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Something Wicked This Way Comes

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"You all are idiots," Rebekah pronounced, looking with disgust at the entourage which had gathered on her doorstep. With a withered look, she gestured for them to come inside, rolling her eyes the entire way.

"I refuse to speak to you until you remove that stick from your ass," Kol quipped. "We were just having fun, something you clearly haven't had in a century or two."

Her eyes were coal black, displaying fury on par with only the fury a woman scorned could produce.

"These girls believe I am working with them. They are intelligent... how long do you think it'll take them to find a connection between you and me? My cover will be blown and Klaus... Klaus will be furious, and I will end up in a box with a dagger through my heart, as will you all."

"Except for me," Damon pointed out cheerfully, immediately delving into Rebekah's stash of alcohol, which made her nostrils flare with disgust.

"True. I'm sure with you he'll simply mount your black heart on the wall instead."

Elijah sighed. "Please, can we not do this? We have a lot to discuss and I'd rather not have all this lingering anger in the room while we do so."

Rebekah unceremoniously dumped herself on her couch, crossing her slender legs before appraising the troupe of men before her, who wore varying degrees of uncertainty across their faces, although she noticed Damon and Kol attempted to cover their true feelings up by masking them with a cocky facade she could've done without enduring. She was infuriated by how they'd all swept into town, encroaching on her mission just because their brother gave them the command to do so. It wasn't that her brother didn't trust her to complete the task, but she knew him well enough to know he'd assume something – or someone – would distract her from fulfilling her task, hence the presence of the Testosterone Brigade.

"You're not all staying in my house," she announced, glaring at each of them in turn.

"I wouldn't want to stay in your Barbie House of Horrors anyway. I have my own property here," Damon retorted.

"Oh yes, that quaint boarding house on the other side of town." Rebekah made her contempt perfectly plain in every line which appeared on her face. "I've seen it. It's hardly anything to brag about."

Damon rolled his eyes but didn't bother to flick an equally contempt-filled reply her way.

"Can we get down to business please?" Elijah enquired, taking a seat, his fingers unable to resist dusting down the arms because he seemed to be have an obsession with cleanliness and order that Rebekah had never been able to understand.

"Business..." Kol looked disgusted at the word. "This is fun, brother – a concept that seems to be lost on you." His lips curled at the corners into a smirk which had the ability to both drive girls crazy, and strike fear into the hearts of his enemies. "Did you see the way that little witch looked at me?" He made an immature noise akin to a whooping sound. "She would've burned me with her eyes, if she could've."

Rebekah glared at Kol. "I know that tone of voice, Kol. Leave her alone. We are here for one task, and one task only: to keep the doppelganger safe until our brother breezes into town for the sacrifice ritual."

"I know, but that does not mean we don't get to have a little fun in the meantime," Kol persisted doggedly.

"Perhaps not, but it does mean we have to behave with a little decorum," Elijah insisted, his eyes alight with irritation. "I think we have to assume by the way certainly the Bennett witch and the Gilbert girl was behaving they know what we are, so we must keep our heads down, perhaps let them run with the assumption that Miss Bennett's parlour trick scared us into leaving town."

Rebekah nodded, "I'll go with that."

"Boring," Damon announced, draping himself over the chaise de longue, wearing a lazy expression.

She sped over to him, jabbing him sharply in the chest.

"I don't care what hold my brother has over you, if you don't do this my way, I will rip your heart from your chest and play baseball with it! Do you understand?"

"You're feisty..." he stood up, towering over her, a leer twisting his lips. "Now I know what my brother saw in you..."

She slapped him.

"Don't mention Stefan to me," she snapped, turning on her heels and storming over, rolling her eyes at the sound of Kol making immature noises in the wake of her departure.

She had always considered herself quite the temperamental individual, but her family seemed to ignite her temper more than any other factor in the world. She wasn't sure if it was because they knew her, and knew what buttons to push to get the most volatile reaction out of her, or if it was just down to the fact that they were reminders of what she was, of what she'd become.

Family is a beautiful word, a wonderful concept in theory, but people always seem to forget that your family hold the power to hurt you, and they will damn well use that power if it serves their purpose. They can love you, and raise you to absolutely spectacular heights, but they can drag you to the darkest depths of hell, and chain you to the fires so that you feel pain on every level imaginable. For Rebekah, the latter was always the most apt description of her family. For every good memory they'd given her, a thousand bad ones had spawned from it. They all used her in turn, whether it was for her manipulative nature, the way she could wrap a man around her finger just to lead him like a lamb to the slaughter, or the way she could cut down a hundred enemies with an unmatchable ruthlessness. They may have loved her, in their own ways, but they had this horrible habit of taking advantage of her, or – in Klaus' case especially – breaking her.

