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67 BC

The first time she lost Amara she was six years old.

They were supposed to be completing their chores; collecting the many different flowers and herbs used by their mother.

She liked the task well enough. She loved the way the flowers would sing to her when she stroked their silken petals. Soft ballads played out on her heartstrings. Epic, daring adventures danced through her mind.

The lilies sighed longingly of love that she was too young to understand.

The daisies giggled mischievously like her sister: with an air of childhood innocence.

She had learned to steer clear of the plants that whispered heinous lies, and the ones that spoke of death; those ones scared her terribly, and whenever she had the misfortune to touch one she would fall into the depths of despair.

There was one herb that spoke of immortality. When she had touched its bright red leaves it had whispered the secret. The voice had caressed her mind as softly as her mother's kisses. She had giggled in response and asked why anyone would want to know that secret. It seemed silly to want to live forever: 'you'd get all wrinkly and terribly lonely'.

The herb had not been offended by her words as she had thought it would be. It had merely chuckled and told her that 'one day she would understand' while the wind had ruffled her hair as her father would have done. That had surprised her; usually the plants only told her the one thing, and didn't respond to her questions.

Amara hated her chores, and would do anything to get out of them. She never understood her twin sister's fascination with the plants; Amara didn't feel the same connection to nature.

Mother would smile and tell Amara it was because she didn't listen and was always in a hurry.

Amara would stomp her little feet and shake her wild hair. She claimed her sister was making it all up for attention, never mind the fact that her sister rarely shared what the plants said.

The one time she had it had been to say that father was returning from a hunt. Amara had laughed and said she couldn't know that.

She had clenched her fists and set her chin before shouting that she did know it: the grass had whispered and said he was crossing the field with a heavy burden.

Amara never believed her. Amara never listened. Amara never wanted to sit for hours and run her fingers over the grass, but she did it for her sister. Amara did it because she loved her mirror image dearly; they were the best of friends.

In return she would sometimes sneak off with Amara to play when they were supposed to be doing chores. Sometimes they would chase each other. Sometimes, after she had asked politely, they would make flower crowns; the flowers didn't respond, but she still liked to ask before plucking them.

Some days they would swap clothes and try to fool their parents; father always fell for it, but mother never did.

Today they were playing a finding game. Amara had raced into the field while she counted slowly. Today was the first time she had lost her sister.

The thought to ask the grass where Amara was never crossed her mind; even if she were the type to cheat the plants wouldn't answer. Those were not the kind of secrets they told.

She covered every inch of the orchard and the herb garden with a huge grin on her face. She loved this game; she loved the surprised look on Amara's face whenever she found her. It got increasingly harder every time they played.

The plants might not be able to lead her to Amara, but she had always shared a special connection with her twin.

She scrunched up her face and told herself this wasn't cheating. She was worried now; they weren't supposed to leave the clearing because it wasn't safe. Her nose crinkled as she concentrated and located her twin.

She took a deep breath and looked to her house. She waited until her mother slipped inside for her baby brother. Once her mother was out of sight she bit her lip and darted into the field where Amara had taken refuge.

When she was in the field she lost sight of her end goal. These were plants she had never seen before. Her fingers and toes skimmed over the grass. There were herbs for love, sickness, and the destruction of lives.

She stopped and cocked her head sending the orderly braids tumbling over her shoulder. Kneeling in the grass she pulled the bright red and yellow flower from the ground. She heard the secret nobody was ever meant to hear: 'combine me with the petals of a white rose, the gel of aloe, the berries from a holly tree, sage and zinnia and I will return your departed friend from Hades'.

"I have no departed friends," she murmured to the soft petals. "May I keep you anyway? You are very beautiful." Her mother had raised her to be polite. The flower raised no objection; they never did, so she broke off the stem and tucked the bright blossom into her pocket.

She frowned when she stood up and saw the sky darkening. Heavy grey clouds writhed overhead. She scrunched up her face again and concentrated but this time she could not find Amara.

Opening her eyes she began to tremble; the grass was higher than she was and she didn't know the way home.

"Amara," she called. Her shoulders hunched when the thunder rumbled: Zeus was angry. She screamed when the ground shook beneath her feet and knocked her to her knees: Hades was angry too.

She hunched over and grasped the back of her neck the way her father had shown her. She curled into the position her mother had told her about and waited for the earth to cease its movements. She was crying too hard to notice when the ground stilled.

A warm hand on her shoulder brought her back to the realm of reality. She stood on shaky legs and sniffled when she stared up into intense brown eyes.

The boy was perhaps two years older than her and at least a foot taller. She had to tilt her head back to see him.

"Are you alright?" He asked.

She trembled. The rain had soaked through her blue dress and set a chill to her bones. "I'm lost," her lower lip shook, "I lost my sister and now I can't find my way home." She turned her head down to shield her face from the rain.

"Where is your home?" Rain plastered his dark hair to his sun bronzed brow. She thought he must be very pale when Persephone made her yearly journey underground.

"Beneath the pomegranate tree in the orchard," she pushed away a heavy lock of hair when it fell in her bright eyes. She watched as the boy turned around and pointed to the left.

"The orchard is that way," he said. He offered his hand when a lightning strike made her shake with fright.

She crossed her arms and gave him a wary glare. "Mother says I'm not supposed to speak with strangers." She had quite forgotten that fact with the storm. She wondered if that rule applied to helpful boys with kind eyes. Surely the rule was only for adults from other covens.

"If you live in the house in the orchard then I am not a stranger," he reasoned, "I am your neighbor. My family lives in the villa on the hill."

She squinted and scrutinized his features. He did look like the boy on the hill, and she had seen her father talking with his, but they had never been introduced. He had his own siblings to play with… or were they cousins?

"Okay," she broke out in a brilliant smile. Reaching up she took his hand and started pulling him in the direction he had pointed.

He was genuinely surprised when the rain clouds did not scamper off to cower in the wake of her sunny smile and luminous eyes. He was certain she was radiating light.

He stopped up short when they stepped from the grass. His eyes landed on a girl who was a perfect physical copy of the one holding his hand. He shivered when his companion released his hand and wrapped her arms around her doubles neck.

"Amara!" She cried happily. "There you are. I was so worried."

Amara crossed her arms and glared at him. "Who's your new friend?" She pouted.

"He helped me get home," she frowned when she remembered her fear, "when I got lost. This is…" Her eyes widened when she realized she realized she didn't know his name.

He stepped forward and looked between the sisters; up close he could see subtle differences in their eyes: Amara's were not as bright.

"My name is Elias."

Chapter Text

November 6, 2011

"Matt, look out," Elena cried. She raised her hand and pointed to Rebekah standing in the middle of the bridge.

Matt swore and spun the wheel in an attempt to avoid the woman he had yet to recognize. He was driving too fast though and the car barreled over the side of the bridge and into the water.

"You're not going to fight back?" Alaric stood over Damon's prone body.

He scoffed without humour. "You're kind of invincible, Ric."

Alaric dragged Damon to his feet and held him by his throat. "Do not call me that. We're not friends."

"We were."

"Well, our friendship was part of the problem. It's what kept me weak." Alaric tilted his head; his eyes roamed over Damon's face. "That's why it took so long for the real me to break through, and now I'm going to break you."

Damon grunted when the fist collided with his gut. "Is that all you've got?" He never did know when to shut up.

"Not quite," Alaric smirked. He was about to drive a stake through Damon's heart.

Damon caught his arm and pushed him away with his leg. He gritted his teeth when Alaric punched him in the face.

She forced her eyes open and looked around. They were at the bottom of the river. The water was quickly filling the car. In less than a minute they would be completely submerged.

She turned her head and saw that Matt was unconscious. She shook him and checked his pulse before trying to open the window. She threw her weight behind her elbow and swallowed her frustrated scream when the glass refused to move. She sucked in as much air as she could before the water swirled over her head.

She shook Matt desperately and met Stefan's eyes when he peered through the window.

Stefan felt the strangest sense of déjà vu when he broke open the door and reached for Elena. She shook her head stubbornly and pointed to Matt. He tried to tug her free of the car insisting that she let him drag her to the surface, but she was nothing if not obstinate. He saw her relax marginally when he ripped the belt and pulled Matt from the car.

Elena watched them go while tugging on her own belt. Her fingers wouldn't work though. Cold had seeped into her bones. Her vision quickly faded around the edges. The last thing she saw was the final bubble of air when it escaped her lungs.

Damon grasped Alaric's shoulders when his body turned grey. Tears streamed down his face as he screamed at him.

"You're not dead," the cry repeated until the words lost any meaning.

She blinked against the bright light. A frown marred her pretty features when he blocked out the sun. It took a moment for him to come into focus but when he did she smiled.

"You are blocking the sun," she pouted.

"Terribly sorry," he dropped to his knees and pulled her into a sitting position, "but you were starting to burn."

She made a show of inspecting her limbs. "I'm not in the least bit red," she laughed.

"Your cheeks are unnaturally bright," he plucked a strand of grass from her braids.

"That's because you're staring at me," she crossed her legs at the ankle.

"Can you blame me?" He smiled softly. "My wife is the most beautiful woman in the world; I can't help it if I stare."

"Even if I am the most beautiful woman in the world," she rolled her eyes, "there is another that looks just like me."

"I disagree," he took her hand when they stood and started down the path.

She took a deep breath and tasted the salt from the water in the air. To her left the sun bounced off the sea and nearly blinded her.

"You don't think my twin sister looks just like me?" She spun in front of him and stopped. The gentle slope of the hill meant she was at eyelevel with him.

"No," he splayed his hands over her hips and drew her close, "it's all in the eyes." He breathed against her cheek. "When you smile your eyes light up the darkest of nights."

She turned her head and brushed her lips against his cheek. "Flattery will only get you so much."

"Then I suppose it's a good thing I come bearing gifts for your garden," he gave her a chaste kiss and leaned back far enough to hold the flower in front of her face.

A broad grin broke out over her face. She lifted her hand and gently traced the oval petals that were the palest of purples.

"Boiled as a tea this will banish nightmares," she inhaled the fragrant scent. "What's it called?"

"Crocus sativus," he smiled at the light in her eyes. "They say that this was one of the flowers being gathered by Persephone when she was abducted by her husband."

"It's beautifu…" she shrieked when he picked her up and held her over his shoulder. "What do you think you're doing?" She laughed and swatted at his back.

"I should think that was obvious," he chuckled and took off up the hill. "I am abducting my wife."

"One of these days you'll have to tell me where you find all of these flowers," she examined the Datura he had placed in her open palm.

"If I did that you'd simply go yourself and I would be deprived of the wondrous light in your eyes," he teased. "Besides, I like being there when you first discover what they do."

She shook her head and ran a finger over the soft petal. "This particular flower will do several things," she grinned. "It will make a wonderful addition to a spell for concealment and invisibility. If I add it to a tea with the crocus sativus it will bring prophetic dreams."

"Must it be mixed with the other?" He watched a cloud cover her face.

"No," she lifted her gaze to his face, "it will provide the dreams either way. The crocus will protect against the darker premonitions."

"Then mix it with the crocus," he kissed her cheek, "I only want you to see the happiest of futures."

"I've already seen one," she smiled slyly, "and I didn't need any herbs for that." She giggled when she placed his palm over her stomach and his eyes widened.

"Truly?" He met her brilliant eyes. A wide grin threatened to split his face when she nodded.

She squealed when he lifted her and spun her around. A tiny shriek escaped her lips when he stumbled and they both went down in the shallow water.

She broke the surface and gasped before falling into his embrace and laughing. "I love you," she raked her wet curls from her face. "You are quite possibly the clumsiest person I have ever met, and I love you."

"You take that back," he splashed water up her back, "I am not clumsy. I'm incredibly graceful; this is the first time I have ever knocked us both off our feet."

"Yes," she flicked her hand and laughed when the water sprayed the side of his face, "but you are also the only person to ever knock me off my feet, so therefore you are the clumsiest."

"I suppose I cannot argue with that logic," he swiped the water from his eyes. "It appears we have company." He nodded over her shoulder.

"What could she possibly want now?" She followed his gaze to the beautiful woman in on the shore. "I already told her everything she needed."

"Perhaps she now needs you to cast a spell for her," he suggested. "You did tell her immortality would come with a price."

Damon pushed through the cold stone doors of the morgue with a renewed sense of urgency. Meredith had a lot of nerve.

He stopped up short when he saw Stefan with his head in his hands. Elena laid prone on the table in front of him. Damon sighed in relief when she sat up gasping for air and tore open the blood bag.

Elena blinked and peered around at the stainless steel that surrounded her. Every time her eyes closed she was greeted with the sight of Elijah soaked through in the sea. She almost expected to see him standing vigil over her body, and could not understand the disappointment when he was nowhere to be seen.

Elena's eyes widened when the blood was forced into her mouth. A sharp pain stung her gums as sharp teeth descended. She forcefully shoved Damon away from her and felt a sob tear through her.

"Why the hell would you do that?" Elena screamed. Her strangely vivid dreams were forgotten for the time being.

"I couldn't take the chance that you would refuse to transition," Damon picked himself up from the floor and passed her back the bag. "Meredith Fell used my blood to heal her earlier," he explained to Stefan when he stared in horror.

"No," Elena shook her head and swiped away the tears. "I don't want to be a vampire Damon."

"She should have had a choice," Stefan wrapped his arms around Elena's shaking shoulders.

"The options were to die, or to transition and maybe find a way to turn back," Damon pressed the bag of blood into Elena's hands again. "You need to drink Elena… drink and adjust. We'll figure out the rest later."

Elena wanted to scream at him; it was her decision to make and he had robbed her of that. She wanted to throw the blood against the far wall. She wanted to sob. And if she were being really honest she wanted the calming presence of the Original who had promised to keep her alive.

As if from a distance she saw herself lifting the bag to her lips. She needed to adjust; they would figure out the rest later.


Chapter Text


February 2012

Elena laid flat on her back and stared at the ceiling fan as it made slow circles above her head. So much had happened in the last few months that she needed to take some time for her; some time to think.

She still couldn't fathom what had happened. She couldn't believe what she had done. That first day as a vampire she had vowed that she would never take a life. She might be a vampire but that didn't make her a monster.

Damon had been sincere in his desire to turn her back. Along with a professor from one of the local colleges and Bonnie they had learned of a cure for immortality.

The hunter showing up to investigate the deaths of several prominent members of the community had been a fluke. Jeremy being able to see his mark had been a miracle.

It had become clear to the Salvatores that Connor had to die, but Elena still wasn't sure why she had ended the man's life. All she knew was that Damon had said it and she'd done it; at the time it was to protect Jeremy, but she had since learned that Connor had never intended to hurt her brother and that Damon had known that.

She had spent a day and a night trying to drown out his voice. She had suffered his emotional abuse and done everything to ignore him, but eventually she had tried to kill herself.

She closed her eyes and reveled in the silence. There was only one voice in her head now.

She supposed she had Jeremy to thank for that. It came with a price though; her brother now wanted to kill her.

If she strained her ears she could make out the argument occuring a floor below. They were still talking about her. They had been talking about her and her 'condition' since she'd arrived at the boarding house that afternoon. It didn't matter if she was in the room or not; they spoke about her as if she wasn't.

She heard the words 'sire' and 'bond' being bandied about as she finally drifted into the land of dreams.

"This is it then?" He picked up the shallow bowl and eyed the dark liquid.

"Mmhmm," she nodded. "Immortality in a bowl…" she tilted her head and took his hand, "… were you thinking of drinking it?"

He smiled and shook his head while pulling her into his chest.

"I should think it would get rather dull," he pressed a kiss to the top of her head. "Living forever… while sharing an eternity with you would be wonderful, immortality has its drawbacks. There is something infinitely beautiful in growing old; in knowing any day could be your last."

"I always thought if I were to live forever," she glanced at the shallow bowl, "eventually I would stop living." She rocked back on her heels and lifted a few vials from the edge of the table. "I think eventually she'll realize that too."

"You made a cure?" He raised his brows.

"Sometimes people make mistakes," she shrugged. "They should have a chance to fix it if that is their choice."

Elena covered her mouth to stifle her shriek and glared. She struggled to de-tangle herself from the mess of blankets and shook off the last of her dream.

"Have you ever heard of knocking?" She straightened her camisole. Her feet landed on the smooth floors.

"I did," Damon chuckled. "You didn't hear me."

Elena paced across the room and tore open the door to the marble bathroom. She pulled out her toothbrush and watched him lean against the door frame and cross his arms.

"What do you want Damon?" She spat out her toothpaste. Reaching into the small closet she put a fluffy white towel on the counter. "You're not joining me in the shower."

"Just hear me out Elena," he arched an eyebrow.

Elena crossed her arms and braced her hip on the edge of the walk in shower. "What?" She felt the urge to physically throw him from the room; she was in no mood to talk or listen to anyone right then.

"Bonnie's professor friend says that there is a cure." Damon stepped into the bathroom. "It lies with the first immortal, Silas, and when a hunter completes his mark the tattoo forms a map to him."

"The only way for a hunter to complete their mark is to kill an unknown number of vampires," Elena rolled her eyes. "That could take years… and then there is the little fact that my brother is not talking to any of us. Even if he was I don't want him murdering hundreds of people just for me."

"Bonnie and Shane are working on getting Jeremy to see reason where you are concerned," Damon sighed. "You know he could just kill one…"

"What exactly are you suggesting Damon?" Elena frowned.

"When an Original dies their bloodline dies with them," Damon turned towards the door. "The best thing to do would be to kill one of them... probably the one with the stake."

"Thousands of people, Damon," Elena grumbled. "Potentially thousands of vampires would die."

"You know I'm right," he called from her bedroom door.

Elena shook her head and stripped before stepping under the hot spray of the shower. She was morally opposed to murder, so why had she done it? She loathed the thought of being responsible for the end of a life, so why was she contemplating it?

Three days later Jeremy was proclaimed cured and capable of being around those he considered family and friends again. Damon brought up the idea again in a semi-joking voice, and was unsurprised when Jeremy saw the merits of the plan. Jeremy, however, would not act without his sister's say so; after all, it would be for her that he did it.

Klaus was the head of her own bloodline; he was the Original she had once despised enough to kill, and the only one whose death would be death sentence for her friends.

Rebekah was just a girl who had grown up too fast. She might have killed Elena, but Elena couldn't bring herself to even think of killing the blond.

She had nothing against Kol. He was the only Original who hadn't caused her some sort of physical harm. He had made it his mission to collect every weapon that could harm him and his siblings.

The mere thought of Elijah's death made her stomach turn violently.

She was morally opposed to murder, so why was she reaching for her phone? If she did this, did she even deserve to be human again?

57 BC

"How is it, sister, that we are identical and yet you are the pretty one?" She straightened her braids and adjusted the basket on her arm.

"You're pretty," Amara laid the fruit in the basket while her sister paid the merchant.

"How narcissistic of you to say," she chuckled.

"We are uncommonly beautiful," Amara grinned.

"Then why are you the twin turning heads?" She sighed. Her arm linked with Amara's as they started on the path that would take them home. "Do men think me strange? Am I spending too much time in the garden?"

"Don't be silly," Amara bumped her legs with her own basket. "You are beautiful and not in the least bit strange…" she trailed off when she saw the sceptical look, "… alright you're a little strange, but that's part of your charm."

"I'm not scaring men away?"

"Of course not," Amara grinned. She squeezed her twin's arm. "Men don't look at you because they don't want to waste their time on the sister who is spoken for."

"I'm not spoken for," she shook with silent laughter. "Give me your basket; you'll be late for Qetsiyah. You don't want to be late for your first day as her handmaid."

Amara watched her walk up the path and pause to talk to Elias who was heading towards the agora. She spent a moment watching the exchange with a knowing smile before leaving to aid her friend.

"Good evening, mama," she ground the herbs into a fine powder. Her dark eyes lit up when the older woman entered the small villa.

"Good evening, my darling. What are you concocting this day?"

Her mother leaned over the table to inspect the mixture of herbs and flowers.

"A boundary spell," she smiled proudly. "Crushed holly, ground foxglove, and heather will make a line that cannot be crossed. If I add in the iris and mix it with a few drops of my blood the line will only block those who would do me harm; those I trust can still enter."

"You have a real gift." Her mother smiled. "Have you tested it yet?"

"The first one," she nodded to a small bag with the mixed powder. "I'm making the second now," she picked up a small knife, "I thought I'd use the courtyard and see if anyone could approach me."

"Wouldn't your blood allow in any who share it?"

"Yes," she finished mixing the herbs with blood and muttered a spell to dry it into a fine powder, "but I happen to trust those I share blood with. It is the iris that will keep out the ones I distrust, mama. It's wonderful for protection and intuition."

"And it bridges the gap between worlds," her mother grinned.

She poured the powder into a small leather pouch and stepped out into the courtyard. Creating a small circle with a thin line she stood tall and waited. A small smile lifted the edges of her lips when her mother stepped over the line with ease and the cat collided with a mystical barrier.

"Mama," she ventured after she had cleaned away the spell, "Amara said earlier today that I was spoken for… and that was the reason I have no suitors while she has many."

"Your sister spoke the truth, darling."

"I am spoken for? Mama?" She straightened up and crossed her arms. "Why didn't you tell me? When am I to wed? Who am I to wed?"

"Your father has made the arrangements. Amara must have heard him talking; he only told me the other day."

"When mama?" She felt tears burning the backs of her eyes.

"You are to be wed in three days," her mother turned on her heel and began tidying the array of herbs on the work table.

"Three days," she cried. She stumbled when her baby sister tugged on her skirt. "Not now Cassandra."

"You're sixteen."

"So is Amara," she relented and picked up the toddler.

"Your sister is not ready to get married yet."

"And I am?"

"Yes," her mother sighed. "Don't fret darling, you'll be perfectly content." She reached out and took Cassandra before disappearing down the tiled corridor.

"I'd be happier if you told me who!"

The only reply that came was a tinkling laugh.

Chapter Text


February 2012

Kol strode down the street with his head tipped back admiring the stars. They seemed dimmer than they had the century before. He blamed it on the absurd amount of electric lights. People these days had no idea what they were missing out on.

He glanced down when his music was interrupted by the ringing phone. He smirked when he saw the caller ID.

"Jeremy Gilbert," he chuckled, "nice to see I'm still on your speed dial, mate. Hey, you want to meet up at the batting cages in Denver?"

"Actually, it's Elena Gilbert."

"What a treat," his smirk turned to a genuine grin. He knew the Salvatores were looking for the cure for her. Perhaps he could use the opportunity to convince her she didn't need it. Clearly her sire was not doing a good job of teaching her. Or he could remind her how easy it was for him to remove her path to the cure. "I was just thinking of all the clever ways I could have your brother killed, but I would settle for ripping off his illustrated arm instead. No need for him to die."

"I need to talk to you… in person. I want to call a truce in the name of Silas."

"You want to talk about Silas?" He blinked in surprise. Perhaps she wasn't a lost cause after all. He took off at vampire speed and stopped when she responded.

"I'll meet you wherever you want. I'll come to you."

"I'll tell you what," he reached out and pressed the doorbell, "how about I come to you?" He heard someone leave through the back door. "Open up and invite me in. I'm waiting," his voice turned bright with false cheer. "Let me in and let's talk truce."

Elena stood in her kitchen and watched the door.

"Wouldn't it be kind of stupid of me to invite you in?" Now that he was there she found herself very reluctant to go through with her plan; this was not what she wanted to do. So why was she approaching the front of the house?

"On the contrary. I can't kill your brother with my own two hands, or I'll suffer the hunter's curse and spend the next 20 years trying to off myself in increasingly gruesome ways. And I've heard that vervain is back in town, so I can't compel you to kill him either. I think it's fair to say you're semi-safe, for now."

She rolled her eyes at the smirk she could hear so evident in his voice. She could feel Jeremy over her shoulder with a crossbow.

"I'm the only one who can invite him in."

"He's right, obviously."

Elena shook her head in exasperation. Kol was cocky, there was no denying it. He was clever, handsome, dangerous and arrogant. Pulling the door open she tipped her head back to look into his familiar laughing eyes. Somewhere in the dark depths she spotted the ghost of kindness that he fought hard to mask.

"You'd think being alive for over a thousand years would teach me some manners," he removed his headphones and stored them in his pocket with the phone, "but I couldn't resist stopping by."

Elena ignored the way his eyes lingered on her and swallowed. "If I let you in, my brother goes. You're not getting near him."

"That sounds fair," he nodded.

Jeremy backed away slowly until he was standing at the back door. He kept the crossbow aimed at Kol's heart the entire time.

Elena wanted to tell him to put it down. She wanted to call everything off right then and there but she couldn't do it. This had to be done. Didn't it?

"You can come in," Jeremy stepped outside and closed the back door.

Kol smirked at the closed door before turning his gaze to the petite brunette still standing in his path.

"No gold medal for bravery, I see." He chuckled and tapped the pocket that held his phone. "Do you know what I love about this century? Music anytime you like."

Elena frowned. She thought it would be something else; something more sinister or blood related. She hadn't pegged him as a lover of music.

"So," Kol tilted his head, "is this the part where you offer me a drink so we can have a proper chat?"

Elena's eyes flickered to his chest when his jacket swayed open. Silver glinted from an inner pocket.

Kol turned from one of Jeremy's video games and pressed pause when Elena returned with a bottle.

"Sorry," she waved the clear liquid, "I had to dig up the old people alcohol."

"That's the problem with people today," Kol tossed the controller on the couch and circled around into the kitchen behind her. "They have no drinking imagination." He held up a finger and smiled thoughtfully. "Turn of the century New Orleans… now, they knew how to make a drink."

"You lived in New Orleans?" Elena twisted the cap off the bottle.

"We all did," Kol murmured, "until Nik shoved a dagger in my heart."

"Why?" Elena tilted her head and cocked an eyebrow. "What did you do?" She turned to pull some glasses from the cupboard.

Kol leaned on the island and narrowed his eyes. "What makes you think I did anything?"

Elena gave him a sceptical look over her shoulder.

"Has your alliance with my brother softened you to his horrors?" Kol bobbed his head slightly.

A line knit between Elena's brows when she faced him again. She shifted from foot to foot and met his eyes.

"I don't have an alliance with Klaus." The thought that she would was disconcerting. "We have a mutual interest in finding the cure…" Elena tilted her head and gave him a pointed look; although what point she was trying to get across she didn't know. "That's all."

"Had?" Kol inclined his head.

"Yes," Elena raised her brows, "and I'm willing to give up looking for it if you promise to leave my brother alone."

He frowned when he heard her heart skip a beat. Was it fear or dishonesty?

"Now," Elena turned towards the fridge; suddenly unable to meet his eyes, "can you teach me how to make this? I'll get some ice."

"Are we going to talk about Silas," he passed her a finished drink, "or just jibber jabber?"

"No one else seems to think this guy exists," Elena took a sip of her drink, "why do you?"

She found in that moment that she really wanted to hear the answer. What could possibly be so bad that he wanted to keep a person who probably didn't exist from waking up?

"I used to run with some witches in Africa in the 14th century, Haiti in the 17th, New Orleans in the 1900s. They all knew about Silas and he needed to stay buried." Kol lifted his glass in salute. "I actually hold witches in high esteem."

"Why Silas?" Elena leaned against the kitchen counter. "Why are you afraid of him?"

Try as she might she couldn't find it in herself to be afraid of the man. Qetsiyah's name had sent a chill down her spine, but Silas sounded more like the bogeyman.

Kol considered the seriousness of her expression before answering. "They said that if Silas rises, he'll unleash hell on earth. I happen to like the earth the way it is."

"How Biblical," she quipped.

"That's the other problem with people today," Kol nodded. "They've lose faith, and in that loss, they no longer know who they should fear."

Kol turned his gaze from the image of Elena and Jeremy. Even in the photograph he had been able to see the light in her eyes. He wondered where it had gone when he met her stare.

"We're out of gin," she forced a smile, "but I think this was a good year." She waved the bottle of wine.

Elena couldn't deny that she was starting to feel a bit of a buzz. She definitely would have been drunk if she'd still been human. It was probably a bad thing that she was comfortable in his presence, wasn't it?

"What if I said I don't believe you?" Kol smirked and gave her a smoldering stare. He fought down his smile when he saw the distant light in her eyes.

"Alright," she held up her hands and laughed, "you got me. I don't know anything about wine."

Kol shook his head and took the bottle. He read the label and exhaled slowly. "It just seems odd that you'd be willing to give up something you want so much."

"I'd do anything for my brother, Kol." Elena shrugged. "And if what you're saying about Silas is true, what does it matter what I want if it puts everyone else in danger?"

If she were being truly honest with herself she would have said she wasn't sure she really wanted the cure. She knew she didn't want to be a vampire, but there was something unnerving about trying to undo what had been done. The fates had designed it this way right? She wanted to be human, but that choice had been stolen away from her when the car went off the bridge.

"Well," Kol set the bottle on the counter and turned towards the door, "this has been enlightening. Thanks for the drinks." He smirked and tilted his head when she flashed into his path. "I'll take your request for a truce under advisement," he laid a hand on her shoulder as if to move around her.

"Is there any chance that you can be wrong about Silas?" Elena felt her arm warm under his hand.

"Trust me, Elena," Kol shook his head, "some things are better left buried." Reluctantly he released her arm and left with a sinking feeling in his chest.

They had been so close when Kol came back and overheard part of their conversation. Fear, anger, shame… her body was a mass of emotions as she shot him repeatedly. It took everything she had to lower the gun. She wanted to stop; she recognized the mistake when she did.

An agonized scream tore from her throat when Kol picked up a stake Jeremy had used and threw it. The wood embedded in her thigh.

She pulled it out and flashed into the kitchen where she saw him approaching her brother. Jumping onto his back she wrapped her arms around his neck. She winced when he backed her into a wall and drove the stake into her gut.

She blinked at the brief light she caught in his eyes. It almost looked like remorse. She didn't get enough time to examine it though before Jeremy drove the stake through his heart.

A sob tore through her throat that had nothing to do with the pain.

"No," she managed to pull out the stake. Falling to her knees beside the burning body of Kol Mikaelson she felt her stomach turn. What have I done?

She didn't see Klaus in the doorway of her home. Her wide eyes were glued to the small fire.

She was morally opposed to murder, but why was his tearing her apart?

Elena couldn't stop the tears that fell down. She had been in hysterics since leaving her house. Stefan and Damon fighting over her and Rebekah, and Rebekah's supposed allegiance to their cause, was certainly not helping.

"Stop it," she cried, "both of you just stop it."

"Now why don't you calm her down, Damon?" Stefan glared at his brother. "You've managed to use that sire bond pretty well so far, haven't you?"

"What the hell is a sire bond?" Jeremy stepped between the two brothers. "Is that what Tyler had?"

"It's a link between two vampires," Stefan explained. Elena needed to know what was really happening to her. He was also still a little upset about Damon revealing his dalliance with Rebekah. "When a human has feelings for a vampire and they are turned by that vampire's blood they might develop a sire bond. Basically means you follow their direct and indirect orders… oh," he laughed without humour, "and there's no known way to break it… unlike the bond between hybrids."

"I'm sired to you?" Elena's mouth popped open. Suddenly the things that had happened to her made sense: her problem with the blood bags, killing the hunter, and maybe even killing Kol; all of it had been indirectly brought up by Damon. Even the cure had been brought up by Damon.

Drink and adjust. We'll figure out the rest later.

Did she even want the cure? Did she only want it because Damon said it was what she wanted?

She didn't get a chance to think about it before Jeremy yelled and ripped off his shirt to reveal a sprawling tattoo.

Chapter Text

57 BC

Sixteen years was a standard age when most women married.

Just like all of those that came before her she was directed through the pre-wedding rituals. Amara and her mother had accompanied her to the temple of Artemis where she had left toys in dedication to the goddess.

She had winced when Amara had cut her hair. The locks that had once reached the small of her back were cut around her shoulders. She had dedicated the locks of hair to Aphrodite to signify her transition from childhood into adulthood.

She could have sworn Amara looked a little jealous while assisting her with the nuptial bath on the day of her wedding.

She whispered fervently to Amara as her sister walked alongside the chariot.

"Is no one going to tell me who I am marrying?" Her eyes flashed above the veil.

"We thought about it," Amara smiled and whispered. Her voice just made it over the singing of their neighbors, "and I told mother I would tell you."

Her eyes widened as she stared at her mirror image. "Why haven't you?" She was literally on her way to her husband's house; surely Amara should have said something by now.

"I thought it would be more fun to watch you figure it out," Amara shrugged. Her lips had twisted into a playful smirk. "Come now, sister," she nodded ahead to the path, "you must know where this chariot is headed by now. There is only one villa left."

Amara saw the moment the knowledge entered her sister's eyes.

"Did you really think father would consent to a marriage with anyone else?" Amara teased. "He knew you'd merely demand a divorce after a certain amount of time."

"Why did you look so surprised?" Elias' eyes glittered with amusement when she sat beside him later that night; really it was the next morning.

Their guests had all left after hours of feasting and toasting. The newlyweds had been kept apart for the majority of the evening. Only there in the early hours of the morning were they truly alone.

"What do you mean?" She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. Her eyes widened when she caught the knowing smirk on his face. "Did you know?"

"Did I know what?" He caught her hand when she pointed a finger at him.

"You knew we were to marry and you didn't say a word," she gasped in mock outrage.

Elias lifted her hand to his lips and kissed her wrist. He saw the shiver race down her spine.

"I did know," he laid a trail of soft kisses along the sensitive skin of her arm, "but I was under the impression your sister was meant to tell you."

There was something about the way he said it. Something about the laughter in his voice that had her rolling her eyes and poking his chest.

"You told Amara not to tell me," she accused lightly.

"I resent that assumption," he caught her other hand and kissed her shoulder.

"I don't hear you denying it," she tilted her head to give him unrestricted access to her throat. Her voice was little more than a murmur.

His hand cradled her neck as he left a burning line along her throat and jaw. Hovering over her parted lips he grinned before standing up.

"What…" She exhaled and blinked at him.

He took her hand and pulled her to her feet.

"I want to show you something," he walked backwards and held her hands.

"You want to show me something right now?" She tilted her head and laughed because of course he had something to show her.

That was the way with Elias. He was a terrible tease really; he loved to torment her until her body hummed with anticipation. They had often met beneath the pomegranate tree, or more often in the field of grasses where they had first seen each other; the protective charms around the terrain meant that Amara couldn't find them with magic. Of course it also meant that she couldn't sense Amara and as a result her sister had caught them a few times rolling around in the grasses half clothed.

"Yes," he lifted her wrists and placed a kiss to each palm.

"Elias…?" She giggled when he circled behind her and covered her eyes with his hand.

"It's a surprise," he chuckled and brushed his lips over her ear.

She was grateful for the flat terrain. She was even more grateful when his hand guided her as they stepped outside onto the cool grass.

"Where are you taking me?" She couldn't stop the laugh when she stumbled and he righted her with a hand on her waist. She shivered when his palm flattened over her stomach.

"Nowhere," he smirked and pressed her abdomen backwards so she was flush against his front, "we're just outside the villa."

"I figured," she snickered, "I am barefoot you know."

"Yes," he drawled, "and we both know how familiar you are with the feeling of grass beneath your body."

"Not beneath my entire body," she sighed.

"Well," he ran his lips over her shoulder, "your sister is unlikely to interrupt us tonight. It might be time to acquaint yourself with the grass."

"Am I going to get to see it," she lifted her hand to his wrist, "or only feel it?"

Elias laughed and guided her forwards twenty paces before lifting his hand.

She gasped and lifted her hand to her mouth. Her eyes grew round as she examined the various flowers in the pre-dawn hours.

Chewing her lip to temper her smile she stepped out of his arms and ran her fingers over the plants in the garden: asters, daisies, lilies, chamomile, clover, myrtle, and many more including a few that she didn't immediately recognize.

"What is all of this?" She took his hand when he came up behind her.

"Your garden of course," he squeezed her hand and spun her slowly.

There was a low bench and a table in the centre of everything that she hadn't seen before.

"I love it," her mouth tipped up in a grin when she turned back to face him and cupped his cheek.

"I love you," he dipped down to kiss her softly.

Her toes curled against the cool ground. By the time the sunrise illuminated the luscious garden they were both very familiar with the feeling of soft grass against their skin.

56 BC

Years passed as the couple fell more in love by the day. It was nearly three years to the day of their marriage when the whispers reached them.

It was Amara who brought it up to her sister.

"They are saying you're barren," she watched her sister grinding herbs in the garden.

"What?" She lifted her gaze from the mortar. "Who is saying that?"

"People," Amara shrugged.

She took that to mean Qetsiyah. Amara had been her handmaid since before her sister's marriage and the two had become friends of a sort.

"If you are," Amara continued and twirled a red leaf between her fingers, "Qetsiyah knows of a way to counteract it."

"I am not barren," she rolled her eyes, "and I know what herbs to use as well." She wiped some sweat from her brow and sat beside her sister on the bench. "Elias and I discussed it when we were first married and decided to wait a few years before having children."

"You've done it to yourself?" Amara leaned forward and gasped.

"I've done nothing," she held up a hand, "I just used acacia and honey to ensure we didn't conceive until we were ready; you know that most woman who die in childbirth are below eighteen."

Amara nodded her head slowly. She had long ago learned to bow to her twin's superior knowledge of magic and herbs. Amara had never shown any interest in the subject in spite of her sister's insistence that she would do beautifully if only she were to try.

Amara's head snapped up a second later.

"You 'used acacia and honey'?" Amara arched an eyebrow. "Does that mean you will welcome a child soon?"

"It means we are ready to welcome a child soon," she nudged her sister's shoulder, "stop staring at me like that. I am not with child yet."

Amara nodded and watched her sister return to her earlier task.

"What are you making?"

"It's for privacy," she said, "these herbs placed in strategic places will keep conversations private."

"How private?" Amara stood and fingered the red flower in her hands.

"If I were to place this in my chamber and seal the door," she set down the pestle and poured the contents into a leather bag, "you would not be able to hear a conversation inside even if your ear were pressed to the wood."

"And what does this do?" Amara lifted the leaf in her hand.

"That one," she plucked the blossom from her sister's fingers, "is the key ingredient to immortality… but only when combined with the right herbs."

"You know the secret of immortality?" Amara tilted her head and blinked slowly when her sister nodded. "There are many that would kill for that."

"I know," she smiled softly.

"Are you ever going to create it?" Amara helped tidy the table.

"No," she shook her head, "I have no desire to live forever."

"You'll willingly die knowing you could have lived on?"

"Yes," she dropped the herb onto the ground. "I fully believe that my life will be beautiful. Death brings peace with it, and pain is the cost of living." From the corner of her eye she saw her husband in the villa. "Like love, it's how we know we are alive."

Amara followed her gaze. "I should think that if I ever found a love like that I would want to treasure it forever and never let it go."

57 BC

She jumped and covered her shriek with her hand. Her heart pounded in her chest as she leveled the beautiful woman with a stare.

"Qetsiyah," she gasped and covered her fluttering heart, "you startled me."

"I do apologize," Qetsiyah smiled sweetly, "that was not my intention."

"Really," she couldn't stop the eye roll, "you didn't intend to frighten me by sneaking into my garden in the dead of night?"

Qetsiyah shook her head and ran her fingers over the long table.

She couldn't shake the feeling that she was about to be asked for something. Qetsiyah's eyes held a guarded question.

"Did you know your sister and I are friends?" Qetsiyah wandered across the grass.

"I was aware of that."

"She is more than my handmaid," Qetsiyah continued. "A few moons back she and I drank a little too much wine and she told me she knew the witch who understood the secret of immortality."

She paled when Qetsiyah's dark eyes landed on her after plucking the red herb.

"That's a secret I won't share," she swallowed. "It's a dangerous secret to know."

"Could you be persuaded to create the spell then?" Qetsiyah held up the leaf Amara had described to her. It seemed unremarkable to her, but her handmaid's sister had always had an affinity with that which grew from the earth. "I am in love and I want to live forever with him." She continued before a protest could be made. "I can understand your own refusal but I am choosing this. I would create the spell myself but you already know it; you could save me years of toil by telling me or you could make it for me."

She hesitated when the herb was placed in her hand.

"There is a price," she ran her finger over the red leaves, "there is always a price for such things. Yes, you would live forever, but would cease to age, be unable to have children, and you would no longer be a witch."

She had thought the last would be enough for Qetsiyah to change her mind and leave, but the other woman surprised her by smiling brightly.

"What is such loss in the face of true love? I would gladly pay that price for an eternity with him."

She took a deep breath and lifted her eyes from the herb in her hand. She had promised herself she would never share the secret with anyone; it would live and die with her. Slowly, almost reluctantly she nodded her assent.

Qetsiyah grinned and wrapped her arms tightly around her slim body.

"Thank you," Qetsiyah released her and stepped back, "when will it be ready?"

"I'll need some time," she closed her hand over the herb. "Come back on the full moon and it will be prepared along with a cure to turn you human again."

"I won't need that," Qetsiyah shook her head.

"I'll make it anyway," she promised, "on the chance one day you might change your mind."

Chapter Text

April 2012

Were there not meant to be perks to her new existence? Wasn't that what all of the literature said?

Aside from eternal youth she saw nothing but the downside.

There were so many drawbacks: ravenous hunger, sunlight, infertility, and eternal youth. She was supposed to have time to decide what she had wanted, and now most of those decisions had been torn from her grasp.

Perhaps one of the biggest lies brought forth by popular culture was that she would be impervious to the cold. At the moment that seemed to sting worse than anything else; she suspected that was more due to her current location.

She wondered if her cold dismissal of Kol was a result of her fading humanity or Damon's instruction that she stop obsessing and focus on anything else.

Outwardly she was calm, but still the Original plagued her thoughts.

Did she deserve the cure after what she had done? Did she even want it?

Crossing her arms over her chest she shivered and turned away from the bickering group. Damon and Stefan were arguing and as usual it was over her. Bonnie was yelling and telling the brothers to shut up so she could concentrate. Jeremy seemed to be the only one doing anything productive; he was setting up the repelling equipment for himself and Bonnie. Rebekah was watching the entire exchange with a cold indifference, but Elena could see the impatience in her blue eyes.

Elena took one final look at them before silently slipping from the damp cave. Her feet glided over the wet ground towards the field of tall grasses a stone's throw from the cave.

Maybe she just wanted to lose herself for a while. Maybe she wanted to forget. Maybe she just wanted to vanish and pretend her troubles didn't exist.

She glanced over her shoulder to the empty mouth of the cave. Nobody had noticed her quiet exit yet. With a deep breath she sank into the sea of brown vegetation.

Stretching out on her back she tried to picture what it must have looked like in the throes of summer.

Her eyes drifted shut as she imagined the dry vegetation a vibrant green with flowers here and there.

Elena was unsure at what point she had slipped into the realm of dreams, or if she had at all. Perhaps she just wanted to embrace her inner child.

Maybe she wanted to be innocent again.

Her tiny fingers stroked the smooth petals of the flower. Bright red merged with yellow creating a vibrantly beautiful image.

Severing the stem she tucked the blossom into the pocket of the blue dress.

Thunder rumbled overhead as the sky cracked open.

Opening her eyes she stared at the light grey clouds rolling along. She tipped her head back and pursed her lips. Rolling onto her stomach and sitting up she narrowed her eyes.

Reaching into her pack she lifted the green leather and flipped to the middle where she had stored Elijah's letter. Turning another page she read a line that told her the date had been that of her death. She held open the journal on her knee.

Hesitantly she stretched out her hand and stroked the smooth petals of the flower. It was vibrant against the dead grass. Maybe it was wrong to take something so beautiful, but she was curious; there was something almost lively in the blossom.

She had never believed in omens of signs, not since she had been old enough to understand what her parents were explaining; they had not believed and therefore neither had she.

She had never believed in vampires either.

She broke off the stem and pressed it into her journal as the thunder rumbled. Closing the book she slid it away and stifled a shriek when the earth shook beneath her body.

She supposed there were a few perks to being a vampire. Only a few drops from the downpour clung to her hair when she sped into the cave.

"Where were you?" Rebekah tightened her grip on the flashlight.

"Just outside," Elena adjusted the pack on her back. She took a deep breath before jumping into the giant hole alongside Rebekah.

Nobody questioned when she suggested they split up at the branching tunnels. She did receive a few strange looks when she said that she would go with Rebekah.

Elena knew she would have been safer with anyone else, but she wanted to know that Jeremy was safe and he was safest with Bonnie. She didn't want to be around Damon at the moment, and Stefan was somehow worse. Elena wasn't sure what made him angrier: the knowledge that she had slept with Damon or the fact that she had obviously had feelings for his brother before turning.

She kept waiting for Rebekah to lash out at her. She deserved it after what she had done.

"I'm sorry," Elena's strained voice bounced off the low walls of the tunnel.

"Well that's a first," Rebekah muttered bitterly. "The backstabbing bitch is sorry for something."

"I didn't want to stab you Rebekah," Elena knew it was probably a bad idea to walk ahead of the blonde and expose her back, but she still did it. "I wasn't given a choice though," she cast her eyes on the ground, "the daggers could only be used by a human and Damon was rather… insistent." She glanced back over her shoulder and apologized again.

Rebekah got the sense Elena was apologizing for more than her betrayal as a human being. She pretended not to hear the slight sniffle or see the way the brunette swiped at her cheek.

Elena blinked back a few tears and swallowed when they stepped into a spacious cavern. Her breath caught in her throat when she saw the tall table on which a desiccated body had been chained.

She approached slowly with Rebekah by her side and raked her eyes over the face.

"How long has this guy been down here?" Rebekah frowned at the face that resembled a clay funeral mask more than an actual face. "Mummies have more defined features."

"If you believe the story," Elena swallowed and ran her finger through a thick layer of dust, "then it's been over 2000 years."

"So where is it?" Rebekah held the flashlight aloft and looked around the edges of the table. "Do you think the top comes off?"

"No," Elena shook her head. She knew it was a solid piece of stone; though she didn't know how she knew. Her dark eyes narrowed when she saw the leathery hands curled higher than what should have been considered normal.

Elena tried not to cringe when the body creaked. She pulled on his hands until she could clearly see the small box.

"I think its right here," she held the box aloft. She couldn't quite shake the feeling that she had seen it somewhere before.

Rebekah eyed the dark wood with a deep frown.

"That can't be more than one dose," her blue eyes flashed dangerously.

