A/N: Okay, so this is my very first time trying my hand at writing fanfic. I edit books for a living, I don't write them, lol. However, I was really looking forward to seeing the Ripper Stefan storyline evolve, but for me, the whole thing fell kinda... flat. So, I wanted to give it a go myself, see if I can't make the poor guy a bit more interesting for us Delena fans, you know? Speaking of which, I am a DE fan, and I have been enjoying the way they have been developing recently, and I think my fic will probably follow along the same lines (although, I'll probably get them kissing a lot sooner!). I hope you enjoy it, and leave a review - I need them because I have no idea if I'm any good at this! :)

A/N 2: I've rated this story 'M', not for smut content (as I think I'd probably suck at that, lol) but for language. But who knows, maybe if I get into it, I'll give it a go!

Disclaimer: I don't own The Vampire Diaries. If I did, Damon would be naked like, all the time! ;)

Chapter One:

Elena stared at her phone. No messages. None at all. Where is Stefan? What is going on? She heard Damon stirring on his bed behind her.

"Did Katherine say what I think she said?" He groaned slightly as he shifted up onto one elbow. "I have to go get Stefan," he said, trying to move to the edge of the bed. A coughing attack stopped him.

Elena moved over back to his massive bed, and gently pushed him back down. "No, Damon, you can't go anywhere yet, you're not well enough." Settling down on the bed next to him, she held out the crystal bottle that Katherine had thrown to her. "You need to drink some more of this, get your strength back up." She shivered slightly at the thought of the contents of the bottle, not because it was blood, but because of whose blood it was. She held the vial up to Damon's lips. His hand came up as if to take the bottle from her, but in his weakened state all he could manage was to brush his fingers against her wrist. Her skin tingled where he touched her, and she had to swallow against the emotions that simple touch had brought. I can't believe I almost lost you, she thought to herself.

"I have to go, I have to get Stefan and Kill that son of a bitch Klaus!" Damon said, as another coughing fit attacked him.

"We will Damon, but not yet, you need to rest. We all need to rest, to regroup." Elena picked up the washcloth and wiped the sweat off his face, studying him as she did so. He was still deathly pale, but the colour in his cheeks was already starting to come back. His temperature was starting to come down as well, and his breathing was getting stronger.

"I have to get him! This was my fault. As usual." Damon protested.

Elena leant over him. "This is not your fault, Damon." She looked him deep in his eyes. "All of this, everything that's happened, it's all down to Klaus. No one else." She stroked the hair off his forehead. "Now get some rest. Tomorrow, we'll go to work."

Damon nodded slightly and closed his eyes, but his lids fluttered open again almost immediately. "Elena, please, will you stay?" His hand shot out to touch her arm. "I just... I need to know you're safe." He looked at her, eyes full of concern for her. Always for her.

Elena nodded, and snuggled down next to him again, resting her head on his shoulder and holding his hand against his chest. I'll just stay here until he goes to sleep, she thought. There was no way she was going to be able to sleep, her thoughts were racing. Oh Stefan, where are you?
However, the emotions from the last few days got the best of her, and she drifted into sleep, feeling safer than she had in a while.

Stefan looked down at the blonde girl he had just killed. He was feeling fuzzy. He knew he should feel something over the dead girl, regret, sorrow, guilt... But the things her blood did to him, all he could feel was exhilaration. He looked up at Klaus, feeling his human face return. "So, where are we going?" He asked, knowing he was not going to like the answer.

"Tell me my dear ripper," Klaus said, clapping his hand on Stefan's shoulder. "Have you ever been to Europe?"

Stefan looked back at him, his face blank with shock. Europe? Was he kidding? That would take him so far away from... something. Or someone? "No." He responded finally.

"Trust me my friend, you are going to love it." Klaus turned away and called to his compelled helpers, "Pack everything up. We leave before dawn."

Stefan remained standing where he was, looking down at the dead girl. He knew there was something he should be remembering, but the blood haze in his mind refused to let him see it. At least he knew that his brother was okay. There was something else he should be remembering, but before he could recall what it was, Klaus called to Stefan to come with him. Stefan took one last glance at the dead girl at his feet, then set off to follow Klaus, a small smile pulling at his lips. Time for some fun.