She was sick of it to be honest, but she'd been promised by Klaus that if he did this last favour for him, she would be free of him. He wouldn't pursue her if she ran, and he wouldn't go against anybody she gave her heart to. Her freedom would come at the price of a girl's life which, in her brother's terms, wasn't that steep a term to pay.

Still, Rebekah couldn't help but feel a niggle of guilt stemming in the bottom of her heart for a girl whose treacherous ancestors would lead her to an early grave, and she would be handing her to the person who would deliver her to that grave almost on a silver platter. Not that she felt anything but mild contempt for the girl, but all the same it just wasn't right to manipulate and lie your way into someone's life only to end up pushing them towards their death. It just didn't sit right with her, but she had to make herself find a way to be okay with it, because the sound of freedom rang in her ears like an inimitable melody. It wasn't in her nature to not fight for the things she wanted.

Then again, it wasn't in the nature to let her brother have his way either.




Elena fought the urge to vomit.

He'd been right there – her parents' killer.

She was currently holed up in the bathroom, just staring at the mirror, at her own hollow expression, fighting back the waves of nausea which were sweeping over her. Caroline and Bonnie weren't too far away, dealing with their own personal problems – for Caroline, it was slowly sobering up to process up the night's events, and for Bonnie, it was trying to work out what the hell it was she'd done to cause the vampires to back off – so she had a few moments processing the grief and anger which boiled over inside of her.

She wiped away tears which threatened to appear from the corners of her eyes and gritted her teeth at her reflection, pretending for one moment the killer – the monster – was there in front of her, grinning at her whilst making cocky remarks that not only confirmed he'd killed her parents, but he remember doing it; she'd met some monsters who'd killed so many people, they didn't remember the victims they'd been hunted down for murdering.

When she surfaced from the bathroom, she noticed Bonnie was sitting on the couch, staring blankly ahead, her eyes widening as if she'd come to a shocking conclusion about something.

"Bonnie?" Her tone was troubled. "You okay?"

Bonnie shook her head, her bottom lip trembling.

"I think my Grams was right," she whispered, "I think I might be a witch. It's the only way to explain what happened tonight."

"Are you sure? I mean..."

"I made those guys – those things – crumble, Elena. All it took was one angry look and a hell of a lot of rage, but I could feel something being forced out of me. Power... magic...whatever you wanna call it... I felt it. And I couldn't control it." Bonnie shook her head, clearly frightened by what had happened. "The last thing Grams said to me was to guard my strength and not let anybody take advantage of it... I just assumed she'd been drinking." Tears filled her eyes. "And I didn't listen..."

"You couldn't have known..."

"With all that we've witnessed, Elena, I don't know why I doubted her. I had no reason to doubt her. We had to say goodbye to normality a long time ago, so why the hell did I not believe, even for a second that witches could exist?"

Elena supplied the only answer she thought could give a grain of comfort to a clearly shaken Bonnie.

"You could only wrap your head around the idea of vampires and werewolves. We've had to concentrate on dealing with vampires, and the odd werewolf, for so long that the idea of there being a third supernatural entity to deal with was just unthinkable. You can't blame yourself for wanting there to be less supernatural crap to deal with."

"Why is it always the hottest guys who tend to be the biggest creeps?" Caroline bemoaned, stumbling into the living room, shaking her head. "That Kol guy looked so damn attractive. I was ready to get on – " She looked at Bonnie's face. "What? What did I miss?"

"I'm a witch," Bonnie mumbled.

"And don't we all know it?" Caroline couldn't help snidely remarking.

Bonnie glared at her. "I'm a witch, Caroline. That's how I managed to hurt those vampires without touching them."

"That was you?"

"You sound insultingly surprised."

Caroline started floundering, immediately trying to backtrack, but Bonnie had already taken offence and walked off, leaving Elena, once again, to try and repair the damage.

"I need a filter," Caroline decided.

"Kind of," Elena agreed, but linked her arm through Caroline's to show she wasn't really serious. "Bonnie's had a rough night. I think she just needs some space."

"From me?"

"No, from the supernatural... at least until she figures out who she really is." Elena hesitated before adding, "Speaking of which, I saw my parents' killer tonight."

