Characters: Damon and Stefan Salvatore; Elena and Jeremy Gilbert;
oh do I have to list EVERYONE? And an OC. An OMC.
Summary: Series AU. The Salvatore family didn’t end with Zach. Back when Giuseppe was still alive, but before their mother, Marie, died, there was another boy. A young lad that Marie wished to raise far away from her husband, whom she had learned to be cheating on her. Damon and Stefan don’t know about him, but Katherine found him, and she turned him. When he turns up in Mystic Falls, what will become of the brothers’ relationship? Will Katherine get the backstabbing/revenge that she wanted?
Author's Notes/Warnings: I can’t believe I got sucked into the Vampire Diaries! But seriously, TWO groups of (hot) brothers with dysfunctional relationships! How could I not?! (I mean, of course, the Salvatores and the Original Family, Mikaelsons) I just, I can’t justify this, so I won’t try!
Story contains language, violence, and (because this is me here) discipline. If any of those makes you squint, stay away.
Disclaimer: Vampire Diaries and its recognizable characters are not of my own creation. No hardships are intended in their use here. Don’t sue because saying I’m broke is an understatement.
Jason Benjamin walked over to the front entrance of the Mystic Falls High School. He couldn’t help but frown. It had been a long time coming, but he was finally back where it had all started.
Jason had never been in Mystic Falls before. His mother had left Mystic Falls behind when she became pregnant with him. He didn’t know much about his family, but Kate had told him enough. His father had been cheating on his mother, and she couldn’t be with him anymore.
She had been hiding up there, months, almost a year. She had been weak, but she had been able to find herself a safe place. Safe enough to have him, safe enough that he never had to be in his father’s grasps.
For years, Jason had been with his mother’s family. He had been raised alone, knowing little of his family, of his real family, until he had met Kate. And she had told him the truth.
And she had changed his life forever.
Jason couldn’t believe he was going through with the plan. It had been ages since he had started on it, but it just couldn’t be.
He still didn’t believe most things at times.
It was hard to believe too, that he was going to reunite with Kate. After so long. But most importantly, and what Kate had always told him to never forget, was that he was about to meet the only family he had left.
“They’re going to try and change you,” Kate had said as they talked about the plan. “They’re going to tell you that you’re a part of them, but it won’t be true.”
Jason had no idea what she was talking about. What would they care about him? He was nothing to them. She had him, because they wouldn’t. Even Kate wasn’t completely out of fault, but where else was he supposed to turn.
He was, after all, only thirteen.
He was posing as fifteen. Jason knew he wasn’t, but there was no way he was going to mingling with pre-pubescent idiots if he could help it.
Hormone crazed teens were bad enough.
Jason was posing as a freshman, because he needed some in as to get closer to what his larger intent was.
He hadn’t thought that Kate was actually going to bring him there, but he was in Mystic Falls and he was going to make the most of it.
“Hello,” he smiled at the receptionist in the main office. He was making his dimples work overtime.
“Hi!” she smiled. “Do you have an appointment? Which counselor are you here to see?”
“Actually, I’m new here. First day.”
“New?” she frowned and looked down through her papers.
Jason tried not to look bored. He knew he had emailed his ‘transcript’ the night before. It would be enough time to get him in a class last second, but not enough to look up his files. Hopefully, he could get all the information he needed in a few days and leave Mystic Falls far behind him.
“Jason Benjamin,” he said. Normally, seeing as he was thirteen and went around on his own, Jason didn’t make a point of being noticed. But for his current purposes, he was trying for cute and charming. He was trying for friendly and open. He was hoping that this persona would get him the answers he needed.
“Jason Benjamin?” she repeated, slowly, as if testing the name out on her memory. She was in her forties, at least, and was going through the papers pretty fast. She didn’t even need reading glasses.
He was getting bored, started thinking about maybe just getting involved in things that the students did, places that they hung out. He wasn’t in the mood to stand around and-
“Ah yes!” she smiled, plucking out a page from her desk.
Jason’s mind went back to her and stopped thinking about how he was going to get around it all.
“Jason Benjamin, yes! You’re right here. Fifteen and our latest freshman?” she glanced up at him. Jason tried not to groan. Or slouch. He didn’t look fifteen, but he didn’t want to stress about that either. He played the ‘baby-faced’ card about a dozen times over.
“That’s right! Me in black-and-white. Can we set up a schedule here, or do I need to make a counselor-appointment thing?” He dreaded the answer, but he kind of knew the drill by now.
“I’ll have you in with Ms. Newell, she’ll have you set up in no time.”
She nudged over to the wall where a few plastic chairs were placed. With a heavy, mostly internal sigh, Jason headed over to the chairs and sat down.
It was a little after his thirteen’s birthday the first time Jason met her. Back then, he went by the name Émeric Lebeau, his middle and mother’s maiden. He lived with the Lebeau’s and was raised almost like their son, though they couldn’t have any. They spoke of his family on occasions, but they were too far away for any real interaction. They hadn’t liked that Marie had moved so far away from them, but the Salvatores were so influential in Virginia.
He had thought her beautiful the first time he saw her. The way her hair rested against her cheek. How she laughed, how she blinked. How everyone around her seemed happier just having her near.
Jason saw her every day that he walked to school. She would be walking with the other ladies, heading to the shops or to the diner or to one of their houses. She was definitely gaining popularity, even though she hadn’t spent much time there.
It was four months before she approached him.
Jason could still remember it. The other boys had teased him for weeks, but it was still her first move. He had thought it strange, someoneher age looking at him like that.
“You remind me of someone,” she had said, sitting down beside him.
Jason had just been playing, and he was due to go home soon. He was waiting on his friend, but he was alone. And Jason was almost never alone. His aunt and uncle always made sure he was with someone at all times.
But he was thirteen, felt like an adult, invisible, and figured there was nothing that this beautiful woman could do to him.
“Someone good, I hope,” he had replied.
And the rest, as they say, was history.
Jason frowned at his schedule. He should have been more specific in his email. He hated taking Math and History most of all.
As if living through the damn thing wasn’t enough the first time.
He compared his notes to the schedule and groaned. Nothing compared. He should have declared himself a genius, gotten himself into at least the junior class.
“Hey,” a guy said, coming to sit beside him.
Jason frowned. He was finally in a class he could kind of tolerate, drawing. It was an all grades classes too. He had even managed to convince the counselor that he was good enough to place in the advanced class.
“Hey,” he replied.
“You’re uh, you’re in my seat.”
The guy was taller than him, skinny, but muscular. Jason, as usual, felt completely inferior to the guy. At least on the outside. On the inside, he was a complete animal.
“Sorry,” Jason started gathering the few things he had – notepad, couple of pens, and his bag – readied to move. This was one class he was going to need so that he wouldn’t go skepto on the whole school.
Not that he wouldn’t, given the chance. But there was a lot to be said about control.
“Nah, it’s fine.” The guy shrugged and started pulling out his own things. “You must be new.”
“Yep,” Jason nodded. He sat back down again. Being a bit closer, he could smell the distinct aroma of vervain.
Town must have their vampire protection up, Jason squirmed.
“Jeremy Gilbert,” the guy held out his hand.
Jason, startled by the open friendliness almost didn’t respond.
“Uh, Jason. Jason Benjamin.”
Jeremy shook his hand, but he was giving Jason a funny look.
“Is everything okay?” Jason asked, getting his hand out of the shake.
“Yeah, yeah, sorry,” Jeremy apologized. “It’s just, you look a lot like a couple guys I know.”
Jason shook his head. The last time he had heard that, it hadn’t turned out so good.
“Yeah, well, I hope they’ve had a better time of things than I have,” he mumbled.
“Sorry, that’s not the first time I’ve heard that. I guess I just have one of those faces.”
