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Between Two Points

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"The shortest distance between two points is the line from me to you."

xx

Elena wasn't sure how she got this far without her plan being spoiled by one of her babysitters, or how she even managed to keep her composure as she drove knowing exactly what was going to happen once she got out of the car. She was sure on her decision however, as stupid as it might be, it was the right thing for her to do. If not for herself, but for her friends, for her family and for the town she owed so much to.

Jeremy was the only family she had left. Alaric- their Alaric- was gone and this horrible, psychopathic monster had taken over his body and was slowly destroying everything she loved. She had to keep Jeremy safe now, keep him away from Mystic Falls and the destruction it caused. She needed to remove herself from the town that kept feeding on her, sucking all of the life and energy out of her to regenerate more and more evil. All she caused was bad luck to her friends; the curse of the doppleganger ruined everyone's lives slowly and surely until they were all on the brink of emotional breakdowns, with nothing left to lose but their own sanities.

She was tired of looking in the mirror and seeing each and every face of those who's lives she's ruined by simply existing. The toll was starting to add up; from her own parents to her birthparents, to Jenna and Alaric, to Caroline's dad, to Bonnie's mom, to Matt's sister, to Tyler's father and uncle. Family after family, friend after friend. She had caused the downfall of their lives because she had let Fate play with her, as if she was a puppet on a string.

Elena Gilbert may be a doppleganger; she may be a product of the supernatural, but she was sure as hell not going to be puppeteered by anyone other than herself for any longer. It was about damn time Elena took control of her own life and did something about it for once, cutting the figurative strings off of her. Each time she tried before, someone else thwarted her and changed her course and altered her plans because they were worried about saving her life. But what about all the lives that were lost because of it? Why should everyone else suffer in order for her to keep on living?

If this was even considered living anyways. Every day, of every month, of the past two years, she'd spent worrying over some vampire, some threat to herself or her family because of who she was, because she is the doppleganger, because she has the Petrova fire, because her blood can create hybrids.

Well, Elena thought bitterly, shit sucks. She was her own person and it was going to stay that way.

Glancing back in her rearview mirror, she could see the lights of the town fading away. She would be at her destination soon, hopefully with enough time to spare to save her friends, to save both Damon and Stefan and, unfortunately, even Katherine.

The only way to kill Alaric, was to kill herself. She knew that. She knew, deep down, from the very moment she learned that she was the doppleganger- that she was a Petrova- that one day she would have to die. It wasn't something she easily came to terms with; she spent months and months believing that she would be able to live out a happy, normal, human life.

Believing that she would be able to go to college, to get married and have children, to grow old and watch her children have children, and her friends' children have children. She wanted to sit on the porch with her husband, old and grey, and watch the sun set while their grandchildren played in the front yard. Every single dream she had created for herself since she was young enough to envision her future slowly crumbled to her feet.

In the end, it was the death of Jenna, the death of her father, the re-daggering of Elijah, and the knowledge that Stefan gave up his entire being to save Damon from dying, that solidified it all for her.

She would have to die.

Klaus had been their largest threat yet. Even with Elijah back and his influence over his siblings, the terror didn't stop. It still wasn't enough to stop yet another monster coming in and playing Godzilla with all she held dear.

Driving down the dirt path, Elena let herself reminisce on earlier times. When she and her friends had come out to the Lockwood property to swim in the lake, or campout during the summer, or simply just hang out with each other, playing stupid games and telling scary stories. They were simpler times back then, back when there weren't vampires or monsters hiding under her bed.

Back when she was just a cheerleader; who had a slight obsession with P!nk, a handful of amazing friends, a bratty brother, and two supportive parents. Back when her worst worry was whether or not she should break up with Matt and what on Earth she was planning to do with her future.

Pulling up to the spot, Elena shifted the car in park and turned off the engine. For a moment she just sat, letting herself be. Her mind was blank, her chest heavy with conflicting emotions. Reaching into her purse, she dialed a number that she hadn't used in quite some time and listened to it ring.

"Hi! You've reached the Gilberts! Please leave a message after the beep and we'll get back to you as soon as we can! Thanks!" Her voice was so different then, happier, perkier. The contrast between that recording and the message she was about to leave would be startling.

"Hi guys, its me. I wanted you all to know that I love you more than words can even express. You've been my rocks when times were bad, the shoulders I needed to lean and cry on, the family I never deserved. I can't let any of you die because of me, I won't let any of you die because of me. You all deserve to live happy, full lives without this constant worry about dying looming over you. I'm sorry for that, for everything that has happened because of my stupid decisions and the mistakes I've made. I'm sorry for not telling you all this in person, but this was the only way I could without any of you stopping me. I love you, all of you. I'll always be with you, no matter what and I hope you'll remember the good rather than the bad-" The recorder beeped, signaling the end of her message and Elena sighed, redialing the same number. She wasn't quite yet done.

"The house is yours Matt, I've left it to you to take care of, okay? You can't keep living in that tiny apartment, I'm pretty sure it has a ton of health code violations anyway. Alaric's apartment was left to me, and I'm leaving it to Caroline, so that you can have a place to go when the world gets too much for you- or Tyler. Please bury Alaric next to Jenna, even in death I'd like it if they were together. The lake house is left to whomever wants it, presumably Bonnie and her mom. That way she isn't too far from you, Bon. Jeremy is safe, so please don't look for him, okay? I want him to live a happy life, away from all of this, away from the constant reminders of everyone he has lost. Thats all I want. I want you all to be happy, for me. I love you...Forever and always."

She ended the call with a final click; her body shook as she pressed her hand to her chest as if she could keep all of her emotions in that way. Tears slid down her cheeks, hot and heavy, but she had to keep herself together. She wasn't done quite yet.

Elena dialed Damon's number, she waited for him to answer but the phone kept ringing until it finally went to voicemail. Shaking, she tried Stefan, who picked up on the second ring.

"Elena, are you alright?"

"I'm fine, I'm okay. Are you alright?"

Stefan ran a hand through his hair. He wasn't alright, he was worried for his brother, for his friends, for the girl he loves and even for himself. "Yeah, I'm alright. Listen, have you talked to Damon? I've been trying to reach him but he's not answering."

"I just called him but he never answered."

"Damn," Stefan could hear Caroline rapidly approaching; his stomach plummeted at the thought of having to break the news to her. A second set of footsteps joined hers and Stefan recognized Elijah emerging next to the blonde, "Keep trying him for me, will you? I have to talk to Caroline about something."

Elena felt her heart stop, "About what, Stefan? What happened?"

"Klaus is dead." Stefan was't sure which hurt more, the look of fear that flashed across Caroline's face followed by her expression caving in as the realization set, or the pain that spread across Elijah's because he had lost his brother. There was no noise on the other side from Elena, nothing at all and that worried Stefan more than anything else, "Elena? Elena?"

"I'm here," her body felt as if she had taken a dip in ice water, everything was numb. "I thought that Bonnie-"

"I don't know what happened. I haven't talked to her yet. All I know is what Damon told me before he had to hang up." Caroline disappeared through the trees leaving just Elijah and Stefan standing together, "Listen, just stay inside okay? Until we figure this all out. Just stay with Matt and Jeremy."

She wondered if she should tell him that she loved him, that he changed her life and picked her up in the darkest point and showed her how it felt to live again. She wondered if she should tell him how he used to give her butterflies, or how just looking at him made even her worst days better. Instead she sucked in a sob and pressed her fingers to her lips.

"Hey, its going to be okay. We're gonna figure it out, Elena." He knew she was crying on the other side of the phone, he knew she thought that she was losing everything she loved but she had to have faith. "Say you know its going to be alright."

"Its going to be alright," she knew it was going to be alright, it had to be alright. Because if she didn't fix it now, nothing would ever be alright again. "Be safe, Stefan."

He chuckled humorlessly, "Always. I love you-" The phone cut off before he could finish and Stefan stared down at the screen with a sense of dread.

Elena tried Damon again, by the third ring she was about to hang up and redial when his rough voice poured in through the other end. "Damon, Damon, are you okay?"

"Never been better," Damon watched the monster that controlled his best friend's body start to stand again and he knew he had to make the call fast, "Listen, Klaus is dead and-"

"I know, Stefan told me."

"Stefan told you? Are you with him now?"

"No," Elena stared out at the dark forest, "I'm not, I'm in my car."

Strangely enough, Damon felt a spark inside of hope surge inside of him, a little bit of fight appeared that he thought he had lost. "You're in the car- oh fuck," Alaric swung at him, barely missing his chest and Damon kicked out, sending him flying into the concrete wall. "Elena, listen to me, I want you to know that-"

"I know, Damon." Elena stated simply, unable to quash the sob that had lodged itself in her throat. "I know, and its going to be okay, everything is going to be okay."

"Of course it is," Damon responded bitterly, "You're still not listening though, I want you to know that I love-" Alaric smashed into him, sending his phone halfway across the room, completely out of his reach.

Elena stared down at her screen, listening to the sounds them fighting for a moment longer before closing the call and stepping out of the car. Three more calls to make, she thought as she walked over to the rock and sat herself down, knees pulled up against her chest.

"Elena," Bonnie was shocked to see her friend's name flash on her phone, "is everything okay?"

"Tell me everything is going to be fine, Bonnie." There was a desperate urgency to her voice, a tremor that she couldn't stop any longer. "Tell me they all aren't going to die."

Bonnie flexed her fingers and glanced up at the sky. Oh how she had messed with the balances of nature, she had gone against everything she had been told to respect in order to save her friends, in order to save her family, in order to stand up for herself. "They're going to be fine, Elena. No one's going to die tonight."

"Thank you, Bonnie." Elena sniffled into the phone, her lips curved into a sad smile. "Thank you for everything, you are the best friend a girl can ask for. I love you so much."

"I love you t-"

Elena ended the call and dialed Caroline hastily, her phone continued to ring and all Elena was left with was her voicemail. "Care, its me. I wanted to tell you how much I love you and how great of a friend you are. You've come so far, Care, and you've changed so much and I am so blessed to have had a friend like you. You and Bonnie were like the sisters I never had and I love you both so, so much. Take care of them, Caroline. Please."

Placing her phone in her lap, she exhaled out a long, tense breath and took a vial out of her jacket pocket. Back when she had first succumbed to the fact that she was going to die, Elijah had presented her with an elixir which would bring her back from the dead after they killed Klaus. She had never used the elixir however, since Damon had forcibly fed her his blood which rendered it useless.

Long after Klaus had re-daggered Elijah and taken Stefan, Elena had found the elixir sitting on the desk. Without much cause or reason, she pocked it and headed home, storing it away in her sock drawer next to a few valuable items of her mother's. Now, she swirled the yellow liquid around before uncapping it and draining the whole vial.