"Don't be so hasty," Elena dropped the box in her bag, "it could be a recipe."

"It was left for him to take and turn himself human," Rebekah grumbled but followed Elena back through the dark path.

"Okay," Elena conceded, "maybe it's a dose and a recipe."

"Or, as is more likely the case, it is one cure."

"All the more reason to get it to Bonnie," Elena's head snapped around when a soft clatter sounded from the chamber.

Rebekah had been right. It was only the one dose. There was nothing inside the box but a small vial of thick red liquid.

Bonnie had spent several hours studying the substance before laying it on the coffee table in the boarding house. She blinked tiredly before lifting her eyes to the vampires who had filed into the room when the glass had made the softest of thumps.

"I would have to use all of it to try and replicate it," she braced her back against the couch and closed her eyes, "and even then there is no guarantee I can."

"So," Damon crossed his arms and glared at her, "you'd have to waste it with no promise of a payoff." He downed his bourbon when she nodded and slammed down the glass. "Absolutely not… Elena's not giving up her one chance to be human again just so Barbie Klaus can have her way."

"Damon," Elena narrowed her eyes when he slapped the vial in her hand. She shook her head and was holding out the vial to Rebekah when he said it. She was powerless to stop herself from uncorking the potion and pouring the contents into her mouth.

Elena had just enough time to hear Rebekah's outraged shriek before her knees buckled and her eyes drifted shut.

57 BC

She murmured a quiet spell to dry her clothes and followed Qetsiyah into the garden. She couldn't shake the feeling that something was off about the woman. Something had shifted and she didn't think it was immortality. The longer she spent in Qetsiyah's presence the more convinced she was that her spell had not been used.

"Is everything alright?" She saw Elias moving passed a couple of windows in the villa. He had gone inside to change after greeting their guest.

Her heart stuttered when she spotted her sister bound to the low bench with a spell. Tears tracked down Amara's cheeks; her mouth opened as if to warn her when Qetsiyah closed a pair of shackles around her wrists.

"What are you doing?" She swallowed and shuddered when she felt her magic trapped inside her body. She could offer no defence when her body was propelled backwards onto the table and bound with strong vines.

Her terrified scream brought her husband running from the villa with a drawn blade. She gasped when his joints froze twenty paces from her.

"What are you doing?" She sobbed and struggled against the vines holding her to the table.

"Enacting my revenge," Qetsiyah voice was full of bitter rage as she withdrew a knife with a wicked curve and held it aloft. "I considered killing her, but then I came up with a better idea. Your sweet sister can spend eternity knowing she was responsible for your death."

She heard the outraged yell of Elias who had broken through Qetsiyah's spell. She screamed when the knife plunged into his body and he collapsed beside the table at Amara's feet; she barely heard her sister's whispered apologies, or heavy pleas that Qetsiyah not do it.

"Rest assured your death serves a purpose," Qetsiyah's hand was almost gentle on her cheek. "I'll be using your blood in a spell that will forever keep your sister apart from my love who she stole, and sentence her to eternal torment. Perhaps I'll leave your husband your heart."

The scream died in her throat when the knife drove into her chest. She wasn't sure if she was still alive when her beating heart was pulled from her body, or if she was watching from outside of her body.

The last thing she saw was Amara rocking forward and screaming in pain.

April 2012

Amara's scream echoed in her mind. She turned her head and blinked against the harsh unnatural light over her head.

Surely death was meant to be painless, so why was there a persistent ache behind her eyes? Why could she feel the leather beneath her body? Why could she hear the quietest of whispers from the crackling fire?

She opened her eyes slowly and stared up into eyes the blue of the summer sky. His words were strange to her, but she understood them fine.

"How do you feel?" He pulled her up into a sitting position.

She should have been more surprised when her reply came in the same strange language.

"Fine," she rubbed the back of her head, "my head hurts."

"I'll get you some aspirin."

She paled when she recognized the voice and lifted her eyes in time to see Silas exit the dark room.

"Bring her a snack too, Stefan," a blonde woman sat on the couch, "her stomach's rumbling."

Stefan? She blinked and turned to the woman beside her.

"Elena, aside from the headache," the blonde pressed her palm to the smooth forehead, "do you feel alright?"

Elena? The name sounded familiar. It was almost the same as her own

"I feel perfectly fine," she frowned and gazed around the room.

There was a tall young man with dark hair and eyes standing beside a short girl with caramel skin and rich chocolate hair. Both wore equal expressions of worry. The raven haired man was looking at her with an emotion that made her very uncomfortable; she wasn't sure whether to label it as love or obsession. The blonde beside her seemed kind enough. She was definitely preferred the blonde across the room who was glaring daggers at her.

"I feel fine," she swallowed when Silas' look alike pressed two white tablets into her hand along with a glass of water. Her confusion must have been evident on her face because the woman beside her told her she needed to swallow the aspirin.

She shook her head and lowered both the 'aspirin' and the water onto a low table. She didn't know any of these people, and she was instantly wary of anyone sharing Silas' features after what she knew had transpired.

She registered the shock and horror on their faces when she asked the question.

"Who are you people?" She cringed when the short brunette pushed the raven haired man aside and cupped her cheek. For a moment all she could see was Qetsiyah's knife held high over her head.

She knew instantly that the woman was a witch. Something was wrong though. She couldn't feel her own magic as clearly as she could before the knife had come down. It was still there deep in her body, but she felt as if it had been muted.

"Please don't touch me," her voice was little more than a whimper. She could see the hurt in the green eyes, but couldn't bring herself to feel anything but relief when the brunette backed off.

"What's wrong with her Bonnie?" The man with the dark hair asked.

"Well, Damon, she won't let me touch her," Bonnie glared at him, "so I don't know. I would assume its some form of temporary amnesia though. She's forgotten parts of her life but the memories should come back in time."

She tried not to let the angry voices affect her, but it was difficult. Everyone in the room seemed to have a different opinion about her mental state. There were those who suggested using vampire blood to speed the process, and those that wanted Bonnie to use magic to fix her mind. The unnamed blonde in the corner merely scoffed and wondered who really cared that much.

The kinder of the blondes seemed to see that she was growing overwhelmed and pulled her to her feet.

She didn't hesitate before following her through the large room and up a set of stairs.

"Where are you taking me…?" She tucked her hair behind her ear. She felt safe with the woman, but she had always been a curious person.

"Caroline," Caroline pointed to herself, "and I am taking you upstairs where you can clean up. You'll feel much better after a hot bath."

"We're friends aren't we?" She stepped into a room with a large white basin in the middle of the floor. Her eyes widened when Caroline turned a silver circle and steaming water fell into the basin.

"We are," Caroline added some bubble bath, "you'll remember it soon."

"Yeah," she murmured while slowly removing the strange garments. She knew with the utmost certainty that she would not.


Chapter Text

September 2012

She sat on the edge of the bed and ran her fingers over the puffy comforter. Several months had been spent sleeping beneath the soft material but she still marveled over the fabric. Maybe it was a silly thing to think about. There were definitely more interesting things to find fascinating in the house she shared with Jeremy… her brother… but nothing seemed to compare to the material that was at once light and warm.

She lifted her gaze when the soft blue was concealed by a pair of legs. She ran her eyes up over the leather clad arm and found herself staring into the blue eyes of Damon.

It had been nearly half a year and she was starting to believe the way he looked at her was that of a man obsessed and not of one in love. She knew the look of a man in love; before she had woken in the boarding house she had seen the light of love in her husband's eyes.

She missed his eyes more than her magic which had all but faded away.

"Morning, sunshine," Damon smirked.

"Do you need something, Damon?" She stood up suddenly anxious to put some distance between them. "I was just about to take a shower." She still marvelled over the convenience of the shower.

"I just thought I'd stop by and ask how your memory is coming along," Damon ran his eyes slowly over her body when she stood by the door to the bathroom.

"Not great," she turned her head and stared at the green book on the night stand. Jeremy had told her it was her journal. He had told her that she used to write down the things that happened to her and suggested that reading it would help; she had known it wouldn't but she had humoured him. At first she hadn't been able to make sense of the black and blue scratches, but when she had stopped thinking about it the words had flowed through her brain. She had come to the conclusion that this life had not been easy for her; she had stopped reading after the ritual that should have ended her human life.

"Would you like company?"

"What?" Her head snapped back around from where she had been lost in her own thoughts.

"I said: would you like some company?" Damon stood from the bed and took slow steps towards her. "In the shower, I mean. Perhaps I can jog your memory." He wiggled his eyebrows suggestively.

"You," her voice was strangled when she tipped her head back, "and me? We?"

"Is that so hard to believe, Elena?" Damon placed his hands on either side of her head. "Of course, we weren't in the shower at the time."

She swallowed and dropped her eyes to his chest. She knew the moment he misinterpreted her actions.

Her eyes grew round when his mouth pressed firmly against hers. She couldn't stop the gasp, but immediately wished she had when his tongue pushed into her mouth.

She squeezed her eyes tightly shut and attempted to push him backwards. Once again her actions were misinterpreted.

She grew light-headed when he moved faster than she could comprehend. The soft comforter shifted and moulded to her body when her back was pressed into the mattress and her arms pinned above her hand with his hand.

She did the only thing she could think of when he brought his knee up between her legs and squeezed her breast. Her mouth which had been slack up until that point sprang into action. She clamped down on his tongue and tasted thick blood; pain bloomed across her chest when his palm pressed down hard.

"Feeling kinky today, Elena?" He propped himself up on his elbows and smirked down at her.

"Get off me," she glared and spat the blood in her mouth so that it landed across his chin and white shirt.

"Don't be like that," Damon soothed. He ran his hand down her side and heard her hiss in pain when he reached her ribs.

Her voice was stronger the second time. For a brief moment there was a flicker of energy deep in her body; she twisted her hips and he stumbled back.

"Get out," she shoved at his chest when her hands were free. "Get out of my house."

"Fine," he held out his hands in a placating gesture. "I'll see you later."

She shuffled into the bathroom when he was gone. The adrenaline was starting to fade away. The energy slid from her body to lie in a puddle on the floor.

She bent as much as possible and rinsed her mouth out before standing and struggling to pull her top over her head; it was growing increasingly difficult to lift her left arm above shoulder height. She shimmied out of the shirt and gasped when she saw the bruises already forming across her ribs; each inward breath burned over her chest.

She didn't hear a wheeze in her breath so she surmised that her lung had not been punctured, but she could plainly see that at least one rib was cracked.

She slid her right hand around her back and tried to unsnap the bra with no luck. It didn't matter she could tell there were bruises covering her breast as well.

Her hands shook as the tears started to fall down her cheek.

"Elena," a feminine voice called up the stairs, "the door was unlocked."

She blinked and tried to dispel the tears. Gritting her teeth against the pain she bent and picked up her shirt. She had just pressed the fabric to her chest when the voice trailed off at the open door leading from the bathroom to the bedroom.

"Elena," Caroline stepped into the bedroom, "are you here?" She froze in the door to the bathroom.

Caroline's eyes zeroed in on the blood clinging to the brunette's chin and the dark splotch she could see in spite of the attempts made to cover it.

"What happened?" Caroline flashed in front of her. She turned on the water and wrung out a washcloth before gently wiping away the red.

She trembled like the swiftly turning leaves outside the window. Shaking her head she pressed her lips together to hold in her hysterical sob. It broke out when Caroline wrapped her arms tightly around her shoulders.

"Elena," Caroline murmured soothingly, "you can tell me anything you know? Tell me who did this and I'll tear them apart."

She shook her head and hissed when Caroline squeezed gently.

"I'm sorry," Caroline pulled back. She gently ran her fingers over the dark mark across her friend's ribs.

She lifted her right hand to keep Caroline from biting into her wrist. Shaking her head she moved slowly into the bedroom and took up a perch on the window seat.

Caroline saw when she averted her gaze from the bed. The blonde reached out for the desk chair and placed it a few feet in front of her friend. She waited impatiently for her to speak.

"I don't think you'd believe me," she whispered finally.

"We've been friends for fifteen years," Caroline tilted her head, "there is nothing you could tell me that I wouldn't believe, Elena."

She drew her bottom lip between her teeth and gnawed the raw flesh until it was swollen and sore.

"That's not my name," she breathed. It was clear that Caroline could hear her though by the way the blonde's head tilted in confusion. "That's not my name. This is not my life. The memories will not come back."

"I'm not sure I'm following," Caroline frowned.

"The cure did something to me," she shivered and used her good arm to wrap a blanket around her shoulders. "I think I must have been… reincarnated."

"You think this is a second life you're living?" Caroline's eyes narrowed sceptically.

"You think I'm crazy," she laughed and winced when the movement hurt her ribs. "I'm not. I lived over two thousand years ago. I knew Silas and Qetsiyah and… A… Amara. I knew them well… I thought I did." Her sister's screams echoed in her mind.

Caroline exhaled slowly when she saw nothing but honesty shining in her 'friend's' dark eyes.

"I believe you," Caroline leaned back in her chair. "It actually makes a lot of sense. It explains the way you don't understand seemingly normal things… like the shower, the oven, or the television." She ran her hand through her hair. "What I don't understand is what it has to do with this," she nodded to the bruising. "Who did this to you, Elena?"

Caroline's mouth popped open. "Sorry," she murmured, "what is your name?"

"Elena's fine," she frowned. The last time she had heard her own name it had been her sister screaming it; she wanted to forget her name for a while. "I've kind of gotten used to it." She hurried to change the topic. "This was Damon," her voice crackled.

"Damon did that?" Caroline felt the blood drain from her face. The vivid memory of blood on her pillow and creaking bed springs flooded her mind. "Did he…?" She trailed off and nodded towards the bed.

"No," she swallowed around the lump in her throat. "He said he'd see me later," she was powerless to stop the tremors racing down her spine. "I'm scared Caroline."

"Oh sweetie," Caroline moved to sit beside her and gently took the shaking hand between hers. "I know the feeling," she exhaled slowly. "What do you want to do?"

"I want to feel safe again," she hiccupped. "I haven't felt safe since before I woke up." I want my power back… I want to see my husband returning over the hill… I want to run my fingers over the flowers and hear their secrets… I want my sister… I want my child alive and thriving… I want to be safe.

"You're the doppelganger," Caroline pointed out, "you'll never be completely safe. There will always be people who want to use you for your blood."

"Is there nowhere I might be safe?" She slid her hand through her hair.

"Well…" Caroline drew her lip between her teeth. "You never would have considered it before."

"Someone 'I' once trusted physically assaulted me," she took shallow breaths. "I don't think I'll be basing any decisions on how I would have acted before."

"I know you read some of the journal," Caroline's eyes fell on the green leather. "What did you read about Klaus?"

"Klaus?" She blinked slowly. "He was the vampire who wanted to use me in a ritual to unlock his werewolf half. I stopped reading before I saw the outcome."

"The ritual worked," Caroline took a deep breath, "but there was a catch. In order for Klaus to make more hybrids they needed to complete their transition with the blood of the doppelganger."

"Sounds like he was cursed by a creative witch," she raised her eyebrows.

"Klaus was ticked off when you became a vampire," Caroline pushed through, "I don't think Rebekah told him what happened with the cure though. If she had he probably would have shown up for you by now."

"He needs my blood," she chewed her bottom lip. "He wants an endless supply of it."

"Yes," Caroline nodded. "He's one of the strongest creatures on the planet and he would do everything to ensure you stayed alive."

"Where is he?" She lifted her hand to her ribs.

"New Orleans," Caroline rose from the window. "If you want I'll drive you down myself… after we've gone to the hospital of course."

"How would we explain that?" She watched Caroline pull a large bag from the closet and start throwing in clothes.

"Girls trip," Caroline shrugged. "I'll pack your things and take we'll go before Damon comes back."

"You really think he will?" She stood and pulled open a drawer while Caroline darted into the bathroom.

"I know he will," Caroline returned with the bag of toiletries. "Is there anything you want to take with you?" She looked up when the bag was filled with clothes and helped the brunette into a button down.

She stubbornly waved Caroline's hand away and buttoned the shirt on her own. It took some time but she managed it before lifting her eyes to the various knick knacks and pictures. She held no sentimental attachment to anything in that room, but she wasn't sure she wanted this Klaus to know the full extent of what had happened.

Would Elena have taken anything?

She reached up wordlessly and started pulling down the pictures that were stuck to the mirror. She focused on the ones of 'her', Jeremy and who she had come to learn were her 'parents'. She slid the glossy paper into the journal and laid the green book inside the bag with the clothes.

They were pulling into a hospital in Richmond when she turned to Caroline and searched her blue-green eyes.

"Will you tell Jeremy when you see him again?" She saw the surprise in Caroline's gaze. "He might not be my brother, but he did treat me like his sister. He should know where I went and that I'm safe. He wouldn't tell anyone else would he?"

"No, he wouldn't," Caroline smiled gently before helping her from the vehicle and into the ER, "I'll tell him. Do you want him to know everything you told me, or just that you needed to get out of town where you knew you would be safe?"

"The second option," she followed Caroline to the nurse's station, "let him think his sister is still alive somewhere in the world. He doesn't need to know she disappeared with the cure."

Chapter Text

He leaned against the wooden post and surveyed the street. A cocky smile crossed his face when he spotted the young witch he had been sent to watch. She was pulling open the door to Second Life records.

Davina Claire was the Harvest Girl who told them all to shove it. She was the Harvest Girl his mother brought him back to follow around.

He was finishing his apple with the intention of joining her in the store. He froze midway across the crowded street when a familiar face caught his eye.

He glanced at the record store once before cutting through a crowd of tourists and moving towards Rousseau's.

How many times would he get an opportunity like this one?

"Do you have any idea where we are?" She glanced to the left where Caroline was steering the car through the crowded streets.

"Of course," Caroline grinned, "we're in the French Quarter of New Orleans."

"Do you know where we are going?" 'Elena' rolled her eyes. She shifted in her seat and grimaced at the sharp pain when she drew in a deeper breath than she had meant to.

"I thought that was clear," Caroline pulled into a parking spot. "I'm taking you to Klaus just like you asked."

"I know that," she took a shallow breath. "What I meant was do you know how to get there?"

"Well that's a completely different question," Caroline opened the door of the car, "and the short answer is no."

She stepped out with the blonde and carefully rolled her shoulders back. She nodded when Caroline said she was going to dart inside and ask for directions but declined joining her.

She couldn't remember the last time she had seen such an assembly of people. The only things that came close were her memories of the market, but even that was a pale comparison to the bustling streets. People were everywhere. She ignored them in favour of leaning against the hood of the car and facing the dark alley alongside the building.

She tipped her head back and smiled softly when the sun's rays warmed her face. Her eyes, which had drifted shut, snapped open when a hand closed over her elbow.

There was no time to react, let alone evade, before her back collided with the cool bricks in the shaded alcove that was the alley. The last thing she saw blue eyes before her consciousness faded away.

Caroline pressed her cell phone to her ear.

"Okay," she gripped the edge of the bar, "now is really not the time to decide you are over me. Now is the time to answer your phone. I'm in New Orleans and I don't know where to go, so call me back because the odds that the bartender at…" she tilted her head to read the menu, "… Rousseaus can give me accurate directions to your house are unlikely."

Caroline's thumb pushed the touchscreen with a force that almost dented the phone before pasting on a sunny smile and waving to the blonde on the other side of the bar.

"Hi…" her eyes dropped to the nametag, "… Camille. I wonder if you might help me."

"Cami," she nodded, "I seriously need to change the tag."

"Drunk guys hit on you in French?" Caroline smirked.

"All the time," Cami shook her head and laughed, "gets old real fast."

"I bet," she nodded, "I'm Caroline."

"Well, Caroline," Cami folded a white cloth and set it on the bar, "what can I do for you?"

Caroline tilted her head and smiled brightly. "I'm looking for somebody. He's an old… 'friend', and it's kind of urgent that I find him."

Cami's eyes darted to Caroline's flat stomach. She quirked an eyebrow when she lifted her gaze back to Caroline.

"Not that kind of friend," Caroline held up her hands, "… maybe that kind… no… no, not that kind of friend. That's not why I'm looking for him."

"What's his name?" Cami tried not to laugh at the flustered woman. "If he's local I probably know him, or someone who does."

"His name is Klaus," Caroline cleared her throat and leaned over the bar. "I think you would know if you knew him. He's got a classic bad boy smirk, crystal clear blue eyes, an English accent, and a cocky attitude."

"Don't I know it," Cami scoffed. "I'm very familiar with that attitude."

"I don't suppose you're familiar with where that attitude calls home?" Caroline raised her eyebrows hopefully. "He's not answering his phone."

Klaus threw the blank canvas across the room, with a roar, causing several standing paintings to collapse.

Elijah knelt and grasped the canvas before standing quickly and tilting his head. "I suppose we shall have to call this your white period," he cocked an eyebrow and turned to his fuming brother.

"I am missing a crucial color in my palette," Klaus lifted his finger and paced, "that of my enemies' blood." He glared at the assembly of paints.

"Well," Elijah righted the canvas and held up his hand in a helpful gesture, "I recommend a Venetian red, with a dash of rust…"

"It's been months," Klaus snapped. He kicked over several canvases. "I've adhered to your plan for months: sit and do nothing, sell our grief. And now, my child is safely away, and another full moon is upon us – another night of pathetic weakness as the moonlight rings steal my strength!"

"The nursery is killing me," Klaus calmed slightly when Elijah laid a hand on his shoulder and offered a sympathetic look. "I need to act. I… I… I need… I need to spill blood."

"Then you'll be pleased to know," Elijah's lips lifted in a smile, "that I've located the last of the twelve rings forged with your blood."

Klaus' smile was weak when he lifted his eyes. "Then, it's time!"

"And none too soon," Elijah nodded. "I'm concerned about Hayley."

"She looks well enough," Klaus turned to the art. He flipped through the canvases tensely.

"She looks no better than you, brother." Elijah took a deep breath. "Now, if the two of you would treat each other as more than just… passing acquaintances…"

"She has you for that," Klaus interrupted.

"Sadly," Elijah frowned, "like the father of her child, she prefers to fight her demons alone." He picked up the buzzing cell phone from the table. "You appear to have missed a few calls."

"Do I look like I'm in the mood to talk to anyone?" Klaus growled.

"I never thought I would see the day," Elijah peered at the screen, "when you ignored Caroline Forbes."

It was almost comical how fast the phone was lifted from Elijah's palm.

Before Klaus had a chance to listen to the voicemails or return the call the phone rang. He was tempted to ignore the call from Rousseau's but there was only one person who would call him from the bar.

"Camille," he walked away from his older brother, "to what do I owe the pleasure?" His voice was gruff.

"I just thought I'd give you a heads up. Some blonde came into the bar looking for you… your address specifically. Since she could have gotten it from almost anyone on the street I gave it to her."

"You didn't happen to get a name, love?" Klaus pinched the bridge of his nose.

"Just the first: Caroline."

He hung up before she could ask how he was holding up. He had heard the question in her quick intake of breath.

Her head rolled forward as consciousness slowly returned to her body. She wrinkled her nose and blinked rapidly against the dim light. Her wrist caught when she moved to lift her hand.

She shook her head against the last of the sleeping spell and narrowed her eyes at the thin strips of plastic holding her wrists to the arms of the wooden chair.

"Sorry about that, darling," a male voice droned from the shadows, "I would have done this in that alley, but I had someone to follow."

"Done what?" She tugged her arms experimentally. "Who are you?"

"Oh, that hurts darling," he stepped out into the light. "It physically pains me to know that you've forgotten already, but I guess eight months is all it takes."

"What are you talking about?" She blew a strand of hair from her eyes. "Who are you?" She glared at the line of white plastic. Two thousand years ago she would have broken the ties with a muttered spell; two thousand years ago it would have been ropes or chains.

She closed her eyes and immediately opened them when the memory of the last time she had been bound and helpless flooded her mind. Her heart pounded in her chest as she banished the curved blade.

"Seriously, darling," his hands covered her struggling wrists, "have you really forgotten me? I'd be seriously offended if I were in my own body."

A small jolt of electricity raced through her veins when he touched her bare skin. She stared at his hands for a minute while trying to make sense of the situation. She had no idea who he was which led her to believe he had known Elena, but what could Elena have possibly done to him.

"I don't think you have," he tilted his head and lifted one hand to her chin. It was almost gentle the way he lifted her face.

"Are you going to tell me your name or not?" She felt her heart slow when she looked into his blue eyes.

"Kol," he frowned when a line appeared between her brows.

"Who?" She searched his eyes for any sign of recognition. He had said he wasn't in his own body so it was possible she had met him during her foray into the twenty-first century, but she doubted it; she hadn't done anything to deserve being tied to a chair in what appeared to be a greenhouse of some kind.

Her heart ached with longing when she smelt the flowers.

"Kol Mikaelson," he lifted his eyebrows when hers narrowed in confusion. "Really Elena? It's only been seven months."

"You'll have to forgive me," she blinked slowly, "I have no memory of anything that happened before April." Her voice dropped to a murmur as her eyes landed on a brilliant purple crocus: "not in this life."

"You expect me to believe you don't remember teaming up with your brother to kill me?" His scoff caught when he saw the way her horrified eyes swiveled back around to him. What surprised him was the fact that the horror was not for her endangered life.

"I what?" Her mouth popped open in shock. She was not a violent person. She had never been a violent person. She couldn't even bring herself to think of killing Qetsiyah

"Knock, knock," Caroline called when she stepped into the open air courtyard. "You're security system is a joke," she rolled her eyes, "any vampire can break through a chain."

"You could have simply knocked, Miss Forbes," Elijah appeared on the staircase.

"I did," she arched an eyebrow, "nobody answered."

"You didn't give time, love," Klaus descended the stairs with his trademark smirk.

"I find I'm running short on time," Caroline crossed her arms.

"Not staying then?" Klaus came to a stop in front of her. "What brings you to my city?"

"Haven't you heard?" Caroline held out her hands. "I'm the continental taxi service, and I've lost my passenger."

"I'm afraid I'm not following, sweetheart," a line appeared between his eyebrows.

"I brought her down here," Caroline waved her hands. "I went inside Rousseau's to ask for directions only to come out and find Elena gone."

"Why would I care about the doppelganger?" Klaus rolled his eyes.

"Because she's human," Caroline placed her hands on her hips, "and scared. She was coming down here for your protection."

"Elena is human?" Elijah paused on his journey to the study.

"Yeah," Caroline nodded, "I'm surprised Rebekah didn't mention it. We found the cure. She took the cure and now she is down here."

"We haven't seen Rebekah in months. Elena came down here of her own free will knowing exactly what Niklaus would want from her?" Elijah paced towards them. He frowned when Caroline nodded. "And now she's gone?"

"Perhaps she had a change of heart," Klaus expression shifted to one of suppressed anger.

"If she had a change of heart and ran, which I highly doubt by the way, I would have been able to track her. She's human, has three cracked ribs and has a touch of amnesia so she can't drive; I would have been able to find her if she left on her own." Caroline ranted. "Somebody took her."

"Such wonderful timing," Klaus grumbled. He spun on his heel and stormed towards the door.

"Where are you going?" Elijah called after him.

"To find the doppelganger," Klaus' jaw clenched when Elijah flashed in front of him.

"Stay here," he calmly urged, "I will go with Miss Forbes to find her."

"I… um… I saw Rebekah a few days ago," Caroline paused on her way by Klaus, "complete fluke really; I just happened to pass by." They had caught sight of the blond while passing through a sleepy little town. "She seemed to be doing fine. I didn't stop to say hello, but she looked fine."

Klaus' mouth went slack. He tilted his head slightly to watch her expression.

"I just thought you'd like to know," Caroline followed Elijah outside, "since you haven't seen her in months."

Kol's eyes grew wide when he saw the truth in her gaze. She didn't remember any of it.

"How is that even possible?" He leaned back a bit. "How could you forget your entire life?"

"It was quite easy," she swallowed. The soft thrum of suppressed magic hummed in her bones. Maybe if I concentrate all of it I can break the ties… "I just took the cure."

"Ah… the cure," his expression twisted. "The entire reason I died was so you lot could find the cure." He hung his head and exhaled slowly. "Tell me darling," he swallowed, "did you wake Silas with it?"

"Silas?" She paled at the name.

"The cure lied with Silas," Kol frowned at her reaction to the name. He could feel her pulse racing when he pressed his fingers to her wrist.

"He didn't wake," she shook her head.

"Would you even know if he had?" Kol shook his head.

"I would know," her expression hardened.

"Nobody knows what the man actually looks like."

"I would know," she inhaled sharply and winced at the pain in her ribs. "I didn't forget my whole life, Kol. I just forgot this life. Believe me when I say I would know if Silas were walking the earth again."

"This life?" Kol watched the pained grimace cross her face. "What do you mean this life? You lived before?"

"Yes," she took shallow breaths. "You didn't happen to take my bag when you took me?"

"No," he frowned.

"Of course not," she murmured, "Because I left it in Caroline's car." She blinked in surprise when the ties loosened and her hands and legs were free. Did I do that?

"What happened darling?" The concern in his voice surprised them both.

"I was attacked, I came down here for protection," she shook her head and brought her hands to her ribs. She looked around the room to the various plants. "I don't suppose there is any capsaicin in here. It's excellent for pain relief when applied topically." It would have been better when infused with magic, but on its own it was still pretty good; she needed something now that the pain medication was wearing off.

"How do you know that?" Kol moved her hands and gently lifted her shirt until he could see the mottled skin.

"I was a witch." She didn't see any point lying about it now. According to Kol she had killed him; surely he intended to kill her. She might as well be honest. "A rather gifted one at that," she exhaled when his fingers ghosted over her ribs, "mother called me a protégé, and my brother thought it was hilarious that my twin sister could barely light a fire."

"What is your name?" Kol pressed his palm to her rib cage.

"Alenka," her eyes squeezed tightly when the pain spread through her. It was pronounced almost the same save for the added letter.

"And you knew Silas?" He peeked up from her midsection in time to see her nod. "Then I assume you knew the witch who made the immortality spell as well, and Silas' lover… Amara."

"I was intimately familiar with that witch," she blinked back a few tears and nodded. Her doe eyes fluttered open when the pain vanished. She straightened in the chair and examined the previously mottled skin. Lifting the collar of her shirt she saw the marks along her breast were gone as well.

"You healed me…" she drew in a deep breath and relished the feeling in her lungs. "Why did you do that? I thought you wanted to kill me."

"Make no mistake," he lifted a finger to level at her, "I do want you dead, but you are not you right now. I'm not going to kill you until you remember why I'm doing it."

She blinked slowly.

"It takes all of the joy out of revenge, darling," he smirked.

"Sure," she nodded slowly, "of course… I get that… kind of…" She chewed on her bottom lip. "So… what happens now?"

"For now you go," he took her hand and helped her to her feet, "until I can find a way to bring your memories I'm not going to kill you."

"Good luck," she huffed, "I've been looking for months with no results."

"I've been around a while, love," he reached for his buzzing phone. "Don't worry I'll find a way." He stepped out into the afternoon sunlight with her.

"Well," she blinked against the sudden shift, "while you're at it try and find a way to get rid of my current memories."

"Why?" He lowered his phone. His mother could wait a moment.

"I'd love to forget who I am," she crossed her arms, "and what I've seen. I can't have it back so I want to forget. Remembering is painful," she swiped at a few tears.

"Pain is how you know you're alive, Alenka. It will ease eventually," he cleared his throat and nodded to the left. "If you follow this path and don't stray you'll eventually wind up in the Quarter."

"Thank you," she sniffled when he pressed a tissue into her palm, "I suppose I'll see you around."

"I suppose you will," Kol nodded, "seeing as you came down here for my brother's protection." He smirked when he saw her glistening eyes widen. "Don't look so surprised, darling. Klaus is the only one who would struggle to keep you alive and human."

"Will you do me a favour?"

"Will I do the man who wants to kill me a favour?" She tilted her head and ran her eyes over his tall frame. "Why not?" She shrugged.

"Don't tell my siblings I'm alive," he lifted his eyebrows hopefully.

She met his guarded blue eyes before nodding once.

Davina rolled her eyes when the stake embedded itself in the wall by her head.

"I don't know why you keep showing off," she sighed. "You know you can't hurt me."

"Oh," he chuckled darkly, "but the desire I have to do so." He gestured with his hands.

Davina merely sighed before holding her wrist in front of his face before commanding him to feed.

"Stop," her voice was annoyed.

Mikael pulled back and wiped the blood from his mouth before gently tapping her bracelet.

"I wish I could rip this from you, break that which binds me to you," he inhaled deeply, "and complete the task you brought me back to do. Kill the bastard who calls himself my son."

Davina rolled her eyes and knelt beside a large trunk on the floor. "You can't take off the bracelet, and you can't kill Klaus. Not until I find a way to save my friends from dying too." She lifted the ancient grimoire. "I've studied their mother's spell book for weeks. I'm getting close. Once I unlink my friends from his sire line, I will unleash you," her voice turned dry, "to be the monster you are so eager to be."

"Music to my ears, little witch," Mikael smirked.

She took sure steps when she reached the bustling streets and struggled to remember the name of the establishment Caroline had stopped at; it eluded her.

The question of whether she should stop and wait or keep going didn't matter when she lifted her eyes.

Her entire body froze when she saw Caroline, but the blond was not the one who had the blood draining from her face and the air rushing from her lungs.

It was the man beside the vampire. It was the man who had turned his dark eyes on her.

"That was remarkably easy," Elijah remarked when they approached. "Elena," his eyes flickered over her pale face, "are you alright?"

Her eyes were red rimmed as her throat clenched tightly.

"Elena?" Caroline reached out for her arm. "Are you okay? What happened?"

"I… umm…" She swallowed and focused on the blond. "I'm fine. I… umm… I got lost."

"You vanished," Caroline tilted her head.

"I'm fine, Caroline," she took a deep breath, "perfectly fine."

"I thought you had some cracked ribs," Elijah frowned when the breath passed through her body easily.

"They got better," she smiled tightly.

"Are you sure you're alright?" Elijah placed his hand on the small of her back when she nodded. "The compound is this way."

Later, while Caroline was helping her unpack, her attention was caught by the raised voices down the hall.

She was unfamiliar with everything in this century but she recognized the remnants of the crib. She saw the concealed pain in the brunette's eyes when she all but screamed at Elijah to get out.

"Are you okay?" Her stomach clenched painfully when she approached Hayley.

"I'm fine," Hayley's reply was short before she slammed the door.

She spent the rest of the day and night with Caroline settling in to the compound. The only time she looked up from unpacking the bag was when Klaus himself knocked on the bedroom door.

"I hear you've got some amnesia, love," he leaned in her door.

"A bit," she nodded. "I hear you need me alive."

"Yes," he frowned as the first of the rings activated, "your blood is very useful to me. It's the only way I can make hybrids thanks to my mother."

"I'm getting the impression she was a bit of a mad genius," she stilled when she saw Klaus stumble.

Caroline was across the room when he knelt on the floor.

"Should I be concerned that the person supposed to keep me alive is slumped on the floor?"

"Don't worry, love," he grimaced, "this shall pass, and if Elijah's plan works it'll never happen again."

"Care to explain that," Caroline fell to sit cross legged. "Cause you don't look so good."

"A particularly creative witch created twelve moonlight rings," Klaus rocked back on his knees as his strength began to return. "They keep werewolves from turning but allow them to retain their abilities during a full moon."

"Would I be correct in assuming it's possible by drawing power from you?" She dropped to sit with them.

"You're clever, Elena," he nodded slowly, "tell me: when you lost your memory did you gain an understanding of magic? Or is that something you've picked up?"

"She's always been a quick study," Caroline murmured.

"Okay then," he nodded. "I'm going to need you both to stay in here and lock the door. Do not open it for anything until the sun comes up."

"Why not?" She rose to her feet with Caroline.

"Because you asked me to keep you alive," Klaus smirked. He felt a little more strength return when he closed the door and made his way to the art studio. "Lock it, love." He sighed when he heard Caroline comply.

The sun was high in the sky when Davina crossed the street to stand in front of Second Life Records. Her mouth turned down in a frown when she read the sign.

"Well, this sucks no trades today."

Davina turned around to see the young man she had spotted the previous day in the store.

"I mean, it's worse for you, of course," he waved to the store, "guy had the market cornered on the ancient Icelandic folk scene."

"Those weren't for me," Davina shook her head and laughed.

"I'm Kaleb," he held out his hand for her to shake and chuckled.

"Davina," she smiled.

"Wow. Cool name… terrible taste in music." He smiled and leaned forward. "You obviously need me."

His mind flashed back to the greenhouse when Davina blushed and smiled.

"I had forgotten what it felt like to be this vulnerable." The tall man held his hand over the flame of the candle.

"At least you're not stuck in the body of a teenager," she rolled her eyes.

"Well," Kol strode into the room with a smirk, "I for one love my body, Mother. I'm pretty sure Davina does too." He took a seat with them at the table.

"Don't be puerile. We have work to do," she shook her head and lifted her tea cup. "Your brothers did me a favour by killing Francesca. Now, I will control the witches and the werewolves. With the vampires in exile, we can begin to take root in our new home. Finn, Kol," she nodded to each of her sons, "let's get to work. We have a family reunion to plan." She smiled brightly.


Chapter Text


October 2012

There was so much she didn't understand. So much that made no sense. She had never held trouble understanding before.

She was starting to think coming to New Orleans might have been a mistake, but it had nothing to do with the hybrid. Klaus was polite enough and showed no signs of malignant intent; he was in short the perfect host. He hadn't even asked for her blood yet; though she suspected that had more to do with his all-consuming desire to clean up the mess that was the French Quarter. Nobody had told her what that was about yet.

It was the other brother: Elijah Mikaelson.

She couldn't understand how it had it had happened. She didn't know what it meant.

She knew why she wore her own face. She knew why she saw herself when she looked in the mirror. It didn't take a genius to figure it out. Her soul had been reborn into the body of her sister's doppelganger.

The elixir she had created spawned a line of doppelgangers. Two lines: one for Amara and one for Silas. Her sister and her secret lover lost the ability to die so nature needed a version that could.

What she didn't understand was why he looked so much like her husband. It made no sense, and it was all kinds of confusing.

The brother's had been busy with the supernatural factions she had made a point to ignore by remaining inside.

Caroline had been hesitant to leave her after the week spent settling in.

She knew the blonde had been able to see the way her body was on edge in spite of her efforts to hide it. She had insisted that she was fine and her nerves were merely due to the sudden crowd of people she found herself in; she told Caroline she felt as safe as she could feel considering what she was.

Hayley… she didn't know what to think about Hayley. She had surmised that she had lost a child and was suffering from some sort of depression. It was the nursery though that gave her pause.

She knew that everyone handled their grief in different ways, but to actively destroy a room and tear the furniture apart.

She could sense a secret being concealed within the confines of the house, and it wasn't hers.

She felt her eyes grow wide when she stepped from her bedroom. It shouldn't have surprised her given the nature of her housemates but a chill still ran down her spine when she spotted the bloody footprints that had been tracked through the hall.

She stared at the outline of the slim foot and only looked up when she felt a warm hand on her arm. She lifted her gaze from the mixture of blood and mud to see Elijah gently guiding her back from the mess.

He didn't say a word but she could see the clear annoyance in his shoulders. It was at once familiar and foreign.

She knew by the way he had pushed her back that he wanted her to stay put, but she had never been one to listen to instructions.

She waited a beat before following Elijah and the footprints into a bathroom. Her eyes locked on the body propped against the wall beside the tub.

"Come to check up on me?" Hayley looked at them through the corner of her eyes. She scoffed when she saw Elena.

"You've had an eventful evening," Elijah nodded to the body.

"I was having a crappy day," Hayley tipped her head back to stare at the ceiling. A slow smile spread over her lips when she rolled her neck to look at him. "Klaus took me out to the Cauldron. Wouldn't you know," the smile turned to a dark smirk, "we ran into some witches!"

"So," Elijah's voice turned dry, "would you like me to remove your leftovers?" He stepped over the body.

Hayley rolled her eyes before standing. The water sloshed up the sides of the tub when she was on her feet.

Alenka finally lifted her gaze when she heard the snap of a towel. She immediately looked away when she saw that Hayley was naked and covered in bubbles; her jaw ticked when she spun on her heel and realized Elijah had not averted his gaze.

She was staring at the body in the courtyard ten minutes later and wondering how she would really react to the witch that had killed her husband and her baby.

She had never been a violent person but suddenly the rage was all encompassing. She knew Qetsiyah was dead, but damn it, she wanted her alive again so she could make the bitch suffer.

Death was too kind for her.

Unfortunately she no longer had the ability to make her suffer.

She spun around and marched back into her bedroom when she saw Elijah watching her curiously from the courtyard.

The glass tinkled when he replaced the vial on the table. The display was covered in all manner of herbs in various states: fresh, dried, flaked and powdered. He thought an herb was what he would need for her memories, but plants and their properties had never been his strong suit. He was good, but the brunt of his strength had always been the more physical side of magic.

The herbs had required more patience and study. He had put the time in as a human being, but had let it lapse over the centuries. He became more interested in the end goal and less the capabilities of each plant.

"If you're looking for something to heal your head you might try the shelf for medicinal herbs."

"I'm not actually looking for that," Kol shook his head. Truthfully he would have healed the wound himself if his mother hadn't hexed him so it would heal at a normal rate; she didn't want Davina knowing the extent of his abilities. It was very annoying; mainly because of the headaches that aspirin was doing nothing for.

"No?" Davina tilted her head and stepped up beside him. "Then what are you looking for?"

"Something for a friend," Kol smirked, "she's got a tiny case of amnesia; missing a few memories."

"What happened?" Concern flashed in her dark eyes.

"Accident," he turned his attention to the dried chamomile. "Maybe you can help me," he picked up an empty bottle.

She didn't know why she could barely breathe when she stepped into the library. The trepidation settled in her chest and curled around her heart.

It didn't make sense to her why she was suddenly afraid. Klaus had all but given her free rein in the house, but for whatever reason the study she had stumbled upon made her nervous.

Rather than leave she made a slow circle through the room. Her fingers trailed over the spines of leather bound books and the smooth wood of the shelves before she came to a stop by the desk.

Her eyes zeroed in on the cherry wood. She tilted her head and narrowed her eyes as she approached the surface.

Whatever was causing her anxiety was in the desk; she knew it as surely as she knew her name.

She was too curious for her own good. She knew that too, but she was mildly surprised when the drawer opened easily.

Carefully she reached inside and lifted the slim dagger. She rested the point on her index finger and shivered. Even with the mute on her abilities she could sense the dark power contained in the object. She fell into the chair and felt bead of sweat trickle down her spine.

That was how Elijah found her: sitting in the chair staring at a white oak ash dagger.

"Elena?" He frowned at the brunette.

The last time she had held one of those daggers she had been placing it in his hand, but now she was looking at it with a mixture of fascination and trepidation. She looked like she thought it was going to grow teeth and bite her.

He crossed the room slowly and came to a stop in front of her before repeating her name.

She lifted her gaze when she saw him in front of her and felt her heart stutter.

"What are you doing?" Elijah nodded to the dagger. He doubted she was readying herself to use it, but he was prepared to snatch it from her hands if she did.

"I found it," she followed his eyes to her hands. She lowered it to the smooth surface of the desk. "What is it?"

"You know exactly what that is?" Elijah picked up the dagger and leaned against the desk.

"No, I don't," she shook her head.

Elijah tilted his head and watched her flashing eyes. He wasn't sure what emotion it was. "You and I haven't had a chance to talk, have we?"

"You and Klaus have been busy," she shrugged. Her eyes fell to the desk top. "I've been left to my own devices."

"That is true," he nodded once, "but I have tried to approach you. You've been avoiding me."

"No I haven't," she rose from the chair and turned towards the shelves. Elijah had placed the dagger in his pocket, but the knowledge that it was still there had her on edge.

"You can barely look at me," Elijah listened to her heart. "The other day you fled the courtyard when you saw me watching you. Would you mind telling me why you looked so angry?"

"I wasn't angry," she shook her head. I was murderous. I was finally letting myself think about the things I lost; the things that were stolen from me. I never should have made that potion.

Elijah watched her pull her hair into a low ponytail.

"Miss Forbes mentioned amnesia," his eyes slid down the exposed curve of her throat. He saw her carotid artery flutter with a skipped heartbeat. "She said you couldn't drive."

She was barely able to breathe when he stood and took a step towards her. She was acutely aware of his body a few inches from hers and the dagger in his pocket.

"She was right," she blinked slowly, "but I can walk, and I think I'm going to go take one."

She froze when his hand closed around her elbow. It was a halting motion only and not tight enough to hurt or even hold her back but she stopped anyway.

"You haven't been out of the house since you arrived," Elijah turned her gently so she was facing him. "You don't know anything about the city."

"No time like the present to learn," she tipped her head back and smiled. "I have my phone if I get lost."

"This should do the trick," Davina placed the bottle in his palm. "Any memories that were lost or that have faded away will come screaming back."

"Hopefully she hasn't forgotten anything overly traumatizing," Kol examined the fine powder. "I'll tell her to dissolve it in a bottle of water."

He tucked the spell into his pocket before and watched Davina start to tidy the table she had been using. His eyes landed on a sheet of heavy parchment.

"A spell of unlinking," his eyebrow rose when he turned to look at her sceptically, "what are you up to darling?"

Davina moved to snatch the spell from his hands. In her haste she tripped and lowered her hands to steady herself on the table. She hissed in pain when her palm hit the edge of a knife she had been using to shave pieces off a root.

Kol dropped the spell and grabbed a rag to stop the bleeding in her hand.

"You should really be more careful," he held her arm and lifted the cloth to inspect the cut. "It's not too deep." He led her towards the small bathroom and rinsed her hand under the flow of water.

"Are you going to tell me why you were so hasty to get that spell back?" He glanced up to see the hesitation in her eyes. He didn't require an answer he had seen enough of the page to know she was trying to unlink a sire line. The run in with his father and the white oak stake that had ended his life told him she was preparing to kill an Original.

"I'm just protective of my spells," Davina swallowed. She closed her eyes against the burn when he applied the antiseptic.

Kol took the previously white cloth and tucked it into his jacket pocket. When she opened her eyes he instructed her to hold the gauze in place while he wrapped it.

"Are you having any luck with it?"

"Not yet," she shook her head, "it's complex, and I told my coven to 'shove it' so it's just me."

