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i thought we were having dinner

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Nik was a funny guy, Stefan mused, lounging over the bar and nursing the same bourbon he’d started with an hour ago. He seemed very at ease at first glance, teasing his sister and joking around with the fellas, but when he thought no one was looking, he seemed pretty blue. Stefan had better things to do then pick up the pieces of somebody’s meltdown, and he liked Nik when he wasn’t so gloomy.

Only thing to do about that was to make him forget why he was down in the first place.

“Hey, Nik!” He called, flashing his friend a smirk.

Nik excused himself and wandered over, smirking back. “Well, what can I do for you, Mr. Salvatore?”

Snorting, Stefan said, “Oh don’t you ‘Mr. Salvatore’ me, you. I just thought a couple a pals like you and me could sit a while. Have a drink.” He raised his eyebrows, leaning back and tapping the booth next to him.

With a sigh, as if he were suffering some inconvenience, Nik sat, ordering a few drinks from Gloria with a gesture. Despite his outward performance, he seemed pleased at the invitation. Score for Stefan.

The two had their drinks and swapped jokes and old stories until the night wound down, and the bar emptied out. By that time, it’d been long enough drinking alcohol and not human blood that they were both having a time of it trying to keep vertical.

“Now, you boys go on home,” Gloria ordered, eyes sparkling, jovial after Nik bought half the damn bar, “and don’t be causing anybody too much trouble, y’hear?”

“No promises, Ms. Gloria,” answered Stefan, smiling a great white smile. “But for you, we’ll do our best.”

The two stumbled into the street, leaning against each other. Nik was smiling like he hadn’t smiled in years. Stefan pressed wet kisses into the hollow of Nik’s throat, being batted away lightly.

“Shtop,” Nik slurred, and it occurred to Stefan that Nik might be worse off than he thought, “or we’re gonna hafta kill a bloody poleeshman or two.”

“Mmm, that sounds fun. Why shouldn’t we do that, again?”

Laughing, Nik mumbled his answer into the cloth of Stefan’s shoulder. “S’cause we’d cause shush- sushpi- we’d draw at-tenshion to Ms. Gloria’s bar. An’ she’d hafta close and where elshe would let us drink on the patrons, huh?” Now it was Nik’s turn to plant hickies up Stefan’s neck, nuzzling his stubble as he went.

“You may have a point there,” Stefan said, leaning his head back to give Nik further access, eyes lidded with the budding of pleasure. “But I really think this could be more fun if we had a bed. Or a table. Do you really want to have sex in a dirty alley?”

Leaning back and swaying slightly, Nik smiled slow and wicked. “Wouldn’ be the firsht time.” He then ruined any attempt at being seductive by breaking out into giggles again.

Stefan might have normally found it annoying, but tonight, he found it endearing.

“Mmm, well, I think going back to my place might be more fun anyway. Whaddaya say, pal?”

Nik was quite agreeable, and so they set off for Stefan’s apartment. Fortunately, vampires sobered much more quickly than humans, and Nik was in both a more serious and more aroused mood by the time they arrived.

The apartment was small, as most were in this day and age, and meticulously clean. Another Ripper might have filth everywhere, but not Stefan. He kept the clutter and dust at home with his sentimentality and morals, thanks. Nik wasn’t particularly impressed with the apartment, but then, Nik wasn’t impressed by much. Something about living with royalty in his past lives seemed to have upped his standards a bit.

Thankfully, Nik wasn’t here for the apartment.

Stefan watched Nik with dark, hungry eyes. A moment of anxiety passed over Nik’s face before it was crushed ruthlessly, replaced by a similar want. Stalking in and closing the door, Stefan walked Nik up against a wall, placing his hands on either side of his prey and leaning in so their faces were but inches apart.

Now, Stefan wasn’t stupid. He knew that no matter how he indulged himself, he was never going to be quite up to Nik’s power level because Nik was just so much older. How much older, exactly, he didn’t know, but enough to give his partner the upperhand. And yet, here he was, pinning him against the wall with nothing but his eyes and his presence. A shiver ran down his spine, toe-curling and electric.