The thing they learned about the elixir afterwards was that it wouldn't have worked on her. The curse of the doppleganger didn't allow silly things like tiny vials and magic potions to bring her back to life. The Petrova fire gave her a bit of a loophole when John sacrificed his life for hers, blood to blood can bring back a life, an elixir would only end it.

Closing her eyes, Elena suddenly felt very tired. As if the weight of the world had finally come crashing down on her and was dragging her along with it. Memories from a time so long ago flashed through her eyes, memories of light and joy, of her parents and Jenna. Matt, Caroline, Bonnie, Jeremy, and even Tyler all flittered through her fuzzy dreams of pink and yellow and warm thoughts.

Reaching for her phone, she hazily scrolled for a name in her phonebook. Elena was unsure if the ringing was coming from the other line or her ears, but she kept on waiting, humming a lullaby as best as she could while each breath she took started to become shorter.

She could vaguely hear him talking, his voice desperate as he tried to get a response out of her. "Take care of Jeremy," she mumbled, her body swaying slightly, tipping over the side of the rock. "I trust you, I trusted you to take care of the ones I loved before and I trust you to take care of him now."

"Tell me where you are."

"Give me," she suddenly felt lightheaded, struggling for breath, she managed to choke out her last words, "your word."

"I give you my word, Elena. I will take care of Jeremy, I promise you."

The phone slipped out of her hand, landing on the ground with a shattering thunk. Her body tilted, nerve endings going numb as she gently slipped off of the rock and into the darkness.

xx

Dear Diary,

Today will be different. It has to be. I will smile and it will be believable. A smile that will say "I am fine, thank you… Yes, I feel much better." I will no longer be the sad little girl who lost her parents, her guardians and her life. Who has caused the destruction of all she held dear and continued to do so until her final breath. I will wake up, start fresh, be someone new. It's the only way I can make it through the rest of my forever.

Chapter Text

Elijah wasn’t a risk taker. 

No, risks held no appeal to him. Unlike Niklaus, Kol or- at times- even Rebekah, who seemed to enjoy taking risks and gambling the odds. He did not enjoy knowing that the odds were unbalanced, placed in an unfavorable position against him. There was too much of a risk in gambling, too much room for error and disorder. Error and disorder were entirely unnecessary and had no room in his plans. Those reasons, among many others, were the reasons he didn’t gamble- not with cards or with people. 

He wasn’t a gambling man, but as times changed- as he, himself, changed- if he had to place a bet on anyone...it would have been Elena Gilbert. And, if he remembered his gambling terms well enough, he’d go ‘all in.’

When Elijah had returned back to Mystic Falls once again, it was with only two sole intentions: to apologize to Elena for all the pain he- and his family- had caused and to take his brother’s body back with him. Both intentions were complete gambles, even if he deluded himself into believing they weren't.

But, he needed to have his brother safe and sound and not in the hands of the Salvatores.

Elijah had no intention of waking Niklaus- regardless of any promises made. 

No, instead, he was going to place his brother in a nice, secure location to stay for a couple of centuries in order to teach him a hard lesson- and perhaps even some of the manners he had long forgotten.

They were all due for a lesson or two; his family especially, with their disconcert over innocent life and their petulance towards murder for entertainment purposes. Once enough time had passed, once his promise to Elena had been fulfilled and her linage was safe, he would reunite his brother with their family so that they could all deal with him as one whole unit, as an undivided family. The way things should be. 

He had decided it would also be best for them to move away, possibly back to their homeland or somewhere else where they could start anew and attempt to restore their broken family bond. They had made themselves monsters, but perhaps, over the expanses of time and extreme measures of patience, they could make things right.

But, as all gambles go, things always don’t play out the way they are expected to. 

And though Elena kept her word, as Elijah knew she would, it was the other factors- especially the one of the mass killing machine once known as Alaric Saltzman- that caused the shift of balance. The change was so quick, faster than a human blink of an eye, that no one had time to reshuffle the cards and deal out another plan of attack.

Elijah had been back to the house his family had inhabited to pick up a few things he had left behind, when the playing field had changed. He had taken his time; walked through the now empty rooms, remembering when his family had been nearly happy and whole once more. He had been optimistic, yet slightly suspicious of his mother’s intentions, but overall hoping for a desirable change. 

Not too soon after, he had discovered his mother’s true intentions; proving his previous suspicions to be correct after all. His kind, gentle mother was gone and Ester had played her role perfectly. 

Until she made her only mistake: entrusting Elena to keep such a lie from him.

His mother was unaware of the fact that Elijah had come to know Elena better than he knew himself at times. Elena was the easiest book for him to read once he stopped underestimating her and opened his eyes to the fact that she was no where near the helpless human he had pegged her to be. 

She had constantly proved him wrong each time, surprising him with her steely resolve and determination. She had reminded him of all the things he loved about being human, of all the things he wished he could still be. 

Their partnership had been rocky, both of them had made mistakes they would later regret, but somehow forgiveness had been granted on both of their parts. Elena was no Tatia, nor was she Katerina; she was a warrior in her own right and that fact alone made him proud to have her trust placed in him.

He had confronted Elena not too long after his mother’s impromptu ball and was given the truth. Anger had taken control of him, blinded him and turned him into the monster he had strived not to be. 

Even through his anger, he had seen the regret written plainly all over Elena’s face when she had come clean about his mother’s cruel intentions. There was shame mixed in there, fear of losing the trust they had created and fully exposed sorrow over the fact that she didn’t want anyone else to die other than his malicious brother. Elijah had never been quite so serious as when he had told Elena that her compassion was a gift. It was utterly remarkable how she never ceased to amaze him. 

Now, as he held his regret for hurting her and using her so, close to his heart along with her forgiveness, he watched as Stefan slowly broke to him the news he never really believed he would hear. 

The words Stefan formed computed slowly in Elijah’s mind but he couldn’t seem to quite piece them together; there was no possible way for them to be true. Their plan had gone smoothy, each player had played their part without flaw but somehow things had gone horribly wrong.

Niklaus was dead.

His baby brother was gone, ripped away from him before he could apologize for the things they have said to one another, for the things he had done because he believed them to be noble and true. Elijah would never be able to express to Niklaus how much he did love him, how much he meant to him; and even though he may have been completely mental, they were still family.

Elijah had never felt pain so strong before. Never had he felt as if his own heart had been ruthlessly ripped from his chest and unceremoniously stepped on without qualm. His brother, the bratty kid who tried to best him at everything and wanted to be a warrior when he grew up, was gone. His brother, who had laughed along with him while they toyed with Finn and Kol, and gently teased Rebekah, was now taken from him, from their family.

Niklaus was truly dead and there wasn’t a damn thing he could do about it.

It should have been I who had gone to retrieve Klaus' spelled body. Elijah thought as he slammed his fist against the trunk of an oak. I should have been the one who went to obtain his body rather than Rebekah. Perhaps things would have played out differently. 

Maybe he would have been able to save his brother.

His baby brother.

He might have been a monster. He might have been cruel, controlling and on the verge of being a complete psychopath, but that had been his brother, the only family he had throughout these long, tumultuous years. There wasn’t a part of Elijah, not one single part, that didn’t love Niklaus with all he had. He might have hated his brother at times- he might have gotten so vengeful, so hellbent on seeking petty revenge for his brother’s selfishness that he had forgotten the love he had for him- but it had never faded. 

Even then, after years of preparation to kill Niklaus, he couldn’t do it. Not only because of his brother’s promise to reunite their family, but because he was staring down at his brother, his hand buried deep against his heart; all he saw was a younger Niklaus staring up at him, eyes wide and hopeful and so full of love. The bond he had formed when taking care of Niklaus as a young child, from watching him grow into a gangly teen and transform into a strong man, had never wavered. His need to protect Niklaus, to shield him from the horrors of what they had become, and to take away his pain worked in various ways. He never would have been able to carry out his plans, no matter how deep his delusion of hatred had been. 

Elijah had loved his brother: Always and forever. 

Stefan appeared off to his side; his face was impassive but Elijah perceived both fear in his eyes and layers of sorrow. Elijah was not about to be the only one tonight that would lose a brother. “I’m sorry, Elijah. I know it isn’t much. I know we weren’t really friends. But I am sorry.”

“As am I, Stefan. I never wished for this to happen. I hope you understand that it was never my intention for anyone else to get hurt.”

“I know,” Stefan glanced at his phone, contemplating calling Elena to see what was up but instead he decides on trying to get a hold of his brother once more. “No one blames you. There’s nothing you could have done. Not this time at least.”

Elijah watched him walk away with a heavy gaze, tears threatened to fall and he wondered when was the last time he actually let himself cry.

Now was not the time for such a slip of his emotions, however. He had to get to Rebekah first, he had to make sure that she was alright, that she wasn’t out hurt somewhere or destroying a small village. If there was anyone would would take the death of Niklaus worse than him, it would be Rebekah. She and Niklaus were undeniably close, even through their rough spots, there was a bond between them that remained unshakeable.

He was also aware that the last time Rebekah and Niklaus had spoken, harsh words had been traded and she had stormed out of the house, leaving him behind.

Reaching for his phone, he went to dial her number with unsteady fingers but paused at the sound of approaching footsteps.

She emerged from the trees, eyes glassy from crying, her body shaking. “He’s gone, Elijah. He’s gone and there was nothing I could do to stop it.”

He moved quickly, crushing her body against his own. His hand came up to cradle the back of her head as she cried against his shoulder. “It is not your fault, Rebekah.”

“I couldn’t stop it,” her breath was hot against his neck. He could feel the slick trails of tears against his skin as she fisted the back of his jacket into her hands and cried for the loss of their brother, her best friend. “He was right there in front of me, and I was too late.”

Elijah moved her head back to frame her face with his hands, thumbing away tears. “ It is not your fault, please do not place the blame upon yourself. You did all you could for him, you always put him first and loved him with all your heart.”

“I just can’t believe he’s actually gone.” 

“Neither can I.”

She burrowed herself back into his arms and cried until her eyes were sore and there was nothing left but dry, broken sobs. Rebekah didn’t move from his embrace, instead she relaxed against the warmth of her brother, letting him gently sooth her while she tried to think of the right things to say to make it better for the both of them.

But nothing could make it better, Klaus was gone. Nik was gone and now she had no one. He had been the only one to never leave her and what did she do in return? She left him in a petty tantrum, which only resulted in his death. She may not have set him on fire herself, but she played her own part in his downfall. For that she will never forgive herself, but she can try to be there for her remaining family now more than ever.

