Cassie moved around her room with purpose. If she slowed down, her mind would begin to wander to the room – the room her mom grew up in – and then to her mom and then to her horrible death. Tensing her shoulders, she threw her head up. She refused to dwell. She refused to sit there sobbing like a little girl. She’d done enough of that back home… only she had a new home now. She had to start thinking of Chance Harbor as her home.
She continued to putter around her room, making sure to keep her mind off her sad situation. She thought about school and of making a good first impression and of not getting lost. Cassie tugged on her pajama shorts and walked into her bathroom to run a brush through her hair now that it was fully dry. She left the bathroom to grab a shirt, noticing out of the corner of her eye that her curtains were wide open.
She moved across the room intent on closing them when a flash of skin caught her eye. Across the street at the neighboring house, she could make out the profile of a boy her age dressed in an unbuttoned shirt. She looked up from his half naked body to realize he was staring back at her with interest. Realizing that she was barely clothed, she gave him a sarcastic smile before slamming the curtains closed.
She flounced on her heel, shaking her head at the peeping boy- ignoring the fact that she got an eyeful as well- and stripped off her bathrobe, slipping her t-shirt over her head. She looked up into her mirror and gasped in surprise. She whirled around to see her curtains wide open.
Suspicious, she moved to the window and peered out, but seeing no one (not even the boy next door), she closed the curtains for a second time. Maybe her mind was playing tricks on her. Maybe, subconsciously, she wanted to show off for the cute blond and her magic had opened the curtains without her explicit instructions. It had happened before.
Filing it away as weird, but totally normal, she stacked her extra pillows on the chair, turning when her grandmother came in to wish her goodnight. Cassie then climbed into bed, pondering on what her grandmother meant when she said that Cassie’s mother Amelia liked to count the stars. Perhaps she perched on her windowsill and looked up into the sky.
Flicking off her lamp, Cassie smiled as she settled into her bed. Hundreds of glow in the dark stars stared down at her from the ceiling. Cassie grinned in amusement but quickly that pang of happiness became one of sadness. She grabbed her phone off her nightstand and turned to the last picture she had of herself together with her mother. She smiled, remembering that day as tears came to her eyes. She set the phone down and mentally scolded herself. She said she wouldn’t dwell. She turned her head away from the stars, not wanting to cry, and tried to force herself to go to sleep.
The next day, Cassie woke up early worried that she would get lost on her way to school. She picked out jeans, a flowery top and a lace white v-neck to go over it. She grabbed a brown leather jacket to keep out the chill and stomped down the stairs.
“Cassie?” her grandmother called from the kitchen just as Cassie picked up her car keys, “Would you like some breakfast before you head off?”
“No thanks,” Cassie shouted over her shoulder, “I’m not much of a breakfast eater. Thanks, though.”
Cassie’s grandmother let out a sound of understanding as she continued to move around in the kitchen. Taking this as her cue to go, Cassie opened the front door and hopped into her car. Her grandmother had written down the directions to the school and within minutes, Cassie was there.
She tried to pay attention to the principal’s welcome speech, but zoned out. It wasn’t until the end when Mrs. Chamberlain introduced herself and said that she was friends with Amelia that Cassie snapped back to attention. Cassie felt a weird sensation in the pit of her stomach when the principal said that Cassie’s mother was very special to her. Cassie’s mind made a perverted lesbian joke, but her gut instinct said there was something weird going on.
Hastily making her excuses, Cassie bolted out the door and into the crowded hallway. She began to search for her locker when she felt the hair on the back of her neck stand up. Scanning the crowd, she locked eyes with a boy who had been staring at her. Blinking, she quickly looked away in embarrassment. It was pure luck that the locker she turned to look at was her own.
She reached out and began turning the lock, but was unable to resist another peek at the cute boy behind her. Their eyes locked once more before he turned away and moved down the hall. Cassie looked down at her lock and began to tug on it, hoping it would open even though she was pretty sure she messed up the last number looking at the stranger.
“So, you’re the new girl,” a feminine voice interrupted her attempts.
Cassie turned to face a tall brunette with large eyes standing next to a small girl with curly hair. “Uh, yeah, that’s me,” Cassie smiled in a way that she hoped came off as more friendly than uncomfortable.
“You’re very pretty,” the girl spoke again.
The smile slid from Cassie’s face. She’d only been here an hour and she was already being hit on by the resident lesbian. She fidgeted uncomfortably as she tried to come up with a way to nicely tell the girl that she was straight and uninterested. Luckily, she didn’t get the chance to say anything as the two girls were already leaving.
“Try it again,” was all the tall brunette said.
Looking at the girl oddly, Cassie did indeed try the lock again. A shiver went down her spine as the lock easily opened in her hand. She turned to look for the girl again, but the duo had already disappeared into the throng of students.
“That’s Faye, resident bad girl,” a second feminine voice said, coming up from behind her.
“She’s convincing,” Cassie smiled, putting the weird occurrence out of her mind. She smiled as she listened to Diana speak, happy to have met a friendly face and agreed to go to the Boathouse later.
She had just walked into the restaurant when a voice spoke from behind her. She was getting really tired of people catching her off guard. “You’re Amelia’s girl,” a gruff male said.
Cassie turned around, “Excuse me?”
“You gotta be,” he spoke, completely ignoring her confused expression, “I see it.”
Sighing, Cassie agreed easily, introducing herself. She had been worried that all day she’d be called the new girl, but it appeared that her nickname instead was simply Amelia’s daughter. She stared at the man as he gave his condolences for her mother’s death. Something in his eyes said there was more going on than she knew. She started a conversation with him, but shifted uncomfortably when he confessed his love for her mother. Then he said those words…
“It was written.”
Shivers of recognition went down Cassie’s back. Those were classic words of magic. Maybe it was just a coincidence…
“Our families are written in the stars. We’re destined. It’s always been that way.”
Cassie felt a little bit of tension ease from her shoulders. Some witches still practiced divination but for most it was just an iffy magic used by fakes and frauds. She felt the rest of the tension ease when the boy she saw in the hallways earlier, Adam, made it obvious that his father had a drinking problem. She had been foolish to think there could be witches in Chance Harbor.
After a weird encounter with Faye, Cassie got back into her car with the intention of leaving, but the car wouldn’t start. Soon, smoke started pouring inside and Cassie couldn’t get out. As she started to choke, she tried to use her magic to open the doors, but instead, the engine burst into flames. Even more desperate, Cassie forwent magic, tugging harshly on the handles as her mind went back to the night she arrived home to see her house in flames.
Screaming, she begged to be let out. She looked up and saw Adam’s desperate face on the other side of the window. Suddenly, he turned away and began glaring at the flames. She looked at the flames before looking back at him, wondering why he wasn’t doing anything. Choking, she felt herself being jerked out of the car and swept into strong arms. Looking up, she realized that Adam had gotten her out of the car. Looking over her shoulder, she saw that the flames were out as well. Was it possible that he was a witch?
Later, after the police and firemen were sent away, she sat on the back of Adam’s jeep, wondering how to subtly bring up the subject, “I just don’t understand what happened,” she tried innocently.
“Car caught on fire,” Adam responded in a matter of fact manner, stating the obvious.
Realizing that she wasn’t going to get more, Cassie replied simply with a “Thanks for saving me.”
“Hey, are you okay? What happened?” Diana asked as she ran up to the two of them.
Adam swiftly stood up, “They think her engine blew.”
Cassie spoke up, trying to get to the truth once more, “No way. That was something else. You saw it. It went up in flames.” What she really meant to say however was ‘did you put the flames out? Are you a witch?’ Seeing that they weren’t paying her any attention however, she said that she was going to call her grandmother. Suddenly, their attention returned to her.
“No, you shouldn’t do that,” Diana spoke up, “Adam, why don’t you take Cassie home.” Adam nodded in agreement, but when Cassie protested, Diana insisted, “No, its okay. This is my boyfriend. He’s cool.” Cassie made shifted awkwardly as she realized she’d been crushing on a taken guy. She could have sworn that Adam had been giving off vibes of interest as well, but clearly she was wrong. This was proven when Adam coolly agreed with no hesitation and no sign of awkwardness.
As Adam pulled up to her house, she tried one last ditch effort to try and discover if he was a witch. “Maybe it was ready to go caput. I did just drive it a thousand miles,” she offered lamely.
“Yeah, I’m sure that’s it,” He jumped on the excuse without a moment’s hesitation.
Cassie internally smiled. He was kind of a terrible liar, “But the doors wouldn’t open.”
Adam took a moment before answering, “Maybe you…” He hesitated as his mind attempted to fill in the lie, “Maybe you panicked and you locked them when you meant to unlock them.”
Cassie couldn’t help the smile from spreading to her face. That was the worst excuse she had ever heard in her life. Now she was certain that he was lying to her, “No, the lock’s pretty straight forward. It only does one thing,” she teased, “And how did the fire go out?” she prodded at his story some more.
Adam shrugged awkwardly, “By itself.”
Cassie shook her head. This boy needed to take some lying classes or acting classes or something, “If you say so,” She grinned. She mentally made a note to play a game of poker against him one day.
She decided to stop poking at his story and let the conversation flow normally. She couldn’t help herself from bringing up Diana, but when he called his girlfriend very nice, she raised an internal eyebrow. That wasn’t a compliment one usually gave to the woman they love. Nodding, Cassie turned to leave not wanting to get in the middle of whatever kind of relationship Adam and Diana did or did not have.
She turned back when Adam began talking about his dad, trying to make excuses for his magic talk. Sensing that Adam was embarrassed about his father’s alcoholism, she interrupted, “He’s sweet. From where I sit, that’s a good thing,” she smiled at him kindly, “Thanks for the ride.”
