She was tired of running, so she walked. She walked over several continents, feeling the ground under her feet. The last time she was here, she ran, she ran with her hand in Damon's, they were hurrying somewhere. Damon and her were always hurrying somewhere, never taking a minute to rest, or close their eyes, because they had a feeling the world won't wait for them if they're late. Late for another adventure, for a dance on the edge of the world, for the same moon that is going to come out tomorrow at night too. While she was running, the ground was shaking under her feet, and everything was flashing before her eyes, and she had a feeling like the world is disappearing behind her. She wanted to stop so desperately, to take a walk on a French Riviera in the sunset, or take one of those silly pictures of pushing a Leaning Tower of Pisa. She wanted to take a dip in the ocean on the Spanish coast, and get drunk in the middle of London. But there was no time for that, because they were late. They were always late. And when they came there, even if it was on time, no one was there. They were always running into nothing.
"Don't you see?" Damon would say while cupping her face, "We do not need anyone or anything as long as we have each other. We are the world," he would kiss her lips, and in that moment, his kisses would be bitter, because she did not want to be alone in the world, nor did she want to be alone with him.
But she kept running anyway, because his grip on her hand was as tight as his grip on her heart. And she had let him lead her so far away from home, because when you love someone, they're your home, no matter where that is.
So now she walked. And she smiled at babies in their prams, and waved at passing boats while she was sitting on the shore, dipping her feet into the water. She had a croissant in a little French bakery, and coffee from a smallest mug she had ever seen in Venice.
She wrote every one of her mistakes and regrets on few pebbles she had found on the beach in the middle of the night and threw them into the sea, wishing the water would erase them, or at least drown them.
She was nervous to come to her destination, but she did not want to run, because she ran long enough. Running would make her mind foggy, and when she would stop, the whole world would spin until it would shrink, only enough space left for Damon and her to stand.
So now she walked, taking all the beauty in, thinking about everything, everyone, especially him.
How much time has passed? One century, two centuries? Closer to five. World is a different place now. She's a different person. He probably is to.
But five centuries, five hundred years, 219125 days later, he still has one part of her heart. And even if her heart doesn't beat anymore, and it hasn't, for a very long time now, she feels like she will die without that one piece. She gave it to him unintentionally, and he took it unconsciously but even as she turned her back to him and left, she never got that piece of her heart back. Maybe one piece of her was always his. For a long time, he was holding her on the palm of his hand, not treating her like she is his world, but like she deserves the world. For a very long time he was her rock, her friend, her lover, her shoulder to cry on. And then..
..then she broke his unbeating heart.
She remembers it like it was yesterday, the day the sire bond had been broken. He was so positive, so expectant. He was hopeful more than anything else, that his Elena will be back, that she will throw her arms around his neck and kiss his skin with her lips and whisper to him that she loves him until she loses her voice. He was so hopeful he will hold her in his arms and wake up next to her every following morning.
His Elena was back, but she wasn't his anymore.
She looked him into the eyes and told him that she chooses his brother nevertheless. And she watched his hope burn into ashes, and his world crumble under the intensity of her words. She watched his soul leave his body and his skin tremble like he's falling into a shock, but there was nothing she could have done. She owed him the truth as well as she owed it to herself and Damon. And Damon waited for so long, he was so patient to have her, to call her his, so she had let him.
And when he asked her to come with him, she had turned her back to everything she knew and loved, and ran away with Damon. She said her goodbyes to her friends and her family, and she watched tears streaming down Bonnie's cheeks and heard Jeremy begging her not to go. She could have felt Caroline's fingers on her back long after Damon and her left their hometown.
And when they were leaving everyone were there, everyone but Stefan. Her heart ached a little, and she wept silently for few days whenever she remembered his warm eyes or gentle touch, everything Damon did not posses but she loved so much, until she realized she's being selfish - she said goodbye to Stefan long before she actually stepped away from the city.
And after some time, she stopped missing him all together, because as well as she fell in love with everything Stefan was able to give to her, now she fell in love with everything Damon was.
She had the time of her life. Damon showed her things she never knew existed, and he always made sure she is happy, and that she has fun. They made countless circles around the world, always running, never stopping, never watching, always hurrying somewhere. She experienced numerous adventures and met many people. World was her playground and Damon made sure she has every toy she wants to play with.
She never missed anything, she never thought about how things might have turned out if she chose differently, because she was perfectly content. She never cried and she was never sad.
