Going outside of my comfort zone with this one; the idea bit me because I've seen so many AU stories where one of the main character's gender if flipped. I've never seen on in TVD archive, but this is the one I write most in . . .

The one in which Stefan Salvatore is Stephanie Salvatore. Genderbent Alternative Universe. This is a one-shot. Might do an epilogue.

Disclaimer: I do now own The Vampire Diaries or anything recognizable.

To Build a Home

Having a sister is like having a best friend you can't get rid of. You know whatever you do, they'll still be there.

-Amy Li

Stephanie Salvatore was born premature on a windy day in November, 1847, to parents Giuseppe and Victoire Salvatore in Mystic Falls, Virginia. She had a single sibling who was seven years older than she, called Damon Salvatore.

The night Stephanie was born was a cold evening, with uncommon snow blowing in the winds. The citizens of Mystic Falls were stunned by the early snowfall in an area where snow wasn't exactly common to start with, and they whispered about snow storms and blizzards. Damon lurked around at the edge of his mother's bedroom door, peeking inside as his mother shrieked with pain and midwife had disappeared down at the end of the bed. Damon's nurse, a kindly young black woman, took notice of Damon and quickly ushered the little boy from the room.

"Damon Salvatore," She scolded, "Just what do you think you're doing? Men, even young men, are to stay away from the birthing room."

Damon stuck out his bottom lip. "I just wanted to meet my new brother."

His nurse shook her head and ruffled Damon's thick, curly dark hair. "It might be a little sister," She reminded him, but Damon scrunched up his nose.

"But I want a brother," He said stubbornly, "Someone who'll play with me and ride horses and to chase Mr. Gilbert's daughter when she's mean to me."

Damon's nurse smiled, her lips tugging up in the corners. "Well, I'll have you know that girls can be just as much fun, Damon Salvatore. Besides, you could be her White Knight."

"White Knight?"

"Her Knight in shining armor – someone to protect her. And I bet she'd help to with Mr. Gilbert's daughter when she trips you on the walk to church," She explained.

Damon's small face was thoughtful. Reluctantly, he said, "I . . . guess a little sister wouldn't be so bad."

"I thought you'd come 'round," His nurse said, hiding another smile.

Giuseppe Salvatore walked passed quickly and spied Damon and his nurse. "Come along, Damon, the baby's been born. Quickly, now, let us go." He dismissed Damon's nurse without a second glance, but Damon hugged the woman hurriedly before following his father back down the hall to his mother. The Salvatore men walked into the room after the midwife opened the door softly, putting a finger to her lips.

"It's a girl," She whispered, "But she's a slip of a thing and Mrs. Salvatore's exhausted."

Giuseppe nodded and put his hand on Damon's shoulder and walked them farther into the room. In the large bed that sat in the center of the room, Victoire laid still with a small bundle in her arms, beaming. She looked up at her husband and son as Damon crawled into the bed next to her.

"I'm going to name her Stephanie," Victoire murmured.

"Stephanie Salvatore," Giuseppe said proudly.

Damon lifted a finger, checked for griminess, and poked Stephanie's cheek gently.

"She's all soft," He observed, "And really little."

"Damon," Giuseppe said, and Damon's head shot over to her his father as the man sat in the chair next to the bed.

"Yes, father?"

"I want you to promise you'll protect your sister, no matter what," The man's face was lined, and his sharp blue eyes intent on Damon's matching ones.

"I promise," Damon swore, "I'll watch over Stephanie. I'll be her White Knight."

Victoire sighed happily, and baby Stephanie gurgled in her arms.


Ten year old Stephanie Salvatore trailed after her big brother, her large green eyes wide. Damon's hand was wrapped around hers, despite her protests that she was ten, about to be eleven, and that she didn't need him to hold her hand like she was a baby. The seventeen year old boy just rolled his eyes.

"Where're we goin', Damon?" Stephanie asked finally.

"We're going to go pick some flowers for Jonathan Gilbert's daughter," Damon said, "You know, those pretty ones she likes?"

Stephanie frowned. "The ones that only grow on the Lockwood's property?"

"Those are the ones," Damon agreed.

