It all started coming back to me.
First, the memories hit me like a dream you can't quite remember, where you get a flash of something and forget it the next second. Later on, I started recalling images: a bloody wrist at my mouth, my neck crusted by my own blood, Damon limply resting on a cold floor, bleeding and weak.
Then I remembered a voice in the back of my head, a voice that clearly wasn't my own. The anonymous words were clear, but I failed to comprehend their meaning. You need to feed, they had said. You need to feed to complete the transition.
What was that supposed to mean?
"Would you like anything else?" Stefan asked softly, his leaf green eyes shining more than they had been an hour ago, when he was so close to a mental breakdown that he had nearly checked himself into a hospital after just seeing my face. Every time he did something as small as glance up at my face, his breath would catch and his entire demeanor would visibly soften. Every few minutes, he'd do something to make sure I was there, whether it was a brief once-over of my thin frame or a quick touch. I took note of this as he reached over and timidly held my hand.
The glances, they were fine; I understood where he was coming from completely. The touches though… couldn't he just stop that? It was really starting to aggravate me. Every brush of his fingertips was like a painful fire searing into my skin, leaving unpleasantly hot skin in its wake. I could have sworn I felt his pulse every time, making my body ache, and for the life of me I could not understand what was causing such a strange reaction. All I knew was that Stefan needed to stop touching me before I cut his hand off.
"No," I replied curtly. "I'm fine. Thank you."
Yes, I actually do need something, I thought to myself. I need for you to stand at the other end of the room, please.
"Good," Stefan chuckled to himself, "because I think you've cleared out my entire refrigerator." It was probably true. I was starving. Apparently, whoever had taken me captive was not concentrated on feeding me. Maybe the voice in my mind was telling me that I had to eat.
Nothing seemed to satisfy me though.
I tried to stifle my sigh of relief when Stefan withdrew his hand from the table and placed it back in his lap. I could see that the wheels in his head were beginning to spin again; every second, he was looking more and more like the man I knew. "So, what happened?" he inquired gently, in a tone that implied that I did not have to answer if I didn't want to. Didn't he realize I was willing to share anything with him?
I sat back in the wooden chair. "I don't remember much," I admitted sullenly. "Um, my neck was bleeding. There was blood in my mouth too, but it didn't really taste salty like it should have. Maybe it wasn't my blood. I don't know. It tasted bad. Coppery. Then I woke up in the middle of the road a few hours ago."
Furrowing his brows, Stefan nodded. He took a deep breath, running his hands across his face a few times before returning my gaze. "Damon?"
"I don't know if he's dead or alive," I confessed. With every word, Stefan looked like he had been punched in the gut. As soon as I opened my mouth, all hope drained from his face. That look made my stomach twist. I was the one inflicting that pain. "I saw him, I think. But he wasn't conscious."
Stefan bit his bottom lip and rose up from his chair, pacing for a few moments. Then, he made his way over to the small kitchen area. At first, by force of habit it seemed, he walked over to the orange prescription bottle that rested in the corner to make sure that it was still there. Within a few seconds, when he caught me staring, he swiftly opened a cabinet and attempted to casually shove it inside.
"They're for insomnia," he started. I had a feeling he was going to leave it at that, but when he kept going, I was surprised. "…Shakes as well. And headaches. And sneeze attacks… those get rough. Depression too."
My brows knitted together in a combination of awe and painful realization. There Stefan was, broken and before me, finally admitting the one thing that may have been his biggest insecurity. But why was he telling me this right now? Because he felt he had nothing left to give? He had to be tired of faking his pure sanity, and spending a week without Damon, -the one soul who knew and sympathized with what he was going through- surely would make anyone realize how fragile love is. "Those are symptoms of withdrawal, aren't they?"
"Yes. That's why I have the medication."
His entire body froze. Stefan turned so that he was facing me and blinked. "Pardon?"
"I said okay," I confirmed. I was rewarded with a blank look. "Everyone has a past. I've told you that. It doesn't change who you are to me at all, Stefan. Whoever you were a year ago, it's not who you are now."