Later that night, Cassie crawled into bed, more comfortable with the thought of sleeping where her mom used to. She turned out the light and stared up at the glowing stars. Allowing her eyes to lose focus, she smiled as the green stars faded into the bright white light of the real lights they portrayed. Closing her eyes, she felt the starlight on her face as she drifted off to sleep.
Cassie’s eyebrow rose in surprise as she surveyed the five people inside the abandoned house. Knowing that Adam was a witch, she had subtly tested Diana as well, trying to see if maybe Adam’s girlfriend was magical too. She was surprised when Diana brought her to an abandoned house in the middle of nowhere. At first, she wondered if she was about to be axe murdered, but when she entered a room behind Diana and found five people along with a bunch of magical ingredients, Cassie realized what was going on.
“Hi, neighbor,” a voice called from above. Cassie looked up to find the blond boy from next door perched high on a beam. Maybe that bit of magic with the curtain hadn’t been her after all.
“What are all of you doing here? What’s going on?” Cassie asked hesitantly. She knew they were all witches, but they had no reason to suspect her of the same. So why would they risk exposure by telling some random person they barely know? The others began arguing when Cassie interrupted. “Know what?” she asked suspiciously. Exactly what was she missing? Cassie rolled her eyes in boredom as Diana stuttered her way through a speech. Apparently Faye felt the same because she interrupted.
“Oh for God’s sake, spit it out. You’re a witch. You’re a full blooded, hundred percent witch. We all are.”
Cassie blinked at the bluntness of her statement, “You guys are saying I’m a witch.” She stated simply.
“Like your mother and her mother,” the quiet girl Melissa that followed Faye spoke for the first time. Cassie did a double take at her words. Her mother?
Diana nodded in agreement, “It’s all in here, Cassie. Each family has a book like this one; a journal that lays down each family line. I found mine-“
“Which explains her air of superiority,” Faye interrupted.
“The book contains thousands of spells. We’ve been practicing but without a full Circle we can only do really lame ones,” Melissa spoke again. Cassie wondered what she meant. That wasn’t how magic worked. Who exactly had been teaching these guys?
“Like open locked doors,” Faye offered.
“Or curtains,” Nick leered from behind Cassie.
“Or set cars on fire?” Cassie asked sarcastically.
“I’m sorry about that. I got a little out of hand,” Faye smirked.
Cassie grinned in amusement at the girl’s words before Adam spoke up and she returned her attention to him. “A complete Circle is six. One from each of the six families.” A familial Circle? It was hardly unheard of but to think that Cassie belonged to one of the families? That was crazy. Cassie knew her mother and her mother was not a witch. She had never met anyone more ordinary and human than Amelia Blake.
“You’re the sixth. You complete the Circle,” Diana said matter-of-factly.
“Now we’re whole,” Melissa finished.
“We have more power now,” Faye added on. Cassie internally took note of her words. It was always a good idea to keep track of the power-hungry one. Never knew when they came in handy.
“But there’s a ritual that will bind us,” Diana hastened to add, “So we can control our power.” Cassie took note of the responsible leader as well. Their words were crazy and she would need to know as much about them as she could.
“You are seriously messed up!” Cassie finally spoke up, angered. She turned to leave but Faye moved into her path. “Get out of my way,” she warned, feeling her magic build up in her body, ready to be unleashed in her anger.
Faye grabbed her arm, “Don’t pretend you don’t believe us. Deep down, you know it’s true.”
“What’s true is how crazy you are,” Cassie spat back. Magic was inherited, she knew that. But Cassie had inherited her magic from her father, not her mother. She refused to believe that her mother would have kept something like that from her. Amelia was not a witch.
“Hey, take it easy,” Adam warned.
“She can’t just waltz out of here. She’ll run to her grandmother,” Faye explained.
Diana caught on. “No one can know about us. Not even our families. We have to stay secret.”
Cassie briefly wondered why, if both their parents were witches, they would hide their magic, but agreed anyway with a smirk, using the opportunity to bolt out the door. Cassie sprinted through the forest, making her way as far from the others and that house as she could. There was no way that what they were saying was true. Cassie had gotten her magic from her father; the man who died before Cassie was even born. If her mother was a witch she would have told Cassie. Amelia could not have spent sixteen years hiding Cassie’s heritage from her. The others must be wrong.
When Cassie stopped to gasp in some air she looked around realizing she was lost. “Cassie!” Adam came up from behind her. How had he found her so quickly? “Cassie, wait. It’s not as crazy as it seems,” he attempted to reassure her. Internally, she rolled her eyes. She wasn’t freaked out about the magic. That came naturally to her now.
“Yes, it is. This is insane. All of you are insane,” Cassie spoke harshly. She turned to leave, but his words made her pause.
“Our parents had a Circle just like ours.”
“My God,” she gasped, unable to believe he was still pushing the family angle. If they wanted her to join their Circle, they should just be upfront about it. But pushing some sort of family thing? “Can you hear yourself? My mother was not a witch. I would have known.”
“No, this was all covered up. Something went wrong. People were hurt. They were killed. So they abolished witchcraft.”
Cassie let his words was over her. It wasn’t an unheard of occurrence. In Mystic Falls, things went wrong and they began hunting vampires. It was hardly crazy to think that people would do the same in other towns. But even if it were true, her mother would still have told her, “I don’t believe you.”
“You’re not the only one who’s lost a parent, Cassie,” Adam said painfully, “We all have.”
Cassie began to back away from him hesitantly. “I don’t believe it,” she repeated, “I can’t.”
“Let me show you,” Adam offered. He reached over and grabbed a leaf wet with rainy dew. He brought it over for her to hold. She wanted to leave; to keep running and never look back; to return to her grandmother’s and pretend today never happened. She hesitantly took the leaf. She never was one to deny her curiosity. “Trust me. Close your eyes. Concentrate on how your hand is connecting to the leaf, then how the leaf is connecting to the water. Then say ‘a drop of water as light as air.’”
Cassie’s brow rose. She once again wondered exactly how long the group had been practicing magic and who taught them. They were still using spells for something as easy as floating water? Then again, if what Adam said about the town abolishing witchcraft was true, they probably only began learning recently.
Seeing that Cassie was unwilling to try, Adam reached out to cup her hand. Unwillingly, Cassie felt her magic respond, “A drop of water as light as air.” Cassie felt a lurch in her stomach as her magic responded to his words. She swallowed hard. That had never happened to her before, even when she practiced with other witches.
The two stared down at the single drop as it slowly rose into the air. Adam let out a breath of disbelief as a grin made its way across his face. Magic never worked that easily for him before. The others were right. With Cassie here their magic was infinitely more powerful. Their eyes connected as they both felt the connection magic forged between them. Suddenly, the smile left Adam’s lips as something caught his attention out of the corner of his eye. He turned his head, staring in complete disbelief. Cassie turned to look too, her eyes widening in surprise. All around them, small droplets of dew floated in mid air, reflecting sunny rainbows across them. She let out a small gasp in wonder.
“This has never happened before,” Adam confessed joyfully before looking down at her. Somehow the two had gotten much closer during the beautiful water drop show. Cassie felt the smile leave her lips as she processed the dual sensation of their magic connection and his face right in front of hers. Unable to resist, they leaned in closer, their lips gently touching. It wasn’t much of a kiss; more like a meeting of lips. Just as quickly as it occurred, it stopped. That meeting was enough to snap their concentration, allowing the dew drops to fall back to earth. Adam pulled away sharply, turning away from Cassie. Surprised at what had just happened between them, Cassie turned tail and ran. Adam looked at her forlornly as well as gazing at the now ruined surroundings. What had once been a beautiful landscape was now simple forest with nothing to indicate a magical moment had just occurred.
It wasn’t until Cassie made it back to town that she calmed down enough to think clearly. Her magic had never reacted that way to another person before. Realizing that she needed answers, she made her way back to the Boathouse to talk to Adam’s father.
“Excuse me, I need to talk to you,” she said moving to stand across from Ethan.
“Hello, Amelia’s girl.”
Cassie winced at the greeting, but ignored it, “Why did my mom leave here?” she asked, “You said you loved her. What happened?”
“Your father happened,” He said simply, taking a drink.
Cassie hesitated. She wanted to know about her mom; if there was any truth to what the others said. But she had never heard about her father before, “Tell me about him.”
“Did you know that our families are aligned in the stars?” he asked, “Me and Amelia were meant for each other.”
She looked at him incredulously. If their families were truly practicing witches then they should know better than to practice divination. “You keep saying that, but I don’t understand. What does that mean?”
“It’s the same for you and Adam,” Ethan said instead. Cassie’s eyes widened. “You don’t want to mess with fate. Bad things happen when you mess with fate.”
“What bad things?” Cassie asked suspiciously.
Ethan shook his head, “Why do you want to hurt more than you already do?”
If this had to do with her parents; if it involved her family; if it might explain why they had to die… She wanted to know. “Please.”
“Your father was a bad man-” That was all Ethan got out before they were interrupted and it was all Cassie could think about. She couldn’t stay in the Boathouse when Adam showed up so she ran out the door the minute he was distracted.
She was walking along the docks when Diana found her. “Cassie, there you are,” she said, relieved to have found the girl. Cassie wondered cruelly if she’d still be relieved if she knew that an hour earlier, Cassie was lip locked with her boyfriend.
“No, I can’t deal with any more of this right now,” the blonde begged. She was still contemplating Ethan’s words. What did that mean? What did her father do? Did he do anything? Or was it merely the drunken ramblings of the man her mother didn’t pick?
Diana was unwilling to let things go, however. Cassie was about to turn away, but she just had to ask, “What happened to our parents? Why won’t anyone tell me anything?”
Diana shifted uncomfortably, but she had asked for Cassie to open up to her; she owed Cassie an answer, “There was… an accident… sixteen years ago. The people who died were all members of the last Circle. Our parents.”
