AN: I do not own the Vampire Diaries; all rights belong to the CW, Julie Plec, Kevin Williamson, and L.J. Smith, I only own what you don't recognize.

Full Summary: Bulgaria 1492 Katrina and Elizabeth Petrova; identical twins, except for one difference; their eyes. While Katrina had warm brown eyes, Elizabeth had eyes the color of shocking lapis lazul. When Katrina had a child out of wedlock, her family banished her to Europe; not wanting her twin to be alone Elizabeth followed her. Once in England the two easily became English and one of the Lords that resigned there took surprising interest in Katrina's looks and Elizabeth's powers. Modern day; Elena and Aileen Joelle aka A.J. Gilbert exact copies of Katrina and Elizabeth. After the deaths of their parents A.J. fled to a preforming arts school in Boston and Elena stayed home with what remained of her family.

The Secrets of the Girl

Chapter Forty-Three


3rd POV

The fire crackled in Niklaus's fireplace as he worked on his latest painting, his expression relaxed as he brought his thoughts to life. Rebekah entered the room with a somber expression. "What took you so long?" Klaus asked his sister without facing her.

"Alaric didn't want to hand over the stake." She answered holding it up for him to see, "Luckily I'm quite the charmer."

Niklaus smirked, turning around to look at it, "That's it?" He asked.

"The last of the white oak stakes that can kill us." Rebekah assured him matter-of-factly, "Do you want to do the honors or shall I?"

Niklaus set down his paint brush and quickly threw the stake into the fire, smiling at his sister as the fire consumed it.

Rebekah smirked up at him, "Well that's that then." She said turning away.

Niklaus had turned back to his painting but his next words stopped Rebekah in her tracks, "Pack your bags. We're leaving." He informed her.

"Today?" She asked keeping her back to him as to hide her unpleased expression.

"Why not? There's nothing keeping us here. We'll grab the doppelgangers and be off by sunset." Klaus said as he finished the details of his painting.

"But tonight's the decade dance." Rebekah informed him, turning around with a wounded expression.

"So?" Klaus asked, concentrating more on his painting than on his sister.

Rebekah frowned, "I'm head of the committee, so we have to go."

The hybrid turned to glare at her, "I'm not going to any dance."

The youngest Original raised her eyebrows in a challenge, "Aileen will be there." She informed him.

Niklaus sighed, "Not after I grab her and her sister today." He stated with a pointed glare.

Rebekah looked up at him from underneath her eyelashes, "Please? I have big plans for tonight. Just go for me?" She begged.

The hybrid walked forward, eyebrows furrowed as he examined his sister for a moment before finally giving in, "Okay fine." Klaus sighed, "One last hurrah."

Rebekah smiled, "One last hurrah, Nik." She agreed, grinning as she knew that she was the only one who knew the double meaning to her words.

I was practically running down the stairs as I pulled my curly hair out of the collar of my leather jacket. My phone had been buzzing off the hook ever since I woke up and realized that I was late to help Caroline. Elena and Jeremy hadn't woken me up for whatever reason and had instead left me to the wrath of my best friend. I shoved my feet into my combat boots and looked down to make sure that I had put my purple flowy shirt on correctly and finally answered Caroline's calls as I headed outside to my car. Why the decade dance had to be today was beyond me. As soon as I picked up Caroline was hissing at me, "Aileen you promised you'd be here two hours ago!"

I groaned as I began the short drive, "I know, I know, and I'm sorry! The twin decided not to wake me up before leaving with Jeremy this morning so you should really be blaming her." I said, hopeful that she would take the bait and go after Elena instead of me.

Caroline sighed, "I guess its fine, as long as you tell me what the hell is wrong with her. Every time I try to get out of her what happened on the trip with you and Damon she just clams up and gets all weird." She said quietly to avoid my twin from hearing her.

I rolled my eyes as I pulled into the high school parking lot, "Your guess is as good as mine, honestly. Elena's been weird around me and Damon for at least a couple of weeks now." I told her while hiding my suspicions, "Anyway I'm here now! I'll be inside in a bit."

