When they were human, Damon and Stefan were close.
The Salvatore Brothers, best friends
When they were young, Damon had always protected him from anything and everything. He protected him and defended him from their father, from bullies. Damon was practically the one who raised Stefan when their mother died and their father changed.
Damon taught Stefan everything he knows. He even taught him how to play football. Damon never lost his patience with him, never stopped caring about him, and never gets angry at him even when Stefan gets mad at him for some petty little things.
He was the perfect big brother anybody could have ever asked for back in the 1800's
That was before their world turned upside down.
"You got what you wanted, you and me for all eternity. But hear this, brother. I will make it an eternity of misery for you"
Stefan's smile had fallen from his face.
His brother was clearly furious at him.
That thought horrified him.
His promise that he will make his life miserable terrified him.
But it was worth it.
As long as his brother is with him.
He'd take anything.
"I'm done here, with you, I'm leaving town"
Stefan's mind went blank.
His mind slowly processed Damon's words.
He couldn't leave him alone.
'You hate me, I know, I know, an eternity of misery and all that, I know, I-I know, but you don't have to leave town. Damon, I'll do better. I promise-"
Stefan had stumbled over his words. He couldn't speak properly.
He practically begged Damon to stay; he'd do anything just so he stays.
He can live with the 'eternity of misery' promise, but Damon couldn't leave him.
His eyes scanned his face, memorizing it in case his brother really leaves him.
He looked at Damon, his eyes begging, pleading for him not to leave.
But Damon pushed him and walked away, leaving Stefan staring at him desperately.
His heart filled with guilt and grief.
He couldn't live without his brother.
So he flipped the switch, turned his humanity off, and his emotions as well.
It was the only way he knows to survive.
"I've missed you brother"
He wasn't lying.
"The fire will take you out!"
"He's my brother, Bonnie"
Did Bonnie expect him to just stand there while Damon was inside that burning building?
Did she really expect to do nothing while his brother was probably dying?
He couldn't do that.
He would never do that.
Not to his brother. Not to Damon.
Stefan had never felt so relieved when he got Damon out of the fire.
"We both want to protect the people we care about. The difference is, for you, Damon is one of them"
He didn't really realize it, didn't really consciously know or admit it.
Until Bonnie said those words.
No matter what happened between him and Damon, he couldn't stop caring about him
"I try so hard to hate him, I guess it's just pointless"
Because no matter how hard he tries
He couldn't hate Damon
Because Damon is all that he has left
The only constant thing in his life left
"I've wanted to kill my brother a thousand times, I've never been able to"
Because he doesn't really want him dead.
He wanted to kill him, every time he does something to try and ruin Stefan's life.
But he can't.
If Damon died, he'd be alone.
He needed Damon even more so than Damon probably needs him.
"I could rip your heart out and not think twice about it."
That had hurt him. But he knows Damon wouldn't do it.
He knows Damon still has a heart to not kill his brother.
"Of course I was going to do it by myself, because the only one I can count on is me! You made sure of that many years ago, Stefan. But you...You had me fooled."
Those words coming out from his brother's mouth stung so badly.
His heart filled with guilt at what he had done to his brother.
His own brother doesn't even trust him even a little but anymore.
After all those protecting and loving Damon had given Stefan when they were human.
This was how Stefan repays him?
Unable to trust and rely to anybody...and all alone.
You can count on me, Damon...
"If anyone's gonna kill you, it's gonna be me."
Damon saved him.
He still cares about him no matter how hard he tries to cover it.
Stefan didn't really mind what Damon had said.
Because no matter how many times Damon had threatened to kill him, he never does it.
His brother can't kill him like how Stefan can't kill him.
They are still brothers after all.
They were still family
"Admit it - you can't wait to get rid of me."
And Stefan thought that Damon had never been so wrong in his entire life.
"Where's my brother?"
He felt hope rise inside him as he hears Damon's voice.
Damon would come and save him like he always does.
He saw Damon's face as he saw him.
He was never gladder to be Damon's brother.
The look on Damon's face was furious and at the same time protective and worried.
Worried for his little brother.
The coldness and fury in Damon's voice terrified all the people in the room.
Yep, Stefan was never gladder to be that protective bastard's little brother.
"We'll find something, a cure
He knows there isn't one, not anything they know of.
