The soft light shined on Stefan's brown hair, ruffled from plucking sticks and splinters, from the lamp post to the right side of his king-sized bed. The shadows rested on his face, enhancing the gentle slop of his jaw and full perfect lips.
Elena never saw any teenager boy or man that could stop her in her tracks like Stefan. To look at him took her breath away. And that night, the turning point of their making love when he had lifted his shirt, she nearly fainted. His chest was his crowning glory, pecs any man would kill for. This moment didn't change anything, even after he had accidentally ran into the branch, near death. He lay there wounded, still beautiful like the statues of Adonis, Mercury, even Michelangelo's David.
As she sat on the side of his bed, her hand traced the line that marked his chest bone, and lightly fingered down to his wound near his side. Stefan hitched when she brushed over the wound.
"I'm so sorry
I-I didn't mean to-hurt you. I'm so sorry." Tears fought their way through and fell down her cheeks. The wound blurred, from her clouded eyes. She felt coolness brush against her elbow that rested against her knee. It was his hand. Then the grasp felt stronger and she turned to face him. Stefan pulled her toward him, his eyes closed, and buried his face in her hair. He embraced as if for the last time, urgent and with strength. Too soon he let go and rested his arms near his side.
"Never was your fault." More air than words caressed her cheek. She couldn't breath at this point. It took too much strength for him to pull her down like that. He could barely move his head. Her air was cutting off. She couldn't lose him. Not now.
"Don't go," she cried, her voice strangled by the tears.
live. What I did-- ." His eyes opened and he took a painful swallow. Those beautiful green, deep like the forest, rich with life now lingered on the ceiling. " -was unforgivable. 'I'm sorry' doesn't work
anymore." Attempting a smile, his lips formed a straight line.
"Stefan, you can't say that. It's not true. You have every right to live as anyone else. I'm the one that caused this addiction. No!"
Gray hints of veins appeared beneath Stefan's eyelids, They puckered in and out while his skin grayed around his eyes near his cheeks.
She caught his face in the palm of her hands. "You're not going to leave me. Do you hear!"
He coughed and the gray receded. She watched his labored breathing while his pale chest rose and fell as he rested on top of the white comforter. The wound had healed considerably. A five-inch diameter hole in his side reduced to a half an inch should've meant good news. But Stefan struggled internally. Something had blocked his total recovery and now was killing him from the inside.
Elena wished she knew, wished Damon would hurry back from turning the child over to Sheriff Forbes.
"Elena?" His pained voice reached her.
"I'm here!" She stroked his fine hair from his forehead and lay down beside him to snuggle the best way she could without hurting him by too much movement.
This time he did turn to her and smiled. His face, wet with tears, shined with trust. Beneath that comforting cover of him being there with her, she sensed an undercurrent of silent torture remaining with Stefan.
She stroked his precious face that she wished to see beside her each morning she'd wake. Her hands lightly traced his amazing wing-tipped eyebrows. This seemed to give him strength. She kissed the tip of his straight pointed nose. He coughed lightly and chuckled.
"I want to talk to you," Stefan said, flat on his back with his faced turned towards her. He slowly moved to his side to take her hands. That shocked her. A flicker of joy kindled in Elena. Finally, he was healing.
"I love you." Stefan nodded his head. "My brother loves you. No, Elena, listen. He sees you the way I do. I won't be here too long. Listen." His grip hurt Elena's wrists. He might as well have thrown her into a tub of ice and freezing water. "I'm dying, Elena."
Stefan came over to the edge of the bed and sat there to embrace her. Blood crept from his nearly healed wound. He held her so tight until she hoped he would snuff the life out of her. His dead heart beat against her chest. She stroked his beautiful flawless skin, back that rippled with muscles for her only.
"I ran into the branch on purpose because that was the only way to save Ray. The baby boy. Crazy, but
but he had more right than I did to live. I'm 165 years old."
Stefan Salvatore wasn't any ordinary teenager boy. He was a teenager vampire stuck in a timeless guise of a seventeen-year-old body.
Stefan continued. "I had to kill myself. I want to die, Elena, so this won't happen to anyone else."
"You don't know that. You-you can detox, get rid of every trace of human blood in you and live. I don't care how long, how aweful it'll be, I'm right here with you. I'll read my journal to you every day while you're in the cell. How about that?"
"I could never live without you, Elena." His hand gently stroked her cheek. It sent an electric shock up her spine and her skin tingled.
Suddenly, his lip stretched into a thin line and the gray veins appeared again. Stefan's eyes widened, his face twisted into a tortured expression. He fell back onto the bed. Elena jumped up and straightened him. He wouldn't stop.
arghhhhhh!" Sharp movements, his legs kicked, his head thrashed back and forth, then his back arched.
"Stefan! Stefan! What's wrong! What's hurting you?" Elena's adoptive father was a doctor and Elena, as stubborn and as strong, wouldn't let this thing take her love. She lay her hands on his chest to settle him and like the wind let out of a balloon. One last exhale escaped Stefan's lips.
His body was still as a statue, cold, beautiful. The gray veins pulsing back and forth were the only sign he was still fighting for life.
Oh God, help meeee! Stefan? Damon where are you? "Stefan, come back to me!"