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Anchorage

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Eerika stared at the stars through the dark tree tops. She was so cold. The wet leaves of the forest floor had soaked through her woolen dress but she had long lost the energy to move. The forest was quiet, only the pained wet rasps of the dying girl pervaded the air. Eerika had not foreseen this when she naively followed a weeping Tatia into the woods.

 

She should have known better. Tatia had always been conniving but she hadn’t expected her to be murderous.

 

Was her secret worth murdering for? Apparently so.

 

 Eerika didn’t want to die, no one ever did, but she didn’t want to hurt her family this way. They had only lost Henrik a few weeks ago, and now they would lose their youngest yet again. It wasn't fair, not to them and not to her.

 

Eerika’s legs had gone numb by the time someone came across her. She heard the crunching of leaves as they approached, but her throbbing head felt too heavy to even turn towards the noise.

She expected a wolf or some forest beast lured by the scent of blood and the promise of a meal to be looming over her. Not the saddened face of Ayanna, her mother’s closest friend and mentor.

 

"Poor child, I cannot save you. Death will come soon." Ayanna said mournfully as she brushed the golden curls from Eerika’s face. " Tis a blessing you should go now. Your mother knows not what she does. Her magic will corrupt those she wishes to save and nature will turn on her."

 

Eerika furrowed her brow in confusion, Ayanna wasn’t making any sense. What was she talking about?

 

Ayanna had foreseen this; the spirits had warned her of what was to come. Esther would make her children into monsters and from them more monsters would arise. Without something to anchor them they lose their humanity in the years to pass and grow more savage than the very wolves Ester wished to save them from.  A safeguard would be needed should they grow to monstrous. Nature demanded a balance and so Ayanna would give it one.

 

" Your death need not be in vain, child. Rest easy knowing you shall serve a higher purpose." Eerika could only wheeze in confusion at Ayanna’s words.

 

The spell Ayanna had found was ancient and it was dark. Her own ancestor Qetsiyah had performed the very same spell with no success.

 

A blood sacrifice to Nature.

 

The very idea was nearly unthinkable and was not to be taken lightly. Ayana was taking a huge risk. If nature rejected Eerika then nothing would happen and her soul would simple pass one. However, if the sacrifice offended Nature, Ayanna’s whole bloodline could be stripped of its magic. It was not a risk many witches would dare take. She could not and would not save Eerika, but she could use her death to make her something more.

 

A conduit for Nature itself.

 

 If Nature accepted Eerika as a sacrifice she would be reborn with a rare unimaginable power the likes of which not even Qetsiyah had seen in her life time.

 

As Ayanna started her ritual, Eerika turned her eyes back to the star filled night sky. Her whole body throbbed to the rhythm of her failing heart and her eye sight grew dim. The pain had gone numb and her mind foggy. It was almost peaceful, the sounds of Ayanna’s chanting lulling her gently to sleep.

 

 Ayanna grab the dagger protruding from Eerika’s chest and yanked, quickening her death. Ayanna had completed the spell and could only hope to the Gods it had worked.

 

 


 

 

Erin jerk awake to the sounds of a frantic aunt banging on her sibling’s doors upstairs.

 

 “Wake Up! You’re going to be late for school!!" screeched Jenna. Erin could hear her aunt tripping over herself and cussing in her rush to get dressed.

 

For a sickening moment, Erin couldn’t remember where or even when she was. She often had moments of disorientation, especially after such vivid dreams, where she could not remember who she was.

 

 She rolled off the living room couch, rubbing the phantom pain in her chest. Sometimes she swore she could still feel the sting of old wounds. Erin yawned as she searched for a pen and pad.

 

Her most recent father, Grayson, had sent her to a therapist when he had first noticed her lapses in memory as a child. They thought she had the signs of early on set dementia but in reality, she just had to many memories to keep them straight all the time. Grayson had taught her a few grounding exercises to help and they did, though many wondered why she always doodled clocks in class.

 

“Shit!” She heard a loud bang and winced as Aunt Jenna slip in the hall as she tried to get her heels on. Jenna started angrily banging on Jeremys door. “Get UP!  Are you awake yet??" Jenna yelled.

 

The only response were her siblings two teenage groans as Erin spotted a note book in the kitchen, she quickly drew a clock with one hand and started the coffee machine with the other.

 

“My name is Erin Gilbert, it 7:45 am in Mystic Falls, Virginia 2007." She mumbled.

 

The exercise was simple but in moments when she couldn’t remember which name she was on, it helped.  She paused by the oven and warily checked her batch of blueberry muffins, she hadn’t meant to fall asleep on the couch for so long. She was just going to rest her eyes for a moment while the muffins baked but her body had other ideas. Luckily nothing had burned. She would never hear the end of it if she set the kitchen on fire the first day of school.

 

Jenna stumbled down the stairs trying to throw her auburn hair into a messy bun. She had woken late yet again and always panicked. Erin felt for Jenna, she was only in college and now she had to juggle three kids who weren’t even hers.

 

 Their parents had passed only a few months ago, in a tragic car accident on Wickery Bridge, one that almost claimed their sister, Elena’s life. It was a miracle she survived, to this day no one knows how she got out of the sinking car and onto shore unharmed.

 

“Oh, thank god your awake Erin, did you make breakfast? I could smell the carbs from upstairs." Erin gave the frazzled Jenna an apologetic smile and nodded.

 

“Yep. Blueberry muffins. I meant to wake you but I fell asleep on the couch. "

 

Jenna merely waved her hand, her eyes locking onto the freshly brewed pot of coffee.

 “It’s alright. I’m the adult, I should be waking you not the other way around".

 

Erin couldn’t help the snort that escaped her, Jenna may have been an adult compared to her current body but Erin was far older than anyone knew. Jenna sent her a playful glare at the noise, sipping on her mug.

 

“Are you going to the school today?" asked Jenna between desperate sips of caffeine.

 

Erin had technically already graduated from high school. She had had the ability to graduate for almost two years but Elena had made such a fuss about her twin graduating without her that her parents had agreed for her to graduate with her classmates. Though Erin knew it probably had more to do with her father’s worry over her mental issues worsening.

 

So now Erin only attended a few classes a week and occasionally helping the teachers run errands or grade papers. She spent most of her days working on her hobbies and taking care of the house work. A good thing too seeing as Jenna was almost a full-time student and her two siblings were not inclined to get groceries or do the laundry. 

 

She heard Elena coming down the stairs before she saw her, grabbing an oven mitt Erin quickly moved to pull the muffins out of the oven for her most likely ravenous siblings.

 

 “No, I’ve got art tomorrow though. I figured I’d do a little shopping today. Do we need anything specific? "

 

Jenna who had a muffin cramped into her mouth nodded and reached for the notebook Erin had used earlier, to write a list.

 

“Morning Aunt Jenna, Morning Erin!" Chirped Elena as she walked into the kitchen.

Erin glanced at her twin and repressed her instinctive grimace. It wasn’t Elena’s fault she was born with the same a cursed face as those she’d rather forget but it still unsettled her to see it. Erin smiled at her sister offering her a warm muffin.

 

“Want one? It’s blueberry?"

 

Elena shook her head making a beeline for the coffee pot like Jenna had.

"It’s all about the coffee, Erin."

 

Jenna dropped the pencil she was using to jot down a shopping list and reached for her purse.

 

“It’s your first day of school and I’m totally unprepared" She riffled around until she unearthed a wad of money with a triumphant smile. “Ah ha! Lunch money?" Jenna offered, waving the clump of cash at Elena who was blowing on her steaming coffee.

 

 “No thanks, I’m good Aunt Jenna" replied Elena with an amused smile.

 

 Jeremy finally stumbled into the kitchen half asleep as Erin started to sack up a few of the muffins, his hand instantly reaching out to rudely snatch money from Jenna without thanks.

 

“Is that coffee?" He asked Elena as he yanked the mug out of her hand. Elena yelped, giving Jeremy one of her adorable angry kitten pouts.

 

“Jeremy!" she cried in outrage as Erin snickered. Jenna started shoving the contents of her purse around looking for her car keys.

 

“Alright do you guys need anything else? Number 2 pencil? Jenna asked as she gathered her things to leave. “What am I missing?".

 

Erin frowned as she glanced at the clock, how could she have forgotten!? “Jenna! Your presentation?"

 

Jenna eyes widened in horror and her head snapped towards the nearest clock.

 

“Crap! I’m supposed to be meeting with my Advisor right now!"

 

Erin handed Jenna one of the muffin sacks as she scrambled for the door, her mind in a thousand places.

 

“Go Aunt Jenna, Jeremy and I can get to school. We'll be fine." Reassured Elena as she poured herself another mug of coffee. Jenna merely gave Elena a strained smile before she darted out the door leaving the three siblings in an awkward silence that eventually Elena broke.

 

“Jeremy... are you ok?” she hesitantly asked.  Jeremy, being Jeremy, simply scoffed and dumped his coffee in the sink.

 

“Don’t start Elena" He sneered as he slunk out of the kitchen. Erin handed her brother his own sack of muffins before he slammed out the front door and the girls heard Bonnie honking her horn.

 

“Elena, Bonnies here. Do you want some muffins? “Erin asked. Elena gave her twin a strained smile, feeling hurt by another one of Jeremys harsh rejections.

 

“Thanks, I’ll share with Bonnie and Care. You sure you don’t want to come, it’s the first day?"

 

Erin walked Elena towards Bonnie’s car and waved at their swarthy friend with a laugh.

 

 “I’m very sure Elena, you get to enjoy the wondrous prison that is school all on your own, I will be home watching The Nanny and eating muffins. It'll be hard but I’m sure I can struggle through such hardships without you."

 

Elena laughed, glad that her twin didn’t treat her differently after the accident. She had been afraid that, like Jeremy, she would blame her on some level for their parent’s death or baby her like everyone else. But when she returned from the hospital Erin had treated her like nothing ever happened, Elena sometimes worried at times if Erin even remembered their parents. She knew Erin had memory trouble, her parents had explained everything to them when they were still children and she knew that stress could worsen Erin’s condition.

 

Erin didn’t even act like their parent’s deaths affected her, she had cried when it happened, of course, but she was back to normal only a few days later helping Jenna plan the funeral and make arrangements to move in. Too Elena, Erin’s ability to cope so easily seemed almost cold.

 

Erin smiled at Bonnie as Elena threw her bag into the front seat, she had always liked the Bennett’s. They were descendants of her old family friend and had always been close comrades.

 

 At least until that unfortunate incident with Bonnie’s Grandma, Sheila.

 

“Morning Bon Bon, Are you ready for another thrilling day at school?" teased Erin.

 

Bonnie huffed at Erin with pleading eyes." You’re so lucky you don’t have to go. Why won’t you just do my homework and then we could spend all day at home together?" whined Bonnie.

 

 Elena chuckled as Erin let out a loud laugh.

 

" No can do Bon Bon, I enjoy my Me time. You’ll just have to stick with my twin here and suffer. "

 

  Bonnie couldn't help but think how different her friends were standing side by side. Elena and Bonnie had always been the "exotic” beauties of Mystic Falls High school while Erin and Caroline were the "Golden Girls". In truth Elena and Erin looked nothing alike. Elena had caramel toned skin and dark doe eyes to match her long straight brown hair. Erin was more suited to be Caroline’s twin, with her golden blonde curls, pale skin and honey brown eyes.

 

Erin was one of the sweetest smartest girl Bonnie knew which made her mental illness all the more tragic in Bonnie’s eyes.

 

 She had only seen Erin get “confused” once when they were children. Dr. Gilbert had taken them to the zoo when they were only six or seven. Everything had been great until Erin had seen the wolf exhibit and started to cry hysterically. Bonnie couldn’t understand half the things she had been sobbing, but she could’ve sworn it was in another language. The only things she understood were "Henrik" and “Wolves". Erin hadn't stopped crying until her dad bought her a stuffed wolf to show her they were harmless and then it was like she suddenly snapped out of whatever fit she was in.  It had honestly frightened Bonnie to see her friend so distraught and unlike herself.

 

“You wound me Erin. See if I read your fortune again. Grams says I’m a witch you know? So I could’ve predicted the winning lotter ticket or something. Now you’ll never know." Replied bonnie with a wink.

 

 Laughing, Erin shooed Elena into the car with a smile.

 

 “Go on, Get. I’ve got muffins waiting and you guys are going to be late."

 

 Bonnie and Elena grumbled and waved as they drove away, leaving Erin to let out a long weary sigh when they disappeared down the street.

 

Sometimes pretending she was a normal teenage was exhausting. She always found dealing with her siblings in each life to be hard. She just couldn’t bond with them, not in the way she had with her original siblings.

 

 The pain of losing her first family still stung as fresh as when it happened and in every life after she kept a certain amount of distance between her and those she knew.  To her, becoming attached would only make it hurt worse when she transitioned into the next life.

She always made for a melancholy baby, she genuinely felt bad for each set of parents she was born too. They must have worried themselves sick over a babe who’d only cry and refused to be held. In her defense, her rebirths were always traumatic and she spent most of her formative years in a dream like state of grief. You try being crammed into a new born baby knowing everyone you loved was gone, you’d cry too.

 

Erin meandered inside, putting in another batch of muffins while she ruminated on her life.

 

 Lives technically.

 

  She had been quite surprised after her first death to wake buried in dirt and forced to claw her way out of her own grave. To this day, she hates the smell of graveyard soil, sometimes she thinks she can still taste it in the back of her throat suffocating her.  When she had crawled her way out of her grave, she found herself by her favorite waterfall, the first thing she had done was go home. She thought maybe her mother had performed some spell or the gods had taken mercy on her. She had been so confused and frightened. All she had remembered was the pain of death and then awaking to the suffocation of dirt and worms. All she had wanted was to go home to her family. But her family wasn’t there. No one was there. The entire village was gone and the great white oak tree burned to the ground. She had checked every home and found nothing but blood stains.

 

Had the wolves finally destroyed the village? Had there been a battle of some sort? Where was her family? When she had searched her family’s home it had been empty and lifeless in a way it had never been before. Her home had always been warm and noisy, filled to the brim with bickering children.  All alone and with no will to live without her loved ones, Erin had thrown herself off the rocky cliffs of the waterfall shed been buried by. Only to awake again in haze of pain and confusion. It had taken her years to come out of her infantile haze and understand what had happened.

 

  Erin had been reborn into a new life with a new name and a new family, But the same memories and the same pain. In all her lives, the only thing that remained the same was her face and her mind. For some reason the Gods had cursed her, punishing her for some crime she couldn’t fathom. She had spent so many lives in a cloud of depression and isolation until she learned nothing would change. No matter the way she died or what she did, she would live again and again and again.

 

It had been the birth of her first child in her fourth or fifth life that had given her back her will to live. Her first tiny son Elliot, who she named in honor of her brother made her realize, she was cursed yes but she didn’t have to treat it as a curse. There was so much she had not done or seen. So, she swore on her children to live each life to the fullest she could. And she had but with that came pain. Every life she buried more lovers, lost more friends and left more children behind. You can never rid yourself of that kind of pain, oh you can dull it, but it’s still there waiting for something small to reopen the wound.

 

 Erin spent most of her days at home working on one of her many hobbies. She had so many hobbies she could put Martha Stewart to shame. Though most of what she calls hobbies today were essential for everyday life hundreds of years ago.

 

Kids these days have no idea of the luxury they have. Back in her day if you wanted a new dress you had to make it yourself. If you wanted food, you had to grow it. She’s still amazed when she goes into the grocery store and sees strawberries year-round. She can remember waiting all winter to search the forest with her older sister for the first wild strawberries of the season.  She still loves strawberries, though they are a bit different these days than the ones she remembers.

 

Erin seemed to work on auto pilot as she removed the muffins from the oven and started tidying up the house. She wasn’t really paying attention, lost in her thought of the past like always. By the time she heard Elena coming through the front door she found herself in a pastel pink and gold accented room holding a dusting rag. She had zoned out so completely she hadn’t even realized she had started to clean her own room. Erin sighed glancing at the clock, school had ended almost an hour ago and she still hadn’t gone to the store for Jenna or started dinner. 

 

Dropping the rag in the laundry bin, Erin grabbed her keys to head out but stopped when she heard her sister cursing up a storm in her bathroom.

 

“Lena? You okay?" she asked.

 

 Elena, who was trying to get a band aid on her bleeding leg, wobbled on one foot as she yelled back to her sister.

“Yeah! I just cut my leg. I’m fine. Do you wanna come meet Bonnie and Care at the Grill?"

 

Erin moved to the joint bathroom Elena and Jeremy shared, leaning against the door as she watched her sister attempt to be flexible.

 

 “No thanks. I’ve got errands to run."

 

 Elena sighed and turned her big sad doe eyes on her older sister. “Erin, it’s been so long since you’ve come out with us. You’re becoming a recluse, it’s not health."

 

Erin couldn’t help but chuckle at her sister’s pouty face, she was so sweet sometimes.

 

"Lena! I’m not a recluse, you just never noticed how much time I spent at home before, and you were always out with Mattie. “Erin teased.

 

 Erin grinned when her sister blushed at the mention of her late-night escapades with Matt Donavan, a football player and childhood friend of theirs. They had been a cute couple, all puppy love and fumbling hands but it didn’t last, much to Matt’s disappointment.

 

 Elena tried to swat at her sister and missed, nearly losing her one footed balance in the process.

 

“Shut up.  Cares going to call you soon, you know?  We got this new student at school and he’s a major "hottie” apparently." Snarked Elena as she rolled her eyes.

 

Erin raised her eyebrow at her sisters grumbling, normally she laughed at Caroline’s flirtatious antics.

 

“Apparently?" Erin questioned dryly" You don’t agree?" 

 

Elena flushed a deep shade of red and nervously tucked a strand of hair behind her ear as she stuttered

 " I-I didn’t say that. Its just – Uhg! okay he’s super-hot. Like Abercrombie model hot but he’s so - so- "

 

Erin raised her eyebrow in amusement at her sisters fumbling.

