"You know for a guy who's been successfully seducing women for one hundred and fifty plus years, you are a truly terrible wingman," Alaric told Damon with an exasperated sigh.

"I really don't think that's fair," Damon protested.

"Oh really, you don't?" Alaric asked incredulously, "Two weeks ago today, you tell me for the thousandth time that I need to get laid and -"

"And you do," Damon interrupted, taking a sip of his scotch. "All you do is fight vampires, grade papers, and get drunk with me. It just isn't healthy."

"Which is when," Alaric continued loudly, looking pointedly at Damon, "I challenged you as, sad as it may seem, my only male friend to step up to the plate and get me laid. And all you've done since then is chase off every beautiful woman within a five mile radius of me. I feel that terrible wingman isn't strong enough - you are the world's worst wingman."

Damon seemed about to give him a sharp retort when his glance flicked suddenly to the other side of the room, and he said in a low voice, "Look, let me make it up to you. That redhead you've had your eye on all evening is finally looking this way. Let me land her for you; you can consider it an apology for my previously poor performance."

"And how do I know you won't chase this one away as well, hmm?" Alaric asked.

"You don't," Damon returned with a sly grin, "But you can't end up worse off than you are now."

Alaric considered this, then sighed and said, "Fine, one more chance. But I'm not going to watch."

"No matter," Damon replied, finishing off his drink and signaling for two more, "Stick around for a couple minutes so she can check you out, then slip mysteriously away and skulk in a dark corner until I give you the signal. I'll tell her you're a doctor or a secret agent, and you get called away a lot."

The drinks arrived, and with that, Damon was off, ambling over to the redhead and leaning casually on the little table at which she was sitting. When she motioned for him to sit down, he plopped gracefully onto the bar stool beside her and began speaking animatedly, Alaric hoped about him.

After a couple of minutes of standing at the bar, Alaric slipped away in what he hoped was a mysterious manner, just as they had agreed. What Damon did not know when he consented to this portion of the plan, however, was that Alaric had become suspicious of his one hundred percent rejection record and intended to find out exactly what Damon had been saying to these women. Alaric crept along the darkened back channels of the bar and, concealing himself behind a nearby brick pillar, strained to hear what the two of them were discussing.

"Tell me more about this friend of yours," the redhead was saying, acting casually interested as she sipped the drink Damon had brought for her.

"Oh, Alaric's a great guy," Damon replied. "Smart, funny, sensitive, the whole package."

"I do love a sensitive man," the redhead whispered conspiratorially.

Alaric was just starting to feel guilty about doubting him when Damon continued, "Well, you'll love Ric, then. He must have made me watch Steel Magnolias a hundred times and cried every one of them. And don't even get me started on Sleepless in Seattle."

Alaric counted himself lucky that he wasn't still drinking his scotch, as hearing this would almost certainly have made him spit it out and reveal his presence.

"Not that he's soft or anything," Damon went on, seeing the redhead's skeptical glance, "Oh, far from it. He works out like you wouldn't believe. He's at the gym four, five times a week, pumping iron, getting sweaty, wrestling the other guys..."

"I'm sorry," the redhead interjected quickly, "I have to go - I forgot that I promised to meet my friend at a club across town. It was nice to meet you, Damon." She rose to leave, then turned around on impulse and said in a low voice, "Tell your friend to call me if he ever wants a mani-pedi, I do a great one," handing Damon a card before disappearing into the crowd of the bar.

Head still spinning too much from the flurry of strange lies Damon had just told to think about running after her and correcting the mistake, Alaric instead snuck back to the bar just in time to intercept Damon.

"How'd it go?" he asked, trying to keep his tone innocuous.

"Struck out again, I'm afraid," Damon said, feigning sympathy. "I tried my best, I really did, but what can I say, the fish just aren't biting for you, my friend."

"What a pity," Alaric said dryly.

"Never mind," said Damon, "Come back to my place, and I'll break out the really good booze; it's sure to cheer you up."

"Why not?" Alaric answered, glad for the chance to confront Damon in private.

The second they had walked into the foyer of the Salvatore mansion, Damon went to get the scotch, and Alaric called after him, voice deceptively calm, "You know, there's just one thing that's still bothering me about this whole wingman business."

"What's that?" Damon asked distractedly, pouring the scotches.

