AN: Honestly, I don't even know. I haven't watched the new episode yet so this isn't in response to anything whatsoever. It just sort of happened. There is no structure or logical cause and effect way of reading this. It's messy and choppy and tragic…
I made Stefan seriously messed up because honestly what he went through is horrific and the show is not going to give us that. It was traumatic and I think that's what I was trying to do with this; is show the trauma for them and how they can't really function anymore?
I understand if you hate it cause to be honest I'm not even sure I like it but here it is…
It takes five days for them to find him.
Liz gets together some of her deputies and a few trusted councilmen and Damon supervises the entire thing, sometimes diving in the water himself. Considering the size of the quarry five days is pretty good.
Considering its Stefan's life, five days is just five more days of agony for both of them.
Damon doesn't sleep or stop to feed. It's only Jeremy showing up at the quarry on the third day and shoving a blood bag in his face that keeps him sustained. He only drinks the bare minimum; only enough to keep going so he can find him.
Stefan's been starving for three months. Damon can survive three days.
He's ignoring Elena's calls. Jeremy covers for him as much as he can. Neither of them wants to tell Elena about Stefan. Damon shut his phone off on the second day.
She's been calling Jeremy at the house but then Damon hasn't been there since Silas told him that Stefan was suffering.
His clothes are stuck to his body and there's water dripping in his eyes from where his hair has fallen over his forehead. Liz shoots him a small smile that he doesn't return.
"Anything?" He asks.
Her face falls and she shakes her head.
Damon clenches his eyes shut and bows his head. For a minute he doesn't move and Liz is beginning to seriously worry about him. She takes a step toward him but his abrupt movement stops her.
Damon turns and dives back in the water.
It takes them five days to find him.
Damon speeds to the water's edge and watches as the deputies pull the safe from the water. His chest tightens at the sight.
"Get the blood bags,"
He'd had enough sense to keep a cooler of blood on hand. He knew when they found Stefan that the younger vampire would be out of his mind with hunger. Damon would gladly cut into every one of the deputies' throats but he knew Stefan wouldn't approve. At least, Stefan of three months ago wouldn't.
They're taking too long. Damon growls and bears his fangs as he shoves them out of the way. Liz shoots him a startled glare but Damon ignores her. He'll compel them later.
He tugs at the steel door and he hears the hinges give away under his supernatural strength. The door is barely removed before Damon is bending over his brother, shielding him from the sun as he fumbles to put his daylight ring back where it belongs.
Jeremy comes up beside him and Damon rips the blood bag from his hand, tearing into it with his own teeth before tipping it over Stefan's mouth.
He waits anxiously for any movement from his little brother. Jeremy has stepped back slightly to stand with Matt and Liz. A minute passes. Two.
Stefan's eyes snap open, instantly locking with Damon's. The older vampire lets out a harsh laugh and reaches to tug Stefan into a sitting position. He bring another blood bag to the vampire's mouth and this time Stefan bites into it.
Stefan's gaze hasn't left Damon's but his eyes are not the ones Damon remembers. Damon frowns. They may have found him, but they haven't saved him.
Its two weeks later and Stefan still isn't right. He's fidgety and tense and he hasn't made eye contact since meeting Damon's eyes when they first found him. He reminds Damon of a junkie.
And he's always hungry. He hasn't become the ripper again. He's not hunting people down and tearing into their throats. He doesn't even leave the house and he panics around water.
He calls Elena after they find him. She's not happy with him and she's devastated when she finds out about Stefan. He doesn't care. When Damon finds out about the feelings she'd been having about Stefan all summer he hangs up on her.
He still hasn't called her back.
"Have you seen him?"
Stefan's voice is hoarse with disuse and Damon wants to cry at finally being able to hear it. He doesn't need to ask Stefan who he's referring to.
"Not since he told me that you were suffering."
Damon wishes he'd speak.
Elena shows up in Mystic Falls after another week goes by without a word from either Salvatore. Jeremy had tried to stop her but she wouldn't listen.
