A/N: Here we are at the final chapter! I tried to go through the fic and make sure I addressed all the unanswered questions so far ;) enjoy!


"Aunt Jenna!" Elena let go of Damon's hand and ran towards her aunt, who was talking to an EMT. "You got my messages? I thought you were at work, I didn't think your bosses were going to let you—"

"Sweetie," Jenna wrapped her arms around Elena tightly, effectively cutting off her ramblings. "Yes, I got your messages. My bosses were more than understanding when I told them that my missing nephew had just been found." She pulled back and peered at Elena questioningly, "Are you alright? They told me that you went down into that basement…"

Elena nodded, glancing over her aunt's shoulder to where Damon was standing. "It's okay, Jenna. They didn't let me down there till they knew it was safe." Her eyes hardened almost imperceptibly, "Klaus is dead."

Jenna looked grim, "No more than he deserved, based on what these officers have been telling me."

Elena looked around the area once, but only spotted Damon, Elijah, and Rebekah. "Where did everyone else go? Jeremy, Stefan, Caroline, and Alaric…I thought they would be up here."

Apparently having had overheard, Elijah approached them. He turned to Elena first, and she felt a twinge at the despondency in his gaze. When all was said and done, Klaus was still his brother. Thinking about Jeremy and Matt, she could vaguely understand what he was feeling. "I'm sorry," she said before he could say anything. "About Klaus," she elaborated, "He was still your family."

Elijah blinked in surprise before giving her a small smile, "Well, I can see what he sees in you."

She frowned, "Klaus?"

"Damon."

"Oh," Elena blushed and cast a furtive glance from the corner of her eye towards her Jenna. Her aunt, however, didn't look fazed in the slightest.

"Anyway," Elijah consulted his cell phone as he continued, "Alaric and Jeremy were both taken to the hospital. Nothing serious, but we thought it best that they be checked out as soon as possible. They'll probably be cleared to head on home soon, if you want to go down there to wait for them."

"And what about Elena's friend?" Jenna asked worriedly, "Caroline? She's blonde and—"

"I know who she is," Elijah turned around and gestured to his sister, "Bex, do you know where Caroline Forbes and Stefan Salvatore disappeared to?"

"They left in an ambulance a few minutes ago," Rebekah called back, "I wanted to make sure Caroline didn't need stitches on her neck." Then she pointed at Damon, "Speaking of which, make sure he gets down to the hospital before his wrists bleed out. I'm going to stay here and make sure all the evidence from the crime scene gets taken care of."

"Oh quit being so dramatic," Damon grumbled as an EMT tried to herd him towards an ambulance. "I'm fine, really."

Elijah wasn't hearing any of it. "Get in," he ordered, "They'll get you cleaned up and then take you down to Mystic General."

Elena gazed down the parking lot to where Rebekah was standing next to a squad car and speaking to someone sitting in the back. Seized by a sudden suspicion, Elena turned towards her aunt. "Can you go with Damon in the ambulance? I'll meet you guys at the hospital. There's just something I have to do first."

"What? What do you have to do?"

"Please, just trust me on this," Elena said quietly, very aware of the fact that Elijah was frowning at her disapprovingly. "I have to do something."


She heard his footsteps behind her, but she paid no heed as she merely quickened her own pace across the parking lot. "Elena, wait...would you please just hold on one second?"

"Why? So you can try and talk me out of it?"

Elijah finally grabbed her arm and forced her to come to a halt, "Look at me."

She stubbornly kept facing the other way, and pulled out of his grasp so that she could cross her arms defiantly. "I want to speak to him."

"Elena," he sounded exasperated, "You think you're going to get closure or...I don't know...answers of some sort? Well, trust me, you're not."

She turned around to look at him then, "I don't know what I need right now. All I know is that the man in that car," she pointed, "Has been responsible for making my life a living hell these past couple of weeks. Klaus is dead, and now there's no one that I—" She sucked in a large breath of air, commanding herself not to break down in tears again. "Just five minutes, I promise."