But Stefan was still going to try, even if it kills him.
"Hey, I will do this"
Stefan got scared back then. When Damon said he got bitten by Tyler Lockwood, his mind immediately went blank, because this couldn't be happening. He saw Damon's face. He looked defeated and resigned. He already accepted his fate; he already resigned to his impending death.
But Stefan, he can't. He can't do it. He can't accept it.
"You wanna do something for me? Keep this from Elena, last thing she needs is another grave to mourn"
What about me brother? Did you really think I could just let go of this? Did you really think that I don't care about you? That I don't care if you die?
Did you really think I could live an eternity without you?
"You're not dying today"
Stefan's heart was beating so fast that it wouldn't surprise him if he experience a heart attack.
His mind still couldn't wrap through what he just saw.
When he entered the house, he smelled something, like burning flesh.
At first he was confused, but then he saw Damon standing right in front of the huge window and right in front of the blazing rays of the sun.
He wasn't wearing his ring.
His face had burnt marks, and he was still standing there, burning.
Stefan didn't even think when he ran across the room faster than he has ever been in his whole life and slammed into Damon, sending both of them to the floor.
He had pinned Damon on the floor, then on the wall.
He hated the look on his brother's face. How could Damon act like nothing had happened? Like he hadn't just tried to kill himself.
Why hadn't his brother give him a chance to find something so he could live? But no, instead, he gave up just like that and tried to kill himself.
He dragged Damon and threw him in the cell.
He hated doing this to his brother but he would do everything to make sure Damon would survive this.
"Always the hero, Stefan. Just tell me good-bye, get it over with."
He can't do that. Did Damon think he can do that? To just say goodbye, give up and let Damon die... then act like nothing happened?
He hates the fact that his brother is probably in so much pain now but he can't just go and kill him to put him out of misery.
His heart clenched as Damon coughed up blood, not even having the strength to stand.
He would do this. Damon has to live.
"How do I not know this?"
Why the hell didn't Damon tell him? Why in the world is he just learning about this now after 50 years? He felt guilty, so guilty that his something in his chest hurts. He was bitter ,goddamn it, that Damon had failed to rescue him in the 3 months he was drowning over and over again in that safe.
But Damon had it worse.
A whole lot of worse than what Stefan had suffered.
Yet Damon had kept his mouth shut about this and Stefan couldn't understand why. Because Damon would have, should have blamed him and make him feel guilty but why didn't Damon do it?
His brother was in that cell for fucking 5 years, being experimented on, tortured, humiliated and yet he never told Stefan. Stefan voiced his thoughts to Elena. Turns out, Damon had told Elena.
"In the first year I was in there, I expected him to rescue me. He didn't. Once I escaped, there was no point in giving him more guilt to feel about, so I never told him. I never told anybody."
That stung a bit. But Stefan felt oddly touched by what Damon told Elena. It was proof that Damon still cares about him. That underneath his ruthless exterior, he still has the heart, the love he had for his little brother. He protected Stefan in his own, odd way.
"I didn't know about that"
Now Stefan got what Damon had said in 1994. He thought his brother had left him, had abandoned him again for his own selfish reasons.
But Damon actually had left him for selfless reasons.
All those years, he was angry; he resented Damon when all his brother ever did was let him go, so he can be safe, stable and happy.
Damon had let him go even though he didn't want to.
"All I can remember was hating him"
When those words came out of his mouth, for a moment, he wanted to take them back.
Because it wasn't true.
Damon's his older brother.
His big brother.
All he can remember was loving him.
Maybe hate and love really does have such a fine line
"And I'm not gonna let Katherine come in here and destroy that part of you that is finally, after all of the time, willing to feel something. She'll try to break you. She'll try to break us. And how we respond to that, will define us. It's our choice. So no, I'm not going to fight you"
"Brother, don't you worry, our bond is unbreakable"
Stefan wasn't lying. He really won't let Katherine destroy Damon's life, their life again.
He won't let Katherine come between him and Damon.
Not ever again.
And Damon's reply... his tone was sarcastic but it was true.
Nothing can break his and his brother's bond.
It might shake.
But it's still there, strong as always.
"I'm sorry, about being the guy that made you turn 145 years ago…"
He doesn't regret it.
But he'll apologize because he needs to.
