Disclaimer: I don't own the Vampire Diaries, the CW and Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec do. This story had been jangling in my head since May so I'm doing to get it out and it will only span until the end of 'The Return' time wise with hints of Memory Lane. So it'll be a short multi chaptered AU fic. There will be Elena/Stefan, Anna/Jeremy and hints of Elena/Damon as well as Stefan/Katherine.

Warning: Major Character Death

When the Fireworks Start

Part One

It was irony of the cruellest order. Anna ran, determined to warn her mother's killer of all people. If only Elena and Stefan hadn't bumped into her while she was warning Damon of the impending attack from the tomb vampires she could be finding Jeremy and getting him to safety.

But the Founding families excluding Jonathan Gilbert didn't deserve to die for the actions of their ancestors; Anna had come to realize that after falling for Jeremy- a Gilbert of all people.

Jeremy wiped his hands on his pants and glanced up in surprise. "Stefan, if this is about my sister I don't want to hear it"

He couldn't warn Elena's brother while there were vampires everywhere and Stefan led Jeremy back in the guy's bathroom- at least he had found Jeremy inside the Grill and not out in the open. "That doesn't matter- you're in danger"

"For one hundred and fifty years Mystic Falls has been the kind of town everyone wants to call home. Safe, prosperous, welcoming. And we have the Founders to thanks for that. That's why I'd like to dedicate this evening fireworks display to their legacy" In amongst the crowd, the tomb vampires watched the Mayor's speech with colder hearts and their doubts were erased. Their revenge would be what permanently destroyed the founders- through the descendants that they worked so hard to safeguard. The Founders who had been untouchable back in 1864 for the same reasons that their descendents would die. Everyone started to clap. "Enjoy the show!"

Bright lights launched into the night sky and the fireworks exploded into life, short lived and vibrant until they faded into the night.

Lifting the gear, the door behind him burst open and John Gilbert turned to see Anna, the vampire who had mislead his nephew into believing vampires were more than monsters.

"You've no idea how much I hate doing this but do you have any idea how stupid you're being?" Anna questioned him, her hatred blatantly clear.

John disregarded her and turned back to what he was doing, setting the invention up to incapacitate the vampires and end the town's problems once and for all. "I do and you will see in a moment how wrong you are"

"It's not the time for an ego John- I'm trying to help-" The invention started to run and an humanly inaudible screeching emanated from the invention and Anna screamed in pain, kneeling to the ground.

Rushing to join up with Alaric, Damon fell to the ground clutching his ears and Elena was at his side immediately. "Damon, what's wrong?" Elena asked, frantic.

Damon couldn't answer her at first. "My head... damn that witch-" he couldn't manage another word as the pain became too great.

Anna writhed on the floor as John Gilbert pulled out the syringe of vervain. "Please make it stop"

Instead of stopping the pain, John ruthlessly injected her with vervain as did the deputies through the crown to the fallen vampires. Had he caught he tonight in the basement a stake would have given her a swift brutal end. But seeing Anna had made John Gilbert decide that she would burn for bringing all of this into his nephew's life.

One moment Stefan had been trying to warn him and the next he was sliding down the wall, struggling in pain.

"Stefan- what's wrong?" Jeremy asked in alarm as Stefan's face contorted, some unseen force tormenting him.

A deputy approached Elena and the nearly unconscious Damon but the deputy was waylaid by Alaric. "Hey- I've got this one, there's one more other there" He handed the deputy the stake. "Take this, go... go!" Alaric got to them and helped Elena hold Damon up.

