Sorry once again. I know lots of people want me to update this story more often and I am—I have the next chapter already planned and I promise I'll be updating this one sooner. I saw the 1912 episode so I'm ready. It was awesome!

I will be updating Safe until Then next then Haven in Your Arms next.

Enjoy this update and review : )

Chapter 7—Back from the War

Damon smiled as he saw his home again. It had been over 6 months since he had been here. He couldn't wait to see his brother again. And Katherine. God he had missed her! He had missed holding her, kissing her, making love to her, he couldn't wait to have her in his arms again.

Making his way to the gardens, he took a moment to sit down on one of the statues to just enjoy being home again. He knew his father would be furious with him for leaving the confederacy without being dismissed, but if he was honest with himself, he couldn't care less. His father no longer had a hold over his life, not anymore. He couldn't stand to be in that atmosphere anymore—being humiliated by being whipped made him decide this was a huge mistake. He never should have taken his father's advice about joining the Confederacy. Who was he kidding—he had been forced into it. That's why he didn't feel any guilt about just leaving. He had nothing and no one there for him.

Just then, he heard the sound of giggling. He would recognize that beautiful sound anywhere. Katherine was running through the maze of hedges followed by Stefan who was chasing her. They didn't see him at first.

Katherine stopped at a statue, smiling and giggling at Stefan. "I win, what's my prize?"

"What would you like it to be?" Damon smirked himself. The two of them turned to look at him.

"They extended your leave?" Stefan asked, surprised at Damon's presence.

"I was simply having too much fun to return to battle," Damon lied through his smile. No, he simply didn't want to be tortured again. That's why he left. He couldn't stand to be in the war any longer.

Stefan just laughed. "Your dedication to the confederacy is inspiring." Embracing his brother, Damon felt more at peace in that moment than he ever had in his life. He couldn't deny that he had missed his brother like crazy!

"Well this works out perfectly for me." The brothers turned to Katherine, who was smirking.

"Why is that Miss Katherine?" he flirted with his eyes.

"Now I'll have both of you here to keep me entertained. First I need someone to escort me to the Founder's Ball." She turned away from them, hands behind her back.

"With pleasure." "I'd be honored." Two responses, both brothers were bowing to her. Damon looked up at his younger brother. Why in the world was he offering? He knew Katherine was his right?

"Both brothers coming to my rescue. How will I ever choose?" she smirked at both of them before skipping her way back to the mansion.

..

That night, Damon snuck out of his room to visit Katherine in hers. He had waited 6 whole months to be with her and he didn't want to wait any longer.

Boy, his father had really let him have it when he came into their mansion. He had never had his father shout at him as much as he had earlier, but Damon tuned it out. He had many years of experience and nothing he could say would change his father's mind about neither him nor the way they felt about each other.

Knocking softly, he was about to reach for the doorknob when he heard shuffling from inside. Then he heard moaning—female moaning.

"Ohhhh Stefan…God, do that again!...feels so good…"

He stopped dead in his tracks. Katherine was in bed with….his brother? Shock ran through his blood like a cold river.

He didn't even feel himself step back and leave. The only sound he heard was his own heart breaking into a million pieces….

Why would Katherine do this to him? And with his brother, whom he adored? Why? Was he not enough for her?

.

Over the next few days, Damon had gone from anger to denial. He was sure Katherine didn't mean anything to his brother. She just needed someone there during her lonely nights waiting for him to come home. Being with his brother probably meant nothing to her. God he hoped so!

At least that's what he kept telling himself. She wouldn't deny his love for her, would she?

It was the night of the Founder's Ball. Katherine hadn't asked him to escort her like he expected—she had asked his brother. He watched as they twirled around the ballroom, making his heart sink even lower. He had waited for months to be with her and here she was spending all her time with his brother. It wasn't fair! Seeing her in another man's arms was driving him crazy!

Later, he could at least pretend that he wasn't affected by Katherine and his brother and proposed a toast. By now everyone in town knew of his actions and "disgrace" from his abandonment, thanks to his father telling it to everyone.

"Everyone will you please join me in raising our glasses to my dear friend, George Lockwood" Hmph, friend my ass. We've always hated each other's guts—"George, thank you for so bravely defending the south." He lifted his own glass as George gave him a smug smile.