At least, after she took care of a few loose ends in Mystic Falls first. Starting with the doppleganger wench and her boy toys. They caused this. It was them and their stupid plans and their idiotic need to keep Elena safe and human. Perhaps she would turn Elena just to see the horror on both of the Salvatore’s faces when their precious girlfriend became one of them.

Then she’d stick a stake straight through her heart, or maybe even her back, for poetic justice.

--

Elijah was only half paying attention to their conversation about Kol’s whereabouts only a while later. Rebekah had composed herself just enough to sniffle out a question about their missing sibling- a question that Elijah could not answer in full.

Instead of listening to her musings over were Kol could possibly be causing trouble, Elijah's mind was off somewhere else, confused on why all of those who stemmed from Klaus’ sired line were still alive despite the fact that his brother was dead. He brought it up to Rebekah only a few moments later and she confirmed that it was indeed Klaus who had sired Mary.

But, how could that be? Elijah wondered as he and Rebekah stood alone in the forest, planning out their next move. 

If Klaus was the origin of their line, then why hadn’t the Salvatore brothers perished by now? 

“We will still have to separate,” at Rebekah’s forlorn expression, he gently squeezed her hand in reassurance. “Not for long, sister. Just long enough to make sure the Salvatores don’t have anything up their sleeves.”

“Why does it matter? They’ve already taken enough from us, Elijah. If they try to come after us again, they will have brought their fates upon themselves!”

Elijah made a soft noise of annoyance in the back of his throat, “Rebekah, lets be rational. This town no longer offers us anything of use. We have unfortunately- and unnecessarily- drained this town dry of life, nothing remains here but memories that are better left forgotten. It is time for our family to finally leave Mystic Falls behind.”

Rebekah didn’t look completely on board with his plan; he could see her emotions flickering back and forth with uncertainty. 

Truthfully, he hadn’t expected her to readily agree. Elijah had known from the start that she’d end up sticking around, waiting for their brother to magically appear out of no where with his signature smirk and a sea of hybrids behind him. While that future was highly unlikely, it still might have a slight possibility considering the current status of the Salvatores. But that gamble, as small as it may be, was not enough for Elijah to bet on; so he’d take what he knew for certain and go.

“Fine, you do what you want, Elijah. I have a few things to take care of here first and then I will track down our elusive younger brother, and we will find you.”

“As you wish,” he moved quickly, embracing her once more before placing a kiss to her forehead. “Though I do request that you try to stay out of trouble to the best of your ability.”

“I make no promises, brother dear.” With that comment she disappeared, leaving him alone with the rustling of the leaves and his own dim thoughts.

Elijah waited a few moments before stuffing his hands into his pockets, giving the surrounding area one final glance before starting off towards his car. Inside his jacket pocket, his phone began to buzz. Puzzled, he flipped it open and stared down at the Caller ID.

Elena.

“Elena?” He could hear her breathing, each breath she took sounded shallower than the first and Elijah felt worry spring into his chest. “Elena, where are you? Are you alright?” She was humming slightly, a tune that he could remember hearing years ago, “Elena?” His voice became more urgent each time her name rolled off his tongue. Listening closely he tried to pick up on any surrounding sounds but there was only her shallow breathing and the soft rustling of the wind.

“Take care of Jeremy,” finally she spoke; it came out a mumbled whisper but Elijah focused in enough on her voice to make out what she was saying. “I trust you. I trusted you to take care of the ones I loved before and I trust you to take care of him now.”

He had to find her, he had to make sure that she was okay. Something was wrong, something was very, very wrong and he couldn’t- she couldn’t die. Not tonight, not ever. “Tell me where you are.”

She struggled for breath, he could hear the sheer amount of effort she was putting into it to choose her words carefully. “Give me,” there was a long pause and Elijah felt his heart drop straight to his feet. She couldn’t have died, not yet, not before he could find her. Then he heard it, just barely, a intake of breath, “your word.”

“I give you my word, Elena. I will take care of Jeremy, I promise you.” As soon as the words slipped from his mouth he heard the phone clatter to the ground, “Elena!” There was a loud thump afterwards, presumably her own body falling- but the fall had been long, and the sound of her hitting the ground had echoed.

Instantly he knew where she was.

Elijah moved faster than he had moved in years, speeding past trees and dodging various rocks and debris in his way. 

It took him only a few moments to arrive at the spot where he used to play as a child, only a few moments to reach the hole in which he had dropped her into the day he used to her as bait. She had been smart to use this area, no one would be coming here for any reasons what so ever. Her friends already had pictures of the drawings inside of the cave and with the anti-vampire protection, half of them couldn’t even get in to begin with.

“Elena?”

Jumping down, it took his eyes only a nanosecond to adjust to the darkness. He could smell her, she was close enough to him, but where? Listening intently, he waited to hear the heartbeat he’d grown to memorize but all he heard was the dripping of the cavern and his own footsteps. “No.”

There she was, as beautiful as ever- even in death. Her hair was spread over her face, obscuring it from his view but he knew that her eyes would be closed, her face pale and void of all emotion. Her body was contorted at an odd angle due to the fall and Elijah scooped her up easily, tucking her against his side as he jumped out of the cave. He laid her down on the rock and ran a hand down her arm. Falling to his knees beside her, he wondered where it all went so wrong. 

He bowed his head for a moment, a small prayer formed upon his lips. Elijah wasn’t a religious man, his mother had been a witch and his father had no time for such beliefs. He only remembered a single prayer the people of their town had said whenever a member had passed away. He recited it now before standing, brushing the dirt off of his suit and trying not to feel completely and utterly at a loss of how to proceed.

Elijah knew that he had to inform the Salvatores, but doing so in the middle of the forest did not seem to be the best option. Carrying her to her car, he placed Elena gently in the backseat, draping the blanket she had stored on the floorboard over her body. He drove her home, there he would call the Salvatores and watch over Jeremy as he had promised.

His plans were once again changing, it seemed that leaving Mystic Falls was no longer an option. Now that he had the care of only Gilbert left under his watchful eye. Pinching at the bridge of his noise, he let out a long sigh and pulled into Elena’s driveway. Shockingly enough, the Salvatores where no where to be found, however her friend Matt’s truck was still parked off to the side.

Before he could step out another car pulled in behind him. A young woman with dark hair hastily stepped out of the vehicle, almost tripping as she sped up to the front door and started vigorously knocking. Elijah noted that she was still in her scrubs and concluded that she had to be the doctor Elena had referred to once before- the one that used vampire blood to heal humans.

Stepping out, he moved quietly over to the door and watched her for a moment before speaking. “May I help you?”

Meredith felt her heart jump straight up into her throat at the sound of a smooth voice coming from behind her. Startled, she placed her hand to her chest and turned to the stranger. He was instantly recognizable, “You’re Elijah.”

“And you are Dr. Fell,” Elijah supplied with a curt, yet polite nod. “I suppose introductions are no longer in order.”

“I guess not,” Meredith rubbed at the back of her neck and nervously checked her watch, she had only a few more minutes before she was due back at the hospital. “Look, do you know where Elena is? I have to check in on her.”

Elijah’s face fell, “Elena is...”

Meredith couldn’t help but gasp, more out of fear than shock, “No, oh God, no. What have I done?”

“I don’t know,” he was puzzled at her sudden change, “what have you done exactly, Doctor?” Her complexion slowly started to pale, hands nervously raked through her hair and it didn’t take a genius to put two and two together. It always ended up equaling four. “You gave her vampire blood in order to heal her, didn’t you?”

“Yes, her head injury was worse than I had originally let on to Jeremy. It wasn’t just a simple bump on her head! I didn’t want to worry him so I gave her some blood to help heal her because otherwise she would have died.”

“Only now, she is quite literally dead, isn’t she?” Elijah shook his head in exasperation, this night was just chalk full of surprises. This was the last time he ever made a deal with anyone in this town again, he couldn’t keep handling these types of strange upsets. “Well then, that does pose quite a problem.” Rethinking his plans once more, he first had to take care of the hyperventilating doctor in front of him and then move on to more urgent matters. “Doctor Fell,” she didn’t turn to look at him, instead she started to mumble to herself, pacing back and forth across the porch. “Doctor Fell,” he said it a bit more sternly this time and she turned, eyes widening under stress. 

“I’m on vervain,” she said it weakly, her hands flying up to put space between them, as if that was going to help her at all.

Elijah gave her a quick once over and a ghost of a smile appeared on his face, “There is no vervain currently in your system. It seems someone has been a bit forgetful, hmm?” He stepped closer to her, placing both hands under her elbow and tugged her close, staring into her eyes. “You did not inject Elena Gilbert with vampire blood. What you had previously told Jeremy was the truth. She simply bumped her head and needed some rest, that is all.”

Meredith felt her body sway; her mind felt jumbled and for a second there was a resistance to the new information her brain was committing to memory, overriding the truth, but it was gone before she could focus on what had previously been there. “Elena’s fine, she just bumped her head, nothing to worry about.” 

“Yes, precisely, now get back into your car and return to the hospital. You never visited this house tonight, instead you went out for a coffee and some fresh air to clear your head.” 

Elijah watched her walk back to her car and drive away. He never did enjoy compelling others to do what he wanted; it was never truly fair and was just way too easy for him to get what he desired. Though he did have to agree that compulsion was faster and generated the results he wanted, which left him at a neutral standpoint with a slight twinge of guilt.

Starting back towards Elena’s car, he figured he should have taken his own instead. It would have been smarter to leave her things back at the woods for her friends to find them. But how was he supposed to have known she had vampire blood in her system?

He did not enjoy being thrown, that's for sure. Even if the surprise was a pleasant one, it was a surprise nevertheless.

Leaving her car parked here would throw her friends off and cause suspicion. He’d have to drive back to the woods and switch vehicles. Another change to his plans, he thought with a slight frown.

“My lovely Elena, what am I going to do with you now?” Elijah opened the trunk and considered grabbing some of Jeremy’s things - and Jeremy himself- to toss in there before leaving the Gilbert house once more, but there were already four impressive sized bags packed and a large cooler.

Opening up the cooler, Elijah’s head tilted to the side and his lips quirked into an impressed smirk. “Well, well, well. Looks like you’ve had this all planned out after all, didn’t you, my dear? It seems that, once again, the tables have turned.” Fingering one of the many blood bags she had stacked inside, he closed the lid and then the trunk. 

Apparently Elena Gilbert was more than aware that she was not going to stay dead and had planned on their mutual trust as a backup plan.

It was another way of her reminding him to never quite underestimate her and what she was capable of. 

“Back to the woods we go.”

--

Pulling up for the second, and hopefully final, time to the Gilbert house that evening, Elijah was once again was surprised to see no other cars present. Matt’s truck was still there, but the house remained dark and seemingly vacant. Glancing back to where Elena rested, he locked the car and started for the front door. “Jeremy?” Peering inside, he listened intently and finally stepped in once he was sure the coast was clear. 