Jeremy stood in the middle of the kitchen, staring back and forth at the spots where Anna and Vicky had been standing just a few seconds before they vanished. He raised his hand to his face and pinched the bridge of his nose, closing his eyes and giving his head a little shake. Cautiously, he opened his eyes and looked around the kitchen warily. Nothing. Jeremy quietly padded through to the living room to check on Alaric. He was fine, fast asleep on the sofa. He wondered why he was sleeping there for a moment, before remembering with a sudden pain in his chest. Of course, he thought, Ric wouldn't want to sleep in Jenna's room, not now she's gone. Jeremy took a deep breath, put all the memories away, and walked softly back to the kitchen. He poured himself a glass of juice, his eyes constantly watching for his hallucinations to pop up again. He rolled his eyes slightly at himself, dying and coming back to life really drives you crazy. He turned back to the hallway. And noticed a woman with dark brown hair standing in the doorway, smiling at him.

"Hello, Jeremy."

Jeremy dropped his juice. "Mom?"

Elena stirred in the big bed as the sunlight slowly lit up the room. She knew she was in the boarding house without opening her eyes. There were never any sounds here; vampires always move so silently. At her house, there was always something going on, Jeremy singing tunelessly with his headphones on, the phone ringing, the radio playing, Jenna crashing around in the kitchen... The memories suddenly flooded back in and Elena remembered where she had actually fallen asleep the night before. Her eyes snapped open and she looked around her, uncertain of what she would find. The big bed next to her was empty. Damon had gone. Something a bit like fear darted through her and she sat up, searching for some kind of sign that showed she wasn't alone in the big house. After a moment she heard it; The sound of the shower turning off in the bathroom. "Damon?" She called out tentatively.

"I'm here," Damon replied, his voice soft. A moment later he padded into the bedroom, a towel slung around his waist.

Elena looked at him. He looked completely back to normal. His skin had regained its usual pale cream hue, and his cheeks had a pink tinge to them, a sign that he had recently fed. Her eyes roamed over his body, searching for a sign of the bite. Nothing.

Damon intercepted her look and cast his eyes down, a flush of embarrassment deepening the colour in his face. "Uh, yeah, sorry, I'll just grab some clothes," he said, misinterpreting her concerned gaze for one of mistrust.

"No, it's okay," Elena said, moving to the edge of the bed and standing up. "It's your bedroom. I need to go and get freshened up too." She walked towards the door, but stopped when Damon lightly laid his hand on her arm.

"Thank you," Damon said, his blue eyes looking into hers, bright with sincerity. "For last night... I mean-"

Elena rested her hand on top of his, curling her thumb beneath his palm and stroking it briefly. "I'm glad you're feeling better, Damon," she said, returning his gaze for what he thought might be a second too long. Then she turned and left the room.

Damon listened to the sounds she made as she worked her way up to Stefan's room. As he got dressed he thought about the events of the previous night. He couldn't remember much; everything was all tangled up and confused with his hallucinations from his time as a human. He did remember the way she had felt in his arms as they laid together in bed. He remembered how she had forgiven him and told him that she likes him, just the way he is. Nobody had ever said that to him before, not ever. And he remembered how she'd kissed him. He stopped for a moment, and ran his fingers over his lips, remembering how it had felt to have her lips pressed against his own, to actually be kissed by her. He smiled slightly, before shaking his head and laughing inwardly at himself. He was stupid to think about it; she'd only kissed him because he'd been dying, it didn't mean anything, not to her anyway. He finished getting dressed and left his room, going downstairs to make some coffee. He paused outside Stefan's room for a moment, listening to the shower running. Something shivered through him, but he turned it off and continued down to the kitchen.

Elena sat in the shower, completely oblivious to the beads of water hammering down on her. She sat there, thinking about all the things that she had lost, and all the things that she nearly lost. Oh, Stefan, I need you here, where are you? Katherine's words from last night came back to her. "He sacrificed everything to save his brother. Including you." A wave of hurt overcame her, but before she could give herself over to it, another emotion crept in. Relief. It was just like Stefan to be so selfless, it was just who he was. And if he hadn't, then Damon would have been dead by now. She didn't think she could have taken that. Not on top of everything else she had lost. Elena shook off her moment of self-pity and stood up and stepped out of the shower. All that matters now is getting Stefan back. She didn't look around the room as she got dressed, frightened that if she really took in all of his possessions that it would crack the fragile hold she had on her emotions. As she left the room however, she paused at his desk, trailing one finger lightly across his diary, laying there on the desk. I will find you Stefan, she promised silently, and then we can start that life together we want so much. She continued on out of the bedroom, following the tantalising smell of coffee, and ignoring the voice in her head that was whispering quietly, whispering about other things that she might want.

