Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Disclaimer: The Vampire Diaries is the Property of the CW. No copyright infringement is intended.

Italics indicates thoughts

~ X ~

I kept my eyes on his journal as my brother walked in, toweling the last moisture from his hair after a much needed shower. I casually asked, "How is she?"

"Angry, full of guilt. Hasn't said a word to me other than she wants to be left alone." He flung his towel aside. His face and voice quickly changed from resigned to annoyed as he realized what I was reading. "Is that my journal?"

He snatched it from me. I allowed him to because I had already read what I needed to know.

I smirked, allowing a little pride to bleed through. "Had to go through six locks to get it. Needed something to back up your insanity."

As he wrapped up his journal and replaced it in the cabinet I had rifled to get at it, I leaned back, sipping my drink, keeping my tone nonchalant. "Did you figure out how to tell Klaus you lost a hunter and a hybrid?"

Do you have a plan cause you're in serious trouble? Klaus will NOT be happy.

Stefan looked solemn, prepared to accept his fate. "He's on a plane which means I get to live for another six hours."

My stomach twisted in a knot, but I kept my voice light. "Oh, I got your back. You know, when he comes to murder you."

I'll always have your back. You'll never be alone as long as I'm alive.

"Thanks." He rallied and spoke with more enthusiasm in his voice. "Thanks for not saying anything to Elena."

I shrugged off his gratitude, adopting a slightly mocking tone. "Bout what? The cure we don't have? That probably doesn't exist? You're welcome."

"She doesn't need to know she killed her only chance at being human again."

I countered the sadness I heard with skepticism. "Alleged chance."

You should have trusted me, brother. I know Klaus threatened you, but if you had come clean I would have helped you. I would have done it for you and for her.

"I believe him, Damon. You didn't hear Klaus's story. I believe every word he said."

I know you did, brother. I see it in your eyes. Hear it in your voice. Read it in your diary.

"Well, I'll remain a skeptic for now." I adroitly slipped in my real concern. "So, what's your next move?"

What harebrained scheme are you going to come up with that I'll have to rescue you from? Fill me in, brother. I don't trust you to be on your own. I need to be there to save you from you. You're just one of the children.

"He said there's a brotherhood of the five which means there's other hunters out there. I'm just gonna keep looking until I find one."

Of course you will, brother. Never say die, Stefan.

"Sure, Stefan, since you asked, I'd be happy to go on a suicide mission with you for a potentially nonexistent cure. No problem."

I worked hard to put as much sarcasm in my voice as possible. I think I did a pretty good job if I do say so myself.

Stefan gave one quick chuckle. "Yet a couple of hours ago you were ready to rip my heart out?"

The hurt and betrayal in his eyes upset me so I attacked the way I always do when I'm wounded. "Cause you were being a pain in the ass."

I wouldn't have killed you. I could never kill you. And I won't let anyone else do it either.

I dropped the mock antagonism and asked seriously, "Fetch me one thing. Why do you want to cure her?"

I could see that I had him puzzled. "What kind of question is that?"

"Legitimate one. Do you want to cure her because she's a vampire, and she's not cut out to be one or you can't love her if she is one?"

I need to know, Stefan.

His body language and facial expression acknowledged it was a fair question. "I'll always love her, but if she's not supposed to be this person, I don't want her to be."

That's you, little brother. You would give up an eternity with her to do what's right, what's best for her. Not a selfish bone in your body.

I needed to let him know something, but it wasn't something I could say outright. "Well, if I'm gonna ride this fairytale to its conclusion let me be clear about one thing."

"What's that?" he asked curiously.

I took a couple of steps towards him, invading his personal space, catching his eyes. "I'm fine with her either way, brother. So, if I do this I'm doing it for you."

Do you hear me? This is the closest I can get to saying I love you, brother.

I took one last swig before putting my drink on the table and leaving. It was the best I could do. I could feel his eyes following me.

~ FIN ~