I canceled the call and took a deep breath before getting out of my car and starting the walk to the gym. I kept my hands in my jacket pockets, smiling politely at my classmates as I passed them. Spotting Caroline and Elena at one of the tables I headed over to them, "So who are you bringing to the dance?" I heard Caroline ask my sister as she sorted through napkins.

I chose to butt in at Elena's confused expression, "Bonnie is leaving our quartet of girl dates for Jamie." I said wiggling my eyebrows at the two.

Caroline and Elena giggled as I grinned sensuously at them, "So I have a thought," Caroline began suddenly, making me let out a low groan and cover my face, "Why don't you two bring Stefan and Damon?"

I groaned even louder as Elena looked slightly panicked, "I can't ask him on a date." She said

"Why not?" Caroline asked, surprise etched into her face.

Elena's panicked look grew and I sighed, standing up straight, "She doesn't want to ask Stefan on a date while she has feelings for Damon." I explained looking over at my sister without anger.

My twin scrambled for something to say while Caroline looked at the both of us shocked. I raised a hand to stop my sister from saying anything, "You don't have to explain, 'Lena. I'm actually- I'm actually not mad for some reason which is kind of confusing for me." I cleared my throat, "If you'll excuse me, I have a friend to ask on a date."

I strode away from the two, and attempted to block out Caroline's angry whispers as I headed over to where Jeremy and Matt were. "Hey, sleepy head, nice for you to finally join us." Jeremy teased me with a grin.

I smirked, "Watch yourself, bro, I'm not the one on a very tall ladder." I teased him, giving the ladder a slight shake.

Matt laughed and I turned to him, "Do you have a date for the dance?" I asked him, crossing my arms.

My friend grinned, "A.J. when was the last time that I had a date?" He asked climbing down from the ladder.

I smirked, "True. So would you pretty please be my date to the dance and save me from Caroline's impending wrath?" I asked biting my lip and batting my eyelashes at him.

I watched Matt laugh, "Well I'm thrilled to be your first choice, A." He said sarcastically causing me to shove him gently, "Of course I'll be your date, but I've got to be here earlier than everyone else to help Caroline, so I'll have to pick you up early."

I grinned, "That's fine. Thanks Matt!" I said giving him a kiss on the cheek and striding back over to Caroline.

"Date secured." I said with a wink, before noticing that Elena was nowhere to be found.

"She went home." Caroline said with a sigh, "How long do you think that she's…"

"Had feelings for Damon?" I finished for her, watching her grimace, "I noticed something different about them when Stefan and I got back, but it wasn't until the trip when I saw how she was acting around Damon and I that I knew for sure."

Caroline shook her head, "I'm sorry, A, I didn't know." She said sympathetically.

I shrugged looking down and playing with the hem of the tablecloth in front of me, "Like I said I'm not mad." I said with a short laugh, "I don't know it's like I've got this feeling…"

Caroline furrowed her eyebrows, "What kind of feeling? Like psychic feeling?" She whispered, glancing around us.

I raised my blue eyes to look at her and smiled softly, "I don't know yet." I answered honestly.

Elena and I hadn't spoken since I had arrived back at the house, but I had felt her nervousness as she had spoken to Stefan on the phone. That of course meant that they would be going to the dance together. Part of me wondered if Stefan knew about the feelings that she had for his brother, and that was why she had wanted to go on the trip with us. Another part of me hoped that if Stefan did know, that he would have warned me. I had straightened my naturally curly hair before styling it in loose barrel curls pulled over to the side, and decorated with a jeweled headband that set on the center of my forehead. The dress was a champagne color littered with rhinestones that fell in a flapper style to my mid-thigh. The dress was accentuated with a sheer cut out that began at my collarbones and ended in a point at my mid abdomen. I had added false eyelashes and red lipstick to my normal makeup a few minutes ago and I was all set. The doorbell rang as I slipped into my low heels and I hurried down to greet Matt, passing Elena in the hallway. My twin quickly slipped into the bathroom, avoiding eye contact and I rolled my eyes as I opened the door. "Well, hello Mr. Donavan." I said with a grin, resulting in him doing a slow twirl for me.

"You clean up just as well, Ms. Gilbert." Matt said holding out his arm to me with a teasing smirk.