“My father too?” Cassie asked. Her mother had never spoken of her father. That secrecy was part of what made Cassie sure that her magic came from his side of the family, but it was looking more and more like she had inherited it from both her parents. How could her mother have hid this from her?
“Only, I don’t think it was an accident,” the brunette confessed, “I think something went wrong and the ones who survived are trying to keep it from us. Look, I believe we can do great things with our power. It doesn’t have to be bad, but we have to control it.”
“My mom ran from this life. She didn’t want this for me,” Cassie realized out loud, “If she did, she would have told me.” Tears welled up in her eyes, “Why didn’t she tell me?”
For once, Diana didn’t have an answer.
The storm distracted Diana from the conversation, bringing her attention to Faye. Cassie watched as Diana ran towards the other girl. Looking at the sky, she realized that the storm was not natural and that Faye had summoned a hurricane. Cassie’s eyebrows rose in surprise when Diana fell to the ground, a lightning strike coming too close to the girl. Realizing that things were spiraling out of control, Cassie made her way toward the dock. She heard Faye begging the storm to stop, but it was out of her control. Cassie stepped out on to the edge and looked into the depths of the swirling clouds. She closed her eyes and reached into her magic. She felt a slight tug, but it was nowhere near as strong as it should be for the amount of magic she was about to perform. The Circle really did amplify her powers, “Make it stop. Make it stop. Make it stop,” She repeated thrice, watching as the clouds swiftly retreated and the rain began to slow.
The two girls on the ground looked at her in surprise, “You did it,” Faye spoke in awe, “You’re one of us.”
“You stopped it, Cassie,” Diana said also in a reverent tone. How could Cassie, who was new to magic, stop a storm started by Faye, the strongest of the Circle?
Cassie looked at the two dead in the eye before declaring her decision, “I don’t want any part of this.”
Cassie trudged through the streets of Chance Harbor soaking wet. She refused to call a cab or her grandmother, preferring to take the time to think over everything she had learned. Her father was a witch. He had died in a horrible magical accident. Her mother was a witch. She had kept this secret from Cassie.
Walking up the front steps, she let herself inside the house. “What happened to you?” her grandmother asked from the living room. Cassie hesitated before turning around. Looking at her grandmother, she remembered Melissa’s words ‘like your mother and her mother.’
“I just got caught in the rain,” Cassie lied.
“Is everything alright?” her grandmother questioned.
No. Nothing was alright. She just found out her entire life was a lie. That everything her mother ever said to her was a lie. “Yeah. I just want to get out of these clothes.” Forcing a smile onto her lips, Cassie made her way up the stairs to her room.
She burst through her door before slamming it shut and leaning heavily on the door, closing her eyes.
Her eyes slammed open as she looked around her room easily spotting Nick lounging on her bed, flipping through a book she’d left on her nightstand.
Nick didn’t even look up at her, “I got nominated to make sure you didn’t tattle to granny.”
“Thanks,” Cassie sneered, dropping her wet jacket to the floor with a plop.
The blond finally looked up, taking in her wet figure, “What happened to you?”
Cassie rolled her eyes making her way to her closet. She shut the door so that she could change. “Ask your friend Faye. She started a storm she couldn’t control.”
“Faye?” Nick asked in surprise from the other side of the door. Faye was the strongest of them; she used magic the most. For her to summon something that she couldn’t stop…
“Yeah,” Cassie said, opening the door to look up at him. She was now clad in a light pink tank, white camisole and grey yoga pants. “I had to stop it before it destroyed anything else.”
Nick stayed silent, processing that Cassie, the newbie, was able to stop something that Faye couldn’t. “How?”
“What?” Cassie asked, distracted, as she grabbed a towel from her bathroom and began towel drying her hair.
“How did you stop the storm when Faye couldn’t?” he asked suspiciously, “You don’t know anything about magic.”
Cassie smirked slightly, “Who said that?”
The blond paused as he re-evaluated what he knew about Cassie, “You know magic?”
Cassie shrugged. She opened her mouth to say more when her grandmother interrupted. “Cassie! You have a visitor!” her grandmother called up the stairs. Cassie made a ‘shoo’ motion toward Nick. Taking the hint, the boy crept out the window. She leaned out to see that he had used magic to soften his fall and was now returning to his house. Cassie dropped her towel on her bed and left her room. “A very late visitor,” her grandmother mumbled as soon as Cassie was within sight. Turning, Cassie spotted Adam shifting awkwardly in the foyer. She pursed her lips, unsure of what to say. “I’ll be in the kitchen,” her grandmother offered, “Right through there,” She warned Adam.
Adam let out a sigh and started out easily, “Diana told me what happened.”
Cassie similarly chose to avoid the main topic, “Are they okay?”
“Faye’s a little shaken and Diana’s worried. Faye’s always been a bit, uhm, unpredictable. You never know what she’s gonna do next,” Adam rolled his eyes.
Cassie smiled in amusement, “Is that why you came here? To convince me to join your secret cult?”
Adam smiled back, “No. I just wanted to apologize. I’m sorry about earlier.”
“Which part?” she asked curiously.
“In the woods,” he clarified softly, unwilling to utter the word ‘kiss.’
Cassie nodded in understating. “I know.”
“It should never have happened. I don’t know how it happened,” Adam said awkwardly. Once again, Cassie was reminded of what a bad liar he was. “I love Diana.” That, however, was not a lie.
“Yeah, I get it,” Cassie offered understandingly.
“It can’t happen again,” he stated softly, but with steel intent underlying his tone.
“No,” She whispered softly, “it can’t.”
The two locked gazes before Adam broke their awkward moment, “Well, I should go.” He paused at the door, turning to speak, “You are one of us, Cassie. I can’t tell you what to do, but just know… you’re not alone.” Cassie froze unable to swallow the frog that lodged itself in her throat as Adam left. You’re not alone. Alone was all she’d felt since her mother died. You’re not alone. Her mother didn’t want this life for her. You’re not alone… But maybe she didn’t have to be alone anymore.
Later that night, Cassie settled herself into bed. Looking up at the stars, she realized what her grandmother really meant when she said Amelia counted the stars at night. Her mother, like Cassie, looked beyond the stickers decorating the ceiling into the night sky above. A smile twitched on the blonde’s face as she looked up at the sparkling lights.
You are not alone.
A scraping sound came from the fireplace. Looking over, the sound came again. Sitting up, Cassie realized that a section of the mantle was moving. She climbed out of bed and pried the tile off, revealing a hidden nook with a thick book tucked inside. Was this her mother’s book of magic? She had her father’s, but this was her mother’s.
Cassie began to flip through it, trying to get a feel for her family’s style of magic. In the middle, she came across a letter in her mother’s familiar handwriting. She hesitantly opened it, wondering what it would say.
My sweet Cassie,
You finding this means I’m gone and for that I am so sorry. I didn’t want you to have this life, but destiny is not easy to run from. I hoped that keeping this secret would keep you safe, but all I’ve done is left you unprotected. You have incredible power inside you. People will come for it. They will come for you.
Cassie traced over the intricate drawings in her mother’s book. She vaguely made a mental memo to take some art classes before attempting to add to the book. Her father’s book was mostly written; spells, incantations, and descriptions. This book, however, was almost entirely made of pictures.
Her eyes wandered over to the page on binding the Circle. So this is what Diana was talking about. She read through the words before shaking her head. She didn’t care how much the power would increase; she had no interest in binding herself to five others for the rest of her life. Especially when she had such a strong connection to one of them…
I know how alone you must feel, but be careful who you trust, even people who call themselves friends. Your power is the only thing that can keep you safe.
Her mother was right. Cassie could not allow herself to trust the others. Adam was wrong. She was alone.
She was just finishing getting ready when she noticed Nick standing in his window watching her. She gave a sarcastic wave while wondering whether or not the boy even owned a shirt, given the amount of times she had seen him half-naked. She turned back around to find him still watching her. Smirking, she drew on her magic, “Close.” Both she and Nick jumped as Nick’s window slammed shut with such force that it shattered. Cassie shakily ran from her bedroom. That had never happened before.
She knew that she and her magic connected more easily thanks to the presence of the others; her little water spell with Adam proved that. Intellectually, she also knew that her magic was amplified because of the Circle. Her mother’s book had been very clear about that as well. But, Cassie had thought she could handle it. She wasn’t like the others; she knew what she was doing. But instead of closing the curtains, her vague spell had closed Nick’s window and with such power and ferocity that it had broken.
Cassie took a deep breath. She needed to get her powers under control. She needed to refocus her energy. She refused to be controlled by the magic. Uncontrollable magic is how people got hurt.
She ignored her grandmother’s offer of talking as she rushed out the door. Amelia hadn’t wanted Cassie to know about her magic. That included knowing about her ancestry which meant avoiding talking with her grandmother about magic.
Cassie stalked through the crowded school halls, intent on avoiding anyone from the Circle. She stared in confusion when she felt herself being shanghaied.
“Hi, there, I’m Sally Matthews: Class President,” a small girl introduced.
Cassie smiled awkwardly, unsure why the girl was talking to her, “Uh, hi. Cassie,” she introduced right back. Cassie quickly turned back to searching the halls, trying to spot any of the others before they could spot her.
“New girl. I just wanted to welcome you and see if you needed anything,” Sally explained. Cassie looked at the girl with a smile. She seemed nice. Diana had seemed really nice as well, but that was before Cassie found out that Diana wanted her to join their Circle. “Anything- social, extracurricular- I’m your girl. And if you’re not doing anything tomorrow, I’m in charge of the school raffle and we really need new band uniforms. I could totally use the help. It’s a great way to meet people,” Sally said, trying to entice the blonde.
“Okay, sure,” Cassie agreed laughing. A raffle sounded nice, normal and more importantly non-magical.
