I extend all of my thanks towards dillydill11, Onedirection2013, ms simmons, Kenzie, two Guests, and Famu27 for their reviews last chapter! As much as I hate to say it, this is the FINAL chapter of "Stay With Me". I want you all to know that this was the story that I had the best time writing and I made wonderful friends in the process. Thank you so much to everyone that has been reading since this story was just a one-shot and of course, thank you to all the people that have been reading after that. Thanks so much to every reader, reviewer, follower, and favouriter! And I don't mean to sound like an acknowledgement at the beginning of a book, but I want to give my final thank you to Leia Belle Organa for reviewing every chapter of this story no matter how strange or weird things got. This story would've never come to be if she hadn't gotten me to make it longer than a one-shot. Thank you so much and I hope we stay friends! :D
Okay that's enough, let's get to the good stuff:
Elena hastily wiped away another tear. It had been half an hour since he died; half an hour since her world shattered; half an hour of crying; half an hour of reminiscing. Half an hour wishing she could forget it all and the same half an hour she wanted to remember everything. Half an hour of thinking about each kiss, each comforting hug, each rescue. All of her memories of him had crashed down on her and buried her under their weight. Every single time they said, "I love you," and every single time before and after that.
One set of memories stood out in particular. Her mind kept going back to those memories.
The final night of her human life.
So much happened on that night. Stefan kissed her after trying to push her away for months, she made a deal with an Original, she chose between the Salvatore brothers and then she died. That was the night that changed everything for her. That was the night she confessed her undying love for Stefan and that was the night she became a vampire.
What would've happened if things went differently? If she never drank the tea Matt gave her, would she have died? If she wasn't on Wickery Bridge, would she have ever made her choice? If she hadn't become a vampire, would she have spent her human lifetime with Stefan? If it wasn't Damon's blood inside of her, would she have stayed with his brother? Would Stefan be dead now if she had chosen him on her graduation night?
She wished that she had an answer for herself, but of course, she didn't. She had once said that actions were what set things in motion and the world had to live with that. She supposed that she was right, but it still didn't erase the burning ache in her heart.
Her eyes filled up with tears once more. "I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you for loving me in a way that I could only dream of. Thank you for sacrificing your life time and time again to save my life and to save the lives of my friends and family. Thank you for trying so hard to make sure that we all came back home. And thank you for being there for me even after how awful I was. You're one of the best things that ever happened to me and I wouldn't trade it all for the world."
Stefan smiled. He knelt by her side and kissed her temple. He rubbed her shoulder and set an arm around her, wishing that everything could be okay.
"Oh my God! Stefan!" Caroline cried out when she saw Stefan. She fell to the floor and joined Elena in her crying. Elena faintly heard Damon approach the couch cautiously. When she looked up, he was staring wide eyed at his brother. She knew Damon hated showing when he was sad, but she was usually able to tell when he was.
This was one of those times.
Elena finally stood up, wiping the tears away with her sweater. His sweater, her mind reminded. His sweater that you borrowed.
"Bonnie," Caroline began. "She said she had a way to stop the Other Side from going away! Maybe she can bring him back"
"I can't," Bonnie said, suddenly appearing at the entrance. "I lost it."
Elena closed her eyes in defeat. No, it couldn't be over. Not like this. "There has to be a way, Bonnie! Please!" Elena shouted.
Bonnie hesitated. "I'll try to see what I can find. Until then, just try to rest, okay Elena? You've been through a lot."
"No! I want to help!" Elena cried.
"Elena, Bonnie's right. Come on, I'll take you home," Damon said.
"No! Please let me help!" she cried once more. She was beginning to sound like a toddler that refused to go to bed, but she didn't care. Not when there was a chance that Stefan could come back from the dead.
"Elena. It's for the best." Damon spoke quietly this time.
She sighed in defeat. "Fine. But I want you, all of you, to let me know when you find something."
"Okay. Let's go." She followed Damon back to the car and he drove her to the Boarding House; leaving her alone to rest. She walked by Stefan's room when she went to the bathroom. There were so many memories in that room...
She slept in the living room.
When she woke up, her mind deluded her into thinking that Stefan was lying right next to her.
When she checked her phone, she found a missed text from Damon. It read: Bonnie's 'way' might work if they're willing to help. Long story, wait for the movie.
