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She Let Time Slip Through Her Skinny, Skinny Fingers

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"Would you believe me?" she asks.

He considers.










This time, it's a little less dramatic than her stepping wet and naked out of his shower.

It's still somewhat dramatic, though, because it's Katherine, and Katherine is an attention-loving whore.

She's playing Strauss on his fucking piano.

"Hello, Damon," she drawls, and if this were a movie, he'd congratulate her on her perfect line delivery. This is not a movie.

"What are you doing with that," he greets, vaguely outraged.

She ignores him, ploughs on instead with her grand opening monologue, "Long time, no see. The last time we talked, you were trading me in for a newer model," smug smile attached.

He isn't so impressed. "Selective memory, much? The last time we talked, you were getting the hell out of dodge." And so encapsulates the entirety of our relationship, he adds in his mind.

"And now I'm back." She spreads her hands, as though bequeathing a gift. The gift of her presence, apparently.

Damon surveys her. "Why."

She twirls a lock of hair between her fingers. "Don't you mean, who?"










Damon drinks a lot that week.











The first time -- more like the twenty-seventh time in reality (twenty seven is a good uneven number, he decides as she fastens her mouth around his dick) -- is so cliche it makes him itch. Damon supposedly hates cliches. Fortunately, cliches love him.

What she does is, she throws him through a glass door.

The existence of the door is irrelevant.

The relevant part is when he pulls a broken shard from his side, and she leaps on him like a mad thing. Her eyes are broken bottles, he has the chance to think before she stabs (yes, stabs) her tongue down his throat. (It's a song lyric, shut up, and work with me.)

I could do without the mess, he thinks as she slides back up his body. What a bitch to have to clean up.










"Do you actually feel, like, human emotions?" He happens to be in a mood.

It's an unfortunate string of words, he can admit later when he finds an entire nest of cockroaches in his satin sheets.










Their first time -- the real first time -- he was so happy he could have died. (That came later.) She was moving above him, and he was moving with her, and the earth was moving too, etcetera etcetera.

It was love, simply put. Her savage teeth in his flesh -- that was love, too.

He remembers waking giddily the next morning in an empty bed with fading bruises, feeling like a new man. A revived man. A man of any kind, really.

It was a terrible shame to have to cover up the scars.










What a terrible thing, someone said, to be destroyed by love.

But what a way to go.

Not everybody gets to die for love, you know.











Their (insert number here) time, they're in a darkened cinema.

This is also impressively cliche, but he thinks that seems fitting. Katherine is working her fingers past his belt, because this is what Katherine does when she's bored, and Damon is trying to count the number of mistakes in the movie subtitles. Not that his French is the best, but nonetheless, he's pretty sure that whatever number he comes up with can't be too far off the reality anyway.

The strange thing is that they were getting along. This should have been the first clue.










Predictably enough, she insists on sleeping in a different bedroom each night. He'd never think to ask her to choose.

(The truth is that he simply thinks twice.)










It's a quiet Sunday afternoon when she sprawls beside him on the sofa in her fluffy red robe. ("Why are you walking around in a robe, Katherine.") He's trying to reread Moby Dick and care about it. Second time's always a charm.

"What are you doing."

"Dismembering a zebra," he replies without looking up.

"Why a zebra," she responds without blinking.

"Why not a fucking zebra."

She sighs. "I'm bored."

"Okay." He snaps the book shut, not without relief. "Let's fuck."

She treats him to a withering look.

He cocks a brow. "I'm sorry, did you want romance?"

"We never talk anymore, you know."

This is the point where he loses track of the story. "About what?"

She shrugs. "Town gossip. The weather. Evil schemes."

"Since when," he says slowly, warily.

She makes an impatient sound in the back of her throat. "Fine. Whatever." Gathers herself up off the sofa. "Hindsight is always 20/20."

He ponders the meaning of this long after she's left.










One night he comes home to find her gone.

Not gone gone. Nothing that dire. Her crap is still in bedroom (insert number here).

"Where's Katherine," he asks, because he has nothing to prove.

"On the roof," Stefan tells him.


Stefan is preoccupied with a chess game against himself. "I think she wants you to join her."

It's an interesting proposition.










She's sitting like a child against the edge.

"Katherine," he says, carefully, because he doesn't know what story this is anymore. "What are you doing."

She doesn't turn to face him. "I'm bored."

A pause. "We established that."

"You don't understand, Damon." She looks sharply at him, her eyes glittering with some pent-up urge he can't place. "Klaus is dead. Dead." Stresses the last syllable as though it means something. "After 500 years. How could you possibly understand." Turns her face away again; she can hardly stand to look at him.

Damon blinks uselessly. It's true -- he doesn't understand. She's furious and seething at something, at him, and he doesn't understand. Maybe he never did. (A lonely thought that presses its weight on them.)










Meanwhile, her furious, singular profile: beautiful against the night sky.

(the one thing he has always understood)










In another version of this story, he does something brave.

(Imagine that.)

He sits beside the furious, singular girl on the still, exposed roof.

That happened.

In this version of the story: (insert something here)

(something that means something)

It's real for her, too.










Some time later:

Another broken glass door.

Damon laughs with a mouth full of blood, because this is what Damon does.

Katherine doesn't have a scratch on her.

She always was unfair.










They don't have sex.

What an anticlimax, he's obnoxious enough to think.

Katherine's six-inch heels go clack clack clack proudly down the hall. From the floor, Damon watches her go.

This is --

Well, it is what it is.










"We were good together, you know," she says once, out of the blue, as unconcerned as a hurricane.

He almost drops his glass on the polished floor. Almost, but doesn't, because then he'd have to clean the mess up, and frankly he's tired of feeling blood on the pads of his fingers.

This is a moment, he thinks, as dust particles float in sunlight. Maybe the moment he's been waiting for --

-- or something equally poetic. Damon has always cared about poetry. But the thing of it, the thing is, the problem is, nobody else does. On good days, this is the only thing wrong with him.

This is the moment:

Katherine is uncharacteristically waiting for an answer.

And Damon is frozen, suspended in the moment, this moment, the moment of a lifetime (the one he's been waiting for forever), and he doesn't know how to hold on to it -- or even worse, move past.










"Would you believe me?" she asks.

Yes, he thinks, and says: "No."