 

“He’s so what?”

 

“Odd!” exploded Elena “I saw him while I was visiting mom and dad and he ran away from me!”

 

Erin choked on a laugh staring at Elena in shock.

 

“He ran away!? What did you do to the poor guy?”

 

Elena huffed at Erin indignantly.

 “Nothing! One minute we were talking and the next he’s practically running away from the sight of my gross bloody leg.”

 

Erin felt a pang of suspicion go through her, surely there couldn’t be a vampire stupid enough to settle in Mystic Falls, as a student no less. Mystic Falls was a rather infamous place among vampires, the town council knew of, and actively hunted, vampires.  One would have to be stupid or suicidal to come here.

 

“Maybe he’s afraid of blood” soothed Erin “or pukes at the sight of it and ran away to spare your shoes.”

 

Elena chuckled slightly, her anxiety about scaring off the new town hunk only slightly lessened.

“I guess... I mean it couldn’t have been me, right? We barely spoke.” Pondered Elena worriedly.

 

Erin nudged her sister with a reassuring smile.

 

“Course not, who wouldn’t love you? You’re awesome”

 

Elena gave her sister a grateful smile and nodded to herself in the bathroom mirror.

“Your right. I am awesome. Who cares if I scared off the most attractive guy in town? Not me.”

 

Erin laughed at her sister and left her to get changed to meet Care and Bonnie. She had Groceries to buy. 

Chapter Text

Jenna and Erin were in the kitchen discussing the up and coming Comet Festival when Elena came in to grab her purse.

“Hey! I’m off to the Grill to meet Bonnie. Erin are you sure you don’t want to come?” asked Elena. She had hoped Erin would change her mind and come with her, at least with her there she could reign in Caroline’s awful habit of offending people on accident.

“No Thanks. Jenna and I are going to watch Rom Com’s and eat junk food. Tell everyone I said hi” Erin smirked as she popped a piece of popcorn into her mouth. Elena rolled her eyes with a sigh and Jenna gave the girls an amused smile. For a moment she felt a brief pang of grief thinking about all the times her and Miranda shared playful banter like that. Miranda was gone now and Jenna couldn’t help the melancholy feeling that came over her every time she watched her nieces interact.

“Have fun!” Jenna called as Elena headed towards the door. “Oh wait! I’ve got this!”

Jenna took a deep breath, fixed Elena with a stern look and said with mock seriousness

“It’s a school night. Don’t stay out late”.

 Erin snickered from the couch as she scrolled through the movie list. “Nice Jenna. A plus Parenting.” She snarked, smirking when Jenna shot her an amused filled glare.

“Hush You. No commentary from the peanut gallery.”

Elena smiled and grabbed her jacket as she headed towards the front door. Erin frowned when she heard Elena call out a halted farewell. She only had a moment to wonder if Elena tripped out the front door again when Jenna giddily plopped on the couch, craning her neck to try and spy into the front hall.

 “What is it? Did she fall again?” She asked. Raising an eyebrow when Jenna shushed her, biting her lip in excitement. Jenna leaned closer to Erin but her eyes remained glued to the front door.

“There’s a boy. A hot boy.” Jenna practically squealed when Elena and the mystery boy left for the Grill together. Erin could only assume that that was the new school hunk with the penchant for running away from bloody limbs.

“Ah” nodded Erin who turned back to the movie. “Must be the “hemophobic hottie” Elena ran into earlier.”

Jenna, who had finally settled down to watch the movie, paused mid popcorn consumption and blinked at Erin in befuddlement.

“The what?”


 

 

The next morning Erin headed down to the school, it was one of her student assistant days and she had the wondrous pleasure of being assigned to Coach Tanner. The man was, to put it simply, an ass. But he had a fondness for Erin. Most likely because Erin was the youngest member of the Mystic Falls Historical Society and he liked to claim credit for her historical “genius”.  Which Erin found infinitely amusing, seeing as how the man could barely get the facts of major events right. She often amused herself by finding how many mistakes he made in his tests or lectures.

She was in the teachers’ lounge for less than an hour before Coach Tanner stormed in, he was visibly flustered and wasted no time in barking at Erin.

“Gilbert! Are those papers graded yet or are you staring into space like that air headed sister of yours?”

Erin, who was far too used to Coach Tanners abrasive attitude, simply held up a stack of complete papers.  She knew that when he got into a mood he would cheer himself up by writing rude disparaging remarks on the students’ papers. It gave him a special sort of joy.

Coach Tanner snatched the papers from her hand and angrily flipped through them. Eyeing her begrudgingly when he noticed they were completed.

“At least one of you Gilberts are worth something” He grumbled. Pausing as he turned to leave and  he looked at Erin speculatively. “The Battle of Willow Creek. How many casualties were there?”

Erin raised her eyebrows at the odd question, wondering what brought it but answered anyway. “346. Unless you include civilian casualties of which there were 27. I believe Confederates fired on a church?” Or the Council burned a bunch of vampires alive. Bet that’s not in any history books.

The words were barely out of her mouth before Coach Tanner snarled and stalked out of the room grumbling about smart ass kids.

That man was just full of sunshine and rainbows. Erin secretly wondered if he lived off the tears of small children. She could only shrug as she continued to grade papers for some of the other teachers and ponder on the wisdom of having Coaches teach more than sports.


 

School was barely over when Erin’s cellphone rang. Caroline was ecstatic, just like Elena had said she’d be. The new boy at school was apparently gorgeous and Caroline had decided that he was husband material.

“He’s the one, Erin. I can feel it. Our children would make Michelangelo weep.” Said Caroline.

Erin rolled her eyes as she let herself into her house with her cell wedged between her ear and her shoulder as Caroline rambled. Caroline was, without a doubt, one of her best friends. Just like her Grandmother, Charlotte Forbes, had been in her previous life. There were only three living people who knew exactly who and what she was. Charlotte being one of those three. Erin still visited her longtime friend even after her rebirth, but it was becoming harder and harder to see her. Charlotte was getting old, she wouldn’t be around much longer and Charlotte knew it. Maybe that’s why she pushed Erin to open up to Caroline so hard, Charlotte was convinced she needed someone besides her who knew what she was but Erin couldn’t bring herself to burden Caroline like that. She was such a care free girl and Erin refused to be the one to change that.

Erin’s attention was snagged by the next words out of Caroline’s mouth.

“His name is Stefan Salvatore”

Salvatore. Stefan Salvatore. The new school hottie was named Stefan Salvatore and he had an extreme dislike of blood and a fondness for her sister. Her sister who just happen to be the spitting image of Katherine Peirce. Coincidence? Not fucking likely. That was just great, Stefan Salvatore was back in town and with him always came his brother Damon. He always popped up like a cockroach that just wouldn’t die. Erin’s dislike for Damon was almost as great as her dislike for the Petrova bloodline. He had an awful habit of screwing her over, whether he knew it or not.

“He lives with his uncle up at the ugly old Salvatore boarding house. You know the one you help garden at? Apparently he hasn’t lived here since he was a kid. Military family. So they moved around a lot.” Prattled Caroline as Erin walked around her house tidying up on her way to her room.

Erin frowned when she heard that Stefan was staying with Zach. Zachary Salvatore was one of the few people from her past that she kept tabs on. Funnily enough, he was her only remaining great grandchild. One of her daughters, Dolly, had married Joseph Salvatore. They had had one son, David Salvatore, before Damon killed Joseph in 1953. Zach was an only child and her only remaining living descendent. She vaguely remembered Zach having a beautiful girlfriend named Gail but she never found out what happened to her after she died in 1992.

“He’s a Gemini and his favorite colors blue.” Sighed Caroline happily. “We’re thinking of a June wedding. That is if Princess Elena doesn’t snatch him up. Did you know she showed up at the Grill yesterday with him? I thought Matt was going to lose it.”

“Caroline, maybe you should ease up on Stefan. You don’t want to over whelm him so soon after moving right?”

Erin knew Caroline wouldn’t back down, she saw it as a competition between her and Elena. She always did. Care had to be the best at everything she did.  The best cheerleader, the best volunteer, it didn’t matter. Caroline had to be the best or she felt like she wasn’t anything. Her friend had some serious insecurities that caused her to lash out but she knew Caroline didn’t mean anything malicious by it.

Caroline scoffed, and Erin could hear the sounds of her riffling through her closet.

“Don’t worry after he sees me tonight he won’t even remember Elena’s name. You’re coming right?”

“To the bonfire?” asked Erin as she spread out across her pink bed. “A party in freezing woods at night? Nah I think I’ll pass. “

“No no no!” objected Caroline angrily. “You can’t back out on me! I need my wing-woman. So I better see you tonight, ready to party and dressed in something cute. Got it?!”

Erin snorted looking at the clock in the corner of her room, she had just enough time to get ready and stop by the Boarding house on her way to the Falls.

“Fine. I’ll come but if I get cold I’m leaving. You know I hate going out there at night.” She couldn’t stand the woods at night, it brought up old memories and made her anxious. She had similar problems with being cold. She hated it, it reminded her of the chilly numbness she’d feel when dying. There were a lot of fights over the thermostat in her house. Apparently Jeremy didn’t appreciate her trying to bake him alive in the winter.

Erin finished her phone call with Caroline, knowing she would need ample time to primp. Only Care would spend hours getting ready to go romp around the woods. Erin made sure to dress in her warmest clothes and yanked on a pair of boots. She needed to stop by the Salvatore Boarding house and she could only hope Zach was alone.

 


 

Zach had only started to relaxed after Stefan had left for some party when his doorbell rang. He warily eyed the front door, hesitant to open it and possibly find Damon standing there with his infuriating smug face. Zach didn’t think he could hate anyone more than he hated Damon Salvatore. That monster had taken everything from him. His family, his love and even his child. The man was a walking nightmare.

Surprisingly the person on his porch wasn’t Damon or Stefan, it was Erin Gilbert. It wasn’t unusual for Erin to stop by on her volunteer days and help Zach take care of his large property. Something Zach was eternally grateful for, but that was before Stefan returned to Mystic Falls. Now he felt nothing but anxiety at Erin being anywhere near his homicidal relatives.

“Erin” said Zach, looking around anxiously for any sign of Damon’s classic car. “What are you doing here? “

He wasn’t expecting her and he wanted her gone as soon as possible. He knew Damon would snap her neck just to make sure Zach knew his place, the man liked to make sure Zach knew just who’s house he lived in.

“I’m sorry to drop by unannounced Zach, but I was hoping to pick up a few plants from the basement.” Said Erin, she had a pleasant smile plastered on her face but Zach could see the calculating gleam in her too sharp eyes. She could tell something was wrong. Most people assumed Erin was nothing but a spacy nutcase but he could always tell there was something more underneath the harmless face Erin showed the world. He wasn’t sure what it was, but his gut told him to be cautious.

As far as the council was concerned Erin Gilbert knew about vampires. All they knew was she had found the Gilbert journals a few months ago and the council made the decision that someone in the Gilbert family needed to know the truth about the town’s history after the death of Greyson and Miranda. Erin wasn’t actually part of the council, she wouldn’t be until she came of age but she was kept informed of current events. Like the real reason behind the recent suspicious animal attacks.

“O-of course” gulped Zach nervously. If Stefan or Damon knew he was growing vervain they would kill him. He couldn’t imagine the torture Damon would inflict on him if he knew Zach was supplying the council with it.  “Did the Mayor send you?”

Erin shook her head as Zach let her into the house and headed towards the basement where he hid his small greenhouse. 

“No, this is just for me. Better to be safe than sorry, right?”

The only response Erin got was a nervous chuckle as Zach started to collect a box of dried vervain.

“One box enough for you?” he asked. Eager to get Erin to leave before someone caught them.

“Actually I was hoping to get a few of the potted plants for my green house. Perhaps it would be best if more than one of the founding families grew vervain.” Erin watched Zach’s reaction carefully as he nervously fidgeted. Giving her a jerky nod Zach started to rush about preparing a few plants to be moved. He was a mess of nerves, practically sweating bullets under her searching gaze. He obviously knew about Stefan and Damon. Erin could only hope he wouldn’t be as stupid as Joseph had been when dealing with the Salvatore brothers. She may not have been particularly close to Zach but he was her last living relative and she wouldn’t see him dead anytime soon if given the choice.

 “There. That should be enough to get you started.” Zach handed Erin a large box filled with three potted vervain plants and a large box of ground dried vervain. “Anything else?”

“No, thank you Zach “replied Erin with a strained smile. She let Zach quickly usher her out of the house obviously eager for her to leave but before he shut the door Erin called out to him.

“Zach” She called with an unusually serious voice “You should think about getting out of town for a while. Take a vacation. “

Zach’s face paled but he didn’t respond as he watched her get into her car and drive off. Somehow, Erin Gilbert knew that he was housing vampires. So why hadn’t she alerted the council?


 

Erin pulled into the mock parking lot between the trees by the Falls. Why someone thought having a party full of drunken teens in the middle of the woods was a good idea, was beyond her. The woods are creepy. Hell she’d died in this area of the woods at least twice, both times were equally unpleasant and bloody. So you can see why she was hesitant to go traipsing around the woods at night again. It was always a bad idea. Always.

By the time she made her way through the masses of grinding teens, she spotted Bonnie by the drinks. She looked spooked, her eyes darting around nervously and her brow furrowed in confusion. Erin frowned as she made her way closer, gently touching Bonnie’s arm to get her attention.

“Bonnie? Are you alright?” She asked. It wasn’t like Bonnie to space out, that was her thing.

Bonnie startled, her eyes anxiously darting towards Erin’s hand and her face. Bonnie had expected a vision but nothing came to her. Maybe it only worked on skin to skin contact?

“Y-Yeah I’m fine, It’s just..” Bonnie trailed off unsure if she should say anything. She sounded crazy even to herself.

Erin gave Bonnie a concerned look but simply waited for her to continue. That’s one of the things she liked about Erin. She didn’t push you to admit your problems or dig like Elena. She simply waited. It was refreshing at times but other times it made Bonnie feel as if she just didn’t care if you told her or not. Like she was bored.

“I had this- this vision” Sighed Bonnie. She was probably making a big deal out of nothing but what happened really disturbed her. “When I touched Elena hand. I saw this image of a crow and fog and this- this man! I don’t understand what happened. I don’t know. I’m drunk. It’s nothing”

Erin didn’t laugh like Caroline had or brush it off like Elena, she didn’t even roll her eyes like Bonnie expected her to. Instead she gave Bonnie a grim nod, her eyes completely serious as she observed Bonnie.

“I think perhaps it’s time you had a talk with Shelia, Bonnie. Perhaps there something to those tall tales of hers.” 

Bonnie frowned at Erin’s expression, she opened her mouth to ask her what she meant but before she could ask Caroline and Matt cut into their conversation.

“Erin! You made it!” chirped Caroline happily. Matt gave Erin an awkward smile and a nod in greeting. Bonnie sent him a sympathetic smile, it had to be hard watching your ex move on with someone else, right in front of you.

“I see Elena’s already got her hooks in Stefan” sneered Caroline, her face twisted in jealousy as she watched Stefan and Elena talking on the bridge across from them. It wasn’t fair, Caroline saw him first! Why did Elena always get the guy?

Matt stared at Elena and Stefan, he knew Elena was moving on, He could see the way she was looking at Stefan. He just didn’t understand why she hadn’t talked to him. Hadn’t she said that she needed time to be alone? She didn’t look so alone to him. While Caroline and Bonnie started talking about Stefan’s “Romance novel “stare, Matt moved closer to Erin so he wouldn’t be over heard.

“Hey, Er… Has Elena said anything about me? About us?” He knew the answer by the way she smiled at him pityingly. Erin gave Matt an encouraging pat on the shoulder and motioned towards where Elena was waiting for Stefan alone.

“Maybe you should ask her?” she said. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Jeremy coming out of the trees and heading towards the beer keg. He seemed upset, no doubt about Vicki Donovan. Matt’s less than respectable older sister. Unlike Elena, Erin didn’t really care if Jeremy screwed around with Vicki. She knew better than most that people coped in different ways. If Jeremy wanted to get high and run around with Vicki then that was his business. Erin moved away from the others and closer to the fire. Her hands were frozen and her cheeks were stinging from the cold air. She was just about to find Caroline and tell her she was going home but she stopped when she saw a flash of something among the trees.

Standing at the edge of the party, in the shadows, was Damon Salvatore. He looked the same as he always did but his mouth was covered in blood and black veins slithered under his eyes. She blinked and he was gone. Her eyes swept across the party, sure she had been the only one to see him and he hadn’t seen her. Who was he watching? Stefan or Elena? She doubted it could be anyone else here but she wasn’t staying to figure it out.

Erin scowled as she headed back to her car, If Damon was here then someone was dead and she wasn’t sticking around for that drama. By the time she reached her car the screaming had started, it didn’t take long to figure out the victim was Vicki Donovan and her sibling had been the ones to find her. Erin didn’t stick around, she left as soon as she was sure that Jeremy and Elena weren’t actually hurt. Why couldn’t she have just one life where everything didn’t go to shit? All her life times and how many times did she actually make it to old age? Four. Four times. Granted, old age wasn’t a particularly pleasant experience but she had only made it into old age four times. She wanted to be old again, Damn it! She wanted to hold grandbabies and shake her cane at kids on her lawn. She had no desire to die bloody and in pain because some vampire ripped her throat out. Again.

Her drive home was uneventful and when she got home, Jenna was already gone. Elena had probably called her from the party. Erin didn’t bother going inside, she grabbed the box of plants from her trunk and walked around back to her small green house. Miranda had it built when she learned of Erin’s green thumb. It was a talent that her original mother passed down to her and her brother Kol. Though Kol’s power lied more in the use of magic to revive dead plants. He was the only magical child in their family, though he often told her he suspected Henrik of possessing the gift. Gardening had been one of the many things they shared. Where Elijah, Rebekah and Niklaus always had each other, Kol had Henrik and her. The death of their brother nearly crushed him, it hurt Erin to think of how her death must have affected him.

