To This End

My first full-length Stelena fic. It is AU. Eventually there will be vampires in this, but not quite yet! lol I hope it turns out alright. Although it will be angsty at times, true, I hope it's a different kind of angst than what Julie Plec writes – the kind of angst that forces a couple to work through their problems together… I just thought us SE fans could all use an escape from the utter heartbreak known as Season 4 of The Vampire Diaries.

Preface

He was having the nightmare again.

His hands clawed at the bed sheets as his body spasmed on the mattress, the intensity of the images reverberating in his head causing him to writhe and moan in his sleep. Even after all this time, he could still smell the smoke; hear the sirens and the screams.

It had all happened so quickly. He had been on the phone, just chatting with his sister-in-law, promising her that he'd bring the family 'round again very soon. The house was quiet. His kids had been tucked into their beds and his wife was asleep upstairs, having given into exhaustion after a long day of chasing around twin toddlers and nursing a little infant too. He had wanted to stay home that day and help her out but his paternal leave was over and she had insisted that like it or not, he had to go to work. She had said that his students at the university needed him too. Selfless. That's what she was though she would always deny it.

He had just put down the phone when suddenly the whole place seemed to be engulfed in flames. The fire was everywhere, spreading fast, and he couldn't begin to guess where or how it had begun. He didn't have that luxury of time to try to figure that out. Adrenaline coursed through his veins as he immediately ducked low and ran for the staircase. The wood banister was beginning to lick with flames already and he knew he'd have to move quickly.

He was screaming her name. Screaming for his children too. He vaulted up the stairs, taking three steps at a time as he ran down the hallway. The whole of upstairs was nearly swallowed up in smoke and he coughed loudly even as he heard panicked crying from the nursery. He ran for the nursery first and threw open the door, gathering his little boy into his arms, tucking the infant's little wrinkly forehead into the fabric of his shirt. He then ran to the next room. The twins' room. They were awake and shaking in their little beds. He told them as calmly as he could to stand up and follow him to their mother's room. He was panicked, not knowing why she wasn't replying, why he hadn't heard a peep from her thus far. He pushed open the door and saw the room was alight in flames. He screamed her name. Through the haze of smoke he thought he saw a shadowy figure standing over his wife's bed but it had to be a mirage. His eyes watered both from the smoke and from the intensity of his emotions. The air was so thick and threatened to sever his ability to breathe.

"Baby, wake up!" he cried. He ended up settling the little infant in the hallway with the twins and then he ran for the bed. She was finally arousing. Her eyes went wide when she saw the whole room was on fire.

"Ohmigod!" She screamed and struggled to kick back her covers. He helped her out of the bed and hugged her for the briefest moment. "What is happening?"

"I don't know," he answered and led her through the room and out into the hall.

"We have to get out of here," she cried but she could see as well as he could that the staircase was completely gone into the flames now. The only area not aflame yet was the back room – the guest room. The room with the balcony.

He settled the screaming infant into his wife's slender arms and took each twin by the hand, running with them for safety. "What are we going to do?" His wife asked. "Oh god."

He struggled with an all-consuming sense of inertia. How was he going to get them all out of here in one piece?

"The bed sheets!" He finally said. "We'll tie them together and I'll lower you all down."

She nodded and together, they made quick work of tying the sheets together. In the distance they could hear sirens but they didn't sound nearly close enough.

"Hold on tight," he told the twins and they screamed loudly as he lowered them from the precipice. He wife and youngest child were to be next.

Tears were pouring from her eyes as he wrapped the sheet around her and the baby as snuggly as he could.

A heavy beam came crashing down from the ceiling, only missing them by two centimeters. They both screamed this time.

He practically shoved her towards the balcony. "Hurry!" he bellowed.

"I can't leave you. I can't. Don't ask me to!"

"You have to. I promise to come down right after you. Hurry!" he shouted again. He then pressed his lips urgently to hers. If this was the last kiss they ever shared, he wanted to die with the taste of her on his lips.

She was sobbing as she kissed him back and then moved to the ledge. "I love you, Stefan," she screamed. "Come back to me."

"I will love you forever, Elena, forever…"

XOxOxO

He sat bolt upright in bed, gasping for air, her name tearing from his lips. He had sweat clean through his night clothes and tears stained his face. He wished every time that this was just a nightmare but it wasn't.

It was the bitterest of memories.

He had not only lost his own life that day; he had lost his whole reason for being. Elena and his children were a part of a world that he did not belong to anymore. The mortal world.

"I love you, Elena," he whispered as more tears came. "Forever…."