This has mostly just implied slash in it. And I've pushed back the timeline of Vampire Diaries a bit to make it work. I don't know yet but I'm thinking of turning this into a series. I kind of think it would work better that way than making it into a multichapter story since if I do write more on it I am going to skip around a lot in the timeline of season 8.

I don't own anything.

Damon Salvatore has been dead for exactly thirty minutes before he can get over the shock of just where he is. He'd been expecting Hell, if he's honest. But this isn't Hell. Or, not exactly. Not the type of Hell people imagine when they let themselves think on it, anyway. Not the type of Hell people construct from their religions.

Not that Damon is a religious person but he's seen enough in his one hundred and seventy years to make him pretty sure that the people who believe nothing happened after you die have it wrong.

He only has thirty minutes to think on this, to ponder his own death when he hears the others coming. Then he has much less time to note the savagery in the(vampires?) things that attack him before he's fighting for survival.

He'll think its funny later. He is, after all, already dead. And he has to wonder where he'll go if he dies here, wherever here is. He has to wonder where the three vampires that he kills go. Maybe they'll go to Hell. Maybe this is just a stopping point.

He is dead for exactly two days when he finds out that the vampires he's fighting are different than him. He takes this information in, and then dismisses it as unimportant. They die just the same if you cut their heads off.

He is dead for exactly six months when he stops talking to his victims. He'd been doing that before, and he can admit to himself that it is mostly just to hear the sound of his own voice. Taunting the monsters that attack him, being flippant but he stops. Even he tires of it. He's figured it out. Most of them had been there so long that they aren't much more than animals anymore.

He is dead for a year when he stops thinking about his life-unlife,whatever-altogether. When he stops thinking about Elena and Stefan at all. He meet others, others who apparently haven't been there as long, or haven't let it get to them the way that the one's he'd fought previously had.

He learns things. He learns where he was. Purgatory. Monster Hell. He laughs after he tortures that information out of one of his attackers. Because, well, it is kind of funny. Funny that they'll all end up here, no matter what.

It takes two years for him to completely embrace where he was. He almost even starts to like it. Flying mostly on survival instincts. There is nothing else here but survival. Nothing else to fight for, at least not yet.

He is three years dead when he finds out that there is only one way to get out. He doesn't think too much on it. Can't, really, because it doesn't really help him. Not him and it wouldn't have helped the monster who told him about it, even before Damon cuts his head off just the same as he had the others.

It won't help him, at least not until he's been dead for a little over four years and he saves Dean Winchesters life.

Xxxxxxxx

He hears the talk, of course. It's hard not to, with all the times he's stopped to gain a bit of information. There's someone new there. Someone half the monsters roaming around down there seem to hate. Human, Hunter, they say.

Damon doesn't share in it. He hears the word human and he doesn't want to kill. For the first time since his first months in Purgatory, a smirk fully blooms on Damon's face and then he sets out to save the human's life.

Xxxxxxx

It only takes one conversation to convince Dean Winchester. It's unsurprisingly easy. Unsurprising because he's offering a way out. And even if Dean Winchester's spent his entire life hunting down things like him, he wants out enough that it overrides his instinct to kill the vampire in front of him.

Even if he does, for a long while after that, look at Damon like he's going to stick a knife in his back if he turns away.

Dean agrees, but with a condition. He wants to find his friend. He says angel and Damon credits his unnaturally long time on Earth and the four years he's spent dead but somehow still fighting for survival that he doesn't feel the surprise at this.

He falls back into his own speech patterns easily. Maybe too easily, considering. "Alright then. Just as long as he doesn't kill me. Already been there twice. At this point, it's becoming a bit redundant."

Dean's lips twitch at this. Later, when they're more comfortable around each other than they probably should be, he tells Damon just how many times he's died.

Xxxxxxx

They find the angel sometime after they've already killed too many monsters to count. The angel is almost the complete opposite of Dean. Dean hugs the angel like a long lost brother and Damon and the angel bicker because Damon gets the feeling they're obligated but it doesn't take long until they're falling into step, all three of them.

They fight back to back, the three of them, still heading steadily towards the way out, trying to find it. After a while, they fight like a well oiled death machine. Damon thinks they're a pretty good trifecta of baddassery.

It's just them. Just the three of them. Sometimes, it seems like they're the only ones in the world. He likes them both, more than he's ever liked most people. And he finds that, after a while, he trusts them both, more than he's ever trusted anyone, even his own brother.

The blurred lines don't bother him when they happen. Nothing really bothers him the way it would if he wasn't running around Purgatory with an angel and a hunter. So when he makes a spectacular kill that both saves the hunters life and probably looks like something straight out of a comic book movie from the outside and Dean brings him close and kisses him afterwards, he doesn't pull away. It doesn't feel so nearly as ridiculous as it might have if they had met before.

Later, when Dean does the same thing with Cas, it doesn't feel weird and he's not angry. Maybe Dean'll pass it off as the slight insanity that this place brings out in the human but, for now, it only feels natural.

They always slide closer to each other. They're still the only ones there. Or, at least the only ones there not trying to murder them. So they come together, fight like one person, fall into step…and maybe it's just because they need it. Maybe it's not about them already being insane. Maybe it's about keeping themselves from going insane.

Xxxxxxx

When they finally find the right place, they don't exchange words. Damon simply brings them both close. Neither of them pulls away.

He has no idea how much time passes between then and appearing in the graveyard in Mystic Falls but its dark out when he stands across from Dean. The angel isn't there but Damon doesn't ask. Doesn't ask because he doesn't really need to know, does he? Not anymore.

"No long, eloquent goodbyes?" Damon asks and Dean almost smiles.

"But it is a goodbye, you know that, right?" And it is. Dean's already said this. Damon nods, tries not to let it get to him. He knows it. He's known it for a while now.

"What are you gonna do now?" Dean asks, like he can't help himself and Damon shrugs, smirks and glances back towards the town.

"Got a few people I might…look up." For the first time in a long time, he lets himself wonder about Stefan.

"See you around," Damon says, turning to walk away.

"No, you won't," Dean calls at his retreating back before heading off in the opposite direction. Damon only waves and wonders if that's true. Wonders if they'll hold to that. There's a large part of him that hopes they don't.