Author: Boycrazy30008
Prompt: Hunt
Fandom: Vampire Diaries
Rating: PG-13
Author's Website: Boycrazy30008's page
Author's Note: The main characters are once again Stefan and Damon. Elena is mentioned but not in the fic. This is a sequel to Something Normal, prompt 6 - Romance on the twenty prompt page. The star symbol in the text like this: * means there is an author's note at the end of the story.


Stefan stopped running, and glanced around the small clearing he had come to in the woods. He had ran at a leisurely pace for the past thirty minutes, and arrived at the small clearing, knowing their were usually deer in this area. They were currently low on bagged blood in the boarding house, and as Stefan had been growing restless he had decided to get some hunting in while Elena was with Bonnie, and Damon was with Alaric.

It was rare that Stefan ever hunted completely alone now that Katherine was back. Damon's protectiveness had started back with the tomb vampires being released, and had only escalated since Katherine had made her presence known. He was now restricted to daytime hunts, and had a five mile radius into the woods. Which meant that Damon could reach him in little under five minutes when running. There had been two occasions when Damon had insisted on accompanying him on his hunts, claiming he was bored, and a run sounded nice.

So Stefan had taken this opportunity to hunt on his own. Taking his time to simply roam the woods, and burn off the energy and restlessness that had gathered after a week of little more than school. Stefan sniffed the air, frowning when he couldn't pick up the scent of anything large enough to hunt, end his hunger, and not kill. He sighed in annoyance, knowing he was nearing the end of his 10 mile radius. Deciding against heading his older brother's warning Stefan began running again, determined to either find something within the next two miles, or turn back, and simply drink the bagged blood.

Stefan was running slowly when he came to an abrupt halt. He stiffened as he listened for a non existent sound he was sure he heard. He sniffed the air, finding no other scent besides his own. He searched for any sign that he wasn't alone, and though he found none he still couldn't shake the uneasy feeling that made him want to turn and head back to town. Stefan shook his head, determined to not let his subconscious create fake circumstances that would require him to return home. He began walking again, this time humanly slow in order to keep a clearly open ear.

Seconds turned to minutes, and soon Stefan was clearly convinced he had imagined the strange noise. He had picked up his pace again when he heard it again, an unnameable sound. Louder this time, as though closer, and enough to startle Stefan, and make him stumble, and fall to the ground, covering himself with dirt, and tearing the knee of his jeans. Stefan could feel the sting of missing skin that had been ripped from his knees. He could feel small scratches that lined his arms, and face as well. Stefan stood quickly, glancing around to locate the source.


Stefan jumped violently at the thunder that rang from over head. He cursed himself, thinking of the several mocking comments he would hear from his older brother, had he witnessed the past few minutes. As rain started falling steadily Stefan looked around trying to locate the cause of the sound, and failing once again. As the rain grew heavier Stefan sighed in defeat, and quickly made his way back home. He was unable to shake the feeling he was being watched, and with the shower quickly turning into a storm he doubted he would catch anything.

# # #

Ten minutes later Stefan entered the boarding house through the back door, which lead straight into the kitchen. He had barely shut the back door when Damon was in front of him, grabbing his shoulders and turning him roughly.

"Where the hell have you been?" Damon asked looking Stefan up and down. His brow furrowed as he took in the ripped clothing that was stuck to his dirt covered brother's frame with rain water.

"I just went out in the woods for a while," Stefan squirmed under his brothers examining gaze, which quickly snapped into a stern glare.

"What!" Damon snapped.

"I just went hunting for a little while," Stefan defended himself quickly.

"I told you I didn't want you in the woods when it was dark, or cloudy!" Damon said tightening his hold on Stefan's shoulders.

"Why!" Stefan exclaimed annoyed. "If Katherine was going to attack I doubt she'd wait until dark!" Damon landed a sharp swat to his backside, effectively cutting off any more arguments Stefan might have had.

"You will do as you're told, that's why!" Damon snapped grabbing his brother's chin firmly in his hand. Stefan sulked as Damon turned his face from side to side, carefully examining his baby brother. "What the hell happened to you?!" Damon demanded to know finally releasing his brother completely, but blocking his path, and any chance of escape Stefan would have.

"I fell," Stefan answered simply. Trying to keep any hint of nervousness out of his voice.

"Try again," Damon said firmly. Stefan silently cursed whatever instinct Damon had that always let him know when Stefan was being less than truthful, or trying to hide something.

"Its true," Stefan exclaimed. "I did fall!"

"Why?" Damon asked suspiciously.

"What do you mean why," Stefan tried to sound annoyed, but he could sense Damon could see the worry underneath. "I didn't exactly do it on purpose!"

"Yeah, and you didn't trip over a twig now did you!" Damon snapped. Stefan remained quiet, training his eyes on anything besides his older brother. "You have to the count of three to tell me the truth, or I'm gonna beat your ass for lying to me!"

"Damon," Stefan's voice held an almost undetectable whine. "I told you-"

"One," Damon cut him off quickly.


"Two!" Stefan remained silent, stubbornly refusing to explain his state to his brother, knowing Damon would, according to Stefan's standards; overreact. "Three!" Damon grabbed Stefan again, turning him to the side, and delivering several stinging swats to his backside.

"Ok! Stop!" Stefan exclaimed twisting in a failed attempt to shield his butt. Damon stopped, twisted Stefan to face him, and raised an eyebrow expectantly. "I just.... Thought someone was there..." Stefan's voice trailed off.

"You saw someone!" Damon's voice was instantly filled with anger.

"No," Stefan sighed. "I just thought I heard something."

"What do you mean you thought!" Damon snapped quickly becoming annoyed with his younger brother's evasive answers.

"It was nothing Damon," Stefan sighed knowing he would never get passed his brother without further explanation. "I was about half a mile from the clearing I usually go to and I thought I heard something."

"Something, or someone?" Damon demanded sternly.

"I don't know," Stefan admitted quietly. Damon was quiet for a minute, and Stefan assumed he was going over the series of events in his head.

"I don't want you in the woods alone anymore," Damon said sternly, before turning and heading to the fridge to retrieve a bag of human blood, and a water bottle of animal.

"What," Stefan exclaimed. "Damon that's not fair! It was nothing!" Stefan knew Damon would over react but he hadn't expected something this drastic.

"Obviously it was something for you to have done the smart thing, and come back." Damon snapped annoyed with his little brother's arguing. "With Katherine back we're not taking any risks because you wanna go play in the woods."

"I knew you'd freak out like this," Stefan muttered angrily. Damon raised his eyebrows in warning, which Stefan was quick to heed as he dropped his eyes. "It was just a stupid noise! We don't even know what it is!" Stefan couldn't help the agitated tone in his voice.

