It was such a bright and sunny day in Mystic Falls. It looked like one of those pictures from children books. Like someone painted it and glued it to the sky.
Elena was sitting on Stefan's bed with opened diary in her lap. She was looking in the blank page, while holding blue pen in her right hand. She had so much to write about, but she had a feeling, if she ever started to write, she wouldn't be able to stop. She felt like her life is one of those movies with no end. Just as one part finishes, bum, there's another part in the cinema already. She wanted to write about how much she misses Jenna. And she wanted to write about how strange Jeremy is acting. She even wanted to write about Caroline and her every day drama with Tyler. Everything that was happening with her friends was on the top of her mind. But mostly, she wanted to write about Stefan. How much she misses his presence. And his kisses. She misses the way he was holding her, and the smell he left on her pillow every morning she woke up. That smell made her feel secure, because she could feel he's with her. That smell faded away, since Stefan's head haven't rested on her pillow for a long time now. She missed his kisses, and the way he patted her cheek. She wanted to pull her fingers trough his hair. She wanted a lot of things when it comes to Stefan. But mostly, she wanted to share with someone how she feels. She couldn't share it with Bonnie because she was worried about Jeremy, and she couldn't share it with Caroline because she was worried about Tyler. Talking with Alaric about Stefan was weird, and Jenna is gone. She couldn't talk to Damon because.. well, she can't talk to Damon about what she's feeling for Stefan. So, she decided to share it with her diary. Her faithful companion who always listened when she had something important to say. But once she opened it, she realized there is no way to express the way she's feeling. There were no words. She could feel how much she misses Stefan, but she couldn't say it. Of course, she could say „I miss Stefan", but those words weren't hard enough to truly say how she's feeling.
„The sun is very bright today" – she heard a rough voice behind her.
„Not bright enough" – she lifted her head to look at the window. Then she closed her diary and looked back at the man who was standing at the door. Damon. She would recognize his voice anywhere. These days he was cold and distant, and Elena knew way. He also missed Stefan, no matter how much he was trying to deny it. Damon looked at her with his piercing eyes, and the next second he was sitting on the bed, right next to her.
„Are you all right?" – he asked her, and he sounded really concerned. At first, she was confused, why wouldn't she be all right? Of course, she's not great, but she's been like this for 2 months now. Then he pointed at her cheek. She touched it, and all of a sudden, her finger was wet. There was a tear on it. She didn't even realized she began to cry. She did it so often in this past 2 months, that crying became a normal thing to her, like breathing.
„I'm fine" – she replied.
„I talked to Sheriff Forbes" – Damon said taking his eyes of her. „Young girls are disappearing all over Tennessee. We know Klaus and Stefan are there, or at least they were there when we last checked. The thing is, all the girls who disappeared are living really close to each other. I guess they're marking their territory" – he was pulling strings of Stefan's guitar. He stopped when he saw Elena staring at his fingers, like a cat. She didn't like when someone was touching Stefan's stuff. Damon thought that's because she wants everything to be in place once Stefan returns home.
„Would they be that stupid to kill on the same location? Someone is going to see something's wrong.." – Elena got up from the bed and started walking towards Damon.
„They're not stupid. They're just not afraid. And no one is going to suspect anything. I told you, the girls disappeared. No one found their bodies. As far as people there know, they might still be alive. With us, it's a different story" – Damon flinched when Elena was so close to him the he could feel the coldness of her skin.
„So, when are we going?" – she asked seriously.
„You are not going anywhere. Me and Alaric are going to check out the scene today.."
„What?" – Elena screamed before he had a chance to finish the sentence.
„What if you find Stefan there? What are you going to do then? I could.."
„You could what?" – now Damon interrupted her.
Elena looked towards Stefan's dresser. There was a picture of him and Elena. She remembers the day when it was taken. Bonnie took it, right after lunch. Stefan was hurrying to his football practice, but then Bonnie screamed, „Wait! I want a picture with you and Elena!". Stefan immediately stopped. He would always do that when he heard Elena's name. He would just stop, like time froze. They were smiling in the picture. It seems like that picture was taken few centuries ago.
„I could bring him home" – Elena replied with a sweet and silent voice. Then she moved her eyes from the picture, to Damon. He was looking at her, right in the eyes.
„Or you could get yourself killed" – Damon replied with a cold voice.
„Stefan would never hurt me."
„You don't know that. You don't know what he's like when he's like this. That person out there.. that's not Stefan. At least not Stefan you know. He probably wouldn't even recognize you, or at least he would convince himself it's not you. And before you know it, he would look in that beautiful face of yours.." – Damon touched her cheek with his fingers. Elena blushed, then looked away from him. Damon stoped touching her cheek. „..and he would rip it right of your body."
Elena was furious. How could Damon say those things to her? How could he even think about them? Stefan would never hurt Elena. He loves her.
„You're wrong" – Elena's voice was getting higher and higher. „Stefan is still there. I can feel him. He's afraid, but he's fighting. He would never stop fighting, because he knows I'm waiting here for him" – Elena took few steps backwards.
