prodigalsavior: ([Stefan] Just give in little brother)
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The sounds of the Florence streets pursued Damon into the fitful sleep, chasing him from clubs with their pounding music to a salon with strings playing something far more melodious. The press of humanity in the room slipped from a writhing mass of primal sexuality and abandon--an easy hunting ground--to something supposedly more civilized but which he recognized with a sinking sense as a shark tank he long since thought he'd escaped. Velvets and brocades draped over too small chairs, and the reek of unwashed skin layered itself over the sweeter smell of blood beneath it. Glancing down at himself, he felt the disorientation shift in his head again at the familiar sight of his black jeans and leather jacket. Glancing up he scanned the room with a frown.

The Contessina de' Bardi, Cosimo de'Medici's wife, was talking to his father on a corner settee, fan lightly tapping on his arm as she related some story. Guiseppe, Conte di Salvatore, bore it well, laughing lightly when it was appropriate and paying the right amount of attention to the wife of the man he looked to as a patron. Damon felt his lips curve in a sneer, as he turned away from the sight, pushing through the crowd far more easily with his lithe form and without the bother of a sword on his hip. No one took any note of him, despite the leather and denim in place of doublet and hose. Something whispered in his mind that things were off kilter, but he brushed it aside, intent on a hunt of his own that had little to do with society's foibles.

Isabella Vespucci moved to intercept him, dark eyes laughing up at him, and Damon's eyes fastened on the white column of her throat with a fierce hunger. Heedless of those around him, he pulled her close, teeth sinking into her pretty neck. No one seemed to notice, even as her blood flooded his senses and she moaned loudly, writhing against him. He dropped her when he was done, letting her fall in a crumpled heap like a broken rag doll, and continued through the crowd.

There.

His fingers curled around the light blue sleeve of the young man, spinning him around. Surprise flickered in eyes that were all the wrong color, but one brush of Damon's lips and the boy melted against him as Isabella had, though far more vigorous in his writhing, hands moving over Damon insistently. Once again, when Damon lifted his head and wiped the blood from his mouth, dropping the boy, no one was even looking, despite the cry of completion the boy had given at the end.

No such completion was allowed Damon, though. If anything, he was hungrier. The crowd was closer about him, pressing in, and though he shoved them aside, others simply moved in to fill the spaces. At long last, he reached his father's side, breathing hard, heart thumping in a way he hadn't felt in centuries.

"Where is he?" he demanded.

Guiseppe looked up, blinking slightly as if he'd never seen Damon before, then his gaze cleared and he smiled. "Damon, do you know the Contessina de' Bardi?"

The woman was simpering at him like a girl half her age, her fingers sliding unobtrusively over his leg, and Damon whirled, lifting her and pinning her to the wall. Hunger was raging inside of him, screaming in his ears, and he nearly ripped her throat out in an attempt in assuage it.

"Damon, what are you wearing?"

Damon pulled away from the Contessina's limp body, fangs bared at his father, but the older man didn't even blink.

"How many times have I told you not to wear all black? It's too severe and calls to mind the Spanish..."

Damon snarled, lunging for the man, and found the salon disappeared and the two of them were standing on the veranda, his father several steps away from him again. Dragging his hand across his mouth, Damon moved again, only to feel the world tip, and his father shift out of reach. Again, he tried to reach him, again he failed, and all the time the man just watched him as if faintly puzzled and disapproving. Finally Damon stilled, just watching him from several paces away.

"I'll ask you again. Where is he?"

Guiseppe tilted his head, looking at Damon as if seeing him for the first time. "I imagine he is where you left him."

The villa disappeared, along with the terrace, dropping suddenly. Damon fell, catching himself only by virtue of his superior balance and twisting around on the root of a tree that had grown up out of the ground, over the stone that had tried to intrude. He swallowed, looking around the place. He knew it. The cemetery. Ahead of him, the family crypt. The cold of the night wasn't something he should have felt, but he did, letting it seep into him the same as it had that morning, and he felt as disoriented now as he had then, when he woke to find the world and himself new, but all that mattered lost.

Slowly he moved forward. The door to the crypt hung askew, off of its hinges, twisted and mangled. Inside nothing moved. Even the wind had grown still. He was never afraid, but moving through that door seemed impossible, the hunger that had gnawed at him not enough to propel him forward for what felt like a century. It was a familiar ache, though, the sense of something never sated. As he hesitated, though, it grew to a starving pain, twisting inside of him until he was compelled to move, drawn into the gaping black hole.

He lay there, sprawled on the stone like a fallen angel in jeans and a green shirt, skin pale and long lashes resting against his cold cheek. A softly keening sound seemed to fill the air, and Damon realized with a twisting in his gut it came from him. There was a cord binding them, though, pulling him across the uneven stone floor, through the cobwebs, and over the bones of their ancestors to reach him.

"Stefan..." he whispered his name, heard it echo in the darkness on the edge of that terrible sound that kept wanting to break from his throat to coil through the dark again.

No movement.

He knew this story, didn't he? His fingers ghosted over his brother's lips, but the air didn't move. Just a taste, then, before a deeper one, and he leaned in, wondering if there were any truth to the story of the princess guarded by the dragon in the castle that slept for a hundred years. Lips to lips, a rasp of breath on a sob as he tried to evoke a response that didn't come. The hunger grew, though, at that taste of him. Against his lips he felt the tempting beat of a pulse, slow to the point of death, but there, not stilled forever, and, not pulling away, he bit, hard, drawing blood into his mouth with his bottom lip. Pulling back for a moment, he bit his own, then kissed Stefan again, letting their blood mingle, even as he drew on his brother's. For a few moments there was nothing, then he felt it, the skip in the pulse, the shudder of a breath. His lips were caught, and he felt the pull of his blood even as the body beneath him arched to meet him, and fingers rose to curl in his hair. He heard a moan echo around the crypt, this time, and had no idea whose it was as the hunger seemed to calm and heighten at the same time...

* * *

Damon jerked awake, breathing hard, body flushed with heat, mouth dry and fangs aching. Other parts of him ached, as well, as he curled his fingers in the bedsheets and tried to listen over the pounding of his heart and rasp of his breath. There, in the other room, slow and steady, below the noise of the street below that was different, and yet not as much so as one might think, than what it had been five hundred years ago, he could hear it. Stefan's heartbeat. He was here. He hadn't left. Hadn't gotten fed up and given up on their promise to Elena--he'd stayed, still.

For a moment, Damon was tempted to move through the flat, through the doors that separated them, and bridge the gap that had been there for far too long. Something in his blood sang, some primal knowledge that whispered he wouldn't be turned away, but he groaned and rolled over, burying his face in the pillow instead.

The pattern they'd established for the last five centuries of threats and pushing each other away was far, far safer than questioning the illusion it was all built upon.

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Damon Salvatore

June 2013

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