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When Elena Gilbert's diary in stolen by Caroline Forbes in The Awakening on October 18, she uses an alternate one until she gets it back at the end of The Struggle.

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November 2, Saturday

Dear Diary,

This morning I woke up and felt so strange. I don't know how to describe it. On the one hand, I was so weak that when I tried to stand up my muscles wouldn't support me. But on the other hand I felt...pleasant. So comfortable, so relaxed. As if I were floating on a bed of golden light. I didn't care if I never moved again.

Then I remembered Stefan, and I tried to get up, but Aunt Judith put me back to bed. She said Bonnie and Meredith had left hours ago, and that I'd been so fast asleep they couldn't wake me. She said what I needed was rest.

So here I am. Aunt Judith brought the TV in, but I don't care about watching it. I'd rather lie here and write, or just lie here.

I'm expecting Stefan to call. He told me he would. Or maybe he didn't. I can't remember. When he does call I have to

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November 3, Sunday, 10:30 p.m.

I've just read over yesterday's entry and I'm shocked. What was wrong with me? I broke off in the middle of a sentence, and now I don't even know what I was going to say. And I didn't explain about my new diary or anything. I must have been completely spaced out.

Anyway, this is the official start of my new diary. I bought this blank book at the drugstore. It's not as beautiful as the other one, but it will have to do. I've given up hope of ever seeing my old one again. Whoever stole it isn't going to bring it back. But when I think of them reading it, all my inner thoughts and my feelings about Stefan, I want to kill them. While simultaneously dying of humiliation myself.

I'm not ashamed of the way I feel about Stefan. But it's private. And there are things in there, about the way it is when we kiss, when he holds me, that I know he wouldn't want anybody else to read.

Of course, it hasn't got anything about his secret in it. I hadn't found that out yet. It wasn't until I did that I really understood him, and we got together, really together, at last. Now we're part of each other. I feel as if I've been waiting for him all my life.

Maybe you think I'm terrible for loving him, considering what he is. He can be violent, and I know there are things in his past that he's ashamed of. But he could never be violent toward me, and the past is over. He has so much guilt and he hurts so much inside. I want to heal him.

I don't know what will happen now; I'm just so glad he's safe. I went to the boarding house today and found out that the police had been there yesterday. Stefan was still weak and couldn't use his Powers to get rid of them, ,but they didn't accuse him of anything. They just asked questions. Stefan says they acted friendly, which makes me suspicious. What all the questions really boil down to is: where were you the night the old man was attacked under the bridge, and the night Vickie Bennett was attacked in the ruined church, and the night Mr. Tanner was killed at school?

They don't have any evidence against him. So the crimes started right after he came to Fell's Church, so what? That's not proof of anything. So he argued with Mr. Tanner that night. Again, so what? Everybody argued with Mr. Tanner. So he disappeared after Mr. Tanner's body was found. He's back now and it's pretty clear that he was attacked himself, by the same person who committed the other crimes. Mary told the police about the condition he was in. And if they ever ask us, Matt and Bonnie and Meredith and I can all testify how we found him. There's no case against him at all.

Stefan and I talked about that, and about other things. It was so good to be with him again, even if he did look white and tired. He still doesn't remember how Thursday night ended, but most of it is just as I suspected. Stefan went to find Damon Thursday night after he took me home. They argued. Stefan ended up half-dead in a well. It doesn't take a genius to figure out what happened in between.

I still haven't told him that I went looking for Damon in the graveyard Friday morning. I suppose I'd better do it tomorrow. I know he's going to be upset, especially when he hears what Damon said to me.

Well, that's all. I'm tired. This diary is going to be well-hidden, for obvious reasons.

P.S. I wonder who our new European History teacher will be.

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November 9, Saturday

Dear Diary,

I'm sorry it's been so long. Lately I've been too busy or depressed - or both - to write you.

Besides, with everything that's happened I'm almost afraid to keep a diary at all anymore. But I need someone to turn to, because right now there's not a single human being, not a single person on earth, that I'm not keeping something from.

Bonnie and Meredith can't know the truth about Stefan. Stefan can't know the truth about Damon. Aunt Judith can't know about anything. Bonnie and Meredith know about Caroline and the diary; Stefan doesn't. Stefan knows about the vervain I use every day now; Bonnie and Meredith don't. Even though I've given both of them sachets full of the stuff. One good thing: it seems to work, or at least I haven't been sleepwalking again since that night. But it would be a lie to say I haven't been dreaming about Damon. He's in all my nightmares.

