This is Vampire Diaries fic! I know! I’m surprised, too!

It’s sort of show-related, sort of book-related, mostly because I don’t know how—or if—they’re going to deal with Katherine, let alone Klaus. (If you don’t know who Klaus is, or if you want to be spoiled for the show, maybe don’t read this.)

though it is not recorded
by gale

SUMMARY: The Morningstar, out of London, goes down twenty-five miles from the shore of Virginia with all hands. Or, Katherine's trip across the water.


The trip across the ocean is longer than Katherine would like, and hard; it's not safe to drink too deeply from the crew, lest they become peaked and dull-eyed, and it's not as if she can just blend into a crowd. It's strange enough that a young, unmarried woman of some means is traveling across the water by herself, no husband or father. They'd most likely name her "witch"--not so bad, but enough to send her overboard, and they'd likely strip her jewelry from her before they did it. She can't have that.

She sustains herself mostly with rats, which are plentiful on a ship if not exactly delectable, with occasional nibbles on the crew. Spaced out carefully, the men just think they're sea-ill, the way things sometimes happen onboard a ship: too much drink, not enough food that doesn't have weevils in it.

During the day, Katherine mostly remains in her stateroom, lying abed; she can abide the daylight, but it makes her weak, reminds her too much of her last days as a human. Back then every breath had been like she was trapped beneath the surface of a frozen pond, gasping for air even as she'd drawn deep lungfuls. She'd known she was going to die, to be with the angels, and that that was supposed to be all right. But it wasn't. She'd been young, and unmarried, and had seen nothing of the world save her father's house. The prospect of dying wasn't some sainted peace; it was a misery.

And then Klaus had come.

Klaus had known her maid, Gudren, when she was a child. He'd looked at Katherine for a long moment, gasping in the candlelight, and had explained some things to her. She needn't die, he'd said, not unless she wanted to. He'd offered her something different--something better than death, eternal and full and rich like the night.

And Katherine, who'd loved the morning right up until the time waking from a fitful doze brought a fresh round of coughing and bright red blood to her mouth, had agreed.

Katherine shifts in bed, restless, and wishes Gudren was here.

*

The trip takes ridiculously long, even by the standards of ocean travel. There's a few patches of bad weather, and fog more often than not, which makes her suspicious. Fog always does these days, especially when she didn't summon it.

Katherine grows restless. She drinks deeper from the men, waits less time between visits. The men are ill most days, now, while she goes for walks along the deck as the sun sinks into the waves and looks flush and full of good cheer. Her maids--not Gudren, never Gudren, poor Gudren--look at her askance but say nothing; they're too well-paid to do otherwise, and anyway they'd rather their mistress not turn her midnight attentions on them.

Their captain, a proper man by the name of Holt, invites Katherine to dinner. She doubts he's looking for a wife, or anything more complicated than seducing an innocent virgin on her way to the Americas, but he has books she hasn't read and tells very funny stories about his travels, and he shaves. It's enough of an amusement for the moment.

*

"Hello, little owl," Klaus says, and in her dreams, Katherine moans.

It's strange: She misses Klaus, more than she can say--more than she needs to breathe, anymore--but she doesn't miss him. She misses the things he taught her, about clouding the mind and summoning animals to herself to serve her will; she misses how he'd shown her the world a piece at a time, like feeding a child sweets. But she doesn't miss the eye she'd caught him giving her, once or twice, and she doesn't miss the way he'd treat her sometimes, as if she was a child. She's not his age, no, but she's old enough to be married with a family of her own, if she hadn't died. Being held on someone's yoke was bad enough before; now, it's unbearable.

"Go away," she tells him, turning her back to him. She hasn't missed the sleek black gown she's wearing, or how her hair is down in a rich flood across her bare shoulders. Klaus has always enjoyed toying with people while they sleep. "I told you, Klaus--"

"You couldn't call me Father?" he asks, pouting. It makes her shudder; that face was not meant for play-pretties. "Not even once?"

She ignores him. "--I'm not your slave, nor anyone else's. Not anymore." She looks at him, feels herself change. Now her hair is swept up, as is proper--for a young lady and her sire, at least--and her dress is a more modest pale yellow, full-shouldered and -skirted. "If, if! I choose to return, it'll be after I've seen the world by myself for a bit."

