A/N - Hello! I am currently rewriting all of my previously posted chapters as of September 2018. There are some places you shouldn't notice any differences, besides some obvious grammatical errors fixed, and some places where there is entirely new content. Please let me know if I missed anything!

DISCLAIMER - I do not own Vampire Diaries, characters, or anything to do with that universe other than Ella.

I sighed as I stared into the mirror, comparing myself to my twin sister once again. I twirled a curl around my finger and I contemplated my hair, which I kept in curls to have something that was mine alone. Other than our appearance, Elena and I were fairly different. Different from each other, and from who we were before the summer. But today, it was a fresh start for both of us. I didn't want to think about what had happened last spring, but in a small town, it's hard to avoid tragedy.

I knew Elena would be writing in her diary. It was her way of coping with everything, like Jeremy with drugs and me with my music and dancing. I was a good gymnast and Jenna often found me out back, doing flips and climbing in the trees. I would be more worried about her internalizing all her problems, but I knew it was helping her, to a degree.

Elena interrupted my thoughts when she knocked on my door. "Come on, it's time to go," she told me gently with a smile I knew was mostly fake. I nodded and we walked down together.

"Toast, I can make toast," Aunt Jenna said frantically as she looked through the fridge. I smiled at her as Elena poured both of us coffee.

"It's all about the coffee, Aunt Jenna," I told her with a smile. I had always love Aunt Jenna, spazzy forgetfulness and all. Days like this, normal days, remind me just how much.

"Is there coffee?" Jeremy asked as he walked in the kitchen, looking a little out of it. I had a bad feeling as I looked him over.

"It's your first day of school and I'm totally unprepared," Jenna said, digging through her bag as I handed Jeremy my coffee and got myself another one. "Lunch money?" Jenna asked, appearing right behind me, holding out two handfuls of cash. Elena turned her down, but Jeremy grabbed them both.

"Anything else? A number 2 pencil? What am I missing?" Jenna asked.

"You're mind?" I joked. Jenna rolled her eyes at me.

"Don't you have a big presentation today?" Elena asked, and I remembered Jenna telling us something about it. "I'm meeting with my thesis advisor at..." she looked at her watch, "Now" she pulled her beautiful wavy, red/blond hair out of the bun it had been in all morning. "Crap"

"Go" I laughed at her, shooing her with my hands. "We'll be fine."

Jenna looked at Elena and me gratefully before sprinting out of the house to catch up with her life.

I wonder if it will be that easy for Elena, Jeremy, and I.

"You okay?" Elena asked Jeremy softly. I knew he would deny everything with her. Elena was so obsessed with being fine and perfect, she forgot that we normal people didn't need to be perfectly fine all the time.

"Don't start" he huffed, taking a sip of his coffee as he walked away. I gave him a sympathetic smile and he smiled slightly back at me before walking away completely.

Elena sighed and leaned against the island for support. I wrapped one arm around her shoulders in support. We were going to need a lot of strength to get through the next couple of days. And I had a feeling this was only the beginning.

Elena was sitting shot-gun with Bonnie while I was sitting in the back. Bonnie had decided she was going to drive us to school from now on. I didn't really mind. I hadn't been comfortable in a car in a while and not driving means I can pretend I'm not in the car.

"So, Grams is telling my I'm physic. Our ancestors were from Salem? Witches and all that, I know, crazy! She's going on and on about it and I'm like, 'put this woman in a home already', but I started thinking: I predicted Obama. And I predicted Heath Ledger. And I still think Florida will break off and turn into little resort islands" I smiled and kind of tuned out Bonnie.

"Elena!" her eyes flashed towards me from the rearview mirror, "Ella!" we jerked back to the real world. "Back in the car."

Elena and I shared a look. "We did it again, didn't we? I'm sorry Bonnie. You were telling us that…"

"That I'm psychic now," she said with a smug grin. "Right, okay then, predict something," I told her in disbelief. I mean, come one, physic?

"About us" Elena added.