My life is full of lies right now, and I need someone to be completely honest with. I'm going to hide this diary under the loose flooboard in the closet, so that no one will find it even if I drop dead and they clean out my room. Maybe one of Margaret's grandchildren will be playing in there someday, and will pry up the board and pull it out, but until then, nobody. This diary is my last secret.

I don't know why I'm thinking about death and dying. That's Bonnie's craze; she's the one who thinks it would be so romantic. I know what it's really like; there was nothing romantic about it when Mom and Dad died. Just the worst feelings in the world. I want to live for a good long time, marry Stefan, and be happy. And there's no reason why I can't, once all these problems are behind us.

Except that there are times when I get scared and I don't believe that. And there are little things that shouldn't matter, but they bother me. Like why Stefan still wears Katherine's ring around his neck, even though I know he loves me. Like why he's never said he loves me, even though I know it's true.

It doesn't matter. Everything will work out. It has to work out. And then we'll be together and be happy. There's no reason why we can't. There's no reason why we can't. There's no reason

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November 27, Wednesday

Dear Diary,

It's no good pretending I'm not frightened, because I am. Tomorrow's Thanksgiving, and Founders' Day is two days after that. And I still haven't figured out a way to stop Caroline and Tyler.

I don't know what to do. If I can't get my diary back from Caroline, she's going to read it in front of everyone. She'll have a perfect opportunity; she's one of the three seniors chosen to read poetry during the closing ceremonies. Chosen the school board, of which Tyler's father is a member, I might add. I wonder what he'll think when this is all over?

But what difference does it all make? Unless I can come up with a plan, when this is all over I'll be beyond caring. And Stefan will be gone, run out of town by the good citizens of Fell's Church. Or dead, if he doesn't get some of his powers back. And if he dies, I'll die too. It's that simple.

Which means I have to find a way to get the diary. I have to.

But I can't.

I know, you're waiting for me to say it. There is a way to get my diary - Damon's way. All I need to do is agree to his price.

But you don't understand how much that frightens me. Not just because Damon frightens me, but because I'm afraid of what will happen if he and I are together again. I'm afraid of what will happen to me...and to me and Stefan.

I can't talk about this anymore. It's too upsetting. I feel so confused and lost and alone. There's nobody I can turn to or talk to. Nobody who could possibly understand.

What am I going to do?

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November 28, Thursday, 11:30 p.m.

Things seem clearer today, maybe because I've come to a decision. It's a decision that terrifies me, but it's better than the only alternative I can think of.

I'm going to tell Stefan everything.

It's the only thing I can do now. Founders' Day is Saturday and I haven't come up with any plan of my own. But maybe Stefan can, if he realizes how desperate the situation is. I'm going over to spend the day at the boarding house tomorrow, and when I get there I'm going to tell him everything I should have told him in the first place.

Everything. About Damon, too.

I don't know what he'll say. I keep remember his face in my dreams. The way he looked at me, with such bitterness and anger. Not as if he loved me at all. If he looks at me like that tomorrow...

Oh, I'm scared. My stomach is churning. I could barely touch Thanksgiving dinner - and I can't keep still. I feel as if I might fly apart into a million pieces. Go to sleep tonight? Ha.

Please let Stefan understand. Please let him forgive me.

The funniest thing is, I wanted to become a better person for him. I wanted to be worthy of his love. Stefan has these ideas about honor, about what's right and wrong. And now, when he finds out how I've been lying to him, what will he think of me? Will he believe me? Will he ever trust me again?

Tomorrow I'll know. Oh, God, I wish it were over already. I don't know how I'll ever live until then.

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November 29, Friday

Dear Diary,

It's late but I couldn't sleep. I don't seem to need as much sleep as I used to.

Well, tomorrow's the day.

We talked to Bonnie and Meredith tonight. Stefan's plan is simplicity itself. The thing is, no matter where Caroline has hidden the diary, she has to bring it out tomorrow to take it with her. But our readings are the last thing on the agenda, and she has to be in the parade and everything first. She'll have to stash the diary somewhere during that time. So if we watch her from the minute she leaves her house until she gets up on stage, we should be able to see where she puts it down. And since she doesn't even know we're suspicious, she won't be on guard.

