I don't own Vampire Diaries or any affiliated characters… I just own this story, please enjoy it.

Stefan watched helplessly as Elena clung to Jeremy's unresponsive body as a grieving mother would.

"He saw the ring, that's why he did it. He knew." Stefan reasoned trying to offer some reassurance to Elena, knowing the betrayal of her friend would cut her deeply.

"He didn't see the ring."

"It's Katherine. She got under his skin. She undid everything good about him."

"There's nothing good about him… Stefan, not anymore. He's decided what he wants. He doesn't want to feel. He wants to be hated; it's just easier that way. He got his wish…"

"I HATE HIM STEFAN!" Elena choked through a sob.

Stefan could only think to bend down, kiss Elena's shoulder and try to comfort her.

Jeremy suddenly took in a breath, gasped life back into his body….

"Is he okay?" Elena asked desperately.

"He's okay. You're okay." Stefan assured everyone.

"He killed me. Damon killed me." Jeremy stated.

"It's okay. Oh God." Elena said relieved beyond words.

Stefan would not admit it, but he was not quite so relieved…

'I should kill him myself for what he did.' Stefan thought to himself.

Ironically at a time like this it was Katherine's words from earlier in the day that haunted him,

"You hate me huh? That sounds like the beginning of a love story Stefan, not the end of one."

And Stefan did hate Katherine, but he realized he didn't hate her… the way Elena hated Damon.

Stefan stopped loving Katherine the second he saw Elena, he knew he had to know her;
he put the past behind him.

Stefan began to recognize the twisted logic in Katherine's words about hate being the beginning of something, though his story with Katherine had ended long ago….

Stefan had never heard such passion in Elena's voice even through the hate he could sense it.
It was written all over her, etched on her face.

He should kill Damon, not for Jeremy but because even when Elena told him she loved him
she did not express such raw emotion as she did in that declaration of hate.

He saw the potential for hate to turn to something else entirely… within Elena even if she did not know it, was the capacity to love his brother as much as she hated him right now.

Stefan was jealous of one thing above all else about his brother Damon, no matter what Damon did… however terrible and cruel… Damon would be forgiven. He always was,
Damon was blessed that way naturally. Stefan himself could not stay angry with Damon forever, try as he might.

Stefan knew what he loved most about Elena was her open heart… her belief in something good in others; even the 'good' in vampires. Elena possessed an unnatural
predisposition to forgiveness… what brought him to her may lead her into the arms of another.

Stefan couldn't help wondering, 'Is this the beginning of their love story?'