Bonnie sighed and considered this. "I see…" but before she could finish, something smacked into the windshield of the car, scaring all of us and making Bonnie slam on the break. My mind instantly flashed to the day of the accident.

Screams filled my ears, and it took me a minute to realize I was screaming too. But immediately after that realization, the car hit the water, and the car began filling up with water. I yanked on my seatbelt, but it was stuck…

I snapped out of it when I heard Bonnie say, "What was that? Oh my God. Are you guys okay?"

"It's okay, I'm fine" Elena assured her.

"Yeah, fine" I added, shaking my head to rid myself of the memory.

"It was like a bird or something" Bonnie continued. "It came out of nowhere."

"Really. We can't be freaked out by cars for the rest of our lives." Elena said firmly.

I wanted to agree with her, I really did, but everything was so fresh I had a hard time seeing a future where I'm not terrified.

Bonnie looked at us as if she didn't believe us before heaving a great sigh. "I predict this year is going to be kick-ass. I predict all the sad and dark times are over and you two are going to be beyond happy" I smiled at Bonnie's words of encouragement. I really think we can do this. I think Elena and I can move on. Or maybe I'm just blindly optimistic.

Bonnie pulled away from the curb she had ended up against and we continued the drive to Mystic Falls High School.

I was walking with Elena and Bonnie through the school. "Major lack of male real estate. Look at the shower curtain on Kelley Beach! She looks a hot – can I still say 'trannie mess'?"

I laughed with Elena at our best friend. I leaned against the wall with Elena and Bonnie. "No, that's over Bon," I told her, fake sympathetically, making her laugh and slap my arm playfully.

"Ugh. Find a man and coin phrase. It's a busy year" Bonnie sounded very pleased with herself. I appreciated how upbeat she was being. I knew it was in an effort to keep Elena and me positive.

I looked up and happened to see Matt, who was staring wistfully at Elena. He met my eyes and I smiled sadly at him, shaking my head. He knew what I meant and nodded glumly back at me, just as he caught Bonnie's attention, which caught Elena's attention.

"He hates me" Elena sighed, slumping against the lockers.

"That's not true", I said firmly.

"That's not hate," Bonnie agreed, "That's 'You dumped me, but I'm too cool to show it, but secretly I'm listening to Air Supplies greatest hits'"

"Elena! Ella!" we turned to see Caroline coming towards us with a wide smile on her face.

Now, don't get me wrong, I love Caroline. She can come off as insincere and air-headed, but she's a sweetheart and means the best. You just have to get under her superficial shell, like we have.

"Oh my God" she hugged Elena and then gave me an even bigger hug. "How are you?" she asked. "Oh, it's so good to see you two" she backed up and looked at Bonnie. "How are they? Are they good?" she asked as if we weren't there. I think she knew Elena would lie to her.

"Caroline, we're right here", Elena said gently. "And I'm fine. We're fine. Thank you" behind Elena's back I was shaking my head, making Caroline slump her shoulders and look sadly at me from over Elena's shoulder. I knew she would be insisting I spend the night at her house soon, have a normal girl's night. We used to did all the time, especially after the accident.

"You poor thing" she cried, giving Elena another hug.

"Okay, Caroline" Elena said flatly, patting Caroline's back weakly.

Caroline looked at me pointedly as she pulled away from my twin. "Girl's night. Soon" was all she said before she walked away.

Elena and I turned back to see a grinning Bonnie. Elena shook her head. "No comment. I'm not gonna say anything"

As we were walking by the office, Bonnie stopped us. "Hold up. Who's this?" Elena and I looked over to see a tall, lean guy wearing a pair of blue jeans, a brown leather jacket, and a black hoodie underneath. Oh, and sunglasses. He looked hot.

"All I see is back", Elena said. I rolled my eyes at her.

"It's a hot back", I told her. Just because I wasn't interested in a relationship anytime soon doesn't mean I couldn't admire.

"I'm sensing Seattle, and he plays the guitar" Elena and I laughed at her.