Jeremy frowned, but soon he was smiling again.
The deal had been, if Katherine didn’t get into contact for a full week, he was to initiate the plan.
Part of Jason wished that she would just leave him alone. He didn’t care that she was going ‘back to Mystic Falls’ like she’d said. He didn’t care that she had a history with his family, a family he didn’t even know. He really wished he could just walk away from it all and never look back.
But Kate was stronger than him. She was older, faster, and there was little Jason could do to stop her from killing him.
Not to mention, it looked pretty suspicious for a kid his age to walk around by his lonesome all of the time.
She had promised, once she was done in Virginia, she would leave him alone forever. And for them, forever was an awful long time.
That first night, he walked through the darkening streets of Mystic Falls. Jason could tell that it was a quiet town. At least, it was used to being a quiet town. It was the kind of place where everyone knew everyone and someone new stuck out. He looked well enough like a new kid exploring his new homestead.
Crap, but he wished he was anywhere else.
Jason liked the plan, when it was fifty some odd years ago and he was sitting around with Kate, talking about what it would be like to go back here.
He couldn’t find the appeal, but he had just gotten there.
“Things are happening in Mystic Falls, Jay,” she had said, passing her fingers through his hair.
She was toying with him. Jason had traveled long enough with her to know what she was doing. It was what she always did. It was what Katrina was good at.
“Things always happen wherever you go, Kate,” he replied. He’d been watching a movie, ignoring her, and she hated being ignored. But it was hard to get him to fall in love with her. Sure, he thought that she was beautiful. He wasn’t blind, but he also wasn’t interested. He was thirteen, still a child, and he was stuck like that forever.
She wanted him for other reasons, thank goodness. Jason knew of her history with his family, his brothers, and he was not interested in following the same fate. Non-directly, they had made him what he was.
Katherine had grabbed him then, taken him by the back of his head and tossed him towards the wall. He sprung up pretty quick, he still had his youthful vigor, amplified by about a dozen. She might be stronger, but Jason had his own strengths.
“You just listen up, boy, and remember what you’re supposed to do.”
“Just be glad I don’t kill you in your sleep, lady.”
He’d sat down, though. He knew better than to try to fit against her.
The Mystic Grill seemed to be the only place to have a steady stream of people entering and exiting. That and the movie theater, but he wasn’t about to go there. Not here, anyway.
As soon as he entered, he knew. Everything everyone had said, well the ones that had said it, was true.
At the bar, in all his blackened glory, was one of his infamous brothers. From Kate’s descriptions and his own judgments, it was Damon Salvatore, the first Salvatore son.
Damon was drinking, chatting with someone, a man, but Jason could barely pay him any attention.
His eyes were locked on the man’s face, on what he would likely have looked like had he been allowed to age.
“Hey,” he felt tap on his shoulder.
Jason turned around and spotted that kid, Jeremy, frowning down at him.
“Hey,” he tried to sound cool, but it wasn’t working this time.
“I see you found the Grill,” he joked. Jeremy looked back at Jason and frowned. “You okay?”
Jason knew now what Katherine had warned him about. Already, just from the looks of things, he wanted to go over and introduce himself, he wanted to know this man and wanted to get closer to his family. His whole life, he hadn’t known he had brothers. His aunt and uncle would give him these looks, he would wonder about that.
But now, he knew. Had he ever had found out about them, about his brothers, he would have left Louisiana and gone to find them.
But he hadn’t known. Not until after, not until Katherine had him well and far away from his life, and from his family. All of them.
“I’m fine,” he said. “I uh, I was just checking the place out. Seems promising. I um, I’ve got to go now. See you tomorrow, Jeremy.”
And with that, Jason turned and left the Grill.
“Who was that?” Alaric came to Jeremy’s side, frowning as he watched the retreating back of a little kid leaving.
“New kid in town,” Jeremy replied. “Jason Benjamin. He’s in my drawing class.”
“New is never nice in Mystic Falls,” Damon commented, frowning at the now empty door. “He say something to you?”
“Not really,” Jeremy frowned. He wondered if they had seen Jason. He wondered if he should bring up his observations. The way things were happening around them, it might not be quite the coincidence. “Hey, did you guys get a good look at him?”
The trio started walking slowly back over to the counter. Jeremy had been playing pool with a few of the local kids he knew, but seeing Jason so unexpectedly had drawn his attention. And now that he had Damon to look at and compare, the more he felt towards the similarities.
“No. Not really, why?” Alaric sat down and began to drink from the scotch he’d left behind. He was probably talking about something upsetting with Damon, the two tended to do that sometimes. Jeremy wasn’t going to ask.
“Well, I don’t know,” Jeremy sighed. Maybe he was being paranoid.
“Spill it,” Damon sighed, signaling for another drink. “Why ask a question like that and not follow through, huh?”
Jeremy sighed. Here went nothing.
“This sounds stupid, I know. But, when I first saw the kid, I thought he looked a lot like-
“Like what?” Ric frowned.
“Pinocchio?” Damon oh so helpfully offered.
“Like you, actually,” replied Jeremy, crossing his arms. “And Stefan.”
“What’s that mean?” Ric looked from Jeremy to Damon.
“He reminded me of the Salvatore brothers,” Jeremy shrugged. “And if I didn’t know better, I would say he was one too.”
Jason sped as quickly as possible to the woods. He had quite a ways to walk, but if he passed through the forest, he could release his control some.
Katherine was staying at a house, just off the center of town. She always wanted to be in the midst of things.
It wasn’t too hard to find the place, what with Kate’s descriptions of it soon after she had arrived to Mystic Falls. This would be his safe place, this would be his home.
Jason had just gotten there the night before. He cared with him just a few changes of clothes and a whole box of a cooler of blood. And he desperately needed some now.
Damon Salvatore. He existed. And if Damon existed, then Stefan did too, probably. It was strange, but they had always been nothing but stories to him. They were a fairy tale, characters in Kate’s embellished stories. And in Kate’s stories, she was always in the right, the Heroine in her own twisted drama. Jason never knew what to believe.
Damon Giuseppe Eugène Salvatore. The first born son of Italian Giuseppe and French Marie Labeau. Damon held his families promises and future. As the first born son, he meant the world to them. Guiseppe for the father, Eugène for his grandfather, Marie’s father, Damon to embrace their new American personas. His aunt had told him about his own naming, and it followed along the same lines, but it was Kate who had connected the dots.
Stefan too. Stefan Lorenzo Edmond Salvatore, second son of the happy couple. Lorenzo was Giuseppe’s deceased brother, Edmond was Marie’s brother, Uncle Edmond who had raised Jason like his own. As Italian names went, they held a lot of their history within them.
Jason’s own name had fascinated him, when he was little. Now, it was mostly a hassle.
Jason Émeric Benedetto Salvatore. Émeric Benjamin Labeau as he was known all of his life. But Kate had shown him the papers, and his aunt and uncle had told him the stories. Jason, like Stefan and Damon, though he hadn’t known that then, were English names with Greek significance. They were dual-syllabic, signifying the union of the two – Giuseppe and Marie. But unlike his brothers, he had a French name second, and an Italian name third. Marie had wanted him to know his heritage, but she was claiming him for her own. There was no way that Giuseppe would have let her leave with her sons. And she was weak. Weakened from Stefan’s birth and onward. She shouldn’t of had Jason in the first place, as she would never have survived the birth. But she did, a few months’ worth that he would never recall. But he would always know that she loved him and wanted the best for him.
Jason only wished he could have served her better.
Émeric, she had said was power. So he could be strong. Benedetto meant blessed, because she felt that, after everything and over all, she had been blessed.
Jason often wondered if she would have wanted him to meet the Salvatore brothers. Had she lived, would she have told him the truth? Had she planned on having his aunt and uncle tell him when he got older?
