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19 June 2011 @ 02:27 pm
Fic: "The Road This Far Can't Be Retraced" [The Vampire Diaries, Klaus/Elena]  
Title: The Road This Far Can't Be Retraced
Fandom: The Vampire Diaries
Pairing/characters: Klaus/Elena
Rating: NC-17
Summary: If a person is the sum of their experiences, what's left when you can't remember any of them?
Words: 2,997
Disclaimer: The characters belong to people with more power and money than me. I'm only borrowing them for a while; no copyright infringement intended.
Author's Notes: Thanks to the lovely glitterburn for the beta!


The Road This Far Can't Be Retraced
by Sandrine Shaw



Then.

It's one loss too many, and Elena can't take it anymore. She curls up in her bed and cries until she has no tears left, then she just lies there and tries to think of nothing, tries so hard not to remember that her head feels like it's going to explode.

She doesn't turn around when she hears someone enter the room, doesn't look at Stefan when he sits down on the edge of the bed. Damon is somewhere behind him, and she wonders briefly if they've come to bring more bad news, but then she's already been through the worst and it's not like there's anything left that matters.

Stefan's fingers are soft against her cheek, a gentle touch that's meant to comfort, but she can barely feel it. "It's going to be okay," he whispers.

It's a lie she doesn't want to hear and can't appreciate. "No, it won't."

His hand curls around the back of her neck, pulling her towards him until their foreheads touch. "I promise you, it will."

She doesn't understand how he can make this sort of promise after everything, when it's clear that nothing is ever going to be okay again. She just ends up burying more and more people until there won't be anyone left.

That's what she's going to tell him when his hand starts to tighten. He suddenly grips her necklace, gives it a gentle tug and takes it off. Confused, she breaks away and turns towards him and —



Now.

She's drunk and he's good-looking, a college boy who looks like Miami and sounds like England, blond surfer-boy curls and an accent that carries halfway across the room, cutting though the music and making her stomach flutter pleasantly.

Somewhere in the back of her mind, there's a voice that tells her that this is a bad idea. She has classes in the morning and her friends have disappeared a while ago. Something inside her is rebelling, disapproving, telling her that this is not who she is. Over time, she's learned to ignore it, but it never quite goes away.

She slides over to the bar, right next to the guy, and orders another drink, perfectly aware that his eyes are on her the moment she speaks. Without turning towards him, she takes a sip from the bottle, secretly smiling around the rim.

Out of the corner of her eye, she catches the way his lips stretch into a slow smile, and she waits for him to approach her. He doesn't disappoint.

"Well, well, well. Who do we have here?" he asks, his accent curling around each word.

He doesn't bother to hide his interest, looking at her expectantly, like he's waiting for something to happen. His stare is a little too intense, a little too hard and piercing, and she briefly wonders if she should be scared. But then, he doesn't look like the kind of creep that will roofie her and drag her into a back alley to rape her, and she's too intrigued to stay away.

"Hello stranger." She turns towards him and smiles coyly. "Dance with me?"



Now.

For a moment, he thinks it's Katherine playing her games. But when he looks close enough, he can see the blood moving through her veins, pale blue currents under her skin, and he spots an old scar at the side of her neck, the phantom taste of her echoing on his tongue at the sight. She's older than Katherine, too, and she's decidedly human, which means by default that she must be Elena. Even if she doesn't act like it, and he can't make out any sense of recognition from her, as if her mind has been wiped clean of the past.

She offers him wide smiles and moves against him on the dance floor in fluid motions. She giggles and flushes, clearly flattered, when he tells her she looks good enough to eat, and she asks questions about his major and if he lives on campus. None of her reactions are right, and it confuses him in a way he doesn't appreciate but at the same time it fascinates him too much to walk away.

He takes her to bed because he can, because he's not one to deny himself what's being freely offered, not when it comes with the face of a Petrova. Even if her smiles are too easy and her touch is too sure. Even if he can't help being disappointed at how something that should be monumental (saintly Elena, giving herself to him) has turned inconsequential and altogether too effortless because she clearly has no clue who he is. Or who she is, even.

She straddles him in her underwear and pulls at his shirt, leaning down to kiss him when it finally comes off. Her hair tickles his skin, and her mouth is soft and wet, the kiss teasing. The way she moves and smiles reminds him a little too much of Katherine, and he breaks away from her lips. Opens his fly with one hand and pulls her panties aside with the other, pushing inside her with one swift thrust. He enjoys the brief look of almost-pain on her face, the gasp of surprise, the way her fingers tighten their grip on his shoulders.

She hides her face against his shoulder, unconsciously baring her neck to him.

