A/N: So, I've kind of moved on from this show recently, and I know I still have a couple of incomplete stories atm. I am intending to finish those at some point, but I need to get my head in the right space for it, so I can't say when that'll happen, sorry. However, I still love the fandom that I've been involved in since I started talking and writing about TVD, so I thought I'd try and pitch in with the A2A Christmas exchange over on Livejournal. I've signed up to write 3, possibly 4, and this is the first. Cross-posted here from my LJ account. I hope you like it!

Prompt by Vanagonne: I'm a fan of the relationship between all three: Damon/Elena/Stefan. I love the relationship between brothers (as brothers, not incestual but that love and bond we see in the show every so often). I do lean more towards Damon/Elena because i'm a sucker for forbidden/unrequited love. Anyway, I would LOVE to have Elena "kidnapped" by the brothers on christmas eve. She's not in a good place with either brother and hasn't heard from them much since she pushed them away after her first kill. So, somewhat canon as I don't know what is going to happen of course, I am not really picky about that. They take her somewhere to celebrate Christmas. Don't care if there is or isn't smut, just so long as there's comfort and some angst.

Blood. Red and thick, sticky to the touch and yet so warm still, dripping from her chin and sliding down in rivulets along her throat. She brings up a hand to swipe it away, only ends up smearing more across her cheeks, over her shirt. Her hair is stiff with it, sliding against her skin and sticking in clumps down over her shoulders. She looks down at her palms, cupped together as they hold a small pool of the viscous fluid. She wants to feel disgusted, wants to shake the blood from her hands and strip off her clothes, climb into a shower and never think of it again, run out of this cavern and hide under her bed. She can't. Instead, she finds herself raising her cupped hands to her already stained lips, tongue snaking out to lap up the drips spilling over and down her arms. She closes her eyes as she feels her fangs slide down, feels the capillaries engorge as she revels in this taste she will never have enough of for as long as she lives. Her eyes open, pupils blown wide, the whites suffused with red, looks around. She's in her kitchen, a sea of blood lapping at her bare feet, splashing up the walls, leaving droplets on the ceiling and across the cabinets. She takes a step, feels her foot bump into something solid, a cold island in this lake of blood. She looks down and starts to scream.


Elena bolts upright in her bed with her brother's name on her lips, breathing hard as she brings her hands up to her face, swiping at her chin, knowing it was a dream and yet unable to stop herself from checking. She sits for a moment, willing her heart to calm its frantic pace, straining her new vampire sense of hearing for the sounds of Jeremy sleeping. She knows she won't hear anything, because he isn't here. Jeremy had come home from the Grill to find Elena standing at the door with a bag packed for him, a wistful smile on her face as she told him she'd booked him another flight back to Denver, that he was going to stay there this time, possibly for good. He hadn't been happy, but he must have seen the panic in her eyes at the thought of hurting him, like she so almost did that day in the Grill. The day she had finally killed someone, learned what she was truly capable of.

She swung out of bed and vamp-speeded down into the kitchen, still knowing it was just a dream but still needing to make sure. The room was exactly as she had left it the night before; empty coffee mug on the counter, surfaces gleaming with over cleaning and under use. She turns away from the sight; this room had been built for mornings, a confused jumble of different breakfasts and clusters of people in various states of wakefulness. It was never meant to be this empty.

Elena grabs her phone from where she'd left it charging overnight and wanders back upstairs, only faintly surprised to see the date and realise that it's Christmas. She grimaces against the knowledge of what this house should sound like, look like, feel like, on today of all days, but that's as much as she can muster. She just doesn't have the energy to feel any more pain, it's easier to block it all out.

She steps into the shower, scrubbing at the skin on her arms and neck until it becomes pink and raw, the dream still lingering, making her feel sick, the memory of Connor's blood churning her stomach. For a moment she fancies she can feel the dead weight of him on her shoulders as she carried him through the woods, can feel the tacky, cool sensation of his blood as it oozed out of the wound on his broken neck. The wound she gave him. The wound she relished giving him. She shudders and scrubs at her shoulders harder, willing the sensations away, wishing she could scrub the inside of her brain just as thoroughly.

