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Title: Taken (Chapter 33)
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...

previously


33. Traitors

The rage and injustice of a hundred dead witches tore through her body. Bonnie was a conduit, a vessel for more power than she had felt imaginable – and all that hatred was directed at Klaus, who writhed and cried out in agony on the ground.

“Help me!” she said, and she felt Lucy touch her left shoulder, while Gloria laid a hand on her right. They were the only two with her. Abigail had gone straight after Maddox, and Jonas and Luka had rushed over to Greta. She couldn’t kill Klaus like this.

“Hold back, honey,” said Gloria. “We’re not ready for the final blow yet.”

*

The flames around her had disappeared. Elena blinked a few times, stars bursting in front of her eyes as she tried to adjust to the sudden darkness. She couldn’t see anything – only indistinct shapes – but she could hear Klaus roaring in pain above the sound of the witches chanting. Whatever they were doing, it was working.

She crawled forward.

“Elena!”

An arm around her shoulders, a familiar concerned face–

*

Damon grabbed Maddox by his collar. “Ring. Off. Now.”

The witch didn’t blink. He seemed unafraid, uninterested even. The first hint of a flicker in his expression came when Abigail caught up with them.

“Help us!” she said. “You promised to help.”

Maddox nodded. “Bonnie first.”

He shrugged free of Damon’s grip, and Damon reluctantly let him go. Abigail wasn’t going to be doing any Original killing while her daughter’s life remained bound to Klaus. If they had to save Bonnie first, so be it.

He watched, tense and wary, as Maddox uttered a spell, and flames leapt up to encircle Klaus once more.

“Bonnie!” Maddox called. “Stand down.”

“Stand down?” Damon repeated, but Abigail was already hurrying over to Bonnie. She shook her daughter’s shoulders, pulling her away.

Damon spared a glance over to Greta, who lay unconscious on the ground, Jonas and Luka kneeling beside her. There was no sign of Isobel. As Damon watched, Jonas muttered something and touched Greta’s forehead before straightening up. Damon’s mouth tightened. They were healing her, but if she woke up...

Jonas’s eyes met his. “She’s sleeping,” he said.

That was enough. Damon immediately turned back to Maddox. He had reached Abigail and Bonnie; they were holding out their hands... Behind them, Gloria and Lucy watched, silhouetted by the fire. And behind them, trapped within the fire itself, Klaus watched. He had fallen silent, but his stance was tightly coiled, tense. If Maddox’s spell faltered for a single second... Damon had no doubt about what would happen. The fire was the only thing keeping him at bay.

A flash of silver and red...

The ring slipped away from Bonnie’s finger, and fell to the ground, forgotten.

Bonnie looked at him. Her gaze was unwavering, but he understood her silent question.

Damon nodded. “I’ll get Stefan.”

*

Elena breathed a sigh of relief. “Stefan...”

He pulled her to her feet and simply cupped her face, gazing at her. Appreciating that she wasn’t dead.

“Where’s Elijah?” she breathed, and she saw his face crumple. Oh God, didn’t he realize why she was asking? This was supposed to be Elijah’s plan to carry out. Yet in the darkness and the confusion, she hadn’t seen him.

“He’s here,” said Stefan. “Elena, let’s go–”

She shook her head. “No, there’s something you have to help me with first. Do you have a stake? A knife, a dagger – any weapon.”

He frowned. “We all brought weapons, in case we needed them – but it won’t work on Klaus. Let the witches take care of him.”

“Give it to me,” she said. When he hesitated, she shook his arm, tone insistent. “I said give it to me, Stefan. I’m not leaving.”

Stefan paused for another fraction of a second before taking out a stake from inside his jacket and handing it over to her. His voice was low, eyes intense in that way she loved, as if she was the only person who existed in that moment, the only person in the world who mattered to him. “I will gladly help you stake Klaus.”

She smiled, took a step back. Of course he would.

Then Elena lifted the stake and drove it into her chest.

*

Caroline curled up, shivering, arms wrapped around her knees. She felt ill with the vervain in the air, and sick with fear. Her only task tonight had been to make sure that Katherine didn’t escape. She had failed.

She sniffed as her mother knelt down and laid a hand on her shoulder. “I’ve turned off the ventilation,” said Liz. “Can you hang in there until the officers get us out? They won’t be long.”

She nodded.

“So what’s going on out there?” Liz asked, after a few seconds of silence.

