AN: Set somewhere in the second half of season 3 but before Klaus got the coffins back. Just a bit of Hurt Damon, Protective/Best Friend Alaric, and Brotherly/Comforting Stefan. Slightly OOC and fluff ! Hints of slash, if you're wearing your slash goggles (which I always am :p)


They find him in one of the caverns under the Lockwood property. Klaus had finally decided to do something about Stefan's one man revenge mission. Two days. Two days Damon was missing, captured by Klaus to send a message. After all, Stefan took his family.

Alaric moves carefully through the caves, the light from his flashlight only going so far ahead of him. Bonnie, Elena, and Caroline are trailing closely behind him. He would have preferred the three of them stayed back at the Salvatore house, but none of them would. And truth be told, with Damon missing, and Stefan's emotions still in question, Caroline and Bonnie were really all they had.

"Do you see anything?"

He glances over his shoulder long enough to give Elena an encouraging smile, although a strained one. He hopes she can't tell the difference.

"We'll find him, Elena."

He tries to sound reassuring, but it's hard when he's not so sure himself. Tyler had tipped them off about Damon's location but since he was sired to Klaus, there was no guarantee they'd find him here, there was also no guarantee of the condition they'd find him in.

Alaric feels movement next to him and he jerks his head around only to see Caroline making her way past him. He raises an eyebrow and she shrugs.

"Vampire – I have better eyes than you."

He feels stupid for not thinking of that before. He's worried. More worried then he wants anyone to know. If Damon... he stops that thought before it can fully process. Damon is fine. He has to be.

Caroline has moved a few feet ahead of the rest of the group. She's pushing her senses out as far as she can, searching for the much older vampire. Her vampire hearing picks up a small sound and she quickly makes in that direction. Alaric is watching her carefully and follows directly behind her.

They find him with his wrists clasped together above his head, his shirt torn, and stakes protruding from his abdomen. His skin is caked in blood and dirt and his head hangs limply. Alaric's not sure he's conscious, not sure he's even alive.

They all freeze; shocked into paralysis at the sight of the usually strong and cocky vampire now weak and vulnerable. Surprisingly, it is Bonnie who moves first (she has the least amount of personal motivation for saving the vampire).

"We have to get the stakes out," Alaric says numbly. He's moving now to help Bonnie but he feels absent, like he's only observing rather than experiencing.

Caroline reaches for one but flinches away almost immediately.

"What is it?" Elena asks frantically.


Of course there's vervain. The situation has just been made worse. Damon's lost too much blood and now vervain is running through his system. "He needs blood."

Bonnie and Alaric quickly set about removing the stakes as gently as possible, Damon doesn't even flinch. Alaric wishes he'd make some sign that he was still alive. Caroline reaches up and easily snaps the chains holding Damon. Alaric catches his limp body.

"How much blood can a vampire lose?" Elena asks the question they've all been wondering. No one has an answer.

"Has anyone called Stefan?"

Alaric's eyes harden in anger. Damon's only here because of Stefan. Because of his stubborn feud with Klaus. Still, Stefan is probably the only one who can help them right now.

"I've been calling him for two days. I've left messages but he hasn't responded to any of them."

Of course not, Alaric thanks bitterly. Klaus had taken Damon under the assumption that he was the only one Stefan still cared about. Stefan had gone so far over the edge that he didn't even care about Damon anymore.

"We need to get out of here."


Alaric sits in the back with Damon cradled against his chest. The vampire still hasn't moved. Caroline hovers over the seat, her eyes trained on Damon; she hasn't taken her eyes off him since they found him in the cave. Elena's still trying to reach Stefan. Alaric can hear her pleading with him over his voicemail; he's not hopeful.

"Stefan, please; we found Damon and... and it's not good Stefan. He's not moving and – Stefan he needs you..."

"Let it go, Elena!" he finally snaps. "Obviously he doesn't even care about his brother anymore."

He catches a glimpse of Elena's face in the mirror. Her entire expression has crumbled and her eyes shine with unshed tears. He's not sure which brother she's crying for.


The little blood that they're able to get in his mouth isn't working. There's too much vervain in his system and he's not drinking enough to counteract it. Caroline tears into blood bag after blood bag with no luck.

"He's not responding," she says needlessly.

Alaric's eyes are trained on Damon's face, searching for any response; a twitch, a hint of fangs, or of bloodshot veins around his eyes – nothing.

"C'mon, Damon! Stop being so dramatic," he pleads with his best friend.

He can't handle this. Can't stand the idea of losing the vampire. Their relationship has been rocky lately, what with Damon killing him and all, but he doesn't want to lose him. No matter what Damon has done, he's never thought of a world without the vampire in it.

