A/N: I refuse to let Ric die. HE WILL LIVE AND THAT'S THAT. Right, sorry about that. Anyway, no evil psycho vampire Ric. I decided that I am totally diverging from the plot line and Damon and Elijah will stop Esther from ruining the Original family.

Also, Klaus and Stefan will get along eventually. This is now a Klefan and Delijah story. Wasn't planned but there you go. Also, who would like male Damon and who would like female? I would like to know who prefers what, out of curiosity.

"What is it Kol?" Elijah asked tiredly, looking up from the half-finished painting and meeting his brother's eyes.

The younger shrugged lightly, leaning against the wall as he started, "Well, I heard something I thought would interest you brother. I might know who did the little spell on the Salvatore."

Brown eyes snapped up, surprised and curious, before darkening as the elder retaliated, "How would you know Kol? You weren't exactly paying attention to anything but convincing her to sleep with you."

"Kaia thought she was helping but I can tell this was a bad idea," Kol muttered, feigning anxiousness. Even with his clear bluff the simple mention of Kaia's name confused Elijah enough that he didn't pick up on it. "She was so convinced the spell was a good idea, I just wish I had been here earlier to warn her."

"Brother, what are you implying?" Elijah asked lowly, trying to ignore what he already knew. She wouldn't do this, she wouldn't.

The younger sighed, walking to his brother and resting a hand on his shoulder in a mockery of caring as he explained, "She did the spell that turned Damon into a girl. She told me she thought you were interested in him but because of his gender he rebuffed you, in spite of shared feelings. She was so convinced turning him into a girl would fix the problem."

The older was frozen for a second before his overwhelming trust in Kaia, one of the only things that kept him sane, resurfaced and he warned, "I will not tolerate these stories. If this is true bring me proof. Otherwise, desist in speaking like this."

The younger scowled before leaving the room, making sure he slammed the door on the way out before stalking to the bedroom he had claimed as his. Nothing went right when his family was concerned, not even something as simple as telling his brother the truth. He had made a deal with the little witch not to tell anyone but if it got Elijah back to Mystic Falls faster he didn't really care if he had to bash her brain out of that pretty little skull with his bare hands.

The Original nodded to himself as he settled that before an intense pain erupted in his skull and he collapsed to his knees. The last thing he saw before he blacked out was Kaia standing over him, her tiny frame suddenly disgustingly fear-inducing.

"You shouldn't break deals."

"Why did you listen to Damon?" Elena chided, passing Ric the bottle of aspirin. Damon chuckled, ignoring the dark glare from the extremely hung-over history teacher.

The man downed two tablets before explaining, "At the time it seemed like a good idea. I should have known better."

The three of them were in the small kitchen in the apartment, the vampire fiddling with the coffee maker as Elena tried to take care of the very sickly teacher. The Grill had been a nice change for the newly-healed man but after a while he and Damon had admittedly drunk far too much.

"On the bright side, you can go back to work now," Elena tried to smile, eyes unsure.

As she dumped a mug of coffee in front of Ric Damon pointed out, "I think we should wait a day or so first. What if Elijah's little witch messed up? No one's perfect and for all we know it was just a temporary cure to mess with us."

The venom dripping off the word 'witch' was clear to everyone in the room but no one dared comment on it, not even Elena. None of them wanted to think about why Damon had been so unbelievably bitchy every single time someone had brought up the witch, even if Ric knew why. He wasn't about to judge his friend for it but it was still unsettling. The other vampire had always ranted about how she hated Elijah and his stupid hair and ridiculous accent and it was just hard to reconcile that memory with the fact he knew they were interested in each other. It was even harder with a headache the approximate size of California.

"Why do you think she did it?" he asked after a few minutes, sipping at the coffee despite the burn on his sore throat. Morning coffee was part of a system.

They were all silent for a minute before Elena reluctantly and slightly bitterly ventured, "Maybe Elijah asked her to do it. Maybe they did it for Damon."

The vampire in question scoffed bitterly, pointing out, "Like hell. He snapped my neck when he found out about the spell, didn't Stefan tell you?"

The doppelgänger flinched but nodded slowly, watching the annoyed vampire clap Ric on the shoulder a little more harshly than necessary before walking to the door, muttering a vague explanation about having places to go. The door slammed behind her and the two humans exchanged glances before Elena continued to take care of her almost-uncle, fussing more than she had been earlier.

Why did everything come back to that fucking Original family? Damon had headed straight to her house to be greeted by her shame-faced brother who smelt like he'd just gotten laid and was wearing on of Klaus' shirts. On a normal day, when things were the way there were meant to be, the older Salvatore would have laughed and shaken her head before mocking him playfully and taking to moody glare.

Of course, nothing was normal any more. For one thing, it would've been Elena that Stefan reeked of, not the hybrid. For another, Damon would be burning with jealousy. Now that her preferences were different she could think back and realised part of the interest in Elena, most of it really, was in hope that she would be enough like Katherine to fill the whole. The rest was pissing off her brother.

She felt guilty for using the doppelgänger but shoved it down stubbornly, reminding herself there were more important problems as she clapped Stefan on the shoulder in greeting and headed to her sitting room. The smell of her brother weakened as she entered the room and a sigh of relief escaped her lips. At least they'd had the decency to keep out of here.

As she started to sit on the couch she realised the scent of the hybrid was surrounding that one spot and a snarl almost escaped her lips before she saw what was sitting on the low table. Her favourite book, a glass of bourbon and the bottle. A note rested on top of the book, the writing familiar enough that she picked it up, reading quickly.

