AN: Unbelievably fluffy fluff! Lots of brotherly love and probably OOC and I couldn't care less :P I NEEDED to write this after last night's episode. The muse wouldn't allow me not to and the muse forced me to include all the fluff! But after what's been going on in TVD, I think I can be excused this one – we NEED it : )

Can be taken brotherly or slashy; it's pretty open to your interpretation, although I meant it brotherly...

WARNING! Contains spoilers for The Vampire Diaries episopde 2x21 - The Sun Also Rises - don't read if you haven't watched and don't want to be spoiled.


I do not own Stefan or Damon Salvatore or anything else having to do with The Vampire Diaries!

The Salvatore house was quiet. Everyone had gone home after the emotional day; Jenna and John were both dead, Elijah had betrayed them, and Klaus was not only alive, but he had managed to break the curse.

Damon, using human speed, quietly made his way upstairs and into his room. He flipped on the light and tossed his jacket aside before falling back on his bed. His arm burned as the poison from the werewolf bite slowly made its way through his body.

"It'd be too kind to make it quick." He muttered

A crash came from somewhere in the house and Damon sat up only to be greeted with Stefan standing in his doorway; annoyance and concern battling for dominance in his expression.

"When did you get home?" Stefan demanded as he crossed the room with vampire speed.

Damon raised an eyebrow. "Just a minute ago."

Stefan frowned. He hadn't heard Damon enter the house. His brother's words had alerted Stefan to his presence and his haste to get upstairs he'd knocked over some books. Stefan shook his head and perched on the edge of Damon's bed with his back to him.

"I didn't hear you come in." He said quietly.

Damon nodded in acknowledgment, not realizing, or not caring, that Stefan couldn't see; Stefan didn't appear to care either. Damon watched his brother's back closely, waiting for something to explain his brother's presence and silence.

Stefan sighed. "I've been looking through some of the grimoirs. I brought them back here from the house. I haven't found anything yet but I haven't got very far yet, so-"

"Don't bother, Stefan." Damon cut him off.

He watched as Stefan's back tensed and his brother slowly turned to face him, a glare already present on his face. Damon sighed.

"Don't bother?" Stefan repeated slowly. Damon sighed again. He could hear it in Stefan's tone; his brother was not happy and Damon was going to hear it.

Stefan was stuck between gaping at his brother in disbelief and glaring at him in anger. How could Damon say that? This was his life! He was going to die! Anger won out and Stefan stood to glare down at his brother still half lying down on the bed.

"What the hell do you mean "don't bother"? This is your life Damon! How can you sit there so calmly and talk so flippantly about dying! How can you not care?" Stefan shouted.

Damon fought the urge to shout back at Stefan. Instead, he slowly sat up and stared intently at his brother. He was uncertain about how to handle this; their roles were reversed. Damon was supposed to be the rash one and Stefan was supposed to be logical...

How did he explain to his little brother that he had to let him die?

"Stefan... It's not that I don't care, I'm being realistic." Stefan opened his mouth to retort but Damon raised his hand quickly, silencing him. "There's no cure Stefan. Why should I spend my time hoping and letting you hope when we both know that? You can't save me." He said firmly.

Stefan clenched his eyes shut and shook his head. "You don't know that." He said quietly. "What do we really know about it? Nothing! You're just going off what you've heard. And since when have you ever been realistic?" he demanded

Damon ignored the question. Only a second ago he'd been thinking the same thing. "Stefan, you don't need to do this. You don't need to feel... guilty or whatever."

Stefan's eyes shot open and he stared confused at Damon. "Guilty? Why would I feel guilty?"

"You've been feeling guilty for 145 years Stefan. And you need to let it go... I get it okay? I could never understand before why you made me make that choice but I do now and I forgive you for it – forgave you a long time ago."

Stefan shook his head. "This isn't about guilt Damon." Damon gave him a pointed look and Stefan chuckled without humour. "Yes, I've been feeling guilty but trying to save your life? That's not guilt Damon! It's an entirely different emotion."

It was Damon's turn to look confused. Stefan stared at him intently before sitting back on the bed, closer than before. Their legs were pressed together and Damon stared curiously at Stefan while Stefan stared at his hands in his lap.