It was a question she didn’t really want to think about. “I don’t know. Trying to kill Klaus, I guess.”

Her mother shifted around so that she was facing Caroline. Her eyes were bright and earnest. “You know that you can tell me things, don’t you, Caroline? Everything that’s going on with the vampires in this town. You have told me everything, haven’t you?”

She frowned. “Yeah – I...”

Liz’s mouth tightened. She seemed to struggle with herself, shaking her head, before she looked up at Caroline again. “Are Damon and Stefan vampires?”

Caroline blinked. “What?”

“Are they vampires?”

“No – I – no. Why would you think that?” She was caught off-guard, floundering. It was the most obvious lie in the world, and both of them knew it.

Liz’s tone didn’t change. “Tell me. Are they vampires?”

She threw up her hands – literally and figuratively. “Does it matter? They’re out there trying to save Elena’s life, trying to save everyone from Klaus. They’re the good guys. It doesn’t matter if they – if we have fangs or a – a few dietary issues, you know? If you can believe that I’m a good person, Mom, you can believe that they are.”

There was a long pause during which Caroline tried to gather her thoughts and decide how she might broach the subject of Damon, who was most definitely not a good guy even if he was on their side. She wasn’t sure she was capable of making such fine distinctions right now. At least not in a way that wouldn’t send her mother after Damon with a stake.

It was Liz who broke the silence. “We made Damon head of the council.”

The sheer disbelief in her tone made Caroline laugh. She shrugged. “Well, no one ever said the council was smart.”

*

“Well,” said Maddox. “Are you ready?”

Bonnie took a deep breath. She felt dizzy – heart pounding, head thrumming – the heady rush of magic like adrenaline running through her veins. She had never felt so alive. Alive! The ring was gone. She was free.

She was going to survive.

Jonas and Luka had rejoined them. They were all here. Seven witches, holding the power of a hundred, under the light of a full moon. They could kill Klaus right now.
But...

“What about Stefan and Damon?”

Maddox answered her. “They’re vampires. Let them die.”

She swallowed. It was tempting. It was tempting not to protest, to imagine that she had done all she could. More than anything, Bonnie wanted out of this, to go back to a time when vampires didn’t have such a hold over their lives. None of the witches would object. Why should they?

But Elena would.

“Traitor.”

The venom, the rage, the implacable hatred in that single word stopped Bonnie before she could even begin to formulate a response. One by one the witches turned to the source of that voice.

Klaus.

He was prowling along the inside edge of the circle, and Bonnie had the horrible feeling that he was testing it. She hoped that Maddox’s spell would hold. It bought them time, and they needed every second if Stefan and Damon were going to survive.

Finally, Klaus stopped to stare at Maddox, and she could practically feel the hatred radiating from him.

“I trusted you,” said Klaus. “You swore an oath to me.”

“I don’t make pledges with vampires,” Maddox replied.

“I will kill you all for this,” Klaus spat. “I will kill your children, and your children’s children.” His eyes alighted on Gloria, and a hint of vulnerability shone through, his voice softening. “Gloria... How could you do this to me? I was nothing but good to you.”

“You’re nothing but bad news for everyone,” Gloria retorted.

“And you,” said Klaus, turning his gaze to Abigail. Bonnie felt her mother tremble beside her. “I remember you. Elijah’s girl, isn’t that right? Where is he? Where’s my brother?”

*

Hidden amongst the shadows of the trees, Elijah saw everything. His gaze fixed on Maddox first – the one unknown quantity in his plan – but the moment the witch stopped Klaus from reaching Isobel and Greta, he breathed a sigh of relief. He saw Isobel flee after taking out Greta – away from him, or he might have considered pursuing her. Damon went after Maddox, Stefan went after Elena, and the witches were just beginning to set their power against Klaus.

He had intended to stay hidden until the last possible moment. He would watch Klaus burn, and then he would let his brother know why he was doing this.

For our family.

Elena ruined all that. He saw Stefan hand over the stake to her, and understanding hit him a split second before Elena aimed the stake at her heart.

“No!”

Had that cry been torn from his own heart? Or was it Stefan – or Damon, who blurred over to his brother just as Elena staggered back with a cry. The smell of blood ensnared his senses. He moved as fast as he could, but not fast enough to reach her first. Damon tore the stake away; Stefan caught her and pressed a bloody wrist to her mouth. She was thrashing, choking, fighting him at every turn. Very much alive, then. Stefan’s blood would heal her wound. It would not cure her desire to kill herself.

