It is inevitable that Delena will happen and I just wondered what will happen to Stefan and Damon after that happens?

Contains a little bit of swearing.

I do not own The Vampire diaries, it belongs to L.J Smith and the CW.

Stefan and Damon sat in the living room of their house, on opposite sides of the room.

It was yesterday that Damon and Elena had told Stefan they were in love and that they wanted to be together. Stefan had taken the news stoically, he nodded once and said nothing. Damon knew his brother better than anyone, he could see his pain, and he hated himself for it, but he loved Elena. He could not bring himself to stay away from her, not even for Stefan.

Elena was not with them, she was at her home, she had told Damon that she wanted to give the brothers some time alone.

So here they were. Sitting opposite each other, not speaking, not even really looking at each other.

"Are you going to promise me an eternity of misery? Hate me forever?" Damon's words were spoken lightly, sarcastically even, but the questions were serious.

Stefan let out a long sigh. He turned his eyes to Damon for the first time. "No, you're my brother. No matter how much I try, I could never hate you." He admitted with slight reluctance.

Damon was relieved, until Stefan continued.

"But I can't forgive you. Not yet at least, you know I will one day. Give me a year, or two, or …five."

Damon nodded once.

He won't hate you forever, but lets be honest, you've lost him. It's all your own fault.

Stefan rose to his feet. "Well, I'm going to go and pack my things."

"What?" Damon stood too and glared at his brother.

"You didn't expect me to stay here did you? I said I'll forgive you and I don't hate you but , despite what you seem to believe, I'm not a saint. I can't stay here and watch you two together."

"So you don't hate me, you'll just never see me again?" Damon tried to keep the anguish out of his voice, he was not going to let Stefan see that he was hurting him.

"I didn't say that. I always come back here, I'm not going to disappear forever." Stefan tried to reassure him.

"You better not." Damon warned, his voice not betraying an ounce of sadness.

Thirty minutes later Stefan was ready to leave.

Damon stood at the door, extremely tempted to block it and refuse to let Stefan leave.

He did not. He let Stefan pass him and walk away.

"Wait!" He yelled after a few seconds. He used is supernatural speed to reach Stefan. "Not even going to give me a goodbye hug?"

Stefan turned and gave the smallest of smiles. Damon pulled him into a hug, Stefan pulled away after a second and smiled politely before running away at vampire speed.

Damon pretended not to feel the lump in his throat.

Three years later

Damon Salvatore was flipping his phone casually in his hand, staring at it sombrely.

"Just call him." Elena's voice came from behind him.

He turned to face his fiancée, she was grinning at him softly. He smirked back, she could read him like a book.

He carried on flipping the phone. It had been three years since Stefan had gone, although he had made clear that he was not planning on returning home in the near future, Damon had not been able to repress that part of him that had hoped Stefan would be home after a few months. The stupid part of him.

He and Elena were getting married and he wanted his little brother to be there. He knew it was unlikely, if Stefan had not come home yet, he was not going to be ready to go to he and Elena's wedding.

The stupid part of him spoke up again, the wedding date hasn't even been set yet, it won't be for months. Maybe by then he'll want to come.

The smarter, meaner part of Damon spoke up. Ha! He's never going to come home. He was lying, he doesn't want to be here, not with you or with her. He's better off without the brother and girlfriend who both betrayed him, anyway.

Shut up! He ordered.

He picked up his phone and dialled the number. It should not be too hard to talk to Stefan, it was not as though they had not spoken at all in the past three years. They had, just not…often and always over the phone, never in person.

He called every two months and every six Stefan answered.

He waited while the phone rang and rang and rang.

No answer. He groaned in frustration and rang again.

Ring! Ring! Ring! Ring!

He called his little brother two more times before he got an answer.

"Hello?" A raspy voice sounded from the other end of the line.

"Stefan? Are you okay?" He was pleased that he did not sound overly concerned.

"Y-" Stefan had been about to reply that he was fine, when a coughing fit came over him.