"My pleasure Mr. Salvatore. After all, someone had to do it." There was a jab at Damon in that remark, but he smiled despite his hatred of the Lockwoods.

A few moments later he was surprised when he saw Katherine saunter towards him. Without warning she kissed him right on the lips. When she pulled back, Damon couldn't stop the grin from coming onto his face.

"I thought you needed a proper greeting since your return," she smirked at him.

"That was a very nice welcome, Miss Katherine," he smiled back.

"Hmmmmm…so how about you meet me in my room later on tonight? I'll give you a nice, proper welcoming. What do you say? Around midnight?" Her doe eyes sparkled with mischief.

Feeling his pants growing with his arousal, he smirked back. "I'll be there waiting for you."

.

He had snuck into Katherine's bedroom unseen. He would wait to have his night with her, one that he had been longing for since his days in the army. All he wanted to feel was her love for him and thankfulness that he was home safe and unharmed. Well, almost unharmed save for the bullet wound he still had.. He waited patiently on one of the armchairs in her darkened room.

He heard voices as they made their way up the stairs. He knew his brother too well—he had escorted Katherine to her room.

He heard every word that was spoken. How his brother thought she was a precious angel, how delicate she was, how much he loved her. No way Stefan-she was a powerful vampire goddess who needed a vampire mate and god to rule beside her. If he convinced her to turn him, then they could be together forever. There would be no stopping them…

He watched the door open and Katherine walk in, looking a little dazed. Sneaking up behind her he twisted her around and pushed her against the door, brushing his lips against hers. Surprisingly she pushed him back.

"What are you doing here?" she asked, sounding irritated. He was surprised. She was the one that invited him up here earlier now she was denying him?

"I told you I would come."

"Well I'm tired. You should go," she turned facing him, showing no expression. How strange, she wasn't even happy to see him.

"Did my little brother's confession overwhelm you?" he kissed her hand, trying to assure her that her man was here and not his idiot younger brother.

She ripped her hand away. "You shouldn't eavesdrop."

She was giving him the cold shoulder. She sounded happy to be able to spend time with him earlier, why was she rejecting him now?

"Is my love not enough?" he asked, a little hurt. Would he be enough for her? Would his love ever be enough for anyone?

That was his last thought before he felt himself being pulled toward the door, saying goodnight to his love then leaving. But the nagging feeling in his heart continued. And he had a feeling of dread that came over his mind. This was just the beginning of drama to come…

Elena felt herself be ripped back to the present. She was laying down sweating on the bed in her little temporary room. Ashley sat in a chair beside her, almost equally exhausted, waving a hand in front of her face. These memories were taking a lot out of both of them.

"That's enough for another day. Tomorrow we get to the big memories—Damon turning into a vampire and the brother's hatred continues. That in itself will take a long time. How about some rest now okay?" Ashley suggested before heading out of the room.

Elena could only nod before sleep overtook her. The images of Damon's hurt face haunted her as she drifted off into an uneasy sleep.

…..

Ashley heard the cellphone going off on the counter. She knew who it would be.

"Hello?" she answered sweetly.

"Who the hell is this?" a gruff male voice asked.

"Damon love, how are you feeling today? Not eating out all the women in town are you? And yes, the pun is intended for both ways."

"What the—who the hell is this? Where is Elena? If you've harmed her, I swear to God-"

"Easy there tiger, Elena's just fine. I'm going to be keeping her for the next few days. But not to worry, I'm taking good care of her. You just stay right there in the boarding house drinking yourself into a stupor like you usually do, alright?" Ashley smirked into the phone.

"I don't know who the hell you are, but you'd better explain to me why you have Elena with you!" She knew he was pissed at this point. Ah well, no point in denying it now.

"I'm explaining to her why you are the way you are. Why you can go from hot to cold in less than 5 seconds, why you drink all the time, why you're damaged, etc. The whole works. Just sit tight and within the next few days, Elena will be all yours," Ashley smiled when she heard his sharp intake of breath before she hung up.

That was Ashley's main goal. If she explained to Elena what Damon has been put through all his life, maybe she herself would change her mind about him and maybe make Damon her top priority—she would ultimately choose Damon as the one she wants to be with for the rest of her existence.

After all, Damon deserved happiness after almost 176 years of despair and loneliness.