Many, MANY thanks and hugs and kisses to my beta ghostfour, I missed you so fucking much, hun, you have NO idea. So, so glad to have you back!


I see hell in your eyes

"Come one, get up, we're like sitting ducks out here." Alaric's voice was breathless, scratchy, still hoarse from under-use.

Damon didn't move, didn't appear to have heard him at all. He didn't look good, like death warmed over, repeatedly, covered in blood from head to toe, a big, gaping wound that was refusing to close situated on his lower right side. Alaric had no idea where it had come from, but he figured it must have been one of the hybrids. And that was bad.

"Damon?" He shook the vampire slightly, eliciting a low grunt of protest and a flicker of his lids. "Damon, come on, wake up."

"We get 'em?" Damon's voice was nothing like his normal tone, it was weak, barely there, more like a tired sigh.

"No, not all of them– Damon, we have to move, we have to get out, they're closing in–"

Something in his voice must have finally got through to the vampire, as Damon's eyes opened and he blinked up at Alaric, squinting.

"You look like shit..."

Alaric rolled his eyes. "Right, back at you." He sat up, pulling the vampire upright by his shoulders, ignoring the pained groan that left Damon's lips at the movement. "Up you go."

It was at times like this where he wished for vampire strength to be able to help better, to be able to do something that actually made a difference in a fight for once. All he could do, right now, was to try and get Damon to his feet– and that proved to be rather difficult since Damon didn't seem to be in any condition to stand, let alone walk, leaving Alaric no choice but to pull him over his shoulders in some sort of a fireman's carry. Damon grunted when the position put pressure on his injured side, but other than that, there was nothing, no sound of protest.

The silence scared him– Damon was never silent when there was another person around to hear him, even if it was just his own ears, but Alaric forced himself to push that feeling down, to concentrate on the task at hand. He looked up, scanning the surroundings. The forest around them was quiet– but that didn't mean anything, once the pack caught their scent again they would be on their trail, again, moving faster than any human could run, even at top speed. Not that he would be able to run with Damon's weight across his shoulders.

"Little help here?" he gasped, not really expecting an answer, and not really getting one.

He had no idea where to go, he hadn't been paying attention to the direction they'd been headed before they had been spotted, and after that the only thought on his mind had been to get away from them as fast as possible. And then they had been attacked but he couldn't remember from which side and the fucking forest was looking the same, no matter where he turned–

"They're... coming..." Damon's soft voice pulled him out of the panic attack and he flinched, turning his head, trying to see more of Damon than just a blob of dark hair.

"Which direction?"

"I don't know... can smell them... Let me down."

If anything, Damon sounded even weaker than before. Alaric shook his head. "You're in no condition to walk."

There was a soft sigh, then the body around his shoulders tensed. Damon's voice sounded stronger. A little.

"Leave me, Ric. Get out and get help."

Riiight.

"Shut up." This was not what he needed, he needed a plan– a direction– anything

"I mean it, put me down and leave, Ric, this is not the time to play the hero–"

"Look who's talking," Alaric ground out between clenched teeth. "'m not leaving you behind, so shut up."

He started walking then, most of all to prove his point, but also to do at least something useful. He still had no idea where he was supposed to go, but moving seemed better than just hanging out near the corpse of the hybrid until his relatives showed up, looking for a little pay-back.

Damon was silent as the walk got a little rougher, and Alaric figured he must have blacked out or something. At this point, he didn't even mind, he didn't have the energy to spare to fight with the stubborn undead ass and–

"Last chance, Ric, put me down and leave."

Alaric rolled his eyes, would have shaken his head if that wouldn't just make his headache worse. "Forget it."

He took another step– and suddenly pain lanced through his side, tearing a shout from his throat as his legs gave in and he crumpled to the ground. The pain was gone just as quickly as it had appeared. He struggled to get out from beneath Damon. The vampire was moving slowly, rolling to the side, away from him. Alaric touched a hand to his side and it came away bloody. He stared at it, incredulous.

"You bit me."

Damon lifted his head, blinking at him dizzily. "You wouldn't listen."

"You bit me."

Damon rolled onto his back, looking up into the dark sky. "You'll survive," he groaned and fought to sit up, swaying slightly as he struggled to focus on Alaric.