"It's taking some time," Kol nodded. "You might try asking someone for help, love. A witch needs a coven."

"I'll keep that in mind," Davina shook her head.

Kol pulled out his phone when it vibrated in his pocket.

"You have to go?" Davina's frown mirrored his.

"Yes I do," he laughed. "Thanks for amnesia cure."

"Let me know if it works," she dropped the bloody knife into the sink. She called out when he opened the door. "Kaleb?"

"Yeah?" He paused with his one foot outside.

"Thanks," she held up her injured palm to show what she meant.

"Anytime," he grinned.

"Mother," Kol's smile was tight when he stepped into the room.

"What have you found out?" Esther looked up from the moonlight ring she was spelling.

Kol watched her set the ring aside. She added a few more stones to the drawn circle.

"I might have learned more," he grumbled, "if I hadn't been called away so suddenly." He sighed when his mother fixed him with the look. It didn't matter that she was in the body of a teenage girl she was still capable of the stern look that meant 'tell me what you've done or else'; he had always feared the or else, it was only made worse by the knowledge that she could banish him back to the other side with ease if he didn't comply with her wishes.

"She's working on a spell," he glared at the moonlight rings, "to unlink a sire line."

Esther's head snapped up at his words. The storm in her eyes was enough to give him sea legs.

"That cannot be allowed to come to fruition," Esther's voice was calm but her eyes were full of a fierce fury. "You'll have to stop her."

"How exactly would you propose I do that?" Kol scoffed and rolled his eyes.

"Kill her," Esther shrugged. "It is second nature for you at this point. Or you can kill the spell; I don't care which."

"Where are you going?" Klaus flashed into her path when she reached the door.

"For a walk?" She looked pointedly from him to the door and back. She glanced down at her sneakers and sweater before meeting his eyes with a raised brow.

She moved to step around him and resisted the urge to roll her eyes when he blocked her way.

"Am I not allowed to go for a walk?" She tilted her head and placed her hands on her hips. "Last I checked I was not a prisoner. Was I misinformed?"

"Of course not," a line appeared between his brows, "I'm just concerned you'll get lost."

"I have a phone," she lifted the device from her pocket. It was one of the few things she had thrown herself into understanding when she first 'woke up' for those very frequent occasions when she did get lost. "I can read street signs; if I do get lost I will call for help."

"The quarter is full of wolves," he warned her.

"I would have thought there was more to fear from vampires," she smirked.

Klaus weighed the options of trying to keep her from leaving. She would certainly be easier to keep track of if she felt she had the freedom to at least leave the house.

"Just be back before nightfall, Elena," he stepped out of her path. "You don't want to be out when the nightwalkers emerge."

She was in the middle of Dauphine Street when she heard her name. Not Elena's name her name.

She looked through the corner of her eye to find Kol walking alongside her. Maybe she should have felt afraid to have him walking in step beside her, but she couldn't bring herself to even shiver. A strange sense of calm washed over her when he fell into step with her.

The electric jolt raced from her elbow down to her fingers and up to her heart when he brushed her arm and steered her towards the cemetery.

They walked in silence for fifteen minutes with less than a foot of space between them before Kol came to a stop outside of a moss and wax covered tomb in the oldest part of Lafayette cemetery.

"I want to show you something."

"A bloody handkerchief?" She cast him an inquisitive look when he pulled a bloody cloth from his pocket.

"Yes," he smirked, "I brought you out here to show you a bloody handkerchief. Field trip is over now; you can go home."

"Field trip?" Her eyes narrowed when she tilted her head. "We're not in a field," she glanced around at the mausoleums.

Kol's mouth popped open when he saw the genuine confusion on her face. "Sorry," he laughed quietly, "I forgot for a moment that I know more about this century then you. A field trip is a 'learning excursion' of sorts usually taken by students."

"Am I meant to be learning something from the bloody rag?" She nodded in understanding.

"No," he shook his head, "it's what the bloody rag will reveal." He held his hand over the cloth and chanted quietly: "Mihi veniunt sanguinis," when the blood lifted to hover in the air he directed it towards the door of the tomb, "et sanguinem vincere sigillum."

She watched with fascination, and just a wee bit of envy, as the door swung inwards with the use of magic. She arched an eyebrow when he offered her a hand.

"Isn't there a saying about following vampires into tombs?" Her eyes sparkled with amusement.

"Not to my knowledge," he chuckled, "and I am not a vampire at the moment, darling."

"There is that," she hesitated for a moment before taking his hand. Her cold fingers warmed in his palm.

Chapter Text

She paused when she stepped into the main chamber and waved the cobweb from her face. She dusted off her shoulder with her free hand while Kol continued to pull her into the center of the dark room.

The light that filtered in from the door cut off when it slammed shut. Her heart drummed in her chest when she was plunged in darkness. She had never liked the dark; Amara used to hold her at night when the clouds would blot out the light of the moon. Those had been the days before she had learned a spell to cast a soft light over them both.

It was the scuffling sound somewhere to her right that made her scream and squeeze his hand tightly.

Kol startled when she clung to him and waved his free hand. Every candle and kerosene lamp that had been left behind flared to life.

He laid his hand over hers where it rested on his arm and tilted his head. A tiny smirk lifted one corner of his mouth until he saw the nervous set of her mouth.

"Alright, darling?"

She nodded slowly after a minute and lowered her eyes to where she was holding him in a death grip. His thumb was rubbing across her knuckles absentmindedly in a soothing manner; she was almost reluctant to let go.

Kol seemed to realize, when her grip slackened, what he had been doing and let go so he could step away. He put a few inches of space between them and ran his hand along a table covered in a thick layer of dust.

She relaxed slowly and turned in a semicircle to examine the cluttered shelves containing all manner of objects and books. She ran her fingers along a shelf and frowned when she spotted a silver dagger; it was identical to the one Elijah had hidden in his jacket.

"What is this place?"

"This was my playhouse," he lifted the needle on an antique record player and wiped off the dust with his fingers. "A hundred years ago I worked with the witches of this town to try and take down my brother." He lifted the record and gently blew the dust across the surface.

Alenka's eyes grew round when she turned towards a low table where she recognized the dusty remains of a laboratory.

"Kemiya?" She arched an eyebrow when she turned to watch him replace the black disc and move the narrow strip of wood over top of it. A jaunty melody lifted from the device to fill the large space. "What were you trying to do? You must have had something specific in mind to have witches altering the basic foundations of objects."

"You're clever," he leaned against the table and watched her turn back towards the shelf of grimoires. "Tell me are you still a witch?"

She froze and inhaled slowly. She didn't think she was a witch anymore, but she was definitely something. She couldn't feel the connection she had once held with the earth and nature, but she could sense the dark energy harnessed in many of the objects in that room.

Her silence seemed to be more than enough of an answer.

"I don't think you are," he pushed off the table and took small steps towards her. "You were one, but you were reborn into another supernatural race."

"So what am I then?" She found her voice. Her neck turned slightly so she could tip her head back and meet his eyes.

"You were born into the Petrova family," his eyes searched her gaze. He saw no fear there; only the light of curiosity. "I got to thinking after that day in the greenhouse and I remembered a grimoire I had in my possession; locked away by the Claire family. It belonged to the Petrova family."

"Why did you bring me here?" She fingered the spine of a leather bound book.

Kol smirked when he saw what book her fingers were ghosting over. He reached up and pulled the book down from the shelf; his hands brushed hers when he laid the smooth leather in her hands. Electricity jolted up his arm.

"I wanted to show you this," he watched her balance the book.

She traced the faded 'P' with her fingertip before lifting the worn leather. Much like the journal she found the language of the first page strange, but unlike the journal relaxing her mind did nothing to help her understand. She could only surmise that this was not a language she had learned in her current life.

The second page proved more fruitful. The symbols were ancient, but she clearly recognized the faded language of magic; she would have understood it anywhere. The comments along the bottom of the page were foreign but she recognized the spell; it surprised her that it was not designed to call on the power of nature. It wouldn't even allow for the channeling of another witch.

"I figured that I was something," she murmured into the page.

"You're a gypsy," he nodded to the page.

"What does my coven have to do with this?" She lifted her confused eyes to his face. "That's what everyone always called us."

"Well, from what I understand," Kol watched as she flipped through the book, "the gypsies were cursed a long time ago."

"It was clearly after my murder," she swallowed thickly. The image of the knife flooded her mind's eye and sent a combination of anger and fear to settle in her stomach. She needed to focus on anything else. "Cursed? Why were they cursed?"

In her experience any curse could be broken. She had lost her sister, her husband and her child, but maybe… just maybe… she didn't have to lose her magic. Hope fluttered in her chest.

"Rumor has it," he tilted his head when he caught a distant light in her eyes, "that it was because of the immortality spell created by the witch Qetsiyah."

She couldn't have stopped the laugh. She blinked back a few tears and pressed her lips together as guilt clawed its way up her throat. It wasn't enough that her actions hadn't just resulted in the death of her family; her entire coven suffered to.

I never should have made that damn potion; she took a deep breath to calm down. The hand he placed on her shoulder certainly helped.

"Is there a way to break it?" She pointedly ignored his concerned look.

"Maybe," Kol shrugged, "there's usually a way to break every curse, but that's not why I brought you here."

"Perhaps you could get to the point then," she lifted her phone from her pocket, "your brother is calling me."

Kol nodded before reaching inside his jacket and extracting the vial of herbs. He held it up to the light of a kerosene lamp so she could see the fine powder.

"I didn't think I should give you this out in the open," he shrugged and pressed the vial into her palm. "That should bring back any lost or concealed memories. Just dissolve it in water."

He could see the hesitation in her eyes when she eyed the powder.

"How do I know this isn't poison?"

"You'll just have to trust me, darling."

"You admitted to wanting to kill me," she gave him a pointed look.

"I haven't yet," he smirked.

He mused over his sudden hesitation to end her life when she tucked the potion into her pocket and left the tomb. He told himself it was because she didn't remember and that it wouldn't be as satisfying without knowing the reason why.

He knew that wasn't the reason, but it was the one he was going with. The truth was, the blind rage had passed and he was curious. He had been curious about Elena as well before what had happened. He'd found her enchanting, alluring, and hauntingly sad; she had a lot more in common with herself than she realized.

He had spotted that ghostly light he had seen the night he died. He had seen it again when she had asked about the curse.

He was intimately familiar with how it felt to be cut off completely from nature. Travellers were cut off from nature. He wasn't quite sure why he picked up the discarded Petrova book; he just knew that if there was an answer it was likely to be within the confines of a traveller book.

She twirled the tiny blue flowers between her fingers and hugged her knees to her chest. She only lifted her gaze when she felt the body sit beside her.

"What's wrong?" Elijah leaned back against the book shelf and drew up one knee to rest his elbow on.

"What makes you think something's wrong?" She attempted a small smile. It fell when she looked at him. It hurt to look at him.

"You're sitting alone in a dark room staring at that flower like it has personally offended you." He carefully lifted the flowers from her hand. "Something you want to forget, Elena?"

"I think I've forgotten enough," she chuckled. There was something dark in her gaze. She cleared her throat before he could ask. "How goes the plan to clean up the city?"

"How do you know about that?" His eyes narrowed when she stared out at the library.

"I hear things," she stretched out her legs and dropped her hands to her legs. She could feel the slim vial of herbs in her pocket.

"It's coming along fine, slowly, but fine," Elijah nodded. He watched her from the corner of his eye. "What issues are you having with your memory, Elena? What do you remember?"

She hesitated and drew her bottom lip between her teeth. It wasn't like she had any hope of lying to a vampire; Caroline had told her about her heartbeat.

"Nothing," she exhaled, "I remember nothing. All I know I learned from Caroline and my journal; I don't remember writing any of it."

"You've forgotten everything?" Elijah leaned forward and twisted to face her.

"Everything about my life," she nodded. And not nearly enough.

"Did Miss Forbes show you her memories?" Elijah inhaled when she shook her head. "You've stepped into a house full of strangers."

"Everyone is a stranger," she shrugged, "and my memory might come back one day."

"You don't believe that," he shook his head. He could hear the truth in her heart beat. "I can show you some memories if you like. The ones I shared with you; it might make you a little more comfortable in the house."

She hesitated for a moment before nodding once.

She moved a few things aside on the nightstand to make room for the plastic water bottle. She sighed when the settled glass upset the green leather and papers scattered across the bedroom floor.

Falling to her knees she gathered the pictures and set them on the bed spread before reaching for a folded sheet of paper that had slid under the bed. The parchment was heavy in her hands and completely unfamiliar.

She frowned when she read the slanting script. The memories Elijah had shown her had instilled feelings of tentative trust, but he had given no indication that he had ever done anything abhorrent yet here was undeniable proof in her hand.

What had he done? What had he not shown her?

She picked up the vial of powder Kol had given her earlier. She was curious and confused. Honestly she just wanted some answers.

She dumped the contents into her glass of water and watched the powder dissolve before raising the glass to her lips. She downed the entire thing and set the glass down. For a moment nothing happened.

She was starting to think her leap of faith had been pointless when her eyelids grew heavy. She blinked against the onset of sleep and managed to brace her hands on the bed before she collapsed against the pillows.

Tiny hands reached up high over her head in an attempt to grasp the bright red fruit. She jumped and huffed when her fingers didn't make contact.

"You'll never reach it that way, Alenka."

"Can you help me?" She tipped her head back to look at her mother.

"Of course…"

"No, mama," Alenka pulled on her mother's skirts, "I want to do it." She laughed when her mother took hold of her sides and lifted her so she could wrap her hand around the pomegranate; it came free from the tree easily.

"Now that is far too much for just you," she tapped the fruit in Alenka's hand.

"I'll share it with Amara," her eyes sparkled when she smiled broadly.

"You'll have to find her first."

Alenka nodded before hugging her mother's legs and running off towards the farther side of the garden where she knew Amara was hiding.

She rounded the corner and frowned when she saw her grown sister bound to the workbench in her garden. Her eyes widened when the shackles closed around her wrist and the magic stopped in her bones.

She bolted upright with her heart in her throat. Fear twisted in her gut and clawed through her body. Somewhere far away she heard the distant sound of screaming, but it wasn't until strong arms wrapped around her body that she realized it was coming from her.

The voices seemed to come from far away. She couldn't make out any of the conversation happening around her; all she could hear were the screams of Amara… of her.

"What's wrong with her?" Hayley glared at the slim brunette, as she continued to screech, in Elijah's arms.

"I'm not sure," Elijah listened to her erratic heart and smelt the fear rising from her blood. "I think she had a nightmare. She's still having one."

"Well, her screaming is going to wake the entire city," Klaus grumbled.

"Yes," Elijah drawled, "because this city sleeps."

"Just make her stop," Hayley covered her ears. "You'd think someone was killing her."

Klaus pushed around Hayley and perched on the edge of the bed. He laid his hands to either side of her head. His eyes grew round when he saw the wicked curve of a knife coming down over her body. Normally it was best to ease out of a nightmare and in to a new dream, but he changed tactics quickly and planted a soothing image of the Falls in the moonlight before retreating from her mind.

Elijah felt her slowly relax in his arms. When she slumped back against his bare chest he waited a moment to make sure she was asleep and laid her down.

Hayley fought down the urge to be sick and turned away from the room and the tender way the Mikaelson's were caring for Elena. She had hated the way everything seemed to revolve around Elena Gilbert in Mystic Falls; the girl wrapped everyone around her little finger and she was doing it again here. She probably hadn't even had a nightmare; she was just looking for attention.


Chapter Text

Alenka took slow sips from the bottle of water and leaned against the kitchen counter. Every time she closed her eyes she remembered a new detail that kept the memory fresh. She doubted it had been Kol's intention, but the memory she had repressed returned in living colour.

Whatever Klaus and Elijah had done helped her return to sleep but when she woke again the vision returned.

She could read the outrage, horror and pain in the fading light of Elias' eyes. She could hear the distant sounds of Amara begging Qetsiyah to stop; she hadn't remembered that at first. The promise to leave her husband her heart echoed in her mind even as the faint smell of his blood reached her nose. She could almost feel the bowl brushing her shoulder.

Alenka shook herself from the darkness of her memories and forced herself to remove her hand from her chest. Her heart was still in place. Her heart was going to remain in her body.

"Alright," Klaus sighed, "what is it?" He could feel the annoyance coming off Hayley in waves.

"Something is clearly bothering you," Elijah looked up from the contracts he had been perusing to the rigid set of Hayley's shoulders.

"Really?" Hayley crossed her arms. "Are you really asking me that?" Her voice was a deadly hiss when she glared at them. "My child can't come home because of the mess in this damn city. I haven't held her since the day she was born and you've got the nerve to ask me what's wrong?"

Hayley's annoyance only flared when she heard the approaching footsteps on the cobblestones. She never would have chosen the Mikaelsons before her pregnancy. She wouldn't have picked these two as men in her life; she'd been on the fence for a while about them, but she now saw them as hers and she was a very possessive person. Seeing them tending to a woman who was clearly just using them, she had even admitted to coming down there for the protection they could give, with such gentleness made her heart swell with anger.

They were hers not Elena Gilberts.

She pivoted on her heel when they began arguing between themselves over the best course of action to return Hope to them. It was futile; New Orleans would never be safe. They had too many enemies.

Tearing her eyes from the knife block she left the kitchen and crossed the courtyard. She paused outside the entrance to the dining room when Hayley stormed out and nearly ran her over. She just held in her shudder when she saw the hostility in the hybrid's eyes and managed to stand her ground under the heavy glare until Hayley moved around her and stomped up the stairs.

"Did I do something to her?" She swallowed when she stepped into the room and saw the brothers locked in a staring contest. "Before the whole amnesia thing because I get the sense she doesn't like me and would gleefully push me into the middle of a busy street."

"Not that I am aware of, love," Klaus tore his eyes from his brother.

"Try not to take Hayley's mood personally, Elena," Elijah met her eyes and frowned at the dark circles there, "she's been having a difficult time."

Alenka nodded. She drew her lip between her teeth not quite believing it had nothing to do with her. She had been around women in difficult situations, and yes they could be hostile but it was more generalized; typically if she felt anger being directed at her it was because it was being directed at her.

"How did you sleep?"

"Fine," she cleared her throat when she saw Elijah had crossed the room to stand a few paces in front of her. Her eyes met his involuntarily and her heart stuttered in her chest; for a moment she saw the life draining from his face again.

"Elena?" He lifted her chin with his knuckle. He had heard her heart skip.

"More nightmares, love?" Klaus tilted his head and raked his eyes over her pale face.

"No," she shook her head and managed a small smile, "no more nightmares." She wondered if Klaus called everyone 'love'; she wasn't particularly fond of the nickname but she preferred it to hearing the name that wasn't hers.

"Would that be because you didn't sleep?" Elijah cocked an eyebrow.

She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear and played with the label on the bottle. "Can't have nightmares if you don't go to sleep."

"You didn't sleep at all last night?" Elijah watched her carefully when she took a seat on the leather couch. He could see her eyes drooping.

"I couldn't," she was too tired to attempt a lie. "I kept seeing it."

"I can help with that if you like," Elijah offered when Klaus slipped from the room.

She chewed on her lip and stared at the table. She knew he could help her maintain a more pleasant dream, but she wasn't sure if she wanted him in her mind. It might raise questions she wasn't ready to answer if he were to see the extent of the dream keeping her up at night.

"No," she shook her head, "it'll pass."

"Nightmares don't just stop Elena," Elijah took a seat across from her. "It does help to talk about them."

"I think I'd prefer to banish it from my mind," she laughed quietly.

"If only it were that easy," he shook his head.

"Sometimes it is," her nail stopped scraping the label from the bottle. The memory of the brilliant sun soaking into her husband's skin as he lifted a violet coloured flower for her inspection flooded her mind.

She swallowed and stood up with a small nod. "I think I'm going to go for a walk and clear my head."

Her eyes watched the ground as she walked down the street. She still wasn't used to the crowd of people in the city, but she found herself grateful for their presence around her.

It was distracting to say the least and distracting was just what she wanted.

She caught snippets of inane conversations about work, dinner, and picking up the dry cleaning. Each clear word made her head feel a little lighter. She didn't stop walking until she saw a stall of flowers.

Her fingers drummed over her thigh. She raked her eyes over the colourful blossoms looking for anything purple.

"Can I help you, miss?"

She looked up when a young man in a green apron came up beside her. She nodded slowly but before she got a chance to ask he held up a few flowers for her inspection.

"Lily of the valley perhaps?"

"I actually have something in mind," she sighed and shook her head, "I just don't see it."

"Oh," he lowered the white flower, "what were you in the market for today?"

"Crocus," she smiled hopefully.

The stone had long since warmed behind his back. Still, he shifted and bent his knee to rest the book on. The sun beat down on the aged pages and made the handwritten notes easier to read; thankfully he had learned Bulgarian several centuries before. If he hadn't he wouldn't have been able to understand the instructions for breaking a traveller curse; unfortunately it appeared unlikely she would ever be able to do it.

There were seven and a half billion people in the world spread out over seven continents; the odds of ever finding a soulmate were unlikely: one in seven and a half billion… less than one percent.

A shadow passed over the page and drew his eyes upwards. The sun was behind her head so it took a moment for her features to come into focus.

"Did it work?" He marked the page and closed the leather bound volume.

"No," she shook her head and dropped to sit on the stone steps of the mausoleum. "Well… yes and no…"

"I'm afraid I don't understand, darling," he stood and took a seat beside her. His eyes fell to the bag she had set on the cobblestones.

"I don't remember anything from this lifetime, but," she took a steadying breath, "I now remember, in vivid detail, the events of my death."

"Bloody hell," he breathed. "Can I ask what happened?"

"You just did," she snickered.

"I'm wondering if you'll tell me though," he watched her pale features. "I know you were murdered… you let that slip a few days back."

Alenka smoothed her hair behind her ears and leaned forward to prop her chin in her hand. She turned her head slightly so she could look at him.

"Do you want to tell me what's bugging you?" She easily spotted the circles under his eyes.

"I thought we were discussing you," he braced his elbows on his knees. He sighed when she remained quiet before explaining the order he had been given to either kill a girl or her spell.

"You don't want to kill her?" Her eyes flickered over his features.

"Contrary to popular belief I am not a monster," he shook his head. "Unless my humanity was off I only killed when I had to; or in the attempted case of your brother for the greater good."

"You tried to kill Jeremy?" Her brows shot up. "You want to kill me."

"No," he shook his head, "I didn't want to deal with Qetsiyah's hunter's curse, but I did want him to stop searching for the cure and as for you… blind rage has a way of passing quickly."

"Because of Silas," she nodded. "I really hate that guy."

"Is he the one keeping you up at night?" Kol inspected the flowers in the bag.

"What makes you think I'm up at night?" She smirked.

"The dark circles under your eyes," he nodded to her face and pulled a flower from the bag, "and the crocus sativus," he held it to her face, "it's been said to banish nightmares when ingested as a tea."

"How do you know that?" Her fingers grazed his skin when she lifted the flower to her nose.

"Someone told me about it," he shrugged, "a long time ago; feels like a dream now. It always kind of felt like a dream, but it was one of the things I used to use in the days before turning off my emotions; brewing tea doesn't require magic."

"You had some nightmares you wanted to banish," she nodded.

"As do you," he pressed his lips into a thin line, "I've told you the source of my anxiety. Will you share yours?"

"I was murdered," she stared at the opposite tomb, "by Qetsiyah. Every time I close my eyes I see," she blinked back her tears, "the knife. I see… I see," her breath shook, "the blood pouring from my… my husband, and I hear… I hear my sister screaming."

He should have been surprised by his lack of hesitation. His hand settled between her shoulders and rubbed smooth circles over her back.

Alenka swiped at the tears rubbed her lips together. It seemed once she started she couldn't stop.

"It's so much harder to forget in that house," she exhaled.

"Nik's being a dick?" Kol attempted to make her laugh.

"No," she shook her head.

"Elijah?" He ventured when she went quiet. "What's he doing? Do you want me to beat him senseless?"

She finally managed a laugh through her tears. "I'm pretty sure you don't have the strength for that."

"You're right," he grinned, "but I can give him one hell of a headache."

"He hasn't done anything but help me settle in," she inhaled slowly. "It's just that… he looks like my husband."

"And that makes it hard to forget," Kol's smile fell. "You could try focusing on the differences in their appearance… that might make it easier."

"No, Kol," she hugged her upper body, "you don't get it. He's a little older but… he looks just like my husband."

"Your…" his eyes widened.

"Husband…" she shook her head and laughed without any humor, "… over two thousand years later. I don't understand why either."

"Reincarnation?" Kol didn't know why the thought bothered him.

"That's not how reincarnation works," she shook her head sadly. "You don't get the same body… I mean… it's not possible. It has to be a coincidence right? It just makes it hard to forget."

"I don't believe in coincidences, Alenka," Kol reached for the leather bound volume he had been reading, "but maybe I can help distract you."

"You could help by making me forget," she sighed.

"Well I was going to tell you about the way to break a travellers curse," he tried not to smile when he saw the muted light of excitement in her eyes.

"Why are you being so nice to me?" She tilted her head when he passed her the pages and finished explaining what he had learned.

"I don't know," he chuckled, "if you want to double check my translations it's in Bulgarian."

"Try tampering with the root," she folded the pages and placed them in her bag. "For the spell," she clarified when he looked confused. "The root would be instrumental in its completion. If you wreck the root you destroy the spell and then you don't have to kill the girl." She slowly climbed to her feet and hooked the bag over her arm. "If it's keeping you awake you clearly don't want to do it, so…"

"Wreck the root," he nodded. His eyes sparkled when he smiled up at her, "thank you."


Chapter Text

December 2012

It had been eight months since she had woken in the boarding house. The trauma of her final memory was fading away so it was getting easier; she no longer had the flashbacks whenever she saw a knife.

Her nightmares had stopped as well thanks to the crocus tea.

She ground the flowers down and dropped them in the bottom of a mug before lifting the kettle and pouring in the boiling water. She carried it over to the table and opened the laptop that she had spent the past month attempting to understand.

The tea steeped slowly as she typed in the deciphered letters. It wasn't that she didn't believe Kol because she did; she just wanted to read it for herself.

Ivanka doĭde pri men. Tya vyarva, che slukhovete na pŭtnitsite i sŭmishlenitsite sa verni. Tya otkri neĭnite, kazva tya. Tya zapechata vrŭzkata i sega tvŭrdi, che useshta vrŭzka s prirodata; neshto, koeto nikoĭ ot nas nikoga ne e poznaval.

The translation took less than a minute. When it finally came up in English she switched it over to Greek making it easier to read without hurting her eyes and mind.

Ivanka has come to me. She believes the rumors of travellers and soulmates to be true. She found hers she says. She sealed the bond and now claims to feel a connection with nature; something none of us have ever known.

"Good evening, Elena," Elijah greeted while pulling a blood bag from the fridge.

"Hey," she pushed the computer closed. Taking a sip of her tea she met his eyes; it was getting easier to be around him as well.

Elijah took a seat across from her at the table after warming the blood and placing it in a mug.

"Any luck with your memories?"

"No," she smiled around her mug of tea. She had one foot in another chair so she rested her elbow on her knee and held her mug. "I don't think they will come back on their own."

"I could try contacting a witch if you like," he frowned when she shook her head and smiled.

"No thanks," she laughed softly. Her eyes sparkled when she saw his confusion. "I got the impression from my journal that my life was not… something worth remembering."

"It's your memory, Elena," he tapped the table with a knuckle.

"It doesn't feel like it," she ran a finger around the rim of her mug; "I think I'm alright not knowing. I promise I'm fine." Her eyes narrowed when she caught something flickering in his dark eyes. "Is there something you want me to remember, Elijah?"

"I just want you to be happy," he cleared his throat before rising from the table, "and if you're happy not knowing then…" he trailed off while rinsing his cup and putting it in the dishwasher. He pulled out his phone to answer the incoming message.

"Do you have to go?" She finished the last of her tea.

"Yes," he nodded. "I'm terribly sorry, but I do have to leave."

It wasn't until she was lying in bed that it hit her. The reason he wanted her to remember and the look in his eyes.

"You ever wonder if anyone cares whether or not you live or die?"

Alenka snapped her book shut and turned on the daybed to face him. "Personally no," she arched an eyebrow, "but I know for a fact your brother wants me alive. He's rather insistent on it."

"Ah, yes," Kol scoffed, "Nik and his Hybrid Army. How could I possibly forget about that? Tell me, darling, has he started parading suitors past you?"

"What are you talking about?" She tilted her head and pulled his book from his hands; it wasn't like he was actually reading it.

"He wants another doppelganger," he shrugged, "which roughly translates to: Elena Gilbert will have children."

"Not that," she waved her hand, "I meant the other."

"My flippant attitude over the worth of my life?" Kol mirrored her nod. "I just mean nobody would care if I were to die, or were you not there when Nik was torturing me."

"He's your brother Kol," she dropped the books onto a table, "he would care. They would all care."

"They didn't the first time," he rolled his eyes and leaned back on the daybed, "why should it be any different now. Nobody would care. My own mother has threatened to send me back."

"I'd care," she squeezed his arm and reached for her buzzing phone. "Who else would introduce me to terrible music?" She nodded towards the gramophone.

"This is wonderful music," he bumped her shoulder.

"It's wailing," she snickered. "My phone makes a better sound."

"Speaking of," he rolled his eyes when he saw the missed call and text message, "it looks like you're needed back at the compound."

"We want to bring Hope home," Klaus gestured wildly with his hands, "this is how we can do it. We could ensure New Orleans is safe; I could ensure it."

"By enslaving my people?" Hayley glared at him.

"Not to mention the strain it would take on Elena," Elijah crossed his arms and leaned against the book shelf.

"Of course," Hayley muttered, "it's all about Elena."

"Excuse me?" Elijah's brows rose.

"You've been mooning over her since she got here," Hayley growled. "You immediately rushed out after her when it looked like she was lost. I wouldn't be surprised if you've got someone keeping an eye on her whenever she leaves the house."

"That's actually what I'm doing," Klaus lifted a finger, "I get Josh to follow at a distance. Apparently she likes the cemetery and the botanical gardens."

"She's a manipulative bitch," Hayley threw up her hands, "and is probably faking the memory loss, and those 'nightmares' she was having as well."

"I assure you, little wolf," Klaus cut off her rant, "that nightmare was very real. I saw part of it and she was within her rights to be afraid." He backed away when a set of footsteps echoed outside the door.

"Hello?" Alenka froze when she was greeted by three sets of dark eyes.

"Hello, love," Klaus grinned, "I find myself in need of your blood."

Her eyes flickered between everyone in the room; they settled on Hayley when she scoffed.

"I don't like it."

"Have you got a better idea?" Klaus snapped. "One that doesn't involve marrying a man you don't love."

"Just admit it," Hayley rolled her eyes, "you don't like Jackson."

"I like Jackson well enough," Klaus sighed, "but not as a step father for my child."

"How much blood do you need?" Alenka swallowed when she saw the disapproval in Elijah's eyes.

"You'll give it just like that?" Hayley dropped her shoulders and tilted her head.

"Sure," she nodded.

"It would take too much of your blood," Elijah stepped between her and Klaus. "If you are going to do this you need to take your time: one bag every two weeks."

"Why?" Hayley sighed. "We can just heal her, or better yet drain her dry."

"Vampire blood has no effect on me since taking the cure," Alenka cleared her throat, "and if it's all the same to you I'd rather not be bled dry. How long will this take?"

"Two months," Klaus pulled the equipment from the drawer, "if we're following Elijah's specifications. It will take two months to get enough."

January 2013

"You know what you have to do."

She lifted her head to regard him carefully. Her fingers ghosted over the aged paper of the grimoire that hadn't seen the light of day in a century. She had a feeling she knew what he was talking about, but the thought was somehow wrong.

"What do I have to do?" She crossed her arms and leaned against the table. She tilted her head and watched Kol's face. Not for the first time she wondered what he truly looked like when he did not inhabit the body of Kaleb; did he resemble one of his brothers more than the other. Whatever he truly looked like she knew his eyes always held that twinkle.

"You have to sleep with him." His usual smirk was not present. His lips had fallen into a small line. Why did the thought of her in his brother's bed upset him so? He knew the answer, but that didn't make things any easier.

"Why would I have to do that?" She leaned back.

"Hear me out, darling," Kol caught her wrist. Absentmindedly he rubbed small circles over the back of her hand. "You were reborn in the body of a traveller; a cursed group of witches."

"I'm aware of my legacy Kol," she inhaled.

"The difference is that you remember being a witch," he continued. "You remember all of it. You remember what it was like to feel that connection to the earth. There is one way for a traveller to break their curse and that is to seal a bond with their soulmate."

"You think he's my soulmate?" She stared at his hand. His fingers stroked her soft skin and sent tiny tingles up her arm.

"Don't you?" Kol sighed. "You told me months ago that he bore the face of your dead husband. Fate seems to be throwing the two of you together, darling. Seal the deal and you get your magic back; you're a witch again."

She sighed and chewed her lip. How many times had she thought of it? How many nights had she dreamt of lying with her husband again? The dreams had grown stronger when she'd come to New Orleans and met him. After months in the same house as him she found her dreams were lessening. He was kind it was true, but the thousand years he had spent wandering the world had changed him; he was not the man she remembered. He was different.

"I'd feel like I was using him," she shook her head. She'd done the reading with Kol and she knew he was right. She knew that sealing a bond with her soulmate would lift her curse.

"I thought you loved him?" Kol watched her distant eyes.

"I barely know him," she replied after a brief pause. She wasn't sure what it was about Kol, but he had quickly become her dearest friend. It still surprised her that he was friends with her at all; after all, the woman that she was before had orchestrated his death.

She stood outside his door and hesitated. It was a foolish idea really, and she should march straight back and tell Kol just that. Kol was nothing if not set in his ways though; he reminded her of Elias that way.

And yeah… okay… maybe she was playing on his emotions. Maybe she was using the knowledge of his feelings for who she had been before waking up. Maybe she was being a selfish bitch, but the separation she felt from nature was unbearable.

Like Kol had done by running with witches for centuries, she was willing to do anything to get her power back.

She was starting to think that there just might be more than one person in the world for everyone.

Steeling her nerves she took a deep breath and knocked. Idly she wondered if this made her a whore… using her body to get what she wanted. She shook that thought off when he opened the door and stood before her.

Slowly she lifted her gaze from his sculpted chest to his inquisitive brown eyes.


The name rolled off his tongue. And it was definitely wrong, but she was going to do it anyway. He didn't know the truth about her mind. Only Caroline and Kol knew what had happened when she took the cure. Only they knew that Elena Gilbert had ceased to exist. Only they knew that she had woken up in her reincarnations body, and only Kol knew her true name.

"Elijah," she swallowed. She contented herself with the knowledge that at least her name meant the same thing, and it sounded reasonably close to her true name.

"Did you need something…?"

She could sense he was surprised when he didn't immediately respond to her kiss. It took him a second before his hands left the door frame and pushed into her dark hair.

Her hands slid around his back while her tongue warred with his. Warmth spread through her when he pulled her body flush against his. She didn't know if it was his fingers dipping beneath the hem of her shirt, or the suddenly vivid memory of the last time she had been wrapped in Elias' arms; maybe it was a combination of the two.

She lost herself in that memory. Her mind was two thousand years in the past in a beautiful courtyard full of flowers. She snapped back to reality when the name fell from his lips.

"Elena," Elijah sank into her wet heat slowly.

Her body was flushed and bare beneath him. She arched when he filled her and gasped. Her nails raked down his back. Her legs wrapped around his waist.

Every inward thrust sent tremors through her body. She thought he must have cared for Elena dearly. The beginning strains of guilt tore at her stomach when she saw the emotion in his eyes. She stretched up and kissed him while he rocked into her body. She couldn't watch his eyes; while familiar to her they kept shifting to a soft blue.

She had to bite her lip to keep from crying out when the orgasms washed over her. She had the strangest feeling it wouldn't be his name passing through her lips.

She rolled him onto his back and braced her hands on his chest as she rode him. Leaning down to nip along his jaw she felt his fingers press into her hips to guide her body up and down.

Pressing her lips into a thin line she stared at the circles under her eyes. It wasn't the night spent in his bed engaging in carnal activities that had left the marks on her face. It was the early hours of the morning after he had fallen asleep with his arm around her waist.

She had thought she would feel immediately different. She had thought the connection with nature would instantly return to her body. When that didn't happen she reasoned that it was because she was inside and as soon as she stepped on the soft ground things would change. When that hadn't happened and she'd been unable to perform what should have been the simplest of spells, even Amara could have done it; she had broken down in tears.

Chapter Text

It had been three days since she had seen Kol. Three days since he had convinced her that she could break her curse. Three days since she had done as instructed and gone to his brother's bed.

It had taken her three days to get over what she had done. Three days before she was able to leave her room for any extended period of time. Three days before she could face Elijah again.

It had taken three days for her to step back into the cemetery. Three days before she could open the door of the Playhouse. Three days before she stood in front of a shocked Kol and delivered a hard slap.

"Ouch," he rubbed his jaw, "as if my splitting headache weren't enough? What exactly have I done to earn your ire?" Kol blinked when he saw the tears shimmering in her eyes. "Alenka?"

"You were wrong," she cursed herself when her voice shook.

"Alenka," Kol lifted her chin and swiped away the few tears. "You…"

She nodded wordlessly.

He couldn't understand the rage that filled him. She had spent the night with his brother. He had told her to do it, but for some reason it still stung; knowing that Elijah had known her body had white hot anger curling at the base of his spine. He didn't know why it bothered him so; she was not his… she had never been his.

"You're still cursed?" The knowledge that she had given her body for no reason was heartrending; especially seeing how upset she was over having done it. "I'm sorry."

"Really?" Her eyes narrowed. "It looks like you're angry with me."

"That's because I am," he stepped back and grasped the work table. Glass shattered when he threw a bowl at the far wall.

"You have no right to be angry with me," her hands fell to her hips. "You practically pushed me through the door."

"Don't you think I know that?" Kol's jaw ticked. "I'm angry at you for doing it. I'm angry at myself for even suggesting it, and I'm angry at whoever started that bloody rumor that a soul bond could break a traveller's curse."

Tiny jolts raced up her legs as she stomped across the room. The click of her shoes echoed sharply over the stone walls.

"Perhaps it was a witch with a cruel sense of humor," she glared up at him. "Or… maybe the universe just has a mean streak. Maybe he's not my soulmate at all and the physical resemblance was just a coincidence."

"I," Kol started walking her backwards, "have lived a thousand years. And yes some of that time was spent rotting in a wooden box, but it was still a long time. I've learned something in that time, Alenka."

She swallowed. She glanced over her shoulder when her knees bumped into the daybed before meeting his eyes. "What have you learned?" Involuntarily her eyes flickered to his mouth.

"That there is no such thing as a coincidence," he leant so he was in front of her face. "Why are you so upset over it? Elijah looks like your husband for a reason, Ellie."

Maybe it was the use of the nickname she hadn't heard since before her death. Maybe it was the heat radiating from his body. Maybe it was just the proximity to his lips.

She inhaled once before pressing her mouth to his in a harsh kiss.

Kol shut his eyes and took hold of her hips. His mouth moved against hers hungrily. The sudden desperation that took over his body was surprising. He took shallow breaths, rested his forehead on her brow and watched the flush on her cheeks.

"That's why," she peeked up through her lashes. "Why are you so upset?"

He choked down the sob. Over the months he had spent with her he had come to know several things. She practically radiated light and warmth. She struggled with her transition from witch to traveller and mourned the loss of nature. And finally whether she believed it or not she and Elena Gilbert were the same person; even if she didn't remember. Knowing that, he was still mildly surprised by the feelings he had developed for her. He hadn't said anything because he thought she was in love with his brother.

"Because…" it hit him like a ton of bricks. Much like the Salvatores and Elijah he had fallen for a Petrova. "I fancy you."

"You fancy me?" The laugh that bubbled up in her throat was nearly hysterical. "Fancy? That's really the word you're going with?"

"Yes," he cupped her cheek and rubbed small circles into her hip, "is it that hard to believe, darling?"

"You told me I killed you," she chewed her lip when his touch set her blood on fire, "so yes I think it's a little hard to believe."

"You had your reasons," he stroked her jaw. "And in case you've forgotten I was quite angry in the beginning."

"I recall," her eyes drifted shut. It had taken remarkably little convincing for him to believe her when she said she didn't remember. He had refused to kill her without her knowing the reason why and had shown her his memory of the night. She had been horrified, but she still hadn't recognized it as her actions.

"Somewhere in the middle of trying to restore your memory so I could kill you in good conscious I stopped hating you," he kissed her forehead.

"Does that mean you're not going to kill me?" She teased. "Have you given up on returning back my current life's memories?"

"Yes," he nodded, "but only because I don't have the time."

She frowned and pulled back so she could meet his eyes. "What do you mean?"

Kol sighed. He knew he should tell her what Finn had done, but he didn't want to burden her with that right now. "I'm only human darling," his hand ghosted up her side, "and I'd rather not waste my time on that when I could be kissing you instead."

She wanted to press the matter further but his mouth descended on hers in a soft kiss. She slid her hands into his hair and pulled him forward so he hovered over her on the daybed.

The slow kisses turned heated quickly. Hands slipped beneath shirts to explore feverish skin. Buttons were pulled from their moorings with clumsy fingers.

Kol sat up on his knees so she could remove his light shirt. Before she could lie back he tore her blue shirt over her head. He brushed her hair back from her face and slid his hand around her back to unhook the black bra.

"Having trouble?" She mumbled against his mouth.

"How the bloody hell do you take this thing off?" His fingers ran over the material.

She giggled and reached around to unsnap the hooks. "Have you never taken off a girl's bra?"

Kol pushed her back with a small growl and flicked her nipples with his thumbs. "Cut me some slack, darling. The last time I was with a woman she was wearing a corset… I wasn't awake long before…" He trailed off.

"I'm sorry…" the amused smile fell from her lips.

"Why don't we forget about that?" He cupped her cheek and stared into her teary eyes. "Hmm? What do you say? You've got a very attractive half naked man on top of you."

"You're cocky aren't you?" She snickered. She opened her mouth and tangled her tongue with his.

"Extremely," he whispered. Breaking from her mouth he kissed over her cheek and licked the shell of her ear.

"Kol," she sighed when he sucked on her carotid artery. A thousand years had created some habits; he bit the skin and soothed the mark with his tongue. Tiny moans fell from her lips when he laved kisses over her collarbone and grazed her nipple with his teeth one of his hands lifted to knead the unattended breast before he switched.

She felt heat settle low in her abdomen under the assault of his tongue and teeth. Tugging on his hair she pulled him back to meet her lips in a frantic kiss. The hard ridge in his pants pressed deliciously against her center. She rocked up and ground her hips while sucking on his neck. His groan reverberated through her chest.

He pressed her back against the pillows and laid a trail of open-mouthed kisses to the waistband of her jean shorts.

She lifted her hips and shivered when he slid her underwear and shorts down her shapely legs. Her ballet flats clattered on the stone floor and were swiftly covered with the fabric.

Maybe it was a thousand years of experience. Maybe it was the intensity in his blue eyes. Maybe it was just him.

She was an addict and he was her drug. She craved his touch; it was both soothing and electrocuting. His hands stoked the embers into a fire. His lips traveling the length of her thigh created an inferno.

She threaded her fingers through his hair and reached over her head for the iron rail of the bed. Her moans and soft cries of his name were wanton to her own ears. Fingers flexed when his tongue plunged into her dripping centre. She was powerless to stop the undulation of her hips.

He added his fingers to the mix and made a come-hither motion while suckling on her engorged clit. Three minutes into that sweet torture and her head fell back.

"Kol," her voice was a high keen. Her thighs trembled on either side of his head. She couldn't help but make the mental comparison. Elijah had brought her undeniable pleasure, but even her most powerful orgasm couldn't have held a flame to what Kol had managed with just his tongue.

Her breathing was heavy as she came down from the high. She couldn't recall the time her body had felt so insatiable. She needed him, and she needed him now.

Grasping the back of his neck when he straightened his spine she kissed him and moaned at the heady taste that was her on his tongue. Her fingers trailed down his stomach and caught his belt. It took her a moment to unfasten the leather because she adamantly refused to break their passionate kissing. Eventually, though, she had to.

Kol smirked and caught her hands so he could stand and toe off his shoes.

She took advantage of the new angle and finally unhooked his belt. She heard him hiss when she stood and slid her hand inside to squeeze his throbbing erection.

A playful smirk crossed her lips as a light danced in her eyes. She saw his eyes darken with lust when she knelt and pulled down his jeans. She helped him step out of the dark material before wrapping her fingers around the base of his cock and circling the tip with her tongue.

He moaned and closed his eyes when she slid her swollen lips over his shaft and sucked. He pulled her off when he felt he was in danger of finishing early. He was unsure of his stamina in his human body and he had every intention of being inside of her when he came apart; he wanted to feel her walls flutter around his cock and know that he had brought her immeasurable pleasure. He wanted to drive any memory she had of Elijah from her mind.

The line that had appeared between her brows disappeared when he spun and sat on the day bed. She stifled her squeal when he pulled her to straddle his thighs and met her lips in a long kiss.

She slowly sank onto his hard cock and arched her back. A low moan escaped her lips when he trailed his lips down her throat and guided her hips.

They quickly found a rhythm that had her thighs trembling and her abdomen quivering.

Kol brought his hand between them and flicked her clit while driving up into her. He gritted his teeth when he saw the pleasure flash across her face and felt her walls flutter around him.

She inhaled and gasped when he laid her down on the bed and lifted her leg over his shoulder. She moaned when he buried himself in her dripping center and watched the tension in his jaw as he struggled to hold back long enough to bring her to completion again.

Electricity coursed through her veins and she knew she was close. She dropped her legs from his shoulder to his waist and brought her own hand between them to manipulate her clit.

She came with a moan. He caught her lips in a slow kiss and she felt him spill inside her a moment later. The warmth of his orgasm sent her into another; there was no explanation for the intensity of it though.

She couldn't fathom why her entire body seemed to light on fire even as it was doused in the cool spray of the ocean during a storm.

She threaded her fingers through his hair and held his head in place over her pounding heart. It had to be the post-coital bubble of bliss; there was no way she could actually feel the repressed energy in his body. It was wishful thinking. It was all in her head.

