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THE SALVATION UNMASKED PDF

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THE SALVATION VOL. 1: UNSEEN THE VAMPIRE DIARIES: THE SALVATION VOL. 2: UNSPOKEN THE VAMPIRE DIARIES: STEFAN'S DIARIES VOL. Volume 1 (books 1 & 2): The Struggle/The Awakening. Volume 2 (books 3 & 4) The Fury/The Reunion. Book 5: The Return – Nightfall. Book 6: The Return. To read the file, you will have Adobe Reader software. You can download the installer and instructions free from the Adobe Web site if you do not have Adobe.


The Salvation Unmasked Pdf

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PDF - The Salvation: Unmasked. Love is the most powerful force of all Elena Gilbert is dying. When Damon Salvatore avenged his brother Stefan's death. SALVATION UNMASKED IN Unmasked is the third and final book in The Salvation Salvation) [Read] Full Ebook PDF The Salvation: Unmasked (The Vampire. Get Instant Access to PDF File: #a65 The Salvation: Unmasked (The Vampire Diaries) By Lj Smith [EPUB KINDLE PDF.

All we want to know is who Elena ends up wuving forever and ever and ever and ever and ever. And ever. Until something happens and she changes her mind. And again. Really Elena, ugh. I hate your face, and I haven't even really seen it, that's how much I hate it. At first Elena tries to make Damon fall in love with her and 'ignores' Stefan, so that Damon will never get jealous and go all 'i must kill the history teacher on halloween because So, yeah. God, what does Elena not understand about 'keep it in your pants or you'll die!

You big nincompoop'. Oh yeah, I went there. But then, hold onto your hats my peoples, Elena realises that maybe I was shocked too. So, anyway, Elena tries to get the brothers to reconcile, because she thinks it's Stefan's love for Damon that could save him, and by extension, everyone else. To be fair, she is right. Elena's actually pretty smart about it, she goes to Katherine, with the help of Bonnie who she tells everything to about the possible future Elena is from and gets Katherine to admit to the brothers what she did and how she wanted them to love each other yadda yadda yadda.

Long story short, Damon and Stefan have this big moment and Damon decides to not kill everyone! Slow hand clap bitches! But, I did really like that Damon and Stefan decided to become real brothers again. I just wish I could have seen more of them together as loving brothers.

Stefan and Damon decide to leave town and go back to Italy together so they can be all brotherly and Then Elena goes back to She lives in Paris and has a job as an art But, she doesn't have Stefan and Damon in her life obviously, because they left and the whole future is different. I'll give you a run down of what the new future is like: -Matt and Meredith don't know anything about the supernatural.

So basically, all the past books have become obselet since now none of it actually happened. Even though she has a great life in Paris, Elena feels like it doesn't feel like home to her. A person, Elena realized. Her heart began to pound harder, and her mouth went dry.

Was it someone coming in response to her call? For a panicky moment, she imagined a Grim Reaper, silent in black, come to collect her. But no. When she finally halted in front of Elena, Mylea looked as serene and unruffled as ever, her golden hair pulled back into a bun, her ice-blue gaze level and cool.

You agreed to this, years ago. She sounded like a child, she realized, and she made an effort to temper her voice so that she sounded more reasonable. Jack was a vampire. He drank blood, and he had all the strengths of a vampire. He was a monster. You knew that he and his creations did not have the flaws that weaken true vampires. Fear ran through Elena, and she swallowed hard. This was real. They would let her die. Mylea frowned, a tiny crease appearing between her slim eyebrows.

Obviously, she thought that she had made herself clear. Destroying one another? They loved one another. Mylea shook her head. Eyes narrowing, Mylea went on. Everything has consequences, Elena. She and Damon and Stefan were responsible for all the horror that had surrounded them. If you can prevent it from happening and keep Damon from giving in to the darkness within him, perhaps you can turn the course of events that will, in the present timeline, eventually kill you all.

Neither had Stefan, she was sure of it. Had saved both Damon and Stefan. The Guardians twist the truth, she reminded herself, and swallowed hard, pushing away the tears that prickled at the back of her eyes. What you change in the past will affect your future. Once you return, everything will be different. You might not be able to be with either of the Salvatore brothers. She could lose Damon, too? But their love was strong, she reminded herself.