"No!" Caroline looked, touchingly, aggressive. "Which one was it? I'll kill them!"

"The dark haired one with the blue eyes."

"The hot-as-fuck one?" Caroline looked astounded, as if the concept of hot guys being monsters was utterly lost on her. "Oh, Elena...I'm so sorry. Why didn't you kick his ass? I wouldn't have held back if it had been, well, you know..."

"You know protocol: we have to know what we're dealing with before we attack."

"But this is personal."

"That's exactly the reason why we should be even more careful with this, Caroline. If I let my emotions get the better of me, I could get myself killed, and for what? Revenge? My parents raised me better than that."

Caroline gave Elena a hard stare. "But you are going to kill him, right?"

Elena smiled grimly. "Naturally, but it won't be for vengeance, although I will get the satisfaction of sending the person who ruined my life to hell. It'll be because it's the right thing to do."

Her best friend smiled at her.

" Elena Gilbert, Slayer of the Cursed and Damned... It has a nice ring to it."

Bonnie strode back into the room, an air of purpose about her.

"I've just been on the phone to my dad, asking about relatives on my mother's side, and I have a cousin not too far away who might be able to shed some more light on my heritage." She hesitated, before looking from Caroline to Elena. "I hate to leave you guys like this, but..."

In an effort to redeem herself after her snarky remarks, Caroline stepped forward, enveloping Bonnie in her arms.

"Go," she instructed firmly. "We'll be able to handle what's going on here."

"You sure?"

Elena nodded in confirmation. "We'll mostly be doing reconnaissance anyway. Nothing more."

"Wise decision." Bonnie gave them a tight lipped smile laced with a look of approval. "Rebekah's gonna throw a hissy fit..."

"I'll handle her."

"And if Elena can't handle her, I'll ruin one of her oh-so-expensive outfits by accidentally-on-purpose pushing her down a muddy hill," Caroline chipped in, earning her a laugh from Bonnie.

She flung her arms around her friends and held them tightly.

"Be safe," she whispered in their ears.

"I hope you find out what you need to learn. Might be handy to have a witch on our side," Elena joked.

Bonnie smiled. "Well, we'll see. I don't even know for sure I am one, but I do know it wasn't a coincidence what happened tonight. I just need answers, and my Grams isn't here to answer them."

"Go," Caroline repeated. "We love you."

"Love you too," Bonnie said, walking out, throwing them an appreciative glance as she exited their apartment.

"What now?" Caroline asked the moment she was out of earshot.

"Now we do what we always do – we hunt and kill vampire scum," Elena spoke, determination radiating from every syllable she uttered.

Caroline nodded, looking uncharacteristically solemn.

"Where do we begin?"

"Chances are we didn't scare these vampires off. They'll loiter in town, blending in as best they can. I say we play the amnesia card with them. Act like we were too drunk to remember what went down."

"They aren't gonna buy that."

"Ah, you underestimate a vampire's basic need to survive in a town with people aware of their existence. They'll buy our story because they need to buy it. They can't come out and say anything otherwise. It'll out them to the world."

Caroline still didn't look convinced.

"And what if they corner us somewhere private, and try and compel the truth out of us?"

Elena shrugged. "Then we let them believe we can be compelled."

"But they already know we've had vervain before! That's how they couldn't compel me."

"They don't know we're drinking it by choice," Elena pointed out. "It could be someone higher up, for all they know, who has been supplying it to us."

"I don't know about this. We've done the whole bait-'em-and-stake-'em bit before, but those times the vampires were complete idiots, probably newly turned. These guys sounded old, the way they spoke, like they've been around a long time. We can't trust our methods will work with them."

"Then we make new methods," Elena said simply. "We can't let our home be overrun with vampires, Care. Old or new, vampires are dangerous monsters." She smiled nostalgically, adding, "My mom used to tell me that the reason children's tales had monsters in them wasn't to acknowledge the fact that the monsters exist in the world, but that they can be defeated, if you have the knowhow."

"I remember a quote going something along those lines. My dad had a big book of them," Caroline agreed, looking equally as nostalgic. "God, I miss him so much."

"We need to stack up on weapons, start dividing the vervain between us," she said determinedly. "Maybe we can start delving it out to the town somehow."

"Your mom still has that bracelet you made her right?"

