Ok, next chapter everyone! Took a bit longer than I thought but here it is! Please review and enjoy!

"Ok, Cody Webber, what was your connection?" Damon muttered to himself as he scrolled through a list of emails addressed to Elijah that he'd commandeered from Slater's house.

The laptop beeped, alerting to what minimal battery was remaining. Damon sighed and wandered up to his room for the battery pack.

Maybe he could go and ask Elena what Webber had said when she called him in Richmond.

He glanced down at his watch. 11:05. Nah, she was probably getting ready for bed if not asleep already. Ugh, no, Stephan was there, still "reuniting"… for the 5th time that week.

He tried to push the mental image out of his head and concentrate on something other than Elena…without success.

The laptop had finally calmed down with connection to the battery. Damon was about to set it to stand by when he heard Elena's car pull up outside.

Oh no. Do not tell me they're moving the party here. He shot through to the back door and into the woods easily with his vampiric speed, unwilling to get the audio record of the Stephan + Elena fest and stopped only when Elena's cry pierced the still night.

"Help me, please! Open up! I need to get inside; he's coming!"
"Elena." He whispered, before tearing back inside to the front door. Damon flicked the lock back in less than a second without even pausing to remember it was to keep Jules out; Elena was in danger.

"Let me in! Please! He's coming! He's trying to-"

The door flew open and Elena stumbled inside and fell into his arms.

"Elena, what-"
"Damon, thank god!" she cried, breathing fast with loud terrified gasps and locked her hands around Damon's neck.

He stood momentarily stunned before wrapping his arms around her small frame. He ordered himself not to get distracted by the silky feel of her hair, though dishevelled, down her back, or the softness of her skin under her top that was yet unfamiliar.

Before he could say anything however, she'd slid her hand down his shirt and bunched the material in her small fists.

"Damon we have to get out. He's coming for me. We have to go now. Right now!"

"Whoa, whoa. Elena slow down." He placed his hands over her fists and wound them free of he shirt. "What are you talking about? Who's coming?"

She stared at him incredulously. "Aren't you listening? We have to get out! He'll be here soon we have to leave!"
"Who! Klaus? He's here? Have you seen him?"

"No, not Klaus, Stephan!"

Damon's world tilted the wrong way.

Is this a joke? He wanted to ask but he could tell that she was deadly serious from the shining terror in her eyes.

"What do you mean 'Stephan'?" he held her face between his hands to keep her from shaking "Did he hurt you?" Damon added thinking over his earlier thought of 'reuniting'.

Elena tried to turn her face away but Damon held it tight and she averted her eyes instead.

"Elena, talk to me!" he yelled, shaking her slightly.

"It doesn't matter!" She yelled, turning back to him. "We have to get out of here! He's mad! He wants to get me!"

"Why, why would he hurt you?" Damon tried to reason. "Stephan loves you!" he pained himself to admit. Then he remembered the only other time Stephan may have hurt Elena, when she'd been this scared before. "Elena is he drinking human blood?"

"What?" Elena said, momentarily stunned out of her terror. "No, of course not!"

"Then what-" Damon fumbled, before noticing something. "Elena where's your necklace?"

The chain and circular silver pendant that held her protective vervain was gone. Stephan would never tell her to take it of and if he wasn't drinking human blood, he wasn't strong enough to compel.

"What?" she asked confused.

"Your vervain necklace! Why did you take it off?" he yelled.

"What are you talking about? I've never owned a vervain necklace!" she yelled back, angry that he was wasting time talking about non-existent jewellery.

"Why did you take it off?" he repeated calmly, looking into her eyes and watching them glaze over, out of focus.

Equally calmly she answered, "The woman got angry because the vervain wouldn't let her compel me so she pulled it off."

Damon's mind was whirring. Someone was compelling Elena to fear Stephan, to be terrified of him. His thoughts strayed instantly to Katherine. But no, what would she have to gain by this, she was locked in a tomb. Klaus then, he must have hundreds of informants. But then that meant Klaus knew about Elena.

A tiny suspicious voice in the back of his head also said, where's Rose? Shouldn't she be back at this time of night? He hated to suspect Rose, whom he thought was his friend. He didn't know what she had to gain by this, but he couldn't underestimate her either.

"Elena what did she look like, the woman?"

"She said I can't tell you." Elena said, infuriatingly calm.

"How would she'd know I'd ask that?" he said to himself. Wait, me? Damon thought picking up on the direction of the answer.

"Can't tell me specifically?"

"Yes."

"Wait, did she send you here?"

"No. I just knew that you would protect me."

Childish as it ma be, that gave him a little thill; Elena had relied on him. Damon. Then again, Stephan was sort of occupied with scaring her to death to protect her. Wait Stephan.

"Elena where's Stephan?"

Like the flick of a switch, her eyes turned to terror and her breathing became rapid again and she struggled in Damon's hands. "He's following me! Damon we have to get out!"

"Listen to me Elena, you've been compelled. Someone is compelling you to feel this fear."

"No! Why are you lying to me? I thought I could trust you!" she yelled, the hurt in her voice obvious and digging into Damon's heart even though he knew it wasn't real.

He sighed, his eyebrows drawn. "Elena, I'm so sorry I have to do this."

"What-" she started, but Damon had gently flicked her temple, his supernatural strength knocking her into unconsciousness.

He swept her into his arms before she started to fall and took her to rest on the living room lounge.

Damon knelt down on his knees and with one hand stroked the hair from her smooth cheek and tucked it behind her ear. With the other, he eased his mobile out of his jeans pocket and speed-dialled his brother.

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