Author's Note: Hello everyone! It's been quite a while since I've updated, far too long for my liking and I just wanted to give a big thank you to everyone so far who has reviewed, favorited, followed and supported me throughout this story. It truly means the world to me, and although I don't update as often as I'd like, I don't intend on giving up on this story without giving you guys, and the characters, the ending that you all deserve. Thank you for everything, and here's an update!

Have I found you?
Flightless bird, grounded, bleeding
Or lost you?

Hey, it's Elena! Leave a message! Bye!"

Damon let his hand fall to his sides, reluctantly hitting the end button on the call that Elena didn't pick up—again. He'd left her over a two dozen messages since she left the house over four hours ago, but she hasn't bothered to return any one of them. Damon granted himself one hour of endless pacing before he called in reinforcements, asking if any of them had seen Elena.

Damon hoped that maybe Elena just needed a break and that maybe she headed over to Bonnie or Caroline's, but it quickly became apparent that no one had seen or heard from her all day and it wasn't long before literally everyone Elena loved was at the Boarding House, anxious and waiting.

"She's seven months pregnant for God sakes and you just let her go off on her own? What the hell is wrong with you?" Bonnie snapped angrily, fury in her dark brown eyes.

Damon really was trying to stay calm, but with every minute that passed by without hearing from Elena or having her home safe and sound, was another minute that he was losing his grip on his control.

His mind kept taking him over every possible scenario, each one worse than the last. Images of cars going over bridges and stakes plunging through the soft flesh of her stomach, blood pouring out of wounds too big for her fragile human body...

"How could you let this happen?" Bonnie repeated darkly.

"I didn't let this happen," Damon snapped. "You know as well as I do that no one lets Elena do anything."

Elena was stubborn as a goat; her determination and hardheadedness stronger than a lot of things he'd seen in his long life. It was a quality that he both loved and hated about her and equal measure. If his wife was going toe to toe with him in an argument, her stubbornness was sexy as hell but if it was putting her in danger then he found it infuriating beyond belief.

But right now, he wasn't angry with Elena—actually, that was a lie. He was infuriated with his wife, and when she got home he wasn't sure whether he'd kiss the hell out of her and cry with relief at her safety or yell at her for making him worry so damn much. Most of all, he was angry with himself.

He wished he kept his mouth shut; if he didn't say anything, Elena would be at home right now, safe and sound but ever since Sabrina showed up at Bonnie's baby shower, Damon and Elena had this whole 'honesty is the best policy' thing going on, and he suddenly resented the fact that his wife knew him so damn well and was able to pick up on the fact that something was off because if she didn't then he might have been able to delay dropping the bomb about their bleak future on her.

Of course, if he didn't tell her when he did, Elena would be furious with him and yell at him sooner or later by 'lying by omission', but at least she'd be safe and he'd deal with it—he always did, but if something was wrong and she was in danger or worse, that was something he wouldn't and couldn't deal with no matter how many lifetimes he lived.

Tired of pacing, he made his way over to the drink cart behind the couch and poured himself two fingers of bourbon, throwing it back and relishing in the way the liquid burned his throat.

"Yeah, that's good, why don't you just get drunk? It's not like Elena's nowhere to be found or anything—"

Damon knew from the very beginning that by marrying Elena, hell, just by getting involved with Elena, he would somehow, one way or another, be forever tied to her beloved friends and family that she held so dear to her heart. There was no way that he could be with her and not be thrown into this messed up Brady Bunch, Scooby Gang thing they had going on—and most of the time, it wasn't so bad.

Alaric was the only parental figure that Jeremy and Elena had, and he did a damn good job in guiding them when they needed it and being the father they didn't have anymore. He was also Damon's best friend, probably the only one in the entire group that was equally loyal to Damon and Elena.

Then there was Little Gilbert; and although Damon snapped Jeremy's neck once upon a time, the two of them were on good terms—great terms, actually, much to Elena's delight. Other than Alaric, Damon was the only other male figure that's been consistent in his young life. At first, Damon thought it was weird when Jeremy started to confide in him about his personal life but "that's what brothers do" Jeremy said and that was that.

