Disclaimer: I don't own anything except an undying love for this electric, awesome, entirely shafted ship.


chapter one

Klaus was, to put it mildly, a rather single-minded bloke. When he was hungry, he ate—often pretty little things with creamy skin and swan-like necks. When he was amused, he smiled—sometimes charmingly, sometimes terrifyingly, but always with the veiled implication that he could tear your throat out at any moment glittering in his stare. When he was angry, he killed people—occasionally even random strangers with absolutely no involvement in the situation at hand.

But most importantly, when he needed something, he got it. And right now, he needed a witch; preferably an extraordinarily gifted one who might know where a certain suicidal lunatic was hiding his coffin. Thus, the short-tempered Original found himself in his current predicament: lounging in a booth at the Grille, fingers curled around a glass of outrageously aged Scotch, staring at the curly-haired girl sitting a dozen or so feet away.

It was a large table, round and designed for parties of six or more, but the girl was by herself. Even if someone wanted to join her, they wouldn't have been able to—the wooden surface was covered in books, papers, old texts, pencils, highlighters, post-it notes: she could've easily passed for a frazzled student studying for a test. But Klaus knew better. He hadn't been alive for a thousand years for naught.

He saw the ancient Wiccan symbols peeking from beneath her Calculus homework. He saw that the jacket of her Biology textbook was large and ill-fitting on the Grimoire she was concealing beneath it. He saw that the pages stapled between her Cellular Respiration notes were thick, yellowed, and curling at the edges—scrolls of parchment covered in spells. But most importantly, he saw that for whatever reason, by some stroke of luck, Mystic Fall's favorite little witch was having an off-day.

It showed in the lines of her shoulders, the way her eyes were circled in shadows. It showed in the way she was having trouble concentrating and kept ordering more coffee with a tired, apologetic smile: soy cappuccino, shot of hazelnut, no whipped cream. Her legs were crossed on the armchair she'd dragged over from the reading area, feet tucked beneath the knees Indian style, and her elbows were resting on the table, one hand toying with the edge of the page she was reading and the other propping her head up.

He watched her fingers thread into the dark curls of her temple. She could barely hold her head up. So tense, so tired—one might even say vulnerable. His lips curled. Poor thing.

"Angela," he called in a silky voice, lifting a hand to signal the curvy young waitress that'd been doting on him all afternoon. His gaze never flickered from the witch. "Would you be so kind as to bring me a shot of your finest vodka?"

The blonde smiled in that perky way that only blondes could smile. "Of course! Do you want anything else? Something to eat, maybe?"

The corners of his lips tipped into a smirk. "Perhaps later, love."

"Alright, just let me know!" And with that, his impending dinner flounced off to the bar. He cocked his head to the side and continued to observe his subject, mentally recording as many behaviors and habits of hers as he could. He'd never realized how little he knew about Bonnie Bennett. For being such a powerful little thing, she certainly liked to fade into the background—always coming in to save the day for her insipid friends and then retreating back into herself, ebbing and flowing like the tide.

He knew she was selfless: that'd he'd seen for himself when she'd offered up her life to finish his and bluntly told him to blame her for Elena's survival. He knew she was powerful: the bloody bint had almost killed him. He knew she was self-righteous: the trait bled out of her every pore, fueling the ramrod stiffness of her spine and sharpening the imperial angle of her chin. But most importantly, he knew that she had a weakness. Everyone had weaknesses. And hers happened to be quite easy.

She was unfailingly loyal to her friends.

"One shot of vodka for the hot British guy," Angela teased, breaking him out of his thoughts, and he smiled his sly, Viper-like smile.

"Oh, I'm more of a Scotch man, myself, darling—this," he said, taking the shot and lifting it slightly, "is for my tragically stressed friend over there."

She frowned, following his line of vision and zeroing in on Bonnie. "Oh. Well, I'm going to have to check her ID—"

"No, you aren't," he said pleasantly, locking onto her gaze and subjecting her to an effortless compulsion. Her eyes grew hazy. "Now run along and find something to busy yourself while I have a little chat with my witch, and then I'll tear your throat out for supper, yes?"