Damon winced at the noise of the violent coughs. "Do not tell me that you are fine."

"It's just a cough."

"Vampires do not get coughs. What's wrong?" He knew his last question was futile, Stefan was never going to admit that he was ill or hurt.

"Nothing is wrong." Saint Stefan did not disappoint.

"Where are you?" He demanded.


"If you're so fine, you won't mind if I come and make sure for myself. Where are you?"

"Goodbye Damon."

The line went dead.

He rang again, and again and again. No-one picked up.

Bonnie sat in the living room of the Salvatore boarding house with Damon and Elena, who were holding hands.

"Will this work?" Damon asked, although it had been his idea.

"It should." Bonnie responded. "Do you have any of his DNA?"

"Yes, of course, I keep his toenails in a jar!" He stated, his words smothered with sarcasm.

"Do you have any of his blood or…hair! He has a hairbrush, doesn't he?"

Damon was out of the room and back again in the blink of an eye. In his white hand he held a wooden hairbrush with a few strands of Stefan's light brown hair entwined in the bristles.

Bonnie smiled.

The spell did not take long to do, it was fairly simple. She used Stefan's hair, a few drops of Damon's blood and chanted.

After less than a minute she opened her large eyes and fixed them onto Damon's face ,which was full of anticipation.

"He's here."

Before she could continue Damon interrupted. "He's here in town?"

"No. He's in Virginia. Not far from here, he's in an apartment, he does not look good."

Ten minutes later Damon was in his car ready to go. Stefan was only three towns away from them. He had a map he would find his way there easily enough.

Elena had wanted to come, it would have been nice to have her there with him, but it would be better if he turned up on Stefan's doorstep alone.

Forty minutes later Damon stood outside his little brother's front door.

It was a decent building he considered, the apartments seemed fairly small but modern and well equipped.

He rapped his knuckles against the white wooden door and waited, tapping his foot impatiently.

Five seconds later he knocked again.

After another five seconds he rolled his eyes in exasperation, he glanced around briefly, there were no witnesses. He rammed his shoulder against the door, it gave easily and burst open.

"Stefan?" He called.

He had been correct about the apartments. Stefan's was not large, but spacious enough, with a modern kitchen and a pleasant view.

"Stefan!" He was getting frustrated now. He was still Stefan's older brother, the least the kid could do was let him know he was not dead. Or permanently dead at least.

"Damon?" He heard the weak call from one of the doors in the apartment, it opened and out walked Stefan.

Damon's eyes widened in shock as he saw his little brother, when Bonnie had said he did not look good, she was being kind. He looked dreadful, as though he might drop dead at any second.

His skin was a pasty white, his eyes were glassy and bloodshot, he was trembling and he could barely support his own weight as he stumbled towards Damon.

He raced towards his brother and gripped his arms tightly to prevent him from falling to the hard laminate floor in a heap.

"What the hell is wrong with you? How long have you been like this?"

Stefan made an attempt to reply but broke into wet sickening coughs. Through his chapped mouth poured a thick fluid, it's colour was a pale yellow tinted with crimson. It dripped down onto Stefan's grey t-shirt and he moaned.

He did not fight as Damon dragged him back towards the brown leather sofa and sat him down. He did not waste any time in grabbing a bucket and shoving it under Stefan's mouth. Stefan was still heaving the vile liquid from his mouth.

Stefan's trembling intensified until he was shaking uncontrollably.

Damon made a quick decision. He moved into what he assumed to be Stefan's bedroom, the bed sheets were all over the place, clothes were crumpled on the floor and the curtains were drawn.

He gazed around the room once before deciding that there was nothing in here Stefan would need.

As he returned to the living room he saw that Stefan had ceased spewing disgusting substances. He slipped his arm around Stefan's slim waist and eased him up from the couch.

He's lost weight.

"W…What …you doing?" Stefan's voice was feeble.

"You're coming home." Damon said simply.


