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stargate, DanielJackson

TVD Big Bang Fic; A fronte praecipitium a tergo lupi

Posted on 2011.10.05 at 22:45
Tags: ,

Chapter Two

In the next few weeks, Stefan is mostly kept by Klaus’s side. Stefan doesn’t mind, it gives him all the more opportunity to coax his way in--to be seen as more than an amusement. He basks in these early days, when it’s all sex and killing and sex.

He straddles Klaus, their hands roam possessively over each other, mouths found hotly; their teeth clash-clack-crash together as they move towards release. Then Klaus bites sharply into his shoulder, and he’s lost in a whirl of soaring pleasure and pain, mixing together deliciously. Klaus lays soft kisses along his collarbone, staining Stefan with lip-prints of his own blood.

“Go ahead,” Klaus says seductively, tilting his own head for access.

Stefan hesitates, but Klaus pushes, urging him closer. Stefan lets his canines descend, pressing them teasingly against Klaus’s neck before allowing them to slide in. The taste is euphoric, and the next thing he knows--he’s coming.

Afterwards, Stefan lazily coils his arm around Klaus. Klaus gives a token grunt of protest (which has dwindled from the uproarious rejections of ‘cuddling’ at the very beginning) before ignoring him.


***


Stefan hasn’t been to a meeting since that original one, after which he expressed that he held no interest in Klaus’s schemes. They’d had the beginnings of arguments over it in the last few weeks, but Klaus had bored of them quickly and kept shutting down the conversation, so nothing much was ever said. The older vampire has apparently decided it is time for Stefan to attend another one.

Stefan sits on the other end of the table from Klaus this time, distancing himself from the subject matter.

“The Tobias and Willow covens are still proving to be a strong front, but the Sioux coven is losing interest in the fight,” Alexander reports.

“We’ll just have to reignite their interest somehow then,” Klaus says, giving his circle a pointed stare.

“I’ll do it,” the witch called Ida says and receives an affirmative nod.

Despite the depth of curiosity Stefan has, he knows better than to ask why Klaus is involved with these witches’ affairs, and just continues to listen intently. His discomfort is probably not as well hidden as he thinks, because at the first opportunity Cora takes issue with him.

“Why is this baby vampire even here?” she asks, clearly fed up of keeping quiet about it, Stefan imagines more vitriolic words coiled serpent-like on her tongue, waiting to strike. Klaus has her backed against a wall before she can even consider voicing them.

“Do not think that, just because you are within my inner circle, you are above me ripping your head off,” Klaus growls.

“Yes sir,” Cora whimpers timidly.

“Maybe we should return to the issue of the Riverside warlocks; they’ve grown more powerful,” Alexander interrupts, defusing the situation with a distraction that’s obvious but efficient.

“Yes, they will need to be dealt with, we must lessen their strength but with subtlety,” Klaus says, retaking his seat with a sour expression on his face that winds tension through air and bones.

“Yes, no innocent looking killings; those are always suspicious,” Alexander remarks.

Klaus grins at Alexander, and the tension in the room returns to normal.

The meeting continues in its obliquely vague fashion, and Stefan begins to think this isn’t just behaviour for his benefit but is customary in case of any spies. Stefan attempts to fill in the redacted sentences silently. The entire hour-long conversation revolves around covens and missions involving said covens.

“Ida; you will give me an outline of your plan by seven tomorrow evening,” Klaus says, as he draws the meeting to a close.


***


Stefan stands in the corner of the grand hall, accompanied by another hundred or so of Klaus’s vampire minions; milling about the edges. In addition, two lines of a dozen vampires stand facing each other, waiting for Klaus’s scrutiny of their recently failed mission.

Klaus walks with slow deliberate movements down the lines of his people; giving each one he passes a glower that has most cowering. He halts in front of a tall, weedy-looking vampire and turns to face him; glare intensified. Stefan can tell the vampire is putting great effort into not quaking.

“Why so scared?” Klaus asks, hard expression morphing into an eerie smile.

“I...I’m sorry.”

“For what?”

“The mission’s failure.”

“Oh, that’s fine,” Klaus says, stepping closer, until they’re only inches apart.

His hand thrusts into the vampire’s stomach, and pulls out a kidney. The vampire falls to his knees, curling into himself, mouth a wide circle sounding an almost silent, speechless whine. Another thrust, his liver. Klaus pulls him up, hanging him from his shoulder, and then takes his spleen, his stomach, and then the liver freshly healed.