When he had moved Elena from her car to his, a note fell from her jacket pocket. Inside of it were clear instructions for him to follow. The first was to find Jeremy, the second to grab the bags she had packed for him inside his closet, and the third was to leave without a trace.

He had laughed at her neat instructions and could picture her writing them, a knowing grin on her face despite her looming fate. She had chosen this, if she had not wanted to complete the transition, then there would be no need for blood bags or needles filled with vervain.

It was not what Elijah would have wanted for the girl who had desperately held on to her humanity with trembling hands, but he would respect her decision and carry out her wishes as asked. He knew better than to doubt Elena Gilbert; once she set her mind to something, it was final.

He found Matt and Jeremy on the couch. A cup hung from Jeremy’s hand and Elijah gently took it from him, giving it a curious sniff. Smart girl, he thought with a wry grin, she had drugged them with just enough to knock them out for a few hours so that she could sneak out and they would be safe at home. 

Moving quickly, he grabbed Jeremy’s things, along with Elena’s teddy that she had left on her bed and a single photo of herself, Bonnie and Caroline. Making his way through the kitchen to pick up some food for Jeremy, curiosity got the best of him and Elijah gave in to the blinking red light of her answering machine.

He listened to her messages with a solemn expression, he could hear the pain and heartache in her voice as she said her final goodbyes to the people she loved the most. 

Marking both messages as unread, he gave the blinking light one more glance before tossing the bags and food into the trunk and hefting Jeremy over his shoulder.

“I do hope you won’t put up too much of a fight when you awaken, Jeremy.” Elijah muttered to the unconscious teen as he buckled him in. “I am not in the mood to deal with your lack of manners and crude behavior.”

Pulling out of her driveway, Elijah let out a long breath and squared his shoulders.

This was going to be one hell of a ride.

Chapter Text

Jeremy awoke slowly, a pool of drool strayed from his mouth onto his forearm.

His left leg was asleep, his right was tucked under him. He could feel the way his arm was cramped, cradling his head. The stiff back and curved position was a parallel from when he was younger. How he used to curl up in the seat of their old Explorer in order to take a nap or listen to his music, broodingly silently while gazing out at the scenery.

He had ended up in the same position countless of times during their family road trips. The seatbelt pressed up against his throat, his head smacking against the window as he dozed on and off while Elena read beside him and their parents sang along to songs on the radio.

Jeremy nodded forward, his eyes drooping slightly as he tried to wake himself up. He felt groggier than normal, waking up was never usually this hard and his dreams had never been so vividly real. Wiping at his eyes, he tugged at the seatbelt that was suffocating him and moved to stretch.

It was then that Jeremy realized three things:

One, that he was, in fact, in a car.

Two, that he had no idea who's car this actually was.

And, three, he was totally confused on how he got into the car in the first place.

Turning to the side, he opened his mouth to ask who he presumed to be his sister- or one of the Salvatores. His mouth closed quickly at the sight of Elijah driving along, one hand on the wheel and a pair of dark sunglasses on his face. "What the hell?"

Elijah turned to him and raised a sole eyebrow, "Do you always wake up in the morning screaming profanities, or is this just a special occasion?"

"Elijah?"

"Hello, Jeremy."

"Are you kidnapping me?"

"Not exactly, no."

"What do you mean, not exactly? What the hell am I doing in your car? Where are we going? How did you even get me in here- did you compel me?"

Elijah sighed; there was no disputing the fact that his earlier sentiment had rang true. This was going to be one hell of a trip. "I meant what I said: not exactly. You're sitting in it, I thought that part was quite obvious. We are currently traveling towards a nice hotel to stop over for the night. I picked you up and put you in here. No, I did not compel you- you were already unconscious, the work had already been done for me."

"I was unconscious?"

"Yes."

"How did I get that way?"

"You were drugged."

"You drugged me?" Jeremy's voice turned shrill and Elijah's hand instantly clamped over his mouth, his eyes glanced back almost nervously to Elena's still form.

"Try to keep your voice down. She has not awoken just yet. I can only hope she continues her slumber until we have reached the hotel and are settled in. Your yelling is just going to have to wait for the time being."

He turned then, whipping himself around so fast that the seatbelt locked him into place, securing him against the seat. "Elena," fury rose in Jeremy's tone and Elijah had no doubt in his mind that the youngest Gilbert was trying to create a plan to dagger him, or at least slow him down. He had to give the young boy credit, only the strongest form of love would have a human going up against one of the oldest vampires on Earth in order to save his sister. He regarded him with slight amusement, though his facial expressions remained still. "What did you do to her?"

Elijah flicked on his turning signal, shooting Jeremy a bland look as he did so. "Why must I be the one to have done something towards her?"

"You're the one kidnapping us!"

"I am not kidnapping you, for the final time." His tone was stern; there would be no more argument over the matter.

"You know I can just ask Elena when she wakes up right?"

"I'd advise against that plan, Jeremy. Your sister isn't in complete control of her thoughts or her actions, you being too close to her will trigger her basic instincts and she will be forced do things that will haunt her for the rest of eternity." Elijah's voice was quiet yet forceful, "You wouldn't want that, would you?"

No control, basic instincts, the rest of eternity...what... "No, no, no. Not Elena. She wouldn't want this, what did you do?"

"Once again with the ignorant assumptions."

"You should just tell me what happened, its either that or I call Stefan and he comes and gets us. I doubt he'd be too happy with all of this."

"I do believe that feat will prove to be a bit difficult for you. Seeing as you don't have a phone currently in your possession, and- even if you did- I severely doubt you have either of the Salvatore brothers' numbers committed to memory."

Jeremy slid down further in the seat. Elijah was right, he didn't know Stefan or Damon's number and he really didn't want to have to call them. He could call Caroline, or even Matt- Bonnie, too, if he got desperate enough. But first he had to figure out why Elijah had taken him in the first place.

"Why did you do this?"

"Because," Elijah responded with an almost saddened smile, "you sister requested it of me. Her dying wish was for me to watch over you, young Jeremy, and I would not be the man I am- the one she entrusted you to- if I denied Elena such a request." He fell back into his normal stoic expression, once again closing himself off. "It was only a short period later in which I became aware of her original plan. With the newfound information in hand, I adapted my own plans to include it."

"Why? Why didn't you just keep your promise to take care of me and leave Elena in Mystic Falls?"

"Leave her with the Salvatores? She'd have a better chance surviving with a pack of rabid animals than with the likes of those two." Elijah chuckled at his own joke, "Nevertheless, I have a firm belief that your sister planned on disappearing and attempting to face her transition on her own. Seeing as that plan of hers was laced with nothing but trouble and nativity, I decided to offer another more reasonable solution- which not only included her being able to stay with her brother, but also a helping hand while she adapts. Transitions are never easy, Jeremy. You have little to no control over yourself and if one is left alone the results are always grim."

"I feel like I should thank you, but I don't exactly trust you- no offense."

"It takes more than an offhand comment from an irritated teenager to offend me, Jeremy."

Jeremy continued on if Elijah hadn't interrupted, "I do have to say...I am glad that she'll have someone to help her, even if she never wanted this in the first place." Chewing on his lower lip, he scrutinized Elijah, "You two sure do seem to make deals a lot."

"Your sister's decisions were entirely her own, I cannot tell you the reasons behind them simply because I don't know them. Only she can give them to you. However, I will stand by her choices and respect them. She is a bright, competent woman, Jeremy. She knew what she was doing."

"I know. Thats what scares me."

Elijah broke his facade without realization; laughter slipped through his lips, shattering his expressionless mask. "She does not always make the most well informed decisions, does she?"

Jeremy tried his hardest to fight back a smile, "No. She really, really doesn't." Staring out the window, he tried to place the scenery around him. Whether it was the fact that his brain was still lagging from his drug-induced sleep, or the fact that they were moving fast enough to blur the edges of his vision, Jeremy had no clue where they were.

Stretching his sore muscles, he glanced at the dashboard. The clock told him it was a quarter to two in the afternoon. Elena's friends- their friends- would be looking for him, and her, by now. He wondered how long it would take them to realize they were no where in the direct vicinity of Mystic Falls. Jeremy also wondered if they knew Elena was a... that she was dead.

The v-word throbbed at the base of his skull. He could feel the weight of guilt and depression settle back into his chest. How long would it be before she was taken from him? Each and every time someone he loved was turned into a vampire, they died not too soon after their transitions. It had first been with the first girl he offered his heart to, then the first girl he truly loved, then the one that he loved but couldn't fully give himself to, and finally the only parent he had left.

Each time, the women he cared about were turned and then staked through the heart. Lost to him.

He couldn't- no. He wouldn't have that happen to his sister. She was all he had in this world. The only reason he didn't turn back to the drugs and the pills and the booze. She was the reason he remembered that getting up in the morning meant something. Elena was his family, she was the only family he had left and he would rather die than lose her.

"What are you going to do with her?"

Elijah noted Jeremy's raspy tone; how it was laced with deep, dark emotions and a quiver of fear. He had never truly interacted with the youngest Gilbert. They were aware of one another, words had been exchanged in passing, looks were give in times of tension but never had they had a one-on-one conversation before.

Despite the boy's lack of manners and abrupt manner of speaking, Elijah found him quite fascinating. Even if Elena was not his true sister, one would never be able to tell, unless some sort of DNA was pulled. The love and devotion Jeremy held for his sister was something Elijah respected. Their loyalty and devotion to family was some sort of common ground.

A ground that Elijah wouldn't mind exploring.

"You believe I plan to kill her."

"Aren't you?"

"Planning to kill Elena?" Elijah's tone turned aloof, "It may make things a bit easier. I wouldn't have to worry about excessive bloodshed- or having to keep a watchful eye over her newborn form. However, I doubt it would make you complacent in the long run."

Jeremy's back stiffened; his heart was racing in his chest, palms sweating with fear and growing adrenaline. He could surprise the Original by grabbing the wheel, jerking the car enough to wake Elena so that they could make a run for it.

She wouldn't hurt him. He was sure of it.

Elijah noted the uptempo of Jeremy's heartbeat but made no indication towards the change. "I suppose it is a scenario we can consider for the time being."

"It's not," Jeremy could barely catch his breath, "Its not a scenario at all. I won't let you hurt her. You'd have to go through me first."

"Such a statement," Elijah's eyes lingered on Jeremy's chest and fear tingled in the younger boy's spine. The tale of Elijah ripping the hearts out of two vampires raced through Jeremy's mind, "could be easily arranged."