"You're gonna run this whole psychic thing into the ground, huh?" I asked her, hip-checking her.

"Pretty much", Bonnie said pleasantly.

"Jeremy, good batch, man" we heard a random guy say further down the hallway. Our smiles dropped as we watched Jeremy walk into the guy's bathroom.

"I'll be right back" Elena practically growled. "Elena…" I tried to stop her, but she blew me off, as usual. Bonnie and I shared a look. I shook my head. "This is not going to end well" I sighed. I saw Jeremy walk out of the restroom. "I'll see you later Bon", I said walking over to him.

"Jeremy" I called. He looked over at me and the glare he sent my way stopped me in my tracks. Why was he so angry with me? What did I do? Without a word, Jeremy turned and stormed away from me.

Once he was gone I leaned against the wall and slid down the floor. I leaned my head against the wall, suppressing a sob as I ran a hand through my hair. What was I going to do?

"Once our home state of Virginia joined the Confederacy in 1861 it created a tremendous amount of tension within the state" I doubt anyone but me was listening to Mr. Tanner. "People in Virginia's Northwest had different ideas from those of the traditional deep South. And Virginia's divided…" alright, now I'm not paying attention. I was curious about who the hot new guy was.

Elena kept glancing at him, and he was staring at her. I elbowed her from across the aisle and raised my eyebrows suggestively, making her silently giggle and shake her head.

Elena's phone buzzed and she showed me the text Bonnie had sent her. HAWT-E STARING U. I laughed silently as Elena simply shoved her phone back into her pocket and we went back to the lesson.

"We going home?" I asked Elena as we walked out of school at the end of the day. She shook her head. "I think I'm gonna…" she trailed off, but I knew what she meant. She had made a habit of going to the cemetery. She goes there to write and be near Mom and Dad.

Elena walked to the cemetery and I started the trek to our family's old, abandoned apothecary. It was completely empty, but clean. I had started going there when I was younger and kept it nice and clean. Dad had helped me line one of the walls with mirrors and put a bar in, as well as a sound system.

Mom and Dad knew my passion for dance and gymnastics. So they let me come here whenever I needed a break from reality. I took off my shirt, so I was just in my camisole and changed into leggings and took off my socks and shoes. I pressed the button on the old boombox and music started blaring. I started dancing, throwing in a few flips and tricks, getting lost in my own little world.

I never noticed the black crow that was sitting on the sill of the window, watching me.

I was walking out, back in my normal clothes with my duffle bag over my shoulder, when Bonnie pulled up next to me. "Hey, I'm meeting Caroline at the Grill, wanna come?" I thought about it before smiling and hoping into the car.

The drive to the Grill didn't take long at all. In fact, we could have walked. Mystic Falls was not a big town. I grinned as we entered the Grill. The air conditioning in the Grill felt wonderful after the heat of the day and my workout earlier.

"There she is" Bonnie pointed, and it was pretty easy to spot Caroline at the table in the crowd. Bonnie and I wasted no time in getting over to her and sitting on either side of her.

"Hey, Caroline" I smiled broadly. It was nice to see her. Hanging out with her and Bonnie took my mind off of things. "Ella! I'm so glad you came" Caroline beamed. She looked fit to burst, and I couldn't help but chuckle at the picture she made.

"Caroline, spill. You obviously have something you want to talk about. Did you see the new guy?" Bonnie asked, laughing slightly at Caroline as we sat down at the table.

Caroline nodded. "He's gorgeous" she sighed dreamily.

"Why don't we get something to drink while you tell us. I'm parched" I suggested, standing. The other girls nodded and stood as well.

"His name is Stefan Salvatore" Caroline was saying as we walked to a table after getting our drinks. "He lives with his uncle at the old Salvatore boarding house. He hasn't lived here since he was a kid. Military family, so they moved around a lot. He's a Gemini, and his favorite color is blue" Caroline sounded smug.

"You got all of that in one day?" Bonnie asked in disbelief.

