The Promise

Some promises die, others are worth keeping and Damon reminds Stefan of that.

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1. Drowning

~~They say when you go through such an experience as dying that in your last moments you feel nothing but pain and not just that. You feel helpless and frightened because you are unsure how to get out of a predicament where your life literally depended on it but once its over your just gone.

Only Stefan wasn't gone, in fact he died. Over and over again and he could only imagine how death the first time would do to ones sanity and if he knew his little brother, and he did, no matter how many times he had told Stefan that he would make his life as unbearable as he could, he knew that he was close to the breaking point.

Elena had invited the brothers to a party and it didn't matter whether they went or not but Stefan could use some time with his friends and if the death grip to his favorite chair wasn't prove of that on how screwed up he was then it certainly didn't show he was alright.

Stefan refused the invitation on going to the party, after having been brought back to his surroundings by his brothers voice, "Stefan, you okay?" He asked cautiously, like any move he made might frighten him.

His eyes were still closed but quickly opened and he replied, "I'm fine."

Damon smirked, his gaze going to the spot on the arm rest where Stefan's nails had went completely through the material in a death grip. "How about my favorite chair?"

Stefan looked confused at first until his attention went to his hand where Damon still had his eyes on and slowly, all to slowly unfolded his fingers from the chair. "Tell Elena, thanks but I'm not much for a party." He replied, having heard his brother perfectly clear but was unable to snap out of his own nightmare.

Stefan stood and walked past Damon but before he could retreat his brother put a firm yet gentle hand on his shoulder to stop his movements.

"Stefan. You are NOT okay, and don't tell me you are because we both know that's crap." Damon stated, his eyes dark but at the same time held so much compassion, which was surprising.

Stefan couldn't help the harshness of his voice. "What do you want me to say Damon? I left, just like we agreed and obviously you do not know me as well as you think you do. You couldn't even tell Silas apart from me. I was drowning." His voice went lower in volume. "For months I have been dying."

Damon barely flinched. "I'm sorry, brother. I didn't know."

Stefan narrowed his eyes. "No. You were to busy screwing Elena."

Damon sighed, "Stefan. If I had known, that you were drowning, don't you think I would have done everything to save you?"

Damon's hold on his shoulder was more of a death grip, applying more pressure when Stefan tried to yank his arm from his grasp. "No, you wouldn't have. You have Elena and you had me gone. It was perfect for you. Me being here? It puts dents in your relationship with Elena." Stefan's voice was rough, his eyes staring into Damon's but there was no hatred in them but complete and utter defeat.

Damon's eyes were wide, as well as speechless and he released Stefan and watched as his brother walked out of the house and away from him.

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He stood there for what felt like hours in shock at what Stefan had said. Surely he didn't think Damon hated him to the point that he would gladly allow his baby brother to constantly die, well deader, alone and in darkness?

He promised him nothing but misery and he had delivered but being in the same house, having been saved more times than he cared to admit and working alongside his brother made his cold heart seem a little bit warmer and he remembered what it was like when they were brothers. When Damon would gladly throw himself into a fire if it meant saving his little brother's life but he was sure Stefan didn't know, no matter how much he says he hates him, that Damon did care.

Moving, he walked over to the recliner where Stefan had been before and his fingers traced over the torn area before taking a seat, his arms resting on his legs as he stared into the fire.

[1950]

"Brother? What are you doing in the shed? Father is angry, you didn't come in for dinner." Damon approached his brother, who was huddled in the far end of the shed.

Stefan's head was held down on his knees that were drawled up to his chest and immediately he felt a flare of panic that something was wrong with the youngest Salvatore and he ran to him.

Crouching beside him, he placed his hand on his back. "Stefan? Can you hear me, brother?"

He felt the sobs wracking his brothers small frame and he grabbed him and brought him to rest against his chest. "Are you hurt?" He asked, desperately seeking an answer from him.

Stefan was crying, he realized and before he could ask if he was alright he answered, "I'm sorry but I'm not hungry."

Rolling his eyes, he gently pushed Stefan away from him to where he could perfectly see his face. There were dried tear tracks trailing down his cheeks along with fresh ones that continued to fall. "Aw, Stefan. What happened?" He tried again.

He looked reluctant to answer but shortly admitted, "It was the nelson's...they told me..."

"What, Stefan? What did they say?" He urged him to finish.

Stefan's eyes fell. "They said that I am a devil spawn. That...that I killed mother and that you and father would be happier that I was never born and that you hate me...blame me..."

Damon looked at him as if he didn't recognize him. How dare they say that to his brother? When he was younger, he did infact blame his brother for the death of their beloved mother but getting older had made him realize that Stefan had nothing to do with her death and Damon knew that his life would be anything but happier if his brother was never born.

Stefan took his silence that they had been right and a choked sob escaped his throat as he tried to get away from his brother, away from the truth but Damon's hold on him was not letting up and he saw the anger in his eyes and he couldn't help but feel slightly scared.

Seeing the distress on his face, Damon's quickly softened as he pulled him back into his arms. "Don't. I do not think mothers death is your fault and neither does father and you not being born would destroy me. Your my brother Stefan and no matter what I will always protect you."

Stefan tensed. His composure crumbling away at the truth and compassion in his brothers voice and shakily he asked, "You promise?"

