The first thing Alaric did when he woke up was send up a prayer of thanks for Saturdays. The second thing he did was stumble to the kitchen for coffee, gulping down a couple of aspirin and a few glasses of water straight from the tap while he waited for it to brew. The third thing he did was head back to the bedroom with a mug of coffee in his hand, hoping to bury his head back under the pillow for a few more hours, when he stopped dead in the middle of the room, stopped keeping count of all the things he was doing, and instead wondered why there was a vampire in his bed.
"Why is there a vampire in my bed?" he asked, thinking maybe he was still asleep and this was all some whiskey-induced nightmare. He pinched his arm. It hurt. Not a dream, then.
The vampire in his bed grunted from beneath a pillow. "Because you wouldn't let me drive home and I couldn't be bothered walking."
"So you slept in my bed? With me? In my bed with me in my bed and you in my bed all at the same time."
"What? I hardly think that's..." He frowned. "... something I remember doing."
"Then you'll just have to take my word for it."
Alaric jolted as a few of the more alarming possibilities of having a vampire in his bed all night occurred to him. His hand flew to his neck, checking for bite marks.
"Relax," Damon said, and Alaric could hear the eye roll. "You're like my go-to guy in town. It doesn't pay to snack on your go-to guy." Damon lifted the corner of the pillow so Alaric could see one eye and that familiar annoying smirk. "Unless he's into it, that is." The pillow flopped back down.
"So you're saying I'm like your... henchman?"
Damon pushed the pillow away and rolled to his feet, strolled over and stole Alaric's coffee right out of his hand. "More like a butler if you keep bringing me things, but whatever. I'm easy." He was standing too close as usual and doing that suggestive eye-flare thing that made Alaric's stomach flip-flop as a couple of even more alarming possibilities of having this particular vampire in his bed all night occurred to him.
"We didn't..." He waved his hand back and forth between them. "I mean, nothing happened when we..." He pressed his lips together, pained and completely unable to continue.
Damon stared at him, equal parts bored, impatient, and confused, until the penny dropped and his eyes lit up. "Are you worried I took advantage of you in your weakened state?" he asked, raking his eyes over Alaric's body in a way Alaric was positive was designed to make him feel as naked as possible.
"I... No," Alaric said, shifting his weight and adjusting his posture so he didn't feel like so much like a gazelle staring down a lion.
Damon polished off the coffee and handed the empty mug back. "Good," he said. "Then you've got nothing to worry about."
"Is this something I should be worried about?" Stefan asked several hours later when he appeared out of nowhere at Alaric's shoulder in the Grill.
Alaric turned a fraction on his usual barstool, where he'd been enjoying a very peaceful and not at all habit-forming hair of the dog, and spread his hands a couple of inches, lost, looking for more information.
"You and Damon," Stefan said, gesturing to the barman for some drinks.
"Me and Damon what?"
"I know he's got the tall, dark and handsome thing going on," Stefan said, "and I know that you guys are friends, but you should know he has a tendency to get... a little obsessed. I just don't want you biting off more than you can chew."
Alaric's mouth hung open as he tried and failed to find a way to reply. Stefan looked a little wrong-footed and glanced across the room to where Elena was sitting, staring right at Stefan with a very earnest expression on her face and jerking her head, Alaric couldn't help but noticing, very pointedly in Alaric's direction.
"I, uh, just thought that after last night..." Stefan trailed off. "I mean, we're just looking out for you."
"What exactly do you think happened last night?"
"You and Damon."
"Me and Damon what?"
"He told me he spent the night."
"I see." Alaric pressed his fist to his lips, taking a private moment to regroup. "And what else did he tell you?"
"He wasn't big on details."
"Uh huh. And did you ever think that might be because nothing happened?"
Stefan held up his hands. "Hey, I'm not judging."
"There's nothing to judge."
Stefan paid for his drinks and turned to leave. He paused, and said, "We're here for you if you need us. And you should know that Damon is... well, he's Damon. So you should, you know, watch out for that."
