I could hear screaming. After a few moments, I realized the sound was coming from my own throat. No one mentioned how much this would hurt. Having a baby at home to keep the birth a secret means no pain killers. Having it at home with her condition was putting both her and her baby at risk and she knew it, but didn't know what else she could do. Not even Elijah could compel a whole hospital. "Son of a bitch," I swore as the contraction ended and I got my breath back.

"It's a girl, remember? And don't be so hard on yourself,'" Jake joked.

"Ha ha. You think you're so funny don't you?"

"Always," he responded with a grin.

"Yeah, well, you wouldn't be laughing so hard if you were me," I gritted as another contraction hit. I'd been in labor for fourteen hours already and the contractions were much closer together. I was rapidly becoming exhausted. Of course, these days, walking around a store for an hour was tiring.

As the pain eased, I looked over at Bonnie's mom who was working in the role of midwife. "When should I start pushing?"

She exchanged a glance with Jake. "The baby hasn't dropped enough. Hopefully soon."

An hour later, I was too tired to care about the pain. Jake grabbed my hand. "Elena?" His voice sounded like it was coming from a distance. "Elena?" I opened my eyes, taking a moment to focus on him. "She says it's time to push."

"Too tired," I mumbled.

There was a commotion by the door. I heard Caroline's voice. "What are you doing here?" Turning my head, I saw Elijah.

"I came to see how she was and to offer any assistance I can give."

"She's fine. You can go."

"Let him in," I whispered.

He stepped past Caroline, his forehead immediately creasing in worry. "Elena."

"I'm fine," I told him with a shaky smile before gasping in pain as another contraction tightened my stomach. When I fell limp against the pillow, I heard him ask how things were progressing.

"It's already been fifteen hours. It is time to push. She tired faster than I expected."

The next wave of pain washed over me and I tightened my hand around Jake's. "When the next contraction hits, you need to push. Okay?" I could barely hear him over the roaring in my ears.

Elijah stepped up to my other side. Gently grasping my chin in his hand, he turned my head until I was looking up into his eyes. Leaning toward me, he whispered something I could barely hear.

I closed my eyes and when I opened them again, I stared up, my mind hazy from exhaustion and pain, not understanding what I was seeing but too tired to question it. Slowly, I reached up and trailed my fingers down the side of his face. "I've missed you."

"I've missed you too."

As I stared into Damon's familiar blue eyes, I said, "I hope she has your eyes."

"I am sure Annabelle will be beautiful, just like her mother."

Wrapping my hand around the back of his neck, I tugged his head down. Obligingly, he lowered his head and lightly brushed his lips over mine. "I love you," I whispered.

"And I you." Another pain started. "You have to push." Gripping my hand, he looked into my eyes and compelled me, "Push now."

Twenty minutes later, Annabelle's cry filled the air. I turned to Damon, smiling, only to find Elijah standing beside me. Understanding washed through me and I whispered, "Thank you."

Elijah gently pushed strands of hair from my face. "You are most welcome."

I watched as the women worked to clean the baby. They wrapped her in a blanket and were moving towards me when pain stole through my abdomen again and I cried out, my hands going to my belly.

"What is it?" Bonnie's mom asked.

"Pain," I gasped out.

"It's the after-birth," she responded, grabbing towels.

The room began to spin. "Dizzy." My eyes drifted closed. "And tired."

Distantly, I heard my name being called, but I just wanted sleep.

"Dammit, Elena, stay with me. Elena?" She swore.

Elijah immediately bit into his wrist and, tilting Elena's head back, pressed it to her mouth, forcing the blood into her mouth.

"What are you doing?" Caroline demanded to know, trying to drag his arm away. "Stop. She wouldn't want to risk changing!"

Elijah didn't move. "Elena is a mother now. That changes her priorities. We discussed this. There were complications with the pregnancy and she knew it could come to this. She decided she'd rather change than leave her brother and baby to bury her." He pulled his arm away and sat down beside the bed to wait.

A few minutes later, Bonnie's mom announced that she had done all that she could do. All that was left was to wait and see.

...

Elena was lying on a bed in a hotel room. She smoothed her hands over the bedspread. Lifting her head, she looked around and shrieked when she saw Damon sitting at the foot of the bed, watching her. Her hands flew to her chest as she tried to steady her breathing.

A nervous giggle escaped her lips. "Whew. You scared me."

He tilted his head a bit, studying her. "I'm just trying to figure out why this keeps happening."

"Why what keeps happening?"

"Me. Dreaming of you. I mean, not that I haven't before, but these are different."

"Different?"

"Yeah, for one thing, you are wearing way too many clothes." Elena and rolled her eyes. "But mainly, it's that these feel different. More real somehow. Like I'm really talking to you instead of just doing crazy naughty things with my fantasy version of you."

Elena watched him for a few moments then suddenly she was getting out of bed. Moving until she was standing directly in front of him, she pushed him backwards on the bed. Climbing back on the bed, she straddled his hips. Leaning down, she said, "How 'bout we skip the talking and just do the naughty things?" She brushed her lips over his at the same time that she ground her pelvis down into him, causing him to groan.

In the blink of an eye, Damon had flipped them over so that he was on top. "We can definitely do that," he said as he rocked his hips, pulling a moan from her. Then he leaned down and took possession of her mouth.

Little shorter than normal, I know, but on the plus side, real life Damon will be making an appearance soon :-) If you want a preview of the next chapter, leave me a review- let me know what you think and if there is anything you want to see included in future.