Bonnie woke up to the insistent ring of her cell phone. The ringtone made it clear that it was Caroline on the other end. As she entertained the idea of simply not answering, the warmth of a naked body behind her and the lack of her own clothing slowly began to register. Memories from last night had slowly begun to roll through her mind when Jeremy wrapped his arm around her waist and pulled her closer to him.
"It's Caroline. You know she's just going to keep calling until you finally answer."
Bonnie turned her head slightly toward him and asked in slight confusion, "How do you know that it's Caroline?"
He gave a small huff of laughter and the feel of his warm breath on the back of her neck had her biting her lip and pushing back into him slightly. He tightened his hold on her and hummed a bit, smiling against the back of her neck.
"It's Tik Tok. Two weeks ago, she snagged my phone and changed her ringtone. I haven't been able to get that song out of my head since."
The phone had stopped ringing by then, and Bonnie had the small hope that Caroline had just given up. It might have been slightly selfish, but she was still a bit shaken up from last night. She and Ben were far from close –he was a bit of a douche, to be honest—but he was someone Caroline had been helping. One minute everything was perfectly fine, and the next he was trying to kill himself right in front of them. It had really driven home that, if things went wrong, any of them could die.
As if to draw her from her morbid thoughts, Jeremy began kissing the back of her neck, occasionally nipping at her skin lightly. Just as she moved to turn in his arms, her phone started ringing again. With a groan, she struggled to reach her phone on the floor by the side of the bed with Jeremy holding her hip to keep her from falling, laughing the whole time. She quickly shushed him before she answered the phone. Before she could even get out a hello, Caroline was already talking.
"Oh my god, Bonnie, I was getting worried. I know it was crazy and scary last night, and I just wanted to make sure you weren't completely freaked out. Also, there's a thing I need you to help with, but that totally wasn't why I was calling. So, are you okay?"
If it had been anyone else, she would have thought that Caroline was lying and really was only calling because she was going to need her. Caroline could come off as extremely self-centered, but she had a tendency to put her friends first. Especially since the whole time travel thing. However, it was easier to focus on what she might need then to talk about last night.
"What do you need me to do?"
At the question, Jeremy let out a groan that Bonnie quickly tried to silence. She didn't manage to do so in time, however, and Caroline heard it. Damn vampire hearing.
"Who was that? Was that…?"
She could practically hear the grin that was probably forming on her friend's face. Bracing herself for teasing, she let out a warning, "Caroline…"
"No, you know what? Yesterday was really scary and wild. You need time to center yourself and forget the freakiness for a while. I can take care of everything, you just take time for yourself, okay?"
Before Bonnie could answer her, Caroline had hung up. With a huff, she threw herself back on the bed and stared at the ceiling.
"Well, Caroline knows where I am and probably has a good idea of what I did."
She could feel Jeremy tense up next to her and, when she looked at him, his expression was almost hurt.
"Is this the part where you tell me that this was a mistake?"
Reaching up, she pulled him down by the back of his neck until his forehead was resting against hers. Staring into his eyes, wanting to make sure there was no misunderstanding, she smiled.
"This is the part where you tell me that you have a spare tooth brush because our morning breath right now is no joke."
Later that afternoon –because, no matter how much Caroline insisted that she should take the whole day, she couldn't go without knowing what they needed her for—Bonnie met Caroline at Elena's house. She did her best to ignore the irrational bit of jealousy she felt when Caroline introduced Lucy, the witch Katherine had put her in touch with when she decided to replace her –"Not replace! You just needed some rest, Bon."
Because the universe loves a coincidence, the new witch was a Bennett witch as well. Granted, it was probably less of the universe loving a coincidence and more Katherine wanting a powerful witch. Apparently, Caroline wasn't joking when she said Bonnie's line carried a lot of power.
Caroline explained that, since they knew Elena was going to be kidnapped –Caroline didn't mention to everyone else that she had a very good idea of when she was going to be kidnapped—they needed to have something in place so they could find her. She then went on to explain that, if they only prevented the kidnapping, then the people who were responsible would just keep trying. Elena seemed surprisingly okay with being bait yet again, and even said she was willing to not try and fight her abductors or try and escape.