The vampire is dropped to the floor. Klaus walks around him, with a predatory gleam, before thrusting his hand through the vampire’s back and pulling out a lung from between his ribs. It continues like that for several minutes; Stefan can’t look away.

When Klaus lets the vampire go, he collapses into a pool of blood-slicked organs.

“Same time tomorrow,” Klaus says, striding out of the hall.


***


Klaus has Stefan up against the wall yet again; Stefan still refuses to capitulate to how dangerous he is and teaching him otherwise is most enjoyable. He carves deeper this time. He wants to claw into the boy’s bones and force a visceral reaction, longs to stain this young vampire’s frustrating neutrality with torment and blood.

Of course he wants to reshape Stefan; sear him, bleed him, tear him apart--he always likes to mould the creatures that amuse him. Usually he wanted to make them beg and whimper and scream, sometimes he wanted them to like him and compelled them without a care when he didn’t wish to woo. With Stefan he wants something else entirely.

He carves casually upon Stefan’s torso, criss-cross patterns fading to reddish brown in the afternoon light before disappearing.

“Hmm, I see now, you’re very naughty,” Stefan murmurs huskily.

“You’re a freak,” Klaus replies, thrusting the knife deeper, scorching tally marks across his ribs.

Stefan grunts, waiting for some semblance of healing to begin before replying,

“You could do far worse if you really wanted to, it’s almost like you’re not trying- I wonder why that is.”

“You’re right I haven’t given you a fair demonstration,” Klaus says, breaking off the mahogany banister and shoving it through Stefan with unusual amounts of fury before flashing away.


***


Klaus and Stefan are strolling towards the circus; the workplace of one of Klaus’s allies. Their usual casual banter lapses into silence for a few minutes before Klaus speaks.

“When you kill, you’re more in control than you let anyone believe, than you let even yourself believe.”

“What makes you think that?”

“You’re ashamed. You shouldn’t be ashamed of any part of yourself.”

“We can’t all be like you,” Stefan says, not bothering to pointlessly deny Klaus’ assertion.

“I’m not saying you should be like me; I’m saying you should accept yourself for who you are.”

“Maybe I like being someone who doesn’t accept myself the way I am, who strives for better.”

“And you think it’s impossible to do both?”

“I think that an alcoholic can’t ever simultaneously drink and not be an alcoholic.”

“Ah, but moderation is for those who can be killed by their excesses.”

“Why do you even care about my self-acceptance?”

“Because I’ve been around a long time, and I’ve seen too many people tear themselves apart.”

“You care, that’s adorable,” Stefan mocks, grinning.

“You wish,” Klaus says, as they walk into the small stadium.

“Oh, Alexander told me to remind you--no more standing in the freak show and scaring off the customers,” Stefan jibes.


***


As Stefan’s first month with Klaus drips into his second, he’s allowed more time on his own. He spends his spare time exploring the mansion and surrounding grounds and striking up conversation with the various people working there (including a few conversations with Alexander).

One day, finding his way through the vast library, he decides to seek out more information on the witch covens mentioned in the two meetings he was permitted to attend. It takes some digging, but eventually Stefan comes across some century-old records. He sits cross-legged at the back of some dusty stacks and reads, finding accountings of battles between covens--fatalities and supplies, formations and plans of attack. Some of the plans have Klaus’s handwriting scribbled into the mix. After scouring the records for hours, he puts them back--mindful of their placing--and decides to take in some fresh air.

“May I sit?” Alexander asks Stefan, as he sits on one of many ornate benches adorning Klaus’s lands.

“Sure,” Stefan replies cheerfully.

“How goes everything?”

“It goes well, how goes everything with you?” Stefan says.

“Ah, there are ancient prophecies to thwart, world changing moves to be made, the usual,” Alexander says with faux sombreness. “Is something troubling you?” His tone is sincere.

“No, nothing at all,”

“Stefan, if you say something that I feel requires Klaus’s attention, I won’t hesitate to tell him. That doesn’t mean I won’t keep almost anything you say in confidence--I’ve been here a long time, trust me when I say there is very little you could say that would be considered as necessary to disclose information.”

“How long have you been here? Stefan says cautiously, hoping to drop the subject.

Alexander’s clearly keen on making a friend of him, but as much as Stefan enjoys their talks, he has no illusion that the man has ulterior motives.

“I’ve been in his inner circle for centuries, and I’ve been his best friend for longer,” Alexander says, allowing the conversation to drift to him.


***


2011

Klaus holds her down on a bed, dissecting her with wooden instruments and vervain-laden knives. Her stomach lies open; it’s eviscerated again before it can heal. Intestines tickle her side slimily.