Wasn't it?

Chapter Text

"You would think after a thousand years you would have learned how to take blood painlessly," Alenka winced when the needle penetrated the tender skin of her inner arm.

"Can't stand a little pinprick?" Hayley sneered. "I would have thought you were used to being pierced."

Something about the tone of the hybrid's voice made her skin crawl. Alenka had been on a high for nearly twenty-four hours; she had been almost deliriously happy and could've sworn the smooth floorboards beneath her feet were made of air. She had even gone so far as to wish Elijah a good bye when he had departed the previous evening.

There was just something about Hayley. She taken the bubble that was Alenka's good mood and stuck it with the IV needle; her happiness trickled out in time with her blood in the bag.

She watched the slowly filling bag and narrowed her eyes. "Is there something you want to say to me, Hayley?"

She'd had it with the other woman's attitude; normally Alenka could take a lot, but she felt like she had been buried under a mountain the size of Olympus and the only way out was to fight back… to take a spade and physically throw the sodden earth from her body.

Klaus might have moved to stop the brewing argument if he had not been so surprised by her sudden growth of a backbone.

"Did I see you leaving Elijah's room the other morning?" Hayley's mouth twisted with the counter question.

Klaus could smell the combination of anger and jealousy as it came off Hayley in thick waves; he would not have been surprised to see her eyes flash green with envy. He too had seen Elena emerge and had smelt the evidence of her midnight rendezvous; had she made a habit of it he would have objected, but not for the reasons Hayley was. Part of the deal was for Elena to have children; is she wanted an affair here and there with a vampire he wouldn't stop her.

Her reply to Hayley seemed to echo his own thoughts.

"That's none of your business."

He could practically see the smoke rising from Hayley's ears. He would not have chosen her if he had been given the chance. If he had been given the choice over who would be the mother of his child he would have definitely gone with someone else; Caroline Forbes would have been his first choice, but Elena would have been second. At least she had compassion, and if she was ever jealous of anyone it had been quietly handled.

"It damn well is my business," Hayley snapped, "especially if you were just using him."

"No Hayley," Alenka's eyes flashed with anger as guilt prickled her spine, "it is nobody's business but mine. Who I choose to spend my nights with is my business."

Alenka glared when Klaus cleared his throat and cocked his head. The fire crackled loudly and sputtered in the hearth.

"No," she waved the arm that wasn't attached to the IV. "You don't get a say in my bedmates. I agreed to have children, but I," she poked her chest, "am the only one who picks the father." Twinkling eyes flashed in her mind's eye.

"What's your problem with me, Hayley?" Alenka inhaled and narrowed her eyes. "You've been hostile since I arrived."

"My problem is that you're a manipulative bitch," Hayley glared. "I don't know what your end game is Elena, but I know you'll take off the moment you get what you want. That's what you doppelganger's do: you take what you want no matter who gets hurt in the process. You wrap people around your little finger and toss them aside when you're done."

"That's enough, Hayley," Klaus snapped when he saw the hurt in Elena's eyes.

Alenka's breath caught in her throat. She knew she had used Elijah; the knowledge of that had been what kept her all but confined to her room for three days. She turned to stare at the bag that was now half way full and wished fervently for the process to be done; she wanted to sit in the garden surrounded by flowers, or find Kol and enjoy the calm that came with his presence.

Had she really only been hooked up to the wire for a minute?

Luckily a better distraction than Hayley came running through the door. Unluckily for her the news that fell from Rebekah's lips made her blood run cold.

"You need to come now," Rebekah gasped when she saw Klaus, "its Kol," her eyes shimmered with unshed tears, "he's dying."

"You know I think I actually preferred this go-around," Kol gasped, "being a witch, no heightened emotion, and no bloodlust. It was just me." His laugh was bitter before he doubled over in a coughing fit.

"Are you okay?" Davina's head snapped up from the spell she was working on. She found herself wishing he had told her earlier; that he had told someone earlier. Maybe then she could have helped him.

"Yeah," he grimaced, "I think I want to be alone for this bit." He turned away from Davina and stumbled towards one of the tombs. He paused with his hand on the cold stone when he heard the voice behind him.

"I'm afraid that's not an option," Klaus came to a stop and released Rebekah's arm.

"Always and forever is not something you get to weasel out of, Kol," Rebekah smiled weakly.

"No," Alenka tore the IV from her arm. The word repeated like a mantra in her mind when she moved to run from the empty room.

"Where the hell do you think you're going?" Hayley spun in the courtyard and crossed her arms.

Alenka ignored her and tried to go around. Her stomach launched into her throat when her arms were grabbed forcibly and she was pushed into the wall; plaster rained down from behind her back.

"You are not leaving until that bag is full," Hayley's eyes blazed.

Alenka's head swam. It was a combination of the knowledge that Kol must have known because he had been hexed, and the blood she had given moments before.

She was going to kill him, but she first she needed to save him.

All of her rage seemed to bubble up and over; she didn't stop to think about how she had managed to throw Hayley across the room. She ran. She ran full tilt through the streets of the Quarter and only stopped when she reached the cemetery and her vision fractured.

Her fingers wrapped tightly around the Iron Gate as she drew in deep breaths of the cold night air.

She took as little time as she dared before running through the rows of tombs until she reached the playhouse. She screamed internally when she stumbled into the room and found it empty save for her sweater she had forgotten the previous day.

Davina sat several feet away from the siblings and whispered a spell over a necklace in a last ditch attempt to save his life.

Candlelight flickered over Kol's drawn features and illuminated the blood dripping from his nose and mouth. He hunched over in another coughing fit and felt Rebekah and Klaus rubbing his back.

"Did you call Elijah?" Klaus murmured.

"I tried," Rebekah blinked back tears, "but he's with… he can't come back with her… not yet."

"Just as well," Kol leaned back and groaned. He was certain he'd regret the attitude once he reached the other side again but at the moment he was still a little jealous; his mind wanted to focus on anything else than what was happening in his body.

Davina finished her spell and crawled over to Kol. She held out the necklace. "I tried a different spell."

"It's okay," he shook his head, "I'm not scared." He closed his eyes and heard the gentle strains of the voice he wanted to hear more than anything; a voice he doubted he would ever hear again.

She kicked over a table covered in fresh herbs and flowers in her frustration. He wasn't in the playhouse. She had been certain this was where he would be; she'd been positive.

She blinked back her tears and struggled to think while bending and picking up a sprig of heather. She froze when the purple flower was between her fingers and the voice whispered in the back of her mind: physical healing, protection, and ancestral connection.

She hadn't heard that voice since waking up; she hadn't heard her subconscious since Elias had last placed a flower in her hands.

Her hand lifted to cover her mouth when her eyes zeroed in on the daybed. Squeezing her eyes tightly shut she focused all of her energy and felt a tether pull around her waist.

She followed it; her feet moved faster and faster as the link seemed to fade away. It was all but gone when she ran into the candlelit tomb and skidded to a stop on her knees.

"Kol?" Her eyes flickered over his face. She saw the unspoken apology in his eyes when he forced a weak smile onto his lips.

"Hello, darling," the smile fell when the light bled from his eyes.

She knew he was gone when the tears streaked down Klaus' cheek. She fell back on her heels and grasped his cold hands; it took less than a moment to know he was gone. Everything came to a screeching halt before starting up again on autopilot. Her heart pumped blood through her veins. Her lungs drew in quick shallow breaths.

Her mind stopped.

She climbed to her feet in a trance when Klaus pulled her up. He might have asked why she had grown so quiet, or he might have thought her memories had trickled back and she was merely feeling guilt over watching his brother die another time. He might not have said anything; she wasn't really sure because time seemed to skip.

The next thing she knew the morning light was streaming down on her face where she stood on her balcony. She tipped her head down slowly and stared at the tiny half-moon marks she had somehow left in her palms. Her fingers came up to wipe at her wet cheeks.

He was gone.

He had been hers. He had been her other half; he might have even been her husband reincarnated, and he was gone. She had just gotten him back; she had just fallen in love again, and he was gone. He had been the one to break her curse; she'd never had a chance to tell him, and he was gone.

He was gone and she was left. She wasn't used to being the last one standing.

A sudden surge of anger ran through her when she tiptoed back into her bedroom; he was supposed to wait. He was supposed to stay alive until she got there and found a way to save him.

"You should have told me," her hand grabbed the first thing she could reach and threw it across the room. The green journal thudded against the wall and sent the contents streaming over her floor.

You should have told me, she brought her heel down on a few pictures and kicked the thick paper that was Elijah's letter.

You should have… Her thought trailed off when she dropped to the floor and saw a bright flower that had fallen from the green journal.

Alenka tilted her head and ran her fingers over the red and yellow flower.

"I don't know how I didn't see this sooner," the voice was a puff of wind in the suddenly still room, "but you've got a bit of a temper, darling."

"Who…" she twisted on her knees in time to see a blurred shape flickering behind her. She pinched a petal between her thumb and forefinger and heard the voice once more before it disappeared entirely.

"I'm sorry, Ellie."


Chapter Text

Her eyes burned from exhaustion.

The pen drew quick lines over the paper forming symbols that had not seen the light of day in over two thousand years.

She had almost everything she needed.

The flower had been ground down in to a fine powder and sealed in a bag. She had located a white rose in Klaus' garden, and sage in the kitchen cabinet. The zinnia and holly had proven to be a bit more of a challenge, but they too were located in the botanical garden in the dead of night after the house had fallen silent.

The aloe came last. She'd located the plant but had needed to wait until it was ready to harvest the gel.

She just had to combine them now.

Elijah's sure steps faltered when he entered the courtyard. There were few things that had the power to surprise him anymore, but the sight of Caroline Forbes in his home did the job well.

He didn't think he would ever see her again.

"What is going on here?" He looked from Caroline to his brother.

"I wish I knew," Caroline crossed her arms. "Klaus called and told me to get down here as fast as I could. I just arrived."

"I called you for Elena," Klaus nodded towards the stairs. His eyes cut to his brother. "Kol…" the flicker in his eyes all but gave it away.

"What happened?" Elijah took a step closer. He was certain he knew, but he needed to hear it.

It was Hayley who broke the news. She came around the corner from the kitchen and told him what Klaus couldn't bring himself to voice; that Kol had been hexed and killed three days before.

"Rebekah's determined to bring him back," Klaus nodded. "She's staying in her witch body until it's done and working with Davina Claire."

"Elena seemed to take it worse than everyone else," Klaus rubbed the back of his neck. He bit down his desire to snap when he caught Hayley's grimace. "I called Caroline down because she hasn't come out of her room since she saw him die; you'd think he was the first person she'd seen die."

Caroline left the brothers to their grief and flashed up the stairs to where she remembered the bedroom to be. She knocked once and waited a beat before pushing the door open.

She froze when she found the brunette on the floor bent over a sheet of paper and surrounded by broken bits of glass.

"Elena," Caroline closed the door and stepped lightly around the mess. "You need to get up."

"I..." Alenka blinked back her tears. "It…" she gestured wildly to the mess on her floor. "It di… didn't…"

Caroline pulled the brunette into her arms when the tears fell and moved back to sit on the bed. She rubbed the crying woman's arm and waited for the sobs to pass.

"What happened?" Caroline stretched out beside her on the bed.

"He died," Alenka's voice was strained. She sniffled and rubbed her bleary eyes. "My spell should have brought him back, and it didn't work."

"Your spell?" Caroline's brows shot up. "You're a…"

Alenka nodded. "I was, and then I wasn't," she rolled onto her back and stared at the ceiling, "and now I am again." She covered her mouth with her hand in an effort to keep her bottom lip from trembling. "It should have worked…" She let Caroline pull her in for another hug.

"What are you doing here, Caroline?" She pulled back and hugged her pillow.

"Klaus called me," she bunched the pillow under her head. "He saw you were having a rough time so he called. I came for you; I came to help you." She covered Alenka's hand with hers. "Tell me what you need, and maybe why you're so intent on bringing him back."

"How about we start with what I need?" Alenka propped herself up on her elbow and arched an eyebrow. She closed her eyes when Caroline nodded. "I need a plant… a flower from downstairs in the garden. Can you get it for me?" She sat up and crossed her legs. "And a mug of boiling water."

"Sure," Caroline stood up, "but why didn't you…"

"If I go out of this room I know Hayley will try to start something," Alenka pressed her lips together. "I can't take that right now. Can you please just do this for me? I'll tell you everything later, but right now I … I need this."

"What's the flower?"


Caroline traced the petals of the purple flower. They curved downwards almost like a bell. She had grabbed several of the purple blossoms; they had been precisely where Elena had said.

Following the brunette's instructions Caroline the petals into small pieces and dropped them into the mug. She was so focused on her task that she didn't look up until the kettle whistled and footsteps settled in the door to the kitchen.

"Is it time for tea already, love?" Klaus leaned in the doorframe. He watched the steam rise from the mug. "I never took you for a tea drinker, Caroline."

"I'm not," she lifted her gaze from the steeping liquid, "it's for Elena; she asked me to make it for her."

"Mmhmm," Hayley rolled her eyes from the door, "because she's the queen bee, and the centre of the universe can't make her own tea." Her nose wrinkled when she leaned over and caught the rising smell. "That's disgusting."

"Nobody asked you to drink it," Caroline snapped. She had assumed Elena had been exaggerating in her overtired state, but it was clear she hadn't. How long had she been dealing with the hybrid's attitude?

Hayley's eyes widened as she took a step back. In the months since Caroline had left the city she had forgotten about the blonde's no nonsense attitude. She'd grown used to Elena's way of taking her abuse.

She spun on her heel and left the room. Her blood boiled when she saw Elijah pushing open the door to Elena's room; because of course that was the first thing he did upon his return: check on the doppelbitch.

"Tell me she's not always like that," Caroline stirred the contents of the mug and watched the colour shift from brown to green. She had to remove the petals when the water turned purple otherwise it would be toxic.

"If only I could," he sighed and leaned against the counter. "As loathe as I am to agree with Hayley, on anything, she is right."

"About Elena?" Caroline pulled the petals from the cup.

"No," he shook his head, "I fully understand her desire to avoid Hayley. I agree with her about the tea." He tapped the side of the mug. "It does smell terrible. What is it?"

"Datura," Caroline pulled one of the flowers from her pocket.

"The devil's trumpet?" Klaus took the flower from her hand. "You know this is toxic, love."

"Only when brewed improperly," she discarded the wet petals, "and I brewed it properly."

"I don't suppose Elena has told you the reason she is so upset?"

"Not yet," Caroline took the tea and headed toward the door, "but she will." She paused with one foot in the hall.

"Klaus," she glanced back into the bright room, "thank you."

"For what?" A line appeared between his brows.

"For calling me," she smiled; the confused look on his face was adorable. "For taking care of her, and keeping her safe; she really needed that."

"You never did tell me what happened," he came to stand beside her.

"And I never will," she smirked, "that's not my story to tell."

She dropped the last of the glass into the waste basket and sorted the remaining ingredients. She had enough of the flower left for one more attempt. Everything was shoved in her purse when the door opened to admit Elijah.


Her shoulders stiffened. That was the other reason she didn't want to leave her room; at least not when someone else could see her. She missed her name; Kol had called her by her name and made her want to hear it again. She had promised to tell Caroline everything and she had meant that.

Elijah saw the rigid set of her spine and left a few feet between them. This was the first that he had been alone with her since she had left his bed. He had thought things were getting better when he had left, but she wouldn't meet his eyes when she turned.

She stared at the paper in her trembling hands. Her grief combined with the sleep deprivation set her body on edge. Colours were overly bright. Voices were too quiet. Her stomach shook. Her eyes were dry.

She needed sleep, but she needed the tea first. If she was going to spend time in the land of dreams it would not be time wasted.

When she finally lifted her eyes she was overcome by the strong sense of Déjà vu; they had done this dance before.

"Elijah," she drew in a steadying breath, "did you need something?"

Alenka saw it in his eyes; the echo of the memory… of his own voice. What was he thinking about: the night they had shared, her desperate kiss, the feel of her flushed skin, or the following days when she had unintentionally frozen him out?

The dance would have a different ending now; the chorography had been rewritten. Guilt reared its head once more making her neck tingle; she had thought only her mother's 'I'm disappointed' face could trigger that reaction.

"I just wanted to make sure you were alright," Elijah tilted his head downwards. "Niklaus said you haven't left your room in a while."

"I've had little reason to venture out these days," she breathed and fiddled with the paper in her hand, "there was nothing outside to interest me."

"How about now?" He took a half step closer. Reaching up he slid a strand of hair behind her ear; his knuckle grazed her cheekbone.

She saw it then in the set of his jaw and the light in his eye. She knew she needed to sort this out before it became a major issue. She couldn't knowingly lead him on and cause him pain; she wouldn't let him pine for a woman who didn't want him; who didn't love him. He had been kind to her. He was a good man and he deserved someone who would love him.

"I'm good in here," she exhaled and stepped around him to place the paper on the nightstand.

Alenka had hoped he would understand from that, but she realized how her words could have been misinterpreted a moment later when his hand gently closed around her elbow.

"I have to go," she pulled her hair into a messy bun and shoved her feet into her shoes. "Your brother has terrible timing," she bit her lip to temper her smile and ran her eyes slowly down his exposed torso.

"You could always ignore him," Kol smirked, "I've been doing it for centuries." His fingers stole under her top to trail over her spine.

"He'll just send someone after me," she hummed and closed her eyes. "I wouldn't be surprised in the least if he's got somebody following me around."

"Oh, he most definitely does, darling," he kissed the curve of her neck. "I've caught glimpses of him, but fortunately for you vampires require an invitation to enter the cemetery."

Reluctantly she pulled away, stood up and chewed her lip. "I have to go."

She didn't want to go; she wanted to curl back up on the day bed and explore the plains of his torso with her tongue, but she needed to go before Klaus showed up and physically dragged her from the playhouse. Actually, Klaus probably wouldn't have cared, but Hayley might have dragged her out by her hair; it was 'donation' day.

Alenka gasped when his hand grasped her elbow and pulled gently so she fell over his lap. She giggled into his kisses and released a breathy moan when he licked the shell of her ear and blew lightly sending a warm shiver down her spine.

"Nik can wait a while," he skimmed his hands down her sides and squeezed her backside through her jean shorts. "He has an endless supply of time."

She inhaled and flattened her palm over his sternum. Her smile was cheeky when she pushed him to lie on his back.

"Going to rush off for Nik, then?" He tilted his head when she rose to her feet.

"Not on your life," she blinked before tearing her shirt over her head and shimmying out of her shorts. "He can wait a little while."

She knelt on the bed and lifted her right leg to straddle his waist. Her body ached for him; he was hard and ready against her inner thigh. Her eyes flickered over his face; he grasped her shoulders and held her back.

"What are you doing?" She frowned. "You know he won't wait forever, right? Your brother is many things, but patient is not one of them." She straightened her spine and cocked an eyebrow.

"I'm just enjoying the view, Ellie," he drank in the sight of her smooth skin and teasing smile. "It's exquisite; you're exquisite."

"Flattery will only get you so far, Kol Mikaelson," she smirked even as the blush covered her cheeks.

"It's not flattery when it's the truth, darling."

She tore herself from the memory before she grew angry with him; he had known. She was certain he had known. Hindsight, as they said, was twenty-twenty and she could interpret some of his actions and words clearly now; he had known.

Elijah's hand was still on her elbow' she had gotten lost in her memory. Carefully she pulled herself free and perched on the edge of the bed. She ran her hands over her face and pinched her nose; breathing into her hands she looked up at him when he sat beside her.

"I can't," she blinked back a wave of tears. "I can't. I shouldn't have knocked on your door; I'm sorry."

She had been beginning to doubt her power had returned, but she knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that it had when she felt the hurt coming from him in waves; that had been something she'd learned from her mother when she was young: interpreting emotions.

"Why did you?" His hope disintegrated. He knew he'd never have a true future with her; Klaus would have daggered him if need be to ensure she lived a human life.

"I…" she shook her head and sighed, "I don't know… I don't know what I was thinking that night. I was sad and confused, and I made a stupid decision." It took her a moment to realize what she had said; when she did her eyes widened. "I didn't mean…"

"Sleeping with me was a foolish decision?" His jaw ticked. "A colossal mistake?"

"That's not what I meant," she shook her head and met his flashing eyes. "I didn't think it through," she ran her hands back through her hair. "I really don't want to fight, Elijah," she could sense an argument brewing. "I'm sorry; I shouldn't have done it, and I promise I won't do it again."

She squeezed her knees and exhaled slowly. "Can you go now please? I haven't slept in three days."

"Okay," he nodded slowly. Caroline pushed through the door when he opened it.

"Hi," Caroline made her way to the bed and gave him a pointed look, "bye."

She waited until the door closed behind him to take the brunette's arm.

"What did he want?" She watched her drink the tea too quickly to be considered safe.

"To see if I was alright," Alenka set the mug on the table. "I assume since you asked you couldn't hear which means my privacy spell worked. Thank you for the tea."

"You're welcome," Caroline nodded, "now are you going to tell me what's going on?"

She nodded once before stretching out on the bed.

"There's so much," Alenka closed her eyes and exhaled. "My name is Alenka. My husband and sister called me Ellie."

"Okay," Caroline nodded.

"Elijah once showed me some memories he had of him and I," she stared at the ceiling. "Can you go in my head and I can show them to you?"

"I think so," Caroline reached for her hand, "it works best with physical contact though. Just think about what you want me to see."

"Okay," Alenka nodded. "The tea it summons visions so if I happen to fall asleep during this you might want to slip out of my mind; I don't know how dark they're going to get."

When Caroline nodded she closed her eyes and summoned the memories to the forefront of her mind. She showed her Amara and Elias, Qetsiyah and her death, meeting Kol and slowly falling in love. It was somewhere around the attempt to break her curse and the actual breaking of the curse that she lost consciousness.

Although, why her dreams were filled with her sister and her spell she didn't know, at least not until she remembered Qetsiyah's final words to her: '…sentence her to eternal torment…'

Her immortality spell had endured, and her sister was alive. Her sister was the key.

Chapter Text

Caroline stared in wide eyed wonderment as Alenka triple checked the contents of her purse. In a lifetime of friendship, that had been both strained and strong, Caroline had learned one thing; it was a lesson that had never changed: Elena Gilbert would do anything for the people she loved. She had even been willing to sacrifice herself for her family and friends.

She wondered if that was something left over from her first life because Alenka was exactly the same. She was forgoing her own safety to save someone she loved. Caroline never would have thought of Kol Mikaelson as her friend's soulmate.

She was likely going to get herself killed in the process. From what Caroline could see things were about to get very dangerous for the brunette.

"Why don't you just tell them the truth?" Caroline caught the bag before it could topple over. She arched her brow when Alenka gave her Elena's patented 'are-you-fucking-serious' look complete with: scrunched nose, raised brows, tilted head and pursed lips.

"You don't think they would want to help?" Caroline gave her a sceptical look. "He's their brother. This family might fight like cats and dogs, but they are family; they stick together like glue."

"It's not that Caroline," she fingered the bag of rose petals. "I know they would help, but I would have to convince them first. I'd have to convince them of everything, and that I can do it, and it would… it would just take too long."

"You can't take the time to explain?" Caroline held the bag open. "I think they'd believe you, and it's not like Kol's going anywhere."

"That's it though," Alenka ran her fingers through her hair, "he is. If Davina or Rebekah succeeds first he'll be ripped back through the ancestral plain, and if that happens those witches will saddle him with a curse." A determined light entered her eyes. "I won't let that happen."

Caroline's eyes flickered over her friend's mouth. "Doesn't your spell do the same thing?"

"No," she shook her head, "mine opens a door. Two thousand years ago I could have opened it anywhere, but now I need the key, and if I have any hope of saving his soul I need to do this under the planetary alignment in two days in the presence of the key."

"Okay," Caroline held up her hands, "take a breath before you pass out."

Alenka did as instructed and took several shallow breaths before meeting Caroline's worried eyes.

"Do you really think I can convince them in time to find the key?"

"No," Caroline tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, "it would take at least that long just to convince Klaus." She searched Alenka's dark eyes before nodding once. "How do we find Amara?"

Alenka's eyes grew round. "You didn't pull back."

"No I did not," Caroline frowned at some of the images she had seen. "I'm going to help you so tell me what we have to do."

"I have almost everything," Alenka patted the bag. "I just need to get out of town; she's not here. Before I leave I need one thing to make sure Davina doesn't succeed first."

"I can't believe I'm doing this," Caroline muttered under her breath. She fingered the necklace Alenka had given her before lifting her foot; half-expecting her path to be blocked her movement was hesitant.

She released a breath she hadn't realized she was holding and adjusted her bag when she crossed into the cemetery. Alenka had spelled the necklace so it would trick the threshold into believing Caroline was human.

It was ingenious really, so Caroline vowed to keep her mouth shut. Vampires would hunt Alenka to the ends of the earth for this spell.

No door would ever be closed to them; the world would become an all-you-can-eat buffet.

She followed her ears until she could make out the distinct sound of chanting and waited for a lull. It didn't take long for the Latin to be replaced with expressive English.

"Damn it!" Glass shattered against the wall of the tomb. Delicate feet stomped outside into the open air.

Caroline waited until she saw Davina's retreating back and flashed into the tomb. If she still were human she would have told herself the symbols on the floor were red paint – venetian red with a hint of rust – but she was a vampire so she knew better.

Willing her capillaries to cease their hypnotic dance she refocused on the task at hand. Her movement was precise, without disturbing a single molecule of dust; she swapped the crystal urns and flashed out of the cemetery.

Alenka jumped a foot in the air and shrieked. She couldn't remember the last time she had done that. Instinct told her it had been in her first lifetime and that she had likely laughed with the prankster; she wasn't laughing now.

"Going somewhere, love?" Klaus stood a few feet away and arched an eyebrow. "Elijah believed you would be confined to your room for the foreseeable future."

"I thought I'd stretch my legs," Alenka adjusted the strap of her purse. Her feet tapped out an even beat on the downward path to the open air courtyard.

"Will you tell me what's been bothering you?" He fell into step beside her.

"What makes you think something is bothering me?" She kept her tone clipped.

"Because this is the first you've emerged in four days," Klaus narrowed his eyes at her defensive tone. He had no proof, no reason to believe, that her recent confinement was a result of Kol's demise; save the fact that it happened immediately after his death.

That you've seen.

"I'm fine," she denied the accusation that anything was wrong. She didn't have time for the argument.

Klaus let her gain several paces before flashing into her path and blocking the door with his arms.

"I thought you wanted me to leave my room," her hands settled on her hips. "Isn't that why you sent Elijah and Caroline?" She cocked her head and held out her hand in a 'look-and-see' gesture. "Here I am: out. I'm returning to my daily routine of walking, so why are you blocking my path?"

Because you're hiding something from me. Because you're in pain. Because I care about you. Because I'm afraid you're going to do something incredibly foolish. Because you're my friend.

The reasons were numerous, but he didn't voice any of them. His concerned gaze searched her stubborn expression as he sidestepped out of the way.

She was gone four minutes when he received the answering text.

"You let her leave?" Elijah's mouth was set in a firm line.

"What was I supposed to do?" Klaus shrugged. "Stop her? Confine her to the house? She's back on a routine. She's out of her room." He inhaled and met his brother's eyes. "What happened between the two of you anyway? You came out of her room looking like a kicked puppy."

"Nothing," Elijah rolled his eyes at the comparison. "She made a decision and I'm going to respect that."

"That's more than any of her other ex's have ever done," Klaus smirked while walking by. He rolled his eyes when Elijah's head snapped around to him. "I'm not an idiot, Elijah. I saw her leave your room the other day."

She glanced over her shoulder. The feeling of eyes on her back made the hair on her neck stand on end. They weren't malicious in any way, but it was still a disconcerting feeling.

She came to a stop in the middle of a quiet street. She could see the gates to the garden in the distance where Caroline was waiting; she was so close, but she couldn't go without knowing who was behind her.

Stealing another glance over her shoulder she spotted the vampire. She waited until she was sure he was within earshot to spin on her heel.

"Who are you?" She met his eyes.

"Wow," the guy came to a stop a couple feet away, "I've been following you around for like," his eyebrows drew together, "months now. I didn't think you could see me."

"I couldn't," Alenka crossed her arms. She sighed and drew her bottom lip between her teeth. "You're the person Klaus has following me around."

"Yup," he pressed his lips together and nodded, "I'm Josh."

"Why does Klaus have you following me?" Her eyes narrowed.

"Honestly?" Josh tipped his head down to meet her angry eyes. "He was worried about you." He pulled out his cell phone and showed her the message. "He thought you were going to do something dangerous, like," he tilted his head and offered a half smile while shrugging one shoulder, "… jump in the middle of traffic."

Alenka's brows shot up. Her mouth popped open. She read the message again before meeting his dark eyes.

"He thinks I'm suicidal?" She didn't wait for him to respond before throwing up her hands. "That is completely ridiculous," she spun on her heel and started away.

Josh clenched his fist and rolled his eyes heavenward before sighing. He'd kept his mouth shut for months while watching her; truth was he kind of liked her. Maybe that was why he hadn't told Klaus everything.

"I know about Kol," he shoved his hands in his pockets when he saw her shoulders stiffened. His shoulders hunched under her heavy glare. He swallowed and closed the distance so he could drop his voice to a whisper. "I know… I mean I didn't know it was him until… until everyone else did," he cleared his throat and lifted his brows. "I might not have been able to enter the cemetery but I saw you with him."

Alenka blinked back her tears and met his eyes.

"Did you tell him?" She swallowed thickly.

"Nah," Josh shook his head, "didn't seem like his business. Klaus…" he shrugged, "… he wanted me to make sure you were safe. In case you haven't noticed," he waved to the street, "this isn't exactly a safe city."

"I didn't tell him when you made a friend," he fell into step beside her, "or when that friend became more than a friend."

Alenka's steps faltered. "Are you going to tell him?"

Josh glanced at her through the corner of his eye. "No, but I think you should."

"I can't," she caught a glimpse of Caroline from the corner of her eyes, "not yet. I'm on a bit of a deadline and don't have time to stop and talk it out."

"Deadline?" Josh blinked when he followed her darting eyes to a blonde holding a set of keys.

"Can you keep a secret Josh?" Alenka pressed her lips together.

"I've been keeping them for months," he smiled.

"I have to leave town for a few days," she tipped her head back, "and Klaus can't know because…"

"He'll hunt you down?" Josh cocked an eyebrow.

"Yeah," she pressed her tongue to her cheek and inhaled sharply. "I'm planning on coming back, but I need to leave now or I'll run out of time."

"You're not, like, suicidal or whatever?" He cocked his head. "You did lose somebody who meant something to you."

"I'm not suicidal," Alenka shook her head, "I'm going to bring him back."

"So you're, like, crazy delusional?" Josh gave her a disbelieving look.

"No, Josh," Alenka set her jaw, "I'm a crazy powerful witch."

"Does Klaus…"

"He has no idea," she shook her head. Doubt began to creep in to the corners of her mind. "Are you going to reveal my intentions? Are you going to tell Klaus before I have a chance to get to where I need to be?" She took a deep breath and met his eyes; in the back of her mind she remembered a spell from one of Kol's grimoires that would let her remove a memory.

Was she going to have to use it?

"I find it hard to believe you're really coming back," Josh walked alongside her again towards the blonde, "but I won't tell. Just try to stay out of trouble."

Alenka met his dark eyes before nodding and smiling gently.

"Thank you, Josh."

Alenka lifted her head from the slip of paper. She had been studying the archaic symbols since sliding into the car with Caroline. She wasn't sure how long it had been only that when she looked up the sky was growing dark.

"Where are we?" She folded the paper and slid it into her bag.

"Coming up on Montgomery," Caroline nodded to a passing street sign. "Are you going to tell me where we're going?"

She chewed her bottom lip and tilted her head. She knew they were getting closer. The moment she had realized her sister was alive she had reached into her mind. It had taken some time before she heard the quietest whisper; little more than a breath of air in the back of her mind, but it was there. The further they moved from New Orleans the louder the voice became, but it was still little more than a whisper; a sense of direction. Caroline would need more than that.

She remembered little of the path down, but she knew it had twisted and turned. Her connection moved in more of a straight line.

Caroline needed a clear destination. That would be a lot easier than having to redirect Caroline each time they took a wrong turn.

"I know we are going in the right direction," she ventured after a long pause, "but I don't know for sure where the final stop is."

"Any chance you can get that?" Caroline looked at her through the corner of her eyes.

"Maybe…" she nodded slowly. "Any chance you can get us off the road and a map of the country?"

"There's a map in the glove compartment," Caroline reached over and opened the box so she could place the map in Alenka's hands. "As for off the road…" She signaled before taking an off ramp and finding a rest area along the pavement. "How's this?"

"Perfect," she unfastened her seatbelt and pushed open the door. "This will be perfect."

Caroline stopped the car and followed her towards the bench.

Alenka flattened the map over the warped wood and inhaled slowly. The last time she had done a spell like this the map had been smaller with fewer cities filled in.

"I'm no expert," Caroline crossed her arms, "but don't you need something belonging to the person you're looking for?"

"I have something," Alenka nodded. "My blood. Amara is my sister; she's my family. I can use my own blood to track her down."

"It's been two thousand years," Caroline pointed out.

"Doesn't matter," Alenka shook her head. "My blood is her blood; literally." She lifted her wrist towards Caroline. "Would you mind?" She offered a small smile. "I don't have anything sharp."

"I've got a pocket knife in the car," Caroline regarded the offered wrist. "I probably shouldn't get any of your blood in my system; who knows what it would do to me."

"Why would it do anything?" Alenka tilted her head and took the knife when Caroline returned.

"You took the cure, Ellie," she perched on the edge of the bench, "and it brought you back from the dead, so to speak. I don't want to chance that it does something to me. Where would we be if I was affected by your blood and forgot who I am? Neither one of us would know how to drive."

"Fair point," she nodded slowly. Carefully she pressed the cold steel to her palm. It was so sharp she didn't immediately feel the sting and the blood took several seconds to well up; or maybe she was just seeing things in slow motion.

She curled her fingers into a fist and grimaced as the blood created a small pool in the center of the map. She murmured a few words under her breath and watched her skin knit itself back together before holding her hands over the intersecting lines of the map.

"Deixe Mouti dia dromi," she watched the blood create a long trail. It settled over the area they were huddled in. She repeated the incantation with more force and watched a line track upwards before coming to a stop along the coast towards the top of the map.

"Fingers crossed you haven't found Katherine," Caroline tucked a strand of hair behind her ear and read the map. She programed the address into the GPS in her phone before steering the brunette back to the car.

"Who?" Alenka wiped off her wrist with a moist cloth from her purse.

"Another doppelganger," Caroline turned over the engine, "she is a real bitch."

Chapter Text

He was no fool; he knew something had transpired between his brother and Elena. Elijah had emerged from her bedroom with a forlorn look in his eyes; he had only ever seen that look once when Elijah had caught him sharing a kiss with Tatia.

He was no fool.

He knew Elijah had been hurt by whatever conversation they had and that he was angry, but he was not indifferent. If anyone had noticed her return to the compound it would have been him.

Raising his hand he rapped the doorframe lightly and cocked an eyebrow.

"What is it Niklaus?" Elijah didn't bother looking up from his desk and the book he had turned to. It was one of his favorites; an obscure seventeenth century novel that had been all but lost to the passage of time. The book was his security blanket; it was his valium.

Klaus paused when he realized what book his brother was reading; it was the one he pulled out when he was experiencing an intense negative emotion of some sort. Time had taught Klaus to avoid any and all touchy subjects when that novel had been lifted from the shelf, and he knew Elena was a sensitive subject. He also knew that Elena was fragile, both emotionally and physically, and that she had been gone longer than she should have; unless she had returned without his notice.

"I was just wondering if you had seen our Petrova in residence," Klaus leaned in the frame of the door.

Elijah's shoulders stiffened; his reply was short.

"Have you tried her room?"

"She went for a walk several hours ago," Klaus crossed his arms, "and had not returned."

Elijah's head snapped up. He'd had one ear on her bedroom since he had left it and had heard no sound coming from inside; he assumed Klaus had gotten a witch to spell the rooms after he had left the city. Elijah had heard neither Elena nor Caroline leave.

"Have you asked Miss Forbes?"

"Caroline is not answering her phone."

"Perhaps she has invested in caller ID," Elijah turned the page and reveled in the drop in his younger brother's expression; he really wasn't fit to be around people at the moment. "You might try asking whatever minion you had following her when she left."

"Joshua claims to have left her a few feet from the gate."

"It would appear that your little pet lied."

"Or," Hayley came into the room and spun on her heel to face Klaus, "maybe she got what she really wanted and ran." She scoffed at Elijah's confused look. "Come on, Elijah, that's what doppelgangers do. You might see her through blinders but Elena is just like Katherine."

No, his eyes narrowed, Katerina would not have apologized. He might have been angry but he knew given enough time his relationship with Elena would mend.

"Elena is not Katerina, Hayley," Klaus snapped.

Hayley rolled her eyes and crossed her arms.

"Think whatever you want, but I'll bet you anything you won't find her."

Caroline lifted the phone from the dash and quickly read the caller ID. She turned the screen towards Alenka and moved into the left lane to pass a particularly slow driver.

"Ignore it," Alenka relaxed her mind enough to read his name.

"Do you think he'll ever forgive you?" Caroline's eyes darted from the road to her friend.

"I was using him because I thought he was my soulmate so I could break my curse," Alenka pushed her hair back from her face. "I did this knowing I was falling for his dead brother, who is my actual soulmate, and I who I slept with three days later effectively breaking my curse." She spun in her seat and met Caroline's eyes. "Could you forgive someone for that?"

"I'm gonna be honest here, Ellie," she tilted her head and frowned, "I can't even wrap my mind around that." She fell silent for several moments before biting her lip. "Have you figured out why he looks like your husband yet?"


One of these days she would find a way to anticipate vampire visits. She was getting rather tired of jumping out of her skin.

"What do you want, Klaus?" Davina picked up the candle she had knocked over.

"I was wondering if either of you lovely ladies has seen young Joshua," his eyes darted from Davina to his sister. "Elena appears to have gone missing and he was the last to see her."

"We've been a little busy, Nik," Rebekah looked at the symbols drawn on the floor of the crypt and the crystal urn full of ashes.

Davina was marginally more civil than Rebekah had been. "I haven't seen Josh since yesterday."

"Perhaps I could coax you into taking a break," Klaus noted the weary set of their shoulders, "and perform a locator spell."

"For Josh?" Davina climbed to her feet and pulled a map of the city from her bag.

"For Elena," Klaus extracted her journal and a bag of blood from his pocket, "I fear something has happened to her."

"Let me guess," Hayley squared her shoulders, "you didn't find her." She even made a show of peeking behind him when Klaus returned to the compound empty handed. "I should've struck terms for that bet."

"Davina performed three separate locator spells of increasing strength," Klaus returned Elena's journal to her room. He glanced over his shoulder to find Hayley and Elijah in the door frame. "Each spell failed; there was no trace of her."

"Maybe she offed herself," Hayley smiled and cocked her head. She lifted the half-drunk mug from the nightstand. "She did have a habit of drinking poison."

"That's just tea," Klaus pulled the mug from her hands. "The far more likely scenario is that a powerful witch is cloaking her. She's the doppelganger; her blood is a potent ingredient for any spell."

Elijah did his best to ignore the ensuing argument and approached the small writing desk. His finger traced a line through the thin residue of sweet smelling powder. The combined smell of chamomile and aloe had his eyes narrowing. His breath caught in his throat when he picked up a folded slip of paper and recognized half of the writing as magic; a language used only by witches. The other half was covered in symbols that were at once both ancient and alien.

The bits he could read resembled his mother's spell for daylight rings, but something told him the purpose was not to trick the sun. From the corner of his eye he saw another paper peeking out of the slightly open drawer; it was covered in more foreign symbols and concealed a handful of dried flowers.

Elijah glanced up from the papers in his hands when Klaus and Hayley fell silent. He found them locked in a staring contest; it took a moment for Hayley's suggestion to sink in.

She clearly had little faith in Elena. It was obvious from the light in her eyes that she was glad Elena was missing; she was probably hoping Elena was lying dead in a ditch somewhere.

He knew he was partially to blame for the animosity Hayley had directed towards Elena. He had been kind to Hayley during her pregnancy and the werewolf-turned-hybrid had misinterpreted his intentions. He had withdrawn when he realized she was starting to feel something for him but had never verbally addressed the situation or tension between them. Things had certainly gotten worse after he had spent the night in Elena's arms.

Up until Elena had arrived Hayley had all of the attention of the brothers; she hadn't reacted well when she'd had to share their attention.

Caroline brought the car to a stop and climbed out with Alenka. She stretched her arms over her head and worked the kinks out of her back; fourteen hours in a car was a long time even for a vampire. She saw Alenka rolling her neck from side to side.

"Are you sure this is the right spot?" Caroline inhaled the mixture of salt and sewage that rose from under the docks. If she were hiding a mystical key she wouldn't have chosen a shipping yard in New Jersey; maybe that was what made it perfect.

Alenka closed her eyes and felt the very real presence of Amara. If had been over two thousand years. She had been reborn into a new body, but any witch worth her salt knew that power and bonds resided in the soul.

Amara was still her sister.

"I'm sure," she adjusted her bag and strode into the building. If not for the tether she might have deflated at the sheer size of the area in question.

"I still can't believe you agreed to this," Elijah nodded to the dead werewolf Hayley had called in from the Bayou. "There is hardly enough blood to make an army," he examined the bag and a half that had been harvested from Elena while wondering what scenario had led to only half of the second bag being filled, "even rationing the supply you've only enough for a dozen hybrids."

"It's a start," Klaus kept one ear on Oliver so he would hear when the wolf woke. "A dozen will be enough to bring Hope back to the compound, and with Hayley occupied and not being a hindrance we can put an actual effort into trying to find Elena."

"Assuming Hayley is wrong and Elena is not dead," Elijah portioned a shot of blood.

"You don't really believe that?" Klaus crossed his arms. He was starting to believe that something truly terrible had happened; Caroline, Elena and Josh seemed to have vanished. If it had just been the girls he might have thought they had run but the disappearance of Josh made him fear the worst: that they had all been taken by witches.

"No I don't," Elijah fingered the folded paper in his pocket. He had taken it from Elena's room with the intention of translating the unknown language; so far he'd had no luck.

His head snapped around when Oliver saw up gasping for breath. He watched Klaus take the shot glass and press it into the transitioning hybrid's palm.

Her fingers traced the worn edge of the wooden crate. Nodding once to Caroline she stepped out of the way, so the vampire could tear the side of the box open. The wood clattered on the concrete.

The breath caught in Alenka's throat as her eyes ran over the woman inside from head to toe. If she hadn't known any better she would have said the being was nothing more than a statue, but she did know better. Reaching to Caroline she took the bag of blood and smeared a small amount on the calcified lips of her sister.

The change was instantaneous. Colour spread from her lips outwards over her face and down her body.

Alenka knew it wasn't enough when the skin that should have been a healthy olive remained pale and sickly.

Amara was startled by the sudden change. She didn't know how long she had spent under Qetsiyah's curse; only that it had been cold and that she was in constant pain whenever the spirits found her body. She had taken in very little information over what must have been years. Suddenly though things had changed; she was warm.

Her legs shook under the weight she could suddenly feel; she flinched away from the arms that wrapped around her and lowered her to the floor. She struggled against the hands waiting for the pain that should have come; when it didn't a line appeared between her brows. Her breath shook.

"Ellie?" She felt quite weightless.

"Hello, sister," Alenka's smile spread over her cheeks and lit her eyes with a distant light she had once thought lost. "It's been a long time."

"So it has," Amara gasped when a spirit touched her arm and pain bloomed through her chest with the heart attack.

"I need your help with something," Alenka pressed the blood bag into Amara's hands, "and it looks like you could probably use mine." It didn't take a genius to figure out what Qetsiyah had done; knowing she had killed her sister was not enough for the vindictive witch. "You feel it all don't you: every death?"

"Yes," Amara nodded. The more blood she consumed the better she felt. "I don't know what I could possibly help you with… please don't touch me…"

Caroline gave Alenka a look from the corner of her eyes; neither of them were anywhere near her when she winced in pain.

Alenka shook her head and mouthed 'later'.

"Do you know what Qetsiyah did?" Alenka tilted her head and met Amara's eyes; she would need her sister's consent for what she had to do.

"She…" Amara froze and inhaled sharply. Her eyes dropped to her sister's chest. "She carved out your heart," her voice was little more than a whisper. "How are you alive?"

"I was reincarnated," Alenka rocked back on her knees. "It's what she did with my blood that is important. She used me to turn you into a door of sorts."

Amara nodded; this she knew for she had a foot in both worlds.

"That door opens both ways," Alenka continued slowly. "You are the door and the key."

"The spirits pass through me," Amara shook her head. "They don't come back."

"They can," Alenka crossed her arms. "I have a spell that will let them, but you have to allow them through. Will you help me?" She stood and offered her hand.

Amara relished in the feeling of her warm palm that caused no pain and closed her eyes. It wasn't like Alenka to want to upset the balance of nature with such a spell; the person she wanted brought back must have been special indeed. She would have thought Elias if she hadn't been present in that garden.

"Who are you trying to see again?" She opened her eyes and followed the two women outside. Her brows lowered when she saw the contraption the blonde fiddled with.

"My soulmate," Alenka opened the door of the car. "Get in. I'm running out of time," her eyes rolled heavenward to the planets shifting into place. If she was going to do this it had to be before sunrise.

Hayley shook with anger. Every muscle in her body tensed and coiled ready to strike out at any moment against any who would dare provoke her.

"What happened?" Her blood boiled in her rage. She pointed to Oliver who was lying dead on the floor; tracks of blood ran from his eyes, nose and ears. "The whole point of making hybrids is to keep them alive."

Klaus turned to her with a hard glare. His eyes flashed dangerously as he advanced on the mother of his child. "Do you really think I did this?" His voice bounced off the stone walls. "I did everything right! He rejected the transition and I don't understand why."

"Elena," Elijah tilted his head and picked up the bag of blood still on the table.

"What are you going on about?" Hayley snapped. She was sick of hearing the woman's name.

