Title: Love is not consolation. It is light.
Author: Ayumie and CrowX
Part: 1 of 4
Fandom: Vampire Diaries (TV)
Rating: NC-17
Pairing: Damon/Elena/Stefan
Word count: 2587
Warnings: Incest, Threesome, Slash

Summary: After the opening of the tomb Damon is devastated. There is only one, no, two things that can console him, but will Stefan be able to do that for him? Even though he wanted it for so long himself? D/E/S

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

Many thanks to my new betareader darkkite23. I'm so glad for your help! Hugs!

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Love is not consolation

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Love is not consolation. It is light.

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)

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Chapter 1

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The tomb had been opened, but Damon didn't find Katherine inside. He stood outside, staring blankly ahead, clearly in shock.

Seeing Damon in this unguarded state, Elena went over and hugged him tightly, not caring about Stefan's disapproving glance. Damon barely responded, but held her against him. Despite her empathy for him, Elena couldn't help getting flustered at the nearness.

xxxoooxxx

Stefan was livid on the inside when his girlfriend hugged his brother, but he wasn't sure about the reason. On the one hand, he thought that Damon was feigning sadness, to get her sympathy and a step closer to taking Elena away from Stefan. However, on the other hand, there was also jealousy for Damon. He felt an old, nearly forgotten emotion reappearing: wanting to take care of his big brother like in times past.

And then there was the small hidden wish to have his brother like in the dreams he used to have.

xxxoooxxx

Damon still wasn't sure what had gone wrong. By now he should have been reunited with Katherine, happily celebrating her rescue. Only Katherine wasn't there and she never had been. It was still hard to process.

At first, he thought that something had gone terribly wrong, that Katherine had been taken somewhere else or was killed by his father before that church had been set on fire. Only after he had gotten the truth out of Anna did the shock really set in.

Somehow, Damon managed to get back to the boarding house and all but collapsed in front of the fireplace. He stared at the flames without seeing anything, barely registering Stefan's presence as his brother came into the room.

xxxoooxxx

After accompanying Elena home, Stefan went back to the boarding house, not knowing if his brother would still be there. Elena had admonished him to take care of his brother, clearly very worried, and Stefan had been hard pressed not to say that he would, if Damon let him.

He saw Damon sitting in the den in front of the fireplace, again looking without focus. Stefan sat next to him, not too close so as not to disturb his brother. It was a situation way out of his normal established dealings with Damon.

"I am truly sorry for your loss."

xxxoooxxx

Stefan's presence registered only slowly and it took Damon a moment to lift his head. Lips twisting, he turned to face his brother.

"No, you're not. You didn't want her back. You never really loved her – that's what you said, wasn't it?"

He wished Stefan would just leave him alone. The last thing he needed right now was his brother's self-righteous preaching and he felt sure that the next words out of that mouth would be 'I told you so.' And even if they weren't – Stefan's pity was bound to be just as galling.

After a moment Damon sighed. He wasn't feeling up to an argument and it had been a long time since they had a conversation that didn't end in one.

"Go away, brother. Just... go away."

xxxoooxxx

Not knowing what else to do, Stefan did as requested. He was at his wits end since he never before had to deal with such a situation regarding his brother. He only knew that he wanted to help his brother, be there for him. Especially since he felt responsible for all that happened. Deciding that Elena could help him – she had seemed so understanding of Damon before - he went to her house.

xxxoooxxx

Elena was writing in her journal about the failed attempt at the tomb when there was the familiar knock at the window. Stefan. She let him in with a smile that faded when she saw his lost expression. Hugging him she asked quietly:

"Is anything wrong with Damon? Why didn't you stay with him?"

Over the last week Elena had found out that she had a better connection, or an understanding, with Damon, than his own brother did.

xxxoooxxx

Sighing heavily, Stefan moved to sit on his girlfriend's bed.

"He's... not well. He just sits there and stares at the fire. It's… I've never seen him this way. I tried to talk to him, but he sent me away. I just don't know what to do..."

Stefan hated feeling helpless. He knew that he was supposed to disapprove of Damon, but right now, he would have given anything to have his arrogant, abrasive brother back. Only Damon didn't want his help. He looked at Elena. Stefan still didn't really want her to get involved with his brother, still thinking it would be dangerous, but...

