wheatear: (elena has a face)
[personal profile] wheatear
Title: Taken (Chapter 35)
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


35. Dissolution

Damon’s phone buzzed. He groaned, shielding his eyes against the morning sun filtering through the blinds, and squinted at the caller ID.

“Liz. Early call?”

“Early enough. Caroline tells me you pulled things off on your end. We didn’t do so well.”

“Huh. What’s the problem?”

Liz sighed. “Katherine escaped. So that means we still have a vampire loose in this town, and I have no idea where she is. Do you?”

He resisted the urge to laugh as Katherine stirred sleepily beside him, snuggling against his bare chest. She looked up, and Damon transferred his phone to his other ear when she reached up with a wicked smile to trail kisses along his jaw and earlobe, one hand flattening against his torso.

“Yeah, Katherine’s not here. She bailed as soon as she learned that Klaus was dead.”

Liz’s voice was sharp. “You’re sure?”

His gaze met Katherine’s, who gave a small nod. She settled her head back down on his shoulder and listened, twisting a lock of hair around her finger.

“Well, I’m sure that if she does stick around, we’ll know about it.”

He heard another sigh on the other end of the line. “I need to file a report on the Klaus situation. I want you in my office asap.”

“Careful, Sheriff. You’re sounding a little needy. I like a woman who plays hard to get.”

Damon.”

“Sorry.” He cleared his throat. “No problem. I’ll be right there.”

He ended the call and returned the phone to the nightstand before leaning back with his head against the pillow. Frankly, he was in no rush. His fingers combed idly through Katherine’s hair. Of course, Katherine had other ideas. She shifted, draping her body over his so that her elbows were crossed against his chest, and rested her chin on her hands as she smirked at him.

“Look at you being the sheriff’s bitch.”

“I happen to like Liz,” Damon told her.

“So what are you going to say when you meet her?” Katherine’s eyes were wide, all innocently questioning. “Nothing that will get her killed, I hope.”

“I’ll tell her that you’ve left town. Which you will do.”

She smiled, sitting up, and he gripped a hand over her hipbone, holding her in place above him. “You know, I’d like to have a partner along for the ride.” Her head turned, looking at something directly behind her. “Hey, Stefan. Would you like to join me?”

Well, that was an immediate buzzkill. Damon rolled his eyes, shifting enough so that he could see his brother standing in the doorway. That was difficult given that Katherine was straddling him, the sheets barely clinging to her hips. Only her long hair preserved what modicum of decency she had – not that she’d care.

“Caroline’s here,” said Stefan quietly. “She wants to see you, Damon.”

“Does she?” Damon made no effort to move. “I’m popular with the ladies today.”

Stefan’s eyes flicked from Damon to Katherine. His expression remained impassive. “I’ll tell her you’ll be down in a minute.”

He vanished. Damon sighed and finally tried to push Katherine off him, although that was easier said than done; the sheets were all tangled up and she resisted him anyway, giggling as she pulled him over in a heap. They ended up nose to nose, swathed in white sheets, and Katherine seemed small enough that he might lose her were she not pressed so tightly against him. The familiarity of it all gave him déjà vu, remembering how delightful Katherine had been over a century ago in her fine gowns and corsets. He had thought her the most beautiful creature in the world back then.

He stared at her. “You haven’t changed at all.”

“Of course I haven’t,” was her response. “I’m still the girl you loved.”

He was sure there were any number of scathing put-downs to that, but he couldn’t think of any. He settled for a clipped, “Come on,” and Katherine allowed him to pull her up.

So they went to meet Caroline together, because Damon didn’t really care what anyone thought of him sleeping with Katherine, and besides, he was sure the look on her face would be worth it.

She was waiting in the entrance hall with Stefan. Just as he had expected, her jaw dropped. “Oh my God.”

Stefan was wearing a resigned sort of look, like someone had just shot his puppy but he knew that there was nothing he could have done about it. He leaned over and murmured an apology to Caroline.

Before Damon could make a smug comment, however, Katherine spoke.