"I love how you seem to think you're getting a choice. You're obviously ill, you can't stay here by yourself." Damon's tone did not invite argument.

"I'm..n…" Stefan stopped talking suddenly and Damon had a suspicious feeling that Stefan had not trailed off due to exhaustion.

Damon did not realise until they were at the car that Stefan had actually been struggling.

As he opened the passenger door one handed, Stefan tried to slip out of his grip, Damon turned on him with a growl and pushed him roughly into the car.

He was beyond frustrated at this point, he was just angry. Did Stefan have to be so difficult, all the time? Damon was not the one being unreasonable. Stefan was sick, very sick, he could not stay all alone in that apartment and take care of himself.

As they drove away Stefan slipped into sleep, Damon was glad. He was not in the mood to deal with an argumentative Stefan, who would without doubt try to talk Damon into driving him back.

Damon had to carry Stefan out of the car, Elena was highly surprised when she opened the door. Her surprise turned to horror as she saw how unwell Stefan was.

"Oh my god! Damon, is he okay?"

"I don't know, I couldn't get much out of him."

He laid Stefan down in his old bed, under heavy blankets to keep him warm. Elena made sure they were covering him right up to his neck.

"Are you alright?" Elena asked taking Damon's hand as soon as they left the room.

"I think Stefan's the one we need to worry about." He deflected her question.

It did not work. She raised an eyebrow at him and waited.

"No. I'm not really fine. He is in a bad way and even now he doesn't want to be around me."

"He still cares."

"Does he?" Damon challenged. "He has not done much to show it."

"We hurt him Damon. He told you he still loves you, he just couldn't stay here. If he didn't care he would never answer your calls and he'd have moved as far from here as he could possibly get."

Damon had to agree grudgingly. He kissed Elena on her soft lips and walked back into his little brother's room, flopping down into the chair under the window.

A few hours later Stefan opened his eyes, they felt dry, as though someone had thrown sand in them.

He groaned, his head was pounding, his stomach had twisted itself into an unbearable knot and his throat was swollen.

He turned his sore eyes to the clock on his bedside table, it was still exactly where he had left it.

"Crap." He uttered as he saw the time, it was the middle of the afternoon. He had to go, or at least get to a phone.

Every cell of his body cried out in pain as he dragged himself from the bed. The sane part of his brain advised that he just crawl back under the covers and wait for this bout of sickness to pass, as it had every other time.

He staggered out of his room slowly, he had to hold the banister tight enough that his knuckles turned white to support himself. It took him longer than he thought physically possible to get down the staircase.

He wished fervently that he had thought to bring his cell phone with him, it would have saved him a hell of a lot of trouble.

He had a sheen of cold sweat coating his body by the time he reached the living room.

Alaric looked up at him in surprise as he walked past him.

"Sorry Stefan, strict orders from Damon not to let you out of bed."

"I need to use…the phone."

"It'll have to wait." the history teacher sounded as though he were speaking to a child.

Stefan mustered up the energy to raise his eyebrows. "Alaric, I'm older than you. I can do what I want."

"Actually you've been alive longer than me, but you're only seventeen." Rick corrected with a small smile.

Stefan gave what was supposed to be a grin in return, but it wobbled and became a weird grimace.

"I'm not kidding Stefan, you look like you're about to collapse. You need to rest. Don't make me call Damon, he's busy at a council meeting but he'll come back."

"If you let me have five minutes…. on the phone I promise ….I will go back to bed ….and stay there." Stefan bartered.

Alaric rolled his eyes. "Fine. Five minutes." He emphasised, grabbing the phone and lightly placing it in Stefan's trembling hand.

Alaric watched as Stefan dialled a number and waited. He did not wait for long, the person on the other side must have ripped the phone from it's stand the second it rang.

Alaric listened intently but all he heard was somebody shouting at Stefan.