"All the more reason to stay away from it," Damon said pulling two mugs of heated blood from the microwave, and shoving one in his little brother's hands.

"So what are we gonna do!" Stefan snapped despite his brother's glare. "We're almost out of animal blood, and I can't really go get more if I'm not aloud in the woods." Damon, who had apparently had enough of his little brother's attitude, was at his side in an instant.

"I think I'm perfectly capable of draining a few deer into water bottles," Damon snapped. "I'm done talking about this! I mean it Stefan! Under no circumstances are you allowed in those woods! Understand!"

"Yes," Stefan reluctantly agreed. He hoped Damon's paranoia would fade in a couple of days.

# # #

"You're home early," Damon commented dryly three days later as Stefan walked through the front door of the boarding house. Stefan had made a point of being in the house as little as possible, which was complicated since Damon insisted he be in the house before it got dark enough for any vampire to have a standing chance against the sun. It was only five and the earliest Stefan had been home all week was 7:30.

"Elena, Bonnie, and Caroline are having a sleepover tonight," Stefan offered by way of explanation.

"Well doesn't that sound like one big ball of fun!" Damon exclaimed sarcastically. Stefan rolled his eyes, being sure Damon couldn't see them as he disappeared up the stairs.

"We're almost out of blood," Stefan said stopping once he was halfway up the staircase. "I've only got one bottle left." Damon stood from his chair and headed for the bourbon.

"Relax, I'll get more tonight after the council meeting," Damon said simply as he poured himself another drink.

"There's a council meeting?" Stefan asked looking questioningly at his older brother. "What for?"

"Grown up business," Damon smirked disappearing into the kitchen. Stefan rolled his eyes. Damon was forever cracking jokes about his age, and his desire to remain in school and socialize with people of his physical age. Though Stefan would argue about it until the day he died, he craved the social contact with people his own age.

Stefan headed quickly into his room, shutting the door behind him and depositing his bag on the bed. He couldn't help but let his mind wonder as to what the council was meeting about tonight. He knew if it were important it would get back to him eventually, and for now decided on finishing the mindless homework he had been assigned.

# # #

"I'm leaving for the council meeting," Damon said from his place leaning against Stefan's open door frame. Stefan looked up from his place laying on the bed, a book laid open between his arms. Stefan rose into a sitting position,

"When will you be back?" Stefan questioned.

"Late," Damon said giving Stefan a pointed look. "After eleven for sure." Stefan knew how the comment was made to be taken. The be in bed before I get home was definitely there. And Stefan wasn't foolish enough to think Damon didn't mean it. Damon crooked two fingers in the generic follow me gesture, before turning and disappearing down the hallway. Stefan rolled his eyes, before getting up, and following his older brother downstairs. "Stay in the house, and don't open the door for anyone," Damon said as he pulled his black leather jacket on. Stefan rolled his eyes at the mediocre instructions. "I mean it Stefan," Damon said giving Stefan a stern look.

"Ok," Stefan said letting his annoyance show.

"I mean it Stefan," Damon warned grabbing his car keys from the small table near the front door. "You're not to leave this house. Not for anything."

"Fine!" Stefan exclaimed.

"Cut it out," Damon said sternly. "I'm leaving," Damon said opening the door.

"Bye," Stefan said as the door swung closed.

"Behave," Damon called back right before the door closed. Stefan shook his head in annoyance at his brother's strict instructions. Damon seemed to have it in his head that Stefan was incapable of staying home alone, or taking care of himself for one night. This annoyed Stefan to no end considering he had spent the better part of 145 years taking care of himself before Damon had rediscovered his humanity, or at least began to.

Feeling the dull ache in his stomach Stefan made his way into the kitchen. Opening the fridge he growled in annoyance upon realizing there was only one water bottle filled with animal blood in the fridge, and knowing there were none left in the freezer in the basement. Stefan checked his watch, growling softly when he noticed it was barely five. He heated up the small amount of blood, hoping it abated his hunger long enough for Damon to return home with more blood.

Stefan sighed in annoyance as he headed up the stairs back to his room, knowing he was stuck in the house for the rest of the night.

# # #

Stefan growled in frustration four hours later as the dull pain that had been in his stomach grew into a throbbing ache. It would be another two hours before Damon even thought about making his way home, and Stefan had no intentions of letting the painful hunger cramps progress any longer, knowing from experience they would get worse.

Stefan couldn't help but be mad at himself for his recent lapse in feeding properly. He had cut back on his hunting, preferring to spend any free time Damon had allowed him with Elena rather than being alone in the woods. The lack of proper feeding was why his hunger had grown so fast, and had hit so hard. He had refused to make up the missed hunting trips by drinking extra bottled blood, knowing Damon would call him on his feeding habits, and deal with it himself.

He knew admitting this to Damon would land him in more trouble than he was willing to place himself in for now, and was determined to solve his hunger himself. Climbing off his bed Stefan let his annoyance at his new placed restrictions, and his hunger pains fuel his decision as he walked downstairs, and pulled on his own brown leather jacket, before turning and heading for the back door.

Checking his watch as he walked out the back door Stefan noted it was only ten minutes after nine, and realized if he hurried, and could find some form of wildlife quickly, he would be back long before his older brother returned home. Stepping into the chilly night air Stefan began running through the woods in search of a meal.

# # #

It was forty-five minutes later when Stefan came to a stop, catching the scent of a pack of deer some where west of him. He changed direction running light, and at a slightly slower pace, in order to avoid scaring his prey away. He climbed into a tree, going unnoticed by the two male deer in the small clearing. He took a moment to quell the uneasiness he felt upon realizing this was the same area he had been in days ago.

Jumping easily from the tree he landed on the largest deer's back, knowing he had a far better chance of NOT killing the defenseless creature. He easily compelled the deer to relax, hating the terror he caused the creature. He let his face change, and prepared to bite into its neck when he heard it.

The noise was unmistakable, and the familiarity of it caused Stefan to immediately drop his prey, and spin on his heels. This time though, the source of the noise was in clear view. Standing in the middle of the clearing were two males, unmistakably vampires. Stefan gazed at them instantly alert and taking in as much information as he could about the two vampires.

The two stood side by side. The taller of the two had long, shaggy black hair, which he pulled back into a ponytail behind his head. He was of muscular build, and wore torn jeans and a tight white tank top. The shorter, by only two inches, was much the same except short brown hair, and he wore no shirt. Both stared at Stefan hungrily, something that made him physically stop himself from squirming on the spot.

