Chapter 1: A Cage of Iniquity
The last thing she remembers before she motions to Stefan to save Matt from drowning was the peace. Peaceful—how the word lingers—swallows you up as your body takes in more water. She is going to see her parents again real soon. How they are going to react when they see her die so young, what would Uncle John say—her biological father—say now that her spirit has been elevated from her body?
Something is wrong. Darkness surrounds her except for the faint light in the distance, it mocks. As her wits come about, she lifts her arms to see metal and chain tied to her wrists. More of her space becomes revealed then, she notices the steel bars forming a quaint square six-by-six foot barrier around the rock she could feel underneath her bottom.
To lift away from the rock she was tethered exerted much effort, she hobbled over to the edge of the prison cell. Her fingers grazed against the steel—worn, and partly rusted on the outside—gripped two in her fists and shook them hard with all her might. The rusted metal still wouldn’t budge as she sat back on her heels, heaving a sigh.
“Am I to be trapped here for all eternity?”
She is too old to cry but the dryness in the air mixed with the huskiness in her voice made her doubt herself. Elena draws imaginary circles in the stone floor, trying not to let the chafing from the ankle and wrist restraints bother her.
Foot falls from somewhere outside the cell echo into Elena’s ear, she turns to see who it is. Hoping against hope that someone would come to save her, she tries to hide the smile forming on her face when the shadow gets closer, the masculine form appears. His face still covered in darkness. The feet stall their forward movement on the stone floor.
Brow furrowing, Elena looks in the direction of the shadow and speaks warmly, “Thank you for coming,” she pauses for a moment, “you don’t have to hide. Where am I?”
Several minutes pass without a word from this stranger, Elena feels a darkness coming from this man with no face but also a trace of warmth. Her hopes are risen that Stefan has come for her after all, and she asks the question again, “Now, are you going to stay there in the dark and watch me, or are you going to try to rescue me?”
A long, slender hand lifts itself to silence her, she stills her questioning as the man moves towards the light. First his feet illuminate, then the rest of him slowly appears from the darkness, a piercing stare greets her as she gasps.
His eyes searching hers as she inhales a slow breath, their brown eyes locking together still not speaking.
Finally, he speaks, “I told you not to test me, Elena.”
Stomach plunging downward, Elena crumpled to the floor. Kol lifts his hand again, snaps two fingers, and the cage disappears. They are outside, but Elena still has the feel of wrist restraints chaffing her wrists—rubbing them ceremoniously to soothe them.
Without a word from her, Kol gestures with his index finger for her to follow, he adds, “I think it’s time you understand something.”
No words can define the anxiety she feels as she follows behind his long strides.
Chapter 2: When The Ears Fail
She doesn’t know how long she walks, but she notices Kol’s long legs that have been tramping along the newly formed gravel road become less pronounced. A ringing sensation fills Elena’s head as she walks half blind by the sunlight streaming over the horizon line, she raises a hand to protect her eyes from the sun—accidently knocking the hand of her captor as he gestured with a hand in front of her face.
His mouth formed words, but she couldn’t hear them. A frown appears prominent on his face as he turns his back and walks straight ahead. Another bright light appears and he walks through it, Elena hides her face for a second as she continues walking forward as the meadow disappears.
For a brief lapse of time, Elena has no idea where she is again, but as her mind becomes clear, faces start to take shape again. She walks past two rows of small thatch-roofed cottages facing each other, people whispering behind their hands as they stare at her walking along through the houses made her keep her eyes forward to keep her feet from faltering.
An unfamiliar amount of weight she feels weighing her arms as she walks—looking down she sees a bundle wrapped up in white cloth nestled in the crux of her arm. Her heart aches with longing for the child, she lifts her eyes from the babe and continues moving forward to her destination—not sure of where that was.
Warm hands come up to wrap around her waist, they are soft, inviting as she walks towards the house at the end of road. It was bigger than the rest. She looks up to thank the kindness that steadied her to her destination. Eyes sweeping up brawny arms to defined shoulders, another set of brown eyes—similar to Kol’s—he gazes down at her, a smile appears on his lips touching his eyes, she smiles back.
Her mouth forms the word, Elijah, but no sound matches the words she wants to hear. The ringing in her ears muffles the sound it makes on her tongue. Tears spring to her eyes as she realizes she can’t hear her own voice or Elijah’s own rich baritone. Elijah wipes the tears from her cheeks that fall, his thumb lingers still on her lips.
Briefly, Elena thinks he’s going to kiss her, but he turns towards someone else in the room. Her head responds by turning towards the new person—a chill running through her veins as cold, blue eyes stare at her hungrily. Her stomach flops as she reaches Klaus’ proximity, shifting the baby in her arms she positions a hand to greet him, and he lifts the extended hand to his lips, kissing the knuckles lightly. Unable to feel Elijah’s presence nearby, Elena could no longer feel that warmth as the icy chill creeps along her spine.
A rush of air makes Elena’s ears pop, she could hear something again.
