It's ridiculous how quickly they catch up to you.

How easily.

You've managed to keep out of Klaus' reach for the better part of five centuries, but three days teamed up with Stefan, and he's onto you in no time flat.

Klaus isn't angry.

For that he'd have to be surprised that you ran, which he isn't.

He just stands there calmly, with the infuriating smirk of superiority that seems permanently etched on his face.

"Katerina," he says not unkindly, fingers in your hair and the heat of his breath on your cheek. "Always predictable in your flights of fancy."

Stefan stands mute just beyond his shoulder, the same dead look in his eyes he's had since tearing into that first blood bag. Klaus sees where your gaze goes, and the smirk stretches into a smile.

"He's a good little soldier," Klaus says, stepping away and clasping a hand on Stefan's back. "It's a wonder you didn't fight for the rebels back in your day."

He looks to you again.

"Too busy falling in love I suspect."

/\

It's hard to take your eyes off him, the way he's so different on human blood.

He walks taller, speaks firmer.

(When spoken too, anyway. He's as stoic as ever, the drama queen, only offering his voice to any situation they're in when specifically asked.)

And his eyes, god you remember the way he used to look at you with those eyes. So warm and earnest, confessing a love that had no place amongst your plans.

You wonder if this is what it would have been like, had you come back sooner for him. Like you wanted. Like you promised.

Now he barely looks at you when he doesn't have to.

Just another pawn no better than he.

/\

Stuck in a luxury suite of some hotel you can't remember the name of, watching a couple of fashion models gyrate with bloody necks in the middle of the room.

Klaus may be as old as he is, with a been there done that attitude about him, but his pleasures are still simple in nature.

Stefan sits next to you on a couch, a bored vacant look about him, and you feel it too because the sight of this is doing absolutely nothing for you either.

He's thinking about his brother again, you can always tell. His precious Elena and that pathetic little town. How his face softens just a little, whatever random memory pushing the cold away for the fraction of a second that he lets it.

Klaus never notices, or cares if he does, but in small moments like these, you do. You wish you could say something to him that isn't a lie, though he wouldn't believe any truth you would give him regardless, he's still the love of your life no matter how easy it is to leave him behind.

Your hand brushes his, but he quickly pulls away.

/\

You wish you knew him when he was a monster.

It's so... Hot.

Watching him stalk someone, at Klaus' command of course, but it's almost surgical the way he blends in and out of the shadows. Allowing his presence to become known only enough to let the victim be aware that yes, someone is after you and no, there is nothing you can to about it.

It puts a smile on your face, the way he tears into their arteries, the screams that slowly fade as the life drains from them.

You're brilliant, you want to say. You're beautiful.

You want to kiss those crimson lips when he pulls away gasping.

This is what Klaus wanted: A wingman, a partner. Someone to share in the joy of fully embracing the animals you are.

This is what you've always wanted: A sweet sincere boy capable of giving you the love you've desperately wanted but never catered to, coupled with a vampire worthy of your time.

/\

"She loves him too, you know."

You're not saying this to be mean, or make him angry. But he's got that look again, and Klaus isn't here and you do not want to spend the next few hours sitting around in silence because he's chosen to retreat instead of converse.

"Damon," you go on when he doesn't answer. "She was there when I gave him the cure."

You expect some scathing comeback or pathetic denial when his head turns toward you, but he only shrugs as if you told him it was raining.

The fact the knows isn't all that surprising, confident enough in her love that Damon could never be a threat, just like he wasn't with yours. Yes, you loved them both, just as Elena seems to, but it was always Stefan who managed to have a tighter hold on your heart.

"They kissed."

His jaw clenches.

You tilt your head and smile.

/\

Klaus is most dangerous when he's bored.

He gets creative. He gets vicious.

You stand next him watching as Stefan rips into a third of a ballet company from Berlin. Bodies hit the ground at haphazard angles, blood and lace encompassing the pile. It's oddly beautiful but you can see by the blank look on Klaus' face that tonight it simply isn't enough.

A sense of dread hits your stomach though you try not to let it show. He knows anyway, an arched eyebrow pointed in your direction. You wonder what he's thinking. You wonder what he's going to make you do.

"Don't look so distraught Katerina," he says with a grin. "Nothing you probably won't enjoy."

Stefan rises to his feet as the last girl goes down, calmly waiting for whatever happens next. Klaus' hand is suddenly on your back, pushing you toward him, the sickly sweet smell of a fresh kill wafting all around.

"Kiss her," Klaus says in all seriousness.

"What?" the two of you manage to say at once, eyes meeting each others with surprise and suspicion.

"You think I haven't noticed the way you look at him?" He continues, gaze focused on you. "Like it's 1864 again with your heart all aflutter."

He turns to Stefan.

"Don't pretend you haven't either."

Stefan doesn't answer, eyes still locked with yours, but it doesn't take a mind reader to know what he's thinking, who he's thinking of. You want to say no, even if it's useless, because you are not anyone's plaything no matter how much power they lord over you.

"Indulge me," Klaus' continues on with a smile.

Stefan steps forward because he's promised to obey, and you stand stock still because kissing him is a lot better than sticking a knife in your leg, but this is not how you wanted to do it again. He leans closer, the blood still fresh on his lips, and for a second it makes you shiver with anticipation.

"I'm not her," you whisper harshly, just before his mouth presses against yours.

/\

He never picks a dark haired girl.

Not if he has a choice, which is rare, but it's as amusing as it is obvious. Just as dark haired girls are all Klaus ever seems to pick after he notices it too.

It's not getting old, watching Stefan hunt, watching him feed. You keep expecting it to because your attention span has always been a little short. But it could also be because this is the closest you've ever been to the life you wanted for the both of you. It does nothing but stir up old affections that you should not have to deal with under the circumstances.

Klaus' ever watchful eye is every bit aware, always casting a knowing look in your direction.

You've never been on this side of the game before.

How you loathe it.

/\

Eventually Stefan starts talking to you.

Whether it's out of boredom or loneliness, you're not quite sure, but Klaus' absence and bottle of scotch are involved.

Sitting in the middle of a gigantic Persian rug in the penthouse apartment of some rich widow Klaus compelled. Glasses clink, drinks are taken, and for once he doesn't ask why you've done the things you have done. Instead he asks where you were, what you did, who you met. Little things that seems so insignificant at the time, but strangely it all comes pouring out, because he's actually listening. Because he really wants to know.

It's almost sickening to think he prefers you this way.

His hand brushes yours.

For now you let it go.

/\

The animal inside is starting to rattle against its cage.

You've tasted nothing but sweet freedom for half a millennium. Going wherever you wished, doing whatever you pleased. You did not become a vampire to spend eternity subjugated to indentured servitude.

You're going to lose it pretty soon, and neither Stefan not Klaus are going to take kindly when that happens. Your devious mind forms escape plan after escape plan. A, B, C, and D. But they're all useless because Klaus always seems to know your thoughts before you think them. It drives you mad.

You want out, out, out.

Stefan won't be any help because he's very stupidly a man of his word. As long as Damon is still alive, here he'll be, keeping his end of the bargain no matter how much of himself he has to sacrifice to keep it. Noble yes, but insane as well. It's another reason why you were never able to let him go. He's everything you're not, and every now and again you know you could use someone like that in your life.

You'll still leave him here should you ever get a chance to escape, there's no doubt about that.

But it won't be any easier than the first time.