Damon toed off his boots and peeled his shirt off before snuggling into her bed. He smiled at her when she emerged in yoga pants and a tank top and she easily slid in beside him, curling up against his chest. "We'll figure this out," he said kissing her hair.

"I know," she said, sliding her arm over his waist, her eyes drifting shut as his fingers drifted through her hair.

Elena sighed impatiently as she waited for Damon at the Grill. She knew she should try to be patient, he said he was running late, but she hardly ever went out on her own. Especially now that she was exclusive with Damon and Katherine was still on the run. They had been together for a little over a week now, and things were going smoothly. She barely saw Stefan but Damon said he was just brooding around the house. Damon stayed with her every night, just holding her, talking to her. But she knew she was still in danger.

"So we finally meet," a feminine voice drawled.

Elena froze as she watched Katherine sit in the vacated seat in front of her. "Katherine," she said in shock glancing around worriedly. It was a public place, and Elena didn't think Katherine would cause a huge scene, but anything was possible. She just prayed Damon got here soon. She should have just waited for him to pick her up.

"So how does it feel?" the woman asked.

"How does what feel?" Elena growled. She didn't want any part of Katherine's mind games. Katherine had stolen Stefan from her, Katherine had won. Why couldn't it just be over now?

"Playing both brothers," Katherine said in an obvious tone. "Like a true Pierce."

"I am nothing like you," Elena said angrily as she got to her feet. She had never been unclear about her feelings. She was always honest with both brothers. She knew Katherine was trying to strike a nerve and all Elena was doing was playing into it. A death grip shot out and snapped her wrist instantly and she couldn't help the tears that streamed down her face as she stared at her mirror image.

"You're exactly like me honey," Katherine said, tightening her grip. "Only difference is, Damon loved me first. You're just a replacement. You think he'll ever feel for you what he feels for me?"

The thought had crossed her mind a time or tow, but she knew in her heart that Damon was over Katherine. "You already have Stefan," Elena whimpered. "Why can't you just let Damon be happy? Haven't you hurt him enough?"

"They are mine Elena," Katherine said. "So you need to back off. If you don't remove him from your life I will start killing everyone you care about." She smiled cruelly as she kept her pose relaxed, part from the grip to Elena's arm.

Elena cried out in pain as Katherine twisted the already damaged bones in her wrist. "Okay," she said weakly. "I'll stay away from Damon." Her wrist was suddenly released and Katherine was gone. Not a minute later Damon walked in, immediately rushing to her.

"Sorry I'm late," he said, freezing when he saw her distraught face. "What happened?" It didn't take him but a matter of seconds to see the swelling in her wrist. "Elena…"

"We have to talk," she said softly even as her voice broke. He wasn't stupid. He knew Katherine had just been her and Elena had been hurt. This wasn't going to end well.

His face fell as he wrapped an arm around her shoulders and led her out of the grill. His car was parked out front and he held the door open for her and once he was in the driver seat, he asked her again what happened.

"Just drive me to Ric's." Her eyes were trained on the familiar scenery out the window. If she looked at Damon, she knew she'd see how heartbroken he was going to be and how hard it would be to walk away from him. He wasn't just going to give up on them.

"Sleep over's over then?" Damon asked, his voice dripping with sarcasm.

"Damon, please," she whimpered. "This is hard enough." His walls to protect his heart were coming back up. She could feel him pulling away from her, the hurt radiating off him in waves.

"Why are you doing it then Elena?" he asked. "You haven't even given us a chance yet. What did Katherine say to you?" He put his car in park and pulled out onto the street, heading towards Alaric's apartment. "I'll kill her for touching you."

"If I stay with you, she'll start killing my friends and family," she said, staring at her legs. She cradled her battered limb against her chest, struggling to not burst into tears. The car came to a stop in the driveway, and the last thing she wanted was to go inside. "It's just enough that she has Stefan, she wants both of you back."

"I can keep you safe Elena," he said. "This is nonsense. This is exactly what she's trying to do to us. Separate you from both me and Stefan so that you aren't safe. Believe me, she doesn't want anything to do with me. This is just part of her game."

"You think I want this?" she flared. "God Damon, you know how hard it was for me to take this step with you, how scared I was. And now your goddamn ex is ripping us apart just like you promised me she wouldn't." Tears flooded down her cheeks and she pushed the door open, slamming it behind her as she practically ran up the walk. She didn't think it could hurt this bad after such a short time together, but she was so very wrong.

Damon was in front of her before she could blink, his hands gently moving to her wrist. "Let me help you," he said softly. The concern in his eyes, knowing she was hurt, warmed her inside and out. He needed her just as much as she needed him, but she just didn't see how this was going to work with Katherine around.

Elena sniffled but offered her injured hand to him. "I don't know what to do Damon." She wasn't strong enough. She knew that. She couldn't just give up on him. But she couldn't put her family in danger. And Damon knew that. He knew how important her family was to her, and on more than occasion he had helped her keep them safe.

Damon allowed his fangs to come forth and he sliced into his wrist. "Just trust me," he said, a little surprised at how easily she lowered her lips to his blood. He twisted her bones back into place and felt them mend together. The brief whimper that escaped her lips broke his heart but she wouldn't be in pain anymore.