He wished he knew.
“That’s impossible,” Stefan said. He had heard both Damon and Jeremy tell the story, but he was doubtful.
“That’s what I said,” Damon shrugged from his perch on the couch.
“We have no family left,” Stefan said. He remembered Zachary, their nephew from a half-brother, but their brother was long dead. Carlo had had two children, Zachariah and Josiah, but Josiah had died young. Zachariah died of old age, with only Joseph as a successor. And Joseph had died a few decades back, leaving only his son Zachary, who Damon had killed the year before in a fit of stupid and rage.
There were no Salvatores left.
“I’m telling you,” Jeremy stressed out. “He looked enough like you to have me wonder. I’m not saying he’s related.”
“But we don’t really believe in coincidences, do we?” Damon said for all of them.
They sat quietly for a moment, before Alaric decided there was nothing else left to do.
“I think it’s best if we head home,” Ric motioned to Jeremy.
“Right,” Jeremy stood up and started to follow Stefan and Ric to the door. “I’ll see you guys tomorrow.”
Once Stefan closed the door after them, he returned to Damon’s side. The brothers sat quietly contemplating for a moment.
“Did you ever leave a girl maybe pregnant?” Damon questioned.
“What, a hundred and forty-some odd years ago? No, don’t be stupid.”
Damon smacked his brother’s thigh but sighed. “Yeah, I didn’t think so. Thought I’d ask.”
“Do you think this kid is for real?”
“For real on what?” Damon frowned. “He hasn’t done anything but peak Jeremy’s interest. I haven’t seen the brat myself.” He shrugged.
“But we don’t believe in coincidences,” Stefan repeated.
“And there’s that,” Damon poked Stefan in the chest. “What are we thinking?”
“I’m thinking, I should maybe get to know this kid.”
“I’m thinking I should find out where the new neighbors live, play the friendly neighborhood committee.”
“So, we’ve got a plan?” Stefan frowned over at his brother.
Damon frowned. He hated when things started having a fishy stink. He picked up his wine glass, filled with blood and alcohol mix. He sipped it.
“Let’s get a look at this kid, see what in all this means for us.”
“So, we’ve got a plan,” Stefan reaffirmed.
Jason was almost terrified to head to school the next day. All of the previous night, he had been though about five blood bags to try and calm himself down.
Still, he couldn’t get the image of Damon Salvatore out of his mind.
He had the guy’s eyes, a piercing blue that everyone complemented him on. He wondered whether Stefan had them too. He had the same dark hair, but his was wavy. Kate had said that Damon’s was wavy, Stefan’s was straight, but Damon’s hair no longer looked wavy. Of course, he styled it in the times of now, so perhaps it was. He was short for his age, and he had the baby face thing, but they had the same shape of the face. Same nose as Damon, different ears, thin frame.
He could easily have grown up to be Damon.
Jason took a few deep breaths. It was pathetic, he was dead already. There wasn’t much that could be done to him. He was impulsive and a risk-taker, more so than he had been as a real boy. He wanted to know his family, he wanted to get through the plan and get Kate off of his back once and for all.
But he also wanted very desperately to run.
“Is that him?” Damon asked for the tenth time.
“No,” Jeremy sighed.
They were sitting in Damon’s car, parked in the high school parking lot. Stefan was off with Elena and Damon was on Jeremy baby-sitting duties, at least that was how he felt.
He had pointed out all the kids that looked remotely new or dark haired. Not one of them made them think of his brother, since he knew no kid could look as awesome as him.
“What about that one?” he pointed out another kid.
“That is a girl,” Jeremy frowned. “And she’s Asian.”
“Ahh!” Damon groaned. He was not a wait kind of guy. He was the Action guy. The guy that did things before the plan was even completely thought out. “This is a complete waste of time!”
Damon gave the youngest Gilbert a look that had the teen shutting his mouth up. Damon might not kill him again, but he could still put Jeremy in a world of hurt. Better not to test the vampire’s patience.
“That’s him,” Jeremy said, looking over Damon’s shoulder.
Damon twisted around, and instantly he knew which kid Jeremy was pointing out.
“Crap,” he sighed.
As a young kid, he’d seen himself plenty of times in the mirror. He had been a beautiful child, and while his mother had taught him modesty, he couldn’t help but thrive in the attention. Stefan too had been a cute kid, though probably not as cute as Damon had been as a young bambino. But, there was no denying that the young man walking towards the high school had a strong, striking resemblance to the Salvatores.
“Like what?” Damon asked, staring as the boy walked by the cars and into the buildings.
“I don’t know,” Jeremy sighed. “Do you feel something?”
Damon tried not to roll his eyes. He couldn’t help sighing though. He turned and gave Jeremy a look though.
“He looks familiar,” Damon teased.
“That’s not what I-
“I know what you meant,” said Damon, turning back to look at the building. “It doesn’t really work like that. I can’t tell if he’s something from this far away either.”
“So all of this was for nothing?” Jeremy slumped against the chair.
“No, you still have to go to school. I have things to look into.”
“Let me help?”
Damon, once again, gave the kid a look. He certainly was devoted and ambitious, but Jeremy would just slow him down.
“Run along now, off to learning and stuff. Give Ric my love.”
With a roll of his eyes and a heavy sigh, Jeremy stepped out of the car and headed to the school.
Damon watched the Gilbert boy walk in. He couldn’t get the other kid, Jason Benjamin, out of his mind.
What could all of this mean?
Jason was startled out of his musings by the approach of Jeremy Gilbert.
“Uh, sorry, remember me? From art class yesterday?”
Jason nodded. “I remember. And the Grill. I just, well, don’t you have friends to talk to? I’m a freshman, aren’t you like supposed to avoid me like a plague?”
Jeremy laughed and sat down on the stoop besides Jason.
“Yeah, I don’t really think thinks work like that here. Everyone kind of knows everyone, so a lot of the high school stereotypes are skipped over. There are still cheerleaders, jocks, brains, that kind of thing.”
“But you’ve all bonded together and overcame them?” Jason scoffed.
“Sort of?” Jeremy bit his lip. “Not really, but well, what I mean is that my rep is perfectly intact if I’m caught talking to a freshman.”
“Good to know,” Jason closed the book he was reading and placed it inside his backpack. He didn’t carry textbooks, found them useless about the twelfth time around. He had a few college degrees himself, but they were all online. No one would accept him if they saw him face to face. “I’ll see you around later.”
Jeremy stood up and started to walk beside him.
“So, hey, you live around here?”
“I just moved here, so yeah,” Jason couldn’t help but smile at that. This Jeremy kid was weird.
“No, I – well, yeah that’s true. I just meant, near the school. I saw you walking in earlier.”
“I live close enough, I guess,” Jason responded, not giving up a lot of information. “I like to walk, so it never seems like far to me.”
“Right,” Jeremy sighed. He felt like he was making the whole situation awkward. Better to back down than to have the kid scared away. “So, I should probably head to class. Nice seeing you again, Jason.”
“Sure, see you around.”
In drawing, Jason was moved to another seat. Jeremy was watching him, he could feel the kid’s eyes on him.
Jason wanted more than anything to be anywhere else.
By the time class was over, Jason was on his way to the far side of the building. He was done with school, and he was a coin toss away with being done with all of the damn town too.
And he hadn’t even gotten started.
He was ten when he was given a necklace. From his mother, that’s what his aunt and uncle told him. That she had had it special made for him, delivered from far, but it hadn’t arrived until after her death.
They had thought Jason was too young to have it before then. Honestly, he had to agree with them. He wasn’t exactly a thoughtful kid.
It was golden, twisted all around, and as a pendant, there was a small S, embedded with different colored gems.
“She had hoped you’d be a girl,” his aunt had teased.