"It's actually kind of sad what we've become Damon." Stefan said softly. "What happened to us that you believe I would try to save you to quiet my conscience?" Stefan looked at Damon then. "Are we really that damaged? Did I hurt you that much?"

Damon's brow furrowed. He didn't understand what Stefan was getting at. They didn't talk like this; not in over a century. "I don't-"

"You're my big brother, Damon. My entire life, human and vampire, the only thing that has ever been a constant is you. It's not about guilt. I love you, and I will not, cannot, sit back and let you die."

Stefan looked Damon in the eye. "I can't be logical right now Damon." Stefan's eyes were filled with tears and one slipped and fell down his cheek. "I need to hope."

Damon sat frozen, listening to his brother's words. He hadn't heard Stefan say he loved him since they were human and even then it wasn't often, wasn't considered normal or masculine. To hear his brother say it now, after all this time and pain was a surprise. Damon felt his own eyes fill with tears at the sight of the Stefan's own tears.

"You need to let me have that, Damon... because I can't live in a world where you're not in it. And you promised me eternity."

"I said an eternity of misery." Damon attempted to joke, although it came out more broken and regretful.

Stefan chuckled anyway. "I'll take it."

Stefan looked so scared and the tears continued to fall from his eyes. Damon was better at controlling his emotions and was able to keep them at bay. Still, something in Damon rose up at the sight of Stefan; a long repressed instinct that came with being an older brother. The need to protect Stefan was strong and he didn't try to fight it.

Damon opened his arms and motioned for Stefan who fell against him immediately. Damon's arms went around Stefan and he cradled him against him as his little brother sobbed into his chest. Stefan clutched at him as if he were afraid Damon would disappear immediately.

Without think Damon buried his face in Stefan's hair and brushed his lips against his head comfortingly. Their position reminded him of another life when Stefan would be hurt or scared and Damon would wrap him up in his arms keep him safe. I'm here little brother. Damon remembered.

"I'm here, little brother."

Stefan clutched tighter; the recognition clear. He pulled back enough to give Damon a knowing look. Damon waited expectantly.

"Stay." He whispered.

Despite the situation and the heavy emotions between them, Damon smiled. "Always... promise."

Stefan's returning smile wasn't as bright as it always used to be but it was enough. He moved back into Damon's embrace only this time his hold was less desperate, more hopeful.

Damon wasn't sure if this was better, letting Stefan hope. But he'd let him have this. Let them both have it. Another minute or two went by and slowly the brother released their hold on each other, although they remained within contact.

Stefan wiped at his eyes and attempted to hide his yawn, but Damon caught it anyway.

"It's been a long day, Stef. We should get some sleep."

Stefan's eyes went wide and his body went rigid. He looked scared again. Damon's hand shot out with inhuman speed to grip Stefan's knee in a sign of comfort.

"It's okay, Stefan, I'm not going anywhere, eternity remember?" he reminded Stefan of his earlier argument. Stefan's body slowly relaxed and he nodded to Damon's words.

"Eternity," he breathed out.

Damon smiled and grabbed a pillow to toss gently at Stefan. The remainder of Stefan's fear lifted, for the time being, and he glared jokingly at Damon before tossing it back. Damon breathed an inner sigh of relief that he'd managed to dissipate the heavy mood surrounding them.

He tossed the pillow back and moved to the top of the bed. "You'll need that if you're going to sleep in here." He said as an explanation.

Stefan smiled and copied Damon by moving under the comforter. "Thanks, Damon."

"Yeah, whatever. I figure it's easier than me waking up to you standing over my bed checking to see I'm still here." He teased.

Stefan laughed and Damon grinned. They lay down and Damon moved his foot casually to rest it against Stefan's calf under the blanket; a constant physical reminder that he was here. Damon ignored the burning in his arm and lay on his side facing Stefan.

"By the way... I love you too, Stefan." Damon said sleepily.

Stefan didn't say anything for which Damon was grateful. He couldn't handle any more emotions tonight. He knew Stefan heard him by the shift in his leg more firmly against Damon's foot for a moment.

He didn't know what would happen, despite his promise to Stefan. But he would let Stefan fight and he would fight too, fight to keep his promise to his little brother. He'd fight hard.

Review and let me know what you thought, please! : )