Elena was getting more than a little tired of Stefan acting like she was going to break every time he touched her. And Damon was just as bad these days. Since her return, he had been acting so... Polite. It was so unlike him. A year ago, Elena would have laughed at anyone who told her that she would miss Damon's constant teasing and innuendos. Now, she was so frustrated by their absence that she felt like crying – or throwing something.
She stormed through the house that the three of them shared, silently fuming. She was annoyed – annoyed by Stefan and Damon's behavior, annoyed at being stuck in a country where she couldn't understand anyone and, if she was honest with herself, a little bit annoyed that she was a boring old human again. After being a vampire and a ghost, she felt kind of uncomfortable in her human skin – like a snake just before it shed.
Elena was annoyed and looking for a fight. Too bad she was all alone in a great, big house without anyone to fight with. Stefan was out 'hunting' which meant he was wandering the streets of Florence, feeling sorry for himself, and Damon was... Well, no one knew exactly where Damon went when he left the villa. That, at least, never changed.
Except, Elena realized when she saw a light at the end of the hallway, she wasn't alone, after all. One of the brothers must have returned without her noticing. Not surprising – they both seemed to be avoiding her these days. She didn't care which of them was, she was ready to give them a piece of her mind. Elena stormed right up to the library, threw the door open wide – and froze.
The room in question turned out to be a rather old fashioned looking library complete with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and an enormous fireplace. Two tall backed leather chairs sat side by side in front of the fire. She stared in awe at the room wondering why she hadn't seen it before. Then, it struck her, it must be one of the rooms that was usually locked – rooms that Elena had privately come to think of as Damon's sanctuaries. She knew it would be rude to just barge in, uninvited. Knew – but didn't care. Hadn't Damon invaded her privacy often enough?
Elena stepped forward, deliberately invading Damon's sanctuary. She found him lounging in one of the leather chairs, one leg draped casually over the arm. One hand, holding a crystal glass full of some amber liquid, dangled over the other arm. He didn't look up as Elena approached.
“Care to join me?” he asked, sounding very much the polite gentleman. He motioned to the other chair with the hand still holding the glass. The liquid inside sloshed against the side but didn't spill.
His tone made Elena want to scream. She could have handled some kind of sarcastic remark – she was used to those from Damon - it was his cool indifference that she wasn't prepared for. She wanted to shout at him, goad him, provoke some kind of real response from him but she was at a loss. Miserably, she took the seat he offered.
As she sat across from Damon, Elena watched him pointedly not watching her. Anyone who didn't know him might think that Damon was oblivious to Elena's presence – but she did know him and she knew better. She knew by the way he slowly raised the glass to his lips and tossed back the rest of his drink. She knew by the way he kept his eyes fixed on the fireplace. By the way he sat so impossibly still. Damon wasn't just aware of her, he was affected by her. Deeply. He was good at hiding it – but not good enough.
Too bad Elena wasn't any good at hiding how much Damon affected her. As much as she'd like to pretend it was only anger that made her heart race and her palms go moist, she knew it was just the effect Damon had on her – had always had on her. Just being in the same room, pretending to ignore her, he did that.
They sat in silence for a while until Damon finally set his empty glass down with a sigh. “I'll just leave you in peace.” He started to rise.
Elena was on her feet before she made the decision to move. She stepped directly in Damon's path.
“Dammit, Damon!” She faced him, knowing that with her hands on her hips and chin held high, she looked fierce. Any normal boy would have fallen over himself to do anything she wanted. But, of course, Damon wasn't a normal boy – although he did know, from experience, what it was like to be on the receiving end of her wrath.
He eyed her warily. “Elena...”
“Don't you dare 'Elena' me!” She stepped forward, stabbing a finger at his chest. “This isn't about me! I've put up with your strange behavior for weeks and I've had enough! What is wrong with you, Damon Salvatore? And what the hell is wrong with me that you can't even stand to be in the same room alone with me?”
For a moment, Damon just stared. He took in Elena's heaving chest and the bright spots of color that had appeared on her cheeks. Then he shook his head and rubbed a hand across his eyes in a weary gesture that signaled his defeat.
“There's nothing wrong with you, Elena. You're-” he waved a hand helplessly in her direction, “Perfect. You were always good – better than anyone else I've ever known – but now...”
“You died for us!” he exclaimed. Damon was getting angry now. His hands were clenched into fists at his side. He looked as if he wanted to shake her. “For me and my worthless brother. And that was bad enough but even after that you kept fighting for us and for your friends and for everyone else in that stupid hick town. They didn't deserve it. None of us did.”
“What are you getting at, Damon?” she snapped. Elena didn't want to talk about the time she spent on the other side. It frightened her still and it was easier to be angry that it was to face that fear.
“Isn't it obvious? You're good, Elena,” he bit the word 'good' out like it was something dirty. “Not the kind of go to church on Sunday and donate to charity good that people pretend to be, either. Real, honest goodness. The kind of goodness that deserves a second chance.”
Elena didn't like the turn their conversation had taken. He was trying to make her out to be some sort of saint – something she definitely was not. She opened her mouth to say just that but Damon was speaking again. The anger had faded from his voice, leaving him sounding sad. There was something else too... Some other emotion that Elena only later realized was self-loathing.
“Too damn good for the likes of me, by far,” he told her, “Maybe even too good for Saint Stefan the Virtuous.”
That got a rise from her. “Leave Stefan out of this! This has nothing to do with him – this is between us.”
Elena was shocked at herself. She hadn't thought about Stefan once since walking into the library. Damon had always been able to consume her thoughts, to drive Stefan right out of them.
Damon's eyes flashed with a dangerous light. He gave Elena a look she hadn't seen since... the last time she was a human. It was a look that set alarm bells ringing in her head – and made heat pool deep in her belly. She swallowed reflexively.
“Careful, Elena,” he warned. His voice was dark and smoky, his black eyes never moved from hers. Elena remembered what she too often forgot – that no matter how polite and civilized Damon may seem, he was, after all, a predator. He could sense weakness – and hers was Damon himself.
“You shouldn't say things like that. A boy could take it the wrong way.”
Those alarm bells were clanging wildly in her head, warning Elena to run far, far away as quickly as she could. But other parts of Elena were clamoring for attention as well. They kept her rooted to the spot, staring helplessly at Damon – at Damon's lips, now curling into a smile. They reminded her of what it was like to be in his arms, to have those lips pressed against hers...
Oh, hell, Elena thought. She'd never been any good at heeding warnings about Damon - or at resisting his dark charm. And now they were alone and she'd pushed him just far enough. Challenge was written clearly across his face. It was a challenge she knew she couldn't resist.
“Oh?” She took a step closer. “And what way would you take it?”
“I'm warning you, Elena...” It sounded like a threat but he took a step back as he said it. Elena knew that he was giving her a chance to leave, to back out with her dignity still intact. She had no intentions of doing any such thing.