Even when she had been determined to only love Stefan, fate had pulled her and Damon together. Elena had a moment to feel the cool strength of that slender hand, and then everything faded to black.

Here I am in my old home at 5: I remember this morning vividly, the last morning of my life before I met Stefan Salvatore. The Elena I was then—the one who should be here now—was so lost. I was searching for something that was just out of reach. My bedroom looks just the way it always did, warm and cozy. My bay window gives me a view onto the quince tree outside.

This moment has been gone for years. Elena stopped writing and stared at her last line, shaking her head. Tapping her pen against the pages of the small book with the blue velvet cover, she thought for a moment, and then bent her head and began writing again.

Stefan is alive here. When I think about being with him, my hands start to shake and I can hardly breathe. It hurts. It hurts a lot. But if I want Damon to listen to me, I have to be with him, not Stefan. I already know how things turn out if I pursue Stefan now. I love them both. So much. I always have. If I want them both in my life, things fall apart. They always fall apart, no matter what we do. I have to choose.

And, if I can keep Damon from killing Mr. Tanner, maybe I can save us all. Closing her journal, she got up. Soon, it would be time to go to school. Would she remember enough about who she had been then? She worried that somehow, everyone would see that she was the wrong Elena, in the wrong time. She had time. After a leisurely bath, she took her time getting dressed. A pale rose top and white linen shorts. She pulled them on again. They made her look tempting, as sweet and refreshing as a raspberry sundae, she thought as she looked critically into the mirror, pulling back her hair with a deep rose ribbon.

Downstairs, Aunt Judith was burning something on the stove, and Margaret was eating cereal at the kitchen table. The sight of them stopped Elena in her tracks for a second. And Aunt Judith had still been wearing her flyaway hair long. Elena pushed herself back into motion and kissed Aunt Judith quickly on the cheek.

Margaret, still half-asleep, licked her spoon. Aunt Judith, her eyes full of love, gave Elena a small, worried smile. Part of her wanted to go back, forget school and the future, and sit down at the table with them. Margaret wiggled her fingers in a wave, and Elena, spurring herself into movement, winked at the little girl as she went through the door. And stopped. The world outside was silent, the street deserted.

The tall, pretty Victorian houses seemed to loom above her. Overhead, the sky was milky and opaque, and the air felt oppressively heavy. It was as if the whole street were holding its breath, waiting for something to happen. Out of the corner of her eye, Elena saw something move. Something was watching her. She turned and caught sight of a huge black crow, the biggest crow she had ever seen, sitting in the quince tree in her front yard.

It was completely still, and its glittering black eyes were fixed on her with an intent, almost human gaze. There was a glad little bubble of joy rising in her chest, but she suppressed the urge to call out to him. Instead, she took a deep breath, hopped off the porch, and strode confidently down the street.

Behind her, she heard a harsh croak and the flapping of wings, and she smiled to herself. It was only a few blocks to the high school, and Elena spent the walk reminiscing. There was the coffee shop she and Matt had gone to on their first date junior year; there was the little health food shop where Aunt Judith had insisted on buying her special organic cereal.

There was the house of the terrible Kline twins, who Elena had babysat during her sophomore year of school. Stores had closed and opened, houses were remodeled.

At the school, a crowd of her friends had gathered in the parking lot, chattering and showing off their new clothes. It was everyone who mattered, plus four or five girls who had hung around them in the hopes of gathering some scraps of popularity. Elena winced. Everyone who mattered.

The nasty thought had slotted right into her mind. The Elena who belonged here had thought that. One by one, her best friends hugged her in welcome.

They looked so young, Elena thought, her heart aching. They all thought they were so sophisticated, but their seventeen- and eighteen-year-old faces still had childish curves, and their eyes were wide with thinly veiled excitement at the first day of their senior year. Elena shrugged and laughed a little, feeling awkward. It was a strange, helpless feeling to lose them. I think it makes me look taller. Raising one elegant eyebrow, she considered Elena.

