wheatear: (katherine/caroline)
[personal profile] wheatear
Title: Taken (Chapter 32)
Fandom: The Vampire Diaries (TV series)
Characters/Pairings: Elijah/Elena, Damon, Katherine, ensemble
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: None.
Summary: Post-2x15 AU: Elijah succeeds in kidnapping Elena, Katherine is out of the tomb and the Salvatore brothers have one hell of a mess to fix. Sometimes you have no choice but to make a deal with the devil. If you can get the devil to make a deal with you...


32. Partners in Crime

“So now we have the Martins on board,” Stefan said, nodding at them. “Thank you. But we’re still one witch short. Greta’s never going to help us.”

“Not a surprise,” was Damon’s verdict. “She’s been drinking the Klaus Kool-Aid.”

Bonnie rolled her eyes. Damon was crude, as ever, but he was right. The Salvatore brothers were leaning against one of the bookshelves, presenting as united a front as she had ever seen them. Of course, that might be because they were facing six witches, none of whom were sympathetic to vampires, and all of whom could take down both of them without breaking a sweat.

Then there was Elijah. He stood apart from everyone else, his gaze sweeping over each of them before he stepped forward.

“There is another.”

Stefan raised his eyebrows. “Another witch?”

“His name is Maddox. He’s working for Klaus. He has the ability to remove your rings, and he’s promised to help us kill Klaus when the time comes.”

Maddox... Yes, Bonnie remembered him. The man who had accompanied Greta to the ball. She knew nothing about him – where he came from, why he was working for Klaus – anything. How could they be sure that he wanted to help them?

Damon looked as unconvinced as Bonnie felt. “So where is he?”

“He’ll meet us at the ritual.”

Which meant that they wouldn’t know if Maddox was going to help them until the last second. They’d be going in there blind.

She asked the obvious question. “Can we trust him?”

“I don’t know,” Elijah admitted.

“Wait,” said Stefan slowly. “So what you’re saying is... he’s expecting us. That means, if he’s on Klaus’s side...”

“Klaus will be expecting us,” Elijah confirmed. “It was a risk worth taking.”

That prompted a murmur of dissent from the witches. Bonnie glanced at Abby, alarmed, and her mother shook her head. Unlike the rest of them, she didn’t seem surprised. Elijah had gone behind their back. He could have ruined everything.

She glared at him. “You’re not the one taking a risk here. We are.”

Elijah’s expression remained neutral. “Unfortunately, we’ve run out of options.”

“So we risk everything on one guy, who we have no idea if we can trust.” Gloria waved a hand, unimpressed. “Well, I’m in.”

“You all need to be in,” Elijah said sternly. “Should Maddox prove honourable, it will take all of your strength to kill Klaus and stay alive in the process. Should he not, there are enough of you to deal with him.”

Stefan looked at Bonnie, his voice low. “Are you still willing to do this?”

“If it comes down to it,” said Bonnie, “I’ll take Klaus out myself. I’ll die if he does anyway, so I may as well go down fighting.”

There was a long moment of silence. Elijah broke it, his voice soft. “You’re very brave.”

Bonnie didn’t know how to feel about that. Bravery? That wasn’t what this was about. She’d never felt brave. She’d only ever done what she needed to do. And to hear this kind of praise from Elijah of all people...

Abby, however, made her feelings very clear. She stepped forward, shaking with barely suppressed rage.

“How dare you. How dare you look my daughter in the eye and tell her that she’s brave as you send her to her death.”

“Abigail,” Elijah began, but he wasn’t able to finish. Abby lifted a hand and Elijah was thrown back across the entire length of the room, where he hit the wall with an audible crack, narrowly missing one of the bookcases. Whether it was the wall cracking or Elijah’s spine, Bonnie didn’t know – probably both – but Abby hadn’t finished yet.

“You do not get to say those words. People have died for the sake of your petty revenge. Do you think any of us are here for your revenge? No. We’re here to protect the people we love, and you – you want me to stand by while Bonnie sacrifices herself and you call her brave–”

Her voice broke. She lowered her hand and Elijah fell to his knees, gasping for breath.