Erin yanked on a pair of gardening gloves and knelt down near an empty patch of dirt and started replanting the vervain next to her aconite plants. She liked to keep a full garden, despite keeping her nose out of the supernatural. You never knew when one would need a magical herb. Perhaps to poison a rather dickish vampire?  Damon Salvatore was an annoying thorn in her side. He always had been. In 1864 when Erin had been Agatha Fell, she had been engaged to Damon Salvatore. A man which she met all of three times. Her father, William Fell, ran the local paper mill and Giuseppe Salvatore owned a majority of the wood mills around Mystic Falls. Naturally a union between the two families would have been very profitable, had Damon not been a love sick puppy. He was nearly ten years her senior and not afraid to express his distaste with the match. He was devoted to Katherine Peirce, the snobbish girl with Tatia’s face. It hadn’t taken long to figure out that, while she did have Tatia’s predilection for brothers, she didn’t have her memories. Katherine wasn’t like her. She was like an echo of the original and a mystery to Erin. One she had no desire to unravel.

 Unfortunately it turned out Kathrine also shared Tatia’s predilection for murder. Apparently she didn’t appreciate someone trying to make her share her toys. One of the only times she actually spoke to Damon Salvatore, it ended in her rather gruesome murder.

Damon had taken her on a walk, which at the time surprised her, he wasn’t subtle in his objections about marrying a child. So his willingness to go on an outing with her should have been a red flag. He took her deep into the forest, farther than what was appropriate for the time period. Then proceeded to degrade and belittle her. Mocking her for ever thinking he would want a child, when he had Katherine. She knew what he was trying to do. To make her reject the marriage offer and had Agatha actually been the innocent child she appeared to be, his words would have broken her little heart. So she had feigned tears and Damon had abandoned her alone in the forest. Except she hadn’t been alone. Katherine had been the one to convince Damon to take her into the forest. The moment he was gone, she had ripped Agatha’s throat out and tossed her body down a hill. It had hurt like a bitch, but what stung the most was dying in that same forest, killed by that same face. Honestly it pissed her off. She was glad when she found out that bitch, Katherine burned to death in 1865. She hopes it hurt like hell.

Erin finished planting the vervain and brushed the dirt off her pants. She headed inside, noting that Jenna’s car was back. She made sure to keep her footsteps light as she crept up the stairs with the box of dried vervain under her arm. She paused briefly as she passed Elena’s room, she could hear soft voices inside and when she peaked through the open door her heart nearly stopped. He was inside. Elena had invited Stefan Salvatore into their home. She had no idea what kind of beast she had just let in.

Chapter Text

Erin frowned at the news report of yet another animal attack. Two campers had been found torn apart, apparently one was even in a tree. See this is why she hates the woods, nothing good ever happens there. Erin had to wonder just how long this animal attack excuse was gonna work for, surely after all these years the council could come up with a better cover story. Then again this generation’s council didn’t seem too bright, most of them haven’t even read their families journals. The extent of their vampire hunting knowledge is basically stab it with the pointy end and she didn’t even trust them to do that properly. If Damon didn’t start controlling himself then even the council will have to acknowledge that vampires have returned to Mystic Falls and probably do something extremely stupid. The last thing Erin needed was an over eager group of amateur vampire hunters scouring the town for anything unnatural. Herself, for example. Honestly it was a miracle that no one had ever caught on to the whole same face popping up every generation thing. What did they just think genetics in this town worked wonky? That there was just a long line of milk men from the same bloodline seducing peoples wives? Because anyone with a simple understanding of genetics could look back on her past reincarnation’s family trees and notice that one of those things was not like the other. Kinda like her and Elena, one only had to look at the Gilbert family tree to figure out Greyson wasn’t their biological father. Elena could be debatable, she had the Gilbert coloring but Erin? If she were a normal child, then she definitely took after John Gilbert.

Erin was brought out of her thoughts as Jenna and Elena came down stairs. Jenna was all dolled up in a pretty purple dress, her auburn hair curled to perfection. Jenna had the unique pleasure of attending a parent-teacher conference with Coach Tanner about Jeremy skipping school. Erin didn’t envy her, she knew how much Coach Tanner detested Jeremy. Hell, the man had a Jackass file practically dedicated to him. Erin was sure it would be an enlightening experience for Jenna. Coach Tanner had a particularly special way of shaming one into action.

“What do you think, Erin? Hair up or down?” asked Jenna as she moved her hair into each style. “Elena says up is better. More sexy stewardess than boozy house wife.”

Erin gave Jenna an amused smile as she waved Elena out the door for school.

“I think Coach Tanner won’t care either way, Jenna” Erin grabbed the remote and clicked off the news as Jenna anxiously mussed her curls. “I can assure you, he has already formed an opinion of you. No need to try and impress him.”

Jenna slumped in silent despair, lazily tossing her hair into a sloppy ponytail. No longer concerned about making a good first impression.  “Is he really that bad?” Jenna asked, desperate for Erin to tell her that she want about to get chewed out by a prissy high school teacher.

“Oh yeah” she replied dryly.

The way Jenna seemed to deflate in on herself was almost comical. This was mildly amusing for Erin, she had been dealing with Coach Tanner for so long it was kinda funny to see him ruffling someone else’s feathers for a change.

“Don’t worry Jenna, if you need a break just ask him about me. I’m sure that’ll distract him for a few minutes.” She said.

No doubt he would tell Jenna that it was only his esteemed guidance that kept Erin from becoming a useless drifter like her siblings. The man’s ego was unbelievable. It wasn’t just her though, he did the same thing with his football stars. He liked to bask in his pupil’s glory and claim credit for their accomplishments. Erin was sure that he thrived on sucking the joy out of things for other people.

 

Before Jenna could start to beg Erin to take her place at the meeting, the phone rang.  Erin immediately knew who it was when Jenna answered the phone and started rolling her eyes. Jenna passed Erin the phone with an exasperated huff and silently motioned to Erin that she was leaving.

 

Carol Lockwood, the mayor’s wife, was a piece of work straight out of Stepford wives hell.  She had taken it upon herself to become Erin’s mentor, much to her horror. Originally Erin’s volunteer work went through the school, people would request help for certain things and Erin would show up to help when she could. But when Mrs. Lockwood found out that Erin was actually somewhat competent when it came to party planning, she made Erin her personal assistant. Officially Erin didn’t hold that title, Of course, but Mrs. Lockwood didn’t seem to care. She called Erin almost daily about something frivolous. Why did she need Erin to help her chose a cotton candy color? She called Erin for almost everything. Someone on the council needs a babysitter? Call Erin. The mayor need his dry cleaning picked up? Call Erin. Help! We fired our gardener and need our mansion sized lawn mowed? Call Erin. If Erin didn’t need to keep an eye on the ridiculous town council she would’ve strangled that woman with her stupid pearl necklace ages ago. She had no issue leaning a helping hand to her community but she wasn’t some errand girl.

“Erin! I’m so glad I caught you at home! I just wanted to make sure everything was coming along for the Comet Festival tonight?” Cooed Carol, her voice was always brimming with false cheer and it grated Erin’s nerves or maybe it was the fact that this was about the fiftieth phone call about the damned Comet Festival. As if she could forget, the woman had practically dumped the whole thing on Erin’s lap when the animal attacks started.

“Yes, Mrs. Lockwood” She sighed. “Everything’s going according to plan. No one’s called me with any issues yet. I was just about to head down to the town square to set up the tables.”

“Perfect! Well let me know if anything comes up” said Carol. “Oh and Erin, I need you to pick up and fold all the pamphlets from the printers. I would do it but somethings come up. You understand right?”

 

Erin blinked in surprise, pulling the phone away from her face to give it an incredulous look. She was joking right? That hadn’t been done yet?! Not only did she have to set up enough tables for the entire town and organize ten activity booths but now she had to fold over five hundred pamphlets by tonight?! With what? Her magical octopus hands? How the hell was she supposed to get all that done in only a few hours? Erin gripped the phone tightly and took a deep breath to calm herself down. The last thing she wanted to do was blow up at the mayor’s wife.

“Of course” She grit out, making sure her voice was unfailingly polite. “I’ll get it done. Leave it to me.”

“I knew I could count on you, Erin! I’ll see you tonight!”

Erin gave her phone a sarcastic smile as Mrs. Lockwood said her goodbye and angrily slammed the phone into its receiver. That woman was a she devil. A full grown Regina George. What a nightmare. Erin hastily grabbed her bag and booked it to her car. She had so much to get done today and no time to waste.

 

                                                    


 

 

 

Matt yanked the curtains back from the window frowning when he didn’t see anyone. He could’ve sworn he saw Stefan but there was nothing there. He ran a hand over his face in exhaustion. He had barely slept lately. All the constant worry and stress was getting to him. He had enough to worry about with work and paying the bills while his mom was out partying on Virginia Beach with her current boyfriend. He didn’t need to add Vickie’s drug issues on top of it all. 

Matt let out a long weary sigh and turned to head back to his sister room, only to bump straight into a frazzled Erin Gilbert. She was balancing a vase of flowers in one hand and a cup carrier full of coffee in the other. The clip board she had tucked under her arm was slipping and her honey curls were frizzed and falling out of her hastily made braid.

“Woah Er! Easy, let me take some of that.” Matt grabbed the vase of flowers from Erin and she let out a relieved sigh, quickly stopping the Comet Festival clip board from falling on the floor.

“Thank you Mattie! “She huffed, shoving her fly away curls out of her face. “I’m glad I found you so quickly. I really don’t have a lot of time. I just wanted to stop by real quick and check on Vicki. She doing okay?”

Matt raised his eyebrows in surprise as he and Erin continued to walk towards Vicki’s room. He knew that he and Erin weren’t as close as he and Elena, so he was a little surprised to see Erin visiting his sister. He didn’t think she knew her or that she even cared. But then again if you asked Matt, Erin didn’t seem like she really cared about a lot of things.

“She’s doing okay. Had to get some stitches, they’re just keeping her to watch for infection. She should be out by tonight, Just in time for the festival. You still helping with that? “

Erin let out a disbelieving laugh and rolled her eyes. “Helping? Try running the whole thing while Mrs. Lockwood drinks martinis at the Grill all day.” 

Matt give Erin a sympathetic look, Tyler was his best friend and he knew how Ty’s parents could be.

“Ah, I’m sorry Er. I’d offer to help but I gotta look after Vic- “

Erin cut Matt off, looking embarrassed and stressed. “Oh Mattie, I’m sorry. Ignore me. Here I am complaining about frivolous stuff when you’ve got so much more important things to worry about.”

How could she complain to Matt about some silly festival when his sisters laying in the hospital? Next to something like that, Erin’s issues just seem superfluous. Matt chuckled at Erin’s floundering. It was unusual to see Erin get so flustered, usually she kept a level head, almost to an unemotional level. The festival must really be getting to her.

“Hey, it’s cool” Soothed Matt. “Don’t worry about it. I like hearing about your life, I feel like we almost never talk. Plus anything to help take my mind off this whole Vicki mess is welcome at this point.”

Erin gave Matt a gentle smile, she knew what it felt like to worry over a problematic sibling. She’d had a few in her life time. Lives time? Rebirths? How does one refer to multiple reincarnations? Can she even say reincarnations? It’s all very confusing.

“Thanks. Look, I’d love to stay and chat but I really have to get back to the festival before someone blows something up.”  She said, motioning to the vase of flowers in Matt’s arms. “Those are for Vicki and if anyone asks they’re from Jeremy. The coffee though, is for you.”

They arrived at Vicki’s room and Matt gently pushed the door open to see Vicki fast asleep. He crept in and quietly placed the flowers beside Vicki’s bed before returning to Erin who was standing in the doorway.

“If I know hospital coffee, and I do, it ranks just slightly above police station coffee. All of which are awful.” Joked Erin as she handed Matt one of the coffees she brought. “I got you two, Figured you’d need some extra energy if you’re going to be coming to the festival tonight.”

Matt nearly groaned in relief when he took a sip, it was so much better than what the ancient machine in the lobby churned out. He isn’t even sure that its real coffee, just looks like brown water. Tastes like it too.

“Man you didn’t have to do that, Er. I know you’re busy.”

Erin shook her head, handing Matt the coffee carrier holding the other coffee. “You did the same for me when Elena was in the hospital last spring. I’m just returning the favor. Look, I’ve got to go but if you need anything just let me know okay?”

Matt couldn’t even reply before Erin’s phone went off and she flew down the hall angrily telling the person on the other end that, No the balloons could not be green they had to be blue! Matt sat down next to Vicki’s bed, hoping to get some shut eye before he got dragged around the comet festival by his irresponsible sister. When he shut his eyes he couldn’t help but wonder what it was about the Gilbert girls that made them so peculiar.

 

                                                               


 

 

 

 

Erin was rushing through the town square like a chicken with its head cut off, her eyes were frantically scanning the square for any sign of her friends. She had set up all the tables and the activity booths were almost finished getting ready. There was a tiny problem with the face painting booth but nothing she couldn’t handle. Now she just needed to get these pamphlets folded and passed out. She had gotten some of the kids, who came with their volunteer mom’s, to fold about half of them before their attention got taken by balloons. Who needs magical octopus arms when you can buy child labor with cotton candy and juice boxes? So what if a few mothers got mad? Technically she was watching them like she said she would. They never said she could put them to work. The festival was starting in just a few hours and Mrs. Lockwood was about six martinis in, she had no time to worry about silly things like ethics!

 

Spotting a familiar head of blonde hair, Erin practically launched herself at Caroline and Bonnie’s table, smacking down a stack of unfolded pamphlets.

“Fold” Erin barked as she threw herself into an empty seat next to Elena who had paused in her explanation that she and Stefan had done nothing but talk last night. Something Erin was still a bit peeved about, though she couldn’t really blame Elena. It’s not like she knew her boyfriend was some undead blood sucker who only liked her for her creepy face.

“Um..Erin?” started Elena, a little stunned at her frazzled sister’s sudden interruption.

“No talk” She said sternly pushing papers at the girls before starting to fold one herself. “Fold!”

The girls shot Erin an odd look but each of them grabbed a pamphlet to fold.

“Anyway!” Continued Caroline like Erin never interrupted. “It’s not that hard Elena. Boy likes girl, Girl likes boy. Sex!”

“Profound” Deadpanned Elena.

 Oh god. Was that really what they were talking about? Elena and Stefan frick fracking? Gross.

Erin cringed at the thought. She had no desire to know the details of that particular activity. It’s almost as bad as when she heard Jeremy and Vicki going at it over the summer. There are somethings you just shouldn’t share with your siblings. There is such a thing as to much information and that was definitely on the No-Go list for Erin.

Elena suddenly got up, abandoning her pamphlets and started gathering her stuff.

“Where are you going?” asked Bonnie, confused. Had Elena gotten offended by Caroline’s crass words?

Elena smiled, taking a deep breath. “Caroline’s right. It is easy but if I sit here long enough I’ll just talk myself out of it. Instead of doing what I started out the day saying I was going to do.

“Woah, woah, woah!” cried Erin, pointing at the unfolded pamphlets. “You can’t leave. I need your hands!”

Elena sent Erin an exasperated look and turned to walk away like she hadn’t even heard her. Erin slumped exhaustion, weakly calling after Elena.

“You could at least take some pamphlets to pass out?!”

When Elena kept walking Erin let out a groan and slammed her face onto the stack of pamphlets, briefly wondering if she could block out Bonnie and Care’s giggling long enough to take a quick nap.

 

                                                           


 

                                             

 

 

Turns out seizing the day didn’t really work for Elena, she was back less than an hour later complaining about Stefan and his raging family issues. Apparently she had a nice cryptic chat with Damon and Stefan still hadn’t called or texted her to explain.  Erin was a bit iffy on the details, she hadn’t really been listening. She just nodded her head sympathetically and shoved pamphlets into Elena’s hands for her to hand out. What? She could talk and work at the same time. Multitasking, folks. It was the skill of champions.

Bonnie and Elena started handing out pamphlets as people started coming into the town square. The festival had started and Mrs. Lockwood was about eight drinks into Margaritaville and yet still had the ability to call Erin to demand updates. She’ll say this for the old cougar, she sure knew how to hold her liquor.

Later when Erin’s phone rang, she assumed it was Carol calling her once again. She was slightly concerned when she heard Jenna’s downtrodden voice instead. Just as Erin expected, Coach Tanner shamed Jenna into talking with Jeremy about his drug habit. Unfortunately Jeremy was more concerned about Vicki and deserted mid conversation, leaving Jenna to wallow in self- doubt. Which ultimately lead to her calling Erin. What was with people today? First it was Elena and Stefan, then Care was rambling about some hot guy she saw drunk, now its Jenna and Jeremy.  Why the hell was everyone calling her to talk about their emotions? It’s not like she’s busy or anything!

“Look Jenna” Erin Interrupted Jenna’s rant about not being a good parent and not knowing what to do. “Do you really think that anyone knows what they’re doing when it comes to raising kids? Don’t be ridiculous. There isn’t any right way to go about this. Your twenty-seven Jenna. You’re in college and got three kids dumped on you. No one expects you to know everything. You’re going to make mistakes and that’s okay.”

Jenna was silent for a short while before she left out a loud sigh. “Your right, Sorry. It’s just... That jerk Tanner really got to me. I mean did you know Jeremy has skipped six classes in two days?!”

Erin snorted as she swept a critical eye over the festival looking for anything amiss. She really didn’t have time for this. When did she become Dr. Phil?

“Jenna I don’t really go to school on a continuous basis but even that doesn’t surprise me.”

Jenna went quiet again before whispering like she thought Jeremy was going to suddenly pop up and overhear her.

“Do you think I should search his room? What if he has drugs?” She asked worriedly.

“Oh no. Nope. This is where I hang up. Goodbye Jenna!” Said Erin as she hastily hung up her phone. Nope she was not going there. If Jenna wanted to snoop through Jeremy’s room, she wanted no part of it. She, for one, valued her privacy and knew that if someone searched her room there would be a few things in it she couldn’t easily explain away. Do unto others and all that jazz.

