Chapter 19 Shared Dreams, Shared Pain

The next few weeks passed quickly. Jake and I spent practically every waking minute together. We studied together, worked on a major English project, recorded a demo, and watched lots of movies, but it was completely platonic. I slept less than five hours a night, meaning I was blessedly too tired to dream. In study hall, I worked on writing my own song lyrics, just for fun.

I had just finished my appointment with my obstetrician and was getting in the car when I got a call from a blocked number. "Hello?"

"Elena. I can't talk long. It's Klaus."

"Stefan?"

"Klaus can't make hybrids without doppelganger blood. He is on the hunt to figure out what his options are. If he finds out..." His voice dropped to a whisper. "Have to go. I'll call back when I know more. Be careful."

My hands went over my belly as I fought down panic. If Klaus needed doppelganger blood to make hybrids, he would have a vested interest in my child. That alone was enough to make my blood turn to ice. I refused to consider what it would mean for my life, being Klaus' only blood supply for hybrids. One crisis at a time.

My mind whirled as I headed to Elijah's house, considering all my options. By the time I arrived, I realized what I had to do to give my baby the best chance it could get. I had to send her as far away as possible and have all knowledge of her erased from people's minds. Klaus chased Katherine for five hundred years. If he got even a hint that the doppelganger bloodline had continued, my baby wouldn't have a chance. Elijah, as the only friend I have not susceptible to compulsion by Klaus, was the only one I could trust to help.

I explained what was happening to Elijah and we made plans. For now, I was carrying so small my pregnancy wasn't noticeable as long as I didn't wear tight clothes. My doctor said occasionally a woman would go through her whole pregnancy with barely any weight gain or baby bump and I prayed that would be the case. Even though I should have only been about five months along, my doctor said, by the baby's growth, I appeared to be about seven months pregnant. I was having a baby girl and I was due November 1st. If the pregnancy became noticeable or if Klaus came to town before the baby was born, Elijah and I would leave town for a while. And after the baby was born... well, Elijah promised he would find a good home for her. And I silently promised her that I would come back for her, no matter what it took.

I was getting up to leave when the meaning of all of this finally sank in. I was having a baby girl. Damon's baby girl. And to keep her safe I had to give her up. Could I let someone take the last piece of him I had? What would Damon say if he was here? What would he want her name to be? Would he be happy to have a child?

"What you were talking about, guiding my dream, can you do that? Help me see Damon, talk to him? I have so many questions, things that parents expecting a child discuss, things I don't want to talk to other people about. I just..."

"Yes, I can help you control your own dream, let you talk to him."

"And you can keep it from becoming a nightmare?"

Elijah gave me a concerned look but didn't ask me to explain, for which I was grateful. "Yes, I can ensure it does not become unpleasant."

I shifted from foot to for, considering. "Okay, how would this work?"

Elijah instructed me to lie down on the couch. He sat at the very end and pulled my head into his lap, surprising me. "It's easier if I can touch you," he explained. He told me to close my eyes. I lay there, thinking how awkward this was. It seemed like only a few moments later, I was standing in the garden where Damon proposed.

"Elena?" I whirled around to find Damon striding towards me. I smiled. In this time, he was still whole and hale. I stepped into his arms, holding him tight. After a minute, he pulled back a little and looked down into my eyes. Bringing my hands up, I cradled his face between my palms. He covered my left hand with his. A crease appeared between his brows as he brought my hand between us. His fingers lightly ran over the ring.

"Have you changed your mind?" I stared at him, uncomprehending. "About marrying me? You are wearing my ring." Hope lit his eyes, but I could see the wariness in them as well.

I hesitated. Then I realized that it didn't matter if I lied. All that mattered was making him happy in this moment. I smiled. "Nothing would make me happier than to marry you." A completely honest statement. His smile outshone the sun as he picked me up and twirled me around. I laughed, delighted. He set me down. He whispered, "A kiss to seal the deal," before capturing my lips with his own. The kiss was gentle, sweet, perfect.

The baby choose that moment to kick. Damon jumped backward, startled as his eyes flew to my stomach. I licked my lips, nervous. "I... we." I took a deep breath and tried again. "Wearehavingababy," I said, as fast as I could manage. He stared at me for a moment and I wondered if he understood me. Then his face broke out into a grin. Grabbing my hands, he pulled me toward him. "It's a girl," I told him.

"How do you know?"

It would take too long to explain technology to him. "I just do. Trust me."

"Always," he responded and my heart jumped. "So what do you want to name her?"

"I was thinking Annabelle."

"My mother's name was Anne. Anne Marie Salvatore."

I nodded. "I know."

"It's a beautiful name. Annabelle." He rested his hand on my stomach. "My Belle."

I smiled. "I love you."

...

Thousands of miles away, Damon got off of the phone with Andy and crawled into bed. He was exhausted and in a bad mood. Andy generally kept her opinions to herself regarding his choices, but apparently, Stefan was out of town and she was pretty sure he had been for a while. She felt like he should at least try to talk to Elena. He hadn't dreamed of her in a couple of weeks, not since the gazebo. Within a few minutes, he had dropped off to sleep.

He found himself standing in a garden. After a moment he realized it was the garden behind the house he had grown up in. Elena was in his arms.

She smiled. "I love you."

...

Damon pulled back and my face scrunched up in confusion. I had just agreed to marry him. Surely, it wasn't a surprise that I love him. But looking into his eyes, it was like 1864 Damon was gone and cynical, guarded Damon was back.

"Let's cut the crap, shall we? What do you want?"

I took a step back, surprised by his words and the biting tone. He'd been so loving just moments before. Then my chin came up. "I will keep telling you I love you until you believe me. Know matter how long it takes. I. Love. You." I punctuated each word with a tap on his chest.

Confusion and wariness swirled in his eyes and it made my chest hurt. Since Damon had died, I had thought of a thousand things I wished I could say. Sappy things, angry things, and apologetic things. Now he was here. "You know why I avoided admitting it for so long? I have loved people before in a soft, safe kind of way. But with you? I knew that if let myself love you, it would consume me. It would be the kind of love that would capture me heart, body, and soul and if I lost you it would destroy me. There would be nothing left. To trust you enough to give you everything and hope you don't leave me broken- do you know how hard that is?"

He laughed, the sound harsh. "Do you know how many times I have given people everything and gotten nothing in return? How many times I've been left broken? Never again. I don't want your love. Not anymore. I won't live wondering when you'll take it back, when you'll find something better."

Tears were flowing freely down my face when the dream began to get blurry, fading away. I woke up with a jerk, my face wet. I quickly sat up. "You said it wouldn't become a nightmare," I stared at him accusingly.

"You have my most sincere apologies. I do not know what went awry. Control of the dream was taken from me. I do not know how."

"At first, it was like I was back it 1864. It was like I'd never left. But then, he changed. I was back to dealing with angry, world-weary Damon. It was like he was really there, scathing tone and all." I sat staring into the fire for a few moments before I shook myself. "I should go." Standing, I picked up my purse and walked towards the door. Stopping, I turned back to Elijah. "If you could only pick one person to spend another day with, who would it be?"

As Elijah looked into my eyes from across the room, I felt as though he could see all the way to my soul. At the same time, I got the feeling that he wasn't seeing me at all. "Katerina. As a human."

I nodded. "I...thank you for doing this. Regardless of how it ended, I appreciate it." With that, I left.