Because it was the memories that she couldn't shake that was slowly driving her out of her mind. Not the memories of the actual murder, although they were bad enough. She wanted to feel guilty for that, did feel guilty occasionally, until the images of Jeremy being held hostage and then hurt by the actions of Connor invaded her mind and the guilt became muted, pushed to the side in favour of the simmering rage that the guy had dared to lay a finger on her brother. But it wasn't Connor that she felt guilt over, not really, not any more than she should, considering what he had done, what he had been planning to do. She felt guilty over how the act had made her feel. The heady rush as she felt his skin give beneath her teeth, the pure joy of feeling the coppery blood coating her tongue and slip-sliding gloriously down her throat that made her light headed. She could still feel the way his spine snapped as she broke his neck, could still feel the way the sound of muscles ripping, bone snapping, tendons popping zinging along her spine, her eyes rolling back into her head with the sheer happiness that flooded through her. It was the feeling of utter completeness, a rush of feeling incredibly alive right in that one moment, feeling so utterly right as she ripped life and a future away from somebody else.

What kind of a monster am I?

Elena scowls and flings herself out of the shower, ripping a towel from the rail as she stomps back into her bedroom. She has so much rage inside her recently. She tries to put it to good use, using the anger to fuel her movements as she scrubs every inch of the house until every surface sparkles and winks back at her. She pulls out a pair of sweatpants and a plain white t-shirt – consciously deciding to dress down in reaction to it being suddenly Christmas Eve. Before all this, she would have been dressed in something sparkly and red, doing her hair and make up carefully, to celebrate the special family occasion. But now, now she has no family.

She scrapes her hair away from her face and into a messy ponytail, her hands shaking slightly as she realises it's been a while since Matt came round to offer up his wrist. She starts to feel jittery and wonders what she can do to keep herself occupied for the day. She can't clean for the fourth day in a row; the sharp scent of chemical products all over the house is starting to give her a migraine. She can't slump on the couch in front of the television; everything on today will just remind her of everything she no longer has. She thinks about putting on music, but the thought of the sounds echoing around her empty house makes her gut clench and her teeth start worrying at her lower lip. It's kind of ironic really, she thinks as she heads downstairs. Growing up this house was never silent, always the sound of the coffee machine going in the background, tinny music coming from Jeremy's turned up headphones, her father snoring, Jenna's out of tune humming, her mother snorting with laughter down the phone to her friends. There was always something, but now, when she had the ability to hear every tiny movement from any point in the house, now all that comes back is silence. It presses against her ear drums, makes her teeth ache, the inexhaustible silence of this once loud house.


She stops in the middle of the hallway without turning around, wondering why she didn't hear the front door opening. Wonders how he managed to open it at all without breaking it, all without her hearing anything at all. She's spending too much time locked away inside her own head.

"What are you doing here, Stefan?" Her tone is flat, devoid of all emotion save irritation, but even that is muted, like she can't even work up the energy to get angry. She saves that emotion for when she's alone.

She's barely spoken to Stefan in the last few weeks, ever since he turned up in the woods while she was trying to bury her very first victim. The first of many, she was certain. She let him in the house that night, just long enough to tell him that she didn't care why he'd been working with Klaus, only that he had been, and that he'd been lying to her while he did. Then she'd told him to leave her alone, that she needed time away from everything that had happened. He'd asked her in a soft voice if this meant they were broken up. She'd replied in a monotone, I guess it does, yeah, now can you please just leave me alone! He hadn't come back since, she hadn't even seen him at school. Not that he really needed to go.

"It's Christmas. I didn't want you to have to spend it on your own." Stefan leans against the door frame, sorrowful expression ill covered up with a tenuous smile as she turns around.

"Ahem. You mean we didn't want to spend Christmas on our own, in case we staked each other." Damon stands just behind Stefan, pushes him further into the house as he steps inside himself. Elena hasn't seen him since she tried fruitlessly to lay the blame for Connor's death on his shoulders, instead of squarely on her own.

Elena sighs, crosses her arms across her chest. "Maybe I want to spend today on my own?"