Faye interrupted the duo’s conversation, dragging Cassie down the hall. Cassie internally cursed. She had been so wrapped up talking to Sally that she had forgotten to keep an eye out for the others.
“I wanna apologize for what happened on the dock with the storm. Things got a little out of hand and I wanted to thank you for stopping it.” Cassie turned to look at Faye oddly. Faye didn’t seem like the apology type. Or the thank you type for that matter. “With you here our powers are magnified and it’s awesome, but we have to practice a little,” Faye admitted, “Has Diana gotten to you about binding the Circle?”
“Not yet,” Cassie spoke, looking around hoping that the other girl wasn’t planning on popping up out of nowhere like Faye had.
“Just say no. It’s exactly what we don’t want to do,” Faye rolled her eyes.
Cassie shrugged out of the other girl’s grip and turned suspicious eyes on her, “Why not?” she asked.
“It links us together; all six of us. We won’t have individual power. It’ll become a Fascist Circle with control-freak Diana as dictator and I don’t want someone telling me what to eat for lunch much less what parade I can rain on, you know?” Faye ranted.
Cassie let out a chuckle at the girl’s words. She was strangely reminded of a good friend of hers who also enjoyed raining on other people’s parades. Oh, Niklaus. Cassie let herself be brought back to the meaning of Faye’s words however, “No, I don’t. I don’t know you, I don’t want to know you and I don’t want any part of this. So you need to leave me alone. Understand?” she demanded walking away angrily.
She had just arrived at her locker when she felt her cell phone go off in her pocket. She frowned in confusion at the out-of-state number, “Hello?” She asked as she grabbed her books for her morning class.
“Cassie,” a hoarse voice rasped on the other side.
She froze in surprise, “Stefan?” She paused as she listened to the man’s jagged breathing, “What’s wrong?” she asked worriedly.
“I did something. A lot of somethings. Things I can’t undo. Cass, I can never go back.”
Cassie slowly put her textbooks back in her locker and locked it, “Tell me everything,” she spoke soothingly, walking toward the school exit. Like a torrential downpour, Stefan began explaining everything that had been happening since the last time they’d spoken. He talked about Rose and Elijah, Katherine and the real reason behind the tomb and most importantly he talked about Klaus and the ritual. Just when Cassie thought it was over, Stefan told her more.
“Damon got bitten by Tyler Lockwood. He was dying.” She could hear the desperation in his voice even as he was looking back on the event, “I went to him; I went to Klaus. In exchange for a cure, I bargained a decade’s worth of servitude.”
Cassie let out a breath as she thought over his words. “And Klaus agreed? A decade is nothing to a vampire, especially one as old as him.”
She heard a scratchy sound and assumed Stefan was nodding on the other side, “It’s what he wanted. Ten years. That was last May. The things he’s been having me do… Things that I want to do…” Stefan spoke hollowly, “I hate this part of me. I think the reason he agreed to a decade only is because he knows that by the time its up, I won’t want to go.”
“Sounds like him,” Cassie agreed.
There was an awkward pause, “…You know Klaus?”
Cassie sighed as she finally got the chance to speak up, “Yeah. He’s the one I told you about, Stefan: the vampire who found me: the one who taught me about magic.” Stefan stilled as he processed the implications. Cassie had talked about the vampire who found her before. She respected him, thought the sun and moon of him… she loved him. Thinking about everything he had just confessed to her, Stefan felt like his heart stopped. He had told Cassie the truth about the ritual; about Elena’s survival. If Cassie told Klaus, it would mean his death, Elena’s death and probably the death of everyone in their group. “I know what you’re thinking. I care about Klaus. I’m loyal to him. But I also know him. I won’t tell him about Elena, Stefan,” Cassie hastened to reassure.
Stefan remained hesitant. Cassie was one of his closest friends, but she was also very close with Klaus. Still, if Cassie made a promise, she kept it, “I believe you.” Stefan continued with his story all the way to the last things that happened. He talked about Ray, the werewolf he was currently torturing, and Damon, “I compelled her to jump. She didn’t have a choice. She didn’t want to. Damon’s face…”
“You did it to save his life,” Cassie stated strongly, knowing how much this was eating up her friend, “You were warning him away. Klaus would have killed him despite having promised to leave your brother alone.”
“I could have warned him off another way,” he agonized, “Andie didn’t have to die.”
Cassie scoffed, “You know Damon and so do I. If you had just told him to stop, he would have done it more blatantly just to spite you.” She grinned when she heard Stefan chuckle in response.
“…I called her,” he said hesitantly.
“It was her birthday,” Cassie said simply like that explained everything.
“I shouldn’t have done it,” he whispered. It sounded like he didn’t know whether he really believed that.
The blonde sighed, “No. You probably shouldn’t have. I don’t know Elena but from what it sounds like, she’s like a dog and you’ve just given her a bone.” She heard Stefan swallow heavily over the line, “She loves you. It’s not a bad thing,” Cassie whispered.
“It is if it’s what gets her killed.”
There was nothing that Cassie could say to that. She couldn’t imagine what it would be like if the person you loved died because of you. Instead, Cassie said, “You can call me anytime, Stefan. Day or night, I will answer. I’m here for you.”
“I know,” Stefan replied gratefully.
“I love you,” Cassie answered, knowing that Stefan would understand that she meant that platonically. She and Stefan had known each other for a few years and had grown very close. They’d grown even closer after Lexi, the one who introduced them, died.
“I love you too, Cass. Take care.” Stefan smiled softly before hanging up.
The small girl took a deep breath of fresh autumn air before heading back into school. She had already missed her first three classes so she headed to her locker to get ready for her chemistry class. She grabbed her books and slammed the door shut. She nearly jumped out of her skin when she noticed Nick standing on the other side of her locker door. Cassie rolled her eyes and tried to go around him, but he just moved to block her, “We need to talk.”
“No, we don’t,” she insisted, but he just raised an eyebrow, silently asking whether or not she was serious. She let out a sigh and crossed her arms defensively, “Are you okay?” Nick looked at her questioningly. “This morning? The window?” Cassie clarified.
“Ah,” he nodded, “I’m fine.”
Cassie smiled sarcastically, “Great.” Again, she tried to move around the boy and again he blocked her, “What?” she yelled in exasperation.
“Last night? Our conversation? You know magic,” Nick stated simply. Mentally cursing herself for revealing that tidbit to him, she remained silent. Unfortunately for her, Nick took this as confirmation. “How did you learn? Did your mom-”
“No,” Cassie replied sharply, “My mom… She never told me, okay?” she answered defensively, “I found out on my own. I met someone- a friend- he taught me the basics, hooked me up with other witches so that I could learn. I always thought I got it from my father. My mother never knew that I practiced and I never knew that she was anything more than human.”
Nick wisely avoided Cassie’s not-so-subtle problems and instead asked simply, “Then why are you avoiding us? Why are you so anti-magic?”
“I’m not anti-magic,” Cassie laughed, “I’m anti-Circle. My mom didn’t want me to know about my family, about you or any of this. She must have had her reasons,” she said softly, trying to convince herself more than Nick. Re-focusing, Cassie continued, “I’ll practice magic all I want. Just not with you.” With that, Cassie turned tail and went the opposite direction, heading back where she just came from.
Going the long way, Cassie walked into her chemistry class late. She made eye contact with Adam for a second before awkwardly looking away when she noticed Diana sitting next to him. Unfortunately, looking away brought her eyes to Faye who gave a small sarcastic wave. Cassie moved quicker toward the table farthest away from everyone.
After pouring the two solutions together, her mixture began to bubble. Looking at it suspiciously, Cassie checked under the table to see if she was missing something. Realizing that she was being punked, Cassie turned to see who was casting magic, already suspecting the answer. Unsurprised to see Faye smirking, Cassie’s jaw clenched in anger and she turned back to her experiment. When the beaker exploded, Cassie got really mad. Turning, she smirked sarcastically at the girl and then, looking at their beaker, gave a wink. Their beaker burst into flames, but Cassie still felt unsatisfied. As if knowing that, her magic welled again and the beaker exploded. The yelps of the other people in the classroom brought Cassie back and realizing that she had just used magic in public, she ran out the door.
“Cassie! Cassie, wait a minute!” Adam yelled as he followed her down the hall.
“I did that. I got mad and that’s what happened. I didn’t mean to. Why’s this happening?” she asked. She had never felt her magic well up so easily before. She had never lost her temper and had that happen before. She meant for Faye’s beaker to catch on fire. Fire she could explain in a chem. lab, but the glass? That had not been a conscious decision. Her magic was out of control. “How do I stop it?”
“That’s the thing. You can’t,” Adam broke it to her softly, “But if you let me, I can help.”
Cassie pursed her lips skeptically, but in the end agreed. Adam took her hand and led her out the doors. Cassie sighed. It was only her second day at school and already she was ditching out of everything. She might as well not have shown up at all since she only got about five seconds of class time.
Before she knew it, they were back at the abandoned house the others liked to come to, “Why do you guys come here?” she asked in disgust as she took in the cobwebs and dirt.
Adam chuckled at her look, “Because no one else does.”
“Abandoned buildings are like that.” Cassie smirked, looking around at all of the magical ingredients they had.
He nodded, “Well, it’s important that no one find out about us. Especially our families.” Cassie froze at the reminder of her family. She had not learned magic through her family, but through strangers instead.
“How did you discover-” she started curiously.
“That we’re witches?” he finished, “Diana found her mom’s book of shadows. It’s how we know about all of this.”
Cassie nodded. So they only knew their family magic. Family magic was specific, each family choosing what they wanted and didn’t want to practice. Having learned from a few different witches, Cassie’s knowledge was broad, but shallow. “She’s the only one with a book?” she asked probingly.
