Chapter 1: Humanity Lost?
Curiosity is the first thing that freezes his movement, not shock. The kid’s face is the spitting image of his own, when he looked ten years younger; one hundred and fifty years ago. Damon immediately wants to know what this boy is- who this boy is. He has been a vampire for one-hundred and forty years and has never come across a doppelganger before. Though he remembers an off-hand reference Katherine made about doppelgangers- (that he wasn’t supposed to listen to, let alone remember- but Damon remembered everything Katherine ever said, everything she ever did, he loved her too much not to) the reference was of little use.
It’s easy enough to compel a background check and watch the kid from the shadows through the eyes of his crow. The kids name is Boone, maybe his parents meant it ironically. He is the chief operating officer of some wedding company. Damon watches Boone in a meeting, where speaking in anything other than a dusty monotone seems to be outlawed- at least Boone’s voice isn’t so grating. Then there is another meeting. Then another meeting. Then mediocre tennis, with the ball parrying idly back and forth- at least if it was bad tennis there would be some amusing moments, but alas there were none. Then dinner and then bed. Then another boring day just like the boring last one. This is possibly all a ploy to bore onlookers to death- or at least look less suspicious. But by this time Damon is reasonably sure the kid is human. Which means he could kill him (after playing with him first).
This naive creature wearing his face is abhorrent; to someone else he’d joke it’s because it scars his reputation, but to himself he isn’t sure why. Maybe an ancient reminder of sorts. Damon compels an old grumpy associate to start a nonsensical argument with Boone- but the many things the kid lacks in maturity he makes up for in professionalism. It’s annoying how quickly Boone spins his would-be circus into the abyss.
A new opportunity presents itself on the way to yet another meeting, as Boone pulls into an isolated Gas station. A tall brunette woman exits as Boone goes in to pay and Damon approaches stealthily- lunchtime. Commanding her silent with a word, he nicks her artery delicately and savours the steady flow of redness slipping coolly past his lips. He stops at the biting point (when the blood flows at telling speed) and lays her on the ground, to watch from afar. Enough blood has been taken for her to require medical attention but not enough to kill her. Boone’s first reaction on return is panic; definitely human then. The kid starts flapping around with awkward earnestness, looking for something to place on the wound. After searching he somehow acquires a plethora of cloths bundled in his arms. He shoves them determinedly on the wound- to see which works. And later stays with the stranger at the hospital, ridiculously gentle and kind, eagerly spitting forth offers to help. It is incredibly frustrating but Damon can’t help be impressed by the fortitude of this naive little thing. He doesn’t like the reminder of what he was.
The next evening- at an up-scale bar- a Barbie-doll girl appears out of nowhere with an indigo bruise sitting starkly on her cheek-bone. The kid takes her in his arms with concern and she begins spinning a tale Damon can tell is a lie by the maple-syrup pitch of her voice but the kid is once more falling over himself to help. They argue; with Boone using his patent innocent determination. Damon smirks, finally getting a look at Boone’s not-so-boring-but-still-pathetic side as he coddles this woman- this apparent black-widow-sister- who he is clearly in love with.
Boone’s insistence on taking her home twists around the kid like a puppy’s lead and he almost trips in exasperation as she insists she’s going out and demands his spare key. He hands it over silently- words sinking harshly in drunken air that moments ago held her presence. Damon wonders whether Shannon realises just how much she ties her brother in knots, he sometimes wonders whether his brother Stefan realises the same. He has a sudden urge to once again find and torment Stefan, but it would be rude to leave without saying good-bye. He smoothly slinks onto the bar-stool beside his would-be mirror image, letting out an evil grin with a little wave. Boone looks surprised for a second before letting out a smile of his own.
“Whoa, cool. I wondered why someone was following me; I guess I have the answer.” Boone says, trying to sound smarter than he is or- Damon had to concede- possibly he is smarter than he often sounded.
“I’ve got an annoying little brother myself; he’s always running off without leaving a forwarding address.” Damon says with amusement, nodding in the direction of Shannon’s exit.
“So is this the part where we bond over pain-in-the-ass younger siblings?” Boone asks quietly, with a tone that may or may not be sarcasm.
Damon thinks; this is the bit where we have fun and I decide maybe I won’t kill you, but he says;
“It might be, want to just get drunk instead?”
“Sure.” The kid replies.
Damon doesn’t want to think about why he leaves Boone unharmed- it is likely going to come back and bite him. Blaming his actions on his exasperation for Stefan is easier than the alternative; the kid holds the possibility of what might’ve been if his humanity had been left intact, he wants to see how it unfolds. After all he has always been curious.
Chapter 2: River Dreams
Caroline’s tired, so tired of everyone spinning lies around her, spinning plans around her; playing smarter, faster, stronger- like she’s still the little blonde ditz she now only pretends to be at times; the blonde ditz she hasn’t been in centuries. She’s lonely and just wants someone to see her and almost thinks Stefan might be able to if he wasn’t so busy trying to light up the darkened house-of-horrors mansion that his and Elena’s relationship has become. Caroline’s still living in shadows of yesterday, which is a little inevitable when she still wears yesterday’s face. She hates still looking like a child.
So she slips into dreams, anyone’s, everyone’s, someone new every night, exploring, searching for something; at least here she can be powerful without consequence. Maybe she’s looking for someone. On this night she slides silkily into the dreams of a raven-haired girl; young for someone on a ship of marauders and Caroline is curious, she wants to know this girls secrets. The dream is so obscure she doesn’t even play with it- just stays and watches; it’s not just odd like dreams have a way of being. The background changes like the wind, lumpy solids to swirling skies to cacophonous dark explosions, the girl is dreaming of herself alone and there is a quality to the place Caroline has no words for- a quality non-existent in any dreams she has looked into in the last five hundred years.
The girl dances on a field of broken glass. With a soft blue rag-laced elegant dress and bare feet, she falls to her knees on the too sharp grass but gets up and keeps dancing.
River’s feet are garnished in slashes and blood trails over the glass but she throws her arms out and continues dancing where she is. For this is the only place the sun reaches, the only place blessed with the sun’s touch. Surrounded by dark grey clouds and ashen rubble; she is on the only spot still alive, bleeding, dying- but still alive. There is something different in her dream tonight, something real, something other, she calls for the answer and star-bullets ricochet inside her mind before returning the word- vampire- to her. The sun kisses bright sharp sparkles onto the glass shards’ crispy corners. Transparent molecules, reflecting, refracting, all the waves, all the frequencies.
“You’re sad.” She states to the vampire.
Caroline reveals herself, wondering how the girl knows she’s here and whether the girl is human- the blood smells human but that doesn’t mean it is. The girl is in a trance, saying words at her.
“Vampire’s and blood, blood everywhere, lights on big circles, going round, round, round- carnival- noisy- too crowded, and a dead man’s blood scents all the air.”
She knows the girl is talking about her first kill; she’s clearly a psychic- maybe a witch. Caroline smiles; this should be an interesting night.
“What’s your name?”
“River.” Says the girl and at the word a stream appears before them, Caroline isn’t sure which one of them made it appear.
River takes her hand and leads her in; their feet are dappled by the softly bubbling water before an old rowing-boat appears underneath them. They ride down-stream silently for a while, then abruptly the place transforms into a hospital room- all wires and knives and River is screaming- Caroline strips away the room- placing them back in the rowing-boat with half a thought.
“Stefan is your best friend, but you’re not happy with him.” The girl says, pre-emptively changing the subject. She lets her, partly because she understands that this girl has been hurt like she had; by people who thought just her existence threatened their way of life and partly because Caroline wants to talk about her life with someone she can be honest with.
“He’s my best friend, he did a lot for me and I’ve been in love with him for a long time.”
“You should marry him. I love Simon, but I can’t marry him because he’s my brother.”