"You know what? I've never said it out loud. I guess I just need to say it and you need to hear it. I'm sorry. What I did was selfish. I didn't want to be alone. I guess I just needed my brother"
He knows Damon doesn't want to hear it.
But want is a hella lot different than need.
And that's what it is.
Damon needs to hear, even though he doesn't admit it.
And Stefan needs to say it, he needs to apologize.
He always blamed and accused his brother of being selfish and only thinking about himself.
Stefan had been selfish too.
He forced Damon to drink blood so he can complete his transition and become a vampire. All Damon had wanted was peace and to just die.
Yet Stefan practically forced him to turn. He hadn't thought of Damon's needs. All he thought about was himself.
He knows he can't live without Damon.
He can never live an eternity without his brother by his side.
Deep down, he knows he doesn't really regret turning Damon.
He needs him too much.
"You never stop caring about family, do you?"
Stefan would never say it out loud but Klaus was right.
He was so right.
He might have had his switch off.
He might have lost his humanity and became a ripper.
But there is one thing Klaus can never take away from him and that is his love for his brother.
His brother is his only family that he has left.
He couldn't lose that.
He couldn't lose him
"My brother still on our trail?"
Stefan was touched that Damon still hadn't given up on him.
But Damon needs to let Stefan go.
Stefan was scared what would happen to Damon if he continues this.
So he decides to kill Andy.
He saw the surprised and anguished look on his brother's face when he saw Andy and when she fell and died.
Then he saw Damon looked at him with so much anger, disappointment and betrayal.
Somehow, Damon's disappointment and his look of betrayal at him were worse than any look of anger.
He walked away, every step painful as he told Damon to let him go.
All he wanted to say was to hold on and never let him go.
"You let it control you. You always have. I'm just here to help you learn how to fight it"
Damon had been right. He was always right.
Especially when it's about his little brother.
Stefan should have listened to him.
The little brother should always listen to his big brother.
Everybody was trying to help, say it was okay, that what he was doing was right.
But Damon was helping him in his own way. He pushed Stefan to own the darkest part of himself.
Damon tried to teach him to control and fight the fear, the ripper inside him, and not let it control you. He thought he was just harming Stefan.
Stefan should have really trusted his brother.
"I want you to get it through your head. Stop saving me!"
He can never stop saving Damon.
He can never stop protecting him.
What a hypocrite Damon was.
He wants Stefan to stop saving him when he himself keeps on saving Stefan
"I let you walk away. I watched you go over the edge and didn't do anything to stop you."
Yes, Damon did that.
"You couldn't have"
Even Stefan doubted his own words because if anything can help him pull himself together, it would be Damon.
"Sure, I could have"
See? Damon knew it too.
"I just didn't want to"
That stung a bit.
"But I want to now"
"Whenever you go too far, I'll be there to pull you back. Every second, every day. Till you don't need me"
Why would Damon do that?
Why would Damon waste his time on him?
"'Cause right now, you're all I got"
When Damon said that, Stefan felt oddly warm.
"I'll get her home safely, alright?"
"Get both yourselves home safely, brother. I'd hate to have to kick her ass for losing you"
He can't deny the feeling that crept up inside him. He thought his brother would only care for Elena, that he wouldn't care about his brother's safety as long as Elena's safe.
He was ashamed that he still doubts if his brother's love for him is real.
And for that moment, his will to live strengthened.
"He already has a brother not to be territorial or anything"
Stefan almost smiled.
At least, Damon still has protective instincts for him.
At least, Damon still calls him his brother
"He's my brother, we remain together"
When Elijah said that, he had to look away. Else, his resolve will dissolve, his anger will fade and he'll give Klaus's body to Elijah.
Because what Elijah said had affected him.
Elijah and Klaus reminded him of himself and Damon.
Even after all the fights, arguments, and heartbreaks.
They're still brothers, always have and always will.
They'll be together until the very end.
"I know you and I have been through so bad spots lately, especially when it comes to her. I want you to know, that…"
"I know, Stefan"
And for a moment, both Salvatores were painfully honest, sincere and vulnerable.
"Hey Damon! I'm not happy for Elena… but I'm not not happy for you either. I just want you to know that"
Sure, it hurt and stung a bit.
But his brother was happy.
That was all he can think about.
That was all that matters.
No matter what happened, his brother always come first.