Stefan looked worried. Damon wasn’t even bothering to conceal his smirk. But one by one, the other witches moved to surround Abby, protecting her. Bonnie took Abby’s hand, blinking tears from her eyes. Even Jonas and Luka were standing with them.

Elijah stood up and smoothed a stray lock of hair back into place. He glanced at Damon and Stefan, and then at the witches. Bonnie tightened her hold on her mother’s hand.

It was Gloria who spoke up for all of them. “We’re doing the fighting here,” she said, “so we’re calling the shots. I suggest you vampires stay out of our way.”

“I’ll be upstairs,” said Elijah finally, and turned away without another word.


The wolf’s corpse still lay on the ground. It hadn’t reverted back to human form in death, and Elena thought of Mrs Lockwood, how she wouldn’t ever be able to bury her son’s body. What were they going to tell her?


That was Isobel. “What?” she muttered.

Isobel shrugged. “I suppose... Now is my last chance to apologize to you. I’m the reason that Klaus found you. It was all me. I’m sorry. There was nothing I could do to stop it.”

Hearing that didn’t help. It only made her feel worse. Tyler had apologized to her, and he was dead. Isobel was going through the same motions, and even now Elena wasn’t sure whether her birth mother was being sincere or not.

But she had to acknowledge one thing. “I know you were compelled by Klaus. What he made you do... that’s not your fault.”

Her mother gave a nod, a slight smile curving her lips. Then she looked up, her eyes bright in the firelight. Klaus was approaching again. He clasped his hands behind his back, gazing up at the moon. Waiting.

So now it was Isobel’s turn to die. Both of her birth parents... dead within days of each other. She had hated them, but they were her parents. After all the effort she had gone to in order to find them... How she had hoped to reconnect with them, to fill the gap that her adoptive parents had left... All for nothing.

“Klaus,” she whispered.

Klaus blinked, looking at her with interest. “Yes, my dear?”

“Why her?” Elena asked. “You could have picked anyone – why Tyler and Isobel? I didn’t run. I did what you said so that you wouldn’t hurt anybody. Please. This isn’t fair.”

“Goodness me,” said Klaus, “who said anything about being fair? Now that I’ve triggered your suicidal tendencies, I can kill anyone I like.”


He waved a hand. “Well, you can’t kill yourself in there. Greta spelled the circle. I tested your compulsion earlier with that blond boy you like – what’s his name? Matt. As long as you didn’t know he was dead, Elijah’s compulsion wouldn’t kick in. Now that you do, it doesn’t matter. There’s nothing you can do about it.”

She felt suddenly cold. Despite the fire, despite the heat in the air, Elena shivered.

“Don’t try to outsmart me, Elena.” Klaus had lowered his voice to a whisper. “I will make you suffer for it.”

She felt it again, that impulse, stronger than ever. She had to kill herself. Only this time she understood it for what it was. She remembered Elijah’s soft dark eyes, how effortlessly arresting they were. Heard him speak in that sleek, assured tone: command her to kill herself should any of her loved ones die. She had tried to fling herself into the fire. That hadn’t worked. This time, she found herself patting down her jeans, searching for any sharp object, anything that could help her accomplish her goal.

And while her body attempted to obey a command not her own, her mind had gone numb.

“You killed him?” she whispered.

“Drained him,” Klaus replied cheerfully. “Of course, if you think about it, it’s really your fault. If you hadn’t attempted to threaten me with your little mind control stunt, I wouldn’t have had to respond by killing one of your loved ones.”

She couldn’t speak. Tears clustered in her eyes, splintering her vision into a world of indistinct dark shapes and flickering light. Everything was fractured. Her plans had crumbled into pieces. She had one clear thought left.

I want to die.


The library had turned into a Mystic Falls witch convention. It made Damon feel uncharacteristically nervous, especially after Abby’s little stunt with Elijah earlier. Oh, he had appreciated that – poetry in motion, really – but he was also pretty sure that if he so much as looked at one of these witches the wrong way, they’d do the same to him. Witches. Eternally judgy.

