Where'd You Go

Vampire Diaries Stefan/Elena Post season 2 "As I Lay Dying"

Disclaimer: I don't own Vampire Diaries or it's characters...the only characters that are mine are the new kids and Phillip.

Author's Note: Okay, here's the prologue to my new Stefan/Elena story. It's a little different from anything else I've done and I'm kinda nervous about it. The subject matter is a little more dark and depressing than I'm used to. It deals with the horrors of domestic violence (but in a vampire world) so if that's something you have issues with this'll serve as your warning. It starts off where we left Elena in the season 2 finale and jumps ahead nine years. The only thing from the finale I'm not following is final twist with Jeremy at the end and only because I'm not quite sure how that would fit into this story. Elena's portrayed very differently than we've seen her in the show but all will be explained in time and hopefully she can get herself back. Let me know if you have any questions or concerns or ideas.

Prologue: No Time To Cry

Elena turned the glass bottle in her hands, watching the blood run down the container. The breeze from Katherine's sudden arrival and departure left behind a tangible tension in the room. Damon stared at the door from the bed, his jaw slightly hanging open. The sweat was already gone from his face as if nothing had ever happened. He'll live, he was cured.

Katherine's words keep replaying in her mind: "He just sacrificed everything to save his brother. Including you . . ."

She could still feel on her cheek the touch from Stefan's hand out in the town square earlier. She could feel the desperate, worried kisses on her forhead from when he'd returned to her after she woken up from the sacrifice She could feel his arms around her waist when her legs gave out when she'd learned what John had done for her. She could feel his hand rest on the small of her back during her second double funeral in a year.

Her mind replayed to only moments before, laying against Damon's chest, kissing his moist pale lips. A tightness strained her heart and she met Damon's eyes . . .

"Including you . . ."

"Elena . . ."

Her vision became blurry and her knees buckled beneath her. Gravity increased on her as she fell to the floor but an instant before she hit the ground she felt a pair of arms around her.

The wrong arms.

These arms don't bring any comfort but only the harsh reality of what she's probably lost forever. Damon lifted her and carried her but she wishes it were his brother. Damon was talking to her but she could only hear Stefan's voice.

She could feel as she's rustled around and feels when she's no longer in his arms but on her back against something firm and soft and familiar. Her head rolls to the side and her fingers grasp at the blankets beneath her. Where did the glass bottle that had been in her hands go? She doesn't know but honestly doesn't care as it allows her to hold on to the blankets beneath her with both hands.

She inhaled and breathed in his scent, tears prickling in the corners of her eyes.

"Including you . . ."

She still couldn't get Katherine's words off her mind nor the worried look on Stefan's face as he walked up to her out in the town square earlier.

Whether or not Damon is still in the room she can't tell. Tears dropped freely from her eyes and soak into the comforter.

"Including you . . ."

The words echoed loudly in her ears and drowned out everything else. Her own voice . . . only not. It was as if she was haunting herself with this. And she probably would for the rest of her life. Her heart felt broken beyond repair and guilt weighed heavily in its place.

Would she ever see Stefan again? Would he ever come home to her?

Vaguely she heard Damon's words as he left the room but they barely registered to her: "I will find him, Elena. I will. You have my word . . ."

And then she was alone . . .

"Including you . . ."

Almost nine years later . . .

When Elena awoke she wasn't surprised to find that she was alone in bed. She breathed a sigh of relief and glanced over at the clock . . . the alarm wouldn't go off for another twenty minutes. Sighing, she reached over and turned the alarm off. She swung her legs over the bed, wincing as she sat up. She held on to her back as she pushed the covers off and stood up. Her ribs grated together and the bruises on her inner thighs sent flares of pain up her spine. She put on her robe and slippers and walked across the hall to the bathroom.

A stray tear tracked down her cheek and she quickly wiped it away. She continued with her morning routine - go to the bathroom, brush teeth, apply concealer to certain seen bruises . . .

On her way downstairs she made sure to check that Millie was still asleep. Thankfully, she was. He'd been particularly rough last night and their daughter didn't need to see or know about that. Once in the kitchen she sat down for a moment to catch her bearings before she made coffee. Once the coffee was brewing she prepared Millie's favorite breakfast: french toast, fresh strawberries, and whipped cream.

When the clock struck 7:20, Elena painfully made her way back upstairs to get dressed. She put on a pair of comfortable jeans and a long sleeve shirt. Then she reluctantly pulled out her curling iron and curled her naturally-straight hair into loose curls. She hated having curly hair – it brought up too many memories of doppelgangers – but he preferred her with curly hair. Sometimes she wished she could just tell him to go find Katherine and leave her alone but he didn't even know about that part of her past.

