a/n: alright, you can read my note after the chapter if you want.

First of all, thank you to Zoraya Windwalker for being my beta yet again :) you're amazing!

as far as the background for this story: there are no tomb vampires, there's no council or anything like that. Katherine and a few others came to Mystic Falls way back when and met their death(?). Elena hasn't found the picture of Katherine...yet... Grams isn't dead and Bonnie's still a good friend of Elena. Elena doesn't know she's adopted either and I'm not sure if Isobel's going to come about in this story. If I forgot something and you want to know about it, feel free to ask me.

AND I'M WARNING YOU ALL, THERE WILL BE S/E ACTION (trust me, it was the hardest thing I've ever had to write in my life!) Stefan=ugh, but it was necessary and there won't be that much of it. This story IS Delena :) and because Love Never Dies didn't have Delena action until the end, this story more than makes up for it :)


The flickering candles on the exterior of the house casted ghostly shadows on the porch. She stood there, watching the flames dance in the slight breeze. She could hear the faint sound of a piano drifting across the air from somewhere inside the mansion that stood before her. The party was already in full swing; just the right time for her to make a dramatic entrance. A secretive smile graced her lips as she gathered her skirts and began to ascend the stairs. As she approached the door, it opened on its own accord, not fazing her in the least as she continued from the foyer down to the ballroom where the music was coming from.

She paused just outside the ballroom doors to stare at her reflection in the floor length mirror. Her eyes swept down to the skirt of her gown and she gave a small sigh of dissatisfaction. Normally she loved dresses like these, with the ruffled skirts and corset bodice, but it didn't seem right. Her dress hugged her every curve, the corset bodice accentuating her top half, giving her hourglass shape more depth. The skirt flared out at the hips, trailing down to the floor to hide her feet. Her hands went up to her face to fix the mask that shielded her identity from the others. It had been custom made; just for her. The material resembled bronze and silver colored leaves, the colors matching her dress, shaped into a butterfly. She smiled widely as she touched the edge of the mask, completely satisfied with that part of her ensemble.

Her head turned towards the ballroom as the piano fell silent for a few beats then began playing another song. She waited for the song to pick up before gathering her skirts. She continued to the ballroom where the doors opened by themselves again. She stopped just beyond the threshold at the sight of him. She had been expecting a room full of dancers getting lost in the music, but there were only the two of them.

He stood in the middle of the room with a playful smirk visible beneath the mask that rested on the bridge of his nose. He held his arms out to her, signaling he wanted her to join him. She hesitated, contemplating whether or not she should give in to her desire to dance or the urge to run from impending doom. She grinned and inclined her head to him before moving further into the room. She approached him and curtsied. He returned her gesture with a bow and took her into his arms before she could protest.

She laughed as he began to waltz her around the room. The piano was playing softly in the background leaving her to focus on nothing but him and the way she felt in his arms. It felt different, there was something about him that she couldn't quite put her finger on. As he dipped her in time with the music, she began to care less and less. The music in the background became louder, dictating the style of dance. They had started out dancing slowly, but as the tempo picked up, so did he. Before she knew it, they were spinning around the room while keeping perfect time.

As the piano picked up to an impossibly fast pace, she lost her footing which sent them spiraling into the wall. She laughed loudly at her mistake and his chest rumbled with laughter as he pinned her to the wall with his body to keep her upright. The room was still spinning and she closed her eyes to make it stop. Her chest heaved against the corset, trying to get a deep breath to stop her heart from beating erratically.

When she finally was able to catch her breath, she opened her eyes to look at him. The intensity of those steel blue eyes protruding from behind the mask made something deep within her stir, something she thought she had lost long ago. Her smile faded as he dipped his head to place his lips gently over hers. She felt her body tense in response, unsure of her instincts to return the kiss. His tongue swept across her lips, asking for entrance. She shuddered at the action and felt them parting as an automatic response. Her hands rose to rest on his hips while his clutched her sides. As she began to relax and give in to his sweet kisses, he pulled away and disappeared into the crowd.