"I'm okay…. I'm just as I was when you last saw me…Yeah, I know. Look on the bright side I'm no worse….Damon came….I'm back in Mystic falls….I guess I shouldn't have been surprised…I'll be back in a few days, as soon as I escape from Damon and the many questions I'm sure he has….."Stefan chuckled. "I know….I'll get away somehow…." Whatever the other person said caused a blush to creep up Stefan's chalky cheeks. "You too. Bye."

He began to walk back to the phone's stand. Alaric pulled the phone from his grasp and pointed at the stairs.

"Bed. Before Damon gets home and has an aneurysm. Do you need any help?"

Although Stefan probably should have taken Alaric up on this offer, he shook his head. He had too much pride to admit that he needed help climbing stairs.

Damon arrived home at 5:00 PM. Elena was at Caroline's doing….whatever it was she, Bonnie and Caroline did when they got together. He suspected that the impromptu sleepover had more to with her wanting to leave he and Stefan alone than with her and her friends needing to catch up.

Alaric was seated on his couch with his feet up on the table watching a soap opera on the TV.

Damon smirked. "Nice! Girly hospital soap."

Rick was flustered and babbled. "I… It was…I was just flicking through the channels."

"Sure, Rick. Just like last week you were only picking up the sex and the city box set from the floor in the store."

Rick blushed.

"Has Stefan made any escape attempts yet?" He asked, sobering up.

"No." Alaric answered promptly, but there was something off in his tone.

Damon narrowed his eyes at his friend. "What happened?"

"It wasn't a big deal, he just wanted to use the phone."

"And you let him?"

"What was I supposed to do? Wrestle him down and drag him back to his bedroom? You've known him for 166 years, surely you know he's stubborn. It is impossible to force him not to do something."

Damon nodded in agreement. "Who did he call?"

"No idea, I didn't ask. I didn't think he'd tell me. Whoever it was though, they knew each other well, well enough that they knew he was sick. They knew about you and Mystic falls."

Damon acknowledged this with a grunt and disappeared upstairs.

Alaric sighed, vampires had a habit of doing that.

As always Damon walked straight into Stefan's room, there was no point in knocking. Even if Stefan told him not to come in he would anyway.

Stefan was lying in the bed, which Damon was happy to see, at least he was not exercising or….brooding.

He was no better than he had been that morning. His hair was plastered to his head with sweat, he was white as a ghost and there was pain in his bloodshot eyes.

Damon recognised the expression on his face, he grabbed the empty bin and held it out as Stefan vomited the abominable mucus into it. His eyes watered and he clutched his throat, his hands were glaringly thin.

Once he had finished, Damon set the bin down next to the bed within easy reach.

"When was the last time you fed?" He inquired, his tone already containing annoyance.

"A week or so." He managed to sit up, although it was obvious that it took an embarrassing amount of effort to do so.

Damon fought the urge to slap Stefan, no wonder he was so unhealthy.

"Why?" His tone was deadly.

"My throat, it's….it hurts too much to swallow anything." Stefan admitted miserably.

He reminded Damon strongly of the little boy who used to crawl into Damon's bed with him when he was not feeling well, for comfort.

Damon sat down next to Stefan on the bed.

"Let me see."

Stefan rolled his eyes but did not have the strength to argue, he opened his mouth and let Damon peer in.

"Jesus!" Damon cursed, Stefan's throat was much redder than it should have been and greatly swollen.

"Is this the first time this has happened?"

Stefan shook his head.

"How often?" Damon demanded. It irritated him that now Stefan did not live with him he actually had to ask him these things, rather than just knowing.

"It's happened to me…seven times before." It was clear that Stefan was not happy about sharing this information, he was certain that Damon would have an opinion about it.

"And you never bothered to tell me?"

"Don't be petty, Damon."

"I am not being petty. You are being hard-headed. You might be mad at me, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't tell me stuff." Damon lectured. When he spoke again his voice was softer. "Do you know what causes it?"

"I think it's an after affect from when…Klaus used to …bite me….he used to give me his blood. Sometimes under a full moon, I get sick."

