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Stefan is sitting in his favorite chair enjoying the quiet while he writes his thoughts down in his journal. Writing his life onto the paper soothes him, lets him escape deeper into his world, a record of his perceptions.

There’s a rustling outside his window. Suddenly a hand is over his eyes.

“Haven’t you learned you can’t sneak up on me?” He says confidently.

The hand drops and the intruder appears just as fast in front of him. Standing with a hip popped and crossed arms.

“Aww don’t pout Lexi, it’s unbecoming” Stefan says with a wink.

She chuckles and gives him a look. “You know why I’m here”

“You just couldn’t stay away of course” he said smiling.

“I’m serious Stefan. You are making a mess here. I’m here to help you”

“Everything is fine, I just went a little too far once....or twice” he shakes the thought off as he closes his journal and gets up to stand near Lexi. “Besides, what’s wrong with having some fun? You should try it, you might like it”

“That’s the problem Stefan, leaving a trail of bodies and obliterating humans shouldn’t be fun. We have to blend”

Stefan threw his hands up in defeat. “Fine, wrong choice of words. Look, I’m not the only vampire here so I’m not taking the blame for all of it” he crossed his arms as he looked at her.

“Okay, I can see this conversation is not getting us anywhere so let’s put it on pause for little while. Get dressed, I’m taking you to an art gallery.”

Stefan raised an eyebrow at her. That seemed too easy for her to back down.

“Come on, I’m here, we may as well go out and enjoy the evening. I promise I have no evil plans for you” she winked and smiled.

“That’s comforting, so why not”
He said with light sarcasm.

It doesn’t take him long to get ready, although he may have spent just a few extra minutes on his hair. No one needs to know that, he thought to himself as he finished up.

They arrive shortly at the gallery.
There is a decent crowd but not too overwhelming. The blood pulsing through the humans around him heightened his already sensitive senses but as long as he didn’t get a taste he could manage. Maybe Lexi had a motive after all.
No matter, he could “blend” for a few hours to appease his friend. Plus the thought of being drained was a strong motivation to behave.

They spend time at each painting, discussing the meaning and feelings each one provokes. They get around the room and come across a painting that stands out above all the rest. Stefan is drawn to it. He is silent for a long moment as he studies it. Lexi is first to give her take, it’s too simple at best.

“I see sadness and anger” she states.

“No, you’re not really seeing it”
He says. He pauses only for a second then continues.

“See the passion of the strokes”, his hand hovers over the flow but doesn’t dare touch, “Each area was painted with a different emotion. The overall feeling is dark but underneath is a burning light, a vibrance, like an eternal flame that can’t be snuffed out. It may be dim but will shine bright again” Stefan continues to admire the frame before him.

“Wow” Lexi says. “That’s deep Stefan”

He didn’t even shoot her his typical stoney glare her way.

“I’m going to get a glass of the champagne they’re serving. Would you like one before we continue?” She asks.

“Yes, that sounds nice, thank you” He gave her a small smile before she turned on her way.

Stefan was back to going over the painting again when a voice began to speak closely behind him. A sound that sent flutters straight to his stomach as he recognized the tantalizing accent.

“That was quite a description my friend”

Stefan looked just slightly over his shoulder and was met with dark blue-green eyes looking at him and a half smile that he had memorized and starred in his day dreams.

Klaus stepped forward to stand shoulder to shoulder with Stefan, his hand clasping his wrist behind his back and tilting his head to the side to analyze the painting himself. Stefan realized he hadn’t said anything.

“Uh, yes, that is my read on it. What do you see Klaus?”

“Well, you have observed the essence I put into this piece. I think you have a good eye Stefan” Klaus said putting a hand on his shoulder and lightly squeezing.

As Stefan’s understanding caught up to him he looked at Klaus wide eyed.
“This is yours?”

Klaus gave him another smile and a wink then walked away saying nothing else.

Stefan has a new feeling wash over him at Klaus’s revealed talent. He browses along the art filled wall not really seeing any of it.

Lexi comes up and notices his trance. She playfully shoulder bumps him. “Here, have a drink, you look like you need it” She gave him a questioning look.

“Thanks, shall we?” He held his arm out for her to lead the way of their browsing.

The time went by without incident. Stefan had locked eyes with Klaus multiple times before he saw Klaus take his leave. By that time he too felt he had spent long enough in the atmosphere.