I thought you were living it up on the French Riviera. Elena remembered this. Palm reading! Of course; she had almost forgotten. This was the first time Bonnie had shown her Power. What had mattered here was what Bonnie had seen in her hand: It says you have two loves, Elena.

Your heart line divides into two. Elena blinked, bewildered. Bonnie should have started talking about Stefan. She was supposed to say he was dark and handsome, and he had been tall once. She reached out to her, but Bonnie backed away, tucking her own hands behind her back. But if what Bonnie saw in her palm had changed, maybe it was a clue to how her plan was going to work, how things would turn out differently.

It might be important. The future she was going to change. Elena swallowed hard. That was it, it must be, she reassured herself. They were turning toward the school building when the roar of a finely tuned motor stopped them in their tracks. The group of girls swung around to look. She had to look. But she was going to take this chance to at least see him, a chance she had thought would never come again. The purr of the engine died, and she heard the car door open before she glanced up.

Oh, Stefan. He was alive. He was here. Elena wanted to run to him and wrap herself around his lean body, run her fingers through his wavy dark hair, kiss the sad curve of his mouth. Sunglasses shielded his face like a mask, but Elena knew Stefan well enough to see through the protection they provided.

She could sense the misery that had driven him to enroll in school, had made him try to act like a teenage boy so that he could have some brief human contact. Everything in her pulled toward him. But if she ran to him, everything would lead straight to where she had come from. Stefan dead, Elena dying, Damon broken. Elena bit her lip so hard she tasted blood, and stayed where she was.

Stefan was heading toward the school, a few rows of cars between him and the group of girls. The rhythm of his steps hitched and paused for just a moment. Elena felt a jolt. He had caught sight of her, she knew. There was a moment when he just stared from behind his sunglasses, his gaze burning into Elena. What was he seeing, she wondered?

Even this early, could Stefan sense something more in her than the looks of his lost love? After a moment, Stefan began to walk again, continuing smoothly on. Elena stared after him, feeling raw and exposed. The hunting look. Tossing her head, she began to walk toward the school.

Cute-Dark-and- Mysterious. Some of the other girls were already drifting toward the office window, eagerly craning their necks. Instead, she was watching Elena speculatively.

Deliberately, Elena avoided her gaze. Elena remembered that her friend had picked it up for her when Elena had skipped orientation. Good, Elena thought. Meredith and Bonnie exchanged a look, and Meredith followed Elena upstairs. Elena frowned. She knew for a fact that she was never again going to use trigonometry. Tapping her fingers idly against her desk, she tried to plan instead.

She needed to meet Damon. But how? If Damon accepted that he was the one she wanted, if she could get him to love her now the way he would in the future, she could keep him from killing anyone. Meredith began to answer the question. She was so beautiful, Elena thought, with her olive skin and heavy black lashes. More than that, Meredith looked happy. And human. A vampire had attacked her grandfather, stolen her brother.

She was already moving on. Here, in this classroom, Elena could see exactly how miserable Meredith was in the future Elena had come from. Elena had known, of course, that Meredith hated being a vampire. Elena sighed and thoughtfully curled a long, silky strand of hair around her finger. Could she fix Meredith, too, if she could keep Damon from killing Mr.

The rest of the morning passed in a blur. She tried to make plans, but she was constantly distracted. Boys flirted with her; girls curried her favor with scraps of gossip.

She had forgotten what it was like to be the queen of school. Matt was in one of her morning classes, and she met his smile with quiet panic. Her friend was going to have to get his heart broken … again. By lunchtime, she was sick of acting like she cared about the popularity, and she slipped down toward the cafeteria alone.

The two boys she was talking to nudged each other as Elena came toward them. Elena wanted to just walk on by. She remembered this, too, and all the awful things Caroline had done later. She had plotted to destroy Elena, for no reason, out of jealousy and pure spite. Every line of her body broadcast pure hostility.

Her hatred would only increase. Elena suppressed an urge to roll her eyes and instead forced a smile. I missed you. Maybe she could change things here, too. Maybe this was a chance to fix everything she regretted. Elena kept going into the cafeteria, not giving Caroline a chance to snap back an answer. Caroline, temporarily silenced, followed as Elena got her lunch and went to join them. Flowers on the edge of town. Did he say anything? She was still watching Elena from the corner of her eyes, her forehead slightly creased.