The sound of the front door slamming echoes through the silent house and everyone turns toward the living room entrance. He's more surprised than he thinks he should be to see Stefan standing in the archway. He's angry.

"What the hell are you doing here?" Alaric demands while standing to block the younger vampire from Damon. "What suddenly you care?" he taunts

Stefan's eyes are hard, his face set in a serious expression. Still, something in his face is different. Alaric's too pissed off to notice.

"Get out of my way," Stefan says casually, taking another step toward his brother.

Alaric's hand shoots out to grip Stefan's forearm and the girls all watch nervously for the vampire's reaction. He looks slowly from the hand on his arm to Alaric's face.

"This is your fault! Klaus took him because of you!"

Stefan's eyes flash and there's no mistaking the pure, primal rage that takes over his face. His eyes turn slightly red and he tears his arm from Alaric's grip.

"You don't think I know that that?" He demands, surprising everyone in the room. "I know this is my fault! I know why Damon's dying right now! What I don't know is why you're standing in my way!"

A part of Alaric is still rational enough to listen to Stefan's words and he takes a small, unconscious step backwards. Stefan doesn't seem to notice.

"I get it, you're pissed! But you can either get out of my way and let me save my brother or you can stand there and let him die!"

Stefan doesn't wait for Alaric to move. Instead he pushes him aside and moves quickly to the couch where Damon's still prone body lays.

"Jesus, Damon," Stefan mumbles upon seeing his brother.

Alaric and the girls move close enough to the couch to watch Stefan. It's the first time in months any of them has seen him even resemble the Stefan they all knew. It doesn't surprise any of them that it's Damon who brings that Stefan back, however temporarily.

"He won't take blood," Caroline tells Stefan.

He nods, only somewhat listening to the blonde vampire. His attention is too focused on Damon to really listen or notice the people around him.

Stefan positions Damon so his head is lying propped up in his brother's lap. With one hand he holds Damon's head in place while the other moves to his mouth where his fangs have appeared. He bites into the wrist and quickly moves it to Damon's mouth before his accelerated healing can kick in.

"C'mon, Damon, drink!"

The bite closes and Stefan quickly bites into his wrist again. He presses his bleeding wrist more firmly against Damon's lips. Stefan growls in frustration when Damon still doesn't move to drink.

"Hold his head!" Alaric nods and his hands shoot out to keep Damon's head still. He can't help but brush the bangs gently from his forehead; the vampire looks so vulnerable.

Stefan bites into his wrist for the third time, only instead of bringing the wrist to his brother's mouth; he smears the blood on his fingers. Alaric watches curiously as Stefan gently pries his brother's mouth open. He presses the blood covered fingers against the back of Damon's gums.

Almost instantly Damon's face changes. The veins around his eyes form and his fangs drop down to knick Stefan's finger. Alaric's eyes widen while Stefan laughs half hysterically. He retracts his fingers and Damon lets out a small whimper, uncharacteristic of the strong vampire.

Stefan's brings his wrist to Damon's mouth again but this time Damon latches on, sinking his own teeth into his younger brother's bleeding wrist. Stefan flinches slightly but quickly recovers after the initial bite. His other hand moves to run his fingers through Damon's hair while Damon's hands move to hold Stefan's wrist to his mouth. Stefan shushes him gently.

Alaric slowly moves away from Damon, no longer needed to hold his head still. Stefan doesn't notice. The girls watch the exchange with wide eyes. The scene is very... intimate. They feel like their intruding. Slowly the three of them and Alaric back out of the room, leaving Stefan to take care of Damon. Neither brother notices their absence.

Damon's eyes open for the first time and he blinks up at Stefan, confused and slightly disoriented. He makes to pull away from Stefan's wrist but the younger Salvatore stops him.

"No, you need it. You've been missing for two days without blood, and with a lot of vervain in your system."

Damon still looks confused and Stefan figures he will be until he's fully healed and coherent enough to understand. A few more minutes go by and Stefan decides Damon has had enough blood, for now. He gently pulls his wrist away and Damon reluctantly lets him.

Neither says anything and Damon continues to lay with his head in Stefan's lap, Stefan's fingers running gently through his hair. They lapse into a comfortable silence which unfortunately only lasts a few minutes.

"Stefan," Damon groans out.


"Why are you petting me?"

Stefan chuckles but doesn't stop 'petting' Damon. "You almost died, deal with it."

Damon looks up at Stefan with a raised eyebrow which is ruined by the fact that he's upside down and still out of it. Stefan smiles and shakes his head. Damon's eyebrow only rises further but he lets it go with a shrug. If he's being honest, which he never is, it feels kind of nice.

Review and let me know what you thought please ! : )