The One For Me

This takes place post-Season 4 finale but Stefan doesn't get buried in the water in this story because the thought hurts me way too much! Seriously every time I think of my baby boy desiccating down there, I either feel like crying or I just cry period. (Damn writers!)

This was going to be a one shot but I can't resist making it a bit longer. Please give me some feedback! Tell me if it's worth continuing. Fair warning though: The road back to Stelena happiness will not be easy but rather pretty rocky. Stefan is gonna try very hard to move on as will Elena but a little something called TRUE LOVE will eventually lead them back where they belong. Just be really patient.

P.S. The new update for "To This End" is coming soon as well!

Preface

It was time to go.

Lexi sat beside him on the passenger seat, a jaunty expression on her angular face. "New York?" She asked. She knew that he was leaving tonight and likely never to return to Mystic Falls. She believed that it was the best thing for him under the circumstances and Stefan did too. He really did need a long break from everything.

Stefan shook his head. "Too close."

"Vegas!" Lexi offered a new location, a smile on her face.

Stefan quickly shook his head anew. "Ugh, no. Too touristy."

"Look, I know you think I'm joking, but you just graduated for the millionth time. It's time to start living your life."

Stefan nodded and stared straight ahead as the dark road lay out before him, seemingly unending. "What if Elena was... the one?"

"She was. And she will always be an epic love." Lexi smiled, touching his arm. "Contrary to popular belief, there are actually multiple ones - especially for a vampire. The only way to find another is to let go, and move on."

"I've never been to Portland." He said with a little smile and looked over back at Lexi. Except she wasn't there. The passenger seat was empty. His best friend was gone, like everything and everyone else.

He sighed. "See ya, Lexi."

XoXoXo

By the time he had reached the quarry, he had made a promise to himself. He was going to Portland and he was going to start over. That's what Lexi wanted and the least he could was humor her, even if she was gone. He would enroll in a college, join a fraternity, set himself up in a nice dorm, make some friends, and get a career. Basically do all the things vampires never did. And maybe someday, he could allow himself to fall in love with someone again. It didn't seem possible but Lexi wanted him to be happy and he wanted to honor her wishes. Even if it killed him.

He unloaded the safe and vowed that by the time it had sunk beneath the surface of the water, he was going to be alright. He was going to smile, even if it was forced. Silas was gone at least. That was something.

He set the box on the ground. He leaned down and tested the security of the lock. It remained fast. He then gave the box the old heave-ho and watched it hurtle over the side of the cliff. As it fell, Stefan reminded himself it was almost time to smile. The safe hit the open water with a resounding smack! He watched it sinking fast, collecting water, and he smiled as it finally submerged. The smiled was far from authentic, but he did it for Lexi. He knew she would be watching him from The Other Side. He smiled for his best friend – the one person who had never stopped believing in him.

He smiled until it hurt and then he climbed into the SVU and began driving away.

XoXoXo

He drove all night and was across state lines by early afternoon. He had seen the first rays of the sun as it crept over the horizon that morning and it had warmed him a little bit. Not a lot, but it was something. He cranked up the radio, listening to Bon Jovi on CD. He drank two cups of black coffee that he had picked up from a little mini-mart off the highway. He did everything he could not to think of Elena. Sometimes it worked while he tapped his fingers on the steering wheel and sang along to "Just Older". Sometimes thoughts of her and her beautiful, expressive eyes invaded his mind. But he kept pressing on because that's what he had to do. He had run out of options even as he accepted that the life he had known was now over.

His cell phone started ringing at noon. He ignored it, letting it go to voice mail. It rang again at twelve fifteen. He didn't dare look at the screen. It rang again at twelve-twenty. The caller was insistent though, possibly getting desperate to talk to him. He finally reached for it and extracted it from his pocket. He had three missed calls from Elena. It was a kick to the gut but he resolved if she called again, he would answer.

He didn't have long to wait. She was calling back in a minute this time. He sighed and tried to keep his voice neutral as he answered with a "hello". It was hard to maintain his composure though when she immediately asked, "Stefan, I've been worried about you. Where have you been?"

Be neutral, be noncommittal, he reminded himself. Don't let her realize you're suffering because you don't want her to feel bad. You want her to be happy. That's all you've ever wanted for her. And if Damon does that for her, more power to him.

"Hey," Stefan said and praised himself a bit for keeping his voice even, free of the longing even the sound of her words stirred up in him. "I didn't mean to worry you. Everything went okay with Silas. He's out of our lives forever."

"That's good. I mean, that's actually really great. When I realized you never came back to the boarding house last night, I was worried."

"No need to worry. I just need a little time away, you know."

"Oh… not too long I hope."

She was torturing him, reeling him back like a salmon dangling on a hook. Why did she have to want him to return? Why couldn't she just wish him "bye and good riddens"? It would be so much easier somehow.

"I am not sure how long I'll be gone, to be honest. I just need some time to clear my thoughts." To make my unbeating heart stop hurting, he added silently. That should only take one or two, or ten centuries…

"Where are you going? Anywhere in particular?"

"Portland for now," Stefan answered. "I might put down roots there eventually."

"You're running away!"

"I'm not; I just need time," he said again.

She sighed softly. "I'm sorry. That came out sounding very judgmental. I just want to be sure you're alright."

"I am," he said. It wasn't a total lie. He was choosing to be alright to honor his fallen comrade, Lexi.

"Well uh, keep in touch."

"Will do," Stefan agreed. "Tell Damon to take care for me."

"I will."

"Bye, Elena," he said quietly.

"Bye, Stefan. Godspeed."

There was dead air then and he hung up his phone, tossing it aside where it fell under the dashboard. Good, he would have less temptation to answer it next time.

He sighed and looked ahead, seeing the road stretch on endlessly before him. He had miles to go…