"Never takes it off. I made sure to have a hissy fit every time she tried to," Caroline said, with a degree of pride at her own skills at feigning tantrums to guilt trip her mom into doing anything she wanted.

"Good..." Elena sounded just as determined as Caroline. "Now, how about we have another night out? Maybe we could slip vervain into people's drinks as we do so?"

"Nah, if we get caught it's gonna take a hell of an explanation to convince them we're not trying to roofie people."

"We have to protect the town somehow while we figure out what these guys are up to!" Elena said in frustration. "I won't let someone else go through what we did."

Caroline put her hands on Elena's shoulders.

"We won't let them hurt anyone," she soothed. "We just have to figure out who they are and what they're up to. It's the usual drill, just without Bonnie."

"We need to get Rebekah up to speed."

Caroline made a face. "Do we have to?"

Giving out a short laugh, Elena nodded, making a mock pained expression as she replied, "We kind of do, yes. She's part of our team, regardless of how you feel about her."

"I really, really hate her though."

Elena wanted to say she did too, just to show solidarity, but that wasn't entirely true. Maybe it was just the way she saw things in shades of grey, as opposed to black and white the way Caroline seemed to view the world, but she couldn't entirely agree with her friend's sentiments regarding Rebekah. Sure, the blonde was cold, liberal with her cruel taunts, and made their lives miserable on a daily basis, but there was something warm there, lingering on the fringes of her cold heart, and Elena found herself drawn to it.

She couldn't explain it, even to herself, but she knew there was more to Rebekah than what met the eye, and she was eager to find out more, if only to justify her mother's favourite adage 'never judge a book by its cover'.

Always seeing the best in people, she could imagine her mother sighing from the other side – if there even was one – that's my girl.

Even just imagining her mother's presence in this scenario made a small smile curl Elena's lips, but once she saw her mother in the peripherals of her mind, she saw her father, grave but with eyes which seemed to do nothing but laugh, and then she saw Jeremy, and that's when the emotions raged inside her, threatening to overtake her.

It was thinking about Jeremy that always, always pushed her over the edge. Thinking back on that day was just like revisiting an old nightmare over and over again. Even now, the events slipped into her mind, the memory equivalent to dark clouds ruining a vividly blue sky, the threat of rain ever present.




Five years after their parents had been killed by a wild animal, Elena and Jeremy had assembled a life for themselves, with the pair of them at Whitmore college, both of them in different years, both majoring in different fields, both determined to stay together. After their parents had died, they'd had their aunt Jenna come to live with them, and though she'd loved them, and fought for them, the moment they'd left for college, she'd gone back to finish her own degree so she could have her own life back. Elena had always had the feeling Jenna had felt like she was meant to be a parent to them, and because of that overwhelming role, she'd felt like she'd failed, hence the whole running-back-to-her-old-life-the-moment-they-were-old-enough-took-after-themselves bit.

She needn't have worried, Elena often thought; she'd done a hell of a job, and because she'd been both a fun aunt and almost another Gilbert sibling at times, she'd gotten them all through graduating high school and into college, even though Jeremy had gone through several phases of using drugs and just tuning out the world.

It was now approaching the end of her final year at college, and Elena was excited beyond belief to graduate and go onto pastures new. The house had been left to her, as stipulated by her parents' will, so after college she'd made plans to live at home for a while until she found a job that took her to exciting places. Jeremy had made no such plans, insisting when he graduated with an art degree under his belt, he planned to leave and never come back, except perhaps for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The biggest party of the year, the end of year parties to end all end of year parties, was in full swing when she arrived, an eager Caroline and Bonnie next to her, the two of them having come to visit from their prospective colleges.

"This is awesome," Caroline declared, eyeing the array of attractive individuals in front of her. "My college has nothing like this."

"So why'd ya pick it?"

"Duh, so I could use my fantastic and legendary organisational skills to improve it," Caroline quipped. "But it took me the full three years to persuade them to even start having committees for events, and even then they used a crappy democratic system to elect individuals onto that committee and I didn't get a damn role in the thing even though it was MY IDEA!"

"Let's get a drink in you," Bonnie suggested, tugging Caroline away just as she'd started to rant about more of the college's inadequacies. "Meet you inside?"

"Yeah, see you in a minute. Gonna nip up to Jeremy's dorm room, see if he's okay."

With that, they separated, Elena navigating her way through the crowd of vivacious partygoers to reach the building Jeremy was located in. For some reason, his building was deserted, most of the students presumably at the party, so she walked inside, feeling an inexplicable chill in the air, like she was being watched or something. Something didn't feel quite right anyway.