Elijah didn't look happy, but he signaled for her to follow him as he led the way to the car. "What are you doing?" Rebekah snapped as they neared her, "We've already read him his rights. He's not going to talk without a lawyer."

"That's alright," Elijah responded, glancing at Elena warningly, "This won't take long." He tapped the back window and then opened the car door, "Come on Cole, out of the car."

Cole Mikealsen looked up at all of them with an air of disdain, "What?"

"I worked with Anna," Elena stared down at him impassively, "She was so happy that she was going to see you that weekend. How could you let her be killed like that?"

"Klaus is my brother," Cole responded in a flat voice, "I had to make sure he was protected."

"Unbelievable," she hissed, ignoring Elijah's warning hand on her shoulder. She shrugged him off and stepped closer to Cole, "What about my car? Why did Klaus kill her in MY car?"

"To send a message. He knew it would eventually reach Jeremy's ears."

"And the phone calls?" Elena demanded, "The ones to my cell phone? What was the point of that?"

Cole leered up at her, "Scare tactics. Did it work?"

"Knock it off," Elijah said sharply, before turning to Elena. "Did you get what you were looking for? I told you that you wouldn't get any closure—"

"One more minute," she insisted, not looking away from Cole. "Our private detective discovered that you changed your name from Kol to Cole in 2005. You must've only been 14 or 15 years old...Were you hiding from someone?"

He looked slightly surprised that she knew this information, and he frowned up at her. "I changed my name after our mother died. She's the one that named me with that...unique...branding. I didn't want..." He trailed off, and somehow Elena understood. It was probably the most human thing he had said to her in the entirety of their conversation.

"Alright," she said, changing the subject, "You and Klaus sent the murder weapon and Anna's cell phone to the Salvatore house, addressed to me. Why?"

"I had nothing to do with that," Cole snapped, "Maybe you should ask Klaus...oh wait, you CAN'T. Because he's dead."

Remembering Jenna's words, Elena repeated coldly, "No more than he deserved. Goodbye Cole. I hope you rot in jail."

Elijah shook his head and took her arm to lead her away, "Come on, I'll drive you down to the hospital so you can check in on your brother and friends." As she silently got into the passenger seat of his car, he held the door open and glanced down at her. "Well, did you get what you were looking for? Closure?"

"Maybe not closure," Elena held his gaze steadily, "But at least I got some answers."


Caroline curled herself on the sofa as she read through the school newspaper. "Wow," she commented lightly, "The gym is being renovated again, they're adding another wing to the library, AND they're ordering a bunch of new laptops for the computer lab."

Elena huffed in disbelief as she took the newsletter out of her friend's hands so she could read the latest postings for herself. "Of course," she said sarcastically, "The football players' parents have to throw a bunch of money at the school so that their sons aren't kicked out for being juvenile delinquents."

"I just don't get why the whole lot of them can't transfer over to Mystic Academy," Caroline pursed her lips in distaste, "Then we would be rid of them forever."

Stefan grinned as he entered the living room, clearly having had overheard their conversation. "It's because Mystic Academy has standards," he informed them in a faux-superior tone, "They wouldn't cut it."

"Oh really?" Caroline sniffed, putting on a fake British accent. "Do you think Elena and I would possibly meet those high standards?"

"But of course," Stefan smirked at her, "There's always more room for pretty girls."

Damon suddenly leapt over the sofa and plopped down next to Elena. He smirked at her startled expression before pointing sternly at Stefan, "You. No flirting with my woman."

Stefan pretended to look offended, but he ruined the illusion by laughing, "I can't say she's pretty?"

"Of course you can," Elena interrupted with a smug smile as she leaned over and kissed Damon on the lips. "So I'm 'your woman' now, huh?"

He tilted his head at her, "Why, Ms. Gilbert, I thought we'd already established that."

"Hmm," she murmured as his lips brushed hers again enticingly, "And what exactly does that entail?"

"A lot of this, for starters," Damon answered in a husky voice, moving in to deepen the kiss. Elena smiled against his lips as they both heard Stefan and Caroline begin teasing them goodnaturedly.

