We need some Delena. 'Cause it's good.

Disclaimer: don't own Vampire Diaries or any of its characters. The plot and the OC's are my creations, though.

Part One

When they had heard about the terrible and bloody deaths in Richmond, Elena and Damon decided to go there. Or rather, Elena persuaded Damon to bring her with him because she wanted to see if it really could be because of Stefan these murders were happening.

His reason for not wanting her to go was that it'd be harder for him to keep her safe in a city where murderers were wandering around.

Her reason for why he should let her come with him was that if it really was Stefan, she would probably have a bigger chance of succeeding in bringing him back. Her hope was small, but she was more than willing to try.

They had argued about it, neither one wanting to give in, but in the end Damon had caved and brought her with him — on the condition that she'd do what he told her so she wouldn't get herself killed.

So now here they were, walking the streets of Richmond, Virginia, trying to find out as much as possible about the deaths without being too suspicious.

In Damon's opinion, things were going pretty well.

"What I don't get is why we have to walk around this place at night."

"Because it's easier to get around after nightfall," Damon told her. "Also, if we ask drunk people they're gonna forget a stranger who asked about something everyone in the city already knows about."

"But if we ask someone who's drunk they're also not going to know or say things that aren't true," she argued.

"Don't be such a pessimist, Elena. Have a little faith."

"Don't you think it'd be smarter if we asked someone who isn't drunk?" she wondered pointedly. "You know, so they can actually give us some real information?"

"You're forgetting what I am," he said. "I can always compel them to tell the truth. As long as they're not on vervain, they can't lie."

Elena heaved a sigh of defeat. "Fine. You have a point."

"Of course I do." Damon walked one step ahead of Elena, as if ready to move in front of her at the first sign of danger, but they'd been walking the streets for almost half an hour now and there hadn't been trouble.

Further down the street there was a crowd of people outside an entrance to an apparently popular place. The name said it was a bar, but judging by the throbbing music that escaped the more or less open door it appeared to be more of a nightclub. The closer they got, the easier they could hear it.

"Should we check it out?" Elena asked.

Damon gave her a somewhat funny look. "And what would we do in there?"

"Someone might recognize us later and they'll be more willing to tell us about the deaths," she explained. "I know it sounds farfetched, but isn't it worth a try?"

"You make it sound like strangers aren't welcome here," he commented.

"Well? Are we going in or not?" Elena questioned.

He looked at her over his shoulder. "All right. I'm in the mood for a drink anyway."

They walked in through the door to the bar slash nightclub; Damon quickly making his way to the bar counter, Elena following him without hesitance as she looked around her. They sat down on a barstool, and Damon ordered whiskey. He took a gulp of it as he too looked at their surroundings.

"Oh, damn," he spoke suddenly, his hand stopping momentarily on the way back up to his mouth, both of his eyebrows raised.

"What?" Elena asked, looking wonderingly at him.

He sent her a smirk. "I wonder how Stefan would react if he ever saw you doing that," he said and nodded his head in direction of a more crowded area of the spacious room where people were dancing.

Elena looked at where he looked, and one of her own eyebrows lifted up when she found what he meant.

On a table, three people were dancing with each other, a young woman in the middle with one man in front of and behind her. She had one arm behind her, gripping the hair of the man behind her, while the other was hooked around the first man's neck. All three were standing extremely close to one another, eyes closed and lips sensually parted, hips grinding and bodies swaying.

"I don't think he would appreciate it," Elena finally said as she looked away from the intimate trio and back at her companion, running a hand through her long, dark brown hair.

Damon snorted scornfully. "I know he wouldn't appreciate it," he retorted. "He's too much of a prude to."

"Do you like it?" Elena questioned him with a meaningful look.

"I can't say I don't. It looks damn hot." He eyed the way the black short-sleeved sheath dress clung to every curve of the woman's body, how long her legs seemed like when her feet were adorned with the strappy rhinestone-decorated high heels, and how low her neckline was cut.

"The dancing or her?"

He turned his light blue eyes to her, one corner of his mouth quirked up. "Are you jealous?"

"No," she said flatly.

"I can't blame you if you are. That body's good. And no offense, but her hair is in an entirely different league than yours," he said, motioning with his head to the woman's enormous mass of waist-length curls.

"I'm not jealous," Elena objected.

"Or that mouth," he went on mercilessly. "Have you ever seen such red lips? It looks like she's dipped them in blood."

"It's called lipstick," Elena said scathingly. Then she saw the glimmer in his eyes and the smug expression on his face and she realized she'd fallen into his trap. She was on edge; worried about Stefan and she was worried what she really felt for the older brother. It was only natural for her to be irritable if he was flirting with someone when they had important things to do.

Although he wasn't actually flirting.

"So," she said, steering away from the uncomfortable subject. "What do we do now?"

"It was your idea to come in here," he reminded her, taking a new mouthful of whiskey. "You tell me."

"We could just like…hang around a little," she decided. "We've been here all day reading about the deaths from every newspaper possible, and I think we should either find a place to stay tonight or we go back to Mystic Falls. I mean, it's already pretty dark and it takes a couple of hours to drive."