Erin closed her eyes and took a deep breath, rolling her neck as she tried to work the kink out of it. She was beyond stressed. It wasn’t just the stupid festival that made her so stressed but the comet itself. Erin and celestial events did not mix. At all. She had a tendency to die during them. Something about how celestial events increased magical power or something stupid like that. Erin never really paid attention to the monologuing villains, she was usually too busy dying painfully to care. All she knew was that celestial events usually sucked for her, so she was a bit twitchy today. She felt like something was going to happen, she just didn’t know what yet. She wasn’t naïve enough to think being reborn as Elena’s twin was going to be a peaceful existence. Damon and Stefan pretty much proved that theory for her. She didn’t know why Elena and Katherine shared Tatia’s face but she had the feeling that this was all just the start of an even bigger headache that Erin would almost certainly get dragged into.

Erin shook her head, walking towards the Grill to report in to Carol. One day at a time. She’d get through today and worry about her danger magnet sister later. Erin didn’t even make it through the door of the Grill, Jeremy grabbed her the moment her foot went over the threshold and dragged her right back outside.

“Erin! I need your help, Vicki’s missing!” cried Jeremy frantically. “You have to help me look for her!”

 Erin threw her head back and let out a long suffering groan as Jeremy started tugging her arm back towards the town square.

 Mother Fucking Comets.

Chapter Text

 

Jeremy had ditched Erin about five minutes into the epic search for Vicki, Leaving a very irritated Erin wandering around the Comet Festival looking for a supposedly drugged out girl. Who gets right out of the hospital and decides Yeah I’m gonna get high as a kite?? Stupid people that’s who. Erin was starting to get real tired of dealing with stupid people, her patience was starting to reach its limit. Today was so not the day to fuck with her.

Apparently Damon Salvatore did not get this memo. Erin happened to stumbled upon Vicki when she followed the sounds of scuffling in to a nearby alley way. But was anyone in the alley way? No because that would be too easy .No they had to be on the roof right above said alley. Because that was so inconspicuous. Really was Damon trying to expose himself to the council?

Perhaps he was just stupid. Somehow dangling a screaming girl off the roof of a building while the whole vampire hating town was only a few feet away didn’t scream intelligence to Erin.

She quietly backed towards the opening of the alley trying to get a better view of what was happening  without exposing her presence to the squabbling vampires above. She could see the leather clad back of Damon Salvatore facing away from her, hands waving wildly as he tried to make his point to a apprehensive Stefan. She couldn’t clearly hear what they were saying but every now and again she could hear Damon shouting and Vicki’s hysterical sobbing. She saw Damon toss Vicki towards Stefan, exchanging a few more heated words before Damon disappeared from her sight and Vicki’s sobbing ceased. Did he kill her? Stefan didn’t seem to be reacting badly so she didn’t think so.  A few minutes later Vicki stumbled out of the building next to the alley clutching her neck in a daze. Erin quickly moved out of sight and watched long enough to make sure Vicki got to the Grill alright before she disappeared. Screw the damn festival, they could manage without her, she was going home.

 

                                                    


 

 

Erin trudged up the stairs, trying to be as quiet as possible. She had no desire for someone to hear her coming in and rope her into another conversation about feelings or something she couldn’t care less about. As she passed Jeremy room she noticed that Jenna and Elena were inside ransacking his room. Seems like Privacy is dead in the Gilbert home. Shaking her head at them Erin continued on her way to her room. She just wanted to relax, alone, in her room. She had had quite enough of people today.

“- Erin’s the same. She makes everything look so easy. Here Jeremy and I are, still struggling with what happened and she’s acting like nothing ever happened.” Sighed Elena to Jenna.

Erin froze with her hand on the door knob to her room. Was Elena was complaining about her? She strained her ears trying to listen in to the room next door.

“One sibling is doing drugs and the others like a ghost. I feel like I don’t even know her, Jenna!”

Erin frowned tuning out the rest of Jenna and Elena’s conversation. She quickly entered her room before Elena could see her standing there as she went to leave the house. Erin carelessly dumped her stuff by her bedroom door and immediately went to her closet. Pushing the clothes aside to reveal the wood paneling behind it. With one forceful shove a small portion of the paneling clicked and slide to the side, exposing the hidden cavity where Erin kept her most important items. Almost every Founders house had secret caches hidden in their homes to hide their family journals or vampire hunting weapons. Erin, however, used hers to store her newest journals and a few of the cherished keep sakes she didn’t feel comfortable leaving in the Bunker.

The Bunker, as Erin liked to refer it as, was not actually a bunker in the modern sense of the word. It was a set of caves she had found hidden near the waterfall she had once been buried by. In exchange for a sacrifice, a few of Ayanna’s descendants had spelled the caves for her ,insuring that no one could enter but her. The idea had been adapted from the spell her original mother and Ayanna had used on the caves below Mystic Falls to keep the villagers safe from werewolves on the full moon. The Bunker was her safe house but more importantly it stored her history, the journals from her previous lives, and all the magical information she had ever collected. Out of all the things stored there, the most paramount were the photos and paintings of her children. They were her most precious treasures, the only things she had left of them. Her only regret was that she hadn’t found the Bunker sooner, as it was she only had mementos for half of her children and shoddy memories for the rest.

 

Grabbing her latest journal, Erin softly ran her fingers over the embossed leather cover. Every one of her journals bore the same engraved sigil. A diamond like shape with an X through it. The Mikaelson family crest. Her name may change every few decades but in her heart she would always be a Mikaelson.

The last Mikaelson.

Erin slowly made her way out to the chair on the balcony outside her room. She didn’t bother turning on any of the lights, deciding to watch the comet pass from the solitude of her balcony. She had watched the same comet pass over this town at least three times since it was discovered five centuries ago. That was only half of her of her existence. Wasn’t that just surreal? How much longer did she have to endure this? Another millennium? Longer? She didn’t think she could take that sort of torture.

 A ghost Elena said. That’s exactly what Erin felt like, a hollow wraith of her former self. She tried for so long, just like she promised, to live for her children but even that had soured. For her, there was no greater pain then that of losing her children. Not even the pain of being sacrificed. Physical pain only temporary, it was the trauma of repeatedly losing everyone that she loved that tore her soul to shreds. The betrayal of Shelia Bennett had been the straw that broke the camel’s back. She just could do it anymore, how many times does somebody have to get hurt before they just stop trying?

Erin was just so tired. Tired of hurting, of caring. What was the point of letting anyone in when they all just left in the end?  She had come to a point where everything felt detached, like watching a character on television. Erin tucked her legs up onto the chair and leaned her head against her knees, eyes fixed on the sky. She spent the night watching the comet pass and wondered, not for the first time, what she had done to deserve her unending fate.

 

                                                        


 

 

“Thank you Miss. Gilbert!”

Erin’s head snapped up from her place in the back of Coach Tanner’s class, where she was grading poorly written history papers. Coach Tanner was feeling particularly sassy today as he started a quiz war with Stefan Salvatore, eager to embarrass him. The entire class watched in amusement as Coach Tanner went back and forth.

“The Korean War.” Snapped Coach Tanner, frustration building on his face.

“1950 to 1953” Stefan replied calmly, not even pausing to think about his answers.

“Ha!” crowed Coach Tanner smugly “It ended in 52!”  Tanner started to turn back to the front of the class when Stefan spoke up in a cool voice.

“Actually, Sir. It was ’53.”

Coach Tanner stared at Stefan for a moment, rage briefly flashing across his face.

“Gilbert!” He snarled, angrily looking towards Erin who was watching the events playing out with undisguised humor. “The Korean war, when did it end?”

Stefan, who hadn’t realized there was another Gilbert in the class turned to look at Erin, sending Elena a puzzled expression. Erin’s lips twitched as she tried to stop herself from laughing at Coach Tanner’s petulance but it was too hard. It wasn’t every day someone shamed the Great Shamer.

“1953, Sir” She chuckled, eyes shining with rare genuine glee as the class burst into laughter.

Evidently Coach Tanner didn’t appreciate her taunting expression or that a high schooler once again made a fool out of him.

“Don’t you have papers to grade?!” he hissed.

Erin shrugged and went back to her grading. Not bothering to hide her amused chuckles. Coach Tanner turned back to Stefan and gave him a furious glare filled with distain, opening his mouth to speak. Stefan was saved from his scathing response when the bell rang for the end of school. No one hesitated to dart from class, not eager to deal with the inflamed football coach.

Erin didn’t bother to stick around for the inevitable lecture on respect she was sure Tanner would give her the moment they were alone. She had no tolerance for another one of his egocentric speeches. When Erin exited the class room she paused at the unexpected sight of her sister and her vampire boyfriend waiting for her. Elena gave Erin a wary smile, nervously tucking her hair behind her ear as Stefan approached her with a congenial smile.

“Hello, I don’t believe we’ve met. I’m Stefan Salvatore.” He said extending his hand for her to shake. Erin shot Elena a look but reluctantly shook the vampire’s hand, noting the garish daylight ring adorning his finger.

“The boyfriend, right?” She asked causing both Elena and Stefan to shift awkwardly and send each other tiny smiles.

“That would be me” chuckled Stefan as he took hold of Elena’s hand. Yeah that wasn’t creepy at all, 161 year old vamp was making moves on my 17 year old sister. Totally not creepy at all.

Erin didn’t reply, she just eyed Stefan strangely. Not wanting to make things awkward Elena quickly floundered for something to say.

“Um... Erin? Bonnie and I have cheer today if you want to come hang out on the bleachers we can do something after?” She asked with a hopeful doe eyed expression. Erin knew that expression, it was the same one she used on Jeremy when she was trying to him to bond with her. Erin was ready to decline but Elena quickly cut her off.

“Please” She begged and Erin felt her resolve crumble under Elena’s glassy eyed stare. It was moments like these that Erin understood how Tatia had played both her brothers so expertly. Those doe eyes where hard to say no to.

“Okay” Erin sighed. What could it hurt? She needed to get some sun anyway.

 

                                                             


 

 

Erin was camped out on the bleachers with a book next to where Elena and Bonnie were stretching. She was passively listening to their conversation. It would seem that Bonnie’s witchy senses were tingling and warning her away from Stefan. If she was smart she’d listen to her instincts.

“You’re coming to dinner tonight” stated Elena causally to Bonnie.

“I am?”

“Yep. You, me and Stefan.”

The smile immediately dropped off Bonnies face and she started shaking her head in objection.

“You have to give him a chance!” implored Elena, She desperately wanted Stefan and Bonnie to get along. Bonnie was her best friend. She needed her to approve of him.

“Tonight’s no good “Bonnie lied. Avoiding Elena disapproving stare she quickly turned towards Erin for a distraction. “Have you seen Caroline? I’ve texted her like a hundred times. “

Erin glanced up from her book, frowning when she didn’t see the bubbly blonde cheerleader stretching with the others. Caroline was never late for practice, she took her role as cheer captain very seriously.

“Don’t you change the subject, Bonnie Bennett!” Elena admonished. “You’re going to be there.Erin will even cook that yummy pasta you like. Wont you, Erin? ”

Erin squinted at Elena. Was she? Did she agree to that already? She certainly had no recollection of it.

“Are you asking or telling?” drawled Erin, leveling an unimpressed look at her sister. Elena gave her a sheepish look and smiled imploringly.

“Asking?”

Erin quirked her lips, and glanced at Bonnies pleading face. She wanted her to get her out of this dinner but Erin had no intention of doing so. If Bonnie didn’t come she’d never hear the end of it and would likely end up being the one to attend dinner in her place. She may not detest Stefan on the same level as she did Damon but it didn’t mean she wanted to spend any more time with him then she had to.

“Only if Bonnie agrees to come to dinner”

Bonnie gaped at Erin in outrage. Erin just threw her under the bus! She couldn’t refuse now, no one refused dinner when Erin cooked. It was sacrilege.

“Fine!” She huffed miserably “I’ll go.”

Erin chuckled as Elena and Bonnie continued to chat. She pulled out her phone and sent a quick text to Caroline wondering where she was. It really wasn’t like her not to be there. Maybe she was sick? For a brief moment Erin felt a pang of worry go through her. What if something had happened to Charlotte? She was Caroline’s grandmother and she would probably be informed before Erin if something happened to her. Erin was staring at her phone debating whether or not she should call the retirement home, when a blue convertible roared into the parking lot, loudly blaring music.

Much to Erin’s disbelief Caroline hopped out of the car wearing a scarf and turned to kiss the driver, Damon Salvatore. Oh hell no. Caroline was not dating Damon Fucking Salvatore.  If it could even be called dating. She had seen the scarf around Care’s neck, he had to be feeding on her. Caroline would never wear a scarf in summer. It was a fashion faux pas to her. Which meant he had probably compelled her because last time she checked blood play wasn’t on Caroline’s kink list. Damon waved at Caroline and lowered his sunglasses to give Elena a salacious grin before he sped back out of the parking lot.

God, what a douche bag.

Caroline started cheer practice radiating smugness and even went so far as to kick Elena out of practice. Don’t get her wrong, Care could get smug and petty with the best of them but never quite like this. She seemed to be going out of her was to belittle Elena. Was that Caroline or was that Damon pulling her strings? No longer even trying Elena walked over to Erin, her eyes on Stefan who was running plays with some of the football players.

“Thanks. For saying you’d make dinner, I know its last minute. But it means a lot to me that this dinner goes well.”

Erin side eyed Elena, closing the book in her hand. She wasn’t saying it outright but Erin could read between the lines of the conversation.

“So you mean you want me to pull out all the stops huh?”

Elena pouted at her, putting her hands together pleadingly.

 “Please, please, please!” she begged. “I really want to impress Stefan. I promise I’ll do all the dishes!”

Erin snorted and shove her book into her bag, getting ready to leave. If Elena wanted her to make dinner, then she’d make the silly dinner if it meant she’d get some peace and quiet.

“Fine. Dinners at seven.” She left Elena drooling over Stefan, she had just a few hours to hit the store and throw together a dinner that would impress a guy whose main diet consists of blood.

 

                                                     


 

 

Erin enjoyed cooking. It was one of the few things she actually had a talent for and it reminded her of her mother. Mothers. Cooking was something she shared with most of them, they taught her and later she taught her own children. It was something that always brought her a measure of inner peace and a sense of calm. It was her favorite hobby. She might not have been able to remember the names of each of her husbands but she could remember the taste of her original mother’s soup. Whenever she felt a longing for home she’d make her mother’s soup, it never tasted quiet the same as hers but there was just something about your mother’s cooking that made it taste ten times better than anything you could make.

Bonnie had requested her favorite Italian dish, apparently Elena decided that since Stefan was Italian she had to serve Italian in a vain attempt to impress him. What would she have done it Erin said no? Serve him take out from the Grill?  Erin cringed at the mere thought of Elena serving an actual Italian the slop they called pasta at the Grill.

Erin was putting the finishing touches on the tiramisu while Bonnie put the Bucatini all'Amatriciana into serving bowls. Elena had used the extent of her culinary skills to make a lovely salad while she and Bonnie bantered about Bonnie’s latest premonition.

“Well, how about this? Today I'm totally obsessed with numbers. Three numbers. I keep seeing 8, 14, and 22. How weird is that?” asked Bonnie.

“Maybe we should play the lottery” quipped Elena, who thought Bonnie was freaking out over nothing. There was no such thing as magic.

Frowning Erin covered the dessert in foil and set it in the fridge to finish cooling. If Bonnie was having such a strong feelings about these numbers then something was going to happen soon. If there’s one thing Erin knew about witches, it’s that when they started divining, someone was going to die.

“Have you talked to your grandmother yet Bonnie?” she asked.

Erin may not trust Shelia but the woman knew her craft, Bonnie would need Shelia to help her control her awakening magic. It was often a frightening time for witches. Her brother Kol never feared his magic though, he was prodigy in the art. She and Henrik use to love watching him practice, she never had any magic herself but it was amazing to watch what he could do. Kol had been so excited when he found out Henrik was like him, that he had inherited their mother’s magic. He had so much he wanted to teach him, but then Henrik died…

“No, She’ll just tell me it’s because I’m a witch.” Grumbled Bonnie. “I don’t wanna be a witch. Do you wanna be a witch?!”

“I don’t wanna be a witch.” Replied Elena as she started shuffling through the kitchen drawers. “Serving spoons, where are the serving spoons, Erin?”

Erin, who had taken a seat at the kitchen bar, rolled her eyes at Elena’s cluelessness. How many times had she been in this kitchen? Hadn’t she lived here for the last seventeen years?

“Middle drawer on your left” Guessed Bonnie with a shrug. Erin watched as Elena walked to the drawer Bonnie had motioned to and pulled out the spoons she was looking for.

“Okay, so you’ve been in this kitchen like a thousand times before. Doesn’t mean you’re a witch.”

Erin rested her chin in her hand, Elena was obviously slightly spooked and was trying to blow of the possibility of Bonnie really being a witch.

“So have you.” She pointed out. “And yet, you had no idea where they were.”

The girls finished setting the table in a tense silence that was broken by the doorbell. When Elena went to answer the door, Erin and Bonnie stayed in the kitchen. Erin was collecting a tray of food to take up to her room, there was no way she was sticking around for the awkwardness that was to come. Bonnie put her hand on a drawer, closed her eyes and took a deep breath.

“Birthday Candles”

Bonnie slowly slid open the drawer and inhaled sharply. Laying innocently inside the drawer was a package of birthday candles. Panicked, she looked at Erin, who had come closer and was staring at the candles inside the drawer.

“Still think you’re not a witch?” she asked calmly.

Bonnie slammed the drawer shut, deeply disturbed at the possibility that her Grams was right. How else could she explain the things that were happening to her? Erin grabbed her tray of food and left the kitchen, Bonnie needed sometime to calm herself down and she wanted to get upstairs as fast as possible. She had almost made her escape up the stairs when Elena called out to her.

