It has taken 38 months, 74 episodes, and 4,079 minutes but — wait for it — tonight, Delena fans finally get the intimate encounter of their Vampire Diaries dreams. We kind of want to skip straight to the sweet spot. But, we’ll show a little restraint.

Season 4, Episode 7, “My Brother’s Keeper” opens with Stefan (Paul Wesley) doing pushups in the woods. Heated, grouchy, yet still unmistakably hot, he’s trying to exercise away the heartache. His Sober Sponsor Caroline (Candice Accola) takes a phone break from coordinating the Miss Mystic Falls pageant to counsel her former mentor. At first she hypothesizes that he’s just got the blues. “I’m not depressed,” Stefan growls. “I just want to rip into someone’s artery and feed until I can’t breathe anymore.”

Don’t eat your feelings

“I’m not going to let that happen,” Caroline counters. She then advises Stef to “sublimate.” And we’ve gotta admit that suggesting he redirect his rage into something positive is pretty smart. Too bad Caroline doesn’t heed her own advice. A minute after the words leave her mouth, Stefan tells Caroline that Elena (Nina Dobrev) dumped him for Damon (Ian Somerhalder), and Blondie loses her proverbial ish. “What?! She can’t have feelings for Damon,” she shrieks. “He’s Damon. And you’re you. And I’m revolted!”

Back in town, the whole gang’s getting ready for the pageant. Apparently, Mystic Fallsians waste no excuse to party. Tyler (Michael Trevino) is taking shewolf Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin), Matt (Zach Roerig) is going to be Elena’s date, Klaus (Joseph Morgan) plans to cash in his night-out card with Caroline, and Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) will escort April Young (Grace Phipps). But first he has to pause to enjoy his newfound hunter strength. When he and Matt make the beer delivery to the Lockwood Manse, Jer shows off by lifting two full kegs off the flatbed truck. Matt is more concerned than impressed.  And with good cause: Slayer Jeremy is having extremely vivid dreams about killing his sister. How vivid? Later that night he wakes up holding a custom stake that he doesn’t remember whittling.

The pageant wouldn’t be a party without Sir Salvatore. But you know how Damon and Stefan do: Before they make a move, even one as inconsequential as attending a non-event beauty contest, first they have to squabble over Elena. Damon sparks the beef by calling his lil bro “Shady Stefan.” He then suggests they change their Save Elena plans to find a new hunter and thus, keep Jeremy from going “all Connor 2.0.” Damon doesn’t know about the breakup. When Stefan tells him, he tries to play it cool but his younger brother won’t let him.” Let’s not pretend like this isn’t the best day of your life,” Stefan says.

Meanwhile Caroline is acting like it is the worst day of hers. She is decidedly not OK with Elena loving Damon. And it shows while she and Elena handle last-minute pageant chores like harassing Olympic gold gymnast Gabby Douglas over flower arrangements. ”You weren’t supposed to let Damon weasel his way into your confused newbie vampire heart,” Caroline says.

That’s what ex-boyfriends are for…

Stefan is not in a party mood. Rather than prep for the pageant, he heads to Mystic Falls General Hospital, where he tracks down a convicted (and decidedly unrepentant) murderer, force-feeds the man his blood then breaks his neck. Later, the formerly Nice Guy Salvatore asks Jeremy to stop by the old Lockwood dungeons on his way to the pageant. When Jer shows up, Stefan brings out the convicted murderer, cuts Jeremy’s arm and has the dude feed off Jeremy so the felon can complete the bloodsucker transition. Clearly his plan is to make new vampires that Jeremy can kill so the hunter’s mark will grow and they can find the cure for Elena.

It’s a solid plan. But Stef didn’t think of one thing: The fact that Jeremy might refuse to follow it. When Jer fails to gut the new vampire, Stefan breaks the vamp’s chains and sicks him on Elena’s bro. At first Jeremy delays. But then he stabs the guy. Once. Twice. Three times. Needless to say, April’s escort is going to be late for the party.

Not that April will notice for a while. Across town, the last-minute contestant meets with Elena and Caroline to decide which dress to wear. The red one or the blue one? At first the girls decide on the more demure blue gown. But then Damon crashes their wardrobe party, suggesting April don the red harlot dress. “The red is pretty,” Elena echoes. And, for a second, we think Caroline is going to slap E’s mouth off. “What just happened?” wonders the reigning Miss Mystic Falls.

Damon happened. When he leaves, Elena runs behind him like a sophomore with a senior crush. Damon asks Elena to tell him why she broke up with Stefan. “I’m sure it had something to do with you acting weird,” he says. “So why don’t you tell me? Elena exhales. The two make majorly heavy eye contact during a Twilight-vampire-baby-sized pregnant pause. Then Elena utters, “You.” There’s more eye chemistry and pregnant pausing and just when we think they might kiss, Professor Shane (David Alpay) walks by and ruins the moment. Which reminds us: We forgot to mention that he has somehow been invited to act as a judge during the booze-filled teen beauty pageant.

Only slightly flustered, Damon seizes the opportunity to needle Shane for more info on Jeremy’s mark and on ways to find a new hunter. But the dean of supernatural things won’t play along. “If you want to know something about me, Damon, just ask,” he says. D responds by asking how he convinced the pastor to kill all those people. “Did you just accuse me of mass murder in the middle of a high school pageant?” Shane asks. Touché.

Stranger things have happened
While everyone else has been busy with the latest Save Elena plan, Tyler and Hayley have been breaking sire-bonds to Klaus. Their latest client is a wolf named Kim. They take a break from her eradication to attend the pageant and to keep up Ty and Caroline’s break-up farce. The moment they arrive, Hayley picks up the winner’s crown and mockingly places it on her head. “You don’t want to do that,” Ty cautions. “Those girls will cut you. And they have nails.” Hayley replies, “I have claws.”