"All right, all right," Damon interrupted. "We'll find a hotel or something. With separate beds, I promise," he added. "You stay here while I ask around a little, okay?" He downed the rest of the amber liquor before he stood up and walked off.

"All right," Elena agreed and turned to the man behind the bar counter to order a soda so she could cure her dry throat. The comment about separate beds made her a little nervous.

She regarded the people around her, but no one seemed to care she was sitting there. She didn't mind it, but the throbbing music didn't suit her taste at the moment as she felt the beginning of a headache after a while. She rubbed her temples with her fingertips in small circles in an attempt to halter the incoming onslaught.

"You okay?"

She jumped when Damon's voice appeared right next to her ear, his breath fanning her cheek. "Sort of," she answered. "I think I'm starting to get a headache." She looked up at him. "Isn't the volume bothering you?" she asked, referring to his heightened hearing.

"Not really, and if it would, I'd just focus on something else," he replied.

"Well, it's bothering me. Can we go?" she asked.

"Sure." Damon placed his hand on her arm so they wouldn't lose each other in the crowd. It gave her a sense of comfort in all the craziness going on right now.

"Did you find anything out?" she questioned when they once again were outdoors in the fresh air. Her head already felt a little better.

He shrugged. "Not much. Everybody says the same thing; the bodies were beaten and there was blood all over the place. Nobody knows any details. It's a dead end."

Elena nodded. "For someone to know the details, it would either be those who saw the bodies themselves or the police. There's no way we'll find someone who saw them without asking every single person we meet."

"Then we'll just have to go to the cops tomorrow and ask for the files instead," Damon said simply.

"What? Damon, no, we can't do that," she protested, sounding appalled.

"Of course we can," he insisted.

"The files are classified information. The public isn't allowed to know what it says unless the police tell it," she pointed out.

He turned around and gave her a smug look, his mouth curved in a smirk.

She glared at him. "No. You are not going to compel them," she said firmly.

"Why not?" he asked. "It's not like anybody's gonna get hurt. We get the information we want and they won't have to worry about a thing. We might even be the ones to get rid of the perpetrator and then we're just doing them all a favor, aren't we?" he said.

Elena took a step back as he was getting a little too close for comfort with that look on his face. "But that's cheating," she objected.

"That depends on how see it. Aren't the cops cheating in one way when they won't give out all the information they have? If everyone knew, people might know who to look out for and if there's a certain kind of people who're in danger, they'd be safer if the public had access to the files." His smirk broadened and there was a triumphant glint in his ice-blue eyes. "And we did agree that you would do whatever I said, didn't we?" he added smoothly.

"We did," she agreed in a grumble.

"Exactly. And I say we're gonna talk to the cops. You want to know if it's Stefan, right?" he said. "How can you help him if you don't know anything?"

"This is blackmail," she said through gritted teeth.

"I call it persuasion," he countered. "It's working, anyway. Tomorrow we go to the police station and see if we can sniff something out."

"And am I supposed to be with you when you do the compelling?" Elena questioned.

"I'd prefer it if you didn't 'cause things that you don't like could happen, even though I'm a well-behaved man."

She held back a snort and a slow smile spread over her face when she found a loophole. "So I'm just going to stand outside of the police station and wait for you? Who knows what could happen? I could get kidnapped again."

"Who's doing the blackmailing now, huh?" Damon retorted.

"It's called persuasion," she mimicked cheekily.

"You'll just have to stand inside of the police station instead."

"And draw attention to myself?" she asked and raised her dark eyebrows. "Wouldn't it be better if we raise as little suspicion as possible? Then I can't be inside the police station."

He thought it over for a while. "I hate to admit it, but you've got a point," he said. "That's a problem. I know I can do a lot of things better than everyone else, but not even I can be in two places at once. There's no point in bringing you with me, because it would draw unwanted attention."

"So does that mean we're going to find another way to get information?" Elena's tone was gleefully victorious.

Damon smirked at her. "We'll find another way. But that doesn't necessarily mean you'll like it," he said, and her spirits died a little.

"But we'll figure it out together," she demanded pointedly. "I want to do something about this situation as much as you do."

"I have a feeling you want to more than I do," he countered.

Elena directed her deep brown eyes to the dark sky above them. "I think we should find a place to stay for the night," she suggested again. "It's really late."

"No problem. I know exactly where to go," Damon assured her.

"Please don't tell me it doesn't have something to do with compulsion," she sighed.

"At first it didn't, but now that you mentioned it, of course I have to do it," he teased.

She rolled her eyes in reply. "Let's just go, Damon."

"Ladies first," he said with a mock bow.

"I don't know the way to wherever we're going," she deadpanned.

"You're such a spoilsport," he accused her.

She gave him an irritated look. "I'm just trying to help Stefan," she defended herself. "If it's really him. I don't have time to have too much fun. I want to save him."

"I know you do, but if you only think of the bad, it's gonna be a lot harder for you to actually save him," Damon told her.

"I know, Damon," she said quietly. "But thank you for letting me come here. With you."

"You're welcome, Elena," he responded with a softness in his voice that hadn't been there before. "I know how much it means to you."

She let her hand rest on his arm for a while as sign of gratitude, and she felt warm on the inside when he rubbed her back in return for comfort.

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