Stefan gave him a sideways glance. “How are you feeling?”

Damon snorted. “Really? ‘How are you feeling?’ That’s all you’ve got?”

“It’s a simple question, Damon.”

“Right now? Impatient. How long does it take a bunch of witches to screw in a light bulb? Not as long as these idiots.”

Frankly, he was beginning to suspect that the witches were deliberately stalling. First there was the delay with the Martins arriving late. Then Abby getting pissed at Elijah and having to be talked down by the others – mostly Bonnie. Now he and Stefan were watching three of the witches engaged in a spell which seemed to involve a lot of candles and chanting. In other words, like pretty much every spell ever. He had no idea what they were doing.

“Elijah said he gave Elena the elixir,” said Stefan. “So even if we’re too late... she could still be okay.”

He looked at his brother. “You don’t really believe that, do you?”

Stefan shook his head heavily. His expression was pained. “I feel like I’m losing her. In more ways than one.”

Damon sighed. “Stefan.”

“You told me about how you found her with Elijah. I just wish... I’d had a chance to talk to her.”

“Yeah, yeah. You wanted to kiss and make up. Much as I appreciate our discussions about the epic love between you and Elena, now is really not the time, brother.”

“Sorry.” Thankfully, Stefan didn’t press the issue. He straightened up. “I’m gonna go check on Bonnie. See if you can find out how close the witches are to locating Elena.”

“Will do.”

Damon watched Stefan go, then waited a moment to size up the witches in the room. Lucy, Jonas and Luka were still casting their spell, Gloria watching over them. The only witch nearby who wasn’t involved was Abby. She was sitting straight-backed and tense in a chair by herself, her expression haunted. He sidled over to her.

“Abby,” he said, holding out his hand. “We haven’t officially been introduced. I’m Damon.”

She looked at him, then his hand, then back at him again. “What do you want, Damon?”

Cold. She was going to be as difficult as her daughter. He dropped his hand back to his side and glanced towards the others. “Your witchy friends. Are they nearly done?”

“I couldn’t tell you,” said Abby. “I haven’t practised magic in ten years.”

He sighed. Really not helpful. “You know, I’m curious. Seems as though you and Elijah have a history. Am I wrong?”

“You’re not wrong.”

“Can we trust him?”

There was a pause. Her expression darkened. Slowly, she shook her head.

He grimaced, putting on a fake cheery tone. “Thanks, that’s reassuring.”

“What did you want me to say?”

She had a point. Damon shrugged. “Fine. Can we trust you?”

Abby glanced over to the other side of the room. “They’re doing protection spells,” she said. “It should help us last longer when the time comes.”

“Protection spells?” He frowned. “You’re supposed to be finding Elena! She could be dead by now!”

“She’s not,” said Abby. “We know where to find her, but we need to make sure that we’re ready first. There are only six of us. We need the extra protection. Jonas said... if we could shield Bonnie, maybe...”

She trailed off, but Damon understood. They were trying to find a loophole, a way to get around their missing witch in order for Bonnie to survive. So he had been right. They were stalling. But before Damon could take her to task for that, Abby pulled out a crumpled piece of notepaper from her jacket pocket and unfolded it to show him. His eyes widened.

Someone had written on it in blue ink. Take both out.

He raised his eyebrows and mouthed a reply. Elijah?

Abby nodded. Well, well. Damon couldn’t help but grin. Maybe Bonnie’s mom wasn’t so bad after all.


Elijah retreated to a study, but he wasn’t left alone for long. Bonnie followed him. He waited for her to appear, admiring the beautiful mahogany desk that was the centrepiece of the room. The wood was smooth and old; he ran his fingers over a knot, a reminder that the wood had once been a living tree. It still held that spark of life, even if it was a century old. Life that was poisonous to vampires.

The door creaked open. Bonnie looked at him, tight-lipped, her entire body tense. Clearly she hadn’t come to apologize.

“We’re doing a locator spell,” she said. “Wherever Elena is, we’ll find her.”