She was still angry that they had left her out of their plans. She was even more angry that the Traveler that killed Stefan was still out there; free as a bird. She was so angry that she got up, took a glass from the small tray on the coffee table and threw it across the room where it landed in shards. Then, she took another glass and did the same thing. After the second glass, she went to the shards, picked them up and crushed them even more in her hand. Her palms were bleeding after she did it, but the pain wasn't satisfying like she'd hoped it would be.
Then she went upstairs.
The ground creaked as she walked towards hisroom. She was uncertain of this action, but her hand went to the brass doorknob and turned before she realized what she was doing.
The oak door opened before her and she stepped in. The room was just as he had left it; his bed perfectly made, his clothes hanging in the closet, his diary on the nightstand. She began looking through his nightstands' drawers. Nightstand One had a few trinkets from his past; a pocket watch, a silver dagger, an iron coffer and a few other things. Nightstand Two was hard to open, but only held one item.
She pulled out the frame and failed to contain her gasp. It was a picture of the two of them: her in her old green sweater and him in his football jersey. She still remembered when it was taken...
"You look really good in that jersey," Elena said with a smile. God, she still couldn't believe that she had gotten Stefan.
"Thank you," he replied. "Red doesn't really suit me though."
"Nope. But on a different note, you look great in green."
"Do I? Or are you just saying that for something else?"
"Like what?" he asked.
She smirked. "Like this." She pressed her lips against his. When she pulled away, he wrapped her in his arms.
"Aww, you guys look adorable together!" Elena heard Caroline shout behind her. "Can I snap a picture?"
Elena turned around. "Will it end up in yearbook?"
"Not anymore. Please?"
"Why not?" Stefan said. Elena glared at him before going to his side. He wrapped and arm around her and held her close.
She smiled her widest smile as the camera's flash went off.
True to her word, Caroline hadn't put the picture in the yearbook and gave a copy to both Stefan and Elena when she got it developed. And he still had it; even after everything that happened between them. Even after she was sired and made the biggest mistake of her life.
That only made his death hurt more.
"So, do you have a plan, Bonnie?" Damon asked.
"Yeah. I know how to let dead people pass through me now with a spell. If Stefan passes through me during that spell, he can come back."
"Great!" Caroline cheered.
"Hold up, that's not it. We need to get rid of the Travelers. I have a plan, but it involves something big," Damon said.
"Okay, what is it?" Bonnie asked.
"We need to gather all of them in one place. Blondie, you're job is to get your mom to gather them all up. Markos is more likely to trust your mom than any of us."
"Got it. So what's the big thing?" Caroline asked.
"If we do it at the Grill, which is the best place to do it, we need to set up bombs all over the place, which I will do with Matt. The tricky part is getting someone to set them off."
"And how are we doing that?" Bonnie inquired.
"The best way would be for someone to drive their car into the building."
"Who's going to sacrifice themselves for that?" Caroline asked.
"I will," Damon explained. "It's my plan, it should be me. Maybe I'll finally redeem myself. Besides, Bonnie would be able to bring me back, right?"
"I think so," Bonnie replied.
"Fantastic. I'll go to Mystic Falls and get everything ready. Caroline, you call your mom and Bonnie, do what you need to do."
Both girls nodded and Damon headed out to his car.
"Wait!" Caroline cried out, running after him.
"Whatever it is, Blondie, I'm sure it can wait."
"Just be careful, okay? Elena cares about you-"
"But not as much as she cares for Stefan, I know," he responded.
"Let me finish. Elena cares about you. She just lost Stefan, she doesn't need to lose you too. Tell her what you're doing."
"She's going to try and stop me, Caroline, you know that."
"Don't let her stop you! Just try to make it back out alive for her sake if not your own."
Damon was shocked. Normally, if he said that he was off to die, Caroline would probably be jumping up and down. This time, Caroline was telling him to be careful because her friend cared about him. It was there that he realized that this girl was genuinely kind and a great friend.
"I'm sorry," Damon said.
She looked at him quizzically. "For what?"
"For what I did to you when you were a human. For abusing you and feeding on you and then compelling you to forget."
She stared at him wide-eyed before giving him a small smile. "Well that wasn't so hard, now was it?"
Damon cleared his throat. "Still not used to the whole apologizing thing. So don't get used to it."
"It's a start," Caroline replied. "And it's a good one. Who knows, maybe you will get that redemption one day."
Damon opened up the car door. "One can only hope," he responded before slamming the door and heading back to Mystic Falls.
"You're what?" Elena cried.
