A.N.: Hey guys, I'm sorry I haven't written for my other stories recently, but this has been plaguing me, so here it goes. Enjoy!
"You never learn, do you, Little Brother?" Damon asks, in a voice like shards of broken glass.
"I guess not, I guess I'm just the stupid little brother you got stuck with." Stefan answers, sullen. Damon looks at him for a moment, before falling into a vast pool of swirling memory.
A three year old Damon looks up at his father, dark eyes bright with excitement.
"Damon," his father says gently, "this is your little brother, Stefan, you have to take care of him." Damon loved his brother immediately, he was so small! Had he been that small? He shook his head with a rushed "yes, father," And looked down into Stefan's cradle.
"Hi Stefan," Damon cooed, grabbing his brother's hand, "I'm Damon, I'm your big brother."
The scene changed, to a garden in the spring, the sun was just rising, and a six year old Damon tugged his little brother's hand.
"Come on, Stefan, this will be great." The younger boy looked skeptic, but followed wordlessly anyway. "See that?" Damon pointed over the balcony railing, "See the colors?" Stefan nodded. "Isn't it pretty?" The smaller boy nodded again, yawning. Damon smiled, fondly, "Okay, little brother, let's get you back to bed."
A seven year old Damon dragged a four year old Stefan into a large room with fencing materials hanging on the walls.
"Stefan, it won't hurt to learn to fence. Come on, little brother, don't you want to at least give it a try?" Grudgingly, Stefan took the foil Damon handed him. "Okay, you know what to do, just try." Huffing, Stefan lunged at his brother. Damon moved out of the way swiftly. "Try again." They continued this way for an hour, before Stefan finally got a point. "Way to go little brother!" Damon shouted.
An eight year old Damon stood at the base of a grand staircase with his five year old little brother still standing at the top, shaking his head in non-compliance.
"Stefan, come on! Father is still asleep, this will be your one chance to learn!"
"I don't want to!"
"I just don't!"
"That's not an answer!"
"Yes it is!" Stefan said, pouting. Damon ran up the stairs.
"Are you afraid of getting hurt?"
"Oh! I get it! Would you like to watch one more time?" Stefan nodded mutely. Damon jumped up, sitting on top of the banister of the staircase. "Ready?" Stefan nodded. Damon pushed off and flew down the banister, arms above his head. "See?" He called up. "Now you try!"
Suddenly a twelve year old Damon was sitting with Stefan on a love-seat.
"Stefan, don't be upset, it will be fine!" Stefan looked up, eyes puffy and red, cheeks soaked with salty tears.
"No, it won't, Damon! Father will be so angry, he'll never forgive me!" Stefan hung his head again, sobbing.
"Stefan, whatever it is, it'll be fine. Now, what did you do?" Keeping his head down, Stefan gave a chewed up reply, one Damon had no hope of understanding. "Stefan, a gentleman doesn't mumble."
"I apologize," Stefan said, sitting up taller. "I dropped the painting of mother into the fountain." Damon choked for a moment, quickly recovering.
"He won't be angry. Tell him it was an accident." Suddenly a new voice joined the conversation.
"Tell whom that what was an accident?" Their father asked suspiciously.
"That I dropped the painting of mother into the fountain by accident, father, and that I'm so sorry." Damon said before Stefan could say a word.
"Damon? How could you be so careless? I loved that painting! We'll discuss this later!"
"Yes, Father." Damon said, watching his father turn on his heel and leave.
"Damon! You didn't have to do that!" Stefan felt his lip quivering. Damon smiled a lazy smile.
"Don't worry about it, Little Brother." With that, he ruffled Stefan's hair and left the room.
An eleven year old Stefan lay sprawled on a luscious bed, covered by a canopy, sobbing uncontrollably. Damon knew his father had been out of line, he said horrible things to Stefan.
"Stefan, can I come in?" Damon asked from the door-way.
"No! Go away!" Stefan's voice came, muffled by a pillow.
"Too bad, little brother, I'm pulling rank here. Talk to me." Damon said, sitting at the edge of Stefan's bed. "Father didn't mean it. He was angry, and reliving the past, he lashed out at you, it wasn't really your fault."
"But it is my fault! She died after giving birth to me, even you know it's my fault." Stefan sobbed harder. "Damon, what do I do?"
"Stefan, this is what you're going to do: nothing. This isn't your fault. Father loves you. As do I. You're my little brother and I love you. Do I miss mother? Yes, of course, I do, but it isn't her fault her body couldn't handle it. You mustn't blame yourself. I think anything you should have been punished for, which is nothing by the way, you've been punished for because you didn't get to know her, so, now, being the best big brother in all of Italy, I'm going to help you get to know her." Stefan lifted his head and stopped crying. "Now, what do you want to know?" Stefan's face lit up.
"Do I look like her?" His lip quivered.
"Yes. You have her eyes and her hair, hers was longer of course, but the dark waves are hers."
"Would she have liked me?"
"Oh course she would have liked you. She would've loved you, little brother."
"Do you blame me?" Damon sucked in a breath.
"No. I did, for a few years, but I never let it show, I just held it all in. But, I'm over that now, it wasn't your fault, and I don't want you blaming yourself. Got it?"
"Now," Damon smiled his lazy smile, "what else do you want to know?" They talked for a few more hours.
"…her favorite color was…are you sleeping?" There was no answer, he pulled his brother's blanket to his chin and said simply, "good night, little brother."
In the present:
"Stefan, you're a hunter, be a hunter."
"Oh, I am, I've fed well tonight, and the instant replay of memories was lovely, I'm touched at how much you care."
"Don't get used to it, little brother." Damon said, turning and walking away, but he smiled, and he knew Stefan was smiling as well.
A.N.: Maybe this wasn't so great, you can tell me with the lovely little green button. Please review!