Black And White
by LindaMarie

It has been a long time since Stefan could see his life in black-and-white terms, but it's been equally long since he's had to adjust his worldview so rapidly, suddenly. Now he finds himself yearning for a way to go back to that simple duality of thought.

He is on a plane on a cold dark night, a boy with pale hair sleeping with her head on his shoulder. There are simultaneous urges in him, to pull away from this stranger whose smell make him burn beneath his skin, or to pull close and cradle the love he was sure he had lost. He is conflicted, and aching, and the flight will not end for two more hours.

It still terrifies him, this passage through air, above the world. He remembers a day when only witches and angels could do such things, and he wonders what he is, if anything at all.

Stefan's brother Damon has the aisle seat. His eyes are closed, head back, his expression neutral; but through the web of Power, Stefan can feel his tension. Stefan is still too shocked at this, that he would be near and so trusting, to pry further. Perhaps, he wonders, the running water over which they must be passing makes his brother ill-at-ease.

Hunger cannot be the reason, for an hour after takeoff, once Elena slept, Stefan had silently watched as Damon slipped into an occupied bathroom. Fifteen minutes later, he returned, a few shades less pale and smirking like a jackal. Surprisingly, Stefan did not decide to hit him.

The hunger burns in him now, too, but the night is long and he can wait. This will be a new city, a new start, and he hopes he is prepared.


An hour later, an hour left. Stefan wakes to overwhelming need, the hunger pulsing and burning through him in waves. It has never been like this; but then again, he has never slept with a human in his arms, humans around him, without escape. He has flown before, small flights through Italy, but nothing this long and always alone. His eyes dart nervously as he wonders what to do.

Stefan does not even look at the sleeping boy, sleeping girl in his arms. Elena sleeps still.

He is thinking, looking, and there, to his left, there are black eyes staring at him. With...sympathy? No, not quite, but there is offering there in a way that it takes Stefan's mind long seconds to comprehend.

His brother must feel his thirst. Damon's Power is strong, and he has no qualms about reading minds. The amazing thing is that Stefan had never thought that this implicit offer would, could, ever be made. There has been something in him for some time that has been less hatred and more...resignation. He is a player in a game that has long since become one less of logic, and more of tradition.

Strange how this small fact never occured to him until now.

There are no words. The plane is dark, with the occasional spotlight shining down on some sleepless human, but none of them close. Stefan and Damon are alone, and Stefan takes the offered arm in one hand with an almost ritual gesture.

He pierces the soft skin of the wrist gently, and drinks to the beat of his brother's heart.

When he moves to cover the already-healing wound, Stefan sees one image, and it stops him still. It is a black shirtsleeve against a pool of Elena's white in-the-dark hair.


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