AN: Okay, after all the Stefan/Damon angst that was going on in tonight's premiere, I couldn't help but write this. My heart broke for them the entire episode and I was SO disappointed when Stefan called Elena and not Damon. If anyone hasn't been able to tell yet by my previous stories then let me say right out - I do not like Elena at all. I don't want her with either brother and I care about their relationship with each other, NOT ELENA! : )

This is mostly their thoughts throughout the episode with some dialogue and a little bit of AU. Some of you may consider it OOC, I personally do not as it is basically just me putting their actions of the past two seasons into thoughts. On that note, enjoy!


Stefan stepped toward the table and the glass of wolfs bane, dart in hand. He tried desperately to push down the disgust he felt at his actions. Clenching his eyes shut, he remembered why he was here. Why he wouldn't even think of leaving. Damon. It was all for Damon.

Klaus had saved his brother. Stefan owed him a debt. He couldn't risk Klaus going back on his end.

Stefan eyed the girl moving toward Klaus curiously. Few, if any, approached Klaus – he wasn't exactly the type of person you approached; people seemed to know this instinctively, or at least most of them did. Stefan cringed away from the memories of what happened to people who didn't know to stay away.

Klaus tilted his head toward the girl and listened intently as she whispered something in his ear. Curiosity piqued, Stefan focused in on their conversation. Only a few whispered words made the topic clear. Of course Klaus was keeping an eye on Damon.

He groaned internally. Why couldn't Damon leave it alone? He was going to get himself killed! Stefan watched as Klaus nodded and the girl hurried away. Stefan braced himself.

"My brother's still tracking us?" he asked, feigning disinterest.

Klaus appeared to be ignoring him. He stepped around Stefan, "I'll have to take care of this." He said, mostly to himself.

Stefan froze. His dead heart felt heavy in his chest, and he stopped breathing. He knew exactly how Klaus took care of things. Unwillingly, the images flashed before his eyes. Young people with their throats slit, men torn apart, children unmoving; all of them staring up at him with unblinking, dead eyes. He wouldn't let that happen to Damon, he couldn't!

"No," he said, in what he hoped was a calm tone. "Let me take care of this." Stefan heard the edge of begging in his voice. He only hoped Klaus wouldn't recognize it.

Klaus turned to him then, as if only just realizing Stefan was in the room at all. He wore a curious expression as he studied Stefan. Stefan had the distinct impression that he was being evaluated. He raised his eyes to meet Klaus'. He stood confidently; confidence he did not feel.


Damon pushed the closet door closed, hiding the articles and maps from view. He couldn't look at them anymore. He kept waiting for something to jump out at him, something to put him one step ahead of Klaus, something that could help him save his little brother..

Two months of this and he'd yet to find that magical answer. He was beginning to wonder if he would.

He rested his head against the door and sighed. "Damn it, Stefan," he breathed out. "Why are you always cleaning up my messes?"

Stefan was gone because of him. He'd left with Klaus in exchange for the cure to save him. He couldn't live with that. His guilt ridden, kind, sweet, pathetic excuse for a vampire brother, sacrificed himself.

Damon slammed his fist against the door before pushing away from it angrily. Elena's accusations that he didn't care and that he had stopped searching had left him riled up. She didn't know anything! Elena may care deeply for his brother, and God knew Stefan loved her, but she didn't know Stefan like he did. She hadn't been with him as long as he had, or loved him as deeply as Damon did. And he did love him.

Damon's relationship with his brother had never been easy and it probably never would be. Nobody understood it except them. It was understood, though never recognized, that in spite of everything they'd done and been through that they'd still be there. They always had been. It was the reason Damon couldn't fault his brother's actions; he knew he'd have done the same.

Damon and Stefan may profess to hate each other, and while a lot of the times it was true, they still loved each other. It was why Damon would never stop searching for his brother. Why he would never stop trying to save him.


Stefan stood silently in the shadows of the studio, his arms wrapped tightly around himself. Already, he could feel the guilt, the regret, and the horror building in his chest. How could he do this to Damon? He knew the answer of course; to save Damon, he would have to hurt him, deeply.

But would they ever come back from it?

Eventually, however many years from now, Klaus would release Stefan from his debt. And when that day came he wanted to know Damon would still be there. That he'd forgive him and they'd be able to go back, or maybe even finally move on completely. Stefan just hoped they'd be able to come back from this.


"Stefan," Damon said casually.

Stefan stepped closer into the light. He looked exactly the same; somehow, Damon has expected, or maybe even hoped, that he would look different. Maybe then Damon would be able to separate the ripper from his baby brother.

"Hello, brother."

A look passed between the two. One of recognition from the first night Damon had shown up in Mystic Falls, prepared to hurt Stefan. The irony of the role reversal was not lost on either of them.

"You need to let me go, Damon." Stefan said coldly.

Anyone else wouldn't have noticed the slight flinch or Damon's rigid posture at the words, but Stefan was hardly anyone. He noticed and it took everything in him not to take the words back. Of course he didn't want his brother to let him go!

