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Spoilers: Set immediately following 'Fool Me Once' (ep 1-14)
They sat by the fire till morning. Every so often, Stefan would hear a small, painful noise escape from Damon's throat. He made no move to comfort. The last ember was still dying when Damon finally spoke. His voice was soft and steady, with none of the usual bitter twist to it.
"They took me into custody once, in Turkey." He said, "I needed the vacation, and prisons are always easy pickings. The men there called me şeytan; that's devil in Turkish. They weren't very imaginative."
"I got bored while I was there, so I started to count all the people I had killed. I stopped after a couple thousand. That was fifty years ago."
"I was just growing my taste for it, then. Almost a hundred years we'd been dead, and I could still remember being human. I could remember her."
Stefan watched his brother play with the cuff of his leather jacket. He pictured himself reaching out, and steadying his hand. Then 145 years came back to him, a flood of blood and death. He kept his hands to himself.
"I let them execute me; twelve bullets to the chest. I ate the man who came to take my body away."
"What are you trying to say, Damon?"
"After that, I stopped remembering. I kept looking for a way to…save her," Damon growled quietly, the first emotion he betrayed, "but I never thought twice about killing again. Small countries have lower populations than my body count."
"Do you regret it?" Stefan asked, the question spilling from his mouth before he could think better of it. Damon didn't mock him, or waggle his eyebrows suggestively and saunter away. He paused, looked pensive, even, before he replied.
"Don't fool yourself, brother. I would kill them all again. But maybe, without her, I never would have started."
"There's still good in you Damon. You don't have to be…"
"A monster?" Damon shrugged he shoulders. Stefan could see his defenses rising up again. "Don't be melodramatic."
"Will you try to find her?"
Damon's eyes widened and his jaw set. Stefan imagined the anger emanating from him like waves of visible heat.
"It was never easy. Hating you." Damon replied through gritted teeth.
"This. This, Stefan, is easy."