"She took the cure," Elijah said as if that answered any question. He sighed when they both looked confused. "She was a vampire and then she took the cure. It's possible that the cure is lingering in her blood."

"So it doesn't work for creating hybrids," Klaus realized with a quick look at Oliver.

"The bitch probably knew it too," Hayley muttered before kicking a chair with enough force to dent the far wall.

"I'll thank you not to use such language when speaking of her," Elijah brushed some dust from his suit.

"How could she have possibly known that?" Klaus crossed his arms. "We'll have to come up with another plan to bring…"

"We've already got one," Hayley snapped. "Or have you forgotten?"

She spun on her heel and stormed out of the compound before either brother could stop her.

"At least she's occupied," Klaus heard her create several new doorways on her way out of the building. "That'll make finding Elena easier."

"You're still going to find her?" Elijah's brows rose in surprise. Her blood was useless to Klaus now and his brother knew it. "You're not planning on killing her are you?"

"Of course not," Klaus shook his head. "She didn't know, and there is a good chance she's in trouble."

"I highly doubt it."

Klaus turned when he heard the voice and looked from the two vampires to Josh who was being flanked by them.

"Joshua," he grinned and held out his hands, "so nice to see you're safe. Now tell me: where is my doppelganger?"

Josh swallowed nervously. He was starting to regret his decision to stay in town, but he had people there now.

"I already told you on the phone," he met the hybrid's eyes, "I left her a few feet outside the gates." It wasn't a lie; he had left her outside the garden gates.

"And nobody has seen her since," Klaus waved off the vampires that had brought Josh to the compound. "Where did you really leave her Joshua?"

Josh swallowed nervously and shifted from foot to foot.

"I told you," his eyes darted between the Originals, "I left her outside the gates."

"And then disappeared for a couple days," Elijah cocked an eyebrow. "You can tell us the truth, or we can bleed the vervain from your system and compel you."

Josh looked between them again. He had been in hiding for nearly two days. She'd had more than enough time to get out of town, and somehow he doubted she would have wanted him being bled dry; she was not the type to let others suffer needlessly for her.

"She asked that I buy her enough time to get out of town," he cleared his throat, "she said she was going to come back."

Klaus stiffened. His eyes narrowed into a hard glare. He wasn't sure who he was angrier with: Hayley for being right, or Elena.

"Did she happen to say why she was leaving?" Elijah clapped Klaus on the shoulder.

"Something crazy," Josh shrugged; people did crazy things when they were in love. "She's completely crazy; said so herself." A crazy powerful witch. "Can I go now?" When neither Original moved to stop him he flashed from the compound.

"This is madness," Amara shook her head. Her eyes tracked the patterns Alenka was drawing in the ground with the black sand.

"Love is madness," Alenka drew in a deep breath and lit the small fire in the southern part of her circle with a wave of her hand. The light flickered over the bowl of water at the northern end. She pulled the bag of herbs from her purse and took a stance over the fire. "Does that mean you won't help me?"

"Of course I'll help you," Amara flinched and took small steps towards the bowl of water.

"Do you need me to do anything?" Caroline stood off to the side and watched the sisters with baited breath.

"No," Alenka shook her head. "I just need you to make sure we're not interrupted."

She took a deep breath and met Amara's eyes. She chewed on her bottom lip and cast her eyes to the sky. She could see light beginning to brighten the eastern horizon; it was now or never beneath the planets and the rising sun.

She glanced at the writing on the slip of paper to make sure it was right before dropping it and the herbs into the fire and closing her eyes.

"Akoúste ta lógia mou, akoúste to pnévma kravgís mou apó tin álli plevrá. Eláte se ména sas kaléso. Stavróste tóra to megálo chásma."

She felt the pull deep in her body and heard Amara's surprised cry. Opening her eyes she saw a swirling mass of energy in the center of her circle. Her body grew weak under the strain of the magic. Her knees buckled under her weight.

Caroline's eyes widened as she saw the identical woman fall to their knees. It was a little eerie how they mirrored each other. The moment the sisters hit the ground was the moment the energy stopped moving and settled into the shape of a man.

He sat up with a gasp. His wide eyes darted from one brunette to the next, but when his gaze caught Amara's dress the scene surrounding him shifted in his vision.

He saw her purple dress from the corner of his eyes when he fell. Perhaps it was a strange thing to focus on with the blade that had pierced his skin still in place, but it was the little things that made the image whole.

He lifted his eyes and took in the swiftly fading sight of the table he had made for her. Chains wrapped around the stone holding her petite body still. The last thing he was able to see was the crimson staining her blue dress.

The pain had all but faded when something wet was pressed to his lips. He had gasped as the fire had flown through his body and gathered around the wound before dissipating. He'd opened his eyes to a blood soaked garden.

He tore himself from the images and shivered violently before turning to the south. Her lower lip trembled when he met her glittering eyes.


He caught only the briefest of smiles before she broke the circle and wrapped her arms securely around his neck.

Neither of them noticed Amara moving away from them.

"Hi," she pulled back and met his eyes.

"Hello darling," his hand cupped her cheek. His eyes widened when the sting hit his cheek. "What was that for?"

"You should have told me," Alenka glared.

"I know, darling," he rubbed his jaw that was still stinging. "I'm sorry. I didn't want you to worry about me. I didn't want you to have to watch me die. It's a terrible thing watching somebody you love die." His eyes dropped to her chest where he knew her heart was beating.

"Just don't do it again," she pressed her lips together. "Next time you're in trouble tell me so I can help."

"I didn't know you could have helped," his thumb caught a tear dropping down her cheek.

"Neither did I," she held his hand against her cheek, "but evidently I could have. I did bring you back after all." She blinked tiredly.

"Your curse was broken then," he deflated slightly. "Must have taken a few days to kick in."

Her eyes widened when she realized what was going through his mind. "Don't tell me you're really that dense," she crossed her arms when he pulled back a bit. "It was you, you idiot."

"Idiot?" He gasped dramatically and held his hand to his chest. "And here I thought I was the clumsiest person you had ever met."

"Someone can be two things at…" She trailed off and met his twinkling eyes. She had never once called Kol clumsy; not once, but she had said it to somebody else. "Elias?"

"I've grown rather used to 'Kol', darling," he smirked, "I've gone by it much longer." He took her hand and blinked against the rising sun at the symbols surrounding them. "I don't know what you did, but it's as if the memories have molded together."

"And yet I only remember the one life," she shook her head and blinked back her tears.

"If you really want to remember, I'm sure you can find a way," he squeezed her hand gently. He met her eyes before leaning forward and brushing his lips over her brow.

"Ellie," Caroline came running back into the clearing, "people are starting to…. Hello?" She blushed as much as any vampire could when she saw Kol; the only thing concealing his body from her view was Alenka sitting alongside him. "Were you aware the spell was going to bring him back naked?"

"If I was I would have brought clothes," Alenka shook her head.

"What happened to your cheek?" Caroline nodded to Kol.

He lifted his hand to the red mark still clinging to his skin. He could barely feel the sting anymore, but he knew the mark should have faded by now.

"What did you do, Ellie?" He met her drooping eyes; he didn't need to hear the answer her small bright smile was answer enough.

Chapter Text

Caroline leaned against the wall of the hotel suite and regarded the duo with incredulity. Her eyes were wide as she tilted her head and looked from Alenka to Kol and back again while processing the information. She opened her mouth once and closed it so she could formulate the right words; it was a rare occasion when she was at a loss for words.

"So you're…" she pointed to Kol, "… you were…" she pressed her tongue to the back of her teeth and looked towards Alenka, "… her husband in your first life?"

Kol nodded once and traced Alenka's profile from the corner of his eye.

"Ellie's spell brought you back as a human?" Caroline moved to sit on the edge of the green armchair when she nodded. "And that unlocked the memories?"

"I'm not sure if it was that," Kol squeezed Alenka's hand, "or something else in the spell, but I do remember. I remember everything up until the point…" he trailed off as the last image flashed through his mind. He could remember everything from the last thousand years in vivid detail but it was his wife's murder that made his heart pound wildly in his chest; he'd never relished killing while his humanity was on, but he would have gladly torn Qetsiyah apart in that moment if she had not already been dead.

Alenka shifted so her fingers slotted between his and ran her thumb over his knuckles. She knew full well what that last memory was; she'd had nightmares of it from her perspective for months. Only the interference of his brothers had banished them from her mind.

"Okay," Caroline drew in a deep breath and nodded. She could accept that he was her soulmate and that he had been her husband; it made a lot of sense given recent events, but one thing was still plaguing her mind. "What about Elijah?"

Caroline frowned when Kol's lips formed a tight line; his expression twisted as he narrowed his eyes.

Alenka dipped her head and pressed her free hand over her mouth.

"Have I touched a nerve?" The blonde looked between the couple on the sofa. "I only meant why he looks like… well…" she gestured to Kol, "… you, or at least what you did look like."

"I don't know," Kol shook his head. "Just like I don't know why Ellie looks like herself."

"Technically I look like Amara," she glanced at her silent sister who was sipping a bag of blood. The more she drank the healthier her skin looked. "She used the potion for immortality; since she can't die nature needs a version of her that can. I happened to be reborn in that version. I look like her not like me."

Kol shook his head and met her eyes.

"You look like you," he smiled and squeezed her hand, "it's all in the eyes, darling."

"Aw," Caroline tilted her head, "that's so sweet, and incredibly cheesy. It doesn't answer my question though. I know why Ellie looks like Ellie, and that Stefan looks like Silas for the same reason, but what about…"

"It's the same reason," Amara's soft voice cut in. She flinched every few seconds when she addressed them.

"What do you mean?" Alenka leaned forwards to face her sister. She should have wanted to hate her, but she knew she had suffered endlessly over the centuries for what she had done.

"I was in a lot of pain at first," she ventured slowly, "but I remember seeing Qetsiyah. There was still some of the spell left; she forced you to drink it before you died." She lifted her eyes to Kol. "Until you were brought back in that field I thought you were still alive somewhere in the world."

"And now?" Kol prompted. He didn't remember taking the potion; he didn't remember anything after Alenka had been killed besides the burning pain.

"I'm assuming you either took the cure she had left somewhere in the house, or," Amara gritted her teeth against the pain, "you found her notes and had a witch make it for you. Your 'doppelganger', is that the right word," her eyes cut to her sister who nodded. "Your doppelganger line endured but your soul was reincarnated."

Kol pushed his damp hair out of his eyes when it fell forward and adjusted his shirt. He should have let things run their natural course. He shouldn't have pushed her towards his brother even though it made perfect sense considering the information he'd had at the time; he hadn't been wrong about coincidences because there had been a good reason. He should have told her when he was hexed.

"Okay then," Caroline slid from the arm into the chair and crossed her legs. "That answers my question."

Kol lifted the blankets up over her shoulder and brushed her soft hair back from her forehead. She had expended a lot of energy bringing him back; truthfully he was surprised she had made it until the mid-afternoon.

He would have loved to lie down beside her but he knew if he did he was likely to drift off as well and returning to a routine would be extremely difficult if he did that; besides he had enough energy to remain awake so he was going to.

His knuckle grazed her cheek and lingered on her smooth skin. He could feel the magic twisting within her body, rushing through her veins.

He had felt the connection to nature and magic in Kaleb's body, but it paled in comparison to his own.

Bending he pressed a light kiss to her cheek before standing and slipping from the room. Closing the door behind him he checked the clock and moved to sit on the sofa across from Amara.

Caroline had left to pick up some things and in the brief period she was gone Amara had lifted her feet into the armchair and drawn her knees to her chest.

Every few seconds he would hear her mutter something under her breath before flinching and turning in another direction to repeat the action. He could see her eyes focused on the air around her body as she talked to herself.

"She must have really hated you."

Amara jumped and twisted in the chair. She hadn't seen him enter the room again; she couldn't remember how long he had been gone or if everything that had happened had really happened. Was her sister really alive? Had she retreated into her mind? Was she hallucinating from the pain that had never stopped?

"I spent some time on the Other Side," his fingers tapped the arm of the sofa. "I know it didn't exist before Ellie's spell for immortality. Qetsiyah made it and turned you into the door."

"She…" Amara grunted softly as pain stabbed through her abdomen, "… she called me the anchor. The gypsies called me the anchor." She bit her lip and focused on him. "I think they were moving me."

"Someone must have been," Kol nodded slowly. "There's no way you journeyed from Greece to the States without help; not in your previous state." Alenka had told him how she'd found her sister calcified.

Amara hugged her legs tighter and watched him through wide eyes. The soul was all in the eyes, and she saw her brother-in-law staring out at her in the unfamiliar face; it was going to take a little time to get used to his new features, but she could tell it was him when she saw his eyes. It was the same way he knew she was Amara and Alenka was Alenka; it was the same way her mother had told the sisters apart.

She cast a longing look towards the door.

"You can go and talk to her, you know?" Kol followed her gaze. He frowned when she shook her head.

"She hates me," Amara murmured so quietly that he had to strain his ears to pick up the sound. "I killed you both… Kol," she glanced at him. "She doesn't want to talk to me."

"Funny," Kol hummed, "I don't recall you wielding the knife."

"I might as well have," Amara trembled and swiped away a tear. "It was my fault."

"We're going to have to agree to disagree on that fact," Kol braced his elbows on his knees. "Talk to your sister Amara. You can't avoid her forever."

"You underestimate my dedication," she managed a weak smile when he chuckled softly.

Kol slipped back into the suite's bedroom and opened the blinds. He smiled when her nose scrunched up adorably and she turned away from the bright sunlight of the late-afternoon.

He sat on the edge of the bed and pulled the blankets down from her face.

"No," she groaned into the pillow. Her hands reached blindly for the blankets.

"I'm sorry, darling," he held the edge of the blanket out of her reach, "but if you don't get up now you'll completely ruin your night's sleep."

She glared through the corner of her eye and lifted the other pillow over her face.

"Ellie," his fingers trailed up her sides and splayed over her ribs, "if you don't get up I'll be forced to take drastic measures." He bent so his lips brushed the exposed skin of her neck.

She shivered and lifted the edge of the pillow so he could hear her. Her voice was groggy and muffled.

"Do your worst."

"Very well," he kissed her shoulder, "but don't say I didn't warn you."

She tensed and quivered beneath his fingers that stole under her shirt and wandered up her sides. Her body warmed under his touch and hummed with anticipation.

He grinned wickedly before viciously tickling her sides.

"Kol," she squirmed in an attempt to get away and bit her lip. She twisted and giggled breathlessly before rolling onto her back and mock glaring at him.

"Will you be getting up now?" He stilled his movements and splayed his fingers over her ribs.

"What if I say no?" Her stomach trembled with her rapid breaths. She bit down her smile and blinked drowsily.

"Like I said, love," Kol's hands wandered over her exposed midsection and felt her abdomen quiver, "drastic measures." He moved as if to tickle her again.

Alenka's eyes widened. She moved as quickly as she could and grasped his wrists. Her fingers wrapped securely around him, but she knew even as a human she had no hope of actually overpowering him.

"I'm awake," she moved his hands to either side of her and pushed herself up to sit in front of him. "Don't tickle me again."

"Oh," he pouted, "but it's so much fun," he brought one hand up to cup her cheek and stroked the red lines that had been left behind by the pillow. "It makes you laugh, and when you laugh you smile. That's become such a rare sight for me."

"If I promise to smile more will you promise not to tickle me?" She smiled and tilted her head into his hand.

"I don't think I can promise that, darling," he smirked, "I do enjoy the way it makes you squirm and brings a flush to your cheeks."

She heaved an exasperated sigh and fell back against the headboard.

"I bring you back from the Other Side, and you thank me by tickling me and taking my breath away." Her eyes sparkled with amusement.

"I could take your breath away by other means as well," he leaned forward and kissed her cheek.

"Maybe later," she closed her eyes and exhaled, "when I'm not so tired."

He chuckled and shifted on the bed to sit beside her. Wrapping an arm around her shoulders he ran his fingers through her hair. He was reluctant to break the peaceful silence that surrounded them, but he had one question he needed answered.

"I'm not very familiar with the spell you used," he murmured into the still room, "but I do know you made a deliberate choice to bring me back human."

Alenka's breath caught in her throat. She lifted her head from his shoulder and nodded before meeting his eyes.

"I could have brought you back any time," she whispered, "but under that particular alignment of planets I had the opportunity to bring you back human."

Kol searched her gaze for a moment before asking. "Why did you do it that way?"

"Because," she bit her lip and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, "it's a lot easier to replicate the spell that made you a vampire than to undo it. You know I haven't seen the plant I would need to recreate the cure since waking up. I think it only grows in Greece."

"Some things only grow in certain places of the world," he nodded. His head cocked to the side. "Were you planning on replicating my mother's spell, darling?"

"No," she shook her head, "I can if that's what you want but I hadn't planned on it." Anxiety swirled in her stomach. "Do you want me to?"

"Are you kidding me?" He leaned forward and tipped her chin up with his knuckle. "I never thought I'd have the choice; it was stolen from me last time." He stared down into her eyes. "I would sooner live one lifetime as a witch than countless ones as a vampire. When you live forever eventually you cease to live."

"I think I said something like that once," she smiled. Her eyes lit up with her grin.

"I believe you did," he smirked. "A thousand years of living has proved you right, darling."

"Was there ever any doubt?" She brought her hand up to cup his cheek. Her lips lifted in a teasing smile. "When are you going to realize that I'm always right?"

"I'll work on that," he laughed and closed the distance to kiss her lips lightly.

"You do that," she smiled against his mouth.

Kol gave her one last kiss before pulling back and meeting her eyes.

"As much as I would love to continue this," his thumb brushed over her lower lip, "there is someone you should talk to."

Her eyes darted to the door where she could sense Amara in the sitting room. She knew it was a conversation she was going to have to have sooner rather than later, but now that her adrenaline had passed she wasn't sure what to say; all she knew was that her sister needed her help.

"I don't know where to begin," she confessed in a whisper.

Kol stood and offered her a hand. "Why don't you start by letting her know you don't hate her?" He opened the door and frowned when he found Amara had retreated into herself again. "I'll give you two a little time." Kissing her cheek he picked up the key card from the table and slid from the room into the lobby.

She approached slowly and sat on the edge of the coffee table. Hesitantly she placed her hand on Amara's arm.

"Ellie?" She lowered her legs and met her sister's eyes.

"Who else?" Alenka tilted her head and squeezed her sister's arm.

"I'm so…" she inhaled sharply and winced, "… I'm sorry Ellie. I'm so sorry. You must hate me."

"Why?" Alenka tilted her head. "Why the hell would I hate you? You're my sister," a line appeared between her brows, "I was angry when I first woke up, but you are my sister. I don't hate you Amara. It's hardly your fault that Qetsiyah was crazy; you couldn't have known she would come after me."

"You died," Amara shook her head. "If I had never told them about the spell you and your husband wouldn't have died. You would have lived a long life and maybe even had children."

Alenka paled at the mention of children. She hadn't planned on telling Amara about the child she had carried, but she knew her twin saw it in her eyes; she had never been able to lie to Amara.

"You were pregnant," Amara felt a fresh wave of guilt wash over her. "Did he know?"

"I'd just told him," Alenka sat back on the table, "moments before she came to our villa." She cleared her throat and blinked back a couple of tears. She had mourned for what was lost and moved past it but once in a while it would hit her again. "I'd rather not talk about that. I don't want to open old wounds; I'd prefer to heal a few of yours."

"You don't hate me?"

"I don't hate you," Alenka shook her head. She rocked forward on the table and hooked her feet around the legs.

Amara shivered as ice ran down her back. That happened a lot with drowned spirits.

Alenka leaned forward and held her sister's knees. Peering into her eyes she searched through the pain. "Does it only hurt when they touch you, or is it constant?"

"When they touch me," Amara whimpered and exhaled shakily, "but they're always touching me."

"Okay," Alenka tilted her head and pressed her lips together in thought. "I have an idea."

"I'd prefer if you had the cure," she crossed her arms. "I don't want to live like this anymore. I can't."

"The cure would require a trip to Greece, and I've got a feeling Kol's brother will come looking for me before I can leave the country," Alenka offered a half smile. "I might be able to stop the pain… temporarily anyway… until I can find something more permanent."

She stood from the table and searched for her bag so she could send a text to Caroline.

"Hey," Caroline came to a stop by the lobby sitting area. "What are you doing down here?" She lowered her bags to the floor.

"Giving the long lost sisters some time together," Kol closed the newspaper he'd been reading and put it on the table. "They haven't seen each other in two thousand years."

Caroline straightened one of the bags before it could flip over and twisted her legs under her in the chair.

"I never thought I'd see the day where she got along with one of her doppelgangers," she tucked her hair behind her ear. "I suppose they're not doppelgangers though."

"They are and they are not," Kol tapped the arms of the chair.

"You want to know what's strange to me?" She blinked down at the throw pillow she pulled into her lap. She saw through her lashes when he nodded. "I never realized she was someone else until she told me. I really did think it was amnesia. She hasn't changed at all."

"I know," he sighed, "I was watching from the Other Side when I could. She's still the same; she just doesn't remember it."

"You're not going to hold it against her are you?" She lifted her chin to meet his eyes and dropped her voice to a whisper. "Killing you in the first place, I mean."

His mouth opened slightly as his eyes narrowed and he shook his head.

"It wasn't her idea," Caroline continued. "I really believe that. We, and by 'we' I mean the majority of us including Elena, found out the next day that she was under a sire bond. I never heard Damon give her any kind of directions, but I know she wouldn't have hurt you on her own. I asked Jeremy to explain what had happened and he said she came up with the idea after she'd spent time at the boarding house."

Kol gripped the arms of the chair and watched Caroline who didn't seem capable of stopping.

"Damon made her complete the transition," she ran her finger over the edge of the pillow, "kill the hunter, and even take the cure. She was handing it to Rebekah when he ordered her to drink it herself."

"Why are you telling me this?" He breathed.

"Because," Caroline straightened and tucked her hair behind her ear, "she's my friend; even if she doesn't remember being my friend, and I'm not going to let you hurt her for something she didn't want to do. You should have seen her after you died; she was distraught and only calmed down when Damon insisted she stop crying and focus on anything else. She got really cold and distant after that."

"I'm not going to hurt her Caroline," Kol leaned forward and met her eyes. "I had more than enough opportunities when I was possessing Kaleb; if I'd wanted to hurt her I would have." He inhaled slowly and released a steady stream of air. "She is my soulmate Caroline, and I love her."

"Good," Caroline nodded, "because it's pretty clear she loves you too. She did break, like, every law of nature to bring you back."

"At least she didn't rip a hole through the veil," he chuckled darkly, "that would have been bad."

"She said that was what would happen if Davina and Rebekah were successful with their version of the spell. It seems a lot has been lost in the last two thousand years."

"That tends to happen with oral histories," he nodded, "especially when the coven to which the spells belonged was cursed. Also," he held up a finger, "she never did write them down."

"Everything is in her head," Caroline smoothed a wrinkle from her top, "that's pretty amazing. So what's the plan now?"

"What do you mean?"

"I mean what are you two planning on doing?" Caroline leaned toward him. "Klaus will start looking for her eventually, and something tells me he'll be pretty mad when he finds out she ran off."

"I think bringing me back might soften the blow a bit," he cocked an eyebrow.

"Maybe," she nodded. "And then you're in the thick of everything again, and you're human now."

"I'll need to be careful," he mirrored her nod. "I wouldn't worry about us Caroline. She is a powerful witch in her own right, and I can hold my own."

"You don't need to tell me about her power," Caroline smirked. She reached beneath her collar and lifted the amulet Alenka had spelled. "She made this to let me get over thresholds without an invitation. Don't go blabbing that around though."

"I wouldn't dare," he ran his thumb over the stone. "She'd be swarmed by vampires." He handed the necklace back. "Keep that hidden and on you at all times."

"I will," she tucked the stone beneath her shirt. "You haven't answered my question yet."

"Because I don't know," he leaned back and shrugged one shoulder. "I'd like to avoid the drama of New Orleans for a bit longer, but I know eventually…"

"You'll have to face the music."

She toyed with the aquamarine pendent around her neck and stared at the passing foliage while running her fingers through her hair.

"Are you sure you want to do this?" Caroline glanced at her from the corner of her eye. "This is the last chance to change your mind."

She blinked at the large green sign that denoted the approaching city and nodded.

"It seems this is the least I can do," she bit her lip.

"You think you can pull it off?" Caroline took the exit into the city. She started reading street signs as she passed. Something seemed different in the paved streets but she couldn't put her finger on it.

"Please," she chuckled; the longer she wore the spelled necklace the more she felt like her old self. "We used to switch places all the time as children."

"And you got away with it?" Caroline cocked an eyebrow.

"Only mother and Elias… Kol," she corrected herself, "could tell the difference."

"As long as you think you can handle it," Caroline nodded and turned onto Bourbon Street. "Tell me the story one more time."

"I was feeling homesick and missed my family," she swallowed and dropped her necklace under her shirt, "I spent a day with them before returning to the city."

"Good," Caroline smiled when her heart remained steady. There could be no hint of a lie. "Don't let any of them see you drinking blood either; that would be a dead giveaway. Remember that the necklace only hides you so if a spirit does find you do not let them see the pain when it passes through."

"Don't worry, Caroline. I'm quite adept at hiding my pain," she breathed. "They won't know anything is amiss."


Chapter Text

Caroline brought the car to a complete stop and turned off the ignition, but she didn't open the door. She jingled the keys in her hand and watched the gates of the Abattoir. Frowning, she blinked at the bright lights spilling out onto the formal attire of people she recognized as werewolves. Here and there among the crowds were vampires; Josh was wearing a suit.

Was Klaus having a party? Why had he invited wolves and vampires? That seemed like a recipe for disaster. Was that Davina Claire beside Josh?

"That's a lot of people," Amara toyed with the chain of her necklace. "Am I supposed to know all of them?" Her eyes were wide when she turned to Caroline.

"Just those two," Caroline pointed towards the gate. "That's Davina: the witch working with Kol's sister to bring him back. Beside her is Josh: the vampire that covered for Ellie when she left to find you." She saw Amara nod as she catalogued the faces. "Everyone else must be inside."

"Is it a festival?" Amara leaned forward and tucked her hair behind her ears. She wasn't quite used to the new length yet.

"I don't think so," Caroline shook her head. "It seems to be confined to the house. Nobody else on the street is venturing close."

"Maybe a wedding," Amara ran her hands over her jeans; the material was foreign. "Should we wait?"

Caroline's eyes flickered over the party goers.

"No," she decided, "Hayley is less likely to make a scene with this crowd." She stepped out of the car and motioned for Amara to follow her lead.

Caroline locked the car and met Amara in front of the vehicle. She could almost feel the nerves that were coiled at the base of the woman's spine. From the corner of her eyes she could see a slight twitch at the corner of Amara's mouth.

"I'll be right back," Josh saw their approach and broke away from Davina. He moved quickly and intercepted them. "You're back."

"You sound surprised," Caroline smirked. "She said she was coming back."

"I guess I didn't really believe it," he glanced over their shoulder towards the street. "Did you do it? I don't see… I wouldn't know if I did see him anyway would I? Where is he?"

"Not here," Amara blinked a few times and cast her gaze towards the ground. It was some sort of stone.

"I'm sorry," Josh's smile dropped. "Umm, you should probably know…. I uh… I told them you left."

"What exactly did you tell them?" Caroline arched an eyebrow.

"That she left, and was planning on coming back," Josh cleared his throat. "They asked why and I told them she was doing something crazy."

"So you didn't…" Caroline trailed off leaving the question unsaid.

"Nope," Josh shook his head. "Fair warning. Hayley was pissed off, and Klaus looked like he was gonna, like, murder someone when he found out."

"So stand in front of her," Caroline nodded. "Got it, thanks Josh."

Amara held tightly to Caroline's arm and let the young vampire lead her into the building. Her stomach trembled with anxiety; it twisted and writhed in her belly until all she could feel was a strong desire to not be seen by anyone. She knew these people were alive and that the slightest brush against her skin would not cause pain, but she had grown rather reserved. She had thought she would be alright with her new necklace but she was still nervous in a crowd.

Caroline blinked in surprise when nobody acknowledged their presence in the courtyard. She took immediate advantage of the fact and led Amara through the milling crowd and into the study where she heard the brunette release a relieved sigh. Before she could leave to find a Mikaelson one found them.

Amara's breath caught in her throat when she saw him. She had been forewarned by her sister, but it was still a shock to see him. She might have been surprised to see Ellie had they not been born identical twins.

"Elijah," Amara's heart stuttered. She wasn't sure what to make of the shocked expression on his face.

"Elena," Elijah froze in the door, "you're back."

He hadn't been sure she was really there until she had spoken. For a moment he thought he was back in his mother's torture chamber. She had tormented him for two days with the image of a woman he thought would never truly return.

Amara swallowed and sunk her teeth into her bottom lip. She had a feeling she couldn't let Caroline speak for her now. It was one thing when it was Josh, someone Ellie had spent next to no time speaking to, and another when it was someone she had known; if Kol's reaction to his brother's name was anything to go by Ellie had known him well.

"I didn't plan on staying away," she managed a small smile. "I just needed to see my family."

"Joshua made it sound as if you were doing something crazy," Elijah's eyes flickered over her. There was something different about the woman before him, but he couldn't put his finger on it.

"Well," Caroline cleared her throat and crossed her arms, "going anywhere near the place where she was physically assaulted is something I would consider crazy. Maybe that's what Josh meant."

"So," Caroline nodded to his suit; it was dressier than usual. "What's going on around here? I was only gone a few days."

"A wedding," Elijah finally stepped free of the door. He approached the brunette slowly. "You could have just told us the truth."

"I guess I panicked," Amara shrugged. "It was getting to be too much. I needed to get away; it was a split second decision."

"Alright, sweetheart," Klaus kissed the top of Hope's head, "let's get you out of the crowd for a bit." He rubbed her back and smiled softly.

They had brought her home the night before. New Orleans was as safe as they could possibly make it without burning the city to the ground and starting fresh. Hayley's marriage brought forth a new group of allies. He would have preferred they be sired to him so they had no choice but to protect his child, but this appeared to be the best he could do.

Elena's blood wouldn't work. He knew Hayley's claim that she most likely had known was unfounded; there was no possible way Elena could have known without trying to make a hybrid. He caught Davina's eyes when he was crossing the courtyard and nodded; he had every intention of having her perform a locator spell in the morning to find Elena.

He moved on when he saw her exasperated nod. She would do it, he knew, but she was not overly happy about it. She had thrown herself into Rebekah's spell to bring back Kol; he doubted it would really work. Bringing someone back was nearly impossible.

His expression shifted when he heard voices in the study. Had he not been holding Hope his limbs might have grown slack upon entering the room; instead he froze a couple of steps inside.

"Who is this?" Caroline's voice lifted half an octave and softened when she saw the baby. "Hello," she smiled and held Hope's hand when she reached. "Oh," her blue eyes widened, "hello?" The back of her hand brushed over Klaus' sleeve.

Hope pitched forwards and wrapped her arms around Caroline's neck.

"Did you make a bunch of hybrids?" Caroline was mildly surprised when Klaus surrendered the baby easily.

"No," he shook his head. "It turns out Elena's blood is useless after taking the cure, but we have 'allies' now. Which is a good thing since the long lost sister showed up and claimed we have a baby snatching aunt."

Elijah's shoulders stiffened. He turned around to face his brother when he crossed the room to stand in front of Elena. He wasn't sure who he was more afraid of in that moment: Klaus or himself. He knew now what he was truly capable of and that terrified him that he was possibly the most monstrous of his siblings.

"Are you hurt?" Klaus looked her up and down with a clenched jaw.

"No," Amara shook her head. From Ellie's description she knew this was Klaus. And from Kol's comments she knew he had a temper. Would she reveal herself in defence before she'd had a chance to truly impersonate her twin?

"Good," he nodded.

Amara's eyes grew round when his arms pulled her into a tight hug. She hesitated for a moment before bringing her hands up slowly to his back.

"Don't run off again," he let her go and backed up, "you had me worried sick."

"Sorry," Amara blinked slowly. "I didn't know you cared."

"Of course I care," Klaus blinked. He turned around with the intention of retrieving his daughter only to find her babbling happily in Caroline's arms. "Where did you go anyway?"

Amara crossed her arms and rubbed away the gooseflesh; it was the moment of truth. "I spent a few days with family," she met his blue eyes, "I missed them. I'm back now though, and I don't plan on going anywhere; although I don't know why you'd need me now," she pressed her tongue to her teeth, "since my blood doesn't work for you."

"Just because your blood doesn't work does not mean the next doppelganger's won't," Klaus shrugged. "You still have my protection Elena. There will be another doppelganger one day." He smoothed his hand over Hope's fine hair. "Any idea when that will be, love?"

"I think we've had that discussion," Amara cocked her head. She smiled at Hope when Caroline passed her back and came to join Amara on the way out the door. "You'll have to find her another playmate," she glanced over her shoulder, "goodnight."

Caroline linked arms with Amara and steered her indiscreetly up the stairs and into the bedroom.

Alenka worried her bottom lip. Her fingers drummed out a nervous beat on the armrest of the chair.

Kol tightened the belt around his waist and turned to her. He took in the rigid set of her shoulders and her shaking hands. Placing his elbow on the armrest his fingers ghosted over her wrist and threaded through hers; he rubbed his thumb over her knuckle.

"Something bothering you, kardiá mou?" He smiled when the endearment brought a small smile to her lips.

"I haven't heard that in…" she looked down to their joined hands. "It feels like lifetimes."

"Technically it has been," he murmured.

"You haven't said that to anyone else, have you?" She peeked at him through her lashes.

"Never," he brought her hand up and kissed it, "no one else holds my heart." He tilted his head when she cocked an eyebrow and blinked. "You don't believe me, do you?" The corner of his mouth lifted in a smirk.

"We were apart a long time," she pointed out quietly: nervously.

"Time means nothing," he lifted his free hand and turned her chin with his knuckle. "I love you, Ellie; I've never loved another and I'll never love another again."

"I thought that once," she smirked.

"If were getting technical you didn't," his hand moved to cup her neck.

"I suppose you're right," she met his twinkling eyes, "I didn't know it at the time though." Her soft smile dropped when they lurched backwards.

"Darling?" He winced when she squeezed his hand tightly.

"I've never flown before," she admitted. "Not that I remember anyway." She followed his pointed look and loosened her grip.

"You'll be fine," he promised. "Flying is the safest and fastest way to travel. If it helps at all; this is a new experience for me as well. Shall I distract you?" He cocked an eyebrow.

"Here?" Alenka snickered. "There are quite a few people around, Kol. I don't think they'd appreciate the show."

He gasped dramatically and held his hand to his chest.

"You've a lecherous heart," his eyes glittered with suppressed amusement. "I'll not be used for my body," he pointed to her with a finger. "We can hold hands and that's it. If you want more you'll have to make an honest man out of me."

"Again?" Alenka released his hand and drew light patterns over his wrist. She smirked at the rising gooseflesh. "I thought I did that already."

"It's been awhile," he shivered. "I thought you could show me what herb we're actually looking for. I can't seem to remember what it looks like." He lifted a pen and a pad of paper from the seat back. "I don't think I ever got a good look at this one."

"I'm not really much of an artist," she warned him. "As you well recall."

"Oh this is for me," he balanced the pad on the armrest. "You can tell me and I'll draw it."

"Since when do you draw?" She drew in a deep breath when the plane leveled out.

"I believe it was the fourteenth century," he whispered.

Amara gasped when she was physically torn from Caroline's arm and pinned to the wall by her throat. The restricted airway didn't bother her, but remembered at the last moment that she was supposed to be human so she sputtered and blinked at the woman holding her.

"Oh look. The bitch is back."

Her eyes were blazing with a heat that completely ruined the innocent appearance of her dress. The white material clung to the woman's slim body. A few flowers were pinned in her hair. Amara didn't know who the woman was, but she got the sense she really her sister.

"I think I'll kill you," she tightened her hand around Amara's throat.

"Back off, Hayley," Caroline snapped. She took the woman's arm and threw her across the hall.

Hayley stood and moved as if to attack again.

"You know I'm older than you, right?" Caroline stood her ground in front of Amara. They would be in real trouble if Hayley caused her physical pain; it wouldn't last and she got the feeling that Amara would defend herself: violently if necessary.

"You know my bite is toxic, right?" Hayley sneered.

"That's enough, Hayley," Klaus paused a few feet from the trio with Hope. "This is hardly fitting behaviour for a new bride."

Hayley would have argued the point further. She would have told him that it was perfectly fitting behaviour considering what the brunette had done, but Hope was there and she didn't want to scare the little girl. Seeing her mother fly off the rails would have certainly scared her. She cast the brunette a scathing look before taking Hope and entering the nursery.

"Are you alright?" Klaus laid a hand on Caroline's shoulder and moved her aside gently.

"I'm fine," Amara lifted her chin and smiled weakly. "See," she lifted her chin, "no bruise. Caroline got her off me before she could do anything."

"Mmhmm," Caroline nodded. "Maybe I'll stick around awhile."

"You're more than welcome," Klaus smiled at her tightly. "She is perfectly safe here, though."

"I know," Caroline linked arms with Elena. "I'd just like to make extra sure."

Kol slid his arm around her waist when they stood on the stone steps of the ancient temple. He knew she was looking at the crumbling façade when she leaned her head on his shoulder.

"I remember it being grander," she reached out and fingered the cracked column. "What happened?"

"People lost faith," he shrugged. "In that loss they forgot who to fear."

"I never feared the Olympians," her nail caught in a crevice.

"No," he chuckled, "you wouldn't. There are those that should have been feared."

"And evidently islands that are feared," she rolled her eyes.

"What do you think happened here?" He let her go from his arms so she could walk further into the building.

The ceiling had long since collapsed in on itself. Beyond the rubble and overgrown shrubbery were the remnants of an alter where a golden statue had once stood.

"I don't know," she ran a hand through her hair and knelt amongst the stones. Her head cocked to the side when she saw the edge of something blue sticking out from under a chunk of ceiling. Rocking back on her knee she lifted her arm and rotated her wrist; the stone moved with her hand so she could lift the dusty material into her hands.

"I think," she stood with the ivory doll, "that this was mine."

Kol leaned on the downed pillar and held out his hand. A line appeared between his brows when he examined the toy. Aside from a thick layer of dust on the blue dress the doll was undamaged.

"Were you casting preservation spells as a child, Ellie?"

"Maybe," she smirked. "I didn't want her dress to get ruined."

"It's certainly held up over time," he placed it back in her hands.

She nodded and after dusting off the doll she placed it gently on top of the alter. Turning around she climbed back over the pillar.

"What exactly did the man say?" She was careful going down the steps; they looked like they might collapse at any moment. "I understood very little of it."

"Interesting story, really," Kol fell into step as they found the remnants of a road; it was overgrown with ferns. "The dialect's changed a bit, but I got most of it. The locals say that the island is cursed and that it has been for as long as anyone can remember."

"Cursed?" Alenka tilted her head when he shifted to walk backwards in front of her.

"Mmhmm," he nodded. "The man said there was once a thriving settlement here," he held out his hands to encompass the island, "home to two of the largest covens anyone had ever seen."

"Well that we already knew," she held out her hand and skimmed the tall ferns along the path, "the Gypsies and the Gemini. Two groups you really didn't want to get on the wrong side of."

"There's more," he paused at an old fork in the road and took her hand, "the covens went to war with each other. Curses were laid on both sides until everyone was forced to flee the island as it was no longer inhabitable."

Alenka looked around when they started up the slope. The setting sun sparkled off the crashing waves to her left. On the other side of Kol to her right was an abundance of greenery.

"Looks livable to me."

"It does," he hummed in agreement, "but anyone who tries to settle here lives a cursed existence; at least according to the fisherman who sold us the boat."

"These islands are steeped in superstition," she heaved a sigh and started around the final corner before stopping. "I don't…" she bit her lip.

"I know," he shifted to stand in front of her and took her shoulders. "Do you want to wait here?"

She tipped her head back and met his shifting eyes. She could see the trepidation there. Her hands shook slightly; she brought them up to cup his cheeks and felt the rough growth of his stubble. Exhaling slowly she shook her head and closed her eyes.

"No," she inhaled sharply and looked at him, "I don't want to go back there, but I know you don't want to either."

"I thought I was hiding it so well," he chuckled wryly. His hands moved down to her waist.

"You never could lie to me," her mouth twitched with a half-smile.

"No, I couldn't," he nodded. Bending he brushed his lips over her brow and drew in a deep breath.

"Besides," her eyes twinkled, "the herb needs to be harvested with the last rays of the sun, and that picture didn't really do it justice."

"I just can't believe you would insult my artistic talents," he stepped back with an affronted expression.

"Just accept that you're not an artist, Kol," she covered her mouth with her hand, "your strengths lay in other areas."

Kol shook his head fondly and followed her up and around the turn.

He paused for a moment when he saw the villa. It should have been lying in ruins after two thousand years, but aside from the overgrown vegetation it was unchanged.

"I may have cast a few preservation spells on the house," she shrugged sheepishly.

"Why the bloody hell would you do that?" He ran his hand over a painted wall as they passed through the hall towards the courtyard.

"Do you remember that pillar that kept cracking?" She nodded to the one in question. "We had to keep replacing it."

"I remember," he nodded and approached the column in question, "it was a real pain in the arse. I remember being tempted to tear the entire house down the last time I replaced it."

"Mmhmm," Alenka circled the pillar. She poked her head around the side and smirked. "I happened to like the house so after you fixed it I prepped a spell to preserve the stone," her eyes flickered to the pristine walls, "I guess it spread."

"Shall we see what else is preserved?" He leaned around the pillar and gave her a quick kiss.

"In just a minute," she backed away and approached the garden. "The sun will be down soon."

Amara stared at the ceiling several feet above her head and counted the even breaths of Caroline. The blonde had fallen asleep before her and remained asleep now; she was younger and still required sleep: almost as much as a human being.

By comparison Amara only needed an hour or two at the most. She was wide awake and slowly going crazy.

Climbing to her feet she pulled on a sweater and opened the door with the intention of exploring the compound. Alenka knew it well, but Amara only knew the location of the study; she knew she should figure out where the major rooms of the house were. It would look quite strange if she were to explore in broad daylight.

She paused when she found the room that was the kitchen; she recognized a few things that had been in the hotel. Her breath caught in her throat when she saw Elijah. He was sitting at the table still dressed in the formal attire he had donned for Hayley's wedding. His eyes were trained on his cuff. Amara followed his gaze. His suit was impeccable save for the small spot of wine on his sleeve. There was something hollow in his eyes that set her heart to pounding in her chest. Eventually her concern won out over her common sense.

"Elijah?" She approached the table. When he didn't answer or show any acknowledgement of her presence she walked around and laid a hand on his arm. "Elijah?"

The shriek that tore from her throat was one of surprise more than terror, but it seemed to be interpreted that way. Which was a good thing for her since she didn't have to actually defend herself before Elijah was tackled by a blur and her body was able to lift from the table.

"Elena," Klaus held his brother down, "perhaps you should go upstairs."

"What's going on?" She shook her head. From everything she had been told Elijah was the most moral of the Original vampires, so why had he pushed her down and lunged for her throat?

Klaus fought with his struggling brother for a moment before getting a good grip and snapping his neck.

"Klaus?" Amara stood up and held the back of the vacated chair.

"Elijah spent a little time with our mother while you were gone," he climbed back to his feet. "She had grown rather prone to psychological torture. Rebekah thought he was cured…" he cast a look down to his brother, "… evidently not."

"I never thought I would say this," Alenka sealed the bag of herbs, "but I never want to set foot in that garden again."

"How about the villa?" Kol finished piling the wood and lit the fire with an incantation.

It was too late to try and find their way back to the shore. Had he still been immortal he wouldn't have cared, but the sea became perilous for travelers with the rising moon; especially when they were not experienced sailors.

"The villa I still like," she dropped the bag into her purse and held out her hands. The heat from the fire licked up her cold arms and staved off the chill that had been brought on by the night. "Sitting here I can almost forget how close we are to it."

"Almost?" He shifted to sit behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist. Dropping his chin he laid soft kisses across her shoulder and up her neck to her ear.

"Nearly gone now," she tilted her head and closed her eyes. Her hand covered his where it rested on her stomach.

"Tired?" He nipped at her ear.

"No," she shivered. His warm breath raised goosebumps on her arms and she melted back against his chest.

"Liar," he accused lightly. "You've had just as much sleep as I have," she turned and wrapped her arms around his neck. "Less actually; I had a nap that first day."

"I feel rejuvenated whenever I'm with you," his fingers stole under her shirt to tease her hips. Her flesh tingled under his hands.

"Now who's got the lecherous heart?" She giggled against his mouth when he kissed her soundly.

"I never pretended otherwise."

Kol took advantage of her laughter to slide his tongue into her mouth. He explored her mouth until he ran out of breath before nibbling her lip and breaking the kiss. His breath fanned over her flushed skin as he licked and nipped along her throat. His hands explored her back and slowly made their way to her ribs.

"I thought I had to make an honest man out of you before I got more than hand holding," her nails scraped through his short hair.

"I'd quite forgotten that fact," he smirked before placing a last kiss on her throat and leaning back on his hands.

"Should have kept my mouth shut," Alenka pouted when he was no longer touching her. She rolled her hips down and smirked when he groaned.

"Tease," his fingers curled around the backs of her thighs.

"You started it," she cocked an eyebrow.

"Fair enough, darling," he nodded and reached into his shirt pocket. "I wanted to give you this a long time ago," his thumb swiped over a purple stone. It glittered in the light from the fire. "It seems your preservation spell has extended to anything made of stone; it was right where I left it in the box."

"I can't believe how well that spell worked," Alenka blinked at their surroundings. Aside from the foliage that had crept in through the windows and a heavy layer of dust everything was the same. If archeologists were to ever come to the island they would have found a treasure trove of artefacts.

"It worked beautifully," he opened his hand. "I was hoping it would always bring you joy, and remind you to make the most of every moment."

"Hence the alexandrite," she traced the silver band with her fingertip. "It's beautiful." She looked at him through her lashes. "You stopped kissing me to give me a ring?"

"I stopped kissing you to ask you a very important question," he tipped up her chin with his knuckle. "I told you on the plane that I'd never love another again, and I meant that. I want to spend the rest of this life with you as your husband. Will you marry me, Ellie?"