Katherine stares blankly at him, her mouth held in a tight line--refusing to even scowl let alone beg or cry. She will always win. Klaus will not break her. Stefan runs fingers down her arm and palm, like he was tapping off a children’s nursery rhyme on her fingers. He sends indulgent smiles her way, she’s torn between being horrified and taking some twisted comfort from him.

She focuses on Stefan. It’s better than focusing on what Klaus is doing to her. It’s better than focusing on the agony and fear and helplessness. She looks into his eyes and as they flicker in the dim light she can almost imagine they hold the innocence they did back in eighteen-sixty-four. His right hand holds her right, and he squeezes gently whenever a pained sound escapes her lips, making hushing sounds to cut the darkness. His left hand brushes away her hair and caresses her forehead and side of her face, she leans in to the cool touch--clearly no coffee today.

“It’s almost over,” Stefan says soothingly, and she barks hysterically with laughter.

When Klaus is done, he gets up and leaves. She feels numb. Doesn’t want to move. Stefan helps clean her up. She clings to him far too desperately for her liking as he moves her into a chair, so he can change the blood-stained sheets. He lays her into the bed like someone precious and it makes her want to cry.

“So much for not needing a good cop,” Stefan says softly with steel in his voice as he presses a kiss onto her forehead.


***


1917

Stefan has been with Klaus for four months when they--along with the inner circle--take a trip to Europe; it’s partly for business and partly for pleasure, though the business requires them to be covert. They stay in Passchendaele, where The Great War is blazing, so that their body count goes unnoticed.

They’ve been there for a month when Stefan expresses a desire to travel alone for a few days. Klaus gives his permission easily for Stefan to spend a week in Italy. But he insists on Alexander escorting him.

Though Stefan and Alexander have struck up a friendship, Stefan knows trying to convince him to go against Klaus’ orders is foolish at best. On their third day in Rome he does so anyway; Stefan figures he’s better off with Alexander at least knowing he will come back when he does run off. He’s less likely to raise the alarm (and reveal how he allowed Stefan to escape) that way.

“It’s only an afternoon,” Stefan cajoles Alexander, trying to buy himself some time alone.

“If you try to leave...” Alexander says, trailing off poignantly.

“I wouldn’t betray Klaus,” Stefan says seriously, and adds half-jokingly, “and I definitely wouldn’t betray you.”

“Very well,” Alexander finally agrees.

“Are you just saying that so you can follow me and find out what I’ve got to hide?”

“Possibly.”

“Fine,” Stefan says, resolving to ensure Alexander loses his trail.


***


“Stefan, it’s good to see you, do come in,” Amelia says.

“It’s good to see you too, how’ve you been?”

“Oh, there’s the good and the bad. How’ve you been? How’s that brother of yours?”


“I’ve been well. And given your current residence I suspect you’ve seen Damon more recently than I have.”

“It’s win-win; I get to stay in this lovely villa, and he gets to have it protected from stray vampires entering.”
Stefan chuckles; “You know the main reason he does that is so I can’t get into his places and annoy him.”

“Ah, well, you’re siblings you should spend more time together,” she replies with a smirk.

“Would you like some vanilla tea?”

“Your vast tea collection reduced to just vanilla--what caused this travesty,” Stefan mocks light-heartedly.

“The others are still there, just laced with vervain; maybe you would like one of those,” she jibes.

“I’m fine, thanks.”

“So how is my brother, I haven’t seen him in four years.”

“It’s been a year since I saw him, but he was doing well.”

“Still obsessing over his mysterious master plans?”

“As always.”

“Are you ever going to tell me what they are?”

“I cannot betray Damon’s confidence.”

“But you won’t tell him I know there are master plans.”

“Of course not. I would not betray you either.”

“You’ll tell me if he’s getting himself into too much trouble?”

“I would if it would stop harm coming to him, or you.”

“I suppose that’s fair.”

“You know, he worries about you, too, even if he won’t admit it.”

“I know. It’s all just very complicated.”

“Family always is.”

“True. Speaking of family, would you mind answering some questions I have about other witches?”

“That depends on what you want to know, Stefan.”

“What do you know about covens fighting with other covens?”

“Stefan, we witches still have some secrets to ourselves, and we tell no vampires about them.”

“I wouldn’t ask, except Klaus clearly knows, and I suspect he’s doing a lot more to manipulate the situation than any of the witches realise.”

“That is not possible; no matter what a witch’s stance, even his most loyal ones would not allow him to become that involved in our affairs.”

