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All At Once

When Klaus had wanted Stefan to join him in exchange for saving his brother, he had believed the hybrid's words – that it was because of the stories he'd heard. Because of Stefan's nature when he drank human blood. That need, that desire that caused him to nearly black out, savaging his victims and tearing their bodies apart. He believed that to be why he was considered an asset. Because he was a true 'ripper'.

Now though, he wasn't so sure.

Oh he'd done his fair share of killing. To satisfy Klaus' lust for destruction he'd left a trail of body parts up and down the eastern seaboard. But he could tell, this wasn't why he was here.

He wasn't necessary to Klaus' little mission of creating a race just like him, an army of hybrids. The original was strong enough to hold his own with even packs of werewolves and any other supernatural beings he would run into along the way that might just be stupid enough – or suicidal enough – to provoke him.

So why?

It bothered Stefan. The way Klaus would ask him why he wasn't 'having fun' when he was killing, or torturing, or any of the other heinous things he did for him. No. Not for him. For Elena, Stefan reminded himself. To keep her safe.

The more he repeated it to himself however the falser it sounded. The overused line sprung a million doubts into his mind.

Why was he still here? He missed her, of course, he missed her terribly. And he loved her it was true. But he couldn't for some reason justify this, all he was doing, staying with Klaus, just for her. Just to save her.

He would do anything to save his brother, in a heartbeat. Klaus knew that, he knew exactly how to coerce Stefan into joining him for a future of indeterminable length. Stefan would do anything for his brother, his only living family.

That was why he stayed, he concluded in his mind. Why he was trying so hard to get his older brother to stop following him, to stop Elena from looking for him. To leave him behind. He may have loved Elena, but not enough to go back to her, knowing it would bring harm to Damon. No matter how his older brother may have ruined his life in the past, family was still the most important thing to him.

He couldn't lie to himself, some part of him, a part that was steadily growing larger every day, loved this lifestyle. The freedom, the thrill of the hunt, the blood, god the blood. Going back to consuming only human blood was like...going back to eating full roast dinners after years of starvation. It only made him hate himself the more for it.

Klaus knew this. He knew more often than not how he felt, what he was thinking, even if Stefan never let an ounce of expression cross his face. Klaus got inside his mind. Picking at his frustrations, his own self-hatred and pulling on his greatest desires. He knew exactly what made him tick – and Stefan hated him for it.

Even knowing this however the hybrid constantly surprised him. Whenever he thought he understood him, thought he had his character down - he would do a complete one-eighty, throwing Stefan off balance entirely. He never knew what to expect, or how to react and it was driving him crazy.

When he was invited into a little isolated house in Tennessee and the older vampire told him to kill them both, making one of them suffer, it was not in any way unusual from the last few months.

He tried to convey his apologies with his eyes. They didn't deserve this, no one did. But he had to.

He fed.

As soon as the first drops of blood hit his tongue the world became a blur around him. He remembered nothing, he felt nothing, nothing but the sweet tang of human blood sliding across his lips and down his throat. He lost all sense of time. All sense of anything. It could have been minutes, or hours later when his eyes refocused and he actually saw what he was looking at.

The blonde's head on the floor. Detached from her body.

He stood stock still, hardly bearing to even look up around the room – at the body parts on the floor, at the blood on the walls – this wasn't even the room he'd began in. His hands shook as he slowly bent down and picked up the blonde's body, placing her on the couch next to her friend and reconstructing her. The remorse welled in his throat. They weren't werewolves or vampires or even witches. They were just humans. Just young girls.

He stood, hands still shaking as he turned, only for his eyes to meet Klaus, leaning silently in the door frame, staring hard at him. It was impossible to know how long he'd been there, though Stefan assumed at least long enough for him to witness his attempt at human puzzles. He tensed, staring back. His brain screaming 'danger' but his hands couldn't – wouldn't – stop shaking.

The original did nothing but watch him silently as he probably had for some time, before abruptly stepping forward. Stefan inhaled sharply as he crossed the room towards him, trying not to flinch but expecting the worst. He fought the urge to close his eyes and kept them focused on the hybrid's blue ones that were gazing at him with something indiscernible.

Cold hands slowly closed over his own, holding them together deliberately, stilling the tremors instantly.

He hated himself for showing weakness, he hated the way he noticed the softness of the others hands, he hated the way he felt – the gratified feeling rising in his gut. And then they were gone. And just like that so was he, striding out into the hall and disappearing out of the house.

