Chapter 17

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"I hate the wilderness," Sofia mutters, darkly, swatting at a bug that flies in front of her face.

"Must you complain?" Stefan asks, shifting Ray on his shoulder a bit.

"Must you be so grumpy?" Sofia counters, scowling at Stefan, making Klaus chuckle a bit. "I wouldn't laugh if I were you," Sofia says quickly to Klaus, turning her scowl to him. "You're the one who drug us out here."

"Oh, relax, love. We'll be there soon enough, and once I turn Ray's pack into hybrids, we can leave," Klaus says, trying to reassure Sofia, who grumbles something under her breath. "You okay?" Klaus asks Stefan. "Is Ray getting heavy?"

"I'm fine," Stefan answers.

"You sure about that? You know, we've been walking for quite some time now. If you need some water or a little sit-down...," Klaus trails off, smirking at Stefan.

"We should have brought along bug spray. Little bastards are everywhere out here," Sofia growls, brushing a spider off of her arm quickly, and swatting at another flying bug.

"You know, I get that we're, uh... we're stuck together, but if we could maybe just skip the chitchat, it'd be great," Stefan says, glancing at Klaus.

"So much brooding. Your self-loathing is suffocating you, my friend," Klaus says, frowning at Stefan.

"Maybe it's 'cause I'm a little tired of hunting werewolves. We've been at it all summer," Stefan says, and Sofia makes a noise of agreement.

"Thanks to our pal Ray, we found ourselves a pack. There," Klaus says, and the trio of supernatural beings pauses, looking at the pack of werewolves, setting up camp. Stefan walks forward, approaching the werewolves who haven't noticed their presence yet, and Sofia follows him. They stop a few feet past the forest line, and Stefan drops Ray's body on the ground. Sofia crosses her arms over her chest as they watch the werewolves' reactions.

"Ray! Oh, my God," a female werewolf exclaims, running to his body, and kneeling bedside him. "What's going on? Who are you?" she asks, looking at Stefan and Sofia.

"The important question is who am I? Please forgive the intrusion. My name is Klaus," Klaus says, standing on the other side of Sofia.

"You're the hybrid," the woman says, rising to her full height, and slowly backing up a few steps.

"You've heard of me. Fantastic," Klaus says, smiling. "I hope you don't mind if my friends and I take a seat. We've been walking all afternoon," Klaus says, gesturing to a large rock beside him, and he takes a seat. Sofia takes a seat next to him, and Stefan sits on the other side of Sofia. "It's fascinating, actually... A werewolf who isn't beholden to the moon, a vampire who doesn't burn in the sun. A true hybrid," Klaus explains, and as soon as he finishes talking, Ray gasps awake, rolling over onto his stomach. "Excellent timing Ray. Very dramatic."

"What's happening to me?" Ray croaks, breathing heavily.

"Stefan?" Klaus gestures for Stefan to step forward. Sofia glances at him as he gets up, but quickly looks away when she feels a bug crawling up her leg. She reaches down and slaps her leg, effectively killing the bug, and grimaces at her hand when she sees that the bug was larger than she anticipated and attempts to wipe the dead bug on the leg of Klaus' jeans, but he moves his leg away and glares at her. She chuckles lowly under her breath and wipes her hand on the ground, and brushes the excess remnants of the bug off of her leg.

"Are any of you human? Your friend here needs human blood to complete his transition to vampire. If he doesn't get it, he will die," Stefan says, and Klaus smiles.

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