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19 May 2011 @ 02:26 pm
Fic: "Barefoot on Broken Glass (One Step at a Time)" [Vampire Diaries, Klaus/Elijah/Elena]  
Title: Barefoot on Broken Glass (One Step at a Time)
Fandom: The Vampire Diaries
Pairing/characters: Klaus/Elijah/vamp!Elena
Rating: R
Summary: "Do you really think you can cheat death with your precious humanity still intact?" he asks. She promises herself that she'll prove him wrong, eventually.
Words: 2,209
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: Written for mistress_britt's prompt at the tvd_rareships's weekend comment fic party. Thanks to the lovely glitterburn for the beta!

Barefoot on Broken Glass (One Step at a Time)
by Sandrine Shaw

Klaus smirks as he drives the dagger into Elena's chest.

For a moment, she doesn't feel anything before her world suddenly explodes into an avalanche of pain and she cannot breathe anymore. She barely feels herself falling down, barely hears someone cry out her name. She loses her sense of time; it's as if every second stretches out for hours and simultaneously speeds up. Slow motion and fast forward, all in one.

Her vision becomes blurry around the edges as Elijah's face materializes in front of her. His lips are moving, but she can't understand what he's saying, and then he pushes a bleeding wrist against her mouth.

She never wanted to be a vampire, but she never wanted to die before she even reached her 20s either. So she opens her mouth and lets the blood flow inside as darkness engulfs her.

* * *

The thirst is excruciating, unbearable almost, and it can barely be stilled, but that's not the worst thing. Her every instinct is screaming for her to hunt, kill, tear into someone's flesh and make them bleed. It's a craving like nothing she's ever known.

She locks herself inside for days, only touching the blood bags Elijah brings her when she feels so dried out that it's as if her insides are turning to paper. They quench the thirst, but not for long, and when it returns it's a million times worse than before.

One evening, Klaus strides into the room she's come to think of as hers, dragging a screaming woman along and throwing her at Elena's feet. The girl is bleeding all over, and she's whimpering and begging for her life. It's a horrifying sight, and Elena feels her heart go out to the poor thing, wants to take her into her arms and tell her that it's going to be all right. And yet, before she knows what she's doing, she's on her knees at the girl's side, her teeth buried deeply in her neck and the blood is warm and fresh and sweet and it's better than anything she ever tasted.

The girl falls away, dead, and it takes Elena a moment until she realizes what has happened. What she's done.

"No," she whispers, and her voice becomes shrill and hysterical. "No, no, no. How—how could you do this? How could you let me do this?"

"I think it's time that you embrace who you are, sweetheart," Klaus tells her, smirking. He reaches out to wipe the blood from Elena's lip with his thumb, then brings it to his mouth to lick it off.

She slaps him as hard as she can, satisfied with watching his head snap around from the force of the blow. When she swings her hand back again, he catches her wrist in a bone-crushing hold.

"I wouldn't do that again, if I were you," he tells her in a tone that's conversational and calm, and all the more chilling for it. "I'm only warning you once."

"Or you'll do what? Kill me? I'd rather be dead than go on like this."

Klaus's smile is all teeth and no humor. "I'll make you wish you were dead."

"Too bad, because I already do." She yanks her arm from his grip and walks away.

When she's almost out of the front door, she hears him yelling after her, "Do you really think you can cheat death with your precious humanity still intact?"

She promises herself that she'll prove him wrong, eventually.

* * *

"I'm sorry," Elijah says, later. She's not sure if he's apologizing for Klaus' behavior or for turning her in the first place. It doesn't matter either way. It's good to hear the words, even when they don't change anything.

"It's okay. It's not your fault," she tells him, hugging herself and wondering how long it'll take until she forgets the face of the girl she killed this morning. A year? Ten? A hundred? Never?

She takes a deep, unnecessary breath and makes herself ask. "Do you still remember your first—the first person you killed?"

The silence stretches on for too long until Elijah finally says, "Yes."

That's her answer, then.

She only realizes she's crying when he reaches out to wipe the tears from her face. When he cradles her in his arms, she lets him hold her without resisting.

"It'll be okay," he tells her, and she desperately wants to believe him, clinging to him as if he was the only thing holding her together. Sometimes, she thinks he is.

* * *

No one is keeping her here.

Klaus doesn't seem to care much what she's doing most of the time, and while Elijah is hovering around her with concern, she doesn't think either of them would stop her if she were to leave and return home.

She knows she should go, knows that her friends will be sick with worry. Whatever they think has happened to her, though, it cannot be worse than this, so how can she face them? How can she go back to her life when every second is a struggle not to kill and every cell in her body is craving violence and destruction?

She realizes that she never gave Caroline enough credit for going through this and not letting it change her. Elena wishes she could do the same, but she can't seem to find the strength.

* * *

Elijah and Klaus spend the majority of time ignoring each other, and when they talk, they argue. It's hard to get any privacy – or give other people their privacy – when you have enhanced vampire hearing, so Elena gets to witness every fight, hear every bitter rehash of past betrayals.

Elijah is all quiet, smoldering anger that seems to bounce off Klaus' amused nonchalance, but sometimes there's a bitterness underneath the indifference that makes Elena curious.

One time, after Elijah has left with slamming doors and angry words, Klaus pours himself a drink, downs it in one go, and smashes his glass against the wall. Elena quietly watches from the doorway.

