'TVD' Season 6 Could Ease Damon & Stefan's Tension Because There Things Other Than 'Shipping, Folks

Maybe they can finally kiss and make up? Okay, maybe it'll be more like shake hands and make up, but you get what I'm going for here. The Vampire Diaries ' Damon and Stefan Salvatore have had a complicated relationship for as long as they've been vampires — Damon is the selfish, self-destructive one and Stefan is the judgmental yet sensitive one — and then there's that lingering issue that they've fallen in love with the same woman. Twice. When The Vampire Diaries premiered, the pair hadn't spoken to or seen one another in 15 years, but in TVD 's Season 5 finale, Damon died to save his brother. If that's not cause for reevaluating your relationship, I don't know what is.

Fans aren't sure yet where The CW's vampire drama will pick up when TVD Season 6 premieres on Oct. 2, but we know one thing for certain — Damon Salvatore won't be there and Stefan isn't ready to let it go. Obviously, I don't have to remind you, again, that Damon "died" in the Season 5 finale during a mission to rescue Stefan from his own "death" on The Other Side. Stefan got back through the barrier and Damon didn't, instead Elena's favorite Salvatore got zapped into oblivion with the only TVD character more judgmental that Stefan, Bonnie. And, so, tear-stained and vulnerable, here we all are on the other side (ha supernatural puns) of TVD's biggest double-death to date.

We all already know that the dissolution of Delena is going to make Elena Gilbert ugly-cry through the first few episodes of Season 6 (even though she'll be four months removed from the event by that point), what we aren't so sure of is how Damon's sacrifice will change his rocky relationship with Stefan. It's obvious that we've seen a shift in Ian Somerhalder's criminally handsome Damon Salvatore since his debut in TVD Season 1, whether it be because of Elena or Mystic Falls finally broke down his emotional walls. And all of that emotional evolution culminated in his decision to stay behind after saving his brother from The Other Side's collapse. Season 1-4 Damon NEVER would've sacrificed his life and the opportunity to be with Elena just so Stefan could live, but emotionally mature Season 5 Damon did.

Damon's sacrifice is going to change everything — especially how Stefan sees his brother not just on a you-saved-my-life level, but in terms of how he's judged his character. Sure, Damon's been the worst in the past what with killing Jeremy Gilbert once and various other innocent bystanders and I can't really blame Stefan for being pissed about his brother stealing his girl. But TVD changed the game by having Damon stay behind while everyone else returned to Mystic Falls — they gave him emotional depth and they made him, against his prior diagnosis, a good guy. And Stefan's going to see that, too.

The Salvatore brothers' deep-running issues with one another began with Katherine and festered while they constantly judged each other's behavior and personal decisions. But going forward into Season 6, TVD and everyone left behind in Mystic Falls will be forced to acknowledge how Damon's changed and how, as a result of his sacrifice, Stefan will change as well. As a team and as brothers, Damon's death might have finally mended the competitive wound left behind by Katherine. If he were still tortured by Katherine choosing Stefan over him, he wouldn't have been capable of making the decision to stay behind.

We're going to have to wait until TVD Season 6 premieres to find out Damon's fate, but once he returns to the land of the living, there's no doubt that the Salvatore brothers will have a stronger relationship than ever before. Even if Delena is endgame.

Images: Bob Mahoney/The CW; Annette Brown/The CW