"But . . . we're not supposed to go over there without Father," Stephanie said, tugging on one of the hastily made braids Damon had shoved her hair into.

"What Father doesn't know, won't hurt him," Damon winked slyly and smile lit up Stephanie's features.

The two Salvatore's continued down the dirt road and made it to the Lockwood property fifteen minutes later.

"Okay, Steph, here's what you have to do," Damon said, stopping and putting his large hands on Stephanie's scrawny shoulders, "I'm going to go and pick the flowers, and you're going to be the lookout. Can you do that?"

Steph nodded her head eagerly. "Uh huh."

"Now, if you see someone," Damon said, eyebrows furrowed in thought, "Whistle like this." He whistled a soft but piercing tune. "Ready?"

"Ready," Steph said, becoming serious. Damon slunk through the hedge and headed over to the Lockwood's extensive garden, while Steph stood high on her tippy toes. She kept her eyes open for any of Lockwood's to appear.

"What in the hell are you doing?" A voice yelled, and Steph whirled around faster than she thought physically possible.

Behind her was Jonathan Gilbert's other child, a son that was twenty years old, and his best friend, George Lockwood, who was eighteen. The Lockwood boy looked furious, and the Gilbert boy was merely curious.

"Um . . ." Steph clasped her hands behind her back and stuttered around for few moments.

"Well?" The Lockwood boy had a horrible temper around this time of the month for some odd reason, Steph knew, but he was usually a mild mannered young man. "What are you doing, lurking around my yard? Does your father know that you're here?"

Stephanie swallowed thickly and raised two of her fingers to her lips and whistled. The sound was long and sharp, drawing the attention of a few woodland animals before scaring them off.

"What in the world . . . ?" George started forward and grabbed Steph's arm roughly. The Gilbert boy stepped up and shouted for George to let go, but the Lockwood boy was having none of it.

"Who's with you?" He growled.

"Me!" George looked up in time to get his mouth punched by Damon's rapidly speeding fist. Steph ducked out of George's grip and lifted her thick skirts as she ran a bit of a ways away, watching Damon beat the Lockwood boy into the ground.

"Don't you ever touch my sister or any other girl like that, again!" Damon yelled and Steph heard a heard the distinctive crunch of a nose's cartilage. She winced in sympathy. No one messed with Damon without getting worse off.

Damon glared at the Gilbert boy, but he just lifted his hands and stepped away.

"I don't condone his actions, Damon," He said, and Damon nodded before stalking towards Stephanie.

"Come on, Steph," Damon held out his hand which Stephanie gratefully took. He squeezed her hand and asked, "Did he hurt you?"

Stephanie thought that she might have a ring of bruises around her upper arm, but there was no way she was going to tell him that. "I'm fine."

"Alright then," Damon said, flashing Stephanie a small smile.

She smiled back. "What about your flowers?"

"Eh, Jonathan Gilbert's daughter isn't that pretty."


Stephanie waited impatiently on the steps of the Salvatore home, fidgeting in her voluminous green dress. Her light brown hair was done up elaborately, piled high onto her head. She was a small teenager; at maybe 5' 2" and slim, she wasn't intimidating anyone. Stephanie fidgeted again.

Finally, a carriage pulled up and a black maid stepped out, and helped a beautiful woman out after her. The girl had dark hair and wore a dress even more voluminous that Stephanie's. Inwardly, Steph wondered how on God's green earth she could even move in something that tight and so large.

"Hello," Steph greeted, curtsying, "I'm Stephanie Salvatore. My father is regretfully doing some business in his office and my older brother is away in the war. Welcome to our home." She carefully did not choke up as she mentioned Damon. She missed him like he was one of her limbs – a part of her and necessary.

"I'm Katherine," The girl smiled pleasantly, "It's so nice to meet you, Stephanie. I think we'll have a great time together during my stay with your family."

Steph smiled tightly. "It is regretful that your family passed in that fire in Atlanta, Ms. Katherine."

Katherine tilted her head, and her face scrunched up into a mournful expression. "Yes, it is. I shall miss them with all of my heart. But, I'm sure that you must feel the same, what with your brother gone in the war, and your mother passed."

