A/N: Yes I'm back! Please hold the applause : ) My life has been hectic, my muse ran away, blah blah blah…. You get the drift. The new season has brought my muse running home though, so that got me motivated to start writing again. I promise this story will go on! Lol Thank you to all my faithful readers for staying with me and reviewing. I hope you enjoy the chapter. Don't be afraid to look back at the last chapter for a reminder of what is going on. I know it's been a long time.

11. Surfacing Fears

The bus lurched to a noisy stop as my story came to an end, and Elena shifted uncomfortably beside me.

"That's why she was so bitter," I explained. "I spent over a hundred years with her almost always in my life, and I left for Katherine without even saying goodbye."

"Damon," Elena interjected gently, placing her hand on mine. "You were different then. You've become a better man."

I shrugged off her words, wanting to forgo the "better man" speech again. It was then that the door of the bus opened and two military men entered. Speaking Turkish, they gave instructions neither Elena nor I could understand. The other passengers started shuffling in their seats, grabbing their luggage, and exiting the bus.

Elena's eyes darted from the moving passengers to the men standing near the driver.

"Damon," she said frantically. "What is going on?"

Before I could answer that I didn't know, a woman from behind took pity on our confusion and answered Elena's question.

"They are border patrol," she said in a thick accent. "We get papers and bags checked before we go further."

I swore under my breath as I though about the things in my bags—bags of blood, vervain, and stakes—before thanking the woman for her help.

"Damon, the blood!" Elena whispered.

"Don't worry," I responded. "I'll compel our way through this."

I took Elena's hand tightly in mine, pulling her and our bags quickly through the crowd of people in the aisle. We exited the bus into the warm midday sun and made our way quickly to the baggage checking station.

"Çantalar, lütfen," the man standing at the table said.

"No Comprendo," Elena said seriously back to the man.

I snickered at her response.

"What?" she combated.

"Spanish?"

Seeing her mistake, she smiled back at me.

"Fine," she said jokingly. "You handle this."

During our discussion, the man in front of us must have realized we spoke only English and went to get another man who could better assist us.

"Open the suitcases," the new man demanded.

I smiled slyly at Elena and turned to face the man.

"He just checked our bags," I said motioning to the officer that had just left. "All you have to do is okay that it has been done and move along to the next person in line."

The man seemed confused for the slightest moment and then understanding crossed his features.

"Fine. There is a diner there," he replied gruffly, pointing in the direction of a shabby building a few yards down the road. "You can go there while we check the others."

I smiled and thanked the man as I picked up our bags and brought them back to the bus.

"That was easy," Elena said as I hoisted our luggage into the storage compartment above our seats.

"What did you expect? When you travel with me everything is easy. I always get what I want."

I added my own innuendo to this last sentence and received an eye roll and a small laugh from Elena. Suddenly her stomach growled fiercely. I looked down as she grabbed her empty stomach. Not needing food as she did, I hadn't even thought of how hungry she must be. We hadn't eaten since they served us food on the plane.

"What do you say we go to the diner that guy was talking about," I suggested. "We have plenty of time before we head out again."

"That sounds amazing," Elena said, stressing the last word.

It wasn't long before both Elena and I were seated at a small table at the restaurant with doners in front of us. Despite the completely Turkish menus, we had managed to order by pointing to a dish that we had seen others eating. The Turkish doners were filled with beef, pickles, tomatoes and fries all wrapped in a pita like flat bread. Elena quickly put her pickles on the edge of my plate and attacked her food hungrily.

"What?" she asked defensively as I chuckled to myself. "I haven't eaten all day! It's not my fault you don't have to eat anything."

"You forget, dear Elena, that I haven't 'eaten' all day, either. That scrumptious little neck of yours is looking quite delicious."

Elena stopped eating as she clearly pondered my response, judging it for seriousness. I flashed her a mischievous smile to fuel the fire of her thoughts.

After remaining silent for a few moments, Elena spoke again, but this time bringing conversation back to unpleasant subjects that I would rather not talk about.

"Why do you think Claire agreed to help us if she was as angry at you as you seemed to think she was?"

I let out a sigh of annoyance.

"I don't know, Elena," I said. "Maybe because she thought helping me would get her back in my pants."

I regretted my snarky response almost immediately. Elena's eyes fell to her plate and the awkwardness that surrounded us after my earlier story had returned. It was obviously a subject Elena did not want to hear about.

"I'm sorry," I said quickly. "Claire just isn't one of my favorite topics to talk about."

"Obviously," Elena muttered.

"She probably agreed to help because she thought that seeing her again would change something in me. No doubt she has been following the events in Mystic Falls closely."

"And was she right? Did seeing her again change something?"

Elena sounded as though she was afraid to hear the answer I would give.

"God, no!" I said hurriedly. "Seeing her again was nice until she went psycho and reminded me of what a bitch she could be, but it in no way changed how I feel about her."

Elena's face relaxed a fraction of an inch as I said this.