Elijah huffed at the strange expression on Jeremy's face. How on Earth did he end up in such a position again? Ah, yes, one Elena Gilbert. The madwoman herself and her even madder plans. She would be his undoing, he was sure of it.

If not his undoing, then surely the loss of his sanity could be placed upon her shoulders. "I do hope that your affinity to speak without consideration to your poor choice of words will diminish over the years. You are going to end up on the wrong side of one of your thoughtless statements one of these days, Jeremy."

Jeremy scowled, "I'd rather have that happen than have you hurt my sister."

"Right, yes, of course." Elijah could feel the tension build in the back of his neck; ignoring it, he let his mind wander for a moment. "Hmm. Perhaps you do me the favor of answering a question of mine, young Jeremy?"

"Whatever."

"I do apologize, but the last time I checked 'whatever' was not considered an appropriate answer to a question." Elijah rolled his eyes. Teenagers these days, so eloquent with their words.

Blinking, Jeremy scrutinized Elijah's form before slowly answering, "Yes. Ask away."

With a nod, he turned to fix Jeremy with a concentrated stare. It didn't last long, the road called for his attention more than the young boy next to him did. Young boy or not, Elijah had no time to coddle Jeremy. He was old enough to be treated with the respect he so desperately tried to command. "Why do believe I wish to harm your sister?"

"I-"

"If," Elijah carried on, "I had panned to harm her. Would it not have made more sense to leave her with the Salvatores, or perhaps even snap her neck as soon as I became aware of her immortal state? Perhaps I could have alerted my sister- you are fully aware of her vendetta against Elena- or I could have let her be, she would have eventually sealed her own fate by staying in the venom filled town you call Mystic Falls."

"No offense and all, but isn't the proper etiquette for asking questions is to wait for the person to actually answer before you carry on?" Jeremy tried to quash the strange feeling of guilt that had stemmed from Elijah's small speech. He may have been an Original, but Elijah had always been forthcoming with his intentions. Except for when he rescinded on his word and didn't kill Klaus- causing one of the worst nights in Jeremy's memories.

Even though he tried to blame Elijah for not being able to go through with his promise- whatever strange bit of admiration, which had colored Jeremy's gaze when talks of Elijah had come up, diminished after that night.

And yet, a tiny part of him asked if he would have been able to do the same, if the shoe was on the other foot? Even if Elena was a psychopathic murderous vampire, would he be able to kill her, especially after spending countless amounts of lifetimes with her?

Probably not.

But, Jeremy wasn't going to admit that to Elijah, or anyone else for that matter. And, to be frank, he didn't have time to sympathize with the only Original who possessed the ability to really terrify Jeremy to the core. Not when Elena's life was at risk.

"You are correct. My apologies for carrying on in such an uncouth manner."

Jeremy glanced back out the window, he could see the storm clouds in the distance. The sky was streaked with oncoming rain and the mood seemed to fit their conversation quite perfectly. "To answer your question...You're an Original. Despite your deals with my sister, despite the fact that she trusts you even through all the shit you put her through, and despite the weird fact that you two have some wiggy, unspoken bond or something...I can't forget that fact." He exhaled slowly, "Everyone one of you wants her dead, I'm not about to make a stupid choice that rivals my sister's by not being suspicious of your intentions."

Elijah pressed his lips together, quietly considering Jeremy's response. It was true that half of his family- Niklaus and Rebekah to be exact- would rather have Elena dead. He found it intriguing how offended he became once Jeremy had grouped him into said half.

He never wanted harm to come to Elena- not even when he had left her with his sister. He knew that, not too far from where he had forced the ground to cave beneath their feet, there was a tunnel leading to where vampires could not cross. Elijah had never doubted Elena's affinity to find such loopholes, in fact, he had been hoping for it.

Of course, there had been the slip of underestimating Rebekah's hatred for Elena. His impulsiveness and blind actions had caused too much pain- and regret on his part. He never was one to act under pressure, his decisions were always rash. They were the ones made for all the wrong reasons that were cloaked to look as if they were all the right ones.

His shoulders sagged with remorse. Elijah replayed Jeremy's response once again before choosing his words carefully and with consideration for the boy next to him. "I care about your sister, Jeremy. She is a very special person, a very unique soul. The only one in existence. I respect her greatly- for her strengths and her weaknesses. Your worries are unprecedented. I have no plans for Elena."

"What?"

"I will aid her to the best of my abilities, give her my patience, and offer her a knowledgable hand with her transition and subsequent life afterwards. That being said, I will not force your sister to comply to any outrageous demands- though I am not above negotiating with her."

Jeremy didn't know why he trusted Elijah. Perhaps it was because of the way Elena spoke of him with such adoration, or the barely-there soft edge that appeared on Elijah's face whenever he spoke of her.

Perhaps it also had to do with heaviness Elena had carried with her after Elijah was daggered, each and every time. How her voice had broken over the phone when she called him, confused and angry, over her decisions at the Mikaelson's ball- sealing what she thought had been Elijah's fate.

Not to mention her decision to trust him, over and over again, despite everything.

If his sister could trust him, then, for some reason, Jeremy believed he could too.

Your word is all you have in this world, Jeremy. If you don't have your word, then you have nothing. His father's words rang through his ears, the memory was bitter sweet but Jeremy placed faith inside of it.

"Alright, I trust you, for some reasons that I don't feel like questioning right now. But! Just about Elena- don't get any other kind of ideas. This doesn't make us friends. The jury's still out on whether or not I should be trusting you in any sort of way overall."

Elijah raised an eyebrow in his direction, oddly moved by Jeremy's declaration. He didn't speak for quite some time, but when he did, it was a soft whisper of words that echoed throughout the car long after they had left his lips. "Thank you."

Chapter Text

Their conversation lulled, giving Jeremy some time to retreat back into his own mind and figure out a plan. He couldn’t make any rash decisions without Elena’s input. Seeing as she was...currently incapacitated (Jeremy made a mental note to ask Elijah about her prolonged sleeping state later) she wouldn’t be much help to him for quite some time.

He could call the house, or at least Caroline, when they got to the hotel. So they would know he was alright and Elena was, uh, dead. No need to look for a live body because, surprise guys, there isn’t one!

Of course that wouldn’t be fair to Elijah, who had already risked so much by bringing the both of them with him in the first place. It was a heavy risk, even if the big bad was dead, it wasn’t like his sister was going to sit around and play dolls while knowing that Elena was the indirect cause of his death. She had an agenda, anyone with a functioning brain could see that.

Bringing her back to Mystic Falls would also be a very, very bad idea. Elijah was right about Damon and Stefan, not that Jeremy cared to admit it, he did like the two brothers- to a point. He knew that they would want to help, but their two different methods would conflict and cause even more turmoil for Elena. Turmoil and stress that she didn’t need. 

It wasn’t like the situation with Caroline, who had just Stefan watching out for her- since Damon was basically uninterested in the blonde’s transition. Damon would be insistent on being there for Elena around the clock, never taking no for an answer. Stefan would be there too, and, knowing their friends, so would Caroline, Bonnie, Matt and probably even Tyler. 

All of them would want to help her, but Jeremy feared that it would just be too much.

Elena would want to get away; she wouldn’t want to have her friends watch her turn into the monster she never wished to be.

Not that Jeremy was going to let her become a monster. He knew her greatest fear would be that somehow, in some way, she’d become just like Katherine. 

Which was a silly thought. She wouldn’t, not only because she was nothing like the she-devil, but because she was unique, she was special and she was Elena.

If there was one person out there who was going to be the most stubborn, bullheaded vampire in transition, it would be Elena.

Strangely enough, he felt optimistic about her change. With the help of him and Elijah, she could be just like how she was before, only this time...undead.

Folding his arms so that his head could rest, Jeremy watched the storm clouds roll in. They were dark, nasty looking clouds. His stomach twisted in an involuntary gut reaction. He’d never been a big fan of storms, even to this day he’d sit by Elena’s bed and talk to her while the storm passed. If he felt worse enough, he’d crawl in next to her and let her fuss over him.

Now she was laying in the backseat, wrapped in a blanket, unable to comfort him.

Jeremy wasn’t sure if Elijah could read the sadness on his face, or if the older vampire noted the change of atmosphere in the car. Whatever it was that prompted Elijah to speak, Jeremy was glad that he had.

“We should be able to outrun the storm. It is moving quite quickly, however we aren’t very far from our destination.”

“Thats good news.”

“There is a letter in the back, inside of your luggage. It is from your sister. I have a feeling it shall answer some of your questions and brush upon your unasked ones.”

“Why can’t we pull over now, before the storm hits, so I can read it?”

“Because, young Jeremy, you deserve privacy when reading your sister’s dying words.”

Jeremy’s jaw flexed but he remained quiet. Elijah was respectfully correct- a quality he was starting to resent. Elena’s letter was going to be something he would need privacy and quite for. He didn’t need to be cramped into a passenger's seat with Elijah only a few feet away from her while he read.

“Thanks.”

Elijah seemed befuddled by the sincerity in Jeremy’s voice. He hadn’t done anything. Telling the boy about the letter was simply because he remembered it and wanted to inform him of its existence before it slipped his mind once again. 

That was all. It surely wasn’t because of the way Jeremy’s face seemed to crumple, or how his whole demeanor turned south.

“Of course.”

Jeremy could see Elena’s face in the window, he could see her smile and the way she laughed. He saw his sister the way she was now, the way she would always be. “So, can I ask you a question?” He needed a distraction, a change of subject away from his sister and the immediate future.

Shrugging a shoulder, Elijah slipped off his sunglasses and handed them to Jeremy to put away. “I suppose so.”

“How old are you?”

“I believe it is considered rude to ask someone their age.”

“I thought that was just women.”

“It also applies to vampires.”

“Gotcha....” Jeremy chewed on his bottom lip, brows knitted together in thought. The similarity between himself and Elena had Elijah repressing yet another smile. “Alright, how about...Where’d you come from?”

“My mother’s womb.”

“Ha ha, very funny.”

Elijah tilted his head in Jeremy’s direction, saluting him. He had thought it was quite clever of him to toss in a bit of his unused snark. “My family originally came from a small town, one that has been long since destroyed, in Europe. They migrated to what is now your hometown of Mystic Falls, after the death of my eldest brother, in hopes of leaving disease and poverty behind.”

“So you had another brother? Jeeze, how many of you are there?”

“I was one of seven children, two of which had died before we were turned. I was quite close with my youngest brother before he passed. My oldest brother, Finn, died only just recently by the hands of the Salvatores...and now Niklaus is..no longer with us.” Elijah bit back the surge of emotion that had tightened at his chest, “Leaving me the eldest of three.”

“Right. Rebekah and Kol.”

“Precisely.”

