There were a lot of things that were true about Katherine Pierce. She was selfish, spoiled, vindictive, manipulative, and hot-tempered. Her love affairs typically turned into piles of gruesome carnage, and not always by her own hand, either. Not that she wouldn't kill most of them anyway. She ruined men, and she did it on purpose, because men had ruined her. In spite of these less-than-admirable (well, it was really a matter of perspective) traits, there were some traces of things that at one point, might have been almost innocent, if not good. She had been a foolish girl, but she had loved her family dearly. Her mother had been tender and gentle, but stronger than anyone she had met in her five hundred years. She'd had a younger brother. He had kept her most shameful secret for her, and had pleaded her case with their father when she'd been banished. They had all died because of her selfish need to protect herself. Although she had changed her name, it was true that she would always be Katerina Petrova underneath the layers of calculating, callous indifference. She would always miss her mother's voice, and she would always mourn for the child she'd never known.

Her daughter had been flawless. Katerina had believed her to be the most perfect expression of love to grace the earth. That's right; she hadn't always been an "evil slut". When she was just fourteen, she had fallen in love with the most beautiful boy in Bulgaria. He'd been sweet and gentle, and had staggering green eyes. He had sworn fidelity to her, promised to marry her, promised her everything. Alexei had swept her away completely, and then left her desolate when it became likely that she was with child. She had tried to tell her family who her baby's father was, but he'd denied everything. He said he'd never so much as spoken to her alone. He did all of this with a look on his handsome features that was both calm and shatteringly cold.

It was then that it had started. Katerina's wounded heart was broken even further only months later. Her little girl was taken away from her before she could so much as caress the tender pink cheeks she had only glimpsed. Even though she hadn't seen her daughter for more than a few seconds, that face would be burned into her soul forever. Katarina's father had taken her baby away and left her with a physical and emotional emptiness that would never be filled, no matter how many men she bedded or exotic places she saw.

She had never seen it coming when she was punished further. As soon as she was able to travel after delivery, Katerina's father had thrown a bag at the foot of her bed and told her to pack what she could carry, and that he would send the rest of her things to her at a later date. She was to go to England, where she would stay with the family of her father's business associate. Her father had agreed to send enough money to keep her for a year, no more. If she could manage to find a husband in that time, she might have a somewhat comfortable life. Her prospects were less than ideal if anyone there heard of her indiscretions. She was counting on her family's silence to save her from a life of begging or prostitution. Back then, Katherine still harbored delusions of sexual morality. She wanted to be in love with any man she lay down for. She'd been more than a little stupid as a human.

England had been a wonderful new start for her…at first. She had both Elijah and Klaus (who had money, status, and were handsome as well) at her feet. She didn't know then that only one was genuine. Elijah had cared for her, Klaus had used her. Trevor had been the first to idolize her. He was a sweet, gentle puppy of a vampire. She had actually felt bad for using him, especially after she'd received such similarly awful treatment. But, Trevor became her only escape route once it was clear what Klaus planned to do with her. Elijah had been out of the question, he was loyal to his brother, and was utterly convinced that he could find a magical loophole to save her. He was in serious denial. So, Katherine saved herself, and prevented the curse from being lifted. She made herself useless. Becoming a vampire was something that served several purposes. It obviously saved her life…sort of. It also saved the world from falling victim to whatever horror would be unleashed by removing the spell. Katerina had grown up in Eastern Europe, where people were far more aware of the supernatural. If a witch put such a powerful curse in place, there was a good reason behind it. Witches were responsible for maintaining balance, and this whole debacle screamed of imminent danger for all of humanity. Although, it would be a lie to say the former reason hadn't been weightier to her than the latter. Katerina would never be a martyr, and nothing was as valuable as her own life. She had thought Klaus loved her, and had offered herself up on the same altar she'd set for Alexei. This latest betrayal awoke something in Katerina. She would never again play sacrificial lamb for a man. If anyone were to be slaughtered, it would be them.

Katerina would regret being so sure of that decision. She would regret it forever. He had killed her family- every last member. The Petrovas lay dead and cold, scattered about her family's home. She spent far too long sitting there, weeping into her mother's stiff, unmoving chest. This was the last straw. She turned her emotions off. They didn't stay that way. She flipped the switch frequently, trying to escape the torment that followed discovering the brutal truth- everyone she loved had died because she had run. In her weakest moments, Katerina couldn't help but take solace in one thing-her child was safe. No one knew about her baby's whereabouts. Her father had been the only one who knew, refusing to tell his wife, even. This meant that somewhere, her last living tether to humanity was alive and breathing. She would cling to that, but she would never look for her. If Klaus suspected that she still had a living relation, he would track her little girl down as he'd done with everyone else. Her daughter would be given the chance to live the life that Katerina herself had been robbed of.