"So we meet again!" The shorter of the two smirked looking Stefan up and down. "Its been a while. I honestly didn't expect to see you out here again. Thought we scared you off." His tone was condescending, and made Stefan stiffen to the bone.

"Well, well, well," The taller of the two asked looking Stefan up and down. "What have we got here?"

"I don't know Mitch," The shorter drew out in a slight southern accent. The taller, Mitch, began to circle Stefan, who backed up in an attempt to keep both men in his line of view. "But I think we could have a little fun here."

"I think you're right John," Mitch said slowly making his way closer to Stefan, who backed away nervously. "What's your name kid," Mitch taunted mockingly. Stefan kept his mouth shut tightly. Keeping his gaze focused on Mitch, who was the most imposing and threatening of the two at the moment.
"I think you scaring him," John said mockingly. "Poor baby." Stefan couldn't help but bristle at the comments. Their mocking tone didn't help, and though he was growing increasingly uneasy; bordering on fearful, and increasingly angry. HE had a feeling that was the point of the matter. Stefan's eyes continued to track Mitch, while keeping John in his peripheral view.

"Come on kid," Mitch taunted endlessly. "Tell us your name."

"What's the matter," John mocked. "Mommy, and Daddy don't let you talk to strangers!" Stefan stiffened again.

"Oh come on kid," Mitch was slowly advancing again, and Stefan involuntarily took a step back. "We're not strangers are we!" The smile on his face was anything but pleasant. "Just tell us your name and I'm sure we'll have a lot of fun together, isn't that right John."

"Oh I'm sure the two of us could come up with something fun to do with the kid!" The two laughed, and Stefan couldn't help the shudder that ran down his spine. "Well fun for us." Stefan jumped as the tone of voice went from mocking to simply cold and cruel. Stefan forced down his fear and found his voice, if only momentarily.

"Why don't the two of you just stand aside and let me pass." Stefan's voice portrayed a confidence he was sure his eyes betrayed.

"Well that's not very nice is it," Mitch growled growing angry at Stefan's bravery. Stefan could tell these were men who were used to being feared. "Didn't your mommy teach you any manners, or was she to busy spreading her legs!" Stefan saw red and made a lunge for the man. He was rammed from the side and sent flying across the woods into a tree. He crumbled to floor, and before he could pick himself up there was a strangling grip around his neck lifting him up and off his feet.

"I've gotta admit," John said grabbing Stefan roughly by the hair, as Mitch continued the tight grip on his neck. "The ones with a little fight in them are funner."

"I think you're right," Mitch growled viciously. "Not sure how much fight this one will have. Did you see what he was trying to eat!"

"Pathetic little thing can't even hunt right!" John snickered. "What's wrong kid, scared to kill a human!"

"Probably to weak to now," Mitch threw Stefan onto the ground again. Stefan shot up quickly, feeling the aches as bruises began to form over various parts of his body. Mitch was in front of him in the blink of an eye, but Stefan expected this. He threw his foot out, letting it connect firmly with the larger man's stomach. He felt the sharp pain as he was grabbed by the hair from behind, and jolted his elbow back, letting it land a full blow to John's nose.

John crumbled to the ground, and Stefan spun around quickly as Mitch ran forward towards him. He threw a punch, and as Mitch recoiled back from the force. Stefan made to run from the clearing, hoping he could lose them in the woods, and then make his way back to town. His plans were thwarted when a tight grip wrapped around his ankle, and pulled his foot out from under him. Stefan crumbled to the floor and could feel his ankle being twisted violently. His ankle was released and he was lifted by a tight grip around his neck, and thrown across the clearing.

He struck the tree hard and fell to rest at the base. Stefan forced himself into a near sitting position. He knew his ankle was broken and knew it would cause too much pain for the next several minutes for him to try and run again. He watched Mitch, and John pick themselves off the ground, and turn menacing stares toward him. Mitch began slowly advancing, like a lion stocking its prey, on Stefan.

"So what should we do with you first!" Mitch growled advancing slowly. "I think you and I should find some place a little more... Private!" Stefan couldn't help the fear that coursed through his body. Mitch reached him, and stood menacingly over him. Stefan watched as his face changed from human into the menacing creature a vampire was meant to be. Mitch grabbed him around the neck, and Stefan flinched back.


Something hit Mitch hard from the side, causing him to drop Stefan, who crumbled to the ground and stared shocked at the spectacle.

# # #

"-So all in all things have really slowed down since the building fire," Elizabeth Forbes, sheriff of Mystic Falls Police Department, and current leader of the City Council meeting continued. "We've had a few inklings, but no ones been hurt, and with the loss of the Gilbert watch we have no definite way of tracking them without an attack." Damon had grown used to keeping the smirk off his face at the mention of the Gilbert watch. He personally found it hilarious that the object the council desired so much was safely locked away in the safe in his bedroom.

"What about near by sightings?" Carol Lockwood questioned sounding nervous to hear the answer for fear the numbers had increased.

"No more than usual," Elizabeth said sounding somber and grateful at the same time. You could feel the tension in the room shift at the knowledge that while there had been very few sightings or attacks in town, they still surrounded the area. "The last sighting was about four days ago about twenty miles south from here. A girl was found with two large bite marks on either side of her neck. She's alive but she doesn't remember anything." Damon felt himself stiffen at the mention. He knew how to trace a vampire's hunting patterns far better than anyone in the room, and while they saw no reason to worry, he knew better than to be overly optimistic.

"So what's our plan of action?" One of the deputies asked.

"We just keep our eye opened for any leads, and hope nothing comes up," Elizabeth said, in a way that everyone knew was the official meeting dismissal. People began standing and slowly filtering out of the room located in the Lockwood Mansion until only Elizabeth, Carol, and Damon remained.

"Should we be worried about the sighting?" Carol asked.

"I'm not sure yet," Elizabeth said glancing between the two of them. "It's best to be on the safe side though. Keep the kids in. I'll tell the deputies to start being stricter on the curfews."

"That's probably for the best," Carol said as the three of them made their way into the main entrance hall of the mansion.

"Are we still good on vervain?" Damon asked slipping on his leather jacket as Carol opened the front door.

"We should be ok for a few more weeks," Elizabeth said as the two waved to Carol, as they headed out into the crisp night air. "I was thinking of heading to the grill, care for a drink?"

"I can't," Damon answered. "I left Stefan at the house alone, and I'd rather know what he's into, than find out later." Elizabeth smiled knowingly as they arrived at her car.

"Well, I wont keep you then," She said as she climbed into her car. Damon stepped back as she closed the door, and drove off, before quickly making his way to his car. No sooner had he closed the door, than he felt his phone vibrating in his jean pocket.