And his brother looked so sincere at that moment that Stefan couldn't find it in himself to be angry at him.
"I wanted it to be you…when that safe finally opened and somebody found me. I wanted it to be you. "I wanted it to be both of you"
Yes, Stefan had wanted it to be Damon and Elena.
And it hurt like hell when that didn't happen.
Somehow that had hurt worse than drowning over and over again.
He knows it was not really their fault, that he can't really blame them.
But for a while, Stefan was bitter.
"The truth is, ever since the first time I noticed you falling for my brother I have been waiting for him to screw something up so badly that you hate him. So I’ve been waiting, and watching him do all these horrible things. And every single time I think that he's gone too far, he's there for you. Sometimes in ways better than I ever was. So the truth is, after awhile I just stopped waiting for him to fail because I liked the person that he had become and I don't want to lose that person"
He hadn't known it was Katherine he was talking to but he still meant it.
He didn't want to lose this Damon. This more open version of his brother.
Damon was almost the same way he was when they were human.
And he held onto that Damon.
"I think you need to find yourself a new best friend. Damon is in a bad place right now and you're not really making this better"
He felt a pang of guilt in his chest when he said that to Enzo. Enzo was one of Damon's only few friends that is still alive. Enzo was the one who saw his brother at his worst and he still stayed with him. He did not abandon him, didn't give up on him but he helped him instead.
Enzo was Damon's best friend longer than Alaric had ever been.
"Do me a favor and leave my brother out of it"
Stefan had basically warned Enzo to leave his brother alone. He felt guilty knowing that he was probably making Damon lose another person he cares about.
Honestly, Enzo could be a little good for Damon.
He doesn't want to admit it but
He was jealous.
Jealous of Damon and Enzo's friendship. As childish as it sounds, Stefan felt like Enzo was coming between him and Damon, that he was taking Damon's attention and time away from Stefan.
Stefan felt like Enzo was replacing him in his role as a brother in Damon's life.
Yep, he was jealous.
Stefan had felt a small amount of relief as he saw Damon, still alive, despite how he was in a really bad state.
Damon tried to make them leave. He tried to scare them as he show his Augustine vampire face-y in one last desperate attempt to make them leave and save themselves.
But Stefan wasn't afraid of Damon. How could you possibly be afraid of someone who had taken care of him and protected him since he was a baby?
He was appalled when Elena/Katherine basically told him to kill Damon.
Did she really think he'd kill his own brother?
He saw how Damon tried so hard, so desperately to resist the blood to avoid hurting his little brother.
Then he snapped Damon's neck.
You're my brother, I'm not gonna give up on you. I never will"
Stefan meant it. He meant every single word.
He looked down at his brother who seems to be only waiting to be killed.
The thought made his chest ache.
No, he wasn't gonna give up on him.
Not when they already made progress, not when they are almost the same way they were when they were humans in the 1800's
He was going to do everything to bring Damon back to normal.
"Maggie was the hope Enzo held onto, YOU were mine."
And Stefan felt ashamed and guilty but he also felt his heart go warm.
Because this was proof that Damon never forgotten him, that Damon had still cared and loved him even in the decades they hadn't seen each other.
Stefan had been Damon's hope and that thought made Stefan's insides ache.
Because he failed him.
He hadn't rescued him.
But most of all, he hadn't looked for him; he hadn't noticed he was gone.
He hadn't even thought about Damon for more than a minute back in the 50's.
"Hey Damon, don't bother coming back"
"I wasn't planning on it"
He basically disowned his own brother.
He basically told him to never see him again, to never come back.
He wanted to take his words back, he hadn't meant it.
He didn't mean every single word he said.
Stefan saw Damon's surprised and pained look before it went blank and he turned around.
He wanted to grab him, say he was sorry, and that he didn't mean it. He wanted to tell him to stay.
Damon's reply was almost physically painful to hear.
Fear gripped Stefan's heart.
He wanted to yell at Damon and beg him to not leave, and just stay with him but he already turned around and walked away.
He suddenly felt cold at the thought he'd never see his brother again.
"I'm gonna have a sweet piece of revenge when Damon finds out you killed his best friend. Have fun sorting this out with your brother"
Then Enzo practically commit suicide but it was still Stefan who was holding his heart. Enzo's words scared him. What was he gonna tell his brother?