He nodded. So the witches were co-operating. Their desire to see Klaus dead outweighed their reluctance to work with him. Bonnie was the centre of this group. She was the one with a connection to Elena. She was the one he most needed on his side.

“Bonnie,” he said quietly. “I’m well aware that you’re not doing this for me. I don’t expect you to.”

“No,” she cut him off. “You’re using me to get to Klaus. And that’s okay. We both want the same thing. But if you take so much as one step out of line... If you betray us. I’ll take you down too.”

There was a pause. “I understand,” he said.

Her expression was still wary, but she nodded. “I talked to Abby. She’s going to help us.”

“Good,” he said distantly. He hadn’t even had to ask; of course Bonnie would have done her utmost to convince her mother. She was a far better motivator than he ever could be. “You know, I knew your mother well.”

“I know,” said Bonnie. “She told me.”

“We were quite close, once upon a time. I daresay your mother has the measure of me. She understands our options. If Maddox keeps his word, you will all live. If you fight without him, there will be casualties, but the battle can still be won. Klaus can be killed.” He paused, so that he could give his next words their proper weight. “If you fail, however... I doubt that any of you will live to see tomorrow.”

He saw the moment that she caught his meaning, the fear in her eyes. Even the bravest of people had something they feared above all else. Often, it was the same thing: Bonnie’s drive to protect her loved ones gave her courage, but it was a courage born out of fear of losing them. In that regard, he reflected, she was much like Elena – and therefore he shouldn’t underestimate her. Unlike Elena, she also had the power to kill him.

Fortunately, he’d had a lot of practice negotiating with stubborn human girls recently.

He smiled. “We share the same opinion on betrayal, Bonnie. As long as we understand each other.”

“Yes,” she said, half-whispering.

“Come,” he said. “The moon is rising. It won’t be long now.”


Caroline only got a brief look at Matt’s body before they hurried him off to the medical examiner, but it was enough for the reality to hit her again. Jenna put an arm around her shoulders as she tried to stop herself from shaking.

“What’s the verdict going to be?” she asked.

Liz’s face looked pale and drawn. “I don’t know. He was found near his truck, so maybe a car accident. The coroner will come up with something.”

It repulsed her, the thought of it. Covering up the true cause of Matt’s death with lies. But what else could they do? She was asking her own mother, the sheriff, to hide the fact that she was a vampire too... That she had killed people. Dimly, she wondered what the coroner’s verdict had been on the police officers she had killed. Killed in the line of duty, probably. Or the carnival worker...

“So where’s Katherine?” Jenna asked.

Liz sighed. “I’ll show you.”

Katherine had been incarcerated in the town prison. Caroline had visited a couple of times before when she was younger. She looked around, wary but interested, as Liz showed them inside. Her mother led them down a spiral staircase to what was apparently a basement. Or a dungeon, she thought. Jenna looked like she was getting all kinds of horror movie vibes, and Caroline squeezed her arm reassuringly.

“I didn’t know this was here.”

“You wouldn’t,” said Liz. “It’s a secret. A prison cell designed to hold vampires. The Founders’ Council installed it back in 1864.”

Jenna was the last to descend the staircase. She folded her arms. “And there I always thought the council was an excuse for the founding families to dress up and play at being important.”

“It is,” said Liz grimly, “but if ever there was a town with skeletons in our closet...”

Jenna gave a humourless laugh. “Right.”

Skeletons, Caroline thought. Like Matt. Tears threatened to spill again as she watched her mother walk up to the heavy iron-cast door and look through the bars. Whatever they did to stop Klaus and to get rid of Katherine after all the havoc they had wreaked on her home... it wouldn’t bring back Matt. It wouldn’t bring back anyone.

Liz’s next words startled her out of her thoughts.

“She’s gone!”

Caroline blinked. “What?”

“What?” Jenna echoed.

“She’s not in there – she should be in that chair, we chained her up–” Her mother stepped back, already fumbling with her radio, and Caroline immediately took her place.

It was dark in there. But Caroline could see through the dark, and her mother was right: the chair was empty. She could see more than that too – she could see the chains that had once held its prisoner in place, snapped and broken. The sharp tang of fear trembled through her body. Katherine was loose. Katherine had gotten out.