"What?" Damon asked answering the phone without so much as glancing at the caller I.D.

"Hey, where are you two?" Alaric's voice questioned.

"I just left the council meeting, Stefan's at the house." Damon said knowing Alaric would most likely be heading to the boarding house within minutes. Damon started his car, and pulled away from the Lockwood's mansion.

"Well I'm here now, and I'm pretty sure no one else is." Alaric said and Damon faintly heard a cabinet door shutting.

"What!" Damon snapped.

"I'm at the boarding house. I've been here for about ten minutes, and I'm pretty sure I'm alone." Alaric said slowly, waiting for Damon's temper to flare.

"Dammit!" Damon exclaimed. He pressed his foot on the gas, and sped towards boarding house. "Has someone been in the house?" Damon demanded.

"It doesn't look like it," Alaric said as Damon heard him moving through the boarding house. "The back door is unlocked though, and Stefan's jacket is gone." Rick said noticing the familiar leather jacket was no where to be seen. Damon growled in annoyance, slamming his hands into the steering wheel.

"I'm gonna throttle him!" Damon growled angrily. "Grab a couple stakes, and some vervain. Meet me out front!" Damon growled angrily.

"Why?" Rick demanded to know. "What's going on?" Damon could here Rick making his way out the doors to his car, where the history teacher/vampire hunter kept a fully loaded arsenal against the living dead at all times.

"He's off in the damn woods hunting, and I think someone's been in the area!" Damon could feel the fangs scraping against his tongue as he talked. He was quickly losing control of his anger, which didn't bode well for his younger brother. Damon jerked quickly onto the long winding road that lead to the boarding house. "I'll be there in a minute!" Damon snapped before hanging up the phone. He quickly dialed Stefan's number. He was beyond pissed when the phone continued too ring, and went to voice mail. He pulled the car to an abrupt halt, and was next to Rick in a heartbeat.

"Do you have any idea where in the woods he is," Rick asked loading a final stake into his cross bow, and shoving a vervain grenade into his pocket.

"I can track him," Damon said shortly grabbing a single stake and shoving it into his back pocket.

"Track him?" Alaric's voice questioned. "How exactly are you going to do that."

"Trust me. After 162 years I can track Stefan," Damon said as he headed for the woods. "You should wait here." Damon said as he headed towards the woods.

"Yeah right," Alaric scoffed as he followed Damon.

"Look, you can't keep up with me, and I'd rather not have to come search for you in the woods in an hour!" Damon ground out.

"Well then I guess I'll just have to keep up," Alaric smirked at the glare Damon sent his way. Damon stalked over to Rick.

"You know I'm really getting sick of humans!" Damon glared. "Take your car. Follow me, there's an old path and I know Stefan will stick close to it."

"How exactly do you know that?" Alaric questioned as he climbed into his car, and started the engine.

"He knows the area, and he can hunt there. There's plenty of deer." Damon growled as he headed towards the woods. Rick followed him, and they quickly located the path, and started the journey into the woods.

Alaric was grateful the path was fairly worn out half an hour later as he was speeding through the forest in an attempt to keep track of Damon. His vampire companion varied in speed several times, and had recently taken to jumping on and off the path. Which was why Alaric now found himself screeching to a halt, only inches from Damon's crouching body. Alaric shot out of the car, grabbing his cross bow, and arming himself instantly. Upon seeing no immediate threat he made his way over to Damon.

"What's wrong," He questioned seeing the veins on Damon's face pulsing.

"That's Stefan's!" Damon growled pointing to a fading shoe print in the dirt.

"So?" Alaric's voice was confused.

"That's not," Damon growled simply pointing to two sets of footprints about three feet ahead. These two were fresher, but not by much, and seemed to be heading in the same way.

"Dammit!" Alaric sighed realizing what this meant.

"He's being followed!" Damon stood up angrily.* Damon shot up in frustration, and began making his way forward, in the direction of the footprints. He didn't go far before something caught his ear. He stopped suddenly, Alaric paused outside the open car door.

"Damon?" Rick questioned. Damon ignored him, straining his ears in hope of catching the sound again. That's when he caught it. The unmistakable snap of a bone, and a strangled cry of pain. Damon let out a menacing hiss as he sped off towards the noise leaving Alaric to follow behind, confused and hoping he was on the right path. Damon sped through the forest, straining to pick up any source of noise that would put him closer to his younger brother. That's when he caught it. The sound that made his blood boil.

"I think you and I should find some place a little more... Private!"

Damon pushed his legs faster, so that he was little more than a blur even to the most trained vampire's eyes. He saw pure red as he neared the clearing. He didn't pause as he caught his first glimpse of the monster who now held his baby brother by the neck. He slammed into the broad vampire, grabbing him by the throat, and slamming him into the tree farthest away from his baby brother. He could feel Stefan's eyes on his back as he struggled to stand, Damon shoved his entire hand, stake in his grasp; through the man's stomach.

"You touched my brother, so now you're dead!" Damon hissed menacingly. Damon heard as the second vampire ran at him, and was about to react when he heard the unmistakable sound of a wooden stake flying through the air, before a strangled cry of pain, followed by a thump as the second vampire fell to the floor. Alaric made his way over to where Stefan was struggling to keep his balance, and leaning against a tree for support.

"Are you hurt?" Rick asked looking Stefan up and down.

"I'm fine," Stefan said though his breathing seemed slightly labored. They heard a sharp intake of breath and turned to see John standing, the stake now in his grasp and his face changed, before coming at them in a blur. He was stopped by Damon, who was in front of them in an instant. He shoved his hand through John's stomach, before throwing him across the clearing.

"Get him out of here Rick," Damon said firmly, before stalking over to the vampires, who were both struggling to stand. "Now!" He said when he heard Stefan begin to protest. Alaric grabbed Stefan's arm, throwing it over his shoulders in order to support Stefan's weight. Stefan immediately tried to pull away, but Alaric's grip was tight, and with his lack of feeding, and the fight he didn't have the energy to fight against Rick's pull. He could hear Damon speaking menacingly to the two who had attacked him, but couldn't make out the words as he was half carried to the car. It was five minutes later when they reached the car.

"Rick we have to go back," Stefan argued for what Alaric was sure the hundredth time.

"Damon can handle himself." Alaric said opening the backdoor, and pushing Stefan to sit. Stefan immediately shot back up, muffling a hiss of pain. "Dammit Stefan. We're getting out of here. You're hurt." Alaric sighed in annoyance at Stefan's persistent arguing.