But from time to time, every once in a while, she would get this shooting pain in her chest, and her shoulders would get stiff, and she would feel uncomfortable like someone is watching her. She would turn around but no one would be there. Those moments were fleeting, passing, lasted a second or so, and they were not very often, but those moments had let her mind wander and think about countless of possibilities.
And then, she would go back to her old self.
Until one day. One morning, when she woke up, and started missing all of it. Even sadness and tears. But especially him.
Because all of a sudden, she started feeling incomplete. Like there's a part of her missing. She felt like crying, but she had no reason to. She wanted to be sad, but she had to fake a smile for him. She spent years like that, and that hole in her chest where her heart used to beat was growing bigger and bigger with every passing year.
First she started dreaming about him. He would wander into her dreams, and he would take her far, far away, into his arms. Home. Sometimes she would dream of a situation where previous five centuries never happened, she dreamed of them and people they were long time ago. Sometimes she would dream she spent those years with him. And sometimes, she would dream that cure they were looking for, which turned out to be non existent, existed, and that they spent their lives as humans. Like a family. House, kids, a dog.. everything. Everything she wanted to have and everything he wanted to give to her.
Summers became sad and Winters became colder. Leaves seemed to wither as soon as they touched the ground in the Fall, and it was like time stole her sense of scent because she could not smell blooming flowers in Spring anymore. Days turned into nights, and nights turned into days, seconds into minutes, minutes into hours, and hours skipped days and seemed like weeks. One decade flashed before her eyes even before she had a chance to turn around.
Then, she started thinking about him. Imagining him, how he would look like now, how he would smell, smile, hold her. Love her. She would think about them kissing, his fingers wandering all over her body, and in especially desperate times, she would think about them making love.
Damon had noticed a change in her, but even after all this time, he did not know how to console her. His words always sounded good, when he promised her the world she thought she would be a fool not to take it, so she did. He gave her the world, but without everyone she loves, the world is empty. He loved her and she loved him, but except that, there was nothing there. Maybe the reason why they never stopped running is because they never enjoyed the same things. Loved the same things. They never had anything to talk about.
Damon gave her adventure, and fun, and experiences, but he also gave her randomness, and at times, even loneliness. She started thinking about her friends, about how her brother and Bonnie died long time ago, which is the first time she shed a tear after centuries of keeping a smile on her face.
When she told Damon she's leaving, he was not surprised. He was drunk and tired, but he had heard her because he said he knows, and he wasn't surprised. Maybe he started loving her less with time too.
So she went. She wanted to go home, to the place she once called home, and she hoped people she once loved were still there.
She even wished time froze in Mystic Falls.
But she never ran. She walked. And she was thinking. About him, about them, about her friends. She kept wondering does he still love her. Can he forgive her. Will she ever able to taste his lips again.
She started regretting all of the time she had wasted, because she could have spent it with him.
With the man she loved, always. Even at his worst, even at her worst. The love of her life, her soulmate. Boy who saved her in more ways than one. Boy who kept her alive. Who made her life better when she was living in hell.
They were always meant to be, she knew it. She knew it with every fiber of her being, just like she knew their souls were made out of the same cloth.
And then, after few days of walking, she stopped regretting it. Because once upon a time, she wanted this. She wanted this life, and she wanted Damon. It was simply not meant for her. And now, the only thing she regretted is that it took her so long to figure it out.
She wanted to walk across the water, and she would have, if it were possible.
So she took a plane and flied back to Mystic Falls. And the town was there, still the same, just with different people. Her house was still there, keeping another family warm. She walked over to the boarding house.
She went in. And it was the same as she remembered it. Every book was on its place, and the windows still had the same curtains on them. The leather couch was still there, with four cushions seated on it.
There was a lot of dust on the tables and shelves.
She cried his name out, silently, afraid to raise her voice.
"Stefan. " "Stefan." "Stefan."
After few tries, his name started to sound like a melody, and then she shrieked his name with a similar kind of shriek Lucifer made when she fell from Heaven.
But there was no response.
"Elena?" she had heard her name coming out of someone else's mouth. But it was not Stefan's voice. It was a well familiar, perky female voice.
She turned around and saw Caroline standing behind her, stunned, and surprised, and still looking the same as she did the day Elena said her goodbyes to her. After few minutes of silence, she ran into Elena and threw her arms around her, pulling her into a hug.
They spent a lot of time hugging. Then talking. Then hugging some more.
