Stefan hates the way that Klaus smiles sometimes.
It’s like he has a secret - no, worse. It’s like Klaus believes they share a secret and that they’re in this together. Like they’re friends instead of this being something that Stefan was forced into to save his brother.
How hard up does a guy have to be for friends if he has to blackmail people into it? And how deluded does Klaus have to be to convince himself that what he has with Stefan is even close to being real? The more time Stefan spends with the guy, the less sense it all seems to make.
Stefan can’t decide whether or not he’s glad that Klaus hasn’t explained his goals. On the one hand, it’s easier not to know, easier to just kill when Klaus orders it done and not have to think about why. But it eats away at Stefan, sometimes, not knowing the reason. Not knowing what Klaus has planned for Stefan. He hints at it from time to time, this greater plan that he has in mind for the two of them, but never comes right out and says anything of use.
While it can be frustrating as hell to be constantly wondering about the grand - certainly evil - scheme that Klaus is working up, thinking about that distracts Stefan from thinking about home. He knows that Damon is all right - at least he has that to hold onto - but he doesn’t know enough. Does Damon miss him? Elena must, Stefan knows. Even if it would be smarter for her not to, for her to just give up on him, he knows that that’s just not in her. But what about Damon? Stefan knows that he and his brother have finally been getting closer - despite Damon’s feelings for Elena, or maybe because of them - but Damon has always avoided Stefan when he’s gone Ripper.
Kinda funny, really, since he spends so much time trying to get Stefan to drink human blood but then he hates Stefan when he’s actually drinking it.
There are ways in which Damon makes as little sense as Klaus.
Stefan smooths down the hair of the woman in front of him. She’s cooling, of course, her blood marked out in trails along the floor and walls, but that’s fine. She’s still pliable now, but soon enough the rigor mortis will help keep her in place. He can feel Klaus behind him and he doesn’t have to look to know that Klaus is smiling.
“She had a beautiful scream, that one did,” Klaus says, that accent of his twisting around his words and making them deceptively light. “Humans are always prettier when they’re dying, aren’t they?”
“Yes,” Stefan says, the word out before he quite realizes that he’s saying it. He shivers and closes his eyes for a second, and he can remember exactly what the girl looked like before he- before he tore her to pieces. Klaus is leaning down and then he reaches forward over Stefan’s shoulder and fluffs the girl’s hair where it was starting to stick together from the blood.
“Ah, that looks better,” he says. “As though she only has a scratch. Her friend is a bit messier.”
Stefan looks over at the second body. “This isn’t a game,” he says. “She was a person.”
“And now she’s a corpse,” Klaus says. Stefan relaxes slightly when Klaus moves away from him again. “I didn’t see you flinching when she was begging you to stop. No point in playing pretend now.”
“I’m just following orders,” Stefan says, getting up and starting with the second girl. “I’m not doing this because I like it; I’m doing it because it’s what you want me to do.”
“So you keep saying,” Klaus says. His voice lowers, gentles. “But we both know better, Stefan. And you will admit it to me eventually.”
Klaus moves farther away and Stefan can hear him opening the door. Stefan doesn’t look away from the girl’s body and his self-appointed task in putting it back together.
“When you’re done in here, come back out to me,” Klaus says. His voice is back to being brash and confident. “No need to hurry; I know how you like your little rituals. Enjoy yourself.”
Then he’s gone, leaving Stefan alone in the house with the two dead women.
Stefan carefully places the second girl’s head back on her body and straightens it. Her eyes are open, staring blankly at him. He raises a hand to shut them, but his fingers are caked in blood. He licks them clean and then brushes his fingers over her eyelids to try to shut them - it’s too late, though, and her eyelids won’t stay shut.
“I am sorry,” he says, quietly. He doubts that it would comfort her, even if she could hear him. He brushes a strand of her hair out of her face and then notices a streak of blood on her cheek. He leans forward and delicately kisses it off. It doesn’t taste as quite good as her blood had tasted a couple of hours ago, when she was still alive. That’s the trouble with drinking live blood; it ruins the flavor of anything else.
He craves it again now, even though he drank recently. That’s the other problem - the more he drinks human blood, the more he wants to drink. With animal blood, Stefan would often find himself putting off the next meal. All those years and all those attempts to stay off human blood and animal still tastes like shit in comparison.
Stefan gets up and takes a few steps back, then tilts his head and studies the finished composition - two girls on a couch, as if they were watching TV together. Frozen in time.
He almost wishes for a camera. He studies them for a moment longer, fixing them in his memory: the absolute stillness, the delicate lines of blood, the silence. Humans are easier to deal with like this, no pulse pounding in his ears and telling him to drink.
Still, though, Klaus is right - they’re much more attractive when they’re dying.
Stefan leaves the house and heads toward the place where he’s meeting Klaus, his mind clearing until only one thought remains - he wonders who Klaus will ask him to kill next.
He wonders how their blood will taste.