“Stefan loves my friend Elena.”
“Their house is falling down.”
“They love each other as much as ever, it’s just that Elena isn’t the same girl she was at seventeen, hell she isn’t the same woman she was at two-hundred. Their relationship has a few holes in the roof but it will be fine.”
“Stefan loves you too and Elena loves you also. You should all be together; you will plaster the holes.”
Caroline gives a small wry nod smiling; River may have a point.
“I was alive before space-ships existed.” Caroline says, mainly because she needs to feel her tongue voice the words and she thinks River is the only human who would truly understand. Besides, telling her vampire friends something they already know seems silly.
“I mean, there were space-shuttles, the Apollo missions and the whole ‘one giant leap’ thing happened long before even I was born, but it’s not exactly next-door to space-colonisation- a lot has happened. And I’m still right where I was, with the same people.”
“It’s morning.” River says with an agreeing smile, already fading away.
“Goodbye.” Caroline answers into the yellow light.
Instead of striding in like normal, Caroline lingers in their bedroom doorway.
“Um, I was kind of wondering about something.” She says nervously, feeling every bit like the young girl she looks like.
Stefan and Elena have Cheshire cat grins on their faces. Elena dances over to her and proceeds to simultaneously pull her into a kiss and pull her into the bed.
“We were just waiting for you to ask.” Stefan says with his knowing look. She wants to pummel him. But Elena is kissing her, then Stefan’s hands are on her and oh wow, there’ll be time for pummelling later.
They spend a blissful day entwined in bed, talking and doing the obvious. Caroline lies between her two sleeping best friends and thinks; being seventeen forever doesn’t feel so bad anymore.
Chapter 3: The Ancient Vampire Of Oz
“No, no, you were supposed to paint the path lemon-egg-shell not yellow.” Carol Lockwood scolded the painters, who were preparing the site for the ‘carnival of performing arts’ fundraiser.
Bonnie cringed internally at the woman’s superior tone and looked down at the painted bricks; as her eyes landed on them bright images swam into her mind. She immediately walked towards Elena with the words almost spring-boarding off her tongue before she got there;
“I had a vision; I know where Klaus is and I know how we can kill him.”
“Ok, let’s get everyone together and figure out a plan.” Elena said with weary determination.
An instant later Jonas was standing before them.
“That would be a very bad idea. Klaus will kill you.” He said, unable to hide the veiled threat underlying his attempt at conveying concern.
“Why would I take advice from someone who is spying on me, not to mention working with Elijah?”
“Whatever you think of me, if Klaus gets your blood my daughter will be lost forever.”
“We’ll kill Klaus and get her back.”
“I can’t take the risk.” Jonas said, raising his hand ominously, using his power he telekinetically ripped open Elena’s flesh- leaving a deep gash in her chest. Ruby red blood shone brightly in the mid-day sun as it spilled over her olive skin.
Bonnie used her own power to throw Jonas into a wall while she called to Caroline. Jonas slinked away.
“I’m much more powerful now; you don’t want to mess with me.” She warned him.
Caroline fed some of her blood to Elena, who healed quickly.
“We should head off now before Jonas comes back. I’ll go and find Damon.” Elena says.
Elena spots Andy’s straw-coloured hair first, as the woman- under Damon’s compulsion- brainlessly smiles behind vacant eyes, taking a drink to Damon.
“Let her go.” She tells him.
“We’ll go after Klaus without you.”
“Fine.” Damon agrees grudgingly; he looks into Andy’s eyes, freeing her from his compulsion.
They walk through the woods, following the path that has been yellowed with age.
“What’s Toto doing here?” Damon asks with a deliberately too-sweet smile and a rough edge in his voice.
“We’re helping Tyler out.” Elena replied, reluctantly adding; “He accidently bit someone on the last full moon.”
“Pollyanna Elena; always trying to fix the unfixable.” Damon smirked, continuing;
“Speaking of, no matter how much you needle me about being a better man; I’m not going to suddenly grow a heart; I’m a vampire.”
“You’re a better man when you’re not running from it.”
“I’ll be a better man when I’m dead, again.”
After going over the plan and then trekking along in silence for an hour Caroline speaks;
“I wish I could tell Matt about the whole vampire thing; I just don’t have the courage.”
“Maybe you’ll feel ready after a while.” Elena says sympathetically.
“Stop whining Barbie and just go for it.” Damon says cutting off Caroline’s reply and they drop back into silence.
As they approach a stunning field of golden corn, Bonnie stops them.
“Jonas created an illusion.” She says; the young witch focuses her stare on the field- revealing a sea of bright purple plants.
“Vervain.” Caroline exclaims quietly, shocked at seeing a field-full of vampire poison.
The group have just finished walking around the field when Elena spots a large flock of birds seemingly flying towards them.
“Are those flamingos?” She asks. Damon with his super-sight knows immediately;
“They’re vampire pigs.” He states indifferently, pulling out his wooden-bullet armed gun.
“What?” “Vampire pigs?” The others chorus; taking out their own weaponry. At which point the vampire pigs dive towards them, fangs unsheathed with bloodlust. They begin shooting and staking the pigs as said pigs clashed, crashed and bit into them.
“Yeah, pigs turned into vamps the same way humans are.” Damon shouted into the chaos.
Damon had incapacitated/killed fourteen, Caroline eleven and Bonnie nine when they could finally stop. That was when they realised that Elena and Tyler were gone.
Elena and Tyler struggled and slapped the vampire-pigs but the animals steadfastly held them; fangs iron-gripping their clothes. They’re only released when they reach Jonas and Elijah- who force them into a cage.
Elena began working at the lock with her hair-pin as soon as their captors left. The door fell open too easily- then again Elijah was too powerful to expect them to escape. They were snaking their way through the house when Elijah appeared, squeezing Tyler’s throat threateningly. Elena was about to back-pedal towards the cage when shadows began flitting around the place; signalling her friends’ presence. Bonnie produced a fiery decoy, Damon fired stakes at Elijah and Caroline pulled Elena and Tyler away at vampire speed. They escaped; running away towards a much more powerful enemy.
They silently approached Klaus’ place. Any attempt at stealth was abandoned when Munchkins flocked and danced around them, pushing them towards the mansion.
Everyone froze as the Munchkins presented them to Klaus; the oldest vampire looked like a ten-year-old boy, but that wasn’t as surprising as the flowery dress he wore or the tea-party setting.
“Evil. Very, very evil.” Damon said; his face blank.
“Come, come- sit.” Klaus said in a camp joyful voice- no hint of irony or sinister intentions.
Elena slowly ambled towards a seat; the others protectively followed.
“Why so tense?”
“It’s a mystery; maybe we don’t like the idea of you sacrificing Elena to use her blood in some creepy ritual.” Bonnie snapped.
“I don’t want her blood. The doppelganger thing was so five-hundred years ago.” Klaus said dismissively with a flamboyant flick of his hand.
At his insistence they were forced to join the tea-party. Klaus was the perfect host; they ate, chatted and laughed warily. Before they knew it Klaus had left them standing with puzzlement on the road home.
“What was that?” Elena asked.
“I’m not entirely sure.” Damon answered with bewilderment as they walked back to Mystic Falls.
Chapter 4: The needs of the many ...
I am Klaus; the vampire king.
What I do today will go down in legend for millennia to come; I will be painted- as always- as the cruellest of beings.
But I have wisdom that comes with being so long on this world; I know what must be done.
I watch Elena struggle- tied to an old sycamore; the knife slides into the child too easily, blood pools brightly into the bowl below.
Come sunrise all vampires will be day-walkers and werewolves will still turn by the moon’s force alone.
The way it must be to prevent an apocalyptical war.
Chapter 5: Two Little Words
“I’m sorry.” Damon says earnestly.