Nik, he saw that, and smirked, relaxing his posture into one of submission. Eyes down, neck bared, arms loose, body open.

“Jesus Christ,” Stefan managed, not even meaning to, and leaned in to capture those cherry lips before he said anything else embarrassing.

Once he started touching Nik, it was like he couldn’t stop. One second, their only contact was lips, hungry and harsh, and the next, Stefan had every inch of himself pressed up against Nik, one hand braced up against the wall and the other sliding down to grasp at his ass.

A little helpless noise was punched out of Nik, and Stefan chased after it, pressing softer, more sensual kisses on Nik’s swollen lips. Then, he pressed them to his jawline, and his earlobe, capturing it briefly between his teeth to drag a high whine out of Nik. Hands clawed at Stefan’s shoulders as he found a sensitive spot under his ear.

A sudden need to get some more skin contact spiked through him, and as he bit into Nik’s neck to taste him, he started stripping off Nik’s layers, cursing fashion for making so many of them.

Nik was surprisingly vocal, gasping and moaning and whimpering as Stefan made quick work of his clothes and explored the new expanses of skin revealed. His chest was hairless and muscular, little white scars occasionally marring the otherwise blank canvas. And, Stefan thought wryly, canvas was a good word to describe him, because other than the smattering of freckles on his shoulders, Nik was the same color as canvas, and would be filled with beautiful color soon after. Although, whether it would be paint or blood remained to be seen.

There was something odd about it, though. It was almost as if there was a part of Nik’s chest he couldn’t remember, that he couldn’t focus on. But that was ridiculous, and so he put it aside in favor of moving his mouth down a little further and drawing more helpless noises out of one of the most powerful men he’d ever met.

Stefan, after nibbling on Nik’s collarbones till he whined, planted one long kiss on Nik’s parted lips before kneeling down, sliding his hands up Nik’s legs as he did. When he went to unbutton Nik’s trousers, however, the man tensed, suddenly very nervous. Stefan frowned, sliding his hand back to rub Nik’s thighs again.

“What’s wrong?” He asked, knowing that sensitivity now would allow him further access later, despite not actually caring one way or another.

Nik, seeming both uncharacteristically timid and furious with himself, remained silent. After receiving the go ahead, Stefan slowly undid Nik’s trousers and, after a beat, slid them down along with his undergarments.

“Oh, is that all?” Stefan smiled easily, slightly confused as to why it had been an issue. “We can work with that.”

When Nik turned to look at him, confused, the smile turned sultry. He leaned up deliberately, keeping eye contact as he pressed a kiss to Nik’s swollen clit, and teased it with his tongue till Nik’s legs spasmed and his eyes rolled back.

Afterwards, when Nik and Stefan lay(?) sated in Stefan’s too small bed, Stefan was curious despite himself, and asked, voice gentle, “Did you think having a pussy would scare me off?”

Nik, whose back was pressed against Stefan’s chest, sighed and rolled over. Stefan scooted back obligingly, and laid back down so they were almost nose to nose.

“It’s generally a point of contention with new sexual partners, actually,” Nik said quietly, sharp eyes searching Stefan’s face. “People seem to like to know what sort of thing they’re going to find before they find it.”

Stefan curled a hand around Nik’s wrist, stroking his knuckles absently. “Well that’s stupid. I mean, surprise is half the fun, isn’t it?” He raised an eyebrow, grinning while Nik rolled his eyes.

“Don’t be ridiculous.” But Nik twisted his hand around so he could lace their fingers together, and held eye contact long enough that even Stefan, with his dampened empathy and regard for human life, could get the message. Nik was grateful for the simple act of not caring what genitalia his partner had.

Stefan remembered what it was like to care about what someone felt, what someone did. He hadn’t in many years, but watching Nik go to sleep, seeing his brow smooth out into the peace of slumber, feeling his body relax against his, he could almost imagine doing it again.

***

Stefan hated that memory.

Of course, he went many years without it, and without any other memories of his time with Nik, but now, he was trapped with it, trapped freshly remembering it after turning his emotions off and on again, after losing his relationship with his girlfriend and his brother and his friends. When he thought of Klaus, he was torn between hatred for the man who destroyed his life and quiet affection for the one who almost saved it.

