15 years later
"How do I get stuck with this job?" Elena grumbled as she stirred a pot on the stove. "I'm not the cook in the relationship." It smelled amazing, like what it was normally supposed to smell like, but she had killed dinner before. There were hand written directions on the counter and she had watched him do this a million times, but she still pouted at the bright red color of the spaghetti sauce. "He is so late," Elena grumbled "I mean… I know council meetings can keep him late, but this is ridiculous."
"But… things are okay?" the blonde asked carefully.
"Yes," Elena said looking at her friend sharply. Caroline looked exactly the same, her long blonde hair up in a pony tail as she sat at the counter in Elena's kitchen. They were closer than they had ever been before, and saw each other on a regular basis. "Things are perfect."
"There he is," Caroline said as there was a knock on the door and she jumped up to answer it, bouncing her way there, like she was still a teenage girl.
"He doesn't have to knock in his own house," Elena called, turning down the heat on the sauce a little. At least she wouldn't burn it this time. She used the white dish cloth to wipe her hands and her heart froze when she heard who was at the door. Slowly, as if in a daze she walked out of the kitchen, her eyes taking in his muscular frame in her doorway. "Stefan?" she whispered in surprise.
"Hi Elena," he said shyly. "You look… exactly the same."
She stared at him for a long moment, but she couldn't lie about it. "I've been a vampire for ten years," she said softly, folding her arms. "But… you're back." It had been so long, she had forgotten that he didn't know.
"Had to get back under control," he said. "How did you turn?"
Elena bit her lip. "Let's talk," she said, gesturing to her living room. Caroline stuck close to her as the two girls watched him carefully. "The night you left, Jeremy was shot and killed. The sheriff was aiming for Damon but you know… Damon was sick and hallucinating so Jeremy got caught in the crossfire."
"I'm so sorry Elena," he said, sympathy covering his features. "So soon after Jenna."
The door opened again, and Elena immediately felt Damon's presence wash over her. "Stefan," Damon said in surprise. "You're… here."
Stefan rose to his feet when Damon entered the room and Elena glanced back and forth between them worriedly. "Damon," he greeted. "Guess that answers my next question."
"You weren't here Stefan," Damon said defensively.
"Hey hey," Elena said, reaching out to touch his arm. "It's okay. No reason for anyone to get upset." She faced Stefan after feeling Damon relax slightly under her touch. "Yes Damon turned me. I asked him too. My family was dead Stefan. You were gone and he and Caroline were all I had left." And she could see his eyes as the landed on her hand, her left hand that adorned the diamond ring Damon had given her when he proposed to her a little over a month ago.
"Damon, where are you taking me?" she giggled as his hands covered her eyes. "I can't see where I'm walking." She kept her hands locked on his forearms trying to follow his steering. "I still think you're laughing at me while I'm stumbling around like an idiot."
"You should trust me Elena," he tsk'ed. "I would never let you fall. We're almost there anyway."
He would never let a paper cut happen to her. She trusted him with her life, that wasn't even part of the picture. She kept her eyes closed for a second after he removed his hands but when she opened them, her brows creased as she glanced around. "Where are we?" she asked, as he led her over to the blanket on the grass.
"Best place to watch the meteor shower," he said. "Most open spot in Mystic Falls."
She smiled and snuggled against him as she glanced at the stars, sighing happily as his arms came around her, but he had something in his hands. "What's that?" she asked, trying to peel his fingers off of it.
Damon rested a chin on her shoulder as he opened the velvet box. "Marry me," he murmured.
Her heart would have lurched in her chest as he diamond sparkled in the moon light. "Damon," she whispered, her fingers gently touching the box. "Its beautiful."
"Is that a yes?" he asked smiling against her skin.
"Yes," she said, her body nearly trembling with joy. Her cheeks were hurting from smiling as he slid the ring on her finger and it sparkled in the moonlight. "I love you."
She had been so happy when he proposed. They had been together for so long, and it felt right. "You were gone for a long time Stefan," she said softly. "And we wanted to find you…"
"It's fine Elena," Stefan said, shaking his head. "I knew that you and I were over when I left. I knew the price for saving Damon's life. I didn't come here to fight with either of you. I really came to see Damon."
Elena squeezed Damon's hand as she looked up at him, a strange expression on his face. "It's fine," she said softly. "You guys should talk." They should talk without her hovering, even though she could hear them from the kitchen. But it wasn't her business. Damon was unnaturally quiet, seemingly unsure of what to make of his brother being back. Even though they had each other, they both felt a horrible sense of loss, not being able to go after Stefan, and it had taken a long time for them to both get past it. She offered Damon a small smile as he headed to the porch with his brother and she released a sigh as Caroline rubbed her back. "I'm guessing burning dinner won't be the highlight of the night."
"But this is good," Caroline said smiling. "You both wanted him home and now he is. And he seems to be in good spirits about everything. It's been a long time to keep grudges going."
"Yeah," Elena agreed as she peeked out the living room window through the curtains. "Well they are hugging… I guess that's good." She knew how badly Damon missed his brother and she gave them some privacy as she went back to the kitchen. She turned the stove off and sat at the counter, running her hands through her hair as Caroline chatted with her about meaningless things to distract her.
Damon came back in about 15 minutes later, alone, but he seemed okay. "Stefan's going back to the boarding house for some rest," he said kissing her forehead. "I'm going to change then try to salvage dinner."
"Funny," she murmured smiling as he headed upstairs. She said goodnight to Caroline and set the table for them. She glanced up as she heard him come downstairs and he immediately pulled her into his arms. "You okay?" she asked nuzzling his neck.
"Surprisingly, yes I am," he said, kissing her temple. "Everything is going to be fine, because now, you can set a date."
A smile beamed on her face as she pulled his lips down to hers. "Well Mr. Salvatore, you prepared to spend the rest of our lives together?" she asked, tangling her hands in the soft hair at the base of his skull.
Damon chuckled. "You have no idea."