Caroline was in a league all of her own. She was annoying, bossy and controlling but for the most part Damon could handle her control-freak tendencies and neurotic personality and somewhere along the way, he had actually considered her a close friend. She was a pain in the ass almost one-hundred percent of the time, but she never failed to have Elena's back or make her smile when she needed it, and that put Caroline on Damon's good side.

Bonnie was another story. Other than the little bit of admiration he felt for her for the way she loved and supported his wife, he disliked her almost as much as she hated him. Damon could hang the moon for Elena and he still wouldn't get her stamp of approval.

Jeremy shook his head, warning her quietly, "Ease up, Bonnie."

Jeremy's soothing albeit warning voice reminded Damon of his wife. He could be in the worst mood and open his mouth to say the worst of things, but then his name would fall from her lips like a gentle caress and that alone would rein him in long enough to calm down.

Damon watched as Bonnie somewhat relaxed. Apparently Bonnie wasn't resilient to the Gilbert charm anymore than he was.

"I think we should go and get some air," Jeremy murmured softly, gently ushering Bonnie out the door.

Before she allowed herself to be led out of the house, she turned to Damon and said, "Everything bad that has ever happened to Elena is because of you. I know I said that I'd support her and I do. But I can't help but think that you are the worst thing that could have ever happened to her."

And with that, Bonnie allowed herself to be led out by her fiancé.

Caroline chose that moment to enter the living room, her eyes sad as she watched one of her best friends break down before her eyes. They'd all been through so much together in the time that they've been in each other's lives, and it would be nice if everything could just stop, even if only for a moment.

Surprisingly, she granted Damon a few minutes of peace and quiet before walking up to him and gently laying her hand on his shoulder, her voice unbelievably soft as she spoke. "She didn't mean any of those things that she said. She's going through a hard time right now, we all are. But you should know, she didn't mean it."

"It sure as hell sounded like she meant it," he argued, whirling around to face her. "Look, Bennett can kiss my ass and go straight to hell for all I care, but instead of patronizing me about what a terrible husband I am, the least she could do is shut her yap and make herself useful by I don't know, helping me find Elena?"

"You're not."

"I'm not what, Blondie?" Damon sighed, tiredly.

"You said that you were a terrible husband, and you're not. You're a lot of things, Damon, a lot of things but a terrible husband? No way. And Elena? She's the strongest person I know. She's scared out of her mind right now, but she'll get through this, just like she always does. It's gonna take a hell of a lot more than a threat from Satan himself to take our girl down."

Damon was by no means a fan of pep talks. Even when Elena gave them, he was resistant. But Caroline's voice was soft and gentle, her words real and true and he couldn't help but offer her a small smile in return for her kind words.

"Why are you so nice to me? After everything I've done, why would you even give me the time of day?"

Caroline cracked a smile of her own. "Well, at the risk of making things incredibly awkward, you're my friend. Look, you did what you did and it's done. But Elena is my very best friend, and she picked you. She chose to spend her life with you. I'm not saying that you get a free pass for all of the mistakes that you've made but, it is what it is. You're sorry and I think that's all anyone can ever be."

Damon offered her a small smile. "Thank you, Caroline. That means a lot," he replied quietly, thankful.

A few moments of silence passed before Caroline's beaming albeit sometimes annoyingly happy smile was back in place as she playfully nudged him in the side. "You know what just happened, don't you? We just had a moment."

For the first time since Elena's been gone, it felt like a little bit of weight had been taken off of his shoulders. His lips pulled into the tiniest smirk as he rolled his eyes warmly. "Yeah, well the moment's gone now, Blondie."

Caroline opened her mouth; probably to scold him but both their thoughts were interrupted by the sound of Damon's phone ringing.

His hand flew to where it sat on the table and he looked at the screen, relief nearly knocking him over as it coursed through him relentlessly when he answered. "Elena," he breathed out, "Elena, I'm so sorry. I should have never sprung that on you like that. Fuck, I've been so worried about you. Where are you? Tell me where you are, and I'll come get you."

But it wasn't Elena's voice that responded—it was Sheriff Forbes replying sadly, "Damon, its Liz. There's been an accident."

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