AN: Okay, so I really had no idea where I was going with any of this. Seriously, none whatsoever; hence the reason this chapter took forever to come out. That being said, I tried to wrap this up as best as possible considering I never really planned any of this – my bad, definitely not doing that again. I hope this doesn't suck too much... Rather OOC but whatever lol !


He has to bite back the urge to snap at him that he probably wouldn't care at all. How many times had Damon shown him that he hated him? Killed someone he cared about? Promised him an eternity of misery? Stefan doesn't blame him for these things, not really. After all, he's the one who forced this life on Damon.

Even if Klaus did kill him, which Stefan wasn't delusional enough to think he wouldn't, Damon would probably be better off. Maybe he'd finally be able to find some peace in his life. Maybe even with Elena...

Damon glared heatedly at him. "You do realize I can hear you, right?"

Stefan feels the overwhelming desire to slap his hand against his forehead. "I forgot," he mumbles instead.

Damon doesn't say anything. His face is set in an expression Stefan can't read. He's stuck on what he heard in Stefan's thoughts. He was struck by the knowledge that Stefan still thought he hated him, enough to not cafe if his little brother died! Damon took an unconscious step toward his brother and fixed his eyes on his.

"Do you seriously believe that?" He asked.

Stefan looked confused, and slightly weary. Everything about this interaction with his brother felt off. It didn't help that they were both completely mentally exposed to one another; their minds linked by the blood exchange.


Something in his brother's eyes had Stefan feeling uneasy. There wasn't anger, bitterness, sarcasm... nothing he'd generally associated with Damon. His brother looked... sad. Stefan nodded.

"How could you not?"

The conviction is Stefan's voice is what does it for him. He steps closer to his brother, breathing in the same air as him with how close they are standing. Stefan looks at him, weary of whatever he's going to do (and doesn't Damon just hate that) but he doesn't step back.

"I don't hate you, Stefan."His brother looks ready to protest but Damon cuts him off, "Listen to me, Stefan. You can feel it!"

Stefan's instincts scream not to embrace Damon's presence in his mind. The vampire in him is untrusting of what it considers a threat to his preservation. But the Stefan that is Damon's baby brother just craves the comfort his big brother, in spite of everything, has always been able to provide.

It's that part of Stefan that doesn't hesitate. He feels himself reach out for Damon mentally; connecting with his brother in a much stronger sense, and allowing himself to feel what his brother feels.

He stumbles against the sudden wave of emotions that aren't his and memories that aren't in his perspective. He sees everything, feels everything – Damon isn't holding back. He sees himself the day he was born, the first time Damon held him, his younger self crawling into Damon's bed after a nightmare, running through the gardens...

The memories speed up and Stefan sees them when they're older; playing catch, riding horses, Damon going off to the war...

He sees Katherine. Damon's mind plays these memories the quickest. He feels the anger, the jealousy... but under it all he feels affection and love, but not for Katherine...

He sees their years as vampires. Sees himself through Damon's eyes when he hadn't even known Damon had been watching. Damon was never very far away from him...

Stefan is hit with 164 years worth of memories and the emotions that go along with them are overwhelming. But Damon doesn't hate him.

It goes against his very nature to show Stefan this; to let Stefan fully into his mind – to let anyone in – but Stefan needs to see. Needs to understand. He hates that this is necessary, but if this is what it takes for Stefan to finally realize that he doesn't hate him than Damon will push through it, for Stefan.

It's weird. Their mind link goes both ways so while Stefan is getting Damon's emotions, Damon is getting Stefan's reactions to it... It hurts his head to think about it. He's never felt so vulnerable, so exposed, before. It helps a little to know he's not the only one.

Damon feels it when Stefan finally understands

He pulls his mind back at the same time Stefan does; both of them feeling too exposed from the raw emotion that comes from sharing a mind link. Damon's watching Stefan closely. His brother's eyes are glazed over with what Damon suspects are tears but he doesn't mention it; he expects his own eyes aren't dry either.

"Can we-" Stefan's voice is thick with emotion, "Can we not do that again?"

Damon chuckles; grateful for their brief break from the emotion. "Sure thing, brother."

Stefan smiles.

They lapse into silence. It isn't tense or awkward. It's actually kind of a welcome escape from the intensity. They can still feel each other so Damon knows there's nothing he needs to worry about, for the time being anyway.

"I don't hate you, Stefan."

Maybe it's redundant after the memory lane slide show, but with Stefan you kind of need to talk something to death before he might get it. And this isn't something Damon's willing to do half-way.

"I know."

And doesn't that just make it all worth it. Getting tortured by Klaus, the mind link, the touchy feely moment, the vulnerability... But Stefan finally knows.

"Let's go home,"

Stefan nods and they fall into step beside each other. They're standing a little closer than normal, their shoulders bumping as they walk, but Damon needs the contact and he's pretty sure Stefan does too.

Well, no. He knows Stefan does too – can feel it.

"Yeah, I'm going to have to look into that. Maybe judgy knows something,"

Stefan laughs. "Good luck with that,"

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