“You're warning me?” she asked, stepping forward again. She pushed Damon, surprised when he allowed himself to be pushed. Another step and his back hit the hard marble of the mantle. “I've faced bigger, badder vampires than you,” she said, “What are you going to do?” Deliberately, she pushed against his shoulders again.
With a savage growl, Damon seized Elena's wrists and yanked her hard against his body.
He claimed her mouth roughly, releasing her hands so he could tangle his own in her long hair. This wasn't anything like the teasing kisses he'd given her so many months ago, this was Damon unleashed. He wasn't trying to prove that he could have her anymore. Now, he was taking her – and she wanted to be taken. When Elena wrapped her arms around Damon's neck and moaned, he took advantage and thrust his tongue between her parted lips. She met him with a thrust of her own tongue, feeling a delicious thrill of anticipation when it scraped against an elongated canine.
It didn't occur to Elena to be afraid. They had been moving toward this moment for so long – ever since that first night in the gym. Now that they had finally reached it, nothing in the world could stop what was to come. Elena, very deliberately, ran her tongue across the tip of Damon's fangs, loving the way he growled deep in his throat in response. Breaking the kiss, Elena twisted her head to the side, offering Damon her throat.
She felt the cool touch of Damon's lips against the sensitive skin of her throat and waited for the sharp sting of his teeth there. It didn't come. Instead, he pressed his lips against her throat again – and again. Damon kissed a trail down her throat, across her collarbone and then dipped lower, down and down until he reached the top button of her blouse.
Her head fell back, her eyes closed as Damon opened each button with a deliberate flick of his fingers. His tongue followed, exploring the skin left exposed. Elena could feel her pulse racing wildly; surely Damon could hear every frantic beat, knew exactly what he was doing to her. When Damon dropped to his knees before her and reached for the button of her jeans, she was sure her heart would stop altogether.
Oh! It was... Wow! There was a tiny part of her brain trying to convince Elena that what they were doing was wrong somehow but it was getting smaller and smaller as Damon eased her jeans down over her hips. They fell in a pool at her feet and he grabbed her waist, pulling her forward. When his tongue darted out to taste her through the thin lace of her panties, the voice disappeared altogether. She couldn't think of a single reason why Damon shouldn't be doing exactly what he was doing. She couldn't think of anything except what he was doing to her.
Damon slid a finger around the panties to stroke her. She was ready for him; his finger slid into her wet center, making her gasp his name. He looked up and Elena could see the barely controlled desire in the depths of his black eyes. Then, without taking his eyes from hers, Damon began to slide his finger in and out of her passage.
“Damon!” cried, breathlessly, “Please.” That was what he'd been waiting for – for Elena Gilbert, the Ice Princess to crack. There was no denying how badly she wanted him. And no going back. For either of them.
Damon scooped her up in his arms and, carrying her to one of the high back chairs, set her down. He lifted her legs over the armrests, exposing her, opening her up to his hungry gaze. For a moment, he just stared, devouring her with his eyes alone. He stared for so long that Elena felt self-conscious. She began to close her legs but Damon wouldn't allow it; he placed his hands on her thighs, holding them in place.
“No,” he said softly, “Don't.”
He lifted his eyes to meet her gaze and Elena felt her embarrassment slip away. She knew, at that moment, what Damon would never say out loud: he was just as overwhelmed by her as she was by him. Neither of them could look away as he slowly lowered his head between her legs.
Her panties were still in the way. Damon solved the problem with one quick motion, ripping them off and letting them fall to the floor. They were ruined, of course, but Elena couldn't bring herself to mourn their loss, not when she felt Damon's tongue touch the most sensitive part of her body. He worshiped her with his mouth – gently licking, sucking, nipping until Elena cried out his name, her fingers gripping his dark hair, her back arched off the chair.
By his own admission, Damon had been with a lot of women. The 'beauties of Europe,' he'd once said. What he'd failed to mention was that they had taught him to do such amazing things with his mouth and - Oh! - his fingers. Elena was panting, begging – for what, she didn't know – when Damon gently lifted her hands and rose to his feet. Elena thought she would die. She reached for him, making a small noise of dismay she'd never heard herself make before.
Damon gave Elena a small, lopsided smile that was nothing like the devastating grin he usually wore to woo members of the opposite sex. And, when he spoke, it was without any of the sarcasm or cockiness his voice normally held. This was Damon, Elena realized.
“Patience, love,” he said, reaching to unbutton his own trousers. It took Damon only a moment to shed them – but that was a moment too long for Elena. She was on her feet, lifting the hem of his shirt before the faded black denim hit the floor. Damon helped her, grabbing it with one hand and pulling it over his head and tossing it away. Then he caught Elena in a deep kiss.
The kiss was just as intense as the first but this one held a bruising tenderness that the first lacked. The sudden change was a shock to Elena - but not an unwelcome one. This was Damon before the walls went up around his heart, before he convinced himself that he was a heartless bastard. This was a Damon she could love.
One of Damon's hands rested lightly on the back of Elena's neck, his thumb stroking the skin there while the other wrapped around her waist, pulling her closer. She felt a shiver of anticipation as his shaft nudged her moist entrance. Without breaking the kiss, he lifted her in his arms and stepped backwards until he found the chair. This time, he sat down, positioning Elena right about him. He pulled back, meeting her eyes. Waiting.
It took a moment for Elena to realize that Damon was giving her control. But it was more than just giving her a final chance to change her mind or determine their speed – for the first time, possibly ever, Damon was making himself vulnerable to another person. It made Elena's heart swell. She wouldn't take it for granted. She would give Damon exactly what he wanted – what they both needed.
Holding the back of the chair for support, Elena slowly lowered herself onto him, thrilling at the way Damon squeezed his eyes closed and gripped the armrests. She did that. Not any of the courtesans or princesses he'd been with... Her.
“Elena...” It was a strangled whisper, a plea.
She raised herself up again slowly then, even more slowly still, back down. Damon's hands clasped her hips, holding her tightly, gently guiding her movements as she slid up and down the length of his shaft. It didn't matter who was in control – they were both moving together toward the same goal. They met each other, thrust for thrust, racing toward a climax that loomed ever closer.
A voice broke through their passion. Damon froze, gripping her hips painfully tight. Elena blinked. She didn't understand why, at first, Damon had stopped; she didn't realize that the voice that spoke wasn't his own. Then she saw the look of surprise on his face.
Oh, my god, Elena thought, Stefan.
She had forgotten all about him and, from the look on Damon's face, he had too. The passion that had consumed them moments ago was gone, replaced by guilt. Damon sighed and rested his forehead against hers, brushing his lips against hers in the briefest of kisses. When he lifted his head again, the old Damon was back, walls built, mask firmly in place. It nearly broke Elena's heart. She wanted to tell him it was going to be okay, that they would sort things out – but how could she?