“This was a lovely evening Lexi, I enjoyed our time as always”, he smiled, “I am ready to call it a night, that is, unless, I didn’t pass your test?” He gave her a knowing smirk.

She opened her mouth to protest but decided against it.
“Not so subtle huh?”

Stefan gave her a quick kiss on the cheek and left it at that.

Once outside he took a deep breath of the night air before taking off.
He made his way to a bar one town over. He takes another relaxing breath as he lets his focus of the gallery go. He feels relief to not be acting, not be putting on a role. He’s standing across the street watching the humans through the large glass windows along the building.

“Would you like to go inside?”

Stefan turns to see a smiling Klaus only steps away.

“Would you like to have a drink with me Klaus?”
He gave Stefan a nod and they walked in together.

They took a seat on the stools at the side of the bar. Klaus took the liberty of ordering for them both.

“Why did you follow me?” Stefan asks.

“I was curious. Wanted to see what the rest of your night brought about” Klaus answers honestly. Stefan doesn’t offer any clues.

“So you are an artist” Stefan says, sliding his eyes to meet Klaus’s

“I am many things Stefan, you’ll learn that” his stare lingers with meaning behind it. “Painting is a passion of mine, yes” he takes a small, slow sip from his glass.

“What about you? What makes Stefan Salvatore tick?”

“You’ve heard stories, probably all true. I’m a ripper, my trail is gore and violence, not mystery”

“There’s always more Stefan, even if you don’t see it”

One corner of Stefan’s mouth turned up as he met Klaus’s eyes. He looks back down at his glass.

“Maybe. Any hidden talents are buried deep if they’re there, but that’s okay for now” He says.

“Well I’m feeling restless. I say we paint this place red.” Klaus says.

They share a mischievous look.
Without a word Stefan stands and walks over to a few men and individually compels them to lock doors and guard each exit no matter what happens. He walks back to Klaus leaning into his shoulder.

“Let’s do this” Stefan says with a grin. Klaus smiles back and shows his fangs.

They mingle through the people to find who they want first. Stefan has a predator style going straight for it, while Klaus is more calculated, he gages the room to look for the most satisfying prey.

Stefan walks over to a woman picking some music to play on the jukebox. He stands close and takes her drink from her hand. At first her head turns with a glare then softens when she sees the tall, dark, and handsome man watching her as he takes a sip from the glass.

“Good choice” he says handing it back to her letting their fingers touch. She smiles shyly.

“But nothing beats my favorite drink” He steps closer.

“What is your favorite?” She asks curiously.

Stefan leans in next to her ear and whispers “you” she gets a chill down her body. He loves that effect. He moves his mouth to her neck and places a small kiss on her pulsing vein.
That was all it took for his face to change and his instincts to take over. His fangs puncture the flesh like slicing butter, so smooth. He gets a rush feeding on the warm flowing blood. It doesn’t take long before he drains her dry. She slumps lifeless in his arms as he lets her slip down beside the jukebox.

Feeling energized he takes a satisfied breath and looks around until he sees Klaus across the bar at a corner table. He has four people sitting with him, they each have cut their wrists to drain blood into their glasses for him. Stefan approaches. Klaus orders one of the ladies to sit on Stefan’s lap and give him her wrist so he can drink straight from the tap.

At this point they have drawn attention to their gory enjoyment. Shocked gasps, then screaming begins followed by scampering feet to get the hell out of the murder scene. Sorry, no way out.

Klaus stands giving them a menacing smile and the panic escalates.

The few people left are fighting so Stefan steps in to compel them but Klaus tells him not to. During the scuffle of the last humans who were fighting decently for humans, (Klaus and Stefan are back to back) Klaus rips the throat out of his lessor opponent.
Just then Stefan is shoved against Klaus toppling them to the floor as he delivers the fatal bite to his prey.

They both are covered in blood. Bodies all around them. Stefan shoves his last victim away as he realized he was practically laying on Klaus. He stands up and reaches his hand towards Klaus. He grips it and Stefan yanks a little harder than he meant to bringing Klaus up and against his chest. Their faces are so close. Stefan is holding Klaus in place without realizing it. Klaus’s eyes stay locked with Stefans, he doesn’t pull away. Stefan’s eyes flick to his lips. He squeezes Klaus’s arms and leans in even closer.
Just as he felt the tiniest brush of soft skin he panicked. In an instant Stefan was gone, a blur, running faster than he ever had.