“Erin? Where are you going? Aren’t you going to eat with us?”

Erin grimaced and turned to face Elena and Stefan, who was trailing behind her with a confused expression.

“No, I’m pretty tired. Figured I would eat and head to bed.”

Elena frowned in disappointment, trying to hide the hurt she felt at her sister refusing to eat dinner with her and her boyfriend.

“Are you sure? I mean, I’d really like if you joined us.”

Erin’s eyes darted towards Stefan who gave her an encouraging smile, like he thought that would somehow change her mind. She knew Elena wouldn’t drop this and so she pulled out the big guns. Knowing that if she brought up her condition Elena wouldn’t push anymore.

“Actually Elena, I was feeling a bit… Off. I was just going to take my medicine and get some rest. You guys go on without me. I hope you enjoy the food though.” She lied.

Erin couldn’t help the stir of guilt she felt when her twin’s expression changed from disappointment to unconcealed worry.

“Oh! That’s okay” Elena said in concern, wondering if she had pushed Erin to much by asking her to make dinner for them. She would feel awful if Erin made herself sick because she was being selfish. “Go rest. We can hang out later, right Stefan? “

Stefan nodded slowly giving Erin a strange look. He was 161 years old, he knew how to spot a liar even without listening to their heartbeat. He knew Erin was lying to Elena to get out of the dinner. As he watched Erin retreat up the stairs he wondered, if she had lied why didn’t he hear her heart skip?

 

                                          


 

 

An hour later Stefan, Elena and Bonnie were enjoying the end of their dinner. It had taken almost the whole night but Bonnie had warmed up to Stefan and they were amicably chatting about football when the doorbell rang. The three gave each other confused looks as Elena got up to answer the door.

“Are we expecting anyone?” She asked and Bonnie shook her head. Jenna was staying the night on her college campus and Jeremy was out, probably with Vicki Donovan. They weren’t expecting anyone else and Elena highly doubted Erin had invited anyone over.

When Elena opened the door she was stunned to see Caroline and Damon. Caroline had heard about the dinner with Stefan from Erin and decided to invite herself and Damon. How rude was that?

Caroline barged past Elena with a store bought cake and Damon hovered in the doorway, waiting for Elena to invite him in. Stefan, who immediately came to the door when he heard his brother’s voice, glared at Damon in anger.

“What are you doing here?” He demanded. Furious that Damon would come here and try to use this dinner as an excuse to get invited in. He didn’t want his brother anywhere near Elena, especially not in her house.

Damon gave Stefan a fake smile. Blinking innocently at the question.

“Just waiting for Elena to invite me in?”

“Oh yeah, of course you can-“

“No, no “Stefan interjected hastily. “He can’t stay. Can you, Damon?”

Elena and Caroline shared a confused look as the Salvatore brothers heatedly stared each other down. Elena had no idea what was going on between Stefan and Damon but she wasn’t about to let it ruin her night.

“It’s fine” She reassured Stefan. “You can come in.”

Stefan clenched his jaw in anger when Damon gave him a cocky smirk and stepped over the threshold. Despite Stefan’s best efforts Elena had invited his brother in and now there was nothing keeping her safe from him.

Chapter Text

“Mmm! This tiramisu is fantastic! ”   

Damon licked his spoon suggestively not taking his eyes off Elena, who shifted uncomfortably and sent the fuming Stefan an awkward look. From the moment he arrived Damon had been flirting with her. It wasn’t even subtle flirting either. But for some reason Caroline didn’t seem to mind. Maybe Damon was just a flirtatious person by nature? Caroline was a jealous sort of girl and there was no way she’d be able to sit by calmly while her boyfriend hit on another girl. Maybe if she wasn’t getting upset then this was normal for Damon and his flirting was harmless? Either way it made Elena feel uneasy, especially with how tense Stefan had been since Damon’s arrival. He was practically vibrating with anger and there was a tense atmosphere around the brothers that refused to disappear as the night went on.

“You’re a wonderful cook, Elena. I haven’t had tiramisu this good in a long time.”

Elena started to correct Damon, but Caroline burst into jeering laughter.

“Elena? Cook? As if! She can even boil water without burning it.” She scoffed. “I bet Erin made it, Right Bonnie?”

Bonnie had been quietly sitting on the sidelines watching the evening slowly turn into a train wreck and hoped that it would end soon. She didn’t like Damon, he seemed arrogant and a touch rude. It didn’t help that he brought out the worst in Caroline, who’d been nothing but condescending and insensitive. To be frank she was being a bitch and a bigger one than she normally was.

“ um..Yeah, Erin cooked but we all helped.” She said grimaced, sending Elena a apologetic look. It was like Caroline was purposely trying to embarrass Elena in front of Stefan. Damon perked up at the mention of Erin’s name and the possibility that Stefan had another little friend he could torment.

“Erin? Who’s that? Another friend of yours, Stef?”

Damon quirked his head at Stefan, silently mocking him like he’d been doing all night. He loved getting under Stefan’s skin and watching him squirm. It warmed his undead heart. Stefan refused to answer, glaring at his brother as he seethed in silence at his brother’s amusement. This wasn’t a joke to him, he didn’t want Damon anywhere near Elena and her friends, let alone her family. If Damon knew about Erin what would stop him from making her his next Caroline? Elena told him how fragile Erin was and Damon playing with her mind might be the thing that broke her completely. Damon wouldn’t even care, he’d abuse her and leave a broken shell behind for Elena and him to clean up. He wouldn’t allow that.

“Don’t you think it’s time to go Damon? It’s getting late. “ he asked stiffly, wanting nothing more than to drag his brother from the house.

 

Sensing Stefan wasn’t going to answer him, Damon turned towards Caroline who was more than happy to blather on about her best friend. God, the blonde airhead never shut up and it was starting to grate on his nerves.

“Erin’s Elena’s twin. She’s like uber smart and an amazing cook. The complete opposite of Elena, really.”

 

Elena looked taken aback by Caroline’s blatant insult but didn’t say anything about it. The last thing she wanted to do was cause a scene in front of Stefan. Damon, on the other hand, looked ecstatic. Elena had a twin? There was another girl who looked like Katherine and wasn’t dating Stefan? The very idea made him giddy. How perfect would that be?! He could have his own little doppelganger to play with until he got Katherine out of the tomb.  It was like Christmas. Maybe he could even steal Elena from Stefan and have both of them. He had always loved Twins.

 

“Your sister? Oh, I’d love to meet her? Give her my thanks for such an amazing dessert.” He said, gleefully watching the horror building on Stefan’s face. How sneaky, trying to keep the other doppelganger for himself. Stefan should know better than to think he could hide things from him.

“Oh no, that’s not a good idea” objected Stefan, both he and Elena immediately tensed on the couch at Damon’s suggestion. Elena was less worried about Damon’s intentions and more worried about how her sister was feeling. She didn’t want to overwhelm her and didn’t think introducing her to Caroline’s new boyfriend was such a good idea.

“She’s sleeping, she had a rough day but maybe next time- “Elena tried to protest but Caroline wasn’t having it, she immediately cut Elena off.

“Don’t be silly, she’d love to meet Damon! I’ll go get her!” Caroline chirped as she hopped up and swiftly made her way towards the stairs. She was excited, she couldn’t wait to show Damon off to Erin. She knew Erin wasn’t really a fan of Stefan’s but she was sure Erin would love Damon. Then she’d prove for once and for all that she had the better brother. Elena gave Stefan a panicked look and quickly followed after Caroline, hoping to stop her before she got up the stairs.

“Caroline! Wait!”

 

                                                  


 

 

The current topic of discussion was in fact, not sleeping at all. Erin was sitting on her bed, sewing and watching cartoons. She was currently contemplating the ingredients of Jaw breakers. What the hell did they put in them that would make children go to such lengths to procure the funds to buy them? Some sort of drug? Surely their schemes to earn money cost more than the candy itself? Where were their parents? Are they friends? Is that while they all named their sons Edward?

 

Erin wasn’t able to think any further about the candy addicted children when Caroline slammed her bedroom door open so hard it bounced against the wall with a loud bang. Erin jumped, nearly falling off her bed as she snapped her head towards the intruder.

“Caroline!” She yelled, placing a hand over her racing heart. “Jesus! Don’t do that!”

“Sorry!” Caroline giggled “Now get off your butt and come down stairs! Stop being a hermit!”

Erin set her sewing aside, groaning as she flopped back on her bed. Why couldn’t she just have a nice night in? Caroline went to her closet and started digging around. Erin would need something better than pajamas to meet Damon.

“What are you doing?” she asked watching Care yank out dresses before she shoved them back on the rack.

“Finding you something to wear. You need to make a good impression!”

Erin looked down at her oversized sweater and fuzzy pink pajama pants and frowned. What was wrong with what she was wearing?

“Caroline, I’ve already met Stefan and I really don’t care if he see me in my pajamas.” Erin said wearily. She really didn’t care. If Stefan didn’t like her choice of clothing he could kindly get the fuck out of her house.

Caroline finally yanked out a casual pink sundress and threw it at Erin, smacking her in the face as she lounged on the bed.

“Stefan? Who said anything about Stefan? No you need to make a good impression on Damon! My best friend is meeting my super-hot boyfriend so you’ve got to look good!”

Erin tugged the dress off her face, rolling off her bed in alarm. “Damon?” She asked, slightly panicked. “Damon’s here?”

“Yeah! So hurry up and get changed” Chirped Caroline as she looked over the dresses Erin was making for the Founders Day Parade in a few weeks.

Damon was here. In her house. Elena had let Damon Salvatore in their house and Stefan let her?! What the fuck was going on? She had been upstairs for less than two hours and this happened!?

“You brought Damon to crash Elena’s dinner?  Did you even ask?” snapped Erin, She couldn’t believe Damon now had free access to her house. The very thought that the little psychopath could get in anytime he wanted put her on edge. Caroline frowned at Erin’s tone, finally turning to really observe her friend. She look furious though Caroline couldn’t understand why.  Didn’t she want to meet Damon?

“Are you seriously mad at me right now? You’re the one who told me about the dinner! What, Bonnie could come but not stupid old Caroline? She’d just ruin it?! ”

Erin closed her eyes and tried to calm down when she saw the hurt on Caroline’s face. It wasn’t her fault, she didn’t know her boyfriend was a blood sucking douche bag that was messing with her head. No, this was all on the Salvatore’s and their damned obsession with Katherine Pierce.

“No. No Care I’m not mad at you.” She sighed. “It’s just... Stefan and Damon don’t get along. If he ruins this night for Elena I’m the one who has to deal with her moodiness.”

Caroline seemed mollified by her answer but still insisted Erin change and dragged her down the stairs to meet Damon.

 

                                  


 

 

Damon was eager to meet the mysterious Gilbert twin and the way his brother seemed to be having a silent melt down only sweetened this moment for him. Caroline had beaten Elena up the stairs and Elena had returned to wait on the couch for them, anxiously wringing her hands. What would Erin be like when she came downstairs? Would she be cranky they woke her?  Sleepy from her sedatives? Worst case scenario, something would set her off. That was always Elena’s fear, that something would set her sister off and she wouldn’t know what to do. Her dad had always been the one to help Erin and now that he was gone she didn’t know what she’d do. Stefan rubbed her back soothingly and soon they heard Caroline’s loud voice followed by footsteps clamoring down the stairs. Damon sent Stefan a smug smirk and stood to greet the girls as they came into the living room.

“Damon! Meet my best friend, Erin Gilbert. Erin, Meet my boyfriend, Damon Salvatore!” Beamed Caroline, proudly presenting her friend to her boyfriend.

Erin smiled blankly, barely keeping the look of distaste of her face. Damon Salvatore looked exactly the same as she remembered and she still had the same urge to smash his pretty face in with a vervain soaked bat. She watched as his smirk fell and some sort of emotion flashed across his face, but in a blink it was gone and a plastic smile was in its place.

“Wonderful to meet you, Erin. I’ve heard so much about you.” he said stiffly.

Erin gave Damon an equally strained smile. Repeatedly telling herself to be nice, if only for Caroline.

“Nice to meet you too, Mr. Salvatore.”

“Damon, please. Mr. Salvatore reminds me of my father.” He replied.

Good Erin thought vindictively. She made a mental note to call him that more often, it would bring her a modicum of pleasure knowing she was reminding him of someone he hated. Stefan watched the two interact closely and he didn’t miss the way his brother stiffened at the sight of Erin or the guilt that flashed across his face. Did they know each other? Their smiles were strained and the conversation was awkward and stilted. Erin, he could believe was just awkward around new people, she had reacted the same way to him but Damon? Damon always oozed charm when he wanted to.

 

Damon’s smug smirk had melted off his face in shock the moment he saw Erin’s face but he quickly forced a stiff friendly smile. He would never admit it but he was shaken. He had expected another Katherine look alike to waltz into the room, not the ghost of Agatha Fell. Damon Salvatore didn’t have many regrets in his long life, most of them he could count on one hand and the death of Agatha Fell was one of them. When he’d been human his father had engaged him to a young girl named Agatha Fell, against his wishes. The whole idea had appalled him at the time. He loved Katherine and Agatha had been ten years younger than him, a mere child in comparison. He had tried everything to get his father to break the engagement but when he refused, Damon went to Katherine. She had convinced him that the only way to end the engagement was to offend Agatha so thoroughly that she’d refuse to ever marry him. Her plan had worked but not in the way Damon thought it would. Agatha had died, attacked by an animal in the woods Damon had left her in. He had taken a child into the forest, said horrible cruel things to her and left her to die. They found her body three days later and he didn’t think he’d ever forget the hysterical screams of Honoria Fell when they brought her body from the woods. Damon hadn’t wanted to marry her, sure, but he hadn’t wanted her to die either. She had only been a child and Damon had led her to her death. Even all these years later Damon was plagued by what ifs. What if he had married Agatha? What if he had walked her home? What if she hadn’t done what Katherine told him to?

Seeing Elena’s sister was a shock, she looked alarmingly like Agatha though she was older then Agatha had been when she died. What was the chance that both Gilbert girls were doppelgangers? That couldn’t be a coincidence could it? Maybe this was Damon’s personal hell. Watching his brother be with the girl who looks like the woman he loves and the ghost of the little girl he got killed. Wouldn’t that be poetic?

Erin pointedly ignored Damon who, for once, didn’t know what to say and took a seat next to Bonnie. She agreed to come down here and meet Damon but she didn’t agree to talk with him. She didn’t even know if she could be civil with him. Every time she looked at him she had to stop herself from tying to cram vervain down his throat. Elena sent Erin a worried look that Erin responded to with a reassuring smile. Damon took his seat next to Caroline but his eyes kept drifting towards Erin as Caroline babbled about high school football.

“Did you hear, Erin? Stefan made the football team! I bet Tyler’s seething.” Caroline giggled. “But good for you, Stefan. Go for it!”

“That's what I always tell him.” Piped in Damon, making Erin roll her eyes at his false peppiness. “You have to engage. You can't just sit there and wait for life to come to you. You have to go get it.”

Disregarding Damon, Erin smiled at Caroline’s obvious enthusiasm. It was good to see she was getting over Stefan’s rather abrasive rejection and not holding a grudge against Elena.

“Yeah, Elena wasn't so lucky today. You only sucked because you missed summer camp. God, I don't know how you're ever going to learn the routines, Elena”

Or maybe not. Erin frowned at Caroline’s patronizing tone and glanced at Bonnie, who tried to defend Elena.

“I'll work with her. She'll get it.” She said with a tight smile. Caroline muttered something about putting Elena in the back of the squad but it was ignored by everyone when Damon spoke up.

“I didn’t think you were the cheerleader type, Elena.” He said and Erin scoffed, as if he’d know anything about Elena after just meeting her. When she scoffed Damon sent her a puzzled look that she refused to acknowledge and focused on what Caroline was saying.

“Oh! That’s just cause her parents died.” She said, making everyone’s jaws drop. “Yeah, I mean, she's just totally going through a blah phase. She used to be way more fun-“

“Caroline” Erin snapped, glaring at her friend. Everyone but Damon stared at Caroline in pure disbelief. Did she really just say that? What the hell had Damon done to Caroline? Normally she would have never said something like that, even to her worst enemy. Quickly realizing her mistake, Caroline gave Erin and Elena a sheepish apologetic look.

“I meant that with complete sensitivity, of course.”

When Erin’s harsh glare didn’t lessen, Caroline ducked her head, muttering an apology. She hadn’t meant to offend anyone, it just came out that way!

“I'm sorry, Elena. I know what it's like to lose both your parents.” Damon said, ignoring the fact that they were Erin’s parents too. “In fact, Stefan and I have watched almost every single person we've ever cared about die.”

Stefan sent Damon a hard look and Elena just looked uncomfortable not knowing what to say.

“We really don't need to talk about that right now, Damon.” Stefan chided. What the hell was he trying to do? Why couldn’t his brother ever leave him alone?

“Oh yeah you're right, Stef. I'm sorry.” Damon smirked. “The last thing I wanted to do was bring her up”

Erin’s face went completely deadpan as she stared at Damon in annoyance. Katherine? Really? He was bringing up Katherine now? What a little shit, He was doing this on purpose. She could see how the comment caught Elena’s attention. Was that his plan? Plant the seed of doubt in her head about Stefan and watch their relationship self-destruct? Was that the crux of his diabolical plot? Surely he didn’t come here just to torment his baby brother? Seriously how old were these two? They acted like angsty pre-teens.

Elena had apparently decided she had had enough of the Salvatore’s shenanigans and made an excuse to leave the room by collecting dishes to clean. As if they couldn’t wait until everyone left. Caroline immediately started chatting Stefan’s ear off about Matt and Elena’s past relationship, hoping to distract him from the sight of Damon slipping out of the living room after Elena. It didn’t work. Damon’s departure was unmissable but what could Stefan do? Barge into the kitchen and hover like a jealous boyfriend? Yeah that’d go over well. A few minutes later, Damon still had yet to return and Stefan seemed to become more distressed by the minute. Bonnie finally took mercy on him and went to the kitchen to help Elena while Erin stayed with Stefan and Caroline in the living room.