Still, he loved the necklace, and he wore it always. But he had never understood the letter. His name was with a J, and hers had been an M. As a last name, he shared his mother’s, Lebeau. It had taken him a while to ask his aunt and uncle, but they hadn’t told him anything.
Kate had instantly known.
“S,” she had smiled, seeing the necklace against his bare skin. “Salvatore.”
He had frowned at her, but he had been too tired to question her then. She had taken great pleasure making him suffer. ‘Toughening him up’, she had said.
“Before it’s too late,” and she had smiled. Raised her arms high and lowered a whip against his skin. He’d bled, and she would just smile.
She would bend down, smiling and jovial, and lick it all off. And then, she would start up again.
Weeks. She was with him for weeks. She’d bleed him, cure him, feed him, soothe him. And then she would start up again. Toughening him up, bleeding him and having her fill of him slowly.
Months he was missing. Months that he hoped more than anything to just die or go home.
“Why do you want me?” Jason had asked her, tears freely falling his face. He had long left the ideas of stoic and strength aside. He had seen her true face, and it was frightening. He never wanted to make someone feel like that.
Granted, after the change, it was easier to just let what was natural be.
“Silence,” she had said, as if she was scolding him in a classroom and not about to tear into him again.
Just before his birthday, about three months shy. She presented him with a gift.
“Take it,” she smiled, handing it to him.
Jason was very cautious. Long gone was the sweet woman that he had thought so threat-less.
It was a small box, barely the size of his hand. Jason was skeptical, but he also didn’t want to anger Katherine. Nothing made her happier than to make him scream.
Glancing at her for a second, Jason pulled at the ribbon that held the box together. It came apart easily enough, and the brown wrapping fell apart.
“Go on,” she sat on the edge of his mattress. “Open it.”
Jason could feel in his heart that he shouldn’t. His head was hurting at the speed his blood was pumping, but it didn’t seem like it disturbed or alerted Katherine in the slightest.
The box was simple, and he almost expected nothing to be inside. But when he opened it, he was surprised to find a ring inside.
Blue gem. Dark blue, with wings on it, on a golden band. The letter J was prominent right in the middle.
“A ring?” he frowned.
“A very, very special ring.”
Jason looked up, and Kate’s face changed before his eyes. Before he could attempt to move away, she was at his neck.
He carried both with him still that day
It was the mere hours of the new day, still terribly dark for any respectable citizen to be out and about.
Jason Benjamin walked quickly through the forest. He had mapped out the best places to look for a steady meal supply. There was nothing like the real deal, but it was better to be supplied than to gain attention.
Jason proceeded to a local clinic. While it didn’t have a large bank on it, it hosted plenty of blood drives. According to a small research project on his part, Jason was able to find that not only had they recently had a drive, but the pick up from the county bank wouldn’t be there until the next day.
It was practically a godsend.
No one was supposed to be there. These weren’t the kind of places that had security guards on twenty-four hour duty, but that never worried Jason any either.
He could easily out maneuver a human.
“What are you doing?”
Jason was startled as he exited the clinic. He had filled his cooler and taken a few extras that he stuffed in his backpack. He would have to have those as soon as possible. Nothing was worse than spoiled blood.
Turning around, he spotted the same face he had seen earlier that day. A few steps behind him, however, he spotted a new one. And yet, like Damon before him, he instantly knew this would be Stefan.
Different eyes then, he noticed. Kate had only ever complimented Damon’s but she wasn’t exactly a reliable source.
Same nose, Jason definitely carried Damon’s facial features more, but he had Stefan’s ears and eye shape. Damon’s slender frame, Stefan’s darker hair. He was, in essence the both of them. There could be no denying it.
“What’s it to you?”
“What are you?” Stefan frowned.
“We ask the questions here,” Damon said at the same time.
Jason stood up to his full frame. It was a disturbing fact that he was at least two feet shorter than them. Still, he wasn’t going to back down. Kate might lie about a lot, but he knew she was right about this.
He couldn’t let them control him. He was his own man, even if he was forever stuck a child.
“I guess you’re going to hear yourself talk a lot then,” he glared at them. “Because I have nothing to say to you.”
“So, you know who we are?” Stefan asked.
Jason kept his mouth shut. He didn’t want to give away too much. He didn’t want to say anything. He should have never came there.
“You’re in my way.”
“You are trespassing,” Damon crossed his arms.
“Is this your clinic, by chance?”
“No,” Damon frowned.
“Then I have no beef with you,” Jason grabbed tightly to his cooler. “And I’ll be on my way.”
Two steps, not even. He was fooling no one, it was barely a full step, and they had him down.
Stefan had his cooler and bag in hand, and big brother Damon was holding him down with one hand on his back, the other hand was rifling through Jason’s pockets.
“Unhand me!” Jason wiggled.
“Just a second,” Damon said, as if this was a casual interaction.
“I said, unhand me, you monster!”
“Damon,” Stefan grabbed his brother’s attention.
Sure enough, as Jason glanced up as well, Stefan had the bag open and was showing off his small blood collection. He was particularly favorable to O and AB, but any and all would do.
Damon leaned down, sniffed him at the neck.
Jason felt his whole self grow stiff. If there was any way to mask his scent, he would.
“Vampire?” Damon sat up again, but his hand remained, keeping Jason in place.
Stupid man just had to be older than him.
“What are you, ten?”
“Who sent you?” Stefan asked.
“I’m not telling you anything, you barbarian! Now, get off of me!” he hadn’t noticed he’d been yelling. He hadn’t noticed that he was entering panic mode and that his other face was showing.
That wasn’t how he had wanted the night to go at all.
And then, Damon surprised all of them. Probably himself most of all.
Instead of starting in on some torture sequence to get the truth out of him, like Damon is very prone to do, he did something that he had only ever done to his own little brother.
Jason had no idea what was happening, except he kind of did. But he couldn’t imagine why it would be happening.
“Damon?” Stefan sounded startled, but not as much as Jason’s cries.
But cripes Damon was strong. Not only because he had the years on him, but for the physical body strength.
“What?” Damon grumbled back, but he was taken by shock as well. Stefan was well aware of the lengths Damon would go for his brother, but for pretty much everyone else, he could care less.
“What are you doing?” Jason couldn’t help but voice. Of course, he got the jest of what was going on, he just never considered that as a possibility.
“I want some answers, you little brat, and I’m not letting up until I get them.”
Jason struggled for a moment, trying to get out of Damon’s grasp. It was, of course, completely useless.
“Well, I don’t know anything, so don’t bother.”
“How are you one of us?” Stefan asked.
Jason kept his mouth shut, he wasn’t going to talk. That could only make things worse for him.
Of course, Damon decided that he had reached the best conclusion as far as getting results went. And for the second time that morning, Damon brought his hand down with startling strength, striking out against Jason’s upturned backside.
Blasted but that hurt.
“Errrrr!” Damon rang out like a buzzer. “See? That was the wrong answer!”
“I didn’t say anything!” Jason frowned over his shoulder.
“Correct. And a question deserves an answer. It’s really common courtesy.”
“Fine,” Jason grit his teeth. “Then by all means, go fu-OW!”
“Wrong answer again!”
“Damon!” Stefan groaned.
As if he had something to complain about.
“I’m getting answers one way or another.” The eldest Salvatore proceeded to continue his demonstration, placing two more rapid, strong smacks down.
“Blasted!” Jason groaned. “Would you knock that off!”
“How are you one of us?” Damon repeated.
“Do you seriously think yourselves the only ones?” Jason scoffed. Of course, he was aware that he hadn’t answered the correct particular question. But if they wanted better, they would have to be a lot more direct than that.
“Wrong again!” Damon said.
“Wait!” Stefan stilled his brother’s hand, and ignoring the glare that came his way, he knelt down beside Jason’s head.
