Alternative ending from 'after school special', starts from the phone call.

My phone rang in my pocket, so I put down the shovel and looked to see who it was. I had a pretty good idea though…

"Elena" I greeted as I answered the phone "I sure hope your day was better than mine, I gotta say I'm liking the odds."

Unusually I was met with silence, I wondered if she was ignoring me, but then I heard it, that tiny little sniffle that told me all was not okay.

"Elena?" I asked, concerned now. What could have happened to make her upset? I bet it has something to do with a certain brother of mine. "Are you okay?"

There were a few more sniffles, then "I guess I'm okay" she said finally, but her voice cracked slightly

"You sure?" I asked her, prompting her to tell me. She needed to trust me, and I know that after everything I've done, after all the times I'd double crossed her she has no reason to ever trust me again. Bu I've changed, she changed me. Elena was so good for me, just like Lexi had been good for Stefan.

"No" she said in a tiny voice. She sounded so vulnerable, nothing like my Elena. "Damon I need to see you" she pleaded quietly "Please"

"No Elena" I said painfully, every cell in my body wanted to say yes. Every cell wanted me to rush over there and scoop her up in my arms, breathing in her intoxicating smell. "You know I can't, I have to break the sire bond Elena."

"No Damon, listen." She urged gently "Today I found something out about you. Well, about us. You can call it the sire bond, maybe it is, but I'm telling you, this thing we have, It's the most real thing I've ever felt." She paused, and I instinctively knew what was coming "I love you Damon."

No. she couldn't say this, screw everything up now. I had broken the sire bond, I couldn't have her. She was, and always had been off limits, I can't be selfish with her. Hearing her say those words, hearing her admit she loved me, me, not Stefan, it was always Stefan, but hearing her say it made something click inside me, it made something fall into place. Old memories started leaking back through, fuzzy memories.

"This is even more pitiful than I thought" I said, weakly attempting humour. My head was resting on Elena, she had her arms wrapped around me

"There's still hope" she said firmly, mopping my brow a bit more.

"I've made a lot of choices that have gotten me here. I deserve this. I deserve to die." Sorrow filled my voice; this was it, over a hundred years too late I was dying. I was dying in the arms of the girl I loved with all my heart. The girl who I would say anything, do anything, be anything just to make her happy.

"No." she said soothingly "You don't"

"I do Elena, it's okay" I said insistently, "It's okay. 'Cause if I'd have chosen differently, I wouldn't have met you" I winced as another spasm of pain shot through my body, the burning was all up my arm now, almost at my heart. I gasped in the air as I tried to finish my sentence "I'm so sorry" a felt a tear lip down my cheek as I gasped for another breath of air "Done so many thing to hurt you"

She stroked my forehead gently "Shh, it's okay. I forgive you"

I clenched my fist as the red hot pain seared through me; I fought to hold on to consciousness. I took a deep breath, filling my weakening lungs with oxygen

"I know you love Stefan" I whispered "It'll always be Stefan." I thought of my brother, the 'good' Salvatore, It would always be him, first Katherine, and then Elena.

She took my hand in her soft ones, and shuffled down, lying next to me with her head on my chest. I felt so comfortable with her there, it felt so right, and even while I'm dying I feel happier than I have in a long time.

"But I love you" I said, gently caressing her hair "You should know that" I was finally telling her I loved her, I wasn't going to compel the memory away, or lie to her. I was telling her the truth.

I felt her tremble underneath my arm as the silent sobs shook her body; her wet tears sliding noiselessly down her face. "I do" she sniffed, her voice cracking. I felt kinda good that someone cared about me enough to be crying over my death, I had never been cared about, not since mother…

"You should have met me in 1864" I told her with the ghost of a smile on my face "You would have liked me then" I remembered my childhood with Stefan, playing American football on the lawn, chasing him through the forest as kids, having deep and meaningful conversations with my brother, proudly showing him my uniform as I prepared for war… I was a proper gentleman back then, the though of killing a person repulsed me.

Elena raised her head and looked up at me "I like you now" she smiled weakly "Just the way you are"

Just then, in a moment of pain filled bliss I had the overwhelming urge to close my eyes. Too weak to fight, I complied.

I was aware of two lips pressed gently against mine, I could taste the salty tears and I could feel her breath on my face, tickling my skin. I flung my eyes open. Elena had kissed me, she had really kissed me.

"Thank you" I told her, for now I could die a happy man.

"Your welcome" she said, cupping my face with her hands

That moment was bittersweet; I had been dying, but I had finally unloaded some of my feelings and thoughts onto Elena. I remembered that kiss, and the spark, that instant connection I had felt. That had been real, that memory was before the sire bond, that was her true feelings, human elena's feelings. She had loved Stefan, but she had loved me too, the transformation would have amplified it. Maybe it wasn't all the sire bond after all, maybe, just maybe she actually loved me.

"I love you" she said again, reminding me that I was still on the phone to her. Her voice sounded thick, almost as if she had been crying, she sounded so small and pitiful and I couldn't stand it, I needed to see her. The line went dead as she put the phone down, obviously sick of waiting for a reply that was never going to come.

I couldn't do this anymore, I needed to see her, I needed to know she was safe and happy. I need to make her happy, I can't stand to see her upset, ever.

As I walked back towards the lake house, I contemplated just grabbing my keys and driving over there right now, but then I remembered about Matt and Jeremy. Jeremy was delicate right now, he was doing well, but anything might set him back. I couldn't let my absence be a chance for Klaus to worm his way in and ruin it, I had promised Elena I would look after her brother and make sure he was safe. I thought I should let them know I was 'popping out', where however, they would not need to know.