"Oh, please. I got all of that between 3rd and 4th period" Caroline replied. "We're planning a June wedding" I smiled: Caroline was a social butterfly and great at digging up dirt, but she was hopelessly naïve at times.

I chuckled and shared a look with Bonnie. "Hey, you texted Elena, right?" I asked Bonnie as we followed Caroline again. She nodded.

"Hey look, there's Matt" it seems that Caroline had disappeared, so we sat down with Matt.

"Hey, how are you doing?" I asked him, giving him a hug from behind before sitting next to him.

"I'm not the one in mourning. How are you an Elena doing?" He asked, looking between us.

Bonnie shook her head. "Their mom and dad died. How do you think?"

"Elena's putting on a good face, you know her, but it's only been four months. None of us are okay yet" I told him.

"Has she said anything about me?" Matt asked desperately.

I sighed, but I didn't want to lie to him. "Matt, I really care about you, and Elena does too, but she's changed. We all have, she's not the same girl you were dating before. I think that getting back into that relationship could hurt more than help" I explained, placing a comforting hand on his arm.

He sighed, but slowly nodded. We all looked over when we heard the door open. In walked Elena… with Stefan Salvatore. Matt looked at me, heart-broken. "I'm out of here," he said, before walking away.

I groaned and dropped my head onto my crossed arms, keeping me from slamming my head on the table. "Why does life have to suck?" I moaned.

Bonnie rubbed my shoulder. "You need to learn that you can't help everybody. Come on, when have you ever done something for yourself?" she asked me.

I looked up at her, my heart breaking slightly as the memory arose. "When I built the studio with Dad," I told her. Her smile dropped, but she didn't say anything.

While I was moaning, apparently Matt had introduced himself to Stefan before leaving. Elena, Caroline, and Stefan joined us at the table. "You alright, Ella?" Caroline asked gently. As much as Bonnie was my best friend, Caroline was a more maternal figure for me, especially after mom died. You wouldn't expect it from her, but she was more my best friend that Elena's, just like Bonnie was more Elena's best friend that mine.

I nodded. "Fine" I fibbed.

A little while later, the conversation was finally flowing. It helped Caroline finally had her target to interrogate. "So you were born in Mystic Falls?" Caroline asked Stefan.

"Mm-hm. And I moved when I was still young" he explained.

"Parents?" Bonnie asked.

"My parents passed away," he told us. I flinched. That sucks.

"I'm sorry," Elena said after a moment when everyone looked at her and me. He nodded in acknowledgement.

"Any siblings?" she asked him, changing the subject.

"None that I talk to," he told her. I didn't miss that he said it to her and not to the group.

I nodded in understanding anyway. "I live with my uncle" he continued, though I noticed he kind of stuttered, as if he wasn't sure about what he was saying.

"So, Stefan," Caroline said loudly, noticing that his attention was only on Elena as well, "If you're new, you don't know about the party tomorrow."

"It's a back-to-school thing at the falls," Bonnie told him. He looked thoughtful for a moment. "Are you going?" he asked Elena.

I answered for her. "Of course she is. We all are" Elena simple smiled.

Conversation continued, but it seemed like Stefan and Elena were in their own world. Despite what I say about not being ready for a relationship, it hurt. She looked so happy, and I knew in my heart that I would never have that. I would never have someone that could make me smile simply with a look.

And that sucked.

"The Battle of Willow Creek took place at the end of the war in our very own Mystic Falls. How many casualties resulted in this battle?" no hands went up at Mr. Tanner's question. I knew the answer, but I didn't bother raising my hand. And I had pissed Tanner off enough that he had quite calling on me almost entirely.

"Miss Bennett?"

"Um…A lot?" some people laughed, "I'm not sure. But, like, a whole lot"

"Cute becomes dumb in an instant, Miss Bennett" I glared at Mr. Tanner. He so did not insult Bonnie Bennett.

"Mr. Donovan. Would you like to take this opportunity to overcome your imbedded jock stereotype?" Mr. Tanner asked Matt enthusiastically.