That's when we get it.

The reason the plan will work is because everyone in the program will be in period dress. Mrs. Grimesby, the librarian, will help us put on our 19th century clothes before the parade, and we can't be wearing or carrying anything that's not part of the costume. No purses, no backpacks. No diaries! Caroline will have to leave it behind at some point.

We're taking turns watching her. Bonnie is going to wait outside her house and see what Caroline's carrying when she leaves. I'll watch her when she gets dressed at Mrs. Grimesby's house. Then, while the parade is going on, Stefan and Meredith will break into the house - or the Forbeses' car, if that's where it is - and do their stuff.

I don't see how it can fail. And I can't tell you how much better I feel. It's so good just to be able to share this problem with Stefan. I've learned my lesson; I'll never keep things from him again.

I'm wearing my ring tomorrow. If Mrs. Grimesby asks me about it, I'll tell her it's even older than 19th century, it's from Renaissance Italy. I'd like to see her face when I say that.

I'd better try to get some sleep now. I hope I don't dream.

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Dear Diary,

I AM HOME! I can hardly dare to believe it, but here I am.

I woke with the strangest feeling. I didn't know where I was and just lay here smelling the clean cotton-and-fabric-softener scent of the sheets, trying to figure out why everything looked so familiar.

I wasn't in Lady Ulma's mansion. There, I had slept nestled in the smoothest satin and softest velvet, and the air had smelled of incense. And I wasn't at the boardinghouse: Mrs. Flowers washes the bedding there in some weird-smelling herbal mixture that Bonnie says is for protection and good dreams.

And suddenly, I knew I was home. The Guardians did it! They brought me home.

Everything and nothing has changed. It's the same room I slept in from when I was a tiny baby: my polished cherry-wood dresser and rocking chair; the little stuffed black-and-white dog Matt won at the winter carnival our junior year perched on a shelf; my rolltop desk with its cubbyholes; the ornate antique mirror above my dresser; and the Monet and Klimt posters from the museum exhibit in Washington, DC. Even my comb and brush are lined up neatly side by side on my dresser. It's all as it should be.

I got out of bed and used a silver letter opener from the desk to pry up the secret board in my closet floor, my old hiding place, and I found this diary, just where I hid it so many months ago. The last entry is the one I wrote before Founder's Day back in November, before I...died. Before I left home and never came back. Until now.

In that entry I detailed our plan to steal back my other diary, the one Caroline took from me, the one that she was planning to read aloud at the Founder's Day pageant, knowing it would ruin my life. The very next day, I drowned in Wickery Creek and rose again as a vampire. And then I died again and returned as a human, and traveled to the Dark Dimension, and had a thousand adventures. And my old diary has been sitting right here where I left it under the closet floor, just waiting for me.

The other Elena, the one that the Guardians planted in everyone's memories, was here all these months, going to school and living a normal life. That Elena didn't write here. I'm relieved, really. How creepy would it be to see diary entries in my handwriting and not remember any of the things they recounted? Althought that might have been helpful. I have no idea what everyone else in Fell's Church thinks has been happening in the months since Founder's Day.

The whole town of Fell's Church has been given a fresh start. The kitsune destroyed this town out of sheer malicious mischief. Pitting children against their parents, making people destroy themselves and everyone they loved.

But now none of it ever happened.

If the Guardians made good on their word, everyone else who died is now alive again: poor Vickie Bennett and Sue Carson, murdered by Katherine and Klaus and Tyler Smallwood back in the winter; disagreeable Mr. Tanner; those innocents that the kitsune killed or caused to be killed. Me. All back again, all starting over.

And, except for me and my closest friends - Meredith, Bonnie, Matt, my darling Stefan, and Mrs. Flowers - no one else knows that life hasn't gone on as usual ever since Founder's Day.

We've all been given another chance. We did it. We saved everyone.

Everyone except Damon. He saved us, in the end, but we couldn't save him. No matter how hard we tried or how desperately we pleaded, there was no way for the Guardians to bring him back. And vampires don't reincarnate. They don't go to Heaven, or Hell, or any kind of aferlife. They just...disappear.

Damon died in my arms. It was agonizing to watch him slip away from me. But I'll never let Stefan know how I truly felt about his brother. It would be cruel - and what good would it do now?

I still can't believe he's gone. There was no one as alive as Damon - no one who loved life more than he did. Now he'll never know -

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