They’re just words; words that should fall apart into dust under the gravity of what his brother has done.
Stefan had loved Lexi: she was his dearest friend; she changed his life; gave him hope.
Damon killed her- just for his own convenience.
And yet, the words meant everything; a remorseful sliver from his seemingly inhuman brother.
Stefan can’t help but forgive Damon- he loves him too much not to.
Later he plays football with his brother (telling himself it’s only to garner information) while forgiveness sits like an ink-stain on his memory of Lexi.
Chapter 6: Shattered Unbroken Loyalties
There is blood in her hair, darkness in her eyes and Vervane on her breath. She’s still alive. Katherine smiles that dangerous smile at her and Elena doesn’t have the energy for her standard return glare. It’s finally over. Of course Katherine had betrayed them; they had predicted it a million times over- lacing every piece of information with a habitual warning. Then why weren’t they prepared, why hadn’t they accounted for it in their plans?
She walks away from Katherine and goes upstairs to take a shower (to wash the blood out of her hair). She stares absently at the pale pink tinge of the water swirling towards the drain; the last remnants of the man she loves. Elena suddenly wants to fall on all fours and claw the water back, cradle it in her worn hands until they’re eternally pruned. She sits below the shower-head long after the water begins running clear; running her fingers along the bath-floor- heedless of the spray turning cold.
Apparently Katherine takes her long absence as an invitation. The vampire enters entirely unclothed and perches carelessly on the bath-tub. Elena moves to step out of the tub but Katherine grabs onto her wrist.
“Why are you still here?” Elena spat quietly through gritted teeth.
“We’re the sole two survivors of a great battle; that has to ignite some camaraderie, plus you amuse me.” Katherine replied with a tone filled with bittersweet laughter.
“You betrayed me!” Elena screamed; her rage at the death of the Salvatore brothers took hold of her limbs and she hysterically punched and kicked at Katherine- ignoring the fact that the vampire could snap her like kindling if she chose to do so. Katherine only held her firmly until her limbs were too tired to fight anymore. Before Elena knew it she was taking comfort from the embrace of the woman who had cost her everything; whimpering softly against her naked bosom.
“I never said I was loyal to you Elena.” Katherine stated plainly once there was silence.
“You claimed you were on our side ten times a day!” Elena said with quiet incredulity.
“I said I was loyal to Stefan and Damon.”
“Are you seriously arguing that you only betrayed them and not me?”
“I betrayed no one. They would’ve wanted you to be saved- whatever the cost.”
The words have a newly painful ring of truth to them and for the first time since events unfolded, she really sees Katherine. Elena looks at the face of the vampire who is identical to her, and though she has seen this person who could be her twin many, many times- this is the first time their faces look the same.
She wasn’t the only one who lost the Salvatore’s.
They look into each other’s grief-drunken eyes and their mouths draw towards each other seeking comfort; lips settle into a soft kiss. She runs her fingers and hands and mouth over olive surfaces so familiar and yet not hers; exploring her boys’ history- who they were- seeking their hidden mysteries in Katherine’s curves- this vampire they were with so long ago- this woman who was their first love. As hands explore Elena’s body she imagines Katherine doing the same; seeking secrets of who they’re now- who they’ve become- seeking any Salvatore traces on the woman who was their last love. Katherine’s fingers find her clit and Elena loses herself in the moment as they slot together in remembrance of the men they loved.
Chapter 7: Mend these broken wings
Her wings are broken; they have been smothered by soft lumpy pillows. Her air was stolen, suffocated by a conniving puppeteer. The air floats away, taking with it her innocent naive laughter and leaving sinking detritus of thick viscous blood clinging to newly sharpened teeth and flooding her newly sharpened mind. Her wings are frayed and misshapen- nothing beneath them but awry emotions and the urge for blood.
But gentle hands help her piece her wings back together, and though they’re still broken; cracked along their fragile spines, with deep calming breaths she steals back the air and discovers she can still fly.
The air isn’t the light fluffy thing it once was; it’s dark-tinted and laced with the scent of blood. But now it’s also filled with new warmth and echoes of deeper laughter. And though she wouldn’t have wished for this strange substance-filled air- flying through it feels good.
Then one day she soars too high and her wings are melted and ripped by searing heat of Vervain and wooden bullets. She is in a cage and they play with her wings like she is a mere fly; burning their edges and leaving cigarette-like round singes burrowed through her wings’ heart.
Her wings are broken; tattered holes leaving eerie shadows on her bedroom walls. But this time she takes no help. She is different now; she can mend her wings on her own. She uses strong-willed stained-glass patches and courageous confident glues and they’re still broken, yet stronger than ever before. And she realises that now that she can mend these things inside by herself; no one will ever stop her- she will always fly.
Chapter 8: The Legend of the Mountain Lion
Damon hurriedly picks up stakes and a crossbow; Stefan has disappeared and isn’t answering his cell. It’s another failure (Damon is reminded of his failure to protect his baby brother every time he looks at Stefan’s face, forever frozen at seventeen, it’s one of the reasons Damon hates Stefan). He’s reminded of his last failure, the last time Stefan didn’t answer his phone, due to being kidnapped by vengeful tomb vampires. Damon had gotten him back then and he would now. Except this time Stefan’s disappearance was probably due to Klaus- the most powerful vampire in existence- if he failed this time, there would be no coming back.
Following the tracks Damon finds the car quickly.
Sheldon continued to explain his position to Joe, the bus driver, who didn’t have the capacity to consider the situation reasonably.
“I called the bus offices, and they assured me that the route diverged from the I90 here, and would avoid Mystic Falls entirely.”
“Relax. There are no mountain lions in Virginia.”
“Referring to the land-mass of Virginia, excluding Mystic Falls, you would be correct. There’s no proof beyond approximately fifty yearly sightings, which are clearly hokum- considering the research- analysing the proclivities of the people making these assertions. However, the proportion of animal attacks in Mystic Falls is significantly higher, in comparison with the rest of Virginia. In addition they caught a Mountain Lion last year, just after an attack. Considering that no other animal indigenous to the population can explain these occurrences, it’s reasonable to extrapolate that there’s a high likelihood that the other attacks were due to Mountain Lions.”
“I’m sorry. I guess my twenty-five years of experience driving this route mustn’t be enough to spot these lions.”
“I’m glad you can acknowledge that, can we change direction now?”
Continuing to be completely unreasonable, the driver only glared at him in response.
“It’s not my fault you went in the wrong direction,” Sheldon pointed out.
The bus pulled over and the doors opened.
“Get out,” Joe said firmly.
“Fine, I will be lodging a complaint with the head office about this,” Sheldon said, stepping off the bus.
“Please do,” Joe laughed.
Sheldon looked at his map, calculating which direction would be most efficient, and also would not require him to enter Mystic Falls. He began to walk left, frequently checking the map.
After walking for an hour, Sheldon realises that the excess of greenery, lack of landmarks, and unsatisfactory lack of signs, renders the map insufficient. He’s sure that he’s already in Grove Hill, and thus is almost at the bus depot, and decides that his higher reasoning power will allow him to find the depot quicker than the map will. Considering the position of the sun, he heads west.
Another half an hour later, he cannot locate his position on the map, which has made finding the depot somewhat cumbersome. There’s nobody around to ask for directions and he hasn’t seen a house for seventy-five minutes. Sheldon takes sips of his water, rationing it to ensure continual hydration, and continues to walk. Eventually he spots a building in the distance, which looks like a manor.
Stefan searches through the drawers for his cell-phone charger; it was one of the few items Katherine moved, during her house-wide hunt for the Moonstone. He pauses, hearing someone knocking on the door.
He warily opens the door and finds a tall, wiry man standing there.
“Hello, I’m Dr Sheldon Cooper. Can you tell me where on this map your house is located?” The man asks, holding said map out to him.