I laughed and took his arm, dismissing the thought of a coat as I would just be inside all night. "It's been nearly two years since you've been to a dance with a Gilbert, Donovan, are you sure you're up for the challenge?" I asked as he opened the passenger door of his truck for me.

Matt laughed, "I'm sure you'll be much easier to dance with, A." He said as he climbed in the other side, "Besides, I'm sure you can just lead us if I mess up too bad."

I grinned at him, having Matt as a date was exactly what I needed after the last couple of weeks, "Seriously though, thanks for coming with me." I said as Matt started the drive to the high school.

My childhood friend shrugged, "You're one of the very few human friends I have left, A, it's not a burden to spend time with you." He said with a small smile.

"Semi-human." I said with a wink, changing the radio to a vintage station playing music from the '20s with my mind.

"Well at least you won't try to eat me if I piss you off." Matt said laughing.

The dance had quickly filled up with people once we had opened the doors and I grinned up at Matt as I tore my gaze from Bonnie dancing with Jamie, "This is amazing!" I shouted over the loud music.

Matt smirked, "It's amazing what Caroline can pull off right?" He shouted back.

I noticed our blonde vampire friend heading over with her serious gaze locked on Matt, "I'm gonna go get some punch. Be prepared to dance when I get back!" I said enthusiastically before beginning to weave through the crowd of dancing students.

One of my dancing classmates backed into me, shoving me into a familiar form and I looked up into the face of Tyler Lockwood, "Ty?" I asked over the music.

"A?" He returned, "You look awesome!"

Tyler pulled me into a brief hug and I grinned, "So do you! I thought you were lying low though?" I asked in confusion.

The hybrid shrugged with a grin, "I couldn't let Caroline go to the dance alone." He confessed.

Glancing over my shoulder at the impending blonde figure I smirked, "She's going to kill you though." I said patting him on the shoulder.

I walked away to avoid getting caught in the cross fire of Caroline's wrath and made my way to the punch bowl, grabbing two cups for Matt and I, I made my way back over to where Matt was still standing. "I decided to get you one as well, figured it was my duty as your date." I said with a smirk and wink.

Matt shook his head with a grin, "I thought I was supposed to do this kind of stuff for you, as your date?" He teased.

I shrugged, "Gender norms, who needs 'em?" I said with a grin as he laughed.

A slow song came on and I grinned, setting down my empty cup, "Now, I know you can dance to this, Donovan." I said grabbing his hand and pulling him onto the dance floor by Bonnie and Jamie.

I winked at my friend over Matt's shoulder as we started to dance. "See, Matt? You're not half bad." I said with a grin as we danced.

Matt smirked down at me, "Aileen, you're leading." He reminded me.

"Technicalities" I brushed off with a smirk.

There was a moment of silence as I glanced around the dance floor before I felt Matt fill with nervous energy, "So what did Caroline mean earlier by Elena already having two guys to worry about?" The blonde suddenly asked.

I resisted the urge to bite my red painted lip and sighed, "Elena has feelings for Damon." I said as quietly as possible.

Matt's arms tensed around me and confusion wriggled its way through his features, "And does Damon…?" He trailed off.

I frowned, "I think so, yeah." I said as lightly as possible.

Matt pulled back to look at me, "A, I'm sorry." He said rubbing my back lightly in comfort.

I smirked somewhat sadly, "Elena's always been a Salvatore's first choice." I said with a light shrug, "Maybe this is just nature running its course. Damon and I haven't been in a good place for a really long time, Matt."

I noticed Damon leading Elena and Stefan out of the gym with Jeremy following them closely. Matt followed my gaze and stepped back from our dance, "Go see what's wrong, A. Let me know if you need me." He said.

I smiled at him and quickly followed them out of the gym. "I'm suggesting that we put him out of his misery." I heard Damon say as I rounded the corner.

"No way in Hell." Jeremy said angrily as we both marched up to the group.

I glared at Damon, "We're not killing Ric because some ring is screwing with him, Damon." I echoed my brother.

Damon's face screwed up in annoyance, "Oh come on, this is what he would want. It's a mercy killing." He shot back.

"You are out of your mind." Jeremy said angrily.

Elena sighed and came to Damon's defense, "Jeremy-"

Jeremy raised his hand to stop her and marched away. Elena turned back to Damon before sighing and following our brother. "Why don't you go with her?" Stefan asked me as he turned back to his brother.