The coffins, all hidden by the Bennett witch ancestors, were filled with others like him. Others who hated and loved with their entire beings, just like Nik. And Stefan had to stay strong, had to fight the dual images long enough to make Klaus pay for what he’d done.

Until then, only dead witches could watch and wonder at his brooding silences, his random outbursts.

Damon soon joined him on his plan for revenge, and as Klaus circled closer and closer, he cornered Stefan.

“Alright, spit it out.” Damon’s bright eyes were serious, though his tone was playful. “You’ve been even broodier than usual, and there’s only so much carebear-stare I can deal with until I start going loony. What exactly happened between you two?”

“You two” didn’t have to be specified further. If it were anyone else, Damon wouldn’t hesitate to parade their name around, needling and prodding until Stefan gave him what he wanted. It was a show of maturity and unusual self-awareness that Damon was being so discreet.

“I…  I don’t want to talk about it, Damon.”

Of course, this was the worst possible answer to give, because Damon’s maturity only lasted as long as his patience did, and that wasn’t very long.

“Oh, come on, little brother,” Damon wheedled, giving what he thought was a charming smile and wrapping an arm around Stefan’s shoulders, jolting them closer so that Stefan couldn’t escape. “Who am I gonna tell?”

“Alaric. Elena. Katherine. Hell, even Klaus himself if he catches you in a chatty mood and offers good enough booze.”

Damon made a dramatic false-wounded expression, putting his free hand over his heart. “You wound me, Stefan, I wouldn’t tell a soul!” Catching the mood, Damon changed his demeanor from playful to heartfelt, squeezing Stefan’s shoulders briefly before pulling his arm away. “Seriously, though, Stef. You can tell me what’s up. I mean, I’ve seen you bitter and vengeful, and this isn’t it.” He paused. “Well, not all of it.”

For all his brashness and lack of foresight, Damon did know Stefan better than pretty much anyone. (Especially since Lexi died. But, he wasn’t in that morbid of a mood, so he didn’t touch on that too much.) He was going to catch on one way or another, and blurt it out at the most inconvenient time to spite him. Besides, if anyone was going to discourage the development of unrequited feelings for an unfeeling monster, it would be Damon.

“It’s… complicated.”

Snorting, Damon sat down, kicking a foot over the other and squinted up at his brother. “Stefan, complicated is basically the family motto. Take a seat, I don’t have anywhere better to be.”

So he did, and he told Damon a little, but kept most of it to himself. Somehow, he didn’t feel right telling him about the tenderness in Nik’s eyes or the fluidity of his limbs or the ache of his laughter. He never would tell Damon about Nik’s deep insecurities, his struggle to become comfortable in his own skin, his fire red scars covered with layers of magic, hiding them from the world. It felt private in a way many things hadn’t been for a long time. Hell, Damon went through Stefan’s journals when bored, and reads records of past struggles out loud in varying degrees of falsetto and derision. What he did tell were (mostly) basic facts: Stefan and the Mikaelson siblings (two of them) met sometime in the 20s, Stefan and Rebekah had a (brief) fling, Stefan and Klaus had a (longer) fling, Stefan started to get better, Mikael showed up, Stefan was compelled to forget.

Damon, for his part, sat in silence, making inscrutable faces on occasion. When Stefan was finished, he mulled the new information over, at last saying, “I thought it might be something like that.”

Stefan stared at him. Of all the things he’d been expecting, that had not been one of them.

“There’s something I’m not getting though.” Damon continued, oblivious to Stefan’s disbelief. “Why did Rebekah risk getting daggered for you to run off together if you weren’t a thing anymore?”

Stefan shrugged. “Probably was more of a, uh, a personal matter than her actually wanting to be with me, to be honest.”

“Huh.” Shaking his head, Damon gave Stefan a scrutinizing look. “You really have feelings for this dick, huh.” While Stefan tried to defend himself, Damon just laughed, patting Stefan’s ankle. “Brother, brother, please. I know you, and that past tense seemed a little bit forced, if you catch my drift.”

