AN: Here you go sweethearts, a Dalaric one-shot that would not leave my head. Don't worry, I am not done with Elejah, but hope you enjoy this one as well! Disclaimer: I don't own them, just make them do my bidding ;)

Always and Forever

- Raven Mikaelson

"No, no, no, no...Ric, no..." Damon caught the quickly greying body of his best friend before it could hit the floor. He felt the life draining out of him as his hands held the slackened body.

"No...Why? Ric come on, stay with me." He whispered in despair, cradling the hunter's head in his lap.

Ric was dead which meant only one thing. Elena must have died tonight. A solitary tear left his cerulean eyes, sliding unnoticed down his cool cheek. Elena was gone and he felt a light stab of pain in his immortal heart, but she had made her choice. It was, always has been and most likely always will be Stefan for her. Why not? Stefan was the good brother...he was the bad one, that was how the world worked. Something must have happened on her way back to him and his baby bro was once again too late to save her. Damon loved her, yet his heart did not seem to break at the thought of her death. But when he looked down upon the desiccated body of his best friend, he could literally hear the sound of the dead muscle shattering in his chest. His hand with a mind of its own carded gently through the hunter's hair as a few more tears left his tortured eyes.

"Come on, brother. You cannot do this to me. We are team badass! How am I supposed to be a badass on my own? Not that I can't, but then I won't be a team effort!" he tried to laugh at the absurdity of the words spilling from his lips, but only a choked sob left his throat. "And we still didn't get round to stealing Stefan's 'fin-de-si├Ęcle' whiskey! That one should prove interesting, much better than the cheap rubbish you keep at your apartment, man." He whispered hoarsely.

Yet sudden sense of anger overcame his desperation. "And how dare you leave me alone to deal with the...the children in Mystic Falls, all alone only with your memory?! I can't do this Ric! And who am I supposed to drink with at the Grill? I can't drink the whiskey we wanted to steal now, all alone. It's just not fair! You can't deprive me like this, I was looking forward to it!" his hands shook Ric's shoulders angrily as if that would wake him up.

A strangled laugh left his lips. Could vampires go crazy? Maybe he would end up completely bat-shit crazy like Bloody Mary who turned Rose. Maybe he was already crazy... How does one distinguish that about himself? Can you realise there is something seriously wrong with you?

He closed his eyes, as if not seeing the desiccated body of his best friend would make it all go away. He just sat there for another hour, hoping death would claim him soon if he was indeed of Klaus' bloodline...but even after an hour he was still alive and unharmed, cursing fate for not killing him when he had more suffering to carry around for eternity now. His face set in determination; he got up and carried Ric to the car. He had a best friend to bury with dignity and a baby brother to console over the death of his girlfriend. Maybe it was time to leave Mystic Falls behind. Why did he decide to stay anyway? Out of some misguided feelings for a woman exact same copy of Katherine, who stringed both him and his brother along? At least Katherine was open about while Elena played the confused card.

He let out a laugh as he could almost hear his mother's words in his head. 'You should only speak kindly of the dead'. Yeah right, kindly his ass. His father was a bastard who only saw him as a disappointment his whole life. The only difference now was that he was a dead bastard. He would remember the good memories his mind held of Elena but he felt his heart no longer beating for her. In all honesty it has not been for a few days now, especially while he was busy dealing with Ric who was trying to kill them all.

Like a man on a mission, he placed Ric's body in the front seat next to the driver's and put the seat belt on for him. He would not place his best friend in the back of the car like a common corpse. He started driving silently, relying on his reflexes to bring him home without getting into an accident on the road. The phone kept ringing and vibrating in his pocket but he simply ignored it in favour of his thoughts and keeping the tight leash on his emotions for the moment. He wanted to kill; he wanted blood to flow in retribution for Ric's life and the fates screwing them over once again.

But, he tried to reason. He was alive which meant Stefan was too and will be inconsolable about Elena's death. While he might never have admitted it out loud, Damon did care about his brother and was glad they were both alive and sound, even if bearing new burdens of deaths of those close to them.

The drive home took two hours instead of three at his crazy speed, before he reached the dark and quiet boarding house. He was glad to be alone with his anger and sorrow, his thoughts dark as he carried the desiccated body inside and placed him gently on the couch. His grey skin looked even more unnatural in the darkness of the parlour so he started a fire in the fireplace immediately, casting shadowed light upon them both. He hoped to feel a smidgen of warmth touch his skin from the flames, but a dreadful cold penetrated his whole body and left him bereft. His phone starts ringing again and with an annoyed sigh he finally picked up on his way to the liquor cabinet.