She smiled brightly. "Sounds great."

"There's a good girl," he purred, watching her disappear to the kitchen for a moment before getting to his feet, grabbing the shot, and making his way over to the crowded table his prey had claimed hours ago. He stopped at the foot of it, directly across from her, and stared down at her lowered head. She sensed him before she saw him—he could tell by the way her body froze and her fingers stopped fidgeting with the page.

Without any sort of greeting, he set the shot glass down on the center of the table. "You look like you could use this, sweetheart."

Her eyes snapped over to the glass, a brief flash of sharp, assessing green, before reverting back to the book in front of her. They didn't move over the page. She was stiff as a statue, caution and alertness radiating off her in waves.

He smiled, reaching a hand out and pulling up an arbitrary chair. "Mind if I join yo—"

"Yes," came the lightning-like response. His brows rose slightly. She still hadn't looked up, eyes trained on the symbols scrawled before her, but he knew she wasn't reading them.

"That's a bit rude, don't you think?" he asked, taking a seat anyway and settling his interlaced hands on the table. "Particularly considering the fact that I've planned my whole day around formally meeting you." He shot her a wide, charismatic smile, extending a hand. "Klaus."

She kept her gaze down, acknowledging the gesture with nothing more than an acidic, "Charmed."

He pursed his lips in playful disapproval. "Come now, love," he said, reaching forward to grab her hand himself, "sarcasm and bad manners are ill-suited on a pretty little witch like—" a hiss cut through his words as his hand sprang back, recoiling from the scalding sensation transferred through her skin.

She'd burned him. The witch had bloody burned him.

His eyes snapped down to his blistered skin, fingers fading back to their usual pale smoothness, before lifting back up to her face. She was staring back at him with a cold expression.

His eyes glittered. "Careful, darling."

She didn't so much a blink, gaze stubbornly trained on his. In fact, if it weren't for things like the rapid staccato of her pulse, he would think she was entirely unafraid of him right now. Stoic. Unperturbed. Composed. Alas, the blood rushing through her at an alarming rate satisfied his need to terrify her enough for him to resume his languid demeanor, and he leaned back into his seat, glancing down casually at her sprawl of belongings.

"Well, well. Those are rather intriguing Biology notes," he commented, nodding to the handwritten symbols scrawled over a notebook page entitled 'Glycolysis'. "It's funny, but I seem to have forgotten the step involving pentagrams. Remind me what that was again?"

She reached over and closed the notebook swiftly, guarded eyes once again averting to the tabletop. "What do you want?"

"I'm sorry, what was that?" he asked, leaning forward as if to hear her better, and, as planned, she glanced up instinctively. He seized the opportunity to compel her, holding her stare captive with his, though after a few seconds, a blinding pain bloomed over his left temple.

"Bloody—!" he cried, inhaling sharply and pressing his hands against his head. It felt like she was splitting his skull into a thousand tiny little pieces, and his eyes, ever a calm, angelic blue, grew molten with rage as they tore up to hers.

She was frantically gathering her stuff, stuffing notebooks and loose pages into her backpack with no organization whatsoever. His lip curled into a snarl—she was out of her mind if she thought he was letting her walk out of that door unscathed—though his focus couldn't help but snag on the fact that, despite her obvious fear, she still fumbled for her wallet to pay the bill.

His fury ebbed slightly, giving way to a flutter of surprise. He could rip her throat out at any moment, and yet there she was, yanking a twenty-dollar bill out of her purse and dropping in on the table as if it mattered? How insufferably good could one person be?

"Not so fast, love," he gritted out as she tried to rush past him, clenching his jaw through the pain and blurring to his feet. She gasped sharply as she crashed right into him, immediately trying to stumble back, though he wrapped an arm around her waist before she could so much as scream and blurred them out of the Grille.

One moment, Bonnie had been about to miraculously escape a psychopathic Klaus encounter with nothing but frazzled nerves to show for it—the next, she was pinned between his hard, uncompromising frame and the brick façade of the building behind her. Her brain barely had time to register the change—she'd gone from inside the Grille to trapped in the back alley in the blink of an eye—but it did have time to register fear.