"I'm more help here." I said stepping up to stand with the two brothers, "We're not killing Ric, there's always another way."

It felt like only seconds before Jeremy came back around the corner, "Esther's here!" He said, "She's with Elena."

I took off with Stefan and Damon right behind me and made it out to the entrance just in time to see Elena leaving with the Original witch. Damon and Stefan passed me but hit an invisible force with a grunt. I kept walking, hoping to go after my sister only to be struck with crippling pain throughout my body as I passed through the barrier. "It's the salt! It's a binding agent for a spell!" Stefan said as Jeremy grabbed me before I could fall and pulled me over the salt line.

I was met with immediate relief and straightened myself next to my brother. Jeremy kept a hand on my back and quickly pulled a tissue from his pants pocket, wiping blood away from my ear, "Thank you." I said as I pulled away from my brother, "I'll find Tyler and Caroline; they need to know what's going on."

Stefan nodded, "We'll find Bonnie, maybe she can break through the barrier spell."

I nodded before turning and hurrying into the dance. I pushed my way through the other students earning eye rolls and quite a few nasty stares as I tried to find my best friend and her boyfriend. By the time I spotted them, they were already occupied with another Original. Nik had come to the dance and was staring down his hybrid with a smirk, "I don't recall giving you permission to leave in the first place." He told Tyler who had moved in front of Caroline protectively.

I smoothed a hand over my dress and strolled up in between the two hybrids, facing Nik, "Not to be rude, but I seem to have lost my dance partner." I told the Original with a small, challenging smile, "Do you think you could step in, Nik?"

I outstretched my hand to Nik who gave me a small smile and grabbed it, pulling me to him. "I thought you were avoiding me, love." He said as we danced away from my friends.

I shook my head with a small smile, "No, just dealing with family drama." I said truthfully.

Nik smirked, "Well it appears we're in the same predicament then, love; Rebekah lured me here and seems to have ditched me." The hybrid confessed, spinning me away from him before pulling me back in.

I adjusted my grip on his shoulder and smiled at the calming feeling Nik seemed to give me, "You look beautiful by the way." He said adjusting his grip on my waist as he looked down at me, "You would have fit right in in the '20s."

I smirked, "You were in the Windy City in the 1920s, if I recall correctly." I commented.

"You recall from the memories that you picked out of my brain you mean?" The hybrid teased lightly causing me to grin.

"Yes, and you look nearly as dapper now as you did back then." I laughed as Nik spun me again.

"Oh just nearly?" Nik asked with a large grin.

"Well if you recall that's been quite a few years ago, good sir, you just aren't the spry young man you used to be." I teased as I giggled.

Nik tightened his grip on my waist and I realized that both of my arms had ended up wrapped around his neck, bringing our faces impossibly close. There was a pause as my smile faded and I waited, not daring to reach out to feel his emotions as my heart raced with anticipation, "I'm leaving tomorrow. I want you to come with me, and not just for your blood." He finally said, "I realize that this is not something that you anticipated and that you will need time, but I hope that you will accept my offer."

I felt his hand brush over my cheek and then he had pulled out of my arms and disappeared into the mass of high school students. I felt a surge of magical energy flush through the gym and rush out to meet its end at the barrier. Bonnie was trying to break Esther's barrier spell, I realized suddenly. I turned on my low heel and began to follow the surges of magic to their origin. I pushed open the doors to the cafeteria to see Nik standing with Damon and Stefan while Jeremy and Jamie watched Bonnie chant worriedly. "Aileen." Stefan said lowly once he spotted my worried expression, his voice warning me not to interfere.

"She does this all the time right?" Jamie asked, his eyes not leaving Bonnie's form.

Nik growled in frustration, "What's taking so long?" He demanded, "All boundary spells have a loophole."

I sighed and strode over to Bonnie, grasping both of her outstretched hands. The witch stopped suddenly and looked up at me, "Channel me." I said squeezing her hands, "It's okay." I reassured her hesitant expression.