Walking up the stairs, she reached Jeremy's dorm room, knocking once before letting herself in, only for a scene from a horror movie to greet her eyes the moment she'd opened the door.

A man with lengthy dark hair was gripping her brother, his teeth plunging into his neck, blood spattered across his mouth, a great gaping hole visible on the side of her brother's neck where – presumably – he'd had a great chunk of flesh ripped out.

She didn't remember screaming, but it had stopped the man in his tracks, who'd dropped her brother to the floor, and all she'd been able to think of in that moment was that Jeremy's eyes weren't supposed to be fixed open like that; no thoughts of her own safety had ever crossed her mind. The sounds of the party must've been loud that no one had thought to come rushing to her aid, but to her own ears it sounded a million miles away.

The monster stalked towards her, not even having the courtesy to wipe her brother's blood, and then sped towards her at an inhuman speed. His teeth pierced her own neck, drawing blood after blood, like he'd been starved of it for so long; he drew so much that she began to feel dizzy and light headed, collapsing onto her knees which didn't seem to stop him. There was a point where she knew he didn't physically need the blood he was taking, that he was literally killing her to silence her, and her eyes rolled back before she could make any sort of sound, weak or otherwise, to protest what was happening.

She was vaguely aware of the sound of voices before she felt the grip on her slacken, her body crumbling into a pile as it struggled to come to terms with how much blood it had lost.

Later, she woke up in hospital next to a teary eyed and frightened Bonnie and Caroline, who informed her she'd at one point she'd flat-lined.

Jeremy hadn't survived, but she'd known that; the dull pulse of her grieving heart had told her all she needed to know.

Nearly dying, however, had brought to light one other important matter, which she reflected on a lot later on so as not to scare her friends, and that had been the true nature of her parents' deaths. She knew by now at least two monsters – for she'd been able to identify them as two separate beasts, even in the blurred confinements of her grieving mind – existed in the world, and that meant the existence of possibly hundreds more.

Not long afterwards, she dropped out of college, unable to find the energy to continue while her heart was under this massive strain to continue beating whilst the hearts of her family didn't. She moved back home and started researching vampires, determined to fight back, and it wasn't long afterwards that Caroline and Bonnie also suffered traumas which united them all in fighting things that went bump in the night.

She kept her scars though, as a reminder of the true darkness the world possessed. It wouldn't be the last time she would be bitten by a vampire, but it would be the occasion which defined her, forcing her into an entirely new world she could barely comprehend. Her dreams would from that day on be laced with flashes of teeth, with the added soundtrack of a bloodcurdling scream that could've woken the dead.




At the Grill, Caroline and Elena fanned out, both wearing revealing dresses, not particularly to draw attention but because they found as a rule, whether they were vampires or not, men tended to drop their guards in the presence of attractive females. They couldn't resist flirting, even if they had no shot in hell at walking away with those females.

To nobody's surprise, they drew attention left, right and centre, with men who very rarely frequented town eyeing them with undisguised lust. Clad in a violet dress with a plunging neckline, Elena smirked as she flicked her hair, seeking out her prey through autumn brown eyes, eyes that never failed to get men to fall in love with her. Over on her left, she saw Caroline, who wore a short black number, which couldn't help contrasting with her lily white legs which seemed to stretch for miles, smiling and making the occasional comment to a guy she passed, and they were lapping up her attention like dogs.

This routine was part of their reconnaissance, although she suspected they'd done it so many times, they were starting to wear it out a little. It mostly involved flirting their asses off until they got a solid lead of some kind. Sometimes it backfired, like the night Bonnie had almost been attacked by a vampire who seemed to have developed an obsession with taking her home – presumably to feed on and kill, but there were other possibilities that still made her shudder to this day.

As she made her way to the bar, she bristled, aware someone was watching her – well, for a different reason than the dozens of other idiots who occupied this bar. She turned a fraction to the right, spotting a pair of icy blue eyes fixed on her, and without hesitation she turned back.

No need to revisit that horrific encounter just yet, she thought, ordering herself a strong drink, knowing she would need it.

An arm stretched across the bar before she could pay for her drink, money slipping from the hand attached to it to the hand of the bartender. She gave a sideways glance at the generous – and she used that word loosely – man responsible for buying her a drink, vaguely surprised to see it was the suited individual who'd tried to restrain his younger brother when he'd been harassing them.