Elena was worried and she tightened her grip around the bad Salvatore brother who had become her friend. She didn't want to think what would have happened if Alaric hadn't stopped the deputy. "I don't know what happened- he just dropped"

"Yeah, he's not the only one- the cops have gotten anyone who's gone down and injected them with vervain"

"What?" Elena asked, fearful for Stefan and even Anna the vampire who had once tried to kidnap her to use her blood to feed her mother. She and Alaric helped Damon down a stairwell that led away from the round up. "They're rounding up all the vampires"

Jeremy wasn't too comfortable but he knew that Stefan was in pain and he tried to support his sister's boyfriend the best he could, not that anything he did seemed to help. If this had been Anna he'd want Elena to do whatever it took and it was a relief to him that he still thought she would. The door opened and the Sheriff's deputies came in and gave Stefan a shot of something and dragged him away. "What are you doing?" Jeremy demanded and fought the sudden grip of a deputy holding him back as they took Stefan out of eyeshot. "Leave him alone!" He was no match for the older stronger man and Jeremy struggled helplessly.

The vampires were all dragged one by one into the building's basement and John Gilbert walked down the steps, victory was so very close.

"The device is done- the only thing keeping them down is the vervain" Anna listened, unable to move and she couldn't believe that just putting everyone down there was the vampire hating Gilbert's endgame. "We don't have much time, let's finish this" Something was sloshing on them and with dread Anna could smell the gasoline. They were going to go up in flames like her mother would have and Anna tried not to cry. She wouldn't give John Gilbert the satisfaction.

She watched John Gilbert turn to leave when a hand grabbed his ankle. It was Stefan Salvatore and John stared down at him, his emotions unrecognizable. "Stefan" There was something nearly tender in the way he said it and Anna remembered his love affair with Katherine's descendant Isobel Flemming. Could he show mercy to his niece's lover the same way he did to Isobel? "You can head up" John told the deputy. "I'll take it from here"

Anna couldn't leap and tear John Gilbert's throat up as he reached into his jacket and pulled up a stake, she could only beg her vervain immobilised limbs to move so she could save Stefan. It would kill Elena if Stefan Salvatore died and it would destroy Damon who swore to hate his brother. That bastard was going to break another family apart.

"Please don't, please" Stefan begged and the other vampire had the worst seat in the gasoline covered basement as John Gilbert raised the stake and pushed it down through Stefan's chest. It was almost graceful in a terrible, dark way as Stefan's skin was literally covered in veins and darkened and Anna tried not to retch at the look of pleasure on John's face as he stood and left Stefan's body on the ground and Stefan's peaceful sleeping face was turned towards Anna.

Her one small comfort was that John Gilbert was now retreating up the stairs, splashing the gasoline as it went and not getting to watch her die.

The fire licked down the stairs and raced towards the vampires and Anna gave into the tears.

Elena put a supporting hand on Damon's shoulder. "Are you okay?"

"It was like needles running over my head... I knew we couldn't trust that witch" Whatever threats Damon had been about to make against Bonnie he abstained from after seeing Elena's concern. She had enough on her plate without him getting mad over her lying witchy friend. Besides getting even was better than getting mad. "It's gone now"

Returning from the crowd, Alaric joined them. "I saw at least five vampires go down, they're taking them into your family's old building"

"Where's Stefan?" asked Damon and Elena at the same time and right of this moment Damon couldn't care if anyone saw that he cared about his brother. He had never given much thought to Stefan's death, only eternity of misery and Damon told himself that was why he had to help his little brother. Not because he cared or anything as lame and pathetic as that.

Elena and Damon ran across the street and were stopped by the sight of John Gilbert. "Where's Stefan?" Elena asked.

"With the rest of them, like he should be- it's over for Stefan" John said calmly with a nod to Damon who sneered back and froze, uneasy at something in John's expression.

"You're crazy" Elena said, shaking her head in the disbelief that he could be related to someone filled with such hatred.

Her accusation didn't rattle John. "Am I? I've been doing what should have been done a hundred and forty five years ago- this is the right thing Elena" Elena could never believe that and Damon exchanged a look at her and the old building that held his brother, burning. "Go ahead" John said. "You won't make it out and it'll save me the trouble of killing you myself"

Damon wasn't about to contradict him, right now Stefan was all that mattered. "You know the building- is there another way in?"

