This chapter isn't written in POV format, it's written in a narrator's voice of third person. I'm sorry the update has taken so long but I've been so busy with work and the sudden passing of one of my best friends. Anyway I hope you all enjoy this chapter and please review. I love nothing more than knowing that everyone is having a great experience with this story and that it remains interesting.

The chapter contains a flashback as well as some unexpected Stefan confessions. Perhaps blood is thicker than water after all. Also, in this chapter we will see an appearance from Caroline and a reappearance from Bonnie who seems to have changed her tune.

NOTE: I do not own these characters nor I'm I affiliated in anyway with TVD, The CW or L.J. Smith.


1850.

Damon walked up the grand staircase following the familiar path to his mother's bedroom. She had not come down yet for breakfast and Matilda, the head maid and Salvatore nanny, had given Damon permission to wake his mother. He went down the long hallway until he reached the last door on the right. Gwenievere never slept in the master bedroom anymore with Giuseppe, she preferred her own quiet space. Damon rapped his tiny hand against the hard, white wood of the bedroom door.

Silence.

He tried again, and again.

Still silence.

He grasped the golden doorknob and pushed the door open slowly. Damon noticed his mother's frame lying on the bed, the covers still over her body. He smiled rushing over to the side of the where her arm had hung down.

Mother wake up, Damon tugged gently against her nightgown sleeve; she wouldn't budge.

He tried again, Mother please wake up, and again she did not budge.

Damon was crafty and refused to give up so easily, he pulled himself onto the large, white wooden bed frame, grasping at the comforter for support. He slowly crawled to where his mother rested, her eyes closed, her mouth barely open. He ran his small palm over his mother's cheek, noticing the light pink tint beginning to fade.

Mother, please wake up!

Damon began to lightly shake her at first, then with more force, still Gwenievere would not open her eyes, her body lay completely still against her son's pokes and prods and pleas. Damon turned his head to the door as Matilda walked in, coming towards the bed.

She won't wake, he began, his raven curls falling against his flushed cheeks.

Oh My God, Matilda gasped placing her hand over her mouth.

She leaned into the bed to examine Gwenievere and sure enough her mistress was not breathing.

Mother please, please wake up. Why won't she wake!?

Damon began to plead and question, getting more frustrated and upset by the minute. A slow line of tears began to fall onto his blushed cheek. Matilda still hovered over Gwenievere, her tears also slowly beginning to fall. Mary, another one of the Salvatore maids had come into the bedroom to check on the loud fussing.

Matilda looked up at her, face wet with tears, Take Damon and go downstairs, NOW!

Mary did as she was told, coming over to collect Damon's small, wilting frame into her arms.

NO!, he screamed, Mother!, Mother please!

He fought against Mary's grasp, but she was much stronger than a small boy of 10 years old. Mary dragged Damon, kicking and screaming out of his mother's bedroom.

Lady Salvatore did not wake that day, she did not come down for tea with her sons and all day long Matilda held Damon close to her chest and they both wept.


Gasping for unnecessary air Damon's eyes shot open as he took in the scenery around him. His body sitting bolt upright in the backseat of the old blue Camaro.

"Jesus," he panted, running his large hands through his mess of hair, before covering his eyes in a shielding manor.

The memory had been suppressed for so long, the dream coming to him out of nowhere. If his dead heart could beat it would be pounding out of his chest at the present time. Sliding down once again he stared up at the interior roof of the car, hands now pressed to his quaking abdomen. Perhaps he was dreaming of his mother because of the recent events; he had left Elena her necklace after all. Or perhaps it was that he was in need of her strength, her shield and safety which she provided him with even in her death.

"Did I make the right choice?" he whispered, wondering if Gwenievere was listening in on her first born.

"I need to...for Stefan...for her," he continued, feeling the welling of tears beginning behind his oceanic spheres.

The sunshine poured in through the windows, alerting Damon of the day ahead. It was time to press on, move further on his journey, forget about the past and not burden his peaceful mother with his perpetual heartache. Stretching his limbs, he opened the door and slid out of the car. Finding his way to the driver's seat once again, he turned the key in the Camaro's ignition and looked to the road ahead. The back of his hand moved over his cheeks gently, collecting the residue of tears he had no idea had fallen.

"No more," he shook his head, reaching for his phone that rested in the passenger seat. 5 missed calls; 4 from Stefan and 1 from Elena. There were 3 voice-mails but he couldn't bring himself to listen to any of them. To hear her voice would ruin everything, cause him to crumble and turn right back around. Mystic Falls was not in his future and he needed to press on before he made the wrong, selfish decisions all over again.

Before he was about to toss the phone aside and get back onto the main highway, it began to vibrate. Stefan's name flashed across the screen, begging him to answer. Just do it, his mind pressed while the other half screamed for him to hit ignore.

"Well if it isn't my baby bro," he spoke into the phone, feeling his stomach twist with displeasure and nervousness.