“Caroline,” she said, suddenly breathless, eyes wide. She was tucked against his body, handily covering him up – and, he belatedly realized, looking all flustered trying to cover herself with the bed sheet. Her voice had taken on a distinctly Elena tone. “Oh God – I’m sorry. Damon didn’t tell me you were here.”

“Katherine.” He smacked her wrist. “Ignore her. What can I do for you today, Caroline? If you want an all-vampire threesome, bedroom’s upstairs...”

“Wow,” said Caroline. He took that as a no. “Are you seriously parading her around right after Elena almost got sacrificed?”

“Trust me, I’m an improvement in every way,” said Katherine, who was obviously enjoying herself a little too much.

Damon shrugged. “Elena survived. We won. Katherine and I had celebratory sex. Don’t tell me you spent the night in a mood.”

That riled her up. She looked like she was going to burst: chest heaving, fists clenched, eyes too bright. “Matt and Tyler are dead. I am not in a celebratory mood, because believe it or not, our problems didn’t end with Klaus’s death and I am this close to turning it off, so why don’t you just shut up and listen?”

Oh, of course. Her boyfriends were dead. That would put anyone in a mood. He tried to look vaguely sympathetic.

“She’s emotional,” Katherine commented.

“People she cared about died. It happens.”

Stefan folded his arms. “I think you should listen to what she has to say, Damon.”

“Hey, I’m all ears.”

It wasn’t his fault they were dead. Besides, if she’d rather grieve over her werewolf and human squeezes, Damon had no problem with that. He frowned. Why was she even here?

“Just for the record,” said Caroline, “I’m telling you this for Stefan’s benefit, not yours.” She took a deep breath. “My mom knows that you and Stefan are vampires.”

Damon blinked. Katherine had gone still in his arms, but she glanced up, looking to see how he’d react, he supposed. “Did you tell her?”

“No! She figured it out. Right after she’d visited Katherine in the cell, by the way,” Caroline added, shooting Katherine an accusing look.

Katherine was indignant. “I didn’t say a word. Accuse me again and I’ll break your spine.”

He didn’t know what it was with these two. The hatred between them charged the air. Well, he did know: Katherine had killed Caroline, which was usually a bad start to any relationship. But Caroline shut up immediately, a result he’d often wished that he could achieve himself. Unfortunately right now he needed her to talk.

“Well, that’s great timing,” he said. “Your mom just called. On a scale of one to ten, how likely is she to attempt an ambush?”

Caroline thought about it. “Three. I think she’d be willing to talk. She’s okay with me, and I told her that you’re both the good guys. Even though you’re not.”

“She trusts you,” said Stefan, looking at him. “I think you need to talk to her.”

As usual, his brother wanted him to do the dirty work. But in this case he was right; Damon considered Liz a friend. Whether or not she accepted him as a vampire, he would deal with it.

“All right,” he said. He nudged Katherine, prompting her to look up at him. “Beat it. No one wants you here anymore.”

She pouted, but then shrugged. “Fine. It’s been fun, but I really should get going anyway. I’ll see you around.”

“Preferably not,” said Damon, but she disappeared in a blur even as he said it – not out of the door, but upstairs. He’d give her five minutes tops to get dressed and get out of the house before he made her leave. In the meantime, Damon tied the loose sheet around his waist.

“Are you gonna be at your mom’s house?” he asked Caroline.

Caroline nodded.

“Then I’ll see you there.”

That was the cue for Caroline to leave. She murmured a quick goodbye to Stefan, who set a hand on her shoulder, before also disappearing. Damon watched this with interest. His brother was ever the fair protector to maidens far and wide, but Caroline seemed to be relying on him more and more.

“Good show, Stefan,” he said. “Girl loses two love interests in one fell swoop, and here you are to be her shoulder to cry on. Watch out; she’ll be falling in love with you before their bodies turn cold.”

Stefan sighed, leaning against the doorway. “What are you doing, Damon?”

“I should think that’s obvious.”

“Why?” said Stefan. “Why Katherine of all people, after everything she’s done? She is not a substitute for Elena, Damon. She won’t play nice. She won’t be what you want her to be.”