"Are you alright?" she asks, before she can stops herself. She doesn't know what kind of answer she's expecting. Klaus' cruelty and violence are casual, measured, and he always seems to be in control of whatever wrath he unleashes and destruction he causes. The uncharacteristic loss of that control is intriguing, and it secretly pleases Elena.

Klaus spins around, and it takes a split second too long for his ever-present-smirk to appear. "Of course I am. I'm always alright, sweetheart. But I do appreciate the concern," he adds with sincerity that's as blatantly fake as his smile.

"Right," Elena says. "You may be fooling Elijah, but not me."

Suddenly, her back is against the wall and Klaus' hand is around her throat, his face inches from her own, all dark veins and yellow eyes and deadly fangs. "Don't assume that you know anything about me just because I killed you. We're not sharing any sort of 'bond'. I'm not one of your little tame pet vampires. I'm not hiding a tender, emotional side underneath the monster. The monster is me. What you see is what you get, Elena, and it would serve you well to remember that. I'm letting you live because your melodramatic mourning of your precious humanity amuses me and because I enjoy watching my brother fawn about you, but as soon as I tire of you, I can and will dispose of you."

She can feel the anger radiating off him, but she's not afraid. There's nothing he can do to her anymore that he hasn't already done. She's not Katherine; survival matters very little to her if she can't have an actual life worth living.

She touches the veined skin on his face until it smooths out and becomes porcelain pale again.

There's something wry about the smile Klaus gives her. "I think I underestimated the persistence of your human idealism."

"I think there's a lot you underestimated about me," Elena tells him.

* * *

Klaus comes back the next morning with his clothes drenched in blood and his mouth smeared red, as if he was trying to make a point.

"Do you want me to tell you about the family I killed tonight, my dear?" he taunts. "About their screams? How they begged for their lives? How sweet their blood tasted? It was delicious!"

And a part of her wants to hear, a part of her longs to feel the taste of fresh blood on her tongue again, and the hunger is so painful that it makes her sick. Another part of her just wants him to shut up. There's a way to have both, she realizes: to get a taste and ensure his silence.

Before she can stop herself, her mouth is on his, tongue darting out to taste the sweet red stains. He's completely still against her for a moment, as if he had turned to stone. Then he comes alive, pulling her in, claiming her mouth like he owns her, tearing at her clothes. His fingers close around her throat, crushing her windpipe until it drives tears to her eyes, and his teeth leave bloody cuts on her skin that burn before they close. She lets herself arch into every bruising touch.

She thinks he's still trying to make a point, but so is she.

* * *

There's a sweet irony in the situation: there she is, once again caught between two warring brothers, too much in love with one of them and too attracted, however unhealthily, to the other to step away.

She thought she left this seesaw of emotions behind when she died, but it seems like she cannot escape it even in death.

Katherine's words echo in her head. It's okay to love them both.

* * *

They're fighting again, about family and betrayal and choices, and Elena is so tired of it. She's wasted months of her human life witnessing Stefan and Damon do the same dance, rehashing mistakes of the past over and over again, but when push came to shove, they were both willing to lay down their lives for each other.

Klaus is still alive when he should have died the night of the sacrifice, and Elijah is not rotting away with the rest of his siblings, so that has to count for something.

"Stop it," she says, moving to stand between them.

Anger flashes yellow in Klaus' eyes and his smile is dangerous. "We're getting a little presumptuous, aren't we?"

Almost immediately, Elijah jumps in. "Don't threaten her, she's not—"

"I said stop it," Elena repeats, more forcefully, and this time they both comply. The rush of power she feels makes her almost light-headed, like a mouthful of ripe warm blood. And she wants more, wants it all. She silences the small, stern voice in the back of her mind that tells her that this is not like her, that she needs to make a choice, that she has to behave, that her desires need to be reined in.

Wrapping her hand around the back of Klaus' neck, she bends him down to kiss him deeply. It's a harsh kiss, all anger and challenge, tongues sliding over teeth and painting them red with blood. Behind her, Elena hears Elijah moving away, his disappointment and disapproval almost audible. Before he can go, her hand shoots out to grab his wrist.

She breaks away from Klaus to turn to Elijah, and when she stands on her tiptoes to kiss him lightly, as if she was testing out the waters, the world seems to stop. For a moment, Elijah is unresponsive and Elena more feels than sees a look passing between him and Klaus. More than a look, really – it's as if they were having an entire conversation, silently, over the top of her head.

At last, Elijah responds, cradling her head in his hands and kissing her as if he was drowning and she was giving him life. Elena feels Klaus step closer, feels his body behind hers, his hands moving down her arms and his mouth at her neck and, for the first time since she woke up a vampire, feels that it's going to be okay.

* * *

It doesn't change anything, of course, not right away.

Klaus and Elijah are still at each others' throats more often than not. Klaus still mocks her humanity and does his best to prove that there's none of his left. Sometimes, she still hates him: hates that he ripped her life apart just because he could. She pays him back every day by being who she is, who she's always been, what neither the thirst nor the darkness inside her could take away: her compassion, her ability to love, her unending capacity for forgiveness.

Sometimes Elijah looks at her like she's a miracle he cannot quite believe in.

Sometimes, when he thinks himself unobserved, Klaus looks at her like he's proud of her.

Between Elijah's protectiveness and Klaus' possessiveness, Elena builds herself a new home. A new life, or something quite like it.

* * *