AN: The last chapter of this story my lovelies! My apologies for taking so long, I am swamped with coursework before Easter hols, sad times! I hope you enjoy it none the less, as our favourite couple goes through up and downs. Thank you for sticking with me and my story, much love! Xx

Always and forever,

Raven Mikaelson

Jeremy was dead. Her mind struggled to comprehend the simple sentence that implied she had to live forever without the only family she had left. It was to be expected that one day, nature would separate them as she was the only immortal out of the two, yet not so soon... It was never supposed to be so soon.

Two years have passed since she left America with her bonded. They have occasionally travelled back to celebrate birthdays and other occasions with their friends and family yet could never be persuaded to stay longer than a day or two, the call of travelling deep within their spirit after such time away from Mystic Falls. Elena was astounded to return to the town which had been most of her mortal and a part of her immortal life, only to not feel like it was home anymore. Every time they passed the sign that welcomed them to Mystic Falls, all she felt was an unpleasant shudder running down her spine.

Damon and Rebekah surprisingly continued their physical relationship, however most tongues that saw them in the Caribbean gossiped about them being too affectionate for a purely physical relationship. Was it perhaps Damon finally finding his equal in the blond-turned-ginger-for-a-few-months? Stefan was travelling through Asia currently and still sent her the occasional postcard, which Elena cherished for the sights they depicted and brought many ideas for their own travels with Elijah.

She was relieved when Jeremy finished high school and during one of their phone calls revealed that he was looking forward to moving into Denver and take up an arts course at the local college. He sounded happy about his future as Bonnie was to join him in an attempt to learn more about the magical properties of herbs to start her own business and join a community of witches. Her heart once swelled with joy at how content he sounded with no more threats hanging above Mystic Falls like darkened clouds.

Yet in a single act of violence, her only remaining family was torn from her. A crazed vampire hunter took him and Matt Donovan as hostages in his attempt to lure out the remaining Original in town and in the process blew up the Grill and a part of the surrounding shops. Elena could still remember the phone call that pulled her out of the pleasant afternoon spent in Elijah's company.

Tunisia was a beautiful if poor country. But what took breath away was the rich culture permeating all aspects of their travels, the rich colours of fabrics and spices, the scent of Arabic coffee ground freshly on the market for the sea of tourists milling around. They rose even before the morning sun peaked over the watery horizon, and after a playful swim in the salty water shared words over breakfast and Elijah took her to the market for fresh fruits.

Their bond has strengthened and solidified rapidly over the previous months and their communication remained intimate within the confines of their minds while only in each other's company. They did not feel the need for words spoken, when each word read in mind felt like an intimate caress to their subconscious. Elena often fondly referred to the Original as her bonded and the sparkle in Elijah's eyes at her words could not be overlooked.

He treated her with care and gave her space when necessary, letting her grow and blossom into the beautiful young woman she had turned out to be. After travelling through most of Europe and discovering many a cultures, Tunisia seemed to add more radiance to her skin and a new sparkle to her eyes.

They were lounging the way Gods created them, only covered by light sheets after their love making. The weather was hot and pleasantly warmed their skin, but they were thankful for the small villa near the sea Elijah rented for them since it provided perfect shade. Their terrace was covered from sight and they let the soft warm summer breeze glide over their skin, drying the perspiration gathered there as Elena stretched her limbs languidly and leaned back into Elijah's chest, letting his strong arms glide over the quivering muscles of her abdomen with gentle fingertips.

Her silky hair tickled his collarbone yet he did not miss the long locks. Elena sent him for some more ground coffee to the market and by the time he returned her long locks were gone. All that remained were shiny thick tips brushing shoulders and neck in a semi-short sophisticated cut. Elijah was lost for words momentarily at such a sudden change yet he could see his lover's eyes aged and had to admit it suited the fiery Petrova. Now, he was even more grateful as he had grown very much used to the shorter cut caressing his chest and collarbone the many nights in a joined embrace.

A sudden wetness at his lips pulled the Original from his thoughts and he sucked on the offered digit gently, relishing in the fresh pomegranate juices trickling down Elena's hand. He lapped all of them up and hummed with pleasure at the taste as the enthral beauty in his arms offered him some more. He sat up further against the large silk pillow pressed against the wall and turned her around until her long slim thighs surrounded his trim waist in a sensual embrace in order to share the fruits. Elena bit into the juicy fruit, gathering ripe seeds and let the juices drip down her chin and onto the soft skin of her bared pert breasts.

Elijah groaned softly and licked up every last drop of the slightly tangy yet sweet fruit until his tongue reached Elena's lips and they shared the crimson seeds in an intimate kiss. She moaned softly into his lips and pressed their bodies closer, the spicy natural taste of her bonded with a hint of spice combined with the sweetness of the fruit was a true delight to her.