Stefan felt things were tense after that, but Klaus' demeanor never wavered, as if nothing had occurred, so letting him take the lead, Stefan followed – just as he'd been doing for the last three months.

There was a part of him though that itched with curiosity. That wanted to know what that look meant. What that whole night meant really. It was another piece of the mystery in which all roads led to the big question – what did someone as powerful as Klaus want from Stefan Salvatore.

That niggling feeling of curiosity only heightened when they ended up at the bar 'Southern Comfort' to find the werewolf 'Ray'. He didn't enjoy being Klaus' muscle by any means. He was good at it, but he didn't like doing it and it irritated him even more to know Klaus didn't need him for it. After hundreds of years Stefan was sure Klaus was quite experienced in torture.

He thought, perhaps, as he compelled all the patrons of the bar to take no notice of the future drama, that maybe he made him do it simply because he knew he didn't want to. It seemed to Stefan that for some reason Klaus was trying to change him, to make him enjoy the bloodshed.

The werewolf they had finally tracked down and cornered kept glancing over, as if he knew that Stefan wasn't quite so cold, begging for help with his eyes. He stared back despondently. He couldn't afford to cross Klaus. And besides, if an answer didn't come from this werewolf, he told himself, the deaths of all the human's he'd had to kill along the way would be for nothing.

He pulled out the pouch of wolfsbane he'd been carrying and ordered a scotch, ready to begin his game of 'truth or wolfsbane'. Klaus mouth spread into a little grin and as Stefan stepped closer to his latest victim he was struck with the realization he was feeling less guilty than he should be. Maybe Klaus was right, the more human blood you drink the easier it gets. Or maybe, maybe this is a very real side to him, and it doesn't take much to bring it out.

With Ray chained in front of the dartboard, he begun his little game, his conscience praying that the idiot would just tell them what they wanted to know quickly, though he knew it was unlikely.

Six throws later of darts soaked in a mixture of wolfsbane and scotch and Ray still wasn't talking, only screaming and all Stefan could focus on was the feeling of Klaus' eyes on his back. He turned to find him lounging back at the bar, feet up, watching him with a pleased smirk.

He waltzed up to the werewolf. "Ray, you can end this right now," he forced a sardonic tone, "just tell us where your pack gathers for the full moon."

He really, really hoped the idiot would just spill because to be honest Stefan was getting a little tired of this already. It wasn't his favourite pastime. But no, it seemed Ray was loyal which while admirable was irritating for him.

"Look," Stefan outlined to him, "He is not going to let me stop until you tell me, and I do whatever he says, that's the way it goes around here." He caught the pleased smirk Klaus adopted at that and nearly gave a small grin before he caught himself.

He was about to pull another poisoned dart from the wolf's chest when a woman approached Klaus. His heart sunk as half their conversation managed to reach his ears. He slowly approached the blonde who stared at him intently.

"So they're still on our trail?"

When Klaus replied that he was getting closer and continued, "I'm going to have to deal with that." Stefan sprung into action.

"No, no, no." He began, "let me handle it." He didn't want Klaus anywhere near his brother. He had no doubt in his mind that Damon meant nothing in his grand scheme of things and that with his sharp tongue his older brother would be dead within the first five minutes of meeting the original again.

Klaus stopped, peering back over his shoulder before turning around fully. "Why should I let you leave?" He was no longer pleased, bordering on angry and this didn't bode well for Stefan, especially when he was trying to convince him to let him have his way.

The older vampire obviously didn't believe for one second that he would return if given the chance to leave his presence. He seemed at least a little genuinely fascinated when Stefan assured him that he 'knew he'd come back'. And to lay it on a little more he quickly added an assuring reminder that the hybrid had saved his brother and he was in his debt for it.

And again he went, asking if he wasn't, "having the least bit of fun" torturing their captive – as if he had joined him willingly and should be enjoying such a task. Not knowing how to respond as honestly, he himself didn't know the answer, he ignored the jibe and told him he would keep his brother from following them again. He then, as much as he hated to admit it, retreated out of the bar and into the sunlight – headed for mystic falls.

I decided to have a go at actually starting something with the intention of finishing it, so this is a replacement of the original chapter, which is now chapter three because I've written two set before that one, capiche?

Your thoughts are valued as always my lovelies :)