There Stefan was, hesitating at the door of the cafeteria, and then crossing it with long, smooth strides, heading for the hall that led toward the other side of the school. He had probably fed on the blood of a bird or small animal before school. And then he passed by, his jaw tight. Elena swallowed and looked away. Caroline was still watching him. She had the slightest hint of a smirk on her lovely face.

Caroline wanted Stefan, Elena knew. On an impulse, Elena nudged her. It was the last thing she wanted, really. Besides, Stefan would never love Caroline. Caroline flicked a glance at Elena. But a moment later, Caroline was staring at the door Stefan had gone through. Elena took a long drink of her water. They ignored the people streaming past, all eager to get home now that the first day was over. Poor Matt, she thought, sighing. The one who could be more to her than a trophy or an accessory.

It had taken Matt a long time to get over her the first time.

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Maybe that was something else she could fix while she was back here, Elena thought, resisting the urge to turn around and look at him again. If she handled their breakup better … She pushed through the front doors of the school and set off.

Crossing the parking lot, she tilted her face up toward the warmth of the late afternoon sun and hesitated for a moment. Her biggest problem right now was how to approach Damon in the right way.

If she was going to get him to fall in love with her before Halloween, she had better get started. Tucking a stray hair back behind her ear, Elena turned down the sidewalk toward home and began to go over her first memories of him, ignoring the chatter of the other students leaving school all around her.

Tanner was murdered. Tanner mocked Bonnie for her lack of knowledge of history, as Stefan cooly put him in his place. She was struck by how young Mr. Tanner was—about the same age as Elena and her friends were in her real present.

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He was inexperienced and desperate to keep the attention and respect of a class of kids only a few years younger than he was. If he lived. With renewed purpose, Elena walked faster, thinking hard.

A caw came overhead. Elena stopped short and craned her head back to catch a glimpse of a fat black crow in the maple tree overhead. This bird was plumper, smaller. Probably just a bird, she told herself as it cawed again and then spread its wings and flew off, low, past the house behind her. But the sight prompted the memory of a dark shape winging its way up from the oak trees at the edge of the cemetery, when she had gone there to visit her parents, before she had known Damon. Elena stopped dead.

The cemetery. And it had happened because Stefan had watched Elena in the cemetery, then been caught by a wave of angry Power, leaving him dazed and ravenous. Hesitantly, Elena took a few steps toward home. And yet … Elena stopped again and rocked back on her heels, thinking. And the graveyard would be a good place to try to find Damon. That was the most important thing.

A cloud passed over the sun, and Elena felt a little colder, a little sadder. It had been a long time since she had visited her parents. She could see them now, she thought longingly.

The cemetery would be isolated and peaceful after her long day. She could be alone there, and Damon would be more likely to come to her when she was alone. Making up her mind, Elena hitched her backpack higher on her shoulders, and headed toward the cemetery, her steps sounding loud and firm in her own ears.

It was a fairly long walk, almost to the edge of town. Coming close to Wickery Bridge, another rusty caw grabbed her attention.

Turning its head, it fixed one bright eye on Elena. It seemed to be waiting. Elena smiled. Challenge accepted, Damon. She had expected to be a little shaky crossing Wickery Bridge, the place where Katherine had pursued her, and Elena had driven off this bridge and drowned. She could almost feel how icy-cold the water had been as she struggled. But with Damon here, she could be brave. The crow stayed very still, its shining dark gaze fixed on Elena.

She glanced up at the blue sky, and back at the crow. And then she walked on, straight past him, her head high. The bird watched as she passed. Katherine was down there in the dark passages of the crypts already, watching them all. Katherine had been furious when Stefan and Elena had fallen in love, and had attacked them both, had gone after the whole town. It had been the beginning of everything terrible. How would Katherine feel when Elena went after Damon?