"It's daylight though."

"It doesn't work like that." Stefan spoke wistfully.

"Is it always this bad."

"Yes." Stefan lied. He did not want Damon to think that he could not handle this.

Damon raised his eyebrows. "You're lying! Tell me the truth."

"It's never been this bad. I don't normally vomit as…much…..My head….doesn't normally pound this much….and my throat…has never been so painful."

"How long does this last?"

"A few days."

"How long has this lasted?"

"A week….and a half."

Damon reached out and, as gently as he could, pushed Stefan back down. "Lie down, rest, sleep if you can."

"Damon, I have to go. I can't stay here."

"Can't or don't want to?"

Stefan made no reply.

"Either way, you're staying."

Stefan opened his mouth to disagree, but his eyes were so tired, they would not stay open, he would rest them….just for a second…..

Damon was sitting next to Stefan on his bed when he woke up.

"Ugh!…What time…is it?"

"9:36 PM. How are you feeling?"

"Crappy." Stefan slurred miserably.

"Sorry, little brother."

Stefan knew without a doubt that this was not good.

Damon grabbed Stefan in a tight, but not painful, hold and pulled him sideways so that his head was pillowed on his lap.

"Get the fuck off me!" Stefan hissed furiously, as he tried to budge away from Damon.

Damon ignored him and began to unscrew a bottle of animal blood.

He held it to Stefan's lips. "Drink!" He ordered.

Stefan glowered at him hostilely and clamped his lips together tightly.

Damon felt a flood of guilt that he pushed aside as he held Stefan's nose, cutting off his air supply. His baby brother held out for long enough that Damon wondered if he was going to lose consciousness.

After what felt like forever to both brother's Stefan lost his battle and opened his mouth to gasp in a breath desperately.

Damon used this opportunity and started to force the blood down Stefan's inflamed throat.

Stefan was in agony, his throat was burning, he felt as though he'd been trampled by an elephant and he thought his head might explode.

He was killing Damon when this was over.

Damon managed to force feed his brother the whole bottle of blood with an impressively low drip rate.

Once all the blood was gone and he was satisfied that Stefan had drank enough he put the bottle aside and pulled the covers over Stefan again, keeping his head pillowed on Damon's knees.

"You bastard!" Stefan groaned rolling away from Damon, not wanting his brother's comfort.

"It was for your own good. If you would take care of yourself then I wouldn't have to do it for you."

Ha! Please, you know you would be an over-protective idiot no matter how well he looked after himself!

Shut up! He told the voice for the second time in a day.

The next morning the loud ring of a doorbell woke Damon Salvatore from a peaceful and much needed sleep. He groaned and clambered out of bed.

As he yanked the door open he expected to see Elena, or Rick, or even Jeremy.

Instead of seeing Elena, kind, caring Elena, he was faced with her doppelganger and exact opposite.

"Katherine? What the hell are you doing here? Come to cause trouble? Kill innocent people? Use your good looks to make some poor bastard fall for you?"

"Actually, as much fun as that sounds, I'm here to see Stefan."

Damon scoffed. "Like hell!" He blocked the doorway resolutely.

"Damon, I rang the bell out of a misguided sense of politeness. We both know how this will end if you don't get out of my way. I'll give you a hint, I'll be with Stefan and you'll be on the floor, bleeding, profusely."

"You were the person on the phone?"

"Yes. Now let me past. I've seen him like this before, I can help."

Although every part of him argued, he moved aside and let that bitch enter his house and run up the stairs to his little brother.

As he entered the room, she was sitting next to him on the bed, their hands entwined. She was running a slim hand through his hair.

"I came home yesterday and Stefan, who could barely move, was gone. I should have guessed it would have something to do with you." She sneered at Damon, who started towards her.

"Stop it." Stefan whispered. "Both of…you. You don't…have to…like each other. All… you have to do…is not kill each other."