Steph's lips pressed together. "Yes, I guess you're right, Ms. Katherine."

Katherine quirked the side of her lip, her bereavement forgotten, "Call me Katherine."

"Steph, then," Stephanie said, not up to being rude to their guest. "Shall I show you where you'll be staying?"

"That would be lovely," Katherine smiled, but instead of the reassuring feeling she was intending with it, Steph felt ice encase her heart, and squeeze it in a vice like grip.

Stephanie had shown Katherine to her bed chambers and had wanted to quickly leave and forget about her burning curiosity about Katherine. Her guest had other ideas.

"Steph, come sit with me," Katherine smiled, her dark eyes dancing. "Let's have a girl to girl talk." Stephanie warily picked up her skirts and walked over to Katherine's bed and sat down next to her.

"Emily," Katherine raised her voice, and Stephanie whipped her head around and spotted the dark maid she'd seen earlier. "You're excused." Emily inclined her head and left the room as quietly as a ghost.

"You must be lonely," Katherine said suddenly.

"Excuse me?" Stephanie asked, eyebrows rising as she turned to look at the other girl.

"You must be lonely being the only Salvatore girl," Katherine said, her eyes raking Stephanie's form, "You're very beautiful – do you take after your mother?"

Self-conscious, Stephanie said, "People have always said that Damon looks exactly like our mother. Except for the eyes – they're Father's eyes. I'm a bit of both, I guess. I have my mother's face shape and her green eyes."

Katherine nodded. "Do you have any friends in the town to introduce me to?"

Stephanie had to keep herself from saying that all the girls in Mystic Falls were shallow and dimwitted, and that she much preferred climbing trees with Damon and his friends to sitting around with the girls Father had approved of.

"A few friends," Stephanie settled on saying, "None so close as to waste our time with at this moment."

Something in Katherine's eyes flashed, and her smile this time seemed more real, as if she had read Stephanie's mind.

"Steph," Katherine said, "I think we'll be good friends. Sisters, almost."

Stephanie almost believed her.

The day Damon came home on leave was one that Katherine and Stephanie were out in the garden-like hedges. Her father was discussing business with the town council. When she'd asked about it, Giuseppe had smiled kindly and kissed the top of her head.

"Now, now, Stephanie. That's men business – nothing for a beauty like you to worry about."

As soon as his back was turned, Stephanie made a face. "'A beauty like you,'" She scoffed and stomped unladylike to the garden and had found Katherine there.

"Are there any boys you fancy?" Katherine asked her, a teasing smile on her lips as they walked through the hedges.

"No one in particular," Stephanie said.

"Oh?" Katherine's tone was curious. "I find boys . . . delightful."

"I'm unsure if it is just Mystic Falls' boys are the entire gender in general, but I've yet to find a gentlemen I'd like to marry," Stephanie said. "Though my father has been searching for suitor since I turned sixteen."

"I remember my father doing that," Katherine said, "but I'll let you in on a secret."

Intrigued, Stephanie leant forward. "What is it?"

"I fell in love," Katherine whispered, her breath on Steph's ear. "We . . . well, I'm certainly not a maiden anymore. There was a child."

Steph's eyes widened and she leant away from Katherine, "No! Truly?" The news was scandalous. "Does my father know?" Stephanie couldn't see her father still agreeing to take Katherine in, despite her unsavory . . . tendencies.

"Of course not," Katherine dismissed. Her head tilted to the side, and her brown eyes seemed to see something at the other side of the courtyard.

Steph followed her gaze and nearly squealed with delight. "Damon!"

"Hello, sister!" Damon's smile was wide as were his arms when he enveloped Stephanie into a tight hug.

"I've missed you," Stephanie said quietly.

"I missed you too, Steph." She could tell the moment that Damon caught sight of Katherine. His arms loosened around her, and he twirled Steph to stand next to him. "And who is your enchanting friend, Steph?"

"This is Katherine," Stephanie introduced, "Her family died in a fire in Atlanta. Father's taken her in for an indefinite amount of time."

Damon leant down and kissed Katherine's hand and the other girl giggled a high tinkling laugh. Steph rolled her eyes. All girls fell for her brother's charms.