I closed my eyes as Bonnie began chanting again and relaxed my grip on my powers, letting them flow through me freely. Bonnie's breath hitched as my powers tangled with her own and I let out a sigh, relaxing my shoulders, as the air around me became charged with electricity. I faintly heard Matt come inside the cafeteria and inform the others that humans could get through the barrier, before spotting me and expressing concern. "She's fine as long as her connection to the witch isn't broken." I heard Nik inform him.

The feeling of not having to keep a constant grip on my powers was near euphoric and I felt my lips turning up into a smile as my whole body hummed with my energy. I heard Nik begin to choke Jamie and my lips pulled down into a stiff frown. "Suicide would be disappointing me." The hybrid threatened.

I felt Bonnie tense with fear for her date and quickly soothed away the feeling, allowing her to relax; however, she stopped chanting anyway. "Work your magic witch or I'll start killing people you fancy." Nik threatened, squeezing his throat tighter.

I sighed, impatient for Bonnie to begin the spell again, without something to concentrate my powers on I didn't know how long I'd be able to allow them to roam free. "Let him go." Bonnie demanded.

"Not until you get us out of here." Nik said with a smirk.

I heard Stefan begin to walk over, "Ah, don't be stupid Klaus." The younger Salvatore remarked, "Bonnie doesn't give a damn about us. The only reason she's helping right now is to save Caroline and Tyler. If you start killing the people she cares about she'll tell us all to go to hell."

Impatient with the drama, I reached out my powers and tore Jamie from Nik's grip and sat him down on one of the chairs. I felt the shock come off of the occupants of the room, but ignored it as I turned back to Bonnie and grabbed her hands again, "Bonnie, we need your help." I said, my voice carrying with the power that was radiating off of me.

I felt my hair lifting off of my neck with it and felt a breeze pick up in the room as it brushed across my face.

In the tomb with Alaric and Esther, Elena was beginning to panic as she failed to get through to her guardian. "Aileen!" She called out desperately with her mind only to have it seemingly bounce back at her off of an unknown force.

"I know you are trying to contact your twin, Elena, and I assure you that it will not work." The Original Witch said patronizingly as she finished preparing for the spell.

Elena's eyes watered as Esther and Alaric grasped hands over the bowl, "I won't help you. I'm not going to give you my blood, you're going to have to kill me." She said desperately.

Esther looked over her shoulder at the doppelganger seemingly unimpressed, "That won't be necessary." She informed her in a matter of fact tone of voice.

I sat at a desk in the front of Alaric's classroom as Bonnie ripped a map down from the wall and started preparing the locator spell. I stared down at my phone in front of me impatiently as I waited for the location that I needed to text Jeremy and Matt. Damon strode into the room, his eyes flickering over to me before turning to Bonnie and handing her a test tube of Jeremy's blood, "Jeremy made a little Gilbert blood donation for your locator spell." He informed her.

My eyes caught Nik's as he entered the room behind Damon and leant against the wall. The hybrid smirked at me and I looked down to refrain from responding. "I have to do this with you two lurking over me?" Bonnie asked Damon, clearly irritated.

Damon pulled a face, "You're still mad at me for what happened to Abby. Let me apologize. I'm sorry Elijah forced us to turn your mother into a vampire to save Elena's life. Didn't exactly have a choice." The vampire said dryly.

"There's always a choice." Bonnie rebutted, "Whenever you make one, someone else suffers."

Nik became impatient and pushed off from the wall, "Let's cut the dramatics and begin, shall we?" He suggested with a smirk.

I crossed my arms from my seat and made no move to join them, I was exhausted from reigning my powers back in and a pounding headache was throbbing against my skull. Bonnie uncorked the tube and poured Jeremy's blood onto the map as she began to chant. I watched the witch's shoulders tense up and she paused in her chanting, "Esther's fighting me." Bonnie informed us.

"Esther couldn't possibly have this much power unless she's channeling something." Nik said softly as he looked down at the map in confusion.

"A hot spot." Bonnie voiced.

I stood up from my seat as Nik stood up straight, "Get the humans ready, I know where she is." He said.

I picked up my phone, and began typing out the location to Jeremy and Matt. "I take it that your frantic typing means you know where they are too." Damon said as he sauntered over to me.