Elena opened her mouth to speak but Damon cut her off with a small shake of his head. Then, with a movement so quick it left her head spinning, he shifted their positions. One second, she was looking down on Damon. The next, she was on her knees, looking over the edge of the chair at Stefan - the man she had sworn to love forever. The man she had betrayed. With his brother.
“Brother!” Damon said cheerily. With a fluid movement that made her gasp, Damon entered her from behind.
“Care to join us?”
“Brother! Care to join us?”
Elena met Stefan's shocked gaze over the back of the chair. At that moment she was just as shocked by her behavior as he was. Was she really doing this? With... Damon?
In front of Stefan?
It occurred to Elena that Damon was still inside her, still thrusting into her with long, fluid strokes. There was no denying how her body responded to his movements, the way her muscles tightened around him, the steady build-up of pressure that grew with each thrust...
But her mind was screaming in protest.
“Damon,” she said, her shaky voice barely more than a whisper, “Stop.”
One word was all it took. Damon stilled, slowly withdrawing from her. He stepped away from the chair and offered her a hand up. Elena ignored it. Her body was wound too tight, was too aware of Damon's still-hard body beside her; she was afraid of what might happen if she touched him now.
Though his tone and his actions had been careless, Elena knew better than to think that Damon was unaffected by Stefan's interruption. Pretending that he didn't care was nothing but a coping mechanism. Inside, she was willing to bet, Damon was feeling just as embarrassed and guilty as she was. She wondered if he was also fighting the same feeling of crushing disappointment that she was.
Elena was shocked by the turn her thoughts had taken. Stefan was the love of her life, her soul mate – and instead of wishing that she had never betrayed him, she found herself wishing that he'd walked in five minutes later. It was pure torture, having to face Stefan while her body still throbbed from Damon's touch, while it still begged for release.
On legs that were none too steady, Elena stood and stepped around the chair. She was painfully aware of her nudity. Her first instinct was to hang her head, to hide her face behind the curtain of her hair. No, she thought, I made this choice. I have to own up to it. Slowly, reluctantly, Elena forced herself to look directly at Stefan for the first time since he entered the room.
A tumult of emotion played across Stefan's face. Wide eyed with surprise and confusion, his gaze swept from Elena to Damon and back again, taking in their naked, flushed bodies. It was as though his shock was so complete that he couldn't comprehend what he was seeing. Or maybe he was just trying to convince himself that it wasn't real.
Elena could do nothing but watch helplessly as understanding dawned. The confusion in Stefan's eyes swiftly gave way to rage. The mask of absolute fury he wore made her cringe; she had never seen him so angry before – not even at Katherine and she'd tried to kill him. As badly as she wanted to, Elena forced herself not to look away. Tears stung her eyes but she met Stefan's anger head on.
“You!” he snarled, turning his wrath instead on his brother, “You-”
Elena couldn't follow the string of abuse he hurled at Damon but she suspected in was in Italian. She expected Damon to respond in kind but he didn't; he took it all without any kind of reaction. He didn't even flinch when Stefan made a move toward him.
“Stop it!” Elena shouted, throwing herself between them. “It's not Damon's fault,” she admitted, “I started it.”
Stefan reeled back as though she'd actually hit him. She saw the flash of pain in his eyes and hated herself for putting it there.
“Stefan,” she began, “I-”
Elena reached out a hand toward him, letting it fall to her side when he jerked away from her touch. He looked away quickly but not before she saw his expression – an expression that triggered painful memories.
Elena's own memories of that day were, thankfully, hazy. She didn't remember much besides a lot of trees and a strong compulsion to protect Damon. But, she did remember the look on Stefan's face after she attacked him. It was the same broken expression he wore now.
Back then, just the realization that she had shared enough blood with Damon to make it through the transformation into a vampire was enough to make Stefan look as though she'd ripped out his heart and stomped on it. Now? Finding her in the arms of his brother? She couldn't imagine what he must be feeling.
“Stefan?” she asked, fear lacing her voice.
He didn't respond, didn't move, didn't even breathe. He just stood there, staring at nothing at all.
Elena gave Damon a panicked look. He lifted his shoulders in a small shrug but moved, ever so slowly, to stand beside Elena. No, she corrected, a step in front of her. Damon was putting himself in a position to protect her.
Just what did he think Stefan would do, she wondered? Stefan would never hurt her, she was certain of it. But... The look of rage he wore just moments ago...
“Stefan,” Elena said, desperate to end the silence that stretched between them. “Please. Look at me.”
She braced herself for his reaction but when Stefan did turn to face her, Elena was shocked, not by the anger or hurt that she saw there, but by the complete lack of any emotion at all. 'Oh, God,' she thought. She knew that look. Too well.
Stefan's face was a mask of cool indifference. It wasn't the aloof, disinterested look he wore when he first started at Robert E Lee High, it was more like the I-don't-give-a-fuck look Damon usually hid behind. Only the tense set of his jaw gave away the effort it took to keep that mask in place. Elena hated that look, hated to know the pain that he tried to conceal.
Pain she had caused.
“Oh, Stefan. I'm so sorry,” she told him. Hot tears she couldn't control rolled down her cheeks. Unable to bear it any longer, she finally dropped her head, letting the long veil of her hair hide her face.
She couldn't say how sorry she truly was. Sorry that Stefan had found out this way... Sorry that she had hurt him... Sorry that she and Damon had come together? Never. How could she be? It was... Amazing.
And that was the moment that Elena finally let herself realize what her body had been trying to tell her all along: She was in love with Damon.
But she loved Stefan.
Elena couldn't help but think about the last woman who made the mistake of falling for both Salvatore brothers. To say that had ended badly was an understatement of epic proportions. Once, just after learning that Stefan and Damon had killed each other over her ancestor, Elena had sworn to herself that they would never fight over her. Well... She'd never been particularly good at keeping that promise but now...
Now she'd really done it.
Her breath caught in her throat and the tears ran freely. It seemed hopeless. Katherine, all over again. She buried her face in her hands – which meant that she didn't see Damon awkwardly reach out a hand to her only to drop it when Stefan's gaze shifted to him.
She also didn't see Stefan's hard expression soften. In all the hundreds of years that they had flitted in and out of each other’s lives, he had never seen Damon care enough about anyone to comfort them. Only Elena.
Against his will, Stefan's mind was drawn back to the day of Elena's death – her second death – in the crypt that morning after the showdown with Katherine. He remembered Damon's tears and the unbearable grief. He also remembered, months later, the look of sheer joy Damon wore the night Elena was given back to them. He had known, even then, hadn't he? Maybe before then... maybe right from the very start.
Damon was in love with Elena.
All the fury, all the betrayal Stefan had felt vanished in one moment of realization. How could he be angry with Damon for loving Elena? How could anyone not love her, once they knew her?
