So, this is my first attempt at writing a fanfiction. I am not a native English speaker: I hope there aren't too many mistakes in the story!

You will never be alone

She had managed to hold herself together; she had managed to stay strong for weeks now. She had successfully learned how to control her urges, she had dealt with her mother discovering her secret, she had taken revenge on Katherine and even helped Tyler through his first transformation. Despite all the unsettling changes in her life, she had kept a straight face and pretended that she was all right. The truth was that she was not. She was far from all right. All the emotions she had suppressed with so much effort for such a long time, came crushing down on her when she least expected it. She was sitting alone at the kitchen table, in front of a cup filled with blood. It was ten o'clock in the evening and her mother was once again working on some new case. Caroline wasn't thinking about anything really, when it suddenly hit her: she was sitting in the kitchen, drinking human blood.

She was unable to stop the tears, just as much as she was unable to stop all the dark thoughts from invading her mind. What had she become? What had that perfect, blissful life of hers turned into? One moment she was the beautiful girlfriend of Matt Donovan, the Miss Mystic Queen and the head cheerleader. The next moment she was dead and turned into a monster. While the thought of immortality had appealed to her at first, she had quickly realized the tragic truth behind it. While she was going to live forever, she would have to watch all her loved ones around her fade away. In the end her family, her friends and her ex-boyfriend would all leave her, alone. She would never be able to live the life she had always dreamed about – she would always be forced to move from place to place as she wasn't aging. The sobs grew stronger and Caroline's whole body started to shake. She let the pain take over and sunk to the floor.

Her mother picked that exact moment to come home from work, and before Caroline knew what she was doing, she fled the house through the kitchen window. She was unable to face her mother, telling her another lie about why she was breaking down. The blond vampire came to a stop when she realized where she had been heading. She was standing in front of the Boarding House. Something told her, that if she wanted to find help and answers, it was probably here. Over the last weeks the Boarding House had become like a second home to her. Stefan was there – always ready to talk to her, calming her and showing her that he was very much able to deal with his fate. Damon was there – while not her friend, she felt connected to him, despite everything he had done to her. Maybe it was because he was her sire or maybe she just felt safe and protected with him around.

While Caroline usually entered without making her presence known, she decided that it was better to knock at a time like this. There were a few moments of silence, when the door suddenly flew open. Damon was leaning against the door frame, his blue eyes piercing though her soul.

"Well, if it isn't Vampire Barbie! May I ask what you were thinking disturbing me at a time like this? The bottle of whiskey and I were just having such a great time..." He smirked and threw her a questioning glance.

Caroline had no idea what she really wanted here and knew, that no matter what she was going to say, Damon would make fun of her. The older Salvatore brother, however, seemed to sense her inability to answer and just said, the sarcastic edge having left his voice: "Fine, just get inside."

Caroline entered and immediately made her way over to the comfortable, red couch in the middle of the living room. Damon gave her a glass filled with Bourbon and after pouring himself a glass, sat down next to her.

"So? Want to share any of your deepest secrets with me?" He asked, raising his eyebrows in the all too familiar way.

Caroline still couldn't bring herself to say anything and just starred into the flames dancing in the fireplace. Her deepest secret? Her deepest secret was that she sometimes caught herself wondering if it hadn't been better if she'd just died after the accident. Unfortunately that was an extremely selfish thought and she would bite her tongue before saying it out loud.

"You're still in there somewhere, Caroline?"

Damon's voice pulled her back out of her depression and it hit her that for once he hadn't called her Barbie or Blondie. Something in her stirred and she looked up to him, her blue eyes connecting with his. Why did they have to be so beautiful? Those eyes had been one of the reasons why she had put up with Damon for so long, back when they were dating. If you can even call it that. Caroline chastised herself for the crazy mixture of thoughts going through her head and answered the other vampire's question:

"I don't know if I can do this, Damon."

"Do what?" he frowned, annoyance clearly visible on his face.

"This." She pointed helplessly at herself. "Everything in my life has become so dark and dangerous."

"Oh, you've got to be kidding me! You show up here and disturb my perfectly quiet evening because you're having an existential crisis?" Damon sighed dramatically.

Too late did he realize that his insensitive remark caused the tears to boil up in her once again.

"Oh no, no, please don't. I seriously can't deal with crying girls. Just stop the water works and I promise to play therapist, best friend or whatever you want me to be...I'll even pretend to be my brooding, boring brother. But just stop."

The panic sipping through Damon's voice really did get Caroline's attention and she whispered:

"I always expect to wake up from a really awful nightmare. Every morning I hope to find out that it was all just an evil trick of my imagination. And than I feel the hunger, the hunger for human blood. And just like that, my world breaks down again and again, every single morning. I don't want to wake up anymore, feeling that pain, disappointment and misery. Do something, Damon, just do something."

She was begging now, suddenly sitting very close to him, her hands clinging on to his right arm. Her grip was almost painful, and it made Damon fully realise who desperate the fellow vampire was.