"It's okay Mr. Tanner. I'm cool with it" Matt said dismissively. I felt bad that Matt was always treated like the dumb jock. He let it slide, but really, he got the short end of the stick. Sucky family, sucky status, and he was treated like an idiot when really, he's the one responsible for his house and his sister and all their bills and everything.

"Elena?" I wasn't surprised he used her first name. He knew better than to say Miss Gilbert with the two of us in the same room. "Surely you can enlighten us about one of the town's most historical events." His tone was becoming more sarcastic and exasperated.

"I'm sorry, I don't know," she told him.

"I was willing to be lenient last year for obvious reasons, Elena. But the personal excuses ended with summer break" I wanted to growl and cry at the same time. It's been four months, give us a break!

"346" I called out. Everyone turned to look at me. They all knew that I never answered questions in history. I was only good for vocal comic relief. But Mr. Tanner had pushed me too far. No one messes with my family without having to deal with me.

"Unless you're counting the local civilians" another voice added. It took me a minute to realize that it was Stefan.

Mr. Tanner regained his composer after being shocked at receiving such a response and looked at Stefan. "That's correct Ella," he said, slightly… shocked, I guess. "Very good, Mr.…"


"Salvatore. Any relation to the original settlers here at Mystic Falls?"


"Very good. Except, of course, there were no civilian casualties in this battle" Mr. Tanner dismissed him. Now don't get me wrong, I hardly know Stefan, but he stuck up for my sister, I wasn't about to let him get told off my a teach that didn't know his facts.

"Actually there were 27, Mr. Tanner" I informed him loudly.

Stefan nodded. "Confederate soldiers fired on the church, believing it to be housing weapons. And they were wrong. It was a night of great loss" he informed everybody.

Mr. Tanner looked embarrassed at being schooled by a couple of teenagers.

"The founder's archives are in Civil Hall of you'd like to brush up on your facts. After all, the personal excuses ended with summer break" I finished in a hard voice. "And you don't have the excuse of your parents' death" the rest of the class grew deathly silent at that. Mr. Tanner froze slightly, a furious, yet sheepish look on his face.

Thankfully, before he could regain his composure, the bell rang. I didn't pay any attention to the rest of the class as I fled from the room.

The party was in full swing. People were laughing, talking, dancing, making out, getting drunk… It was something that, previously, I would have been the center of attention.

Now, I was sitting on the edge, just close enough that I wasn't freaking out about the woods. I watched as everyone else, including my sister, was having a great time. I just didn't feel like partying, especially after earlier today.

"Are you okay?" I looked over my shoulder to see Stefan standing behind me. I shrugged carelessly.

"Elena is standing by the first pit with Bonnie," I told him instead of answering, turning my attention back to the party.

Stefan crouched down next to me, making me turn my attention back to him. "And I'll go talk to her, after you answer me."

I smiled despite myself. "I like you, Stefan. I think you'll be good for my sister" I told him.

"Are you okay, Ella?" he asked again.

I laughed, glancing away from him. "You know, everyone has asked Elena that question over and over, but only two other people have asked me that. Bonnie and Caroline" I shook my head. "No, I'm not okay. I'll probably never be okay. But that's alright, as long as Elena and Jeremy are okay, I don't mind being broken." I think it was the fact that he was new and I didn't really know him that made me say this. I usually kept it all to myself, but something about Stefan made me feel like I could open up to him.

"You better go find Elena, she'll be wondering where you are," I said after a minute, a clear dismissal.

Stefan stood up and I heard him brush himself off. "There's more to you than people see, isn't there?" he said more than asked before walking away, leaving me to my thoughts.

I guess I had dozed off, because the next thing I know I heard was Elena screaming for help. I got up and ran over to see Jeremy carrying a bleeding Vicki out of the woods. "Vicki? Vicki, what the Hell!" Matt cried, running over.

"What happened?"

"Call an ambulance!"

"Everybody back up. Give her space."

