I know that there are a lot of similar stories out there, but I just had to write this down. I hope you enjoy it! Again: I'm not a native English speaker, so I am sorry for any mistakes I made. Thank you for reviewing! The next chapter will be up soon...

Chasing memories

Strangers in my room

Elena. She definitely liked the name. It was soft and had a certain melody to it. Her problem, however, was that the name didn't sound familiar. Yet one had told her that it was her name. Just like the nurses had told her that she had a brother called Jeremy and an aunt called Jenna. When she had asked about her parents, the only answer she had gotten was a worried, grave look and "They are dead since quite some time, darling." This should have devastated her, but nothing around her seemed real and so she couldn't bring herself to really care. Maybe the numbness was also caused by the pain in her back, which took every ounce of strength away from her. And still the nurses and doctors only talked about a miraculous recovery. From what she had gathered, she understood that no one had believed she would make it through. Yet here she was, with no memory about her life and a back that was driving tears into her eyes every time she tried to move.

So far, she hadn't had many visitors. In fact, Jenna and Jeremy were the only reminders of the fact that she was a real person with a real life. Still, her family had only been in her room twice. Jeremy had smiled at her and told her that she would be all right. He seemed like the perfect brother, goodhearted and slightly protective. Jenna had always been on the brink of tears and was apparently unable to utter a word in the presence of her niece. However, Jeremy had assured her that she was usually quite the talkative person.

"She was so unbelievably scared to lose you, Elena. She's still in shock."

Both times, Elena wanted to ask how and why she had been hurt so badly, but as if her visitors could sense the upcoming question, they had disappeared before she could say anything. Similarly, the doctors and nurses denied her an answer every time she asked.

Why were they all so keen to keep her in the dark? What were they hiding from her? These and more questions whirled through Elena's head all day long. With every passing day, her frustration grew more and more to a point where she felt aggressive and angry towards every single person coming through the door. She started snapping at the doctors, yelling at the nurses and refused any form of cooperation when the physiotherapist came by.

It was a week after she'd woken up, that everything finally changed. The change was brought upon by a visitor. The young man was sitting on the side of her bed, when she woke up from a nap one afternoon. The closeness of the stranger scared her at first, but she didn't scream like any normal person probably would have. Maybe she was just too used to having strangers around her by now. So, as soon as her heart rate had slowed down again, she asked:

"Who are you?"

His green eyes bore into hers and she saw a cloud of pain and hurt overshadowing them. Still he answered:

"Hello Elena. I'm Stefan. Your boyfriend."

Elena couldn't help herself as she sharply drew in her breath and slightly moved away from the man. This was clearly not the reaction he had been hoping for and seeing that he had scared her, he lifted himself from her bed.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to be so blunt. I just thought that maybe you would remember…"

Elena felt like the waves of disappointment emanating from him would choke her.

"Don't apologize. All I seem to be able to do lately, is let people down."

Her voice sounded cold and hard even in her own ears. But what was she to think? The young man didn't seem to be much older than her, he was definitely very good-looking and his face spoke of kindness and warmth. And yet, shouldn't she feel something in his presence? Shouldn't she feel the connection she apparently had with Stefan? Elena reminded herself that she didn't even feel connected to her own name, but that still didn't erase her doubts. Elena's train of thoughts was interrupted by Stefan, who whispered:

"I am sure you will remember everything soon. You just need to give it some time."

Before she let the anger rise up in her once again, Elena asked in a pleading voice:

"Can you tell me what happened? This ignorance is driving me crazy!"

He carefully closed the distance between them and said, while shaking his head:

"I am so sorry, Elena. The doctors believe that it's best for you to remember that on your own. The memory will come back when you're ready for it."

Stefan didn't know how lucky he was, when the physiotherapist chose this exact moment to interrupt the visit. Elena was sure that she would have strangled him otherwise. As Stefan took his leave, he promised her that he would come back soon. Elena only nodded and as soon as the door was closed behind him, she let the tears fall freely. She couldn't take the vast amounts of hurt anymore – physically and emotionally she was a complete wreck. After sobbing for hours, sleep finally overtook her. Sleep had been her comforting companion over the last days – she could forget the pain, the white walls of the hospital, the smell of the disinfectants and the fact that she felt like a nobody. Sleep was the only escape out of her personal hell. However, this time her usually dreamless sleep was interrupted by a very vivid dream.

In her dream, she was standing in a bathroom, brushing her teeth. She looked at her reflection in the mirror and saw an exhausted, young girl with long chocolate brown hair and dark eyes. As she made her way to some kind of bedroom, she jumped slightly at the sight of a young man sitting on the window sill. He was dressed entirely in black, his clothes matching his raven black hair. What startled her most about him, though, were his piercing blue eyes and the shadow of a smile enlightening his face. Just as she was about to ask herself who this unbelievably beautiful man was, she heard him say, his voice teasing:

"Cute pjs."