To avoid looking into Klaus’ eyes, Elena turns towards the door where the new sounds were coming from—Rebekah arguing with a young boy no older than thirteen, she looks over at Elena and then back down to the little boy.
“I think you will have to ask mother about that, Henrik,” Rebekah says, promptly finishing the argument. The little boy gave an unceremonious huff, kicked his shoe into the dirt floor and ran out the door, nearly running into the person coming through the small entrance.
With a hearty laugh, Kol’s familiar voice warns, “Watch it, little brother, I might just make you chop our firewood next time,” He grabs a hold of Henrik’s shoulder and turns him around to scold, “but since mother will be furious with me if I let you near the axe, I’ll continue to do the heavy lifting.”
During this little interaction, Elena notices the gentle squeeze Kol exerts on his brother’s arms. It seems almost human as she looks around at all the original siblings gathering around the room—Klaus, Rebekah, Henrik, Elijah, Finn, Kol—she lingers a little longer on the latter. His humanity is not something she has seen before, only knowing Kol as the monster that bludgeoned Damon with a baseball ball in Denver. How could this be the same man, the same face, the eyes, longer hair though, but she notices that all of the men including Klaus have longer hair.
Lost in her thoughts, Elena comes back to the present finally.
“We are so glad you are able to join us for dinner tonight, Tatia,” Esther’s voice breaks through the general hubbub of her children’s babbling, Elena looks down at herself and around at her surroundings, “now, I hope you don’t mind that you are going to be seated between Kol and Elijah.” Her smile, though genuine, Elena knows that behind that woman is a vile deceit.
Graciously, she moves around to the wooden table and bench, Kol and Elijah making room for her. While this was going on, she could feel the inevitable stare of Klaus chill her insides. He probably isn’t happy that she is seated between his brothers, but Henrik distracts Klaus with some mindless chatter while Rebekah swats her little brother’s hands when he gesticulates.
The table is served and Elena’s mouth waters, she looks down at the child still asleep in her arms—Tatia’s child—Elena is inside Tatia’s head. But how?
A tap on her right shoulder stops her from picking up the spoon to serve herself some soup, she turns to look at Kol, but he is busy digging into roast leg. She rolls her eyes at how animalistic he appears but stops when she sees another apparition behind him. His alter ego staring back at her, hands behind his back, mouth turned down.
Not able to speak for fear she could be heard by the other Kol, she stared at the vampire for a few seconds.
At last, Kol grumbles, “I think we’ve seen enough of this, Elena. Time to go.”
The lights dim.
Chapter 3: The Doppleganger Curse
A new scene appears before Elena’s eyes, she wishes she could go back to the family dinner but the look of scorn in this Kol’s eyes tells her not to ask him. For a thousand year old vampire, Kol is a temperamental ass. She heaves a sigh and crosses her arms over her chest.
“If you are not going to speak,” Elena starts boldly, “the least you could do is tell me why I am here, with you of all people.” The question nags at the back of her mind, it is not what she wants to have happen, but since the demise of Finn and Sage in the present, she has to be sure. She asks, “I’m not connected to you by blood, am I?”
She couldn’t keep the chill from running down her back, shuddering through her inner core. Kol remains impartially silent, glaring daggers at her. This is not what she wants to be a part of, vampires can’t grow up, and vampires can’t have children. Perpetually young in appearance, Elena sends her own glare back at Kol. The young man who as human had very human qualities of warmth and compassion for a little brother he obviously loved.
Thinking of her own little brother, Jeremy, he doesn’t have any human family besides their cousins in Denver. Again, anger rises in her veins, she wants to throw another fit of rage at this man standing before her. Kol is still standing there, not saying a word, just staring.
As she can’t take anymore, she throws her hands up in the air in frustration, shouting, “What is your deal, Kol? How could you be so flippantly aggressive with my brother and Damon?”
Puzzlement registers on Kol’s face, Elena sees this and waits for him to speak. Finally, he answers, “I never touched a hair on Jeremy’s head, Elena,” after a pause, he adds, “Damon is volatile and unpredictable. It is the influence of the doppelganger I’m afraid.” His smile has Elena wince at the last part.
If there was one thing she didn’t need to be reminded of, it was Damon. The extremely passionate, often over-protective brother of Stefan, her ex-boyfriend and another vampire, Damon makes everything into a complicated mess. It was Elena’s turn to be speechless.
Sensing the pause in Elena’s reaction, Kol’s smile transforms into a full smirk. He speaks again, “As you are so interested in finding out about my private life, Elena, I have a question for you,” he pauses for effect, “why did you let them go on fighting for your hand?”
With a quirk of her eyebrow, Elena puzzles over the question, she shrugs. There is no excuse.
“Interesting,” Kol says, “I may have had a dagger in my heart for a hundred years, but I’ve always had enough conviction to stand by my decisions.”
“What makes you so sure of yourself,” Elena stammers, feeling indignant all of a sudden.
