Sometimes, she thinks he's the most beautiful boy she's ever met.
Ironic, considering the resemblance. A secret of which he is not yet aware.
Stefan's head rests on her pillow, chest rising with the breath she took from him mere hours ago, that simmering sated feeling still spread throughout her insides. Fingers trace idly along the skin of his arm, exposed just above the sheets, careful not to wake him and smiling when his mouth twitches upward at her touch. Eyes never open, she braves closer to nuzzle her nose against his, and place a quick kiss against sleeping lips before falling off into dreams she finally believes possible.
As with anything in her life, the simple happiness of the last few months comes crashing to halt due to the uninvited blonde standing the in middle of her living room.
"Caroline," she says, pausing at the sight of her estranged sibling. "What are you doing here?"
She smiles in a way that's sickeningly sweet, betraying all her killer instincts, and instantly puts Rebekah on edge.
"Heard you were back in town," she answers with a casual wave of her hand. "And I thought to myself, it's been far too long since I've seen my darling sister."
"Cute," Rebekah replies with furrowed brows. "What's the real reason?"
"I see you're still working that accent," Caroline deflects, heading straight for the whiskey and pouring herself a drink. "We were in England almost a century ago, but you still insist on carrying it with you."
"I've gone back several times since," she defends. "Besides, it makes me sound distinguished."
"Guys do love it," Caroline nods in agreement, sipping her booze. "Speaking of," she starts, twirling on her feet and pointing a finger at Rebekah. "Saw your boy Stefan."
Rebekah's hands clench involuntarily, taking an aggressive step toward her sister.
"He's a dead ringer for Kenneth."
Oh, Rebekah thinks. He's nothing like the charming, handsome vampire that toyed with affections of two southern belles. Disguised as a soldier, the tattered gray uniform hanging from him as he asked for sanctuary. That warm smile of his, those devilish eyes, how easily he could say that he loved and cherished them both. All just games before revealing the monster he truly was.
"He is not Kenneth," Rebekah says firmly.
"Duh," Caroline replies, taking another drink. "He's far too warm to be dead."
Rebekah's eyes go wide. She didn't, she couldn't.
"When did you-"
"Saw him at the Grill," she explains plopping into a seat. "Went over an introduced myself. Imagine my surprise that he didn't even know you had a sister."
"Oh, I get it." Caroline goes on. "Poor, tortured, little Rebekah. Still so conflicted with what we are. Still so shy. So insecure."
"Now listen here-"
"He's so pretty," she continues. "How did you get his attention anyway? You couldn't have just gone up to him. You would never do that."
Rebekah feels the shift a millisecond before charging at Caroline, pulling her from the chair, and tossing her halfway across the room. Rushing to meet the spot where she lands, picking her up and pushing her against the wall.
Caroline laughs with her own fang lined grin.
"I touched him," she taunts. "Oh, such creamy skin."
It's a wonder she bothered showing up for school at all, head so full of plots and schemes, all designed at getting Caroline to leave town without a body count. She could barely concentrate on her morning classes, let alone follow the lunchtime conversation Stefan and Elena keep trying to engage her in. Something about the decade dance, that much she gleamed, but the details elude her until finally Elena snaps her fingers in front of Rebekah's face.
"Is everything okay?" The brunette asks. "You've been staring off into space for the last twenty minutes."
Stefan looks at her, the concern clear in his eyes, and she takes his hand gratefully.
"My sister came home," she offers.
"Sister?" Elena echos. "Since when do you have one?"
"We don't exactly get along," Rebekah says. "We sort of, pretend the other doesn't exist, as horrible as that sounds."
That moment Katherine plops herself into a seat next to Elena, snatches some tater tots off her plate without asking, and makes no apology for being late.
"Not so horrible," Elena replies with a smirk.
"That girl is in love with him," Caroline says, sloshing her red plastic cup full of ignored beer.
That party rages on around them, bored high school kids and a couple of kegs of stolen brew, any excuse to live it up on the weekend in a town with so little to do. Rebekah's gaze moves over to where Stefan stands with his own cup in hand, talking to Elena, Matt, and Katherine.
