AN: Here I am. Gah. I've been busy. I'm moving, trying to find a job, and getting ready for the first semester of university. And before that, I had finals and RL issues. I'm sorry. This story has been on hiatus so long, it's sad. I actually got a little writing spark yesterday and just spat this out. I'm not even sure what my original chapter is. It's in a notebook in a box somewhere, waiting to be moved to the coast. [laughs] But please. I hope you enjoy it.

A bed made up with ivory linens. A boudoir nearby adorned with makeup and bobby pins. A window-seat clothed in drapes to match the bed. God, could it be any more grandmaish? Brown eyes darted over the room, silently inspecting every bit.

"This child," Kat muttered, looking at pictures stuck in the frame of the dresser mirror. There was one of the boy with the headphones, except without them and looking much less of a dark teenager than he did now. One of the blonde woman, and another of Elena and two girls of whom Kat concluded to be her friends. But the one that caught Katherine's eye was the one situated exactly in front, the most prominent of them all- or at least to her. It was of Stefan and Elena, hugged up and so close. He was kissing her cheek and Elena was mid-laugh. Puke. Again, her eyes darted around. It was amazingly pin-neat. That was bad. That meant if Elena was a neat-freak and Katherine felt like being nosey, which of course she did, Elena would notice. But in this situation, Katherine was more than willing to take that risk. Hell, maybe that'd bring her one step closer to meeting this little angel. That gave her excited chills.


Downstairs, Elena let the door close behind her. It was unlocked. Maybe Jeremy was here someplace. Jenna was gone. The house was quiet. Elena would rather stay and take a nap to make up for the football that had tired her out earlier in the day. The silence just made it worse. But she had to get back before Stefan decided to send a search party. Beside the stairs sat her gym bag, already half-packed with some clothes from her girl's night with Care and Bonnie a few nights ago. She'd just nab a couple spare outfits from upstairs and be gone. Between now and sunset, she'd figure out something to tell her aunt.

"Oh look who's home." The words made Elena nearly jump out of her skin as they broke the dead silence.

"Sorry," said the woman who stood on the staircase, flipping through a green book as she let her gaze flit over it. Was that her diary? "Seems I've been scaring everyone here today."

In any other situation, Elena would ask who she was. Why she was here. But no need for introduction here. It was inevitably Katherine Pierce. Chocolate locks, matching brown eyes. It was like looking at a mirror and it made Elena freeze in absolute shock. The Brothers had always told her that she and Katherine looked alike. But not this much alike. This wasn't even remotely close to what she thought they meant. This was just crazy. And from what she understood, Katherine was crazy. You could hear a pin drop in the stillness of the house. Hell, even the page turning in her hands wasn't making a sound. Elena could send a text to Stefan. 911. Or even just hit redial. He'd hear. And he'd be here in two shakes. Trying to be subtle, she nabbed the phone from her jeans pocket, but Katherine was much more attentive than she'd thought.

"Don't even go there, Gilbert."

"What do you want?" Why Elena asked, she didn't know. It was just the word vomit that came from her mouth. They both knew what she wanted. "How are you in my house?" Katherine kerplunked almost lazily down the rest of the stairs, letting the diary land against her copy's chest as she breezed by.

"You're way too sappy to be a Petrova," she muttered, turning on one of her heels. When her gaze finally met the one just like it, Elena's heart freefell to her feet. There was no way this was going to end well. And if it did, it would be a damn miracle.

"I'm glad I finally get to meet you, Elena," she started, "but on such terms, I hate to start off on the wrong foot. Bounce the ball in the wrong direction." It was in her best interest to play dumb, Elena immediately decided. If she knew she knew why she was here, she'd just be pissed.

"Look, Kat, I don't want any trouble-"

"Oh? Then you'll just magically leave Stefan alone then? Because that's all I'm here for."

"You expect me to?"

"Shouldn't I? I'm old. I know more about him- and of him –than you ever will." A bit of a taunting smirk graced her lips.

"So that qualifies you?"

"You say that like this is a contest, Elena. I'm just here to make good on my word."

"What word?" Elena narrowed her eyes. "Whatever it is, Stefan's not interested." A surge of anger ran through Katherine. She had to sit on her hands to keep from strangling her.

"You know, I don't appreciate when women speak for their men. Or, more appropriately, my men. How's that going? I know Damon'd like to pop a ring out for you already."

"You're crazy. First of all, Stefan doesn't belong you. Second, I don't have anything to do with Stefan's dick brother. I just deal with him."

"Sure," Kat snickered. "'You just deal.' Give it a while. Damon's a charmer."

"I don't like Damon. I'm not dropping Stefan just for you. Just leave."

Kat paced a little closer, placing a finger against Elena's shoulder and nudging her backwards. Anger and annoyance started to combust behind her eyes, and it gladly fed on the fear that bubbled behind the black pupils of her doppleganger. When she felt a jolt, she knew she was against the wall and there was nowhere else for her to go. Cornered. Like a helpless puppy.

"You don't tell me what to do, knock-off. And if you screw with me enough, I'll eat you for a snack and throw those Brothers the bones." Katherine was livid. "Now, Elena, I'm going to tell you again. Leave Stefan alone. I'm not just doing this for me. Have you thought about it? Being a old woman with a seventeen year old stud wiping your ass? And if you want to get to the nitty gritty of it all, it'll absolutely kill him to see you die in a few decades. Sooner, if you don't get your act together." Elena was just as livid, but wasn't feeling up to testing the strength Katherine really had. She was pointing a hole into her chest as she spoke, and that was just to keep her still. For a long moment, they just stared at each other, silence pinning up like a dam ready to break. Finally Kat let Elena go, and said something hushed before she zipped from the house:

"I'm not a completely selfish bitch. It's in their best interest you leave those two alone."