"The world is disappointing, little owl," Klaus says. Katherine can't see him, which isn't a surprise; he enjoys that, too, being everywhere and nowhere all at once. "Trust me. You can walk every inch of it twice over, and nothing new ever happens."

"Even so, I'd rather find that out for myself."

He sighs heavily. "Very well," he says, sounding regretful. Katherine feels herself soften towards him, just a touch.

"Thank y--"

"Of course, you have to survive long enough to reach the new world," Klaus adds, all teeth in his invisible smile, and Katherine wakes up in hell.

*

The Morningstar, out of London, goes down twenty-five miles from the shore of Virginia with all hands. The cargo--mostly furnishings from London, some fabrics from Paris, luxury items but nothing of pressing need--is lost as well. That's in the records, if you look hard enough. It's a shame, but not uncommon; storms happen at sea all the time, especially back then.

The records don't show that most of the bodies in the water--the ones that have, by now, sloughed off and become little more than storinghouses for schools of fish--were drained of blood before the ship went down. They don't show that the trio of young women serving the one paying passenger died of broken necks instead, one last moment of sweetness for faithful service and silence; or that Captain Holt pulled his gun and ended up with a torn-out throat for his trouble, clutching the wound and dying with a woman's name on his lips.

They don't show that some hours later, just before dawn, a young woman in a sodden traveling gown walked ashore as if she'd just been out for an evening swim, blood still dotting her mouth. They don't show that she was swarmed on all sides by owls and crows, as if by some nightmarish honor guard, or that fog preceded her, swallowing the ground so she seemed to float. They don't record how the air seemed to crackle, or how swollen the woman seemed: young and furious and not even remotely human.

They don't. In retrospect, it would have been better for all concerned if they had.

*

Katherine spends a fortnight in caves, regaining her strength. She'd gorged herself as the ship had gone down--and oh, wasn't that funny, Klaus, sending the storm--but what had happened afterwards was some kind of blur. She'd made it to shore, apparently, her clothes intact if sodden, necklace still safely against her skin. That had been the thing that'd woken her in a panic, clutching for it, choking back a scream. You must never take this off, Klaus had told her, never, not during the day, or you will die, and she'd believed him.

When she feels strong enough, she goes out and gets what she needs: new dresses, two maids, a coach. She stays at a different home each night: never leaving memories behind, only people feeling wan the next day. She studies the largest village nearby, a town named Mystic Falls, and decides she'll winter there. It's large enough that she can feed safely without being noticed, as long as she's careful.

She creeps into town and finds a family sleeping, whispers to the father in her sleep. A business associate, she tells him; his youngest daughter, seeking warmer climes for the winter, won't you do her a good turn--

Katherine waits a few days, then arrives at the Salvatore home on a Tuesday morning.

She listens to the father recite what she'd told him with ease, no trace of suspicion in him. She is Katherine von Swartzchild, now, the daughter of a far business associate come to winter with them. No one suspects, just peers at her with undisguised curiosity. She notices two in particular, fair and dark, young men like faint mirrors of one another: mirrors glimpsed down a hall from one another.

The maiden and the hunter both sit up at that, curious. Perhaps she'd chosen better than she'd suspected.

"And these," Mr. Salvatore says proudly, "are my sons--"




i can't say as i love katherine. i can respect her motivations--who wouldn't want to spend eternity in a quasi-incestuous, sort-of-gay threesome with the men you love?--but faking her death wasn't the way to go. and then she went batshit crazy and tried to kill elena, and sent wild dogs after the prom, and i just. no. not on, littlest swartzchild.

(on the other hand, because of katherine, we get klaus, who wears a dirty raincoat and throws lightning bolts, and is what happens when you get three damons together. on meth.)

i'm hoping the show goes there, because i think everyone should get to see nina dobrev a) act batshit crazy, and b) do vampire gameface, because this show's vampire gameface looks sort of like you cracked all the blood vessels in your eyes at once and have too many goddamn teeth in your mouth. it is AWESOME. i love buffy gameface, wherein you get fangs and yellow eyes and go bumpy-faced, but this one's pretty good, all things considered. also, scary and kind of unattractive--which, let's face it, evil should be right before it eats you.
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