A bit more relaxed, Stefan continued to politely listen to Caroline though it was painfully apparent to Erin that he really didn’t care about anything she was saying.

“That’s a really nice scarf”

Stefan cut in suddenly his eyes fixed on the thin fabric around Caroline’s neck. Erin had noticed the scarf when Caroline entered her room earlier but hadn’t mentioned it, if she acted suspicious then it may endanger her friend. Damon wouldn’t hesitate to dispose of anything that threatened to unmask him.  So what was Stefan doing? Was he really going to try and expose Damon now? In a house full of fragile human meat shields? Caroline paused, taken aback by the sudden compliment but quickly gave Stefan a bashful smile.

“Oh! Thanks, it’s new.”

“Can I see it? I mean, if you wouldn’t mind taking it off?”

Erin glared at Stefan wondering if he was stupid or just reckless. What was he expecting to get out of this? If Caroline took off her scarf now, everyone would probably see Damon’s bite marks. Why would he take the chance of exposing his brother to her? Or was he hoping that as Caroline’s friend, she’d see the bite marks and tell Caroline’s mother, the sheriff, about her abusive new boyfriend? Either was what Stefan was attempting to do was incredibly foolish.

 

“Oh, No. I can’t” Caroline said apologetically and Stefan scooted closer, glancing briefly at Erin who was watching them with wary speculative eyes.

“Why not?” He persisted. “Are you okay?”

Caroline blinked in confusion, seemingly frustrated at her inability to remember why she could take her scarf off.

“No. I- I just know I can’t take it off.” She said slightly addled.

Oh yeah. She was definitely compelled. Erin would have to get her some vervain as soon as possible. Though doing so without Damon knowing it was her was going to be difficult. Stefan leaned in like he was going to push more but a voice abruptly sounded from behind them making Erin startle.

“What are you kids talking about?” Damon asked with a slight edge to his voice.

“I was just asking about her lovely scarf. “Replied Stefan, seemingly unfazed by the possibility that his brother may decide Caroline was too big of a liability and kill her. Hell Damon could decide to kill everyone in the house and Stefan wouldn’t be able to protect everyone. In fact Erin was sure if that did happen, he’d take Elena and run, leaving the rest of them to their fates.  

Damon narrowed his eyes at Stefan and gave him a smile so full of shit Erin was surprised his teeth weren’t stained brown.

“You know what? How about you girls go help Elena and Bonnie with the dishes in the kitchen?” Damon said, not taking his eyes of Stefan. Laughing, Caroline sent Erin a look silently asking if she could believe what Damon just said.

“Yeah, No, Do I look like a girl who does dishes?” She snarked, rolling her eyes at the idea of being sent to the kitchen like some 1950’s house wife.

Damon smiled charmingly at Caroline, though Erin could clearly see some annoyance at her refusal on his face.

“For me?” he cooed and Caroline laughed right in his face, reminding Erin of the confident bitch she enjoyed so much.

“Mmm…” She hummed, pretending to think about it. “Nope!”

Damon’s smile dropped and he leaned closer catching Caroline’s eyes.

 Hold the fucking phone.

 Erin’s eyes widened in shock as recognized the telltale signs of a vampire about to compel someone and couldn’t believe Damon was being so idiotic. The Salvatore’s were in the Gilbert house hold, one of the fucking Founding families. They had no idea if any of them were on vervain or if any of them knew about vampires, and yet, Here they were doing vampire shit right in front of her! If Erin was one of those council nuts and knew about vampires, warning bells would be going off like crazy. Damon might as well tap a vein and call it a fucking day. Were these two complete morons? Seriously, Erin was starting to wonder how they had survived almost two centuries.

“Actually” Quickly interrupted Erin, not about to sit by and watch Damon mind fuck her friend. “I need Caroline’s help upstairs.”

Damon leaned back from Caroline and turned to give her his full attention but Erin refused to even look at his annoying face which made Damon frown in confusion. Was it just him or was Elena’s sister acting like strangely?

“There’s a game tomorrow, so you need to help me pick out an outfit for the game.” She said to Caroline who immediately perked up at the thought of playing dress up.

“Of course!” She squealed “Let’s go!”

Caroline lunged out of her seat and yanked Erin up and out of the room before anyone could stop her. She loved dressing her friends up and with her help Erin would look smoking hot! Maybe she’d finally get a boyfriend.

                                        


 

 

Damon and Caroline stayed another very painful hour that Erin spent trying on almost everything in her closet and modeling it for Caroline. The only good thing to come out of playing Barbie was Erin’s ability to get into her closet cache and retrieve a vervain bracelet for Caroline. It was a simple silver bracelet with a few vervain filled beads, not one of her fancier ones but perfect for a gift from a guy to his new girlfriend.  Before Caroline left, Erin quickly packaged the bracelet and snuck it into her purse with a note claiming it was a surprise from Damon. She doubted the ruse would last long but she needed to give Caroline some form of protection that could be easily removed. If she gave Caroline vervain to ingest the odds of Damon killing her was higher. Removing a bracelet was easy but waiting until a blood bag was vervain free so he could compel her? Way too much work. If she knew Damon, and she liked to think she did, then she knew he’d always take the easy route.

Erin didn’t like letting Damon mess with her friend but she was only human and interfering now could cost both, Caroline and her, their lives. But if Stefan didn’t handle the situation soon, then she would. Even if it meant killing Damon herself.

Chapter Text

Erin had seen a lot of miraculous things in her extended existence and knew for a fact animals were incredibly intelligent creatures, however this was a first for her. A crow was stalking her. Yes an actual bird was following her. She had first seen the bird on the balcony outside her room when she woke up, then later it sat on the window seal of her kitchen as she putzed around waiting for school to end. Now as she walked around outside the football stadium with Tyler and Matt, she could see it again, sitting on the roof of a nearby car. That wasn’t normal right?  She’d seen a lot of freaky things in her time but she’d never known a wild bird to follow someone unless they were hungry or pissed off and waiting to attack. This crow seemed like neither, if fact it seemed like it was watching her with critical eyes. What the fuck was up with this bird? Maybe she was just being paranoid but it was very odd. Erin’s stare off with the mysterious crow was cut off by Tyler’s hand waving in front of her face.

“Hello? Earth to Erin! Did you hear anything I just said? “Tyler asked, annoyed at being ignored.

“Yeah, totally” She mumbled, glancing back at the car to see the crow missing. Where did it go?

“Really?” Tyler challenged, crossing his arms. “What did I just say?”

Erin paused, glancing at Matt to see if he’d give her a hint but he just shook his head, smiling.

“Um… Something about Stefan, We don’t like him?” she guessed. Honestly she had zoned out of the conversation after fifteen minutes of hearing Tyler bitch about Stefan showing him up on the field.

“Damn right we don’t like him! Who does he think he is, coming in here like he owns the place?”

Erin shrugged as Tyler started on another tangent about Stefan and Coach Tanner. He seemed really worked up today and far more aggressive than normal, maybe it was pre-game jitters? She shot Matt a questioning look but he just rolled his eyes, leaning close so Tyler didn’t over hear him.

“He’s been like this all day, Just ignore him.” He said.

Erin nodded and went back to searching for her stalker crow, halfheartedly listening to Tyler and Matt banter about their boy troubles. Her friendship with Tyler was rather unorthodox, they bonded out of shear misery and unified suffering at the hands of his tyrannical mother. Being the son of the mayor Tyler was required to attend and participate in every single one of the town’s social events and his mother made sure that he was present to assist with the setup of said events. Basically he was her Errand boy, right alongside Erin. They spent many hours together hanging streamers and rolling their eyes at his control freak of a mother. Somehow their joint misfortune brought them together and made their volunteer work just a bit more tolerable. Erin was practically a Lockwood with the amount of time she spent in his house helping his mother.

In fact Erin wouldn’t be surprised at all if Carol pushed Tyler to try and date her. Though she doubted that would ever happen, first off she and Tyler were strictly bros and secondly she’s pretty sure Mayor Lockwood calls her that Crazy Gilbert Girl when he thinks she isn’t listening. Like somehow being crazy would mean she couldn’t hear him whisper yelling two freaking feet away from her. The man was a Dick, with a capital D. It didn’t help that he was an abusive asshole as well. He had a nasty temper like most Lockwood men did and took it out on his son. It reminded her an awful lot of her original father, Mikael. Maybe that’s why she liked Tyler despite how arrogant and mean he could be. He reminded her of her brother Niklaus in a way, both of them were talented artists who’d been abused by their fathers and could never seem to do anything right in their eyes.  Perhaps that’s the same reason she liked Caroline, the blonde reminded her of her so much of her original sister. Both confident and sweet girls who just wanted to be loved. A thousand years later and Erin was still surrounding herself with the same type of people, she didn’t know if that was funny or just plain sad.

Erin continued to wander around with Tyler and Matt, stopping occasionally to chat with one of the other players or watch them flirt with some of the cheer leaders. Matt and Tyler were about to head towards the locker room to change for the game when they ran into Elena and Stefan. Elena was beaming as she bounced towards Erin, joyfully grabbing onto her sister’s arms. Stefan had just given her the most beautiful necklace and she couldn’t wait to show her sister!

“Erin” She giggled “Look what Stefan gave me! Isn’t it wonderful?!”

Erin blinked, startled at her sister’s giddy excitement, briefly giving Matt an apologetic look. Elena seemed to have forgotten that she was right in front of her Ex- boyfriend. Erin looked back towards Elena, at the necklace her sister was practically shoving in her face and froze. She inhaled sharply, heart stuttering in her chest before it started to pound painfully.

 

Rebekah stared in awe at the necklace dangling in the window, drawing closer so she could touch it.

“I would not do that, if I were you sister” Eerika warned from her place beside the fire, watching as Ayana entered the hut with an amused smile.

“Oh hush you! There’s no harm in trying it on...”

Rebekah reached out, wrapping her hand gently around the pendant only to yank her hand away a moment later with a pained hiss. Eerika laughed, smiling when Ayana gave her a wink. Her sister gaped at Ayana, appalled that Ayana would do such a thing.

“Ayana! You burned me!”

“Next time listen to your sister, that is not yours to touch” she said, giving Rebekah a reproachful look.

 

She knew that necklace, she’d know it anywhere. Around Elena’s neck was a familiar round silver pendant with a red jewel and very distinctive swirls. A necklace she hadn’t seen for over a thousand years.

Her mother’s necklace.

 

A young Eerika sat in her Esther’s lap, toying with the necklace hanging around her mother’s neck. Esther gently grabbed her child’s over curious hands to stop them from yanking too hard on the delicate chain of her necklace.

“Not so hard, my love. This is a very important talisman. Perhaps one day, if you have the gift, it shall be yours.”

 

Erin sucked in a ragged breath, feeling her chest constrict and the sounds around her muffle as if she were under water. How? How did Elena get her mother’s necklace? Where did Stefan get it?! That was her mother’s necklace, it should be with her! They had no right to touch it! The last time Erin saw that necklace it was around her mother’s neck the night she died. It disappeared along with the rest of her family, so how the hell did it end up in Stefan Salvatore’s possession? Elena stopped talking when she noticed the dazed wild look in her sister’s eyes. Erin had gone ridged under her touch, her breathing harsh and uneven. Stefan frowned in concern, stepping closer to Elena. He could hear Erin’s sudden erratic heartbeats and observed the way her hands had started to shake. Was she alright? Elena took a step back, suddenly very wary.

“Erin?” she said carefully. “Erin? Are you okay?”

 

Eerika and Ayana chuckled at Rebekah’s affronted face, stopping when they heard screaming.

“Mother!”

“Was that Niklaus?!” Rebekah cried, sharing a panicked look with Eerika before she rushed out the door of their hut.

 

Erin’s didn’t take her eyes of the necklace around and suddenly it wasn’t Elena before her, but Tatia, smugly wearing the pendant. Her eyes widened in shock and she felt a flash of white hot anger. How dare Tatia touch her mother’s necklace!?

“Take it off “Erin hissed furiously.

“What?” Elena frowned backing up into Stefan, as her sisters expression twisted in to a ferocious snarl.

“Take it off Tatia!” she shouted, taking a threatening step forward. Erin’s memories twisted and she started to hallucinate that Tatia, her murderer, was the one in front of her. She was no longer saw the outside of the football field but the dark forest she had died in.

 

Tatia smiled gloatingly as she stood above a dying Eerika, a bloody dagger in one hand and her mother’s talisman in the other.

 

Elena’s face went white when she heard Tatia’s name and saw the vicious look in Erin’s eyes. This wasn’t the first time Erin had called her that and what came after was always unpleasant and violent. She rapidly started stumbling backwards, not taking her eyes off Erin as she screamed for Matt. He had helped with Erin’s episodes before and could hopefully get control of her before she attacked her. Elena had barely gotten Matts name out of her mouth before Erin lunged at her.

Matt and Tyler turned to faced Elena and Stefan when she screamed and their jaws dropped at the sight of Erin throwing herself at her sister, her hands grabbing at Elena’s neck. They rushed to grab Erin as Stefan yanked Elena out of harm’s way, putting her safely behind him. Erin slammed in to Stefan, angrily slipping back into her native tongue.

“Ta den av Tatia!” she spat, trying to lung around Stefan. Matt and Tyler swiftly grabbed her arms, pulling her away from a stunned Stefan and frightened Elena.

“Hvordan tør du ha på meg mødre kjede!” Erin growled, thrashing when Matt wrapped his arms around her and pinned her arms down. “Ta det av før jeg kveler deg med det, hore!”

“Elena!” Matt shouted, trying to get her to actually do something about her rampaging sister. “A little help would be nice!”

Elena jolted and immediately started looking for Erin’s purse. Elena knew Erin carried a tranquilizer pen in her purse and had since she was a child. If someone couldn’t calm her down or she got violent, all you had to do was uncap the pen and stab her in the thigh. The tranquilizer would sedate her for an hour or two but it kept her from hurting herself or others. Spotting the purse near Tyler, Elena urgently pushed past Stefan and darted forward to pick it up. Stefan pulled Elena back as she started to frantically rummage through her sister purse.

“What are you looking for?” He asked Elena, keeping one eye on the struggling trio.

“This!”  Elena exclaimed in relief, lifting up a plastic medicine injector. “I need to use this and she’ll calm down.”

Stefan took the injector from Elena’s hand, not willing to let her get close to her infuriated sister and possibly get hurt.

“Let me” he demanded, not giving Elena the chance to object, he rushed towards Matt and Tyler who were struggling with Erin.

Erin was so blinded by rage she didn’t even feel the sharp stab of a needle piercing her skin. She vaguely registered worried voices and two sets of hands grabbing her before she blacked out.

Erin slumped against Matt, the tranquilizers almost instantly taking effect. Elena worriedly watched as Tyler helped Matt take Erin to the nearby nurse’s office and wondered what the hell could have set her twin off that bad. She hadn’t seen Erin like that since they were kids. It frightened her. Stefan returned to her and rubbed his hands against Elena’s shoulders soothingly, trying to wrap his mind around what just happened.

“Are you okay? Are you hurt? ” he asked quietly, not wanting to upset her.

Elena shook her head, leaning into Stefan for comfort and to block out the stares of whispering bystanders.

“What just happened?”

“I don’t know Stefan, I really don’t know” she sighed.

 

                                                     


 

 

 

“Isn't that nice? Stefan joins a team and makes a friend. It's all so, "rah, rah, go team, yeah!" Damon mocked from his spot, leaning against the wall.

“No, Not tonight. I’m done with you” Stefan scowled turning to leave.

Damon flashed in front of him, smiling sharply. “Nice little trick with Elena and Caroline. Let me guess, vervain jewelry? I’ll admit I was a bit surprised when Caroline resisted my compulsion but I figured it out pretty quick. Leaving a gift in her purse from me? Classic. Too bad it didn’t work. Vervain jewelry really only works if the wearer knows not to take it off.” Sneered Damon, pissed that Stefan would try and interfere with his fun.

Stefan frowned in confusion becoming more alarmed as Damon spoke. Someone had given Caroline a vervain bracelet under the guise of it being from Damon? Did this mean someone knew Damon was a vampire? Did they know he was a vampire?

“Damon, I never gave Caroline any vervain” Stefan said seriously. If someone knew Damon was a vampire and they had access to vervain then this was a serious problem.

Sure you didn’t.”

“I didn’t, Damon” he said firmly, trying to make his brother believe him. Damon wasn’t buying it and glared at Stefan.

“Yeah? Well if you didn’t then who did?”

 

                                              


 

 

 

Erin shifty groggily against the hard uncomfortable cot in the nurse’s office, slowly starting to awaken from her drug induced nap. Where was she? What had happened? Erin groaned her whole body felt heavy and sore, she could barely find enough energy to weakly flop over on the cot and blearily blink at the corkboard ceiling. She was in some sort of cubical like room that smelled like medicine and the lights were, thankfully, dimmed so she didn’t sear her retinas when she opened her eyes. Erin tried to think about what happened but everything was a blur, the memories were jumbled in her head and she couldn’t remember what had been real and what had been an illusion. All she remembered was anger, white hot anger and a necklace? A necklace had set her off? Why?

Erin reluctantly pushed herself up and slumped against the wall of her small cubical room. She couldn’t quite remember why she had gotten so angry but she knew she wanted to go home. She wanted to sleep in her real bed and worry about what had happened tomorrow.

With great difficulty Erin stumbled to her feet, the room spinning around her as she braced herself against the wall. Wow, whatever they gave her was strong. Erin swayed dangerously as she left her tiny cubical room but managed to stay on her feet. Where was the nurse? She was in a nurse’s office right? This didn’t look like a hospital. She looked around the office as she sluggishly made her way to the door but didn’t see anyone. Was she left unattended? That seemed unsafe. It took her a few minutes but Erin was able to locate her purse and jacket, though it took several attempts to get it on and even then it was inside out. Fuck it Erin thought teetering towards the door, she was slowly regaining her coordination and her vision was starting to clear. Maybe by the time she got to her car she would be lucid. Either way she planned on driving herself home.