"It's her neck. Something bit her. She's losing a lot of blood. It's bad." I shoved Elena aside and shoved my jacket against Vicki's neck, hoping to at least slow down the blood flow. "Vicki, come on, open your eyes. Look at me" Matt pleaded.

Everyone was just standing around, watching us. I looked up to see Stefan looking horrified before he slowly turned around, jogging away.

He looked horrified at what happened to Vicki, but not shocked. Almost like he knew exactly what had happened to her.

And considering what's been going on recently, I wouldn't be totally surprised.

I stood with Matt as Vicki was loaded into the ambulance. I put a hand on his shoulder. "She'll be okay," I told him. He nodded without looking at me, though I know he didn't really believe me.

Matt got into the ambulance once Vicki was settled, and I slowly walked away to Elena. She looked at me once I was right in front of her. "She'll be fine" I reassured her. After last spring, any kind of tragedy was a shock to our systems.

"Hey" we both turned to see Bonnie. "We're gonna go mainline coffee and wait for news" Elena and I shared a look.

"I can take care of Jeremy if you want to…" but Elena was already shaking her head. "We should stay together now more than ever," she told me.

We looked at Bonnie and shrugged. "Guys, there's no way I'm psychic. I know that. But whatever I saw, or I think I saw, I have this feeling…"

"Bonnie, what is it?" she was scaring me.

"That it's just the beginning" Bonnie finally finished, sending a shiver down my spine. I had a bad feeling that she was right.

I sat back while I watched Elena talk to Jeremy. I was glad they weren't yelling, but I knew they were having a conversation I really didn't want to be a part of.

Once they were done talking, I headed over. I wrapped my arms around Jeremy, who dropped his head on my shoulder. At least he wasn't glaring at me anymore. I guess what happened to Vicki really shook him up. I could feel him shaking. "Shh," I soothed, running my fingers through his hair, trying to comfort him.

I looked over at Elena, who was watching us with a hurt look on her face. "Are you good to take him home?" I asked, releasing Jeremy, who was still holding onto my waist.

"Where are you going?" Jeremy asked before Elena could speak.

"I'm gonna go check on Matt, see how he's doing. The doctor's will be taking care of Vicki, but…" I trailed off, pulling away. "I'll see you at home, okay?" I nodded at Elena. She nodded back, and I turned away, heading to the hospital.

One of the deputies was willing to give me a lift, and I made it to the hospital in time to find Matt sitting at Vicki's side with red eyes.

"Hey" I whispered quietly, trying not to wake Vicki. Matt looked up sharply.

"Ella" he stood automatically.

Without hesitation, I wrapped my arms around him, offering him any comfort I could while absorbing his warmth. I was still cold from the bonfire, as I had forgone a jacket. Even in the south, wearing a tank-top and jeans was not a good combination at night.

"God, Ella, you're freezing," Matt noticed, pulling away and pulling off his jacket, wrapping it around me. I pulled the insulated jacket closer, reveling in the warmth.

"How is she?" I nodded at Vicki, who still looked out. Matt glanced over, then looked back at me, shaking his head. "They think she'll be fine" relief was clear in his voice.

"That's great, Matt" I smiled, hugging him again.

"Hey" he looked me in the eyes, completely serious. "Thanks for being here. Thanks for always being there for me. I know it's gotta be weird, with me and Elena…" Matt trailed off, wincing.

I cocked my head to the side, completely understanding. "Don't worry. I get it. I'll always be here for you" I promised, grabbing his hand with both of mine. "Do you want me to go?" I asked, starting to pull my hand away. Matt squeezed my hands and grabbed onto them with his other hand, though, keeping me in his grasp.

"Please, stay."

I nodded and looked around for another chair, pulling it over so I sat next to Matt, once he had released my hands. The chairs didn't have arms, so I leaned against Matt, resting my head on his shoulder. I was fading quickly, more tired than I had thought. I barely noticed when his arm moved to my shoulders, making us both a little more comfortable as I fell asleep.