Stefan subtly tugs the map towards himself, as he looks it over, and relaxes minutely as Sheldon steps over the threshold without an invite in.
“You’re here,” Stefan says, pointing.
“That’s not possible, this isn’t Mystic Falls,” Sheldon exclaims, with a slight squeak to his voice.
“It is; you’re right here.”
Sheldon looks closer at the map.
“This is the Salvatore Boarding House? I will stay here for the night.”
“I’m sorry; we’re not accepting guests right now.”
“You can’t do that.”
“Sorry, but we can. We haven’t taken guests for a while, which is why the sign isn’t up.”
“According to ‘the rules of guest house etiquette’ section two, subsection four, if a host intends to temporarily close a guest house, there is an obligation to remove it from the guest house registry, so that it no longer appears as a guest house on maps. As you haven’t done this, courtesy dictates that you take in the weary traveller, who finds himself at your door.”
“You didn’t even know it was a guest house until I showed you.”
“That’s irrelevant. Plus, I’ve got no desire to get mauled by mountain lions.”
Stefan can’t help letting a small smile slip out at that, but he’s also concerned about having Sheldon lingering; it’s not safe on the doorstep with Klaus around.
“How about just letting me give you a lift instead?” Stefan asks.
“Will you drive around Mystic Falls, instead of through it?”
“Fine,” Stefan sighs.
“Then that would be acceptable.”
Sheldon jumps as a man lands forcefully onto the car from nowhere, pointing a crossbow at him. He panics, considering the possible ninja cautiously. Stefan calmly pulls the car over and gets out. Sheldon wonders whether Stefan’s reaction means he’s a sociopath.
“What’re you doing?” Stefan asks.
“You weren’t answering your phone, what’re you doing?” The other man says.
“Giving this guy a ride. My cell battery’s dead.”
“You’re an idiot,” the stranger says.
“I’ll be back soon,” Stefan replies. The stranger walks away.
“What just happened, who is he?” Sheldon demands anxiously.
“Just my vampire brother. You’re fine,” Stefan says, looking into his eyes, and suddenly he feels fine.
Sheldon blinks with confusion, a moment ago Stefan was staring straight at him, and now he’s sitting on the bus wondering why he wrote a note to himself; to add an addendum concerning vampires to the roommate agreement.
Chapter 9: One Harmless Drink
It seemed like such an innocent moment at the time; just his father, trying to steer him onto the right path.
“Stefan... These creatures are of the dark parts of hell. They have the ability to control your mind, seduce your spirit,” Giuseppe said, glass in hand.
Stefan had taken the drink his father offered, with no thought or suspicion.
That action had led to the downfall of all the vampires (including Katherine, his true love).
The drink was dosed. Katherine drank his blood and was poisoned.
Father had made him responsible for it all. That seemed the cruellest betrayal.
Chapter 10: The Strong One
She has heard him call her Lexi, too many times to count; she never mentions it once he’s coherent again. Stefan was never the same once Klaus was done with him, back to square one, falling off the wagon every few years like back when he was new. She’s the only one left to pick up the pieces. She’s the one left with blood under her fingernails and grave dirt on her hands, putting him back together, soothing his tattered conscience. She’s the strong one; the only one who stayed.
When it comes to refraining from the kill, she’s the strongest vampire she knows. This is why this makes no sense. She’s sobbing over a well-dressed corpse, blood-soaked hands and lips and face, just like her first day as a vampire, frenzied and out of control. Stefan comes to her, calm and in control, just as he did on that first day. And wipes her face just the same.
“We’re all vampires Caroline, there will always be mistakes.” Stefan tells her.
She cries in his arms. He leaves the body in the lake. She wonders whether she will still cry over them in one hundred and fifty years, like Stefan does. She has sat watching Stefan far too long. Sometimes it’s like she’s already too jaded to feel, wonders whether that’s why she killed, couldn’t be bothered to stop herself anymore. Stefan looks at her with a concerned expression.
“You’ll never get used to this,” he says softly. She smiles at him, this is why she’s still here even though it’s slowly breaking her; Stefan is her closest friend and he always knows the right thing to say.
Caroline smiles at him a knowing smile; they’ve both been here, tortured and tormented, lost and alone. They are kindred spirits now, or maybe they have been for a while- exchanging looks over beer-stained tables. He knows if he asked again she would let him in- he knows as well as he knows his own name. And that’s why he goes to Elena and calls Bonnie and brings them to her door, he only gives his look to Elena- for it is what he must do.
He knows what Damon is doing, an existential crisis taken right out of The Arabian Night’s; a new woman every night, and Caroline is his own little Scheherazade in waiting. Elena may seem the more obvious choice, but she wouldn’t even have to try- wouldn’t have to do any convincing- it would be quick and inexplicable like all the others and Damon would explode just the same, less fatal definitely but destructive nonetheless. He remembers Damon with Caroline- back when they were both different people to who they are now- the odd times in between the chaos when Caroline would ask the questions that Damon needed asked and give the insights that Damon needed to hear. They were seedlings with a spark lying dormant in the windy harshness of winter’s chill and now they have both grown into fiery spring. Now they’re ready.
Stefan watches, after Matt’s rejection, as Caroline and Damon grow closer. Hears Caroline’s high laughter and Damon’s dry chortles over alcohol and blood. It makes him happy, but it also makes him sad. It is the werewolf bite that finally brings the two together; delirium fuelled kisses tearing inhibitions asunder. As time moves on Caroline and Damon travel the world together, leaving him alone, and he watches them hopelessly from the shadows. Sometimes Caroline will give him a knowing look; a measured glance in pondering of what might’ve been and he’ll look back just like they used to.
Chapter 12: Smile, while we have the time
Written for Tombofchallenges pick a pairing Anna/Stefan
Anna has always had a soft spot for the sweet boys, the pragmatic ones at least- she’s far too old for nonsensical sugary types. She plays her part as the shyly demure woman-child, carefully signing her name- free of ink blots or smudges- for the Miss Mystic Falls pageant. It’s for appearances sake, a silly game for silly girls, but she can’t help smiling inside when she pictures it. She imagines Stefan will be her escort. She likes him, perhaps more than she should, especially considering that she would lay all her expensive dresses as a wager that Katherine will steal him from her once she arrives; it’s what Katherine does.
But for now she and Stefan are haplessly drawn to each other, the not-still-children in the shadows. Stefan the good son and Anna the good daughter, dancing elegantly out of everyone’s way. Stefan makes her a picnic and they sit in the shade of an old willow tree, conversing all day about books they’ve read. One day they kiss; it’s soft and chaste, lips like an erroneous seam. They go for long walks and Stefan always sticks to the path, an action that would usually annoy is made ok by Stefan’s surprisingly genuine nature. She frowns as she thinks Katherine will surely break him of all his adorable habits.
The night she hears that Katherine will arrive by the week’s end, Anna sneaks into the Salvatore Manor and takes to Stefan’s bed. Stefan is shocked but hides it well, feigning nonchalance; she might’ve been convinced if it wasn’t for her enhanced senses. After a few minutes he says he wants to do this for her, she would laugh except she knows he’s being honest. He hasn’t considered this at all in the duration of their courtship. The boy is so ridiculously gentlemanly it almost makes her want to cry.
Stefan begins undoing corset strings with self-assured confidence. She almost sighs in disappointment at his fakery. He’s but a human boy after all. Then she tells him this isn’t her first time, and that apparently gives him permission to fall to pieces, he instantly lets her take the lead. Stefan is awkward, with cheeks so red they look painted, but he follows her lead well. She lies in the bed smiling afterwards, giving thought to stealing Stefan away. Except mother would follow her and Katherine would in turn follow mother. Anna knows it’s a silly idea anyway. She leaves in the morning, refusing to speak to him for the next few days; it’s for the best.