"Elena?" Rebekah replies. "Don't be ridiculous. They've been friends since they were in diapers."
"Not her," Caroline replies with an easy grin. "The other one."
Rebekah notices then how close Katherine is standing next to him, how her hand grips his jacket possessively, how she smiles a certain way at every little thing he says.
"Twins, huh? Kinky."
The shift comes quickly but she's quicker to stop it.
"Easy tiger," Caroline taunts. "Wouldn't want to turn this shindig into a bloodbath would we?"
"Why are you here?" Rebekah asks tiredly.
"It's a party," she replies. "I'm a party girl. Here to drink cheap beer and steal your guy."
"That's what I missed most about you, Bekah." Caroline says, dumping the contents of her untouched cup. "Your sparkling sense of humor."
Stefan knows what she is.
Discovered it the hard way when they were walking through the woods and he tripped and cut his hand open. Blood smelling so sweet she couldn't hold back the temptation, fangs flashing and eyes black. Yes, he was frightened of her initially, who wouldn't react in such a way when discovering the girl you're courting is a monster?
But he didn't run, didn't curse her for hiding the truth, only believed her when she said she'd never hurt him.
Caroline has made no such promise and yet, Stefan exists easily around her. Laughs when she's being ridiculous, holds steadfast when that pent up anger flashes outward, and settles into an odd but actual friendship.
Rebekah warns him constantly to be wary of her, that she's impulsive and reckless, and is never afraid to do what she pleases regardless of consequence. But the silly boy's heart is too pure to judge her sister, attempting to understand instead of dismiss, and the mere act of it unsettles Rebekah to no end.
It all comes crashing to a head when Caroline shows him the picture. The one she'd thought thoroughly hidden. The one she should have burned long ago but could never bring herself to. The look on Stefan's face is enough to break her heart. To see in his eyes that the trust built between them was all for naught with such a big omission.
He leaves and she almost doesn't let him go, the one fleeting thought that she could make it all go away tempting her very soul, but he walks out the door and she just watches.
When the call comes she stares at the phone is disbelief. Stefan is in Georgia with Caroline, caught in a road trip that's half kidnapping-half escape, with assurances that he's fine and she shouldn't worry despite days of silence between them.
"Has she hurt you?" Rebekah asks. "Are you being held against your will?"
"No," is his reply. "She just, uh, asked me if I wanted to get out of here and I didn't say no."
"I'm coming after you," she says, already walking toward the car.
"Don't," Stefan replies. "I'm okay, and-what? No I'm not going to say tha-hey!"
"Not to worry Rebekah," says Caroline, Stefan voicing his objection of her phone snatching ways in the background. "I'll take extra good care of him."
Much to her shock, Caroline brings Stefan back no worse for the wear. Ten fingers, ten toes, and all five liters of blood intact. She is furious with her sister, ready to pick a fight the second she exits the car, but Stefan approaches her first.
"We should talk," he says.
Eyes still on Caroline, she nods her agreement, as Stefan takes her hand and leads her away.
There's a trail behind her house that leads to the old cemetery, where they happened to cross paths that fateful day, she heading there to visit her mother's grave and he doing the same. He stops to sit on an old tree stump and waits for her to join him. It's painfully awkward silence while both try to find the courage and speak. Stefan, braver than she in the moment, goes first.
"Why do I look like him?" he asks, expression serious.
She's been waiting for this conversation to come, seconds to minutes to hours to days, ticking away in her mind. The curiosity would take over the shock, she knew, just as she knows he wants answers to a question she's been asking herself since they met.
"I don't know," she replies. "Believe me when I say that I would tell you if I did. When I saw you that day, I couldn't believe it. You looked so much like him I-" She pauses, staring down at her feet. "I had to know you. Upon doing that it was so clear to see you weren't him. Kenneth. His heart was black if you want to be poetic about it, he played Caroline and I for lovesick fools."
"Yeah," Stefan offers, looking off into the trees. "She said as much."
"Oh?" Rebekah asks. "And what else did she say?"