Right now, Damon was tensed, alert, ready for a fight – but Stefan was done fighting with his brother. And Elena...
Maybe it was strange but Stefan didn't blame her either. He had long suspected that he wasn't worthy of Elena, that he just wasn't good enough for her. Secretly, he had always wondered when someone better would come along and be for Elena what he never could.
He just never expected that person to be Damon.
Maybe he shouldn't be so surprised... Damon was more of a man than he was; Damon was powerful, ruthless... he could take care of Elena, protect her, better than Stefan could. Stefan knew that, compared to his brother, he was weak. No, he didn't deserve Elena.
But did Damon?
He wasn't sure. But he was sure that Damon had every right to try. Stefan had already had his chance – and what had he done with it? Driven Elena right into his brother's arms, that's what.
Stefan forced his gaze back to Elena with a resigned sigh. He was about to do the hardest thing he had ever done. Harder than living with Katherine's death on his conscience. Harder than knowing that he had condemned his own brother to a life of darkness. Harder, even than watching Elena die. To know that they both lived but that she was with someone else? He didn't know how he would bear it.
But he would bear it. He would do it for Elena. And for Damon.
“Oh, Elena,” Stefan said, trying to keep the despair he felt from his voice, “Don't...”
Damon moved aside wordlessly as Stefan took Elena in his arms. “Hush,” Stefan said as he took her in his arms. “Don't cry, my love.”
Damon – who had been ready to fight his brother to the death, if necessary, moments before – felt himself deflate. He'd thought that they had finally pushed Stefan too far, that he would lash out at them. What had he been thinking? Stefan? Hurt Elena?
Ha, Damon thought bitterly, Stefan wasn't even capable of hurting a fly.
And that's a bad thing? a little voice asked.
Yes! In their world it was. To survive in a world of shadows and secrets, you had to be cunning, ruthless and detached – everything that Stefan was not.
It described Damon pretty well, though.
Damon was more than just suited to the life of a hunter, he excelled at it, reveled in the power of it. Or, rather, he had excelled at it. Had reveled in it. Now, he found little thrill in the chase. Found little thrill in anything, actually.
His life – or afterlife – had become monotonous a long time ago. There were only so many ways to kill and fuck and he'd tried them all – and every combination of the two. Now, he found little excitement in either. Nothing had excited Damon in a long time – nothing except...
Against his will, Damon's gaze was drawn to Elena. She was sobbing gently with her face pressed against Stefan's shirt, the long fall of her hair shielding her face. Damon fought against feelings that were unfamiliar to him.
Damon had thought himself in love with Katherine. He had spent centuries mourning her death. But looking at Elena, he was forced to admit that he had never truly loved the woman who had made him what he was. He realized that what he had always called love was nothing more than school boy infatuation.
The feelings he once had for Katherine were nothing more than a flickering candle flame to the inferno of his love for Elena. It was a fire that consumed everything in its path until nothing existed but Elena; she was his reason for living. He would do anything to make her happy – even if that meant walking out of her life for good.
Stefan wasn't suited to the life of a vampire – which was why he was perfectly suited for Elena. He was gentle and kind – disgustingly so – and that was exactly what Elena needed. She had been through hell already and deserved so much more than the darkness Damon could offer her.
He knew what he had to do.
Damon squeezed his eyes shut against the moisture that threatened to gather there. What he saw when he opened them again was enough to make his heart feel as though it would wither in his chest.
Elena lifted her tear-streaked face to Stefan's. “Oh, Elena,” he said in a broken, defeated voice. He brushed his thumb across her cheek, wiping away a tear. “Don't cry, my love. I understand.”
He understood? Could it possibly be that he really did understand? Did he understand that he and Damon both held a part of her heart and without both of them, she would never be whole?
“You – You do?” she asked hopefully.
Stefan nodded. “Yes. And that's why I'm leaving tonight. Right now.” He kissed Elena on the forehead before moving away.
Too shocked to do anything but stare, Elena watched as Stefan stopped in front of his brother, holding out his hand. Damon – looking every bit as confused as Elena felt – took the hand Stefan offered. Instead of shaking his hand, Stefan pulled his brother into a quick embrace.
“Take good care of her,” he said.
He didn't understand. Not one bit. He thought that she wanted to be with Damon – only Damon.
“Stefan!” she cried, rushing over to where the two men stood. Stefan looked sad but resigned as he released his brother; Damon just looked confused.
“I don't want you to leave,” she told Stefan.
Before her words could register fully, before the spark of hope he felt could reach his eyes, Elena threw her arms around Stefan and kissed him. The kiss was full of all the desperation she couldn't find the words for. At first, Stefan didn't respond. The moment Elena had to wait before his lips parted in a sigh of relief felt like an eternity.
Before Damon could do something stupid – like decide he was going to be the gallant one and walk away – Elena reached out and caught his wrist. Breaking the kiss, she met Damon's eyes.
“I don't want you to leave either,” she told him.
No one moved. Or spoke. Then both brothers spoke at once.
“Elena...” they said in unison.
Now they understood. And she could tell by the looks on their faces that neither of them were happy about it.
Of course, they must be thinking about Katherine, had to be remembering the night she asked them both to spend eternity by her side – and the disastrous consequences of their replies.
Well, Elena thought, I'm not Katherine. This wasn't about some spoiled little girl having her cake and eating it too. This was about honest to goodness, soul consuming love – and, as Elena had only just come to realize, it was entirely possible to love two different people at the same time.
But how could she make them see? And how could she do it without sounding just like Katherine? More importantly, how could she do it without reigniting their old rivalries? Before they asked her to choose.
I won't, Elena thought. I will never choose between them.
Nor would she take the coward's way out as Katherine had done. There had to be a way to prove to kind-hearted Stefan that she couldn't live without his brother's passion... And a way to convince quick-tempered Damon that she would die without his brother's tenderness. There had to be a way to show them...
That was it! Clearly telling them wouldn't work – Katherine had tried that and look where it had gotten her. Elena would need to show them. As her Aunt Judith always said, actions speak louder than words.
Elena stepped out of Stefan's embrace and dropped Damon's hand. Turning her back on them, she walked toward the fire knowing, without having to look, that both brothers followed her progress with their eyes. For a moment, she stared into the low burning flames without really seeing them.
Reaching deep inside, she tried to summon a spark of the old Elena, the one who knew what she wanted and always – always – got it. She'd changed so much over the past few months that she didn't even think of herself as that person anymore – but she knew that stubborn streak was still there. Elena harnessed it, squaring her shoulders before she turned to face Damon and Stefan.
Two pairs of eyes – one green, on black – stared back at her out of equally confused, pale faces. Elena was shocked once again by how very similar they looked with their dark hair and fine features – and yet how very different they were in every other way. Perhaps that was how she was able to love them both at the same time.