The doorbell chimed. Jeremy stopped pacing the hallway with a sigh of relief and pulled open the door. Bonnie stood there, a look of worry on her face.

"What's happened? What's wrong? Are you okay?" The words spilled out of Bonnie's mouth as she stepped forward to hug Jeremy. The return embrace he gave her was quick, perfunctory. "Is it... Damon?" she asked, unwillingly. She knew that Jeremy had some sort of loose friendship with the vampire, though why she couldn't even begin to imagine.

"What? Uh, no. No, Damon's fine." Jeremy moved away and walked into the living room. "Elena sent me a message last night. Apparently they found a cure just in time."

"Oh, well, that's good, I guess," Bonnie muttered as she shut the door behind her and followed her boyfriend. "Where's Alaric?" she asked, noticing the signs of a recently slept on sofa.

Jeremy, now pacing the length of the living room, replied, "Uh, he left a while ago, said he had some papers at school he needs to grade." He laughed, once. "More like there's a bottle of whisky at the Grill that he needs to drink."

"Okay, so what's going on, Jer?" Bonnie sat down on the sofa and grabbed Jeremy's hand as he paced by her again. "Sit down and tell me."

Jeremy sighed and sat down next to Bonnie. "I – I don't know how to explain it." He said, running his fingers through his hair haphazardly.

"Just start at the beginning, and we'll go from there." Bonnie took hold of his hands, attempting to calm him down.

"Okay. Okay," Jeremy took a deep breath, then slowly blew the air out through his lips. "You remember, last night, when I told you I felt weird, different?"

She nodded, and he continued to tell her the events of the previous night. When he finished, Bonnie just stared at him in shock. "You – you saw your Mom?" she managed finally.

"Bonnie, what's going on? What's happening to me? Is it because of that spell you did?" Jeremy got back up off the sofa and resumed his pacing. "I don't understand. I've come back from the dead before, nothing like this happened then. Is it real? Or – or am I just going crazy? Bonnie? Bonnie!"
Bonnie was just sitting there staring into space. She mumbled something under her breath.
"What? Bonnie, talk to me!" Jeremy put his hands on her shoulders, shaking her slightly.

Bonnie came out of her reverie. "Consequences," she said, looking back at Jeremy. "They said there'd be consequences! But I didn't think it would be anything like this!" She stood up suddenly and grabbed Jeremy's hand. "Come on." She started pulling him towards the door.

"Where are we going?"

"Back to see the witches. We have to find out what's going on, what's happening to you."

Liz sat on the sofa in her living room, staring blankly at the wall. She was trying to wrap her head around everything her daughter had told her, but images of last night kept invading her mind. Firing her gun at Damon... Shooting Jeremy by mistake instead... Caroline trying to feed him her blood... She'd had no idea that vampire blood could heal humans. Nothing like that had ever been mentioned by the secret council.

"Mom?" Caroline stared at Liz, worried that her mother had gone into shock or something. "Mom? Are you okay? Can I do something, I don't know, maybe, get you a glass of water or something..." Her voice trailed off as Liz slowly turned to look at her.

"a glass of water... w-would be nice, actually. Th-thanks," Liz replied shakily. Caroline smiled and rushed off, obviously glad to be doing something, anything, instead of just sitting there. She was still trying to understand. She had been so angry with herself, for trusting Damon Salvatore; for believing him to be a friend, maybe the only true friend she had. When Matt had told Liz everything that Caroline had told him, half of her had wanted to go and find Damon and stake him, over and over, while the other half was left reeling by the fact that her little girl, her baby, had been turned into the thing she hated most by her supposed friend! Liz continued to stare at the wall, trying to wrap her head around what her daughter had told her. Maybe Damon really was her friend. After all, if it hadn't been for him, Caroline would have died from that car crash. Of course, technically she had died, but it hadn't been Damon's fault. Maybe what Matt said was true, Caroline really is still in there, somewhere.