"They're at the old cemetery, it's where Nik killed Esther after she cursed him. The magic that remains there from her death is monumental; it's the only way that she'd be powerful enough to resist me and Bonnie." I told him.

Damon smirked, "Look at you figuring it out." He teased.

I swallowed hard, "You don't have to pretend to be okay with me, Damon." I whispered low enough for the other two in the room to hopefully not hear, "What you said in Denver-"

Damon cut me off, "No, listen I shouldn't have said what I said. You're confused and I have been way too hard on you lately over this."

He raised his hand to touch my face and I leant into it, feeling the familiar callouses that I had always loved so much, "You were right. In Denver, you were right. A part of me wanted you to make it easy for me and with everything going on, we both deserve better than that." I told him, "So, I'm sorry. I'm sorry for a lot of things."

I gave my ex-boyfriend a small smile as he looked down at me with confusion. "Aileen." Bonnie called from the doorway, breaking through our moment.

I cleared my throat and took a step back from Damon, "Yeah I'm coming." I said sending Damon a small smile before stepping around him and towards the door.

I froze when I spotted Nik in the hallway across from the door and wondered how long he had been standing there before following Bonnie out the door to finish breaking Esther's spell.

"Well he already has a brother." I heard Damon say as I walked out of the school to inform the vampires that the boundary spell was broken, "Not to be you know, territorial or anything."

"Oh no of course, the Salvatores and their unshakable bond." Nik said humorously as his eyes met mine, "We'll see if other bonds prove to be the same, won't we Damon?"

Damon's back stiffened, and although I couldn't see it as I approached them from behind, I knew he was glaring at Nik. "The boundary spell is gone." I said with furrowed brows.

"You mean you broke it, right?" Stefan asked.

I nodded my head, "Yeah I mean it just shouldn't have been…" I trailed off as I quickly stepped past the brothers and Nik and over the salt line.

"Aileen!" Damon made to swipe at me to keep me on their side of the line, but missed.

I turned back to the immortals, "I don't feel anything, it doesn't make sense. Esther just stopped fighting, it's like she gave up." I told them with confusion, "Bonnie didn't even need my help."

"Thank you, love." Nik said kissing my cheek quickly before running off at vampire speed.

Damon set me down on my feet in front of the old cemetery after running us there with his vampire speed. I took the arm that he offered me and we walked inside the cemetery, quickly spotting the tomb where Jeremy said Elena and Alaric were. Damon stopped just outside of the tomb, "You go on inside, your siblings are already in there." He said with a small, pained smile.

I nodded and squeezed his arm as a show of comfort before walking past him into the tomb. My twin was standing next to Alaric with an iron grip on his arm as my younger brother stood with his back to me, hearing me enter Jeremy turned around and relief flooded his face, "Hey, you're okay." He said gripping me tightly to him.

"Are you kidding me? I should be saying that to you." I said kissing his cheek and ruffling his hair as I drew back from his hug.

"So what's going on?" I asked taking in Elena's hesitant expression and Alaric's calm one, "Is Stefan bringing you a blood bag or do you want one of us to help you out?"

I stepped up to my guardian with an expectant attitude. Elena and Alaric exchanged glances and our guardian sighed, "Listen, Aileen, Jeremy…I'm not going to complete the transition."

A feeling of finality swept through the room and I stared blankly at Ric as he began his explanation, "My dark side was dangerous enough as a human. I can't be a vampire." He said, his apology written across his face.

"Oh." I let out, near silently as Jeremy grew angry, "So what? We're just gonna lock you in here and let you die?" My brother demanded.

Their silence was answer enough as both Elena and Alaric failed to answer. "No. No! We can't!" Jeremy said desperately.

Alaric sighed, "Jeremy, it's the right thing to do. Okay? After everything that's happened. After…after all that I've done…maybe I had it coming." He said ruefully.

Jeremy started to walk away, but I grabbed his arm as he turned, my own eyes filled with tears. "Hey, Hey," I stopped him, "I don't like this either, alright? I hate this. But if this is Ric's dying wish…after everything he's done for us." I bit my lip to keep my tears at bay, "We have to let him do this his way."

"You three should go, alright? Let's not make it harder than it already is." Alaric said as we turned back to face him, "Damon's here. He'll make sure it'll all go down the right way."