"Delicious, my heart." Whispered the original's mind as his nose sensually skimmed the slightly flushed skin of her cheek.

She melted further into his strong arms at the endearing words. She could not get enough of his sentiment and while he still remained a man of his manners, when with her and in private both his hands and words showed clear devotion to her. For the first time in years she felt like a sensual woman, sharing a slightly erotic moment with her lover in a beautiful country full of riches for the tongue and senses.

Their moment was interrupted by Elena's cell phone. She did not wish to be disturbed and her friends knew that unless it was a dire situation, she would be the one to contact them. She froze in his arms and reached towards her sandals where she had placed it at the edge of their little love nest made of cushions and blankets.

"Care, what is the matter?" she asked after noticing her best friend's name on the screen.

"Elena, you need to return to Mystic Falls immediately. Something happened, we could not stop it...I'm not sure I should say it over the phone." The blond added hesitantly in a soft voice.

"Tell me." Said Elena firmly, bracing herself for bad news. The quiver in Caroline's voice was enough of an indicator that whatever words were to follow, they would bring nothing good.

"It's Jeremy...I'm sorry but he's dead." It was but a whisper but the words rang in Elena's ears louder than Sirens. As Elijah naturally heard the words spoken, his arms tightened around the shocked form of his lover and held her close, his eyes searching her face carefully.

"What do you mean dead? He can't be. He has his ring and I know it's not safe since Rick but...he has to come back soon." She argued, her voice thick with worry and a small hysterical chuckle bubbled from her throat at the impossibility of the words spilling from Caroline's lips.

"I'm sorry Elena, it was not a supernatural death. He...there was an explosion. The...remains don't allow for him to come back." She added carefully.

"Remains?" whispered Elena, clearly in shock.

Elijah pried the phone from the clutch of her fingers before pressing it to his ear. "Thank you for the information, Miss Forbes. We shall return to Mystic Falls as soon as possible, most likely within 24 hours. May I inquire if a favour would be possible?" he asked.

"Of course, Elijah, anything you need." Said the blond, used to the slightly stiff man after the couple of years that he spent by Elena's side.

"Please inform Niklaus we shall require a room in his manor to be close to the town and Elena's home if need be. Have him prepare a shared suit at the earliest convenience." He said as his eyes never left the shocked young woman in his lap.

"All will be prepared for your arrival brother." came Klaus' voice from Caroline's side and Elijah surmised she had finally given into his brother's wishes for a closer relationship. Yet this was neither the time, nor the place.

"Gratitude brother." His reply was short as the call was disconnected and he pulled Elena closer into his embrace.

Their bond was fully opened and he could feel her shock, her building grief and denial at hearing such news.

"He can't be...not Jeremy...all I had..." her words were a soft whisper of desperation and Elijah could almost hear the shattering sound of her heart breaking into miniscule pieces.

"Elena...focus on me..." he said softly, cupping her cheeks gently and waited until her eyes were focused on his dark gaze. "Now close your eyes and listen..." he instructed, words but a whisper yet she heard him clearly. His deep baritone cut through her emotions and her eyelids lowered of their own accord until the power of their bond encased her.

She could feel his love, his devotion for her whole being and let it comfort her blank mind as their foreheads touched softly.

"Do not shut your emotions from this...let yourself grieve even when the pain is almost unbearable...but first we need to pack and honour your brother with a proper burial. And once his memory is honoured, my arms shall be open to hold you through your grief. Can you do that for me?" his mind asked in soothing tones, waves of comfort and safety overtook their bond as she let him guide her in despair.

It had been one of the most difficult times in her life and Elijah was there to hold her and offer support on every step. Once they arrived into Mystic Falls, Klaus welcomed them sombrely with Caroline on his arm and they arranged for a small ceremony with close friends and family. Seeing Bonnie devastated by the loss of her beloved tore at Elena's already broken heart even more and they found the comfort only a sister could provide for each other.

The place she once called home now only held bitter memories and the full family plot of the Gilbert family at the local cemetery. She felt completely alienated from her previous human life, and as a consequence she felt like a stranger in the large house that was once her home. Framed pictures of her dead family, the once comforting smell of lavender and rosemary in the kitchen, Jeremy's always messy room... As she stepped into the bright room that she once claimed as her own, her mind became completely blank and chest felt hollow as she no longer recognised Elena Gilbert in the reflection staring at her from the mirror.