"Do you think that there is anything we can do?"

xxxoooxxx

Elena shook her head, worried about Damon.

"I'm truly afraid for him. There's nothing in his life now. I hope he doesn't do anything drastic."

Looking at her boyfriend she sat next to him, touching him lightly.

"Maybe I can help him; we have an understanding after all. But knowing Damon, it will involve more than you are able to accept, not just some consoling words. And disregarding me for a moment… you have to realize what your feelings for your brother truly are. On one hand, you seem to hate him, but then you want to comfort him. Even if Damon did claim to hate you, he never really tried to kill you. What does this tell you? Of course he doesn't want your pity, even though you were best friends long ago, now you're like strangers."

xxxoooxxx

Stefan sighed even as he pulled Elena against him. The thought of her comforting Damon was disquieting to say the least and enough to ignite a confused mix of lust and jealousy in Stefan's stomach. It didn't help that he was certain that Damon would try to take Elena away from him once the shock wore off.

"Do you really want to... help him?"

For a moment Stefan fell silent.

"I'm supposed to hate him. And I tried to, I really did, but I... can't. He's my brother."

There was something else he didn't quite voice yet. Perhaps the shock would be good for Damon. Perhaps he would change.

xxxoooxxx

Elena cuddled closer to Stefan.

"I truly want to help him. I feel for him and no matter what happens, I want to see him up and well again. Stefan, I know what you're afraid of, but don't worry, he will never break us up. I love you!"

After a while she detached herself.

"Could you take me to the boarding house?"

Climbing out of the window Stefan carried her to the car, driving back to the boarding house.

xxxoooxxx

Quietly they went inside and Stefan let her inside the den.

"Good luck," he whispered and went to sit on the stairs, in hearing range if anything would need his attention.

xxxoooxxx

Hesitantly Elena approached Damon. He was as Stefan had described, slumped on the couch. Carefully she sat beside him, her heart going out to him.

"Hey, Damon."

xxxoooxxx

Damon slowly lifted his eyes. Although looking at Elena brought forth a fresh wave of pain, her warm presence was comforting and he unconsciously shifted closer.

"She was never in the tomb. She... has been free all along."

At the sound of the girl's suppressed gasp, Damon gritted his teeth.

"Does he know that you're here?"

To think that he had been punishing his little brother for nothing at all. And now their relationship was probably beyond fixing. That Stefan should trust him with his girlfriend was unbelievable - although it was more likely that he simply trusted Elena. Damon wondered if he had ever done anything to deserve her sympathy. Nothing came to mind.

xxxoooxxx

Elena was enraged on Damon's behalf. Never would she have believed that anybody could be so cruel. But she held her thoughts back. Seeing him coming closer, she took it as an invitation and carefully pulled him into her arms. At Damon's question she lifted an eyebrow.

"Of course he knows. Damon, he worries about you, honestly. But I would have come over anyway. I'm worried, too."

Damon didn't reply for a long time and Elena just held him, burying her fingers in his silky hair. It felt the same as Stefan's. Stroking through it, her mind wandered off, thinking about the two brothers and their twisted relationship.

xxxoooxxx

Meanwhile, Stefan went to his room after hearing what had happened with Katherine. Even though he'd always seen her as a manipulative bitch after the compulsion wore off, he couldn't believe it. Since Damon was accepting Elena's empathy Stefan decided to give them space, entirely trusting Elena. Taking out his journal Stefan wrote about the happenings and sadly concluded:

"I wish it would be me holding Damon close, giving him comfort and having him accept it. But he would never let me…"

xxxoooxxx

Closing his eyes, Damon enjoyed the warmth of Elena's embrace. Any other day he would have let his hands wander a little, but right at that moment he was too lost for even that. Also, he had the suspicion that should he try to take advantage, she would pronounce him well enough to leave alone.

"Will you stay with me?"

At her nod, Damon shifted until he was lying on the sofa with his head in Elena's lap. Right before he went to sleep, he found himself wishing that Stefan was there, too.

xxxoooxxx

When he didn't hear anything for more than an hour, Stefan sneaked down into the den. Elena and Damon were both fast asleep, looking so comfortable with each other it made his stomach twist. He gently touched her shoulder.

