I've been having a little trouble with my stories lately: sort of like writer's block, but more like thinking that my writing is crap. But I'm feeling some inspiration now, so hopefully this has done the trick.

Just a one-shot about Stefan and Damon. I love their relationship – don't get me wrong, I am a Delena fan ALL THE WAY! But I hope that, in the end, Stefan and Damon will become true brothers – think of Lucas and Nathan Scott in One Tree Hill at the end of series one.

Anyway, hope you enjoy this story. Not much happens in this, just what Damon is thinking.

Disclaimer: I do not own Vampire Diaries

XxX

Saving my brother

Stefan thinks I hate him. In truth... Yeah, I guess I do hate him. But doesn't he understand that you can hate a person and love them at the same time?

I heard the shot from a mile away. By the time I arrived on the scene, that reporter was about to stab my brother with a stake. I pounced on him before he knew what was going on. Didn't anyone ever tell him that you should always be aware of everything?

I tossed him aside like a rag doll, bending over Stefan. He was panting, blood coming out of the hole in his chest. Faster than lightning – as fast as vampire – I pulled the bullet out. "Wooden," I ground out. "They know."

Seeing the confusion in his green eyes, I quickly informed him that if anyone was going to kill him, it would be me. But I lied. I think Stefan knew that. Anyone could figure that out; after all, how many chances had I had to kill him? How many times could I have attacked him, with my superior strength? How long would it have taken me to destroy him?

And then there was that whole kidnapping incident. I remember, before I realised, I got a panicky feeling in the pit of my stomach when Stefan didn't return. I called Elena, but that beautiful bitch wouldn't pick up her phone. By the time I came over, deep down I already knew what had happened.

I fully expected Pearl to have taken Stefan; I hadn't even thought of Fredric. True, he was angry at us, but he was under the command of Pearl, who had a good two hundred years on him. Obviously she wasn't good at managing her staff.

It only hit home when he brought Stefan out. When he lifted his head, I saw the pain and fear in his eyes; the desperate need for help. I felt a deep aching pain in my chest, and I mean deep: that pain and fear that you have when you know something terrible is going to happen, something that is going to cause suffering; something that you worry you can't stop no matter how hard you try. And then of course there was that unmistakable urge to kill. I forgot about Elena waiting in the car; I forgot that I was outnumbered; I even forgot about the stupid rule to "invite vampires in"; all I thought about was Stefan's pain and how I, as the big brother, had to rescue him.

But of course I couldn't enter the house. Smirking, Fredric informed me that my brother was going to feel the full pain of what happens when you don't eat. Then – after commanding the compelled owner of the house not to let me in – he slammed the door in my face.

I had to take a minute to calm myself; if I hadn't, then I was sure I would torture the first person I found. I can't even say for certain that Elena would be safe.

In order to get Stefan back, we went on a mission to find our own vampire slayer – no, not Buffy – Alaric Saltzman. I would never admit it, but I needed him. He was the only one who could help me while not risking himself – not that I particularly cared. But he couldn't die, so it wasn't like I was dragging him to his death. Plus, he knew exactly how to kill a vampire and came prepared with weapons.

Of course I had to convince Elena not to kill herself aka coming in with me. But naturally, she didn't listen to me. I had to kill one of those vampire jackasses before he made Elena his naughty little snack before dinner. I asked her if she was insane – as if I really had to; she's dating a vampire – she said, "Give me a hard time later. Let's just get Stefan out of here."

I was ticked off, but I had to focus on the matter at hand – Stefan. When I entered the room, seeing him all pale and injured, his voice weak, my breath halted in my body. And I when I caught it again, I was ready to kill; to torture; to massacre everyone in the state. I settled for the vampires in the house.

That day held a lot of momentous occasions: Alaric saving my ass and punching me in the face in less than twenty four hours; Stefan getting his first taste of human blood in nearly 150 years; Pearl eating her own words. But the thing that stood out the most was my own realisation; my own epiphany:

No matter how much I hated Stefan, I still loved him. I was still his big brother. Like it or not, it was my job to save him.

And I would. Every time.