There was only one thing to do.

He made a grab for Elena and pulled her away easily, throwing Stefan back. Elena didn’t stop struggling for even a second.

“Let go of me!”

Damon glared at Elijah as he helped his brother up. “What are you doing?”

“She’s compelled. I’ll take care of her. Go.”

The Salvatores stared at him. They were both tense, breathing heavily. They exchanged a glance and Elijah knew that they were a second away from attacking him. One of his arms was wrapped around Elena’s waist, holding her tight to his body; she had finally given up fighting but he could feel her ragged breaths, her heart fluttering like a bird in a cage.

He curled his other hand around Elena’s throat.

“Go.”

“You heard him,” a female voice purred.

Elijah hissed through his teeth as Katerina stalked up behind the brothers – of course she had escaped. But he wasn’t in a position to do anything about that, and from the self-satisfied look that Katerina threw at him, he knew that she knew it.

She laid a hand on each of the Salvatores’ arms – conspicuously bare hands, he noticed. How had she done it? Both brothers seemed too surprised to speak.

“Come on,” Katerina urged them. “Elena’s safe with Elijah. Do you want to live, or not?”

*

It had happened like this. Katherine got Jenna away from the city jail, out into the open. Jenna had never moved at vampire speed before. It was an incredibly odd feeling. She had barely digested the fact that they had stopped in a park before Katherine was bombarding her with questions.

“Where are they? Where is the ritual taking place? Who’s there? How much time do we have?”

She had to confess that she didn’t know the answer to any of those questions. Katherine’s mouth thinned.

“I thought you were supposed to be helping me,” she hissed.

Her eyes looked black in the moonlight, and Jenna took a step back, suddenly nervous of the vampire. It was in these moments that Katherine looked nothing like Elena and very much like a creature that might tear her apart on a whim.

“They’re somewhere in Mystic Falls,” Jenna began. She was going to add a suggestion along the lines of splitting up to look, when Katherine’s phone rang.

Katherine turned away to answer, and Jenna watched, biting her lip.

“Hello? Isobel.” Her voice became urgent. “Tell me.” There was a seconds-long pause that felt agonizingly long, and then Katherine nodded. “I’ll be right there.”

Katherine slid the phone back into her jacket pocket and turned back to give Jenna an appraising look.

She ventured a question. “Isobel’s alive? How?”

“Let’s find out.”

That was how Jenna found herself in the middle of the woods at the dead of night, knowing that somewhere quite close by a group of vampires, witches, and Elena were all battling it out. Katherine had gone straight to find them, leaving Jenna with Isobel.

“Where’s Elena?” she asked.

Isobel looked like she was listening to something. It took her a second to blink and respond to the question. “That’s not your concern. Unless you’d like to get yourself killed, in which case she’s that way.”

Helpful. Jenna shook her head. “I thought you were going to be sacrificed. What happened?”

“Maddox gave me vervain,” Isobel replied. “I had to pretend to be compelled so that Klaus wouldn’t suspect anything.”

“So all this time, you were pretending?”

“Not all this time. A little of it. I thought I was going to die. Klaus would kill me before he got to Elena.”

“But he didn’t,” said Jenna, realizing. “So... Elena is okay.”

Isobel shrugged, and Jenna found herself becoming irritated with the vampire. She always seemed so emotionless, like she didn’t care at all.

“You’re her mother. If you want to save Elena, why aren’t you there right now, saving her?”

“I did my part,” said Isobel. “It’s up to the Salvatores now.”

“And Katherine.”

Isobel shook her head. “Katherine hasn’t gone to save Elena. She’s gone to save her Salvatore boys.”

*

The night was a blur. She remembered seeing Stefan and Damon, a pain in her chest, fighting them – him...

The moon shone directly above them, a bright white disc. That was how she could see Elijah, the lines of his face carved from shadows, his eyes bottomless depths that she could very easily sink into...

“You don’t have to harm yourself, Elena.”

His voice seemed to reverberate through her, clearing her head. Just like that, she breathed in and everything came into focus. She was in the woods – they had moved away from the clearing. The night air was strangely warm. Her ribcage hurt; she could feel blood on her clothes. And Elijah’s hand was cupping her cheek. She brought her hand up to enclose his, swallowing. There was a naked tenderness in his eyes that she had never seen before, and it took her breath away.

“Elijah...”

Was there time to ask all the questions she wanted to ask? Not now, not in the dark.

He smiled. “Welcome back.”

“Klaus,” she said.

He nodded. “My brother is calling for me. Come.”

*

Katherine nudged the semi-conscious Greta with her boot. “Half-dead witch. Just the way I like them.”

They were by a stone altar, where Greta and Maddox had been performing the ritual, and only a few yards away from where Klaus was trapped. Damon glanced over to the other witches. Jonas and Luka were with them. Luckily their attention was entirely fixed on Klaus, as it should be. He figured they had maybe a minute before one of the witches noticed what they were doing and put a stop to it.

Greta’s eyelids fluttered as Damon knelt down beside her. “Come on, sweetie,” he said. “Give me your hand – there’s a good girl.”

It only took a little persuasion to coax Greta into divesting both of them of their rings in her groggy state. That, and his hand around her throat.

“How did you know that Maddox wouldn’t help us?” Stefan asked, raising an eyebrow at Katherine.

“I heard him talking with Bonnie. Seems that Klaus isn’t the only vampire he wants dead. Greta was much more helpful.”

Damon smiled wryly. A witch who wanted all vampires dead. Not exactly original. But Katherine, resourceful as always, had found another way. He let go of Greta and stepped away from her, aware that he was probably first on her hit list when she recovered.

“I suggest you two take Elena and get out of here,” Katherine added.

“Not until Klaus is dead,” Damon replied, and he felt rather than saw Stefan nod in agreement. They were seeing this thing through, even if they were surrounded by a bunch of hostile witches.

She shrugged. “Suit yourself. Isobel and I are leaving.”

A nearby movement alerted all of them – Katherine first, her head snapping sideways. Elijah and Elena were approaching the clearing. When Damon glanced towards Katherine again, she had vanished.

It occurred to him that she had risked her life to save them. Elijah wanted her dead. Any of the witches could have killed her too. But he only allowed that to bother him for a moment before he shook his head, pushing all thought of Katherine away. Elena was still here, and they had an Original to kill.

Damon nudged his brother.

“If he shows any sign of chickening out, go for him.”

Stefan nodded. Damon could tell that he wouldn’t have any problem at all with that; his brother’s eyes were burning. But if they were going to take out Elijah too, they needed to get Elena away from him.

*

The witches had fanned out in a semi-circle around Klaus. Elena walked in step with Elijah, her heart soaring. The sight of Klaus, trapped, helpless, was incredibly satisfying. As they approached, the witches turned to face them, Bonnie among them – Elena increased her pace–

A hand on her shoulder.

“Elena.”

It was Stefan. She stopped and found herself between the Salvatores. Elijah stopped too, but Elena shook her head, indicating that it was okay for him to go on. She glanced between the brothers, her expression anxious.

“Are you okay?”

“Ring-free,” Damon replied, wriggling his fingers.

Relief washed over her. “Then we can kill him.”

She wanted to run over to Bonnie, tell her this – Elijah was already striding ahead to meet his brother – but again a hand on her shoulder stopped her. This time it was Damon’s hand and his grip was unforgiving.

“Not another step.”

“Damon!” She tried to shrug him off, but he wouldn’t let her. It was an all too familiar sensation that made her grit her teeth in frustration. She gave Stefan an annoyed look – do something.

But Stefan was watching Elijah. Elijah and Klaus had come face-to-face for what would be the last time, and Elena found herself falling silent too. She had to witness this moment, even from a distance. She had to know that Klaus was dead.

*

Bonnie stood aside as Elijah passed her to stand at the edge of the circle of fire and meet his brother’s eyes.

Klaus’s voice shook a little. “Elijah...”

“I’m here,” Elijah replied.

Klaus spread his hands, looking around. “Well, what are we to do now, brother, hmm? You stopped me from breaking the curse. You saved the doppelgänger. Just like you wanted five hundred years ago. Congratulations. So what now?”

“Now,” said Elijah, “I’m going to watch you die.”

Bonnie glanced over at her mother, who was standing opposite her, with Elijah between them. Abigail gave a little nod. This was their chance. She stepped back.

“Now!” she cried.

Something cracked, like a lightning strike, and everything went pitch black. She could still feel the other witches though; they were all connected, and Bonnie channelled her power through them. She set the clearing ablaze again, a spell that she had never worked herself, but Maddox knew it, and through him so did she.

Only this time, the circle of flames surrounded both Elijah and Klaus.

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