A/N: As usual, this story wasn't planned - especially I wasn't planning a multi-chaptered one. The idea just came to me, and I grew to like it quite a lot. It's surely going to have some plot, hopefully exciting enough, but I would also like to show the character's emotions. Hopefully I did them justice :)

Disclaimer: Of course I don't own TVD. I wouldn't give people heart attacks during episodes if I did :D But that's one of the reasons it's so awesome, I guess.

Special thanks to CreepingMuse, my awesome beta reader. You do such a great job correcting my mistakes and giving me interesting suggestions.

Thank you, Nymphadora, for advising me to find a beta reader - it turned out a great and useful experience.

Holding my last breath

Safe inside myself

Are all my thoughts of you

Sweet raptured light, it ends here tonight

Evanescence "My Last Breath"

Damon was driving faster than he ever had.

Stefan's voice earlier over the phone had only confirmed his threats. His brother wasn't going to stop, he was ready to go to any lengths to find Klaus's weakness. Damon didn't like how he felt: frightened, terrified. Stefan had Elena, his Elena, and this time around the elder Salvatore couldn't even come close to trusting him.

He'd jumped into the car once he'd overheard Stefan say "Wickery Bridge" in his conversation with Klaus. Now the voice of reason was telling him that his brother had probably carried out his threat, but it wasn't what mattered. He had to get Elena back – he needed her in his arms, safe and unharmed, so they both could forget about what might have been.

He pulled over and ran towards the bridge, looking around frantically, failing to find brother's car, Stefan himself or, most importantly, Elena. Late, late – his inner voice was making him desperate, so Damon switched it off. He would have time to be desperate later. Now there was still hope.

Movement in the water caught his eye. Before Damon could react, rushing to the edge of the bridge, Stefan jumped out of the water and landed on the asphalt, holding Elena in his arms. Thank God, she's here – she was the only person that had ever made him pray. That was until he realized that the sounds that had always possessed this magical power to soothe him weren't there any longer.

Her breathing and her heartbeat.

No, no, it wasn't happening. This lifeless body in Stefan's arms couldn't be Elena. I promised I would never leave her again. I failed to save her when she needed me most. I failed to stop my own brother. I failed Elena.

"You!" The next moment Damon was standing next to Stefan, eyes dark because that was the only way to blink back the tears, grayish veins pulsating under the skin. "You killed her!"

"She's not dead," said Stefan, and Damon was so amazed that his face became human again. "Well, technically she is, but she'll come back."

Damon wasn't even able to answer. Relief, hatred, guilt, confusion – each emotion was so overwhelming they were tearing at him, causing him almost physical pain. Of course, Stefan'd fed Elena his blood before killing them both. It was extremely hard to grasp the fact that in several hours Elena would become a vampire. If he could imagine how her angelic face would transform in the moment of animalistic hunger, it was only because he'd seen Katherine's.

Damon opened his mouth, but the words wouldn't come out. Stefan put his revenge before Elena's life – at least, human life, and he couldn't even begin to formulate everything he wanted to tell Stefan.

"Don't start some pathetic speech about how I took the choice away from her. You don't get to blame me for something you did, too."

"I was trying to save her life!" shouted Damon.

"Yeah, once. When you blackmailed me by feeding her your blood it was temporary insanity?" answered Stefan, looking eerily calm. "Now she won't be Klaus's blood bag anymore – this is what I call safe."

Damon was already sick of this discussion. He could tell his brother so many things – about the hybrid's vindictiveness, about the people Elena cared about and who were now endangered, about how he'd ruined her chance to lead a happy human life – but he knew there was no reasoning with Stefan now. Instead, Damon yanked Elena's body from his arms.

"Where do you think you're going?" asked Stefan.

"I'm taking her home," said Damon firmly, looking at his brother with disgust. On a theoretical level, he could understand Stefan's motives. But when it came to Elena, theory didn't apply – at least, not for Damon. Turning away from Stefan, he pressed Elena closer, looking at her as if for the first time. He'd never seen her more vulnerable… or more peaceful. The injuries from the crash were all over her skin. Her face, where untouched by bruises and cuts, was unhealthily pale, her hair was a tangled wet mess, those lips that fitted so perfectly with his own were lifeless now that they didn't let any air in or out. Fear made Damon's own breathing so hard that he was grateful he didn't actually need it. What if the blood won't be enough? What if she's gone? This fear wouldn't just disappear, no matter how hard he tried to switch it off.

Damon strode to the car, purposefully abandoning Stefan. He wanted his brother to come to his senses, to realize what he'd done to Elena. So far the younger Salvatore looked as if nothing had happened – and that was what scared Damon most. Stefan had never gone this far. Damon hated him so much at the moment, but he wasn't ready to lose him. He owed Stefan at least an attempt to break through the wall his brother'd built around himself and reach his disguised humanity. So Damon decided to make Stefan see this. I'm leaving with your girlfriend. I don't give a damn for your opinion or your feelings. Come on, stop me. Yell, scream, fight. I need you back, and one day she'll forgive you – and she'll want you back, too. That could be the only way to make Stefan feel.

His eyes on Elena's face, Damon barely noticed another figure appearing before him. He stopped in his tracks and cast up his eyes to find Klaus. The original vampire was assessing the situation – and standing close as he was, Damon could see Klaus didn't like what he found.

"So Stefan did it."

Damon looked over his shoulder – but his brother was gone.

"Yes, he did," answered Damon, looking at Klaus again. "You wanna drive a stake through his heart? Be my guest." He cringed involuntarily at his words, but he wasn't going to take it back. First his bastard of a brother killed Elena and then he just fled? Screw you.

Klaus looked at Elena, and in his eyes Damon detected something very similar to pity.

"I wouldn't want to keep you from catching Stefan," said Damon, looking Klaus in the eye.

"Unfortunately, at the moment I have a more urgent business than catching your brother." The Original was still standing and looking at Damon.

"Really? And what would that be?"

"I need Elena," answered Klaus in an even voice.

"What?" Damon looked at the other vampire incredulously. "She's dead, she's transitioning, her blood is useless. Why could you possibly need her?"

"You are right, my friend. She's dead. She's not a vampire yet. So it is possible that she still has valuable doppelgänger blood."

"You're not getting it!" shouted Damon. His eyes were wild with rage and fear. The day he'd started loving Elena was the day he'd learned to be afraid. He knew very well he couldn't really fight Klaus, but Damon never gave up.

"I'm not going to kill you, Salvatore" said Klaus softly. "You may be useful later. And I know," he looked at Elena's body in Damon's arms, "that you didn't want it to happen, either. So I'm really sorry about it"

In a swift motion Klaus appeared behind Damon. The last thing Damon felt before everything went black was a terrible pain as the Original snapped his neck.

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