“He knows about the fighting between the Tobias and Riverside covens, and he also knows the people in Riverside have grown stronger. I also found documentation in his library detailing battles that seems to have come directly from witches themselves, and evidence suggestive of the hand Klaus played in those events.”

A shadow of concern darkens Amelia’s face at Stefan’s revelations.

“It seems, given the situation, that clarifying certain things would be for the best,” Amelia says, sighing deeply. “There has always been a division between witches; between those who have fully embraced our lives as the servants of nature, and those who have more selfish--possibly destructive--inclinations.”

“So that’s why there’s some fighting between these covens?”

“Actually Stefan,” Amelia says taking a significant breath, “it’s a war, which encompasses almost every coven in existence.”

“How come no one knows about this?” Stefan says with surprise.

“We keep our secrets well, and most witches don’t have very active roles in the fight,” Amelia says, a note of finality in her voice.

“So I guess you don’t want to tell me more.”

“Maybe another time, Stefan. It would help if you could find out just what Klaus’s aims are.”

“I’ll see what I can do,” Stefan says, thinking about the lines he seems to constantly be crossing.
“Next order of business,” Amelia says, clearly no longer in the mood for chitchat. “The spell you asked for in your letter, it could have perilous consequences.”

“I understand if it’s asking too much. I’ll just find another way.”

“Don’t misunderstand me, Stefan, you and your brother have been loyal to us Bennett witches for a long time, and I would gladly do this spell for you. But I do not wish you to come to any harm.”

“Don’t worry about me. I’ve thought about this for a long time, it’s what I want. And I’ve already done much to make sure no one will know you were involved.”

“I assumed that was why you came all the way over here, instead of going to one of my cousins in America.”

“That was the idea.”

“You’re certain then?”

“Yes. As long as you are.”

“Wait here, I’ll get the candles.”


***


He waits a while before mentioning his new intentions to Klaus, so that it’s less suspicious. Stefan finally begins the conversation a few weeks later, when they’re at a ball; that way he can whisk himself away in dance with a beautiful lady before anything bad (like Klaus realising his true objectives) happens.

“I’ve decided I want to be in the inner circle,” Stefan says, handing Klaus a flute of champagne.
“Of course, but you’ll have to earn your place like everybody else,” Klaus says sternly, hiding any suspicions he has.

“Of course,” Stefan agrees, wondering what the test will be.

“Business later; now let’s find some of these lovely girls to dance with,” Klaus says, his gaze deliberately flicking between predatory and charismatic.


***


The rest of the inner circle approach him as soon as they find out he’s a prospective member.

“Baby vampire,” Cora spits, “do you think I don’t know you’ve got a hidden agenda.”

“Of course he’s got a hidden agenda, he wouldn’t be in Klaus’ inner circle if he wasn’t smart enough to have one,” Alexander says, smiling amicably at Stefan.

“He will not be allowed in unless his worth is proven, and once it is proven he deserves his place,” Ida adds begrudgingly.

They all stay in France for a year, drowning themselves in decadence, and nothing further is said of any tests, although Stefan isn’t foolish enough to think that’s the end of it.


***


2011

Stefan chops vegetables, making meticulous efficient movements to prepare a dinner they don’t need. Chop. Chop. Chop. She punctuates his rhythm with chopping of her own. Chop. Chop. Chop. Chopping her fingers into celery slices. A stray fingertip sits on the salt shaker. She pauses as the digits grow back again.

“Carry on,” Klaus purrs viciously.

“How about I switch places with Stefan for a bit; I’m a better cook. Besides he’s probably beginning to think he can do whatever he wants,” Katherine says, spinning the knife between her fingers.

“That’s because I can do whatever I want,” Stefan chortles.

“Stefan,” Klaus says in a chastising tone.

Stefan ignores him, and continues chopping the onions.

Katherine has to suppress her surprise when Klaus doesn’t respond to the snub. She peers curiously at the two of them, gears churning in her mind.

***

1918

Stefan stays still in the position he has been splayed. It has become a ritual; the violence and bloodshed, even the conversation was like clockwork. It was always happening when Klaus feels particularly insecure. Klaus doesn’t know Stefan knows it--sometimes Stefan thinks Klaus doesn’t even know it himself.

“Fine, I give up. I’m so very scared of you.” Stefan makes a morose face for a moment before laughing.

Klaus layers bites over his body and watches as blood fades to bruises and finally into unmarred skin.


***

Klaus looks over the large room. The wedding reception is a classically styled affair, with good wine, which he and Stefan are enjoying greatly, and hence for the moment they don’t disrupt the event. It’s all the more enticing knowing none of them know what’s coming.

