls until it was time to see his Elena again.

But until then, the pain would be unbearable, he knew that. So without a second thought, Damon shut out his humanity as he left the only girl he ever truly loved behind.

The end! I know it's a tragic ending but it had to be this way! Please read my other fic forgotten memories if you haven't. It is a sequel to this fic! Please comment! Thanks!