Anna watches from afar as Katherine’s carriage approaches the Salvatore manor, and thinks of Katherine dousing Stefan’s bright shining flames with bloodied water, leaving cold charcoals in her wake. She takes comfort in her overly fanciful imagery- it’s less damning than the truth. Anna’s unsurprised to find Stefan’s smile wider than she’s ever seen.
But she is startled by Katherine’s- more honest than ever- smile, and thinks that maybe Katherine’s dooming herself as well.
Chapter 13: Before
All of Mystic Falls’ lives, all of Mystic Falls’ lies, seem to be split into Before Katherine, and After Katherine. Before Klaus and after Klaus. If they could capture their unknowing expressions of before; would they recognise themselves?
Damon returns. He’s not disgusted by Stefan’s killing spree anymore; Stefan is disappointed for a moment, thinking Damon has given up on him. Then he realises Damon has fallen just as far. Damon isn’t that innocent boy anymore. A decade as a vampire has done far more than Giuseppe or Katherine or Stefan alone ever could.
Stefan is not yet thirty. It is nothing in the eternity awaiting him. But even as he heeds Alexia’s words, he thinks, if this is what love does to a person- he wants none of it. He hates Katherine every day. Runs fingers over her picture every night.
There’s no one left to remember the sweet boy he was. Except Damon, who doesn’t want to remember.
Mama was a witch, papa was a warlock. She was born with magic peppered from her soul through to her hair. She had known who she was once. Before Klaus.
All the witches help to destroy Klaus. Mama included. She’s not the strong fiery creature Bonnie remembers, a mere shadow now; ridden too hard by the world. She wonders whether she’ll look that way when she’s done.
Stefan returns. He’s not the same. Neither is Elena.
There’s no mistaking her for Katherine anymore, unless you’re not really looking (unless you’re not Stefan or Damon or another one of the many others who fell hopelessly). Elena’s three inches taller (older) with features more well defined. Not as worrisome as her eyes; they’ve lost their shine.
Stefan turns to Damon. To ask what year it is (how long it has been). Damon looks broken also (more so).
He wonders whether they’ll laugh again. Maybe they’re done now, laughter chords long since snapped in their frail lump-ridden throats.
Chapter 14: How to cure a werewolf bite
When Stefan finds the cure for a werewolf bite he doesn’t tell any of the others. He doesn’t need their opinions; they would only try to stop him. He flips the switch immediately; it would only make him want to stop himself. With a buffer of air sound-proofing his feet, Stefan slides quickly out of the boarding house.
He blurs over old greenery, focus pin-point sharp on the Lockwood mansion, long before it’s in sight. He pays no thought to the unfamiliar absence the switch affords him; there’s no time. Stefan doesn’t hesitate as he reaches the front steps, doesn’t give himself a moment to possibly change his mind.
He does however come to a stop just within the doors. Caroline is standing there, with a stance of strength and confident certainty, he’s almost furious that she would use a force against him that he helped her garner in the first place. It’s surprising to see her here and he wonders whether everyone already knew, knew and decided not to tell him. The betrayal sits like molten lava against his bones.
Stefan stands matching Caroline’s stance, and can’t help noticing how much she looks like a powerful goddess. He knows if he was himself he would hunch his shoulders, and say in a resigned, soft tone ‘you could’ve told me’ and diffuse the situation without hurting her. But Stefan’s far beyond that now. He is only pausing to make sure Bonnie doesn’t spring from a corner, but for whatever reason the witch isn’t here.
“Get out of my way,” he orders, in a gruff, quiet voice.
There are echoes of cheap wine on her breath as she speaks;
As Stefan begins to move further into the mansion, Caroline runs at him, she is elegance and strength and power and determination, she looks like a warrior and for a moment he’s proud. But only for a moment.
Then he throws her against the wall, she’s still a baby vampire after all. She gives him a hurt look, he has reminded her that however she feels, she’s still the little rag-doll girl they can hurl around like spare stained pillows. The look hurts- only a little. Stefan keeps moving, Caroline is in front of him instantaneously, he gives her a crooked-edged smile.
“You’re going to have to kill me to get to him,” She says, believing whole-heartedly in the deterrent.
Stefan breaks off a table leg, the wood is too smooth under his fingers, Caroline’s stare remains blank.
“I don’t have to do anything,” he replies, thrusting the table leg into her abdomen.
She sinks down, pale yellow hair lies spread like a halo on the floor, face contorted in a clash between the physical and the emotional.
“Stefan! Please don’t hurt him,” Caroline pleads. He has already forgotten the man who would’ve listened.
Tyler is in his room. Stefan shuts the door gently behind himself, but knows Caroline will still be able to hear everything. It does matter, but not nearly enough to stop him.
In the second after finding the cure, as the words gained reality in his mind, Stefan imagined this would be similar to his tryst with Amber, (back when he had needed human blood and that was his sole focus) a game of cat and mouse with a reluctantly tumultuous cat. He imagined pacing wildly back and forth through the mansion, keeping Tyler under his fingers before letting him run. Now that he’s here, any doubt he was ignoring has vanished entirely, this has to happen; it’s the only way.
Stefan wraps his hand around Tyler’s neck, holding the well muscled body against wall. He can’t remember the last time he went after someone who hadn’t come after him first. Switch or no, he understands the significance; this is the end, or the beginning, depending on how it’s looked at.
“Any last words, any messages you want to give anyone,” Stefan offers, Tyler shakes his head, struggling fruitlessly with his supposedly mighty werewolf body.
Stefan doesn’t say sorry, it wouldn’t mean anything. He feels flesh and muscle and bones, pressing hard against his hand and breaking away under his vampire force, buzzing to reform. Stefan pulls Tyler’s heart out.
And spills it against the too white wall. He hears Caroline run upstairs as he washes up, she’s sobbing. He leaves without giving her a word.
Elena breaks up with him; he isn’t the man she thought he was.
Caroline is mired in hate for him; he killed her friend.
Bonnie wants to kill him; he has left the rails and is careening upon blood-filled pavements.
Damon’s alive, that’s what matters; he doesn’t care about the other stuff.
Chapter 15: Moon Creature
Klaus can feel the moon salting his veins, shooting spice-like electricity through that primeval part of him that knows only one certainty; he needs his pack.
This instinct has haunted him through all his centuries, searching for family, and comrades; Originals and Hybrids. He was always seeking out followers. Now he knows better.
It turns out, regardless of being an obvious leader, that’s not his place in the pack. His place is to be looked after and commanded by someone else; and he relishes the chance to be free of his burdens. Except Stefan’s ignoring him again; despite (or possibly because of) knowing it’s a full moon tonight. And that’s why Klaus is making Stefan coffee.
“Thank you,” Stefan says, excepting the coffee, and turning back to the book he’s reading.
Klaus parks himself opposite Stefan, and waits.
Stefan’s empty mug sits on the table for three minutes before he finally puts his book down and turns to Klaus. Stefan plays with Klaus’s curls for a too-short moment before letting go, and he can’t help but let out a whimper at the absence. Stefan’s expression hardens.
“Bedroom, now,” Stefan, his Alpha wolf, orders perfunctorily.
He obeys. Stefan follows him into the room.
“Strip,” Stefan commands quietly, refusing to grant him even the touch of undressing.
Klaus climbs out of his clothes slowly, hoping to incite a punishment; at least that would be contact. But his pack leader knows him too well.
Stefan wordlessly leaves the room, and the wolf inside suddenly feels lost; like years of the past, abandoned, alone, pack-less. He continues to undress, and waits for Stefan to return. Stefan re-enters the room fifteen minutes later, and Klaus has to hold himself back from pouncing on him, fingers twitching trigger-happy at his sides.