Stefan had dropped Enzo's heart and moved towards his body. He didn't particularly care for him but he does care for his brother.
He pulled out Enzo's phone.
Damon had left Enzo a message and a voice mail.
Stefan felt his heart dropped and his insides turn.
And suddenly, he was terrified that his brother would hate him
That what happened will destroy all the progress they had made
That they would be back to square 1
Stefan couldn't handle his brother actually hating him.
"Even a crappy one like me?"
"Even a crappy one like you"
Yes, Stefan doesn't deny he is a crappy brother.
It's the truth.
He left Damon whenever he needed Stefan the most.
He killed his best friend.
He's a crappy little brother.
"Every time I wanted to give up on you, Enzo stopped me from hating you"
Now, he really feels guilty.
Now, he can't tell Damon that Enzo's dead.
That he killed him himself.
He was absolutely terrified what would happen if Damon finds out.
"People worth holding onto our humanity for…because we love them"
Stefan couldn't find the words to say. His brother had basically told him that he loves him. Damon had never said he loved him once they had become vampires.
But here was Damon, basically telling him that he held onto his humanity, even after going through all that torture in the cell, because he loves Stefan.
I love you too, brother
"No, no, no, no. I was just trying- she fell, I was just trying uh-. Damon. He’s not there yet"
He hadn't meant to come through. He was just trying to help Bonnie then he was suddenly alive again.
He’s not back yet.
He feels something sinking inside him.
That was all what goes through his mind.
He can't think of anything else.
Because his brother's gone and here he was still alive.
This was his worst nightmare coming true.
He doesn't know whether to scream or cry.
He had never felt this much grief in his entire life.
Damon couldn't be gone.
He just couldn't be
Not while Stefan is still alive and well.
Damon couldn't just leave him, wouldn't just leave him like that.
Damon should be the one who was always there.
"Damon finally had everything he wanted. He was happy. He should be here…"
And it was true. His brother was finally truly happy after more than a century of misery.
He finally got the girl, he got friends, and he got his brother.
They were finally happy.
He should be here with them.
He can't think of anything else but Damon.
Damon, who had been his protector as a child.
He had been his big brother, his best friend.
Damon was practically Stefan's world.
He couldn't live an eternity without his brother.
He just couldn't
"How can you wake up in the morning? How do you go about your day without falling apart?"
Elena was wrong. He wakes up in the morning not because he wants to. He doesn't even want to wake up.
He doesn't want to wake up and live in the world, where reality sucks, where Damon was gone.
Everything reminded him of Damon.
He can barely even hold himself together.
He was falling apart without Damon.
But he has to wake up, he has to continue living.
Damon risked his life just so Stefan could live.
He would not let what Damon had done end up in vain.
How can Elena accuse him of not caring about his brother?
"Because there's nothing we can do, Damon and Bonnie are dead"
God, it hurts to even say his name, even more so when acknowledging his death out loud.
It hurts to say it.
“I gave up"
Believe me; He doesn't want to give up.
But he saw no other option to stop the hope in him to rise.
Because it is only hurting him more.
He knows his brother wouldn't want him to give up on him.
But he also knows his brother wouldn't want him to mope around.
"I moved on, Damon's gone"
Now that was a lie, he hadn't moved on.
He doesn't think he can. Not now. Not ever.
How could one just go and move on from his brother's death?
"You're not a brother to him. Brothers don't give up"
He wanted to get angry at Enzo. But he couldn't.
Enzo was right.
It was painful to hear those words come out from his brother's best friend's mouth.
Even more so, because he was right.
He wanted to yell at him.
That he knew Damon longer and better.
That they were once inseparable.
But right now, he has no right to say it.
Because real brothers don't give up
Yet he has
"You loved Damon for the same reasons that I love Damon. Because in spite of every single thing that he did, we couldn't live without him. Now you don't have to, but I do. So I'm gonna do it my way, yours"
He knows he had been harsh to Elena but he couldn't stop can't stand hearing Elena talk about his brother that way.
Like Damon was such a monster, like Damon had no heart.
It wasn't true, it was never true.
His brother may be cruel and ruthless at times but he has a heart.
He can't just stand there, doing nothing to defend Damon whenever Elena says something bad about him.
He was furious at Elena.
How can she just decide to go and forget her love for Damon?
And maybe, Stefan resented Elena.
