Disclaimer: Vampire Diaries is not mine. This is just fanfic people.

A/N: I made up the story about Damon and Stefan's mom, but I wanted some kind of background for Damon's hatred of Stefan. I wanted it to be deeper-seated than just one girl loving two brothers. And I wanted an explanation for why Damon still loves Stefan anyway, despite hating him so much.


Better

Damon was the first-born. He was the first-loved.

As a child, he was carefree, running through his father's house, laughing all the while. He was always at his father's side, Giuseppe Salvatore's pride and joy. His father used to tell him that he had the eyes of an angel. His mother used to kiss the curly mop of black hair and tell him that he was beloved.

Then in 1847, everything changed.

It started with a wail. The cry of anguish was so loud it shook their entire home. Damon could only look up at the stairs and wonder what was happening inside the bedroom at the top of the landing. He frowned as a series of wails and cries built to a crescendo around him. It was supposed to be a happy day. But everyone was crying.

"She's gone, Giuseppe! She's gone!" Martha, the midwife was trying to console his father. Everyone heard her just as everyone heard the anguished roar of his father, and the sound of things breaking inside the room.

Damon had always been smart. He had always been perceptive. And now was no different. He looked around as sobs continued all around him. The servants had gathered at the foot of the stairs, the visiting friends and family now turned to each other for comfort.

It didn't take him long to realize that his mother had died.

Damon's lips started to tremble as his vision blurred. He felt warm arms wrap around his shaking body. "Mama?" he whispered to himself. "No! Mama!" he cried, breaking away from the arms that tried to comfort him. His small body propelled onward, forward, up the stairs, bursting into the room.

Blood.

It was the first time in his life that Damon learned that blood had a scent. There was so much. Her sheets were red; the room was heavy with the metallic scent of it, he could almost taste it in the air.

"No, Damon! No!"

Again, arms captured him as he would have flung himself onto his mother's bed. "Mama!!!" He was crying hysterically now, trying to fight, claw, and beat his way out of the steel shackles of the arms of Martha.

Through his tears and sobs, Damon heard it: A small wail, like a mewing of a cat.

It came from a little basket next to his mother's bed.

A sudden fog of silence descended onto the room. Everyone was still. Everyone held their breaths. Everyone listened.

Again, the wail, louder this time.

The arms that held Damon suddenly released him so that he fell onto his knees. Martha rushed to the basket next to his mother's bed and picked up a small bloodied bundle from inside. "He is alive!" she cried, her voice a mixture of shock and amazement.

At her declaration the entire room of people burst into activity, grabbing sheets, bringing hot water, scurrying here and there. Everyone forgot the little dark-haired boy with the confused, frightened blue eyes.

Damon scampered onto his knees and made his way to his mother's side. He stared at her. She looked so peaceful and beautiful. "Mama?" he whispered. He reached over and touched her hair. It was soft and brown. "Mama, wake up," he urged.

But she didn't move. Her eyes stayed closed, her lips parted slightly like she was just sleeping. Damon cried softly because he knew. He just knew that nothing was ever going to be the same again.

"Sir, don't you want to hold him?"

Damon turned to look over his shoulder. His father sat in a high-backed chair, looking for all the world like a stone statue. His eyes were unseeing, his face haggard with grief. He just sat.

And next to him was Martha, a small bundle of white wrapped in her arms. She was offering the bundle to his father. But he still didn't move.

Damon felt something pull him towards that little bundle. Like a thread that glowed between him and that mewing little creature. It pulled him, connected them, made it impossible for him to not reach up towards Martha's arm and insist on seeing him.

His brother.

"Stefan." He declared. His mother had once told him that his brother would be called Stefan. She had told him that they would be bound forever. He was bound to this tiny, pink creature with curly brown hair just like their mother's.

His father finally shifted at the sound of Damon's young voice. "What are you doing here?" he whispered hoarsely.

Damon placed a small hand on his father's wrist. "Papa, it is Stefan."

Finally, his father, ever so slowly turned his head to peer into the bundle. And he gasped. Because at that moment, Stefan Salvatore opened his eyes.

"He has her eyes." The whisper from his father was almost reverent. It was like his father was in a trance. He reached over and took the baby in his arms. "He has her eyes," his father repeated.

Damon couldn't help but look at his brother again. Stefan had green eyes. Stefan had his mother's eyes.

In that moment, their father always looked at Stefan with more love than he did Damon. In that moment, Damon felt that he somehow disappeared.

In that moment, Damon learned to hate his brother. Because next to Stefan, he was always going to be second-best.

Damon was the first born, but he was no longer the most beloved.


She was beautiful and vivacious. She laughed too much and flirted with her dark, dark eyes. She tempted him like an angel.

She was like a light and the darkness all at once. She offered salvation with her smile and sin with her kiss.

When Katherine Pierce looked at Damon, he felt like the whole world dropped away and there was only the two of them. He drowned and felt saved at the same time. When he was with Katherine, Damon felt loved—completely, utterly loved.

