Disclaimer: The characters of TVD don't belong to me, I just borrowed them.

Summary: When Damon is injured Stefan realizes how much he cares about his older brother. Takes place after the season finale. Anna didn't die, Jeremy didn't try to turn himself and Katherine didn't show up.

Author's notes: English is not my native language, so please bear with me and my mistakes. It's also my first attempt to write a story and I hope you like it. Either way, let me know what you think!

-Caring for Damon-

It was late when Elena and Stefan finally reached the boarding house.

"Are you sure you don't don't want to go home?" Stefan asked his girlfriend.

Elena nodded. "Yeah, Jenna is staying at Alaric's and Jeremy is probably with Anna. And besides he is still giving me the silence treatment. I feel much more comfortable here with you."

Stefan smiled. But his smile quickly faded when he spotted his older brother Damon lying unconscious in front of the fire place. He had vanished shortly after they had rescued him out of the burning building. Elena gasped and hurried over to him just like Stefan. Stefan turned his brother carefully on his back revealing his bloody front. Three stakes were protruding out of his chest. Suddenly Stefan grew stiff.

"I can hear another heartbeat, someone is in the house."

Before Elena could respond, the owner of the other beating heart entered the living room. It was John Gilbert. He was holding a weapon that contained vervain-filled darts in his right hand and a stake in his left.

"You? Get out of here and leave us alone! Now!" Elena yelled at him standing up.

"He was supposed to die in that fire, too. I'm just finishing my job here. " John responded coldly.

But this was not to be, as Elena's speech was distraction enough so that Stefan could surprise him with his vampire speed, tackle him from behind and disarm him.

"Just be glad, that Damon is still out of it, he would have killed you in an instant. And believe me, it would be much better and healthier for you, not only to leave our house but Mystic Falls as well." Stefan angrily hissed at John with his vampire face still present.

"One day you're going to regret that you got yourself involved with these creatures." John said to Elena and finally left the house.

For a moment all they could do was looking relieved at each other until they heard a low groan.

"Okay, we have to get these stakes out of him, but I can't touch them, they are coated with vervain, I can smell it." the younger vampire explained as he crouched down on the floor next to Damon.

Elena nodded, immediately knowing what that meant. She pulled at the first one while Stefan was holding his brother down on the floor. But it wasn't even necessary, Damon was much too weak to show a stronger reaction than moaning in pain. Once the stakes were pulled out, Stefan put his arms under Damon's knees and shoulders and carried him easily up into his room. Elena followed him quietly.

"Is he going to be okay?" she asked when Stefan put him on his bed.

"Damon is strong, but I guess it is going to take awhile until all the vervain has passed out of his system. John probably wasn't sparing with the dosage, therefore it will take longer than usual for him to heal. We should try to get him to drink some blood."

When Stefan left the room to get some bloodbags out of the fridge in the cellar, Elena approached Damon's bed. In order to make it a little bit more comfortable for him she took off his heavy boots and threw a thin blanket, that was lying on a nearby chair, over his legs. Stefan soon returned with two bloodbags. Using the small tube of the bag he filled his brother's mouth with blood and tried to coax him into swallowing the red liquid. He had to brace himself when the smell of the blood hit his nose, but the severity of the situation helped him to ignore the rising hunger.

"Elena, please get some towels." he said, pointing to the adjoined bathroom.

When Elena returned with the towels Damon still hadn't swallowed the blood, so that Stefan turned his head to the side and absorbed the blood with one of the towels.

"Maybe we should clean him up and try it again later. " Stefan suggested.

Together they got Damon out of his shredded black shirt. He still wasn't showing any kind of reaction.

"The wounds are still bleeding." Elena noticed.

Stefan merely nodded.

They cleaned and bandaged Damon's upper part of the body thoroughly and when they were done, Stefan grabbed the bloodbag again. This time he was holding his brother up while Elena was trying to feed him some of the blood. And after a moment Damon was actually swallowing the blood in his mouth. His eyes were still closed and he was drinking very very slowly, but they managed to instill almost half of the bag into him.

"Okay, I think we should let him rest now." Stefan said and pulled the blanket up to cover his entire body. For a moment he looked closely at Damon and eventually reached out to brush his dark locks tentatively out of his face. Elena watched the brotherly gesture silently and considered to leave the room to give them a bit more privacy. But there was no need as Stefan turned around, grabbed her hand and walked towards the door.

Since he and Elena weren't able to sleep because of all the commotion they went back down into the living room.

"Let's go into the kitchen." Elena suggested when her look fell on the bloodstain on the floor.

They sat there in complete silence for quite some time, both of them exhausted and worn out.

"You know, since Damon arrived back here in Mystic Falls I wished so badly that he would leave again. At times I even wanted to stake him by myself. Tonight I lost him nearly twice, first the fire and now this. I can't believe that I really wanted him gone. After all he's my brother and you're right when you say he's not really evil, that he has his reasons." Stefan explained pensively.

"Looks like we're both cursed with annoying brothers." Elena tried to joke to light up the atmosphere. And it worked, Stefan gave her a small smile.

It was almost three in the morning when they made their way to Stefan's bedroom, but not without making a short stop at Damon's room and taking a look at his sleeping form.

The next morning came way too quickly for Elena's liking. When she woke up she slowly opened her eyes and found herself in Stefan's strong arms.

"Hey sleeping beauty." he greeted his girlfriend and embraced her even tighter.

Elena sighed contentedly.

"Let's get up and see how Damon's doing." she replied and sat up rubbing tiredly her face.

When they entered Damon's room he was still fast asleep. Stefan approached his brother's sleeping form and nudged him. Damon groaned, turned his head toward his younger brother and opened his eyes.

"What happened, was I that drunk?" he asked as he tried to sit up. But he was suddenly stopped by the sharp pain that shot through his abdomen. "Okay, apparently I'm not drunk." he added through gritted teeth.

Stefan helped him to lay back down. Damon was still pretty weak, but a look at the bandages told them that at least the bleeding had stopped. While explaining him what had happened they removed the bandages. The wounds were still not fully healed but looked a lot better. Damon hated the fact that he needed his brothers help to sit up and drink a glass of blood, but it wouldn't be for long, he told himself. It was merely a matter of time until the last bit of the vervain was out of his system and he was back to his old strength.

"God, I really need a shower." Damon groaned as he noticed that he was still in his jeans from the day before and that there was dried blood on his skin.

"Well, I guess this has to wait until you're strong enough, unless you want to take that shower together with me." Stefan responded. This time it was actually his turn to smirk at his brother.

Damon snorted disgustedly. "I think Elena would be much more qualified for this job"

"In your dreams Damon, in your dreams." Elena laughed patting his forearm.

"Looks like good old Damon is back." Stefan stated.

"And that doesn't seem to bother you. Where is Stefan and what have you done to him?" Damon wondered.

Stefan smiled at him. "Get some rest, you're still weak."