"I'm fine," Stefan repeated annoyed. "I'm going back." Stefan said firmly. Alaric had opened his mouth to argue, when he felt himself being pulled aside. Stefan's eyes widened when Alaric was suddenly replaced with his very pissed off older brother, who wasted no time in wrapping a blood covered hand around Stefan's arm and turning him, before landing several sharp smacks to Stefan's behind.

"Ow! Damon stop," Stefan cried out as tears sprang to his eyes. After being thrown around so much his backside was unmistakably bruised, and the swats, which were no where near as hard as he'd be receiving when they got home; easily brought tears to his eyes, and sent them streaming down his face. Damon immediately noticed the pain that crossed Stefan's face, and realized it was from much more than a few smacks.

"If I'm not mistaken, I believe we've had this talk about staying out of a fight when I tell you too!" Damon said sternly.** Damon swept his protective gaze of Stefan, making the younger boy squirm in his brother's firm hold. Damon released Stefan, and moved to lift his shirt in order to check the bruising he suspected was forming over his baby brother's stomach. Stefan's hands immediately rose up to push the offending ones away from his shirt.

"Damon don't-" Stefan's protest were cut off by a stern glare, as his hands were swatted away. Damon rolled his eyes at the pout that crossed over Stefan's face as he lifted the shirt up enough to inspect his abdomen. The deep bruises that covered Stefan's stomach were enough to cause the older brother to see red. Remembering his brother's pained expression from the earlier swats, Damon dropped the shirt.

"Turn around," Damon said being sure to keep his anger in check. Stefan blushed immediately, knowing Damon intended to check the extent of his injuries.

"Damon no," Stefan whined, almost causing Damon to laugh at how young his brother seemed right now. He had the vision of a much younger Stefan, about six, telling him the same thing after falling from a tree, and cutting the top of his thigh. As much as he wanted to tell Stefan to get over it, and inspect his little brother now as he did then, Damon decided to let it slide until they got home.

"Don't whine," Damon aid sternly turning Stefan sideways, but instead of inspecting his backside for bruises Damon pushed him so he entered the white Tahoe at an angle, and pushed him so he laid on his side, his backside, and stomach never touching the cars interior. Damon shut the door behind them, and Stefan heard he, and Alaric talking briefly outside the car.

"Are they dead?" Alaric asked as he loaded his crossbow into the trunk of the Tahoe.

"Lucky for them they are," Damon growled threateningly.

"What about the bodies," Alaric said slamming the trunk shut.

"I took care of it," Damon said shortly. "Do you have any water, preferably not laced with vervain."

"How'd you know they would be out here?" Alaric questioned handing Damon a bottle and watching him wash the vampire's blood from his arm, before the two climbed into their prospective sides. Damon climbed into the passenger seat casting a quick glance back at Stefan, who seemed content to stare at the floor mats with drooping eye lids. Damon expected him to be asleep by the time they reached the boarding house.

"There's been a couple of sightings around. They were getting closer, hitting every third town they came to." Was all Damon offered by way of explanation.

"Do you think there are more of them?" Alaric questioned.

"No, they were loners." Damon answered. They were quiet after that. Damon still fuming over Stefan's disobedience, and Alaric feeling sympathy for the younger Salvatore for having to endure his older brother's wrath when they finally reached the boarding house. Alaric knew exactly what the teenage vampire was in for, having seen the older of the two swat his younger brother several times before tonight. He also knew that as much of an asshole Damon was to the rest of the world he would never truly hurt his younger brother.

Driving at a much slower pace in an attempt to avoid the bumps, and jerks of the old path it took them twenty minutes, and several painful gasps from Stefan before they finally made it back to the boarding house. Damon was out of the car in a heartbeat, and pulling open Stefan's door. Stefan sat up slowly, wary to get within arms reach of his older brother. Damon ignored Stefan's hesitancy, knowing that had he not been injured it would be warranted. Stefan's injuries were the only things keeping Damon from tanning his ass here and now. Damon forced himself to ignore the wince that escaped Stefan when he reached a seated position. Damon chose to focus on Stefan's ankle, which still held a substantial amount of swelling.

"It's not healing," Damon muttered as it dawned on him. Stefan unconsciously scooted farther away from his brother. Damon's eyes snapped to him in an instant glare. Stefan dropped his eyes. "Look at me." Damon said sternly. Stefan's eyes slowly rose to meet his brother's. "When was the last time you fed?!" Damon demanded sternly.

"Earlier," Stefan answered quietly. His cheeks blushed from being scolded in front of Alaric. He could feel Damon's glare deepen.

"Stefan!" Damon's voice was stern and harsh. "Cut the bullshit. When was the last time you hunted. Successfully!" Stefan shrank back at his brother's harsh tone.

"Couple weeks ago," Stefan mumbled. He panicked slightly when he felt himself being pulled from the car. Damon pulled Stefan into a near standing position, and half carried him to the door.

"Get your ass upstairs, and get ready for bed!" Damon said sternly. He knew Stefan would be able to make it upstairs with the stair railing to hold some of his weight. Stefan disappeared into the house quickly, and Damon turned back to where Alaric stood leaning against his car. "Damn brat," Damon muttered to himself as he walked back to the car.

"So what's wrong with his healing?" Alaric asked hiding the worry he felt. Over the past few months he had grown close to both of the Salvatore brothers.

"The little brat hasn't fed right for about two weeks!" Damon sighed in annoyance pinching the bridge of his nose between two fingers. "His healing, and senses are weakened enough because he doesn't drink human blood, so they're even worse now that he hasn't been eating right."

"How long will he take to heal? Does he need to go to a hospital?" Alaric asked.

"No, once I get some blood into his system it should kick start again." Damon explained.

"Well I'll get out of here, let you two deal with this," Alaric said opening his door. "I'll see you later."

"I'll call you tomorrow," Damon said as he watched Alaric climb in his car. He watched as Alaric disappeared down the winding road, before he made his way into the house. Damon took instant notice of Stefan's cell phone sitting on the end table near the couch and shook his head in annoyance. The house was quiet as he made his way up the staircase. He made a quick stop to his room for the first aid kit, before making his way to Stefan's room, where he was met with hi little brother curled up on his side near the end of the bed. Stefan's eyes were heavy, and Damon could tell he was fighting sleep. Stefan's eyes shot open as Damon walked towards him.