Stefan stands fully clothed, giving Klaus’s bare body an assessing glance. Klaus watches as Stefan walks aloof to the drawers, and pulls out a pair of handcuffs and a switch wrapped in wolfsbane. Klaus lets out an anticipatory gasp.
“Silence,” Stefan says firmly, punctuating the word with a hit of the poison-laced switch against his left nipple.
His cock twitches at the mild sizzle against his skin. He hangs his head in submissive acquiescence. Hopes Stefan won’t leave again.
“Get on the bed; lie on your back,” says Stefan, words thrown out hard and solid.
Klaus moves quickly, eagerly, this time. His cock’s already throbbing insistently.
He holds out his hands, licking his lips as the cuffs are fastened around the bedposts. Klaus tugs on them, measuring their resistance; Stefan was very angry when he accidentally broke the last pair.
“Oh, you won’t get out of those; they’re magically reinforced, and so are the bedposts,” Stefan says, grinning before muting his expression into blankness.
Klaus automatically gives the cuffs a vicious yank to test this, there’s no give at all. For the first time in decades, he’s genuinely trapped. He grits his teeth, and tries to shut out the fear coiling in his gut, along with the voice whispering that it wasn’t so long ago that he was Stefan’s enemy. Stefan wouldn’t hurt him; he knows this.
“Hey, you trust me right,” Stefan says, smiling a soft smile, hands sliding delightfully over Klaus’s torso. Klaus relaxes immediately; doesn’t even know where the stray panic came from.
“You’re not used to being truly vulnerable; this time you will be able to let go properly,” Stefan says, his voice cold and brutal again.
Stefan casually runs the end of the switch from Klaus’s Adam’s apple to his crotch. Leaving a trail of burnt skin--like a sparkler--that dies before it’s truly born.
He bites his tongue to hold in a hiss as the switch’s tip lingers on his balls, reminding himself that he’s not allowed to make a sound. Klaus considers moving; wonders if it would be worth the burn to get some friction against his swollen member. As soon as he arches upwards, the switch swishes away, landing sharply against his ribs.
“Behave,” Stefan demands in a dry monotone.
Klaus attempts to hold a submissive stance, but it’s hard when he’s laid out flat. He’s desperate now; just wants Stefan to touch him anywhere, and Stefan knows it.
Stefan stands over him, gaze intense and scrutinising. It only makes Klaus harder. After an interminable number of minutes, Stefan climbs onto the bad; still wearing far too many clothes. Stefan’s hands and lips roam gloriously upon his body, still avoiding his crotch. It takes focus, but he manages not to let slip any (of many possible) moans of pleasure; even when Stefan bites into the juncture above his hip that he loves being bitten in. Stefan laps his blood up like the predator he is, and Klaus thinks he’ll be driven mad if the neglected part of his body doesn’t get some attention soon.
“You’ve been such a good little wolf; I think you’ve earned a reward,” Stefan says, swiftly but purposefully removing his shirt, pants, and underpants.
“Ask your question,” Stefan says, at long last.
“Please, please...” he begs, jabbering out of focus.
“Please fuck me,” he gasps out urgently.
“Well since you’ve been so good...” Stefan says, with a smirk, as he straddles Klaus and roughly pushes a finger into his hole.
A raw cry is ripped out of him as a second finger joins too soon after.
“Oh dear, do you want me to stop?” Stefan asks faux sincerely.
“No!” Klaus yells, arching involuntarily in a search for friction that isn’t there.
Abruptly Stefan’s fingers are gone, and there’s only a congestion of empty air surrounding him.
“That wasn’t very polite,” Stefan scolds.
“Sorry, sorry,” Klaus says pleadingly, cursing his mistake. Stefan picks up the switch again.
“Remind me, who does this belong to?” Stefan asks, indicating Klaus’s body by running the whole length of the switch against his chest. Klaus heaves against the cuffs in response to the large burn.
“You, it belongs to you,” Klaus answers quickly with conviction.
“Correct. You’re mine, and what does that mean?”
“I do as you tell me to.”
“Good,” Stefan says, caressing his cheek, “now if you behave, we can continue.”
His alpha wolf finishes preparing him sparsely before entering him with one rough thrust. He frantically pushes himself upwards, urging Stefan deeper, Stefan thrusts deeper in return as they find their rhythm. Klaus falls into the moment, losing himself entirely; free and wild and reckless, until he comes a few seconds after Stefan.
Stefan undoes his hand-cuffs and Klaus smiles in peace; the moon in his marrow tamed for now. Stefan’s arms wind around his body in a firm, forceful grip, and Klaus feels secure within the pack’s cocoon.
Chapter 16: Loved you for a thousand years
Based on a weekend comment fic prompt over an TVD rareships; Klaus/Stefan - I have died everyday waiting for you. Darling don't be afraid I have loved you for a thousand years. I'll love you for a thousand more.
For nine hundred years Klaus had loved an idea, invested himself in it, lived it, breathed it, dreamed it. It was the idea of loved ones, of friends, of family, of comrades. He was steadfast and unyielding in the pursuit of his goals; destroying all of those who stood in his path. But as obsessed as he was, he was still a vampire who had lived for nine hundred years, and thus knew that when he achieved his goals it wouldn’t feel as good as he imagined, oh, it would be great, undoubtedly, but too tarnished to be golden.
Then he met Stefan, whose wickedness was magnificent, enough to rival his own, but more than that Stefan understood him; and loved him not in spite of but because of it. Klaus realised--this was truly what he had been waiting for. And it wasn’t as he had imagined; it was resplendently better. He knew he had been in love with Stefan for a thousand years; he just hadn’t met him yet.
Him and Rebekah stay in Chicago for two glorious years, and he basks in Stefan’s attention, his love for Stefan only growing. Then of course Mikael finds them again, and they must run. Klaus knows he has a hard choice to make, and he has until his wrist clasps Rebekah’s arm to make it. He knows Stefan will leave with them unless Klaus ensures otherwise, and Klaus is strongly tempted to let him. But he knows what will happen; once Stefan begins running with them he will never be able to stop, and never is a long time for a vampire, eventually Stefan will resent him and eventually that resentment will turn to hate. Klaus doesn’t think he could stand having Stefan hate him, so he will have to leave him behind. Besides, it will be easy to compel him to forget now, and then compel him to remember later; then they can pick up where they left off.
Every day Klaus misses Stefan, but when he finds his love, Stefan has turned into a kitten. He contemplates forcing Stefan back into the vampire he remembers, but instead Klaus waits for Stefan to fall off the wagon; he never does.
Then one day Stefan offers him anything, and Klaus knows he should refuse, knows this will end up exactly where he didn’t want it to go back in the twenties. But he has been starving for ninety years, and refusing isn’t an option. It hurts, actually physically hurts, when Stefan looks at him with hatred in his eyes. He supposes he brought this on himself. He will fix it all; he has waited a thousand years, if needs be, he can wait a thousand more.
Klaus finds Stefan and the coffins in Detroit. It doesn’t take Stefan a moment to realise he has lost any leverage he had. There’s a look of cold terror on Stefan’s face. Klaus wants to look away, knows it will give away too much, so looks straight at Stefan with a fierce grin.
“Darling, don't be afraid, I have loved you for a thousand years. I'll love you for a thousand more,” Klaus says, wolfish teeth on show.
He knows Stefan thinks it’s a joke; it’s better that way.
Chapter 17: No flowers in her garden
Klaus lies between them, tries to pretend everything is as it always was, but time changes everything. He sees it all; Elijah is tired—tired of Klaus living as the kings they are, brother dearest wants them to exert mercy and restraint, Klaus himself could never live such a lie. He hopes him and Rebekah are enough to keep Elijah here, as he could never live without him either. His sister would suggest Klaus compromise; if he gives Elijah a little of what he wants he’ll surely stay. But no, things have to stay the way they are, and neither of them can leave and that’s it; the whole situation leaves Klaus itching, like wood scraping against his skin.
