All three of our jaws dropped. Damon automatically let go of Stefan who dropped suddenly and he held a hand to his throat, rubbing it tenderly. All of our widened eyes were all fixed on the spitting image of me that stood casually opposite us.
“K-k…Katherine?” Damon choked out in bewilderment. She moved faster than I could see and was suddenly standing right in front of me. I could hardly comprehend the likeness between us. It was like looking in the mirror. She looked me up and down and then stared hard at my face. She looked confused.
“Well this is interesting…” she mused as she circled me. I didn’t breathe. She was a vampire and she was stronger than Damon and Stefan. She could snap my neck in a second and not think twice about it. She seemed to sense my fear, and she smirked at me.
“I’m not going to hurt you. You are far too interesting. Can I ask you why you look like me?” She stood facing me again. I tried to speak but my breath caught and no sound came out. I glanced across at Damon and Stefan who were standing there motionless with their mouths still hanging open. Katherine looked at me as if demanding an answer, but when I didn’t respond she rolled her eyes and turned to face Damon and Stefan.
“Well? Aren’t you happy to see me?” she smiled cutely. Damon shut his mouth slowly and his face turned from shock to anger.
“Happy? HAPPY?” he roared and she took a step back. His face morphed into vampire and he growled, “I waited for you Katherine. I waited ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY FIVE YEARS for you. I tried desperately to get into that tomb. I never gave up. And then, finally, I got the chance and I rushed inside to find you. And guess what? YOU WEREN’T THERE!” He yelled at her and she stood immobile. “That little vampire Anna told me that you had compelled one of the guards to let you free…She told me…” his face morphed back to human and he sank to the ground on his knees. When he looked up his face was pure sadness. A lump caught in my throat as the dangerous, powerful vampire Damon looked on the brink of crying. The amount of sorrow that had filled his normal look of confidence and smugness was just heart-rending.
“…She told me…you knew where I was. You always had. And yet…you never came back for me…You never even cared. And when she said that…my world fell apart. My love for you had been so strong. I thought that I would finally see you again after years apart and we’d be together again. But I was wrong. How could you?” He choked out and he stared at the mossy forest floor. I gasped silently as I saw a tear drip from Damon’s face and hit the ground. He looked so sad. So helpless. I went to go and pull him into my arms but Stefan looked at me and shook his head as if to say, “leave him be.” I nodded and just looked at the miserable vampire that was kneeling on the cold leafy forest floor. Katherine stared at him and looked at a loss of what to say.
“Damon…I…I’m so sorry. But I’m here now! And I’ve come for you, my darling. I tried to come before but things…came up. I love you, I always have,” she said softly. But I didn’t buy a word of it. And neither did Damon, apparently. He sprang to his feet and rubbed his eyes furiously.
“So things came up constantly for one hundred and forty five years, huh? You love me huh? Just get out of my life Katherine. I don’t love you. Not anymore.” And with that, he turned on his heel and disappeared into the forest. Katherine reached her arm out desperately and took a step, but Stefan held up his hand.
“No, Katherine. Damon’s right. Go. You’re not wanted here.” Stefan sped over and stood in front of me. “You abandoned him. I’ve never seen such love-driven madness in one person. He loved you more than words can say Katherine. We all saw that,” and Stefan motioned at me. I nodded in agreement. “For him to find out that you had been free all the while, he fell apart. You killed his love for you.” Stefan glared at her. Her mouth fell in a dramatic pout.
“Well, this reunion wasn’t as fun as I’d hoped,” she said, smiling a cruel smile. Rage flared up inside me. All that stuff she had said to Damon about loving him still had been a lie. I wanted to punch her but I knew if I did she rip me to shreds. Stefan growled.
“I SAID GO KATHERINE!” he roared and with a blow-kiss she was gone. He breathed hard and turned to me.
“Come on Elena. I think we need to find Damon.” He turned his back to me and motioned for me to climb on. I obliged hesitantly and we sped off. My eyes stung as the wind blew like knives into them. I squeezed them shut and then we came to a halt. I prised them open and realised we were standing in front of the Salvatore house. The door was open. I slid off of Stefan’s back and we walked slowly into the house. Stefan stopped.
“He’s in there. I’ll give you two some…time.” He said unwillingly, but before I could answer he was gone. I ran swiftly into the house and my gaze fell upon a figure in the armchair near a roaring fire. I walked quietly up behind him but he didn’t turn around. I knelt beside him but he just stared into the fire, not blinking. His eyes were glazed over and he held a bottle of whisky in his hand. I removed the bottle and held his chin in my hand. I forced him to look at me but when he did the sadness in his eyes overwhelmed me. He didn’t say a word. He blinked slowly whilst staring me in the face blankly. After a while his eyebrows narrowed and he looked at me properly.
“I’m sorry…” he whispered, but I shushed at him and helped him to his feet. I wrapped my arms comfortingly around him and pulled him close.
“Damon,” I cooed softly. “You’ve done nothing wrong. She’s the one who should be sorry.” I gritted my teeth and set my jaw as I thought about the self-serving bitch of a vampire Katherine. He smiled weakly as he looked into my eyes.
“I loved her so much. I was convinced that she loved me too. And to have that torn away so suddenly…” he choked out. I held his face in my hands and kissed his cheek. I then wrapped my arms around him again, and he pressed his face into my hair. We stood there, motionless, in front of a crackling fire for a long, long time.
I heard a cough from the doorway and both I and Damon spun around. Stefan stood awkwardly in front of us, with a sympathetic smile on his face.