Damon's face was full of anger now. And he was hurt. And he didn't understand why is she still hoping, and why is she still searching. How can this little creature, that looks so scared and so vulnerable, be so fearless and strong? The only thing he knew is that he has to protect her. He has to keep her safe. With her gone, searching for his brother would be like suicide. Stefan would probably rip his head of if something happens to Elena. He would kill Damon because he didn't protect her. „I leave you with one simple task, to keep her safe. And you failed to do it" – he could hear his brothers raging voice in his head. He actually believed Stefan is gone for good. He believed blood has taken over him, and that on Stefan's face is now face of a monster. But he also knew, if Stefan ever found out that something has happened to Elena, that little spark that's always burning in a vampire if he ever decides to take a different path again, would explode. One part of Damon hated Stefan. He hated him for leaving. And he left him to protect Elena. Damon loved Elena, he was sure of that. But she could never be his. Although, he often felt sparks between them. Little, tiny sparks coming from her body. But her heart, her heart belonged to Stefan, and it's probably always going to be that way. His brother made a hero out of him, but Damon was no hero. He couldn't be. That's not his nature. Stefan is a hero, he's the one who always selflessly protects others, even if that means risking his own life. But even with feeling like that, Damon knew he has to protect Elena.
He looked at her face, and tears were dropping down her cheek again. He didn't even knew was she aware of it or not, but he had a strong urge to take her in his arms. But he knew that's not the smart thing to do. She would probably push him away.
„I'm sorry Elena, but I can't risk it."
Elena turned her back to him.
„Then go. And if you find him, be sure to bring him back home."
Damon nodded, and in the speed of light, he was out of the room.
Elena colapsed on Stefan's bed. She couldn't deny she cares for Damon. Because she does, she cares about him. And she doesn't want anything bad to happen to him. God, she doesn't want anything bad to happen to anyone anymore. She has lost so many people already. But she knew she wants Stefan home. But she was afraid, what was the price for bringing him back home? She can't play with people's lives like that, but she can't find Stefan all by herself. She was just a weak human being. The dark would eat her alive as soon as she would step into it. And sometimes, she hated herself for it. She knew she doesn't want to be a vampire. She liked being a human. She liked everything about it. But if she was a little bit more than that.. Stefan would probably already be home.
She was mad at Damon because he would never bring her with him and Alaric when they had a lead on Stefan. But that was normal. Since.. since he loves her. Elena knew that he loves her. And she felt terribly sorry for that. Yes, there were sparks between them, but that's all. She could never give him her heart. Well, she didn't even have her heart.. her heart is with Stefan. She felt a deep respect towards Damon, and in a way, she loved him. Like she loved Bonnie, and Caroline, and Matt. But she could never be his lover.
„I can't cry. I can't cry. I have to stay strong" – she said to herself. She knew that's the only way to bring Stefan come. She can't break down. Because if she loses it, Stefan is lost forever.
Now, she has to get ready for school. Bonnie will pick her up soon. She still has time, she thought. So she did something she does every chance she gets. She closed her eyes, and she tried to turn of everything that was going on around her. All the small noises, like wind that was knocing on the window, or birds who were singing on the trees behind the house.
„Elena" – she heard a voice in her head. But she didn't see anything.
„Stefan.." – she recognized the voice.
„Elena" – the voice repeated.
„Hush love, you don't have to say anything. I just wanted to hear you say my name, so I can live trough another day without your fingers in my hair, or lips on my skin. Do you remember.. do you remember how you made my skin burn? That was a good feeling. I never felt more alive. Sometimes, when I remember the first time we made love, I can feel my skin burning. And I can hear you whispering how you'll never let me go, now when I'm yours. I can also remember how our minds connected every time we slept together, and how you tried to pour your happiness in my heart. Sometimes, when I imagine us kissing, I can feel your lips on mine. Do you ever think about me Stefan?"
„All the time" – she heard a crying voice.
„Don't cry Stefan. Don't. You have to be strong, do you hear me? You can fight this. I know you're doing all of these to protect me, to protect Damon, to protect everyone. But Stefan, who will protect you?"
„I don't need protection."
„Of course you do, silly." – she replied with a half smile on her lips.
„From who?" – he asked like a curious boy.
„From you. I can feel you slipping Stefan. I know blood is getting the best of you. I'm never going to admit that to Damon, but sometimes I can feel you out there. I can tell you're lost. You're losing one part of yourself. But not the most important one."
„And that is?" – he asked curiously.
„Oh no, my angel. I keep your heart well hidden, where he can't find it. Klaus would take your heart away from me in a heart beat. I can't let that happen. Because you know, I plan on returning it to you one day. Where it belongs."
„Will you come back home, soon?"
„I can't make any promises Elena. But I'll try. For you."
She still couldn't see his face, but the sound of his voice was enough for her.
„Thank you. I have to go now. I think I hear Bonnie pulling over in front of the house, and I'm not even ready."
„I think you look just perfect."
„You can see me?" – she asked full of hope.
„No, but you're Elena Gilbert. You always look perfect."
„I love you Stefan."
„I love you too Elena, you know that."
And just like that, he was gone. She opened her eyes, and looked herself in the mirror. Her hair was normal, a little too flat, and her clothes were simple. Jeans, sneakers and ordinary blue shirt. But Stefan told her she looks perfect, and she believed him.
Her phone ranged. She knew it's Bonnie, calling her to let her know she's here. Bonnie rarely enters the house, especially Stefan's room. She didn't know why, but Bonnie probably had a pretty good reason. She answered the phone.
„I'll be down there in a minute" – she replied, and hanged up.
She grabbed her bag from the floor, and once more looked at the picture of her and Stefan on the dresser. This time, she smiled. Maybe it wasn't so long ago. It feels like just yesterday he was holding her in his arms.