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He had torn over to the Lockwood property at supernatural speed and into the house without delay but stopped short at the sight before him. Hidden in the shadows he watched as Mikael ripped into Klaus with words and found himself frozen solid taking in the tick in the hybrid's jaw, the obvious clenching of his teeth and the sheen in his eyes that soon became tears.
Klaus was crying.
Stefan's world stopped. No one dared to move, watching with rapt attention as Mikael attempted to ignite a fury in Klaus that would make him leave the safety of the mansion. One step over the threshold and Mikael would end him. End the compulsion over Stefan, ensure his freedom.
But would Mikael leave them be after that? He had freely admitted in the boarding house earlier that day that he hated vampires, he hated the way they fed on innocents. Would he really stand by and let them leave peacefully once Klaus was dealt with? Stefan didn't think so. It was more likely the original father would eradicate them, not only out of hate but so no one was left that knew their story, that was involved in this entire twisted series of events.
He stared at Klaus. The tear tracks on the blonde hybrid's cheeks. Proof of emotion, of feelings. He was just like the rest of them, struggling. He'd meant what he said in the 1920's, that Klaus was a king among men – because he was, it was simply the truth. He wasn't sucking up or trying to gain the older vampire's favour, just telling it as he saw it, like the cocky ripper douche he was.
But now he felt like he knew him. Actually knew the hybrid and it was...different. Watching as Klaus screamed in the original vampire's face, he felt...sadness. He felt. It was like being hit by a freight train. Realising that you'd been fooled all along. Switching off emotions, yeah right. He'd given in to Klaus, allowed the hybrid to alleviate him of his guilt but there was nothing in this world that could stop him from feeling. No imaginary switch could hold back these silly human emotions, turn off humanity.
Watching Klaus, feeling his sorrow and empathizing with him made Stefan realise – they were nothing special. They may have been faster and stronger and their thirst may make them crueller, but deep down inside...they were just like everybody else.
He couldn't ignore the tugging in his chest, it made him feel strangely uncomfortable. He felt like he was...in pain. Klaus' devastated expression –
A gasp tore from Stefan's throat as he woke in a cold sweat, bolting upright.
Sheets pooling around his stomach he let his body fall back against the headboard with a soft thump. He ran a hand through his tousled brown locks, drenched with sweat. Why was he still having these dreams? These flashbacks? They varied a little each time but the ending was always the same. That same look on Klaus' face – the distraught expression in shining azure eyes and tear stained cheeks as the hybrid's façade crumbled, defeated.
While he had a legitimate reason to save Klaus even without knowing Mikael would bite the dust, it was that look that did it. Stefan was lost in his own realisations the moment Damon launched forward with the white oak stake and when his body finally jolted to attention all he thought of was saving Klaus. Not his freedom, not any sort of plan. Just Klaus and that broken look that had cracked through the hybrid's mask.
He didn't think, he just acted.
It was a secret he'd take to his grave. He didn't want anyone to know that he had feelings. That the switch didn't exist – at least for him. At least when it concerned Klaus. He didn't need Katherine to know he was rattled, he didn't need Elena thinking she could change him. He didn't need these feelings haunting him.
So he lashed out.
He had been satisfied during his short conversation on the phone to Klaus. The shock, the betrayal, the anger. He was pleased. Klaus incited the return of these feelings inside of him and Stefan got a kind of sick amusement from his despair, from imagining him crumbling once again.
He only managed to torture himself though because when he hung up the phone and stared at the four coffins surrounding him he felt a weight dropping in his stomach. It was curiously disarming and felt strangely like nausea. That was when he identified it – guilt. He had screamed then, throwing the phone against the wall and watching as it shattered to pieces.
Stefan gripped his hair where he sat in his bed.
Every night these images haunted him. He couldn't escape them.
He didn't feel guilty when he fed, or sadness when he killed someone. He didn't miss Elena or his brother. Didn't worry about what had become of them, or if they were looking for him. Those things were trivial, they didn't matter. It was only Klaus. Only Klaus could get under his skin, make him feel things. And Stefan hated it.
He rose to his feet, padding across the soft carpet of his current apartment and into the bathroom. As he stripped off his sweats and stepped into the shower, the tension in his shoulders finally relaxed under the hot spray. The dreams, for he refused to call them nightmares, always managed to wind him up and he could never return to sleep after waking. Unfortunately for him he nearly always woke far too early for his day to begin.
When he'd towelled off and pulled on a pair of jeans, he stepped back into his bedroom, noting the glowing numbers on the clock next to his bed informing him that it was four am. Growling in frustration he threw himself back down onto the mattress, staring up at the ceiling absently.