“I know exactly what she is,” said Damon. “That’s the beauty of it. I think you’re projecting, brother. Weren’t you drawn to Elena because she looks like Katherine? I know I was.”

“You just can’t get over me, can you?” That was Katherine, stalking down the staircase fully dressed. She smiled as she approached, looking at each of them in turn. “A goodbye kiss? For old time’s sake.”

Damon shrugged. “For old time’s sake.”

Stefan turned away, raising his eyes to the heavens as Katherine leaned up to kiss Damon on the mouth. The kiss was brief and almost gentle, but it held the promise of more. If he chose to, he knew that he could seek Katherine out.

She approached Stefan next, and Damon folded his arms, watching dispassionately as Katherine coaxed Stefan into a very reluctant – and very chaste – kiss on the cheek. “Goodbye, Stefan,” she murmured, and her expression was soft.

The two brothers stood together as Katherine walked away. She didn’t look back, and they didn’t say anything. Damon couldn’t say what his brother was feeling, but then he could hardly say what he was feeling. He wasn’t jealous. He had gotten over being Katherine’s second choice. He had gotten over being a lovesick fool when it came to Katherine too, which meant that he could look at her with open eyes and a clear head, and she wouldn’t be able to hurt him.

If you didn’t care, you couldn’t get hurt. That was Katherine’s philosophy. Damon thought it had its perks too.

*

If there was one thing Elena was familiar with, it was going through the motions. She climbed out of bed, she brushed her teeth, she got dressed; she went through her entire morning routine without thinking until she realized that nobody else had come downstairs yet.

Frowning, Elena put down her coffee, and then sighed in relief when Jenna walked into the kitchen.

“Oh – Elena. You didn’t have to get up. I don’t think anyone was expecting you to turn up to school today.”

“I’m glad to know you’re showing proper concern about my poor attendance.”

“You have a good reason and you’re not taking drugs. That’s all I need to know.” Jenna paused in the middle of getting herself a coffee. “Are you okay? I mean, stupid question, I know you’re not, but...”

“I’ll be fine,” said Elena automatically. She turned the TV on before Jenna could ask any more questions, but it proved a poor distraction.

“...Following the tragic death of high school student Matt Donovan, age seventeen, in a car accident, Mystic Falls High has been struck by yet another tragedy. Fellow classmate and the only son of Mayor Carol Lockwood, Tyler Lockwood was found dead last night in the woods surrounding Mystic Falls. Police have yet to confirm the cause of death. Well-wishers have already begun gathering at the Lockwood residence to...”

She pressed the mute button. On the screen, the news journalist – Andie Star, a name that Elena recognized with a jolt but then couldn’t quite remember why she should have that reaction – continued her report, no doubt reminding her audience that Carol Lockwood had already lost her husband, who had perished in a fire after a gas leak at the old Gilbert property, and that Tyler Lockwood, quarterback, varsity student and one of the school’s most popular students, would be sorely missed by all who knew him.

None of it would be accurate. The cause of death was a lie, the platitudes were a lie, all of it was a lie. How many broadcasts like this had she watched?

“Elena,” said Jenna softly. She looked up. Jenna had taken the seat next to her. “We’re here for you, okay?”

Elena nodded. “I know.”

“Morning,” said Jeremy, who finally chose that moment to walk in. He paused at the entrance to the kitchen, and jerked his head over to the hallway. “We’ve got incoming.”

It was then that the sound of the doorbell ringing registered with Elena. She stood up. “I’ll get it.”

Jeremy let her walk past. He gave her a concerned look along the way, but Elena didn’t let her stride falter. She knew that the only thing she could do was get through the next few days – weeks – and wait for things to get better.

She opened the door, and her heart sank. “Stefan.”

He smiled at her. “Hey.”

She realized that he was here to offer his support – of course he was, that was what Stefan always did, and she had loved him for it. Whenever she needed him, he was there for her. She brushed a few strands of hair behind her ears and wondered why her insides felt like jelly.

“Stefan... I’m not sure now is a good time...”

“I know. I... I was worried about you.”