Lots and lots of nervous, life-threatening, I'm-trapped-by-a-sociopath-in-an-alley-where-no-one-will-hear-me-scream fear. His arms were locked on either side of her waist, hands splayed on the cold brick behind her, and his body was mere inches from hers, looming intimidatingly over her slight frame.

"Much better," he purred, his eyes dark with the promise of irreparable destruction. His face was terrifyingly close—she could see the canines peeking from the corners of his parted lips—but she couldn't bring herself to move. "So much clamor and noise inside that useless Grille—'fraid I found myself with a bit of a headache. Now, tell me, sweetheart, what is it that you've been studying so diligently for the past few hours? Something to do with opening a coffin, perhaps?"

She swallowed thickly, stare flying about her surroundings to devise her best exit strategy. The back door to the Grille was a few feet away, the parking lot was about fifty feet down the alley, the Sheriff's office was just down the stree—

"Bonnie, love," he said, and in a harsh movement grabbed her chin, forced her to look him in the eye, and smiled condescendingly. "Refusing to look at your elders when they address you is quite rude."

Heart pounding, her eyes narrowed into stubborn slits. "Then I can only imagine how rude this must be." And with that, she concentrated her power into a vicious shock wave that threw him across the alleyway. She immediately felt the drain on her power—affecting an Original in the slightest took so much more out of her than affecting a regular vampire—but she didn't have time to think about it: she was barreling down the alley before he'd even hit the ground.

Just make it to the door, just make it to the door, please GOD just make it to the—!

A cry choked out of her throat as a ruthless set of fingers clenched around her wrist just as her other hand reached for the doorknob, wrenching her around so violently that her arm nearly popped out its socket. She immediately crashed into the wall of his body, though before she could remotely orient herself she was slammed in the other direction, the back of her hitting the brick wall with an excruciating crack.

Pain immediately swelled through her body, bursting in her head and spurring a sudden, nauseating dizziness. The world spun around her, full of colorful swirls and bright flashes, and she felt herself slumping back against the cold brick. Consciousness was slipping from her—everything was going in and out of focus—and her eyes began flickering shut.

"Ah, ah, ah," a low voice purred, breath fluttering against her cheek, and she realized the only reason she was still on her feet was because he was pressed against her, holding her up. "Wakey, wakey, love. We have things to discuss."

She struggled to retain consciousness, every neuron inside of her screaming to get away from him, but the vertigo weakening her body caused her head to slump against his shoulder instead. He chuckled darkly, dropping his hands to her waist and easing her slight frame into his arms. She revolted at twisted intimacy of the embrace. "Mmm," she protested weakly, attempting to shake her head, though he lifted a hand to still the movement.

"There, there, pet," he murmured against her ear, a wicked quality to his voice, and to her hazy horror began stroking her hair. "No need to make it worse. In fact, I should warn you that if you don't regain some semblance of brain activity within the next minute or so, I'll be left with no choice but to force my blood down your throat."

He said this all so pleasantly, so soothingly, that the low rumble of his voice almost put her to sleep. She whimpered in weak objection, saying something that was little more than a string of vowels, but he simply shushed her, gently stroking her hair. She felt her eyes closing against his shoulder, body settling into the strong comfort of his embrace like a little girl falling asleep in her father's arms—until the meaning of his words suddenly struck her.

Her eyes flashed open, choked gasp catching in her throat as she lifted her head and sprang out of his grip. Pain bloomed through her temple with shocking intensity, almost knocking her right off her feet, but she forced herself to swallow the stabs and scrambled back against the wall.

"There she is," he said with a smirk, watching her manifested aversion to him with an amused quality in his stare. She glared at him as fiercely as she could, clutching the brick behind her for support and trying to steady her breathing, and his brow furrowed mockingly. "You look a bit peaky, love. Headache?"

Her eyes slitted as she gritted out, "No. You?" And with what little strength she had left, she triggered another vicious set of aneurisms in his head that had him in immediate agony.