"Are you ok? We should get you into a proper bed."

xxxoooxxx

Elena whispered as to not wake Damon.

"I don't want to leave him. It's comfortable enough here."

She looked down to Damon, smiling gently when she saw that in sleep his face was finally relaxed.

"Can you fetch us some blankets?"

Stefan nodded with an unreadable face and Elena sighed silently. She didn't want to be another Katherine, but trying to mediate between them was walking a fine line. She decided to try something, hoping it wouldn't backfire. When Stefan came back with blankets and more cushions she gestured vaguely in the direction of Damon's feet.

"Why don't you join us? The couch seems to be for four people rather than two. I think it would be good for him when he sees that you care."

She covered Damon and herself with two blankets, leaning back into a comfy cushion.

xxxoooxxx

When Damon woke, he was surprised that not only was Elena still at his side, but Stefan was fast asleep on the other end of the couch, one hand resting on Damon's calf. Even in his sleep his brother's face was tense and a little worried.

After a moment, Damon sat up. He still wasn't feeling anywhere close to his usual self, but the turmoil inside of him had quieted down a bit. He was hungry. Looking up, Damon found that Elena's eyes were open. This was the point where he'd usually make a smart remark about sleeping together. Instead, he just managed a shaky smirk.

"Hello."

xxxoooxxx

Smiling at his attempt Elena replied, happy to see that Stefan had stayed the whole night.

"Good morning. Did you sleep well or do vampires actually get a crick in the neck?"

Damon shook his head. He looked hungry and Elena stood up with the intent to make coffee.

"Just lay down a bit, I bring coffee and blood. And yes, I know, blood bags, not the animal stuff."

xxxoooxxx

Stefan woke up slightly disoriented, but soon remembered the night before. He looked up to see his brother staring at him. Realizing that his hand was still clutching to Damon's leg, he let go as if he was burned.

"I'm sorry, you know, dreaming… didn't want to let you go away…," he grinned embarrassed.

Luckily Elena came back, apparently from the kitchen if the smell of coffee and blood was any indication. Surprised, Stefan saw her carrying a tray with coffee mugs for everyone and two big cups full of warmed blood. Sniffing he realized there was animal and human blood, right next to some cookies. His girlfriend had adapted amazingly well to the vampire household, he thought stumped.

xxxoooxxx

Damon raised his eyebrow at his brother's words. The truth was that he had kind of liked Stefan touching him. They used to touch a lot, back when they were still human, still best friends and never really stopped even after their relationship went to hell.

When Elena reappeared, Damon hungrily gulped down the blood, noting that the temperature was just right. It still wasn't as good as fresh from the source, but he wasn't about to mention that fact to Elena. He chased it down with some coffee.

"Thank you. Has anyone ever told you that you're a sweet little housekeeper?"

Damon managed a rough approximation of his famous grin – at least it was good enough to make Stefan roll his eyes. After a moment his brother cleared his throat.

"Well, now that we're all up and functioning, I think I'd better get changed. And we're all in need of a shower. Who'd like to go first?"

xxxoooxxx

After a "ladies first" gesture, Elena went upstairs to shower, enjoying the hot water massaging her slightly hurting back. Maybe they should just sleep in a bed next night, she thought, but then caught herself and blushed. Her mind was showing her scenarios she should better forget soon, if she didn't want to be caught blushing every time seeing the brothers. But Elena couldn't help but take pleasure at her imaginary pictures.

After the shower she dressed and texted Jenna, telling her she was staying at Stefan's for the weekend.

xxxoooxxx

Stefan checked their blood supply and found it nearly empty.

"We should drive to the next city, getting blood. If you steal blood from this town's hospital again, the council will get suspicious. And I would like to go to another butcher for the same reason - if the hunters won't find any game, they'll wonder, too."

xxxoooxxx

Elena insisted on accompanying them, so they took Damon's car. They wouldn't be able to take the blood until later, when everybody at the hospital was busy and distracted, so they strolled through the streets for a while. The deed itself was almost too easy, now that Damon had two people to run distractions.

In the evening Damon once again started to drink. There was nothing else to do to keep his thoughts at bay. Both, Stefan and Elena were watching him with worried eyes, but he ignored them - he was good at that, after all.

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TBC

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Please leave me a review and let me know what you think. It's a new genre for me after all... :-)

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