13-Year-old Stefan quietly opened the front door of the house he lived in with his older brother. Even though he knew trying to be quiet was no use because of Damon's vampire senses. As he closed the door and set down his backpack he heard Damon call from the kitchen
"Stefan, come here."
He doesn't sound mad, Stefan thought, but Damon's mood was always hard to judge.
Stefan had gotten de-aged thirteen years ago during a run in with a witch. Damon had been raising him ever since with some help from Lexi. They weren't sure what was going to happen when Stefan reached 17, the age he had been stuck at for 146 years before the accident. Stefan didn't remember anything about his "former life". The transformation had been hardest on Damon, he had had to step up and raise a kid. In Lexi's opinion Damon made an excellent father figure. His love for Stefan outweighed his self-destructive tendencies.
Stefan slowly made his way to the kitchen. He rounded the corner and saw Damon standing and Alaric sitting at the table, weapons laid out in front of him. Alaric and Damon take it upon themselves to keep the bad guys in the supernatural community of Durham, North Carolina at bay. Alaric is a history teacher turned vampire hunter after the disappearance of his wife. Stefan stood in the doorway while Damon and Ric argued about something. Damon looked up.
" How was school today" he shot at Stefan.
Stefan couldn't tell if Damon knew he had skipped or not. Damon was anal about Stefan going places alone especially if there were any bad vampires around. When he had gotten de-aged Stefan had been reduced to a sort of vampire/human hybrid. He was stronger and faster than humans but not nearly as strong as vampires. He could either eat food or drink blood for nourishment. But the smell of blood could get him to feed if he was hungry enough. Damon was afraid that those with grudges against the Salvatore's would take advantage of Stefan's weakened state.
Stefan decided to assume that Damon didn't know he had skipped.
"It was fine". He answered.
Damon's eyes narrowed and Stefan knew immediately that he had said the wrong thing.
"You want to tell me why I got a call from the school today, saying you disappeared after lunch."
Stefan frowned at the floor not answering.
"Didn't I just speak to you about wandering off alone, what was so important that you had to leave school" Damon prompted.
Stefan just shrugged, still looking at the floor.
"Stefan." Damon said raising his voice, startling Stefan into looking up.
"Nothing… I just didn't want to be there"
Damon took a few steps toward him. "I want the truth"
"That is the truth, I just walked around town and then came home." Stefan exclaimed indignantly.
Damon scrutinized Stefan for a minute. "I'll be walking you to and from school from now on, until I can trust you again."
"What?" Stefan exclaimed, "No, that's not fair"
"I don't want to hear it, I'm not changing my mind. I don't know what has gotten into you lately"
Stefan just glared back, if looks could kill…and Damon was struck by how much like his old self he seemed, always moody. Stefan turned to walk out but Damon grabbed him by the arm.
"Have you had blood yet this week?"
Stefan mostly ate regular food but Damon made him drink blood once a week to satisfy his craving for it.
"I'm not hungry" Stefan retorted trying to pull out of Damon's grasp.
"That's not what I asked you" Damon replied, "I don't want you to get too thirsty and loose control."
"That was one time Damon, I'm older now"
Stefan was surrounded all day by Humans, smelling their blood. He had been sort of homeschooled until he begged Damon to send him to real school which Damon was very wary about. Stefan had lost control at school once before. The girl lived but Damon had had to compel a lot of people. Then they had moved to North Carolina where they met Alaric.
Damon poured a glass of blood and set it on the counter in front of Stefan.
"Drink." He said
"I said I'm not hungry". Stefan answered.
"I don't care, you can stand there until you are then"
Stefan pouted fighting an internal battle. He couldn't decide whether to just appease Damon or keep his pride. Pride winning out he pulled his cell phone out of his pocket. Damon, without missing a beat grabbed it out of his hand and set it on the counter.
Stefan made a noise of frustration and Damon and Alaric went back to their conversation. Stefan began playing with the glass, bringing it closer and closer to the edge of the counter. Damon noticed out of the corner of his eye but kept quiet, it was Stefan's funeral.
"Stefan, Ric and I are going out on a job tonight, so you'll have to get ready to go to Lexi's"
Still playing with the glass, not drinking it, "What if I don't want to go to Lexi's?" Stefan answered smartly.
