A/N: It took me a little while to get the ending the way I wanted on this one, but here it is. I hope you like it!

Chapter 4

Alaric woke up to find Damon half draped over him, his head on Alaric's chest and their legs tangled together. Morning light stole into the room around the curtains, but Damon was still fast asleep, apparently still feeling the effects from his ordeal with Klaus. Normally, Damon was the one to wake Alaric up every time they spent the night together. He had explained that vampires needed much less sleep than humans, but Ric sometimes suspected that Damon didn't need sleep at all, just sex, blood, and alcohol. This morning, though, Damon clearly needed sleep, and Ric was content to lie there, reveling in the feel of Damon's body against his own. He tried to let that feeling block out his fears about resuming a relationship with Damon. His body was all for this plan to start things up again – that was obvious every time Damon shifted slightly in his sleep – but his mind was still torn between hope and reservations.

It wasn't just Damon's perfect body or the intense sexual chemistry between them that had drawn Ric in, of course. Damon was crazy smart, with an endless stream of witty comments and clever allusions along with a restless mind that was always working on at least one scheme. And Ric had always been attracted to smart. Damon could also make him laugh in just about any situation, which was a definite plus with the way their lives really did bounce from one crisis to another. Damon could laugh at himself, too, regularly turning his wit on his own foibles in a self-deprecating way that had convinced Ric that he wasn't really as arrogant as he pretended to be. And over the months they'd known each other, Ric had learned that Damon had read everything, in addition to living through more than a century and a half of history. He was pretty sure that they would never run out of things to talk about.

But a little voice in Ric's head was still saying that this was a bad idea, telling him that he couldn't trust Damon. He was certain now that Damon regretted what he had done. The question was whether that was enough. You can't love a vampire, that voice said, not really. Tell him you've changed your mind; he'll understand. But Ric thought of the look of hope in Damon's blue eyes when Ric had said they could try again and the way Damon was settled against him so trustingly in his sleep. Damon might understand, but it would break his heart. Ric would be doing to Damon what Katherine had done – telling him that he wasn't enough, wasn't worth loving. And he couldn't do that. He had never thought of Damon Salvatore as insecure – to do so went against everything Damon projected to the world – but Damon had let him see past that façade to inside where he was scared and lonely. Damon had waited a century and a half for someone to choose him. Ric didn't think he could live with himself if he didn't give Damon another chance. Although maybe they should talk about things first, take things slowly. . . .

Ric's mind was still churning way too actively for what should have been a leisurely morning in bed when Damon stirred and opened his eyes. He looked thoroughly relaxed as his blue eyes met Ric's and he smiled. "Morning," Damon murmured. His voice was husky from sleep and even sexier than usual, and Ric's body reacted immediately. Damon's smile became hungrier and more predatory as he heard Ric's heart rate accelerate, maybe even felt him begin to harden.

"Morning," Ric replied. He tried to sound calm, wishing that Damon's heightened vampire senses didn't pick up his every physical reaction. "How are you feeling?"

"Horny," Damon said, his grin widening into a smirk as his gaze trailed over Ric. "Just like you." He slid up Ric's body, and his lips teased at Ric's lower lip. A moment later his tongue was demanding entrance that Ric granted after a slight hesitation. He had fucking missed this, he thought as Damon hungrily plundered his mouth. Damon finally broke away to let Ric breathe, but he only turned his attention to one of the most sensitive spots on Ric's neck. Damon clearly hadn't forgotten how exactly to turn Ric on.

Ric's mind was spinning with lust, but he tried half-heartedly to push Damon away from where the vampire was nuzzling his neck. There was more to be said before they went any further. "If we're going to do this again, we need ground rules," he said, trying to sound firm.

"Hmm, ground rules. Okay." Damon didn't sound like he was exactly paying attention as he went right back to kissing and teasing Alaric's body. He slid his hand down Ric's chest and over his abs even as he continued to place kisses along his neck.

