Would you look at that… I finally managed to give you guys and Epilogue! I'm really sorry it took me so fucking long but… well. I have no excuses (well I do, but I feel like all I did these past few chapters was making excuses why I couldn't update, so I won't even start this time). Either way, here it is, the very last part of this story. As always – thanks, my dear AVECIA for taking time she really doesn't have, just for this story. And to my lovely readers and reviewers, because you always make my day!

Disclaimer: I don't own a thing 'bout TVD, I just mess with them for a little fun.

Now, on with it!

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

It wasn't the scream of a human, nor was it the wail of an animal. It was a broken soul, a shattered heart, mourning its other half. It was Damon, as he saw Elenas body collapsing in a boneless heap, skin rapidly taking on that hideous pallor he would never forget after this….

As Elena hit the ground, he felt the breath in his lungs and all his warmth leaving his body. First hethought it might just be shock or heartbreak… but then his heart stuttered to a stop and the world grew sharp around him, just as every smell and sound and feeling multiplied a hundredfold.

For a moment he just stood there, wondering about the fucking humor of this universe. Then he rushed over to where Elena was lying and, sure enough, her skin had lost its grey hue and the veins sticking out in stark relief on her face.

But there still was no sound coming from her; no whistling of air as she breathed in and out, no heartbeat and not the sound of her blood rushing through her veins.

She was still dead – the permanent kind.

He sank to his knees and cradled her to his chest; clutching her close as if it was all it would take to make her start to blink, instead of having her eyes sightlessly turned upwards.

But she stayed still and unresponsive, the wound where the stake pierced her not healing.

Vaguely he registered the tiny droplets landing on her cheeks, making it seem as if she were crying (ignoring the fact that it was him doing so). Gone… how could she be just gone? They had fought for months; fought to stay alive, to find a way to protect her and to end the Original. There was meant to be a fight – lots of blood (preferably his or his brothers… maybe Caroline's, seeing as she could heal just as fast as them), swearing and overall chaos. But in the end, they would have won; the bad guy dead, and everyone else just fine. That's the way the stories go – the bad guy loses everything, and the good guys come out on the winning end. Not like this. Not with the tragic, martyr of a heroine dead.

And then… something. A voice, whispering, calling to him… or for him? He looked up, listening to the world around him again, but there was no sound – well, at least none other than the woods by night, and the sniffling and quiet sobbing of Elena's friends.

But still he could hear something just… not with his ears. Not with his mind either; not exactly (and he certainly knew how that would sound, he knew witches, and the creepy, weird telepathy thing they could do) at least.

As he looked down at Elena again, she was still in the same state as before. Still dead, eyes still unseeing, no healing happening. But she didn't feel as… empty as before. Then, quite suddenly, he felt something crash against his chest, knocking him over backwards (and considering that Elena was situated in his lap, that made for quite an uncomfortable setting).

He sat back up again, struggling a little to do so… and neither he nor Elena were on that wretched clearing anymore. They were … nowhere? Or had he simply turned blind and deaf? No, not possible either; he was still able to see Elena, only everything else was black. And as he heard something clear it's throat behind him, he knew that he wasn't deaf either. Turning slightly around he looked straight at Elijah and… well, probably Alyona.

He sat up straighter then, and tried to muster up some sort of feeling – anger, at the very least – but he was empty. Elena was gone, taking him with her, and now there was nothing left to fuel an emotion so strong. So, as lashing out wasn't happening, first things first…

"Where are we? I mean, I'm pretty sure the two of you are dead… and so is Ele… so is she. So if this is… the afterlife or whatever else, what am I doing here? I really think I would remember dying."

Elijah didn't say anything… just laid his arm on his wife's shoulder, squeezed it once and pressed a kiss to her temple. Then he gave him a tiny wave, and vanished. Alyona then walked over to him and sat down opposite him and Elena.

"To answer one of your questions… no, you didn't die. But you where holding on to Elena when we summoned her here, so you somehow got drawn in with her. Your physical bodies – both of them – are still on that clearing, still sitting in the very same position as before, even. It's just your… well, soul I guess… that's been brought here. And as for where we are….. I don't know exactly myself. Somewhere in-between I guess. It's where I usually communicated with Elena… it's where I stayed all those years, just watching my Doppelgangers, and waiting for the right one. It's neither here nor there, just someplace where both the living, and the dead can both just be together. Well, at least for a while – those still alive have to leave sooner or later, because their body can't exist without them for too long. That's the reason we have to hurry this up a little… I can't keep you here indefinitely, or your body starts to think it really is dead and… well, dies."

He blinked at her a few times… boy, could this woman talk. She was royalty though; it fitted, that she might like to listen to her own voice. Sighing he left his wayward thoughts behind, and came back to their little chat.