"Jeremy?" I called out as I grabbed my car keys from the key dish "Matt?" I heard the sound of reluctant footsteps as they trudged over to the top o the stairs, each of them holding a slice of pizza. Do they ever stop eating?

"I need to g-"

Before I could finish Jeremy cut in "Go man, if she needs you then go. I'm cool with that"

He smiled reassuringly at me, and for one tiny moment it felt as if he actually knew me, and as if he knew that I needed her as much as she needed me. Then the moment passed, and took the feeling with it.

"Thank you, but I would have gone without your permission" I replied, a little bit of arrogance sneaking in.

"I know" He said simply, taking a bite out of his pizza "Bye" he mumbled with his mouth full.

"Didn't you get taught any manners?" I said in disgust as I stepped out into the cold air.

Xxx Elena's P.O.V xxX

He was all I could think about. I loved him more than anything, I felt alive when I was with him. He can blame it on the sire bond all he likes, but It's not going to change the fact that I'll spend the rest of my days going insane with pain and longing if I can't be with him. I don't care if it's the sire bond, I'm happy when I'm around him, he makes me feel like being a vampire is fun.

As I was lying on my bed, I heard the sound of a car pulling up outside the house. Who on earth could it be at this time of night? I could only hope it wasn't Stefan, I'd hurt him enough today. I'd hurt him so much that he'd finally done it, he wanted to forget me. Every moment of happiness, every perfect moment we spent together he wanted forget.

"Elena?" my heart jumped at his voice, he was here!

"Damon!" I exclaimed, jumping up from the bed and flying down the staircase at vamp speed. I collided into his body, causing him to take a slightly staggered step back, and flung my arms around him, holding onto him so tightly.

"Hello to you too" He said, chuckling slightly in typical Damon fashion.

"Damon" I whispered, not sure if I was just imagining things…it wouldn't be the first time.

"What's wrong Elena? You were upset on the phone" he asked seriously, loosing the arrogant grin. Immediately I remembered what I had been thinking about before Damon walked in and banished all thoughts of the subject.

"Stefan knows" I told him, a fresh wave of emotion washing over me "he knows about everything Damon"

I watched his face fall; he didn't even bother trying to hide it from me

"So that's it then. My brother hates me!" he said, trying to recapture his arrogant, i-don't-care-about-anyone attitude, but failing miserably. "Again" he added

"He hates me too. He asked Rebekah to compel him to forget me, and every memory associated with me." I told him, sorrow filling my heart "I love him, but I'm not in love with him. But I still care about him; I don't want him to be upset. I caused him so much pain Damon, I'm a monster, I'm, I'm, I'm…"

"Shh. Elena, you're not a monster. Stefan overreacts; he couldn't let you go even though you moved on. Perhaps it's a good thing" Damon said, placing his finger on my lips to stop me. "When did he find out?"

"Rebekah took us hostage and compelled me to-"

"Woah, wait. Rewind. Rebekah took you hostage?" Damon interrupted, stunned. "Why am I not told these things?"

"Oops, sorry I forgot."

"You forgot?" he said in wonder "Elena, a pencil is something you forget, a birthday is something you forget, but being kidnapped? That is not something you forget"

"Well I did" I told him, ignoring the way the corner of his mouth twitched up into a lopsided smirk. "She compelled us to speak truthfully, which is why I know it's couldn't have been the sire bond"

"wait" he said, confused "I thought we were talking about stefan?"

"We were" I told him as I dragged him through to the sitting room and pulled him onto the sofa "and now we're not"

He raised his eyebrows slightly, but decided not to question it. Wise choice in my opinion.

"I feel alive when I'm with you Damon, I feel happy. I feel as if I can be me, I don't need 'fixing'. I didn't sleep with you because of the sire bond; I slept with you because I love you. Because I'm in love with you." I looked up, my eyes meeting with Damon's. I felt the familiar spark ignite my body as I saw his face change, it relaxed and in that second I knew something had changed, yet I didn't know what. It was almost as if our connection had deepened somewhat.

"Elena" he pleaded, his eyes softening "Don't do this to me"

"Do what?" I asked him, totally unaware of doing anything to him

"I don't know Elena"

As I looked at him, he looked so small and confused that my heart couldn't help but melt. He looked torn, torn between what his everybody else said was right, and what his heart told him was right.

"You have this affect on me, it's almost like a sire bond of my own. I need to make you happy, if you're miserable, then I'm miserable. I love you Elena, and every moment I spend with you I fall in love with you just a little bit more…" Damon opened up for the first time, properly admitting to me how he felt "It feels so right to be with you, but I shouldn't. You're sired to me Elena, how am I meant to know what's real and what's not? What about my brother? You still love him…"

I looked at his heartbroken expression and I knew I had to set one thing straight.

"I love Stefan, but I'm not in love with him. I love you Damon, you're the one I want. Not Stefan, not matt, not anybody else, just you. This" I said, touching his chest, right about where his heart is "This is real. This feeling, this connection is real Damon, you know that. It was here way before the sire bond, back when I was human. Do you remember when you were dying? When Tyler Lockwood bit you? I kissed you Damon; I kissed you because I was falling in love with you. I didn't want to admit it to myself but I was. I was falling in love with my boyfriend's brother. The sire bond doesn't affect my feelings, just my actions. I know this is real Damon, you have to trust me."

Damon looked at me hope in his eyes for the first time

"Do you mean that? You're not just saying it are you?"

I looked back at him lovingly "Of course I do Damon"

"I love you Elena, I always have" He admitted as he stroked my cheek gently

"I love you too" I replied and wrapping my arms around his neck we both kissed with a new sort of passion.

For the first time in weeks, I finally felt complete.

I felt happy.