"Stefan, Stefan, Stefan," Katherine practically cooed his name. "Stop worrying. Sleep, you need to rest if you're going to get better."

Katherine and Damon sat together in Stefan's room, while he slept soundly.

They mainly ignored each other and sat in frosty silence.

"So, how's Elena?" She spoke up.

"She's fine. We're getting married. And no, you're not invited."

She smirked. "Actually if you plan to invite Stefan, which I presume you are, I'll be his plus one."

Ugh! "Doesn't count as being invited." He uttered under his breath.

"Have you told him?"

"No. I called to tell him and then realised the state he was in." His tome was accusatory. "As his girlfriend shouldn't you have been caring for him?"

"I have been. I have been helping him drink blood, holding the bucket underneath him while he vomits and wiping his forehead. I have never complained about it because I don't mind doing that for him. But I can't stay with him every second of every day and he would hate it if I did, because that would mean admitting he's not fine. Him and his stupid pride!" She muttered.

Damon laughed once, he could empathise. "How long have you two been together?"

"A year and eight months. We've been friends since he left here, but we only then decided to actually officially be together."

"He lives with you?"

She nodded.

Damon was pissed. Stefan had been with Katherine for nearly two years. He had been over Elena for all that time and he had not come home? He had not called Damon, or even regularly responded to his calls? Damon was aware that he sounded like a whiny kid, but…it hurt that his little brother, the brother he would do almost anything for, did not care enough to even talk to him on a regular basis.

When Stefan opened his eyes he felt better than he had in over a week. Still not back to his ordinary level of health, but he no longer felt like he was a hair's breath from death.

He started with surprise when Damon appeared at his bedside, he held a glass of blood to his lips and helped him drink.

"Where's Katherine?" He asked, proud that he could actually string a sentence together.

"She and Elena are downstairs."

"Is that smart?" Stefan sounded concerned, while he loved Katherine and believed she would try not to kill any of his friends while here, he could not imagine the two women were getting along well downstairs alone.

"They'll be fine. Rick, Caroline and Bonnie are there too. Caroline by the way is practically bouncing with excitement, she wants to see you. I have no idea why, she'd had me here for the past three years, the better looking brother." Damon teased with a smirk.

Stefan beamed back, but he saw that there was something serious bothering Damon.

"What is it?" He decided not to beat around the bush.

"Katherine told me that the two of you have been together for over a year and a half." There was rage in his voice although he did not raise it. "All this time, more than half the time you have been gone, you have been over Elena. You could have come home. I have spent all this time feeling horrible and missing you. I began to think that you were never coming back that I…"

That I'd lost you forever.

"I'm sorry. There's no excuse, I should have told you that I forgave you a long time ago. I should have told you that I had moved on." Stefan's voice was full of remorse.

"Why didn't you?" Damon had to really work to keep the vulnerability out of his tone and to stop it sounding so wounded.

"Because if I told you that I had moved on, your next question would naturally be with who? You'd also expect me to come home."

"You don't want to?" He wanted to sound nonchalant.

"I do. I've missed you and Elena and Caroline and Bonnie. But I could hardly bring Kat back here with me, and I wasn't going to leave her behind."

What could he say to that? Stefan was right, he would never be happy about his little brother being in a relationship with the bitch who had broken both of their hearts and almost succeeded in ruining their lives.

I can't believe I am going to say this. I am definitely going to regret this. "If it means you coming home, then she can live here too."

"What? You, Elena, Katherine and me? Living together?"

"Why not, we've probably done weirder things."

"Have you talked to Elena about this, I can't imagine her liking this idea."

"She might not, but if you'll come home she'll accept it."

The two brothers sat in silence for a few moments.

"So, what do you think?" Damon asked, trying to keep his tone light.

"Alright, we may as well give it a go, see how much disaster we can wreak upon this town."

Damon laughed evilly and Stefan could not hold back his smile.

The end.

There's nothing I can say, I'm a sucker for brotherly love!

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