"Bonnie," he snarled furiously, hands shooting up to the wall for support as his entire body collapsed forward. His face was contorted with pain, the angles and planes so tight with tension that they looked ready to snap, and he could barely hold his head up high enough to meet her blazing stare. "End it or I will end you," he spat in a ragged growl, breaths hoarse and shuddering.

"You'll end me either way," she rasped, struggling to maintain the spell.

"Fucking hell!" he roared, slamming his fist against the wall in a terrifying blow that landed mere inches from her ear. It tore half a foot through the brick. Her whole body was shaking, limbs entirely spent from the effort of keeping her upright, but she forced herself to keep focusing on the blood vessels in his head. He dropped his head forward, taking deep, shuddering breaths. "Bonnie, I swear on my life—"

"You're dead," she gritted out.

"—my mother's life—"

"The one you killed?"

"Damn it, witch!" he growled, raising a hand in an unrestrained manner before forcing himself to close it into a tight fist. She flinched at the motion and he struggled to gain his composure. "Stop this and I swear I'll let you go."

She glared at him through heavy, mistrustful eyes, chest heaving from the effort of the spell. "How do I—"

"I'm a man of my word, Bennett, just stop the bloody explosions!" he snapped, and more because she was about to black out than anything, she re-collapsed against the wall, abandoning her assault on his head. He exhaled slowly, his entire body loosening from the hyper-tense set of lines it'd been reduced to. She assumed he was seconds away from killing her, but she was honestly too drunk with exhaustion to care.

Caring was hard. Caring took effort. Death sounded so restful right now; it was hard for her to see the downside in her current state. No more of the constant, all-consuming worry she always felt. No more frantic calls or midnight visits pitting the weight of the world, of a life, on her shoulders, on her ability to find and perform the right spell. No more waking up paralyzed by nightmares. Just… nothingness.

Soothed by the thought, she let her head lull to the side, eyes fluttering closed so that she could lose herself in the marvelous black paradise hiding behind her eyelids.

Klaus caught the petite girl just as she slumped forward, body entirely unconscious. Half of him wanted nothing more than to break her fucking neck for her little magic show, but the other half of him was, if he was being entirely honest with himself, a bit impressed. This girl—this guarded, self-righteous little witch who paid her bill in the face of death and refused to act like she was backed into a corner even when she was quite literally backed into a corner… she was a spitfire.

She went down swinging.

He felt the fragility of her in his arms, the weakness of her pulse, and marveled at the fact that she'd almost killed herself just to put him in a bit of pain. She was afraid of him, but she wasn't afraid of death. He got the sense that she was more afraid of what he could do to others than what he could do to her. The selflessness of it all annoyed him. She was so much more powerful than her friends—why the bloody hell would she sacrifice herself for them?

But it intrigued him a bit as well, this insufferable loyalty of hers. He had it from all of his followers, of course, but that was a product of compulsion or a sire bond. This girl, however, this Bennet witch… she gave it freely. He could only imagine what having impassioned, authentic loyalty like that would feel like—particularly from someone as useful and powerful as her. Knowing that he'd earned it from her, that he'd wheedled his way into the righteous confines of her heart and gained her trust… the idea was intoxicating. And if he harnessed that power…

"Oh, the things we could do, Bonnie Bennett," he murmured, cradling her spent body in his cold embrace. The smell of warm vanilla wafted from her hair, mixing with the coppery scent of the blood seeping from her nose, and his eyes fluttered closed at the delicious mix. He could kill her so easily right now—just a quick nip, a brief snap, and it would all be all over. But he couldn't. He needed information that he knew he could only get from her—things even Stefan didn't know yet.

That, and a gentleman never broke his word. A smirk curled at his lips: a gentleman could, however, bend it. With that in mind, he hoisted her up, swung her legs up into bridal style, and vanished out of the dilapidated alley in a dizzying blur of speed.

He'd told her that he would let her go if she stopped the attack. He'd never specified when.

A/N: Much more Klonnie to come ;) Feedback is LOVE!