Walking outside, Erin grumbled at the cold. When had it gotten so dark? How long was she out for? Erin shuffled through the parking lot slowly, occasionally stopping to brace herself against a car to wait for a wave of nausea and dizziness to pass. Where the fuck was her car? She yanked her purse off her shoulder and fumbled for the zipper. Once she got it open, she started fishing around for her keys and let out a slightly slurred happy noise when she finally found them. That happiness unfortunately lasted less than a minute. She rounded the corner and literally tripped over the body of Couch Tanner. Erin stared nonplus at the bloody corpse of her teacher and sighed.

“Oh crap”

 His neck was torn to shreds, obviously having been killed by a vampire. Did they have vampires now? Erin furrowed her brow in confusion trying to focus and remember. Ah! Sitting next to her dead teacher Erin attempted to snap and failed. That’s right. The Salvatore’s. This thing totally screamed Damon Salvatore fuckery. Picking up her keys that had fallen in a puddle of Coach Tanners blood, Erin struggled to her feet, repeatedly slipping in the process. Covered in tacky blood but finally on her feet Erin looked at Coach Tanner’s body in complete indifference, not at all phased by his bloody painful death. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy she mused as she tottered towards her car. Shame about her pants though, she liked these jeans. As Erin fumbled into her car, she never noticed a familiar crow watching her.

Chapter Text

 

1864 Mystic Falls, Virginia

 

The Lockwood Mansion was bustling with people as guests danced and conversed with one another. Tonight was the inaugural Founders Council celebration and the whole town had turned up for the event of the season. Including Agatha Fell and her closest companion, Annabelle Zhu. Annabelle was the only daughter of Pearl Zhu, a stunningly exotic apothecary owner, who was rumored to be the next Mrs. Johnathan Gilbert. The two were always seen walking around town talking and generally enjoying each other’s company. Obviously very much in love. Something Annabelle complained to Agatha about constantly, while she was thrilled her mother had found love, she had no desire to see their sappy affectionate exchanges. Agatha thought it was romantic and sweet, Pearl was a lovely woman and she deserved to find someone to share her life with. Even if it was an immortal one. Agatha knew exactly who her friends were, she had been around long enough to recognize the signs of vampirism and daylight jewelry tended to be a dead giveaway. She didn’t mind though, she had known many vampires in her time, even loved a few herself. Some were wonderful and kind like Annabelle and her mother. Others were cruel, manipulative beasts like Katherine and Frederick, with no regard for human life. Frederick worked in her father’s paper mill and Agatha had never liked the way his gaze lingered on her and Annabelle. She recognized the look he’d get in his eyes and it turned her stomach. It certainly didn’t help that he was known for sleeping with other men’s wives despite being married himself, to Bethanne. He was the worst kind of man and she would never understand how anyone would want to turn him into a vampire.

Annabelle leaned against the wall of the ballroom in her yellow gown, watching as her mother and Mr. Gilbert danced, completely lost in each other’s eyes. Next to her stood Agatha in her beautiful pink gown and for a moment she was jealous. She was almost 403 years old and she was dressed like a child in the hideous yellow monstrosity her mother had picked out for her. Why couldn’t she wear something beautiful and mature like Agatha’s dress? How long was her mother going to baby her for? She was older than Agatha and she should be able to wear what she wanted. That’s why she liked Agatha, she saw Annabelle as more than a silly child. She treated her like the adult she was and didn’t make fun of her spinster like clothes like the other girls in town did.

“Doesn’t he look sad?” Agatha asked softly, her eyes full of pity as she watched someone across the room.

 Annabelle followed her gaze to the pathetic form of Damon Salvatore. His normally handsome features were twisted into a crestfallen expression as he watched Katherine and his brother dance. Almost everyone knew that Katherine was being courted by both Salvatore brothers, it was quite the scandal considering Katherine had no shame in parading both men around town. However with the announcement of Agatha and Damon’s engagement Katherine had turned her attentions more towards Stefan, in an attempt to make Damon jealous. Annabelle could tell it was working, Katherine loved having men chase after her and Damon looked a few steps away from begging on his knees for her attention. It was disgusting, he was a lovesick fool who couldn’t see the woman he worshipped was playing both him and his brother.

“I don’t understand why you would care, Agatha. He isn’t worth your time” she said tersely.

 

Damon Salvatore was a fool and he didn’t deserve her friend’s attention or concern, not after the way he had humiliated her. The whole town knew of Damon’s reluctance to marry Agatha, he had been very vocal about it. When Giuseppe Salvatore had announced the engagement at a Founders dinner a few weeks ago, Damon had been furious and made a scene in front of everyone about not marrying a stupid child. It had been beyond humiliating and though Agatha had taken his harsh words with dignity Annabelle could tell she had been thoroughly embarrassed at the outburst. The Gossipers hadn’t stopped talking about it since. So Annabelle couldn’t understand why her friend would even care about the man who had shamed her in front of everyone. Agatha gave Annabelle an indulgent smile as she fumed, glaring angrily at Damon. Her friend was very protective of her and hadn’t been subtle with her distaste for her fiancée. It was very endearing but Agatha knew her place as a woman. Whether she liked him or not, she would be Damon Salvatore’s wife. It was her role as the eldest daughter, her father would marry her off to the most profitable match. She knew she was nothing more than a bargaining chip to be used to increase her family’s social standing. She was used to it by now, she had married many men against her will and she had no doubt she would marry more in the future. It was just the way the world worked.

“He is to be my husband, Anna. Should I not be concerned for his wellbeing?”

“No, you shouldn’t. How can you be so calm about marrying him? You know he’s in love with Katherine.” Anna snapped angrily.

“I know” She smiled, unbothered by Annabelle’s harsh words. It was the truth and she knew it. “But perhaps one day he will learn to care for me and I for him.”

That’s all she could really hope for. She had grown to love some of her husbands, despite the initial animosity, and been loved in return.

“He will never love you, Agatha.” Anna stated sternly. As if Agatha didn’t know that already.

“He doesn’t have too. I may never love Damon, Anna but I will love his children.”

“And that’s enough for you?”

“It will have to be.” Agatha said soberly.

She wasn’t a fool. She had never been the starry eyed romantic her sister, Rebekah, had been. She had learned the ways of the world quickly and knew better than to expect love and devotion from her husband. She would hope for kindness and respect but she knew better than to assume she would get it. No. Agatha would do what she had always done, tolerate her husband and love her children more than anything. She could do nothing else. Agatha took another look at her dejected fiancée and decided to at least try with Damon, he didn’t seem like a bad sort of man. Maybe things wouldn’t be so horrid after all. Leaving Annabelle against the wall, Agatha made her way across the room to where Damon stood watching his brother and Katherine dance with a heartsick expression.

 

“Mr. Salvatore” She smiled hesitantly. “Would you do me the honor of being my dance partner?”

 

Damon turned to face the girl addressing him and scowled when he saw the child his father wanted him to marry. Damon felt resentment and anger rear its ugly head when he looked at her hopeful face. This was all her fault, if it wasn’t for her Katherine would be here with him. Not his brother. She only chose him because she was angry and hurt about the engagement, he had tried to tell her he hadn’t known but she’d only sent him away. She had caused Katherine to pick Stefan over him and now she wanted him to dance with her? Never. She repulsed him.

“As if I would want to dance with the likes of you” he sneered and quickly brushed past her, leaving Agatha standing alone with nothing but the burn of embarrassment at being publicly rejected yet again. Neither of them saw Katherine smirking wickedly over Stefan’s shoulder as she danced.

Chapter Text

The next morning Erin sat at the kitchen table polishing the Gilbert family antiques while Jenna stood nearby cursing at the television. Her Ex- boyfriend, Logan Fell, was the star newscaster and she hadn’t quite forgiven him for cheating on her all those years ago. When Erin awoke that morning it was to the familiar coppery stench of blood and a blinding headache that made her want to vomit. Somehow she had driven herself home last night, heavily looped up on sedatives, and miraculously managed not to crash her car on the way. Only to immediately pass out in her bed without removing her blood stained clothes. She ended up spending most of the morning cleaning up the mess and trying to work out what exactly had happened the night before. She wasn’t completely certain what she had said or done but she remembered enough to know what had set her off. Elena had her mother’s necklace. Stefan had given it to her as a gift, something that should have been impossible. How could her mother’s necklace have withstood the ravages of time? A thousand years was a very, very long time. She would know. She had trinkets only half that old that were falling apart in the Bunker. So how could her mother’s necklace look so pristine after so long?  Erin didn’t know and she wasn’t sure she wanted to. It stung knowing that Tatia’s doppelganger was wearing her mother’s prized necklace but her mother was dead and there was no point in Erin making a fuss about it now. At least she knew that Elena would take good care of it.

Speaking of Elena, Erin had yet to see her lovely twin and wasn’t looking forward to the awkwardness that was likely to ensue. Elena had always been uncomfortable when the topic of Erin’s condition came up and Erin fully expected her sister to treat her like glass for the next few days. For everyone’s sake Erin had decided to pretend like nothing happened .If anyone asked, she would lie and say she had no idea what they were talking about. Only once had she ever made the mistake of telling Elena that she remembered what had happened and her sister had badgered her for days to talk about her feelings and to open up to her. It had been pure hell and since then Erin started using the memory troubles card. It worked like a charm, Elena didn’t push and Erin didn’t have to lie unnecessarily. 

 

“Scum ball “Jenna hissed as Elena finally crept into the room, shooting Erin a nervous glance as if she was worried Erin would lunge across the table at her. Erin simply gave Elena a blank smile and went back to polishing.

“Scum bucket”

“Who are you talking to Jenna?” Elena asked giving her aunt a puzzled look.

Him” Jenna hissed.

“The news reporter?”

“Otherwise known as Logan “Scum” Fell” Glared Jenna “Didn’t your mother ever tell you why I left Mystic Falls?”

“No way!” laughed Elena. She looked back at the T.V and tilted her head. “He’s cute”

Erin smirked from the kitchen table and glanced at the figure of Logan Fell, He was alright. Not what she would deem cute but he wasn’t ugly either. Jenna could do better.

“No” Jenna objected, angrily clicking off the television. “There’s nothing cute about him.”

Jenna moved into the kitchen to refill her mug of coffee and Elena hesitantly approached her sister. She wasn’t sure if she should even talk to Erin. What if she went off on her again? She had been so violent the day before and Elena had been honestly scared that her sister was going to hurt her. Just the memory of her sister’s hate filled eyes made her shudder.

“Hey Erin? How are you feeling?” she asked timidly.

Erin looked up at her sister and smiled, forcing herself not to glance at the necklace around Elena’s neck.

“I’m great. How are you?” Erin chirped perkily.  “Did you cheer last night? How was the game?”

“The game?” Elena asked sharing a worried look with Jenna. Did Erin not remember what happened? 

“Yeah? Yesterday was Stefan’s first game, right? I wanted to go but I guess I fell asleep and missed it. Did we win?”

Elena shot Jenna a look but nodded slowly. Silently giving Jenna a look to play along. It was better if Erin didn’t know. Her sister was too fragile to handle the truth.

“Yeah it was great.” She felt a little guilty lying but knew she had done the right thing when Erin gave her a sunny smile.

“That’s wonderful!”

“What’s wonderful? “ Jeremy asked as he came into the kitchen.

“Elena was just telling me about the game last night. She said it was wonderful”

“Yeah” snorted Jeremy, ignoring Elena’s pointed look. “My favorite part was when Coach Tanner got his throat ripped out”

“Jeremy!” chastised Jenna, giving him a disappointed look. Elena watched her sister worriedly but Erin just blinked in surprise.

“Coach Tanner died?” she asked feigning a dismayed expression. She had remembered that delightful fact. She had to agree with Jeremy, finding Coach Tanner dead was the highlight of her drug addled night too.

“Animal attack. It was sweet”

“Jeremy!” Elena gasped in shock.

Jeremy snickered as Elena and Jenna gave him horrified looks. They couldn’t believe Jeremy would be so callous about someone who Erin was close with. Erin sent Jeremy a faintly amused look, trying to keep her lips from twitching. Jeremy had a morbid sense of humor and hated Coach Tanner more than anyone. He certainly wouldn’t miss him any time soon.

“What are you doing with all of mom and dad’s old stuff?” he asked seeing the trinkets scattered on the table in front of Erin.

“They’re our contribution for the heritage project, just some old Gilbert heirlooms and stuff.”

“Cool. How much do you think they’ll sell for on E-Bay?”

He was joking but Elena apparently didn’t think so and snatched the ring he had picked up out of his hand.

“You won’t be finding out” Elena said sternly and Erin rolled her eyes. Like Jeremy would really sell his parents things, he love them too much to ever do that. He was hurt that his sister would even thing such a thing of him and covered up his hurt by lashing out, like he always did.

“These are mom and dad’s things. You can’t just give them away!”

“It’s called a loan Jeremy” she scowled.

Before Elena could say anything else the doorbell rang and Jenna left to answer the door. Stefan had arrived and Elena quickly disappeared up to her bedroom with him, leaving Erin and Jeremy alone. Erin silently went over her check list of antiques and started packing them away. Out of the corner of her eye she watched Jeremy broodily glare at a pocket watch on the table and slowly stopped packing. The Gilbert watch had once belonged to Johnathan Gilbert and unknown to most, was a bewitched tool for finding the undead. However, for those not in the know, it was just a scuffed up silver pocket watch with sentimental value.  The pocket watch had been in the Gilbert family for generations and was traditionally passed down from the patriarch to his heir.  Ah, so that’s what it’s about, thought Erin. The watch had belonged to Greyson, he carried it everywhere and now that he was gone he would never be able to give Jeremy the watch like he had planned. It was something special that they were supposed to share and Erin understood that all too well. The pocket watch was just as precious to Jeremy as her mother’s necklace was to her and Rebekah.  Erin picked up the old watch and ran her thumb over the metal engravings. She couldn’t have her mother’s necklace but Jeremy could have Greyson’s watch. It wasn’t like they really needed it for the exhibit anyway, they had more than enough.

“Here” She smiled, holding the watch out for Jeremy “I think this belongs to you.”

Jeremy didn’t say anything but he gently took the watch, clutching it in a way that reminded Erin of a child clutching a teddy bear. Jeremy gave Erin a grateful look and left the kitchen without a word. He may not have said it but Erin knew that watch meant a lot to him. Erin packed up the rest of the antiques and went to her room to grab her dress for the Founder’s party. She probably wouldn’t be able to stop back at the house to get ready with Bonnie and Elena. She and Tyler had to help his mom set up and that meant they had to collect all the antiques, make sure they were clean and polished then set up the displays. But that was only for the heritage project, after that they had to set up the dance floor and make sure everything was perfect. They whole town would be traipsing through Carol’s house and she wouldn’t tolerate anything but perfection.

       

                       


 

 

 

Several grueling hours later the party was in full swing and Erin was wandering around in her pink dress waiting for her date to arrive. Bonnie had called her earlier and begged Erin to go to the dance with her. Apparently Caroline, her original date, had dumped her for Damon Salvatore and Bonnie hadn’t wanted to go solo. Naturally, Erin accepted and sardonically demanded flowers. Much to her surprise Bonnie had actually shown up with a corsage to match her pink rose colored dress. Against her better judgment Erin had decided to keep with the time honored tradition of wearing pink to the Founders Council celebration, even though there would be vampires here and she really didn’t want them to remember Agatha. Wouldn’t that just be a giant headache?

As Bonnie and Erin wandered aimlessly around the party Erin kept catching glimpses of things going on around her. Caroline had passed by them earlier dragging along a constipated looking Stefan and She could vaguely make out Damon talking to Elena in an adjacent room. Who knows what he was up to. Erin was also pretty sure she also saw that news anchor, Logan, following her fuming aunt around like a puppy. Were Bonnie and Erin the only ones not steeped in boy drama? Seriously. Bonnie even saw Tyler and Vicki Donovan hiding in the back yard when they moved outside to the patio. Neither of the girls had any desire to dance so they took a seat at one of the many tables near the dance floor and nibbled on pretentious overpriced hors d'oeuvres. Erin would never understand why Mrs. Lockwood paid so much for cheese and crackers.

“I need to get me a man” Sighed Bonnie, slumping dejectedly in her seat. She tried to send one of the cute waiters near by a small flirty smile but it came out more a grimace. Bonnie was glad she hadn’t had to attend the party alone but being surrounded by so many happy couples just made her feel like an awkward third wheel. Sprawled lazily next to Bonnie, Erin snorted into her glass.

“No, you really don’t. I don’t think I can handle another love sick fool.” Erin drawled, motioning to the dance floor where their friend’s boyfriend drama was taking place. Stefan was stiffly dancing with an overly flirty Caroline, while Damon and Elena watched.

“That’s a bit harsh, Erin.” Frowned Bonnie. “You didn’t seem to care when Elena was mooning over Matt. Why’s this any different?”

“Cause its annoying? Elena always has so much drama...” She muttered grumpily and Bonnie laughed, shaking her head in amusement.

“Oh come on! Don’t pretend that won’t be you the moment a hot boy finally catches your eye.”

“It won’t be.” Erin sniffed haughtily, tossing her curls over her shoulder. “Because I certainly won’t be with a boy, I’ll be with a man.