I nodded at his attempt to reassure us and wiped the tears away that were starting to fall down my cheeks. I sniffled and Elena took my hand in hers, soothing me in only the way that the presence of my sister could. Jeremy turned to walk out, but Alaric moved to stop him, "Hey. Hey."

"Don't." Jeremy said sharply as he turned back, "Don't give me some crap speech about how I need to be the man of the house."

I realized for the first time that this was the second father figure that our brother would be losing to forces out of his control and felt sadness attempt to overcome me again as Alaric reached out and pulled Jeremy into a hug. "I won't." Our guardian reassured him.

Alaric released Jeremy from the hug and my brother quickly raced out of the tomb to hide his pain. Alaric turned to us and I shook my head, gripping my sister's hand tighter. "This is all my fault." Elena said as tears filled her brown eyes.

Alaric shook his head at her in denial, "Y-you moved out, you gave me the ring back. You didn't want any part of this and I-I forced you to stay and take care of us." Elena said driving herself further into self-blame.

"Don't do that." Ric said with a sad smile, "Taking care of you twins and Jeremy has been-it's the closest I've ever come to the life I always wanted."

Elena moved forward from my grip and hugged Alaric tightly before letting go and allowing me to say my goodbyes. I rubbed my arm as I smiled sadly at my guardian, "I'm really gonna miss my early morning training buddy." I said with a laugh that almost turned into a sob.

Alaric looked at me sadly as I tried to keep myself composed, "Thank you for taking care of us." I managed to whisper, "If you hadn't come into our lives, Ric…I'm so sorry that I wasn't able to stop this. I mean what kind of psychic am I if I can't even see this coming?"

Ric stepped forward and pulled me to him, "Please tell me that you won't blame yourself for this." He whispered to me.

I nodded into his shoulder with a sniffle, "Sure, I can tell you that." I answered quietly.

I felt a flash of pain go through my guardian and I stepped back to give him a sad smile. Alaric wiped a tear from my cheek and followed me out the door of the crypt. I smiled sadly at Elena who waited for us just outside and looked around at Jeremy, Dr. Fell, Bonnie, Matt, Tyler and Caroline, and Damon and Stefan who had come to see Alaric one last time. Elena and Alaric exchanged a look as I went to stand by Damon and Elena stood next to Stefan. Alaric took in the sight of us all one last time before turning and walking back inside the crypt where he would spend his final few hours. Everyone began to go their separate ways after a few moments and I grabbed Damon's wrist. The vampire looked down at me in confusion as I held onto his hand and I swallowed around the lump in my throat. "I just- I know that you'll take care of him its-um…Alaric doesn't- he just doesn't deserve a painful death, okay? So if it's bad…" I trailed off, unable to finish the sentence.

Damon pulled me to his chest and kissed the top of my head, "Don't worry, I'll make sure he's comfortable, curly." He said, giving me a sad smile as he pulled back.

"Thank you." I whispered and I smiled back for only a fleeting moment before heading to Caroline's car where Tyler and Caroline were waiting to take me home.

"Are you sure you don't want us to stay?" Caroline asked again as I climbed out of the backseat of her car.

I nodded, throat raw from holding back my grief in front of everyone, "Yeah, I just really need to be by myself for a while. I'll call you in the morning." I told her with a parting wave.

I walked quickly up to my front door and practically shoved my way through the door, slamming it behind me as my grief and everyone else's finally burst through my psychic dams. My eyes moved wildly throughout the room as I tossed off my heels and padded down to the coffee table where Alaric's barely sipped bottle of bourbon sat. I unscrewed the lid of the bottle and took two large gulps, my eyes closing as the comforting burning slid down my throat. I took a few more gulps and abandoned the cap on the couch cushion as I made my way up stairs. Without thinking I went into Alaric's open bedroom and opened the door on the bedside table. I grabbed the bottles of Southern Comfort and Grey Goose before heading into my room and locking the door behind me. I threw everything on top of my vanity onto the floor with my powers and set the three bottles down in front of me as I took the seat in front of the mirror. With shaky fingers I began taking the bobby pins out of my hair, taking breaks to take a few gulps of whatever bottle my fingers touched first.

Hello, I'm back!