A/N: Hey all..Just a little kind of extended AU scene from last night's SE scene where Elena begs Stefan to "Stay with her."

Enjoy! :)

Stay With Me

Drowning. Suffering.

Three months of it had been enough for Stefan to conjure up a fantasy, a set of memories that made the pain seem to fade for a bit. Even though he was still in pain, the hallucinations made it easier to tolerate his new reality. It made it easier for him to not want to give up- that was until he opened his eyes and there stood Damon, hand on his shoulder as Stefan watched out the large windows that lead outside of the house, a beautiful garden that had been keeping him calm for months now.

Yet, his older brother words were like a slap in the face, stirring up old feelings of hatred towards himself. " Just turn off that pesky humanity switch." Damon pleaded with him, watching as Stefan continued to look out the window.

"It won't take the pain away." He replied in a dire tone. He knew because he had been contemplating it for months, thinking about how if there was one thing that could save him from feeling anymore pain it was to turn it all off, to become the ripper that everyone once knew- that many feared.

"Yeah. But, it will turn off your misery, your fear, your hopelessness." Damon replied, nearly begging him to turn it all off, to end his suffering.

He watched with wide eyes as Stefan pivoted on his heels and locked his green gaze upon his brother. "And, then what..huh? Let's say you actually notice that I'm gone..Let's say that I get out of this. What good is it if I'm a monster again? How is that better than any of this?" Stefan asked him, watching Damon shift his weight and intensely look up at him. He wasn't really sure. Maybe it was the fact that as much as he knew his brother, there was still a lot Damon didn't really know or realize- like the fact that Stefan was still troubled by his blood lust, by his cravings that never seemed to really cease.

Stefan turned away from him again, ignoring his requests and continuing to stare out the window in wonder. He had thought about it. Losing so much in such a short time had drove him to think about it even more in the last three months and now, being stuck in the safe had made it 100 times worse. Yet, he still held out hope that maybe just by a sheer thread of something that he would be able to eventually regain who he was before his life had been destroyed. Before he had lost her to the one person he thought he wouldn't lose her to...his own brother.

"You're thinking about it. Flip the switch, brother. Pull yourself out of this misery, please." Damon once again egged him on. He could hear the despair in his voice, the pure disappointment in himself when he told him that it had taken him a long time to come back to who he was the last time that he had 'flipped' the switch.

" What about everything I lost in the process..." Stefan's voice broke, he shrugged his shoulders back a bit and then he heard Damon's voice once more. "You don't deserve this Stefan! You did the right thing, you walked away. You let us be happy and this what you get in return? How is that fair?"

Stefan stayed silent, swallowing the lump in his throat as he thought about Elena and her confession of love towards his brother. It made him sick, it made him reevaluate it all and once more for a minute- he thought that he could- "Just turn it off."

He closed his eyes, head down and started to fade into the darkness. But, it all vanished- Damon's pleading- every ounce of fear he had, every ounce of doubt when he heard her voice and felt her hands on his face.

"Wait. Stay with me, Stefan." Elena pleaded, eyes on him like she was afraid he'd disappear, her hands warm and soft upon his rough and cold skin.

Stefan's eyes fluttered open, confusion on his face as he spoke in a soft and tired tone. "What are you doing here?" He asked her.

"Where else would I be?" She replied to him, a small smile tugging across her lips, like the girl he once knew. Her brown eyes were lively and full of hope, full of love and admiration- like the girl he once loved and had given up- long ago.

"I know this is torture, but stay with me. Your humanity is the one thing that makes you who you are. Don't let go." Elena told him, watching as he closed his eyes to her touch. It was torture, his hallucinations of Elena had become even more frequent lately, even more profound and it really did feel like she was in front of him, comforting him in the only way she knew how with words of encouragement.

"Please, Stefan. For me." She said, eyes glazed over with tears as she began rubbing her thumb over his cheek and locked her eyes on him. Elena watched as Stefan nodded, exhaling deeply when she retracted her hand and she started to fade.

"Stay." He whispered towards the suddenly fading image of her, all in white- like an angel.

"We'll be together again soon, Stefan. You just have to have a little hope. I promise you, I'm going to write my wrongs..I'm going to fix this." She told him, turning to leave. But, stopping as he reached out to grab her.

Elena spun back around towards him. Tears in her eyes as she glanced up at him and smiled a wide and yet sorrowful facial expression. "I've done a lot of bad things and hurting you the way I did. You shouldn't even want me here, I don't deserve you, Stefan. But, you keep thinking about me, you keep dreaming up this version of me that you refuse to let go of. The girl I was before all this- the one you loved..Stefan, we both know I can't stay, it's too painful."

His fingertips slide off her skin, his eyes closed as the tears returned and he inhaled deeply. "We've both done a lot of bad things, Elena and I can't forget them. But, give me right now. Just..let me hold on to you for as long as I can. Please, you're the only thing that's kept me from turning it all off. You always have been- my hope. I need you with me." He confessed, watching as she stepped towards him again and inhaled through gritted teeth, wiping away her own tears.

She was an illusion. He knew that. Yet, in his mind- she really was the only thing that kept him going, the only thing that gave him a sense of calm and peace. "Stay. Please, just stay. That's all I ask. Even if it's just for a moment." He begged her, watching as she lifted her warm hands to lay on each side of his cheeks again, her brown eyes glazed over with tears when he placed his arms around her waistline and pulled her towards him, wrapping her up in his protective and safe embrace.

"I don't want this to fade, I don't want to let you go. Because, I know that once I do that- you'll go back to him. And, I'll be left with nothing..Nothing to hold on to." Stefan admitted, burying his face into her hair, inhaling her scent as he exhaled a breath and held her tightly, feeling as her tears dripped down on to his shirt and she tightened her arms around him. They both knew that the reality of it all was that once they let go- that was it- she'd be gone and he'd be left with nothing, just his own misery. They'd be back to where it had all left off- 3 months ago.

"I know...I know. But, you're going to be okay, Stefan. We're going to find you and you're going to be okay. Please, just don't give up on that. Because, I love you, Stefan. I love you and as much as I try to stop- that's never going to go away and I don't want it too. I've tried to stop loving you. But, I can't. So, you need to believe me when I tell you that you're going to be okay, we're going to find you." She said, swallowing the lump in her throat as she leaned her head against his shoulder and cried.

He held her, his hand on the small of her back, the other wrapped up into her brown hair. Elena felt as he began swaying them back and forth as the room started to darken and she too began to fade. "Close your eyes and stay with me." Elena whispered against his ear as she kissed his cheek, backing away with tears in her eyes, closing her eyes as well as she watched his hands try to reach out for her again. But, she was gone and all that remained was the feeling of her kiss upon his cheek and the warmth of her hug.

Yet, somehow it was enough he thought- to sustain him until tomorrow. Until he could envision her smiling face again and keep her close, keep her with him even in the darkest of hours. Keep her with him for as long as he could

"Stay with me, Stefan. Please..." Her voice echoed faintly throughout the room as he closed his eyes and nodded, heavily sighing once more and feeling the coldness rush over him again, the panicked feeling he got whenever he knew it was the end and his suffering was taking over. The misery returning with the darkness that surrounded him. The pain causing him to black out again- desperately swallowing him alive as he silently prayed that he'd see her again and she'd whisper the words he loved to hear, the words that gave him hope..."Stay with me...Please...Don't give up..."

Thanks so much for reading! :)