"Damon," Ric began, then, "Oh . . ." as Damon's hand moved south and caressed him through his boxers. He held onto his train of thought with difficulty. "Fuck, Damon. Stop for a second. Are you even listening to me?"

Damon did at least pause at that, looking at Ric with blue eyes dark with desire. "Yep. I said okay."

Ric rolled his eyes. "We have to talk about what the ground rules are, Damon," he said. Sometimes Damon seemed willfully clueless. He barreled on before Damon could distract him again. "First, no killing. If you get angry at me, we talk about it."

Damon nodded too quickly. "Okay. No killing. Lots of talking." Damon dropped his head and began to run his tongue over Ric's hard nipple.

As much as he didn't want to, Ric shoved at Damon's head, pushing him away. "This is serious, Damon," he said.

Damon rolled his eyes, but he looked a bit more engaged as he shifted to lie on his side on the bed, still only inches away from Ric. He met Ric's gaze, and his voice took on a slightly whiny tone as he spoke. "I said okay. No killing. You took too long to wake up the last time, anyway." He paused and cocked his head, looking at Ric in a way that made the teacher slightly nervous. "I want to set a ground rule, too," Damon declared mischievously. "Lots and lots of sex."

Ric laughed in spite of himself. Sometimes Damon seemed to be the emotional age of one of his students, but somehow the vampire managed to make even that endearing. He pretended to consider Damon's proposal. "Okay," he finally said, feigning reluctance. "I agree to your ground rule."

"So we're good then?" Damon looked like he could hardly wait to pounce on Ric again.

"One more thing," Ric said, with reluctance this time. He wasn't sure he should bring this up, but if they were laying everything out on the table, then this was the time. "I won't ask you to stop flirting with everyone. . . ." Damon gave him a look that said that was a good thing because it wasn't going to happen. "But I need you to dial back the flirting with Elena." Ric watched Damon carefully, not sure how this particular ground rule was going to be received. It might be good that they had already agreed on no killing.

"It distracts her from being all pouty and preachy," Damon argued. "I'm just trying to be nice to her. One mean brother at a time."

Alaric wasn't ready to give in on this one. "She's eighteen, and she's lonely right now. She takes it seriously." He was well aware that Elena had developed a crush on Damon. He couldn't exactly blame her, but she was practically his step-daughter. It was weird and inappropriate. Unless, of course, Damon still had feelings for her, in which case Ric needed to be the adult and get out of this situation now before it got any uglier.

Damon looked hurt. "I'm not interested in Elena," he said. "Eighteen is a little young for me, plus she's Stefan's girl. I'm not going there again. Even I'm not that masochistic."

"I know you had feelings for her, Damon," Ric said, pushing forward despite a little voice that said he should leave well enough alone. He used the past tense, hoping that it was accurate and that Damon had moved on.

"Left over Katherine-feelings. Transference and all that crap," Damon answered. He met Ric's eyes unhesitatingly. "I've found something better now."

Ric smiled at that. "You'd better mean me," he half-teased. Damon had an unusually sincere look in his blue eyes, and Ric felt his heart skip a beat. Maybe they could actually make this work.

"You. This," Damon answered. His mouth claimed Ric's for another kiss, and Ric kissed him back fervently. Damon's hands returned to their exploration of Ric's body, and Ric moaned at his touch. A moment later, Damon pulled back, however. "I won't flirt with Elena if you don't flirt with the slut-doctor-chick," he said.

Ric almost groaned. Now he was the one who was ready to be done with talking, although he was more than happy to agree to that deal. Actually, he was pretty amused that Damon was still hung up on Meredith Fell. His vampire lover really was jealous. "Fine," he agreed. "You stop flirting with Elena, and I won't flirt with Meredith."

"Good," Damon said. "I don't like her. There's something off about that woman."

Ric just shook his head. "Now can we get on with this?"