Damon felt the words like a physical blow. He would never let Stefan go. He'd been looking out for his brother and protecting him from the time he was born. He wasn't about to abandon him now, especially when it was his fault he was in this position.

"I can't do that," he said softly. There was a short pause where neither brother said anything, but the room was charged with emotion. The moment was brief before Damon covered it up, "You see I have a birthday girl at home he won't let me." He continued flippantly.

There was no change in Stefan's posture or expression. The mention of Elena appeared not to faze him in the slightest. Curious, Damon thought.

Of course Damon would try to reach him through Elena. What Damon didn't understand was that his need to protect him was stronger than his desire to be with Elena. Damon came first. He hadn't in many years, a fact Stefan would always regret, but he did now. And that meant, Damon had to stop looking for him.


Stefan held Damon against the wall as Andy fell from the upper platform. He saw up close the horror and shock on Damon's face and made him physically ill. He wanted to wrap his arms around Damon and beg him to forgive him, or better yet go back and never do it, but he couldn't.

Damon pulled his eyes away from Andy's still body to meet Stefan's eyes. He was prepared to meet with the cold eyes of a killer but what he saw instead had him stilling his attempts to break free. Stefan looked pained. His eyes had always been a way to read him and right now they were shining with regret and fear.

The moment passed and Stefan's eyes turned hard. Damon was left with the impression that Stefan was attempting to cover something up but it was too late. Damon had already seen everything he needed to.

"Let me go," Stefan said weakly, the fight was out of him. He needed Damon not to fight him right now. If he did, Stefan knew he would curl up and cry in his big brother's arms, and he couldn't do that.

It was Stefan's turn to read something in Damon's eyes. They were set in determination and Stefan was reminded of the stubbornness Damon had been displaying since he was only a boy rejecting their father's beliefs. Never, his eyes seemed to say.

Damon held Stefan's gaze for another minute before tearing them away. He broke free of Stefan's now nonexistent grip and sped to Andy's body. Stefan took it for what it was, a way out.

With one last sorrowful look of regret at his brother, who had his back to him, he sped away. Damon felt the loss of his brother's presence and he closed his eyes against the sudden wave of pain and loss.


Stefan dragged his hands through his hair in frustration. He'd gotten away from Klaus as soon as possible and escaped into the cool night air. He needed to be alone. He needed to think.

Andy's death and Damon pain weighed heavily on his chest, tearing him apart slowly. The only thing that brought him any sort of relief was the knowledge that it would save Damon. Damon wouldn't be looking for him anymore, not for a long time anyway... he hoped.

Stefan dropped his hands from his hair and they fell to his side limply, his hand grazed across his jean clad thigh and his cell phone. Without thought, he pulled it out and flipped it open and immediately went to his contact list.

It was a new phone and only two contacts were saved. Klaus, he thought bitterly, and Damon. He clicked Damon's name and quickly tapped out his message on the keys. He read it over while his thumb hovered over the send button.

It would defeat the purpose. Damon was supposed to think he didn't care. This would prove the exact opposite. Stefan hit a button and quickly flipped the phone closed.


Damon tore through Stefan's room in a fit of rage. He had been so close to Stefan. He's had his hand wrapped around his arm and still he had failed to save his brother. In his anger, he had yelled at Elena, demanding the very thing Stefan had demanded of him and the thing he had refused, that she let him go.

He needed Elena away from this. He had to be the one to find Stefan, the one to save him. Elena would only slow his progress. And probably get herself killed in the process. He wouldn't allow her involvement to risk Stefan's life.

Damon's phone buzzed in his pocket and halted his further destruction of Stefan's room. He reached for it blindly and retrieved the text message indicated on the screen. He nearly dropped the phone.

I'm so sorry. Please, let me go. –S


Stefan's phone lit up with an incoming call. He stared at it intently in his hand. Damon's name flashed across the screen. Stefan's throat tightened and without thinking he moved the phone to his ear.

Silence on both ends except for a slight static and low breathing heard on either end. Stefan didn't dare greet his brother and Damon seemed equally reluctant to do the same. For several minutes they listened to the other's unnecessary breathing in silence.

"I'm not letting you go, little brother. I can't." Damon said gently, breaking the silence.

A single tear slipped down Stefan's cheek and he choked back a sob building in his throat. He didn't try to cover it up, he knew Damon had heard it.

"You're going to be okay. You found a way when there was no way," Damon echoed Stefan's words and actions from when he'd been bit by Tyler. "Well, I'm going to do the same. I will do this." Again, echoing Stefan's sentiments from months before.

Stefan nodded shakily, another sob escaping his throat. He knew Damon couldn't see him but somehow he knew Damon got the message. Stefan couldn't speak, both for fear that Klaus would hear him and that he would break down completely, neither of which he could afford right now. Damon seemed to understand that as well.

They lapsed into silence again that only ended when Stefan sighed, and disconnected the call. Back in Mystic Falls Damon pulled the phone away from his ear slowly. He recognized the sigh as Stefan's only was of ending the call.

He sighed as well and looked around Stefan's room at the damage he had done. It occurred to Damon that he should probably clean it before Stefan came home. And he would come home. Damon wasn't about to spend eternity without him.

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