Caroline returned with a glass of water. "Here we are!" She placed the glass down on the table in front of her mother. "Um, Elena just sent me a message, she needs me to meet her, something to do with Stefan." Caroline looked at her Mom. "Will you be okay here, if I leave?" She bit her lip. Liz nodded. "I know-" Caroline sighed, then tried again. "I know you're still trying to figure things out. Just – will you promise to talk to me, before you do anything?"

Liz looked at her. Finally, she nodded. "Okay, I promise."

Caroline smiled at her. "I love you, Mom," she said, then walked towards the door, leaving Liz to her thoughts. As she closed the front door, she sensed someone close by, and she spun to face the porch, only to come nose to nose with Tyler."Oh, my God, do you have to sneak up on me like that?" She stepped away from him and walked towards her car.

"Sorry, I figured you'd heard me," Tyler followed her down the path. "You know, vampire hearing and all that?" They stopped at the car. "Where are you going?"

"Elena needs me. Stefan's in trouble." Caroline got into her car, then turned, surprised, as Tyler got into the passenger seat. "What are you doing?"

"Coming with you," Tyler said, doing up his seatbelt. She was still looking at him, so he went on, "Look, Damon saved my life. The least I can do is help his brother. I owe him that much."

"You owe him more than that, considering you bit him and he almost died," Caroline muttered.
Tyler looked down, then nodded. "I know."

"Damon's not just going to forgive you, you know that too right?"

Tyler stared straight ahead. "I can handle it."

Caroline looked at him a moment longer, then sighed. "Come on then, lets get it over with." She drove through Mystic Falls, neither one of them noticing Matt standing just inside the door of the Grill.

Jeremy watched Bonnie as she knelt down on the floor in the derelict house. He had spent a lot of time here recently. They both had. Bonnie was mumbling under her breath in a foreign language, rocking back and forth slightly as she did so. Suddenly, she gasped, and the candles surrounding her flamed brighter. "They're so angry with me! They won't help!"

Jeremy was barely listening to her. A t the same moment that she had gasped, he had felt a presence that hadn't been there before. Lifting his head slowly, he looked around the room. They were everywhere, women, men, all different ages, and all looking at him. "I can see them!" He whispered, looking at Bonnie. "I can see them all."

A young woman near the front came forward. "We cannot help you."

"Emily?" Bonnie whispered.

Emily looked down at Bonnie. "This is the consequences we warned you about. We cannot help you. There are no answers here. Please leave us." She faded, and the others behind her followed.

"Emily? Emily! Come back! Please!" Bonnie shouted, standing up and turning in a circle.

"They're gone, Bonnie." Jeremy put his hand on her shoulder, then heard his phone buzz. Looking at it, he said "Come on, we have to go. Elena needs us."

"Whisky? Or would you prefer coffee?" Damon asked Alaric, as he walked through the door.

"Yes to the first," Ric said, sitting down on the sofa in the cavernous Salvatore living room. "Glad to see you back on your feet."

"Yeah, about that," Damon handed him a glass, "Thanks. For not staking me. When I asked." Their eyes met, then Alaric nodded slowly. They clinked glasses and drank.

"Hey, Elena," Alaric said as she came into the room.

"Hey," she replied, then looked at Damon. They stared at each other for a moment, then Elena sat down and Damon turned towards the fire. "Thanks for coming."

"No problem. What's up?"

"Wait till everyone gets here, I'll explain then."

"I hear someone now," Damon said, turning to face the direction of the door. His face froze, then he sneered. "You have got to be kidding me!" He ran with vampire speed to the door and yanked it open. "What the hell are you doing here?" The sudden appearance of the vampire startled the young werewolf, and he tripped and fell backwards down the porch steps.

"Damon, wait, let me explain!" Caroline began, getting between Damon and Tyler.

"There is nothing to explain," Damon pulled Caroline out of the way and advanced on Tyler.

"He didn't mean it! He didn't know what he was doing!" Caroline struggled to get a grip on the older vampire, but Damon kept advancing on Tyler, sprawled on the floor.