A strange sense of destiny came over Elena – a sense of... Rightness. She was meant to be with them both; it was shocking how long it had taken her to realize it. But it was more than that. This second chance of hers wasn't just a reward for besting Klaus, it was a chance to set things right.
And that meant bringing the Salvatore brothers together.
They were two halves of the same whole, Damon and Stefan – like a soul that had been torn in two. 'They just need stitching back together,' Elena thought. She had an idea of how to do it, she just didn't know how badly they would fight against it.
“Stefan,” she said, “I love you.” Before he could reply, she spoke again. “Damon, I love you.”
“Don't ask me how it's possible to love two people at once but it is. I love you both. And-” this was where her plan could go horribly wrong - “I want to be with you.”
She caught Damon's gaze first. “Both.” Then Stefan's. “Right now.”
She waited long enough for her meaning to sink in before stretching herself out on the plush carpet that lay before the fire. If her words hadn't made her meaning clear, her position certainly left no doubts.
“Not one of you,” she reiterated, “Both. And if either of you even think about making me choose, neither of you will ever get this chance again.”
“So, boys...” she said, propping herself up on one elbow, “What'll it be?”
Certain parts of Damon's anatomy had already made a decision. It took all his willpower to remain where he was when where he wanted to be was down on the floor, burying himself inside Elena.
Oh. Hell. That only made it worse. He tried not to think about Elena's body – hot and wet – wrapped around him... Or, about the feel of her hard nipples brushing his chest as she rode him... Or, the way that she moaned when -
Clenching his hands into fists at his sides, Damon forced his gaze away from the temptation of Elena's naked flesh – and found himself face-to-face with Stefan. His brother's eyes were wide, his expression torn.
The question Damon sent telepathically was loaded with meaning. It was partly, Where does our relationship stand? and partly, Are you alright? but mostly it was, What the hell do we do now?
Stefan's gaze was drawn, almost against his will, to Elena's naked form. She lay haloed in the glow from the fire, waiting for their response.
She won't wait forever, brother.
The voice that spoke in his mind sounded faintly amused but, when Stefan dragged his attention back to his brother's face, he saw that Damon was anything but. Every muscle on Damon's body was taut, ready for action. Stefan's gaze dropped of its own accord. Yes, every muscle.
Stefan was grateful for the loose black trousers that hid his own erection. It wasn't that he was embarrassed by his attraction to Elena – never that. His reaction was only natural; he doubted any man – alive or undead – could look upon the sheer perfection of Elena's naked body and not be moved. No, it was not embarrassment that made him glad of the thin protection of his clothing.
He already felt raw and exposed – he didn't need to be exposed as well. Damon seemed nonchalant about his arousal being on display but Stefan wasn't as comfortable with everyone seeing exactly what he was thinking.
And just what the hell was he thinking?
Why hadn't he refused Elena already? Part of him wanted to reject her claim that she loved them both and demand that she chose either him or Damon – preferably him. But the other part of him – the part that grew larger by the second – would agree to anything if it meant he could make love to Elena. Right. Now.
But instant gratification alone wasn't enough to sway his decision. If he and Damon were only humans and the only thing that mattered was the next hour then maybe Stefan could say “to hell with it” and give Elena what she wanted – but they weren't and it wasn't. He couldn't help but remember the look of child-like joy on Katherine's face when she told the brothers that they could be together forever.
Katherine, despite being a vampire, had been exactly that: a child. He didn't have to look at Elena, to see her luscious curves or the patch of light curls between her legs to know that she was all woman. Whereas Katherine had thrown a tantrum and run away when forced to choose between Damon and Stefan, Elena had turned the tables on them, forcing them into a choice of their own.
One that was a lot easier to make that Stefan could have ever thought possible.
Looking at Damon now, he felt none of the animosity that had plagued their relationship for – well, ever. In fact, given all they had been through, Stefan felt closer to his brother now than he ever had – which was funny, really, considering the fact that he had caught Damon with his girlfriend not ten minutes ago.
Could Stefan forgive Damon for that betrayal? And Elena? Yes. In truth, he already had. But forgiving them for having sex was a very different thing from giving them permission to do it again – and again for all eternity. Even knowing it was the only way he could be with her, Stefan doubted he was man enough to share Elena with his brother.
I don't know if I can do this, he thought, knowing his brother would hear.
Has it been so very long? Damon replied in his usual mocking tone. I'm sure it's like riding a bike...
Damon... Stefan's mental voice was weary. This was no time for his brother's twisted sense of humor... His head jerked up when a hand closed around his arm in a firm grip.
Stefan, Damon said, surprising him. Damon never called him by his name. “Brother” on a good day and any number of insults on the bad ones – but never just “Stefan.”
Listen to me, he continued. Surprising Stefan even further by the somber tone of his voice which, for once, was completely without sarcasm or malice. I'm finding it extremely difficult to believe that Elena just told me that she loves me. It's too good to be true. Any minute now, I'm going to wake up and realize this is just a good dream.
Damon glanced down at himself and gave Stefan an awkward, lopsided grin. A very, very good dream, he added. But until that moment, I'm going to make the best of it.
“Well?” Elena asked, interrupting them. Her voice was laced with frustration.
Just look at her, Damon said.
Look at her? It was impossible to keep his eyes off her!
That woman is perfection, Damon continued. Inside and out. If she told me that I had to share her with a hundred men, I would. Just to be with her.
His brother's confession shocked Stefan to the core. He really has changed, he thought to himself. It was even more shocking that Damon's thoughts so clearly mirrored his own.
But not at your expense, Damon said, releasing Stefan's arm. Your call.
Elena watched the silent exchange with growing apprehension. Though they didn't speak, it was obvious that something was going on between them. She cursed their ability to communicate telepathically as she waited for Damon and Stefan to reach a decision.
Having the ability to speak mind-to-mind was one of the things Elena missed about being a vampire. The increased strength and speed hadn't hurt any, either. She nearly sighed aloud. Becoming a vampire had been quite the shock – to all three of them – and seemed to pass by in the blink of an eye. Elena had never really gotten the chance to explore her supernatural abilities – what with the life or death battle against her crazy ancestor and all – but lately she'd found herself wishing that she had.
None of this would have happened, for starters, she thought miserably. If she had been a vampire, Stefan wouldn't have treated her like she was made of spun glass. If she hadn't been so mad at Stefan, she wouldn't have confronted Damon. If she hadn't confronted Damon...
Would that have been better? Did she wish that she'd walked away from the library, leaving Damon in peace – and her relationship with Stefan intact? No. Definitely not. Even is both men decided that she wasn't worth putting aside their differences for, even if she spent the rest of her life utterly alone, Elena would never regret having loved them both.