"Quiet," Damon said gently, but with sternness in his voice. "Sit up," Damon said extending his arm, and helping Stefan into a sitting position. Stefan gazed at him warily as Damon pulled the desk chair over and sat it directly in front of Stefan. "Put your foot up here," Damon said tapping the desk chair once. Stefan did as he was told, wincing when his swollen Ankle came in contact with the cold wood of his chair. Damon grabbed his foot, being far more gentle now, than he had earlier. He ran his fingers across the swelling, before he located the fracture. He could feel where part of the bone was stuck out, and sighed at the thought of setting it. "Take a deep breath for me," Damon said. He waited until Stefan complied before pushing the bone back into place. Stefan let out a strangled cry, and it took everything in Damon not to wrap his baby brother in his arms. He took out the bandages, and wrapped Stefan's ankle tightly, hoping it would completely heal over night, and wouldn't need to be splinted. "Alright lay down."

"Why?" Stefan asked as he gently moved his foot from the chair. Damon rolled his eyes, before placing a gentle, but firm hand on Stefan' chest and pushing his brother into a laying position.

"Your not healing, because you decided not to feed right for the last two weeks, so I'm checking to make sure your not hurt anymore!" Damon snapped at his younger brother who blushed when his shirt was lifted up. Stefan's entire torso was covered in deep black and blue bruises, that made Damon want nothing more than to rip the throats out of the bastards who had hurt his little brother... Again. Damon ran his fingers gently across Stefan's stomach, prodding in a few places to check for internal bleeding. "Alright, roll over." Damon said sighing in relief that there was no internal bleeding. Losing blood wouldn't help the underfed vampire at all.

"Why," Stefan asked knowing exactly what Damon planned to do.

"Because you can't sit down without crying!" Damon snapped. "Roll over."

"Damon no," Stefan whined. "I'm fine."

"No you're not!" Damon said sternly. He knew Stefan was embarrassed, but right now he could care less. "Roll over!" Stefan didn't move, and Damon was once again shocked at how stubborn his baby brother could be when he was in this much trouble. Damon reached down, and flipped his little brother, being sure he was careful with his bruised stomach, and pulling him up to make sure his head landed on the pillow at the head of the bed.


"Stop whining!" Damon said sternly. "If your ass wasn't already bruised I'd give you something to whine about." Stefan again pouted, tears leaking out of his eyes. Damon smirked at his younger brother's pout, before gently tugging the younger boy's pajama pants, and boxers down below his butt. Damon winced at the bruising, knowing it had to be extremely painful. He ran his hands over the bruised flesh, glad to not find any fractures in the bones, before quickly pulling the younger boys pajama pants up again. Stefan had buried his face in his pillow during Damon's examination. "Look at me." Damon said as he knelt next to Stefan's head. Stefan reluctantly turned his gaze on Damon, who finally took pity on his younger brother and began running his hand through the younger boy's hair. "You're going to feed, and then you're going to bed." Damon said sternly.

"We're out of blood," Stefan said just now noticing the painful ache in his stomach.

"You're going to feed from my wrist," Damon said sternly. Stefan opened his mouth to protest. "I think you're in enough trouble without arguing with me little boy!" Damon said sternly once again. "In the morning I'll check how you've healed, and then we can discuss what's gone on tonight." Stefan's eyes watered again. It wasn't often Damon put off a punishment, and Stefan hated having to wait until morning. Damon quickly bit into his wrist, before turning back to Stefan. "Open." He said firmly holding the wrist close to Stefan's mouth. Stefan hesitated a minute before the call of the blood, and Damon's firm glare became too much, and he latched onto the offered wrist.

Damon continued to run his free hand through Stefan's hair as he watched his brother steadily fall deeper and deeper into sleep. It took Stefan twenty minutes to actually fall asleep, and another half an hour, before he stopped drawing blood from Damon's wrist. Damon gently moved his wrist from Stefan's mouth before standing, wincing as his back cracked from spending too much time crouched over. He pulled Stefan's boxers down, and checked to see if the blood had helped start the healing process, and was glad to see a few small scratches that had been there earlier had faded to nothing. Damon pulled the blankets from underneath Stefan, and pulled them up, and over the younger brother's shoulders. Damon quickly gathered Stefan's ripped, and dirty clothing that had been discarded earlier, and headed downstairs; being sure to leave the bedroom door opened, so he could pick up any movement easily. He tossed the clothing into the trashcan, deciding it was easier to replace it, than worry about getting it cleaned, or sewn.

Damon quickly made himself a mug of blood., downing it instantly and starting another. Normally letting Stefan feed from him had no ill effects, but tonight he had fed longer, and drawn deeper than normal. It had left Damon with a small headache, and feeling light headed. After his third cup of blood he had finally gotten rid of both side effects, but still made himself another, knowing that in a couple hours when he awoke to check Stefan's healing he would need to feed the younger vampire again.

# # #

It was nine in the morning when Damon woke up for the fourth time. It had been close to midnight when he finally got Stefan into bed. He had woken up at two, four, and six in the morning to check his healing, and give him a quick dose of blood to keep the process going. Damon pulled himself out of bed, and made his way downstairs. He started a pot of coffee, hoping to wake himself up a little before going to check on Stefan, who for his part had slept through the night, feedings and all.

As the coffee brewed, Damon microwaved himself a cup of blood. He waited somewhat impatiently for both to finish, sighing contently when the blood finished first. He drank the mug quickly, rinsing it out and then making himself a cup of strong, black coffee. He stood there for a moment, sipping on the bitter liquid, and allowing it to wake him up, warming his cold undead skin. Damon downed what was left of his coffee before making himself another mug of blood. While it microwaved Damon pulled another mug from the cabinet and set it in the sink. He took a knife, and made a long horizontal slit in his wrist. He watched as the blood drained out. He had to re-cut his wrist twice before the large mug was full, and when it was he quickly downed his own mug, before making his way up to Stefan's room.

Stefan still lay in bed, curled around a pillow, and sleeping peacefully. Damon walked over to his sleeping brother. It never ceased to amaze him exactly how innocent his baby brother could look when he was asleep. Especially after he had proven himself to be the biggest pain in the ass his older brother had. Damon gently pulled the blankets from around Stefan, and once again pulled his pajama pants, and boxers down. Damon sighed in relief upon noticing the bruises that had littered Stefan's backside the night before had completely faded. He replaced his younger brothers clothing, before shaking him lightly by the shoulder.

"Stefan, time to get up," Damon said smirking to himself when Stefan groaned. Do this for 162 years, then bitch to me. Damon thought remembering the countless times over the last few years he had been awoken by his younger brother. Damon did feel slightly bad about disturbing his younger brother's sleep. He knew for Stefan to have gone to bed without arguing, and actually sleep this late into the morning the younger vampire must have been exhausted. "Stefan." Damon's tone had a stern tinge to it, which immediately had Stefan's eyes blinking open. Stefan sat up hesitantly, testing as to whether or not the bruising from last night was as severe. He was happy to note that he could sit comfortably, but internally cringed knowing the relief would be short lived. Stefan righted himself fully, and instantly found a mug of blood shoved into his hand. He frowned at the smell, knowing instantly that the blood had come from his older brother. At Damon's stern glare Stefan reluctantly lifted the glass to his lips.