"I'm pretty sure we already did that," she teased.

"Not in this life," he shook his head. "Will you marry me, darling? Again?"

"Huh," Alenka knew what her answer would be, but she couldn't resist teasing him after the little stunt he'd just pulled. "I actually get a say in it this time around." She leaned back and pretended to think it over. "I mean there are a lot of factors to consider here; I'd be tying myself to one of the oldest most dangerous families in the world."

"You didn't have a problem with that when you came to New Orleans," he lifted an eyebrow.

"This is permanent though," she was having a very hard time keeping her smile in check. She was certain he could see the amused twinkle in her eyes. "There is no going back from this."

"I'm fairly certain we're passed that point darling," he stifled his own smirk. "You broke every law of nature bringing me back from the other side; the does send a pretty clear message."

"Oh?" She tilted her head and narrowed her eyes. "And what message would that be?"

He straightened up so there was only an inch of space between them and met her glittering eyes. His fingers wrapped around a curl. He pushed it behind her ear and tugged gently.

"It says: 'I-can't-live-without-you'," his nose brushed hers.

"It also says: 'I'm-crazy-and-sleep-deprived-and doing-something-incredibly-foolish'," the corner of her mouth tipped up. "You know I'm likely going to do something crazy again in the future."

"I know," his eyes flickered to her smiling mouth, "and I'll be right there with you. You know I'm every bit as deranged as you."

"You're not deranged," she shook her head and laughed.

"And you're not crazy," his thumb traced her jaw. "We just do crazy things from time to time. So," he lifted his brows inquisitively, "will you marry me again? I don't want to leave this country again unless it's with my wife."

"You don't think your family will object to you eloping?" She cocked an eyebrow and gave him a sceptical look.

"If they do I'll just marry you a third time," he swore. "Is that a yes?"

"I just have one condition," she pressed her fingertips to his lips when he moved forward. She smiled when he tilted his head. "You have to tell me when you're in trouble. I'll break every law of nature again if I have to," her expression turned serious, "but believe me I'll be pissed off."

"You have my word," he lowered her hand from his mouth. Carefully he slid the alexandrite on the ring finger of her left hand. "This is where woman where engagement rings in this century," he explained at her confused look.

"I didn't say yes," she poked his chest.

"Is that a no?"

"No," she shook her head, "it's a yes. I love you and I'll gladly spend the rest of my life with you." Her mouth popped open when he pushed her back and covered her face in kisses.

Chapter Text

She couldn't believe how quickly he had pulled everything together. It was unreal the contacts he had even now when the world thought him dead.

She smiled at the woman weaving tiny flowers that were the palest of blues into her ornate braid. The heavy hair fell over her left shoulder.

"Are you nervous, despoinida?" The woman's accent was heavy and reminded her of the island she had once called home.

"No," she met the woman's eyes and shook her head, "I'm not nervous." Nerves were the last thing on her mind at the moment.

"Then, why you cry?" The matron held her shoulders lightly.

She looked in the mirror to see that tears were indeed shimmering in her bright eyes and she knew what was causing them: Amara, her mother, even Jeremy. They were all people she found herself missing that day.

"I…" Alenka nibbled her bottom lip, "… I'm just missing my family today."

"You could always wait."

"I can't," she smiled sadly, "most are no longer with me." Almost all of them had seen the first one anyway; it was just that days like this made you miss the ones you loved.

She accepted the handkerchief with a small smile and used the lace to dab her moist eyes. When she felt sure she was in no danger of crying she stood from the table and crossed the room to slip into the chiffon dress that stopped at her ankles; the white material was broken up with a belt the same colour as the flowers in her hair.

Stepping into her dressy sandals she took one final look at herself before leaving the room. Her feet echoed on the narrow stairs as she made her way through the house to the front yard where he was waiting with their witch officiant.

Kol's face lit up when he turned to see her. Alenka's answering smile was as bright as the setting sun.

It was by the last rays of evening that she stepped over the line. The moment her feet were inside the circle the candles lit up. Five candles made the pentagram facing out towards the sea; each represented a different element.

Spirit was the head of the five pointed star. From there four others fanned out in a clockwise motion: water, fire, earth, and air.

She came to a stop in the center of the circle with Kol and smiled up at him.

It was all he could do in that moment not to drag her into his arms and kiss her senseless. She was ravishing in her gown that perfectly melded the style of ancient world and the modern one.

Agatha cleared her throat loudly when the couple seemed to lose themselves in each other's eyes. It was incredibly romantic, but they were losing the sun. She smirked when they turned to her with sheepish smiles.

"Shall we begin?" Agatha cocked an eyebrow. She couldn't remember the last time she had married a couple in the traditional way without the presence of a coven; she wondered if they even had one.

"Of course," Kol nodded. He had gotten Agatha's name from another witch he knew in the country. He would have asked Effie, but he had known word would have spread of his human status if he had; he didn't want his siblings hearing of his unusual return through the grapevine that was supernatural gossip.

"Relationships are like islands," she looked between the young couple, "one must accept them for what they are here and now, within their limits. Islands are surrounded and interrupted by the sea, and continually visited and abandoned by the tides of life. So too are relationships."

"You have chosen to incorporate the ancient rituals into your vows today," Agatha waited for their confirmation. "You must know now before you go any further that since your lives have crossed in this life, you have formed eternal bonds."

Alenka exchanged a secret smile with Kol. She knew they were both thinking the same thing.

"The promises you make today and the ties that are bound here greatly strengthen you union. Do you seek to enter this ceremony?"

"Yes," Kol's voice echoed hers.

"Then join hands," Agatha murmured.

He took her left hand with his and felt her pulse quicken when his fingers grazed her wrist. He knew he was experiencing the same physiological response.

Agatha lifted a blue cord from the alter behind her. She wrapped the cord around their wrists. "Water is the element of healing; it soothes all wounds and eases pain."

A soothing chill spread from their joined hands over their bodies.

"Air is at the beginning of everything," Agatha lifted the yellow cord next, "we call on it now to start the journey you will take together."

A gentle wind blew through Kol's hair and made the blue flowers dance in her braid.

"Earth provides stability," Agatha added a green cord to their hands, "and a strong foundation from which to build your union." A red cord came next. "Fire is the element of strength and symbolizes life; while it does have the potential to destroy it is also at the center of all things. May you draw on its strength in the years to come."

Alenka took a deep breath as the final cord was drawn out. It was two woven together in a swirl of violet and white.

"Spirit," Agatha added the final length of cord to their joined wrists, "is perhaps the most important element to call upon today. It is the bridge between the body and soul which is what you are pledging to each other this evening. Spirit is the element being bound with the aid of the rest, and the vows you will now make to each other."

Alenka's lower lip shook slightly when she looked up into his eyes. As custom dictated they had been separate for twenty-four hours so their promise to each other would be the first and last thing said as the day came to a close; it was also customary that the woman went first. Two thousand years before the vows had been pre-ordained by the coven, but now this was what she would promise him.

"Kol," she squeezed his hand and covered their joined hands with her right one. "I promise to try and get through this without crying." She smiled when the comment made him chuckle. "I swear to always look for the brightness and positive in you," the cords shifted under her hands as she spoke; they wove upwards over her right hand. "I will spend my life, however long it may be, with you; loving you, protecting you, and growing with you."

"Ellie," He blinked back his emotion and covered her right hand with his; "I might be in danger of tears too."

She smiled and shook with a soft laugh.

"I love you, Ellie. I solemnly swear," his thumb swiped over her hand as the cords shifted further up, "to spend the rest of my days loving you; to share in your pain and do everything in my power to try and alleviate it even if it's just holding you while you cry. I'm going to strive to make you laugh every day because your smile is brighter than the sun; there is a light in you that I pray never goes out. I want to share everything with you: your hopes, your dreams, and your burdens."

Agatha looked between the pair in front of her. She had never seen the cords react to anyone in such a way. She was reluctant to break the eye contact between them as the hand fasting completed the bond that had clearly already been present, but interrupt she had to.

"Kol and Ellie," Agatha spoke softly; neither spared her more than a passing glance when she pressed her hands over theirs, "as your hands are bound together now, your lives and spirits are joined in a union of love and trust. Your marriage is not formed by these cords, but by the promises you have made. You alone hold the fate of your union. Like the stars above us your love should be a constant source of light, and like the earth, a firm foundation from which to grow."

The cords tightened around them and seemed to mold to their skin as the candle flames grew taller.

"May your hands be blessed and always hold each other." Agatha blinked as the cords began to fade into their skin. "May they have the strength to hang on during the storms of stress and the dark of disillusionment." She was about to ask if they would seal their vows with a ring when the cords vanished completely and silver bands were left behind on their ring fingers. "Suppose I can skip that part."

Kol followed her gaze to find the cords that had merged into bands of silver; they momentarily flashed with the elemental colours before settling to silver.

"You may seal your vows with a kiss," Agatha stepped back and released their hands.

Kol's eyes flickered to her lips as his hands snaked around her waist.

Alenka gasped and collided with his chest. Her arms wrapped around her husband's neck as she tipped her head back and met his lips.

Fire and water swirled through them on contact. The strong wind that kicked up brought the smell of freshly turned earth to their noses. Much like the first time she had shared her body with him she didn't know where she ended and he began.

She hummed when his tongue traced the seam of her lips and pulled away before they wound up giving poor Agatha a show.

"Are you going to tell me where we're going?" She tried to sound stern, but truthfully she was excited. It never failed that Kol could stir her curiosity; she would have preferred he stir other feelings in that moment, but she enjoyed healthy curiosity.

"Patience, darling," he turned around and smirked playfully. Mischief danced in his dark eyes.

"You know," she stepped closer and cupped his neck between her cool palms, "typically after getting married people engage in certain activities," her nose brushed his cheek, "midnight boat ride isn't usually on the list."

"Patience," Kol chuckled. He took her waist in his large hands and kissed her cheek.

"It's incredibly difficult to be patient when you're cold," she cocked an eyebrow.

"It will be worth it," he swore, "I give you my word." Releasing her waist he slid his jacket down his arms and wrapped it around her shoulders.

"Well, now you're going to be cold," she burrowed into the warm material he had laid over her sweater.

"That is a good point," he tapped his chin thoughtfully, "luckily we're very close."

She narrowed her eyes when he smirked. A tiny shriek escaped her mouth when he hoisted her up and threw her over his shoulder.

"What do you think you're doing?" She slapped at his back lightly.

"Abducting my wife, of course," his hand slid up her thigh and pinched her bottom.

"Abducting or groping?" She giggled as he turned around. "I'm not opposed to either option at the moment."

"You are insatiable," he teased. His feet made quick work of the last winding turn in the path.

"I'm not insatiable," she gasped dramatically; "I've just been teased mercilessly for a week and a half by a man who insisted on waiting until after the wedding."

"What can I say, Ellie," he stopped in the field and brought her back to her feet in front of him. "I'm very old-fashioned."

"Really?" She cocked a brow. "I seem to recall being caught in various stages of undress before the first wedding, and let's not forget last month."

"How could I?" He took her hands and spun her around.

Her breath caught in her throat. The field of tall grass led to a tall pomegranate tree weighed down with the bright red fruit that seemed to glow in the flickering light from the candles laid out at the base.

She let Kol lead her by the hand through the green sea that promised a plethora of spring flowers towards the tree. Warmth seeped into her skin when she crossed into the circle of the candles; it was like summer had held on in this one patch of land.

Her fingers ran over the bark of the tree that was at once both rough and smooth before closing around the round fruit. It came free easily.

"You once asked me where I found all of the flowers I brought you," he wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her back against his front.

"That was here?" She turned and tilted her head to look at him.

"Mmhmm," his warm breath fanned over her cheek, "this field is filled with the most alluring flowers in the spring, and in the winter the tree bares the sharpest pomegranates."

"That was two thousand years ago," she spun in his arms and lifted the fruit, "do you think it's still the sharpest? We'll have to taste it to find out."

"I think," he hummed and took the fruit from her hands, "that I'd rather taste you."

"So long as you don't tease," she watched the fruit fall. A sigh fell from her lips as she was pulled down to the ground and straddled his hips.

"I may tease a bit," his eyes flashed with desire. He slid his jacket from her shoulders and pulled down the zipper of her sweater to reveal the material of her wedding dress that dipped down displaying a teasing amount of cleavage to his gaze.

She watched through lidded eyes as he drew her wrist upwards. Her flesh tingled with each gentle brush of his lips over the sensitive skin of her arms.

He drew closer and closer to her shoulder trailing his fingers up the opposite side of her arm and pulled the chiffon ties from around her neck.

Alenka cupped his cheeks and brought her lips to his in a kiss that was at once desperate and calm. Her mouth moved enticingly against his and drew guttural groans from his throat.

He ached with desire for her. His hands explored the cloth covering her lower back and pinched her enticing derriere. He wanted to knead the soft flesh without the layers of fabric between them; he started gathering the hem of the white dress.

Fire licked up her thighs stoking the embers in her womb under his fingers. She needed him; her hand left his neck and slid down his chest to start popping the buttons of his white shirt. She was forced to stop when he pulled her dress upwards over her head.

Alenka's nipples pebbled in the night air; she was left in nothing but her panties and shoes.

"It's a good thing the island is deserted," she moaned when he drew a nipple into his mouth.

He flicked her nipple with his tongue and pinched the unattended bud between his thumb and forefinger.

She jolted and rocked her hips down against his straining erection; it had formed a hard bulge in his pants. She made herself focus through the haze of lust and tore his shirt down his arms.

Wrapping his arms around her waist he spun them so her back was pressed into the soft grass and her head was under the pomegranate tree.

She wrapped her legs around his waist.

"Bloody hell," he groaned into her neck. He could feel the heat radiating from her swiftly dampening core against his clothed cock.

He had never thought himself a master of self-control, but he definitely should have been awarded the title when he untangled her legs and licked and nipped his way down her stomach.

She threaded her fingers into his hair and bucked when he bit down on her hip bone and soothed the mark with his tongue.

"I said I wanted to taste you," he met her eyes and pressed an open mouthed kiss to the band of her underwear.

She lifted her hips. Anticipation hummed through her body as his lips made a trail back up her leg. She was nearly on the edge when his warm breath fanned over her center.

"So wet for me, darling," his fingertip grazed her swollen folds.

"You're a terrible tease," she accused lightly; "of course I'm wet. Are you going to do something about it, or spend the entire full moon staring at me?"

"I'd love to gaze upon you all night long," he kissed the top of her slit, "but you smell so amazing that I don't think I can resist."

She closed her eyes and moaned loudly as his tongue trailed through her folds and dipped into her drenched core. Bending her knees so her thighs were over his shoulders she opened her eyes to see his hands sliding up her flat stomach towards her breasts.

He flicked her clit and tweaked her nipples at the same time causing her to buck her hips. Lapping at her folds like a man dying of thirst he felt her thighs tremble across his shoulders.

One of his hands ceased it's ministrations on her supple breast.

The heat that had coiled deep in her body convulsed and snapped sending waves of white hot fire racing through her veins. She rode out her high on his thrusting fingers. Breathing heavily she opened her eyes and saw a few fresh flowers springing up around her body.

He shifted to hover over her body and brushed the fresh flowers with his fingertips.

"I wonder if I could make you bring this entire field back to life?" His eyes glittered with amusement. It tended to happen when she engaged in carnal activities with him. "I think I can."

"You're cocky aren't you?" She fixed him with a ravenous look just as eager to see if he was right.

"You're about to find out," he wiggled his eyebrows.

"Promise?" She drew her swollen lip between her teeth. Her sandals had slid off at some point so she used her bare feet to push his trousers and underwear down his legs.

"I swear," he shifted to fully remove his remaining clothes before hovering over her body. His lips crashed to hers in an electrifying kiss. He sucked her bottom lip into his mouth and moaned when her slim fingers curled around his throbbing erection.

She squeezed him and pumped slowly before freezing and breaking the kiss. A line appeared between her brows as her fingers moved down and up again slowly. She probably shouldn't have told him because his ego definitely didn't need a boost, but she was pretty sure about her findings; he must have been too.

"Are you…" she explored the hot flesh of his shaft once more while lining him up with her dripping entrance, "… bigger?"

"A bit," he smirked. "Don't worry, Ellie," he leaned down and kissed her neck, "I'll still fit."

"Who's worried?" She sighed as he trailed through her folds and circled her clit with the tip of his cock.

Her head fell back and her back arched as he slid inside of her. He was definitely longer and a little thicker. He was stretching her deliciously.

She hooked her leg high over his waist and rocked with him when he began thrusting into her slowly. She appreciated the pace at first because she had needed a moment to adjust but soon enough she was ready for more.

Rolling him onto his back she rode him slowly at first as she built herself up to her second orgasm before moving faster.

She shuddered around his thrusting cock. Her walls clamped down with her orgasm and attempted to milk his release from his body, but he had enough will power to roll her onto her back again.

Shifting back onto his knees he held her hips and snapped his hips into her at an unforgiving pace. He kneaded her soft cheeks and teased her puckered hole with his index finger. The additional stimulation sent her flying over the edge a moment later and he joined her.

He held his weight on his elbows and breathed heavily as they both came down from their highs. Energy coursed through both of them and into the earth where it manifested as new life.

He rolled over to lie down beside her and gathered her into his arms.

She pressed her ear to his chest and stared up through the branches of the tree to the stars twinkling in the heavens. Here, on the deserted island, the sky was lit with more stars than she had seen since waking. It was the absence of electric lights.

"There are so many stars," she shivered and smiled sleepily when he drew a blanket from a basket and draped it over them.

"A constant source of light," he kissed her sweaty brow.

She fingered the edge of the soft blue material and hummed.

"You had this planned, didn't you?" She waved to the field now alive with spring flowers that wouldn't survive the cold night. The only ones that might were the ones inside the circle he had drawn to keep them warm.

"Of course I did," his fingers trailed up and down her arm. "I thought I'd do something special for you, but short of bringing your sister out here for the wedding I was out of ideas. Then I remembered this place."

"It's beautiful," she inhaled slowly.

"Not as beautiful as you," he bent his right arm and placed it behind his head.

"You're sweet," she kissed his chest. Her head lifted so she could rest her chin on his chest and met his eyes. "Is it just me or has the ceremony changed a bit?"

"A little," he smirked. "I added a few new touches from the modern tradition and my own Viking ceremony. The rings," he joined their left hands and held them at her shoulder, "and the joined cords."

"You did this then," she touched the glittering band on her finger.

"I did," he kissed her palm. "The metal grew stronger with each vow that was made. Now they will tell us if the other is ever in danger."


"Well," he sighed, "they'll grow warm against our skin."

"Hopefully we never see that in action," she arched her neck and kissed his lips softly. "I love you."

"I love you, too," adoration shone in his eyes. "Now," he brought his hand down to poke her belly, "I can feel your stomach rumbling."

He rolled onto his side and held out his hand. The red fruit levitated through the air and came to a stop in his palm.

"Shall we find out if the fruit is still sharp?"

He cocked a brow and leaned against the bar. His eyes slid over the undulating bodies of men and women; he was fairly certain they were trying to enact some form of a mating ritual.

He wouldn't have stopped at all when she suggested they ask for directions. He didn't need anyone to point him towards the city. He was most definitely not lost no he had not been driving them in circles for the better part of the past hour.

She had raised an amused brow in a way that said she had not believed him for a second. It had been over a century since he had actually tried to enter the city after all.

No he would not have stopped for directions, but she had asked him to pull in somewhere for a restroom. He wasn't sure if she'd actually had to go, or if she was just giving him an opportunity to ask for directions without admitting to her that he was completely turned around.

She knew him well. She knew he didn't like to ask for help. She also knew when he was lying through his teeth.

He waved to the bartender when he saw her slip into the restroom quickly enough that he thought she might not have been fibbing to get him off the road.

"I wonder if you could help me." Kol leaned on the countertop. "I'm trying to get to New Orleans and find myself completely turned around. The GPS is sending me in circles," he held up his phone as evidence.

"Must be," the man scoffed, "if you wound up out here." He reached beneath the bar and pulled out a map before proceeding to show the young man exactly where he was.

Kol's eyes grew round when he saw that he had somehow managed to get lost in the backwoods of Louisiana some sixty miles from the city.

"Damn," he cursed.

"Something bothering you?"

Kol straightened his spine and turned to the breathy voice coming from his right. There were very few things he missed about being a vampire, but the ability to tell when someone was approaching him had come in handy over the centuries.

The woman took him by surprise. Her hair was styled in big blonde curls; the colour was almost yellow in its intensity. Her brown eyes looked him up and down lasciviously as she leaned on the bar so her cleavage nearly spilled from her low cut top.

"Maybe I can take your mind off it," she winked suggestively.

"No thank you," he backed away with a small smile. "I'm a happily married man," he lifted his left hand.

"That's okay," the girl reached out and trailed her fingers up his arm before he could pull away. It was rare they ever got anyone new around town; and this stranger was undeniably hot with a killer accent, and she was a little tipsy. She yelped when her fingers came into contact with his skin; she pulled back as if she had been burned.

"And my wife is the jealous type," Kol smirked while wrapping his arm around Alenka's waist. He nodded to the bartender who had watched the exchange with amusement. "Thanks for your help, mate."

He felt her tremble slightly in his arms as he steered her back out into the cool night.

"Everything alright, darling?" He pressed his palm to her warm brow and took in her pale face. "Perhaps we should find somewhere to stay the night."

"Are you just trying to avoid your siblings?" She chuckled weakly.

"Yes," he didn't attempt to lie, "but you're also sick. It's been nearly seven weeks since we left Amara with Caroline; one more night won't hurt."


Chapter Text

She knew her sister's personality well. She knew Alenka was the type to observe and think before acting on anything… usually. Kol was the exception to her rule, but even with him she had thought through her second attempt.

She had always admired Alenka's quiet strength, been envious of her personality and coveted her abilities.

By comparison she was a compulsive whirlwind; a chaotic tornado that destroyed everything she touched. Everything that had gone wrong in Alenka's life could be traced back to Amara; she had completely destroyed her sister's happiness. One too many cups of wine had loosened her tongue and revealed the knowledge of immortality to Silas and Qetsiyah. That was the moment things had started to change, but even drunk she hadn't named her sister.

Qetsiyah had laughed about the secret, at first. It was her lover that had made her see the merits of the idea. Amara had been tipsy but she had seen the way Silas had looked at her then. She had thought it had resembled the looks she would receive from men in the market; the kind of look that made chills race down her spine and heat settle low in her belly.

Only now, two thousand years later, after centuries of pain and years of reflection did she recognize the light that had illuminated his eyes. It wasn't love; she had seen love and desire directed at her sister. No… Silas' eyes had reflected hunger and greed. From the many times, and the vigour with which, he had taken her body she knew he had found her desirable, but it had not been love.

She only wished she had seen it before; before he had coaxed the name from her lips with gentle caresses, lofty promises and sweet nothings.

She had been blind. She had jumped off the cliff headfirst and been shocked when the sea had wrapped her in an icy embrace. She had leapt towards what she thought was love and received nothing but pain.

She wasn't blind anymore.

Weeks spent masquerading as her sister had instilled a few of her twin's traits. She was overanalyzing everything… overthinking. Had Silas ever truly loved her, or had she been a means to an end? Had he only given her the other half of the elixir to avoid an eternity with the woman he'd once called a clingy, jealous bitch?

She didn't know the answer. The solutions were buried under layers of dust deep in her past and she much preferred to look towards the present.

What she did know was that Elijah was avoiding her.

She had tried emulating Alenka but it was driving her crazy.

She couldn't wait.

She needed answers.

She needed to know if he was a true danger to her sister. And if he wasn't she needed to know why he had attacked her.

The edge of her nail caught the thin chain of her necklace. It had become a habit to toy with the thin metal whenever she passed another person. There was no way for her to physically distinguish the living from the dead so she addressed nobody until they were spoken to by someone else. Caroline had made a habit of greeting everyone; she had gained a reputation as the overly friendly vampire. It helped that often she had Hope and went through the process of getting the baby to say 'hi'; she hadn't quite gotten the word but she would wave.

Whenever the child was not with Hayley she was with Klaus and Caroline; Hope had taken a real shine to the vampire.

She passed by a few people. Two men gave her strange looks when she didn't return their greetings but the woman in the white shift seemed unsurprised. Not for the first time she wondered who the woman was and why she seemed to spend all of her time cursing Klaus and Elijah in what sounded like French: the language used by the witches of the French Quarter.

She ignored the enraged mutterings and skirted the pale wall on her way to the study. She had learned that she could hear hearts beating from anywhere in the house, and for want of anything to do she had memorized the unique patterns of each person. Everyone was slightly different; Caroline couldn't make the distinctions but Amara could.

She knew Elijah was in the study, and he was alone.

The thought that her sister would have knocked first crossed her mind after she had opened the door and stepped inside. It was too late to take it back though so she pushed the door shut and crossed the study to stand in front of his desk.


"You're avoiding me," she crossed her arms over her chest and cocked an eyebrow. "Why?"

His eyes flickered to her slim throat as he recovered from his surprise at finding her in his study. He hadn't even heard her in the hall.

"Are you really asking me that?" He gave a pointed look to his hand. "I tried to kill you. I should think I'd be the last person you want to be anywhere near."

"Why?" Amara stood her ground. She was an exceptionally stubborn person and she would not be leaving that room without answers.

"I was hallucinating," his fingers tapped a folded sheet of paper on his desk. He stood and fastened the button on his jacket. "You shouldn't be around me."

"Why?" She turned with him so he was always in her sights as he circled around the desk. "Are you planning on attacking me again?"

"I didn't plan on attacking you the first time," Elijah stopped a foot away from her. "I'm certain you've heard from somebody by now what happened with my mother." A line appeared between his brows when she shook her head. "She spent days torturing me before your return to the city; forcing me to relive the memory of when I killed Tatia. For centuries I believed she had done it, and once that memory came back so did the rest. Every heinous act I've ever committed, and there have been many. I was lost in one of those visions when you found me. You need to leave now before I hurt you."

"You can't hurt me, Elijah," she tipped her head back and met his eyes. A small gasp escaped her lips when he closed the space between them in an instant. Her hands were held behind her back in one of his wrists; it was a firm grip, but not enough to hurt.

"I could easily break you in two," he caught her chin with his free hand and lifted it. His eyes narrowed when he saw no fear in her dark eyes. Does she have a bloody death wish?

"No," her cool breath fanned across his chin as she searched his gaze, "if you wanted to hurt me you would have done it by now."

She found it hard to believe that he had actually killed Tatia. Caroline had told her how the Originals had come to be during the long drive back to New Orleans; Amara might not have been a protégé like her sister but she did know that a spell of that magnitude would have taken all of the blood a person had to give. There would have been just enough left to bind Klaus' werewolf side.

He hadn't killed her, but Amara doubted he would have listened to her logic.

"You seem awfully certain of that fact," his eyes flickered to her lips when she spoke. He slowly released her hands and slid his hand from her chin to the smooth column of her throat.

Perhaps it should have felt strange having a man who looked so much like her brother-in-law caressing her soft skin but it didn't. She wasn't sure how she was making the distinction. Maybe it was the knowledge that Elias had been reincarnated and the time she had spent with Kol, but she didn't associate Elijah with the immortal that had triggered his doppelganger line.

"I am," she breathed.

He knew he should have pulled away and let her leave, or even left himself. She had said she didn't want him, but the physiological responses of her body were saying something else.

He should have lowered his hand to his side before he lost himself in another memory and she took on the live role of his victim, but he couldn't tear his fingers from her soft skin or move his eyes from her hypnotic gaze. There was something mesmerizing in her mahogany eyes; something different.

When he drew in the deep breath he wasn't sure if it was to steady his nerves to close the distance, or to gain the strength to back away from her gravitational pull. But by the time her scent registered with him he realized what was different; she smelled sweet like vanilla. Elena had always favored a floral perfume of jasmine.

He lowered his hand and took a step back. Tatia had always smelled sweet like the honey mixed in with her soap. Katerina had preferred sweet smells as well. Elena had been different in her perfume choices.

"Perhaps you can help me with something," he smoothed his features in to an indifferent mask and reached around her to a folded paper on the table.

"Uh…" Amara's eyes narrowed. She had been certain he was going to kiss her for a moment. "Sure… I guess…"

"What is this?" He unfolded the paper and held it a foot away from her.

She glanced at the page covered in the language of her people. Wasn't his mother a witch? Shouldn't he have been brought up reading it?

"I'm not sure," she squinted at the tiny handwriting. It would have taken her a while to decipher the markings; she never had paid attention to her mother's lessons. "I've never seen it before in my life."

"Strange," Elijah looked at the page and kept an ear on her steady heart. She hadn't lied to him. "It's in your handwriting," he heard her heart skip a beat, "and it was in your desk drawer."

"I've never seen that before in my life," she spoke with a sturdy authority. "Somebody else must have left it; it's not my handwriting." She exhaled slowly and made to leave the room; she had the door halfway open when there was a rush of wind.

Elijah pressed the door closed and pinned her to the smooth wood with his arms. He was expecting fear to finally rear its head, but when he looked into her dark eyes he saw nothing but mild annoyance.

"I thought you wanted me to leave," she looked up into his eyes.

"I wanted Elena to leave because she was not safe, but you're not Elena." He felt the smallest amount of triumph when her eyes flickered. "Who are you?"

"Who else could I possibly be?" She crossed her arms defiantly, but her blood was running cold. She could see it in his eyes; he knew.

"I knew there was something different the night you came here with Caroline," Elijah's hands settled on either side of her head a few inches from her luscious curls. "Does she know? I believe she does. Tatia is dead, and Katerina wouldn't dare set foot in this house, so who are you?" His eyes dropped to the necklace around her neck. "Are you even human?" He hooked a finger under the chain. "Are you a vampire? Does this hide you from us?"

"Don't touch that!" Her hand rose instantly and curled protectively around the stone.

He blinked at the sting when she slapped his hand and he saw fear finally enter her dark eyes.

"Tell me who you are," he peered into her bewitching eyes. "Why are you pretending to be her?"

Amara swallowed once before pushing him back and opening the door. She caught it before he could slam it shut again and gave him a pointed look before motioning him to follow her. She took the stairs two at a time and entered 'her' room; she held the door open and waited with a hand on her hip for him to walk in behind her.

There was the softest click when she closed the door. She crossed the room and sealed the windows and the double doors leading out to the balcony. She made sure her sister's spell was in place over the door before meeting his eyes.

"This doesn't leave this room."

"You're not afraid I'll kill you?" His eyes widened when she disappeared from his view. A moment later he was on his stomach with his arm twisted painfully behind his back and a knee in his spine.

"I said you couldn't hurt me," she loosened her hold and allowed him to stand back up, "and I meant that."

Elijah set his shoulder back in its socket and watched her with wide eyes. That one display had been more than enough to demonstrate that she was much stronger than him, but only someone older than him could have held more power.

"Who are you?"

"Amara," she crossed her arms and leaned back against the nightstand. "The world's first immortal woman… according to the history books anyway."

"Why are you here?" Elijah nodded slowly. Her heart remained perfectly steady as she delivered the truth.

"She asked me to be her for a while," Amara shrugged.

"And you agreed because…?"

"I owed her one," Amara tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. "I ruined her life once; this was the least that I could do."

"Where's Elena?"

"My sister is in Greece," she saw his eyes grow round as he processed all of the information.

"Your sister?" His brows rose.

"My sister," Amara nodded. "She was reincarnated in the body of my doppelganger as a traveller; a cursed gypsy. When Elena took the cure she forgot everything that had happened to her in this life and remembered the first one. She broke her curse before leaving town on a mission."

"And what was this mission?" Elijah rubbed his temples. He could feel the beginning strains of a headache; he couldn't remember the last time he's had a headache.

"Resurrecting her soulmate," Amara sat and ran her fingers over the soft bedspread. She still wasn't over the wonderful material that was both light and warm at the same time. "She came to this town a cursed woman, found her soulmate… lost her soulmate and then set about trying to save him again."

Elijah watched her stare at the wall absentmindedly for a moment before taking a tentative seat beside her. He followed her gaze to the faint outline of a shape that had been drawn over the door; he hadn't noticed it before.

She had been frantic before she'd vanished, and returned incredibly calm. He should have seen it much sooner. He had a feeling he already knew the answer to his next question; it was the only thing that would have explained her behaviour. Klaus' words echoed in his mind: she hasn't come out of her room since she saw him die.

"Who was her soulmate?"

"Is…" Amara corrected his tense. "And I think you already know." She sighed before nodding to the paper in his hands. "That there is a spell of some kind. I wasn't lying; it's not my writing, but given enough time I could decipher it. I highly doubt it's the one she planned for him which leads me to believe it's the spell she made for Caroline."

"Caroline knows," Elijah examined the paper. Of course she knew everything. "Why didn't she tell us the truth?"

"Would you have believed her?" Amara countered. "That's why I think she never mentioned it. Josh knew about her as well, and he… the first thing he asked me was where he was."

"Where exactly is my brother?" He tried not to let his mouth twist with jealousy. "That's who it was, wasn't it? That's why she was so distraught when he died?"

"As far as I know he's with her," Amara caught his arm before he could leave. "They will come back; they just needed some time to readjust. What I've told you needs to stay between us until they come back."

"Why would I ever agree to that?"

"Because if Klaus knows he'll hunt her down," Amara stood from the bed and looked down into his eyes. "I know my sister, and I know she'll come back as will he; love, loyalty, family… the three things she's always valued most. She'll return."

"And what of Rebekah and Davina?" He cocked an eyebrow. "They are working tirelessly to do what your sister has already accomplished."

"I don't think that's something we need to worry about," Amara smirked. "They haven't spared much time for the spell lately with your aunt on her way for Hope; they'll be back long before Rebekah has a chance to return to the spell."

In the end Amara had been right. Rebekah never did get back to the spell. Her witch body was destroyed when she slit her own throat. Davina continued to work away at it but she didn't have enough power on her own and had to put the spell aside until she could find something powerful enough to draw magic from.

And so they went. There day to day lives passed eventless. Elijah continued to ask Amara questions when they were alone, and she answered as honestly as she could without revealing the full extent of her sister's spell that had returned his brother from the other side.

Days turned into weeks as they grew closer. Caroline spent a lot of time with Klaus trying to help figure out a way to protect Hope. She had been present when Dahlia finally found Hayley and the baby at St. James Infirmary where the witches had created a safe zone that would tolerate no magic. Unfortunately she was out gathering ingredients with Klaus and Freya when Hayley made a run for it.

By the time Klaus found the Crescent wolves they had been massacred. Not a single wolf remained alive to tell him how Hayley had lost her heart or where his child was.

That was the day Amara became acquainted with his temper. It was the day she received a fire message from Alenka saying she would be back in town the next day. There had been a phone number scrawled at the bottom of the page that she had used to update her sister on the most recent events of the city. Freya had been working around the clock to try and break through Dahlia's spell with no luck; Amara had thought Alenka might have better luck.

"How in Hades did this happen?" Her exhalation of air drew the attention of two sets of eyes; one malicious and the other full of innocent curiosity.

She blinked down into blue eyes and schooled her features into an indifferent mask.

Don't cry Alenka! For the love of Zeus do not cry!

She turned her head sharply to the left when her chauffer spun the truck around and came to a complete stop.

"What are you doing?" Her voice was tight; whether with anger, tears or some combination of the two she didn't know.

"I am not cruel, my dear," the woman smiled with false sincerity. "I will afford you one final look at your husband before you are made a widow."

"You swore you wouldn't kill him," her blood boiled in her veins. She moved to open the door.

"I gave you my word," the locks clicked in place. "When I make a promise I keep it. I won't kill him, but with that wound he is unlikely to survive the night." She pointed to the rising moon. "Do not forget your own promise."

Alenka dropped her gaze to the rune on her palm. How could she forget? Her deal was twofold. Her deal was what kept her in the truck cab.

She lowered her hand slowly while willing Kol to stand back up; to fight through his wounds; to survive.

"How in Hades did I get here?" She muttered under her breath.

Get up! Get up! Get up!

She closed her eyes and laid her head against the seat as they drove away. She knew logically that she didn't have to use every ounce of magic, but she was desperate so when the images left her mind and raced across the stars they were crystal clear.


Her eyes snapped open from where she had managed to drift off into an uneasy sleep on; she hadn't slept in a few days with all of the commotion going on at the compound. A familiar voice had screamed in her mind and roused her from the uneasy slumber.

"Klaus," Caroline caught his arm to stop his frantic pacing, "stop pacing and glaring daggers at your sister. She's trying to help and this animosity is not making the process any easier."

"My daughter is missing!"

"I know," Caroline voice was just as loud as his, "and we will find her, but you need to let Freya do her work."

Amara climbed to her feet and took Elijah's arm as the images began to clear in her mind; the completed picture made panic grip her heart. Elijah clearly saw it in her eyes because he followed her wordlessly into the garage and started the car when she passed him the keys.

Chapter Text

"Are you going to tell me where we're going?" Elijah tapped out an impatient beat against the steering wheel.

They had been driving in near silence for fifteen minutes; the only interruptions to the tense quiet were Amara's occasional directions which seemed to be leading them in circles deeper and deeper into the Bayou. They had left behind paved roads several minutes before and were now driving over what could only be described as a rutted path.

"I don't know," Amara worried her bottom lip. Whatever her sister had done had placed a direction firmly in her mind, but she had no idea where that location was.

She gasped and braced her hands on the dash when he slammed on the brakes.

"We're in the middle of a crisis and you don't know where we're going?" He shifted in his seat to face her, so far she had told him nothing.

"I know where we're going," Amara crossed her arms. "I just don't know where exactly it is." She closed her eyes and inhaled slowly as the location solidified in her mind. She felt it in her heart; it was a tugging sensation urging her closer and closer to her end goal.

"It's that way," she pointed out to the left through a thick layer of trees, "about a half mile."

Elijah peered into the gloom where the trees reached high overhead to create an inky pattern of lace against the night sky.

"In case you haven't noticed," he cocked an eyebrow, "there is no road."

"Then we're going on foot," she unbuckled her seatbelt and jumped from the car. "We're about to find out how fast I can run."

"What exactly are we running towards?" Elijah killed the engine and came to stand beside her after locking the car.

Amara took a deep breath and exhaled slowly before rolling her neck around and looking at him.

"Kol," she looked out to the trees with renewed determination, "follow me."

He blinked once and she was gone. His eyes narrowed in confusion for a moment when he found only the faintest of trails. He had once thought there was nobody in the world stronger or faster than him, but Amara was different.

"Hurry up now," her soft voice reached him from a distance, "we don't have all night."

He took off in the direction she had gone until the soft smell of her perfume grew stronger.

Elijah froze when he emerged in a small clearing at the end of an old country road. The heavy smell of blood made his canines extend instinctively, but it was the source of the smell that made his heart stutter.

Amara knelt on the ground beside the prone body of the baby brother he had thought dead for months before she had told him the truth. Her hands pressed down firmly against his stomach to staunch the flow of blood that had nearly stopped.

Kol was unconscious and pale from blood loss when Elijah knelt down beside him.

"I may have left something out," Amara pressed her lips together and glanced up at him through her lashes.

"Why don't you explain?" Elijah bit into his wrist and pressed it to Kol's lips. He could smell it in the blood seeping into the earth; his baby brother had rejoined the land of the living in every sense.

"When she brought him back she brought him back as a human," Amara watched the stab wounds on his stomach heal. "Part of the reason I think she ran so suddenly. She was racing against time and didn't think she'd have enough to convince all of you; she just got everything together in time…"

Amara trailed off when Kol sputtered and pushed Elijah's wrist from his mouth before rolling and coughing up the blood still remaining in his mouth. She pressed her palm between his shoulders.

"Kol," she attempted to keep her voice calm, "I know you nearly died and all that but I need to know where my sister is?"

Kol pushed himself to his feet and swayed under his own weight. The world spun around him making it clear that his body was still healing. The frenzy with which he searched the clearing only made his weary body that much more tired.

"Kol," Amara snapped while steadying him. She waited until he turned to face her before speaking and enunciating each word carefully. "Where is my sister?"

"I… I…" panic gripped his chest. The last he had seen her she had been foolishly jumping in front of him; her voice had reached him from underwater. "I don't know. We had her, and then she came…"

Kol took a few calming breaths before closing his eyes and concentrating, but the soul link they shared appeared to have been muted; he could only assume his aunt had been behind it. His only solace was the cool band around his ring finger, and the knowledge that she would find a way to contact him soon.

Elijah followed his brother's eyes to the wedding band. He noticed when Amara did the same.

"You're very lucky that I was at the first one," she tapped the ring, "or I might be very angry with the two of you." She attempted to lighten his mood, but his worried frown seemed to be infectious. "What happened?"

"Dahlia took her and Hope," Kol straightened his spine and waved off her hand. "I couldn't stop her…"

"I should think not," Amara scoffed, "with the wounds you took."

"Why would Dahlia take Alenka?" Elijah narrowed his eyes.

"You know?" Kol turned to his older brother with a surprised look. Whatever jealousy he had felt vanished with his missing wife.

"In my defence," Amara shrugged sheepishly, "I managed to fool everyone else. He's asked a valid question tho…" Her eyes grew round with the sudden realization. "Oh…"

Freya stared at the upended contents of the table. Magical paraphernalia littered the floor. An overturned candle spilled thick white wax to merge with the crimson blood in a swirling mess that put her in mind of Christmas.

"That's going to make finding her decidedly harder," Rebekah crossed her arms. Her dark eyes flickered from Klaus to the window.

A fierce wind had picked up. Rain pattered against the glass in thick sheets.

"We're we expecting poor weather?" Caroline followed Rebekah's eyes.

"No," Freya frowned, "there is nothing natural about this storm.

Elijah glanced over his shoulder when Kol blew the mixture of blood, sage and stones. The herbs and liquid shifted violently in the bowl between the tall candles.

Outside the tomb the clear sky clouded over with a roiling mass of black clouds. Lightening flashed illuminating the entrance and shelves nearest the door.

"I'm assuming this is your doing," Elijah nodded.

"Yes," Kol pulled further ingredients from the shelves, "I couldn't have been lying in that clearing for more than an hour. There is no way she made it out of the state in that time."

"You placed a storm over the entire state?" Amara gaped. He had been powerful in their first life, but she didn't think he could have done that then.

"Yes," he laid out the tools he would need for the locator spell. "She'll have to stop and wait it out."

"How sure are you?"

"Well I summoned a bloody hurricane so they should," he looked up from the map, "she wants Hope alive so she won't risk her life in a storm."

"Let's hope so," Elijah eyed the spell that had summoned the storm; "otherwise Niklaus will kill you… again."

"Third times the charm," Kol drew a thin line across his palm with a knife.

"Careful, Kol," Amara crossed her arms, "Ellie's not here to bring you back this time."

She gripped the handle over the door with one hand and draped her other arm over the car seat protectively. Violent winds buffeted the trees on either side of the road. They bowed over the pavement.

There was nothing natural about the storm. It had come out of nowhere.

Casting her eyes to the side she could see Dahlia glaring out at the rain where it pounded against the windshield. The downpour made it difficult to see more than ten feet in front of the truck. She could tell the other witch was aware of the hurricane's origins.

"Shouldn't we stop?"

"The storm only extends as far as the state line," Dahlia shook her head. "We will be clear of it soon."

She didn't know for sure what witch had called up the clouds, but she chose to hope that it was him. She chose to believe that her sister had found him in time. If only he had called the rain sooner he might have kept them close enough to find.

Turning her gaze back to the road when the vehicle slowed to a crawl she set her sights on a massive oak in the distance. It was little more than a shadow.

She inhaled sharply and exhaled in a rush.

They hadn't been driving fast, but when Dahlia slammed on the brakes Alenka still jerked forward against the belt.

"Damn it," Dahlia cursed.

Alenka rubbed the back of her neck. She placed her hand on Hope's stomach to calm the child down. Her eyes grew round when Dahlia took her arm and the handle of the car seat. Her vision was flooded with white; when it faded she was staring at the roughhewn walls of an oak cabin.

"Worried that they would find you and kill you in the middle of the road?" Alenka took the baby carrier from Dahlia.

"Don't be ridiculous Ellie," Dahlia waved her hand and started the fire in the hearth. "It would require a very specific combination of things to kill me. The final ingredient is impossible to get."

"And what would that be?" Alenka placed the carrier on the table and began unfastening the straps. Through the window she caught a glimpse of winter flowers: yellow and blood red.

"The blood of my deceased sister," Dahlia hung her black coat on a hook by the door. "She's been dead these last thousand years."

"Damn it," Kol kicked over the low table full of ingredients.

"That's going to make this so much easier," Elijah leaned in an archway.

"I had her," Kol clenched his hands into fists. "I had her and then she disappeared."

Alenka opened the cabin door and stepped out onto the porch with Hope on her hip. She glanced over her shoulder to the sharp voice within.

"Where do you think you're going?"

"Nowhere," she held up her hand so the rune caught the light. "Don't worry," her lips twisted in a grimace, "I haven't forgotten."

She would have loved nothing more than to run with the child in her arms; to run back to the relative safety of New Orleans, but she couldn't. She had given her word in a witch's oath. She had sworn not to run from Dahlia until such a time as she was released so long as Dahlia did not harm any of her loved ones.

"Then what are you doing?" Dahlia shivered in the doorframe.

"It's so dark and dismal," she bounced Hope gently and plucked a flower from the box. "I'm brightening up the room," she passed the white blossom to Hope; "she should have something cheerful to look at."

Dahlia raised no objection to her midnight flower picking, and felt no need to stand their watching her create a bouquet from the boxes on the screened in porch.

Alenka broke off the stem of a yellow flower that appeared to be bleeding out across the petals. She placed it in the middle of the flowers and angled the handful towards Hope who babbled happily.

Several hours later she was staring at the ceiling in the tiny bedroom. Her fingers ran lightly over the tartan bedspread as she strained her ears listening for any sign of life outside the room.

The only sound that reached her was the gentle breathing of the baby sleeping between her and the wall.

Once she was convinced she was the only person awake she sat up on the edge of the bed and pulled back the heavy quilt. She folded the thick material at the end of the bed and carefully maneuvered Hope so she was in the center of the blue sheet.

Alenka pulled flower after flower from the vase and arranged them in a five pointed star. Heather and alyssum were angled in each corner for protection and grounding.

