As Fast As Your Heart Goes
by Sandrine Shaw

He can hear her heartbeat like thunder in the silence, the frantic thud-thud-thud in her chest that grows faster and louder yet when he opens the hidden doorway. If he concentrates, he can listen to her breaths and smell her fear, the scent of it still in his nostrils from that night in the Tennessee woods.

That's twice now that the miraculously-not-dead doppelganger has crossed his path. Twice that Stefan has concealed her from him.

He would have ripped her heart out before she had the time to even scream if he believed that killing her now, just like that, would solve his hybrid problem. Might have killed her anyway, if he thought Stefan's loyalty could be enforced rather than coerced. If he wasn't a little impressed by her courage, however foolhearted it may be.

Later, when Stefan is off somewhere with Rebekah, reconnecting and catching up on those decades she missed, Klaus takes the cell phone Stefan thinks he's been hiding so well out of his discarded jacket and hits redial.

It barely takes three rings until Elena answers, and there's so much hope and relief in her voice that it almost makes Klaus laugh out loud.

"Stefan?"

"Guess again, love."

There's a small pause in which he can hear her heart quickening, and idly he wonders how Stefan would like that: the fact that Klaus can speed up her heartbeat more than the thought of her boyfriend can. It doesn't matter that it's fear making her heart flutter instead of hopeful anticipation. Excitement is excitement, ultimately.

"Klaus," she finally says, a statement rather than a question, and all the hope has vanished from her voice at once.

"Indeed. Look, sweetheart, I know you've enjoyed a few little adventures lately, tracking your precious boyfriend down. A word of advice: stop it."

"You don't get to tell me what to do," she tells him, all righteous anger and determination, as if she could hold out against him just by being stubborn enough.

He chuckles at her audacity. "Oh, I think I do. Considering that I could tear Stefan's infatuated little heart out any second."

"You wouldn't. If you wanted him dead, he'd be dead already, and we both know that." She sounds altogether too calm for someone in her position, and it irks him that she's right, that she knows him that well even without really knowing anything about him.

"Very astute," he concedes reluctantly. "You're right. Killing him would... inconvenience me, for now. Doesn't mean that I can't make him suffer. And I promise you, the next time you're nose to nose with a werewolf, it won't be quite as kind to you."

There's a sharp intake of breath, and he can almost hear the realization sink in, can hear her reliving that moment in the woods when she stared into a pair of yellow eyes inches from her face. He gives her a moment to process the idea that it was him, that he deliberately spared her.

"You don't scare me anymore," she lies. "There's nothing you can do to me that you haven't already done."

It's almost endearing, that naivety of hers. He thinks she might need a history lesson from Katerina in terms of what he can do to someone who crosses him. Elena still has her life and most of the people she loves around her, and Klaus wonders if she knows how quickly he could change that: rip her baby brother's head off and leave it on her doorstep as a souvenir, smear the history teacher's blood on the walls, spread Damon Salvatore's ashes all over her bed. And that's not even counting what he could do to her, personally, if he was so inclined. How he could make that fragile human heart of hers race so fast that it almost bursts from her chest and then make it still forever.

"You know that's not true. Trust me when I say I've been extremely kind and patient with you, so far."

Elena laughs mirthlessly, incredulous. "You actually believe that, do you? That deciding not to kill someone just because you could is kindness."

"I'm not going to argue semantics with you, dear. My point is, you need to stay away, or very bad things are going to happen to the people you love." Even this, warningher, is a lot more kindness than he usually shows.

"Fine," she says, and he wonders if she's aware that her heartbeat is a better lie detector than anything mankind could ever invent. Even now, she's thinking of ways to continue trailing them without being detected. It annoys him, but it impresses him more.

"You really think you can do it, don't you?" he asks, genuinely curious. "You think you can find Stefan and flutter your pretty brown doe eyes and talk him into coming back with you into Boredom Falls to live a life of guilt and brooding and squirrel blood for dinner."

She doesn't say anything, probably hesitant to voice her thoughts when she just swore to him, on the lives of her friends, that she'd not make any further attempts to save Stefan.

"You really think you're that important to him?" he presses on.

A breath, and then, with conviction: "Yes."

"I'll make you a wager, just to keep things interesting. I give you let's see... a year? To try your best to win your boyfriend back. If you can make him come with you, I'll let him go and won't come after you or your little friends."

The rhythmic thumping of her heart grows erratic and fast as he speaks, and he smiles, imagining the blood pumping through her veins.

"What if I lose? If I can't convince him?"

"Well, since you're so keen on following us, I suppose the punishment should fit the crime. You're going to join us. My personal little pet doppelganger. Look at the bright side: you'll be reunited with Stefan either way. It's practically a win-win!" He doesn't say for whom.

"How do I know you'll keep your word?"

"You don't." It's an admission that comes easy. Even he doesn't know yet if he's going to keep his word, if she indeed succeeds in luring Stefan away from him. "But then, you'll not be doing anything different than what you would have done anyway."

He waits for her to deny it, but she doesn't. "Fine. We have a deal."

"Excellent. I'll be seeing you around, then."

He ends the call and slips the phone back in Stefan's jacket, just in time before the door opens and Stefan walks in, Rebekah at his arm. He's laughing at something she said, and when he leans down to whisper in her ear, his lips brush her cheek.

Klaus smiles as he watches the tableau in front of him. His little sister is a joker up his sleeve that the doppelganger is not going to expect, and if he plays his cards right then he'll have Stefan firmly at his side and Elena at his feet by the time this game has played out.

End.