"I'll be in the den," Steph said, "And do watch out, Katherine. My brother's a bit of a ladies' man." Her eyes cut to Katherine. There was a warning in her green irises. Don't mess around with my brother, or you'll have me to deal with.

Katherine smirked.

Stephanie found out Katherine was a vampire on a day like any other. Damon and her father had been arguing loudly, their voice nearly shaking the house's foundations. She'd read and then written a bit in her journal. She'd caught Katherine feeding in town behind a Jonathan Gilbert's store.

Before she could scream, Katherine was behind her and putting a hand across Stephanie's mouth to quiet her. Steph bit Katherine's hand, but the other girl only laughed.

"Come now, Steph," Katherine whispered into her ear, "You just saw me drain that man of blood. You think that biting me is going to make me let you go?"

Stephanie started to struggle viciously, kicking and thrashing in Katherine's arms to no avail. The dark headed girl took off at speeds faster than Steph's comprehension to the woods, where she deposited Steph to the ground.

She landed on a bed of leaves and other foliage. "Oof!" She sucked in a breath and started to screech a loudly as she could.

"Shh!" Katherine hissed and knelt in front of Steph. "You're going to stop screaming and trying to get people to notice you're missing."

Stephanie felt her mouth close and her screams die off. "You're – you're one of those demons Father's talked about."

Katherine quirked an eyebrow. "I thought you weren't allowed into those meetings."

"Damon's good for other stuff besides kissing, not that you'd know," Stephanie said, then thought about her brother. "Oh, God. You've been feeding from him, haven't you!" It wasn't a question.

"Calm down," Katherine said and Steph felt her breathing even out again. "Damon knows what's going on. He's in this of his own accord. He knows I'm a vampire."

Stephanie started to hyperventilate again. "How – how could he do this? It's everything Father's against-"

"Oh, and you're the perfect little Daddy's princess, are you?" Katherine smirked. Her dark eyes probed Steph's and the girl with lighter hair noticed when Katherine's pupils enlarged this time. "You're not afraid of me. You know I'm a vampire and you're not afraid at all. We will continue as everything was before. I have plans for us, Stephanie," Katherine said, "Plans for you, me, and Damon. We'll travel the world. Won't that make Damon happy? He'll have the love of his life and his baby sister to protect, and I'll have a sister of my own."

All fear of Katherine melted away into nothing and Stephanie felt herself smiling and nodding along with Katherine. Her plans sounded completely plausible.

"Here you go, open up," Katherine said and took a bite out of her wrist, letting the blood run freely. Steph's mouth opened of its own accord, though her green eyes were widened at the sight of blood. She'd always been a bit squeamish. Katherine put her wrist to Stephanie's mouth.


Damon found out about Stephanie knowing about Katherine shortly after her discovery, but Katherine had told her not to tell Damon about the blood exchange. So she said nothing.

Damon was alright with Steph knowing about his girlfriend as long as she swore to not tell their father about it – so like the many secrets Stephanie found herself keeping, she locked it away and threw out the key.

Time passed the vampires existence in Mystic Falls became more wildly known, causing Stephanie to attempt to persuade her father that not all vampires were horrid creatures. Thinking she'd gotten through to him, Steph went and met up with Katherine later that evening.

Everything went to hell starting with Katherine drinking Stephanie's blood and falling to floor.

The hours after that were a blur in Stephanie's mind, staring with Katherine looking up at her with betrayed eyes and ended with a gunshot wound to the gut.

Then she woke up.

Stephanie sat up gasping for breath, her lungs expanding and contracting faster than air could get inside. Damon was at her side in an instant, calming her racing heart by rubbing her back soothingly.

"Hey, hey, Steph, it's okay. Stephanie, listen to me," Damon's words were there, but so were all these memories about things Katherine made her forget, things Katherine made her believe, and things Katherine made her feel.

"Are we vampires?" Stephanie whispered.

"No," Damon said, relieved that she was responding, "No, we're not vampires. And we don't have to be, Steph. We can choose not to. It's not worth it if Katherine's dead."

Before she knew what she was doing, Stephanie tore out of Damon's grip, standing. "It's all about Katherine, is it?" She didn't know what was wrong with Damon. "She compelled me, and you're still in love with her?"