“Hey man. Look, I’m so sorry about that thing earlier…You know, the fight…” he said, looking at the floor. Damon walked toward him.
“It’s ok. But we’ve got bigger problems than ourselves at the moment. Katherine is back. She needs to be…disposed of…” Damon said the last to words with malice and it sent a shiver down my spine.
“But how? She’s older than us, therefore stronger. We can’t take her on alone, Damon.” Stefan reasoned. “But I do agree that she needs to leave. For one thing we can’t have people mistaking her for Elena, and we can’t let anyone see them together. It’s not like Elena can suddenly have a long-lost twin…” Stefan looked at loss and he sat by the fire. “So why IS she back? Because it’s definitely not for me,” Damon said angrily, snatching up a bottle of whisky and pouring out a huge glassful. Then he poured out two smaller ones and handed them to Stefan and I. I held the glass gently in my hands, but I could see Damon was only a fraction away from the glass smashing into millions of fragment by the way his hand was gripping his glass. Stefan placed his down and winced.
“I don’t think I’ll be drinking anymore tonight…” Stefan said sheepishly as he pushed the glass along the side-table away from himself.
“Suit yourself,” Damon replied, and poured Stefan’s entire whisky down his throat. He set his teeth as he swallowed the fiery alcohol. I played with my glass in my hands and looked between them.
“So what are we going to do?” I asked.
“YOU are not going to do anything. Leave this to Stefan and I, Elena,” Damon said as he turned to me.
“No! Just because I’m human doesn’t mean that I’m incapable of helping out vampires…” I replied angrily. “There’s a vampire here that looks EXACTLY like me. Don’t you think that will have some complications?” Suddenly Damon’s eyes widened. He froze and stared at me. “What?” I asked nervously, worried of what he was about to say.
“Oh no,” he said quietly.
“Damon” What have you realised?” I urged. He looked at Stefan.
“She can get in!” He shouted in rage and slammed his glass on the table, making me jump. “Katherine can get in to her house!” And he pointed back at me. Stefan was on his feet.
“Oh my god…you’re right.” Stefan said worriedly. He was pacing too now. I looked at them and jumped to my feet.
“What…what?” I cried out.
Damon spun round and looked at me with a hint of fear in his eyes.
“Katherine looks like you Elena. All she has to do is knock on your door and ask to come in. Although Jenna will think it’s strange, she’ll do it.” I gasped. He was right. I could imagine Jenna’s confused look as she let the apparent “me” into the house. “But,” Damon reassured, “I don’t know if Katherine knows where you live. But she’s out there right now, probably lurking outside the house. If you go home she’ll follow you and try to learn everything about you.” He stared into the fire. “She’ll then try to be you.” I sat very still.
“How do you know?” I asked quietly.
“Because I know Katherine, Elena. Enough to know that you will have sparked her interest. And she’s not the only one who wants to know why you look like her…” He said the last sentence with curiosity strung in every word.
“Don’t you think that I want to know too? I mean we found out that I was adopted from Isobel, but that was it. We don’t know how she was linked to Katherine.” I sat back down again, shaking at the thought that the moment Katherine stepped into my house that that was it. She was in forever. I shuddered again and Damon perched himself on the arm of the chair next to me. He looked as though his was about to say something but his mouth just shut and his eyebrows lowered. I looked out of the window and saw my reflection staring back at me. Suddenly my reflected lips curled into a smile but my face hadn’t changed. I froze. My eyes widened. Katherine was staring at me through the glass. Damon saw me tense and followed my eye line. But when he looked at the window she was gone.
“What did you see, Elena?” He asked worriedly.
“Katherine,” I whispered. He immediately stood up and was at the window before I blinked. Stefan was up too and glancing hurriedly around.
“She can get in, can’t she?” I asked, frightened. “She can get in here because no human resides here!” Stefan nodded. His face was tight with worry and anticipation. Both of them looked ready to strike. The house was silent apart from the subtle noise of my breathing. We stood in hush for a few moments. Before I blinked, the space before me was empty. When I did blink the space was home to none other than Katherine herself. I gasped and huddled in the chair. Both Damon and Stefan darted in front of me and growled. Katherine crossed her arms and stood casually, smiling at them.
“What do you want,” Damon spat. His fists were clenched at his sides. Katherine smiled as she propped herself against the wall.
“Damon dear, calm down,” she said, her grin widening. “I just wanted to visit my old home town, is that too much to ask?” Stefan took a step. He looked nearly as angry as Damon.
“This town was never your home, Katherine. You used it to your advantage. Can’t you see that you’re not wanted here? Why not just leave?” he growled menacingly.
“I’m not going anywhere,” she said as anger washed over her face. I recoiled. So did Damon and Stefan a little. “I want to know why that girl,” she pointed a pale finger at me, “looks EXACTLY like me. I can’t work out why. It’s uncanny.” She glared at me with confusion in her dark eyes. I cleared my throat.
“Di-did you know someone called…Isobel?” I asked, my voice uneven and timid. Damon and Stefan spun around to face me, yet they kept looking warily back at Katherine. She cocked her head to one side.
“Isobel, did you say?” she replied. I nodded. She stared at me hard, and then her eyes widened. She gasped and backed away. “Oh my god!” She cried out. I was confused. So were Stefan and Damon.
“Katherine, what is it?” Damon urged, taking a step towards her. She was clutching her stomach, breathing heavily. “Katherine!” he called out and she glanced up at him, then across at me. She pointed at me with a shaky hand.