Until Elena finally asked, "Care, where is he?" her voice was muffled and her eyes were full of tears.
Caroline inhaled deeply, then exhaled loudly, before she wrapped her arms around a cushion that was resting on the couch. "Stefan?" she said his name like it's made out of glass.
A painful smile crept on Caroline's face as she took Elena's hand into hers. "Come," and Elena's fingers wrapped around Caroline's, "I'll take you to him."
They were walking in silence, until Caroline finally spoke.
"It took him a lot of time to get over you," and after she said those words, she laughed out loud, "Sorry, bad choice of words. He never got over you. He never stopped missing you, or thinking about you. I think he simply accepted the fact you're gone," Caroline furrowed her brows and lowered her head. "I was afraid he would turn to his old ways again, but after some time I realized not even the pleasure of blood could heal the wounds you had left in him," Caroline said honestly, and Elena wept silently. "At first he was drinking a lot. Then he stopped. Then he disappeared. First time he did so, I was worried. I looked for him all over the place, but he was nowhere to be found. After few months he came back, but he would not tell me where he was. He would do that often, you know? He would just disappear. Those trips were good for him, it seemed. He tried to live. And he did," Caroline said with a smile on her face, and Elena had no other choice to smile too. "He never admitted this to me, but I think he was looking for you, you know? There were trips from which he came extremely sad, so I thought he must have seen you. Mentioning you would always tear him apart all over again. But he was too proud to admit it, I think," and as Caroline said that, Elena remembered those moments when she had a feeling someone is watching her, followed with a shooting pain in her chest, so she bit her lover lip. "And then," Caroline suddenly started sobbing, "He died."
Elena shot her a confused look, and Caroline pointed to the gravestone on the ground.
Elena fell on her knees when she read his name written on a grey, polished rock.
She fell on her knees and tears started falling down her face even before she read the last letter of his name in her head.
"They don't usually make gravestones for vampires, I know," Caroline said with a teary voice, clearing her face from tears, "But I thought he deserves one, since he had such huge impact on all of our lives."
Elena touched his name engraved on the stone, and for the first time after a long time, she felt cold.
"How?" she asked.
Caroline was silent, and then Elena raised her head to face her.
"From a broken heart," Caroline said with a muffled voice. "He loved you very much, you know. Maybe even a little too much, if there's such a thing. A lot more than you knew, for sure. And loving someone for five hundred years is an awfully long time, especially when you know that person is somewhere out there, but you're not able to be with them. You see, Stefan was a fighter, but a person can fight only as long as they have something to fight for. And he hoped you will come back to him, I think he even dreamed about it. But you never did. And one day, he just gave up."
"But I came back, Stefan!" Elena screamed, facing the gravestone. "I came back for you," she cried out, but no matter how much tears she cried out, nothing would bring Stefan back.
It was too late.
So she sat there in silence, until Caroline left her.
She sat there for days, weeks, months, even years, and she talked to him. She told him everything she did over the last five centuries. Everything she saw, everyone she met. There were a lot of stories to be told. She told him how much she had missed him. How much she loves him, how she always did and always will. How sorry she is. How she wishes she had realized it sooner, maybe then, he would still be alive and they would be able to be together. She even told him how at times, she thought Damon wishes everything turned out differently, because he had always felt guilty.
But she told him all of those stories about running around the world with Damon pretty quickly. She spent years telling him about the few weeks she was walking. Few weeks she was coming back to him.
And then one day, snow started falling hard. And it was falling for days. She was covered with it, but she did not mind, because she was not able to feel coldness. But the snow would not stop falling.
So she curled herself near his gravestones and said that she loves him for one last time before she closed her eyes and before everything stopped existing.
The whole world disappeared, in a whisper.
It was a story. A story about a boy who did not know how to live making a girl. who did not want to live, feel alive.
The next time she opened her eyes, he was holding her in his arms. And everyone were there. Her parents, Bonnie, Jeremy, Caroline, Damon, Tyler, Matt.. everyone she ever met.
"Morning, sleeping beauty," he had kissed the top of her nose, and she pressed herself closer to him, curling herself up in his embrace.
"I have a feeling like I haven't seen you in years," she said, afraid to close her eyes again.
She watched him smile. "No," he shook his head, "I'm here, the same place I was two hours ago, when you dozed off while we were watching a movie," he removed a strain of her hair from her face and kissed her lips.
And some stories never end.