She took a look at him now they were in a well lit environment, noting the fact even in a bar environment, a place which was notorious for throwing all rules of basic civility out of the window, he still wore a suit. He was good looking she wasn't going to deny that, with his soft brown looks, a strand of it falling across his face, making him look like a pop star from the 80s. But Elena from experience knew not to trust men who looked as though they had stepped straight out of magazines; it wasn't that the less attractive ones couldn't do the same kind of emotional – and often physical – damage, but she found the ones who were attractive, and knew they were attractive, flaunted their attraction in a bid to get people's attention, and then became dangerous on the odd occasion they were rejected.

"Good evening," he said, a soothing lilt to his voice. "I know I'm being presumptuous by buying you a drink, but consider it an apology for the way my brother behaved last night."

"I barely recall last night," she lied. "If he acted like a jackass, it's nothing I'm not used to, believe me." It was hard as hell not to stake him right there and then; he spoke like he'd been around a thousand years, and she was willing to bet he had. "I'm Elena."

She extended a hand, deciding to be polite, disguising her true intentions under a mask she'd perfected for herself over the years. Out of the corner of her eyes, she noted Caroline observing her, a look of concern engraved onto her features. With a discreet signal – one they'd come up with together in the form of tucking a strand of hair behind her ear – she told her she was okay and then turned her attention back to the man who appeared to be studying her.

"Elijah," he returned, taking her hand and kissing it.

Elena wasn't sure why, but the gesture spooked her. It was like an outspoken confirmation of his true age, because she was aware no one pulled the whole kiss-on-the-hand trick these days. In today's society, a kiss on the hand equated to a clumsy kiss on the cheek, which, in some cases, turned into a quick grope.

She shook her head, banishing these weird thoughts from her head. They were too distracting.

"So, Elijah," she practically purred his name, curious to see if he would take the bait she offered. "What brings you to Mystic Falls?"

"Let's just say I am here scouting for a potential home for me and my siblings to settle down in," he replied smoothly.

Liar, she thought, but there was a note of sincerity to his voice which made her wonder whether he was looking for a home, just lying about the location. It was possible; vampires could occasionally tell you the truth but cleverly disguise it in a well prepared lie to set you off your guard. They knew how to play a game, which was partly the reason she, Bonnie and Caroline took lengthy amounts of time to properly come to the conclusion someone was a vampire. They had to be sure.

"Siblings – as in, more than one?" she enquired, inwardly freaking out about the fact that there were more monsters to hunt and catch, presuming of course they were also in town.

"Four to be exact," he confirmed with a tight smile. "I wish I could say Kol was the black sheep of the family, but we seem to be a family made entirely of black sheep, so," he made a lazy gesture with his hand, "I can only re-iterate how sorry I am for the comments he made to you and your friends last night."

Elena didn't respond, not entirely sure how she could respond to such a bizarre answer.

Luckily, Caroline made her grand entrance, smiling brightly at Elijah.

"Hi," she greeted, beaming in his direction. "I'm Caroline."

Elena watched Elijah process her, his mouth twisting into an uncertain smile, almost like he wasn't quite sure how to respond to such a loud and enthusiastic greeting, and then his phone rang, prompting him to apologise profusely, explaining he had to take the call, before disappearing from view.

"What an oddball," Caroline noted.

"You're telling me," Elena agreed.


"He talks like he's from a different time, and he has a bizarrely bleak view on his own family. Oh – he has other siblings by the way. If they're not in town already, they will be. He claims he's looking for a permanent home for all of them."

Caroline raised a hand, "I call bullshit."

Elena smiled. "Me too. There's no concrete proof he is a vampire though."

"He's related to that jackass who tried to compel us – that's concrete proof enough for me!"

"We need to play this carefully, Caroline. We don't know enough to make a definite move," Elena cautioned. "Let's take this one day at a time. We should go drop by Rebekah's house and get her up to speed."

"Okay," Caroline said, surprisingly non-resistant to the idea of seeing Rebekah. "But only because she has a ridiculous amount of alcohol in her house. That'll get me through a conversation with her."

Elena grinned.

"Caroline Forbes, did I ever tell you how much I love you?"

Caroline grinned back.

"No, so you should really start," she teased. "Get me Channing Tatum for Christmas. That'll really show me that you love me."

Elena bumped her playfully, rolling her eyes good-humouredly.

That was Caroline Forbes for you, and she wouldn't change her for the world.