“I was friends with Kol- when I lived in Colorado.” Jeremy added as an afterthought.

Elijah nodded, “I am aware of that.”

“Well, I thought I was friends with him. Turns out he was watching me for Klaus, probably for leverage or something.”

“My brother,” Elijah paused, Jeremy could see the way his eyes narrowed in thought, as if he was formulating a correct way to phrase the rest of his sentence. “My brother never experienced friendship in its truest, most simplistic form. Many befriended him simply because there was no one else, or because some of the boys had their sights set on our sister. After we had turned it was because they wished to also be turned, or, once again, to use him to get to one of us.” A silence overtook the car before Elijah continued, “Do not believe he was entirely fictitious in his intents to befriend you. He hides many of his emotions under his cocky atmosphere.”

“He beat Damon with a bat.”

“Yes, well, someone had to put Damon back in his place.”

Jeremy chuckled under his breath at Elijah’s proud expression. The Originals were one strange family; one strange, murder happy family. “Uh-huh. I think I would have liked to have squeezed in a swing or two, but I guess it was better that I had stayed out of it.”

Elijah made a noise of interest, glancing out of the corner of his eye to meet Jeremy’s deadpanned stare.

“I found him and Elena making out the night before, needless to say I wasn’t very happy. I like Damon, most of the time, but after he’s killed me twice and killed my girlfriend, let one of my other girlfriends go on a suicide mission and so much more crap... I can’t say I was too thrilled to see his lips on my sister’s.”

Elijah said nothing; he only glanced in the rearview mirror to where Elena lied and then focused back on the road in front of him. His gaze was dark, shoulders stiff, and Jeremy decided it was better to let the topic drop, feeling that it was better to leave the Original to his silence than try to strike up another conversation.

Pillowing his head back into his arms, Jeremy closed his eyes and let the sound of the rumbling thunder lull him into a soft sleep. He dreamt of his childhood, of the dog they had until one night she went missing, of his parent’s final words to him, of Jenna’s smiling face and of Elena. Her smile, her laugh, the way her voice pitched when she was upset.

For a moment Jeremy wondered if he was awake. He could see her so clearly; her face was serene, a smile curved pale lips upwards.

“I’m so sorry, Jer.”

“Elena?” He had to be awake, there was no way that she was dead. She wasn’t dead. Couldn’t be dead. She was in the backseat of the car in some sort of vampiric coma.

“Jeremy?” There was confusion now on her face; confusion and something else that passed ever so quickly.

“You’re supposed to be sleeping.” He could feel the fear rising inside of him. This couldn’t be happening, there was no way he could be taking to her now. That wasn’t how the plan was supposed to go. Not that their plans ever went as they were supposed to. “Elena?”

“Wake up, Jer.” Her voice was calm, as was her face. She seemed so relaxed, so at peace that it terrified him straight down to his very core. He couldn’t lose her too. “Wake up.”

He sat upright; beads of sweat slipped down his forehead, the hairs on his neck bristled in shock.

There was a flash of white, a loud rumbling and a force that struck the car hard enough to cause Elijah to swerve. 

“What the fuck?”

“Language, Jeremy.” Elijah murmured through gritted teeth; his knuckles were white, fingers gripped tightly on the steering wheel. The wind had gotten stronger, strong enough to cause even his steady hand to falter.

“Right. What the frick was that?”

“Lightning.”

Jeremy instantly moved forward so that he could peer out the window along the side of the car, “Lightning hit us?!”

“Quite thankfully, it hit the road, not us..”

“Holy shit.”

Elijah’s eyes flickered to Jeremy’s and held.

“I mean, shoot.” The conversation from Jeremy’s dream echoed through his mind. His head swiveled backwards and, sure enough, Elena was laying in the backseat looking pale as ever. Her chest was rising and falling slowly, still alive. 

Still with him.

--

It was the lightning that flickered brightly inside of her eyelids, it was the thunder that shook her very being. It was the rolling of the storm, the crackling of the weather and the distress of the wild that had her on edge.

She was dead.

Or as dead as one could be after essentially drinking a vial full of poison along with taking vampire blood into her system before hand.

If she was dead, that would be okay. If she was a vampire, that would be okay too.

Maybe she was dead after all.

Perhaps the transition didn’t take. Perhaps she was in limbo, stuck in a comatose state before she would draw one last breath and slip into nothingness.

Or maybe not.

How was she supposed to know? There was nothing but darkness and the occasional flash of light surrounding her.

Not knowing what she was, or if she was anything at all, scared her.

Why couldn’t she connect with her body? Despite all her best efforts; despite the fact that she could feel every sensory impulse, she still couldn’t slip back into herself.

Elena had always enjoyed retreating into her own mind when things got too tough, or she needed an escape during a particularly boring class period, or even when she just wanted to get away from reality. She enjoyed stepping into the different worlds she could create for herself, the different adventures and outcomes for her life that were so easily molded to whatever strikes her fancy. 

She enjoyed who she could be, who she wanted to be, or who she didn’t want to be.

Being inside her own mind had once been fun, but now it was torture. Daydreams took effort and concentration, she barely could keep herself on one track before she was ushered off to another one.

At times she thought she heard voices, slight buzzing that sounded an awful lot like words. The voices brought flashes of familiar faces and the sounds of warm laughter.

But, the warmth was always replaced by the coldness. The void that had her trapped inside of her own mind, shackled to the past and the horrors that she had experienced. To each and every nightmare of her dreams and every morose thought.

Memories of past events- good events that were filled with happiness and hope- flickered through; too fast for her to hold on to, to keep herself grounded with. 

Beyond the darkness, beyond the memories and hazy dreams, there was something there. She could feel it, hovering ever so closely. 

Focusing all of her attention, she tried to push past what pulled her backwards. Distorted images from her past- Damon’s cocky smirk, Stefan’s reassuring smile, Caroline’s cheery demeanor, Bonnie’s understanding face- all mixed with the sounds of those she had lost. Those she had loved and had been taken away from her. 

She could hear her father’s deep laughter, Alaric’s chuckle, Jenna’s high pitched squeal; all of them mixed together, haunting her.

Beyond all the faces and the laughter, she could hear her mother. She was humming- just as she had always done. The tune was so familiar; the name of it was at the tip of Elena’s tongue but her mind couldn’t still itself; she couldn’t grasp control of herself.

The humming was so faint, barely there, but she held on to it. She kept herself grounded as the images turned to Damon’s blood stained lips; to Stefan’s eyes growing dark; Caroline standing over a lifeless body; Bonnie closing the final door on her. 

Struggling against her own mental restraints, nothing she could do could stop her worst fears from playing across her mind. The haunting sound of Klaus’ laughter; the sickening noise of bones breaking; the flash of dead eyes and burnt skin; the taste of blood dancing upon her lips.

It would be so easy to let herself go, to let herself fall into the plague of darkness that wanted to drown her. She could barely keep herself afloat much longer. 

She had been so strong once; strong enough to leave the ones she loved behind; strong enough to write a letter that might not ever be read; strong enough change her own fate.

Elena had once been that girl. Now she didn’t know who she was, not anymore.

She couldn’t feel the tears, but she could smell them. The air became crisp and salty, she could feel the tang of unshed tears in her mouth. It was strange, how all of her senses were working against her instead of aiding her towards finding out what was going on.

The humming was the only thing she could hear. Her own mind’s voice was drowned out by the sound of it. 

Her body quaked, her vision became spotty and for a moment she wondered if this was what it was really like. If this is what people really went through when they finally died.

There was no bright light, no all encompassing feeling of warmth and safety. She felt tired, alone and scared.

It took her a few moments- seconds, minutes, hours, days? It was hard to tell anymore- before she realized that humming had ceased completely. 

There was another flash of bright light, a roll and a shake that jumbled her thoughts. This time the light didn’t fade back in to darkness, instead it grew, expanding across her whole vision.

“Elena?”

The voice didn’t belong to Jeremy, but it was familiar. Familiar enough to have her feeling a small sense of hope.

“Yes?”

“You’ve been so strong,” the voice was coming closer; the light molded around whoever it was, slowly creating the outline of a woman. “So strong even when most would have given up.”

Elena didn’t know what to say to the voice; she still couldn’t place who it was, she couldn’t seem to be able to jolt her thoughts.

“Do not tax yourself, sweetheart.”

The blow hit her right in the gut. Her mind spun, everything seemed to have flipped on into overdrive. How could it be possible? How could her mother be standing in front of her? “Mom?”

“Elena,” her mother opened her arms and even though Elena couldn’t seem to move, the embrace was felt. “You have grown in to such a lovely woman.”

“How is this possible?” She couldn’t stop her mouth from moving, questions started to rapidly come out. “Am I dead? Is Jeremy okay? Have you been here all along?”

Her mother laughed. The sound of it seemed so foreign now, so different from when only a few years ago when that laugh had been a constant occurrence. “There are some questions that I cannot answer."

“Why not?” Elena reveled in the feeling of her mother’s hand caressing her face, slipping into her hair to play with the stringy strands of it. 

“Because, sweetheart, that is not what I’m here for.” Her mother’s ringlets shook as she bent her head downwards, her face becoming troubled. “I wish I could answer those questions for you, Elena. I wish for so much. But all things happen for a reason, remember that.”

Elena wondered why her mother looked so pained. Her face, which had never changed from the face that had haunted her in her memories, was still so vibrant, so youthful. Even though she looked the same, Elena wished that she looked older. 

Her mother’s head lifted; her expression turning to a soft understanding that Elena recognized so well. She had been on the other end of that expression many times throughout her childhood, “It wasn’t your fault, Elena. None of this was your fault. You were just a child still, full of emotions and confusion. We don’t blame you. We couldn’t blame you.” Her hand rested upon Elena’s cheek, “You’re our daughter, Elena. Even now, even when we are separated, our love for you has never diminished. No matter what you tell yourself, we never have been disappointed in you or your brother.”

“I’m sorry,” Elena chocked out the words, just barely pushing them past her lips.

“Don’t be,” the ghost of her mother’s lips pressed against her forehead, “there is no reason for you to be sorry, sweetheart. You are everything we could have hoped for you to be and then some. You are strong, Elena. You are strong and you have a whole life ahead of you.”

She wasn’t dead. She was still alive and possibly still human. “I do?”

“Yes,” the humming was returning, Elena could vaguely hear it over her mother’s words, “a lifetime spread out through millenniums to come.”

“I’m a vampire?”

Her mother’s voice was strong, despite the fact that the light was slowly fading back into darkness and Elena could feel her touch slipping away. “You are Elena, and I love you.”

“I love you too.” The darkness overtook her once again, but this time there were no memories, no images of faces she once loved, or of faces that she had left. There was nothing but darkness and the overwhelming scent of rain.