When Damon grabbed Stefan, Elena almost jumped to her feet, thinking a fight was imminent. But the brothers just stood there, staring at each other. The waiting was pure hell; her nerve endings felt as if they'd been stripped bare. Surely, if someone touched her now, she'd snap into a million pieces.
“Well?” she asked when the waiting got to be too much.
They looked her way briefly before resuming whatever silent conversation they were having. A bead of sweat trickled down her back but whether it was from the heat of the fire or just from nervousness, she couldn't say.
Finally, after what felt like an eternity, Damon dropped his arm. Stefan stared at him a moment longer then turned his attention to Elena. His eyes locked onto hers and she saw the anguish and uncertainty there. He looked away quickly, though, as if he couldn't bear it any longer.
Stefan turned his back on them and Elena felt her hopes deflate. Even Damon's shoulders slumped in resignation. They were both surprised when Stefan grabbed the hem of his black sweater and pulled the material over his head.
Elena was almost too afraid to hope.
“Okay,” he said, turning to face them once more. “You're right,” he told Damon, continuing their private conversation out loud. “I would do anything to be with Elena. Even share her with you.”
Share her? Clearly, they didn't understand exactly what she was asking of them. Elena opened her mouth to correct Stefan but quickly shut it again. Showing them both, she decided, would be much, much better.
Rising to her knees, Elena rewarded the brothers a brilliant smile, showing them just how happy she was with their decision.
“Stefan,” she reached for him, “Damon,” and for his brother.
Damon fell to his knees beside Elena, clinging to her hand like a man lost at sea. That was how had felt since the moment his lips had touched hers – No, before that. From the very first time he laid eyes on her, Damon had been drowning in his love for her.
“Elena,” he said, his voice somewhere between an invocation and a prayer. She turned her head to look at him and her eyes, shining with love, were his undoing. He wrapped his arms around her and buried his face in her neck.
Stefan took her other hand, allowing himself to be pulled forward until he stood directly in front of her. He watched as his brother fell to his knees beside Elena. When Elena urged Damon to raise his head so she could kiss him, Stefan thought he would die of jealousy. The kiss was desperate; Elena wrapped one arm around Damon's neck without releasing Stefan and Damon tangled his fingers in her fine hair.
You agreed to this, Stefan reminded himself. You knew that they would kiss – and worse. What will you do when they actually-
The blinding jealousy that threatened to overtake him at the sight of Damon and Elena kissing disappeared the second Damon looked up at him. His brother's face was streaked with tears.
The force of Damon's joy was staggering. Even the tiny bit that was able to slip through his shields when he spoke to Stefan telepathically was enough to bring tears to Stefan's eyes. The overwhelming joy Damon projected was not a new sensation to Stefan – he experienced the same feeling himself every time he held Elena in his arms.
How could he be jealous of someone so very much like himself in so many ways, who felt exactly the way he felt about the woman they both loved?
In fact, watching them together now, Stefan was reminded of the first night he and Elena had come together. Yes, he remembered the wondering joy of being with her and the sense of belonging he found in her arms – but he also remembered how terrified he'd been. He had been afraid of hurting her, of going too fast or losing control, of scaring her, of-
It's too good to be true. Any minute now, I'm going to wake up and realize this was just a good dream.
Yes, that too. Being with Elena was so incredible that it seemed unreal; that alone was frightening. Stefan lay a compassionate hand on his brother's shoulder and gave it a squeeze.
Elena was beaming when she looked up at Stefan but he didn't notice; he was staring at Damon like he'd never seen him before. Finally! she thought. He finally realized that Damon wasn't the monster he pretended to be. Her plan was working wonderfully. Now for Phase Two.
Her smile turned mischievous. Keeping her eyes on Stefan's face, she reached for his belt buckle. Stefan's attention jerked back to Elena. His gaze was locked onto her slim fingers and the work they performed.
Slowly, deliberately, she unhooked the belt and unfastened his slacks. Damon released her and leaned back to watch as she pushed the slacks down, freeing Stefan's straining manhood. When Elena's delicate hand closed around Stefan's shaft, Damon felt his own cock leap to attention. He forgot to breathe as he watched Elena stroke Stefan. It was all too easy to imagine her doing the same to him... Stefan wasn't helping either; his shields had never been as strong as Damon's and just now, Stefan was barely holding them in place.
Pleasure radiated from Stefan in waves. Damon could feel his brother's intense satisfaction as if it was his own, felt each stroke of her hand as if it was on him. Stefan's arousal was making his own almost unbearable. When Elena replaced her hand with her mouth, Damon thought he would explode. He took hold of his painfully erect member in one long fingered hand and began to pump.
If this was his reward for agreeing to Elena's terms, Stefan thought, he wished he'd done it sooner. Hell, he would have suggested it himself. The intense pleasure he felt as her tongue traveled the length of him was like nothing he'd every experienced. It took Stefan awhile to realize that not all of the pleasure he felt was his own. Damon, who had always been the one with the most Power, was struggling to keep his psychic shields in place. Stefan realized that he'd been keeping his own up only out of habit – and only just.
The first thing any newly changed vampire had to learn was to shield their minds from the humans around them. Over time, they were able to build stronger shields against other vampires. Eventually, holding them in place became as natural as breathing – more so since they needed protection more than air. Their shields were held in place automatically, without thinking about them... Unless something else occupied their minds enough to loosen their control.
It didn't take a telepath to know what was occupying Damon's mind.
Why fight it? Stefan sent the thought to his brother and then dropped what remained of his own feeble shield.
Damon groaned under the torrent of sensation that assailed him. His hips bucked right off the floor and his jerking movements doubled. Stefan watched Damon pleasure himself, mesmerized. He hadn't lived his very long life as a celibate – far from it – but it occurred to him that he'd never been particularly adventurous either; it was the first time he'd ever seen another man masturbate.
It was strangely erotic.
“Elena,” he said softly. Stefan didn't want to stop the exquisite thing she was doing with her mouth but he did want her to see what he saw, to know if she found it anywhere near as erotic as he did. Yes, if the way her eyes darkened when she looked upon Damon was anything to go by, she certainly did.
Settling beside Damon, Elena covered his hand with her own. “Let me,” she said and began stroking him, running her palm slowly up and down his thick shaft. Damon watched her with hooded eyes, loving the way her fingers closed around him, squeezing gently as she pulled upward.
Out of the corner of his eye, Damon saw Stefan take himself in his hand and begin to pump. He was sandwiched between Stefan and Elena, whose up-and-down motions mirrored each other’s. He didn't know which way to look which made the pleasure-pain of his arousal that much worse, so he laid back and let his eyes fall closed.
That was a bad idea, Damon thought. With nothing to look at, he had nothing to focus on but what he felt – and what he felt was incredible.