“What now?” Jason squirmed.
Stefan produced one of the blood packs from Jason’s stash.
“I bet you’re hungry?” Stefan started.
Jason tried not to look interested. He had had five bags today. Sometimes, he’d been lucky to get that many in a week.
“I’ll live,” he replied.
“I bet.” scoffed Damon.
Stefan glared at his brother, but he returned his attention to Jason.
“Come on,” Stefan broke the tap on the bag. His own eyes flashed for a second, and then he leaned in closer to Jason. “We just want to talk.”
“I think your brother here is doing more than talking,” Jason spat out.
Damon and Stefan exchanged looks. It took a moment for Jason to realize he had spoken too much.
“And why do you think we’re brothers?” Stefan asked.
Jason couldn’t see Damon behind him, and he certainly didn’t want to turn around and face him.
“Aren’t,” he stopped and cleared his throat. Crap but he sounded as nervous as he felt. “Aren’t we all from the same brethren, kind of?”
When they didn’t reply, Jason proceeded to talk, though he doubted he was helping himself any.
“You two are fighting together. That means you consider each other family, right? Isn’t that how it goes?”
“We ask the questions around here,” Damon repeated, but he didn’t sound as menacing as he had before. “You feel an alliance to all fangs, kid? ‘Cause I sure as hell don’t.”
Jason sighed and lowered his head. This was not going according to plan. Not at all. He wasn’t supposed to interact with the brothers until later. Much later.
Maybe never at all.
“Why are you here?” Damon asked him, after the moment’s silence. “You seem to know about us, whether you want to admit it or not. I can tell when people are lying to me, kid, so I wouldn’t try that again.”
“Just passing through,” Jason said. He was mostly talking to the ground below him. He didn’t trust himself enough to look up.
He wasn’t completely surprised when another hard smack landed.
“Fuck!” he cursed out.
“Watch your mouth!” Damon frowned. Though, he couldn’t really tell why he was so bothered by it. Usually, he found it kind of funny when a kid cursed and acted all big-like. Only exception had ever been Stefan, and maybe recently, if he was going to be completely honest, that Jeremy Gilbert kid.
Jason slammed his mouth shut. He hadn’t ever been the time to rebel growing up. He had always been so thankful for his uncle and aunt to have raised him. Of course, he had only been thirteen when Kate had taken him. Maybe, had he been older, he would have had a period of rebelliousness.
Still, it angered him that Damon could get this kind of response from him. He had grown bitter, traveling with Kate. She had never cared what he did, unless she gave him a job to do. She didn’t take kindly to his threatening his existence, but it had nothing to do with him, and everything to do with them.
“How can you be a vampire?” Stefan frowned. “You went to school! In the daylight. How are you not dead?”
Jason didn’t get a chance to reply. Instead, Damon took it as a mission to flip him over (which Jason was thankful for) and instantly spotted the glimmer of his ring.
But Jason had been surprised that they knew about it.
Damon took his right hand tightly.
“What’s this?” his voice was both alarmed and angered.
“Nothing!” Jason spat out, but Damon wasn’t lying when he said that he could tell when he was lying.
Not that Jason had ever been very good at that to begin with.
Damon took a hold of his neck, and next thing Jason knew they were practically flying, and his back was slammed against the clinic’s wall.
“Wanna try that again?”
“We know what it is, Jason,” Stefan stepped behind his brother.
Jason didn’t know what startled him more, the fact that Stefan seemed to know his name, or the ring he held up for Jason to see.
Stefan’s ring was nearly identical to Jason’s, with two significant differences. For one, it had an ‘S’ instead of Jason’s ‘J’, and lastly, under the S was the name Salvatore.
“How’d you get that?” Jason frowned. Kate had told him that his was special. She had told him that any number of vampires would kill to have it, but it would be useless. It was bound to him, and only him. And if he ever took it off, he would die.
Gone was the toughness from Jason’s voice. In fact, he spoke in such a soft whisper, that had they all not been vampires, he doubted they would have heard him.
“Actually,” Damon frowned, his piecing blues ones catching Jason’s. The realization that Jason’s were so much like his caused Damon’s eyes to widen momentarily. Then, still holding one hand to Jason’s neck and effectively pinning him in place, Damon held up his other hand.
Jason could have fainted from the sight. Another ring! Another ring just like his, but more like Stefan’s. Damon’s had a ‘D’, but it also had Salvatore written on it.
“I think we should be asking you that.”
“Katherine,” Stefan said, as if everything was making sense to him now.
Jason could control the startle in his eyes. He hadn’t said much, but they had garnered more than enough just looking at him.
He feared for himself now. They would ask harder questions, and he didn’t stand a chance with the both of them against him. And when Kate found out, because she always found things out, she would be so angered with him. The plan was a failure now. She would kill him for sure.
“I think it’s time we headed home.” Damon released his neck, but only long enough to toss Jason over his shoulder and speed off.
Jason could barely make out the figure of Stefan, gathering Jason’s things before he too followed quickly behind them.
“No! Stop!” Jason screamed out. “Please stop!”
But they weren’t listening.
Jason wasn’t tied up, but he might as well have been.
Both of the Salvatores were in front of him, and neither looked pleased.
“I’m not going to ask you again!” Damon declared through gritted teeth.
Jason focused strongly on the floor, or the rug beneath them. He didn’t dare look at them. He feared they might get into his mind,
Damon started to take a step forward, when Jason was literally saved by the bell.
Damon growled and then nudged his head towards the door, sparing Stefan a look. Getting the message, Stefan moved from the living room and went to the door.
“Keep your mouth shut,” Damon warned.
Jason only nodded.
“Elena!” he could hear Stefan exclaim.
“I’ve been calling you all night! Why didn’t you pick up?”
The voice startled Jason enough to look up. And as the dark haired girl entered the house, he was startled out of his fear and hooped out of the seat he had been placed.
“Putain!” he yelped out, startling himself and the others.
Instantly, he garnered the girl’s attention.
“C’est Katherine!” Jason stumbled half a step back.
“HEY!” Damon was angered. Jason could barely care about that, not with Katherine in front of him.
That was, of course, until Damon was in front of him. Damon instantly responded with a smack to Jason’s mouth. Needless to say, Jason was startled out of his thoughts.
“Who’s that?” she asked, turning to Stefan for answer.
“C’est trop!” Damon shouted back.
Damon startled himself. He hadn’t expected the kid to speak French. Damon himself hadn’t spoken it in years. Even when he was in France, he had tried to refrain from speaking it.
It reminded him too much of his mother.
What startled him further, was how he had had to stop himself from sending the kid to his room. As if the kid even had a room there. His reaction had been the same kind of thing his father would have done at the moment. Later, especially at a younger age, Giuseppe would have taken a strap to him, but a quick shot to the mouth was always a good reminder to watch himself around his father.
And he had just smacked this little kid, whom he knew nothing about.
“Her name’s Elena,” Stefan said. He took the girl’s hand and walked her closer to them. “She’s not Katherine.”
“That certainly answers our question though, doesn’t it?” Damon didn’t look pleased, as he crossed his arms and frowned down at Jason.
“Oh my goodness!”
Jason lowered his hand from his mouth slowly. He could feel his heart pounding against his chest, and it was likely that the sound was obvious to the brothers as well.
“Jeremy was right,” Elena said, taking a step towards Jason.
Instantly, Jason changed face.
“Hey!” Stefan pulled Elena back, keeping her to his side. Her eyes were wide in fear.
Damon came forward and thumped him, hard, on the head.
“Knock it off! Arrete! Maintenant!”
Jason switched faces back, but he continued to give Elena a hard look.
“Who is that?” she asked Stefan.
“What are you?” Jason spat back.
