MFHS, Exterior. Klaus tells Stefan that everything is his fault, because he released Esther. He hopes his little revenge quest was worth is. Stefan says he's done with revenge. He says they've stopped Esther before. They can do it again. Klaus starts waxing nostalgic for the friendship he and Stefan shared. It was a true brotherhood. On cue, Damon shows up and points out that Stefan already has a brother. He tries to qualify it, by saying he's not being territorial, but who do you think you're fooling Damon? Klaus mocks the unshakeable Salvatore bond. He wonders how hard it will shake when Elena finally chooses between them. About then, Bonnie comes out and reports that Esther is no longer fighting her. The boundary spell is broken. When Stefan makes a point to thank Bonnie for everything, she makes it quite clear she didn't do any of it for him.
Crypt, Interior. Jeremy comes in and tells Elena and Alaric that Damon is there and Klaus has taken Esther's body away, without learning that the new and improved and now Indestructo-Son of White Oak stake is in their possession. Ric breaks it to his charges that he's not going to complete the transition. His human dark side is dangerous enough. He can't be a vampire. Germ rejects this idea, but Ric knows it is the right thing to do. He muses that he has it coming anyhow after all he's done. Elena tries to talk Ric down, but his mind is made up. Alaric asks them not to make it any harder than it already is. Then THIS SONG starts up, MAKING IT EXACTLY WAY HARDER THAN IT ALREADY WAS. In case the YouTube video ever disappears, I'll note that it's The Fray's "Be Still." I don't remember hearing it before, but it is a perfect match for this moment. It also has personal significance for me, because "Be still and know I am..." is from Psalm 46, which meant a lot to me at a hard time in my life SO YOU GUYS I AM A MESS HERE. Sniff. When Alaric tells the Gilberts to leave, he and Jeremy have a moment. It starts with Germ insisting that Ric not give any you're the man of the house now speeches. It ends in a teary hug, I think. I can barely see through the tears in my own eyes.
Once Elena is alone with Ric, she cries that this is all her fault. He left their house and gave up the ring. She forced him to come back and to wear the ring again -- to take care of them. Then Alaric really makes me weep. "Don't do that, okay? Taking care of you and Jeremy has been -- it's been the closest I've ever come to the life I've always wanted." He hugs Elena and then tells her she should go. As they exit the crypt, both Elena and Ric are surprised and touched to see the whole Fellowship of the Falls (with newest member Meredith Fell), holding candles as they stand vigil. Ric's eyes travel from Stefan to Damon, then Caroline and Tyler, Jeremy, Bonnie, Matt and finally Meredith. There's not a dry eye in the house or on the screen. Mercifully, the CW gives me a commercial break so I can stop sobbing.