She had been that girl her mother had spoken about. The strong one with an iron will. 

She had been the warrior princess of her dreams then.

Elena had felt so lost, so out of control of her own life and then there had been Stefan. He had loved her, had reminded her that she could fix herself- but only if she wanted to. It was her decision alone. He would not make it for her. Stefan had always valued her own decisions over his.

And then she had met Damon, who had taken her decisions and tossed them out the window. He had taken the controls from her and had let her watch as he called the shots- always with her best interest at heart. Damon had always thought he had known what was best for her.

But, even through the decision making and the confusion. She hadn’t wanted to be forced into making the decision herself, or to have decisions made for her. She had wanted someone to sit with her, to help weight the pros and cons and make a decision with her. 

There had been one person who had. He had trusted her instincts and relied on her senses. He had made his own decisions but factored hers in also. They had worked together. He had brought out her strength.

Elena had remembered the way his lips had ghosted her ear. How fear had been replaced with trust and forgiveness. How she had come to lean on his mentality and trusted him even after everything they’d done to one another. 

Jeremy would be safe in the hands of Elijah.

Jeremy.

She could practically see him. Her mind’s eye changed so rapidly then, twisting and turning at her stomach as she tried to right the picture inside of her mind. 

He was in the car with Elijah, head resting upon his folded hands, eyes closed in sleep. She wondered if he was mad at her. If he hated her for making such a rash and, possibly, risky decision.

Did he blame her for doing this to herself? Did he blame her for making him leave his family and friends behind yet again?

Would he forgive her after realizing that all she had done, all she had ever done, was for him? That even her most ill thought out decisions, her most selfish ones, the ones that still hurt her to this day, had been ultimately to keep him safe?

“I’m so sorry, Jer.” 

His eyes opened then, head turning to stare back at her with an unreadable expression. “Elena?”

“Jeremy?” Her voice wavered; it cracked and slipped in desperation. Was she really alive? Could he really see her? Or was...was she dead after all?

“You’re supposed to be sleeping,” he became panicked then. She could hear the sound of his heartbeat racing inside of his chest. Fear triumphed over all other emotions, practically pouring out of his pores. “Elena?”

Elena tried her hardest to move herself but she was still disconnected from her body. The humming was growing louder, ripping the picture of Jeremy apart into thousand pieces, leaving her mind. Her chest burned with emotions, it squeezed at her and yanked the air straight out of her lungs. 

“Wake up, Jer.” She saw the confusion of his face, the worry and the fear. She tried her best to keep hers peaceful; to keep herself calm and in control. “Wake up.”

Chapter Text

They arrived at the hotel a quarter past one. The rain hadn’t slowed at all during the remainder of their drive; if anything it had gotten angrier, slapping violently against the side of the car, wind pushing and pulling at the vehicle as Elijah drove on, calm and steady despite the nature of the storm.

There was a considerate lack of conversation for the rest of the drive. Mostly due to the fact that Jeremy had fallen back to sleep after a few moments of staring out the window with a contemplative look on his face.

Elijah hadn’t asked for the reason behind the look and Jeremy was oddly thankful for the Original's silence.

He was still feeling extremely lethargic when Elijah had woken him from his barely-there slumber. It was as if his nap had done nothing to quash the burning feel that came hand in hand with sleep depravation. Apparently Elijah’s patience had worn out while waiting for Jeremy to untangle himself from his curled up position in the seat because the older vampire was unbuckling his seatbelt hastily, telling Jeremy to stay put until he returned.

Jeremy barely got a word out before Elijah had ducked out of the car, sharing quiet words with a bellhop before disappearing through a backdoor. Jeremy blinked a few times, righting himself before he took in the fact that he was now alone, surrounded by silence and the distant noise of the storm that could barely be heard from outside the car garage.

The bellhop stared forward, actively ignoring Jeremy’s gaze and Jeremy chuckled loudly in amusement. He stared down the bellhop for a few moments longer, eyes flickering from the door back to the bellhop before he made a face and tossed his hands up in the air, hoping the sudden action would catch the bellhop off guard.  

Unfortunately the bellhop was apparently well versed in keeping a straight face because he didn’t even flinch at Jeremy’s antics.

He wasn't sure if he was obeying Elijah's orders, or if he was just trying his best to be like those guards in London.

Stretching his legs, he glanced back to Elena, who was still lying completely comatose, chest rising and falling every so often.

Unbuckling his own seatbelt, he reached back, hand trailing across Elena’s cold arm to grasp at her hand. He interlaced his fingers with hers, squeezing tightly in reassurance, as if she could receive his message somehow. “It’s gonna be okay, Eleners.” He murmured, pulling out the old name to comfort both himself and her still body.

He sat like that for a few moments, staring at his sister, trying his best not to break down just yet. Elijah would be coming back any moment and the last thing he wanted was for him to see Jeremy sniffling and sobbing in his seat, completely exposed and vulnerable like a small child.

Pulling his hand away, he tried his hardest to rub the cold tingle off of his skin and dropped his head into his hands, wishing for the strength he needed but didn’t have anymore.

Elijah appeared at Jeremy’s window, tapping once to signal his arrival. His sudden appearance caused Jeremy to whack his elbow against the console, arms flailing widely and the surprised shriek that escaped his lips had Elijah’s eyebrows shooting upwards in amusement. 

The door opened and the roar of the wind filled the vacuumed silence of the car. Instantly Jeremy felt the chill of the storm seep into his bones, causing him to hunch forward and wrap his arms around himself. 

“Here,” Elijah slipped off his thick coat and handed it to Jeremy, who muttered a brief thank you despite the fact that the jacket was just as cold on the outside as it was on the inside. “The room number is 409, the gentleman over there will lead you there. He’ll also be bringing our bags, so if you would be so kind to tip him for me, please.” He handed Jeremy a wad of money and a room key.

“Are we all just going to be bunking together?”

“No, I have the adjoining room. Elena will be in there-” Jeremy opened his mouth to protest but Elijah shook his head, cutting him off. “She’ll be waking soon Jeremy, I can hear the increased beating of her heart. Her body has been slowly reparing itself, soon it'll be finished but I cannot tell you how soon. Because of this we have to take precautions." He shifted backwards, head titling to the side as if he was listening in on a far off converstaion, "When she wakes there is a very high possibility that she’ll feel the thirst. It’ll be instantaneous and all encompassing, something that you will stand no chance against. Your safety, along with Elena’s, are my main priority right now. I cannot have you in the same room with her until she has fed and calmed herself enough to be trusted around you.”

Jeremy stared straight ahead at the mouth of the garage. His Adam’s apple bobbed, threatening to expose his burning eyes and tight chest. “I’m her brother.”

Elijah turned his focus to Jeremy for a moment; the side of his eyes creased in concern and he opened his mouth to say something- anything- but was unable to come up with the precise words to ease Jeremy’s pain. He shook his head slowly before squeezing the younger boy’s shoulder. It was hard, he knew, to fight with the natural instinct to be with your sibling despite the fact that your judgement tells you otherwise. He didn’t have the right emotions for Jeremy, he didn’t have the comfort the boy needed or the warmth that his friends back in Mystic Falls could wrap him in.

All he had was a shoulder to offer and wise words that would never be enough.

He hoped that whatever he could offer to the boy would be sufficient for the time being until his sister awoke. “Room 409, Jeremy.”

Jeremy nodded and slipped wordlessly out of the car. He watched as the bellhop piled the luggage cart with their bags and a cooler Jeremy assumed to be for Elena and her blood bags. The walk towards the room was silent and gave Jeremy the time he needed to compose himself until Elijah returned with Elena.

He barely heard the words slip from the bellhop’s lips over the sound of the buzzing in his head. He blinked, head jerking up to meet bright green eyes. “I’m sorry, what?”

“I said I’m sorry about your sister,” the bellhop nodded solemnly and Jeremy wondered what story Elijah had fed him- or maybe Elijah had told him the truth. No need to lie if the bellhop was one of them too.

“Thanks.”

The bellhop nodded, quietly stepping backwards, disappearing around the corner and out of sight. 

Jeremy shut the door, sliding back against it, head thumping loudly against the wooden frame. Silent sobs escaped his body, frame shaking as he tried his hardest to let it all out before Elena awoke and needed him to be strong for the both of them. He raked his fingers through his hair, pressing the pads of them against his face, sniffling and shaking until he felt like his was breaking at the core.

He wasn’t sure what pushed him up and towards the bed, but he found himself dialing a number and waiting as the sound of ringing pushed back his hysteria and the thundering fear that sounded an awful lot like his heartbeat.

“Hello?”

He didn’t say anything- couldn’t say anything. He was frozen, mute, completely paralyzed and all of the words he had wanted to share seemed to have just disappeared. Jeremy had promised Elijah not to disclose their location, he had promised not to put Elena had risk and that was just what he did. He was putting them at risk because he wasn't strong enough.

“Hey, hey, kiddo. It’s okay. Calm down, okay? I’m not with them.” Caroline exhaled lightly into the phone, “I won’t tell them, Jer, and you don’t have to tell me anything that could put you two at risk. Or you three, technically.”

Jeremy nodded even though he knew she couldn’t see him. Caroline was like the second older sister he hadn’t wanted but got stuck with anyways. Sometimes she and Elena teamed up on him and sometimes she stood at his side, calm and reassuring. She was always there for him regardless of their differences- even when he just wanted to push her away and now, now when he didn’t have Elena, he knew that Caroline would do her best to keep him functioning and sane.

“Is she awake yet?”

“No.”

Caroline laughed; it didn’t seem forced but there was a weight to it that Jeremy only slightly understood. “She would be the one that takes the longest. Sounds just like Elena. So sure of herself but so unsure of her own decisions.”

Jeremy chuckled weakly, “Yeah. It does.”

“How are you holding up, Jer?”

“I’m...”

“Yeah, I figured that’s what you'd be feeling like.” There was the sound of rummaging, something clicking into place and then a soft buzz. “Listen, Stefan just texted me. He’s coming by to run over a few theories we have going. I’ll make sure to keep them off your trail, alright?”

Jeremy dropped his head in his hands, uncertain when he started he even started crying in the first place or what he was crying over exactly. “Thanks Care.”

“So we should head north for a bit?” When Jeremy didn’t say anything Caroline nodded, filing the information away for later use. “I totally heard the Mikaelsons have a nice house in Canada, somewhere lost in the woods. Sounds like a pretty good place to keep a newborn, huh?”

He hummed in response and Caroline chuckled.