A pained gasped escaped her lips as her grievous emotions sliced through her mind like a painful lightening and she crumpled to the floor, her legs no longer able to bear the weight on her shoulders. But then there were his gentle warm hands, holding her shoulders and picking her up effortlessly into his strong comforting embrace, their bond humming at the back of her mind even when searing pain wrecked her whole being in sobs. He was her silver lining, and perhaps the only thing stopping her from completely shutting off her emotions to escape the all consuming feelings of grief and pain. With a last look at the house, she let the match fall, burning the last of her ties to Mystic Falls and left, never to look back and hopefully never to return. As the sign announced they were no longer in Mystic Falls, she felt a new beginning swelling in her chest despite the pain and she vowed to remain strong. For herself, for Elijah and for their eternity.

...

It has been ten years since that day and Elena was lost deep in thought as her gaze followed the crushing waves of the ocean from the balcony of their small villa. They were back in Tunisia after the many years of travelling and she had asked Elijah to bring her back to this location as today was the day that she had found out about Jeremy's death, exactly ten years ago.

The Original has showed her the world, fed her foods tongue never even dreamed of tasting and taught her many facts of history and the world they lived in. They have witnessed civil unrests, pandemonium around many new illnesses the human race was faced with, yet their world was one of observers. Their immortality protected them from all mere humans had to face and they enjoyed their lives to the fullest, with no obligations to their time and place.

The first few months after Jeremy's death had proved to be difficult for the last Petrova, but with Elijah's gentle guidance, she found her peace once more. They were happy, their love eternal and bond flourishing. He was everything she had ever needed and wanted in a partner, in a lover and in a friend.

Elijah leaned against the balcony doorframe and watched Elena's petite form bathed in the late afternoon sunlight, the wind playing with her shoulder-length chestnut hair. Her long flowing white dress contrasted with the olive tone on her skin and all he could feel was the warmth radiating from her figure. She was his goddess, his bonded and as he preferred to call her, his heart. Their fights never lasted long and more often than not lead to a passionate make up, their time spent together rich with feeling and experience he now knew lacked in the last thousand years of his existence.

While those centuries were filled with studies, blood thirst, revenge and service to his brother, they felt long and used to weight upon his soul. A mere decade spent in Elena's presence and he felt like a new born vampire, with thirst for joy, excitement and pleasure at her hands.

Finally he stepped forward and pressed his nude chest to her warm back, protective arms embracing her petite waist until there was not an inch left between them.

"What troubles your mind, my heart?" he asked softly.

"Eli...how long have you been there?" she asked distractedly, only now focusing on the familiar touch and safety of his embrace. She leaned into him with her whole being and closed her eyes, letting her mind speak instead of her lips.

"It has been ten years...I find myself slightly unsettled but there is so much to look forward to." Her tone was warm as it penetrated his mind and he smiled against the soft skin of her shoulder.

"It shall be a grand wedding, as vampire royalty Mikaelsons demand the best of course." His tone was teasing as he chuckled softly against her lobe this time, his lips following a smooth path over her throat towards her cheek.

"I still can't believe Rebekah asked me to be a bridesmaid. I mean I did dye her hair ginger. If she's planning some sort of revenge just to make her big day just that little bit brighter, I'm out..." Elena was actually astonished as her and Rebekah's relationship improved over the years. The blond knew her brother was entirely prepared to spend eternity with the Petrova and while her distaste was strong enough to bare teeth at the beginning of this decade, somehow Elena had been the one to help her organise the grand event that will be taking place in Sicily in mere two weeks. Caroline tried to aid as well but Klaus kept her entirely too busy in Paris with a booked fashion show so she had her hands full. At least they will make it for the ceremony.

"Hmm I would say that is much more believable that the knowledge of the elder Salvatore getting married." Chuckled the Original.

"I know! Damon has always been such a man-whore and it took your sister to finally whip him into a stable relationship and now, even marriage. I mean, she must be quite the character if he continued his little shag fest with her more than once. But seriously, if someone told me years ago that I would ever see the day Damon Salvatore was getting married, I would direct them to the nearest mental health institute..." she chuckled in amusement.

A soft nip to her neck was her reply. "Using the terms 'Rebekah' and 'shag' in the same sentence is not necessarily enjoyable to my ears you do realise." grumbled Elijah.

"You aren't listening with your ears, love." She teased with a soft giggle, her previously gloomy mood completely forgotten.

Suddenly she turned in his arms and pressed a soft kiss to his lips. "I don't want to think of the past anymore. I don't care how we got here, I just can't imagine my eternity without you. Let's just be, be happy, be well and content in the knowledge that nothing shall ever separate us." This time her words were spoken, as if they would not be real if only remained whispered by the mind.

Elijah pressed a kiss to her forehead and bent down to pick her up, wounding the long slim legs around his waist.

"Then I shall have you in this very moment. A perfect end to the old decade and start to a new one." His soft words made her shudder with passion as he carried her into their bedroom to make good on his promise.

THE END.