Damon stared at her with shock. "She . . . Katherine compelled you?" He was frozen.

"Yes! She compelled me to be okay with everything, and to-to-to drink her blood and let her take mine. I'm glad that bitch is dead! I knew there was something off with her when she came to Mystic Falls," Steph sat down heavily, breathing roughly. She looked down at her neck and felt a lapis lazuli ring in her throat's hollow, hanging by a silver chain.

"Just like Katherine's," She whispered savagely.

"I didn't know," Damon said as he scooted over to her. "I didn't realize, Stephanie. I – Katherine compelled me sometimes too."

"But you chose this, didn't you?" Steph asked, the bite gone from her voice now.

"Yes," Damon said. "She didn't have to compel me for that."

They sat in stifling silence for a few moments, until Stephanie stood. "I'm going to say good-bye to Father, Damon. I'll be back."

"We'll watch our last sunset together," Damon offered, his blue eyes piercing her. "Do you want me to go with you?"

"No. No, I'm going by myself," Stephanie said, brushing off her dress. "Unless, of course you want to say good-bye as well . . .?"

Damon snorted. "The old man's probably just fine without me, Steph. Let's be honest with ourselves – Father hated me and adored you. End of story."

"That's not true," Stephanie said, frowning.

"It's not?" Damon scoffed cynically.

"Please, Damon," Stephanie said. "Come with me." Her eyelashes fluttered over her bright green eyes, and Damon sighed. He never could resist anything his baby sister wanted.

They went to their home quickly walked to Giuseppe's office to see the man at his desk. When the elder Salvatore saw his children, he stood quickly.

"Dear God," He said with alarm.

"Even in our death, you only feel shame?" Stephanie asked, her eyes dimming.

"You're one of them now," Their father said, coming around the desk slowly. His eyes slid between the two siblings. "You both are."

Damon was content to let Steph talk. "No, father, we've come to say good-bye."

"I watched you die," Giuseppe said, "I watched both of you die."

Steph felt a frown pull at her face. "You were there when we were, when we were shot?" She stuttered a lit, hurt. Tears gathered in the corners of her eyes.

Voice hard, Giuseppe said, "I pulled the triggers myself."

Devastated, Stephanie asked, "You killed your own children?"

"You bastard," Damon hissed.

"You were both dead to me the moment you sided with the vampires," Giuseppe lashed out, "I only thank God that your mother isn't alive to see the disgrace you've brought-"

Stephanie was already shaking her head before their father was finishing speaking, "We haven't turned yet! We're going to let ourselves die, Father please!"

"That's right. You are!" Giuseppe grabbed something from behind his desk and broke it across his knee. He grabbed the piece of wood and went at Damon first.

"No!" Steph shouted, shoving their father out of the way and into the wall. "Don't hurt him!"

Damon turned wide eyes to his little sister and then a smell hit his nose.


He gravitated towards their father, drawn in by the potent smell. Damon knelt on the ground next to Giuseppe and saw the wood stuck through their father's chest.

"Oh, the irony," Damon murmured.

"Damon . . . ?" Stephanie hesitantly started.

He didn't hear her.

"Get away from me," Giuseppe growled.

Damon was entranced with the scent and ripped the piece of wood out of his father's chest, making Giuseppe scream.

"Damon!" Steph rushed to her brother's side, but Damon was already touching bloodied fingers to his lips. Stephanie's eyes rounded to the size of saucers as Damon cried out in pain and his eyes turned black. Veins ran down his face around his eyes.

"Damon?" Stephanie asked. She reached out her hands towards her brother and father. Damon grabbed Giuseppe and bit his neck, making Stefan scrabble backwards.

Giuseppe's eyes fluttered closed and Damon let him drop to the floor with a thud. Damon turned to Stephanie and saw her horrified face. Instantly, the veins disappeared and his beloved blue eyes cleared.

"Steph, Steph, come here," Damon approached Stephanie and she forced herself not to flinch. "Do you trust me?" He reached out a bloodstained hand.

Stephanie looked between her dead father and her vampire brother.

She took Damon's hand.

Review? Please? How was it?