Someone was standing next to her bed, tugging and prodding the sensitive flesh of her inner arm. She forced her eyes open, the tension instantly seeping out of her body. "Damon," she whispered in relief. His arms easily lifted her from the hospital bed, her head coming to rest on his shoulder. "I was so afraid you weren't coming back." She wouldn't have blamed him for not coming back to her, the things they had said to each other had been pretty bad. Damon was the constant in her life, he would always chose her, always be looking out for her and not anyone else.

He pressed a kiss to her hair, pulling her closer to him. "Sorry it took me so long," he whispered sadly.

"Klaus… needs my blood," she whimpered. "He… he broke Stefan." She had seen the switch. She had seen when the last of Stefan's humanity had been taken away. She had never seen such coldness, such murder.

"We'll fix him," Damon said quickly getting her to the boarding house.

She shook her head a little. "We can't," she said softly. "He's really gone this time." And she wasn't sure she wanted to help him. She just wanted him to stay away from her for now. She would never be able to forget what he had done to her. She would always be afraid.

Damon gently set her on her feet and locked the door behind them. "So 'rescue Stefan' mission is over?" he asked raising an eye brow.

She was so tired she didn't want to deal with any sexual advances from Damon. He wanted her to give up on Stefan, so he could focus on her, but what he didn't know, was she was craving for his attention. She wanted to feel loved and cherished, and not in constant fear. "Don't act like you're upset about that," she said heading toward the stairs, keeping her emotional front up, to try to keep Damon at arms length. "We both know you're gloating."

"And what would I be gloating over?" Damon growled taking an angry step toward her. "Because I'm risking my life day and day out so that I can be 2nd best to Stefan? To win you by default?"

Tears stung her eyes. "Then where were you?" she demanded. "If you were still trying to help Stefan then why did you leave me?"

"Do you hear yourself Elena?" Damon flared. "I needed five minutes away from you before I slaughtered half of Mystic Falls. Is that what you want to hear? You're so focused on pretending that that I'm going to be some substitute for you while your boyfriend flies off the rails, you can't see everything else that is going on around you. You can't see what you're doing to everyone else, especially me."

Elena's eyes closed as she leaned against the wall. Her legs trembled a little as she slowly lowered herself to a stair. "You're right," she whispered, folding her arms over her middle, as if that could stop the turmoil.

Damon sighed and came to sit on the stair below her. "I don't want to fight with you Elena," he said. "I shouldn't have left."

She lifted her eyes to his. "I don't want you to be Stefan," she said, shaking her head. "I just… want to help him. It's the right thing to do. We can figure out the rest after. I just… need you here with me." Damon made her want to fight, he made her get up everyday and face the harshness of the world that had ripped so many things away from her. But despite all the pain and suffering, she was safe with Damon. She felt at home with him.

One of his hands reached out to grip hers. "I will never leave you again," he said. "I promise."

She smiled a little, her fingers tangling with his. "So did you find anything while you were gone?" she asked.

"I did," he said smiling as he kissed her knuckles. "But for now, lets just get you to bed." He helped her stand before the hairs stood up on both their arms.

"I can't believe I never noticed before how cute you two looked together," Stefan said from the doorway, with Rebecca draped over him. "It's really such a shame to have wasted so much time."

"What are you doing here?" Damon asked, pulling Elena behind him as his body tensed for a fight.

"We're baby sitting the doppelganger," Rebecca said with a smirk. "It's going to be so much fun."

"Like hell you are," Damon growled.

Elena gripped his arm and tugged gently. "Let's just go," she said. Her stomach churned seeing Rebecca sink her fangs into Stefan's neck and she moved a little closer to Damon. The fact that she didn't feel jealous surprised her a little, making her realize how much of Stefan she really had moved on from. Suddenly he wrapped his arms around her and they were gone. Her eyes were clenched shut as she found herself cradled against him, once again removing her from danger. When she felt the air settle around her, she peeked her eyes open, seeing them in her room. "Wow."

"At least your own bed might help you sleep a little bit better," he said moving away from her.

"We should talk," she said rubbing her arms. She wanted to say something more, something to comfort him to solidify what was happening between them but she just didn't know. It was absolutely terrifying to think of herself in love with Damon, but she could no longer deny that it would never happen. Everyday they spent together, no matter what happened, at the end of the day it was still the two of them. No secrets, no expectations. They were just together.

"I think we talked enough for one night," he said with a shrug. "You need me here and I promised you I would be. I can wait while you sort your head out."

She felt horrible asking him to wait even longer for her, but she had no choice. She needed some time to work through her feelings. "So you're… going to keep watch all night?" she asked with a raised eye brow. "Don't vampires need some sleep?"

"I'm fine," Damon said smiling a little, running his hand over her hair. "You should worry more about you and less about me."

"Don't think I even know how to not worry about someone else," she said in mild amusement. Elena nearly sagged into his touch, every muscle in her body craving his. "Come on," she said tugging him gently to her bed. She toed off her sneakers before sliding on her side, lifting the corner for Damon to join her. He almost hesitated but once he was next to her she snuggled up against him, pillowing her head on his chest. "I don't think I'll be sleeping."

"Do you want to talk about what happened?" Damon asked, running his hand up and down her spine, as his phone vibrated in his pocket. He cursed softly as he fished it out. "Hi Caroline," he said, then immediately pulled the phone away as her shrill voice screamed through the phone about abandoning Elena.

Elena sighed and took the phone from him, kissing his jaw despite the guilty expression on his face. "Relax Caroline," she said, calming her friend. "Damon picked me up from the hospital and he's staying with me. I promise I'm fine." She said good bye the worried vampire and shut his phone off. "No more interruptions."

Damon chuckled. "Funny how everyone calls me when they can't find you," he said in slight amusement. "Even if they claim to hate me."

"Well you could be nicer to everyone," she said tilting her head back. There would always be tension between Damon and her friends, and the last thing she wanted was to be split between them.

"I'm guessing if I want to be with you I have to make with the nice," he said with a grimace. "I might have to find my big boy pants."

"Do you even own those?" she asked.

"I could use some motivation to dig them up," he said, his eyes sparkling with happiness.

"How about…. Dinner," Elena suggested. "Going out, or staying in. I wouldn't make you have a huge group outing with my friends, I just… want it to be as pleasant as possible when they are around us."

"Sounds like a date," he said thoughtfully.

"What if it is?" she asked shyly.

"I'm going to be kissing you if it is," he said softly, as his hand cradled her cheek. "And I'm sure I'll have my big boy pants on."

"I'm okay with that," she whispered, snuggling back down into his chest as a yawn escaped her lips.

Damon kissed her hair hugging her tightly. "Good night sweetheart," he said, smiling as her breathing evened out quickly. He relaxed significantly against the mattress, his own relief beginning to consume him. She could have died, or Klaus could have done god knows what to her, and he hadn't been here. She needed him and he was gone and he could never let that happen again. He whispered in her ear how much he loved her before burrowing his nose in her hair, allowing himself some much needed sleep.