Katherine considered both the Salvatores her property, Elena knew, but she had always thought the vampire girl was more possessive of Stefan. Crossing past the old church, Elena lifted her chin defiantly. If her beautiful, artistic mother had lived, she could have guided Elena through those first rocky days of being an Earthly Guardian.

If her funny, warm father had been there, she could have leaned on him through all the hard times. She could have saved her parents. With a powerful rush of longing, Elena remembered her mother laughing as she chased her through the house when Elena had been very small, catching her and sweeping her up into her arms for a hug.

A sudden wind caught her hair, whipping it across her face. Looking up, Elena saw the tops of the oak trees at the edge of the cemetery tossing violently. Dark clouds were massing above her, and there was a sharp chill in the air. She shivered. The sky grew darker still. It had been clear and sunny only a moment before. He could change the weather when he wanted to. Or Katherine?

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She was far more powerful than Damon right now. Elena shuddered. If it was Katherine, she might kill Elena without even thinking about it.

There had been so much blood. Elena steeled herself. Again, she remembered the cold of the water under Wickery Bridge and shivered. Everything grew still, the leaves hanging motionless from the trees. All around Elena was silence, without even the chirp of a bird or the sound of a car in the distance. Something stirred in the shadows under the oak trees. Elena squinted, trying to see. A dark figure moved toward her. The dim sunlight caught pale skin and sleek, night- dark hair.

Black boots, black jeans, black shirt, black leather jacket. Thunder crashed overhead and Elena, despite herself, jumped. He was so beautiful, she thought absently. That was always true, always had been true. Sculpted cheekbones and clean, fine features. But there was something unfamiliar in that smile. There was none of the affection, none of the tenderness she was used to. Damon moved closer, his eyes fixed on her face.

The thunder grumbled again. He was far too close, and something twisted uneasily inside Elena. This was Damon. She had no reason to fear him. Damon loved her. Only … not this Damon. Not yet. This Damon was a hunter, and he was looking at Elena as if she were prey. Despite herself, she stepped backward.

His eyes narrowed and his smile spread. Elena jutted her chin out stubbornly. She was not going to flinch away from Damon. He was dangerous, even to her. She felt a smile blossoming on her own face and her shoulders, which had lifted as if she was expecting a blow, dropped. He hesitated for a split second, then opened his mouth to speak. The sun came out from behind the dark clouds, and a mockingbird sang an insistent trill from a nearby tree. She gasped and whipped back around, but Damon was gone.

The green grass over the graves behind her was as smooth and empty as if he had never been there. I really do. Elena wondered. There were no dark figures among the trees. No black bird rose toward the sky. Elena shook her head.

The three girls sat quietly for a while, watching the soft white clouds blow across the sky. Bonnie stared back at her, brown eyes wide and a little hurt. But it did feel, a little bit, like they were different people from the ones she knew.

If Elena managed to change what happened now, if she could keep Damon from killing Mr. Tanner and setting the future she already knew in motion, would her friendship with Bonnie and Meredith change, too? She ached with sorrow at the idea. Just school and stuff. Bonnie and Meredith had sworn that they would do anything Elena asked in relation to Stefan.

And Elena had sworn not to rest until Stefan belonged to her. Not even if it killed her. It had killed both of them. An oath like that—sworn in blood in a graveyard— had true Power. She held out her own thumb, a plump drop of blood swelling on its pad, and Bonnie and Elena pressed their thumbs against hers. Affection for them both swelled inside Elena. These were her sisters. This was sacred. Bonnie gasped and pulled back, and they all giggled. A flush of satisfaction filled Elena.

Elena rested her head in her hands, staring down at the scratched surface of her desk as her classmates settled into their seats for trigonometry class.

Ignoring their chatter, she went back over her meeting with Damon in the graveyard the day before. Was there something she should have done differently? She had seen his pupils widen when he leaned in toward her, his eyes curious and hungry. Halloween was coming. The night Damon had killed Mr. Shifting uneasily in her seat, Elena remembered how Mr.

His throat had been caked with blood. Elena squeezed her eyes shut tight, trying to block out the memories. Damon had been at the Haunted House that night, and seeing Elena and Stefan together filled him with jealousy and seething resentment.