He had barely a second to register another presence in the room before he was pressed down forcefully, a weight over his stomach and a harsh grip tightening around his throat. He never had a chance to escape.
"You're a hard man to track down, ripper."
Hard blue eyes glinted in the darkness and Stefan choked, gasping for breath. Only when the hybrid loosened his grip could Stefan rasp out his name. "Klaus." He said evenly, glaring up at the blonde holding him down.
"Where are they Stefan?" He growled out harshly, tightening his grip once more and Stefan thought for a minute the hybrid might just snap his neck then and there.
The brunette smirked a little through the fuzziness engulfing his mind and spat back, "wouldn't you like to know."
The hand released his throat completely and Stefan wheezed in air, shoulders relaxing automatically as oxygen was finally allowed to reach his brain. The hand only moved down a little to grip his shoulder tightly, just below his throat and Stefan became acutely aware of the fact that his skin was bare.
Klaus took note of the way his muscles tensed up and smirked, brushing a thumb over his collarbone, flesh on flesh making Stefan shiver. He fell lax in the hybrid's grip, frozen, unable to do anything but stare, heart pounding as a million and one thoughts filtered through his brain at once.
"Where are they Stefan?" The blonde's voice had dropped to a dangerous whisper then and Stefan felt something in his chest tug at the husky tone, body heating up. He almost used his free hand to reach up and grasp Klaus' waist but then he realised he was feeling again and fury ignited within him. Using his free hand he shoved with supernatural strength attempting to push the blonde off him and escape his grip but all he managed to do was flip his world upright for a second before he was stuck, staring down at Klaus who had yanked him back towards him.
The hybrid's fingers were digging into his hips with enough force to bruise, holding him in place and Stefan glared down at him hatefully. "Let me go." He spat through grit teeth, his jaw clenched. His defiance only seemed to amuse Klaus, raising Stefan's ire further. As the original chuckled at him he was unable to restrain himself, raising a fist to send flying into the blonde.
Klaus' hand shot out with preternatural speed to put a halt to the attack faster than Stefan knew what was happening. "Now Stefan, I'm sure we can sort this out without resorting to violence." The sarcastic tone had Stefan rolling his eyes as he ground his jaw together painfully fighting back a retort.
"Why would I tell you anything?" He smirked, "don't want to ruin the fun now do we Klaus?" He was thrown off guard when the blonde only smirked at that.
"Oh I know exactly why you're doing this Stefan," Klaus murmured, thumbs brushing ever so slightly above the ripper's jeans and skating across bare skin that broke out in goosebumps at his touch.
Stefan bit his lip, trying not to allow any noise to escape him. "This," he snarled down at the blonde, "is my revenge, you prick."
Klaus actually laughed at that before pulling Stefan sideways until he found himself on his back again, staring up into amused blue eyes as the hybrid shook his head. Stefan stared, taking in the short blonde locks and full pink lips before shaking himself back to attention when Klaus began to speak, ignoring the way his accent sent shivers down his spine.
"You don't want revenge Stefan," the original murmured sardonically, "you don't want freedom either," he smirked, "what you want Stefan, is my attention."
Stefan's jaw dropped.
Ignoring the way his heart was trying to break it's way out of his ribcage Stefan laughed. "You're kidding me right?" He wasn't sure who he was trying to convince but at this point he'd be happy if Klaus tore out his insides because then at least these strange sensations wouldn't be floating around his stomach.
Klaus didn't falter. "What you want ripper, is me." Stefan had to fight not to close his eyes at the tone that emitted from the hybrid's lips. "You've always wanted me."
He sounded so positive, so sure of himself that Stefan wondered if he had any option other than to believe it was the truth. He squirmed under the blonde's intense gaze trying to grasp words, something to say, anything at all.
He didn't need to say anything because a second later Klaus' hands were trailing further up his body, tracing over his ribcage and smashed their lips together.
Stefan lost all rational thought. He moaned into the hybrid's mouth, hand reaching up to twist through blonde hair and pull him closer, his other hand pushing up under a grey t-shirt and trailing over pale skin. His entire body was alight.
When they finally pulled apart, gasping for breath Stefan slumped back, defeated, cursing the feelings the hybrid managed to incite in him. He moved his head to the side, refusing to meet the older vampire's eyes. "They're in Missouri." He murmured and he could feel Klaus' smirk.
He expected a ribbing but the hybrid more or less brushed off the admission. "You should know by now," he leaned down to whisper in the brunette's ear, "you've always got my attention ripper."
In seconds the hybrid was gone, the room silent apart from Stefan's harsh breathing.
Hours ago he wouldn't have been able to pinpoint the reason he felt like there was a gaping hole in his chest, but now he could label it.
A/N: Homecoming was begging for a fix-it fic, so I totally had to write it :)