Stefan flinches when he sees her and Damon glares.
"Damon," she begins after Stefan had made an excuse to leave the room. "How could you not tell me any of this?"
"How could you not tell me you were sensing him?"
She's taken aback at the harsh tone and cold stare. "I didn't-"
"If you had said something maybe I would have known to search for him sooner,"
"You can't know that,"
He softens a little but the anger is still there. Elena isn't sure who it's directed at.
"No," he finally says. "I can't"
He doesn't let her see Stefan and she leaves shortly after she gets there with the feeling that she won't be back. Something has been altered here. In Stefan and in Damon.
She's not sure she'll ever see either of them again.
Damon starts to talk about Elena and Stefan completely shuts down. He doesn't try again...
They stay in Mystic Falls for a month. Just the two of them in the Salvatore home. Jeremy had stopped coming around after Elena left and Damon prefers it that way.
Stefan can't handle being around people. There's something wrong in his mind. Being trapped in your own head during an endless loop of drowning for three months will do that.
They watch a lot of television. Damon loses track of the time they spend watching shows and movies. The only time he leaves is to replenish their blood supply. Stefan drinks a lot more than he used to.
He still doesn't really talk much. If they were human he would have taken him to a shrink a long time ago. There isn't a shrink alive equipped to deal with this.
Klaus calls him one day. Damon doesn't know how he heard or why he cares but then Damon never really did understand the friendship between the hybrid original and his brother.
"He needs to get out, Damon,"
"You don't know what he needs!"
Klaus chuckles and Damon wants to stake him. "He was locked in a safe at the bottom of a lake by an immortal wearing his face. He drowned over and over again for three months. He was trapped in a box and in his head and he still is, mate"
Damon proposes the idea to Stefan the next day. He doesn't give an outward reaction but Damon sees the way his fists clench and his entire body stiffens. He's terrified and suddenly Damon knows that Klaus is right.
"You need to get out in the world, Stefan. We can travel; maybe even go back to Italy,"
It takes Stefan a long time to reply
"When I was in the water... The only, the only thing that kept me sane was you,"
Damon is shocked to hear him talking, let alone talking about his time in the water. It's not a subject they address, ever. It takes him a minute to hear what Stefan is saying.
"What are you-"
"I would hallucinate conversation with you. Some of them imagined, others remembered… Always you,"
Damon's eyes are glassy from the tears
"I wonder what he would think of this,"
Damon's heart breaks.
They leave Mystic Falls. They spend a lot of time boarding up the house and packing things up. It'll be a long while before either of them can even consider coming back here. Damon thinks seriously about selling but he can't bring himself to do it.
They're going to New Orleans of all places. Klaus may be a sadistic bastard but he seems to understand Stefan. They have a bond that Damon's not entirely sure he's comfortable with but if it will help his brother…
He is getting better. He talks more, he's less fidgety, and he doesn't panic around water anymore. The nightmares are another story. They've taken to sharing a bed like when they were children. Maybe he should feel weird about that but it's the only way either of them sleeps anymore. And whatever comfort Stefan can get Damon will happily give him.
He locks the door before joining Stefan in the car. Stefan stares out the passenger window as they pull away from the house and Damon considers saying something but he doesn't.
The house is almost completely from sight when Stefan speaks. "I wish we never came back here,"
Damon thinks of everything that's happened to them since they came back to Mystic Falls nearly four years ago. Most of it was bad. They don't talk about any of it. It didn't matter so much at the time because it seemed worth it… They don't talk about her either…
Hate it? Want to kill yourself? Or me? God I feel depressed lol
ON A LIGHTER NOTE… four years ago on this day I posted my first ever Stefan and Damon fanfiction! If any of you reading this have been following me from the beginning than wow are you ever dedicated! And to those of you who came later, you're just as wonderful. Thank you & I love you; ALL OF YOU!
Keep an eye out for chapter 3 of 'DON'T EVER SAY I WALKED AWAY'