She wrinkled her nose as a breath of air drifted through the bars, bringing with it the scent of–

Caroline jerked back at once. “Is that vervain?”

“It’s in the air,” said Liz. “I’ll turn it off.”

Caroline held her nose, eyes watering, and backed off. Jenna gave her a concerned look and she shook her head to indicate that she’d be all right. She knew one thing: she did not want to go into that cell.

Liz unbolted the door with a screech of metal on metal, and it creaked open. The fumes from the cell immediately became stronger.

Several things happened then. Caroline went into a coughing fit. Liz stepped into the cell. Jenna said, “Wait, are you sure she’s not–”

And Katherine flew at Liz.

Her mother cried out – her head hit the wall and Katherine pounced on her at once, and bit. “No,” Caroline screamed. “No, no!” The twin scents of vervain and blood were almost overpowering, one poisonous, one intoxicating – she felt her fangs extend without meaning to, beyond her control. She threw herself at Katherine, who tossed her aside as though she was nothing more than a bug. Pain flickered through her nerves. The vervain in the air was making her drowsy too, her muscles slow and sluggish.

Katherine dropped Liz and stood up, her eyes dark, mouth bloody. Caroline was breathing hard, feeling weaker than she had thought possible, but she took the opportunity to scramble over to her mother, cradling her.

“Mom,” she whispered, and she wanted to take deep breaths to calm herself at the sight of Liz’s bleeding throat but she couldn’t with the vervain in the air, so she gave herself no time to consider: she bit into her wrist and forced her mother to drink.

Jenna had backed away to the foot of the staircase, her eyes wide.

Katherine wiped her mouth in distaste. “Can someone get me someone to eat who’s not full of vervain?”


“We’re done,” said Lucy, flicking her hair behind her shoulder as she moved past Damon. “Time to go.”

That was the cue for everyone to move. They split into groups and headed out: Elijah with Jonas and Luka Martin, Stefan with Bonnie and Abby, and Damon with Lucy and Gloria. He caught up with Lucy, falling into step with her.

“I remember you,” said Damon approvingly. “You’re the reason we got Katherine in the tomb.”

Lucy smiled. “Didn’t stick, did it?”

They were the last to leave. But before he left the house, he saw Alaric watching them from the entrance to the parlour, arms folded.

Damon indicated for Lucy and Gloria to go ahead without him. “My car’s out back. I’ll be there in a second.” He turned to regard Alaric. “Hey, Ric. What’s up?”

“I’m taking Jeremy home,” said Alaric. “Just... come back alive, okay?”

Damon nodded. “You remember what to do if I don’t?”

They’d already had this conversation. Damon wasn’t about to rehash it. He knew that Alaric would remember.

“You know, for a guy who’s lived for over a century and a half, you’re kinda suicidal. Save Elena, come back home. It’s not hard.”

He laughed. “Right. I’ll see you later, Ric.”

Ric sighed. “See you later.” He gave Damon a quick pat on the shoulder, paused a second – but there was no more to say, nothing either of them could say. He retreated back inside the house, already calling for Jeremy.

Damon stared after him. That was it. Their goodbye. He’d never thought he would have so many goddamn people to say goodbye to. Goodbyes sucked.

Once outside, he shared only one brief look with Stefan before heading to his car. He wasn’t going to say goodbye to his brother, not yet. It felt too final.

At least if they died, they would go together.


To Katherine’s complete and utter surprise, Jenna pulled a blood bag out of her bag and offered it to her.

“I figured you’d need it,” she said, in reply to Katherine’s raised eyebrow.

Well, that was good enough for her. Katherine took it, trying a small sip just in case Jenna was trying to trick her – she doubted it, but Katherine hadn’t survived five hundred years by taking unnecessary risks. The blood was fine, and she drank hungrily.

“So... we should probably go,” Jenna added. She was looking at Caroline and Liz, who were both recovering – Caroline had given Liz her blood, and she had just noticed Jenna’s little peace offering.