“Technically each family has a book, but hers is the only one we have access to,” Adam explained.
Unwilling to give up the advantage of revealing that she had found her own families’ books, Cassie instead asked, “Why?”
“Because witchcraft is forbidden… was abolished,” he stated obviously.
Cassie nodded in understanding, “Because of what happened years ago.”
Adam nodded remorsefully, “It’s when my mom died… Diana’s mom, Faye’s dad, Melissa’s mom. Nick lost both of his parents.”
The small girl let out a breath. She had known that the others lost their parents, but to lose both? At least she had her mother for a while… “And my dad,” she murmured, completing the list of the dead, “I don’t know much about it. Just that there was some big accident.” Adam reiterated the official story but Cassie blinked in surprise, “Fire?” Her life was beginning to revolve around that element.
“Diana thinks it’s because they didn’t bind the Circle,” Adam confided.
Cassie shook her head, “I don’t understand.”
“Every witch is born into a Circle. Ours is made up of six families. A Circle has more power than any one person can handle. Binding it is the only way we can utilize the power but keep it controlled,” Adam explained. Cassie wondered if that’s what Diana’s book said or if it was something they thought up. She had met witches who didn’t belong to a Circle. Until recently, she had thought she didn’t belong to one either. Some Circles consisted of a family like the Martins or the Bennetts. The Martins, she knew, had bound their family Circle, but the Bennetts had not.
“Faye says it will link us together,” Cassie asked more than stated.
Adam agreed hesitantly, “Yes, it will limit our individual abilities but strengthen us as a group. That way no one can have too much power.” Cassie nodded. It sounded like she would be hit the hardest then since it seemed like she was the strongest of the six.
Adam grabbed a light bulb and a live wire. He handed the wire to Cassie and grabbed her hand. Immediately the bulb lit up. Cassie stared at it in surprise. She wasn’t trying to tap into her magic at all. Then Adam handed her the bulb and told her to try it by herself. At first, she didn’t try to draw up any magic but unlike when she held Adam’s hand, the bulb did nothing. She looked up at Adam who stared back expectantly. Eyes locked, she drew up a small drop of magic. Seeing it light, Adam gave a grin. Cassie jumped out of her skin when the bulb exploded. “This was a bad idea,” she said with wide eyes.
“I’m sorry,” Adam whispered.
“No, it’s my fault,” Cassie replied. If her heart hadn’t skipped a beat at his grin, if her magic hadn’t responded to her feelings… “I shouldn’t have come.”
Cassie raced out the door barely grabbing her things. She made it back home but refused to talk to her grandmother, simply saying she had a stressful day and wanted to sleep. She curled up in her room and read her mother’s book, ignoring the real world.
The next morning, she woke up to find three missed calls from Adam. Ignoring them, she got dressed in some blue jeans, a salmon pink spaghetti strapped shirt and a cargo green jacket. She went out to grab some breakfast before making her way to the docks, eager to get her mind off of all the Circle talk that’s been taking up her life lately. She just wanted to focus on school and friends; the nice, normal things she had been worried about only two days earlier.
She made it to the fair slightly late, her grandmother already waiting for her at the entrance. “So what are you going to do today?” Jane asked her granddaughter.
“My friend Sally asked me to help her with the school raffle,” Cassie answered distractedly, “Oh, there’s Sally. Are you going to be okay without me?”
Jane smiled. “Of course. Have fun, I’ll see you at home.”
Sally and Cassie talked idly before Cassie was put to work. She’d managed to go a whole hour thinking about nothing but selling tickets and talking to others when Diana snuck up behind her, “Hey, Cassie. How did you get roped into volunteering?”
“I’m here for the distraction,” the blonde admitted easily, making her way down the dock.
Diana nodded before lowering her voice, “Adam told me you guys practiced last night.” Cassie’s eyes widened as she began to wonder what else Adam told the girl. “I’m happy to help sometimes, if you want… The thing is, we need you. We can’t be a Circle without you.”
Cassie let out a breath, happy to talk about the Circle if it meant not having to talk about Adam. “I’m sorry. You’re going to have to find someone else.”
“There is no one else,” Diana laughed, “You’re one of the six families. I thought you understood that.”
“No, I don’t understand any of this. What you’re asking is ludicrous. I can’t just blindly agree to it,” Cassie explained. Her mother must have had her reasons for running from this. Cassie refused to be herded into something just because Diana wanted to bind the Circle.
After a completely unsatisfying conversation with Adam’s father in which she ended up thinking less about the Circle and more on her feelings for Adam, she gave up on selling raffle tickets. Instead, Cassie sat on a bench staring at the ocean, thinking about everything that had been happening to her lately.
“Hey,” a masculine voice said from behind her. Enter Problem #2. “So, I’ve been asked to come over here and convince you to bind the Circle,” Adam explained honestly.
Cassie nodded, “Yeah, she kinda struck out,” she said blandly.
Adam grinned, “Yeah, so I heard.”
Unable to contain her curiosity, she asked the question that had been burning inside her since talking with Diana, “What did you tell Diana about last night?”
“That I showed you how to focus and harness your energy,” Adam said. His words sounded like that’s all he thought he did. It was only the shifty way he averted his gaze that signaled that he knew that something more had happened between them, “She’s okay with that.”
Cassie smiled incredulously, “Does it always… feel like last night?” she asked softly.
Adam looked away awkwardly, “There’s always some, uhm, physical reaction,” he said, choosing his words carefully.
“You know what I mean.” His silence spoke volumes. Unwilling to let her magic go out of control like that again, Cassie asked a different question. “Okay, so if we bind the Circle, then we’ll be able to control it better?”
Smiling at a question he could finally answer, Adam nodded. “Yes.”
“No more exploding light bulbs or floating water?” She smirked teasingly wondering if it was normal to be sad about that.
“I don’t think so,” Adam said, once again looking shifty. Cassie pursed her lips, realizing that the boy was lying. Blinking, she realized that binding the Circle would do nothing for those things because they occurred because of the feelings between them, not the magic.
Later that night, Cassie searched the dock for Sally when she got cornered by a drunk Faye, “Hey,” the brunette smiled, “What do you say you and me use a little magic?” she offered.
“I don’t think so,” Cassie replied incredulously, looking around to see if any of the nearby partying teens had heard the girl.
“Let’s start another storm,” Faye said like it was some sort of major revelation, “This time you start it and I’ll stop it.”
Cassie grit her teeth. She saw what this was now. Faye, who was previously the most powerful, was feeling insecure and wanted to make sure that she was still the most powerful by proving that anything Cassie could do, Faye could do also. “That’s not funny. You could have killed somebody with that storm,” the blonde warned.
“Fine, we’ll do something else then. You pick. Think big,” Faye offered, completely missing the point.
The next few minutes passed in a blur. The next thing she knew, Cassie was kneeling over a bleeding Sally, praying for a crystal she knew she didn’t have. “She’s not breathing!” Cassie screamed to the onlookers, hoping someone would call 911. “Faye! Adam!” she called, hoping that with two other witches, she wouldn’t need a crystal. Before she could call for the others again, Mrs. Chamberlain stepped in.
When Sally began gasping for breath, Cassie whirled around. That wasn’t possible. She moved closer to see what happened. Seeing Sally freaking out, Cassie put her curiosity aside in favor of comforting the poor girl.
Cassie was about to follow the ambulance when Diana caught her and asked her to come to the Boathouse. Recognizing that something had to be done about their magic, Cassie agreed.
“Paramedics said she’s gonna be okay,” Diana said softly to Faye who let out a breath of relief.
“I didn’t mean for anyone to get hurt,” Faye choked out, “I really didn’t,” she said, turning around. She looked at the others searchingly, wanting them to believe her, “With you here, we can do more,” she said to Cassie, half trying to blame the girl, half simply explaining, “I just have to will things and they happen-“
Diana interrupted, “We can’t let our feelings control us like this.”
“But I like-” Faye cut off her own protest, “I don’t want this to go away,” she stated uncomfortably.
Cassie blinked in realization. Earlier, when talking with Adam, she had wanted it to stop, but it never occurred to Cassie that someone would want the opposite. Cassie looked around, realizing that all eyes were on her. She wasn’t sure why, since Diana seemed to be the leader, but everyone seemed to be waiting for her to make the final decision. “We don’t have a choice,” Cassie said simply. Tonight had shown her that. She could probably learn to control her powers, but the others were too new to magic and had too much power. If things continued the way they were, people were going to get hurt. Someone already had. “It’s too dangerous. If we can’t control what we feel or what we think, we’re just going to keep hurting people,” she said, looking at Adam. “Look, I don’t want to be connected to you any more than you wanna be to me,” she said to Faye, “But no one else can get hurt. It’s wrong. Diana’s right. We have to bind the Circle,” Cassie admitted painfully, unwilling to do it, but knowing she had to.
“We’ll meet at the beach at midnight,” Diana smiled.
Cassie nodded thoughtfully. That gave her enough time to go check on Sally. She turned on her heel and left, intent on walking to the hospital when she felt someone come up behind her.
“Where are you going?” Nick asked as they walked down the steps.
“Hospital,” she replied.
He reached out to grab her arm causing her to swing around and face him, “Why?” he asked incredulously.
“Sally was dead,” Cassie admitted, “I want to go see why she isn’t anymore.”
Nick swallowed harshly before nodding, “I’ll give you a ride,” He held out his motorcycle helmet which he had been carrying. Cassie took it hesitantly and followed him to his bike. She put the helmet on and swung her leg over the back, clinging to the boy’s back. She briefly caught Adam’s face in the window as they left the parking lot. Refusing to feel guilty, she gripped onto Nick tighter as they rode through the streets. Soon, they had pulled up to the hospital. Cassie was surprised when Nick turned off his motorcycle and followed her inside. She asked the ER nurse about Sally and got directed to a side room where Sally was apparently receiving stitches.
