Thanks to everyone who's reviewed. Hearing positive (or negative) feedback is always a pleasure and it makes the effort in writing stories so worthwhile. I'm also glad that you guys aren't flipping out over my Katherine interpretation. I just feel that she's represented in fics as such a malicious bitch and gets killed etc. Really, I see her as manipulative in every respect, but she really did/does love Stefan. So yeah.
As you may have noticed with the Katherine POV last chapter, I'm moving away from Damon a bit. Not for any particular reason other than that I'm not a good enough writer to not do it.
Sorry for the short chapter. I love you all.
Chapter Eight: Words, words, words
"Jeremy's barely spoken to me since the Founder's Day parade," Elena admitted to Damon as she sat in the passenger-side of his Mercedes.
Her voice was low and raspy with hurt, so Damon let out a sigh. "Anna died, Elena. I told him so."
Elena's eyes darted to Damon and she frowned. "When?"
"The night of the parade. The night Katherine came into town. She was in the basement with me, and John staked her," Damon admitted.
The sound of the gravel under the car's wheels as they pulled into the driveway was harsh. It punctuated Damon's statement with thousands of cracks, like a little lightning bolt. Elena just stared off towards the Boarding House.
"What do we tell Stefan?" she asked.
Damon's eyebrows rose up on his forehead. Tell Stefan about what?
"About Caroline," Elena finished, as if reading his mind. Damon exhaled mentally, letting out a figurative sigh of relief. He wasn't ready to talk to Stefan about everything else. Not that there was much to talk about. Was there?
Elena then insisted that she come inside, even though Damon had advised her against it earlier. The hug back at the hospital had really thrown him for a loop, but Elena seemed like she needed the company more than he did. What elated him to no end was that she'd said she needed his company, not Stefan's.
Well, she hadn't said 'not Stefan's'. But until that little 'what do we tell him' she hadn't specified that the younger Salvatore was really on the itinerary tonight.
Damon was still unsure about allowing Katherine and Elena to meet face to face. Sure, the manipulative bitch had been 'on her best behaviour' (unless you count fucking Damon and then ripping out his heart again), but she certainly hadn't been making any promises that Elena wouldn't be on her menu. Damon gritted his teeth and turned the handle of the front door slowly.
When they stepped into the foyer, they entered deadly silence. Katherine was backed up in the lounge against a bookshelf. Stefan was staring at her from the hallway. Only when Damon cleared his throat did the two unlock gazes and stare at the pair entering the Boarding House.
"Are we interrupting something?" Damon asked, coldness evident in his voice.
Stefan only frowned at Elena, confusion as to why she was here clear on his face. But Elena simply stepped slightly closer to Damon at the sight of her doppelganger and swallowed.
Katherine, unlike Stefan, easily switched off from the moment Damon had clearly walked into. She smiled and sauntered towards the trio in the foyer, her hips swaying and her curls bouncing.
"Hello Elena," Katherine cocked her head to the side. "It's nice to finally meet you."
"Katherine," Elena stated with calculated iciness. Damon could feel her heart racing though. The fear was cutting through her like a knife. She had known how identical she and Katherine were, but seeing it up close was probably a shock to her system.
"You sure know how to pick 'em, Stefan," Katherine cocked an eyebrow. "She's a looker."
Katherine's eyes, slow and predatory, looked Elena up and down. In Damon's mind, he pictured Elena with the same expression on her face and had to suppress a smile. He was having far too many sexual fantasies about his brother's girlfriend to be considered innocent.
"I'd be interested in just how physically identical we are," Katherine licked her lips subtly, which made Damon spin out into another fantasy. Great. Couldn't he ever just be mad at someone without wanting to have sex with them?
But Elena actually touched his hand. It was just a little brush of the fingertips but it was clearly intentional. She was terrified and wanted to hold his hand. Elena – the Elena – wanted to hold his hand because she was scared. And with her boyfriend less than a few feet away. Damon's eyes shifted around the room.
"So," Damon began, his tone comically and intentionally awkward, "What's going on here?"
Stefan's eyes flickered to his, silently pleading. Pleading for what? Damon had no idea. Pleading to leave Stefan and Katherine alone for a moment? Pleading to get Elena out of the Boarding House? What exactly did Stefan want?
That certainly appeared to be the question of the evening.
"We were just at the hospital," Elena said, trying to break the stillness in the air.
"Why?" Stefan asked, eyes glancing over Elena's form to make sure she wasn't injured.
"Not me," Elena sighed, "Caroline. The car accident. She's going to be fine though."
I made sure of that, Damon added silently, absently itching the area on his wrist where he had bitten to get Caroline his blood. That always happened. Flesh memory – like remembering the wound brought make a reaction in his nerves. That's why his chest always hurt when he was around Katherine. An emotional wound manifested physically.
"Did you slip her a little, Damon?" she asked, cocking her head to the side and looking up at him under her eyelashes.
Damon let a sly smile cross his face. Hopefully it said 'Back off, bitch'. But his voice said, "I have no idea what you're talking about."
Stefan finally spoke up, his eyes narrowed. "It's been weeks, Katherine. We still have no idea why you're here."
Damon glanced at Katherine's eyes. Something passed through them – a flicker of true emotion. But she blinked and it was gone.
"I told you why I'm here," she said through clenched teeth, the veins around her eyes raising with anger and frustration and, assumedly, blood lust.
"I'm not buying it," Stefan frowned.
Damon had most definitely missed a huge part of this conversation.
So had Elena, by the look on her face. Confused, stoic, like a bemused portrait of exquisite mystification. She was trying to piece together the puzzle, but several pieces were missing. And Damon didn't think Stefan would give them up easily.
"Fine," Katherine rolled her eyes, all semblance of real emotion gone. "I did have an ulterior motive."
Damon was prepared to step in front of Elena protectively, but at the first shift of his muscles, Katherine was already letting out a patronizing laugh again.
"Not Elena, Damon. Don't worry your pretty little lovesick head," she chided, stepping even closer to the threesome, up the small stairs from the living room.
"Then why?" Stefan asked again.
Katherine paused, looking from beneath her lashes at all three of them. Her gaze held longest on Stefan, who stiffened and clenched his jaw, the muscles tightening and releasing slowly.
"Tell me," Katherine began, flicking her curls over one shoulder and crossing her arms. "What do you three know about werewolves?"
And then Damon cracked up laughing.