A/N: This is the first chapter of four. The concept was inspired by the title "As I Lay Dying", and I've sort of run from there.

Thanks for taking the time to check it out, and please let me know what you think!

Disclaimer: I do not own The Vampire Diaries, and I am using the characters without permission. Made for fun, not for profit!

As I lay dying, my senses seemed to wake up from a lifetime of sleeping. I heard every drop of my blood as it hit the floor; I could taste the tension in the air, between Klaus, Elijah and Katherine in particular. It struck me then that these three had lived a story together so long ago. I wondered about it, about how they had all felt about each other once, and about how they felt about each other now. It's strange, how concerned I was for them, as I lay dying.

I took a deep breath, feeling it flow into my body, my veins and my lungs. There was a wheezing sound, like a rattle… A death rattle.

My eyesight seemed sharper, brighter somehow. The stars were shifting in the dark velvet sky, and the moon seemed to shimmer and swirl within itself.

I could smell Tyler Lockwood's hot fetid breath from somewhere to my left. He was probably dying too. A pang shot through me at the thought. I had known Tyler from the cradle; we had been friends, albeit distant, for most of our lives.

All of these thoughts raced through my increasingly sluggish brain, and my blood flowed from my body. As I lay dying.

After a few eternal minutes, during which time silence reigned, lending a terrifying gravity to the proceedings, there was a loud bang, a gust of smoke, and a sudden rush of people into the room. I tried to see what had happened, but I couldn't turn, couldn't move. My body wouldn't obey me anymore.

Then Stefan's concerned face appeared between me and the stars, and I wanted to cry. He was here to save me. He scooped me up tenderly and turned toward the door, but the way was blocked by one of Klaus' henchmen. My head lolled, and I grew nauseous. I tilted back with Stefan's body as he landed a hard kick to the other vampire's chest, sending him flying backwards. And then we were moving forward again.

With the change in position I could dimly see what was happening behind Stefan. I blinked slowly, watching Bonnie fighting Klaus (still in Alaric's body), Elijah backing her up, Katherine trying to escape, only to be stopped by Jeremy and Caroline. But someone was missing.

With all the strength that I had left, I lifted my head, and Damon immediately came into my line of sight. He was fighting facing me, and he was smiling, like this was the most fun he had had in a long time. Well, at least someone was having a good time.

At that thought, my heart jolted again, the shock of it making me cry out. Stefan clutched me tighter as he made his way to the door. I still watched Damon, his recent confessions weighing heavily on my mind. It was beautiful; watching him dance around, trading blows like it was choreographed. He was limitless; moving with such speed and skill that I wondered if he had been born to do this. I had never seen him fight this well before.

And then my world slowed. Not just because the bleeding still hadn't stopped, or because my brain was shutting down. No, it was something else entirely. I remembered Damon telling me that if it came down to it, he would protect my life above anyone else's. And watching him duck and weave and strike, something terrible occurred to me. He included himself. He would fight and die, really die, just to get me out of here.

And as I thought that through, my eyes still trained on him, my body still locked in Stefan's arms, Damon looked up and met my gaze. I saw a vampire behind him, and my mind screamed. I had thought that I was too weak to scream, but sound still vibrated from my vocal chords.

"Stefan!" I croaked, "Stefan! Turn around! Damon, he's…"

"Sh," Stefan cooed into my ear, "We have to get you out. We have to get you safe."

I moved, attempting to twist out of my boyfriend's arms, but he only held on tighter, shoving his way through to the door before I could get away. My vision was darkening, but I could still see relatively clearly. I could only watch, powerless and still, as the anonymous vampire pulled back his fist and punched a hole in Damon's midsection.