semele: ([tvd] Bracia Salvatore)
[personal profile] semele
This is a spontanous Salvatore meta. It combines the thoughts I had while re-watching season one, all sorts of random TVD observations and my flailing all over 3x08. Since I just HAVE TO do this, and I have very little time (unexpected family problems that will consume most of my free time at least till Tuesday), unfortunately I can't fiddle with pictures, but please, feel free to Salvatore pic/gifspam all over my persian rugs. It might take me some time to answer all the comments (including those I should've answered a couple of days ago), but I'll get to it eventually. Just bear with me, will you?

WARNING: spontanous meta is spontanous. It's not my most coherent, sensible or well-balanced post. It contains fangirling, flailing and rainbow vomiting. In this post I'm neither bashing nor supporting any ships. If you don't like the Salvatore boys, it might be a good idea for you to just skip this meta. I have no shame, and I probably never will.


It's All About Brothers
Or: Screw You, Epic Romance


When it comes to self-identification, Stefan and Damon Salvatore define themselves primary as brothers.

It's one of the most important (if not the most important) role they have in life. They refer to it even when it seems that it shouldn't apply; their built their identities around the concept of being brothers. Let me show you some quotes:

Damon: No! I want you to remember who you are!
Stefan: Why? So what, so I'll feed? So I kill? So I'll remember what it's like to be brothers again?

TVD 1x02, The Night of the Comet

It's not just about Stefan. It's not about Damon trying to push him in a direction he thinks fits best (well, ok, it is, but there is more to it). Stefan's bunny diet affects them both, because neither of them defines himself independently. Here Damon abuses Stefan, because Stefan's feeding is not only important for Stefan's identity, but also for Damon's.

Stefan: Because you feel something for her! Because you actually care. And I'm not gonna let Katherine come in here and destroy that part of you that is finally, after all this 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 gonna fight you.
TVD 2x01, The Return

It's all about self-definition... but we create this definition together.

Stefan: Thank you.
Damon: No, Stefan, thank you. You're back on Bambi blood, and I'm the big, badass brother again. All is right in the world.

TVD 1x20, Blood Brothers

The situation comes back to normal, and how does Damon express it? By re-establishing their traditional good/bad brother roles!

And now just look at this:

Stefan: I don't hurt people. I don't do that. I'm the good brother
TVD 1x19, Miss Mystic Falls

He is at his LOWEST. He is confused, hurting, struggling. Damon has NOTHING to do with what's going on. And still, Stefan defines himself as a brother.

It didn't have to be this way. They weren't born with twin brains or anything, it could have all gone in a completely different direction. If one of them got killed right now, the other would never be the same again. But had Damon been killed during the Civil War, Stefan would've gotten over it, eventually. It would've been one of his worst experiences, but he would't have been broken by it. The Salvatores weren't predestined to be tied so closely. They made themselves like this.

When Stefan forced Damon to turn, he didn't do it because they had a unique, undying bond or anything. He did it, because he was just a kid, he lost everything overnight, and it scared the shit out of him:

Stefan: What I did was selfish. I didn't want to be alone. I guess I just needed my brother.
TVD 2x08, Rose

And here is where it all starts. That's why I love the Salvatore boys so much - they don't try to claim that there always is a wonderful, unbreakable bond between siblings. They are like this, because they MADE themselves like this, simple like that. Their world fell apart. They were turned in 1864, and in 1865 the war ended, and the South was never the same after that. Unlike Caroline or Vicky, they couldn't show their faces in their town for years after they were turned; the society they knew was changing; it just happened that they were turned at the time that was a turning point for their entire country. So by the end of the 19th century the only familiar thing they had was, well, each other. And this is when a real roller-coaster started, because the 20th century must've been hell for everyone brought up in the relatively calm and ordered 19th century. The definitions of time and distance changed, a new social order emerged, unspeakable horrors happened, new technologies turned the world upside-down. Nothing is the way it was before. The Salvatore boys have spent the entire century just adjusting to changes. And they didn't have anything stable, or safe, or familiar; nothing but each other's company to find solace in. And I can prove that it was a process!

Damon: Help him. He needs it.
Lexi: I'll help him.

TVD 2x15, The Dinner Party

And what does Damon do 146 years later?