"Damon," Stefan responded, voice sounding strained, "Where are you?"

"On a quest," he replied sarcastically, "spirit quest really; trying to find out who I really am and all that good garbage."

"Seriously, Damon," his brother persisted, "where are you?"

"Honestly, Stef, just let it go," Damon commanded in his stern voice, "you got what you wanted, I left. I told you I would remember? The deal we made a few weeks back about Elena's choices. I'm doing you both a huge favor, so just let me be."

The silence on the other line becomes deafening, so he tries to focus once again on the road and ignore the uncomfortable lull between them. The green sign ahead reads: New Orleans - 55 miles.

"She won't eat," Stefan finally speaks, that brooding voice so full of pain, "she's starving herself, Damon. Ever since she read that depressing letter you left her she's be holed up in your room. Last time I tried to get in she literally almost bit my head off."

Damon frowns, teeth tugging at his lower lip as he fights back every urge to turn the damn car around. Starving herself? Why? This isn't typical Elena behavior, not in response to his actions anyway.

"Why did you write her that letter?" Stefan asks, the edge to his voice returning and the hurt fading away. "Then you left her, it's like those words never meant anything at all," he argued, "they were just words. Did you do it to make her feel guilty? Do you want her hurting because that's exactly what's happening right now."

The rage clouds Damon's judgement, hands clenching the leather of the steering wheel so tight his knuckles go a ghostly white. How dare he even question why he would write her that letter or the truth of his feelings? They both know how much he loves Elena, how much he desires her and every little piece of her.

"I wrote that letter so that she would know how much I love her and always will," he defended, "I love her Stefan, I'm in love with her and it hurts too Goddamn much to stick around in a place where the person you're madly in love with doesn't love you back. She doesn't feel the same and she never will. It's always going to be you Stefan...always."

"No," Stefan counters, "she doesn't love me anymore. She told me that herself a few nights ago. After I found out about what you'd both done at that frat party. She basically told me you're all she thinks about and that she's in love with you, not me. I'm jealous, I'll admit that...I'm angry and I feel beyond betrayed. But despite how I feel I don't want her going off the deep end because you left, you abandoned the woman you claim to love. She's hurting more than I've ever see her hurt. I've been thinking a lot about this conversation I wanted to have with you. I've wanted to tear you apart, break every finger you have for touching her. But now I understand that no matter how much pain and suffering I inflict on you, it isn't going to make Elena love me again. I won't have her the way you do. She's dying for you Damon...as hard as it is for me to say that out loud, she needs you so much more than she's ever needed me."

The words being uttered by Stefan have Damon at a complete loss. His heart is clenching in his chest as he envisions little Elena laying in his bed, starving to death, blood completely drained from her beautifully soft features. The fact that his little brother tosses out the word love so freely has him uncomfortable for he'd much rather heard it from Elena herself. That's all he ever wanted, was for her to love him, love him the way he loves her.

"She's been wearing mom's necklace," the youngest Salvatore continues, "it makes her feel connected to you. She told Bonnie this morning that it makes her feel like a part of you is still beside her. She said that she had a dream about our mother, or what she envisioned mother to look like. I guess the apparition told her to go find you, at all costs because you are her soul mate."

The venom is no longer leaking into Stefan's words, his voice calm and informative. The pain is coursing through Damon's body and he feels as if he needs to breath. Of course that is not possible as a vampire but he senses the oxygen deprivation from his brain.

"Why are you telling me this?" he asks, more so in a whisper, "you could easily console her and make her believe you're the better match for her. It was you after all who told me I was all wrong for her. How could she be dreaming of mother? How could we possibly be thinking about her at the same time?"

"Maybe it's meant to be," Stefan offers up, "I know this all is surprising to you, especially because it's coming from me, but it's all true Damon. I swear on everything that what I'm telling you is the complete and utter truth. She needs you Damon, she loves you, you are the better man this time. You want to do the right thing, well the right thing is for you to be back here...with her."

The line goes dead only seconds after, causing Damon to hurl his cellphone into the floor of the passenger side. This was unexpected and he's conflicted more than he's ever been in his entire life. Looking down he notices the gas gauge hovering over E, knowing he'll be pushing the Camaro if he doesn't stop soon. In that moment he decides to stay in New Orleans for the day and into the night, figuring he can have a chance to clear his head and decide the best possible decision.


"I'm glad you came," Stefan smiles, taking Caroline into his arms and hugging her close to his chest.

"Is she still in his room?" The spunky blonde asks, face contorted in a mixture of sadness and a tiny hint of disgust.

"Yeah," he nods, "she refuses to come out, answer her cellphone or eat. The only person that she's allowed up there with her is Bonnie."

"Well I'm going to fix this," she answers with a smile, more confident than ever before.