"I trust Caroline's ability to make a good plan, and I trust you guys to ride to my rescue."
By the time the tracking spell was completed and tested, Bonnie was feeling a lot less antagonistic toward Lucy. It helped that the woman was friendly and open and didn't judge Bonnie for being friends with vampires. She could admit she was still bitter over her mother's disgust at her friendship with Caroline and Stefan. When Lucy left, it was with their promise to contact her only if they absolutely needed her. As much as she didn't judge Bonnie for her involvement with vampires, she seemed ready to step back from them herself.
Bonnie and Caroline then made at stop at Pearl's home. While she wasn't trying to recruit muscle, she did want other people to know what was going on in case they needed back up.
"Or possibly a rescue squad for the rescue squad," Caroline had said with an embarrassed smile.
Anna had tried to convince Caroline that she should go with them. Her mother, of course, had forbidden it and the two had gotten into an argument. In order to keep the peace, Harper had volunteered to go, which seemed acceptable to both women.
About a week later, to no one's surprise, Elena was taken. Stefan, in spite of his instinct to step in, watched from a distance as Elena was carried away from the Masquerade Ball and into the night. He then sent Caroline a text, which she had to hide from Maddox who was displaying his interest more overtly than ever since he found out she was aware of his connection to Klaus. Then, also in spite of Stefan's instincts, they waited until morning to go after Elena.
Caroline, Stefan, and Harper drove off with only Caroline aware of who exactly they were going to run into and end up fighting. When she had asked Caroline why they were being so secretive, her friend had explained that they didn't know who Klaus could have compelled. Apparently, she wanted to make sure Klaus didn't know his brother was involved until she had already dealt with the situation. It seemed a bit risky, but Bonnie could understand her reasoning.
She watched them drive off, half convinced that she should be going with them. A couple of minutes later, as she was about to leave for school, she got a text from Caroline telling her to stop worrying and that she needed her there to stop their friends from trying to save her too soon. The texts kept coming, Caroline seeming to know she needed the contact, until finally she received one last one telling her that they were almost there.
As the trio was nearing the abandoned house to which the tracking spell was leading them, Elijah was making the acquaintance of Elena Gilbert. He thought he had been prepared when Rose Marie told him there was another doppelgänger. Seeing her, however, was both Tatia and Katerina all over again. His treacherous heart stuttered in his chest, though he hid his reaction well. He told himself he was only proving to himself that Katerina had fooled Rose Marie into believing she was someone new when he leaned in far too close. However, when he inhaled her scent, he couldn't deny the truth. She was human.
Thoughts of his brother, the damnable ritual he would use her for, and memories of the last human doppelgänger flooded his mind. Those thoughts also reminded him of the other occupants in the room. He had given Rose Marie his word that he would pardon her –her only crime was loyalty, after all—but he had never made any promises about Trevor. It was perhaps a cruel thing to do, but a thousand years had left him with a rather large streak of cruelty.
He was leaving a corpse and a sobbing vampire behind, doppelgänger in tow, when he heard the door he had originally entered slam against the wall. When he looked toward Rose Marie, the confusion was obvious on her face as she shook her head. The girl, however, looked relieved. That was unexpected. She had been very cooperative and didn't seem inclined to resist his directions.
"Who's here, sweetheart?"
She was obviously contemplating refusing to give him an answer, but ultimately seemed to change her mind.
"It's probably my friends here to rescue me."
At that, he quickly ushered both the girl and Rose Marie toward the door. Perhaps he could get them out of the way while he took care of these friends. As they neared the door, however, he felt the wind from a body speeding past him. Apparently, he wasn't going to be able to get the girl clear from the fight.
Pushing her toward Rose Marie, he waited. It wasn't long until he heard the passage of another body. They were playing games, trying to keep him on edge. He did admire the tactic, though he doubted it would do them any good. A third pass and he felt the brush of a hand across the back of his neck. He felt anger pulse through him at the arrogance of these children.
"Beware the Jabberwock!"