When Mayor Lockwood starts to introduce the Miss Mystic court, Jeremy still hasn’t arrived. Matt, who’s busy telling Elena about her brother’s murderous dreams, steps in to take Jeremy’s place as April’s escort. It’s a gallant move, if you ignore the fact that he magically knows the choreographed Foxtrot dance all the couples must perform.

While April and Matt waltz, Elena alternates between frantically calling Jeremy’s number (to no avail) and exchanging longing glances with Damon from across the lawn. Caroline notices and tries to put an end to it. Seconds after Damon leaves to look for Jeremy, she uses the guise of an “intervention” to tell her BFF how wrong she was to choose Damon. When Elena storms off, Blondie looks bewildered. “How did I become the bad guy?” she asks. Original Vampire Klaus answers, “Let’s go get you a drink and I’ll tell you all about being the bad guy.”

Back in the dungeon, Jeremy refuses to tell Stefan how far the mark has grown up his arm. “Tell me or I will make you,” Stefan threatens. He tries to compel Jeremy, but it doesn’t work. And the neophyte slayer guts him with a wooden stake. “I guess I can’t be compelled anymore,” Jer says before storming out.

Jeremy arrives at the pageant well armed. When April asks, he blames work for missing her introduction. Then he spots Professor Shane. And, when April explains that Shane is a judge and that she talked to him about her dad, Jer goes a little nutty. “Your dad was doing the right thing for this town,” he says. “The whole council is. They died heroes.” Once again, he storms off.

But he doesn’t follow Professor Shane. Damon does. D corners the Ph.D. in one of the many rooms of the Lockwood manse, reveals that he’s a vampire and threatens to kill the professor if he doesn’t tell them about the mark. Shane keeps cool until Damon touches him, then he spills that the cure is magically protected. So even if they find its location they won’t be able to access it — at least, not without a little help from Bennett with Bonnie. Damon pauses. Now he can’t kill Shane because Shane is helping Bonnie (Kat Graham) regain her powers. Drats!

Outside at the party, April wins the Miss Mystic Falls title. Meanwhile Jeremy prowls the party grounds, scowling. Elena tracks him down in one of the dressing rooms, making us wonder, “Just how big is Tyler’s house?”  Our curiosity is quashed when we notice that Jeremy is using his dream stake to cut his palm. “Connor was right. All I can think about is killing vampires,” he tells Elena. “Everything inside me is telling me to drive this stake through your heart.”

Elena tries to take her little brother’s hand. “Jer, I would never do anything to hurt you,” she says. But then she sees the blood and her eyes vamp out. Jeremy lunges for her but she pushes him away. He pretends to pass out and when Elena moves in to check on him, Jeremy stabs his sister in the neck with a  vervained pocket stake. She’s stunned. He’s about to go in for the kill when Matt enters and yells for him to stop. Seconds later,  Stefan vamps in and shoves Jeremy into the fireplace so that Matt can grab his bromate and run away. When they do, Stefan pulls the stake out of Elena’s neck and cradles her face in his hand. For a second they exchange one of their old looks. (Sigh.)

Stefan explains what’s happening to Jeremy. He blames himself for forcing Lil Jer to kill. “If getting my humanity back means stripping Jeremy of his, then I don’t want that,” Elena says, adding, “You don’t have to love me like this. This is who I am now. The old Elena died when she went off that bridge. Let her go.”

Stefan does. And so does Jeremy. He goes home to pack, planning to move out for Elena’s own good. But his big sister beats him to the punch. Matt shows up and announces that he’s moving in and Elena’s moving out of the Gilbert house. “I’ll keep an eye on you and we can keep this hunter business in check,” Matt says. Jeremy does not seem grateful.

Tyler, however, is beyond pleased to discover that Kim, yet another Klaus hybrid, has successfully broken her sire-bond. He texts Hayley immediately. She reads his text but does not respond. Then the camera pulls back to reveal that she is in a meeting with Professor Shane, the very same man she claimed not to know at the pageant party. “We got another one,” she announces. The professor responds, “Good then we’re almost ready.”  For what, we do not know.

Meanwhile Elena grabs her bags and vamps over to Rancho Salvatore — as if that’s not going to cause major problems. Both Stefan and Damon open the door. Then Stefan says, “Pick a room. I’ll crash somewhere else,” and leaves. Elena and Damon turn to booze in his absence. “My brother wants to kill me,” Elena says. “Welcome to the club,” Damon replies. They reminisce about their dirty dancing incident at Whitmore College. Elena admits to wanting to dance with him at the pageant.  Damon stands and offers his hand. They slow dance in front of the fire.

Across town, while Damon and Elena’s preamble up to a smooch, Stefan drinks up at Caroline’s. He drunk confesses that Klaus is helping them find the cure because he needs Elena to be human so he can make more hybrids. Caroline counters with info about Tyler’s work helping to break the hybrid sire bonds. Then it hits her: “Oh. My. God,” she says.. She starts to talk about how Damon is the key to Elena’s new madness.

We cut back to the Salvatore den. Damon and Elena’s soulful, eyes-closed, I’ll-inhale-your-exhale dance quickly escalates into a clothes-ripping, room-trashing makeout. And the next thing you know, they’re in bed nearly naked. As they get hot and heavy, Caroline figures out the secret to their chemistry. “Elena is sire-bonded to Damon!”

A second later and Elena is also bonded to Damon in a biblical way. Yes, it is the consummation moment Delena fans have long, well, longed for. OMG, indeed.

Credit: YouTube Photo: Watch Damon and Elena's Sex Scene in Vampire Diaries Season 4, Episode 7, "My Brother's Keeper" (VIDEO)

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