She lifted the last flower from the vase and caressed the petals. Pulling the zipper of Hope's sleeper down a few inches she threaded the stem through the metal loop and tied it in a loose knot.

"Please be nearby," she breathed before closing her eyes and holding her hands over Hope. "Párte tin tóra apó aftó to méros mas, kai na tin steílete píso stin ankaliá tous."

The door crashed open when the magic crested, but the spell finished before Dahlia could stop her.

"What have you done?" Dahlia gaped at the brunette and the now empty bed. "What the hell have you done?"

"I sent her away," she lowered her hands to her turning stomach and shifted to face her captor.

Dahlia acted without thinking and brought the back of her hand up to strike the younger woman's cheek.

A loud gasp fell from her lips. She had been in the process of turning so the slap offset her balance. Alenka crashed onto the mattress. The hard stems of the heather cut into her palm. She lifted her bleeding hand to her burning face.

"You gave your word," Dahlia seethed.

"I did," she sat up and swallowed her nausea. "I swore not to run. I never said I'd make this easy for you; I never said I wouldn't fight you every step of the way."

Fire flashed in her eyes. Alenka glared at the witch attempting to tower over her on the bed. She would not be intimidated by the other woman. Dahlia had manipulated her once, and the only reason had been Kol. Dahlia had been ready to strike her own nephew dead. She'd grown hysterical when she'd seen her husband's blood.

"You are going to be a thorn in my side, aren't you?" Dahlia rocked back on her heels and looked Alenka up and down. "What am I going to do with you?"

Dahlia crossed her arms and tilted her head. She hadn't thought much of the magic flowing around her nephew's bride after all there was a reason for it. It seemed that reason was deeper than she had initially thought.

"The only way to quiet me is to kill me," Alenka sat on the corner of the bed and swept the remnants of her spell to the floor, "and you won't do that."

A slow smirk lifted the edges of Dahlia's lips.

"Oh no, my dear," she cupped Alenka's cheeks, "there is one other way."

Her eyes grew round when she felt the magic pulse from Dahlia into her body. It swirled in her mind and made her head swim. Swaying on the bed she gasped for breath. The room twisted and turned until it disappeared entirely and she was left staring into bottomless brown eyes.

Alenka's eyes closed. She slipped away into the realm of dreams.

"There's one other way," Dahlia repeated.

She pulled the stake from her thigh and flashed into the kitchen where she saw him approaching her brother. Jumping onto his back she wrapped her arms around his neck.

He backed her into a wall and drove the stake into her gut causing her to wince.

She blinked at the brief light she caught in his eyes. It almost looked like remorse. She didn't get enough time to examine it though before Jeremy drove the stake through his heart.

A sob tore through her throat that had nothing to do with the pain.

"No," she managed to yank the wood from her abdomen. Falling to her knees beside the burning body of Kol Mikaelson she felt her stomach turn. What have I done?

Her wide eyes locked on the small fire.

"Absolutely not," Damon crossed his arms and glared at Bonnie. "Elena's not giving up her one chance to be human again just so Barbie Klaus can have her way."

"Damon…" She shook her head and narrowed her eyes. The slim phial was slapped into her hand. The red liquid caught the flickering light from the fire.

Did she want this? Did she deserve this? What was real and what was the bond?

She cast her eyes to the blonde before holding out the dose. She might not have liked her new life, but she could adjust; she could find a way to break the link. Rebekah had suffered for centuries; condemned by her own parents to a life she would have never chosen.

"No," Damon growled and stomped towards her, "drink the damn cure. Now."

Her eyes widened. She couldn't stop her hands from pulling the cork and pouring the contents into her mouth.

Her knees buckled and her eyes drifted shut to the outraged shriek of Rebekah Mikaelson.

She bolted upright in the bed and held her hand to her pounding heart. Her eyes searched the corners of the unfamiliar room frantically.

Sunlight streamed through the dew covered glass creating rainbow patterns against her skin wherever it touched.

She climbed to her feet and swallowed a sudden wave of nausea. She pressed her right hand to her stomach, her left to her mouth and drew in several deep breaths. Exhaling slowly on the last she opened her eyes and lowered her hand.

She froze when the sun caught the gem on her hand. She tilted her head and stared for a long moment at the glittering purple stone and silver bands around her left ring finger. Her eyes darted to her right hand that was bare of jewelry, bare of everything save a rune made of dark lines, and back to the streaming sunlight.

"What…" She looked up to the sound of movement on the opposite side of the door. Swallowing she reached out and pulled open the door.

"Ah," a tall woman with long dark hair smiled sweetly from the kitchen, "you're awake." She strode forward and pressed a glass of thick green liquid into her hand. "Sleeping in is of course alright in your condition, but you should try not to make a habit of it dear."

"Condition?" She sniffed the rising smell of oranges. Her stomach turned violently. Dropping the glass onto the counter she bent over the sink and heaved. The bile burned her throat. She pressed her hand to her stomach and turned back around slowly.

"Who are you?" She breathed slowly through her nose. "Where am I?"

"Ah yes," the woman nodded slowly, "they said you might suffer some memory loss; I was hoping the phase of forgetting was done, but I see it's not yet."

"Who are you?" The counter dug into her lower back.

The woman stepped forward with an overly sweet smile. The light didn't quite reach her dark eyes; her bottomless brown eyes.

"I'm Dahlia, dear," Dahlia touched her shoulder. "You were in an accident. It claimed the life of your husband, my nephew, but you survived with a head wound. Your memory kept resetting, but the doctor was comfortable sending you home with me; I was a nurse."

"Husband…" A line appeared between her brows. "My husband… no, no… I'm not…" her eyes fell to her rings. She looked back up into the woman's dark eyes and saw a secret flash there. There was definitely something familiar about Dahlia, but she couldn't place it.

"What month is it?" She inhaled slowly.

"It's February," Dahlia smiled. It was the sweet smile that made her skin prickle. "February 17, 2013."

Her eyes were wide when the glass was pressed back into her palm.

"Drink your smoothie, Ellie," Dahlia hummed to a gentle tune, "it's good for you."

"Elena," she stared suspiciously at the liquid.

"If you would feel more comfortable making another," Dahlia lifted the glass and nodded to the counter behind her, "all of the ingredients are there, but you do need to drink it Elena."

Elena jolted when Dahlia's hand settled on her stomach. She could practically feel the energy swirling beneath the woman's skin.

"The baby needs the nutrients."

Chapter Text

He could still hear the crystal shattering against the cobblestones when he looked at his baby brother's drawn face. He hadn't been able to hold the decanter. Elijah had returned to the compound holding him up; he'd been all but unconscious between Elijah and Elena.

That had been twenty minutes before. The couple had refused to answer any questions until after they had put Kol to bed claiming the younger brother needed to rest.

Elijah lowered Kol onto the bed in Amara's room while she closed the door.

"Now what?" She raked her hand back through her hair.

"I had her," Kol's mumbled voice just reached their ears. He fought to stay awake, but sleep was quickly pulling him in.

"Get some rest," Amara murmured, "Dahlia won't hurt her."

Elijah heard his heart slow. Kol was asleep a few seconds later, but he could tell it was not restful; his eyes moved rapidly behind his closed eyelids.

"I didn't think he'd sleep at all," Elijah moved back towards the door.

"He didn't," Amara shook her head, "not willingly. I can be," she chewed her lip and tilted her head, "persuasive when I wish."

"You…" he looked at her through narrow eyes, "… you compelled him?"

"He needs to rest," Amara sighed. "He's worn himself out, and if he has any hope of finding her he'll need to sleep and recover." Her eyes darted to the door. "Klaus wants answers."

"Can you blame him?" He gave Kol a pointed look.

"Any idea what to…"

"How about the truth Amara?" Elijah cocked a brow.

"I'm sorry," Klaus stared at the brunette, "I think I'm going to need to hear that again."

Caroline sighed and leaned forward.

"Elena took the cure and it did something to her memory," Caroline met his blue eyes, "yes I know. She forgot everything about this life; all of her memories were replaced with the ones from her first life."

"And in that life she was my sister," Amara crossed her arms. She leaned back in the club chair. "My sister and a powerful witch; when she left here she was going to bring Kol back."

"Which she did," Klaus' eyes darted to the upper floor. "They then ran off somewhere while you came here."

"Yes," Amara nodded.

"Where is Elena… Alenka… now?" Klaus rubbed his hand over his jaw.

Amara closed her eyes and drew in a deep breath before explaining the message she had gotten the previous evening shortly after Dahlia had taken Hope.

"I called her and told her what had happened. Freya wasn't having any luck finding Hope; I thought Ellie might do better," her eyes darted to the blonde witch. "She did, by the way. She and Kol caught up with Dahlia, and somehow… Kol was not very forthcoming with the details… Dahlia took her and Hope."

"How powerful could she possibly be?" Rebekah scoffed.

"My sister broke through your aunt's cloaking spell; she completely obliterated it," Amara's tone dropped. "She also created the world's first immortality spell, and brought your brother back from the other side. My sister's abilities are not on trial here."

"What the bloody hell would Dahlia want with her?" Klaus gripped the edge of his chair.

Amara cocked a brow and leaned back in her chair. She would not be the one to reveal her sister's condition, but she wouldn't deny it if he figured it out either.

"Perhaps we should focus on a way to deal with Dahlia once we find her," Freya sighed. "The only way to kill her is to combine Viking ash, Norwegian dirt and the blood of our mother which is impossible to get."

Energy twisted and writhed in the air. It pulsed, shifted and convulsed around him.

Kol jerked awake and scrambled out of the bed in time to cover his eyes against a flash of light. He lowered his hand when the magic settled and gaped at the space on the bed.

His mouth opened and closed a few times before he moved forward and carefully untied the bright flower. Pulling the waking baby into his arms he took the flower and quietly made his way downstairs.

By the time Kol was standing outside the sitting room Hope was blinking slowly on his chest and shoving three fingers in her mouth.

"I might have something for that," he cleared his throat.

Klaus twisted in his chair and had to do a double take when he saw his brother and daughter. After a moment of stunned silence he flashed across the room and pulled the sleepy child into his arms.

"How did you get her?" Klaus lifted his eyes from Hope to Kol.

"I didn't," he shook his head, "she came to me; appeared in the middle of the bed."

"But how?" Rebekah's eyes darted from Hope to Kol. Having been returned to her vampire body she could hear his heart beating from the other side of the room.

"Ellie?" Amara guessed. "She sent Hope home. Dahlia's going to be furious with her."

"I want that witch dead," Kol tightened his grip on the flower stem.

"That's unlikely to happen," Freya murmured with her eyes on the baby, "we need…"

"Mother's blood," Kol interrupted. "I heard you. I also know of a foolproof way to bring someone back from the other side."

"Mother's not on the Other Side," Elijah shook his head, "she was turned into a vampire weeks ago after you died."

"Then I'd suggest putting her on the Other Side," Kol lifted the flower for Amara and Caroline to see, "and quickly. I have every intention of bringing her back before the sun rises."

"You sure you're up for that?" Caroline worried her bottom lip. She could think of only one reason Dahlia would have taken her friend which meant the brunette would be kept perfectly safe, but she would be royally pissed if she found her way back to a dead husband. "You don't even have the spell."

"He doesn't," Amara agreed. Her eyes widened with realization. "Elijah does."

"I do?" A line appeared between Elijah's brows.

"You do," Amara nodded. "You found the spell in her room. Kol can translate and prepare everything, and Freya can perform it."

"We just have to kill mother first," Rebekah nodded.

"For which you'll need me," Amara stood from her seat. "She'll have to pass through me before she can be brought back."

"Once we've got mother's blood we'll find Dahlia," Kol nodded.

"We don't have to find her," Freya shook her head, "she'll come to us; she wants Hope."

"That woman has my wife," he glared across the sitting room. "I have no intention of sitting back and waiting for her to come to me."

Chapter Text

She reached out and grabbed his arm stopping the slight tremor. Had she not been a thousand years older than him she might not have noticed it, but it was there.

"What?" Elijah's jaw ticked. He twisted around and met her dark eyes.

Amara's lips parted slightly. For a moment she hesitated; she thought maybe she had misinterpreted the involuntary movement. Just when she was getting ready to let go and shrug off her concern she spotted the pain in his eyes.

"Amara," his annoyance flared, "what is it? I was under the impression we had a pressing time constraint."

"I just…" she sighed and shook her head. Ever since she had told him the truth he had been on edge around her. She often got the sense he was waiting for her to do something while he distanced himself as much as possible.

Elijah liked to pretend he was stoic about all of this, but she could see it in his eyes. Part of her wanted to let him continue on the way he was, but the other part wanted to save him from what she knew was coming.

"You don't have to do this," she pressed her lips together and met his eyes.

A line appeared between his brows. A small frown marred his features as he searched her eyes for a sign of trickery. He didn't know what to think of Amara: the woman who had posed as her sister. She had only told him the truth because he had discerned that she was not Elena Gilbert, but apparently Elena Gilbert wasn't Elena Gilbert anymore.

He didn't understand her. She was shrouded in mystery, and buried in myth. The legends said she had been murdered by the witch Qetsiyah, yet here she stood before him. The stories had referred to her as an innocent woman, but she had stolen the witch's husband-to-be.

Was she like Tatia? Would she toy with the emotions of him and his brother?

Was she like Katerina? Was she waiting for the perfect moment to take what she wanted?

What did she want?

Was she like Elena? Was she kind and compassionate?

Or was she some strange combination of the three? Or rather, were the three each a version of her?

"I don't have to do what?" He cocked a heavy brow.

Amara's fingers ghosted down the length of his arm and took the wood from his hand.

"You don't have to kill your mother," she looked up to meet his eyes. "I'm fully capable of handling this. I could have come on my own, but I didn't know where she was."

She gripped the length of cedar to keep her hand from shaking. She had never taken a life before. Would she have if not for Qetsiyah's spell? Maybe at some point in time, but the point was that she had never killed a living soul; she had felt the death of every supernatural being, and that had given her a greater appreciation for life.

Did she want to do it? No.

Could she do it? Yes: to protect him.

"Why would you offer to do this?" He tilted his head and stepped closer to the immortal.

Elijah brought his hand up slowly as if to take the stake from her. His fingers curled around her smaller hand, but didn't pull the wood away. He seemed so be stuck to her skin; an electric current fused them together.

"She's your mother," Amara took a deep breath. The gentle exhalation of air fanned over his chin. "It doesn't matter what she's done; she's still your mother. No matter what you tell yourself," Her voice slowly dropped to a whisper, "there is still a soft spot in your heart for her."

"What does that matter?"

"Nobody should be responsible for the death of a loved one," she shrugged. She searched his eyes: now only a few inches away from her.

"I've been responsible for the deaths of many loved ones, Amara," his thumb brushed over her knuckles. "Sooner or later everyone I care about dies; either by my hand or that of my brother."

"Is that why you don't let people in?" She saw something flash in his eyes. She held up her hand and pressed the tips of her fingers to his lips; that wasn't a question he had to answer.

"It's different when it's family, Elijah. It's different when you're responsible for the death of family. That kind of guilt…" she blinked back a tear and sighed. "It eats you alive; worse than any physical pain. It will tear you apart; believe me. I know."

"Why do you care?" He murmured. Try as he might he couldn't find any deceit in her shimmering eyes, and the eyes were the window to the soul. If she was working some sort of angle he couldn't understand what it was.

Elijah's hand cupped her cheek and swiped away her tear. Part of the reason he had been so on edge with her was because he was so comfortable with her. It was a contradiction; it was completely illogical. He barely knew this woman. He shouldn't be comfortable with her; their conversation should not have been easy. He purposefully made it difficult so she wouldn't notice how at ease he truly was with her.

"I care," she managed a half smile before gently extracting herself from his hands. She kept a firm grip on the stake.

He caught her elbow when she reached for the door of his mother's cell.

"You don't have to," he met her eyes.

"You shouldn't have to," she breathed. She took a quick look around the empty hall; it was just the two of them.

She tucked the wood in her jacket pocket and reached up to lift the necklace over her head; the aquamarine twinkled in the dim light. "Keep this safe for me? I'll want it back in a minute."

Elijah held out his hand. There was a brief moment where he saw fear in her eyes before she dropped the gem and pushed open the door.

"Elena Gilbert?"

Elijah heard the sickening sound of wood sinking into flesh. It was followed by the landing of a solid body on the dirt floor. He made out the sharp intake of breath before the scream that sent him running through the door.

He dropped to his knees and held Amara's shoulders.

"Are you alright?" Panic gripped his chest as she clutched at her heart.

Amara took great gulping breaths and slowly felt her heart slow down to a more normal rate. She had forgotten how much it hurt. Over the millennia she had built up intolerance to the pain; it had gotten to the point where she would do little more than flinch away. She'd been unable to do even that for the longest time in her calcified state.

Ellie's spelled necklace had kept her safe from the dead; it had kept her safe from experiencing the pain that had been her constant companion.

"Amara?" His breath shook; the pendant of her necklace cut into his palm.

"I'm… I'm alright," her eyes fluttered open. "Necklace?"

"What was that?" He frowned before gently fitting the chain over her neck. "I thought you were immortal."

"Part of my punishment," she took shallow breaths and sat up. "It wasn't enough for Qetsiyah to murder Kol and my sister. She also made the Other Side and turned me into the anchor."

"The anchor?" He helped her to her feet and steered her from the cell.

"Anchor… door… key…" she leaned into his arm. "All of the above. I'm the central piece of the spell that brings someone back; they have to pass through me."

"And when mother comes back," Elijah rubbed her shoulder, "will it…"

"It'll be the same," she sighed, "but it passes quickly." She glanced at his hand still on her arm before lifting her gaze to his eyes. "I'm okay now."

"I know," he gently spun her around so she was facing him. "Why would you put yourself through that kind of pain?"

"Your deranged aunt has my sister," she didn't hesitate. "If a little pain on my part can help her and save Hope I'll endure it; besides… the spirits can only find me when I'm not wearing this necklace."

Elijah's eyes darted to her throat before returning to her face. His finger followed the line of her jaw and tucked her hair behind her ear.

"You're not moving," Amara swallowed and blinked once. "The spell has to happen before sunrise."

"I'm not," he breathed. His eyes flickered over her face. "I didn't understand you for the longest time. I don't know why I'm so comfortable with you. Whenever I'm in your presence I have to bite my tongue to keep from telling you my innermost thoughts."

"Why is that?"

"Like you said," he chuckled, "I don't let people in, and I'm afraid I'd let you in. I erected walls around my heart, Amara, but there is something I've wanted to do for weeks."

Her breath caught in her throat when he bent down and brushed his lips over hers: once, twice, three times. Somewhere between pecks one and two she returned the motion that had her toes curling.

"Would it be so terrible to let them down?" Her hand settled on his chest. She could feel the organ skip a beat beneath her palm. "For two thousand years I didn't think I'd let someone in again."

"Why?" He frowned.

"I killed my sister," she shrugged, "I killed her husband. I killed her child."

"You didn't do that," he shook his head. "That was Qetsiyah."

"Your wife?" Klaus glanced at Kol.

Kol nodded but didn't look up from where he was preparing the circle. He drew the lines in sweeping arches of black sand.

"You got married?" Freya's eyes darted to Kol's hand. She could sense the binding spell on his ring; it was strong, and would likely be the best way to locate Ellie once they were ready.

Freya frowned. Her arm shot out to catch Kol's hand so she could run her thumb over the band. The spell was strong; it was the kind of strength that came from promises made by two souls.

"You got married without telling us?" Klaus' arm was growing uncomfortably warm under the soft blanket, but he couldn't bring himself to remove it. The pink material was keeping Hope warm and Hope was in his arms; she would remain in his arms.

"I came back to life without telling you too," Kol pulled his hand back and returned to the spell.

"That's a whole other thing," Klaus inhaled slowly. "You couldn't have told us, but your 'wife' could have."

"You wouldn't have believed her," Kol placed a bowl of water in the northern end of the circle. According to Caroline that was where Amara would stand. "You wouldn't have listened."

"I would have," Klaus rubbed Hope's back.

"Not in time," Kol glanced up. He moved to the table to write out the spell that would be dropped in the fire with the herbs. They were only waiting on the aloe harvested by moonlight. "She brought me back human, Nik. She used the planetary alignment and nearly killed herself to give me the one thing I've wanted for a thousand years."

Freya lit the fire in the southern end of the circle. She tilted her head, watched the flames and blinked slowly. Her voice was full of curiosity when she addressed Kol.

"And was the baby conceived before or after the wedding?"

She looked up when her brothers grew silent and saw Klaus staring at Kol and Kol staring at her.

"Oh, come on," Freya held up her hands, "why else would Dahlia want your wife?" She knew the moment it clicked for Kol; his eyes flickered as his mouth opened and closed.

"It… it would have been after," he murmured quietly.

"Always did have you pegged as the irresponsible sort who would get a girl in trouble," Klaus cleared his throat.

"At least I married her first," Kol's head snapped around as he quirked an eyebrow and gave his niece a pointed look. "And I didn't get her 'in trouble'."

"Well, technically," Freya hummed, "she wouldn't have been of any interest to our dear aunt if you hadn't gotten her pregnant. Does she know?" She waved her hand dismissively. "She must. If she didn't she definitely knows now, or will very soon."

Freya walked around the perimeter of the circle and examined the many symbols she and Kol had drawn; she recognized less than half of them.

"Perhaps…" her eyes lifted towards Hope, "… perhaps Dahlia will cut her losses. Perhaps she won't return."

"Mother made a deal for every firstborn," Klaus frowned. He liked the idea of Dahlia never returning, but he thought it unlikely; the woman was obsessed with gaining more power and she had wanted Hope to get it. "Why wouldn't she come back?"

Freya gave him a look that said 'are you serious', and nodded to Kol and the black sand.

"I'm assuming Elena has never had a child," she waited for their nods. "That means she is carrying the firstborn of not one, but two powerful witches; she brought back Kol from the other side and now he's poised to recreate her spell again. On top of that they are bonded soulmates; the child was conceived after their marriage. That child will be exceptionally powerful; probably enough for Dahlia to gain her immortality by tying her life to the babe."

"She doesn't know what we are to each other," Kol shook his head.

"I figured it out from your wedding band," Freya met his eyes, "and Dahlia is far more powerful than I. She'll figure it out."

"All the more reason to find her then," Kol returned to his work with a new sense of determination. He hoped Freya was right because he feared what Dahlia would do to Ellie if she thought her immortality had been stolen away.

Davina placed the candles around the salt circle and trailed her hand through the tub. The mixture of water and soil had created a thin mud. All that was left were the ashes.

It wouldn't be long now.

Obviously picking up where they left off wouldn't be easy. He'd be in his original body and would have to readjust to the life he had been given, but she was confident they could get past it.

They would work through it. She'd help him. She would do a much better job of it this time too; she'd failed when he'd asked for her help before.

She blamed it on not having enough time. Maybe with more time she could have saved him, but he hadn't come to her until it was too late.

It had been a week of radio silence before he knocked on her door and asked her to help save his life. He should have come sooner.

She assumed he hadn't told her at first because he hadn't wanted her to worry, or watch him die before he admitted defeat and asked for help.

Davina closed her eyes and rolled her neck back and around. She took a deep breath and lifted the lid off the urn; the ashes swirled on the surface of the murky water before sinking to the bottom.

She waited with bated breath for the last of the ash to drift to the bottom. Tilting her head she could see the first rays of dawn cresting over the cemetery. It was almost poetic. He would return to his life at the start of a new day: a fresh day.

"Fian en che en kanu!" Davina held her hands out over the water and chanted. With each repetition of the spell she felt the magic pulling at her. It was almost done when she felt resistance.

Gritting her teeth she put all of her energy behind the last chant and felt the magic flow freely again. It convulsed and swirled in the air before diving into the water like a king fisher.

"You knew the whole time?" Rebekah broke off the aloe. She had run to the botanical garden with Caroline to find the last of the ingredients.

"Yes," Caroline took the aloe leaf and tossed it aside. "It has to be red along the edge: almost rosy."

"Why didn't you tell us the truth?" Rebekah started moving leaves aside.

"Would you have believed me?" Caroline arched an eyebrow. She held out the bag when Rebekah selected the right leaf and pulled out a knife so they could harvest the gel.

"You should have told me," Rebekah's eyes narrowed. Her hands made quick work of the plant.

"I don't owe you anything Rebekah," Caroline sighed, "so stop acting like I do. My loyalty was too my friend; my job was to help my friend."

"Your friend was trying to bring back my brother," Rebekah crossed her arms and watched Caroline bag the gel. "She made him human and then they just left."

Caroline sighed and lifted her eyes. She was ready to light into the blonde for her attitude, but then she saw the hurt the Original was attempting to mask. Her exasperation turned on a dime.

"They left for you," she tucked the aloe into her purse. "They both knew how much you want the cure, so they left to get it for you."

Rebekah's eyes grew round. Had her mischievous brother actually been planning on doing something kind for her? Had Elena been planning on doing something kind for her?

"She was giving you the cure, Rebekah," Caroline reminded the Original. "It was practically in your hand when Damon forced her to drink it."

"That was the only cure," Rebekah shook her head. "There was only one. Bonnie said it couldn't be replicated."

"Not by her," Caroline started out of the garden, "because she didn't know what was in it, but Ellie did. History got it wrong, Rebekah."

"What do you mean?" Rebekah pulled the gate closed behind them.

"Shane said Qetsiyah created the immortality spell and its cure, but that wasn't true," Caroline murmured. "It was Ellie. She's the only person alive capable of mass producing the cure… Kol might be able to do it now too, but she was the one who made it."

Rebekah's heart warmed at the thought of them travelling across the world to bring her heart's desire to New Orleans.

Kol took a deep breath and stepped into place across from Amara. He triple checked the writing before dumping the herbs and the paper into the burning fire.

The plan had been for Freya to cast the spell, but his sister hadn't recognized the language. And since he had no intention of taking the time to teach her the correct pronunciation he had stepped in.

He frowned when Freya took his hand.

"You're still tired," she murmured. "I might not be able to cast the spell but you can channel me so you don't take the full strain."

He hesitated before nodding. Across the circle Amara lifted the necklace and laid it on the ground.

"Akoúste ta lógia mou, akoúste to pnévma kravgís mou apó tin álli plevrá. Eláte se ména sas kaléso. Stavróste tóra to megálo chásma."

He felt the pull deep in his body and heard Amara's cry. Opening his eyes she saw a swirling mass of energy in the center of the circle. His body grew weak under the strain of the magic. His knees buckled under his weight.

From the corner of his eye he saw Freya drop alongside him.

Caroline's eyes grew round. A strange sense of déjà vu overtook her as she watched the trio fall to their knees. Much like last time the moment they hit the ground was the moment the energy settled. Only this time it was in the shape of a woman.

Esther Mikaelson sat up with a gasp. Her dark eyes darted from the woman who had killed her to the son and daughter who had brought her back. She didn't get a chance to relish the feeling of magic in her limbs before Rebekah flashed in from nowhere, snapped a pair of shackles around her wrists, and wrapped a heavy blanket around her shoulders.

Kol took in ragged breaths as the room tunneled in his vision. The last thing he saw before passing out was the first rays of dawn stretching upwards and lightening the inky sky.

A drop of blood leaked from his ear.

Freya caught him and lowered him carefully to the ground for Caroline who appeared and pressed her bleeding wrist to his mouth.

Kol's eyes fluttered open a moment later as renewed energy took over his body.

"Why'd you do that?" He sat up and pushed Caroline's arm from his mouth.

"Because Ellie would never forgive her if she let you die," Amara smirked from across the circle. She froze in the process of reaching for her necklace.

"Amara?" Elijah's eyes narrowed. His blood ran cold when she doubled over and screamed.

Davina smiled as the magic settled and opened her eyes to the light of dawn streaking across the sky.

Her eyes quickly shifted from the sky to the man who sat up and gasped.

His dark hair was plastered to his head.

She could definitely see the resemblance to Elijah and Klaus but something seemed off. She knew he was over a thousand years old, but she had pictured him younger.

"Kol?" Davina tilted her head. She shivered when he turned to look at her.

"No…" he slowly regained control of his breathing.

At first Davina was surprised, but the feeling was quickly chased away by her anger. It didn't take a genius to understand what had happened. Someone had ensured she had the wrong ashes.

She gritted her teeth and gripped the edge of the tub. Klaus would pay for this.

Elena blinked tiredly and hugged her knees to her chest.

The bed in her room was pressed up against the wall so the length of the mattress was beneath the window. She had sat there all night.

At points she had dozed, but for the most part she had been awake and watching the moon's path through the heavens. The thin crescent had vanished around the side of the house.

She rubbed at her eyes and traced the soft streaks created by the rising sun. It had yet to crest the horizon so the sky was lit only with a pale yellow glow.

She had tried to sleep at first, she had, but the combination of her morning sickness and her nerves had kept her awake.

A part of her recognized Dahlia, the aunt of her deceased husband, but she couldn't understand her gut instinct; it was practically screaming: 'don't trust her'.

There was so much that didn't make sense. Ten months had passed since the night in the Boarding House. Ten months had flown by since she had tried to give the cure to Rebekah. Ten months had lived and died since Damon had abused his sire bond.

And she couldn't remember any of it.

Sometime in those ten months she had gotten married. The proof was on her ring finger. The question remained: who was it?

She supposed she could have asked Dahlia, but she didn't think she'd get a straight answer. Something told her the woman would lie without batting an eye.

I'm married; she tested the word in her mind. I'm married.

It was a difficult concept to wrap her mind around. She had always assumed she'd get married one day, but to do it so soon after becoming human again. She had to believe he had been someone special because she wouldn't have married someone just because she was pregnant.

Pregnant, it was another word that she had to turn over in her head. She was pregnant. She was with child. She was going to be a mother.

She didn't trust Dahlia as far as she could throw her, but she believed this. With her hand on her stomach she could feel the life swirling beneath her fingers.

Dahlia was lying to her, but not about the baby.

Why can't I remember? What kind of accident was I in?

She bit her bottom lip and stood from the bed.

Crossing the room slowly she stood in front of the full length mirror.

Elena leaned closer and peered at her reflection. She pushed back her hair and examined every inch of her face before prodding at her skin. She felt all along her head and found nothing.

She frowned at her reflection, slowly pulled her top up over her head, and shucked off her leggings.

She slowly looked herself over and felt the soft skin of her stomach. The muscles there had always been toned, and while she was still slim she could see the shift in her figure. The skin had softened and protruded slightly. If she hadn't been used to the hard muscles of her vampire body she might not have even noticed.

Elena tore her eyes from her stomach and started looking over the rest of her body. Her fingers danced over the few blemishes she could find: her appendectomy scar, the thin line from gym class, and the dark dot from when Jeremy had stabbed her with a pencil when they were kids.

There was no sign she had been in an accident. The bruises should have still been fading. There should have been a cut or a scrape, or at the very least stitches from where she'd been pieced back together by the doctors.

There wasn't even a scar from an IV bag.

Any accident capable of giving her amnesia should have left behind a physical reminder.

There was nothing.

The only thing out of the ordinary was the mark on her hand. At some point in the last ten months she had gotten a tattoo, but for the life of her she didn't understand what the intersecting lines meant; it was vaguely rune-like.

She pulled her clothes back on and pushed her fingers through her hair.

I have to get out of here.

Dahlia ran her finger around the rim of her coffee cup and pursed her lips.

She had only wanted to make the woman forget being a witch, so the result was strange.

She had distinctly heard her nephew call his bride Alenka. He had switched from her nickname to her given name when she'd moved out of his line of sight.

Dahlia had only used the name Ellie to establish a sense of familiarity. She had even introduced herself as Alenka in a way that suggested the nickname was personal… intimate.

So, why had she given a completely different name?

Dahlia had been puzzling over it since Elena went to bed and the only explanation she could come up with was reincarnation. She had made her forget being a witch, but that had been who she was her entire life. Memories needed to take the place of those that were lost.

The only question: was it Elena or Alenka who had been born in this life?

Not that it mattered. She didn't even matter really; all that did matter was the child she carried.

Over the last thousand years she had heard tales of her wild nephew. She knew it would have taken someone incredibly special to return his humanity and get him to settle down. It would have taken a soulmate.

The ring on Elena's finger told Dahlia the couple had sealed their bonds. Their child would be incredibly powerful whether it was conceived before or after the wedding.

The baby would be strong enough to grant her the power and immortality she craved. She would never again have to sleep for a century at a time.

Elena's child would be enough, but still Dahlia wanted more. She wanted to be the most powerful witch the world had ever seen, and she could increase her power that much more with Hope as well. With the tribrid and Kol's child she would be unstoppable.

She just needed a plan in place to go back. There was no way she would take Elena within a mile of the city; that was where she knew she had sent the babe.

Dahlia's thoughts were put on hold when she heard a thump and a groan coming from the bedroom. She jumped up and rushed in to find Elena lying on the floor clutched her arm.

"What have you done?" Dahlia remembered at the last moment that she was meant to be the caring aunt.

Elena gritted her teeth against the pain and looked away from the blood pouring down her forearm. It must have been the morning sickness making her stomach turn because blood had never made her feel faint before.

"What have you done, child?" Dahlia knelt and examined her arm. It would be easy enough to mend.

"I…" Elena swallowed her rising bile, "… I…" she closed her eyes and took a shallow breath. Her tears dripped into her mouth. "I tripped."

"I can see that," Dahlia was preparing to heal her when Elena looked down at the wound.

"I… I think… I think it needs stitches," Elena swallowed thickly.

And there it was. Dahlia peered at the wound; the perfect solution to her current conundrum. Elena didn't remember a thing about being a witch after all and there was no immediate danger to the baby.

"I think you might be right," she helped Elena to her feet.

Elena grabbed a towel on the way to the door and pressed it to the wound. She didn't want to do it, but her twisting stomach and spinning head meant she had to lean on Dahlia until she was in the truck.

Hold it together, Elena… for your baby.

Chapter Text

Amara's screams grated on her own nerves. She hated the sound but she couldn't stop; it was the only noise she was capable of producing. The pain had started with a tugging that turned into ripping. It had felt like she was being torn apart at the seams. Invisible cracks and fissures appeared on her skin letting the blood flow in slow trickles that remained unseen.

"What did you do?" Elijah glared up at his youngest brother. He couldn't remember the last time he had felt so frantic. He couldn't remember the last time he had struggled to breathe.

Kol shook his head and spoke loudly enough to be heard over the screams of his sister-in-law's screams. She hadn't screamed like that the last time.

"I didn't do this. It wasn't me." He still sprang into action and began double checking every aspect of the spell he had cast with the aid of Caroline who confirmed that everything was just as it had been before.

"It's identical," Caroline murmured.

"I don't know what's wrong with her." Kol raked his fingers through his hair.

"It's got to be a coincidence," Freya knelt beside the screaming brunette.

Amara's voice cut off as she grew hoarse, but it was clear from the contortion of her features that she was still in agony.

For one long moment the compound was silent before Hope began crying upstairs. Amara's vocal cords healed at the same time allowing her to renew her otherworldly screeching creating a competition with the baby to see who could scream the loudest.

She didn't know how much more of it she could take. It was on the verge of her black out that she realized what had happened. Through her eyelashes she saw a spirit suddenly appear in front of her and walk away.

Somebody had torn a hole in the veil. A jagged tear had been created in a wall that was only ever meant to have one door allowing lost souls to leak out. Every spirit tore at her body as they had on the way in; it was a never ending stream of the dead: a torrential waterfall.


Klaus bounced on the balls of his feet in an attempt to soothe his screaming child. He looked up when Caroline walked in.

"What's going on?"

"The spell worked, but something else happened to Amara," Caroline frowned. "It's like she's in agony."

She reached over and pulled Hope into her arms when the screams fell silent. Within moments the infant began to calm; she shoved a few fingers in her mouth and took a fistful of Caroline's blonde hair.

"How'd you do that so fast?" Klaus tilted his head. He watched Caroline rub small circles on the baby's back.

"Babies take comfort from things that are soft and warm," Caroline shrugged and pressed a kiss to Hope's head. Her first job had been babysitting the neighbor's kids.

"I'm warm," Klaus cocked an eyebrow.

"But not soft," Caroline murmured. She adjusted her hold on Hope and looked to find the baby's eyes glued on her father. "You're all hard plains, sharp angles and rough stubble."

"And here I was starting to think she likes you better than me," he smirked.

"Well I am friendlier," Caroline's eyes sparkled. She turned somber when she caught the worry behind his expression. "Hope loves you, Klaus. It's just that for the longest time she only had Rebekah, so sometimes she just wants something soft. She hasn't taken her eyes off you."

He nodded. Stepping closer he placed his hand on Hope's back and watched her blink up at him sleepily. Sparks raced up his arm when Caroline's fingers grazed his hand.

"Are you ready to go back to daddy?" She tilted her head slightly to look at the baby. The movement placed her cheek an inch from Klaus' chest.

Hope took her fingers from her mouth and reached for Klaus.

They did the baby swap, but Caroline found herself unable to move when Hope kept her fingers tangled in the blonde curls.

Esther's eyes darted between her daughters. She didn't need her magic to know that both loathed her.

Freya's hatred ran much deeper than her sisters; the elder daughter had been carried away and watched as her loving mother did nothing to stop it. She felt abandoned.

Rebekah felt betrayed. Her feelings had turned sour after Esther had tried to kill them all at after the ball. It had only grown worse after she had turned Alaric.

It was a shame really. She hadn't wanted to alienate her children; she'd merely wanted to protect them, and then later to reverse the mess that she had made.

"Why?" The question was directed at Freya. Her elder daughter had joined them after taking a last look at the passed out doppelganger.

Esther could just make out the profile of Elijah where he was carrying the brunette; she had at first taken for Elena, through the hall.

"Why what?" Freya crossed her arms.

"Why did you bring me back? Why did Elena Gilbert kill me?"

"That wasn't Elena," Rebekah rolled her eyes. "And Kol was the one who brought you back."

"As loathe as I am to admit it," Freya's eyes flickered over Esther with disdain, "we need you. We need your blood to kill Dahlia once and for all."


Rebekah went into the short explanation of Elena and Kol, and finished with the child her sister-in-law now carried. She tilted her head when she saw something like defeat flash in her mother's eyes. It was the light that came from learning you had fought a long battle only to learn it had been for naught.

"I should have just killed her," Esther muttered. "Driving a wedge between them wasn't enough."

"Mother?" Rebekah straightened slowly and regarded the matriarch with growing suspicion. Her mother sounded like she had expected something like this to happen.

"I wanted to protect you all," Esther inhaled slowly. "To keep you safe from the pain that I endured," her eyes darted to Freya, "so I turned you to keep you from having children. And then the witches on the other side learned the doppelganger could provide you all with the opportunities I kept you from."

Rebekah's mouth popped open.

"And your solution was to try and kill us?"

"Completely destroying the balance of nature in the process," Freya added.

"I wanted to undo the evil I had set on the world. I thought using Elena to make the hunter would solve two problems," Esther inhaled slowly. "She would either live and distance herself from the lot of you, or she would die in which case she would be incapable of allowing any of you to have children. Only now you tell me she's carrying Kol's."

"We assume," Rebekah gritted her teeth, "can't think of another reason Dahlia would take her."

Elijah paced behind the couch and listened to the stuttering heart of Amara. She had been unconscious for an hour and each second of it felt like an eternity to him. She'd stopped screaming but the pain was still visible across her sweaty brow.

The last time he had felt so useless had been when he was forced to remember killing Tatia and rushing to his mother for aid. Kol seemed as incapable of helping Amara as their mother was Tatia; he took solace in the knowledge that she was a true immortal and incapable of dying.

He was just about to open his mouth and ask the question when he was interrupted. It started as a small vibration moving under his leather shoes but within the span of three seconds it intensified.

The very foundations of the Abattoir shook beneath them.

Kol gripped the leg of the couch and the top of the coffee table while trying to remember what humans were supposed to do during an earthquake. He jolted when strong hands took hold of his arms and pulled.

He lifted his head and found he was three feet from his previous spot that was now occupied by a shattered light fixture.

"I believe you're supposed to be under a table," Elijah pulled a few shards of glass from his arm. He had jumped back in front of Amara after pushing his brother out of the way.

"I'll keep that in mind," Kol got to his feet. He would have sought out shelter but the earthquake appeared to have stopped as quickly as it began. The chaotic sounds died down to be replaced by angry feminine voices, and he recognized them both.

Klaus gripped the sides of his head and thanked whoever was listening that he had let Caroline talk him into leaving Hope in her crib to sleep. He liked to think he would never hurt his own child, but he was certain he wouldn't have been able to hold onto her when the witch struck.

He was sad to say he knew the pain of an aneurism well. It was hardly the first time a witch had set his mind on fire, and it likely wouldn't be the last. However, he couldn't remember angering any of the local witches lately.

Through the slits of his eyes he tried to focus and managed to make out the outline of a petite brunette. There was a tall man several feet behind her but he couldn't make out his features.

"You did this on purpose," Davina shrieked. She lowered her hands enough to ensure he was capable of hearing her.

How much did he have to hate his little brother to switch the ashes?

Caroline held Hope to her chest and braced her body in the door of the nursery. There wasn't a table in the room so the door was the next best thing; luckily the structure of the house meant the arch under the door was safe.

She straightened when the shaking stopped and moved out to the balcony and the sound of a screaming girl.

Caroline froze at the top of the stairs. She could think of several people who might have found the sight of Klaus on his knees screaming in agony oddly cathartic, but the sight made her heart skip and her blood run cold.

She held Hope tighter and turned slowly to the witch who was hurting him. Her mouth popped open.

"He didn't do it," there was no hesitation in her voice, "he didn't switch the urns."

Davina turned slowly to Caroline as she descended the stairs. Her eyes narrowed suspiciously; the only thing that kept her from attacking the blonde was the baby in her arms.

Caroline swallowed and inhaled slowly. Her eyes flickered from Davina to the man behind her as footsteps rounded the corner.

"Klaus didn't switch the urns; I did."

Hope blinked sleepily and wrapped her fingers around Caroline's necklace. Caroline carefully detangled the chain and lowered the child's hand.

Kol rounded the corner and froze in his tracks. His blood boiled in his veins as his eyes locked on their morning guests.

"Kol?" Finn's eyes grew round.


"Kol?" Davina blinked at the newcomer. He appeared no older than twenty and looked a bit like Elijah… he looked a lot like Elijah.

Davina's eyes flickered to his hands when he clenched them into fists. There was a glint of metal on his left hand that made her heart stutter and her lips shift into a frown. Several questions popped up in her mind but before she could ask a single one his eyes narrowed and a loud crack sounded behind her. Glancing over her shoulder she saw Finn drop with a broken neck, and caught a glimpse of Freya on the balcony with Rebekah.

"Nik," Kol inhaled slowly to temper his anger, "kindly get a dagger."

Ten minutes later Klaus had laid Finn out on the floor a few feet from Amara's couch.

Davina stood in the doorway unable to speak at all. Every question she had stuck in her throat. How was he alive? Was that actually a wedding ring? What was he doing? Why was he dragging a knife across Elena Gilbert's palm?

She watched along with everyone else as Kol executed a few complex spells. She didn't recognize the language he was speaking in but she could feel the shift of magic in the air, and she knew everyone else was able to see the dark shadow.

It rose under the sleeping brunette's skin and flowed down the length of her arm. The shadow floated out from the tips of her fingers and rushed through the air to settle over Finn.

Davina hadn't known darkness could pulse, but the shadow did. The movement put her in mind of a beating heart before the black seeped into Finn's grey skin and he was left as he had been: desiccated.

It was Elijah who finally broke the silence.

"What the bloody hell did you just do?"

The Mikaelsons turned to stare at him with wide eyes. It was a rare occasion when Elijah swore.

"I helped her." Kol's eyes left his brother to give a pointed look to Amara. With baited breath he waited and counted in his head.


Amara's brow smoothed out.


She took an unencumbered breath.


Her eyes fluttered open.


Amara sat up slowly and looked at Kol when he released a relieved sigh. She looked around the room quickly as she stood up and strained her ears only to come up with nothing beyond the beating hearts in the library.

Kol stood slowly and brushed off his knees. He knew the struggle to hide his anger had been in vain when he turned to Davina and her eyes flashed with surprise and a hint of fear. He stared through narrowed eyes and gritted his teeth, not trusting his voice to come out in any semblance of a respectable tone.

He had known what had happened the moment his eyes locked on Finn, and he was genuinely afraid that if he started he would wind up literally knocking some sense into Davina.

Davina managed to find her voice under his glare.

"How are you alive?"

Amara pushed her hair behind her ears as her eyes darted around the room. She spared the teenage witch a quick glance and an even quicker response before returning her gaze to the corners of the room; try as she might she couldn't locate anyone that wasn't alive.

"He has an exceptionally powerful and stubborn wife."

"You are married then?" Davina's eyes darted to his hand. Her only reply was a curt yes. Heat settled low in her stomach. "Why didn't you just ask her for help?"

Kol exhaled slowly. That was a question he could easily answer without screaming.

"I didn't think she could, and I didn't know until she brought me back that her traveller's curse was broken." Kol inhaled slowly and exhaled. He opened his mouth to 'gently' tell her how stupid she had been but before he could the air around her shifted.

For a moment the ground shook, and when it still Davina was gone.

"Kol," Amara worried her bottom lip.

He twisted around to face his sister-in-law. Her dark eyes were narrow with suspicion.

"What did you do to me?"

"I undid Qetsiyah's spell."

Amara took a step towards him as dread dripped down her spine.

"You destroyed the Other Side?"

"Of course not," he shook his head, "in spite of what you might think I'm not an idiot. I just moved the anchorage." His eyes sought out his eldest brother's grey features. "I might have a bit of a vindictive side."

"I bit?" Amara cocked an eyebrow. "What did he ever do to you?"

"He killed me."

"So did I."

"We've been over this," he spun to face her. "That was not your fault." He looked over his shoulder to Caroline. "Next time someone wants to resurrect the dead, and it's not Ellie or me, what do you do?"

Caroline flashed a small smile.

"Give them ashes from the fire place."

The crystal urn shattered into a thousand pieces on the floor of the crypt. The fractured pieces sliced into her knees and palms as she fell to the floor with a choked sob.

She had thought he actually liked her, but he had been leading her on. He had kept her close to watch her for his mother, and that was the only reason.