“Jenna... What are you doing?”

Caroline looked and sounded utterly bewildered, as well she might. But Katherine was feeling rejuvenated already, the blood was singing through her veins, and her mind worked fast.

She tilted her head at Jenna, realizing what was going on. “You’re here to help me.”

For a fraction of a second, Jenna hesitated, her expression doubtful. Caroline still looked confused – a poor reaction time for a vampire, but Katherine supposed that she had the excuse of the lingering vervain in the air. Liz was just beginning to sit up.

Then Jenna nodded.

The shrill disbelief in Caroline’s voice was poetry to her ears. “What?”

Katherine crumpled up the blood bag and tossed it aside, grinning. “Partners in crime.”

As always, she acted faster than anyone else. She threw Caroline in the vampire-proof cell, snatched the key from Liz’s belt, shoved her in too, and slammed the door. It shut with a satisfying clang. One twist of the key later, Katherine was done. She turned back to Jenna, whose pathetically slow human instincts meant that her jaw had dropped and not much else. She hadn’t even moved.

“So,” said Katherine, spinning the key around her finger, “where to?”


There weren’t many things bleaker than thinking about death. Despite everything that had happened to her over the past year, Elena hadn’t thought about it much. Not really. Not death itself. When her parents died, all she could think about was how she had lost them, how there would forever be an empty space in her life where her mom and dad should have been. For months, she had felt like she was only pretending at living.

Then Stefan had come into her life, and she had started living again. The irony of it struck her: she had been brought to life by the presence of death. Living with vampires, falling in love with vampires.... All those times her life was in the balance, when her friends’ lives were in the balance, her focus had always been on keeping them alive. Even when she had offered to die in order to save her loved ones, it was they who consumed her thoughts. Not death itself.

Not death itself.

She sat on her knees in the damp grass, surrounded by flames, and thought of death. Maybe it would be better. She wouldn’t have to feel anything. No pain, no worries, no thoughts – no anything. Her existence would no longer be a reason for anyone to fight over her, or die for her, or die because of her.

Oblivion was not blissful, because oblivion wasn’t anything. She wouldn’t rest. She wouldn’t sleep. She would just be gone.

But she had taken the elixir. She might come back.


That was Klaus’s voice, soft as silk, calling her back to the present. Elena lifted her eyes to him. He held out his hand, but not to her.

“Wouldn’t want you to miss the show, love. It’s time. Isobel, come here.”

He wanted her to watch. He was holding a stake, and he wanted her to watch Isobel die. She felt like her tears had run out already, for Matt and Tyler. She had none for her biological mother. Elena watched, stony-faced, as the fire around Isobel died down, as her mother slowly stood up and moved, trance-like, towards Klaus.

“Can I have a last word?” Isobel asked, her fingers brushing Klaus’s hand.

He smiled. “Of course. Have a few. Just not a novel; we are on a schedule.”

She shook her head, dark hair falling forward. “It won’t take long. I just wanted to tell you... I learned a lot from Katherine. How to run. How to take what I wanted.” She raised her chin and stared up at Klaus. “I learned to not only have a plan A, but a plan B, a plan C... and so on, all the way through–”

Elena saw the flash of uncertainty in Klaus’s eyes, swiftly followed by anger. She held her breath. In the pause before everything happened, the air seemed to rumble in her ears like approaching thunder; the fire burned higher and hotter than ever before; and the ever-present chanting of the witches sent goosebumps across her flesh.

The wind was rising. Isobel didn’t finish her sentence.

She vanished in a blur and reappeared next to Greta, sinking her fangs into the witch’s throat. Klaus snarled and started forward – but a circle of flames sprang up around him, repelling him just as it had done with Elena.

And then Elena cried out, because there was Stefan – he was pulling Isobel off Greta, shouting to someone else – Damon – Damon was beside Maddox, hissing something, demanding something–

Then the witches, six of them in a line – Elena’s heart clenched as she saw Bonnie striding at the head of the group, the air around her heavy with power. She was the heart of the thunderstorm.

The fire died.

And Klaus screamed.

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