Groaning, Stefan slid his head back so it smacked lightly against the wood of the porch.

“I hate you.”

“Love you too, little brother!” Damon sing-songed, standing up and stretching. “Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m starving. Gonna go catch us a couple of squirrels.” He winked, laughing as he darted away, ignoring Stefan flipping him off as he ran off.

And true to his word, Damon didn’t speak a word to anyone. Oh sure, he gave him aggravating knowing looks every time Klaus was so much as mentioned in conversation, but he never did it when anyone else could see, and he kept his comments to himself unless they were completely alone. Stefan didn’t know whether or not to hit him or hug him, so he did neither.

Of course, he very much wanted to hit him when he found out Elijah had been released.

***

The resulting dinner/stalling session was very awkward. See, there was this bizarre dynamic. Stefan and Klaus knew that Stefan remembered about them, but only Stefan and Damon knew that Damon knew, and Elijah and the brothers were plotting against Klaus, and only Damon and Elijah knew that they slept together, and it was just a lot of long, knowing stares and confused glares and gourmet food.

“So,” Damon broke the silence blanketing the four, the most at ease despite the roiling tensions. “This is so nice, you know, just-just having all of us together, not killing each other or, uh, rolling around on the floor. Always good.”

Stefan glared at him, while the Mikaelsons merely lifted their eyebrows in that infuriatingly elegant way.

“I should hope not, Damon,” Klaus drawled out, looking amused. “Last time you and I had it out on the floor I’m afraid you did not come out on top.”

Both Stefan and Elijah looked at them strangely, Stefan figuring it out first and rolling his eyes.

“Ah,” Damon nodded sagely, wicked gleam in his eye, “you’re right, but I find that the most effective position isn’t always the one you’d think of. Back me up on this, Elijah.” He gestured toward the older man, who sighed, long-suffering but amused despite himself. “Sometimes you just have to… reach around for the best solution.”

All three other people went suddenly from vaguely confusion and frustration to exasperation, lightening the mood in a way Damon couldn’t have made happen better if he’d done it on purpose. Too bad they were only doing it to bide time, Damon thought absently, laughing at their expressions. If all they needed to get along was Damon’s flawless sense of humor, then they could be set for life.

Stefan shook his head, smiling despite himself. Not meaning to, he caught Klaus’ eye, and burst out laughing at the vaguely miffed expression Klaus had. Klaus, who’d caught on to the fact that Damon was talking about having sex with Elijah in front of him, blinked at him owlishly, stunned by the sheer force of Stefan’s laughter, his head rearing back and then down to face them, revealing little tears forming in the corners of his eyes. Stefan, then catching sight of shell-shocked Klaus, was sent into a fresh wave of hysteria, giggles he couldn’t explain shaking his shoulders. Damon looked at Elijah, who was looking at Klaus. What was happening dawned on Elijah, who then turned to Damon, who winked at him, twirling his fork in his fingers. Klaus, still struck by the beauty in his former lover, turned instead to glare at his brother, who now looked at him knowingly.

It was a rather lot of turning.

The tension stayed out of the remainder of their dinner, the four eating and teasing and swapping stories with relative ease. That is, until Damon’s phone buzzed and reminded everyone that they weren’t exactly here on a social call.

It was Bonnie. The remaining coffin was open, and empty.

“Elijah,” Damon said, giving him a look. “I haven’t been given a tour of the house yet.”

Elijah, after glancing at (checking with) his brother, smiled congenially and stood. “If you’ll excuse us, I’m afraid I have a promise to fulfill.” Ignoring Klaus’ knowing look, Elijah pressed his hand into the small of Damon’s back, which absolutely did not send butterflies into Damon’s stomach, no sir, get it together Salvatore, and led him from the room.

Leaving Klaus and Stefan alone in the dining room. Shit.

“So,” Klaus said, smiling in what would seem like an inviting manner if Stefan hadn’t seen it on his face as he lured innocent people to their deaths. His silverware clanked against the china as he set them down a little forcefully. “I presume they are actually sneaking off to snog like teenagers in my hall closet, aren’t they.”