She nodded. "Utility door there's one around the side" Elena went to follow Damon but her uncle/father grabbed her before she could take two steps.

"You take one more step and I'll alert those deputies that they missed a vampire"

"I'm asking you not to, please" begged Elena, this was Stefan on the line and Elena wasn't going to let him die.

"That doesn't mean anything to me"

Elena was sick of this and of him and his hypocrisy and use the one line that she hated to use out of deference to her real father, the man who raised ."As my father it should, as the man who still loves my mother, the vampire it should" She broke away from him or he let her go and Elena pushed him to the back of her mind as she went after Damon to save Stefan.

Ripping open the door, Damon readied himself. In and out with Stefan... "You're going in there?"

Damon gave Bonnie his deadliest glare, he didn't have the time for her when what she had done had saved the town but put the brother he loved and hated in danger.

"Stefan's in there and he's my brother Bonnie, what can I say under this cool smooth leather exterior lies a heart" There was no amusement in his voice as he plunged into the building and Bonnie watched in shock. He cared.

The door was too hot for even Damon to hold onto the handle and he tried, but it hurt. He should have eaten before he left home.

Suddenly the doorknob was colder to touch and Damon opened it and ran down the stairs. He couldn't see Stefan even with the clear path cut through by the flames but he could see Anna who he quickly helped to the stair well. He grabbed the back of her neck before she could pull herself up and slowly climb from this inferno. "Where's Stefan?"

Anna stared back at him, her tears illuminated by the flames and she pointed. Letting her go to escape Damon found his brother and screamed, inhuman. She was the first out and held up a hand to prevent an attack from Bonnie, refusing to meet Elena's eyes as Damon came out holding a unburnt body and walked forward slowly, as if he were a zombie and not a vampire.

When Elena caught sight of Stefan, lifeless in Damon's arms, Bonnie had to catch her best friend and cradle her gently, the guilt eating her up inside. She had wanted to fix her mistake so that her Grams death hadn't been for nothing and Bonnie wouldn't have cared if Damon had died. But Stefan, it was with a sickening jolt that she acknowledged that she didn't hate him and that it was yet again, too late to undo a mistake. She could have warned the brothers so they wouldn't be out and exposed to the invention. "I'm sorry Elena, I am so sorry"

"It's not your fault" Anna said, still recovering from the effects of the vervain. "You aren't the one who shoved a stake into his heart- John Gilbert did that"

One knife, two knife, keep her peace and not strike until he stays still.

"..how it ruined her. I never would have sent her to Damon if I'd known she had wanted to turn. It's my fault. Elena I saved you from heartache, I'm telling you this because I hoped that you would be able to understand"

Finally John put his hand down and Katherine managed a genuine, "Thank you"

"Can I help?"

Katherine glanced to the ugly ring that protected the Gilberts through the years and then back on John's face. "Sure" she said and slammed the knife down severing the fingers and John Gilbert's free pass at death and slammed him against the wall, revealing herself and her fury.

Staring back at her, terrified, John at last got it right. "Katherine?" he stammered.

Her eyes changed and the tiny veins encroached and Katherine managed a terrible, wrathful smile. "Hello John, good bye John" And Katherine slammed the blade in.

Outside the Gilberts house, Anna helped Elena who she didn't blame for being as much a conversation as her missing costume. Elena was numb- she had just lost Stefan. And Anna hurt when she thought about losing Jeremy in the cruel way Elena had lost Stefan. Seeing it was the only torture that Elena had been spared. Or it was worse because Elena's imagination would torture her in the way Anna's had when she had found her mother and Harper... her long journey to save her mother for nothing.

Elena couldn't open the door her hand with the key was shaking so much that Anna helped her and they walked in the front door as someone groaned from the kitchen and clattered to the ground.

To Be Continued...

Oh, to not be a slave to my plot bunnies. Okay feel free to let me know what you think.