She blinked in surprise, suddenly feeling cold and alone as she looked at the people dancing in time with the music. When did the others arrive? she asked herself, narrowing her eyes in curiosity. Her eyes scanned the crowd for where he could have gone to and saw a door still swinging slightly as though someone had just used it. She smiled and began moving towards it.

She stood just behind the doorframe and inhaled deeply at the scent of fresh air. Her head moved so she could see what lie in wait for her outside the door. After sensing no immediate danger, she stepped outside and down the few stairs attached to the porch. Something shifted in the air and as she turned back to look at the mansion she had just vacated, it was no longer there. In its place was a thick and luscious forest. She shivered and slowly turned around. Everywhere she looked were trees of all sizes and varieties, but the mansion was nowhere to be found.

After a single step forward, she stopped moving. Surprise at the feel of fresh grass beneath her bare feet held her immobile as she tried to figure out what was going on. She looked around, waiting for him to come to her again and explain things, but couldn't find anything. The sound of a twig snapping not far from where she stood filled her ears. She was beyond logic, the voice in her head telling her to run was gone, allowing her to walk forward to investigate the source of the sound.

She paused again as she came across a clearing illuminated by the moon and hundreds of fireflies. She stared in awe at the sight and moved forward before she realized what she was doing. She turned in slow circles as she watched the fireflies twinkling like the stars above. Reality began to settle in when she bumped into something behind her. She pulled away and turned to see someone watching her. He wasn't wearing a mask, but she could tell it was not the same person she had danced with only minutes ago. His green eyes were full of sorrow and regret as they stared at her. She wanted to reach out to him and ask what was bothering him, but his eyes moved to look past her shoulder.

She stepped back and followed his gaze to see the man she had danced with. He was watching her with a glimmer of arrogance and admiration in his blue eyes as she put more distance between herself and the other man. She was standing directly between them, forming a triangle. She stared at the two of them equally; the green-eyed one felt more familiar and seemed...safer, somehow. Even though his eyes were silently begging her to come to him, he remained still as a statue. She wanted to go with him, but as she turned to look at the man in the mask, she couldn't help but feel pulled towards the mysterious aura that he possessed. It captivated her, drawing her in like a moth to a flame.

Slowly, she began walking towards the masked man. A triumphant smirk returned to his lips as she closed the gap between them. She extended her hand to him and he took it, raising it gently to his lips. As her hand returned to her side, she took her place next to him and watched as the other man walked away. His head hung in defeat and she only felt the slightest bit sorry for him as he disappeared from their view.

She turned to face the man at her side and a moment of fear coursed through her when he wasn't there anymore. She gasped in surprise as fingers brushed the side of her neck in the process of sweeping her long dark hair to one side, exposing her throat to him. He bent down from behind her and kissed her skin gently; another shiver cascading down her spine. She felt a series of tugs at her bodice before his fingers reached up to touch her shoulders. She inhaled deeply, finding she could breathe easier since he had untied the strings of her corset. Her breath quickened as his fingers dipped beneath the straps of the dress and slid them down her arms.

She remained motionless as he pushed the dress, slip and all, down until they pooled around her feet. The gentle breeze teased her skin as he pressed himself against her back. He reached in front of her so that he could he cup both of her bare breasts in his hands. As his thumbs stroked her nipples, his lips returned to her throat. Both actions caused her body to ignite with desire. She had never felt so alive before and the more he touched her, the more she trembled. One of his hands began to glide down her stomach, pausing for a moment at her midriff. Her eyes half closed as she waited for that final descent. Her head fell back onto his chest once his fingers found her core.