Alaric sat there, dumbfounded, as Stefan and Elena went into a huddled discussion about what Alaric could only assume was his sex life. Even though he didn't actually have a sex life, but he didn't think that little fact alone was going to be enough to stop them.
"Why is it I have to help you bury the dead werewolves in the middle of the night?"
"I told you," Damon said. "You're my go-to guy."
"Great," Alaric said. "I'm super-exited to be here."
Damon tossed another body into the hole they'd dug. "And that's why you're my guy."
Alaric gave up on dragging a very large, very dead man towards the hole and took a deep, calming breath. "I would just like to state, for the record, that I am not your guy."
Damon slanted him a glance. "Really."
"You know," Damon said. "Considering how there isn't actually anything going on between us, you sure are making a lot of noise with all this protesting too much thing you're doing."
Alaric let out an affronted little "ha!"
Damon grinned and, with one hand, picked up the very large, very dead man that Alaric had spent the last twenty minutes dragging ten feet, and tossed him in the hole.
Alaric narrowed his eyes, wondering if there was a magic ring out there that he could get his hands on that would give him super-strength, too. "I am not protesting too much. I'm just protesting just enough because... because..."
Damon raised his eyebrows.
"Because nothing happened!" Alaric said, totally exasperated and evidently the only sane person left in Mystic Falls. "And I do not need advice from Stefan Salvatore about dating his brother, thank you very much."
"Stefan gave you The Talk?" Damon asked, one hand going to his chest. "Aw, that's sweet. I didn't know he cared." He moved in closer, suddenly predatory, but still far too amused for Alaric's liking. "But nothing happened. So you're freaking out about nothing. Is that what you're telling me?"
Damon sighed. "Always with the drama. You know it seems to me this whole thing would be a lot simpler if you actually had something to worry about." He gave a little shrug. "You know, balance it out."
Alaric scowled some more. "I have no idea what you're talking about right now."
Damon smiled, and if Alaric didn't know better, he would have said it looked almost fond. "Let me make it clearer for you."
There was a sudden rush of movement. Alaric blinked and Damon was right there, in his space, crowding him up against the nearest tree, pinning him in place with his hips and his hands on Alaric's shoulders.
"You have terrible interpersonal skills," Alaric informed him.
"I'm a vampire. We're not people."
"I'm getting that," Alaric said, his treacherous gaze slipping to Damon's mouth as he wondered how exactly this had become his life.
Damon didn't kiss like Alaric had thought, if Alaric had spent any time at all imagining how Damon may or may not have kissed. It started out soft, barely a brush of lips, just hovering, breathing Alaric in and waiting for him to break first. Alaric stood firm, resolutely not giving in and closing the distance between them. For about six seconds. They were a steadfast and unbending six seconds and Alaric was proud of each and every one of them.
Damon's hair was soft against his palm as Alaric groaned and pulled him in. Damon kissed like he meant it, deep and open and so good that Alaric was dizzy with it.
When Damon finally broke their kiss and drew back to look at him, naturally he looked like the cat that had got the canary, but there was a hint of surprise mixed in there somewhere, too, just enough to make Alaric feel less like an out of depth teenager and more like he was really beeing seen.
"So, I was thinking you should spend the night," Alaric said, the words hushed and hurried and out before he could overthink it. He was too aware of his own skin, how incredibly hard he was against the solid muscle of Damon's thigh, and the grip he had on Damon's jacket, like it was the only thing holding him up.
Alaric nodded. "Just to balance things out."
"Vampires do have excellent balance," Damon said, and gave him another of those smug smiles, the one that lifted just the corner of his mouth and made Alaric feel torn between wanting to slap him and wanting to kiss it off his face. Damon tugged him in closer by his lapels, holding the leather so tightly it squeaked, but stopped just short of kissing him, making Alaric's gums tingle.
"No biting," Alaric said.
Damon pouted. "I wouldn't dream of it," he said, sneaking his hand under Alaric's shirt. "Unless you ask me really, really nicely."