I really wished that I could have saved the look on his face, take a still-frame photograph in my mind, but it would have been impossible to capture the emotions that flickered through his lively eyes in that moment. Adoration, love, shame, amazement, fear, shock, and relief were present, along with many others that were impossible to catch. No one had ever looked at me with such a chilling intensity as Stefan, like I was the air that he needed to breathe in order to survive. It thrilled me; if it were anyone else I probably would have been terrified. But not Stefan.
Following the intimacy of this moment, my throat began to ache once again, shattering the moment. I tore my eyes away from his, clenching my fists.
"Is something wrong?" he asked in an urgent tone.
"No," I answered far too quickly. "Actually, yes. There is one more thing I remember from this past week. And I just can't understand it…"
"Elena, what do you remember?"
"Someone told me that I have to feed… to complete the transition." I spoke shakily, my voice unsteady in confusion. How could I explain to him what I was thinking when I didn't understand it myself?
I was expecting another baffled look from Stefan, but when I gained the courage to stare up at him, his chiseled features were nothing like I had imagined. Eyes wide, Stefan stared off and started thinking to himself, brain in full gear. "Bloody hell," he muttered. "There's no way…"
"There's no way for what?!" Now, I was beginning to panic. What was he talking about? What hadn't I picked up on?
Stefan strode over to his computer, busily flipping through tab after tab until he found what he was looking for. "Katherine and I were looking it up together earlier… We laughed at it, thought it was a ridiculous website full of made up information… It can't be…"
I wanted to ask him more about our current situation, but my stomach suddenly twisted. Katherine and I were looking it up. Katherine and I. Together. Katherine and I… were together. We laughed. Together!
Had he shown her his apartment? Was she up here?
She had confessed to having an interest in Stefan. If she did anything to make a move on him while I was gone, I swear…
Forget it, I told myself. There are more important things to worry about right now.
"What is going on?" I finally said.
Stefan shook his head, now making his way to the kitchen, frantic. "Everyone was making jokes about it. It's not like this could actually be true…" I stood at the table, frozen as I watched him get a knife and make his way back over to me. I took a step back.
"What are you doing with that?"
Stefan took a deep breath, calming himself down. He lifted his eyes and stared at me softly, willing for me to understand. "I know it may sound crazy, love, but I just want to try something. I promise I'll explain afterwards…" Then, Stefan took the knife and lightly drew it across his wrist, his eyes glued to my face the entire time. I gasped as soon as I noticed what he was doing.
Yes, he had officially lost it. Great. Just great.
Then, my eyes fell on the blood evenly flowing out of his shallow wound. I smelled it, too; the intoxicating scent was emanating from the vibrant liquid; it was so beautifully red against Stefan's pale skin. I wanted it, needed it, and I quickly realized that this was indeed what I had been craving all along. Slowly, losing all train of thought, I grabbed his arm and took a step closer. My skin was no longer burning with an uncomfortable fire; now it was burning with ravenous anticipation. I brought my lips to the cut, his sweet blood finally reach my tongue. My senses exploded, and I latched onto his arm and started sucking. I felt him attempt to tug it away, but I ignored him; I was much stronger now. And I needed more. This small wound was not enough…
Any sense of control faded, a primal instinct from deep within me kicking in and taking control over my mind and body. I felt my gums twist with an agonizing pain, but I was too hungry to care. The moment I realized just how sharp my teeth had suddenly gotten, I moved away from Stefan's arm, opened my mouth, released an animalistic snarl, and bit into his neck.
I hardly even noticed Stefan's sharp intake of breath as he tried desperately not to scream.
AN: Ahhhhh, so much angst in this chapter! Oh no, how will Elena get herself out of this one? Elena is a vampire and Stefan told her about his addiction! One step forward, one step back, lol. I know things are getting pretty crazy, but I hope you guys enjoyed the chapter. I know it's a bit shorter than usual, but I really wanted to update something for you guys this week, and let me say, school is INSANE right now, so I'm really trying my best to update as often as I can!
Please leave a review :) Let me know what you loved, what you hated, what you want to see! Please tell me what you thought :D As long as you guys want to keep reading, I will keep writing, so let me know! How are things going to change for Stefan and Elena now? Will they be able to make it through this without falling apart? And what about Damon?