She tried a reassuring smile. “Hey, I survived, remember?”

He nodded, looking down. There was an awkward pause. Elena didn’t know what to say, and she could see that Stefan was struggling to know how to react too. Finally, he looked back up at her again. “Can we talk? Please?”

She sighed, but held the door open. Stefan stepped inside, and then, tentatively, reached out to wrap an arm around her shoulder and draw her into an embrace. Elena accepted the hug, resting her head against his shoulder. It felt easy to do that, to let herself sink into him, rely on him to be her support. But it felt wrong too, and she bit her lip, swallowing.

“I’m sorry,” Stefan murmured. “I’m so sorry...”

When they moved apart, Stefan’s hand brushed against hers, but she shied away on the pretence of shutting the door behind him.

“Sit down,” she said, gesturing over to the living room. She could hear Jenna and Jeremy in the kitchen, but she trusted them not to interrupt.

She sat down opposite him. Stefan gestured at her. “You’re not wearing your necklace.”

“Oh...” Elena’s hand went unconsciously to her throat. “I think Klaus took it. I don’t know what happened to it.”

“Well, it’ll probably turn up. I was just thinking... I found it when I was in a very dark place. It might seem stupid, but for me that necklace represented hope. Love. It reminded me that no matter how bad things got, I came out the other side.” He shook his head, smiling wryly. “I’m rambling. You know all that, you’ve done it before. It’s a journey that never gets easier, huh?”

She swallowed. “Well, you’d know.”

It wasn’t going to be easier this time. Especially not with Matt... She’d known him her entire life, and they’d always been close. People had called them inseparable. She loved him, even if not romantically in the way he had wanted her to, and to think that she was never going to see or talk to him again... He was another empty place in her heart, right by her parents.

Stefan leaned forward, his tone earnest. “Elena... I’m sorry. I wish there was something I could have done. We should have saved Matt. We should have stopped the ritual before Tyler was sacrificed.”

Elena shook her head. “It wasn’t your fault. Don’t blame yourself for things out of your control.”

He paused. “Are you angry with me?”

“For what?”

“You wanted to save Elijah...”

Elena tensed. It wasn’t a topic she wanted to talk about so soon. Actually, if she thought about it, she was kind of bitter about it. Elijah had survived, but there had been no lack of people trying to kill him. She expected Stefan at least to listen to her. Nobody had listened to her.

“Well, we had a disagreement,” she said. “I guess there wasn’t time for you to reason me out of it. Thank God Damon was there to restrain me, right?”

“I’m sorry,” he said. “I shouldn’t have let Damon do that. Damon, he... He had a plan; he was determined to follow through with it.”

“I know what Damon does. But you just stood there, Stefan. You didn’t do anything.”

“I was trying to protect you. You’d almost killed yourself, Elena, I wasn’t even sure if you were in your right mind – Elijah had just compelled you.”

She saw where this was going. “Elijah took my compulsion away. Did you really think I wouldn’t have wanted to save him?”

He paused, buried his head in his hands for a moment, and then shook his head. “This goes back to you having feelings for him, doesn’t it? I feel like I’m losing you, Elena, I... I don’t know. I want us to work this out.”

“It’s not that,” she said. “It’s not even what happened last night. I know you did everything you could to save me. I could have lost you, and I don’t know what that would have done to me. I just... I don’t want to be with you right now.” She bit her lip. “I’m sorry. After everything you’ve done for me...”

She felt ungrateful. She felt terribly ungrateful.

“Elena.” He spoke softly. She knew that he was trying to make this easy for her. She felt worse. “I don’t want you to be with me out of some sense of obligation. I want you to be with me because you love me.”

She paused. “I know.”

It was enough. Stefan nodded silently. He seemed resigned. But she knew that she was breaking his heart.

Finally, he stood up. “If you ever need somebody to talk to...”

She didn’t know when she would be able to take him up on that offer, but she managed a smile anyway. “Thank you.”

He retreated, and Elena lay down on the couch, feeling like the most awful person in the entire universe. That was it. She’d broken up with Stefan. It didn’t even feel like a relief, she just felt... hollow. She curled up and shut her eyes, as if that would help her shut out the world too.