"I warned you! I told you not to make me regret saving you!"

"Damon! No!" Elena swung out onto the porch, pushing herself in front of him. "Damon, we don't have time for this!" She pressed her hand against his chest, making him look at her. "Stefan doesn't have time for this."

Damon looked at her, struggling to get control over his impulses. Looking into her deep brown eyes helped calm him, the strength of will he saw there strengthening his own. Finally, he nodded. "We are not done with this, pup." He stared down at Tyler one last time, before striding back into the house, Elena following him.

Caroline knelt down by Tyler. "You can handle it, huh? You okay?"

Tyler hauled himself into a sitting position. "I'm fine." He stood up and took Caroline's hand. "Let's go in."

Bonnie pulled her car into the driveway of the old boarding house. "Looks like Damon's back to his usual charming self," she said in disgust, as she watched the scene unfolding on the porch.

Jeremy turned to face her. "Bonnie, I don't want Elena to know what's going on. With me, I mean."

Bonnie looked at him in dismay. "Jer, she's my best friend! I can't keep something like this from her!"

"Yeah and she's my sister. She's been through enough, without her having to worry about me too." He took her hand, "Please Bonnie, at least until we know what's really going on."

"Okay," Bonnie agreed, leaning forward to kiss him briefly. They got out of the car and walked into the boarding house. Everyone was there, Tyler standing with his arms crossed, as far from Damon as he could get, which was pretty far in this room. "I see you didn't die then," Bonnie tossed out to the vampire.

"And I'm sure you're just happy as a clam about that, aren't you?"

"Damon!" Elena cut across him, a warning tone in her voice, before addressing the group. "Thanks for coming, everyone."

Bonnie sat down on the couch, Jeremy joining her. "You said Stefan was in trouble?"

"Whatever we can do to help," Caroline put in from her place next to Tyler. Tyler nodded, shooting a quick glance at Damon.

"Exactly what kind of trouble is Stefan in?" Alaric asked, helping himself to more whisky, topping up Damon's glass as he did so.

Elena took a deep breath. "He gave himself over to Klaus." The reactions in the room were immediate.



"Why the hell would he do that?"

"Because of me," Damon said, as all eyes turned to him. He stared across at Elena, before facing the rest of the room. "He did it to save me."

Stefan stood in the empty hangar, watching as the compelled flight attendants packed all of Klaus's luggage into the small but top class plane. He turned as Klaus himself walked in, blood smeared across his lower lip, eyes still glowing golden.

"Have yourself a snack, before we board," Klaus called to Stefan.
"No, thank you."

Klaus glared at Stefan, all jovial pretence gone. "I said, have a snack," he repeated, his voice dangerously low.

Stefan nodded, then turned to the owners of the plane, crouched in the corner of the hangar. They became even more terrified as he approached them, the woman crying, the man holding his wife and closing his eyes. Stefan grabbed the woman, picking her up and holding her close. Without hesitation he bit down on her neck, groaning as her warm blood coated his tongue. The woman's husband cried out in anguish and tried to pull Stefan away from his wife. Without stopping, without even looking up, Stefan grabbed the man by his neck and snapped it, and the man slumped to the floor. The woman now drained, Stefan tossed her body on top of the other, and turned back to Klaus.

"That's better," Klaus said, his happy facade back in place. "Didn't want you getting hungry on the flight, we need the pilot to be able to land." He walked towards the plane.

Stefan followed. "What about Katherine? I thought you wanted me to help find her." He climbed up the steps.

Klaus stopped and turned to look at him. "Actually, just having you here with me is helping," he flicked a look over Stefan's shoulder. "I have a feeling she'll eventually come to us." He disappeared inside the cabin.

Stefan stopped at the top of the stairs and looked out over the runway. In the distance he could make out a girl with long dark brown curls, gazing steadily at him. Katherine, he thought. But, for a moment, she reminded him of someone else. He turned away, entering the plane, the door shutting behind him.

Katherine watched as the plane took off. She already knew where they were going. She watched until she could no longer see it, which was far longer than any human. "I love you, Stefan," she whispered, echoing her words from all those years ago. "I will find you again." She turned and walked away slowly, but with purpose. Time for a new plan.