Time drifted into a black hole -- it seemed nonexistent when he had hid away for so many decades to go unnoticed. He had heard many testaments of near-death experiences seeing a light at the end of the tunnel, being taken to a light on a cloud or conversing with an angel.
For Stefan, his nonexistence stopped when a girl whose adoptive father told him to save her first. Elena survived, her father didn't. What overshadowed the tragedy was Elena, a spitting image of Katherine, had become his light at the end of the tunnel.
First time he met her face to face, he had bumped into her at the high school men's bathroom. Warmth radiated from her and filled him with hope. Her Cherubim face and chocolate brown eyes blinded him from the monster inside. He forgot what he was, who he was. All he could do when her eyes had locked onto his was smile and barely choke out a hello. His coordination went off kilter when he tried to pass her by. They danced into each other's way. He, a vampire, at that moment was uncoordinated and shy, scared that he'd scare her.
What Stefan had done to her made him worse than Damon made him the devil. At least Damon kept his word. Lies covered up Stefan's lust for human blood, stashing blood bank bags in the basement Frigidaire, saying he was detoxing. He had the gall to tell Elena everything was okay at the Mystic Falls Pageant and left her stranded to suck Amber dry out in the woods.
Elena's beautiful face appeared before him from the shadows of the hole that fell away to her figure. Her lovely almond eyes sparkled from moisture, clouding those chocolate browns. He reached out to her. Hoped she was real.
"Can you touch me, Elena?"
"Yes, I'm here. Stay with me, Stefan. Don't hide from me now."
The sight of her made him catch his breath. She was in her blue gown worn for Miss Mystic Falls. Her angelic face radiated light. The low cut of her bodice accented the roundness of her breasts. Her hips he wanted to place his hands on made his dead heart beat crazily until it hurt.
He needed to touch her.
The palm of his hand gently stroked her soft cheek. A long curl that fell freely in her face caught in his hand. He could feel her. Suddenly he was dizzy with delight. He combed his fingers through her cloak of long hair
silken to the touch, smooth, cascading in ripples from his hands like a gentle waterfall.
"I love you so much. That's why I have to do this," Stefan said, hoping she'd understand, remembering why he was trapped in this hole.
"I'll go with you anywhere. You know that, don't you, Stefan?" she whispered.
Her warm, delicious breath puffed on his neck. She put her arms over his shoulders and around his neck, fingering his hair. A waft of an amazing aroma mixed with almonds, limes and pears with soft florals and vanilla graced his nostrils. Burberry Brit! Of all things, he could name her perfume. She smelled heavenly.
He knew this was a dream. It had to be. Elena didn't understand what he meant by what he had to do. The next words that came from her lips shocked him.
"I adore you." She gently took his face in her hands and turned it towards her to stare straight into his eyes. "I'll always adore you, Stefan. I won't live without you."
The black hole lightened, pulsed around him as if he and Elena were in an artery. Darkened veins appeared, crawling up the curved membrane walls. He was trapped in this living thing, the walls inhaling and exhaling. If he weren't dreaming he would've thought a lamp were behind this tunnel-like wall as the silhouetted veins crawled, making where he and Elena a very dangerous place to be.
His vampire eyes caught sight of a vein at the other darkened end grow. It grew, grew, higher
thicker like a huge Leech with a round mouth, sharp jagged teeth circling the inside of its mouth. It rumbled, shook the inside until it felt like an earthquake. He fell with Elena, realizing something was pulling him towards the monster Leech. Stefan held to the sticky membrane floor while Elena grabbed his arms. Like a vacuum sucking dust into the hose, Stefan lost and slowly gave into the vacuum.
"It's not going to have you, Stefan! I've got you!" Miracles upon miracles, she still held on, pulling even as the teeth closed up to cut him in shreds.
Noise was everywhere! Unbareable heat hit his skin.
"Elena! Let goooo! Arghhhhhhhh!!!"
His feet were already inside the monster's maw
teeth gnawing at his legs, ripping his skin as he went deeper into its mouth.
Stefan struggled, needed to save Elena. He looked up and saw Damon and Bonnie pulling with him back with Elena.
"Let me gooooo!!!" Stefan hoped they would or they'd be taken too. It was too much
worse than the torture
fire!!! Up his legs, chest
it was sucking him in! He couldn't help anyone, not himself, not Elena, not Damon. Not anyone. He was lost in blood! The Leech closed its mouth. The teeth were gone. Darkness pushed Stefan's pain away and the hole of nonexistence sat with time and waited.
"Stefan! Stefan! I'm here! Right here!" Such a beautiful voice, it was like waters racing through his head. Heaven, he was in heaven. No, that's the wrong place. But how can anything so beautiful be anywhere but in heaven?
"Wake up! Please, don't leave me."
He could hear his voice far away drifting somewhere. "I'm not going. I'm here." Heaven? He felt warm hands on his face. He had to be dead.
!" Pain hit him in his chest! Pain! He's not dead! He opened his eyes and saw her. Hair fell in his face, tickled him
so sweet, choking him, but sweet.
"Damon! Bonnie! He's awake! Come over here, quick!"
Elena was the closest to him. He could see her clearer. Damon and Bonnie were a blur coming towards him. He was alive! It was a dream
"How long?" His voice didn't sound right, sounded dry, scratchy.
"About three hours," Elena said.
"Thought I'd be gone by then." It still hurt to talk.
Damon waltzed over, frowning, while he stood beside Elena. "If you're going to kill yourself, little bro, commit hara-kiri with a stake. It's more effective. Besides, no one's going to kill you, not even you."
Stefan reached out to touch Damon's hand and wrapped his fingers. He needed his brother, needed to amend things with him. He pulled Damon to him.
"I need to talk to you alone." Felt like something was coming up in his throat. Stefan coughed.
"We don't have time for that. We got to get things started here while we still have Nurse Nightingale with us."
Stefan wondered what Bonnie had to do with him then he squeezed Damon's hand and could see his older brother understood the urgency.
"Okay, but only for a minute." Damon excused Elena and Bonnie, walked them to the bedroom door into the lightened hallway and told them he wouldn't take that long. Stefan was relieved, glad Damon responded to him instead of chiding him. Damon had been humanized considerably since being with Elena. It was her that changed both of them.
"What's on your mind? Because if it's something weird, I'm not going with it." Damon had pulled up a small chair beside the bed where Elena had sat.
"I'm dying, Damon, and you need to listen to me." The pain in his chest matched the darkness behind his brother blue eyes and he sucked in his lips.
"You have to you have to protect Elena. I don't think I'll last through the night. You see in her what I have. From the beginning when I first met her
you've found out how good she is."
Damon's mouth twisted and shook his head. "Elena and I have an understanding. I know what she's about. But you don't need to pawn her off on me. You, bro, are going to live because if you die, you'll remain a hero forever in her eyes. And I'm not fighting a dead hero.
"I've changed my mind. You can die. She's going to be mine, anyway, when I've won her over fair and square, not because you gave her to me. So you better suck it up and listen to what I've got to say." Damon bent closer, his dark raven hair shined from the soft lamp light. "Don't give me that deer-caught- in-the-headlights look. You're dying now, but you won't be. It took me a long time to convince Bonnie to help you. So you'd better let her or I'll kill you personally.
"Oh, one more thing! We really pissed off Bonnie so she just may kill you off anyway." Damon stood up, left the chair, and strode confidently to the door without turning around. "I thought that would get your attention."