"What?" he growled, not even looking at the caller ID as he started pouring a generous amount of his best and oldest.

"Damon! I was beginning to think you were dead!" sounded Stefan's distressed voice over the phone.

"Nope, still kicking and just peachy, you know me." He drawled, downing the whole before refilling his tumblr.

Stefan sighed. "This is no time for your jokes, Damon. I have to tell you...Elena, she's-"

"Dead. So I gathered when slayer Ric fell to the ground in the middle of our 'conversation'." His voice completely monotonous as he stated the facts that were threatening to overcome his emotions.

"No Damon, that's the thing. She's...not dead." The words were but a whisper.

The glass slipped from between his fingers and shattered on the ground, staining his boots and the old Persian carpet, completely unnoticed by the stunned Salvatore.

"What?! But Ric is dead! She had to have died as well, their lives were connected!" he hissed, not appreciating the sick joke.

"Meredith Fell gave her some of your blood last night; otherwise the seriousness of her injuries could have caused permanent damage to her brain. She died with your blood in her system, Damon." He whispered the last bit.

Damon closed his eyes and tried to swallow the bitter words. Not only was Elena a casualty before becoming yet another vampire, forever stuck as a teenager, but she got to live. As a vampire, which she never wanted but she at least lived. While Ric was dead. The fates were laughing at him. This place had some seriously bad mojo and he was fucking sick of it.

"Damon? You there?" Stefan's voice carried so much concern that Damon took a deep breath before answering.

"Yeah. You deal with Elena, I have Ric to bury. I will meet you at her house-"

"She's waking up! I gotta go, see you at hers in a few hours!" and the line went dead.

This was just some sick joke. Or he was really crazy and his mind was torturing him. He had to find a piece of fucking wood and-

A gasp from the sofa made him instantly snap his head in the direction, looking at Ric who was sitting up, his skin still pale but no longer grey and his eyes looking around blearily.

"Ric?" it was but a whisper but the hunter's eyes snapped to him instantly.

"Damon..." was all he said before the elder Salvatore flashed to his side. He was dreaming. Ric was dead. Or was he alive because Elena is now undead? Would he go all hunter-ballistic at them again? Was he even a vampire still?

"How?" he asked, his hand reaching up to grip the hunter's chin and look into his face for any signs that his mind was playing tricks at him and he was imagining the whole thing. The skin beneath the stubbled chin was the same temperature as his, so Ric was still a vampire. But was he still his bad side?

"I-I don't know. Damon I...I tried to warn you guys, I was trapped...in my mind...I could do nothing but watch and feel what I was doing...fuck, I almost killed you...and...and I killed Klaus?" he asked, completely disoriented but looked to be his usual self nevertheless, making Damon let out a much relieved sigh.

"I thought you were dead. Don't so this to me again, buddy." He punched the hunter's shoulder lightly, his usual smirk back in place only to mask his own astonishment.

"How am I back? Elena...she's dead, isn't she? But then I should be dead to!" he exclaimed, standing up quickly and began pacing in front of the fireplace.

Damon shook his head. "Elena died with my blood in her system. She is in transition as we speak. Stefan called and we were speaking just as she was waking up-" he paused, the thought hitting him like a wall of bricks. "That's it! Elena is not really dead; she came back to life as undead. And that is why you are a vampire as well, you must be still bound!" he said in complete disbelief, but it sounded like the only plausible explanation for Ric returning among the living. Or rather the living dead.

The hunter sat down at this news. "I can't be a vampire, Damon. I just...can't."

Damon shook his head. "You are alive and that is the most important part. Plus, if my theory holds, you are still connected to Elena. We will have to ask Sabrina to check it out and see what can be done about it. I will not have you dying on me again, Ric." He said with a smirk yet the hunter could see a flash of emotion in his eyes before Damon bent over the liquor cabinet to pour them some more whiskey, carefully stepping around the mess on the carpet.

He handed Ric one of the glasses and sat down on the table right in front of him. "Are you hungry? Do you need any blood?" he asked.

Ric felt perfectly fine until the coppery liquid was mentioned. Suddenly he felt starving and his features shifted. Damon had to say he much preferred human Ric, but damn he looked badass vamped out, that was undeniable. The Salvatore was gone and back in less than a couple of seconds with a blood bag, opening it up at the top for his friend before passing it over.

Ric hesitated for a moment before taking a deep pull from the blood bag, closing his eyes in the process. Yet after a moment, he spat it back out, his features twisting in disgust. "It doesn't taste right."

