Beta by ellensmithee. Thank you! :)

Damon opens the door to the boarding house, stops to adjust the arm slung across his shoulder, cursing under his breath. "Damn, you're heavy…"

Alaric moans softly into his shoulder, raises his head slowly and blinks at the door, then sags back against him. Damon drags him over the threshold and into the living room. Alaric tries to walk a few steps, but he stumbles and Damon doesn't wait for him to find his footing again, merely hauling him along to dump him on the floor in front of the fire place.

"No way are you getting on the couch like that."

Alaric stays where he is, barely has enough strength left to curl onto his side, one arm pressing against his side where the gaping wound had finally stopped bleeding not too long ago. His shirt and jacket are torn into bloody shreds, his face pale, paler than Damon's at the moment, which is quite an accomplishment. He opens his eyes, blinks lazily around the room, then closes them again, groaning.

Damon steps over him, goes to the bar, getting himself a well-earned drink. "Dumb move," he says for what feels like the hundredth time that evening, ignoring the way his fingers clench around the glass. "That was a really dumb move, Ric."

Alaric rolls his head into his direction, but keeps his eyes closed. "Reflexes," he mumbles softly. "You also don't have a second brother to spare to give to Klaus in exchange for another cure."

"And you don't have your magic ring anymore, you could have been killed!" Damon growls, knocking his drink back, glaring at the crumpled heap on the floor.

He flashes back to the clearing, to the fight, the werewolf rushing at him, teeth gleaming in the moonlight, going for his throat—and Alaric, appearing out of nowhere, in front of him, taking the brunt of the impact and also the teeth to his shoulder. Both man and wolf going down in a tangle of fur and limbs, growls and cries, rolling over the muddy ground. It had taken him too long to get back into the fight; by the time he had ripped the furry critter's heart out of its chest it had already torn most of Alaric's side open and the teacher was barely moving. Damon had wasted no time and forced his blood down his throat, ignoring the feeble attempts to fight him off, and only when the wound had started closing and he was certain that Alaric would not bleed out and die had he been able to take another breath.

What his blood couldn't do, though, was replace the ocean of blood Alaric had lost, leaving him sick and weak, disoriented. He kept insisting that the world was dancing in front of his eyes and had the attention span of vampire Barbie at the moment. He was also starting to turn a weird shade of green and was shivering all over.

And he looks so pathetic on the cold floor in front of the fireplace right now that Damon can't hold himself back anymore.

"You stink," he informs the other and goes over to him, dragging him to his feet again.

Alaric groans in protest, even tries to fight him off, but he is in no condition to put up much of a fight. Damon ignores the half-hearted threats Alaric sends his way and blurs upstairs with him, rolling his eyes when the other man mumbles something about getting sick. They are inside the shower before he can change his mind and he leans the swaying human against the wall, starting to get him out of his clothes. It's a testimony to how far gone Alaric really is that he doesn't catch up with that until Damon has stripped him down to his boxers.

"What the hell are you doing?"

Damon takes a step back, looking him up and down, one hand placed on Ric's bloody chest to keep him from face-planting. "Warming you up and getting you presentable."

Alaric frowns, looks around, seems to realize where he is and shakes his head. "I can do that myself—" he starts, then almost goes down when Damon pulls his hand back.

"Sure you can."

He contemplates just dumping him under a warm shower and leaving him to himself, but decides against it, Alaric did save his life, after all, the least he can do is to wash the blood off he had spilled to save Damon's ass.

Even if it was a stupid thing to do and he's almost lost—

Damon pushes that thought aside, strips as fast as he can while still holding the other upright and starts the shower, then gets Ric out of his underwear. There is mumbled protest, hands that try to stop him, but he wins, pushing Alaric under the hot water and stepping inside the shower behind him.

Alaric is silent, doing his best to keep himself on his feet while Damon busies himself with scrubbing the blood off his skin, keeping one arm around Alaric's waist to keep him upright. The hot water seems to do the trick, Alaric stops shivering at some point and begins to relax against him, letting his head fall down onto Damon's shoulder, eyes closing.

Damon grins, turning his head to whisper into his ear, "I would take advantage of you now if you had enough blood to spare…"