"Thanks," Stefan muttered. Whether he wanted the blood or not Stefan knew he needed it, and he also knew they were still out of Animal blood.

"Let me see your ankle," Damon said firmly. Stefan sighed, knowing there was no point in arguing. Stefan pulled the blanket down, and lifted his foot, as Damon knelt near it. Damon carefully prodded the injured foot, and was glad to feel the bone had mostly healed. Stefan finished the mug of blood quickly, placing it on the night stand. "Lift your shirt up." Damon said sternly. Stefan reluctantly complied. He could still fee the bruising that littered his chest, but it was no where near as painful as last night. Damon gently ran his fingers over the bruises, before motioning Stefan to put his shirt down. "You're going to have to stay off your ankle for the rest of the day." Damon said sternly. "You're going to take a bath, and then we'll talk. Understand?"

"Yes sir," Stefan said quietly. Damon pulled Stefan to his feet, before lifting him and carrying him to the bathroom. "Damon!" Stefan couldn't help the whine.

"Cut it out," Damon's voice was stern as he sat Stefan on his feet, his good foot to be exact, and pushed his so he sat on the toilet seat. Damon reached over and started the bath water, ignoring his brother's pouting face. "You have twenty minutes. Don't get the bandage wet!" Damon said firmly before exiting the bathroom. He left the door open only a crack as he made his way down the hall. Stefan quickly stripped his clothes off, and got into the bathtub, being sure to keep his injured foot dangling outside of the bathtub. Normally he took a shower, but Damon seemed determined to keep him off of his injured foot. Stefan allowed himself to relax against the bathtub, letting the hot water relax his muscles that still slightly ached. As much as Stefan wanted to put off his punishment as long as possible, he knew better than to test his luck with his older brother.

Stefan bathed quickly, washing his hair twice to remove the dirt and grime that had made his scalp its new home. Stefan pushed himself up and climbed out of the tub, being sure to keep his injured ankle from touching the ground. Stefan slowly made his way to his dresser, using the wall to hold his weight off of his injured ankle, and pulling out a pair of boxers, and a plain white t-shirt. Stefan sat down on his bed, and was greeted seconds later with his older brother standing in his doorway.

"We need to talk about last night." Damon said sternly. Damon grabbed the desk chair, and moved it so he sat directly in front of Stefan, who scooted back farther on the bed out of instinct, and Damon resisted the urge to roll his eyes. "What was the last thing I said to you before leaving yesterday?"

"Stay in the house," Stefan muttered quietly.

"You know you're not allowed in the woods after dark, or alone!" Damon said sternly. "You knew you weren't allowed to be that far into the woods, and you know you're supposed to have your phone on you at all times!"

"I'm sorry," Stefan said quietly keeping his eyes glued to his lap in an attempt to hide his watering eyes from his older brother.

"Stand up," Damon said firmly seeing no need to delay the punishment any longer. Stefan stood reluctantly. Damon reached out to tug Stefan's boxers down, but Stefan pulled away on instinct.

"Damon don't." No matter how many times they went through this, Stefan always resisted having his pants taken down. Damon knew it was more a reaction than a conscious decision, and had grown used to it.

"Stop it!" Damon said sternly as he pulled Stefan forward and landed a sharp smack to his little brothers backside. Damon made short work of baring his brothers backside, and pulling him over his lap. Stefan whimpered slightly when Damon pulled him over his lap. "You know better than to pull away from me Stefan." Damon said sternly, as he adjusted Stefan on his lap. "You were told to stay inside and stay away from the woods unless I was with you!" Damon lectured sternly as he began landing several sharp smacks to Stefan's behind.

"I'm sorry!" Stefan cried as Damon landed smack after smack on his unprotected backside. Stefan couldn't help but squirm under the fall of the sharp smacks. He couldn't help the short yelps, and whimpers that escaped his mouth with each smack. Stefan had never been one to take a punishment in silence.

"You know better than to go that far into the woods in the first place," Damon said landing harder swats to Stefan's butt. "How far into the woods are you allowed to go?"

"Ow! Five!" Stefan cried. Damon could hear the hitch in his breath

"Five what Stefan," Damon demanded to know.

"Five miles!" Stefan gasped as tears streamed down his face. "Damon! Stop-" Stefan's plea was cut off by a particularly hard swat that caused a gasp to escape his lips. Damon resisted the ever present urge to end his brothers punishment early.

"I told you to stay inside for a reason Stefan," Damon said as continued to let the swats fall. "I told you it wasn't safe!"

"I'm sorry! Dami! Stop! P-please!" Stefan cried out. The pain building in his backside roared with every added smack. Damon had to force himself to continue at the sound of the childhood nickname Stefan had bestowed upon him in the days before he could actually say Damon.

"You should have called me when you needed more blood!" Damon said sternly.

"Y-you would have b-been mad!" Stefan cried as Damon continued the attack on his behind. The next few swats Damon landed were harsher than the rest. Stefan cried out as tears streamed down his face from the more painful swats.

"I never want to hear you use that as an excuse again do you understand me little boy!" Damon said sternly lightening the force behind the swats a little as he spoke. "No matter how mad you think I'll get, you call me if something like this happens!" Damon couldn't help as his anger was rekindled when he thought about the reasons behind Stefan's extreme hunger. "You know better than to go that long without feeding in the first place!" Damon said sternly. "You haven't been hunting so you can spend time screwing around with Elena!"

"I-i'm s-sorry!" Stefan sobbed as he went limp over his older brother's lap. Damon tilted Stefan forward, causing his baby brother to increase his sobs as Damon landed the last dozen swats to the sensitive under curve where his legs and backside met. Stefan cried brokenly over his older brother's lap to the point where he didn't notice the spanking had ended until he felt himself being lifted, his boxers gently pulled up, and placed right side up on his older brothers lap. Stefan clung tightly to Damon' neck, letting his older brother's shirt soak up the tears that steadily leaked down his face.

"Hush Piccolo," Damon said gently. He stood, moving from the wooden desk chair to the soft bed as he held his crying baby brother in his arms. "You're ok," Damon shifted Stefan slightly and began to rub his back comfortingly.

"I-I'm sorry!" Stefan sobbed as he clung desperately to his older brother.

"I know Piccolo," Damon said, his voice gentle and soothing. He could never stay mad at Stefan for long. No matter what his brother did Damon could never stay mad at him. "Its over and done with." Damon said laying a soft kiss to his forehead. Damon rocked Stefan slightly, calming his younger brother's sobs until it was only soft cries that escaped his younger brother.