He had lashed out by feeding on Mr. Tanner when Mr. Tanner stuck a dagger into him. Damon had killed him out of surprised rage and pain. Stefan would die. They would all be doomed. In history class she tried to close her mind off, scowling with concentration as she chanted multiplication tables or dialogue from old movies in her mind—anything to drown out whatever part of her might call to Stefan. But Elena could feel him watching her in the halls, as clearly as she could feel Damon watching her on the streets.

His gaze had been soft and longing, hungry. She wanted to comfort him, but Elena already knew how that would end. The speaker set high on the classroom wall crackled, jolting Elena out of her thoughts. Voting will take place in the cafeteria over the next week. Congratulations to all the nominees. No way. Homecoming had been when it all began. The lid of the tomb in the ruined church shifting under her hand. The ripping sound as Tyler tore her dress. Stefan saving her, taking her in his arms.

Her whole world changing. Halpern said to Meredith and Elena as the speaker clicked off. Is there something I have to do to drop out of the race? There was a moment of utter silence as everyone contemplated the thought.

Elena Gilbert, queen of the school, refusing to compete? She was sure to win, they all knew that. Halpern said, her forehead crinkled in a puzzled frown. Ignoring the whispers around her, Elena waited out the rest of the period. When the bell rang, she pretended not to see Meredith striding toward her and slipped out the door alone. She would have to figure out some kind of explanation to give Bonnie and Meredith. Outside, Matt was waiting, a smile stretching across his handsome, all- American face.

She needed to let him go, kindly, before she went after Damon. I should have realized before. Unbidden tears rose in her eyes. My true friend. How had she not seen this the first time? She barely remembered this conversation.

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It had just been a means to an end: When she pulled back from their hug, Matt was staring at her, his forehead creased with concern. Elena bit her lip to keep back a hysterical giggle. If she kept up with these mood swings, remembering the future that might not come, everyone was going to think she was having a nervous breakdown. I love you so much. Take a football scholarship.

A good one, at some big football school. Elena thought of Jasmine, with her easy smile and soft eyes, her fiercely loyal heart. His eyes narrowed. Elena met his gaze squarely. Then the corners of his mouth tilted up in a small, sad smile. It was a warm afternoon, and Bonnie had invited Meredith and Elena over to hang out.

Katherine had killed Yangtze, Elena remembered. The dog was so spoiled, she was the only one who could stand him. But there had been no sign of Katherine in the cemetery the other evening, no wild surge of Power to send the girls running screaming across Wickery Bridge.

But wait, she thought, pulling back her hand. The dog was the smallest part of all this, but every piece of the world made a difference. Something terrible might happen, Elena thought, suddenly cold with panic. What if the dog finally managed to push its way out, ran into the road, and caused a fatal car accident? Anything could happen. Not Stefan, though. Stefan had died. Not Elena, who was dying. And not Damon.

She was the last one he had left. For a long time, Stefan had been the only person in the world Damon gave a damn about. And then Elena had come, and their bond had tethered Damon to her, to humanity. And now, in her reality, Elena was dying and Damon was losing the last bit of that humanity he had left. She looked exhausted, dark circles under her eyes. Mary sighed and closed her eyes for a second.

Down by the Wickery Bridge? Especially not alone or at night. Things had been different this time, down near Wickery Bridge. What happened? He was some homeless person, I guess. He was probably sleeping under the bridge when he was attacked. He might die. Elena felt weighed down by guilt. She had thought things had changed. Was Stefan following Elena in this reality, too? Had he been overcome with the need for blood and attacked the homeless man anyway?

Or was it Damon who had attacked the man under the bridge? Damon had been at the cemetery. Maybe the man had been destined to be terribly hurt that night at the bridge, no matter what. If so, perhaps her mission was doomed to failure. Maybe she and Stefan and Damon would continue on the same path, no matter how she tried to alter things.

They thought it might have been an animal at first, but now Dr. Lowen says it was a person. And the police think whoever did it may be hiding in the cemetery. She bit her lip. You went there alone. Elena clenched her fists, her nails biting into the palms of her hands. There was a way to save Mr. Tanner, a way to keep the town safe from all the havoc Katherine, Damon, and Stefan had, in their own separate ways, brought down upon it. She had to find Damon, and soon. Halloween was coming fast, and she would need time with him if he was going to fall in love with her, if she was going to show him there were things more pleasurable than destruction.