"I'm going to drive into the Mystic Grill and set off all the bombs," Damon explained.
"But you're going to die!"
"It'll be an honorable sacrifice."
She ran a hand through her hair. "Damon, you can't! I know you said that Bonnie can bring you back, but is it a risk you're willing to take?"
"Elena, I've done a lot of horrible things in my life and I want to try and redeem myself. If sacrificing my life to save Mystic Falls is what I need to do, then I'll do it. Besides, everyone else has something to live for. You and all your friends have each other. You and Bonnie also happen to have Jeremy and Caroline has her mom. Matt and Tyler have friends and Jeremy has them, Bonnie and you. Face it, Elena, I'm the only one without someone. It has to be me."
"You have me, Damon. We're friends, remember?"
"I know. No offense, but it isn't enough to make up for...Stefan."
She noticed his voice drift off when he said Stefan's name. She knew it was as painful for him as it was for her.
"Okay," Elena finally said.
Damon leaned in and for a second, she thought he was going to kiss her. Instead, he whispered, "Thank you, Elena."
Her eyes watered, but she knew that nothing she could say would change his mind.
Damon took his final swig of bourbon. He hoped it wouldn't be his last bit of alcohol. How did Ric stay on the Other Side without it? Sighing, he checked his phone.
It was time.
He slid off the car's hood and opened up the front door.
"Wait!" he heard someone call. Turning around, he saw Elena rushing behind him.
"Elena, don't tell me that you're coming with me. There's no reason for both of us to die."
"I'm not coming with you," she answered. "I just...came to say goodbye. I'm heading to the graveyard to meet Bonnie and I had to stop by here. Are you ready for this?"
"Oh, I'm just dandy about the whole thing. Driving to my death is a piece of cake, princess."
She walked towards him. He couldn't help himself when he gave her a small kiss on her forehead.
"I just needed to do that one final time," he said.
Tears welled up in her eyes and he could feel emotions beginning to surge up in him. He went into his car before they succeeded in making their appearance.
He started the car and rolled down the window. "Goodbye, Elena."
She wiped a tear off of her face and tried to give him a smile. "Goodbye, Damon."
He smiled back and rolled up the window. She backed up a few steps to watch him leave.
Damon sighed one final time and stared at the road ahead of him. "Look, Stefan, I know you're here because I'm here and she's here. I just wanted to say that I'm sorry for being an asshole to you for a long time. And I'm sorry for stealing your girlfriend. But hey, look at her, she loves you. She chose you at the end of it all. I'm sorry about every horrible thing I've ever done to you and I hope you can forgive me."
He took a deep breath. "Goodbye, Stefan. I'll see you on the Other Side."
He put the car into Drive and stepped on the gas pedal.
Stefan watched his brother race into town and couldn't help the smile that formed on his face. Damon was finally going to redeem himself; it was what Stefan always wanted.
"Goodbye, Damon. See you soon."
Stefan ended up following Elena to the graveyard. He would've gone into town to watch his brother's final moments, but he wasn't strong enough to do it.
As he walked behind Elena, he saw Liv with various spell books open all around her.
It was time.
Elena listened closely as Liv began chanting, fully aware that soon, her love was going to come back to her.
Bonnie cried out in pain as dozens of Travelers passed through her and onto the Other Side. If they were all here, that meant that Damon had done it; he had succeeded.
But it hurt.
"Bonnie?" someone asked behind her.
Her pained face formed into a smile when she saw Stefan behind her. "You can come back now," she said.
He shook his head. "Not without my brother."
"I'm here!" someone else called. It was Damon; who had just appeared behind Stefan.
Stefan turned around and the two brothers quickly embraced.
"I forgive you," Stefan said.
"I knew you were there."
Bonnie laughed. "Okay, we don't have much time. You guys need to pass through now." She held out her hands.
Both Salvatores approached her and held her hands.
Elena gasped as Stefan appeared. She ran towards him and practically jumped in his arms, peppering his face with kisses.
"Stefan," she sighed into his neck.
He squeezed her tightly. "I'm here."
A moment later, Damon appeared behind them.
"Did I do it?" Damon asked Bonnie.
"You did it," Bonnie replied before she stared wide-eyed at the space in front of her.
"Grams?" she asked.
"Hello, Bonnie. You're doing so well," Grams replied.
Bonnie held out her hand. "Let me bring you back!"
"I won't inflict more pain on you. You're only strong enough to bring back three people. Bring back any more and you'll be killed."