*

Three empty blood bags lay at the foot of her bed. Caroline discarded a fourth, flicking her hand and watching it float to the floor. She was binge drinking. That probably wasn’t good. She felt heavy and bloated (did vampires get bloated?), and most of all she felt tired.

“I hate being a vampire,” she mumbled at the ceiling.

“Caroline?” Her mom knocked at the door.

Caroline glanced over. “Come in.”

She didn’t bother to hide the blood bags. Her mother twisted her mouth when she saw them. “There’s a memorial at the Lockwood mansion this weekend. It’s for Matt and Tyler.”

“Great,” Caroline mumbled. “I’ll be there.”

Liz hesitated, looking again at the empty blood bags. “Is there anything I can get you?”

“No. I just needed a moment to wallow before Damon arrives.”

Liz blinked. “How did you know about that?”

“Heard you. Please don’t stake him.”

“I’ll try not to.”

A sound from downstairs alerted her. Caroline groaned, pulling herself up. “Speak of the devil.”

*

It was her dad who told Bonnie that Abby wanted to see her. All the other witches had gone. Some had said goodbye; others had simply vanished. She hoped to keep in touch with Lucy, who had finally left her phone number, but otherwise the solidarity they’d felt together the night before had all but vanished.

Winning didn’t feel quite as triumphant as she had hoped.

Bonnie knocked on her mother’s door nervously.

“Come in,” Abby called.

She entered to find that her mother was already folding up her clothes into a small suitcase. Packing. Getting ready to go. A lump rose in her throat.

“You’re leaving?”

“I have a job to get back to.” Abby looked up, and her face softened at Bonnie’s expression. “But that’s not what I wanted to tell you. I can’t stay, Bonnie. Your dad and me... It’s been too long for us to work it out. But I talked to him and he’s agreed in principle that you could come and visit me in Manhattan. If you wanted.”

She caught her breath. For a moment, she couldn’t speak. “Really?”

“Yes.” Abby snapped open her purse, and handed over a business card to Bonnie. “Here’s my card. I’ve written my home address on the back, so you know where to find me. I have a few work things to deal with first, but I’ll check my schedule and see when I can book you in.”

Bonnie felt dazed. She stared at the card, and then at her mother. “Thank you. You know, I wasn’t sure if you...” She stopped, a sob choking her throat. “I’ve just been so alone, all this time...”

“Oh, God, don’t,” said Abby, but there was no malice in her tone. Bonnie couldn’t help herself; she burst into tears, and her mother placed a slightly awkward arm around her shoulders. It wasn’t like when they had performed the spell that killed Klaus together. Her mother was back in her business clothes; her posture was stiff, there was a certain distance between them.

But she wanted to close that gap. She did want to get to know her daughter after all.

Once her sobbing subsided, Abby stepped back, sitting down next to the suitcase. “You should know something first,” she said. “I don’t know what you expect from me, but I’m not Grams. I have my own life and this was a crazy break from it that I don’t want to go back to. I’m not a witch anymore. I can’t help you with that. I can’t help you with the vampires. But if you wanted to get away...”

Bonnie nodded. “You have no idea how often I’ve wanted to get out of this. I hate it. I’ve always hated it.”

“Don’t forget what I said,” said Abby. “Grams probably taught you all about duty and responsibility. Witches are servants of nature, and all that nonsense. Don’t believe it. Do what’s right for you. It was because of witchcraft that I lost control of my own life. You can always choose differently.”

She closed the suitcase and snapped the hinges shut, standing up. Bonnie nodded again, breathless. “I won’t forget.”

She would take her mother’s words to heart. Even if Abby couldn’t help her with her magic, she was someone to talk to, someone who understood. Bonnie had so often felt trapped by her witchcraft.

For the first time in a long time, she felt free.

*

Caroline called the day before the memorial. It had been a tough week for all of them. Elena had barely been able to look Caroline in the eye at first. But she’d had to, to tell Caroline about Tyler’s last words, that Caroline had been the last person in his thoughts, that he loved her. Watching Caroline break down in front of her had been horrible.