"She is obsessive, Elena," I stressed. "Living with her for over a hundred years was more than I could handle. You have nothing to worry about."

Realizing that she had given me the impression she was worried, her eyes opened wide.

"Oh, I'm not worried," she stressed. "I was only curious."

"Sure you are, Elena," I said laughing, making her even more flustered. "Sure you are."

After finishing up our lunch, we had just enough time to get back to the bus and in our seats before the last traveler had their bags checked and we were on our way.

"Ugh." Elena groaned, sitting back in her seat uncomfortably. "I don't think I will ever be able to eat another bite in my life."

"Don't rub it in," I said, longing looking up at the suitcase above me. "What I wouldn't give for a bag of O negative right now. We can't get to the hotel soon enough."

"Half way there!" Elena said a little too cheerfully.

"Half of an eight hour bus ride is really nothing to be excited about," I complained. "Even that old man across from us is starting to look scrumptious."

Elena looked to her left at the old man in question and wrinkled her nose in disgust.

"Oh, Damon, you can't be that desperate…."

"My point exactly," I returned.

"What does it taste like," she asked, almost musing out loud to herself.

I was caught off-guard by her sudden question. There were so many things Elena hadn't asked or even seemed to wonder about in all the time she had known Stefan and I, and this was certainly one of them.

"As amused as I am at your question, Elena, it couldn't have come at a more inconvenient time," I responded with a smile. "Here I am wanting to sink my teeth into you skin and massacre the rest of the bus and your going to ask me to describe the very thing I want."

Not sure how to take my admission of wanting to slaughter everyone in sight, her smile wavered. I rolled my eyes at her and told her to imagine the most mouth-watering thing she could.

Elena closed her eyes then and thought.

"Hmmm," she thought, opening her eyes only when she had come up with an answer. "Chocolate-covered strawberries."

"Really? Chocolate-covered strawberries? It's a hundred times better than chocolate-covered strawberries."

"I find that hard to believe," she scoffed. "Of course you would say that. Regular food has no real appeal to you. You can't appreciate the true amazingness of fruit slathered in chocolate."

I smiled at the accusation.

"You forget, my dear Elena, that I was at one time human like yourself. I've had plenty of chocolate-covered strawberries, and I promise you that blood as a vampire tastes way better than 'fruit slathered in chocolate' ever did as a human," I said mocking her description of the food.

"Okay, okay," she laughed. "I guess I can accept that. You stick your diet and I'll stick to mine."

"Sounds fair. Now can we please stop talking about this," I begged. "You're making it so much worse."

"Fine," Elena gave in. "What would you like to talk about, Mr. Salvatore? We have a long bus ride to go."

I thought for a moment before deciding on a topic, one that would make Elena uncomfortable, but one that I needed to hear nonetheless.

"It's my turn to ask questions," I started slowly. Elena grew visibly uneasy as I spoke. "I want to know what you were dreaming about on the plane. What was your dream about that caused you to wake up screaming?"

"Damon—" she responded. "I don't want—"

"Uh-uh," I chided. "I told you all about Claire even though I didn't want to. Now it's your turn."

Grudgingly she gave in.

"I've been having these dreams since Stefan left. Dreams about what he's become."

She stopped as though the words she spoke were physically painful to say. Hating the look in her face as she told me, I almost told her to forget about it, but a part of me needed to know this. That part of me let her continue.

"He's always hurting me in the dreams. Saying and doing cruel things. I always think that I can stop him. Make him see that he doesn't want to be this thing. Bring him back to me. But it never works. He just hurts me more. The dreams end when I'm dead."

Elena took a deep shaking breath and tears rimmed her eyes.

"Elena—" I started.

She ignored me and continued, not wanting to break the pace she had set in telling her story.

"On the plane it was different, though. Stefan was hurting me, but you came to save me. You made him stop. But then he was angry and he turned on you." Elena choked out a quiet sob. "He killed you, Damon. He put a stake though your heart."

Elena stopped talking then, not being able to finish. I pulled her close to me and she collapsed into my arms.

"Shh," I whispered, hoping we weren't attracting the attention of the other passengers. "It's all right."

This is why she hadn't wanted to tell me about the dream on the plane. Two of her biggest fears had haunted her in her sleep. One that I had known about: Stefan and the monster he had become. The other one that surprised me even now: my well-being.

"It's not all right, Damon," she whispered, her tears growing silent and soaking through my shirt now. "What if he—? What if you—?"

"Nothing is going to happen to me, Elena," I promised.

I held Elena tightly then, running my fingers through her hair, trying to calm the fears that had surfaced. Kissing the top of her head gently, I knew that my promise

was not one hundred percent guaranteed because I knew would die before I let anything happen her.

A/N: Well I hope you liked it. Next chapter Damon and Elena will have finally reached their destination. I can't wait for you all to see what is in store for them! Please review. It makes my muse happy, and a happy muse means chapters go up faster : )