Damon smiled. "Of course little brother. I promise."

He felt all the tension drain from his brothers body as he relaxed against him. They set on the ground for awhile before Damon remembered his angry father and knew their was a lecture waiting for them when they arrived back at the house.

"Stefan, I wasn't kidding. Father is angry so I suggest we leave before we get in anymore trouble than we already are." He said.

Stefan groaned, but allowed Damon to stand up, not wanting to leave the shed but knowing how his father acted when furious and no doubt they were in for it.

Damon grabbed his hand and helped him stand. "I will let you deal with father. After all, your the ones he is mad at."

Stefan looked horrified. "Damon, you know how he gets. Don't leave me alone!"

Damon ruffled his hair, "Never again, brother."

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Damon's eyes snapped open, automatically landing on the fireplace which was now barely lit as he shook away the memory.

He remembered that specific night because their father was angry. That was how he showed his worry for him and Stefan and he promised his brother that he would always be there for him. Some promise...he thought sadly.

He stood, his mind made up. Stefan needed help. Stefan needed his brother even if he didn't realize it and Damon would have to remind him that the promise he made 60 years ago was not just empty words and with that in mind he left the house and went in search of his brother. Funny how, even after all the years of hating him, he still knew where he would have gone.

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He didn't know where he was going all except he needed to run. Get away from the never ending torment of being locked in a safe, drowning for so long, away from Damon who not only took Elena, a repeat of their previous life with Katherine, but failed to recognize the imposter that posed as him. Silas, who walked around in his home pretending to be him. How could they not know that it wasn't him?

He ran and he continued to run until he found himself at the quarry. The very place now that plagued him with nightmares. He felt alone but it wasn't always so. There was a time when Damon stood by his side and nothing could rip their bond apart.

Those were the times that, being a brother, a friend, had meant something to both of them.

He stood at the very edge, staring down at the grave he was embedded in for months. It was like am empty abyss, the water was dark, the ground hidden in its wake and he couldn't move his eyes away because maybe it was where he belonged. He had lost everything. The love of his life and the once brother that would do anything to protect him, who now made his very existence hell.

It was night, yet he couldn't help but glance down at the ring that was wrapped securely around his finger and wished it was day light. A image, memory of when he stood just like he was now and welcomed the sunlight. His life long passed being worth living but it was Elena who brought him back from the brink of his own demise. Her beautiful brown eyes seeking his with both desperation and despair, pleading with the man before her to put his ring back on and go with her and he had because Elena was his world, his reason for living still.

They say, the sky turns to grey.
When a life wishes not to stay.
That existence is beyond reach.
When life and death all but meet.
Colliding with unknown consequences.
A shadow becomes you.

Stefan closed his hazel eyes as the wind rushed by him with force and for the first time since being freed, he relaxed as nature surrounded him.

"I hope you don't plan on doing anything stupid."

Stefan didn't turn around. His eyes did open slowly as Damon's voice called from behind him. "Why are you here, Damon."

Damon stood still. His eyes glued to the back of Stefan's head. "I asked first. Enlighten me."

Sighing, he slowly turned to face his brother.

Damon's expression was hard, otherwise unreadable as he met his eyes. His brother had always had beautiful sapphire orbs that could look past the human eye and to the very soul. "No. I wasn't..."

Damon narrowed his eyes at the obvious lie and with inhuman strength had Stefan pinned to the ground, his hands holding his arms painfully to the ground and Stefan grunted at the pressure.

"You think suicide is the way? I don't care what you've got crawling in your insides but if you think dying, well even more dead, than your sadly mistaken, brother." Damon said with venom.

Stefan stared at him in annoyance. "What do you care?!" He shouted in his voice with the same spite.

"I care! Okay Stefan? I care!" He said the last part with as much determination he could muster.

Wide eyed and shaking, Stefan shook his head in denial, "No you don't! You only care for yourself! Even Elena but not me."

What Damon did next surprised both brothers. He had released Stefan's arms only to grab his shoulders and bring him into his arms, hugging him.

"1950 Stef." Damon felt Stefan tense at the old nickname, "I promised you."

Stefan was confused at first but he looked into the depth of his memories for that date and what it was his brother had promised. "You promised that you would always be there for me..."

Damon nodded. "Yes, I did, I haven't really kept that promise have I?"

Stefan pulled back, not understanding why he was bringing up the promise that was long expired. "Damon-"

He was cut off from what he was going to say but Damon's words. "But I'm keeping it now. You are as far as okay as the next damsel in distress."

Damon rolled his eyes and added, "Besides, that's what brothers are for. Right?"

"Why are you doing this? Can't be because you feel guilty about Elena? As far as I'm concerned we haven't been brothers for a long time." Stefan said the last part quietly.

They both set on the cold ground, neither speaking for what seemed like minutes until Damon said in a thick voice, "I can't say I feel guilty...not fully but I do not we are blood, I don't hate you Stefan, I dis-like you but not hate and we could be brothers again. Maybe not right now but someday."

Stefan had one brow raised at the statement, he wasn't sure that they could ever go back to what they were before Katherine and he was not sure if he wanted to but the fact Damon is practically bleeding his heart out with some compassion then there is hope for them yet.

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