Damon grinned. "Hell, yes. It's about time." He claimed another kiss, and his hands trailed back down Ric's body until they reached his boxers. Damon tugged lightly at the fabric, and Ric obliged him by raising his hips so that Damon could pull them off. With one quick movement, Damon had his own sweats off, too, so that they were both finally naked. Then, without any warning, Damon flipped their positions to situate Ric on top. The vampire cocked his head and gave Ric a teasing little smile. "I'm still weak, you know. I think you should take advantage of me," he said huskily.

Ric's body reacted immediately to those words, but he froze for a moment, surprised that Damon wanted him on top right now and worried suddenly that Damon actually was still feeling weak. Damon rolled his eyes at Ric's expression. "It's called flirting, Ric," he said. "Relax. It's not like we haven't done this before."

"I just . . ." Ric started and then stopped. "Never mind." There was no reason to spoil this moment. Damon was fine. It had surprised him the first few times, but he knew perfectly well by now that Damon liked to be on the bottom at least as often as not. And he should definitely not be complaining about that because topping Damon Salvatore . . . well, he was pretty sure that there was no feeling like it in the world. But he realized that seeing Damon bloody and unconscious and nearly dead had shaken him up more than he wanted to admit.

He saw worry flash in Damon's blue eyes as he hesitated, and he shook off all his morbid thoughts. He smiled and pinned Damon's hands above his head to the bed, getting back in the spirit of things. "So you want me to take advantage of you?" he asked, not even waiting for an answer before starting his exploration of Damon's body. Minutes later he was buried deep inside Damon, and fuck but he had missed this.

Ric knew he wasn't going to last long, and sure enough he was coming hard after just a few thrusts. Luckily, Damon was right there with him, and he had the exquisite experience of watching Damon fall apart completely under his touch. A moment later they had collapsed on the bed together, bodies slick with sweat and other fluids. "Sorry, that was quick," Ric murmured when he could catch his breath. He was a bit embarrassed; it was a good thing this wasn't their first time together. At least Damon knew he usually lasted longer than that. And Damon had only himself to blame anyway since he had been steadily teasing Ric since they woke up.

Damon didn't seem upset, however. "You missed me," he purred with a look that was much more sated cat-that-ate-the-canary than disappointed lover. In fact, Ric thought that Damon looked suitably debauched, with his lips pink and swollen, his hair wild, and his blue eyes just slightly dazed and heavy-lidded.

"Yeah, well . . ." Ric began, trying for a suitable comeback and finding nothing in his own sex-addled brain. "Yeah," he conceded. To cover up his own lack of eloquence, he dropped his head to lick cum from Damon's perfectly sculpted chest and abs, and the vampire arched off the bed slightly at his touch. Ric grinned as he saw tangible evidence that Damon was ready for another round. There were definite advantages to a vampire lover, like stamina and flexibility and strength. Not to mention the biting. He was going to have to think about whether he wanted to keep drinking vervain or just hide it in his shoes or something, he thought suddenly.

A moment later Ric found himself underneath Damon as the vampire took charge. He moaned out his lover's name as Damon's tongue teased him. "Lots and lots of sex," Damon declared happily.

Ric couldn't help the grin on his own face. "That's the agreement," he said. Damon's blue eyes practically shown, bright with rare happiness, as he looked up briefly before resuming his ministrations to Ric's body, and Ric couldn't help but feel his reservations disappearing under Damon's touch. It might be fucked up, but he wanted this. He wanted Damon. He had the sudden thought that maybe he actually owed Klaus for forcing him to confront his feelings for Damon, but he let that thought go as Damon kissed him again.

•••••

A/N: And that's it for this little story unless I come up with a plot that demands to be written. I'm kind of sick of Klaus-related plots, so that seems unlikely (plus I currently have too many other stories in need of attention). I'm not sick of Damon-Alaric, though, so I may well write this pairing again or even continue the little show-based one-shot that I wrote recently. Thanks again for reading and reviewing!