Damon remembered how he had planned on killing Caroline as soon as he'd found out that Katherine had turned her. At the time, there were so many reasons for him to run a stake through her heart. For one, she reminded him of his evil bitch of an ex. And since he wanted to rid himself of every last memory of Katherine, Caroline had to die. Another part of him just didn't believe Caroline would ever learn how to become like Stefan and him. She had a hot body, but no brain. And still another part of him wasn't ready to deal with yet another problem – everything around him wasn't the way it was supposed to be. So he wanted to get rid of the Caroline problem as quickly and easy as possible. Back then Elena had saved the newborn. By now, Damon was ready to admit that he was glad, that Elena had believed in Caroline from the start and given her a chance. Caroline had been a lot of help over the last weeks and sometimes he even caught himself enjoying having her around. She always smiled, sometimes even laughed that absolutely ridiculous laugh of hers and everything seemed brighter when she was around. The neurotic and insecure teenager had become incredibly strong, taking one blow after another without even blinking. Now, however, she was finally breaking down.

Seeing Caroline like this made Damon feel helpless and at loss of words – what could he possibly say or do to pull her out of this deep depression? Damon didn't do listening to miserable teenagers, he didn't do sensitive remarks or reassuring backrubs. And Damon definitely didn't do helpless and speechless. Anger flooded over him, but he managed to control his emotions and just said:

"You have many friends, Caroline. They're all here for you."

Caroline looked at him, wondering where this weird statement was coming from. She finally asked:

"Is that you're feeble attempt at pretending to be you're brother? I'm sorry, but I have to tell you that you suck at it."

"Yeah, I know. I just thought it couldn't hurt to give it a try." Damon admitted, a smile having reappeared on his face.

It was this smile that gave Caroline the strength to pull herself out of her gloomy mood. Within seconds, she felt like the enormous weight on her shoulders was being replaced by a feeling of warmth and safety.

"Are you one of those people?" she then asked.

"One of what people, Blondie? Seriously, half of the time you're speaking in riddles."

Caroline just quirked her eyebrows, looking expectantly at him. Damon sighed, and turned away from her. He stood up and made his way over to the bottle of whiskey. He desperately needed a refill. Admitting to be Caroline's friend would force him to admit that he cared. It would imply that he cared about her. So he just said, his voice blank:

"I don't do friends. You should know that by now."

"You're Elena's friend. You're Alaric's friend. You're Stefan's friend. You were Rose's friend." Caroline snapped, unable to hide the hurt tugging at her heartstrings.

"Stefan is my brother. Rose – I slept with her. That's all. I just pretend to be Alaric's friend, after all I do need someone to do my dirty work. As to Elena...well, she has the tendency to always get herself in trouble. If she dies, than I will have to deal with even more brooding and I don't feel up for that. So, you see, no friends." Damon snapped back, his blue eyes glowing dangerously.

Heavy and uncomfortable silence followed his outburst, until Caroline whispered:

"So, I can't count on you to be there for me? Because there wouldn't be anything in it for you?"

She had tried to make it sound sarcastic, but instead it just sounded hopelessly broken.

"All of the sudden, everybody wants me to care. Elena keeps asking me to be the better man. Now you...Why do you so badly want me to care for you?" Damon practically shouted the last part, by now pacing in front of the couch.

Caroline took her time before she answered: "I guess we all feel protected around you. Safe. You're the only who can make me feel like that, despite everything you've done to me. If anybody can solve the werewolf problem and the Klaus problem, than it's you. I just...I just need you to tell me that you're my friend."

"Is that why you came over here? Just to hear that from me?"

Now it was Caroline, who suddenly needed a refill. Was that the real reason why she had come over to the Boarding House? As she was pouring the alcohol into her glass, the young vampire realized that her relationship with Damon had been bothering her for quite some time now. It was more the fact that there was no real definition for the relationship. She should hate him, because he had abused her while she was still human and he tried to stake her after she turned. But then he had spared her mother, he shared his blood bags with her and he had tried to rescue her when she had been kidnapped by the werewolves. All those things made it impossible for her to see him as the bad boy he so stubbornly wanted to be. She had forgiven him for all he had done, she realized. She needed him to care about her, because she knew, that with him on her side, she was going to be all right. That new knowledge gave her strength as she answered, turning toward Damon:

"Yes. That's why."

Damon was clearly taken by surprise by her admission, but at the same time he finally felt ready to let his walls down. Caroline stood in front of him, vulnerable to the core. It had been a long time since somebody so desperately wanted to be his friend and so he simply said:

"I am your friend, Caroline."

His eyes lingered on her for a moment and he lifted a hand to brush a strand of hair out of her face. However, he stopped himself before doing so:

"Now, was there anything else you need?"

His walls were back up and his voice was once again cold and detached. Caroline shook her head:

"Thank you. I'll see you tomorrow, Damon."

With that she left the old house, a smile forming on her lips. He had given her what she had come for: a friendship that would last forever.