i don't mind you under my skin

the storm is coming

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TVD: the only eternity we have (Stefan/Damon)
just a road (stock)
title: the only eternity we have
fandom: The Vampire Diaries
pairing: Stefan/Damon
rating: R
summary: The one thing they can never escape is each other.
spoilers/notes: Originally written for a pre-s3 fic meme, for the prompt 'God says nothing back but I told you so'. Major spoilers for 1x20 & a possibly some for season 2. 713 words.

They need each other. They both need but neither of them ever says the words.

They need each other and they hate each other and they need to hate each other.

They circle one another like vultures. Each constantly aware of the other's presence. They lose themselves for an hour at a party where they can dance and drink and feel but they wake up every morning with the same name on their lips.

They are alert to every syllable that sounds as though it might belong in the other's name. And, sometimes, when he hears a story about someone who sounds like Stefan, Damon wonders if Stefan's ditched his real name, in favour of something else. Stefan sees someone in a crowd once who moves like Damon does and, when he catches up with him and sees it isn't Damon, he compels him and takes him home anyway. He hates himself for it but at least, this way, he doesn't have to see the look on Damon's face or hear him say something cutting about how I knew you'd come crawling back.

Things had been easy between them, once. It had all been simple. We are brothers and we have different dreams but that's okay. We are brothers and we have the same dream and she has torn us to pieces. We are brothers and we tear at each other as if, in enough pieces, we might be able to put ourselves back together again.

Now, now, oh, things are different now. There was a night when Damon crawled in through the window of Stefan's college dorm and whispered into Stefan's ear about the man he'd killed that night. Your History professor, the one who you spent the afternoon with. He didn't scream. He whispers: I'm a monster, Stefan, you made this, you made it. And Stefan can't remember if it was that night, or the night in Vienna, that Damon had cried and Stefan mouthed apologies into his skin, knowing they could never be enough.

They ought to know the chronology by the bad fashion, the set-dressing, the quality of the light. But Damon doesn't know if the night when he stopped Stefan from killing that little girl was during his last big binge or way back sometime, in the mists of the 30s or earlier, even, when they still hadn't spoken since Mystic Falls. Stefan, he'd said, Stefan, you have to stop. Look at me. Look at me. He remembers hating Stefan, remembers feeling vindicated in his hatred, remembers taking him somewhere else where he'd let Stefan drink some poor woman's blood but also made him stop before he killed her. They'd got into a fight over it and Damon had come out considerably worse but he knows that Stefan had run back to Lexi after that, the way he always did when he realised he'd gone too far.

They try to avoid each other but they can't stop listening. Each sees the other in a hundred incidental things: Stefan used to drive a car like that; the bar is the kind of place Damon would go; Damon had smelt like that, once. Each of them feels that their life is a breadcrumb trail leading back to the other. Each of them resents it.

There was one time, in Maryland, when Stefan had been following Damon but Damon had only been in Maryland because he was looking for Stefan. Stefan had felt so vindicated when he figured it out. When he'd finally revealed himself to Damon, he'd pretended like he'd been in Maryland the whole time, like he'd never followed Damon, like Damon was the one who needed him.

They both have their moments, their mad and fleeting moments, where they think that an eternity together might not be so bad, if it were like this. But it's never like this for long. Resentment creeps in with reality and they're back to hating each other again. If there's one thing both of them know about the eternity they've been granted, it's that it comes at a price. It's an eternity spent together, each brother defined by the other's shadow. It used to hurt to think about it but both of them are getting used to saying I told you so.

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"They try to avoid each other but they can't stop listening."

This is the crux of their relationship. So fantastic. Thank you for writing and posting this.

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