Disclaimer: Own nothing.

Dead, Again.

He struggled to open his eyes. His head was pounding the way it always did when he was brought back to life and his neck was throbbing sharpy, an unpleasant reminder of how exactly he'd been killed. It wasn't the first time he'd had his neck snapped – it seemed to be the method of choice for angry, homocidal vampires. It was however the first time he'd felt like this.

He was kicking himself more than anything. Kicking himself for thinking that maybe, just maybe there was any sort of redeemable quality left in Damon Salvatore. That the vampire had emotions.

He squinted as he forced himself to take in his surroundings... the boarding house. Great.

"Took a bit longer than usual huh?" The blurry form of the older Salvatore joked in front of him. "Might want to get that ring checked, hope it's not going bad." For a second he wished it was. He wished he had truly died and wondered if it would make any difference to Damon whatsoever. Would he care if he'd truly killed him?

No. He didn't believe he would.

"You killed me." He ground out, glaring at the vampire's nonchalant behaviour.

"You pissed me off."

Alaric glared incredulously. "You killed me!" He yelled, wishing he wasn't as hurt as he sounded. Why did he care so much? It was just another time he got screwed over by another vampire. Happened all the time right? In fact, he couldn't seem to care about anyone who wasn't dead.

"Ric, no hard feelings alright?" Damon seemingly tried to placate him, his unconcerned tone doing exactly the opposite. "I was on a bit of a tear, everyone was telling me how to behave."

Alaric snorted. "Well maybe they finally realised you're just a dick." He couldn't help it. He had a right to be angry, he tried to tell himself as he stormed out of the house. It wasn't as if he was acting like an angsty teenage girl or something right? He had every right to shove Damon's debilitating vampirism in his face – his inability to give a shit about anyone.

He was still telling himself this six drinks later at The Mystic Grill. His usual cure of bourbon and brooding hadn't helped him out in the least. He was still angry. Angry at Damon for killing him, angry at himself for caring at all – angry at his pathetic life for continuing to throw him these curveballs.

Fuming in his usual seat, he signalled the bartender for another before letting out a heavy sigh, elbows on the bar, resting his head in his hands.

"Come on, Ric. Don't be such a little girl." How was it that he could always, always hit the nail on the head. And what the hell was he doing here anyway? Couldn't he just leave him to drown his sorrows in peace?

"Fuck off, Damon." He didn't bother to move his gaze from the glossy surface of the bar. He didn't need to see that self-satisfied smirk that was a trademark in itself. There wasn't going to be any sort of apology and Alaric didn't have it in him to forgive and forget. Not this time. Enough was enough. Enough of these vampires that thought they could do whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted. There was a reason he was a vampire hunter in the first place.

"Ric!" Damon growled, seemingly frustrated and Alaric finally moved his eyes upward.

"No Damon," he spat. "You don't get to be frustrated, or angry." He watched as one eyebrow raised sardonically in true Damon fashion.

"You're seriously going to sit here and angst over the fact that I killed you? I knew you wouldn't die, what's the problem?" The usual snark would have made him smirk on a normal day but not today, today had just been too much.

"We were supposed to be friends Damon. I trusted you. And you killed me. I was the only friend you had in this town – you don't kill friends Damon!" He began to attract attention, his voice reverbating in his throat with emotion, coming out louder than he intended.

"Oh please," the brunette scoffed, "don't act like you wouldn't kill me if it suited you Alaric. Don't think I've forgotten your occupation." He hissed. He was glaring back darkly now and the vampire hunter had no doubt that his hands were twitching under the bar with the strain of holding himself back from snapping his neck yet again.

"That's the difference between me and you." He spat, standing up and throwing a fifty on the bar. "I actually give a shit what happens to you." The words left his mouth before he had a chance to think and he faltered as he felt heat rise to his face. Stubbornly, he turned on his heel and made a hasty retreat from the bar.

He didn't get far before he was shoved from behind and he stumbled down the gutter and onto the street.

"Don't act like you care." Damon hissed, shoving the history teacher a second time as he turned to face him.

Sick of being pushed and finally at his limit Alaric swung his arm out, catching Damon across the face and causing him to stumble back a few steps.

"Don't act like you don't!" He yelled. "You always like to pretend you don't care about anything or anyone. But yet, you still can't let your brother die. You'd go up against Klaus to save him so obviously you care about him! And what about Elena? Sweet, kind Elena, you'd never lay a finger on her. Because you care about her." The hunter felt drained as he ranted at the vampire, waving his hands in the air, heart beating erratically. "The only one you don't care about, it seems, is me. And I was stupid to expect it." He spat before turning to walk away, for good this time.

With a second and a blur there was someone in front of him, blocking his way again and he groaned. Why couldn't he just leave him be.

"Are you seriously telling me you're angry with me because I care about Elena?" The vampire asked quietly, looking puzzled.

Alaric groaned in exasperation. "No Damon, I'm not. I'm not angry with you at all." He spoke through grit teeth, closing his eyes. "I'm dissapointed that you don't care about me." He ground out, shoving passed the vampire with his shoulder, feeling humiliated.

"You don't know anything Alaric." He heard quietly from behind him. "You have no idea."

The hunter allowed his steps to falter for a second but forced himself to keep moving. He couldn't do this again, not with another vampire.