“Hey.” Sally smiled, surprised to see Cassie.
“Hey.” Cassie smiled awkwardly back. It had just occurred to her that Sally might remember that Faye had magically pushed her. She grabbed Nick’s hand and dragged him inside when it seemed like he planned on loitering outside the room. Sally’s eyes widened when she saw Nick with Cassie, but said nothing. “We just came to check on you.” Cassie’s magic by itself was still completely wild, but she hoped that by connecting with Nick, it would stabilize the way it did with Adam. Cassie reached out and gently took Sally’s hand in what would appear to anyone else as a comforting gesture. The blonde’s eyes widened in surprise when she received no feelings. She let go of Nick’s hand and attempted to tap into her power on her own. She and Sally hissed at once as a small spark flew through them, “Sorry,” Cassie covered, “I’ve been seriously static-ed lately.”
“It’s okay. I’m just grateful you came,” Sally smiled.
It was fortuitous timing that the doctor came in at that second. Cassie wanted to ask Sally what she saw but at the same time was unsure of what she’d say. Instead, the blonde bid the girl a quick goodnight and she and Nick returned to the parking lot.
”Well?” the boy asked, having been unusually patient while inside.
Cassie shook her head in confusion, “I don’t get it. She’s not transitioning so how is she alive?” She wondered out loud.
”Transitioning?” Nick questioned.
The girl hesitated but she had revealed this much to him already. “Into a vampire.”
“A vampire.” He chuckled in amusement, clearly not believing her.
Cassie folded her arms and smirked, “What? You thought witches were it?” Seeing Nick sober as he realized she was telling the truth, she continued explaining, “Witches are real, vampires are real, werewolves are real… I’m told zombies are real but I’ve never seen one and Damon likes to mess with people, so take that one with a grain of salt.”
Totally fascinated, Nick asked, “And the transition?”
“If someone dies with vampire blood in their system-” Seeing that Nick wasn’t sure what that meant, Cassie tried again, “If a human drinks vampire blood and then dies with it still in their system, they go through the transition. The transition is a person’s choice: they can either choose to become a vampire or they can choose to die.”
“Crap choice,” Nick muttered.
Cassie shrugged, “It’s more than most people get.”
“So, if she’s not transitioning,” Nick asked hesitantly, “How is she still alive?”
She opened her mouth but nothing came out. The truth was she had no idea. She gave a halfhearted shrug. Sighing, she decided to walk to the beach, needing to clear her head and come up with some sort of explanation. Nick raised an eyebrow but drove off without her. Cassie had only managed to make it about five blocks before Adam pulled up beside her in his jeep.
“Get in, I’ll take you there,” he called from the street.
Cassie smirked. She wondered if he would still be offering to drive her to the beach if he hadn’t seen her get on the back of Nick’s bike earlier, “I’m good,” Seeing his skeptical look, she added on, “Seriously, I want to walk. I like it. It’s a nice night.”
“Come on, we’re friends now,” Adam coerced.
“Sure, friends bound for eternity. Totally normal,” The sarcasm dripped off her words.
Adam nodded before getting straight to the point, “It’s the right thing to do, ya know. For all of us.”
Cassie looked up at him worriedly, “I hope so.” The words because it can’t be undone were left unsaid, but heard none-the-less.
“So, okay. Friend thing settled. Get in already. The beach is two miles away and I promised Diana I’d get you.”
The small blonde took a deep breath of indecision, but it was the mention of Diana that got her to agree. She grinned at him, but her smile faltered when she noticed the way he looked back at her. Things shouldn’t be weird between them because he had a girlfriend. She hopped into his car but before they could leave they heard a crackling sound. Looking up, their eyes widened when the street light exploded. Simultaneously, they looked at each other, gulped awkwardly and looked away. The same thought ran through their minds. They needed to bind the Circle ASAP.
Nick’s eyebrow rose when he noticed Adam pull up with Cassie. Faye was by the woods, Melissa next to her, still comforting the girl. Adam made a beeline for Diana the minute he parked, the street light incident still on his mind. Cassie hesitantly made her way over to Nick.
“I thought you wanted to walk?” Nick smirked, flicking his lighter and bringing it up to the cigarette between his lips.
“I did. Adam wouldn’t listen. He’s very… persuasive.” Cassie trailed off at Nick’s knowing look.
The blond boy nodded as he took a drag, “It’s why he and Diana make such a good couple.” He nodded over to the two who began making the bonfire. At Cassie interested look, he clarified, “She’s pushy and he’s persuasive.” Cassie gave a small laugh. She didn’t know them long but that seemed like an accurate statement. “So, did you figure it out yet?” Nick asked. She looked at him curiously, “Sally?” he reminded.
Cassie shook her head, “The only thing I can come up with is witchcraft, but I didn’t do it and none of you know how to yet…” Once again, she realized too late that she had said too much to him.
“You know how to bring someone back from the dead?” he asked seriously. It was then that Cassie remembered that both of his parents were dead too.
“Sort of,” she whispered, looking around to make sure the others weren’t paying them any attention. Diana was looking at them in curiosity, Adam seemed intent on avoiding Cassie, Melissa looked upset for some reason and Faye was wrapped up in her own issues, “It depends on the situation.”
Unwilling to let it go, Nick said, “Lay it out for me.”
Cassie reluctantly explained, “It would have to be recent. Immediate,” she clarified, “If it was just me, I would need a crystal,” at his questioning look she held out a finger indicating that he should wait for her to finish, “If it was a couple of us, we might have enough power to do it without one. A crystal is a magical amplifier. It can also contain power so if you have a complicated spell that requires a lot of energy you can store energy into it and use it instead of finding another witch to help you.”
Nick nodded having already known some of that, “You should teach us.” Cassie looked at the boy incredulously. “Seriously,” he stated, “We don’t know enough. We could hurt people. Weren’t you the one saying that it was wrong to hurt others with our careless magic?”
“Binding the Circle should take care of that,” she brought up pointedly but he was already shaking his head.
“It’s a band aid. It’ll help but we still need to learn how to control and harness it. You could show us.”
“We’re ready!” Diana shouted, waving the others toward the bonfire.
Cassie muttered lowly, “I’ll think about it,” before walking away from Nick toward the fire.
Diana began to read the incantation from the book. Cassie hesitated when she heard the words. Pledging to fight against the forces of darkness? What did that mean and why was it involved in a binding ritual?
“Do we accept the Circle?” Diana asked.
The words ‘I accept’ echoed. Cassie hesitated and was the last one to agree. As soon as the words tumbled out of her mouth, the flames exploded, flying toward the sky, impossibly powerful. Everyone looked surprised by it, but Cassie looked fearful. It was like the fire was haunting her. Everywhere she went, everything she did… it all came back to fire.
“YOU DID WHAT?!” Klaus roared over the telephone, deafening Cassie. Cassie was lounged out on her bed relaxing when she decided to call Klaus and update him on what had been happening with her.
“What was I supposed to do? People were getting hurt,” She scowled.
Klaus let out a pained sigh and spoke slowly as though she were a little girl, “They are not your responsibility. It is not up to you to fix their mistakes.” Cassie rolled her eyes and got up out of bed. She walked over to her desk to grab a scrunchie and pulled her hair into a messy bun. She turned to look out the window as Klaus continued to berate her on the phone. From the next house, Nick held up a hand in greeting. Smiling in amusement, Cassie reciprocated. It was looking like this was going to become a habit of sorts. “And are you even listening to me, Cassandra?”
“Yes, Dad,” Cassie rolled her eyes again, returning to her bed, “Speaking of fatherhood, how did Tennessee go?” she asked.
There was dead silence on the other line, “…How did you know about Tennessee?” Klaus asked quietly causing Cassie to worry. It was always when Klaus was the calmest that he was the most terrifying.
“Stefan told me,” she replied hesitantly.
“I wasn’t aware you and Stefan knew each other,” Klaus growled out.
She heard the stomping of footsteps and assumed Klaus was on his way to find Stefan. Worrying, she began to speak quickly, “Stefan and I met a few years ago through a mutual vampire friend. We’re really good friends. I dated Damon for like 2.5 seconds. Stefan knows that you and I are close so he updated me on your werewolf hunt.” She heard Klaus slow on the other end of the line and took this as a good sign.
“You dated Damon Salvatore?” he asked, voice slightly disbelieving, “I had no idea you had such horrible taste.”
“I dated you, didn’t I?” Cassie teased lightly, hoping to get him in a less homicidal mood. His responding chuckle brought a smile to her face. She had probably just saved Stefan’s life. “So, Tennessee?”
Once again, Klaus’ mood turned dark. “Did not go as planned,” he stated blandly, “I don’t understand. I completed the ritual. I should be able to turn hybrids.”
Cassie hesitated knowing that the reason he failed was probably because the doppelganger still lived, but just like she didn’t tell Klaus’ secrets to Stefan, she didn’t tell Stefan’s secrets to Klaus. “Maybe you did it wrong.”
“I am thousands of years old. I think I know how to turn someone,” he scowled.
“You know how to turn a vampire,” Cassie corrected, “You’re not trying to make vampires. You’re trying to make hybrids.”
Klaus paused as he gave her words some thought. They certainly had merit, “You think there’s a difference in the turning process?”
“Well apparently the transition killed them, so I think the turning process is the only thing that makes sense,” she pointed out. She heard a beeping sound and looked down to see she had another call; Diana. She hesitated before hitting the ignore button and returning to her conversation with Klaus.
“What do you think then?” he asked, curious about this new concept.
Cassie laughed. “I don’t know. You turned them before the moon, right? Maybe they needed to die in wolf form.”
Klaus hummed in thought, his mind already going over the many possibilities. He would need to experiment with this, “I’m going to need more werewolves,” he realized.