Without another word, Kol holds out his hand, gesturing her to take it. Elena reluctantly agrees and she sees a rift open up behind him as fire laps at the window. The two of them are absorbing into another scene, Kol’s eyes are livid and determined. She looks around as her eyes adjust to the change in lighting.
It was a shock to see herself standing in the center of a fire ring again—no, that wasn’t her—Tatia is standing there, looking trim and determined. Elena stares at this woman—her original doppelganger—without a baby this time. She is listening to Esther’s rhythmic chanting, a spell she couldn’t tell what was going to happen.
At her side, Kol provides commentary, “If you look over to the tree line,” he pauses, Elena obeys this request and squints her eyes. Two figures are in shadow, their heads turning towards the fiery ritual. Before Elena could speak, Kol finishes, “Elijah and I are watching.”
“But,” Elena starts, “what is going on?”
“It is the start of the binding ceremony between the originals and the doppelganger,” Kol answers, “I was with Elijah when he decided to follow Tatia and our mother into the forest.”
An ache creeps into Elena’s heart, she asks, “What happened to Tatia’s baby?”
“I took her back to Bulgaria.”
Chapter 4: Alone and Afraid
I took her back to Bulgaria.
The words ring in Elena’s ears. She can’t believe it. A vampire like Kol Mikaelson admitting something as human as preserving life, she turns to face him to see whether he is lying. His face is deathly serious—angry even—Elena assumes it’s because she knows his secret. She smiles at him, but he scowls and turns to face the fire ring that Tatia is still occupying.
She couldn’t just let this go either. For a few minutes, she waits before she asks her pertinent question, “So, were you in love with Tatia?”
Visibly, she notices Kol stiffen in his posture. He must be pissed, Elena reasons to herself, as the scene has now changed again. They are standing beside a table inside an old—what appears to be turn of the twentieth century—tavern. Kol gestures for Elena to sit down as he does the same opposite her.
When she thinks Kol has calmed down, she asks another question, “Are you going to avoid the question or tell me?”
Kol narrows his eyes and scowls, “You know a vampire’s greatest weakness is to love,” he pauses, “I wouldn’t quantify my grand gesture towards your original Petrova ancestor as anything of the sort.”
Leaning back in his seat, he lifts up two fingers towards the barkeep who brings over a pint of beer for both himself and Elena. Taking a long swig, he seems to content to let the discussion die. Unfortunately, Elena sees another opportunity to strike.
“Don’t you ever get lonely?”
Ignoring her question, he motions for another round and drinks his second glass.
Her lips purse in frustration as she watches this man drink, she frowns, “You can’t just ignore me, Kol.”
“Watch me,” Kol challenges as he makes to drink the two mugs in front of his companion.
“Hey,” Elena shouts, “you gave those to me. Get me another.” She points at the empty two mugs Kol has downed in record time. Crossing her arms over chest, she taps her foot under the table.
Smiling now, Kol laughs, “Are you finally going to join me for a drink? You could use it if you ask me.” He hands her a new glass filled to the brim, ice cold.
Elena rolls her eyes as he hands it to her. The beer refreshes her even if it is only in her head.
When she is finally starting to feel the effects of the alcohol, she leans back in her seat and watches Kol finish off his latest. Elena giggles uncontrollably, “How many have you had?”
“Not nearly enough,” Kol says rudely, “you’re still here.”
“Where am I anyway?”
Kol looked straight at her like he hadn’t just been drinking a whole liquor store. He answers, “I would have thought it was pretty obvious.”
“I would have thought hell would have had a little less booze,” Elena says, trying to maintain sobriety before fails, “you should have answered my question.”
Shaking his head, he says, “No, you’re transitioning,” pausing he adds, “I don’t need anyone to justify my own wellbeing.”
Furrowing her brow, Elena feels confused for a second before she realizes this surly vampire has finally answered her question. She couldn’t think of anything else to say, Kol’s final statement has thrown her for a loop. Although, she could do to wipe off the grin that has formed on his smug, annoying face.
“Don’t think I don’t sense you remembering things that you were compelled to forget as a human, Elena,” Kol speaks arrogantly, “you may have given up on him as a human, but his heart still feels for you.”
“You mean Damon?”
Kol’s grin widens as he adds, “I can also tell that you want to match things up with that brother of his,” he pauses, “what’s his name? Stefan.”
Anger surges through Elena’s veins, she wants to jump across the table to strangle the stupid bastard sitting across from her. He merely looks content at her displeasure. Bubbling rage inside produces sickening bile in her throat.
“Maybe if you actually listened to your mother,” Kol quips, “you wouldn’t feel so torn between two brothers. Fear is another one of our weaknesses.”
Before she could retort, an unwelcome beeping sound disrupted her thought pattern. Elena looks around and back to her companion; unfortunately, Kol disappears.
With a start, Elena wakes up in a cold hospital morgue. Confusion at her own surroundings, she panics before she recalls the last words Kol spoke.
Fear is also a vampire’s weaknesses.
She couldn’t help it though. This wasn’t supposed to be her life.
Now, it was her turn to run.