"Hurry what up, exactly. Klaus is dead, so are you and the hubby; so's the woman I love. So just run along already and get the hell out of my face. You've won – congratulations, may your victory taste as sweet as it's bitter for me. Whatever. Just leave, and let me do the same."

He sounded old and weary, and he knew it, too. At this moment, every one of his one-hundred-and-seventy-something years of his existence could be heard in his voice. He also didn't care; actually, he just wanted to leave this in-between, and preferably go straight to the after. Probably no heaven for him, but fiery pits and hot pokers (or, you know, icy wastelands and snowy deserts, as he always minded the cold way more than the opposite). Still, at least then the torture would be physical and he wouldn't have the mind to grieve.

Alyona shook her head though, and threw a soft smile his way.

"Don't be stupid; mine and Elijah's story is finally, finally over. Yours and Elena's though… it's still just somewhere in the middle of the prologue. Hasn't even really begun yet. What do you want to die for now?"

"I'm stupid? The hell, woman… Elena is dead. You were in the same fucking body as it happened! Are you delirious? Is it possible to be delirious without a body?"

Damon knew he was getting a little worked up but… well. No but. He was entitled to it. Surely he was.

And still she just fucking smiled. He had no idea how a face that was the carbon copy of Elena's (or the other way round, if one wanted to be technical) could look so different to hers. But it always still worked; did with Katherine, and Alyona managed it too. Women. Weird.

"Yes… she died. While she was still a vampire, even though she shouldn't have been one. The moment she did though, the spell disintegrated. You're a vampire again, right?"

"So what. I'm undead again – big deal."

"Hm… yes. But you see… normally, yes – Elena would be dead, and for good. But… she died a vampire, and then turned human again. The weapon I used, was meant to kill an Original. The moment she died, I got ripped out of her body, and she was human again – meaning she was neither an Original nor undead. And there always has to be balance in nature… and nature won't understand why an Original vampire died, but now there are two dead souls, and only one body. And as the body is the human one…."

She left the sentence in the open, because by the way Damon's eyes widened, she could see that he understood. Then his eyes closed entirely, and he let out a deep breath.

"She… she's going to be okay? She'll live?"

That smile again… but this time it didn't make him angry. He just hugged Elena closer to him and breathed her in.

"When she wakes up… will you tell her I'm sorry? I let her believe that this really would be her end… Until the last moment, I wasn't sure if she'd be alright or not so just… tell her I'm sorry, and that I thank her. She freed me – us. We're finally free to rest. Finally…"

With her last few words, her voice faded out, until he could barely understand her. As he opened his eyes again, he was back in the clearing. Stefan was crouching in front of him, eyes red-rimmed and not-yet-dried tear tracks on his face. Looking down, he saw the wound in Elena's chest starting to close – slowly, but it did. All would be well.

Grinning, he made sure that she was safe in his arms, and stood up off the ground, leaving the clearing and this near-tragedy behind. There was nothing left to do here – the wind had long since blown away the last remnant of Klaus and Elijah.

The others exchanged glances, probably thinking he had finally lost his mind… whatever, he would explain later. He needed to get Elena home now.

Xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

It had taken quite some time for her to heal – the sun had come up, reached its zenith, and disappeared behind the horizon again, and still she hasn't woken up yet. But the wound was closed, her heart has resumed its steady thumping, and her lungs where drawing oxygen again. He skin had lost its pallor and for all intents and purposes, she was just sleeping now; resting.

In the very back of her mind she knew where she was – knew that Damon was right beside her, holding her, sharing her warmth, and waited for her. She knew that Klaus was gone, and that she was free to live her life in peace now (well, as much peace as there was possible with someone like Damon beside her). She knew people where waiting for her. But it still took a long while for her body to get the same message. Finally though, she was able to open her eyes. The room was lit only by a bedside lamp on the far side of the bed, and most everything was dipped into shadows. But as she craned her head a little bit, and looked straight into the blue eyes of the one person she needed right then.

She smiled, raised her hand to his cheek and caressed it, before burying her hand in his hair.

"Hi."

"Hi yourself… you took your sweet time there."

She smiled at him (and it didn't look like the all-knowing one of the other woman in the least. Thank fuck for small wonders.) and chose to ignore his last comment.

"So… are you ready?"

She didn't ask for what – there was no need for that. Because… well, whatever he meant by that, the answer would be the same.

"With you by my side? Yes, always."

And then they kissed, and forgot that anything else existed at all.

Xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

-The End-

Yup, you read right just now, this really is The End. No more chapters for this one. I've said (wrote) everything there was to, and now I'll try to work myself up for another multichapter (it's already planned out in my head, but I won't start posting for a while yet, because I want a few chapters written in advance!). Now, it's been a hell of a journey, and I'll ask you one last time: Please tell me what you think of this chapter; just click on the little button below and leave me a few words^^.

So long,

Zora