Damon looked at him in astonishment. "What? You are a vampire Ric; you will need to drink blood."

"I...I know, it just...doesn't taste right. I am still hungry but it's just...not doing it for me." He stumbled over his words to explain his body's rejection of the coppery liquid.

"Don't tell me that I am going to be stuck with another squirrel-muncher. Well fuck me." Damon cursed the fates for taking the piss.

"No thanks." replied Ric cheekily; his features shifting back to reveal a grin.

At least his humour was back, Damon scoffed. "Do you want me to take you hunt for some Bambi?" he asked.

Ric shook his head. "I don't know, Damon. I mean when I was turned, all I could think about was killing vampires...and draining them. And the taste of vampire blood was...good. I could feel the 'other me'," he cringed at the poor phrasing, "enjoying the taste." He said.

Damon narrowed his eyes in thought. "Well I guess there is only one way to find out." He shrugged and picked up one of the wooden stakes left on the table before their 'desiccate Klaus mission', and pressed it into his palm to draw blood. The wound would not heal quickly since it was caused by wood and therefore it would flow more freely if it was really what Ric's body required.

"Try it then." He said, offering his palm to the hunter, crimson blood already pooling in its centre.

Ric pulled his hand close, feeling his features shift once more. "You sure about this? I mean I know I can't drain you, but still..."

Damon just shrugged. "Go for it. Otherwise it's Bambi diet and trust me it tastes like shit." he shuddered theatrically.

Ric then pulled his hand to his mouth and licked the blood already staining the palm before his eyes closed, this time in enjoyment and he bit into the flesh hungrily, gulping down the sweet undead blood. A moan of pleasure at the intoxicating taste left his mouth and he was on Damon in an instant, his body pressing the older vampire into the floor as he drank hungrily.

Damon groaned both at the impact his back suffered with Ric's added weight and the delicious pull on his veins. Blood sharing was intimate but he was willing to do this for his best friend. He felt the hunter's hips shift and press his desire against Damon's thigh, a surprised moan escaping the raven haired man. Suddenly he felt his flesh tear and looked up slightly disoriented when he noticed Ric on the other side of the room, pressed into a wall and looked at him like a deer caught in headlight.

"I thought it tasted good, your body didn't reject it." He was panting slightly as the flesh of his palm tugged and itched while repairing.

"Too good...what...how...I am straight." He finally said, looking down at the bulge in his trousers, completely mortified by his body's reaction.

Damon only laughed. "No vampire is ever straight. You find yourself experimenting after all the years on the planet. The only straight vampire I know of is Stefan and that is only because he already has a stick up his ass. So broody all the time..." he chuckled but noticed his words were not exactly helping his best friend.

"Ric, look. It's perfectly natural. Blood sharing between vampires is...personal you may say. Our bodies are driven by the blood lust, arousing other lust in us in the same time. Don't make it into a big deal." He shrugged and got up, finishing his whiskey.

The hunter continued to look at him distrustfully. "And you couldn't tell me this *before* I fed from you?" he asked incredulously.

Damon rolled his eyes at the remark. "Do you see any other vampires in the house willing to tap a vein for you? Get over it, shit happens. Now finish your drink, alcohol helps curb in the cravings." He said and topped off the man's glass as well. He was emotionally drained from the events of the day and facing the death of both Elena and Ric. Now that all was not-quite dandy but at least they were all alive, he was ready to crash.

"I'm off to bed. Pick a room and crash for the night as well." he suggested and headed for the stairs.

"I think I will go back to my apartment." Said Ric and downed his drink.

Damon snorted in response. "Honestly? And when your cravings kick in, how many people will you kill on your way here for you share of vamp juice? Stop being a moron and stay the night until your blood lust calms down. You coming?" he turned to the hunter.

Ric raised an eyebrow at his phrasing, considering his still aroused current state.

Damon just rolled his eyes. "Honestly, and they make me out to be the bad guy with homicidal and perverted tendencies..." he grumbled and headed upstairs, satisfied to hear the hunter following him and picking a room not too far from his for the night.

...

It has been several weeks from that fateful night and team badass was back. Elena was coping with the help of her boyfriend and adopted his bunny diet with a bit of human blood from a blood bag every day. Damon just rolled his eyes at how often he found the lovey-dovey couple on their couch and left to go kill something, contemplating finding a sharp stake to take his eyes out. His teeth were already rotting at the saccharine atmosphere...