Her dream-self didn't seem to find this amusing and this time she felt her own lips move:

"I'm tired Damon."

The dismissive comment didn't seem to bother the intruder, who stood up and began walking toward her, holding up a necklace. He said, still smiling:

"I brought you this."

Her own voice rang through the room once again, evidently full of surprise:

"I thought that was gone."

Elena realized that the necklace must be of importance to her dream-self and she breathed:

"Thank you."

She reached for the necklace, but the one named Damon pulled it back towards himself. Suddenly the entire atmosphere in the room changed and she felt alarm and slight fear sipping through her body:

"Please give it back."

Damon looked at her, his face pained:

"I just have to say something."

He had invaded her personal space by now and a scent of leather, alcohol and something indefinably wild clouded her mind. The voice of dream-self was shaking when she asked:

"Why do you have to say it with my necklace?"

"Well…because what I'm about to say is probably the most selfish thing I've ever said in my life."

The young man was clearly losing whatever battle he was fighting with himself. Even though Elena didn't know him, she realized that he was making himself more vulnerable than he ever had before. She realized that she could break him, right there. She felt another wave of fear invading her and pleaded:

"Damon, don't go there."

His mind, however, was set:

"I just have to say it once. You just need to hear it. I love you, Elena. And it's because I love you that….I can't be selfish with you. And why you can't know this, I don't deserve you. But my brother does."

Elena couldn't take her eyes away from him as she listened to the heartfelt words spilling out of him. It was at this moment, that she felt something boil up in her – something she had repressed for a long time. Before she could pursue the nature of it, Damon leaned towards her as if he was going to kiss her. Later, she would have to admit to herself that she wouldn't have refused him the kiss. However, he only pressed his lips against her forehead for the fraction of a second and whispered, his voice hoarse:

"God, I wish you didn't have to forget this." His hand caressed her cheek: "But you do."

The last thing Elena saw before she woke up, was a tear escaping from his perfect blue eyes.

Elena jerked up and gasped for air, as if she had been holding her breath during the entire dream. She was bathed in sweat and slowly she looked around herself, checking if everything was still the way it had been before she had fallen asleep. At first sight, nothing had changed – the walls were still irritatingly white, the hospital smell was still nauseating and the machines were still beeping every few seconds. Then it suddenly dawned on her: the morning sun was greeting her through the closed curtains. How was it possible that she had slept for such a long time? She could have sworn not to have slept more than an hour or two.

However, the realization of the even bigger change only hit her a minute later. She was sitting in her bed! She should have been lying on the floor by now, unconscious because of the excruciating pain. Instead, her back felt great. In fact, she was suddenly able to move all her body parts without restraint. She flexed her muscles in wonder and quickly dismissed the idea of having to thank the physiotherapist for performing a miracle. But then, how was this overnight recovery possible? She wondered shortly whether she was still dreaming, but then decided that everything felt much too real.

After racking her brain to no success, Elena sank back into her bed and made the decision to just block out everything for the time being. She would ask the doctors later if they had found a way to heal her in a matter of hours. For now, she absolutely wanted to remember the dream that had put all her emotions into turmoil. Was it even a dream? Or was it a memory? Parts of it felt so real, that she had no doubt about it being a piece out of her past. Other parts, however, just felt like they would have never happened that way in real life. What, for example, had Damon meant by saying that she had to forget? It had seemed like he wanted to erase the memory of his confession – that was impossible, though. The next thought whirling around her mind was, whether she knew the young handsome man who had confessed his love to her. Damon. The name in itself bore a certain resemblance to the word "demon". Elena shook her head: the broken man of her dream/memory had nothing of a monster in him. Who was this brother he had been talking about? The brother who apparently deserved her, while he didn't. Was he possibly talking about Stefan? The emptiness inside her head was so frustrating that Elena felt like throwing something against the wall.

At the moment, Damon was the only link to her past. Of course there were Jenna, Jeremy and Stefan, who all claimed to have been a big part of her life, but having no memory of them made it hard for her to be around them. Elena's mind was set: she had to find out more about the man she had met in her dream. She had to find out, if he was real. She quickly realized that asking Stefan about him was not an option. If they were indeed brothers, then it would surely not be a good thing to tell Stefan about the dream/memory. She could, however, ask Jeremy if he had any useful information. Now that she had a strategy in mind on how to proceed, Elena let herself relax, closing her eyes once again, waiting for the nurses to bring breakfast.