She sighed, already seeing where this was going, “Maybe you shouldn’t have killed all the ones you found.”
Klaus scowled at the reminder, “I didn’t know it wouldn’t work.”
“It’s not easy finding werewolves, ya know,” Cassie continued, ignoring his words, “There’s not exactly a limitless supply. You can’t just call me up asking for a new pet every time you break yours.”
The hybrid sighed knowing why Cassie was really annoyed, “I will bring the supplies. All you have to do is perform the spell.” Witchcraft wasn’t easy. It sometimes took a lot of ingredients and a lot of preparation. Cassie hated that part of it, preferring the aspects involving magic itself.
“Thank you, dear,” Cassie cooed in sarcastic exaggeration, “I have to get ready for school. See you soon,” she finished before hanging up. She threw on some jeans, a top and a thin green jacket. She let her hair down from its bun and ran a brush through it a few times before bolting for the front door. Her new car was parked in front of her house and she smiled as she got in and drove to school.
She was running down the stairs at a breakneck speed hoping to actually show up to her classes today and, god willing, actually arrive on time, when Diana found her, “Hi, Cassie. I left you a message.”
“Uh, yeah, sorry. Busy,” Cassie explained lamely.
Easily catching on, Diana asked worriedly, “Is everything alright? I was thinking we could hang out tonight and talk about what’s been going on.”
Cassie sighed. She wished Diana would just get the hint. Just because they were now bound together didn’t mean they had to be besties. In fact, Cassie was avoiding that idea at all costs. “Thanks, but I can’t.”
“What’s wrong, Cassie? Did I do something?” the brunette asked seriously.
The other girl sighed. How was she supposed to say ‘no, I don’t want to be friends with you’ when Diana asked things like that? It was like kicking a wounded puppy. “I did your binding ritual to get our powers under control so no one else would get hurt. That doesn’t mean we all need to be friends.”
“I know,” Diana smiled, “But we can be. Or at least you and I can.”
“I don’t like the secrets. And I don’t like lying to Sally about what really happened. This whole thing… it’s too weird,” Cassie admitted bluntly, thinking also about all the problems her being friends with Diana would cause when she had such strong feelings for Adam.
“I know,” Diana said though clearly she didn’t or she wouldn’t be so adamant, “Which is why I think we should stick together.”
Cassie shook her head, “I’m sorry, Diana. It’s the way it has to be,” she muttered, walking away. Cassie was also distancing herself from the others to keep them safe. Klaus had not been happy about Cassie binding herself to the Circle and she didn’t want the idea getting into his head that he could kill one of the others to get her out of it.
Later, as Cassie was leaving class, she heard from behind her a voice, “I know your secret.” Eyes wide, Cassie turned to see Sally waiting for her.
“What?” the blonde asked caught off guard, her voice a little shaky.
Sally stalked over with an expectant eyebrow, “…You haven’t signed up for any extra-curriculars?”
Cassie let out a breath and vaguely answered the simple question, not paying any attention to her own words. She was just relieved that Sally still didn’t seem to remember what really happened that night. “I never actually saw what happened,” she segued, itching to find out what Sally remembered.
“Me neither,” the dark girl admitted, “It was all a blur… but I keep getting these flashes of Faye, like she did it,” she said dramatically in a joking tone.
Despite the tone, Cassie tensed up, “Faye? How? That’s impossible,” she quickly discredited.
Sally nodded. “I know it sounds crazy, but I have this distinct memory of her giving me her bitch-stare and then me waking up on the rocks.”
Cassie let a grin escape, happy that Sally knew nothing concrete, “Wow, she gives me that stare everyday. Maybe I should start wearing a helmet to school,” Cassie joked. Sally seemed perfectly willing to let her odd memory go and the two parted easily in the hall, but Cassie still took a deep breath, trying to keep her nerves in check.
Later, the two girls met up at Cassie’s locker to walk to their shared French class when Sally spotted Adam and another boy. After some awkward introductions, Adam and Sally left indiscreetly, trying to give Luke and her some time to talk. Cassie gently let the boy down when he asked her to the school dance. Not only was it extremely awkward because of Adam, but Klaus was coming into town and she wanted to keep the death toll to a minimum.
That afternoon, Sally invited her out for a cup of coffee while they talked about the decorations for the school dance. Cassie fidgeted slightly as she noticed Adam looking her way. If she’d known they’d be going to the Boathouse, she would have suggested Starbucks instead. Cassie busily wrote down all of Sally’s instructions but couldn’t help herself as she looked up to meet Adam’s gaze.
“So, Luke asked you to the dance,” Sally stated after catching the blonde’s distracted gaze.
Focusing back on the girl, Cassie grimaced. “Sort of. I guess,” she shrugged, her eyes automatically making their way to Adam once more.
“But you turned him down?” the mocha girl asked.
Once more, Cassie made a face, “Kind of.”
“Because you can’t stop staring at Adam,” Sally finished, easily realizing what was going on.
“What? No,” Cassie exclaimed a little too loudly to be believed, “Not at all. Adam is dating… Diana,” she trailed off forlornly as she saw the two kiss.
Sally smiled. “And yet, for some reason, he can’t stop staring at you either,” she said, raising an eyebrow. Cassie looked up, trying to think of what to say, but in the end kept silent. She hoped her face didn’t indicate how happy her friend’s words made her. It wasn’t right to want someone else’s boyfriend, especially if all three people in the equation are bound together for life. Ignorant of the blonde’s thoughts, Sally continued, “Those two have been together since pre-school. Maybe there’s trouble in paradise and its time to let those eyes wander.”
Cassie immediately spoke up, “I’m not that person,” she said simply. There were a lot of things she’d done; things she regretted, things she didn’t; some good, some bad, some worse. But this was a line that Cassie refused to cross.
“I know,” Sally admitted easily. It was plain to everyone with eyes that Cassie was a good person who had her own set of morals that she lived by strongly, “It’s just too bad Luke doesn’t have Adam’s soulful eyes,” she teased.
Cassie let out a laugh in surprise, “You’re terrible,” she grinned. Sally always came off rather uptight. She was pleased to see the girl had a fun side too. Getting up, Cassie made her way to the door only to be shanghaied by Adam. After an extremely awkward conversation with the boy, Cassie changed her mind and accepted Luke’s offer of a date. It was only once she’d stepped outside into the fresh air that she realized that she’d let her temper get the better of her and that there was a decent chance that Luke would end up dead for it.
Hoping that Klaus was in a better mood than that morning, Cassie began rifling through her purse looking for her cell phone and her car keys. Finding one, she used the remote to unlock her door when someone called her name. Turning, she faced an unfamiliar man. What started off as a typical conversation for Cassie (in which she had to explain her mother’s death yet again) quickly became awkward and creepy when the man began asking questions about where she was living and if Cassie knew why she left.
Cassie tried leaving, but Zachary grabbed her arm harshly. “Let go of me,” she warned breathlessly. She tried to use her magic, but nothing was happening. The strange man was still talking, saying that her mother was a witch. Feeling desperate and scared, Cassie tried harder, but still nothing happened. Then, suddenly, Diana appeared and Cassie instantly felt her magic react, sending the man flying into the hood of Cassie’s car.
“You shouldn’t have come here. I’m not going to let this happen again,” was the only warning Zachary gave before leaving the two girls alone.
“What was that about?” Diana asked lowly, aware that some people were still staring at them.
Cassie hesitated to answer, but figured that it involved the others so Diana should know, “He was talking about my mother. He knew she was a witch.”
The taller girl’s eyes widened in surprise before they narrowed in thought, “We should talk to the others,” she decided. Cassie protested, wanting to get home in case Klaus got to Chance Harbor early, but Diana was insistent. Soon enough, Cassie was giving the girl a lift to the abandoned house where Diana had already sent a message asking the others to meet them.
Cassie and Diana walked in, but startled when they head a noise. Heading in cautiously, they let out a breath of relief when they realized it was just Faye. “Oh, it’s just you.”
“Disappointed? Imagine me realizing that the only way I can get something to move is with my actual hands,” Faye snarked.
Cassie’s brow furrowed in confusion. What did Faye mean? Come to think of it, Cassie’s power hadn’t been working earlier. It was only when Diana showed up that her magic began to work.
”Cassie was attacked,” Diana explained.
Adam took an automatic step forward in concern, “Who attacked you?” the worry in his voice apparent to everyone in the room.
Ignoring this, Cassie answered easily, “I don’t know. Zachary? Works on a fishing boat, said he was friends with my mom,” she described.
Adam nodded in realization, “I know who he is. Sort of. He comes into the Boathouse every once and a while. He always just stays to himself.”
“Well he knew my mom was a witch and tried to get me to admit that I was too, but then Diana showed up and we magically pushed him away,” Cassie explained.
Faye perked up, immediately starting to pay attention, “Magic? It worked?”
Diana smiled a little smugly, “Like I told you it would; with more than one of us. But the point is…” Diana continued talking but Cassie tuned out. What did she mean? Was Diana saying that their magic wouldn’t work unless they had another member of the Circle with them? That was impossible. She had never heard of something like that. And if it was true… Cassie winced. Oh boy. Klaus was going to be pissed. “…and this guy knows about us,” Diana finished.
“It’s not just him,” Cassie spoke up, paying attention to the conversation again, “Sally was asking questions about Faye and the accident.”
“She was?” Faye asked tensely.
Melissa spoke up from behind her, “That’s not good,” she stated obviously.
“As long as we stay together, we’ll be okay,” Diana reassured, “We proved that today. Our power isn’t random and out of control anymore. It was like Cassie and I shared the same thought and it played out exactly the way we wanted.” She smiled smugly at Faye.
Faye let out an incredulous smile before grabbing a piece of paper from the table.