She couldn't remember the last time she'd felt so humiliated or angry. She wanted to make him pay, and she wanted to make his wife pay as well because she must have been in on it too; she had to have known.

Davina froze on the floor and tilted her head as a disembodied voice circled around her. The soft tones were almost smoky in their intensity, or maybe that was the effect the sound had on the air.

She hadn't realized she had been speaking out loud until the voice whispered in her ear.

"You'll need help if you're going to make them pay."

"Who's there?" Davina swallowed and peered into the gloom. She thought she saw the flicker of a shadow pass through a beam of sunlight before there was nothing.

"I've seen witches come and go for millennia from the Other Side, and Alenka is one of the most powerful witches the world has ever known."

Davina stood up and felt a shiver race down her spine.

"Why do you think the gypsies were cursed?"

She twisted around in the vain hope that she could find the body from which the voice was coming.

"You let me out Davina, and I can help you."


"Just let me in."

Her fingers ran over the neat line of stitches with a light touch as she counted. Thirty-two stitches had been used to close the three inch cut. Her nail caught on the last one. She grimaced as the thread tugged at her skin; it was a strange pulling sensation that made her stomach clench but thanks to the anesthesia it didn't hurt.

She had thought the cut was longer. She had been hoping it would take more time, and that Dahlia would leave her alone during the procedure but she had been unlucky on both counts.

She was torn from her thoughts by the voice of the doctor.

"Can you tell me how you did this?"

She nodded and swallowed while straightening up. She had thought she'd have to tell the tale and had come up with something that might keep her in the hospital around other people for a while longer.

"I tripped and my arm scraped the dresser," she flashed them a nervous smile, "I guess the edge is sharper than it looks."

"Elena?" Dr. Garcia frowned.

Elena bit her bottom lip and shrugged one shoulder in what she hoped was a sheepish gesture. She didn't want them learning she'd done it on purpose; she wanted to be hospitalized not institutionalized.

"I was feeling a little light headed; maybe it's connected to my amnesia." Elena blinked when something flickered in Dahlia's eyes, but her face maintained its look of concern.

The fear in her eyes was very real when she turned back to the doctor.

"Is my baby okay?"

"We're gonna take a look," Dr. Garcia smiled reassuringly. He pressed a few buttons on a monitor and instructed Elena to lift her shirt. After squirting some cold gel on her stomach he waved a wand over her abdomen.

She'd had very minor doubts that the woman had lied to her, and they were mainly due to the fact Elena knew Dahlia was lying about something, but they flew away when she looked at the screen.

Dr. Garcia smiled and pointed to a small shape in the upper corner of the screen.

"Here's your little one. I'd say you're about eight weeks along."

Elena blinked at the screen as a tear spilled down her cheek. She tuned back in when the doctor called her name.

"It looks like everything is alright, but your blood pressure is a little high. That might have caused the dizzy spell, and I'd like to admit you and keep you overnight just to make sure everything is alright."

Elena's heart stuttered and the monitor caught the skip, when Dahlia agreed that an observation might be a good idea.

"We'll get her in a room," Dr. Garcia glanced up from the chart, "and there are roll away cots if you would like to stay with your… niece was it?"

No, Elena looked up from when an intern was wrapping a white bandage around her arm. Her heart skipped again when Dahlia declined the offer.

"I want to take a look at that arrhythmia too," Dr. Garcia frowned.


Chapter Text

I'm having a baby, Elena traced the distinct circle on the printout, I'm actually having a baby.

Her eyes slowly dropped to her mostly flat stomach; she let her left hand settle over her naval. The gem on her finger sparkled in the gloom of the room.

It was an unusual colour, purple, and a strange choice for an engagement ring; everything about her situation was strange, but looking at the stone made her feel a little warmer, a little lighter, and a little safer almost as if a part of her recognized it and remembered the husband who had placed it on her finger.

But try as she did she couldn't summon the image. She couldn't recall his eyes, his voice, or his laugh; she had no idea what his name was.

"You still awake, hon?"

Elena turned to look at the door and a nurse who was leaning in the frame. She set the sonogram on the stand by her hospital bed and nodded slowly. She wasn't sure that she would ever sleep again.

"You having trouble sleeping?"

"I'm okay," she lied, "I took a nap earlier."

Elena silently cursed the heart monitor that caught the skip. She hated that machine; the beeping grated on her nerves and it caught each little lie she told. She wondered if it was only vampires that knew how to catch her dishonesty; she really hated lying.

"This machine is keeping me up," she tugged at the clip on her finger. "Do I have to keep it on?"

"The doctor was concerned about an arrhythmia," Elena read her nametag as she approached: Melody.

"Isn't it normal for the heart to skip a beat once in a while?" Elena smiled hopefully. Everyone told little white lies that made their hearts skip. "I might be able to get a little more sleep if it's off."

"Dr. Garcia wants a full report," Melody sighed. She glanced over her shoulder before moving into the room. "That doesn't mean you need to listen to the beeping all night."

Elena felt her lips lift in the first genuine smile she could remember giving since long before taking the cure.

"You're an angel."

Melody flipped a switch behind the monitor and it fell blessedly silent. She smiled and paused at the door. "You get some sleep."

"Thank you," Elena nodded. She made a show of lying back and pulling the blanket up over her shoulders. The moment Melody was gone she sat back up and reached for the phone on the bedside table.

She couldn't remember getting married, but there was one person who would.

She supposed it was too much to hope that the phone would automatically be connected. It made an obnoxious beep that went on forever when pressed to her ear.

Heaving a sigh she sat up and flung the blankets aside. Swinging her legs over the bed she stood and felt her knees buckle; she managed to right herself before she could fall over and took a deep breath to steady her shaking legs.

Elena made a vow then and there to get some actual sleep the moment she felt truly safe again. She had to be passed hour twenty now without rest.

She straightened up and pulled the IV from her arm along with the rest of the wires attached to her perfectly healthy body. She grimaced at the blood that welled up on her arm from the IV and grabbed some tissues to staunch the slow flow of blood; she'd lost enough of it already.

She was about to move when her legs buckled again and she was forced to grab the counter. Her eyes slowly lifted to the IV. There was something off about the colour of the liquid.

She took shallow breaths and clung to the wall. Slowly she made her way out of the room and allowed her eyes to lock on the nurse's station. It was thankfully deserted but her shaking legs seemed to go straight to her brain.

It was like a freaky Alice in Wonderland effect. The path that couldn't have been more than ten feet shifted and stretched until the station was little more than a speck and her legs had the strength of a toddler taking their first steps.

She clung to the wall and shuffled along while wondering why anyone would think she needed any type of a sedative. It didn't seem to be affecting her mind at all just her body; her mind was only fuzzy from her lack of sleep.

She supposed she could have just been tired, but she'd gone extended periods without sleep before. Whatever the reason for her shaking muscles didn't really matter right then. What did matter was getting to the nurse's station.

She practically dropped into the spinning chair and took a moment to catch her breath before reaching for the phone. This one had a dial tone.

She started by dialing the familiar seven digits and felt her irritation grow when the phone shrieked in her ear and refused to dial. She tried adding the code for the state next and got the same result.

Elena tried again and again. Each failed attempt increased her frustration until she slammed down the receiver with enough force that had she still been a vampire it would have cracked from the impact.

The sudden movement tugged at her stitches. She stifled her scream and pressed her palm into the bandage; the anesthesia had worn off at some point and she hadn't realized it until the thread was stretched.

Her brows dropped in confusion as a tiny voice started whispering in the back of her mind.

Instinctively she lifted her hand and spun around. Her eyes darted furtively along the empty corridor. Slowly she returned her palm to the wound and heard the voice again; it whispered foreign words and it took Elena a moment to realize the breathy tone was only in her head.

She opened her mouth and repeated the foreign syllables in the hope that hearing it aloud would allow her to make sense of them. She must have been putting too much thought into the project and too much pressure on her arm because the words were still unknown and her skin grew uncomfortably warm.

Her mouth popped open a second later. She recognized the feeling of her skin knitting together. The area that had grown uncomfortably hot suddenly cooled.

She tore the bandage from her arm and gingerly touched the line of stitches. The thread dissolved and fell away leaving unblemished olive skin.

Elena bit into her bottom lip and stared at her arm as heavy steps approached her from behind. She blinked slowly and came back to herself when an accented voice reached her ears.

"Are you alright?"

"I'm…" she tore her gaze from the healed skin. "I'm fine."

Elena turned the chair around with the intention of waving off the man's concern so she could return to her earlier task and froze.

Her eyes grew round as her mind attempted to catalogue and make sense of the impossible. He couldn't be there. He never dressed that way, and why was he looking at her like he had no idea who she was?

He always knew who she was; he was one of the only people capable of instantly recognizing her.


Kol stood from where he was watching the blood track across the map and turned around to address Klaus. He didn't care how Dahlia had managed to get her so far away during his conjured storm but he had no intention of waiting to see her again; which meant he was going to need the plane he knew his brother kept on standby.

His eyes narrowed when he found the space his brother had been occupying empty. It was a moment before his human ears tracked the sound coming from the courtyard.

The blood drained from Freya's cheeks.

Kol's spine stiffened.

They both felt the pull of powerful magic coming from around the corner.

Freya swallowed once and stood from her place on the floor. She placed her hand on her baby brother's elbow and steered him back to the map.

"Stay here with Amara and finish the spell."

He nodded once and watched Elijah and Freya exit the room. He knelt and cursed; the blood had formed a circle around South Carolina and refused to budge an inch further.

He glanced up when Amara knelt on the other side of the coffee table and extended her hand for the knife. She dragged the sharp blade across her wrist; up until that point they had been using the blood Klaus had harvested from Ellie.

"Try it now."

"Where the bloody hell did you come from?" Blue fire blazed in Klaus' eyes. His jaw clenched as he took a wide stance.

"Now that is my business," Dahlia smiled. Her eyes flickered from Klaus to Freya and Elijah as they rounded a far corner.

The elder witch tilted her head and considered the children of her sister. If not for her Esther would have never conceived a single child, and yet here three of them stood.

She had no need for any of them.

"Where is the child?"

"Far away from you," Klaus' lip twisted in a sneer.

Caroline froze in the hall on the familiar path towards the stairs. She shifted the wiggling child in her arms and began to back away slowly when she heard Klaus below.

Her feet made a silent path backwards as she tried to think of somewhere safe to hide. Inspiration struck when Hope released a tiny sneeze that was luckily quiet enough to only be picked up by a vampire.

She spun on her heel and flashed through the hall until she was inside Ellie's spelled bedroom. After ensuring the balcony and windows were closed she took up a post by the door and hissed.


Twenty feet away a door opened revealing the other blonde. Caroline could see the confusion in Rebekah's narrowed eyes; it seemed the Original had not been listening to the goings on of the house.

"She's here."

Caroline sealed the door when the Original nodded and turned back to Hope. In the moments she had been hissing into the hall the baby had crawled towards the bed and was now reaching for the pink pig sitting on the side table; it was a childhood toy Caroline had packed when helping her friend leave Mystic Falls.

"Here you go, sweetheart."

"She's not far," Dahlia tilted her head to the right. Her eyes raked over her nephew slowly. "You wouldn't send her far."

"He didn't have to," a hard voice came from the top of the stairs. "He just needs her out of the way until we've dealt with you."

There was a brief moment of silence followed by a rush of wind and a rattling of chains.

The air stilled in Dahlia's lungs as she looked on. The chains had grown silent, but it was the wrists to which they were bound that made the older witch freeze.

Klaus narrowed his eyes when something flashed in Dahlia's dark eyes, for a moment it looked as if she was going to cry. And cry she did, but they were tears of mirth. His expression shifted as his aunt laughed in their faces.

"Is this some pathetic attempt to keep me from taking Hope?" Dahlia got her laughter under control, but the amusement clung to the corners of her mouth. "You present me with my sister in chains. Is she to buy your freedom?"

"Our freedom?" Rebekah frowned. Why should they need to buy their freedom?

"How quickly you forget that I possess this," Dahlia smirked. She reached into her coat pocket and extracted the white oak stake.

"What exactly do you plan to do with that, dear aunt?" Klaus watched the stake with an incredulous expression.

"You've only got one stake, and three Original vampires in the room," Freya agreed.

"Even if you don't hesitate," Klaus scoffed, "the other two will rip you in half."

"Such sound thinking," Dahlia nodded. The amused smile never left her lips; she knew the child was somewhere in the house. She had sensed the magic on entering. "Sound thinking… but so small."

Rebekah's heart leapt into her throat as Dahlia raised the stake over her head. She hadn't left the compound all day but she was certain the sky had been clear a moment ago and as such she had no idea where the thunder had come from.

She moved slowly to circle around her aunt as the stake was thrown into the air.

The silver melted away leaving behind naught but wood and when the last of the metal was gone the stake vibrated.

What felt like an eternity to the siblings was only a few seconds; seconds was all it took for Dahlia to destroy the stake. Ashes rained down around them as Freya fell to her knees and began to choke.

Invisible fingers curled around the eldest Mikaelson's throat as ashes were waved into the open mouths of her siblings. She watched through watering eyes as they all dropped to their knees.

Veins became visible on their faces as their blood boiled.

Freya managed to choke out in a desperate voice. She had only just reunited with her family and wanted to see them survive.

"You're killing them!"

"I've no need for them," Dahlia stated simply. "Niklaus has already produced a child, as has Kol, and the other two are incapable of it."

Elijah was the first to fall onto his side. Every inhalation of air stoked the fire raging in his lungs and tore at his throat. The flames licked at every inch of his body and it was all he could do to cough. It was no time at all before he was followed by Rebekah and Klaus.

"Now then sister," Dahlia smiled gleefully, "let's watch together as I burn your children from the inside out." The moment the Originals were gone she would search the house for what was owed.

"What the bloody hell is going on out there?" Kol turned towards the sound of violent coughing. He didn't miss the way Amara's face drained of colour. There were few things he missed about being a vampire. Really in that moment it was only one thing: his advanced hearing.

"I think it's time we found out," Amara swallowed audibly.

Esther felt her throat clench as she watched the agony play across their faces. These were her children. She had brought each of them into the world and now they were dying at her feet. It had been what she wanted, to right the wrong she had inflicted, but her children were dying at her feet.

Her body felt leaden, but she forced her feet to move.

"You still carry so much anger for me after all these years?" Esther locked eyes with Dahlia. She saw the moment the fury flashed in the dark depths.

"You broke your vow," Dahlia took a menacing step. "We were to stand together, always and forever, and you left me to marry that brutish Viking." She drew in a deep breath and leveled her sister with a look of anger and hurt. "You broke my family and they," her lip curled into a sneer as she glared at the dying, "were the result."

She gestured to them with one hand and knocked them back as they struggled onto their knees.

Klaus clawed at his throat as the veins turned blood-red and swelled.

Hot tears leaked from Rebekah's eyes.

Freya struggled to draw in an unrestricted breath.

Esther's voice shook with angry tears. Sorrow threatened to close her throat

"You call this my wrongdoing?" She pointed wildly to her sister; the chains rattled on her wrists. "You made me bargain away my firstborn child! My daughter!" Colour rose in her cheeks.

"Not just this firstborn," Dahlia snapped; her fingers waved to Freya, "but every firstborn. And even then, you found a way to deny me that which you had sworn to be mine. How do you think that felt?"

Dahlia raised her hand and sent Klaus flying backwards. The blade he had been holding dropped onto the stones with a clatter. With another motion she dragged Freya across the floor and placed her in a magical chokehold.

"Let's say goodbye to your children sister," Dahlia smirked sadistically. She was preparing to launch a killing blow when two sets of feet sounded in the hall.

Dahlia turned with narrowed eyes to gape at the newcomers. Her mouth dropped open in surprise.


"A few months ago I might have said the same thing," Kol smirked. His mind was already calculating the distance from his body to the blade and Dahlia. The amusement fell from his face as fingers curled around his throat, but he managed to stay upright.

With a flick of her wrist Dahlia sent Amara flying back through an open door to bounce on the leather sofa.

"Stop!" Esther rushed the last of the distance to Dahlia. She held out her hands in a placating gesture and motioned to her children. "You've won. You've bested us all."

Kol gasped as the hand released him. He saw that Freya had been loosed as well, but his sister was in no condition to wage a war; her airway had been restricted for much longer than his. He drew in shallow breaths and slowly pulled the blade from his coughing brother's side while trying to focus on his mother's voice; anything but the dying breaths of his siblings.

"… let me try to make amends, let me share with you," she moved until she was face to face with Dahlia, "the glorious freedom that I have found…"

Dahlia tilted her head suspiciously.

"In death…" Esther wrapped the chain of her shackles around the neck of her sister and pulled as tightly as she could. She looked over her shoulder to Kol and saw the hesitation in his eyes.

For all her faults she was still his mother.

Dahlia released the hold she had on Freya to fight off the grip around her throat. She saw her niece use her magic to pull the sickness from the lungs of the vampires.

"Kol?" She saw her other children sit up as their bodies healed. Blood and sawdust coated their lips, but otherwise they were alright.

Amara moved faster than any of the vampires could see and appeared at Kol's side. She gave him an inquisitive look and held out her hand for the blade as the Originals got to their feet. She saw his eyes dart to his mother once more and caught the encouraging nod. It was an odd thing for a mother to do, encouraging her child to land a killing blow against her, but she did.

Kol waved Amara off and tossed the blade to Klaus. He was doubtful of his ability to force the steel through two bodies. He frowned as the sword ended the long lives of his mother and aunt and their bodies turned to ash. Even the steel melted away leaving nothing but a pile of grey and black on the courtyard floor.

Freya spoke through the constriction in her throat.

"I really hope you got the locator spell to work."

"I did," Kol rubbed the bruises on his throat, "and I'm going to need a plane."

Amara lifted her gaze from the piles of ashes.

"Where's my daughter?" Klaus swiped the sawdust from his bottom lip. The question was directed at them all, but the answer came from the balcony.


He looked up to find Caroline balancing Hope on her hip and searching for any sign that she should take the child and run. He wiped the last of the blood from his mouth and flashed up the stairs.


Chapter Text

"Excuse me?"

Elena's stomach flipped beneath her palm. Through the slight haze of her vision she focused on the man. She knew his face. She knew the cadences of his voice; she knew every rise and fall. He was different though. He wore blue scrubs and a white coat. Her exhaustion prevented her from reading the cursive lettering on his chest but with a little squinting she could read the bold lettering on his badge: Dr. Joel Goran.

She didn't need to read it to know it wasn't him. Even in her state of fatigue she could tell on a second look it wasn't him. There was a concerned turn to his mouth but the echo of laughter hung around in the corner of his lips. It wasn't as if he never smiled but it was impossible for him to have laugh lines.

With a little more sleep, or any, she might have articulated herself a little better but alas she seemed doomed to verbal vomit. She supposed it was better than the actual vomit she had been subjected to earlier in the day.

"You're not Elijah."

"No, I'm not," he shook his head slowly.

"You look just like him…"

"Are you sure you're alright?"

Elena's heart stuttered when he pressed the back of his hand to her brow. She must have been running a slight fever because he offered her a hand up.

"Let me help you back to bed."

Elena jerked back at the suggestion. The backs of her knees crashed against the hard arm of the chair; it careened backwards into the desk with a loud clatter. The collision caused her knees to buckle; she reached blindly for anything to hold herself up and shook her head violently.

She couldn't go back to bed. If she returned to the room he would reattach the IV and the sedative would finish the job of knocking her out. She would fall asleep without gaining answers and Dahlia would return to take her away again.

"No…" the sedative wouldn't have a hard task ahead. "I… I have to call him…"

"Who?" Joel frowned. He held out his hands where she could see them and met her frantic eyes. "Elijah?"

"No," Elena shook her head. She was vaguely aware of how insane her voice must sound to him; she sounded crazy to herself. "I need to call my brother."

"I'm sure that can wait until morning," he slowly moved his right hand to her elbow.

Elena evaded him and steadied her voice. Determination flashed in her dark eyes.

"Now," she straightened her spine. "I have to call him right now."

Joel watched her sway. The woman was slight and clearly exhausted, but he had felt the strength when she pulled away from his hands. There was something powerful in her stance and a stubborn set to her jaw. He might have been able to overpower her but she would fight back and possibly injure herself in the process.

He could see in her eyes he would gain no leeway.

He held his palm up in a placating gesture and reached into his lab coat. Her eyes darted to the thin device he lifted for her inspection.

"The phone is an intercom. You can call your brother on my cell phone." He moved back when she reached for the phone. "After you're back in your bed."

Elena blinked slowly and tilted her head. The desire to laugh bubbled up in her throat and came out in a choked giggle.

"Are you negotiating with me?"

Joel smirked and turned the phone over between his fingers.

"I would have likened it to a bribe, but we can call it a negotiation if you like."

She didn't know a thing about this man, but she still found herself uttering the phrase she would have said. She didn't know if the words would carry the same weight coming from him, and she was certain he thought her insane by the sudden amusement lifting the edge of her lips but she didn't care. She was tired and falling into an easy routine.

"Give me your word."

The request struck him as a little strange but he nodded all the same.

"You have it," he offered her a hand. "Can you walk on your own?"

Elena nodded and gritted her teeth when her legs faltered. Thankfully the Joel saw her going and caught her. He secured his arm around her waist and slowly helped her down the hall into the room she remembered coming from.

"Alright," she settled the blanket over her legs, "I'm in bed." She held out her hand, palm up. "Phone please?"

"I need to reattach your IV," he dropped the mobile in her outstretched hand.

"Not yet," Elena shook her head. She pressed her arms to her chest. "I'd like what little wits I have to stick around for this."

Joel frowned as she nodded slowly and dialed the area code for Virginia. He reached for the chart at the end of her bed and started reading as she worried her bottom lip and counted the rings. His eyes darted from the chart to her arm and back as she read.

Eternity was a concept she had to make herself face after the bridge. Time was an endless thing that had stretched before her. The phone seemed to be testing her resilience; it rang forever before finally being picked up.

A gruff voice sounded down the line.


Her throat constricted with tears.


He bolted upright in the bed and cursed when the phone slipped from his hands. Scrambling for the device he pressed it back to his ear and grunted when he tumbled from the bed to land on the floor.

"Elena?" He swiped the hard crust from his eyes and attempted to disentangle his legs from the sheets. "Is it really you? I swear if you're Katherine pulling some kind of trick, or prank, or working a fucking angle I'm gonna…"

"Jeremy it's me. You stabbed me with a pencil when I was seven because I wouldn't let you play candy-land with Caroline and Bonnie. I've still got the spot on my hand."

"Where are you? Are you okay?"

"I'm in a hospital. I'm not sure what one…"

Jeremy's brows knit together as a decidedly male voice spoke in the otherwise silent background. He was already jotting down the name of the hospital and working out the fastest route in his head.

"Don't go anywhere," he started yanking clothes from the closet and dressing. "I'll be there as soon as I can."

"Can you bring me some clothes?"

"He'll be here in the morning?" Joel took back his phone and mirrored her slow nod. "Are you sure this is your room?"

"Yeah," Elena's teeth sunk into her bottom lip, "why?"

"Because your chart says you should have a row of stitches on your arm," he cocked an eyebrow.

"It's my chart," Elena sat up and flipped the top of the chart closed. "I don't think I really need a sedative either."

Joel frowned and opened the cover again. His eyes scanned the neat lines of handwriting and typed additions.

"You haven't been given one," he looked up. "It's just fluids in the IV. Can I reattach it now?"

She missed her supernatural hearing in that moment, but his eyes seemed earnest enough. She'd always been a trusting person, and maybe it was a by-product of the way she trusted Elijah; whatever the reason she believed him, but her nod was still full of trepidation.

Elena drew in a deep breath and felt a rush of cold when the needle was reinserted in her arm. She watched the slow drip of the fluid with heavy eyes. With each blink her vision grew a little darker and the voice in her mind a little slower.

She just made out the syllables and released words on a soft exhalation of air.

Joel leaned closer to catch her weary voice.

"Valerian root," Elena slumped back against the hospital pillow. She didn't feel the blanket being raised over her shoulders.

"Valerian root?"

The sun was starting to crest over the horizon when he slipped the car into a spot in the lot. He was honestly surprised he hadn't been pulled over by the authorities at several points. He was certain he'd broken several traffic laws getting to the hospital.

Reaching out he shook her shoulder and pulled the key from the ignition.

"Are we here?" Bonnie blinked tiredly and wiped the sleep from her eyes.

"Were here," Jeremy got out of the car. He fell into step with his ex-girlfriend on the path into the hospital.

They approached the help desk where a nurse was nursing a cup of coffee.

"Excuse me," he attempted a calm smile, "we're looking for someone."

"Visiting hours don't start until ten," Melody glanced up at the young couple.

"Isn't that usually waved for immediate family?" Bonnie crossed her arms. "We're looking for his sister. She was admitted yesterday: Elena Gilbert."

Melody straightened in her chair. The name sounded familiar; she vaguely recalled talking to a brunette the previous evening by the name of Elena. The woman bore a resemblance to the young man in front of her. She started typing in the name and jotted down a room number.

Jeremy didn't say a word all the way up the elevator and down the hall. He walked in silence along with Bonnie. His knuckles turned white as he gripped the handle of the duffle bag.

The blood drained from his face when he stepped into the dark hospital room. His eyes immediately found the slim brunette in the bed. He dropped the bag in a chair and reached for her hand.


She showed no sign of having heard him. Jeremy sat on the edge of the thin hospital bed and traced the lines of her face.

Bonnie smoothed her friend's hair back from her face and frowned. She could sense something rushing under her skin. She wasn't sure what it was but she traced it back to the clear fluid running through the tube attached to Elena's arm.

"Take the IV out," Bonnie blinked. She reached before Jeremy could and pulled as carefully as possible. "There's something in it."

"Sedatives?" Jeremy guessed. "This is a hospital."

"What hospital sedates a healthy person?" Bonnie cocked an eyebrow.

"She's obviously not healthy," Jeremy's frustration grew, "or she wouldn't be here." He gently replaced his sister's hand and moved to replace the blankets. He froze in the motion.

"It that a…"

Bonnie followed his eyes and allowed her fingers to ghost over Elena's left hand. The sparkling stone was dark purple in the gloom of the room; the colour shifted to a dark green when she flipped on the light. There was a plain band that at once appeared to be silver and multi-coloured.

"When did she get married?"

She shifted on the thin mattress and wrinkled her nose. Her brain felt like it was full of fog, but the soft strains of familiar voices slowly cleared the mess in her mind.

Her eyes fluttered open to focus on the man in the chair. She didn't say anything at first. She couldn't bring sound from her throat because her tongue was heavy and clung to the roof of her mouth. It was like she had attempted to swallow a mouthful of peanut butter in one go only to find the sticky substance trapped in her mouth.

She swallowed a few times and rubbed her tongue against the roof of her mouth as her eyes focused. He hadn't seen her eyes open yet which gave her a moment to take in the changes. His hair was shorter and his face leaner. He might have been a hunter before she took the cure but in the ten months that separated him from her memories he had grown from a boy to a man.

Her eyes swivelled slowly to the woman he spoke to and widened when she recognized Bonnie. The bright sunlight filtered through the picture window to illuminate the colour in her eyes.

She cleared her throat and blinked slowly. Her body felt a little more rested but she was still groggy and attempting to sit up had her stomach twisting in knots.

"Elena?" Jeremy twisted around when Bonnie nodded to the bed. He moved quickly and pressed the lever on the side of the bed. There was a mechanical whir as the bed adjusted and she was moved into a sitting position.

"Jer…" Elena grimaced when her voice came out in a croak. She gratefully accepted the cup from Bonnie and took slow sips of the water through the straw. With each drink the fuzz in her mouth lessened until she felt confident enough to speak.

"Hi," she sat down the glass and immediately wrapped her arms around Jeremy's neck.

Elena knew why her hug was desperate but she couldn't understand why Jeremy was holding her so tightly. It was like he expected her to disappear at any given moment.

"I've missed you," she clung to his upper arms as she sat back.

"I missed you too," Jeremy smiled.

"I need your help," Elena lowered her hands back to her lap.

"How about you eat and talk?" Bonnie wheeled over the tray of food. "The nurse was rather insistent that you get some nutrients the moment you woke up." She uncapped a yogurt parfait and passed it to the brunette along with a spoon.

Elena was about to wave off the food when her stomach rumbled. The sudden demand for sustenance took her by surprise since she had been throwing up everything she swallowed.

Her hands took the cup and spoon carefully as she eyed the contents with suspicion. Her eyes dropped to her abdomen and the life forming in her womb. For a moment she completely forgot her brother and friend were in the room.

"If I eat this are you going to make me throw it back up?" The only response was a loud growl from her stomach that she took as a 'we'll see'. "You'll have a very cross mommy if you do."

She brought the spoon to her lips and closed her mouth around the vanilla yogurt. The mixture of honey, berries, and granola washed the foul taste from her mouth.

"Mommy?" Jeremy's eyes grew round as his heart stuttered. "You got married and knocked up without telling me?"

Elena's brows shot up. She swallowed the yogurt and lowered the cup while tilting her head to the side.

"I didn't tell you I got married?" She felt a growing sense of unease. "Bonnie?"

"I didn't know," the witch frowned. "Shouldn't you remember telling us, or rather… not telling us?"

"I don't remember anything," Elena bit her bottom lip. She took another small bite when her stomach grumbled. "The last thing I remember is Rebekah yelling and Damon telling me to drink the cure."

Jeremy and Bonnie shared a look. To them this was familiar it sounded much like what had happened after the cure had entered her bloodstream.

"That was ten months ago," Jeremy sat on one side of her legs.

"You left town in September," Bonnie perched on Elena's other side. "We haven't seen you or heard a peep in five months. The only reason we knew you were alive is because you were talking to Caroline."

Elena lowered the now empty container and took a slow breath as the food settled. She had assumed if anyone could help her understand it would be Jeremy because she wouldn't have gotten married without her family present, unless it was an eloping situation, but even then she would have told him later.

Unless you didn't have time.

The thought sprung up suddenly. She had no way of knowing how long she had been married. For all Elena knew she had tied the knot, gotten pregnant and been in the 'husband-killing-amnesia-inducing-accident' before she could inform her baby brother of her recent nuptials.

"What happened Elena?" Bonnie reached for her friend's hand. She frowned when Elena flinched. "Elena?"

"I…" She couldn't understand the sudden feeling of dread, but she got the sense if was misplaced, a gut reaction to something else; something that might have been related to Bonnie, after all her friend had never swung a curved blade in her direction.

"I'm sorry, Bon," Elena exhaled, "I don't know why I did that."

"It's alright," Bonnie frowned.

"To answer your question," Elena made a point wrapped her fingers around Bonnie's hand, "I don't know." She explained as best as she could about waking up suddenly and being told she had lost her husband in some kind of accident.

"Do you trust this woman?" Jeremy tilted his head.

"Not in the slightest," Elena sighed. "The only thing I believed was about the pregnancy, and in case you doubt it," she reached for the paper on the night stand, "here is the sonogram I watched the doctor take yesterday."

Jeremy felt his lips lift in a small smile when she pointed out the baby on the black and white photograph.

"I'm gonna be an uncle?"

"And I'm gonna be a mom," Elena nodded, "but I can't remember who the father is… who my husband is…was."

"You believe her about that?" Bonnie frowned. She lifted Elena's hand and eyed the rings. "It could be another lie."

"I don't think so," Elena frowned. Her eyes were on the rings so she didn't see when Bonnie's flashed as she felt the magic encircling the bands. "She definitely lied about the accident though. Can you help me remember?"

"What do you mean?" Bonnie tilted her head.

"Magic," Elena looked at her hopefully. "Can you use a spell and maybe help me remember?"

"Would you believe I've actually learned a few spells for that?" Bonnie scooted forward and held out her hands. She waited for Elena to nod before placing her fingers to the brunette's temples.

Kol walked into the building and paused for a moment. He was just trying to remember the proper phrase that turned his soul bond into a tether when Amara and Elijah came up behind him.

"You know you didn't have to come."

"She's my sister," Amara flashed a quick smile and walked by him. Her body told her upstairs and upstairs she would lead.

"I wasn't actually referring to you," Kol followed her to the elevator.

"Perhaps I should wait down here?" Elijah paused when the doors swung open.

"Don't be ridiculous," Amara stepped inside and held the door. She waited until he was inside to stare at the buttons.

Kol was the one who finally made the selection for the fourth floor. His heart leapt into his throat when the doors slid open and a pained screech started at the end of a hall. He recognized it.

A strange sense of déjà vu overtook him as he ran. The white linoleum turned to smooth marble. The sterile smell was quickly replaced by a plethora of flowers and for a moment he was two thousand years in the past racing toward the garden and his screaming wife.

He didn't hesitate when he saw a woman holding the sides of her head. His hand waved in a decisive manner and sent her flying back into the wall with a loud shriek.

A great pressure built in her head under Bonnie's hands and the murmured incantation. It swirled and pressed until she felt certain her head was going to explode.


From somewhere far away she heard someone screaming. It took her a moment to realize the sound was coming from her she was too occupied trying to make sense of the flashing images in her mind: Damon's insistent hands on her wriggling body, a man with piercing blue eyes and warm fingers spread over her aching ribs, Klaus, Elijah, a brunette she couldn't remember, the man with the blue eyes again and again, a red daybed, towering tombs, flowers, Caroline, cerulean blue waters, Kol…

The pictures were silent and passed too quickly to make any sense. As soon as the pain began it left and she was leaning over the bed gasping for breath and willing her turning stomach to settle down.

She looked up from the linoleum to find Jeremy staring at the door with wide eyes, and a moment later she saw why.

Kol Mikaelson stood in the door frame. She thought she saw actual remorse flicker in his eyes as he apologized to Bonnie.

She pushed herself into a sitting position when Jeremy stopped Kol from reaching her and shoved him into the window. The ring on her hand grew warm all of a sudden and she jumped to her feet to sway. Strong arms caught her before she could hit the floor.

She assumed the feminine arms belonged to Bonnie until she saw the witch getting to her feet from the corner of her eyes. Elena released a small squeak when she twisted and saw her own features staring back at her. The first thought to enter her mind was Katherine, but she had never felt safe around her doppelganger; she felt safe with the woman holding her.

Her comfort did nothing to quell her rising frenzy. It only grew in intensity when Elijah stepped into her hospital room in a three piece suit. She might have thought her encounter from the previous night had been a dream if not for the doctor that followed him in.

She dragged her eyes from Elijah and Joel who had yet to notice each other back to Kol and Jeremy.

"I'm not going to fight you, mate," Kol held up his hands in a calming manner.

"You attacked Bonnie," Jeremy held in his growl. In the back of his mind he wondered why his instincts weren't telling him to kill the Original, and why he wasn't setting off any of his hunter's instincts.

"I attacked the women I thought was attacking my wife," Kol exhaled. He could see her holding on to her sister for support; he also saw the moment her eyes grew round.

"Your…" Elena ran her thumb over the bands on her finger. "Your wife…?" A line appeared between her brows. "But you… you're… you're d… dead."

"What the hell is going on in here?"

Elijah pressed a handkerchief into Elena's hand and instructed Jeremy to release Kol. He motioned to Elena's nose when she frowned at the white cloth and turned to ease the worries of whoever had entered only to have the air rush from his lungs.

Amara cleared her throat and guided her sister to sit on the bed.

"Now might be a good time to shut that door." Amara flashed a small smile and backed the doctor into the hall. "I'm certain you have more important things to do." She saw his eyes glaze over before clearing and knew he would forget everything the moment he turned away from her.

"Right then," Amara pulled the door shut.

Elena's ring cooled when her brother released Kol. She lowered Elijah's pristine handkerchief and saw a dot of bright blood and when she looked up she caught a look of sorrow in Kol's dark eyes.

Chapter Text

Elena caught a glimpse of Jeremy through the thin blinds. Her brother had been reluctant to leave her alone with Kol, but she had nodded for him to go, and now he stood in the waiting area at the end of the hall.

Logically she knew that she should want to put as much distance between herself and Kol as possible, but she couldn't bring herself to move when he sat beside her.

"Are you hurt?" He peered into her dark eyes. Physically he couldn't see anything wrong.

"I was…" she turned over her wrist and trailed her finger over her inner arm. "It… I…"

She didn't know how to explain the hazy memory of the previous night.

"It's alright, darling," he reached for her left hand, "take your time."

Her heart skittered sending heat to course through her veins when he pressed his thumb to the palm of her hand. The hold he had on her was loose, but she didn't pull away.

"Why do I feel so comfortable with you?" She bit her bottom lip. "I killed you."

"You did not kill me."

"You're right," she scoffed, "my brother did because I told him to."

"Who told you?" He squeezed her hand. "Damon Salvatore. And how did you react? Because I have it on good authority that you were in hysterics, completely shaken up by it, Caroline tells me Damon forced you to calm down."

She nodded as the memory of her tears surfaced. She had thought they were because she had orchestrated his death and the deaths of countless vampires around the world, she had thought it was because she had gone against everything she once believed in.

"I said something," she blinked at their joined hands, "I don't know what it was, but it made my skin feel hot and then cool. I took off the bandage and the stitches were… were…"

"They were gone."

"No," she shook her head and closed her eyes. "They dissolved and fell away."

"You healed yourself," he murmured.

"I healed myself?" Her brows knit together. "How did I do that? How are you alive?"

She frowned when he chuckled and turned to glare at him.

"Is my memory loss funny to you?"

"No, no," he shook with a quiet laugh, "none of this is in the least amusing, kardiá mou."

Her heart fluttered at the term she thought must have been a term of endearment.

"Do you remember anything at all, Ellie?"

Her breath caught in her throat. Dahlia had called her 'Ellie', and it appeared that she had picked it up from Kol. Accept, from Kol, she didn't mind the nickname; it was sweet and familiar.

"I remember taking the cure," she sighed, "but nothing after until… until I woke up in a cabin with a woman who said…"

Elena worried her bottom lip. How much did he know? How long had they been separated?

"What did she say, Elena?"

"She told me that my husband died."

"Rest assured darling that I've no intention of dying again anytime soon," his eyes narrowed.

"She… she also told me I was… was pregnant."

She saw the blood drain from his face.


"Am," she corrected quickly. Pulling her hand free she twisted and reached for the sonogram on the night stand. "I am pregnant."

He breathed a sigh of relief when he saw the picture she placed in his hands. The dark circle that was their child sat in the upper right hand corner.

"You scared me for a minute there."

"You knew?" Elena frowned.

"I suspected," lowering the sonogram he met her eyes, "there was no other reason for my aunt to take you. She thought herself entitled to every first born child descended from my mother."

"Thought?" She hated killing and death, but hope swelled in her chest.

"She's dead," he said. "She'll never lay a hand on you or this child." He didn't think before placing his hand on her flat stomach.

"How are you alive? How was this even possible?" She flopped back on the hospital bed against the pillows; it felt like there was a gaping hole in her head.

"I have you to thank for that," he shifted to face her and held her hand. Absentmindedly playing with the band around her wrist he began explaining everything: their first life, the magic that flowed through her veins after breaking her curse, bringing him back and remarrying a couple of months before. "We had just returned to the states when Dahlia took you?"

Elena was silent as she processed the information.

"I'm a witch?"

He nodded.

"I brought you back?"

She pushed a hand through her hair when he said yes.

"Did I remember anything from this life?"

"No, darling," he murmured.

"What happened to me?"

Kol tilted his head and shifted his hand. Running his thumb over her wedding band he tried to come up with a response that would satisfy her, but the truth was he didn't know.

Elena was starting to think he wouldn't answer her.

"I can only guess," he breathed, "but I assume Dahlia thought you would be too much trouble and forced you to forget being a witch so you wouldn't fight back, and I think she did this after you used a spell to send Hope back to New Orleans."

"Hope?" She tilted her head. "Klaus' daughter?"

"Dahlia came for her first," he nodded, "you and were closest, on our way back into town, so we went to intercept her. She nearly killed me and would have if you hadn't stepped in and agreed to go with her. Elijah found me sometime later, practically dead and healed me."

"I left you there?" Shame prickled the back of her scalp.

"You gave your word, swore a witch's oath," he reached for her right hand, "the mark's gone now that Dahlia is dead, but rest assured that you did not leave me for dead. You called for help with magic, and brought your sister and my brother directly to me."

"My sister?" She frowned before remembering. "Amara, my twin sister from the first life." She tilted her head. "Does that mean I'm not a doppelganger?"

"You're still a doppelganger, Ellie," he smiled, "you just happened to be reborn as the latest doppelganger of your sister. There are two other doppelganger lines that I know of."

She sat up and nodded for him to continue.

"Silas' line; the current doppelganger is Stefan Salvatore," he exhaled slowly and drew in a deep breath, "and then there is mine. It's a very long and convoluted story that involves me becoming immortal in our first life and somehow becoming human again allowing me to die, but the doppelganger line endured."

"You weren't reborn as your doppelganger were you?" She looked to the window and the back of her brother's head. "And I wasn't dreaming last night, or hallucinating when you all rushed in here."

"No, you were not," he shook his head. He couldn't stop the small laugh from bubbling up. "It's a little amusing how all of the living doppelgangers seemed to have found each other."

He didn't believe in coincidences but this was one hell of one.

His eyes dropped to the handkerchief still in her hand.

"What was Bonnie doing to you?"

"She was trying to fix my memory, and I saw some flashes, but they didn't really make sense," Elena glanced down at the white material and the blood that had darkened to a crimson stain as it dried.

"It was definitely magic that made you forget," he murmured. "There are spells that…"

"No," she shook her head vehemently, "I don't want to try that again…"

Elena trailed of when she saw the hurt flicker in his eyes.

"It's not that I don't want to remember, Kol. I'm missing nearly a year of my life, and another life I didn't even realize I had lived, but…" she crumpled Elijah's handkerchief and did her best to stifle her hysterical laugh. She was incapable of stopping the sound from bubbling up in her throat; a single tear rolled over her cheek. "… that really hurt."

Her eyes welled with tears causing her vision to blur. She didn't think about how easily she let herself be pulled into his arms.

"I'm sorry," she squeaked.

"It's okay," Kol rubbed soothing circles over her thin hospital gown covering her back.

"No, it's not," she made a choking sound in the back of her throat. "I can't remember any of it, Kol. I don't remember leaving Mystic Falls, or w-w-why I did it. I don't know how I brought you back, or how I got p-p-pregnant."

He murmured against her hair.

"You told me you didn't feel safe, and wanted to get away from someone; I assume the person who broke your ribs, but you never did tell me who. I have a copy of the spell you used to bring me back, and as for how you got pregnant," his tone turned teasing, "I can remind you."

She giggled and swiped at her cheeks. She sat back and managed a weak glare.

"Relax, darling," he held up his hands and smirked, "I was only joking, and it made you stop crying. Aside from the cut that you magically healed is there another reason you're in the hospital?"

She shook her head.

"Then why don't I see about getting you out of here?" He stood from the bed.

"You're not upset?" She caught his hand before he could leave.

"You can't control your memory, darling," he squeezed her hand, "how could I be upset with you about that? Besides," he smiled, "it sounds like Bonnie might have unlocked your mind. If you want to try something else there are herbs that might help; or your memory could come back on its own."

In her mind she saw a tall young man with piercing blue eyes pulling a phial from his pocket.

"Yeah," she murmured, "maybe…"

Jeremy paced back and forth across the floor of the waiting room. Every time he would step into the hall his eyes would briefly dart to the window looking in on Elena's room; he could barely see his sister and Kol through the blinds.

He had been pacing for several moments when he finally turned on Elijah and the newest doppelganger.

"What the hell is going on?" He gestured back to the patient room. "How is Kol alive, and when did he marry my sister?"

He turned his gaze on the brunette.

"And who are you?"

Amara swallowed and crossed her legs. Her foot jiggled nervously in the air as she struggled not to listen in on her sister's conversation with her husband.

"I'm her sister…"

"I think I'd know if my sister had a sister," Jeremy's eyes narrowed.

"It's a very long story," Amara sighed, "but we were sisters in another life. She died and I didn't…"

Bonnie straightened in her chair and focused on the brunette. She gave the impression of someone who had lived through insurmountable horrors and an untold number of years.

"What about the doctor?" Jeremy crossed his arms. "He looked freakishly like Elijah and you were the only one who didn't seem surprised."

"I would like an explanation for that as well," Elijah spoke from where he was in the corner. He had chosen a spot as far from the door as possible to avoid the man who was likely still somewhere on the floor.

"I should think at this point you're all familiar with the concept of doppelgangers," Amara muttered.

"The doppelganger is a mystically recurring phenomenon," Jeremy sighed like he was reciting a pre-rehearsed answer for a teacher. "The first one was Tatia."

"No," Elijah shook his head, "the first one was her," he nodded to Amara.

"You're Amara," Bonnie held the arms of her chair, "Silas' one true love."

"You're the descendant of the woman who murdered my sister," Amara cocked an eyebrow. "Silas didn't love me, but he liked me more than Qetsiyah. If I had I seen that sooner my sister might not have lost her life, but it's funny: the things we can't see because we're too close to the problem."

"So…" Bonnie tilted her head and squinted, "… Elena is your doppelganger; does that make Elijah and that doctor Silas'?"

"No," Amara pressed her tongue to her teeth, "there was another line. Ellie… her husband was mortally wounded by Qetsiyah, but she wanted to keep them apart in the afterlife she had created, so she forced the spell for immortality down his throat."

Elijah straightened up and tilted his head. He had always wondered how Elena had felt the first time she had seen Katerina, and it was a feeling he could have done without; an unnerving sensation that prickled at his scalp.

"Are you telling me there is someone else out there wearing my face?"

Amara shook her head.

"As far as I'm aware it's just the doctor," she bit her cheek. "Typically only one exists at a time, unless they've been rendered immortal."

"And the original immortal," Elijah prompted, "your sister's husband?"

"At some point in time he took the cure and died, but the doppelganger line endured."

"How sure are you that he died?" Jeremy frowned.

"Positive," Amara wasn't sure who to look in the eye. "I know he did because his soul was reborn, but unlike Ellie he didn't come back as a doppelganger."

"How do you know that?" Bonnie stood from her chair.

Elijah looked over Jeremy's shoulder when he saw Kol approach the nurse's station. His eyebrows shot up when he turned his gaze back to Amara.

"Yes," she stood with a murmur only loud enough for the human's to hear, "that's how I know."