The council first went bat-shit crazy on all vampires, but that was nothing new, before they proved to be completely ridiculous by blowing themselves up. He just snorted and shared a good laugh with Ric over a glass of whiskey. The hunter was acclimating surprisingly well to the situation. They still hunted and protected the city while a new council was formed and Liz got back her badge, keeping their secret under wraps. Unfortunately, Klaus and minions were back as well, giving Damon a headache but at least they were doing no damage. How could they, when their master was so infatuated with Barbie and had them play nice so she had no more reasons to be angry at him? Mystic Falls was turning into a really crazy little town but at least it provided for some entertainment.

Damon was the only one to provide Ric with his daily ration of blood, as needed. At first it was really awkward with all the blood lust and their bodies' natural reaction but they sort of got used to it by now. I didn't really bother Damon, as he had had male lovers before and did not freak out at his body desiring another male, but God was Ric awkward about it. And least by now he learned to lean against the wall before offering his blood to the hunter, knowing he would end up pressed into it anyway. Ric had been working out before his mortal death and his strength was considerate, even for a baby vampire. The elder Salvatore no longer protested the strong body pressing him into the wall, making the wooden panelling dig into his back. Ric wasn't even that bad looking...

He shook his head and refilled his glass. Today was the day the second part of team badass was moving into the boarding house. They have established it was too far from his apartment to travel in every day just to get his 'ration' anyway, so he sold the flat and was moving into one of their guest rooms. Just as he finished the thought, the front door opened and Ric stepped in with two large duffel bags, the rest already moved in.

"All done. But man, you need to start locking your door. Now that Elena is...undead, the house is unprotected again." Ric mused as he climbed the stairs.

Damon follower, tumblr in hand and sipping his drink. "No shit Sherlock, but seriously. If anything wants to kill us, will it come through the door?" he drawled in his usual manner as he leaned against the doorframe, watching the hunter unpack.

"Yeah I guess you have a point. Grill tonight as usual?" he asked conversationally.

Damon shrugged. "Sure, why not? Let's watch the kids play pool and babysit while nursing another glass." He grinned.

Ric chuckled. "I will need to feed before we leave though. Feeling a bit edgy today." He said as the last of his belongings were put away.

Damon shrugged and stepped into the room, leaving the glass by the bed as he leaned against the wall next to it. "Might as well feed from the neck, you will get more blood and will be done quicker." He shrugged.

Ric walked over and leaned into the flesh exposed by Damon's turn of his head. He let himself smell the blood just underneath the surface before his features changed and he bit in carefully. The blood tasted so much sweeter from the neck, pooling in his mouth as he swallowed hungrily, his body naturally pressing against his pray. He felt an answering hardness pressing against his hip but this time did not freak out, completely in the clutches of the exquisite ecstasy of bloodlust. Damon's fingers were clutching his shoulder and a hiss left his mouth at the pull on his artery, so much more pronounced at the neck, his heightened senses making the experience so much deeper.

Suddenly he felt a hand between them and gasped as his jeans were ripped open and his arousal came into contact first with the cool air and then with the moist tip of Ric's cock. "What-" but all he could do was moan in pleasure at the next instant when Ric's hand encased both their erections and started pumping so deliciously, while he gave a particularly hard pull on his vein. The slick liquid was already pooling between them, aiding in making the strokes easier and smoother.

"Fuck..." he gasped, the delicious friction of flesh against flesh driving him crazy. His arms had a mind of their own apparently as he pulled Ric closer into his body, one hand clutching the hunter's wide shoulder, his nails digging into the clothed flesh and the other laced in the scruffy mop of light brown hair, pressing him closer to his neck.

It was maddening, the double stimulation proving too much for both of them as they were soon spilling their release over their shirts. He was not even pissed about the come on his John Vervatos, too lethargic to care.

He groaned as the hand holding them together fell away and long teeth slipped from his neck, shuddering pants against his ear raising gooseflesh over the Salvatore's body.

"What the fuck Ric?" he asked, his tone holding astonishment rather than displeasure at the hunter's actions.

Ric finally pushed himself off the older vampire and tucked his now limp cock back into his trousers. "Just thought might as well get it out of our systems." He shrugged. "I'm still straight though." He growled at the grinning man before him, who seemed to be completely unconcerned about his cock still hanging out.

"Riiight...you tell yourself that the next time we do this." He grinned and headed for the door.

It took Ric a minute to process the implication in Damon's words. "What do you mean next time?" he shouted after the cocky bastard, but an amused laugh was his only answer.

Well shit.

FIN