He sees Rebekah dream and desire, of things she can never have; lives and loves and human beauty, but there are no flowers in her garden, only death. Klaus is careful to keep her close in her orbit, lest she stray and sleepwalk into a life that would only lead to her death; he can’t have her dead so he must keep her alive. Keep her with him.
It scares him, he thinks they could both live without him, the idea hurts in a way he could never admit aloud. But he could never live without Elijah or Rebekah. So he lies, open eyes, between their sleeping bodies, for this moment tucking away all unpleasant thoughts and basking in their skin against his own. Later they will poison him with betrayal, leaving him bleeding eternally, but for now he will relish their companionship.
Chapter 18: 'I'll dance upon your floor, and kiss secrets into your hair' & 'regret'
It’s the first day of prohibition; which seems as good a day as any for the grand opening of Gloria’s speakeasy (building the underground place had started a year ago, when they knew the law was going to be passed). Rebekah helps with the final touches of elegance; or rather compels others to apply her mandated additions. Klaus lounges beside her as she carefully controls the placement of the pyramid of glasses.
“Sister, Gloria should be our servant, not the other way around; do not fool yourself into believing you’re playing her here,” her brother admonishes her.
“I’m doing this because I want to. I like styling the place, creating the atmosphere,” is her responding argument.
“Very well, we will stay, but only to see what amusements follow,” Klaus concedes.
Rebekah chooses to stay silent; she’s old enough to pick her battles.
Opening night is a success; the place is full to the brim with elegant flapper dresses, and short styled hair. No one less than par is allowed in. Rebekah allows herself to enjoy the night; there is enough staff to keep everything well oiled. Dancing is always more joyful than she will admit (it’s never good to give Nik any ammunition for thinking her child-like).
It’s nearing ten when she spots an arrogant, full of himself, young vampire; Stefan Salvatore (the famed ripper). And wonders whether the boy really thinks he’s the oldest vampire here, or the most ruthless for that matter, but suspects there’s more to him than meets the eye. He mainly associates with a group of young men, cawing boisterously, veering off occasionally for a drink. She watches him all night, and likes what she sees, but doesn’t approach him--not while Niklaus is here.
As the night draws to a close, she gives Gloria a look--heavy with intent--the witch gives an almost imperceptible nod of agreement. Tells her brother Gloria is helping her with some spells, and then is gone.
Their clothes fall away quickly, and they bask in their nakedness.
“I want Stefan,” Rebekah blurts.
“So what’s the problem?” Gloria asks; this isn’t exactly monogamous.
“Klaus,” she replies, kissing an impassioned line down Gloria’s sternum, before taking a nipple between her teeth. The witch arches beneath her, fingers gliding idly along her sides.
Gloria doesn’t refute the idea--knows her well enough to not.
Rebekah has an instinct for these things. But she loves and hates these instincts with equal voracity; she knows it’s best to lure Stefan with indifference and mockery, but also knows what will happen once he has been lured. She whispers secrets into Gloria’s navel; feels someone should know them before she is killed. Klaus will want Stefan for himself--just as he wants Rebekah for himself. He will be jealous of her for having Stefan, and Jealous of Stefan for having her.
Forgets her thoughts for a moment as fingers tap-dance against her clit, allows her lover to undo her. Screams and whimpers and swears her way to completion. Then lies in ecstatic immobility. But she is an original, and recovers from the blissful haze too soon.
“One day Stefan will be killed, and maybe I will be killed along with him,” Rebekah murmurs with conspiratorial resignation.
“Then I will just have to make sure that one day Klaus wakes you again,” Gloria replies simply, with her fingers combing a lullaby through Rebekah’s blonde curls.
Based on the prompt; Esther, Klaus - sins of the mother visited upon the son.
Esther stares at the happenings outside, safe behind the walls of Ayana’s house--where Mikael told her to stay--for Klaus has no invitation into the abode. Niklaus angrily rips apart the neighbours--trying to exert power over a life he could never control. She can now see well the terrible thing she has done, can see what is to become of her children, which is why she had no choice but to bind Klaus. Not because she despises him but quite the opposite; because she loves him too much, and wants to give him a chance to not become the abomination she knows is destined.
Elijah hides his sadness well; she’s the only one who knows he still cries silently after every one of his kills. He is the most ill-fit for this plague, and she can only hope the task of holding his siblings together will be enough to hold him together. She’s less surprised than the others at how well Rebekah has taken to her new life--the best suited by far--Rebekah says this is just a new cycle of life and is able to sometimes believe it’s just that simple. Niklaus likes to make it seem as though this is something which thrills him; all the power, all the control, but Esther sees already how it has broken him. A mother knows her children too well; this is her damnation.
They say that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. If witches were commonly known of they would say; there is nothing more dangerous than a grieving witch. It was her grief that did this; it’s an excuse but it’s also the truth; her grief, her longing and Mikael’s hubris. She gazes upon this Hell she made, watches her children hunt their fellow man. She once thought her intentions were good, now she sees how selfish they were.
It was lust that drove her into the arms of Klaus’s father, which lead to Klaus’s conception. Klaus was a living reminder of her sin. A breathing child to destroy their family. She can’t bear to look at Klaus--after what she has done to him; the child so exhuberant and playful and alive, forced to be fearful and insecure, her sweet Niklaus forced into such hurt driven fury, into such longing driven damnation. She understands Niklaus’s clinging to family better than anyone; she clung so hard she destroyed them all.
She watches as an eerie calm falls over Klaus and he grins in her direction, walking confidently towards Ayana’s home. She knows she deserves what’s coming.
“Hello mother,” he says softly.
“Come in Niklaus,” Esther answers. It's the only answer she could give.
Chapter 19: This Love
Prompt; Stefan/Elena; Love is not a victory march
They are good together. That is their downfall (even with cursed long lost friend hybrids and brothers and blood addictions). They talked, and they clicked like perfectly customised puzzle pieces; their love had to be epic.
Stefan needed this, needed something to make his fifty years of restraint mean something—to make him normal, desperation claws at his surroundings until he finds Elena—perfect human Elena; he tells himself their love is epic and that makes it so (if he acts as though it is, that makes it true) he has never found it hard to believe. Elena was desperate too—maybe their strings of desperation called to each other—for something, even though she had no idea what, and for her Stefan felt new and different and wonderful; their love had to be special because it hadn’t felt anything like this with Matt.
Then life happens.
They fold under the weight of their own expectations. It’s not epic, it never was; they were two people in love, that is all.
Stefan has won, Elena chose him, except love isn’t about winning. He’s respecting her decision, the irony of that makes him laugh, though he might also cry. He’s knows people, moulds to them, does what they want, that’s how he gets them to choose him, but it’s still real, except when it’s not.
He knows Elena, watches her as Damon enters the room, as Damon talks, and watches her as she talks about Damon. It occurs to Stefan how very young Elena is in these moments--despite everything--because she genuinely doesn’t know.
Elena loves him, but she’s in love with Damon.
And Stefan doesn’t know anymore whether it would be more selfish to stay or leave, maybe he could happily live this lie for a little while, but watching his brother a lone figure by the fire, watching the way she looks at his brother, and watching the way she looks at him, he knows he won’t.
Elena loves him, but she’s in love with Damon. And the sad thing is Stefan is going to have to be the one to explain it to her.
Chapter 20: Break
Damon/Elena prompt; Do whatever you have to do, to get it out and not, become a reaction memory, To hurt the ones you love, you know you never meant to, but you do
She thought she understood what it was like for them, thought she empathised, she was wrong. Every emotion cascades over her, an avalanche inside her, and she only has to make one move to stop it all.
“I can’t, I can’t, I can’t,” she says.