No one else existed. No one else mattered. He was the only one.

Or so he had thought.

Damon watched his brother with narrowed, hooded blue eyes. His chiseled lips curled into a dark smile as he watched Stefan running around the woods, bounding happily in revelation of their new powers. He felt the blood life rushing through his veins. He felt the energy, the vitality, the sheer power inside of him. This was Katherine's gift. This was meant to be his.

And his alone.

But she had turned him too.

She had given Stefan the same gift. She had loved Stefan, too.

Damon felt the dark edges of an old hate burn in his heart. Everyone Stefan touched loved him. Everyone in Damon's life loved Stefan. Sometimes, they loved Stefan so much, there was little room left to love Damon, too.

Was it because Stefan was a miracle child who had lived when he was supposed to have died? Was it because Stefan had the glittering green eyes of their mother? Their mother had been beautiful, kind, beloved. With her eyes, Stefan was also beloved in their eyes. Or was it because Stefan was so good? So kind? So pleasing? So terribly difficult to hate?

Damon took a deep breath that he realized his body no longer needed. It was like an old habit that he had outgrown. He believed he could almost feel the useless oxygen filter through his system, carrying the dark hate that was in his heart throughout his whole body. That hate was tinged with the bitterness of love. He loved his brother, yes, but only because he was bound to Stefan by blood, by family, by heritage. It was only because their mother had bound them. Now they were truly bound forever.

And now Damon would have to live with this burning hate for Stefan forever.

Because Katherine had turned him, too. Katherine had loved him, too.

Damon could only wonder now, if she had loved Stefan best, too.


She had Katherine's face. Her eyes, her lips, even that jaunty way she tilted her head.

The first time Damon saw Elena Gilbert, he had felt like he had been punched in the gut so hard he almost forgot to breathe—if only he still needed to breathe.

She was the spitting image of Katherine.

Even her voice, dear God, was Katherine's voice.

And he wanted her.

It was like a pure, primal need that started in the pit of his stomach, curling around him like a snake, gripping around his undead heart. He almost thought his heart had started beating again.

But Elena wasn't Katherine. No…Damon was realizing everyday that Elena wore Katherine's face, but she had a heart that was only hers. She had a spirit that lit his darkness. Her eyes didn't flirt and flutter like Katherine's. No, they burned and spit fire at him. They stared him down and held her ground.

She was entirely Elena in her essence.

And in knowing that, Damon wanted her even more.

Because what he realized was when Elena looked at him, she only ever saw him. She was not coy; she didn't hide in innuendo and whispers. Elena saw him.

He couldn't really say what she saw in him, but just the fact that when she looked at him the whole world fell away made him want to keep her eyes on him all the more. It was like standing at the edge of the sun and allowing himself to be burned because it was glorious.

In the nearly 200 years he had spent wandering around the world in darkness, he had always wondered if what he felt for Katherine was a result of her powers. She had compelled him to love her. She had made him believe he was loved. He could never really know.

He wanted to find her again…just so he would know. Just so he could find the answer that had haunted him for centuries.

But with Elena, the dizzying feeling of falling wasn't from any kind of power. She was just a human girl. But she was tantalizing. She had a way of giving herself into the moment that made Damon want her all to himself.

Of course, Elena loved Stefan. Of course.

Damon had long since stopped wondering what it was about his little brother that just begged to be loved. It was almost a simple fact of life. No matter who, what, when or where, some way or another, people just loved Stefan.

Elena loved Stefan. For that Damon hated Stefan. But Elena loved Stefan, and for that, Damon also loved Stefan. They were bound forever. First, by their mother's love. Then by Katherine's blood. And now they were bound together by their love of Elena.

What ties love binds, he thought with a smirk. Lucky for him, he was a little bit harder to love, a lot harder to bind. He curled his lips cynically. In the last 200 years, he had made himself almost impossible to love. He had given up trying to be loved.

Or so he had thought.

Until he met Elena and saw her capacity to love.

He wanted her love. He wanted to be her world. He wanted her to look at him and make the whole world disappear for the both of them. He closed his eyes and reveled in the way it felt to dance with her a few weeks ago. His body had thrummed and he felt absolutely alive. More alive than blood and power could make him. Alive because he felt hope again.

Alive because she had looked at him, her lips had quivered, and she had smiled grudgingly at him. The kind of smile that she didn't give out freely. The smile that…he groaned at the thought…the smile that made him want to be the better man.

For her, he could be better. He chuckled almost mirthlessly. Then he threw back his head and downed the scotch in one gulp. The warmth spread through him quickly, making him feel deceptively human for a moment. Allowing him to grudgingly admit to himself why he was staying in Mystic Falls and trying his damnedest to be the knight in not-so-shining armor. He grimaced at the thought. He was severely out of practice. He threw the glass into the fireplace, the small amount of alcohol still in it causing the fire to flare up slightly more. But he would stop at absolutely nothing to get his way.

He would show he was the better man because he wanted her to love him best.

THE END.