"If you and Damon ever get married," Jeremy says around a mouthful of his fries, "I'm not calling him Uncle."

Alaric pauses from where he's plating up his own dinner. "What are you talking about?"

"Aww, come on, you know," Jeremy says, not a little bit lecherously and wait, what? "The eye sex, you two always 'hanging out', the deep meaningful conversations, you two always running off and plotting stuff..."

"Yes," Alaric moves to sit next to Jeremy at the breakfast bar. "But to save Elena's life!"

Jeremy shrugs, "So that's what you're calling it now."

Alaric pauses, mid spearing of chicken onto his fork. "Wait. Eye sex?"

Jeremy ignores him and pushes some salad around on his plate. "Everyone thinks I don't notice anything because I'm a teenager. If anything, I should notice that stuff more because everyone always think I'm walking round with a boner in my pants."

By not saying, 'Aren't you?'Alaric feels justified in claiming his good deed of the day. Instead, he says, "There's nothing going on between Damon and myself. And, actually your pants are none of my concern; that is where my in loco parentis duty ends."

"You can't tell me there's nothing going on between you two," Jeremy argues, "he's always giving you bourbon."

And it's true; since Jenna died—Alaric had tried to do that grieving thing where he'd sit alone with a bottle of cheap whiskey, slowly ruin his liver and shed a manly tear, but then there was always a sarcastic voice in his ear and an expensive bottle of bourbon would appear, but more importantly; he wasn't left alone for the night.

"That doesn't mean anything," Alaric scoffs, staring meaningfully at Jeremy to eat the vegetables.

"It does," Jeremy retorts. "For a start it means that he likes you. Okay, erm, I trust you so much—I let you use my laptop even without deleting the browsing history first."

"I thought you had Bonnie to take care of that boner in your pants."

"Shut up," Jeremy mutters and then runs a hand through his hair, looking for a better example. "Okay, so would you let me drive your car?"


"Would you let Damon?"

Alaric sighs and answers the question honestly knowing he'll regret it, "Yes."

"Aha!" Jeremy says triumphantly, and stabs in Alaric's direction with his fork. "It's the same! You'd only let Damon drive your car! Damon doesn't let anyone else drink his good bourbon, but he gives you it all the time!"

Alaric frowns and takes a sip of his orange juice, feeling the need for something a bit stronger if this conversation is going to continue, "No, but that's different."

"It's really not," Jeremy adds, "And anyway, I bet you wouldn't have let Stefan drive your car either."

Alaric frowns again because Jeremy is right, and really, it should be the other way round because Stefan was more responsible and much less reckless than Tall, Dark and Eyebrows, but then again it's not Stefan he's in love with. And, well, shit.

"Geez," Jeremy complains standing up and putting his empty plate in the dishwasher, "I thought for sure I'd come home one day and find you two at it in the living room."

"What?" Alaric is outraged.

"Bet with Caroline," Jeremy says by way of explanation.

"Don't you have homework to do?" Alaric says irritably.

Jeremy mocks his voice, but dutifully turns to go upstairs to his room, "Don't you have papers to grade?"

Alaric stands up to yell back at the teenager. "If you ever come home and find me and Damon at it in the living room, I'd make him compel you to never forget it."

"I've never been one to kiss and tell," Damon says from the back door.

Alaric cringes and can hear Jeremy laugh from the stairs, "Shit. You heard all that?"

Damon nods, "It was quite enlightening."

Jeremy shouts down the stairs, "Ask him if he has trouble performing now because of his age, or if he's always hard like those vampires in Twilight."

Damon raises his eyebrows and manages to look offended, surprised and humored at once.

"Wow," Alaric says, "how are you this embarrassing and you're not even my kid?"

"I try," is Jeremy's yelled response.

Alaric sighs and eyes the cupboard with the alcohol. "Go do your homework!"


"Cockblock!" Alaric yells back and knows he's won the discussion when there's a muffled thump and a yelp of surprise from upstairs.

"So," Alaric says and pushes past Damon to get to the drink. He pours some bourbon left over from their last drinking session for him, hesitates, then pours another glass for the other man.

"So, what?" Damon asks, sitting where Jeremy was and resting the tumbler under his chin. "You're not going to say anything else all night?"

And that was the plan that Alaric was working to, it was a brilliant plan and instead of saying, 'Yes; now go away and let me dig myself a hole to hide in', he says, "I want to kiss you."

Damon blinks, surprised, so Rick expands evasively and is vaguely aware deep down that he's not really making any sense. "A lot. I have done, I mean, for a while."

Damon doesn't say anything.

"Say something!" Alaric exclaims, watching the vampire carefully because a reaction; disgust, lust, anything, would be better than the blank expression on Damon's face. "Tell me to fuck off, compel me to forget!"

"Since that night with Isobel," Damon says and it's a non sequitur if Alaric's ever heard one. "You walked in on me drinking her blood, and you just looked at me like I was a monster and I knew I had to make you forget. I don't know what made you different from all the others, I think maybe it was that look in your eyes when you opened that door, because it wasn't fear—it was something else, and no-one had dared to look at me like that.

"I followed you for months, after she disappeared, you know. I knew exactly when you turned up in Mystic Falls and I wanted you to hate me for more than just taking Isobel away from you, that way I could pretend it hadn't happened, that I wasn't starting to feel things again and that's why I felt so guilty for taking her away from you. Why do you think I've been such a dick?"

"I-," Alaric says before he closes his mouth, stunned.

"I want to kiss you too," Damon interrupts and his eyes are soft. "I've wanted to kiss your mouth since we first met and every day since."

"What? All that time?" Alaric says, outraged. "You did nothing! Why am I so different, Damon? You take everything you want. Why not do to me what you did to Andie? Why not tell me? Why not get rid of Jenna?"

"You are different, you have this quality that draws me to you. I find you intriguing," Damon mutters, "You seemed happy and that wasn't something I was going to disturb."

Alaric drains his glass. "And then there was Rose and Andie."

"And you had Jenna," Damon says quietly. "And me. Right from the start."

Alaric leans over the breakfast bar, pulls the collar of Damon's shirt and kisses him.

Damon pulls back and then moves with vampire speed so that he's crowding Alaric up against the kitchen counter.

"Why'd you stop?" Alaric says when Damon pulls back a second time. "It took us all these months to get to this point; if you're gonna tell me that vampires suffer from premature ejaculation, so help me God, I swear, I will stake you myself."

"I don't," Caroline's amused voice from the hall says, "But I can't speak for him."

"That," Damon rests his head on Rick's shoulder before he steps out of the other man's space, "is why I stopped."

"So you two making it official then?" Elena asks, moving out from behind Caroline. "You've been running around secretly for months, so."

"What?" Damon says, picking up his glass again, "we really haven't."

"So all your Let's-Save-Elena's-Life-Meetings really were Let's-Save-Elena's-Life-Meetings?" Caroline asks.

"What?" Alaric says, echoing Damon.

Elena shakes her head as her and Caroline share one of those looks where they're both thinking the same thing and they know it, "You don't have to pretend any more guys, everyone knew already."

Alaric frowns as he watches the two girls go upstairs.

Damon noses Alaric's neck, "You've really adopted them, huh?"

"I guess." Alaric shrugs, and then moves so he's crowding Damon up against the counter.

Damon starts exploring Alaric's neck with his mouth, "Then that makes you their D-ILF."

"Look at you getting down with the kids," Alaric says and it's getting really hard to concentrate. "Wait; was that in a literal sense?"

"For me?" Damon brushes his lips over Alaric's, "I'd like to think so."

"Me too," Alaric agrees, "Maybe you should get on that then."