It's tempting, so very tempting. He trails his teeth softly over the exposed skin, feeling her shiver, and considers biting down. Draining her, again, and feeding her his blood just before it's too late. Watch her die and come to life again, blood-stained bedsheets and the accusation in her gaze when she comes to and remembers. Because she will remember; that's the thing about being a vampire – you can't ever forget anything at all. (If you ask him, that's the true curse of this existence, the one downside to what's otherwise an awesome package deal. But, well, nobody's asking and he's certainly not telling.)

He indulges in his fantasy for a few moments, but it seems an oddly hollow victory to take now when she's blissfully unaware.

Doesn't mean he can quite resist letting his teeth graze a little harder over her skin. Just a small cut, but enough to make her bleed. When his mouth closes over the tiny wound, sucking gently, she shivers against him and bears down, hard and fast, her inner muscles clenching around him.

She whimpers when he flips them over, coming to rest on top of her with his mouth still on her neck and his cock still buried deep inside of her. Her legs close around his waist as she meets his thrusts, and it's good, it's satisfying, it's sexy. But she could be anyone at all, just a willing body with a familiar face, and right then, he'd give anything to see even a spark of recognition from her, watch her eyes go wide with fear and shock and hatred.

It's the mental image rather than the woman beneath him that drives him over the brink of orgasm, and the only reason he reaches between her legs to coax a climax out of her is because he wants to see her fall apart any way that he can.

For a moment after, they lay side by side, while she's still catching her breath and he's making a decision.

"Look at me," he commands, and she guilelessly turns towards him and lets him catch her gaze. Her pupils widen and her eyes become unfocused as he pushes into her mind without resistance.

Her mind is like a labyrinth, full of dead ends where there should be none, shortcuts that feel odd and artificial. It's thorough work someone did there, and part of him is impressed because he's never seen a compulsion so complex and meticulous before, layers upon layers of hidden memories and fabricated new ones. At the same time, though, he finds himself irrationally angry because he remembers Elena: fearful and defiant and foolishly naïve in her never-failing belief in goodness and humanity.

The woman in front of him is nothing like her. She's all easy smiles and perfunctory buoyancy. Someone who makes friends fast but never lets anyone close enough to care. Who'll go home with a stranger, never even asks for his name, leaving before he wakes up. Someone who can't recall the faces of her dead parents or remember that she used to have a brother, not so long ago.



Then.

Jeremy dies on a Sunday in September. It's a warm, sunny day. There's nothing that spells disaster. In fact, life is only just gradually returning to normal. Stefan has at last stopped looking at Elena like he's expecting her to be disgusted by him. The lingering awkwardness between her and Damon is slowly but surely wearing off. School has started again, and there are exams and college applications and study sessions, all the kinds of stuff any normal seventeen-year-old is going through.

For a while, Elena is almost happy. It doesn't last, of course. It never does.

Damon is the first to notice them, runs into them on the way home from the grill. He's not looking for trouble, exactly, but when trouble finds him he's never one to step out of its path. When he comes home that night, he's furious, cursing witches and headaches and saying that they need to deal with this.

They think he's just blowing it out of proportion. He's Damon, after all. So he was feeding from a hapless stranger and a witch who happened to pass through the town came upon the scene and decided to teach him a lesson. It doesn't seem like a big deal.

It's a big deal when they target Bonnie next. When her nosebleeds doesn't seem to stop anymore and she's plagued by horrible visions of being held accountable for messing with death, for upsetting the balance of nature. Jeremy is right at her side, holding her hand, apologizing over and over again for having been the one to bring this situation upon her.

They should have known that it wouldn't stop there. Maybe they should have known all along that you can't bring someone back from the dead – really bring them back, not as a vampire, not a trade-off for someone else's soul – and not pay a price.

Jeremy dies by Bonnie's bedside, quietly, mid-sentence. There's no fight, no warning. He's alive one moment and dead the next, and that's the most horrifying thing about this whole ordeal. Elena's lost so much already, and it's always been big and terrible and monumental. Her parents' car crash. Stefan staking Vicky. Isobel bursting apart in the sunlight. Jenna's violent death during the ritual. And now there's Jeremy, who just ceased to exist between one second and the next, and it's not fair and she can't even grasp how any of this is happening.



Now.

She hears his voice like it's coming through a haze.

"You will sleep now. When you wake up you will remember everything," he tells her, which makes no sense at all (of course she'll remember; she's not that drunk), but she finds herself nodding anyway, hears herself say, "Okay" without ever making the conscious decision to speak.

Maybe I actually am drunker than I thought is the last thing on her mind before unconsciousness claims her.



Soon.

There's no gradual awakening.