“I love you, Jer. Elena’s strong, she’ll pull through this. Just remember that whatever she does, whatever mistakes she’ll make- and she will make mistakes, Jeremy, we all do- it’s because she’s trying to control the urge inside of her. She’s trying to control herself. She’ll never stop trying. Don’t lose faith in her. Because as soon as you do, she will too.”

“I won’t.” He knew his sister was going to screw up; it terrified him but he wasn’t going to act rash because of it. He loved Elena too much to let what she couldn't control ruin everything she’d work towards. “I promise.”

“Alright well I’m going to go before questions are asked. I’ll delete the number from my log, but try to at least keep in touch every week or so, okay? Just so I don’t start to grow gray hairs.”

“Is that even possible?”

Caroline laughed a true, full blown laugh that made Jeremy feel a bit more centered despite his state of emotional chaos. “In this town? I wouldn’t doubt it.” He heard her huff loudly before calling out that she'd be right there. "I've got to go. Love you."

“Bye Care. Love you too.”

Jeremy sat on the bed, phone dangling from his fingers, dial tone echoing throughout the room until a brief knock came from the adjoining door. “Yeah?”

Elijah opened the door with a look that told Jeremy that he was only getting away with the ‘yeah’ this one time. “Until she wakes we can keep these doors open, if you’d like. But once she awakens I’m going to ask you to put vervain on the handle until I know she’ll be able to control herself.”

“When she wakes up though, she’ll be in transition won’t she? She’ll be herself.”

“Yes, but the thirst is different for everyone. She might be completely in control, or she might not know anything but the need to feed. I must take every precaution I can in order to make sure nothing goes awry.”

Jeremy stared down at his hands, thoughts racing inside of his mind, pushing at their barrers causing a dull headache to echo inside of his head. He knew, somehow, someway, that Elena would be herself when she woke up. Even though he was certain about that, he still didn’t know how long that would last, or how long she was going to stay asleep in the next room. “When she turns, like fully turns into one of you....Is there a way-” He stopped, doubting his own thoughts. He was running on little sleep and heightened emotions, any stupid sort of hope he had was feeble and useless in the long run.

“Is there a way for what?” When Jeremy looked up, Elijah was leaning up the doorjamb between the two rooms, looking at him intently, as if Jeremy was about to discover the secrets of the universe. 

“Is there a way you could compel her? I know Originals can compel other vampires. You did it to Katherine, Klaus has done it to a lot of people, including Stefan. Is there a way for you to compel her not to hurt me?”

Elijah paused, lips pursing in thought. He hadn’t entertained that idea before. He hadn’t wanted to violate the trust Elena was putting into him, but the idea was an option. It would be a way for Elena to be able to be near her brother without hurting him; a way for her to help control herself and hold on to her humanity while she was fitted into her new, uncomfortable supernatural skin. “Perhaps. I hadn’t considered such an option for reasons I assume you will understand,” the tips of Jeremy’s ears tinted in embarrassment but his features remained steady. “I will consider it, however I will warn you not to put much stock into such an idea. It is just an option and compulsion is never something that should be treated lightly.”

The look Jeremy sent him had Elijah awkwardly clearing his throat; shamefully aware of his past compulsions. His actions were never without purpose and though he regretted many of them, he could not find time to dwell on his past indiscretions. He could only learn from them and move on. Perhaps one day, when Elena has been a vampire long enough, Jeremy will look at his sister and understand that nothing is done without cause. 

“You should rest, Jeremy.” Elijah stared out the window, watching as the storm raged on around them.

“What if she wakes up?” He knew that Elijah wouldn’t be able to tell him how much longer Elena was going to spend in her vampiric coma, but ever since Elijah’s comment about her heartbeat, he had hope it would be shorter than he had orignally guessed.

There was no response from Elijah and Jeremy looked up only to be met with an empty room. The adjoining door was cracked, still open so that if Jeremy chose not to rest, he would be able to come and go as he pleased.

Comforted slightly by that fact and the calm that came from talking to Caroline, Jeremy laid down on top of the covers and curled up on his side, willing sleep to come easily and dreamlessly.

xx

Elijah heard the sound of Jeremy’s breathing fall into a steady rhythm and a part of him relaxed in response. He knew the boy was worried about his sister, upset over the circumstances and was still questioning whether or not he should make a run for it or trust Elijah with Elena’s safety.

It would be a long while until Jeremy’s emotions calmed and he would be able to see the reasoning behind all of his sister’s decisions. Thankfully, Elijah was a patient man and he didn’t mind waiting- especially when he knew the outcome was more than likely to be favorable.

Booting up his laptop, he started running over a few figures, making necessary calls for both Jeremy and Elena so that they would have access to their own source of money without having to worry about it being linked back to their inheritance or Mystic Falls.

This alternative was done mostly for the sake of Jeremy, who Elijah knew was going to feel the effects of being chained to the indoors quicker than his sister. Jeremy would want to go out, perhaps just for a walk or maybe to the movie and it had been a long while since Jeremy had to ask others for money. Giving him his own card would keep him from climbing the walls and biting off Elijah's head in annoyance.

He finished up the transfer quickly, barely even noticing the change in his bank status. With a roll of his neck, he made a few more calls, checking in on his investments and a few projects he currently had running. Everything was running smoothy despite the few setbacks he experienced in the past week, and a part of Elijah reveled in the calm assurance of his work.

His phone buzzed a few minutes later, alerting him that Rebekah was checking in, as he had so asked of her. They had made a simple agreement before he had left Beacon Hills: she was to check in twice a week with updates on the town, the Salvatores and any sort of questionable activity. She was also to stay away from the Donovan boy until she was able to think rationally without the thought revenge haunting her every action. 

She sent off a few texts detailing the events around Beacon Hills (the Mystic Grill had caught fire once again but the damage was minimum), what she had picked up from the Salvatores (Damon was brooding constantly and Stefan looked constipated), and the update on a property they were looking into buying in northern Canada (the offer was being processed and the house should be move-in ready in three days time). Her texts were accompanied along with a picture of their Beacon Hills home being rid of Niklaus’ various illegally acquired items followed by a solemn looking picture of Elena’s fresh tombstone.

Elijah stared at the latter picture for quite some time. A part of him mourned the death of Elena’s past, of all that she had to accomplish in her human life, of the family she would never be able to have, of the many hopes and dreams that filled her empty grave.

His finger hovered over the save key before he clicked ‘delete’ and closed the phone, putting off responding to Rebekah until tomorrow. He knew she would want to know what he was up to, whether or not he had found Kol and when he planned to come back.

He hated lying to his sister; she was one of the most important people in his life and hurting her was never something he enjoyed doing. But he had made his promises and he knew that Rebekah would rather see Elena dead then help her survive her transition. So, keeping his sister away until Elena was in control of herself and her new abilities was for the best- at least that was what he told himself when his sister's name flashed against his phone's screen and the subsequent pang of guilt that pierced his chest like a dagger.

He was halfway through an article posted by a small town right outside of the Georgia border when Jeremy woke with a start. Elijah continued to read through it, highlighting a few key points before writing them down in his journal along with the date and location. He kept an ear on Jeremy’s actions, only vaguely listening to the sounds of him shuffling around and starting up the shower before he tuned him out completely.

By the time Jeremy appeared through their adjoined doorway, Elijah had poured himself a drink, worked through five of the major newspaper sources he used to follow a lead he had going, and briefly talked to Kol about lying low and deflecting all of Rebekah’s inquires until Elijah gave him the go-ahead to resume contact.

“How is she?”

Elijah looked up over his tablet, eyebrows raising. They both turned to look at where Elena was sleeping on the bed, “The same.”

Jeremy nodded, eyes flickering over to where the window was streaked from rain, taking note that the sky was still dark from the storm and that the frame still shook from the thunder. His stomached rumbled loudly, breaking the quiet atmosphere and the tips of his ears burned in embarrassment. He glanced awkwardly over to Elijah, who was holding back a wry grin, and offered up a feeble smile in response.

“I was unsure on what you wanted, Jeremy, so I chose a bit of everything from the room service menu.”

Jeremy startled for a moment, shocked that Elijah had already thought that far in advance, but when the Original simply tapped at the curve of his ear, it all made sense. “Thanks.”

“You’re welcome.” 

The guilt ridden part of Jeremy twisted and turned inside of him, eating away at his calm exterior. “Did you...?”

Putting the laptop off to the side, Elijah folded his hands into his lap and nodded. “Yes.” Jeremy opened his mouth, possibly to explain himself or to apologize, however Elijah didn't want to have to hear either. “Caroline is trustworthy. I believe she’ll keep our secret to the best her abilities and though I would rather you not keep in constant contact with her, I do understand why you will.”

Just when Jeremy thought he had Elijah pegged, the older vampire went and did something to completely throw him off. Leaving the matter of whether or not he liked Elijah still up for debate.“Alright.”

The knock by room service saved the day, easing the tension out of the room, replacing it with the sound of Jeremy's rumbling stomach and Elijah's quiet laughter. Elijah ate along with Jeremy, offering up idle conversation about the town they were staying in and how he had found it years back on a trip with his brother. 

The story was simple: while Niklaus had found the town insufficient for his needs, Elijah had taken a liking to it- not that he had told his brother this. He had enjoyed the scenery, the charm of the town and how there were just far enough out to keep his presence in the area completely under the radar. 

Jeremy had asked a few questions, some of which Elijah had expected (no the bellhop was not a vampire, but unfortunately his older brother had been bitten during Niklaus’ rampage through the town) and some that caught him momentarily off guard (was there a cure for vampirism and if Elena didn’t complete the transition would she die or just stay in limbo because she was already a child of the supernatural?) 

Elijah was halfway through his explanation on why there wasn’t a cure and even if there were rumors about a cure- most of them were lies told by hunters and those out to rid the world of vampires in the first place. A cure for vampirism was nothing more than a fable, told to give those in transition hope until they either succumbed to the bloodlust or suffered through death- when he stilled, mouth open, caught in mid-sentence.

Jeremy’s hands shook and his plate clattered to the floor, shock and relief shot through his system like twin sparks.

A pair of dark, blurred eyes blinked in the harsh lighting of the room. A hand, pale and weak, accepted the glass of water Elijah offered her and, for a moment, her eyes fluttered closed, leaving the two men in the room to stare at her with baited breaths until she opened them again and smiled. “Hi.”

“You’re awake.” Elijah took the glass from her before it could slip out of her weak grip and offered her an arm, gently pulling her up into a sitting position.

Jeremy was at her side instantly, handing her pillows to stack behind her back so that she could sit against the headboard comfortably. “Hey sis.”

She squeezed his hand to the best of her ability and chuckled at the difference between his skin and her almost transparent coloring. Her eyes met Elijah’s as she gave the room a quick once over, lips quirking into a grin. “So, I guess my plan worked after all.”