The voice that came from at least a floor up, though quiet, was obviously that of a young man too old for children's rhymes. Almost on the tail of it came another, more stoic male voice –this time from down a hallway beside the staircase—with the equally frivolous reply of, "The jaws that bite."
Directly after, he heard the snap of teeth behind him. When he turned he caught sight of a blur of yellow and the subtle scent of perfume. At least two males and a female, then.
From the room they had been keeping the girl in he heard the first male voice call out, somewhat loudly, "The claws that catch."
There was a burning line of pain down one of his cheeks. Reaching up a hand to touch it, he came back with fingers lightly spackled in blood. When he glanced back up, both Rose Marie and the girl were gone.
He was finished wasting his time.
"I understand you wish to help the girl. I commend you on your loyalty. However, you cannot defeat me."
As he was speaking, he grabbed up a coat rack and began to dismantle it. Breaking off the hooks, he decided that none of the doppelgänger's friends would make it out of this fight.
"Bring the girl to me, and your death with be quick."
Having finished his speech with his back to the staircase, he broke off the end of the coat rack with a flourish. If they were lucky, he would make it quick.
"I'm thinking no."
Slowly, he turned around and looked up to the stop of the stairs. For a second, he could have almost been looking at his dear sister, full of defiance at the unfairness of her brother's actions. The moment was over quickly and, beyond the superficiality of hair color, he could see the vampire before him had very little in common with his sister. She was standing in full confidence, appearing ready to fight, though with her hands behind her back.
"Sweetheart, no is not an option."
He sped up the stairs but a blinding pain brought him up short and caused him to drop his weapon. Somehow, the little brat had thrown vervain at him! Even as he was recovering, he could feel her speed past him. He reached a hand out for her, but the pain rendered him too slow to catch her.
When he turned back down the stairs, a young black vampire stood alone at the bottom and close to the door. In his hand, he held some sort of gun. As Elijah deliberately walked down the stairs, he shot at him repeatedly. Though Elijah could feel the slight sting, it did not slow him. Wooden bullets then. The doppelgänger's friends knew that there would be vampires, but obviously were not expecting anything beyond that.
As he neared the young vampire, he could see no change in his face. A fearless fighter; it would almost be a shame to kill him. Before he could perform the deed, however, he was tackled from the side. Recovering first, he got to his feet and took a good look at the second male vampire. This one was blond and, unlike his companion, wore an expression of unmistakable fear, but there was determination there as well.
From behind him, he felt someone grab hold of a large section of his hair and pull. He also heard a small grunt, which was enough to let him know where his new attacker's head was approximately located. Turning quickly, sacrificing a bit of his hair, he grabbed at where their neck should be, only to find empty space. He reacted too slowly to block the young woman pushing up from her crouched position. Even as he felt the wooden section of coat rack -the very one he had broken—drive up into his heart, he couldn't help but be impressed that she had anticipated his skill level and used it against him.
His vision began to go dark around the edges and the last thing he felt was her hair, so like Rebekah's, beneath his hands. As he slipped into a temporary death, he allowed himself to pretend he was holding his sister.
He was unsure how long his death lasted, but it was long enough for them to move his body, apparently. He could feel soft furniture beneath his back, too firm and narrow to be a bed. Just as he was about to move, he became aware of the sound of movement and voices. Listening carefully, he could hear two people in the room with him, though no others on the premises.
Deciding to play dead for a little while longer, he took further stock of himself. Not only had they moved him, but they had also removed the makeshift stake from his chest. The wooden bullets that had been fired at him were still lodged in his body, unsurprisingly. Turning his attention outward, he tried to determine what his would-be killers were planning and, although he did not move, he came fully alert at the sound of his brother's voice. He had not heard it in nearly a century.
"Caroline, love, I'm not sure how comfortable I am with the thought of you taking off on these potentially dangerous missions without informing me. What if my doppelgänger had been injured or lost?"
The feminine laugh that followed was neither cowed nor malicious.
"I had it on good authority that the people who were out to take Elena didn't want her harmed. As for losing her, it was impossible. We put a magic Lojack on her so we could track her no matter where she went."