It wasn’t a question, so Stefan just set his own silverware down, meeting Klaus’ gaze head-on.

Klaus stood.

Stefan stayed seated, ready to jump if Klaus tried to follow them. He just had to buy a little bit more time for them. Then it would all be worth it. He would have his revenge.

Would he though?

Klaus wasn’t interested in following Elijah and Damon through the house.

Oh no.

That would be too easy.

It was a sad statement towards the current outlook in Stefan’s brain that the predatory swing of Klaus’ walk as he prowled towards him, around the table, sent a surge of heat down Stefan’s body. If there was nothing else to be grateful about being a vampire, at least they didn’t blush or having tripped up heart beats to reveal weakness to the most dangerous being on earth, alive or otherwise.

God, the danger in that sentence should not get Stefan hard, what the fuck, brain.

Klaus was now only a foot or so away, long and languid in a way he hasn’t been in eighty years. Dammit. Klaus was trying to use their familiarity against him and it could not work, because there wasn’t enough time for it to, and he shouldn’t be disappointed about that.

Stefan didn’t think about Elena, or her simple beauty, or her human delicacy, or the fact that he could still have all of that if he just tried.

Light eyes darkened by hunger captured his, and he wasn’t sure if it was supernatural darkness or the blackness of lust. One moment, Klaus was a safe distance away. The next, Klaus leaned in, climbing up onto the dinner chair that Stefan foolishly hadn’t left. He was so different, Stefan marveled, and yet the same. His aftershave was different, and the crackle of magic that always seemed to permeate his form has dissipated some. But the weight of him, settling into Stefan’s lap, and the feel of him, firm and strong against him, yet yielding to his touch, and the taste of him, smoky and bloody and sweet. He kissed the same, rough and hungry, his hands curling through Stefan’s hair or twisting at the fabric of his shirt.

Helpless against the onslaught and forgetting about all but that which was in front of him, Stefan took gladly what was given to him, hands tracing familiar paths under Klaus’ shirt. He moaned brokenly when Klaus ground his hips down, grinning savagely at the hardness he found there. In revenge, Stefan undid Klaus’ pants, reveling in the ease which he could slip his hand into Klaus’ pants and trying not to react when he found no underwear underneath. Instead, he slipped his middle finger between Klaus’ lips, chuckling darkly at the wetness he was met with.

“You’re just as desperate for this as me,” Stefan muttered, swallowing the little gasp Klaus let out as Stefan started to rub the little bundle of nerves. Back and forth, and then circles, until Klaus was jerking his hips in time with his motions and panting into his mouth.

A throat was cleared. Stefan retracted his hand as if he had been stung, head whipping over to see Elijah and Damon standing in the doorway. A cold bucket of reality poured over Stefan’s arousal. Klaus, on the other hand, merely glared at them for interrupting, not making any move to get out of Stefan’s lap or zip himself up.

“I thought you were giving him a tour, Elijah,” Klaus said significantly, glaring at his older brother’s unapologetic face.

“I thought we were having dinner, Niklaus.”

While Elijah and Klaus exchanged sharply pointed comments, Stefan and Damon had their own stare down. Before, when faced with Stefan having feelings for Klaus, Damon reacted with mostly amusement and pity. Now, he was annoyed, going on pissed off. Luckily, Stefan had inadvertently allowed Damon and Elijah enough time to sneak down to undagger the remaining Mikaelson siblings, and, if Damon’s phone going off earlier was what he thought it was, the Bennetts had popped the lock on the mystery coffin. And Klaus didn’t suspect a thing, if his tiny, almost imperceptible hip circles were to be believed.

Stefan thought revenge was supposed to feel sweeter.

(As he left, him and Damon struggling not to overhear Klaus’ rather loud argument with his mother—oh, Ylva, sweetheart; my NAME is Niklaus!--, Stefan thought that maybe, just maybe, they’d fucked something up. And, as he looked at his brother silently, seeing only dissatisfaction and wariness, they might not ever be able to fix it. But they drove off anyway, going back to eager anticipation and elated victory, meeting it with awkward silences and budding regret.)