Damon smirks. "Well, lucky I'm here too then." He jabs his thumb in the direction of Stefan. "He's the brother who respects your wishes. Me?" He takes a step forward and Elena tenses. "I don't care."

On the last word, Damon lunges forward, snakes his arms around her waist as she turns to run in the opposite direction. He pulls her tight against his chest and lifts, pulling her backwards out of the door. Her bare toes squeak along the polished wood floor as she tries to gain purchase, her hands flapping uselessly at her sides where they're trapped by Damon's older strength. Over her own shouts to be put down she hears Stefan's softer protests, but she notes that he doesn't try to stop his brother, just quietly closes the door as she's dragged unceremoniously onto the front porch.

"Hey, who's up for eggnog and a few games of Twister?" Damon says, his voice strained slightly from his exertion as he tries to hold her still. She cranes her neck back and sees him waggle his eyebrows at Stefan, who just rolls his eyes drops his chin to his chest. And then the world flies past her as Damon vamp-speeds off, Elena's small frame tucked safely under his arm.

Now that she can reach these speeds under her own steam, being pulled along so fast doesn't make Elena quite so dizzy as it used to. She gives up struggling the moment her street fades into the distance behind her, and she contents herself with glaring over at Stefan as he speeds on alongside her. She would send a glare or two Damon's way, if it weren't for the fact he had her pinned against his side in an ironclad grip. The road beneath them blurs to the left suddenly, and they're almost enveloped by the woods. It dawns on Elena where she's being kidnapped to, and she begins to struggle again, but it's too late. The trees open up before them, and gravel stones ping up over her bare feet as she's carried across the courtyard.

Damon doesn't let her go, even as he slows down to open his front door, pulling her along with him into the parlour. Finally, he deposits her roughly on the leather couch, smirking as she makes a muffled oomf as she falls face down into a cushion. He rolls his eyes as Stefan pushes past him to get to the couch, leaning over Elena and helping her to sit up. She bats his hands away and sits up herself, pissy frown and mouth already open to start complaining. Before she can form a word however, her gaze is caught on the decorations in the room, her mouth falling open slightly wider in surprise.

Elena pulls herself up off the couch and turns in a slow circle, her eyes widening moment by moment as she takes in the room. Twinkling lights hang around the walls and dangle from the ceiling. Fluffy white tinsel is wrapped around the chandeliers and up the dark wooden entry posts. Holly and mistletoe are draped in huge elegant bunches along the mantelpiece and display cases, the red berries and deep green leaves all sprinkled with a dusting of snow. A fire is roaring inside the wide fireplace, actual stockings hanging past the grate. And in the far corner of the room, a tree of absolutely monstrous size towers above her, tasteful glass baubles and popcorn and cranberry garlands accented by the faint twinkle of tiny lights.

"Ta-da!" Damon spreads his hands wide, smirk firmly in place.

"Damon, what..?" Elena stares first at Damon, then turns to Stefan, who shrugs and tries not to let the grin break out across his face.

"We decided it was time to, put our differences aside. Well," Stefan looks at his brother, "at least for one day, anyway."

"And we couldn't even manage that, which was when," Damon flashes over to the bar and pours himself a drink. "we decided to come and get you." He winks at Elena. "You are officially our tie-breaker for the day."

"Actually," Stefan cuts in, before Elena can protest. "We decided to come and get you because it's Christmas," he smiled slightly, "and nobody should be alone today."

Elena stands still and looks from one Salvatore to the other, from Stefan's quiet smile and Damon's raised eyebrows. Her eyes trail over Damon's face for a moment longer, taking in the faint pleading note in his eyes.

She sighs finally. "Fine. But there'd better be alcohol."

There ended up being lots of alcohol, and lots of food that none of them needed to eat. But they did anyway, Elena jumping in and suggesting they have both when the boys start arguing over mashed versus roast potatoes. Eggnog flows freely, and pretty soon all three of them are singing along loudly and out of tune to the carols playing on the radio in the kitchen. Stefan and Elena have a carrot war, throwing them to each other across the length of the room, before Damon steps in and cleans up the mess they made with a roll of his eyes.