Even worse was the guilt. She felt like it was her fault that Matt and Tyler were gone. It was because of her that the sacrifice had taken place at all.

Talking on the phone was a little easier. She injected a cheery note into her voice. “Hey, Caroline.”

“Elena! Hey. How are you?”

Elena shook her head, smiling. “How are you?”

“Oh, you know. Probably about the same as you.”

“Right.”

She moved over to her bed and lay down with her head on the pillow. They didn’t need to elaborate further. Elena knew exactly how Caroline was feeling.

Caroline cleared her throat. “Okay, so... Have you seen Bonnie?”

Elena grimaced. “No.”

She’d been avoiding Bonnie. Evidently, Caroline hadn’t failed to notice this.

“Well, I’ve been talking to her, and I know this is a really difficult time for all of us...”

“I don’t want to see her, Caroline.”

She could tell that she had correctly anticipated what Caroline had been about to say by the huff she heard at the other end of the phone. “And she didn’t want to see you, but tough luck. I’ll be damned if I’m going to Matt and Tyler’s memorial while my two best friends in the world are fighting.”

Elena sighed. “Look... I just need some time.”

“No. You are going to fix this. You are going to talk, and make up, and everything will be fine. I’ll make chilli hot pot.”

She laughed despite herself. “You’re terrible at cooking, Caroline.”

Caroline put on her brightest, most cajoling voice. “It’ll be spicy!”

There was no denying her in this mood. “Fine.”

Caroline was efficient. It was barely an hour later that she turned up with chilli ingredients and Bonnie in tow. Just in time for dinner, as Caroline was quick to point out. Her make-up was carefully done, her curls almost pristinely glossy. She had painted her nails, and she wore the brightest, fakest smile Elena had ever seen. Even for Caroline, this was trying too hard.

So obviously she wasn’t the only one putting on a front.

Meanwhile, Bonnie was much more subdued. When Caroline pulled her into a hug, Bonnie hung back, not saying anything. But Elena invited all of them in, and while Caroline excused herself to go make the chilli, Elena found herself sitting down with Bonnie in the living room.

Bonnie looked at her nails. She tried to figure out where to start.

“How’s your mom?”

Bonnie looked up. “Good. She’s back in New York, but she says that I can visit her.”

“Oh, good,” said Elena. “That’s great.” She paused, glancing towards the kitchen, and sighed. “It’s too soon for this.”

Bonnie shrugged. “You know Caroline. She’s Miss Fix-it.”

“There shouldn’t be anything to fix. I’m not mad at you, Bonnie. We’re best friends...”

“No, you are,” Bonnie corrected her. “We’ve avoided talking about it since Katherine first arrived, but the truth is, I don’t know what to say to you anymore. You always side with the vampires. Always.”

Elena shook her head. “That’s not true.”

“Yes, it is. There’s having a big heart, and then there’s just accepting people who are murderers. Do you know why I was late for our meeting with the Martins at the Grill?”

Elena blinked, completely thrown off. “No – I – what?”

“Because I ran into Damon,” said Bonnie pointedly. “He was being his usual self with his girlfriend, Andie, compelling her to do his dirty work for him, and she would still be his little mind slave if Caroline and I hadn’t done anything about it.”

Elena shook her head. “No – Damon wouldn’t do that.”

She felt like this conversation had already gone completely out of her control. She had imagined that Bonnie was angry because she had saved Elijah. She hadn’t thought that it might run deeper.

“Wouldn’t he? Did you forget what he did to Caroline already?”

She could only shake her head again, helplessly. “Why are we talking about Damon? What has he got to do with this?”

“Because he’s the perfect example of exactly what I’m talking about. The only reason I haven’t killed him yet is you, Elena. The only reason I haven’t killed Elijah is you. They’re still around because you love them and I love you, but there’s only so long I can stand back and watch you accept everything they do.”

It was like a blow to the stomach. Elena swallowed. “So what are you going to do?”

“I’m just warning you,” said Bonnie. “I’m going to do what I think is right. If that means doing something that you don’t want, like trying to take down Elijah at the sacrifice ritual, then so be it.”