“I’m,” Elena was startled, her eyes wide and her veins pulsing. “I’m human.”
“That I can sense,” Jason said. And how couldn’t he. She smelled absolutely enticing, but she looked exactly like Katherine. There had to be more to that.
Kate never told him anything.
“You’re something else,” he said. He wanted a taste of her, and damned if his mouth wasn’t watering at the thought of a nibble.
“Nothing of concern to you,” Damon said. He grabbed hold of Jason’s arm, which made him realized he had taken a step towards her. “Stefan, get her out of here.”
“No, wait!” Elena looked to the eldest Salvatore. “If he knows about Katherine, then maybe she sent him.”
“We don’t know that yet,” Stefan told her.
“Doesn’t matter,” Damon frowned. “This doesn’t involve you.”
“Like Hell it doesn’t!” she retorted. Elena took a step towards Damon, but Stefan was quick to grab her arms. “If this has anything to do with her, then I need to know!”
As they spoke, Jason was just ravishing in her scent. He had to control himself when he went to town, or to school. But this was essentially seclusion. And with how his morning was going, he was open to a bit of extra hemo, if you caught his drift.
“Se comporter!” Damon growled at him. “Don’t you two have school?”
Damon nudged his head to the door again, giving Stefan a look that he knew not to ignore.
“I’m not going,” Elena said. She looked determined, but Jason couldn’t help but wonder if she was somehow stupid.
There were three vampires there, and while he was likely the least powerful there, she didn’t stand a chance to their strength. Why she even fathomed that she had any say in things was beyond him. Had she not heard of Damon and Stefan Salvatore? The deaths and destructions that came before them? The lives they had changed?
“You’re not worth your trouble,” Jason spat out. Though, by the look on both of his brothers faces, it was likely not the smartest thing to say.
“You shut up!” Damon said. Once again, he grabbed Jason, and tossed him over his shoulder.
Startled, but with nothing to his power to do – which clearly the girl didn’t understand yet – he gripped at the back of Damon’s shirt and tried not to show how terrified he was.
“Unhand me!” he squirmed, mumbling mostly as he try to wage some leeway.
“I think, no!” Damon moved towards the stairs, and as terrified as he was to be in the house, Jason was even more startled to go upstairs. “Stefan! School!” Damon turned then, presumably to speak looking directly at his brother.
The movement did nothing to accommodate Jason’s motions, rather made him feel rather queasy.
Which was funny enough, since he wasn’t alive enough to be sick.
“I’ll handle things here. GO.”
From the sounds of things, and since Damon turned back around and continued to the stairs, Jason could tell that Stefan and Elena were gone.
Now he was alone with Damon.
“This is completely unnecessary!” Jason tried for about the hundredth time.
And for about that same length of time, Damon ignored him and proceeded spanking him like he had no other care in the world.
But cripes! He hated the feeling.
“You keep saying that, but I’m not hearing anything else.”
Jason tried to keep his mouth shut, but with every minute that passed, Damon decided that silence was the same as lying. And he didn’t seem to fancy lies too much.
“You want to try again?”
“Please! Just let me go! I mean you no harm!”
“Huh?” Damon released his hold on Jason, leaning his arms back on his bed. He appeared relaxed, and it might seem like Jason would be able to get up now. But no, he had already tried that thrice before. Each time, Damon caught him, resituated him, and presented a volley of smacks on his backend for his trouble.
It was a good enough reminder to keep still this time.
“Now, why does that not seem likely at all to me?”
Jason was crying. He had never been tough, even as Kate had beaten him and beaten him. He had retained a lot of his human softness as she had called it. She despised that, and he couldn’t do much but try. Even then, sometimes it was a pathetic attempt. Jason was an emotional wreck of a vampire. Teenagers, especially young ones, were probably not the smartest choice on who to turn.
Damon raised one hand off of the bed, and spanked him twice more.
“Who are you and what’s your purpose in Mystic Falls?”
“Do you treat all passerbys with such great hospitality?”
Jason groaned and shut his eyes, as three more smacks were brought against the seat of his pants. He would not welcome a straight back chair in some time.
“People passing by? Yeah, they don’t enroll themselves into the local high school. Try again.”
Jason groaned. He didn’t want to say the truth, but he didn’t see Damon relenting anytime soon. And he certainly didn’t feel like spending the next decade or so like this either.
“I can’t!” he cried out. And it was probably the truthfulness in those words that stilled Damon’s hand. At least for the moment.
Jason was taken back when, just as abruptly as he had been placed over his lap, Damon righted him on his feet.
“That, kiddo, was the truth. You finally ready to talk now?”
Jason was squirming. Damn if he hadn’t been treated like a kid for the last hundred and fifty so years, but he hated it. And somehow, knowing what he knew, this made it worse.
He knew Damon wouldn’t take the truth well. Neither would Stefan. Even from the little he knew of them, of the half-truths Kate told him, of what he had picked up through the years. Jason knew that being lied to, of not knowing the actual truth, it wasn’t an easy thing to live with.
He had always thought his father had died. Had thought himself to be the only child of that tragic marriage. No one had ever bothered to correct him. No one until Katherine.
“I can’t,” he repeated.
“Do you want back over my knee?”
Jason groaned, but he shook his head. No thanks, that was one punishment he didn’t want to experience for another century, at least. He reached up and wiped his cheeks. His other hand, proceeded to try and alleviate some of the pain on his bottom.
“None of that,” Damon frowned, taking his hand away.
Jason wanted to protest. He wanted to snatch his hand back and demand that Damon Salvatore leave him alone. But he was also kind of scared. What would Damon do when he learned the truth?
There was no doubt in Jason’s mind that they would. He knew what he saw in them, and it would be hard for them not to see themselves in him too. They couldn’t be blind. If that Jeremy guy had casually spotted it, it a quick glance his way had gotten Katherine to stay in Louisiana and to turn him.
“You better start talking, I’m not going to wait around forever.”
Jason shook his head. He couldn’t believe his horrid luck.
Damon glanced down at his watch. The motion brought Jason’s attention back on the ring, and it inevitably brought his thoughts to Katherine.
Damon, seeing where his eyes strayed, raised an eye brow.
“How’d you meet?”
“Who?” Jason looked back down to the floor.
Damon reached forward and grabbed at Jason’s waist. Thinking that he was about to be tossed over his brother’s lap again, and desperately not wanting more pain inflicted on him, he reached out and gripped at Damon’s forearms tightly. Tight enough that his fingernails broke skin.
Damon just looked down at the blood seeping through his skin and over Jason’s fingers.
“I think we both know who I’m talking about. Answer the question.”
“You’re not going to like it,” Jason spoke out, not thinking of his words until he heard them.
Damon tilted his head slightly, surprised by the admission. Then, he smiled.
“But you’re going to tell me anyway.”
Jason was sitting in the kitchen, watching through the window as Damon paced back and forth, speaking on the phone.
He had spilled. He couldn’t believe it, but it didn’t surprised him much either.
It had also taken him two more trips over Damon’s lap to get the whole story out. Damon was now talking to a Rick, who was going to check out the house that Jason had said Kate had stayed at.
Katherine, it seemed, was currently stuck in a tomb.
“It’s cursed,” Damon had said, handing him the blood that he had stolen earlier and he was drinking up now. “She can’t get out.”
“She’ll find a way,” Jason had accepted the blood, taking it with shaking hands. He was too exhausted to do otherwise. “She always does.”
“She won’t,” Damon stressed. “As long as no one bothers to get her out. She can’t get out on her own. And I think it goes without saying that if you even think about helping her, I will make today seem like a happy, joyous, meeting.”
“Katherine can’t be stuck!” Jason spat back. “You don’t know her well if you think that she’s going to let you starve her!”
Damon was in his face less than a second later.