His own pleasure was intensified by the emotions he felt from Elena and Stefan. They were throwing off rays of pleasure, arousal, happiness and love that buffeted his already weakening protection. It was getting harder and harder to keep the shields in place. Part of him wanted to just let go, to drop the barriers that still held him slightly apart – but part of him was terrified. Tearing down the thick walls he had built to protect himself would leave him vulnerable. Defenseless. He could get hurt.
His defenses must have been lower than he had thought because he heard Stefan's voice in his mind.
Don't be afraid, brother, he said. It's only us three and I won't let you get hurt. Never again.
At that moment, Damon felt Elena's soft lips encircle his cock, felt her hot breath on his skin, and he let go. Dropping what remained of his shields, Damon opened himself up completely to Elena and Stefan.
Crying out, Damon arched into Elena's mouth. He nearly came undone as the wave of sensation rolled over him. He could feel Elena's happiness at bringing the two men she loved together. He felt Stefan's shy, almost virginal excitement that came from watching Damon receive Elena's attentions. He and Stefan were connected now in a way that no other brothers could ever be; their pleasure fed into each other, and off each other, multiplying into something new and more powerful than either of them had ever known.
Elena looked up in surprise when Damon cried out and saw his head thrown back, his hands tightened into fists at his sides. At first, she was afraid that she had hurt him but then Stefan's hips jerked forward and he squeezed his eyes closed. No, it wasn't pain at all. She felt a thrill at knowing that she could affect them in such a way.
Now was the perfect time for Phase Two. But Elena's resolve wavered. If she failed now, it wouldn't just ruin the moment, it had the potential to destroy the tentative bond that the brothers had formed. But, if it worked...
Oh, if it worked, it would be the start of something amazing.
She called Stefan's name. When he looked down at her, his pupils were so dilated they were almost as black as Damon's.
“Kiss me, Stefan.”
He didn't hesitate, capturing her mouth in a kiss so hot that it made instant fire leap between them. Elena had the wild urge to say, “to hell with the plan,” and climb on top of Stefan right then. It was only the thought of how much better the sex would be if her plan worked that convinced her to break the kiss.
Their faces hovered just inches from Damon's erect penis. “Now,” she said breathlessly, “kiss him.”
She glanced down pointedly then raised her eyes back to Stefan's face. The challenge in her blue eyes was clear.
She looked from Stefan – who had recoiled slightly at the suggestion – to Damon, who was pushing himself up on his elbows, curios but not disgusted.
“Do you think I'm going to spend forever being passed back and forth between the two of you like a piece of meat?” she asked.
“If you want me,” Elena told them, proud of how confident she sounded – much more confident than she actually felt. “Then you have to be willing to share everything, not just me.”
“That includes each other.”
Stefan and Damon stared at each other helplessly. Did they want her? Yes. Forever? Hell yes. Could they do... that to be with her?
If she had asked him ten minutes ago, before they had let go of their psychic shields, before they had shared each other’s minds, Stefan would have said no. Never.
He had felt Damon's pleasure as if it was his own, knew what it felt like for Damon to have Elena's mouth on him. What would it feel like, he wondered, to give and receive that pleasure at the same time?
He couldn't say that thought didn't appeal to him. At least a little. Through the bond their shared, Stefan knew that Damon was also wavering.
Is it wrong? Stefan thought. Regardless of whatever else they were or had become, they were brothers first.
Damon shrugged. I stopped playing by human rules a long, long time ago. But even he sounded uncertain.
Elena didn't realize that she was holding her breath until the room started to swim. She took a deep breath, hoping neither brother noticed how shaky it was – not that it mattered at that moment, they had eyes only for each other.
I'm going to have to have a talk with them about that whole telepathy thing one day, she thought.
Before she could ask what they weren't talking about, Stefan nodded. He turned to give her a wicked little grin as Damon reach out and took hold of her hand. Keeping his eyes locked on Elena's, Stefan leaned forward and took Damon's cock in his mouth.
Damon closed his eyes and tried to ignore the fact that the mouth that closed around his throbbing cock, the mouth that was bringing him so much pleasure, belonged to his brother.
He wasn't a prude by any stretch of the imagination; in his long life, he'd had threesomes, foursomes and moresomes – and not just with women. Until now, Damon thought he had tried everything there was to try sexually. But this? He never would have imagined himself doing this - and not just because, until very recently, the only feelings he had toward his brother were hatred, anger and resentment. Now, his feelings were...
Despite what he told Stefan, he couldn't shake the feeling that allowing his brother to do what he was doing was wrong. Enjoying it as much as he was that was surely wrong.
It didn't feel wrong. In fact, it felt damned right, if you asked him.
As he often told his brother, they weren't human anymore. They didn't have to play by human rules or obey human laws. So why not throw human morality out the window as well? The decision became easier to stomach the longer Stefan's mouth remained wrapped around his cock, with each unpracticed stroke of his brother's tongue...
Elena watched her men with growing pride – and arousal. Phase Two was definitely a success.
It would almost be a shame to interrupt them, she thought as Damon groaned aloud. He twisted his fingers into Stefan's curly hair and arched upward into his brother's mouth.
She took it back. It would be more than a shame if she didn't interrupt them – she might just burst into flames, she was so hot.
Elena stretched out beside them, taking Damon's face between her hands and kissing him. Damon responded immediately. He wrapped the golden fall of her hair around his fist and returned the kiss with a fervor that told of long restrained passion.
So long, Elena thought. They'd loved each other for so long without ever realizing it – though whether she meant Damon and herself or Damon and Stefan was uncertain, even to herself.
She gasped, the sound swallowed by Damon's kiss, when Stefan reached out to touch her. He slid his free hand up between her legs, his fingers teasing the sensitive flesh there as they moved upward. When they reached their destination, delving into the depths of her womanhood, Elena broke the kiss, throwing her head back in pure pleasure.
Damon watched, rapt, as his brother pleasured the woman they both loved. Elena's little whimpers and gasps drew Stefan's attention as well; he lifted his head to stare, mesmerized, at Elena as she writhed against his hand.
Shields down completely, both brothers were helpless against the onslaught of Elena's passion. Their arousal grew as hers did until they were both in danger of losing it before they could even take her.
Her name was a strangled plea torn from Stefan's lips that barely reached her through the haze of rising passion. It wasn't until Stefan's hand stilled that she was forced to open her heavy-lidded eyes and turn them on the expectant brothers.
I must be dreaming, she thought dazedly. Damon begging me? And why?
Elena struggled to contain her wayward thoughts – which was extremely difficult to do with her body screaming at her to stop thinking and start feeling. But Stefan had stopped stroking her, had taken away the hand that had been doing the most delicious things...
Now, that long-fingered hand rested on his thigh – near his straining manhood.
Understanding dawned. Elena didn't need the telepathic ability the brothers shared to know that they were both close to the breaking point; the muscle that jerked in Damon's jaw and the rigid set of Stefan's shoulders told her everything she needed to know.
Elena rose to her knees, holding out a hand to each brother who, together, gently tugged her forward.
