Disclaimer: The Vampire Diaries does not belong to me. If it did, Damon and Alaric would be all over each other on tv every week, instead of just in my filthy imagination.

"You're an idiot, you know that?"

Alaric mustered up all the energy he had and rolled his eyes as dramatically as he could. "I've got three broken ribs and a concussion. You're really gonna insult me right now?"

Too much effort; he partially rolled over, spitting up a stream of blood.

"What's wrong with your ring?" Damon asked, pulling closed the curtain to keep prying eyes from Alaric's bed. The emergency department at Mystic Falls General tended to be a very busy place and Damon didn't want anyone seeing what he was about to do.

Alaric didn't answer. Breathing was quite enough work, without trying to add speaking to the mix. Damon pulled up a chair. "Is it wrong if I think you look totally hot all beaten to shit and covered in blood?"

"Everything about you is wrong." Alaric let his eyes drift shut. "I'll be fine."

"Yes, you will." Damon felt the capillaries in his face fill and darken, felt the change in his jaw as his fangs descended, and he bit carefully into his wrist. "Open up," he said, offering the wrist to Alaric.

A look of panic shot across Alaric's features, and he closed his mouth resolutely. Damon frowned. "Don't be an idiot, Ric. What if you've punctured a lung or something? Don't humans who cough up blood sometimes die?"

"I don't trust you not to snap my neck and turn me."

"Like I would." Damon shook his head. "I know you. You'd never let me near you again."

"You've got that right." Alaric groaned. "Go away, Damon. I've got a doctor. I don't need you."

"Yeah. I saw her. And I don't like her. And also, this is not up for debate. C'mon, Ric." He bit into his wrist a second time, yanked Alaric's head back and forced the blood into his mouth.

Alaric, for his part, was too weak to resist. He conceded. Drank.

Almost immediately, the colour started to return to his cheeks. His chest twitched, the bones shifting to realign and mend. "Asshole," he spat. "I said no."

"And yet. Better?" Damon asked, running his thumb over Alaric's cheek. Alaric pulled away.

"We need to have a serious talk about boundaries, Damon."

"You'd be surprised how many people say that to me. Or maybe you wouldn't." Damon cocked an eyebrow. "Whatever. I gotta go. I gotta go talk to Stefan."

Alaric, almost fully healed, shifted on the bed, started to sit up. "Good luck." Didn't say it like he meant it. Said it like he hoped Stefan might get a shot at staking him. Alaric swung his legs off the bed, rested some of his weight on his hands. Damon stood up.

After hesitating a moment, he put a hand on either side of Alaric's thighs, leaned in and pressed their mouths together; an apology, and its opposite, rolled into one.

"So… if I promise not to snap your neck can I come over later?"

Alaric glowered. "No." The no was, however, dripping with yes and the promise of post near-death-experience sex, so Damon chanced another kiss.

"See you in a couple of hours, then." He stood up, gave Alaric an appraising look. "And wear that shirt."