Dinner was fun, the three of them sitting around the ornate dining table and drinking champagne. Elena almost choked on a mouthful of turkey as she watched Damon flick a spoonful of mashed potatoes in Stefan's face. Damon patted her on the back while she downed her glass of champagne, while Stefan wiped his face with his napkin and scowled. Elena looked at Damon and her breath caught in her throat. He was smiling; a real, genuine smile as he watched his brother clean himself of buttery mash. Elena had a sudden glimpse of what their Christmases might have been like, all those decades ago, before the war, before Katherine. She realised with a sudden clarity that they were all three of them in the same boat. They'd all lost family, lost the reason for celebration.

After dinner they had returned back to the parlour, playing charades until they fell over from exhaustion. Stefan kept suggesting scrabble, but both Damon and Elena shouted him down. Scrabble required far too much concentration for people who had drunk as much as they had.

"Right hand green."

Damon groaned and stretched to reach the elusive coloured patch. His hip knocked into Stefan's and they fell in a mass of tangled limbs, their socked feet sliding across the plastic beneath them.

Elena laughed and cheered. "Try again, go on, up you get!"

Damon sighed as he pulled himself up and back to the edge of the mat. "You know, I'm almost certain this game is supposed to be sexier."

Elena giggled from her position on the couch, sitting cross-legged with the dial in her lap, a mug of spiked hot chocolate in her hand. "I don't know, I'm finding it quite sexy from over here." All the alcohol had loosened her tongue, and she was feeling pleasantly calm and content. "Okay, Stefan," she span the dial, "left hand blue."

Stefan sighed and crouched down into position, his eyes crinkling despite his grumbling. Paying no attention to the dial, Elena grinned over at Damon. "Right foot blue."

Damon rolled his eyes and slid his foot close to Stefan. "Don't think I don't know you're cheating."

Elena winked at him. "Aww, Damon, scared you're gonna lose? Stefan, right foot green."

Stefan slid his foot out to the other side of the plastic, clipping Damon's ankle as he passed, toppling his brother to the ground. Damon twisted as he fell, making sure to slam his shoulder into Stefan's chest, making his brother make an oof sound as the breath was forced out of him.

"That's it," Stefan wheezed as he pushed out from under Damon. "My turn with the spinner." He flapped his hand at Elena, and she grudgingly gave up her weapon as Damon picked himself up and moved back to his starting position.

Stefan obviously preferred to play by the rules, as it took a lot longer for the game to be over. Eventually Elena found herself in an upside down crab position, struggling to hold in her laughter as Damon stretched over her, trying to reach the other side of the mat while still keeping one hand on the yellow patch beneath her back. His belt buckle brushed against her ribs, and she jerked away from the ticklish feeling, her shoulder bumping his chin as he reached across her. His knee buckled and he fell down onto her. Her feet slid across the mat as she fell down, an indignant sound falling over her lips.

"I need more eggnog," Stefan announced, and pulled himself up off the sofa and into the kitchen, leaving Damon and Elena in a tangle on the floor in front of the fire.

"Hmm, maybe I was wrong," Damon murmured, his hand trapped beneath her rubbing circles in the small of her back. "Maybe this game is sexy after all."

Elena rolled her eyes at his waggling eyebrows and squirmed out from under him, trying to ignore the shivers of electricity as they raced through her body. She pulled herself up into a sitting position as Damon slid closer to her. He reached out and smoothed her hair back behind her ear, the look on his face softening as they gazed at each other. Time seemed to stand still, and Elena realised with a jolt that she had been somewhat happy for most of the day, without even thinking about it. She smiled and wrapped her fingers around Damon's wrist, leaning in to rest her forehead against his. She opened her mouth, wanting to thank him for 'kidnapping' her earlier, for making sure she didn't spend the day wallowing in her own grief and guilt, but she was interrupted by Stefan's sudden return.

"Hey, how about a game of Scrabble?"

Damon and Elena both groaned and flopped backwards, Damon reaching out to whip the Twister dial at Stefan's head.


A/N: I hope you guys enjoyed it, and that you all had an awesome holiday! Reviews are love :)