Decades passed, and she kept running. She never stayed anywhere long enough to be remembered. She did this until decades turned to centuries. She was living in America now, and to obscure her identity, was going by "Katherine". She stayed in New York, in Atlanta, and finally to the place that would change everything-Virginia. There, she was given a temporary home with a widower and his two youngest sons. He had three in all, but one had recently married and left home. She met Stefan first. He had been friendly, and polite, and attentive from the beginning. His eyes were magnetic, and as green as those that had renounced her all those years before. Katherine knew Stefan would be a problem for her. He didn't react to her like other men. He didn't give in easily, and she loved a good chase. It had been foolhardy to make such a spectacle of herself, but if he wasn't taking notice, she'd have to up the ante until he did. After all, she was very spoiled.

Damon, on the other hand, was easy…and gorgeous. He was the most physically attractive man Katherine had ever met. He was handsome, but not fiery like Stefan. Damon was a lot like Trevor. He was a romantic, and he gave in to her with no compulsion. He pined, and promised, and offered beautiful notions of true love, of forever after. It turned her stomach to hear the words Alexei had spoken from another man. Katherine did not believe in true love, but she knew if she did, she wouldn't find it with Damon. If she were to be in love again, it would have to be Stefan. And, to her frustration, it was. After months of toying with them both, and turning them against each other, she was blind-sided by the realization that she did love him. She hated it. She also hated that she'd come to care for Damon on some level. It didn't hold a candle to the feelings she had for Stefan, whose eyes held everything Alexei's had, and everything she'd only wished they had. Maybe now that she held the cards, now that she was stronger, smarter, more experienced…maybe now she'd be good enough. She would break through the ice and the darkness in him, and if she couldn't, she would match it, but this time she would get what she wanted. She wouldn't abandon Damon, because in so many ways, he was her. He was as weak and naïve as she had been four centuries ago. He deserved a chance to be cured of his stupidity, endearing as it could be.

Once everything had come together and fallen apart, she ran again. She was safe now. Klaus would think she was dead, just like everyone else did. It was a stupid risk to resurface in Chicago, but every few years, she had to see him. She watched him with Rebekah- the shallow, selfish, whiny bitch (that was her role in his life, and she was better at it than Blanche Ingram would ever be). Of course, Stefan's rather unstable nature had resulted in one hell of a messed-up vampire. He was psychotic and cruel. She told herself it was better like this, that she liked this Stefan. She didn't. She hated what he'd become. She'd never admit it, but she'd been glad when Lexi found him. She didn't like her, because Katherine hated anyone who took Stefan's attention from her, whether or not she was around to receive his affection. It was pathetic, and it disgusted her, but she found herself wishing that Stefan loved like Damon did. Damon was properly crushed by her "death". He had discovered from Emily that the vampires were alive, if mummified. She hadn't checked up on Damon, but he tended to follow Stefan for a few years every decade or so. It was part of his plot to cause his brother as much pain as eternity could afford. She enjoyed the fact that Damon, at least, would always be hers'.

That ended, to her fury. The Salvatore brothers met Elena Gilbert, who (flatteringly enough) looked exactly like her. She was Isobel's daughter. Isobel was a distant relation of hers', a descendant. She was also a new vampire, turned by none other than her darling Damon, who apparently had become quite the hedonistic man-whore (ironic, since Stefan was a simpering, deer slaughtering disappointment). Isobel had come to her after tracing her roots to a girl who went by the name of Anya. Anya had been an orphan who had died in childbirth at the age of twelve, seven and a half months after being brutally raped outside the orphanage she'd been placed in. Katherine had never shown anyone that the knowledge meant something to her, but she'd cried for days at the news. For some reason, it broke what was left of her heart to know that her baby had never really lived. She had stayed away to protect her, when she should have been there, ripping people limb from limb. Katherine had never dreamed that her father hadn't found a loving home for her child. She'd thought he'd cared enough for her to do that much. It wouldn't have mattered, though. They were all on a collision course to hell from conception.