I hope you're certain about this, Damon said to his brother as he maneuvered Elena into a position that left her very pert rear end on magnificent display.
If you're going to change your mind, now is the time. Another few minutes might be too late.
That made Stefan pause. Was he certain? They weren't just humans; this wouldn't be just some wild fling that could be swept under the rug and forgotten over time. This was a forever deal – and they both knew the weight that word carried.
Damon was waiting. He looked calm but Stefan could feel his rising impatience under the surface. Elena didn't try to hide her impatience. She tossed back her mane of golden hair, blinking up at him with her wide blue eyes. “Stefan?” she asked. He knew she must be wondering what was going on.
Stefan pressed a hand to his eyes, trying – with some difficulty – to gather his thoughts.
Stop thinking so hard, he scolded himself. Just listen to your heart.
Easier said than done, Damon interrupted his private thoughts. Stefan shot him a look.
Damned shields, he said, giving Stefan an apologetic grin.
Stefan tried to ignore all the doubts and niggling worries that tried to drag him down, focusing instead on what his heart was saying.
Trust, it told him. He trusted Damon with his life. More importantly, he trusted Damon with Elena's life.
Trust – and love. Of course, he loved Damon – he was his brother, after all. But could he love him? He had already stepped out of his comfort zone tonight. How much further could he go?
Rather remarkably, he found that he was willing to find out. The intense feelings of pleasure that he'd sensed in Damon as he'd sucked his brother's cock had unlocked something inside him, broken down codes that had been instilled in him since birth.
Yes, he'd liked it.
Stefan smiled. I'm certain, he said.
Damon returned his brother's grin. It was a strange sight to see, Damon happy.
Nothing about this is normal, brother, Damon told him, clasping a hand on his shoulder. Then, to prove his words, Damon kissed him.
Stefan jerked slightly at the first touch of Damon's lips on his but it was from surprise rather than disgust – surprise and wonder. When Stefan kissed Damon, he experienced the same sense of rightness, of belonging that he did when he kissed Elena the first time. Kissing Damon was a lot like kissing Elena except Damon wasn't as soft – or as vulnerable. It occurred to Stefan that he didn't have to be as careful with Damon; he didn't have to hold anything back.
Elena cleared her throat loudly and wiggled her rear end in a way that suggested impatience. “Don't mind me...” she said in mock annoyance.
Damon and Stefan laughed. They knew better than to think that Elena was really annoyed – the swell of joy they could feel building within her was a dead giveaway. As was the large grin she wore.
Still laughing, Stefan leaned over and caught Elena's mouth in a tender kiss. When she would have risen to face him, he pushed her back down and entered her swiftly from behind.
Damon took a moment to smile at the picture they made, enjoying the happiness of the only two people in the world who meant a damn to him. But he didn't stay on the sidelines long. He joined them, taking his place behind Stefan. Patience, he reminded himself. His brother was still an innocent in so many ways...
He let his hands wander, roaming up the flat muscles of Stefan's chest and back down to lightly smack one buttock. He could sense Stefan's nervousness, felt the pleasure Stefan took from being inside Elena and the anticipation he felt for what was to come.
If you so much as think the word ‘stop’, he told his brother. I will.
Stefan looked back over his shoulder and nodded once, giving Damon the go-ahead. He braced himself, expecting a sense of invasion as Damon entered him, and was surprised to feel instead the hot touch of Damon's tongue sliding between his cheeks. Nothing that Stefan had ever experienced prepared him for the shock of his brother licking his asshole.
Knowing a thing or two about men, Damon knew better than to force himself on Stefan until he was ready to receive him. With determination he didn't know he possessed, he held his own pleasure at bay as he licked at Stefan's rim, finally sliding one long finger inside him. Stefan groaned aloud. He hadn't known what to expect but it certainly wasn't to be aroused by the feeling of any man's finger – much less his brother's – in his ass.
Damon knew the exact moment Stefan was ready for him and rose up to enter him - ever so slowly, giving him time to adjust, time to change his mind. But Stefan didn't change his mind. He let out one long, shuddering groan as Damon pulled out and re-entered him the first time but they were soon moving together, matching each other’s rhythms, Elena keeping pace with them both. As their movements became more frantic, the force of Damon's thrusts drove Stefan into Elena who – nothing weak or frail about her – met them thrust for thrust.
As their passion began to spiral out of control, it became impossible to tell where one person ended and the next person began. There were no vampires, no humans, no brothers, men or women – just lovers, and it was their overwhelming love for one another that urged them on and sent them spiraling over the edge together.
Sometime later, they lay in a tangled heap on the plush rug in front of the fireplace. Elena dozed, her back to Stefan, her cheek resting on Damon's chest. Damon hugged Elena close while Stefan absently stroked his brother's arm.
They didn't say a word – aloud or otherwise. After what they'd been through, there was no need. Each was more than a little awed by the love he felt for the other. How could it be possible, they wondered, to love each other as much as they each loved Elena? They wouldn't have thought it possible.
Stefan thought his heart would explode. It couldn't be possible for one little organ to carry all the love he felt for the two people in his arms. Let it explode, he thought. I'll die happy. But, of course, the joy of it was that he wouldn't die. They had forever, Stefan, Elena and Damon... and endless number of nights to fill with love and sex and all sorts of things he was just beginning to realize existed. For the first time ever, Stefan was grateful to Katherine for the gift she had given him.
There was just one thing missing...
Mhm? was the lazy reply.
Elena, Stefan said, meeting his brother's gaze over her head. Do you remember what she said?
Damon frowned slightly as if trying to remember was too much effort. No?
‘Do you think I'm going to spend forever being passed back and forth between the two of you?’ Stefan quoted.
I think we've already solved that problem, brother, Damon said with a wicked grin of old.
Not all of it.
Ah, Damon said as the meaning of his brother's words sunk in. You mean...
Stefan nodded. Yes.
Again, he nodded. What better time?
They were in complete agreement. Stefan leaned forward, nuzzling Elena's neck. Damon selected a more – interesting – location. Elena sighed happily in her sleep, her eyelids fluttering...
Her eyes shot open as two sets of fangs pierced her tender flesh. The fright of being bitten last only a heartbeat; Stefan and Damon's hands were everywhere at once, soothing, calming... arousing. It was some time before the brothers opened their own veins to Elena, giving back what they had taken.
It was much later when Elena snuggled into Stefan and said, “I guess Katherine got her wish, after all.” Her eyelids were drooping once more as the vampire blood was spread through her body, making her lethargic. Or, maybe that was the second bout of lovemaking?
“How's that?” Damon asked, nipping gently at her earlobe.
Elena giggled and turned her face up for a quick kiss. “Here you are. Finally,” she said. “The Salvatore brothers – together forever.”
“Together,” Stefan agreed with a smile for them both. “Forever.”