For a moment they just sat there, Damon obviously struggling to overcome whatever was making him look that disorientated as Alaric tried to rationalize the fact that he'd just been bitten by the very man he was trying to save. Not that it was the first time that Alaric had felt those teeth, but usually they were somewhere far less cold, and doing much more interesting things. Such an…intimacy didn't belong out here while they were running form a pack of hybrids.

Alaric pressed against his bleeding side, wondering if that was the first time he ever felt those teeth as the weapons they were created to be.

It was Damon who spoke first. "Go, Ric."

And he was still trying that, stubborn mule. Alaric rolled his eyes, ignoring how that movement triggered some deep, uncomfortable ache behind his left eye. He squared his shoulders.

"No." It was all he said, all he would say to this topic. He fixed Damon with a determined look. He wouldn't back down, not this time, not about this.

Damon studied him, then shook his head and leaned back against a tree, pressing his shirt against his still bleeding side. "This is suicide, Ric, you don't need to. I'm already dea–"

"Godamnit, stop, Damon. Shut the fuck up, I won't leave you, okay?" He hadn't meant to shout and it didn't really do anything good for his headache, but it had the desired effect; Damon stopped talking and fell silent.

For about ten seconds.

"I could make you."

Alaric flinched, Damon was right: Alaric had stopped taking vervain ages ago and the hybrids had taken away his talisman when they'd thrown them into that stinking cell six– seven? days ago. Damon could make him do pretty much anything he wanted right now.

"But you won't."

They stared at each other, neither looking away, for what felt like an eternity.

"You're an idiot," Damon finally all but growled and Alaric grinned darkly.

"Learned from the best."

He let his eyes wander across his lover's body and didn't like the way Damon was slumped against the tree, how pale and sick he looked. Alaric himself probably didn't look any better, but, apart from that really nasty blow to the head during their escape, he was miraculously unharmed. A little dizzy and not too eager to move any time soon, but definitely better off than Damon. That was definitely a first.

"We need to get out of here," he said, just to fill the hopeless silence that was starting to fall between them.

Damon shrugged. "After you," he said, waving at the trees around them. "I wasn't paying attention to where you were going–" He broke off and ran a hand through his dirty hair, looking around. "We're fucked."

Alaric had to agree, it didn't look good. Nobody knew where they were, the hybrid pack had dragged them off to a location that was heavily warded against magic. Bonnie wouldn't be able to find them, not even with one of her powerful locator spells. They had no idea what their friends had been told– maybe they even thought them dead and lost, the latest casualties of the war between Klaus's hybrids and the witches. At this point, neither side was winning, both of then still testing one another's strengths and weaknesses, pros and cons…and he and Damon would go down as just one more Vamp and Hunter, caught in the middle.

"Ric."

He blinked to clear his sight. "What?"

Damon looked serious, as if he didn't really want to say what was on his mind, but said it anyway because he was Damon and would never keep his mouth shut. "You know there's always one way for you to get out of this."

Alaric didn't know what he was talking about, or maybe he simply was too tired to realize what that meant, and he frowned. "What are you talking about?"

Damon sighed, a sad sound, but he held Alaric's gaze. "I can still turn you. You'd be faster, stronger– you could get away."

Alaric shook his head. "I'd also be dead for hours, not to mention a vampire being hunted by a pack of hybrids." He grinned, without humor. "This is the first time it's actually a good thing to be just human..."

Damon rolled his eyes– and froze. Alaric was instantly alert, falling silent as Damon cocked his head to the side, listening. Alaric couldn't hear anything, yet, but, judging by the dark look on Damon's face he knew it wasn't good news. Damon's gaze snapped to him and he raised his hand, waving three fingers at him. Alaric barely managed to hold back a groan, they stood no chance against three hybrids, not in the condition they were in. For just one second, for the last time, they locked eyes– and Alaric could see hell in Damon's eyes. And he knew it was reflected in his own, hell for what was coming– and for what they were losing.

Nevertheless, both of them got to their feet and they stood, back to back, scanning the night for movement.

The hybrids were on them before they knew what was happening, there was growling, dark shapes moving too fast for the eye to track, Damon tensing against his back–

–and then there was nothing.