Pulling a blood bag from her purse, Caroline holds up the mid afternoon snack to Stefan, before sprinting off to the grand staircase. The walk is quick with her enhanced vampire speed, having her at Damon's door in a matter of seconds. Pressing her hand against the wood she listens intently as Elena speaks with Bonnie, the sobbing causing the blonde to frown.

"Elena," she calls, opening the door and sliding inside.

The starved vampire is a putrid shade of grey, her eyes bloodshot and her voice scratchy like sand paper. The sight causes Caroline to gasp, but she's quick to rein in her concern and upset. This isn't about her or her feelings she reminds herself, this is about Elena. Bonnie sits on the large mattress, holding their friend's hand and stroking her long locks of chocolate hair.

"Why are you here?" Elena whispers, coughing some before she makes eye contact with the blonde's blue-eyed gaze.

"To help you," Caroline offers up, showcasing the lukewarm blood bag as she steps closer to them.

"I'm not hungry," the brunette shakes her head, "and I don't want you here."

"Why does Bonnie get to be here then?" she asks in a frazzled manner as her eyebrows knit together.

"Because," Elena sputters, "we had a heart to heart. She no longer judges me or my decisions."

"I don't judge!"

"Bullshit!"

The angry vampire is screeching now as she sits bolt upright in Damon's bed. Fangs elongated as she fights the urge to fly across the room at Caroline. Deep down however she knows her strength is waning, the chance of her winning the fight is pretty slim.

"You hate him," she spits, "you hate Damon so much. How can you not understand how much he loves me? How much I love him?"

The blonde vampire stands in the center of the bedroom feeling completely bewildered. Her face softens as she sees her friend struggling terribly, the poor girl practically dying before her. All in the name of love, she thinks as she shakes her head, so poetic.

"I'm sorry," Caroline apologizes, "ok? Elena, I'm so so sorry. I know you're hurting but starving yourself isn't going to fix anything. It's not going to bring him back."

Bonnie stays silent as she has for the past ten minutes, her arms around Elena with absolutely no fear of the hungry vamp. She owes her friend this much, she owes her complete freedom to do as she pleases. The last time they'd spoken she'd been entirely insensitive to Elena's feelings. Having had time to reflect on everything, Bonnie had decided that her friendship was more important than her judgement when it came to the eldest Salvatore.

"Elena," the witch finally speaks, "you should drink. Please. For me and for Caroline. For yourself above all things and Jeremy. I promise you if you feed like you're suppose to, we'll be able to figure everything out."

"He's gone," she weeps, clinging to her friend, burying her face in her hair, "I need him, Bonnie. Just him."

"I know, sweetie," she consoles, even if she doesn't understand the relationship between Damon and Elena, she still is willing to aid her friend in this time of need.

"I want..." she trails off, hacking once again as she tries to find her voice, "I need to find him, but I can't go alone."

Those bloodshot eyes look up to her friends' faces, begging them to offer before she has to ask. She's willing to get down onto her knees in this moment and beg for them to join her in her crusade to bring home the man she loves. Although she is fully aware that both Caroline and Bonnie detest Damon, they should both be willing to help her regardless due to their everlasting bond as friends.

"If you eat I'll go," Bonnie nods, gazing over at the little blonde vampire for a second agreement.

"Fine," she shakes her head, "Elena if you feed and stop trying to commit vampire suicide by starving yourself then I'll help you find Damon. Ok? Just please, please drink this."

Handing the bag to her friend, she takes a seat on the bed next to Bonnie waiting for Elena to make her move.

Holding the blood bag in trembling hands, Elena sucks the tip of the plastic into her mouth. In an instant she's feeling the warm rush of crimson liquid hit her tongue and glide down the back of her throat. Squeezing tightly, more of the life sustaining matter fills her. Cheeks beginning to flush once again, as her skin turns to a pale olive and her eyes morph back to their normal chocolate brown. The plastic tubed tip falls from her lips and she's gasping into the air. The life radiates through her very being and she's on her feet in a seconds time.

"Let's go," she states, hands on her hips as her friends are left to balk in disbelief.

"Don't you need more?" Caroline asks, sliding off of the mattress with Bonnie following suit.

"No," Elena shakes her head, "I can have more on the road. Right now all I need is to get into the car and drive."

"We don't even know where he is," the blonde protests, crossing her arms over her chest.

"I can find him," she insists, moving to the corner of the room and picking up her discarded sweater and sliding it on.

"How? With your blood bond?" Caroline hisses, not meaning to sound bitchy but she's starting to believe her friend is a tad delusional.

"The necklace," Bonnie points to Elena's chest, "Damon's mother's necklace. I wonder if I can track him with that."

"I can't believe I agreed to this," Caroline shakes her head, "I must really love you Elena."

Stomping out of the room, the petite blonde begins calling for Stefan to inform him of the latest news while Elena rolls her eyes and takes up the conversation with her witchy friend.

"Can you really do that, Bon?"

"We can try," she offers, placing a firm hand on Elena's shoulder.

"I have to find him."

"And you will," she nods, "I promise."