Because now, Elena doesn't have to feel the grief of losing Damon. Elena will be happy, and living without Damon.
But Stefan is still stuck, he can't move on, he can't forget Damon like how Elena did.
No matter what Damon had done, Stefan can't live without him.
He can't spend the rest of eternity without Damon, he can't continue on with his life like there's nothing wrong.
Life without Damon will always be wrong.
He feels so much pain that he becomes so numb.
He needed to feel something.
He let someone kick his ass.
He let someone hurt him
It was the only way he sees that he can cope.
Something to ease the pain and grief of losing his brother, and his guilt for giving up on bringing him back.
Every time he lets the thought sink in, the thought of never seeing Damon again, he feels like he's dying, over and over again.
Elena knows nothing about how he feels.
He left Elena, standing, as she processed his words.
He doesn't regret anything he said.
Alaric words hit him hard. He was right. Stefan had changed.
It's because he doesn't know who he is anymore. Not without Damon.
And he went to the family crypt, where all his family is, rotting.
"Yep, this is happening. I'm going to talk out loud to a crypt filled my dead family — everyone but you Damon. Because wherever you are it's not here."
He was trying to find something, to feel something.
A connection to his brother.
He can't feel anything, because his brother was not there.
He didn't know where he is right now.
Was he happy? Miserable?
Wherever he was, he was not there.
I gotta say, I'm not doing so great without you. I keep trying to start over but I can't get anywhere because I'm lost, brother. I'm lost."
Yep, he admitted it. He was lost. He doesn't know where to go.
He was lost without his big brother.
Lost without Damon.
He doesn't know where to go, what to do...
Who he should be.
He was not a hero, nobody needs saving anymore.
He was not a boyfriend, because Ivy is dead. (or undead)
Most of all
He was not a little brother anymore.
He was always the little brother. It was the only constant role in his never ending life.
But now, that was gone too because his big brother is gone.
How can someone be a little brother if there is no big brother?
Damon was the only constant thing in his life, the one who'll never really leave him.
But he did, he left him, all alone and lost.
Big brothers were supposed to help, protect, and guide their little brothers.
But where was Damon?
and Stefan hated himself.
His brother had died while bringing him back to the land of the living.
He's the reason Damon's gone
He's the reason why Elena almost lost her mind completely
The reason why everyone was falling apart
These were his entire fault.
He was holding a bottle of bourbon. Damon's favourite.
Then he was throwing it, because of the rage he felt. He needs to break something. He needs to release all the emotions because it was overwhelming him.
Damn you, Damon.
But the breaking sound of glass never came.
He looked up and felt himself go numb.
He was there, holding the bottle he had thrown.
"Gone a couple months, you think its okay to waste a perfectly good bottle of Bourbon?"
He couldn't breathe.
He couldn't move.
He couldn't think.
He felt the hope rising in him.
"Yup, in the flesh."
"How can I see you right now?"
"Because I'm not dead, Stefan. I mean this stuff's good, but it's not "I see dead people" good."
He couldn't dare hope.
But Damon was right there in front of him.
He even sounded like Damon. That's what Damon would say.
"It's a hell of a long story brother but, I'm back. I'm back."
He reached out to touch him, to make sure he was real.
That he wasn't hallucinating, that he wasn't dreaming.
His hand hovered over Damon.
What if his hand passes through him?
What if he was just hallucinating?
His hand clamped over Damon's upper arm.
He was touching him.
His hand hadn't passed through him.
He feels solid.
He was really there.
And the next thing he knew, he pulled Damon into a hug.
He was hugging him.
Damon felt warm, so solid, and so real.
He clutched Damon tighter.
Holding him, hugging him so tight, and relishing his warmth.
Damon was his anchor to life.
He never wants to let go.
He doesn't want to let go because he was terrified that if he releases Damon from the hug, he would disappear again.
Stefan can't lose him again. He can't go through all that pain, grief and misery again.
"I'm back, Stefan"
And he can't stop himself. His knees felt weak but Damon was solid, strong, he wasn't letting him fall.
His eyes stung with tears ready to fall.
He closed his eyes tightly, letting the emotions overtake him.
Pride doesn't matter anymore.
Nothing matters anymore.
All that he cares about and all that still matters is his brother.
His brother's back.
And Stefan won't ever let him go, never again.