Damon: Screw this Lexi plan. I think we could both use a drink.
TVD 3x08, Ordinary People

The Salvatores made some choices, and those choices have bound them together for eternity. Now Damon doesn't get to walk away. It doesn't even cross his mind to walk away. He owes Stefan, and it's very important, but there is another thing that's even more important. He can't just leave him in a cell to rot! It's simple like that. He can't.

Of course their relationship is not about hugs and puppies although I think Ian would totally support the idea of Damon adopting a puppy. Now, my knowledge about siblings is purely theoretical, but I have childhood friends, and we aren't exactly tender with each other. We just know each other so well that it creates a bullshit-free zone. I can do whatever I want, because what are they gonna do? Think that I'm *insert insult here*? They've thought it hundreds times already, and they are still here, so what's a big deal?

And that's how I see the Salvatores. They are this HUGE bullshit-free zone. They don't bother with sugar-coating. So they can say things like this:

Stefan: Why didn't you tell me?
Damon: Cause I didn't want you to know! Cause I hated you, and I still do.
Stefan: I know.
Damon: But not because you forced me to turn.
Stefan: Then why?
Damon: Because she turned you. It was supposed to be me, Stefan. Just me.

TVD 1x20, Blood Brothers

This conversation sounds malicious, but in fact it isn't, because Stefan already knows all of this. Of course Stefan feels guilty, but Damon saying or not saying things out loud doesn't change a thing for him, because he knows it all anyway. He figured it out ages ago. Damon is just saying things, because he is a drama queen Damon, but no actual communication happens, because it's all old news for them.

There can be no bullshit:

Stefan: That's not true. Sure there is. Let's get it out. I mean, are you in this car because you want to help your little brother save a girl that he loves, or is it because you love her too? I mean, come on, express yourself! I happen to like road-trip bonding.
Damon: Keep it up, Stefan. I can step out of helping as easily as I stepped in.
Stefan: Nope. See, that's the beauty of it. You can't.

TVD 2x08, Rose

Damon: It is what it is, Elena. The Stefan you know was "Good Behavior" Stefan, "Reign It In" Stefan, "Fight Against His Nature To An Annoyingly Obsessive Level" Stefan, but if you think there's not another part to this, then you have not been paying attention.
TVD 1x18, Under Control

So they can yell at each other, they can punch each other, they can hurt each other, but they can't lie to each other and they can't abandon each other. They are a team, and they've been a team for so long that they don't even have to discuss strategy (see: 1x12, Stefan just says: Damon, he was invited in, AND THEY BOTH INSTANTLY KNOW WHAT TO DO). They define each other. Being brothers has grown so deeply into their identities that it shows everywhere. When Stefan gets shot in 1x06, the bullet can cause him no further harm, but Damon's first impulse is to take it out first, take his ring from Stefan later. When they fight in 3x08, it's Damon who lands the first blow, but then he just defends himself, because for a moment they are just boys fighting over something not important at all, and when they were boys, Damon was the bigger, older and stronger brother, so he had to keep himself in check not to hurt his little brother. Damon doesn't give a shit about Stefan becoming good again. When Elena tries to save Stefan, she thinks of it in terms of some metaphysical salvation. When Damon tries to save Stefan, he thinks of it in terms of helping his brother to be happy, to stop struggling with himself; he wants to make Stefan's life easier, and he is not even sorry if your tone implies that he should care about collateral damage. Both Elena and Damon want Stefan to get better, but Elena defines it as to be better, and Damon as to feel better. And this is why it will be Damon who saves Stefan: because he just wants to save Stefan, and he brings no adittional meaning into it. He doesn't want to save any ideas (like: romantic love, abstract goodness etc); he wants to save the only thing that holds his identity together. It's selfish, of course, but, paradoxically, it makes their relationship healthier than most of the relationships in this show, because all the key things already happened, the Salvatores ARE already bound together, and they have no more expectations. Damon doesn't need Stefan to become anything for him; whoever Stefan becomes is fine for Damon, because at this point he simply cannot become anything but a brother.

Of course Elena is important for both of them, but that's a totally different story. Elena could never just replace one brother with another, it's not about who gets to be her boyfriend. It could've played out like this with Katherine, but that's not how Damon and Stefan work any more. It's not because they are so moral and wouldn't go after a brother's girl, because it's wrong. Love is important for them, it's powerful and it changes their lives, but lovers is not who they primary are. First of all, they are brothers.

To sum up:

all over
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