Title: One for the Money
Rating: T
Characters: Damon, Stefan, Elena, Bonnie, Caroline
Pairing(s): Delena, Steroline, some Stelena
Summary: Bonnie does a spell to turn Stefan human again so he can be with Elena, but it horribly backfires and instead puts Damon into a coma. Will Elena be able to cope without one of the most important people in her life? And who will be there to comfort Stefan? Inspired by the TV show
Saving Hope.

Stefan, Elena, Caroline and Bonnie waited nervously in the waiting room. Elena paced back and forth in front of the row of chairs. Caroline had her fingers to her mouth and was biting on her nails with worry. Bonnie stared straight ahead with a horrible look of guilt on her face. Stefan looked like he wanted to jump up and run back into the emergency room after the paramedics that sped his brother through the double doors. In reality, that's what they all wanted to do, but none of them did.

They'd been waiting for an hour and a half without any news before Meredith jogged through those same double doors that all four of them had wanted to run through. Elena froze in her pacing. Caroline lowered her hand. Bonnie bit her lip. Stefan stood quickly. The doctor's face was white with exhaustion as she shook her head slowly, walking over to give them news.

Bad news.

The first words Meredith said caused Elena to bring a hand to her mouth, Caroline to widen her eyes, Bonnie to put her head in her hands, and Stefan to sit back down just as quickly as he'd stood up. All four of the teens shook their heads, the words echoing through their minds. He's in a coma… That could have been good news. A coma meant he wasn't dead, didn't it?

Elena nodded slowly when the words started to sink in. He's in a coma… No. He couldn't be. He was Damon. He wasn't even human, except that he was. Short clips of the night flickered through the doppelgänger's thoughts…

She pushed the boarding house door open slowly, carefully hiding the present for Stefan behind her back. The only sounds in the house were someone's footsteps upstairs and Elena did her best to stay silent as she went up. A small frown crossed over her face when she realized that the quiet footsteps belonged to none other than Damon Salvatore. "Damon," she greeted politely before starting for her boyfriend's room.

"He's not home."

Damon's words caused her frown to deepen and her curiosity to peak. "Well, where is he?" The vampire shrugged and went back to what he'd been doing – reading Gone with the Wind – whilst humming a slow melody. Elena narrowed her eyes and shook her head in annoyance. Of course he wasn't going to give an answer; why should he?

After walking into Stefan's room and setting the small box on his bed, she walked into his brother's room and grabbed the book from Damon's hands. "I was reading that!" he complained. The human shook her head, holding the book behind her back as he crossed his arms with a defeated huff. "He went with Bonnie and Caroline to plan a surprise for you, happy? Can I have my book back now?"

Elena narrowed her eyes again, this time in confusion. "Why does he need Bonnie and Caroline to help with my surprise?" She dropped the book on Damon's lap and left the room, frowning as she tried to figure out what Bonnie and Caroline could possibly have to do with a surprise for her.

Damon frowned, mumbling something about losing his place in his book before following after her. "My job is to keep you hear while they go to the woods and do the spell." He scolded himself, she isn't supposed to know about the spell, you idiot! Seconds later, he was standing in front of her, blocking her from going down the stairs. "I mean, to learn how to spell. You know Stefan; he needs spell check for every sentence."

She shook her head and tried to push past the vampire to go down the stairs. "I heard you loud and clear the first time, Damon. Either tell me what spell Bonnie's doing or let me through." Damon swallowed roughly. All they'd asked him to do was keep her here and not let her know anything was going on.

Either way, he was going to fail at one of them. "He wants to be human for you."

She collapsed in the chair next to Stefan's, her legs no longer able to support her. That was how it had started: Stefan wanted to surprise her with mortality, while Damon had only tried to help him. And look where it'd gotten him.

Stefan's eyes were locked on the ground as he slowly shook his head, not wanted to believe it. He's in a coma… The vampire gritted his teeth, lost in his own flashback…

Damon chased a frantic Elena into the clearing, managing to grab her before she could get to his brother. "No! Damon! Let me stop him!" Those tears, the salt water running down her cheeks, that's what undid him. He removed his arm from around her waist and watched her run, tackling Stefan to the ground just as the wave of power passed over their heads, heading straight for him instead.

It was his own fault, Stefan could have easily stood his ground against Elena, but he allowed her to take him down. Where would his brother be now if he hadn't?

Caroline watched Stefan worriedly. How was he dealing with this? It couldn't be easy. He's in a coma… How does someone deal with their brother, their constant, their rock of over a hundred years being trapped in that realm between sleep and death? She felt terrible. It was partially her fault that it had happened…

"You keep saying you want to surprise Elena," she said excitedly, walking backwards in order to face Stefan. "So why don't you go ask Bonnie about that spell? I'm sure she'll help you." She nodded, jumping a bit when Stefan reached forward to grab her arm and stop her from running into someone behind her. Caroline smiled sheepishly, quickly widening her eyes again as she continued the conversation. "So? Are you gonna talk to Bonnie?"

Stefan shook his head, half in amusement. "I don't know, Caroline…"

A frown replaced her excited smile as she froze, crossing her arms. "Well, why not?"

"I'm not going to make a rash decision. And that would be one hell of a surprise." He put his pinky and thumb up, pantomiming a telephone call. "Oh, hi Elena. I have a surprise for you: I got your friend to turn me human again. Isn't that great?" He shook his head again and lowered his hand. "No. But, on the other hand, I'd be able to give her a family and anything else she could want." Stefan looked up in thought, smiling a bit when he realized how ingenious the plan really was.

Caroline started bouncing in place at the sight of his smile. "So… Are you?"

"Yeah. I am."

If she hadn't suggested him going to Bonnie to ask about that spell, they wouldn't be here.

Bonnie, like Caroline and Stefan, was dealing with some guilt of her own. He's in a coma… It was her magic that got him here. She didn't have to do the spell, but she wanted Stefan and Elena to be happy. It was ultimately her choice that had gotten him in this situation…

She mumbled the Latin carefully, making sure to say it correctly. "Da hoc monstrum spiritum et vitam. Excitaretur e somno mortis aeternae." Bonnie knew Elena would love this surprise and spoke a bit louder. "Da hoc monstrum spiritum et vitam. Excitaretur e somno mortis aeternae." She paused for a moment when Elena and Damon entered the clearing before saying it one last time when the vampire held Elena around the waist, not noticing when he let go. "Da hoc monstrum spiritum et vitam. Excitaretur e somno mortis aeternae." She felt the power flow out of her and toward a now tackled Stefan… and Damon behind him.

All four of them continued staring at nothing, not noticing when Meredith left to go attend to other patients. Elena had tears slowly sliding down her cheeks, with Stefan's arm comfortingly slung around her shoulders as Caroline lay against his other shoulder and held Bonnie's hand tightly. Their lives had gone from pleasant and happy to dramatic and twisted in a matter of moments.

The same facts flickered through all their minds. Only 80% of patients in a coma ever wake up… Chances lower to 4% after three weeks… Declared to be in a PVS soon after…

They'd lost him. A brother. A friend. A father figure. A friendly rival. Gone.