"I'm pretty sure that I've seen When Harry Met Sally at least five hundred times. Surely that would have been a better selling point," he replied tightly.

Damon put down the scotch he had been lifting to his lips and turned slowly to face Alaric. Anyone else would have had the decency to at least feign feeling guilty, Alaric thought, but Damon just looked darkly amused as usual and said, "I wish you'd told me earlier; I definitely would have mentioned it."

"Damn it, Damon, why did I ever agree to let you use my love life as your personal playground?" Alaric's shouted, exasperated, his temper really starting to rise. "I must be a real idiot."

"Oh, come on," Damon scoffed, "You didn't want her. She's a career beautician, for God's sake."

"Hmmm, a woman whose job it is to make people beautiful. You're right, Damon, why would I ever want that?" Alaric yelled, voice dripping with sarcasm.

"You, my friend, need much more of a challenge," Damon continued, appraising him. "Someone who can meet you on your level, who can see your dark side and not flinch. You really think a twenty-five year old named," here he pulled out the card and read the name on it with a derisive snort, "Heather Sparkles could possibly fit the bill?"

"What do you mean 'my dark side'?" Alaric asked indignantly. "I'm a high school history teacher!"

"Yes, and you are also an at-times immortal vampire hunter with an undead ex who pops up at inconvenient moments. That's a heck of a lot of baggage for just a high school history teacher," Damon countered.

"So, what, you're saying that I have to find someone who's okay with all of that? In that case, I'm going to be alone forever." Alaric hoped the sudden wave of despair washing over him didn't show in his voice.

"Nonsense," Damon said, waving away his concerns, "In fact, I already know the perfect person."

"Oh, really?" Alaric asked sarcastically, walking over to pick up the glass of scotch Damon had poured for him. "Who could you possibly know willing to put up with all that?"

"Oh, that's easy," Damon said breezily. Suddenly, before Alaric could properly register what was happening, his glass of scotch was lying broken on the ground, Damon had him pinned against the wooden wall of the hallway, his eyes glinting dangerously, and had growled out, "Me," before crashing his lips down on Alaric's.

Alaric stood frozen in shock for at least ten seconds, and when it finally occurred to him to open his mouth to protest, Damon took it as an invitation to deepen the kiss and do some strange and wonderful things with his tongue.

To his utter embarrassment, Alaric heard himself let out a little moan, and before he knew it, his arms were around Damon's neck, his hands tangled in Damon's dark hair to pull him closer.

When Damon finally allowed him a few seconds to breathe, he had every intention of saying, "What the hell?" or even "I'm very flattered and everything, but I'm straight," but somehow all he actually got out was, "Wow," before pouncing on Damon once again.

After several minutes of this, Alaric's brain reminded him that he had been wanting to bring up some concerns, although right at that moment, they seemed very far away and unimportant. Still, he shoved Damon back a couple inches and exclaimed, still breathing raggedly, "Damon, just think about this a second. Do you realize how complicated this is going to get for both of us?"

Damon considered this for a moment, then said matter-of-factly, "Ric, you and I both know that there's nothing left in our lives that's simple. We spend our days constantly trying to outmaneuver a surprisingly large number of supernatural factions bent on our destruction. As far as I'm concerned, this is just a drop in a sea of complicated."

"You're just saying that to get into my pants," Alaric said evenly.

"That's not necessarily true," Damon protested. After a pause, he asked mischievously, "Why, did it work?"

Alaric looked at him seriously and said, "Well, put it this way, I rescind what I said before."

"About what?" Damon asked, intrigued.

Alaric took advantage of Damon's interest to flip their positions so Alaric was pressing him into the wall and said, "You are the world's best wingman."

Damon laughed, then gave him a devilish grin that sent a sudden jolt straight to Alaric's gut and said, "Then I guess, as your wingman, I am duty bound to get you laid," moving his hands to Alaric's waist and flicking his thumbs under the waistband of his jeans.

"I guess you are," Alaric said with a little shrug of mock disinterest, although once Damon had started kissing him again, disinterest quickly became impossible to feign.

As they were clumsily trying to make it down the hallway into Damon's giant four-poster bed while simultaneously tearing each other's clothes off, it occurred to Alaric that he wasn't sure how they ended up here, or what any of this meant. All he did know was that this was the best he'd felt in a long time, and his last thought before Damon's hands touching him everywhere made cogent thinking completely impossible, was that for now, that was more than enough.