AN: The Damon and Stefan scenes in "Children of the Damned" were too amazing for me to not write something! : ) This story is a little different from my other ones about the brothers in the sense that a) it's more OOC than usual, I think and b) a lot more vulnerability (but really after the vulnerability Damon displayed in the most recent episode who could blame me :P) So that's where this is at. Note that It takes place at the end of Children of the Damned but without the Elena getting kidnapped thing. Phew, that was long. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: I do not own The Vampire Diaries or Stefan and Damon, which greatly saddens me :(


"Damon's right…this is my fault."

Elena shook her head fiercely. She made her way across the room and stood in front of Stefan. Elena put her hands on his cheeks.

"No, Stefan."

Stefan's eyes glazed over. "I put my faith in my father, but Damon put his faith in me."

Elena wrapped her arms around Stefan and held him tightly. Stefan hugged her back briefly but quickly pulled away.

"I need to go. I need to see him, now."

Elena looked at him sadly. "Stefan, you don't owe him anything." She spoke wearily.

Stefan glanced down at Elena. "He's my brother."

Xx

Damon stood silently in the clearing. He stared intently at his father's unearthed grave. All this time. His father had it all this time.

A twig snapped behind him but Damon didn't flinch. He felt Stefan stop directly behind him.

"What do you want?" Damon asked quietly.

Stefan sighed. Damon didn't yell or speak sarcastically. There was no edge in his voice at all. Stefan wished there was. His brother's arrogance had always annoyed him but at least it meant he was okay.

"What are you still doing here?" Stefan asked.

Damon laughed bitterly but, to Stefan's surprise, answered him. "Thinking…remembering."

Stefan moved to stand beside Damon. He nodded his head. "I've been doing a lot of that today too."

"Not just today. It's this town. It makes me think about things I rather wouldn't."

Damon glared at his father's headstone while Stefan stood silently beside him. Being back here would do that to you.

"I didn't know." Damon said, breaking the silence.

Stefan stared at Damon, whose eyes still hadn't moved, confused. He doubted very much that Damon was referring to the grimoir being buried with their father.

"Didn't know what?" He asked.

Damon sighed. "That she compelled you. I didn't know. If I had known…she knew I would have done something if I had. I didn't figure it out until much later."

Stefan turned his head away from Damon. Wow. He'd always assumed that Damon knew. Knew…and just didn't care. Well, since Damon was confessing…

"I didn't tell father. I didn't tell him about Katherine."

Damon whipped his head to the side to stare incredulously at Stefan. His eyes were wide and slightly angry. Damon opened his mouth to demand Stefan tell him what the hell he was talking about, but it was unnecessary.

"The day Katherine and the others were burned, I went to him. I asked if it was our place to judge the vampire and that maybe there could be good vampires. I never mentioned Katherine. Evidently, I shouldn't have said anything because he worked it out. He slipped me vervain and when Katherine bit me…well, you know the effects of vervain on a vampire. Father came running."

Stefan took a deep breath and moved to stand in front of Damon. Damon turned his eyes on Stefan's. He hadn't interrupted him once throughout his explanation.

"You didn't tell him." Damon said slowly, as though he were testing out the words.

Stefan shook his head. "I shouldn't of brought it up at all, but no, I didn't tell him."

Damon breathed out. "Why didn't you tell me? Why the hell didn't you tell me?" He demanded, getting angry.

"What difference would it have made?"

"it would have made all the difference! I thought…Stefan, I thought you had betrayed me. Lied to me. That you didn't care at all. All my life you were the one I trusted. The only one. It killed me to think you had turned your back…and now I find out you never did?" Damon's voice broke a bit at the end.

Stefan hung his head sadly. "I never turned my back on you, Damon."

Damon shook his head in disbelief. 145 years/ For 145 years he had hated his brother. Felt betrayed by him. The one person he depended on the most. Damon had turned his back, thinking that Stefan had done it first. And it was all for nothing.

Stefan motioned to the grimoir in Damon's hand. "I won't stop you. I'll even help you – for real this time. You love her, and whatever fall out there is, we'll deal with it."

Katherine. He could have Katherine back. This is what he had been working toward, the reason he came back to Mystic Falls. Katherine…who would blame his little brother for her imprisonment. Who wouldn't think twice about staking his brother the moment she was free. Damon sighed and shook his head.

"I can't bring her back, Stefan. It kills me to say it but I can't."

Stefan furrowed his brow. "I don't understand. You don't care about what happens to the people in this town."

"No." Damon agreed. "But I do care what happens to you. And, she would kill you Stefan. You know she would."

"Don't do this because of me, Damon."

Damon rolled his eyes. "I promise not to resent you for it one hundred years from now. And besides, the people of this town have kind of grown on me. They amuse me, especially that little witch." Damon said with a smirk.

Stefan shook his head. Damon was hiding behind his arrogant attitude again.

"Damon…"

I'm fine Stefan. Or I will be anyway. I don't need to have some sappy moment filled with tears."

Stefan rolled his eyes. "Fine. If you're sure, than we should get rid of the grimoir. There are others after it and we can't afford to have them bring back those vampires."

Damon nodded his head and stepped up to the fire. With a sigh, he tossed it in. Stefan watched Damon intently as the pages curled up. He noticed Damon's body tense as he turned away from the fire.

Stefan started at the sudden look of defeat on his older brother's face. He looked so vulnerable…so different than a minute before when he was joking. Stefan didn't hesitate. He stepped forward and pulled Damon into a hug.

Damon stiffened and then it hit him. Katherine was gone. Truly gone. Forever. At least before he had the hope that he would get her back but not anymore. There was no chance that he would see her again. Damon wrapped his arms around Stefan and buried his face in his shoulder. Gone.

Stefan held on to Damon tighter. He hadn't hugged his brother in 145 years but when he saw the look on Damon's face it was like an instinct long buried had been reawakened. Right now, comforting Damon was all that mattered.

A minute went by and Stefan and Damon slowly let go of each other. Stefan clasped Damon's shoulder.

"You'll be okay." He said softly.

"We'll be okay." Damon amended.

Stefan nodded a hint of a smile on his face. "Come on, let's go home. We're both drained." Damon nodded and they started toward the Salvatore manor.

Damon turned to Stefan, grinning. "So…did we just have like a moment?"

Stefan rolled his eyes. "Shut up, Damon."

Damon laughed. "Come on, little brother. I'll race you home." Damon darted into the trees.

Stefan shook his head and smiling ran after him. They were okay. For the first time in 145 years…they were okay.


Review and let me know what you thought, please! : )