For a moment, Elena didn’t know what to say. She had been unprepared for this; she felt like she was crumbling already and she had to take several deep breaths to compose herself. When she spoke, her voice came out as a choked whisper.

“And what about our friendship?”

“I don’t know.” Bonnie laughed, tears gathering at the corners of her eyes. “I love you. I do. Maybe we should just forget what I said, and go on as normal. If all this supernatural craziness is really over, we don’t have to face these kinds of situations. We can be normal high school girls, best friends, cheerleader and ex-cheerleader...”

“Bonnie Bennett and Elena Gilbert.” She managed a smile. “There’s nothing that can separate us. Especially not some dumbass guy.”

“What dumbass guy?” Caroline peeped through the door, flicking her hair back. “Damon?”

“He’s one of them,” said Bonnie.

“I’ll say.” Caroline walked over and flopped on to the couch next to Elena, giving an exaggerated sigh. “Did you know that he slept with Katherine?”

Bonnie sat up straight in her seat. “What?”

Elena didn’t know how to respond. Her mouth fell open; she stared dumbly.

“I know, right?” Caroline made a face. “Gross.”

“How – how do you know?” Elena stammered.

“I saw them when I called at the boarding house a few days ago. Long story. But the good news is that Damon and my mom are still BFFs, so you know, that turned out okay.”

“I said he’d never change,” Bonnie muttered, and though she didn’t look at Elena, Elena had the distinct feeling that the comment was directed at her.

Annoyed, she changed the subject. “Is the chilli done?” she asked Caroline. “You haven’t left it to burn, have you?”

“I got Jenna on the case.” Caroline glanced between both of them. “I was hearing some tension. I didn’t like it.”

“None of us like it, Caroline,” said Bonnie. “And I didn’t want to talk about any of this right now, not with what just happened. But if we’re going to talk, I might as well be honest about it.”

“No,” said Elena. She was still reeling from the news about Damon, but if Bonnie was going to have the opportunity to air her grievances, Elena was going to make herself heard too. “I mean, I’m glad you’re being honest with me, Bonnie. I just don’t know what to do about it. I don’t know what to say to you either. Elijah and I had a deal. You didn’t just betray him when you broke it. You betrayed me too.”

“I get that you have some creepy personal attachment to him,” said Bonnie. “But I had to think of the bigger picture.”

Elena spluttered. “Creepy?”

“He’s like a thousand years old or something. By definition it’s creepy.”

“Okay,” said Caroline, holding out her hands as Elena turned scarlet and Bonnie leaned back, looking far too sure that she was right in Elena’s opinion, “maybe we can hold off the personal comments about the creepiness or otherwise of certain Originals. I really wanted you guys to just hug it out already. This can’t be that hard.”

Elena and Bonnie looked at each other. “I’m not against hugging,” said Elena. “I’m sorry. I didn’t realize this had gotten so big between us.”

Bonnie shook her head. “I didn’t want it to be like this either. I’m sorry for dumping it all on you at the worst possible time.”

“Okay,” Caroline ordered. “Hug.”

It was Bonnie who reached forward to pull Elena into an embrace. Elena hugged her friend tightly, though she was aware that they hadn’t really resolved anything, and she thought Bonnie knew that too.

“As long as we can keep talking about this,” she whispered, “we’ll be okay. Right?”

Bonnie leaned back and smiled at her. “I think we can try that.”

So that was something. Caroline seemed to consider it a triumph, clapping her hands. “Great,” she chirped. “So who’s for chilli?”

*

Later that night, as Elena was getting ready for bed, she heard a soft rustling, as though a breeze had stirred the curtains. The back of her neck prickled. She put down her toothbrush, and tiptoed from the bathroom into her bedroom. It couldn’t be anything bad, she told herself. Klaus was dead.

She walked over to the window. It was shut, the latch pulled down. Elena closed the curtains. Sighing, she ran a hand through her hair, turned around, and froze.

Her bedroom door was ajar. Only by a few centimetres, but Elena was absolutely certain that she had shut it.

