Written by helenluvsboo

For the longest time I did not want to write a follow-up to this one-shot. I thought I might cheapen it, or something. But then my muse just would not leave it alone and some more chapters formed in my mind. I hope you all like them, your approval and encouragement is a major part of the reason that they exist.

I've sort of planned out the story, and it's a total of 10 chapters. That might change though, we will see.

After so much time spent travelling to book signings, Elena has become accustomed to packing light—packing the bare essentials, because carrying too much becomes a bother. How is this any different? She took a deep breath and fisted her trembling hands, nails biting into her sweaty palms, and thinks 'because someone's trying to kill you'.

She thanks whatever deity exists for her speed-packing-skills now as she moves silently and quickly—like clockwork—around her bedroom, packing clothes, hygienic items, laptop equipment, pajamas, sanitary items, and a few other necessities. This practiced and synchronized path around her room makes it all a bit easier, moving robotically, but she never thought she would be packing to go on the run . . . again.

She stuffed another pair of underwear into the bag, she staring at her life in a suitcase with a sad swallow. She felt a tremor pass over her. She looked up, expecting to see her favourite original leaning against the door or standing just outside it, waiting to be invited in. The room was empty, the clear path to the front door—she'd chosen the apartment because of the huge hallway that lead directly to both the front and the back exits, just in case—and was rewarded only with air and empty promises.

Elijah wasn't there.

'It's not like him to be late,' she thinks, twisting her fingers together and rubbing her vervain bracelet. The heavy locket, also laced with vervain and always worn under her shirt, feels cool against her breastbone, and she resists the urge to reach up and check that it is still there.

Everything feels surreal.

'How did this happen?' she wondered, folding a thick sweater for cold nights, and pressing it into a corner of her bag, 'When did I leave so much of myself behind?'

Leaving Mystic Falls has been hard. Leaving the bad memories and the people who hated her behind had been necessary. Leaving the unseen ghosts who walked the town and reminded her of all the people—named and unnamed—who had died so that she could continue to live, had been essential. Because staying in a place where nothing remained but bad memories, people who hate you, and ghosts of deaths past could never make her happy.

She did not want to live in a Mystic Falls without Caroline's sunny smile, Jenna's expressive eyes, or Rick's haunted grimace. She did not want to live in the place where her parents had died. She did not want to stay in a place where innocent and good people had become willing or unwilling victims in the quest to keep her alive.

She bit her bottom lip. 'Too many lives lost,' she thought, 'for me, so that I could live another day, and it's just not worth it.' She had made contact with one of Isobel's old acquaintances and arranged for her 'death'. She left in the night and stayed away from her old hometown. It was better that way. She waited for six months for the vampire to brag about ending the doppelganger, and then staked him in his sleep.

She flinches, remembering the look of betrayal, another set of eyes that looked at her and saw Katerina Petrova's sins. Maybe she has become as jaded as Katherine now, who knows?

She balks at the thought and runs a hand through her short black hair, shoving those thoughts down and burying them deep inside. She hates going down this road, and it happens far too often.

Elena turns abruptly to go down the hall and into the bathroom. She needed the hair dye. Her disguise would be useless if she did not keep it up. And what would be the point, then?

She grabbed a small bottle of hair gel and paused, staring at the small drawer of the vanity. Unbidden, her hand reaches for it. She pauses, glances behind her, down the hall, to the front door. It is still deserted.

'Is he even coming?' she wonders as her shaking hand pulls the drawer open to gaze on her old dreams. Inside is one beautiful lingerie set that she has never worn, saving it for a special occasion. She draws it out, gazing at it wistfully, remembering the days when she actually hoped to wear it.

"Are those articles of clothing… necessary?" Elijah's voice drawls, amused.

She drops them in shock, embarrassed. A moment passes and she fiddles with her fingers, before swooping down to scoop them up and stuff them back in the drawer. "No," she mumbles, avoiding his eyes, still caught up in old dreams and unwilling to face her uncertain future, "They aren't needed."

She picks up the bottle of black hair dye, pauses, then reaches for a small stake as well, curling her fingers around it. This is her future: running and hiding, never settling down, searching for safety from the supernatural. The corners of her mouth twitch, her gaze hardens, and she finally meets his gaze.

"I'm ready," she says, walking past into her bedroom to add the bottle of hair dye to her case and slipping the stake into the hidden pocket up her jacket sleeve.

The sudden breeze of a vampire speeding up behind her has her tensing her shoulders and withdrawing her hand into her sleeve to grip the stake, despite knowing that it is Elijah. She turns a wry grin on her face, saying "Still doing that, huh? Does anything ever change?"

His inscrutable eyes wander over her face and a flash of something that looks like pain echoes through his eyes as he reaches for her short hair. His fingertips graze its choppy edges and then he suddenly pulls his hand back with a blur as his eyes seem to soften to liquid pools of warmth. Her grin melts.

"Why black?" he asks quietly as she pulls open a drawer beside her bed and slips a vervain grenade into her pocket. She presses her lips together, turns away, and picks up her small suitcase.

He waits. She swallows.

"Brown reminded me of Bonnie, who hated me and died for me. Blonde is Caroline's, I could never wear it."

He places a hand on her shoulder and squeezes, comfortingly. The gesture reminds her of days long gone, of a vampire who she always trusted to do the right thing. The only one that she cared for who did not hurt her in return.

She savours the silence between them.

And then, in a burst of activity and colour, all hell breaks loose.