The voice sounded young and relatively untroubled. He could only assume she was the blonde vampire who had driven the stake through his heart. Given how little deference she seemed to be paying to Klaus, Elijah could only surmise that she had not been working for him for very long.
"This Good Authority of whom you speak, would it also be the source of the witchy feeling my puppet tells me you give off?"
Both Klaus's tone and the rueful laugh that came from Caroline led him to conclude that they were sharing some sort of inside joke. What truly caught his attention, however, was the talk of a 'witchy feeling' and what it could mean.
"It's all coming from a dead witch who had a lot of information to pass on to me. As for the feeling I'm apparently giving off… Well, a girl's gotta have some secrets."
There was suspicion coming through clear in Klaus's voice when he asked, "And why would a dead witch be so invested in this curse being broken?"
Elijah found himself even more interested in the conversation. Exactly how much had this vampire been helping his brother and did she know about the real curse, or did she believe that she was helping to break the sun and moon curse?
"When we start negotiating I'll start telling you the hows and whys. For now, though, there is a large bloodstain on the floor that I don't want to clean up, so I have an abandoned house to burn down. Is there anything else you want to talk about?"
There was a moment of tense silence with which Elijah was very familiar. It was in that long stretch of time that Klaus often teetered between amusement and fury. Given the lack of any detectable movement in the room, he could only assume the other occupants were aware of the potential danger she had just placed herself in. With a huff of laughter from his brother, the moment was over.
"One day, Caroline, I will know all of your secrets."
There was the sound of the call ending and then nothing. Apparently, Caroline was not one to let a silence linger, however, and she let out in a singsong voice, "Creepy."
Her companion seemed less inclined to make light of the situation.
"You seem to like living on the edge."
Caroline didn't pretend not to understand. When Elijah slightly opened his eyes, he found them standing on either side of the chair that had been left upright. He could see her in profile with her hands splayed and a serious expression on her face. The other vampire wore an equally serious expression, though there was also worry in his.
"You have to play to your audience, Harper. He's not a fan of things that bore him."
She seemed to consider the matter dropped as she began to rifle through a pile of belongings in the chair between them. She straightened back up with a wallet –it appeared to be his—in her hand. Opening it up, she started pulling out the cards. She then looked up at Harper with a raised eyebrow and said "Elijah Smith. Yeah, because that's totally not a fake name."
With a neutral expression, her companion replied, "I don't see why Elijah couldn't actually be his name."
For a moment, they both simply stared at each other while Elijah began to wonder if there was something wrong with Harper. Perhaps he had been incredibly slow as a human. A peel of laughter from Caroline interrupted his thoughts.
"Oh my god, you're cracking jokes now! I guess you're finally recovering from nearly a hundred and fifty years of desiccation. They grow up so fast."
She said the last with an exaggerated sniff as she looked back down at the cards she was holding. Harper continued to look at her blankly for a moment before a tentative smile ghosted his face and he began to rifle through the belongings as well.
Going by Caroline's comment on Harper's desiccation, Elijah could only assume that he was one of the vampires that had been locked in the tomb. This lent credence to Rose Marie's news that Katerina was not in said tomb. Ignoring the pang in his chest at the thought of the young woman he had once known, Elijah quickly rose from the couch and, before either of the other vampires even knew he had moved, placed himself behind Caroline.
He quickly wrapped one hand around her throat and pulled her up until she was teetering on her toes. Her gasp alerted Harper to the fact that something was wrong, and he quickly looked over at them. He dropped the papers in his hand and his body tensed as if to rush the miniscule distance at them. Even as Elijah placed his hand on Caroline's shoulder in preparation to move her out of reach, her hand was up and braced against the other man's chest as she let out a quick, "Harper."
For a moment everyone froze. Taking a deep breath, Caroline began to speak in a voice that was only slightly shaky.
"Given that Rose doesn't know us and didn't know we were coming, can we safely assume that any deal she made with you is still valid?"
Elijah paused to contemplate her words, one hand still loosely around her throat while the middle finger of the hand he had place on her shoulder unconsciously tapping the rhythm of her slightly elevated heartbeat against her collarbone.
"If Rose Marie does not know you, then why should you concern yourself with her wellbeing?"
