The New Year has started off badly.
Alaric has a headache that tastes like the punishment from far too much expensive scotch, he's naked, and someone is laying on him. Also, this isn't his room - he can tell by the parts of it he can see, from under his arm. His room looks a lot less like Damon's room. Which is bad. It's very bad. Because his body feels bruised and sensitive, in a way that only comes from having sex until you can't stay awake any longer. He really doesn't want to think about why he feels like that in Damon's room.
He's still desperately hoping it's all just a coincidence, when the phone a foot to his left starts vibrating. The body laying on him moves, one cold arm stretching carelessly across his skin, until it can snag the phone off the table, glasses clinking together in a brief, painful chorus. Alaric doesn't move because he honestly doesn't know what to do.
"Stop pretending to be asleep. I can hear your heartbeat." Damon's voice is very close and very familiar.
Alaric waits a beat to see if he can process all of this into something other than what it is, while Damon's phone makes noises that are far too cheerful.
"Please tell me this is some horrible misunderstanding, where I got lost last night looking for a bathroom - while I was naked."
"I think I should probably be offended by that." Damon doesn't sound offended. He sounds like he's finding it all hilarious.
Alaric twists his way over onto his back - and then almost wishes he hadn't, when his head pounds so hard he sees spots. Damon's sitting up against the headboard, one leg drawn up, wrist balanced on it. This is far too much nudity to deal with.Alaric wonders if it's too late to deny everything.
"What happened?" he asks, half-hoping it involves some sort of unlikely magical explanation, or an incubus, or something? Maybe someone stealing his body again.
"Sex happened, Rick. You were enthusiastic. I was...open to enthusiasm. Though, granted, you did keep mumbling about how you were going to regret it in the morning."
The noise Alaric makes doesn't even begin to convey how appropriate that is.
"I regret it in the morning," he says thickly.
Damon laughs, which is unfair, because Alaric was being serious. He still doesn't have the faintest idea how this all happened.
"Before that, why did I - why did we -?" He can't even form the question in a way that makes sense.
Damon tosses his phone back among the glasses from last night. "You don't remember anything?"
Alaric frowns, because making him remember all the pertinent points isn't fair - and might even be a sort of punishment.
"You said 'fuck' a lot, and you let me drink far too much," Alaric offers, after a moment of painful sifting through the coherent parts of the night. He scrubs a hand through his hair, and discovers that his scalp disapproves of that much enthusiasm.
"You were in a good mood. I was prolonging your good mood. I was being a friend."
Alaric does not approve of the way Damon pronounces 'friend.'
"Friends don't let friends have drunken sex with unsuitable people." Alaric does look at him then, glares at him, anyway. "Damn it, Damon."
"I liked you better when you were drunk, and only coherent enough for expletives, and my name," Damon complains - which isn't helpful at all.
Alaric throws an arm over his face. "I blame you for this, you should know that."
Damon laughs, it's a quick, surprised noise. "Oh, I think you have that backwards, Rick. You're the one that took advantage of me."
It takes a moment for the memory to sluggishly play out in his head.
"I kissed you," Alaric realises. At midnight, and Damon had tasted like alcohol, and pennies, and he'd made appreciative, surprised noises into Alaric's mouth, dropped his glass on the carpet, and his stupid hair had been soft between Alaric's fingers. He remembers he'd been some strange mixture of angry and dizzy, and it had all seemed so sensible. He'd pushed Damon against the desk in the office and - oh, he's starting to remember.
Damon's expression is unreadable when Alaric tips his head back to look at him.
"You did, and I was very surprised." Damon's eyebrow is asking a question, but Alaric's head hurts too much to understand it.
But he is never drinking again, never.
"You didn't try and stop me."
"I told you you'd regret it in the morning. That's as far as my responsible streak goes."
"It shouldn't have happened," Alaric says stiffly, and he's more annoyed at himself than Damon.
Damon raises an eyebrow, like he doubts Alaric's determination. "Give me one good reason."
"You're an untrustworthy, murderous psychopath with self-control issues." Alaric doesn't even have to think about it.
Damon laughs and slips out of the bed, body naked, and pale, and completely unmarked. Alaric suspects his own is going to be far more incriminating.
"I said a good reason."
"You killed me," Alaric tosses, because that's a damn good reason.
"You got better." Damon smiles, in that infuriating way he has. "And I already apologised for that."
Alaric glares at Damon, while he slithers his way into his jeans.
"Why do I even bother arguing with you?"
Damon comes close enough to throw himself back on the bed, arm slung round Alaric's stiff shoulders.
"Come on, this is give and take. You're teaching me how to hug puppies, and save orphans, and I'm teaching you how to get drunk, and have obscene, shameful, bendy sex with your vampire best friend. You need to keep up, Rick."
Alaric crosses his arms. "When did I agree to this?"
Damon laughs like the question is ridiculous, and then leans over and kisses him. Alaric, for no reason he can quite fathom, lets him.