Elena needed a plan. Elena had made excuses to dodge Bonnie and Meredith after school, and headed out to the woods. She had to draw Damon to her again, needed to start building a connection between them. And here, isolated beneath the ancient oak trees, was just where he was likely to appear. A bird crashed through the top of the tree above her, and Elena looked up with a burst of relief. But it was just a blue jay, not the sleek black crow she was waiting for.

No, that would only make him suspicious. If he was nearby, there was one thing that ought to draw him out. Elena uncrossed her arms and looked around carefully. A rough gray boulder lay half-buried between two trees with twisted roots growing up around it. That might do. Steeling herself, Elena wandered toward it.

Her toe caught on a root, and Elena tipped forward, eyeing the sharp-edged rock. About right. Pretending to lose her balance, she threw herself onto the ground hard. There was a jolting, blinding pain in her knee.

Her palms were stinging, scraped by tree roots. Winded, Elena lay gasping for a moment, fighting back tears of pain. She glanced down at her leg and was relieved to see a trickle of red blood. But it was the wrong one. Elena looked up to see Stefan Salvatore standing above her, his hand extended. Tentatively, she laid her hand in his and let him pull her gently to her feet.

Upright again, she winced a little, and Stefan quickly turned her hands palm-up, carefully brushing away dirt and bits of dry leaves. Her voice cracked, and she had to swallow hard. Of course he never changed; he was a vampire.

Gently, he blotted at her knee and then tied the handkerchief around it as a makeshift bandage. Impulsively, Elena stepped forward and took hold of his leather-jacketed arm. He was so close, so solid, and real. A warm flush of love and relief ran over her. You should be careful, though, out here alone. Did you hear about the attack? Without the sunglasses, he looked vulnerable and terribly tired.

For a moment, their eyes met. Elena was almost touching him now. She wanted to run her hands across the chiseled lines of his face, remind herself how smooth his skin was. His gaze traced over the curve of her neck, she saw, and his lips parted a little. Elena suppressed a grimace.

She wanted to announce the truth: Crazy and vicious, but not dead. There was no way she could know that now, or at least no way she could explain. And so, Elena said nothing. Instead, she reached out a hand, slowly, carefully, as if she was taming some wild creature, and finally touched him.

Just for a moment, her fingers brushing across the bare skin of his wrist. But this—a moment of touch—she needed. It was like a circuit connecting.

Stefan became utterly still, his eyes dilated and dark as he stared at her. She thought he was holding his breath. There was a moment when it seemed like time was suspended, like anything could happen. And then, with an intense jolt of sorrow, Elena pulled away, letting her hand fall limply to her side.

He handed her what looked like a handful of scrappy, skinny weeds, a few with small pale flowers. You can even make herbal tea out of them. If she kept it close, it would keep vampires from being able to cloud her mind. Who was he protecting her from? Then she got it. Himself, of course. It was just like Stefan, to be thinking of himself as a danger while he did everything he could to protect her.

She stared up at him again, holding her gaze until, reluctantly, he let his eyes meet hers again. Elena sighed and tucked the vervain into her pocket before heading home. She felt safe, despite the dark. Elena brushed her hair with smooth, even strokes, watching herself in the elaborately framed Victorian mirror above her dresser. She met her own reflected gaze levely, her dark blue eyes as steady as her hand on the hairbrush. Her golden hair fanned out like silk across her shoulders.

It was odd, she thought, that she looked almost exactly the same here as she did in her own time. When she had chosen to be with Stefan forever. She was not going to think about Stefan. Her hand slowed and her eyes dropped.

There was still that instant fire between them. The rest of the world melted away when she was with Stefan.As far as the Guardians were concerned, Damon had broken their bargain.

Meredith had been turned into a vampire. He had changed for her. So, yeah, well done Alloy for wasting my time a tiny bit less than I originally thought. Her friend sounded broken. As Damon gazed at it, the ache in his chest intensified.