Rating: PG-13 - I suppose, mild language.

A/N: Thank you for your support, I love reading all your feedback! I think, if FF does decide to enforce M rating on my stories - which, to be honest, I don't think they will *crosses fingers* -, then I'll probably move my work to Wattpad because it's a site I already know and love. I just never really wanted to post my fan-fiction on that site, it was mainly for my original stories, but if it comes to it I will give whoever wants to follow my story the link. :)

Enjoy!

...

Chapter Nine

Damon arrived ten minutes early to meet his brother at the Boarding House, he found that he was way too eager to see his old residence. He missed the musky smell of the old wood. But when he entered he wasn't greeted by the face of his brother, but instead he was met with a face he knew much too well, but, also, didn't know at all.

"Elena," Damon slipped her his infamous smirk and narrowed his eyes, knowing that something wasn't quite right but not knowing exactly what. The Katherine look-alike took a cautious step towards him, her eyes round and wary. A sympathetic smile took place on her lips.

"Damon, how are you feeling?" He noted that she was rubbing her hands together, slightly, from nerves, and every now and again she would tuck her silky black hair behind her ears and look up at him with large brown eyes. Studying her from a distance was different than studying her up close, there was so much he'd missed when watching her from afar. So many emotions that had never arised from a distance, but being so close to her - so close he could simply reach out and brush his thumb over her delicate, pale skin - clouded his thoughts and kept him from properly focusing.

He stayed quiet, tilted his head to the right whilst squinting his eyes and sliding one corner of his lips up into a devious smirk. He entertained the expression as he raked his eyes over her form, picturing long ringlets tangled into a bun instead of the straight locks that flowed over her breasts. A violet dress that bunched up at the hips and spilled around her feet, that would whisper against the floor each time she took a step, instead of the skinny jeans and simple, long sleeved, cotton top.

When he finally decided to speak, he didn't answer her conversational question but returned it with another. "Where's my brother?" He cocked an eyebrow, his eyes quickly glancing from left to right before landing back on a fidgeting Elena. She shrugged in a way that was meant to look half-hearted, but was tense and forced.

"I'm not sure, I was actually waiting for him. He called me about half an hour ago, his voice sounded a little shaky. He said it was urgent." He noticed the way she wouldn't hold his gaze, and kept her chin tilted to the floorboards. The subtle shifting of weight from one foot to the other. Nodding his head, he took a step towards her to test her reaction. Her eyes twitched from his eyes to his lips, watching him with caution and, unless he was mistaken, fear.

Then, in one swift movement, he twirled on his feet and let his gaze wander around the large room. From the dark wood and framed paintings to the staircase, through the doorway right in front of him.

"Stefan?" He called out, his tone playful, humoured. It was like playing hide and seek; he knew Stefan was in here somewhere, he just didn't know where. He stilled his eyes on the bannister of the stairs, expecting some sort of movement or sound that would give away his position. But the Boarding House was deadly silent.

He chuckled with irritation, placing Elena with a hard glare. "What are you doing?" He questioned, taking an intimidating step forward. Her eyes jumped to his foot as she swallowed. Those bright eyes looking just as innocent as Katherine's once had. But just as she was about to stutter a reply, a small breath of cold air tickled the hairs on Damon's neck and he turned around just in time to snatch his brother's wrist in his fingers, the other hand finding a tight grip around his neck.

The tip of a needle stared Damon straight in the eye, mere millimetres from piercing his pupil. He snapped Stefan's wrist to the left, the crack of his bone echoing throughout the Boarding House and the sound of plastic colliding with the wooden floorboards as the syringe fell from his grip. Stefan gasped, letting his injured arm fall to his side as it healed, the other trying to pry Damon's grip from his throat.

"That," Damon glanced down at the needle. "Would have hurt like a bitch. Injecting Vervain into my eyeball, Stefan? Getting a little creative aren't we." He tightened his fingers on Stefan's throat, crushing his windpipe even more. "What ever happened to a friendly catch up, brother?" Stefan couldn't get the words out to answer, and Damon wasn't thinking about releasing his grip any time soon.

That was, until, he saw from the corner of his eye pale fingers snaking round his shoe and curling around the syringe. He planted his foot down on the wrist, effectively stopping the owner from retreiving the sharp object. He kept the pressure gentle, knowing it was only Elena, and what harm could she do? Then Damon had an idea.

He threw Stefan by his throat across the room, gaining time to quickly maneuver around Elena and clasp her hands behind her back in only one of his. With the other, he trailed affectionate fingers through her sleek hair. But before Damon could say any teasing words, his brother was back on his feet with his hands in the air as a surrender.

"Damon, let her go." He sounded worried, but Damon recognised the misleading tone. "Please, she has nothing to with this."

"Nothing to do with it? She was going to stab me in the back," then he turned his lips inward, pressing them against Elena's ear and whispered, "Do you really want a boyfriend who uses you as bait?" He chuckled breathily, his lips lingering only a second longer before he looked back up at his brother, who seemed to have inched closer.

"Damon, just- please, leave her out of this." He dropped his left arm to his side but kept his right in place, taking careful steps forward as if he was approaching a dangerous animal. Damon smirked at the thought, he liked invoking fear. But Stefan's fear felt more fake than anything, something wasn't quite fitting into place. Damon's detective skills were failing him today, since he couldn't figure out exactly what wasn't matching up.

"But she's the main point, Stef. Elena Gilbert," he whispered her name against her cheek. "The twenty-first century Katherine Pierce; let's see if you live up to reputation." He winked, a mischievous smile twitching the corners of his lips. "Your name's on everyone's mind: mine, Stefan's, Klaus'..." He taunted. Elena struggled against his hold, anger curling into her features which only elicited a pleased laugh from Damon.