"I've only brought back Stefan and Damon, I can take you!"
Grams only smiled and shook her head. "I've lived long. I think it's finally time I go be at peace."
Bonnie stared at the older woman sadly. "Grams..."
"It's for the best, Bonnie." She looked at the sky.
Something strange happened. Wind began blowing and the night sky turned into a bright white.
"Grams? Where are you going?"
"To be at peace. My dear child, you've done so well. I'm so proud of the woman you became. I love you."
Bonnie sniffed. "I love you too."
The light got stronger and stronger until Grams finally disappeared.
"Did he make it?" someone asked.
Bonnie looked down from the sky and saw a tall blonde girl. "I'm Lexi, by the way. Stefan's friend."
"Oh. Well, he made it back." She thought for a moment. "Do you want to come back? I can take one more person."
Lexi smiled. "I would love that."
The witch held out her hand. "Then let's go."
Lexi cautiously walked forward and took Bonnie's hand.
Elena let go of Stefan when she saw Lexi.
"Stefan, turn around," she demanded.
He looked at her strangely before he did what she asked.
"Did you really think I wouldn't make sure you got back okay?" she asked.
Elena let go of him and he walked over and hugged his best friend.
"I can't believe that it's already summer vacation again!" Caroline said. "It feels like we just graduated."
"If only. I'm pretty sure I failed all my classes," Elena said, packing her clothes away.
"Well, at least this time we don't have a dangerous immortal pushing one of our best friends into a quarry," Bonnie commented.
"True," Caroline added.
"So, you want to tell us where exactly you're going for the summer, Care?" Elena asked.
"Nope!" the blonde replied. "I'll tell you when I get back. But look who's talking Elena! Why don't you tell us where Stefan's taking you this summer?"
Elena smiled. "Well, we're spending June here so that he can hang out with Lexi for a while and in July, he's taking me to Europe. August is still a mystery."
"A mystery I'm sure you can't wait to solve," Bonnie concluded.
Caroline walked down the cobblestone path. It was so beautiful in this city.
When he sent her the letter, she knew that she had to come. Things with Tyler would go nowhere; what he had done was unforgivable. So here she was.
She knocked on the heavy oak door. It swung open a few seconds later.
He looked speechless. "What are you doing here?"
"I'm here to see you. Look, I know I said that I didn't want to be with you, but then we kissed and...everything changed. Now that everything's calm in Mystic Falls, I think I'm ready for you to be my final love. So...will you?"
Klaus smiled devilishly. "I thought you'd never ask."
Elena picked up her suitcase and dragged it downstairs.
Damon was seated in the living room having (what appeared to be) a hilarious conversation with Lexi. After hating each other for the longest time, they finally made up after Damon apologized for what he did (all part of his redemption plan.)
"Where's Stefan?" Elena asked.
"Loading the car," Damon replied. "Need some help?"
"Nope! Thanks, though."
Damon nodded and she headed to the door.
"Have fun on your trip!" Lexi called.
"Thanks!" Elena yelled back. She opened up the door and headed outside.
"One more," Elena said, giving her suitcase to Stefan.
"Okay." He took the suitcase from her, put it in the trunk, and slammed it shut.
She put herself in his arms. "Excited?" he asked.
"Very," she responded. She put her head up and she and Stefan got trapped in a searing kiss. Her hand went to his head and played with his hair.
"I love you, Elena," he whispered when they pulled away.
She smiled. "I love you too."
Just last year, she was begging for him to stay, to not turn of his emotions. Stay with me, she had said. And he had; even after every horrible thing she did. They had worked so hard and so long to finally be together, and here they were.
They pulled away from each other and went into the car. He held out his hand and she took it with pleasure.
"Ready Miss Gilbert?" he asked.
"Ready Mr. Salvatore," she answered, tightly squeezing his hand.
They smiled at each other and looked at the sky in front of them.
Together forever, her mind said.
Her mind was right: they had forever now. They had the forever she always wanted. And she knew it would be a perfect forever; her friends and Stefan eternally by her side.
Stay with me, her mind repeated in the form of a memory. She smiled knowing that she wouldn't need to say it anymore. Noting inside of her doubted that Stefan wouldn't stay with her. Something always brought them back to each other. Elena had finally made it back to her home and she would never dare leave again.
Forever, she reminded herself as the car began to move.
That's the end! I want to thank all of you for everything and I wish you all good luck in season six. Don't give up!