Chapter 1: There's No Place Like Home

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DISCLAIMER: I don't own The Vampire Diaries or any of it's characters. This is just for fun. 

September 21 2010;

Clara spoke softly to the taxi driver as she told him just to drop her off where they were. It was only a five minute walk to Matt's house and she wanted to get a feel of the neighbourhood before ambushing her brother. It was weird. Everything was different yet it felt as though nothing had changed. Clara felt like she had only been away for a few days, despite the aura of tragedy surrounding the place.

As she walked, she fidgeted with her locket that was secure around her neck. Matt had sent it to her as a birthday gift last year after her first year of being away. Matt sent Clara away to "rehab" when she went off the rails after Vicki died. Everyone in Mystic Falls knew about her trip to rehab and they all thought that she would be out after a few months, however, the doctors there realised rather quickly that there was a lot more going on in Clara's head than she'd felt necessary to tell them. So here she was, back at home after almost 2 years of being in the middle of nowhere. Yay, can't wait til temptation strikes.

Clara noticed that she was quickly approaching her old home and a pit of dread landed in her stomach. She didn't want to have to walk through the door and live without seeing Vicki dancing while making her toast in the morning. I could always turn back now... She thought as she continued walking, knowing that if she didn't confront this now it would never go away.

She took a deep breath as she reached the door, her bags heavy in her hands, but not as heavy as the nerves racking her body. She reached out a single, shaking hand and knocked on the door softly, doubting whether or not she should ever have come back. She heard some scrambling inside before the door opened.

"Hey, lena'..." Matt's smile dropped as he took in the presence on the other side of the door.  Clara smiled sheepishly, looking up at him, scared of what he'd think, before muttering "Try again, brother..."
A large smile crawled across Matt's face as he realised that his sister was finally home before pulling her into a tight hug. "I missed you so much!" Relief flooded Clara after she heard Matt's words, hugging him back and feeling tears in her eyes. "I missed you too... So much, you have no idea."

Matt ushered Clara inside, grabbing her bags from her hands and taking them through to her old bedroom. Clara followed her brother into her old room and memories flooded her mind. Her, Caroline, Elena, and Bonnie staying up all night, eating popcorn and watching horror movies while hiding behind blankets. Her and Vicki when they were kids, doing each other's hair and makeup before going to the mall.
Of course, that was all before Vicki died.

Matt turned around and studied Clara's face before smiling at her sadly. "It gets better... More bearable." Clara knew that he was talking about the guilt. The guilt that comes with realising that someone's gone from the world before you can spend more time with them, before you can show them how brilliant they are, and how much you care about them. "She's gone, Matty. There's nothing we can do about it." She admitted out loud for the first time, trying to avoid crying in front of Matt. It had almost been a year since she heard about the animal attack that left her sister struggling in hospital and eventually dying from wounds. She wanted to come home but she was under strict instruction to stay inside the facility until she was better. There was no way of getting released unless someone came and collected her, and for some reason, Matt never did.

"You know what? Let's not do this, we can just, you know, celebrate your arrival." Matt suggested, trying to turn around the feeling of the conversation. "A bunch of us are meeting up at the Grill. You can catch up with Elena, and Bonnie, and Caroline. Plus, there are a few new faces in town that you need to meet." Clara knew that he was trying to convince her with the idea of making new friends and nodded along, grabbing one of her bags from her bed and opening it to find some new clothes. "That sounds great but just let me get dressed first, I've been travelling and I'm pretty sure that these clothes stink." She explained, heading through to the bathroom to get changed.

While she was pulling a new shirt on, she heard a knock at the door and murmured,
"Just a minute, Matt." She heard some muffled movements from the other side of the door and glanced in the mirror, quickly noticing that her eyebrows were creased.
God, I have got to stop doing that. I'm gonna need Botox by the time I'm 30! After forcefully softening her features, she was broken out of her daydream by another knock at the door. "Urgh, If this is what living what you is like then I'm going to a hotel." She muttered to herself as she opened the bathroom door. She searched around the room, confused as to where Matt had gone. "Matt? Hello? Matty...." She heard footsteps from behind her and spun around, ready to attack. She was a little confused when she realised that it was Matt standing in the doorway to the front porch. Her face slowly slipped back into her previous frown.
"There you are. You ready to go Clar?" He spoke as if he had never knocked at the door. "Didn't you want to go in there?" She asked, tilting her head towards the bathroom. "No... Why?" She didn't answer; she just turned, looking around the room quickly.
It's not like there's anywhere for someone to hide.... "Umm, I thought I heard something." She vaguely explained, trying not to sound crazy. "Okay... Well, the truck's ready to go." Clara sent a reassuring smile to her brother and put on an enthusiastic voice,
"Great! So am I. Let's go!"

Clara stepped out of the house slowly, warily watching Matt lock the door and mentally going through all of the windows throughout the house, checking if they were locked. She was snapped back to reality by the sound of Matt slamming the door of his truck shut. She quickly turned, wandering around to the passenger door and hopping into the seat. She took one last glance at the house before Matt pulled out on to the road. As she was scanning the windows, a prominent gasp left her throat as she saw a dark silhouette in her bedroom.  Matt looked over at his sister, expectant and even a little worried.
"You alright, Clar? You seem kind of... jumpy." She smiled back warmly and nodded, shaking away any ideas of psychopaths breaking into her house. She flipped on the radio and Matt took that as proof enough that she was fine. The siblings fell into a comfortable silence with the only sound being the clunky engine of Matt's old battered up truck and the meaningless ramblings from the radio announcers. Clara couldn't help but smile to herself as she gazed out of the window and saw all of the familiar surroundings. I'm home!

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