"For heaven's sakes," Stefan finally groaned, "Get a room!"

"As you wish, brother," Damon broke their kiss just long enough to scoop Elena up in his arms, chuckling as she squealed and looped her arms around his neck. "You two be good down here, now," he winked at Stefan and Caroline before hurrying up the stairs with Elena.


He set her down on the bed gently and lay down beside her, smiling to himself as she immediately curled herself into his side. "So," he asked curiously, "Besides the fact that your school is getting a bunch of new state-of-the-art equipment, what else is different down there?"

Elena rested her head against his shoulder as she contemplated, "Well, Ms. Starr has been fired, obviously. And the halls are a lot emptier without the football players...Also, they suspended the football coach. Something about suspicious behavior the night that Anna was killed."

"Matt and Tyler awaiting trial?"

She nodded, even though he couldn't see her. "I spoke to Matt a couple days ago," she informed him, and frowned when he shifted around to look at her in alarm. "Don't worry," she mumbled, wrapping her arms around his waist and snuggling into his chest. "I just wanted to break up with him. Officially."

"And how did he feel about that?"

She shrugged dismissively, "Said he'd been expecting it for weeks. He didn't seem too bothered, to be honest."

"His loss is my gain," Damon kissed the top of her head. "And how is Caroline doing with all this? You mentioned that she and Tyler sort of had a thing going on?"

Elena smiled contentedly and craned her neck upwards so that she could kiss him properly. "I think Stefan is doing a good job curing her heartbreak for now. We'll see what happens after the trial...Oh and by the way, I spoke with Jeremy earlier today. He told me they arrested Rose as an accessory to kidnapping."

"Good," Damon muttered, "Though Elijah will probably get her a good deal."

"Probably," she agreed, glancing up at him. "I'm still impressed with how Alaric sussed out that she was involved with all this." Damon's expression flickered with some emotion she couldn't identify, and Elena's brow furrowed. "Do you miss him? He took off so soon...I thought he'd stick around for the court trial, at least."

"He had to get back to his regular work," Damon answered, though he sounded distracted. "He pretty much dropped everything he was doing to come to Mystic Falls and help with this case."

Elena nodded in understanding, "He's a good guy."

"Speaking of his work..." Damon hesitated, "Do you remember I wanted to tell you something before? About how I had hired Alaric for another case?"

She sat up slightly as she noted his serious tone. "Yeah, I remember. What was it?"

"I hired him to look into Jeremy," Damon finally admitted, "Before I hired him to work at The Grill. Just...he had been arrested so many times for the drug use, and he was always in trouble with the cops...I wanted to make sure that his 'clean up act' was the real deal." He glanced at Elena and swallowed nervously when she wouldn't meet his gaze. "I'm sorry, Elena. I knew you'd be upset if you found out...but I had to be sure."

After a second, she sighed wearily, "It's okay, Damon. I know you were just trying to help. I get it."

He leaned over and kissed the tip of her nose, causing her to giggle and swat him away. "You are the most understanding girlfriend ever. How did I get so lucky?"

She smirked up at him, "Care to show me how lucky you feel?"

Damon didn't even bat an eyelid before rolling them both over so that he was hovering above her, "Elena Gilbert, are you trying to seduce me?"

"Depends," she drawled, "Is it working?"

"You tell me," he whispered before reaching down to brush his lips against hers. "Have I told you recently how much I love you?"

"You might've mentioned it once," Elena reached up to touch his face, "I don't know what I would've done these past few weeks without you. I can't believe it took a life threatening situation for me to realize how much I need you in my life...how much I love you." She blinked tears out of her eyes and peered up at him beseechingly, "Promise you'll never leave me?"

Damon kissed her long and hard, leaving them both gasping for air when he finally pulled away. "I promise."


fin.


*thanks for all the reviews! BTW I have a new TVD fic out! set post 3x22 (season 4 canon fic, Damon/Elena). Check it out ;)