“So happy to see you came!” the compelled bride exclaims pleasantly, glad-handing them.

Stefan chooses that moment to flash behind her and bite into her neck, he looks down at her a moment later, and says in the voice of a polite wedding guest complimenting the dinner,

“Look, there’s blood all over your pretty flowers and pretty dresses.”

“Oh, dear,” she says, still smiling brightly, “I’ll have to get that cleaned up.”

Klaus smiles as people slowly begin to notice and rush towards her. He slides fingers around a bridesmaid’s wrist and twirls her into an embrace; eyes filling with blood as he does so. The place erupts into a pit of shouting and screaming guests, some grabbing makeshift weapons and many running towards the doors. Panic rings out louder as the realisation dawns that all of the exits are blocked.

“So how’s that ridiculous book going?” Klaus asks, ripping into the wedding party’s standard drunk uncle.

“The hero just rescued a slave girl on Mars, can’t put it down,” Stefan replies, delicately handling an overly jewelled lady as he drinks from her.

“Hmm, I won’t be reading it anytime soon,” Klaus comments, sliding hands over his next pick.

“You liked the last book I recommended to you,” Stefan points out, roughly tearing through the shoulder of a tall gangly man.

“You have great taste in books; more the pity that you choose to read all the drivel that’s written as well.”

They continue to banter as they slice through the wedding guests; Stefan begins to slit wrists when he’s full, letting blood trickle idly down fingertips, into crystal wine glasses.


***


“Do you mind if I sit here?” Stefan asks, not making even a hint of a presumptive move.

The witch, Clara, gives him an indulgent look, as though he is a child; she should really know better.

“Sit, sit, I do like meeting all you new vampires.”

Okay, so she did know better. Stefan sits down with a purposefully nervous smile, and forcibly prevents himself from scanning the shadowy corners for Klaus. He knows Klaus is there, assessing him. “Do that ‘fluffy little bunny who always says the right thing’ act of yours and get her wrapped around your little finger” the ancient vampire had said.

Stefan knows Klaus has other people who could do this; it seems like he has people in every country of the world, but he chose him to see what he could do. And Stefan is determined to do well. He’s just not sure whether that urge is because of his feelings for Klaus, or because he needs to be closer to the circle to get to the bottom of the situation. He hasn’t even been told the reason that he’s gaining her confidence; apparently that’s need to know and he’ll be told when he needs to know it.

“I’m guessing you were turned in the sixties, maybe seventies.”

“Sixties,” Stefan confirms, letting his face turn brooding, “I miss those times.”

Clara gives him another indulgent smile, but Stefan can see the gleam in her eye and he intends to capitalise on it.

He takes her to the theatre the next day. He takes her dancing a couple of days after that, and lets her tell him about her family as he listens sympathetically. Then one day Stefan conveniently saves her life (by arrangement of course, but he is pretty sure she doesn’t know that). Getting her to like him is easy; the hard part is getting her to trust him, but by the month’s end he’s certain she does.


***


“Is there any of that delightful French countess left?”

“Yes milord, just a quarter pint,” the butler answers.

“We’ll finish it off then,” Klaus answers. The butler nods, pouring the blood.

“I just had my fill, wouldn’t want to waste your favourite supping,” Stefan says.

“It seems as though I haven’t seen you drink in days,”

“Then I must be withering away,” Stefan says with a smirk.

“Unless you’re supplementing with something a little different, say racoon?”

“You know,” Stefan says, letting out a self-deprecating huff, “of course you know.”

“Here,” Klaus says, dropping down a glass of stag blood onto the table.

Stefan raises an eyebrow.

“I don’t really care what you do. Why would you think I’d give a damn?”

“My brother always bemoans the day I stop drinking. You remind me of him.”

“Tell me about him,” Klaus asks.

He already knows all about Damon Salvatore, but allows Stefan the pretence that they both know is a lie.

“Damon’s a walking contradiction. He’s crazy, impulsive as hell, but can also formulate plans that last decades. He acts like he’s the worst of villains, but he’ll do anything to look after those he cares about, and he never breaks a promise.”

“Sounds fun,” Klaus comments softly.

“When we were human, we were so close. You remember what the nineteenth century was like, so conformist.”

“Stefan, from what I can tell from history, in a hundred years they will consider the people of now horribly conformist.”

“The thrills of eternity,” Stefan says bitterly. “Anyway, I could never really be myself around father. Damon could though--I always admired him for that--he was six years older than me, and I thought he knew everything important about the world. And I always got to be myself around him.”



  Chapter Three

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