You probably hate me, and I can live with that, let me assure you, but I doubt Stefan could. Consider this a peace offering and yes, this is the only one you'll get. If you tell anyone about this I will rip your heart out, Elijah be damned. I'm sure you understand. Enjoy the bourbon,


P.S. Stefan mentioned you liked that book when I was looking through the bookshelves earlier. I won't tell a soul, everyone has a secret. And, after all, we're practically family now.

Damon almost laughed at the bizarre note, settling for a small smirk as she got comfortable, taking both glass and book. Maybe the hybrid hanging about wouldn't be all bad and she knew Stefan would want her to play nice with the wolf. After all, they were practically family.

The painting was tormenting him. It had been something simple, something easy, just to pass the time while Elijah had been trying to work through everything. It was a sharp memory of the time she had convinced him to come back to town, just for the day. He shouldn't have agreed and he'd known it the second he said he'd be there but he came into Mystic Falls anyway. She'd taken him back to the Salvatore house and just convinced him to sit outside and enjoy the sun, like they were human or something. They'd been happy for a few minutes anyway. Then she told him the truth and everything came crashing down.

It had all been a lie. Every word, every kiss, everything was just a lie so Damon could get into the trusted circle and kill Niklaus or something equally impossible. The vampire had never cared about him and that hurt Elijah more than he cared to admit. First it had been Tatia, playing himself and Niklaus against each other, and then Katerina had appeared blind to his affection. She had chosen his brother while leading him on, whether accidentally or on purpose. Even Rose-Marie had managed to hurt him with her betrayal even though he hadn't loved her. They had all wormed their way into his heart in some form or another, only to hurt him.

Over a thousand years he had tried to block out his emotions as he watched his family fall to pieces and watch so many people get hurt because of him or his siblings. Elijah hated it and hated himself for siding with Niklaus. Finn had been daggered because he didn't want this life. Katherine had been hunted for wanting to live. Kol was daggered for enjoying what they were. Rebekah was daggered for falling for someone and in the end Elijah had been daggered too. Everyone he cared about hurt him or was killed. So he had tried to shove all emotions back, keep them under lock and key.

The painting was still staring at him from the easel he had borrowed from his brother, the girl's pale blue eyes watching him. A low growl escaped the Original as he remembered that morning in perfect clarity for the seventh time this hour. Damon had just been using the spell to his advantage, playing the older vampire, and Elijah had fallen right into the trap without a second thought. He knew what the Salvatore was like and he knew that she had been lying when she had answered the questions that day at the Grill. And he had trusted the black-haired girl with the mischievous smile anyway.

In the blink of an eye Elijah was across the room, throwing the easel into the opposite wall as something inside him snapped. Tatia. Katherine. Damon. All of them were so different but so similar. All of them had played him for a fool. Tatia was dead. Katherine was God-knows-where and he didn't have the patience to track her down. That made the eldest Salvatore the obvious choice.

In seconds he was racing through the woods, emotions he had struggled to hide for centuries racing through his mind. He was tired of getting hurt and tired of just letting people get away with it. Revenge had sustained him for a long time. Maybe there was still honour in revenge.

Damon was lounging on the couch, a book in her lap and a glass of bourbon in her hand as she read with the tiniest smile. It had been far too long since he had seen her and the tiniest ache made its presence known in his chest. Elijah had missed seeing her smile, laugh, seeing her end of story. He squashed that down determinedly, stalking over to the couch and wrapping his strong hand around the girl's pale throat before she even realised something was wrong.

"Elijah," Damon gasped, reaching up to grip the Original's wrist as her windpipe was slowly crushed and brown eyes watched her angrily.

He didn't loosen his grip, lifting Damon easily and hissing, "You shouldn't have played with me Salvatore. Don't you remember that day at the Lockwood mansion? All I asked for was a little respect and I couldn't even get that."

With the tiniest movement she was sent flying across the room, hitting the wall so hard it buckled slightly. Before she could get up Elijah was on top of her, pinning her down as he felt his fangs drop and the capillaries beneath his eyes engorge. Damon's sad blue eyes looked up at him, not even trying to fight him.

"I should just kill you," he snarled, heart aching even more as he looked down at the woman that had wormed her way past all his defences. The anger was fading so quickly as he looked down at Damon, remembering how much he cared about her. "I should rip your heart out," he muttered, resolve weaker than Elijah liked.

Her voice was quiet, guilt-filled and broken, as she asked, "Why don't you? Trust me, no one would miss me."

Before he could stop himself his lips were crashing down on Damon's, covering her mouth in a rough kiss, fangs retracting as he felt her kiss back. It was passionate and almost-violent and for the first time since Elijah had discovered the truth he felt okay again. He'd missed her, far too much, and he'd been aching to touch her, to kiss her, for what felt like years.

Elijah broke away first, looking down at the panting vampire, and whispered, "I can't kill you. I can't because I love you."

He stood without another word, walking to the door as he dusted his suit off. He didn't want to think about what this meant for his messed-up relationship with his family or Damon. Elijah made it to the front door before Damon caught up with him, hesitantly resting a pale hand with the chunky ring on his arm.

"You shouldn't love me," she whispered when he stopped, voice strained. "And we both know if it comes down to it, you'll choose your brother."

A soft kiss was pressed on his cheek before he could argue and Damon walked upstairs, feet barely making any noise. Elijah walked out into the cool night, taking a deep breath and trying to force his emotions down again. It would never work between them and he knew it. His family came first, always and forever.

Why did that sound so hollow suddenly?

Kol has some issues, huh? And Klaus playing nice? What is wrong with me?