Disclaimer: All of these characters belong to people who aren't me.

Author's Note: This story was written in response to a challenge at tvd_las on Livejournal. The challenge was "Picnic."

The idea was supposed to be romantic. It was supposed to be just the two of them, getting away from all the insanity, if only for one afternoon. It was supposed to make Elena feel safe, make her forget about the way Damon sometimes looked at her.

The idea was flawed.

That became evident very quickly, when Damon suddenly appeared beside them and plopped himself down on their blanket. He sat slightly closer to Elena than Stefan himself was, but not so close that the younger Salvatore would feel justified starting an argument over it.

"A picnic?" Damon asked, sounding like he was thrilled with the idea. "How very 1950s of you, little brother. But where are the poodle skirts and leather jackets?"

Elena fought back a smile. She couldn't help it. Stefan was always so serious, like every single decision could result in the destruction of the entire town. Damon added some lighthearted humor, so she couldn't be all that angry with him for the interruption.

"It was supposed to be a date," Stefan replied through clenched teeth.

"Sweet, but not very bright, as usual." Damon cast his eyes into the surrounding forest, looking for threats. "I wish I could say I was only here to ruin your day, but actually, I just thought it was monumentally stupid to bring Elena out in the open while Katherine is after her. There are no witnesses around to make her think twice about attacking, and let's face it, you can barely protect yourself from another vampire, never mind trying to protect Elena."

Damon's mood was contagious, and Elena immediately realized how reckless it had been to even try to pretend that she and Stefan were just two normal teenagers. Maybe they could do that after Katherine was dead, but there would probably just be another obstacle after that. Picnics were for people who didn't have anything to fear from the woods. Unfortunately, she didn't think she would ever be one of those people again.

"He's right," she admitted with a sigh. She saw the unhappiness pass across Stefan's face, gone almost before she could catch it. He hated that she agreed with Damon, even when it was the right call to make.

Damon turned his attention to Elena, speaking to her instead of Stefan. She was more fun anyway. "If you want to pack up this charming little scene, I'll escort you two to Ye Olde Yogurt Shoppe, and then Stefan can continue to demonstrate how he has no clue on how to change with the times. At least if Katherine kills you both there, a witness might just escape, so I'll know that I'm supposed to take vengeance."

Elena's eyebrows shot up, and she forgot for just a second that giving Damon an opportunity to flirt in front of Stefan was a bad idea. "You'd take vengeance for me?"

He smiled. "For you, yes." He tilted his head toward his brother, but kept his eyes locked on hers. "Not for him though. If you got killed because his diet of fluffy bunnies prevented him from protecting you, he doesn't deserve vengeance."

Stefan growled and began tossing the picnic set-up haphazardly back into the basket it had come out of. Elena quickly looked away from him, then stood up and brushed at her jeans, making sure no dirt had defied their blanket to get to her.

Damon smirked. It was true that he had come out here for Elena's well being, not to ruin Stefan's day.

That was just a convenient bonus.