The creak of a floorboard broke Damon's concentration, his head jolting towards the stairs in search of the misplaced footstep. When he saw nothing, his gaze slowly slid towards his brother.

"Stefan, who're you hiding?" He thinned his eyes, scrutinizing the vampire carefully but kept his main attention remained on the lookout for any signs of movement. His brother took on a look of nervousness.

"It's an old house, Damon, creaks happen all the time." He reasoned. Damon nodded his head in mock agreement. It was almost as if what happened next, happened in a flash. All Damon can remember is seeing his brother charging towards him in a blur, seeing a bolt of blonde from the lounge's entrance and then a piercing of his skin on both sides of his neck. An excrutiating burn spread through his veins. His hand released Elena's wrists and, from the blurring of his sight, he could only just see her running to Stefan's safety before his knees buckled beneath him.

It was when his back hit the floor that the world faded to black.

...

His eyelids fluttered open and shut, everytime he attempted to see he was greeted with darkness until his retina's adjusted and he was able to make out shapes before fully being aware of his surroundings. His head faintly pounding, he let out a groan and rubbed at his neck, rolling onto his side against the concrete flooring of the Boarding House's personal cell. He recalled the last time he was thrown in here, by the same damn person. He briefly hoped he wasn't about to be starved to death again, or worse, forced to survive on Stefan's ridiculous diet.

The clearing of a throat broke the heavy silence that almost suffocated Damon, he was thankful someone had decided to come keep him company. He noticed his body was weakened considerably, there was no way he could whip out a bashing on his brother and escape. He simply didn't have the energy. He shuffled his way over to the nearest wall, propping himself up against it, he focused his sight towards the door. Behind the bars, he could see the orange candle light flickering upon his brother's face.

"Damn you, Stefan." He huffed out with what little amusement he had the energy to use. He heard the creak of the bolt as his brother slid the lock open, closing the door behind him. The next thing he knew, his eyes were burning from the intensity of a white light. He held his hand up to shield his eyes as they recovered and readjusted. He chuckled without purpose when he rested his gaze, clearly now, upon Stefan who was crouching in front of him.

"You left me no choice, Damon. I'm doing what's best for Elena. If you could remember..." There was a moment of hesitation as Stefan mulled over his next words. "The way you feel for her, then we wouldn't have a problem. You could fight the compulsion against what ever Klaus wants you to do. But you don't, so you can't, and that puts Elena at risk." Damon laughed in immediate reply.

"Please," he began, his voice grating up his throat. "If Klaus wants to hurt your dear little Gilbert, he doesn't need me for it. Locking me up in here stops nothing and you know it."

"No, but it's one less thing to worry about." Stefan countered, lacking any emotion at all, spare for arrogance. "Where did you go? You left without saying a word-"

"I said goodbye," Damon interjected matter of factly and Stefan had to pause to remember. That single goodbye recalled many memories to Damon, it meant a lot more that he'd intended. He really hated his sentimental side, if he could, he would stake that part of him.

"That's not what I meant. You didn't tell me you were leaving Mystic Falls, not to mention leaving with Klaus," Stefan's eyebrows shot off his forehead. "Do you know how long Elena had me looking for you?"

"Well you didn't do a very good job," Damon scoffed. "And don't bother with the whole, Elena really cares for you shit, cause frankly I couldn't give a fuck." There's the lie of the day, Damon thought absently, but soon shoved the thought aside and pushed everything Katherine-related to the back of his mind with it.

"What is this, Damon? Have you turned dark side again, is that what's going on? You weren't getting enough attention as it was, so you decided to run away with your new friend and make us all worry about you again." Stefan spat angrily, standing up and doing a lap of the room before coming to a stand-still by Damon's feet. "I'm sick of your bullshit, Damon!" He yelled, and Damon had to fight with his urge to laugh at the sudden outburst. Against his will a few chuckles managed to escape and Stefan turned on him with a look that could kill.

"I'm sorry," he stifled his laughter. "Dark side?" Stefan rolled his eyes with a sigh, crouching back down. "I would have thought you'd be happy I can't remember my feelings for her, you don't have to worry about competition now." He wiggled his eyebrows in teasing. As a side thought, he added, "I'd have won her, anyway." Though he knew he wouldn't, but he didn't have to share that with the world.

"You make her sound like she's some sort of game,"

"She is. Just like Katherine; we're the players, Stefan, we're always the players. It's you against me, always, brother." There was a sharp silence that cut through the air for a moment, where Stefan and Damon just looked between each other in deep thought. Damon didn't know what Stefan was thinking, he couldn't even guess. But Damon was thinking about 1864, and he really didn't want to be.

"So what is now, Damon, you and Klaus against me?" Were the words that lifted up the heavy weight of silence. Stefan's voice was cold and collected, which gave-way that he was, in fact also, thinking about something that tugged at emotional chords.

"No," Damon licked his lips in thought. "We're all against each other."

...

A/N: What does that get you thinking about? :D I'd love to know(: I really hope you enjoyed the chapter, I was dead happy that I managed to write this as quickly as I did - though it would have been up yesterday but my internet providers had a few complications, which was a major ballache. Anyway, I'm feeling that the characters are a little OOC, Damon especially. :/ I don't know...they've probably been OOC the whole way through lmao.

Yeah, so like I said before, if M rating does get enforced on my story, then I'll just move on to Wattpad I guess. It's easiest for me cause I use that site quite a bit and it's not complicated xD I'm a simple minded person - I can't even figure out LJ. :P