A moan escaped her lips as he teased her with his lips at her throat and his fingers further south. The rhythm of her breathing increased even more as he slipped one finger inside of her. His lips parted against her skin, the feel of his teeth scraping her flesh made her groan in anticipation. She bit her bottom lip and closed her eyes tightly as he added yet another finger. Her head swam with the beginnings of her release as he licked the curve of her neck in harmony with his fingers thrusting inside of her. She let out a startled cry as his teeth replaced his tongue and bit down on her flesh. The cry quickly turned into a moan of pleasure at the onset of her release.

When she came down from her high, she found herself straddling his waist as he lay on the ground beneath her. She blinked and looked around, trying to remember how they had gotten to this position. He reached up to cup her face, forcing her to focus her attention on him. A small smile appeared on her lips as she locked her gaze with his; their masks keeping each other from knowing exactly who the other person was. She put her hands on his chest, flattening her palms against his skin as he pulled himself up into a sitting position.

He brought her lips to his and kissed her. Unlike the playful kiss he had given her in the ballroom, this one was demanding and full of lust. She returned it greedily, barely having time to wonder when he had had time to undress before she felt him enter her. She moaned against his lips and pulled away to tip her head back. Her eyes rolled in ecstasy as he raised one of her breasts to his lips and began to tease her. Her hips moved in sync with his as he continued to drive into her repeatedly.

As the world began to spin again, she tilted her head in his direction and cupped his face firmly. She brought her lips down to his and kissed him wildly while he placed his hands on her hips and held her securely in place. As her vision began to blur from the rising feeling of bliss, she moved her hands up to remove the mask from his face. She pushed it upwards slowly and then pulled it away from him, letting it fall to the ground. She gasped as she recognized his face and cried out as she began to come for him.

"Damon..." she whispered as he sent her hurtling towards the stars.

Elena's eyes snapped open as she bolted into a sitting position on her bed. One hand rose to cover her mouth as the other went over the place where her heart was pounding inside her chest. Her ears were ringing against the eerie silence of her room and her head was still spinning as she relived her dream. Her body trembled as she closed her eyes, still able to feel his skin against hers.

Her hands fell heavily to the comforter around her waist and clenched the material. She gave a cry of frustration and fell back against the pillows. She scolded herself for dreaming of Damon. She was with Stefan; in love with him. It wasn't like she was in control of her dreams, but she liked to think that her dream-self had some morals. She sighed, apparently not. Her eyes closed against the memory of Stefan's pained expression before leaving her with Damon in the clearing.

She opened her eyes to stare at the ceiling. She had her arms pinned to her sides, refusing to let herself move or think about the dream anymore. Even if her body was demanding that she do something about the intensity of it. She took a deep breath and let it out slowly. There was no way she would be able to fall back to sleep tonight. Not after a dream like that...

Damon smirked from his perch outside Elena's window. He enjoyed hearing her moan in response to his touches. Even if it had been a dream, it was all he could get for now. The moment she woke up calling out his name was like a little slice of paradise for him. He had even given her a choice; go with Stefan, or stay with him. She had chosen him.

Again, it was a dream, but dreams were the place where people acted out their innermost desires, weren't they?

He smirked even more at that thought and waited until he heard her breathing become steady, indicating that she had fallen asleep again. He toyed with the idea of entering her mind again, but decided against it. One small victory for the night was enough for him. Instead, he dared to go inside and watch her sleep a little before departing. He walked to her side and tenderly traced her cheekbone with his forefinger.

He snatched his hand away as she moaned again. His eyes widened in surprise for a moment before he smiled. Could she be dreaming of him again without any help? Unable to resist the temptation that was within his grasp, he leaned down and delicately placed his lips over hers. He had always wondered what it would be like to kiss her outside of the dream world. His eyes closed, reveling in the softness of her lips. He half hoped that she would wake up and share this kiss with him.

He stepped back and when he opened his eyes, he felt a jolt course through his body. Elena's gorgeous brown eyes were open and staring back at him, trying to figure out if she should scream or not. Startled to the core, Damon took off without saying a word, leaving Elena to stare out the open window, wondering what the hell had happened.