One second she's asleep, and the next she's sitting straight in her bed, her fists tightly gripping the sheets, and she's screaming. She remembers it all at once, an onslaught of memories she is in no way prepared for: her parents, Stefan, Damon, the doppelganger, the sacrifice, Jenna, Jeremy – oh God, Jeremy! All the losses and the fighting and the heartbreak and then – You will forget this. You will forget us, everything that happened. You will go and live a normal life and you'll never look back. Stefan's sad face before hers, Damon's steadying hand on her arm.

Her head is pounding and her heart feels like it's been shattered and torn apart. "How could they do this?" She's crying so hard that she can barely speak or see, but she makes out Klaus' form lounging on the couch on the other end of the room, observing her with an expression that says he's entirely too pleased with himself.

She remembers him, too.

You ready, my dear?

Thank you, Elena.

Who do we have here?

You will remember everything.


"How could you do this?" she throws at him, the need to lash out at someone, anyone at all, making her head thump dully.

He offers a lazy shrug in reply and smiles his complacent little smile. "The way I see it, love, I was doing you a favour."

The worst thing is that he's right and she knows it. She'd never asked for that life she was living, never wanted it, and certainly would have wished to have her memories returned. Even if they tear her apart.

But despite the truth behind Klaus's words, she can't bring herself to thank him. Klaus has never been one to hand out favours without asking for something in return, and Elena doubts that his motives are pure now.

"And I'm sure you did it out of the goodness of your heart." It's hard to make her voice sound biting and sarcastic when she's still sobbing, but she can't seem to stop. It's as if her mind is rushing through the piled-up grief and pain and mourning of six years, playing catch up.

"What can I say –" His smile stretches. "I'm a nice guy."

What was a heavy sob half a second ago turns unbidden into hysterical laughter that shakes her so hard that her stomach begins to ache with it. Somewhere, underneath the anguish and the resentment, there's genuine amusement, and she clings to it as hard as she can. "I'm sure you are."

"Or maybe I'm just enjoying watching you fall apart."

It's a cruel sentiment, sadistic and hateful, and it should upset her and make her recoil. If anything, though, it calms her down, because it's simple and true and familiar. This is the Klaus she knew when— back then, and to see him here, unfazed by her ordeal and so clearly unchanged by the years, anchors her. It makes her believe that maybe she hasn't missed that much, maybe she hasn't lost that much, maybe she can just return to who she was.

Her laughter has stopped bubbling up, and so have the sobs. The tears are still coming, but quietly now, and she wipes at her eyes until they're dry. Sniffles. Swallows. Composes herself. "Well, I'm glad I could comply. I wouldn't have wanted you to miss the entertainment, after all the trouble you went through for it."

"My pleasure, sweetheart."

She gives him a withering look, hoping the effect won't be lost by the way her eyes must be all puffy and red.

There are things she wants to ask.

Would you have done it if I had been happy? (Did you know I wasn't?)

Why didn't you turn me? (Were you aware that she— that I would have let you?)

Can you hold me? (Please.)


She knows better, though. She expects she wouldn't like the answers.

She also knows better than to ask him, "Can I stay with you for a while?" but it doesn't stop her from asking anyway, even though she feels pathetic and stupid for doing so. The truth is, she doesn't really have anywhere to go. The life she lived those last few years just turned out to be a lie, a stranger's life she has no interest to go back to, and her old life seems impossibly far away and inaccessible. He's the only tie back to herself that she has, and despite who he is and what he's done, she's reluctant to give that up.

She hugs herself and feels miserable, waiting for him to answer.

His smile is slow and satisfied, as if he'd been waiting for her to ask that. (For a wild moment, she remembers his outstreched hand when he first came to take her all those years ago, his fingers stroking her cheek before the bite, the way he looked at her when she walked towards him last night, and she wonders if maybe that's true. Maybe this is what he's been waiting for all along.)

"Of course. As long as you keep me entertained."

Part of her, the old Elena, wants to be indignant about the implications of his statement. Part of her, the girl she used to be in those years between, wants to proceed to show him just how entertaining she can be. Here and now, though, she's tired and wrung out and just needs something she can rely on, so she keeps pushing. "And if I don't? What happens when you get bored?"

Klaus laughs. In a flash, he has crossed the room until he's right in front of her. He reaches out and pushes a strand of hair from her face. The gentleness of his touch has long since stopped surprising her – he touched her with tenderness even when he was going to kill her – but the seriousness in his eyes does. "That, my precious little doppelganger, I don't think is going to happen for a very long time. Really, I wouldn't worry about it. Not for the next couple of centuries anyway."

It's oddly reassuring, despite the barely hidden suggestion-slash-offer-slash-threat the mention of centuries implies.

Her smile is tentative and frail, but it's real. It's the first real smile in what feels like a lifetime. (She knows it's not fair to think that. All the smiles those last six years have been real. They just were someone else's smiles, not hers.)

"How about we take it one day at a time, for now?"

* * *


End.