“It’s ok,” Damon says, and he cups her face like Stefan would, says words like Stefan would, looks after her like Stefan would, only different, and she wonders whether they learnt this from each other, or were just inherently this way. Two sides of the same coin.
“I have to switch it off,” she confesses, quiet, ashamed.
“Whatever you have to do,” Damon says, and the words sound wrong, but they’re all the permission she needs.
The difference is instantaneous. It’s easier, not easy, just easier.
Elena runs into him, kissing passionately, much like in Denver, and he responds in kind. Arms around his neck, she jumps, wrapping her legs firmly around his waist.
He doesn’t stop to ask if she’s sure or mention she’s in a vulnerable place; he knows her better than that, and she thinks she would like to love him for that if nothing else.
Hands move swift and urgent, running over skin and tearing away clothes. Damon’s kisses over her body are desperate but delicate, insistant but worshipful, and she basks in them.
As fingers rush along her breasts, she arches into the touch (despite the lack of wiggle room) and throws her head back, not caring when it hits the wall. Lets out a thrilled moan as a thumb caresses her nipple. Clenches her legs tighter about his waist as he thrusts into her, rougher now. Her hands find their way into his hair and pull tight, just as her fangs find his lips. They smile bloody lipped smiles against each other, and he continues pushing inside her, hands firm on her thighs--holding her in place.
Afterwards, she slides away from him, picks up her clothes, and smirks, walking away from him, head held high.
She treats him with indifference for days, and when it pleases her makes another move; pulling him in for a rough kiss and stripping off his shirt.
“Elena, I need to know what’s going on?” Damon demands.
“Do you want to do this or not?” Elena states bluntly.
Damon’s all smirk in reply as always, but she can see the cracks forming underneath.
She doesn’t care.
But that isn’t the worst thing.
The next time—a week later—he begins to say no. She lets her gaze soften, and strokes his neck with her thumbs, and the words collapse into a sigh.
She grins, unremorseful. She shoves him down onto one of his precious Persian rugs, and splits him open with her teeth. He bites back just as hard.
Damon moves slower this time, savouring it, like he’s trying to make this goodbye. She matches his rhythm; she’s willing to let him try—it will be all the more pleasing ensuring he fails.
Every few days, every few weeks, every few months, she goes to him. They consume each other. It’s wild and reckless, she breaks pieces of him off, and lets pieces of herself go with it.
“Do you really hate me so much?” Damon asks sometimes. why are you doing this?
“No, not very much,” she answers coy yet serious. What else am I going to do?
Life goes on, she has lived for her loved ones too long, now her only loved one is herself, what else is she going to do?
She compells her way into anything she cares to do, and steals, and lies, and rips apart anyone she wants; but no one crumbles as beautifully as Damon does.
They don’t talk, Elena doesn’t care to, and Damon has given up. He has stopped trying to tell himself that every time is a new goodbye; there have been too many to count. He’s too lost to do anything but lose himself in these scattered moments.
They are both two different people now.
Every time she fucks him, she sees another crack in his shiny veneer; she has the power to break him, so completely, so perfectly. And she likes it.
That is the worst thing.
Cracks. Cracks. Cracks. Until that's all there's left.
Chapter 21: Shadow limbs
Prompt Stefan/Katherine/Damon, It's like I can't even feel, After the way you touched me, I'm not asleep but I'm not awake, After the way you loved me
A bit of shoulder bone floated away and wrenched into his gut. That’s what it feels like; the wet teeth marks beneath his neck. But he doesn’t love her any less; before and during and long after expanding dark eyes ensure this. No, the eyes are only an addendum, an appendage waiting to be sloughed away by death; waiting for the love hidden beneath to be revealed.
Can’t shake the guilt, and Damon urging him to drink human blood tastes too much of bitter absolution.
He keeps his feelings hidden in a picture; pretends his love was just as two dimensional, and tries to forget the journal imprinted with 1864, as though his unchanging face isn’t imprinted with the same number.
She is the major player here, and yet. Damon looks at her like he knows her; not like she’s an innocent girl, or a monster, but like she’s a woman who has done what she needs to survive and always won. Stefan looks at her like he sees the person she could’ve been; he’s not half as fooled as everyone thinks he is. It’s new, she appreciates it.
She enjoys watching them be brothers; still genuinely the best of friends despite the roaring jealousy lighting their veins, running around together as though she couldn’t break them apart like kindling; she’s tempted to prove them wrong.
She thinks these boys are sirens; imagines using them to crush her enemies upon jagged rocks. Maybe even Klaus; Klaus would love her boys—maybe too much. And why allow it when she already loves them too much for the entire world. Damon is precious enough to be given every choice, and Stefan is precious enough to be given none. Survival is always more important, she knows this. Until the need to keep them, and the need to leave them, clash together and she feels nothing.
The plan was always to take them with her, but there wasn’t time to wait for them to wake.
Damon tries to remember, every bit, all the time; this is what he holds on for. For a touch that burrowed inside and will settle for nothing less than forever, she would settle for nothing less than his all. She’s a shadow limb inside his body, puppeteer-ing his movements.
He lives in nights and days and blood-soaked roadside snacks. And it feels like retribution when Stefan runs blood-drunk into the woods, except he still watches over him, exists in the same cities if not the same circles. Won’t admit he misses his brother a fraction of what he does.
At some point, long after Stefan admits it was a lot more than nothing, and Damon realises it was a lot less than everything, and Katherine finally knows that survival isn’t always the most important thing in the world, they tangle together in a too big bed.
Damon pours wine, and Stefan mimics spilling some. She untangles herself and slinks on her dress with the same suggestiveness that she did her corsets and life goes on.
Chapter 22: Who is she
She’s just a high school girl, failing most of her classes now, she broke down after all those deaths
(that is what her town thinks).
Her lovers were killers, and her parents were villains, and her blood is the apparent answer to all the worlds ills
(she’s stronger than they could ever know).
She’s just a vessel for magical blood, a little human fighting futiley
(that’s what her enemies think).
There’s always another monster in town, bringing her down, and vampires and witches and humans all keep burning up for her
(she wonders whether they’ll keep coming if she stands on the pyre herself, lets the fire turn her precious blood to ash).
She’s a more perfect copy of a girl they once knew
(It’s a thought her lovers have forgotten they think).
It’s a lie and a truth, contorted together, but she can’t make a choice any different from that of her selfish, impatient, vicious mirror image; she needs them both
(she knows one would place her high on a temple pedestal, and the other would place her back on the ground, but they will both sit together--silent by the fire--when she’s gone).
She’s loyal, and trustworthy, and a great friend, who would get into endless trouble protecting them, so they’ll do the same for her
(that’s what her friends think).
There’s only so high the pile of dead bodies can get before she knows she has been protected too long, and the rest no longer matters.
(They’ve known each other too long, felt everything for her from love to hate, from sympathy to jealousy, from joy to deepest sorrow. They are different now, she doesn’t need to spoke this wheel any more. Afterwards, they will be strong--they will force each other to be happy again).
She’s a fighter, a lover, a friend, an ordinary person in extraordinary circumstances
(that is what she thinks).
A necessary sacrifice
(In the end she decides on slitting her wrists, likes the poetic of watching all that gold-tinged blood swirl down the drain. It’s harder than she imagines--the physicality of it all, after the stakings and daggerings it feels as though opening a few veins should be easy. Blood trickles brighter than before in the afternoon light, she feels fine for many moments, thinks the blood might all just slide back in--like maybe she became a vampire when she wasn’t paying attention--because her life is troublesome that way. She begins to feel faint, lays down in the bath with her wrist against the cold metal circle--to feed it her coppery redness, so none will be salvagable. She shuts her eyes, wonders for many moments more if her vampires, friend and foe, will smell the blood from miles around--will know it’s hers, will come. But they don’t).