There was an initial burst of pain, but she felt much better as she pulled away from him. "Thank you," she said, rubbing her stiff muscles.

He leaned his head against hers. "I just got you Elena. I'm not doing this," he said, cradling her face. "I can't lose you."

Elena buried her face in his neck, snuggling deep in his embrace as his powerful arms came around her shaking body. "What are we gunna do?" If he had a plan, she was all for it. This was the last thing she wanted to do herself, she just didn't have any other options. She'd never be able to live with herself if Jeremy or Jenna or someone else got hurt because of her. It would destroy her.

"I'll take care of it," he said tangling his fingers in her silky hair. "Stay here where you're safe."

"Be careful," she whimpered lifting her face to press her lips against his. Her body ignited with sparks at the simple touch of his lips and she could feel his love for her all the way down to her core. Her body fit his like a glove, her soft curves against the solid planes of his body. Everything was perfect.

Damon deepened the kiss, devouring her lips as her pulled her tightly against him. "I love you," he said. "Promise me you'll stay inside."

She nodded. "I will," she said, hugging him tightly and the feeling that she'd never see him again swept over her. "Damon…" she had to tell him. He had to know.

"After," he whispered, kissing her temple. "It can wait."

Elena paced around Ric's living room, worry making her sick to her stomach. She had tried to get a little rest but every time she closed her eyes, all she saw were horrible images. Multiple times she had gone to the door and debated on going after him, and each time she remembered her promise to him. She had to do this for him, no matter how much it was killing her.

"You should get some sleep," a voice said from the shadows of the kitchen.

"I'm too worried," she said, collapsing to the couch. She glanced at Alaric as he moved into the living room, watching her carefully. No one had really asked her about her relationship with Damon, but she knew everyone had tons of questions. Everyone was curious as to how things had transpired but she offered no explanation.

"About Damon," he clarified. "He's not my favorite person but I've seen the way he looks at you. And I've seen some of the changes he's made for you. Can't fault a guy for being in love."

Damon looked at her like she was an angel. She knew that. She felt it even more now being away from him, knowing what they could have together. Elena jumped when there was a knock on the door. Ric cautiously opened it, revealing Stefan. "Stefan," Elena exclaimed, rushing forward to give him a hug. "What… what are you doing here?" Why wasn't Damon the one to come get her?

"It's Damon," Stefan said sadly. "He's pretty hurt so I thought you'd want to see him."

"What happened?" she asked grabbing her coat. Her heart dropped to her stomach at the thought that he was seriously hurt.

"He killed Katherine," Stefan said quietly.

"Told you not to get her," Damon grumbled from his immobile position on his bed.

Tears stung her eyes as she sat next to him. "Good thing he didn't listen," she said, curling her fingers around his. "How bad is it?" His shirt was torn and she could see some of the wounds Katherine had inflicted on him. His body was struggling to repair itself from the blood loss.

"I can't feel a damn thing in my body," Damon said. "So you tell me."

"You need blood," she said in an obvious tone. "You can still make smart ass comments so you seem to be getting better."

"He needs rest as well," Stefan said. "I'll make a trip to the hospital. Will you two be alright?"

"Yeah," Elena said. "Thanks." Stefan nodded once before leaving them alone. "You're such a fibber," she said. "We gotta sit you up." He was putting on such a strong front for Stefan, not wanting anyone to see how hurt he really was. But she could see. Vampire or not, parts of the body still needed to all be in one piece in the right spot.

Damon groaned as she slid an arm around his shoulders. "Laying down hurt less."

Carefully she helped him lean against the headboard. "God you're a mess," she said, with a frown as she locked his door. "But I'm going to fix it." She took a step toward him and took a deep breath before peeling her shirt off her torso. He needed this.

"Elena what in the world are you doing?" he asked, his eyes darkening at the sight of her. "Not that you don't look delicious."

"You're going to find out just how delicious I am," she said, carefully straddling his waist. This was not how she imagined their first time together, but if he got better then she didn't care. He had made enough rude comments about her in the past that this should be cake for him.

"Oh Elena, this isn't fair," he said softly. "I can hardly move much less appreciate you're beautiful body."

Elena moved her long hair to one side. "You need blood," she whispered. "Have some of mine, it will help. We can worry about the rest later."

"Stefan's bringing me blood," he pointed out. "I can make it 'til then."

Elena pouted in mild disappointment. "I'm not good enough for you?" She meant it as a joke, knowing he was just trying to do the right thing for her. She wasn't worried about him losing control like Stefan did. She knew Damon would stop long before things got out of control.

Damon's eyes widened. "Don't be silly," he said kissing her nose. "You're blood is too precious to be offered like this."

She smiled and kissed him softly. "Did you really kill her?" she asked softly.

"She didn't go without a fight," he said, hugging her to him. "I couldn't let her keep us apart."

"How'd I get so lucky?" she whispered, stroking his cheekbone.

"No Elena," he said, kissing her fingers. "I'm the lucky one."