Erin sent Bonnie a salacious grin and winked, causing both girls to erupt into a fit of giggles. Though Erin was entirely serious, she would not be dating anyone anytime soon. Especially not someone from high school. She may not look like it but on the inside she was a cranky old lady and she wouldn’t date someone who couldn’t even drink legally. It was just creepy to think about. Erin shivered in disgust, pausing when she caught Bonnie intensely staring at the burnt out candle on their table. She wasn’t even sure Bonnie knew she was leaning in closer to the candle, a dazed look in her eyes. Suddenly the wick on the candle burst into flame and Bonnie jerked her head back, wide eyed in shock. The little witch had relit the candle and seemed in equal parts afraid and awed at her own power. Obviously she still hadn’t spoken to Shelia about being a witch but Erin had no doubt she would now. Bonnie sent Erin a fearful look and practically sprinted away from their table back into the Lockwood mansion. Erin watched Bonnie flee with a bemused expression, indolently leaning across the table to blow the troublesome candle out with a smirk.

 

                                      


 

 

 

Later Erin stood on the sidelines of the dance floor, sipping her drink and watching her sister and Stefan dance. It was like 1864 all over again. Damon moodily watching as his brother dances with the girl he wants. Seems a little like poetic justice if you asked her. Erin’s eyes darted towards Damon and Caroline and watched as her friends face fell at something Damon said. Caroline turned away with an expression of hurt on her face and fled back into the Lockwood mansion. Erin watched her disappear into the crowds before turning back to frown at Damon. Did he really have to be so mean to her?

Damon bitterly stared at the dancing couple before he turned and locked eyes with Erin Gilbert. For a moment he was reminded of Agatha and how rudely he rejected her kind offer to dance all those years ago. He didn’t miss the look of distaste that crossed Erin’s face before she quickly turned away, ignoring his inquisitive stare. For some reason the eldest Gilbert didn’t like him and he wanted to know why. What better way of getting answers then to ask her to dance. And if it soothed some of his residual guilt about rejecting Agatha’s offer all those years ago, no one had to know.

Erin downed the rest of her drink in one go, cursing Mrs. Lockwood’s choice of cheap champagne. She turned to get a refill and came face to face with a smirking Damon Salvatore, holding two full glasses. Oh God. If she had to talk to him she was going to need a real drink. Maybe something with arsenic so she won’t have to suffer his asinine drivel.   

“You look like you could use another drink” Damon smirked.

“Thanks but I don’t take drinks from strangers” Erin rebuffed, pointedly not looking at looking at Damon. She watched the dancing crowd and kept her eyes away from his magic mind fucking vampire eyes. She wasn’t wearing vervain and if he tried to compel her she would have to pretend it actually worked on her. It didn’t for some reason, she guessed she had Nature to thank for that but she found out that if a vampire couldn’t compel someone they tended to start snapping necks. She’d rather not have her neck snapped by Damon Salvatore of all people, how humiliating would that be?

“We’re hardly strangers. I’m the brother of the guy dating your twin sister.”

“Which makes you absolutely nothing to me” she said icily and from the corner of her eye she could see Damon’s smirk sharpen.

“Ouch. Harsh” He chuckled with a mock wince. He took a step closer into Erin’s personal bubble and stared at her intensely, making her shift uneasily. ”Are you this stand offish with everyone or am I just special?”

“Oh it’s just you.” She deadpanned. And the fact you were an accomplice to my murder. No biggie.

“And that would be because?” He asked, tilting his head closer, trying to catch Erin’s eyes but she determinedly kept her eyes anywhere but on the vampire encroaching into her personal space.

“Maybe I just don’t like you” Erin clenched her jaw, radiating tension as she resisted the urge to lash out at Damon. He was really starting to test her patience.

“Impossible” He scoffed. “Everyone loves me. Have you met me? I’m gorgeous.”

Erin huffed rolling her eyes in exasperation. God what a douche bag! He was so smarmy and full of himself it made Erin just wanted to strangle him. Damon watched the annoyance dance across Erin’s face and felt genuine frustration. She really didn’t like him but he just could figure out why. He hadn’t done anything to her. Yet.

“Dance with me.” He demanded abruptly.

“Absolutely not”

Damon nearly growled in annoyance, He didn’t like being denied what he wanted. Having enough of her avoidance Damon got into Erin face, forcing her to meet his gaze. Mother Fucker she thought angrily.

“You’re going to dance with me. Now.” He compelled, the pupils of his icy blue eyes dilating as he spoke.

“Yes” She dully replied, not having any other choice but to cooperate or expose herself.

Erin struggled to keep the fury off her face and keep it blank. How dare he compel her to dance with him?! Damon pulled her onto the dance floor and Erin vindictively made sure to step on his toes every chance she got. He compelled her to dance with him, He never said she had to dance well. They passed Elena and Stefan on the dance floor and she saw Damon smirk at his brothers alarmed look. Figures he’d only dance with her to upset Stefan. What a Dick.

“Not a very good dancer are you?” Damon mocked and Erin narrowed her eyes, giving him a saccharine smile before she stomped on his toes again. Taking a bit of sadistic pleasure in the pained wince that crossed his face.

“I am a fantastic dancer, Mr. Salvatore.” Erin smirked. “It all depends on the partner”

“Call me Damon. Mr. Salvatore reminds me of my father.”

“I’d rather not.”

“Why not? “ Damon chuckled, running his eyes over the disgruntled blonde’s face. She was making her distaste for him very clear but the reason why wasn’t and it was eating at him. He didn’t like being at a disadvantage.

“I only call my friends by their given names.” She snipped.

“How old school of you. Can’t we be friends? I know how to treat my friends very well.” He purred, giving Erin his signature sex eyes look. But instead of blushing or floundering like he thought she would, Erin gagged. Her face twisted in palpable revulsion.

“Pass.” Erin rebuffed. Sickened at the very thought of sleeping with the sleazy kid killing man whore that was Damon Salvatore.

Damon blinked in surprise, no one rejected the sexy eyes. Not even men. He was irresistible to everyone. Clearly there was something wrong with Erin Gilbert, perhaps she just didn’t like men. Yes that had to be it. No one could resist the Salvatore charm. He opened his mouth to speak but the sounds of arguing caused him to pause and turn towards the sound.

Erin and Damon both watched as Elena and Stefan exchanged angry words and Elena left Stefan standing on the dance floor alone. Damon grinned, eyes gleaming in vindictive glee. He was glad his words had driven Elena to question Stefan. If he couldn’t be happy why should his brother be?

Erin glared at Damon shrewdly, smug amusement practically radiated off him. Apparently his meddling had work, or at least she assumed it had. Sabotaging Stefan’s relationship seemed like the sort of spiteful thing he’d do.

“You seem quite pleased with yourself” Remarked Erin coolly, dragging her eyes away from Stefan’s retreating form. “Tell me, is meddling in other people’s relationships a hobby of yours?”

Damon sent Erin a sharp look, a tight plastic mocking smile fixed on his face.

“I don’t know what you mean?” he lied, tilting his head in an innocent manner that she didn’t believe for a moment.

“Really? You seemed pretty happy about that little spat our siblings just had. Why would that be? Family troubles?” Erin asked, sarcastically raising an eyebrow. Did he think she was stupid? Maybe he thought he no longer needed subtly now that he had compulsion. Many vampires unfortunately thought the same, the notion that there were people who couldn’t be compelled seemed to escape most of them.

“Oh what’s a little hazing between brothers? It’s harmless” he said dismissively. Like he cared if his meddling ruined Stefan’s high school romance.

“I didn’t seem harmless to me.”

“Stefan and I have regretfully been cursed with sibling rivalry. Occasionally our pranks go too far.” Damon shrugged. He certainly wasn’t going to apologize for talking to Elena. He didn’t lie, he just pointed out some discrepancies in Stefan’s cover story. That’s all.

“Sibling Rivalry?” Erin asked Deadpanned. That’s the excuse he’s using? Oh sorry I killed a bunch of people, it was just a little sibling squabble! Damon hummed in agreement and whirled Erin between the other dancing couples. The song was almost over and Erin couldn’t wait to bolt the moment it did.

“I see” Erin said solemnly, daring to meet Damon’s eyes willingly for the first time all night.  “Does Stefan often make you feel…inadequate? Big Brother not so big?”

Damon choked in surprise, nearly tripping over his own feet in shock. Did she really just say that? He wasn’t sure if he should be offended or amused at her cheek. Erin fought to keep her face straight and not laugh at the affronted expression on Damon’s face before it quickly melted into an amused expression.

“Would you like to find out?” He asked flirting heavily. He was mostly joking but the possibility of seducing Elena’s sister and rubbing it in Stefan’s face was too tempting to miss. “I promise you won’t find any part of me lacking.

Erin didn’t even grace his question with a response, staring at him unimpressed and unamused. His ego was giving her a headache. The song ended and Erin decided she had had enough of him, she moved to pull away but Damon held on, giving her an amused smirk.

“Oh come on, one more dance?” he mocked.

“As if I would want to dance with the likes of you!” Erin snapped waspishly and Damon momentarily froze in shock at his own words being thrown back in his face. Could it be a coincidence? Erin took advantage of Damon’s shock and pulled away from him, quickly trying to leave. She only made it a few steps before Damon’s hand shot out and wrapped around her wrist in an iron tight grip, yanking her back towards him.

“What did you just say?” He demanded, searching her face for any indication that she knew him.  However impossible that could be, he just had a feeling there wasn’t something right with Erin Gilbert. Before he could press her further, Elena came storming out of the mansion and violently shoved Damon away from Erin, breaking his grip on her stinging wrist. Both Erin and Damon were startled by Elena’s sudden fury.

“What is wrong with you?!” Elena growled, placing herself between Stefan’s monstrous brother and her fragile sister.

“You stay away from Caroline and my sister, Got it?! There is something seriously wrong with you and if I see you around them again I will tell Caroline’s mother, The Sheriff!”

Elena hurriedly pulled her sister away from the stunned Damon before he could respond to her threat and lead Erin inside. Elena didn’t stop until they were further in the mansion and spun on her sister, frantically searching her for any injuries.

“Are you okay? Did he hurt you?” she asked, trying to bodily move Erin around so she could search her skin for bite marks or any signs of abuse.

“Woah! Elena, I’m fine. What is going on?” Erin asked, very confused about her sister’s sudden change of heart. What the hell had happened in the few minutes she went inside to make her hate Damon so much?

“I want you to stay away from him, Erin. I mean it! If he comes near you again, I want you to get me immediately.” She urged sternly. There was no way she would let Damon anywhere near her delicate sister again. Not if he could do something like that to Caroline. Caroline was strong and confident and Damon had messed with her head so badly she couldn’t even recognize he was abusing her. If he could do that to Caroline then Elena shuddered to think what he could to her mentally frail sister.

“Elena” Erin demanded sharply, grabbing her twin’s shoulder to make her focus. “What happened?”

Elena hesitated only for a moment before she revealed what had happened when she went to the bathroom. How Caroline had been covered in ugly bruises and scarred bite marks. She told Erin about how violently flustered Caroline had become and how she told Elena Damon had done it to her on accident. As Elena spoke Erin felt her deeply buried temper start to rear its ugly head. Logically she had known this was going to happen, that’s why she had given Caroline the vervain bracelet but it didn’t make it any easier to swallow. Damon had abused Caroline. He had abused Charlotte’s granddaughter, the very girl she had promised to look out for. The very thought that He had fed on Caroline was revolting but abuse? That was unacceptable. If what Elena was saying was true then Damon was being far more violent than necessary. He wasn’t just feeding from Caroline, he was using her as his emotional punching bag. No Erin wouldn’t allow that. Feeding was one thing but Damon was taking it to a whole other level. Elena made Erin promise to stay away from Damon before she rushed away to make up with Stefan and tell him what she had found out. Elena hoped Stefan would be able to stop Damon but Erin knew Stefan wouldn’t do anything. He never did when it came to his brother. No if Erin wanted Damon stopped she would have to do it herself.

 

                                                     


 

 

 

Erin had searched the entire mansion for Caroline but couldn’t find her, she had even asked Bonnie and Jenna but they hadn’t seen her for a while. She was about give up and collect her things to leave when a flash of blue caught her attention outside. From her second story window she could see Damon angrily dragging Caroline away from the party and towards the more wooded area of the Lockwood property. Erin knew exactly what Damon was about to do and the control on her temper snapped. She didn’t hesitate to grab one of Mrs. Lockwood’s flimsy antique wooden chairs and chuck it across the room with all her strength. The loud crack of the chair smashing and splintering against the wall was drowned out by the loud music from downstairs but Erin couldn’t linger in case someone heard the commotion. She quickly picked up one of the jagged broken chair legs and made her way out of the mansion, making sure to hide the improvised stake in the folds of her dress. Over the years Erin had learned how to move swiftly and silently. She knew how to remain unseen if she wished and it had saved her life many times. It took her only a few minutes to slip away unseen from the party and into the forest surrounding the mansion. As Erin hurriedly made her way towards where she saw Damon taking Caroline, she took the time to examine her makeshift weapon. The antique chair had been made of cheap weak wood and the splinted end wasn’t particularly sharp but with enough force she could at least injure Damon and buy them enough time to escape. If she was very lucky and took him by surprise she could even kill him. Though she doubted she would be that lucky. No this would probably end with her getting her throat ripped out again but at least this way she can say she tried to keep her word to Charlotte. And that was all that mattered to her.

 

Erin silently emerged from the woods near the pond and spotted her prey. Damon was already draining Caroline and Erin didn’t have any time to spare. She would kill Damon Salvatore and enjoy every minute of it. She started creeping towards the couple, trying to find the best angle to strike from but she never got the chance. Damon ripped himself away from Caroline and her body hit the ground with a sickening thump, making Erin heart sink. Was she dead already? Had she been too late? Damon started coughing and grabbed his throat, staggering away from Caroline’s body. What the hell was going on?

Damon was acting like he had been poisoned but Erin knew there wasn’t any vervain in Caroline’s blood. So what was he choking on? She was about to come out into the open and finish Damon off when two figures emerged from the other side of the clearing. Erin couldn’t hear what was being said but her eyes widened in shock when she recognized Stefan and Zach. They had poisoned Damon? Erin took a few steps back into the shadows while Stefan hefted his unconscious brother over his shoulder and fled the party with Zach in tow. Neither men had bothered to even check on Caroline’s body. Assholes. The moment they were out of sight Erin dropped her janky stake and ran towards Caroline’s prone form. She slid to her knees by her friend and frantically felt for a pulse on the blonde’s bloody neck. Miraculously Caroline wasn’t dead and her pulse was fairly steady for the amount of blood she had lost.  Damon must not have taken very much and Erin couldn’t be more relieved.

Sighing, Erin plopped on the ground by her friend and unwound the scarf from Caroline’s neck. Using the stained material, she applied pressure to her bleeding bite wound in attempt to slow the bleeding. The Salvatore’s had been in town less than a month and they were making a mess of everything. She wished Stefan would just stake Damon and end it all but she knew he wouldn’t. That he couldn’t do that to his brother. The Salvatore brother’s, no matter what they said, would never kill each other. The fact Zach’s involved just made things worse. If Zach was getting in the middle of things then it would only be a matter of time till he died too. Anyone who got between the brothers squabbling ended up bloody and broken. Erin didn’t know if she could accept that for Zach.  She wasn’t very close with her great grandson but he was still blood. She didn’t want him to die like all the others.

 

Erin leaned over her friend and lightly tapped her cheek. She needed to wake Caroline up and move her before someone came by, like her cop of a mother. That would be very bad and Erin would have a very hard time explaining why her daughter was bloody and unconscious.

“Caroline?”  Erin smoothed the hair out of Caroline’s face and gave her a gentle shake. “Come on, wake up!”

Groggily Caroline woke up with a groan. Erin could see the moment she remembered what had happened. Her eyes snapped wide open and she frantically looked around, her hands darting to her neck in a panic. Erin grabbed her fluttering hands and shushed her, trying to calm her down.

“Hey-Hey it’s alright. Caroline? You’re okay.” Erin soothed. Caroline searched around, most likely looking for Damon but they were outside alone. Caroline shakily pulled her hands away from her neck and started to hyperventilate when she saw her blood.

“W-what? My n-neck-?!” she stuttered, dazed and panicking. It seems like Damon’s compulsion was strong even with the vervain in her system. She didn’t remember what he had done and Erin was actually glad she wouldn’t have to explain the whole supernatural mess to a traumatized teen.

“It’s okay, I’ve got you. You’re safe.”

Erin pulled Caroline into a hug and tried to comfort her shaking terrified friend as Caroline broke down into hysterical tears. Not for the first time, Erin wished she had killed Damon Salvatore.

 

                      


 

 

 

After the party ended and all guest had left only a few important members of the town council remained, gathered in Mayor Lockwood’s study.

“Thank you all for staying so late” Mayor Lockwood said as he poured himself a drink, in no hurry to explain why they were here. Sheriff Elizabeth Forbes frowned, anxiously stepping forward.

“Did you get the Gilbert watch?”

“Elena says it’s packed away with her parent’s things. I tried to ask Erin but she kept dodging my questions.” Chimed in an exasperated Carol Lockwood. They had all hoped the watch would be in the Gilbert antiques but the watch had never shown up.

“I don’t understand why we can’t just ask that crazy Gilbert girl to get the watch for us. She knows about vampires, she’s read the journals.” Asked the Mayor, Irritated that they were going through all these hoops to steal something when they could just ask.

“No” Liz cut in sternly. “We agreed, Erin won’t have anything to do with the council till she’s an adult. I don’t want her or any of our kids dragged into this. We can handle this ourselves.”

“I agree. The last thing we need is Erin stressing out about vampires and telling someone.” Sighed Carol. She liked the eldest Gilbert but the girl was mentally unbalanced. Who’s to say she wouldn’t start screaming vampire in the town square if they told her? Logan Fell shifted in his chair. Leaning forward with a grin.

“I can get the watch” he smirked. He knew he could seduce Jenna and get into the house. It wouldn’t be a problem.

“Good, We’re going to need it and soon.”  Liz replied with a frown.

“Are you sure?” the mayor asked grimly, not wanting to believe that vampires were back in his town.  

“Five bodies, all drained of blood. I’m certain.”

“They’ve come back” Logan stated and all the council members in the room shared grim looks. Vampires were back in Mystic Falls and now they had to find them before they could kill again.