“Jeremy?” she called. She approached the door warily. Her heart had leaped into her mouth. She reached the door, opened it, and glanced back and forth down the hallway.

Nothing. Empty.

Maybe she was just imagining things. The door could have creaked open by itself. Or maybe she was misremembering.

“Paranoid,” she muttered, and closed the door shut.

“Well, paranoia has its uses.”

She jumped. She nearly cracked her elbow against the door handle, in fact, as she scrambled around to face the intruder, her heart racing.

Katherine was reclining on her bed. Her presence was disconcerting enough by itself, but somehow the thing that really chafed at Elena was the fact that Katherine had her teddy bear. What was it with vampires and her cuddly toys?

“You could do with tidying up,” Katherine advised her. “I took much better care of your things.”

Elena controlled her breathing. She was still alive, which meant that Katherine needed her for something. If she’d wanted her dead, she could have attacked long before now.

“How did you get in?”

The Martins had cast a spell on the house that was supposed to bar all vampires from entering. Katherine shouldn’t have been able to get in.

Katherine shrugged. “Jenna invited me.”

“Jenna...” Elena’s eyes widened. “You’re still compelling her.”

“Compulsion doesn’t wear off. I compelled Jenna to trust me and she will trust me for the rest of her natural life. All I had to do was ask. After that, it was easy to get her off vervain.”

So once again her aunt was unprotected. Elena found the courage to approach the vampire, folding her arms. “What do you want?”

Katherine sat up, leaning forward. “I need you to do me a favour.”

“What?”

“Elijah wants me dead, and something tells me that you’re the only one who could make him change his mind.”

She made a sound of disbelief. “Why would I do that? Elijah isn’t even here; I don’t know where he is. I’m not going to stop him from killing you.”

They stared at each other for a moment, and Elena could almost read the thoughts in her doppelgänger’s eyes. Katherine had gotten into Elena’s house, again, after everything they had done to prevent that. She still had a hold over Jenna. She could easily force Elena to comply in order to protect her family.

“Go on,” said Elena. “Threaten me. Say you’ll kill Jenna or Jeremy – it would only take a second, wouldn’t it? Now that you’re invited in. Kill me, even. That won’t stop Elijah coming after you.”

Katherine stood up, her movements graceful as ever as she approached Elena. Her eyes were dark, and for a moment Elena was afraid that she was going to call her bluff. Suddenly she couldn’t read the vampire at all. “I said a favour, Elena. No threats. I know you have no reason to trust me, but hear me out. Tell Elijah to spare my life, and I’ll remove Jenna’s compulsion. I’ll leave town. And I’ll leave you and your family in peace.”

She swallowed. “You already betrayed him.”

“So did you,” said Katherine, “and Elijah offered you a second chance. If I break my word, he’s free to kill me. That’s reason enough for me to keep it.”

Elena pressed her lips together. After everything that Katherine had put them through... But, she thought, if this was the only chance she was going to get to help Jenna... The offer was tempting.

“Then free Jenna now,” she said.

Katherine raised an eyebrow. “Before you talk to Elijah?”

“Yes.”

“How do I know you’ll keep your promise?”

“You’ll just have to trust me.”

It took effort, holding her ground like this when Katherine was standing mere inches away from her. Elena hoped that it wasn’t too obvious just how much effort it took her. Katherine was staring at her with narrowed eyes.

Finally, Katherine nodded. “Okay. We have a deal.”

next
From:
Anonymous( )Anonymous This account has disabled anonymous posting.
OpenID( )OpenID You can comment on this post while signed in with an account from many other sites, once you have confirmed your email address. Sign in using OpenID.
User
Account name:
Password:
If you don't have an account you can create one now.
Subject:
HTML doesn't work in the subject.

Message:

 
Notice: This account is set to log the IP addresses of everyone who comments.
Links will be displayed as unclickable URLs to help prevent spam.

Profile

wheatear: (Default)
Pied

August 2015

S M T W T F S
      1
2345678
91011121314 15
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031     

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Jul. 23rd, 2017 08:48 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios