O T H E R
B L O O D, T H E T O O T H A N D T H E CLAW
(T H E V A M P I R E D I A R I E S)
Suddenly. Totally. A switch flipped on. Snap. Blackness to brightness. Stop to start in an instant as his eyes flash open. Straight from sleep to full awareness with no lazy stops in-between. He’s been called, his chain jerked.
It’s his first thought. And always, always his last.
Blood. Blood. Blood. Blood. Blood…
That pounding call, that lust for stolen life drumming in his head like a borrowed heartbeat and zipping along his long dead veins, that hunger screaming for him to sate it, that desperate need to rend, to rip and to kill, will not be ignored, will not take no for any sort of answer. And he’s never, ever felt more alive.
Stefan lifts his head, rising from the polished wood of the apartment floor. Rubs dry, flaking blood from his hands, his face, wiping the smears from the sides of his mouth; he heaves himself out of the sticky, coagulated puddle that’s pooled beneath him, soaking his clothes. His knees are still damp and dark.
He stares at something his senses immediately target.
A slim leg inches from his face, female, fair of smooth silken skin, once young and pretty, bare and bent at the knee; the rest of her slumped with the lifeless others across the room in several dismembered pieces. Bloodless. Pale. Drained. Barely more than forgotten. Little more than meat.
Stefan can’t take his eyes from the long slender limb. He doesn’t have to eat; he’s gorged, he’s feasted to bursting, but god he wants to. Has to. Needs to. This hunger, beyond any has felt for years, claws at his insides and he feels his fangs descend and it’s only the fact that he knows that there’s no more blood inside that stops him diving on it, tearing into artery and vein to suck out anything that’s left.
He’s been starving for decades and he’s never even known.
Klaus laughs then. Humourless, or maybe not; who knows? He sits poised on the couch, the cushions blemished and blood-streaked, caring nothing for the scattered corpses, the stench of death, the fresh blood dripping slowly from his own stained fingertips. He’s still so very pleased with himself. Victorious. Unkillable. A hybrid prince waiting for his coronation as the King of the World.
“Hair of the dog?” he asks full of old world charm, polite as if only offering a second dip in the cookie jar, grinning at his own joke which isn’t funny. Not today. “You look… peckish.”
Stefan doesn’t look at him. Doesn’t turn his way. Tries instead to find some reply that’s enough, but has to dig deep to find any words at all. He wants to say no. He wants to say hell yes. He wants Elena in his arms and beneath him in his bed. He wants Damon to fix all this. Or join him - either/or, it’s all the same. He wants to kill everything he can catch. He wants his life back. But which life that is, he isn’t sure.
So he takes his pick. A lucky dip jump one way or the other.
He isn’t this animal. He’s not a monster. He’s not a ripper that cannot stop. Not anymore. He’s not Klaus’ plaything. Not his wingman. Not a slave to blood and death and the kill.
He’s the good brother. Always. He’s the hero that that saved his older brother’s life at the expense of everything he’d built up from a half life of shadow.
And yes, he knows he’s a fucking liar, that the truth is he’s really neither of these.
“Yes,” Stefan splutters, shaking. Choice made. Right or wrong. He can’t help himself. “Yes.”
He has to choose blood.
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