Damon took notice fifteen minutes later when Stefan's cries turned to silent tears, and his eyes began to droop. Damon stood up, bringing Stefan up with him. "Not so fast Piccolo." Damon said shifting Stefan, in an attempt to awaken his dozing younger brother. Stefan had always been one to go directly to sleep after a punishment, no matter what time he had received it. The spanking itself wore the teenager out more than anything, leaving him both physically and emotionally drained. As much as Damon wanted to let his younger brother simply sleep off his exhaustion Damon knew they still needed to discuss the extent of Stefan's punishment. Stefan's eyes popped open when he felt himself being moved. Damon made his way down the stairs and into the living room. Damon switched Stefan so he could hold him with one arm, causing a whimper from Stefan when the fire in his backside was reignited from the pressure; and grab a padded chair with the other. He carried both his younger brother and the chair into the kitchen, before depositing first the chair, and then his younger brother into the corner.

"Damon no," Stefan's voice was caught somewhere between a whine and a whimper instantly. He turned his head to gaze at his older brother, but knew better than to actually leave the chair. Damon raised an eyebrow at his younger brother.

"Stefan," Damon's voice held a warning tone, which Stefan took heed of and turned around instantly. Damon caught sight of the pout on his face, and tears in the corner of his eyes. "Your going to sit there for a while got it."

"Yes sir," Stefan said softly. Damon made himself a cup of coffee as he watched the clock, and read the newspaper he had picked up from the front lawn some hours ago. He had resolved to leave Stefan in the corner for half an hour, and was content to sit at the counter and read the paper as he watched his younger brother squirm uncomfortably.

Stefan personally hated this part in any punishment. He was expected to sit here and think about what had taken place over the last few hours. Normally Damon left him standing in the corner, but Stefan assumed he was sitting because of his still healing ankle. He'd much rather deal with a throbbing ankle later than his burning backside now. Stefan couldn't help but squirm with the still fresh burn in his backside. Even though he'd never admit it out loud Stefan would much rather still be upstairs, wrapped in his older brother's arms. He had always been clingy after a punishment.

"Sit still," Damon said fifteen minutes later when Stefan's movements had become more than simply squirming. Damon couldn't help but smile softly at the fact that at 162 years old Stefan still couldn't sit still for more than ten minutes. Stefan instantly stopped moving, for the most part anyway. Damon didn't expect Stefan to be completely still, but he did expect him to at least try. Damon finished reading an article, before glancing at the clock, and noticing the thirty minutes were up. Damon stood up and made his way over to his younger brother. He spun the chair around so that his younger brother faced him before extending a hand to pull Stefan into a standing position. Stefan squirmed once again when Damon lifted him into his arms, and carried him into the living room, but was wise enough not to voice his disagreements.

Damon sat Stefan on the couch, before taking a seat directly in front of him on the coffee table. "Well first things first, your grounded." Damon said.

"Damon, that's not fair!" Stefan complained instantly.

"Oh really," Damon said raising his eyebrow. "Would you rather me tan your ass again?"

"No sir," Stefan mumbled dropping his eyes to his lap. He knew arguing would get him nowhere.

"This is how its gonna work," Damon said. His voice was stern once again. "You go to school, you come home, you go to your room, and at nine o'clock you go to bed."

"Damon," Stefan's voice held a slightly detectable whine. "Its barely dark at nine!"

"Yeah, I don't care!" Damon said sternly. He raised one eyebrow, daring Stefan to argue further. When his younger brother remained quiet he continued. "Since I can't trust you to eat properly on your own you're going on a feeding schedule." Stefan's eyes widened in disbelief. Damon continued before Stefan had the chance to object. "You're going to drink a mug of blood before school, in front of me, and you don't leave until you do. You'll drink a mug when you get home, and at least two more before you go to bed."

"How long," Stefan questioned knowing arguing with Damon would likely land him in more hot water. Something he was determined to avoid considering his backside was still flaming.

"Until I can trust you to eat properly." Damon said firmly. "While you're grounded no cell phone once you're home. When you get home you hand it to me, and you can have it back the next day before school."

"Damon that's not fair," Stefan couldn't help but whine. While he wasn't addicted to his cell phone like most teenagers were, he still used it regularly.

"Once again I don't care," Damon repeated. "And while you're grounded, except for school, no friends. And I mean Elena with that to!"


"Watch the tone!" Damon warned threateningly.

"Elena had nothing to do with this!" Stefan argued clearly having no intentions of letting this particular argument go.

"Oh really!" Damon exclaimed, his voice somewhere in between sarcasm, and anger. "Then tell me what exactly you've been doing that's been keeping you too busy to hunt, or feed properly!" Stefan remained quiet, knowing that any possible excuses he tried to make would likely end with him having an even sorer backside. "That's what I thought."

"Still not fair," Stefan mumbled, and Damon could see the tears forming in the corner of his eyes. Damon did feel bad, knowing his brother was still overly emotional from his punishment, and most likely still thought Damon was angry with him. Damon decided to end their conversation on one more note. The one he knew would cause arguments farther down the road.

"That's enough," Damon said his voice firm but gentle. "Last thing, from now on your not staying home alone anymore."

"Damon," Stefan's voice was incredulous. "I don't need a babysitter!" No matter how much trouble he had gotten in, Damon hadn't required he had a babysitter since he was really sixteen. When Damon returned from the war, the few times he had left the house and Stefan had not followed, Damon had trusted him to be alone for that amount of time. Before that Stefan had simply followed his older brother around constantly.

"Apparently you do!" Damon argued sternly. "I can't leave you alone for more than an hour without you getting into some kind of trouble!" Stefan felt a few tears leak down his face, knowing that for the time being his brother no longer trusted him enough to be left alone. Damon finally broke down, and let the protective big brother in him lean in and wipe the tears from Stefan's face. "From now on Alaric is going to stay with you whenever I have a council meeting. If he can't stay then I'll find one, but you aren't staying home alone for awhile." Stefan nodded, and Damon didn't push for a verbal answer, knowing his little brother was upset by his knew restrictions. "Come on," Damon said pulling Stefan up, and once again lifting him into his arms, and heading towards the stairs. "I'm sure you have something to do for school."

Instead of squirming against his brother's hold Stefan simply leaned against him, glad to have the physical contact, and knowing that even though Damon was upset with him for now, it would pass eventually. Damon could never hold a grudge against his baby brother.

The End

Author's Notes Inside the story:
* This is about the time they take commercial breaks on this show.
** Something Normal Reference

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