The Petrova women had been cursed to suffer forever or die young. It was all for the purpose of producing doppelgangers. It was why she'd loved Alexei, and why her sweet baby had been attacked by a group of lowlife scumbags. Isobel had gotten pregnant in high school, and had given birth to the most recent Petrova doppelganger. It was nature's law. Elena would either be the sacrifice or continue the line. At least getting pregnant seemed impossible…since she seemed to have the same romantic issues Katherine had had, only different. Katherine had been more powerful than Stefan and Damon, and she could compel them, so they'd had no choice but to love her. Elena was a conundrum. She was undeniably a good snack, but without knowing her true value (keeping Klaus from leveling up to a point of world-domination was high on Katherine's list of priorities), it was ridiculous that both Salvatores seemed determined to die for her. Katherine had thought it was just the resemblance between them, that the boys were clinging to whatever they could of 1864. It was soon revealed that she was mistaken. Stefan actually loved her, and so did Damon. What surprised her was that she didn't like the hold Elena had over Damon. He was falling fast and hard, and Katherine did not like to be outdone. So, she went for him. Much to her displeasure, Damon had become something of a challenge. His feelings for her were still there, of course, but she felt herself being eclipsed. She was desperate to hold onto something.

Elena proved to be a worthy adversary after all, and Katherine couldn't help but to feel the occasional twinge of familial pride. She did have a healthy share of stubbornness, and a backbone of steel, and she got what she wanted. She had the Petrova fire, that hadn't been a lie. Elena wasn't fearless, but she was courageous as a human in ways Katherine had never been as a vampire. She could understand why her boys would turn against her for this girl…almost. She had watched Damon, her twisted little puppy, turn his back on her, and try to kill her. Sure, Stefan had reason. She'd compelled him, tricked him, and abandoned him after forcing him to take her blood. Besides, he was shacking up with her spunky, straight-haired look-alike. Stefan's love had never been as deep as Damon's, so she wasn't as surprised by his attempt on her life. Hurt, yes, surprised, no.

Even with everything that had happened between the three of them, Katherine would not let Damon die when it was this easy to save him. It was more for Stefan than for herself, or even Damon. If Stefan was willing to sacrifice his hard-earned soul to save his brother, then she would help where she could without putting her own ass in the line of fire. So, although she took off like a bat out of hell (pretty accurate description, if she thought about it), she made one small stop at the Boarding House. She had witnessed something there she'd never expected to see. When she found Damon, he was in Elena's arms. He'd been pouring out his dying heart to her. She was weeping for him, consoling him, kissing him. She really was a Petrova, in the worst way. Except, Katherine suspected Elena's feelings might be genuine. What she saw was the beginning of something. Maybe this time, it wouldn't be Stefan, after all. It was rather poetic, actually; that she might choose him, since he'd spent so long barking up the wrong identical tree. Katherine found that she actually liked this arrangement. If Stefan was off with Klaus, doing everything Elena abhorred, and Damon was here, being systematically housebroken, that left her with an opportunity to reclaim the affection of the man she loved. All she had to do was figure a way to kill the person she feared most, get Stefan's head on straight, convince him to love her again, and not die in the process.

Katherine was not herself lately. She wasn't running from Klaus. In fact, her sanity and sense of self-preservation were dwindling at a horrifying pace. Somehow, she had gotten herself involved in a plan to directly confront Klaus, his hybrids, and robot-Stefan. Stefan was so far gone. It actually made her uncomfortable. Sure, human life was completely expendable to Katherine. She killed people all the time. Stefan was a different story. He was the Zodiac Killer of the supernatural world. He had nothing inside that shell of a soul. He didn't kill out of anger, thirst, lust, or even to prove a point. He just killed for the hell of it. Katherine began to miss the Stefan she'd fallen in love with. So, she made a last-minute decision to wake him up. She would be saving Damon, again, and Stefan too. She knew the brotherly bond between them was still there, against all odds. Damon was the only card that ever trumped Klaus, so she played it with the blind hope that there was enough of Stefan left to act on his repressed emotions. It worked. He rescued his brother and she got him out before Klaus could change his mind.

She didn't worry about the fallout. Damon had Elena, or would eventually. That left Stefan on the chessboard without his queen. This was checkmate. Stefan needed her if they were to defeat Klaus (not that she had all the kinks worked out in this little kamikaze mission), and she would be there. Once and for all, she would have him. Yes, she was still a crazy, manipulative bitch; but that didn't mean she wasn't head-over-heels in love with the cold-blooded murderer in the seat next to her. He had told her once that he loved her, and he'd meant it then. As he spoke, his humanity leaking through, she knew he'd mean it again before this was all over. It was all part of that poetic justice thing.

She called Damon to tell him goodbye, and to make sure he hadn't managed to get staked on the drive home. She could hear Elena's distinctively uneven breathing not a foot away from the mouthpiece before Damon stepped back. She almost smirked. She and Damon would both get what they'd wanted for a hundred and fifty years. It might take a few more near-death experiences for their respective idiots to realize they couldn't live without them, but what the hell. Chasing was always more fun than running away.