At exactly 7:30 she finished and pulled on a pair of socks and tennis shoes. She went down the hall to Millie's room.

"Millie, sweetie . . . it's time to get up," She crooned softly as she sat down on the bed beside the girl.

"No . . . five more minutes, Mommy . . ." Millie rolled around, her eyes still closed.

"Sorry, babe, but you don't wanna be late for the school bus," Elena stroked her daughter's beautiful dirty-blonde hair. Millie sighed, slowly opening her eyes. She yawned, stretching her arms. "How'd you sleep?" Elena asked as Millie sat up and wrapped her arms around her mommy's waist.

"Good . . . but I want longer," Millie yawned.

"Little girls have to go to school," Elena sighed, hugging her.

Millie's hold tightened and Elena hissed. Millie flew back immediately. "Mommy, what's wrong?"

Chiding herself for making any noise, Elena sighed. "Nothing, sweetie. Mommy just had a klutzy moment and ran into the corner of the kitchen table."

"Oh . . ." Millie said. "Mommy, you have lots of klutzy moments."

"I know," Elena tried to smile. "Just be lucky you didn't inherit the klutzy Gilbert gene like your cousin Jack."

Millie giggled. "He's funny."

"Yes, he is," Elena also laughed. "Now come on, let's get you ready for school. I made your favorite breakfast."

Millie's eyes widened and her grin grew from ear to ear. "Thank you, Mommy!"

Elena laughed, "You're welcome. Hmm . . . what do you want to wear today?"

The door downstairs opened and Elena's heart jump up her throat. He wasn't supposed to be home until later.

Millie smiled and scrambled off her bed. "Daddy!" She giggled excitedly as she ran down the hall and downstairs.

"Millie . . . aren't you supposed to be getting ready for school?" His deep voice echoed all the way upstairs.

At the sound of his voice, Elena's entire body tensed.

"I will, Daddy," Millie was still giggling.

"Where's your Mom?" He said.

"Upstairs," Millie answered.

"Hey kiddo, why don't you go eat your breakfast while I talk to Mommy. Okay?" He told her.

"Okay, Daddy," Millie answered.

Elena gulped. Why was he home? What did he want from her? She'd try'd to do everything he'd asked of her last night. She slowly stood and started walking out into the hall, trying to walk like she wasn't in pain.

Then he appeared walking up the stairs. She immediately smiled when he turned to look at her. "Honey, what are you doing home? I thought you had a meeting this morning."

"Damn useless secretary spilled coffee on my shirt," Phillip rolled his eyes. He ran his hands through his blonde hair. Sure enough, he sported a large liquid stain all down his front. "When I get back to work I'm firing her."

"Here, let me get you a new one," She went into their room and opened his closet. She pulled out his favorite blue shirt from a hanger. When she turned around his tie and the stained shirt were already discarded on the floor. Once upon a time she'd already have her hands all over his bare chest. Things were different now . . . he wasn't the same man she'd married.

He roughly snatched the shirt in her hand and pulled her toward him. With his other hand he gently tugged on her curls. "You curled your hair." She nodded slightly - he still had a fistful of hair.

"You've said you like it curly," She tried to control the tremble in her voice.

"That's right . . . I do," He smirked. He kissed her roughly, his hand still running through her curls.

"D-Darling . . ." She pulled back her lips, panting. "Shouldn't you get back to work? A-And I need to get Millie ready for school."

He just stared at her and she braced herself for the blow. But . . . it never came. Instead he just sighed and groaned in frustration. "Yeah . . . you're right." He pulled her flush to him and she squealed in surprise. "I just can't help it . . . I can't get enough of my incredibly sexy wife." With another sigh, he let her go and put on the clean shirt.

She sighed in relief but didn't let him notice. Thank god he had to get back to work.

"Later though, babe. You owe me," He smirked, swatting her ass playfully.

Elena forced a smile even though she was crying inside. Hadn't he had enough last night? Or the night before?

He glanced at his watch. "Shit . . . I gotta get back. I have a patient coming in for an appointment." He buttoned his shirt and put his tie back on and disappeared downstairs without another word to her. She heard him bid Millie a sweet goodbye and with the slam of a door he was gone.

Elena let out a deep breath of relief and collaspse on the bed.

There was the shattering of glass. "Mommy, I made a mess!" Millie shouted downstairs.

Sighing, Elena regained her composure and went downstairs. There wasn't ever time to curl up in bed and cry.

To Be Continued . . .

Author's note: Oh dear, Elena's in quite the mess isn't she? So . . . what did you think? Comments/Constructive criticism welcomed. Other charactes will surface in other chapters including our leading man Stefan.