“You stay away from her. That’s all you have to worry about. Now go sit down, I have a call to make.”
Jason looked over to where Damon was pointing. The chairs and table were all false wood, but they still looked sturdy enough to be uncomfortable.
“I’d rather not,” he said instead.
Damon grabbed his arm and tugged him quickly to the chairs. He pulled one out, swatting Jason before he sat him down. Jason tried not to squirm, barely managing to control any sounds from himself.
“You’d think you’d know better by now,” Damon said, moving to the backdoor. He turned, his hand on the handle, and gave Jason a promising look. “Stay there!”
It was easier than he had thought it would be. Damon actually believed him, though he was a little skeptical. But they couldn’t hide from the obvious.
“Katherine turned him, because of us?”
Stefan didn’t take the news so well. Though, if Damon was being serious he hadn’t either. He had just been better at keeping a stoic face.
“She didn’t know about him, but when she spotted him, things clicked.”
“Did you know-
“That Father had been pregnant?” Damon sighed. “Never. I doubt Father even knew! Jason said he was raised by his Uncle Edmond and Aunt Gertude, in Louisiana. He thinks Marie died a few months after he was born, but I remember that.”
“She had been gone for a few months, before she died.” Damon stopped pacing and glanced over at the house. He couldn’t believe how things were turning out, and after all of this time. He had never even suspected.
“They argued, I think.” Damon replied, looking away from the window and talking into his cell. “And then she was gone for a long time. When she came back, she was very, very ill. Barely a few weeks before she passed away. And she never mentioned where she had gone.
“I remember, I was mad at her when she came home. I was mad that she left me. But she said, she said Father would have turned heaven and earth searching for me, for us. She knew he was more attached to the idea of his sons than he was to the two of them.”
“She knew, didn’t she?”
It had always been a conversation point among the brothers. Growing up, they hadn’t been informed of their half-brother until much later in life. Since he was a bastard child, he held little claim to their fortune, but Giuseppe was never mean to him.
When Damon and Stefan had died, Giuseppe had invested all of his time into the forgotten son.
But they had always wondered about whether Marie had known about the affair. She had been ill since Stefan’s birth, never regaining herself completely. In between Stefan and her disappearance, one of their maids had given birth to a babe. Marie had been so lovely to all children, so kind to the women that worked for them. It would have devastated her, to learn what her husband had done.
“I can’t say.” Damon sighed.
They had never spoken of it near their father. The slightest talk about Marie, and he was thrash them. It was as if the very memory of her harmed him. They had thought that it was because he hurt too much to hear of her, but not be able to have her with them. However, as the years passed on, Damon especially began to wonder if it wasn’t over guilt.
“I never would have thought her to do something like that. To keep a child a secret.”
“To save him Giuseppe’s wrath?” Damon scoffed. “He can only be so lucky.”
“Don’t say that,” Stefan sighed.
“You’re always going to think the best of him. He killed us, Stefan! HE betrayed You! Get it through your head already!”
“Are we certain of his story? Stefan quickly changed the subject. “Is there any way to verify it?”
“What? A DNA test?” Damon rolled his eyes. “I doubt that would work on us, baby bro!”
They both stood silent at that. Damon had always held claim over being Stefan’s elder. It meant that he was responsible for his brother, and it also meant even more than a hundred years later, he had to be the guardian to a forever seventeen year old little brother. He had never thought twice about calling him his baby brother, because he had been.
Now, it was a bit weird.
“He’s got Mother’s eyes,” Damon sighed. He hadn’t seen them both on himself in the mirror since her passing. And it certainly wasn’t the same.
“He’s got Father’s temper,” Stefan scoffed.
“More like his stubbornness,” Damon shook his head. “I don’t even know where to begin.”
“He looks like you,” Stefan offered.
He didn’t need to hear it to know that it was true. Where Stefan had only slightly resembled him, and only to those people who had either known their parents, or spent enough time with the brothers to see it; Jason looked exactly like him.
“He’s got your ears, Dumbo,” Damon teased.
“My ears are not exceedingly large! That’s not even remotely funny.”
Damon smiled, he paced again, slowly now.
“I’ve warned him off of Katherine.”
“Do you think he’ll want to free her?”
Damon shook his head, not that Stefan could see him.
“I do not. He’s gotten the right impression of her all along. She’s been a devil to him, but he won’t say how. Regardless, I think it more that he’ll take it as an opportunity.”
“You think he’ll try and kill her?”
“I would,” Damon replied. “And you would. We can only assume littlest new-found brother would too.”
“Alright,” Stefan sighed. “I’m heading home now.”
“If I wait until after school, Elena will follow. You know that. I don’t want her involved. We don’t know if he’s dangerous.”
“You mean if he’s a bloodsucker, like me?”
“I wouldn’t put it like that.”
“Well, as far as I can tell, duh! You’re the only idiot vampy that starves himself. Besides, Katherine taught him all he knows.”
“That has got to be traumatizing enough.”
“I’ll see you when you get home.”
Jason was on his second bag, from his own stash that had been rudely left in the living room. He took it upon himself to place his cooler in the fridge, until he could get it home.
He was walking around, taking in his surroundings. It was not the kind of house that he had imagined. It certainly wasn’t the same house Kate had described.
“See anything in particular?”
Jason shook his head. He had heard Damon’s soft footing, but he was still startled by the voice.
“I thought I told you-
Jason flipped around to face Damon.
“I’ve said and done more today than what I should have. I might not be strong enough to survive you, but I’m not going to let you pussy foot me around!”
Damon leaned back against the bookcase. He crossed his arms and smiled, but even Jason could tell that it wasn’t a friendly one.
“I should probably point out to you, I don’t like that kind of language coming out of my family.”
“I might have told you we were brothers,” Jason’s hands fisted at his sides. “But do not mistaken that for the family you claim. I am not your brother. Nor do I hold any want to the claim of a son of Salvatore.”
Damon was in front of Jason in an instant.
“You might have told your little tale, but do not mistaken my generosity as patience. I have little of that to go around, so don’t press it.”
“I’m not here to press my luck,” Jason looked at him, but looked away. He didn’t want to seem as if he was challenging, not if he didn’t have to. “I’ve said more than enough. You do with that as you wish.
“Kate’s plan won’t work now. And honestly, I prefer her here, stuck for all eternity where she can had no claim or holds on me. I can go as I came, quietly and in peace.”
Jason frowned. He couldn’t tell Damon’s frame of mind. He was rather talented in many skills. When Kate had been around, she had taught him many things. He knew that at least according to Kate, the brothers had had to learn much of the skills themselves.
But there was a lot to be said about age and strength too.
“I will have my leave,” Jason continued. “And will carry on as I have been. You will never see nor hear tale of me. I’m sorry I would have aided Katherine, I thought lowly of you.”
“What?” Damon frowned, startled by the comment.
“Why do you call her that?” Damon dropped back a step. “Her name’s Katherine.”
“She despises it,” Jason shrugged. “I always thought she fancied herself a queen, or a ruler. And a name like Katherine embodies strengths, character. Kate is a child’s name. her whole existence is nothing but a prolonged tantrum.”
Jason looked up, gaging from his words Damon’s reaction. He knew, at least from Katherine, that Damon was deeply devoted to her. But even by her own admissions, he had been compelled.
“You don’t think too highly of her.”
“Only enough to survive.” He shrugged again. “Her usefulness ended tonight. With your knowledge of me, I can’t do anything.”
“What were you going to do?”
Jason almost opened his mouth and answered him. Instead he smiled and shook his head.
“I think I’m safer keeping that to myself, than to tell a man – who has a rather strong and disturbing interest in inflicting me with great pain – the wrongs I was willing to commit.”