Still not moving the hand she had up in order to halt Harper, Caroline quickly replied, "She's a friend of a friend and that friend would be upset if I messed things up for Rose."
Given how quickly she was responding and how relatively calm she was remaining, Elijah began to wonder if she had planned all of this. In the end, Rose Marie's life was of little concern to him and his need for retribution had been satisfied with Trevor's death.
"She delivered the girl as promised and I am a man of my word. The deal with her still stands."
Elijah listened with interest as Caroline told Harper to go back home and make sure Rose received word that she was in the clear. Her voice was firm when she repeated that he should go home and Harper finally conceded. Elijah could feel her relax subtly under his hands. He had to wonder if she thought she could better influence him if they were alone, or if she was simply relieved that her companion had made it out safely. Her next words left him with the impression that it was the latter.
"In the interest of full disclosure, he's probably going to call our friends as soon as he's out of earshot."
Listening closely, he could hear Harper already on the phone with someone telling them that Caroline was in danger.
As he stepped away from her, he replied dryly, "Not quite out of earshot, I'm afraid."
He could see her straining to hear before rolling her eyes.
"Seeing as how I can't hear him, I'm thinking he's not aware of your freakishly acute hearing."
He could begin to see why his brother found her so amusing. At the thought of Klaus, his mood once again turned darker. He needed to find out exactly how much his brother had been telling this girl and how close they were. Perhaps she could be used to some sort of advantage or as a weapon.
"You didn't seem particularly surprised that I was not as dead as one would expect after having a stake driven through my heart."
At this, he threw her a pointed look; he did hate when his shirts were ruined. Ignoring the look, she answered his question.
"I was told that you would be able to recover from being staked. I didn't know it would be that quickly, though, or I would have had Harper gone by now."
She definitely had his attention now. Had his brother known not only that he was in the area, but also that he was close to being in possession of the doppelgänger? There was, of course, only one way of being close to sure of that.
For a second she looked confused, as if the idea of his brother being her source of information had not even crossed her mind. Perhaps, then, it was this dead witch she had spoken of with Klaus.
"No. He didn't even know that Elena was going to be taken, let alone that she was going to be handed over to you. If he had known, he would have wanted to send some of his people and I couldn't have controlled the situation."
At his raised eyebrow, her back straightened and her expression became very determined. Once again, he could almost see Rebekah in her. Perhaps that was the true reason his brother had her around.
"I've got a plan in place where Klaus gets everything he wants while all of my friends get to live. We're close to having everything we need for the ritual, but I've been told that what you're here to do could mess that up. I'm here to try and convince you to not get in the way of breaking the curse."
He couldn't help the quiet chuckle that escaped him before he mused, "You wish to negotiate with both Klaus and myself. Such ambition."
She did not seem deterred by his words and so, casually lowering himself to the couch they had laid him on, he lapsed into silence as she watched him calmly. It would be easy enough to sit back and let them do all the work of gathering everything for the ritual –there was no doubt that it was, in fact, what Klaus was doing. Breaking the curse was part of his plan as well, so he did not even have to work around the truth if he agreed to go along with her. Working with them would also have the added benefit of putting him in place to kill Klaus when the time came.
The ringing of a phone interrupted his thoughts. He watched as Caroline took her cell from her pocket and glanced at the screen before back to him.
"It's my friend Bonnie. She's going to want to know if I'm okay or if she should let the others try and save me from you. What should I tell her?"
She was clearly asking him if he was going to be standing in her way or not. Gracefully rising to his feet he crossed back over to her, not bothering to hide is slight amusement when she was uncomfortable with his proximity.
Lightly touching the phone she still held at waist height, he replied, "Tell your friend that all is well and you shall be returning home shortly."
When she continued to stare at him without moving to answer the ringing, he added, "I give you my word that I shall in no way interfere with your plans to complete the ritual."
As she stepped away to answer the call, he couldn't help but relish what the day had brought him. He had access to a doppelgänger, he knew his brother was close at hand, and he was on the verge of killing Klaus for what he had done to their family. Perhaps, then, he could find peace within himself.