"You don't get a choice" Damon shot back.
There was a short pause and then a loud crash as Stefan let the glass fall and it shattered, blood splattering his shoes. He stared at the mess, not wanting to see Damon's face. Everyone froze for a minute. Then Damon walked around the table to stand in front of Stefan.
"You can go to your room now" he said in a dangerously quiet voice.
In one final act of defiance Stefan reached to take his phone with him but before he could grab it Damon had him by the arm. He turned Stefan towards the door giving him a harsh smack to the behind to propel him forward.
"Oww" Stefan exclaimed
"You can stay in your room and think about your attitude" Damon said to Stefan's back
"I hate you" Stefan flung back, and he was gone.
Damon stared after him until he heard Stefan's bedroom door slam, which was even audible to Ric's human ears.
"Whew" said Alaric "I thought you were gonna kill him."
Damon turned. "I still might, what a brat."
Upstairs Stefan threw himself on his bed and let the tears fall. He had so many emotions coursing through him. He was frustrated, sad, embarrassed, he didn't want Damon to be mad at him, but he was stubborn.
Damon was fuming downstairs; he was cleaning up the broken glass. What has gotten into Stefan he thought, missing the days when Stefan was little and cute and also when he was a self-sufficient hundred year old vampire.
Damon heard the front door open again and heard Lexi call out hello as she walked into the kitchen.
"What's going on?" she asked
"Ric and I are going hunting tonight, remember, you said you'd watch Stefan"
"Oh yeah, where is he?" Stefan usually greeted her right away.
Damon gave a short mirthless laugh.
"What happened?" Lexi asked
"Stefan and I had a disagreement, I sent him to his room"
Lexi sighed. "What did you argue about?"
"Well, Stefan skipped school today, I'm also pretty sure there's a new vampire in town"
"Where'd he go?"
"He claims he just went walking, I told him I'll be taking him to and from school until I can trust him to get there, and stay there, by himself."
Lexi then noticed the broke pieces of the glass in the sink, covered in blood.
Damon followed her gaze, "Stefan threw a tantrum." He said by way of explanation.
"Great. Angsty teenager Stefan, what do we do?"
"Treat him like we have for the past thirteen years…. Like our kid." Damon answered
Lexi nodded and then made her way to Stefan's room.
As Lexi walked in Stefan was digging through a drawer, looking for something.
He looked up, "Hey Lexi" he said nervously. He knew that Damon probably told her what he had done. She definitely didn't condone his wandering off alone either.
Lexi sat on Stefan's bed, "Come here, want to tell me about today?"
Stefan came to stand in front of her. She could see him struggling to find the right words, refusing to meet her eye.
"Stef?" she said gently, seeing that he had been crying.
Stefan looked up and said as pathetically as he could muster, tearfully, "Damon hit me."
Lexi's face darkened, grabbing Stefan's wrist she turned him to the side and landed a quick smack on his behind. "Don't you try to manipulate me Stefan Salvatore."
Stefan stared at Lexi, too stunned to react. He would never have believed that his Lexi would smack him if it hadn't just happened.
Lexi knew how Damon worked and he would never "hit" Stefan in the way Stefan was trying to make her to believe. Damon would however dole out a spanking if it was necessary.
"Tell me the whole truth" Lexi said sternly holding Stefan in front of her.
Startled into being completely honest Stefan said " I skipped school and dropped a glass on purpose, and Damon smacked me and sent me to my room."
"Why did you skip school?" Lexi continued the interrogation.
Stefan paused for a minute "…Because the girl I like likes my friend Mike" Stefan answered shamefacedly
Lexi almost laughed but kept herself in check, what a perfectly teenage boy thing to do. Her tone softened.
"Oh honey, you can't go wandering off alone, and you have to stop giving Damon a hard time."
"He just makes me so mad, and now he's going to walk me to and from school and I don't want him to. I'm not a baby."
"You shouldn't have skipped school then" came Damon's retort from the doorway. He had been leaning against the doorframe, arms folded, unnoticed.
He addressed Lexi. "Ric and I are leaving." He turned to Stefan, "Behave, Stefan." Damon demanded with a look that promised trouble if Stefan did otherwise.
As Damon left Lexi glanced back to Stefan taking in his pout and petulant look.