Damon rolled his eyes, but he couldn’t help to see logic in that. Even before he had known the kid was his brother, he had taken a much more hands on approach to him than he had ever taken to anyone but his brother, Stefan.
And now that he knew the truth, as unlikely as it seemed, he wouldn’t feel the least bit in the wrong about doing it again.
“You can tell Stefan I said goodbye? I don’t want to stay here longer than nec-
“Whoa, whoa, whoa!” Damon shook his head, holding his hands up. He took the two steps (actually walked them this time, instead of popping up in front of Jason like he was prone to do) and dropped his hands on Jason’s shoulders. “You’re not going anywhere, kiddo.”
“You two have an odd sense of-” Alaric searched for the right word. Bonding wasn’t quite right, too early for that. Family wouldn’t work, because they put the S in Screwed-Up. “reconnection?”
“He made him mad,” Stefan whispered.
Damon was sipping at some scotch, pointedly not looking at them.
“So he locked him in the basement!?”
“Technically, it more like a dungeon. Or a cellar.”
Damon stood up and walked over to pour himself more blood. Talk of Jason was making him that much more mad at Jason.
Little brat was trying to run off.
Now, Damon was likely not the best to measure against, but he still considered family to be very important. Even when he had been alive, he had cared deeply for his family. His father never saw it quite like that, but Damon had truly placed Stefan, and their mother, above everything. Above all else.
He could do the same for Jason.
And after a revelation like that, he just wanted to leave? Like he had just told Damon what the weather was, or that vampires existed.
“You two were raised wrong, you know that?” Ric moved over to sit down on the couch.
“Is there any way to verify what he said?” Damon asked for the third time. The first time had been when he had asked Ric to go over to where Jason was staying, the second was when Ric had arrived at the Salvatore house, an hour ago. And now.
“We can check the records in Louisiana,” Ric shrugged.
“From over a hundred years ago?” Stefan shook his head.
“We can try?”
“Let’s see what we can find online. I’m inclined to believe him,” Damon sighed.
“Because he looks like you?” Stefan smirked.
“Because he annoys me like only you can,” Damon gritted back.
Damon had called it a time-out.
Actually, an epic time-out. Because apparently, he didn’t trust Jason to stick to one of the bedrooms in the house.
Truthfully, Jason would have likely jumped out the window the first chance he had.
Still, being trapped in the locked cellar of the house. It did nothing to make him feel inclined to stay.
Jason turned to the new voice, Stefan, and a new guy. The guy, he noticed after a second, was the one that had been beside Damon the other night, when Jason had first spotted the eldest Salvatore.
“So?” Stefan moved to unlock the door. “Damon tells me we have a new addition to the family.”
Jason was not taken by the small talk. He could smell the human, and even that didn’t prove helpful towards his mood.
“Has the barbarian of a man declared my leave? I figured he’d make it at least half way through the five years he promised.”
“Damon says things a lot of the time that he doesn’t mean.” Stefan came into the room. He squatted down beside Jason and smiled. “You just upset him, that’s all.”
“Vampires don’t have feelings,” Jason spat back.
“I think we both know that’s a load of crap,” scoffed Stefan. “Otherwise, you wouldn’t be pissed right now, would you?”
Jason rolled his eyes. It was always the same. No one treated him right. They all thought of him like the little kid they could see.
“You want out, kid?” Ric asked from the other side of the door.
“No, this is exactly the ideal room setting I had imagined.”
“Sarcasm,” Ric sighed. “He really is a little Damon.”
“No,” Jason stood up. He would have rushed the human, but Stefan’s presence prevented him from contemplating it. He didn’t need a repeat of his day from his second brother. “I’m nothing like them!”
“Whoa!” Alaric backed up a step and held his hands up. “Sorry! I didn’t mean anything by it.”
“If you want to leave,” Stefan turned Jason back around to face him. “Damon said you had to promise to behave yourself. I’m going to go out on a limb, and say that includes not attacking our friends.”
Jason glared at him. He was being treated worse than a kid, he was being treated like a toddler! He had seen children younger than his thirteen treated better than he was at that moment.
“I will take my leave, when your brother realizes he has no sayings on my life. As dead and done as it may be. I did not come here for comradely or companionship. I came as duty for Katherine. You have imprisoned her, good. You will get no acquittal request from me.”
“You want to what? Leave?”
“As I came,” Jason nodded. “I have nothing to do with you, nor do you with me. You can continue on as you were. I wish you all well, but I won’t stay.”
Stefan shared a long look with Ric. Jason figured they could think or talk or argue all that they wanted. He had made up his mind.
The way he saw it, Jason was finally free of Katherine. She might get free, she might not. Regardless, he would be thousands of miles away by the time anything of significance would happen. And no so-thought familial ties would keep him.
“Told you,” Damon sighed. “Stubborn. That’s a good a paternity test as any.”
Stefan rolled his eyes, shot his brother a look, but Damon wasn’t paying him any attention.
Alaric was frowning, starting in the direction of the stairs that led to the cellar where Jason was at. He didn’t think that any of the three were handling things well, and it wasn’t just the vampire thing.
“It might be best to-
“Don’t!” Damon turned and gave Ric a glare, pointing at him and indicating that he should stop talking.
“You can’t just expect him to-
“He’s thirteen!” Damon’s hands found his hips. “What? You want me to just let some pre-pubescent little brat out into the world, just like that?”
“He’s been on his own fo-
“I don’t care!” Damon interrupted his brother.
Damon knew what they were saying, at least, what they were trying to say- because he didn’t want to hear it.
With Stefan, it had always been different. First there was the whole hating each other thing that they had going for them (for close to more than a hundred years), so it wasn’t like he had made a lot of effort to be there for Stefan. But he had never wanted his brother to get hurt. Stefan was all that Damon had. Even considering the half-brother Salvatores, Stefan was someone that Damon had known almost all of his life. Stefan was someone that had been with him before and could relate to a lot of the challenges and changes that they had gone through.
With Stefan, he had known that the kid could, for the most part anyway, take care of himself. Giuseppe had taken a lot of time and interest in getting his little brother set up, both in the mindset and economically, that Stefan knew a lot about how to make things happen for himself in ‘the real world’. And even though he was permanently seventeen, it wasn’t too hard for Stefan to pull into the early-twenties persona. Damon himself had tried pushing it into the early thirties, but no one believed him beyond that. Some didn’t even believe he wastwenty-four. It was kind of frustrating, but Damon could handle that.
Jason on the other hand? The kid looked like he might be lying about being thirteen. The Salvatores had all looked relatively young, but they weren’t the only people like that in the world. Damon had learned enough to have more than quite enough fake identities that he never worried about people not thinking he was at whatever age he was calling himself at the moment.
Jason wouldn’t be able to press more than two or three years pass his real age. He would always have to be at school or home schooled, unless locals started to complain. He would obviously not grow or change in the slightest. School nurses would think him odd.
And who would the kid have to turn to about this? Katherine Pierce?
No. Damon knew he was right. He had lived enough to know he was right. Hell, the kid, had lived long enough to know he was right. Jason had probably experienced that and worse. A small child, Salvatore good looks? He didn’t even want to contemplate the kinds of things that could have happened.
Damon put his glass down and grabbed his leather jacket off of the back of the couch. Both Stefan and Ric turned to look at him.
“Where you heading?” Stefan asked.
“Out,” Damon tossed back a smile. “You two convince demon-spawn down there to give it a rest, I’ve got a bit of shopping to do.”
“Shopping?” Ric frowned. “Now?”
Damon stopped right in front of the door and turned to look at them. He gave them his most charming smile.
“Well, how else is the kid going to get the things he needs? Stef, pick a room. I’ll be back, say three hours should do it!”
And with that, Damon Salvatore was gone, Stefan had a mission, and Jason had no idea what was coming to him.