"That he's the reason you're a vampire. That he made you. Her too. That he promised you both eternity and disappeared the second it happened."
"That much is true."
"She didn't show me to hurt you," he says, to which she can't help but scoff. "She thought I should know the truth."
"The truth hurts, you know."
"So do secrets."
They look at each other.
"Is it," he starts, laughs softly to himself. "Is it hard to see my face every day? Knowing who I look like, knowing what he did?"
"I'd say it's just the opposite," she replies, reaching for his hand.
"I asked Caroline the same question," he admits.
"Pretty much the same."
Rebekah looks at their entwined fingers.
"You are not him," she says softly. "You are kind, and selfless, and wonderful. That is why I fancy you."
Then, softer, "it's why she fancies you too."
Her mind shifts to that day, all those years ago, when Caroline disappeared for weeks without a word. And when she came back it wasn't the sister she knew. The promise she made, about misery loving company, and theirs being bound in blood.
"Hey," he begins, hand reaching for hers. "Things are weird right now. I mean, this is a lot to take in, but I still-" His eyes find hers. "You know you don't have to worry about that, right?"
Rebekah only nods, not quite letting herself believe. Despite any assurances Stefan wants to give, she knows better than anyone that Caroline has her ways.
It wouldn't be the first time.
Caroline is stoking a fire, bourbon in hand, when Rebekah returns to the house. The anger, dissipated at Stefan's willingness to speak with her, comes flooding back at the sight of such nonchalance.
"What was it that I did?" she asks, fists clenching at her sides. "That you insist on steamrolling back into my life and mucking it all up?"
Caroline doesn't reply, drink swirling in her hand, stabbing at a log with the poker.
"Oh please," Rebekah continues, rolling her eyes at the silence. "At the very least you can answer me. You owe me that much."
"Owe you?" Caroline replies with an incredulous laugh. "If there ever was a debt between us, it was paid long ago."
"Then what?" Rebekah insists. "For seventy years it was you and I against the world. Sisters in death as much as we ever were in life. Then you just disappear without an explanation, a note, anything. And when you come back I'm public enemy number one."
"You really want to know?" Caroline seethes through clenched teeth, smashing her glass into the fire and pointing the poker directly at her sister's heart. "Fine. I found him."
It takes a full second to realize who.
"Chicago," Caroline goes on, eyes ablaze with a pain still freshly afflicted after so much time. "1933."
Rebekah watches her sister's face carefully, knowing she's always been a terrible liar, seeing nothing but anguished truth written all over it.
"At first he didn't even recognize me, which okay, seventy years is a long time but I was still hurt. Even when I told him who I was it didn't matter. He wasn't interested. After all his promises of the world being ours he didn't want me. He moved on, the son of a bitch, and suggested I do the same."
Caroline steps toward her, looking Rebekah dead in the eye.
"But he made a point to ask about you dear sister," she says, voice sharp. "Sweet, innocent Rebekah. The one they always pick."
It's not as if she means to eavesdrop.
After Stefan kissed her goodnight at the bottom of the stairs, she merely waited for the sound of the door before heading back up to her room. When it didn't come in the time she assumed, she took a few steps into the hall, pausing at the sound of their voices.
"Hey," Stefan says, recognizable concern in his tone. "How are you?"
"Spectacular," comes Caroline's reply.
There's a pause where Rebekah wants so much to peek her head around the corner, but somehow stays put.
"Well I'm glad."
"Yeah, school night."
A third pause.
"Are you going to ask whatever it is you want to ask me?"
The sound of Stefan's self conscious chuckle makes Rebekah's nails stab into her palms.
"Rebekah said something."
"Rebekah says a lot of things."
"So, so, so many things about me."
Another self conscious laugh. She may draw blood.
"About you fancying me."
"Well that girl did always love to gossip."
"I'm with her, Caroline."
"I just need you to understand."
"Don't worry, champ. You let me down easy."
Footsteps make their way toward the door, Rebekah hears it open.
"Hey Stefan," Caroline calls after him. "We'll always have Georgia."