“Where are you going?” Adam asked.
Faye shook her head, “I’m not sharing my thoughts with anyone, especially Diana who keeps all the rules to herself,” she said, taking a jab at the fact that no one but Diana knew that binding the Circle would lead to them losing their individual power completely. “I’m going to find a spell that turns me back into a solo act,” she finished, walking out the door.
Melissa backed Faye up, “You should have told us we were going to lose our individual powers.” She too left.
“I didn’t know!” Diana protested, but it rang falsely in everyone’s ears. Maybe Diana didn’t know, but she at least suspected.
“We haven’t quite worked out the kinks of getting along,” Adam sighed.
Cassie smiled tightly, her mind still going over what the others said. Losing her individual power? She needed to go home ASAP and experiment with her magic, “I can see that.”
“It’s fine. We’ll practice and learn to work better together,” the brunette girl sighed. At Adam and Cassie’s shared skeptical look, Diana spoke again, “It’ll be fine, I promise!”
Cassie sighed. She really needed to get home and she thought she had been perfectly clear to Diana earlier, but apparently more bluntness was necessary, “Look, I appreciate you having my back, but you all need to figure this out for yourselves.”
Diana looked at the other girl incredulously, “Cassie, the Circle is nothing if we’re not together. We have to be. Unless you think you could’ve handled that guy by yourself today?” she asked challengingly.
Cassie glared slightly, willing her magic to work, but nothing happened. Diana was the one who pushed the binding and it was her fault that Cassie now couldn’t use her magic. The only reason Cassie hadn’t been able to ‘handle that guy’ was because she hadn’t had access to her magic. The blonde girl reached out for her bag and left the room without a word.
It was late when she finally arrived back home. The first thing she did once entering her room was pull out her cell phone to call Klaus. “You’re not here yet,” Cassie pouted. It had just been one of those days and she really needed someone to cuddle up with and complain to. She loved complaining about her problems to Klaus because he always had innovative and hysterical ways to fix her problems. And, if all else fails, he also offered to have everybody killed so that she wouldn’t have to worry about it. Though she never took him up on it, the fact that he offered always made her smile.
“No, darling. I need to get the supplies, remember?” he said tauntingly as though she were a child.
Cassie let out a breath. She had forgotten, “So, when do you think you’ll get here?”
Klaus let out a thoughtful hum. “Tonight. It may be late though. Stefan’s looking peckish,” he smirked. The girl let out another breath, realizing that Klaus and Stefan were together and that Klaus was using the opportunity to taunt the man.
“You shouldn’t be so mean,” she replied lamely.
The Original let out a chuckle but otherwise ignored her words, “Why do you want me there so badly? Did something happen?” He asked curiously.
Cassie hesitated. She could tell him everything. If he found out about Zachary, he’d rush to Chance Harbor and kill the man himself. On the other hand, Cassie was not relishing the idea of telling him that her powers might not work without the rest of the Circle. Opting for self-preservation, Cassie spoke, “Nothing important. I just miss you.”
“I miss you too, darling.” Klaus then purposely spoke in a teasingly sweet tone. “Now, sleep tight. I’ll be there tomorrow.”
Cassie hung up the phone before going over to her fireplace to grab a candle. She moved it to her desk and sat in the chair. Concentrating, she attempted to call for her magic, but nothing happened. Frustrated, she tried harder but still nothing happened. Sighing, she realized she’d have to do this the hard way.
She moved to sit in the middle of her bed, crossing her legs and resting her arms easily on her thighs. She closed her eyes and began following the trail of her magic deep into her body. She followed the familiar twists and turns until she reached her center; the core of her magic. Just as she was about to delve in, she was rudely awakened.
“Are you okay?” Nick asked as he hovered over her worriedly.
Cassie sat up from where she had fallen off the bed, “That depends. Were you the one who just woke me?” At Nick’s nod, she continued, “I’m fine, but in ten seconds you won’t be.”
Nick raised his arms in surrender as Cassie got up off the floor and back on the bed. “I was just worried about you. You weren’t moving and it didn’t even look like you were breathing.”
Cassie sighed. She couldn’t be angry with him for being worried about her. “I was delving into my magic. I was trying to see if I couldn’t fix this whole group-magic-only thing.”
“Was it working?” Nick asked in interest.
The blonde girl smirked sarcastically, “I don’t know. Someone broke me of my trance before I could finish.” Suddenly an idea came to Cassie, “Hold that thought.” She walked over to her desk to get the candle and brought it back to her bed, “Sit,” she demanded. When Nick complied, she explained her thoughts, “Today, Diana and I performed magic together-”
“Yeah, Melissa filled me in,” Nick interrupted.
Cassie gave him a knowing look but said nothing. “Apparently, we can only do it if there’s more than one of us,” Cassie ignored the perverted boy’s raised eyebrow at her choice in wording, “I’m going back into my trance. When I squeeze your hand, will the candle to light. I want to see how that pathway works.”
Nick looked confused. “Pathway?”
She sighed for what felt like the billionth time that day, “How about I explain it to you if my idea works?” Getting a nod, she closed her eyes and once more sank into her magical core. Squeezing Nick’s hand, she simultaneously willed the candle to light. She felt a tug on her core and followed it out where it met a strand of Nick’s power. Opening her eyes, she looked at the lit candle.
“What did you do?” he asked in curiosity, looking at the flame.
“Nothing,” Cassie explained, “That was the point. I wanted to see how our magic interacted normally,” she turned to face the boy, “Go outside my room. I want to try some solo magic.” He raised an eyebrow in silent question, “My grandmother’s working. Go.” After Nick disappeared outside her bedroom door, Cassie blew out the flame and started again.
This time, when she willed the flame from inside the core, she felt like she was being restricted. Mentally, she imagined herself going to where her magic exited her core and found it bound by something similar to a rubber band. This must have been what was stopping her individual magic. She gently reached out and tried to remove it but nothing would work. Getting frustrated, she grabbed the band pulling as hard as she could and it soon snapped.
Eyes flying open, Cassie screamed in pain. She became vaguely aware of Nick rushing into the room, but she couldn’t focus beyond the tears of pain. When Nick began to hold her, attempting to comfort her, she curled her body into him. Slowly, the pain began to fade, but it wasn’t for another half an hour before she felt like she could focus on anything besides the hurt.
Gingerly, Cassie tilted her head up to look at Nick. During her agony, he had laid out on the bed and pulled her so that she was curled up mostly on top of him. “Are you okay?” he asked hesitantly.
“Yeah,” she croaked, throat a little sore from screaming.
“What happened?” he asked in concern. Cassie let out a little smile as her eyes wandered. Finding a second candle on the other side of her fireplace she tilted her head towards it. Once Nick was looking at it, she willed it to light and it did. His eyes widened in surprise, “You got your individual magic back,” He breathed, “Can you get me mine?” he asked, looking back down at her.
Cassie raised a skeptical eyebrow, “You do remember the debilitating pain, right?” Nick hesitated but didn’t take back his words, “Probably not,” she answered his question, “Only you can go into your magical core like that which means only you can free yourself from the restrictions of the binding.”
“Can you teach me?”
The blonde girl rolled her eyes. Somehow, she knew he was going to say that. “Maybe,” she answered, but thought about it. Nick had been surprisingly nice to her. He’d driven her to the hospital to see Sally and had comforted her when she was in pain. “Are you sure this is what you want? I can’t help with the pain. Magic is about balance. In order to get control over our shared magic, we had to give up our individual power. In order to get back your individual power…” She trailed off.
“I have to withstand a boatload of pain,” Nick finished, “I get it. But I’m not going to change my mind.”
Cassie looked up into his eyes searchingly. Seeing his resolve, she slowly nodded, but looking into his eyes had caused the atmosphere to change between them. As their eyes met, they began drifting closer until their lips slowly touched. Never one for gentle, Nick’s lips began moving ardently and soon he had her straddling his lap and had begun sliding off her open plaid button down. Cassie similarly reached down to tug his shirt over his head. She leaned over him and began laying kisses on his neck and collar bone. He slipped her red tank over her head and began laving her neck with hot, wet kisses as he gripped her ass tightly, bringing her body closer to his own. As he found the particularly sensitive spot of her choroidal artery, Cassie let out a loud breathy sound which quickly turned into a groan of frustration when she heard her cell phone go off.
“Ignore it,” Nick grunted into her ear as he began unbuttoning her jeans, but Cassie was already moving for the phone, having recognized the ringtone.
“Tell me you are on fire right now,” she breathed into the phone as Nick lowered her zipper while simultaneously sucking on her upper breast. Intellectually, she knew that was going to leave a hickey and that she should make him stop but she honestly couldn’t find the will to do so.
“Do you know why Klaus has been doing that thing where he acts cheerful when he’s really feeling homicidal?” Stefan asked over the phone.
Cassie suddenly sobered. She harshly pulled away from Nick and stood up, “Shit. Has he done anything?” she asked, ignoring Nick’s indignant expression.
“No,” Stefan replied slowly, “What’s going on?”
“This is my fault,” she answered regretfully, “I asked Klaus about Tennessee and then he wanted to know how I knew which led to me telling him about you.” She could feel Stefan’s disappointment in her from across the line, “I explained to him that you already knew how close he and I are and assumed I already knew. And then I distracted him,” she admitted easily, “I thought he’d let it go. I’m sorry.”
Stefan, as always, was quick to soothe, “Its okay. It’s not your fault. Look, Klaus will punish me and it’ll all be fine. Don’t worry about it. I probably shouldn’t have said anything anyway. It’s my fault.”
“It is not your fault,” Cassie said determinately, “Why do you always have to blame yourself, Stefan? I was the one who opened her big fat mouth-”
“I was the one who told you!” Stefan interrupted.
The blonde let out a sigh, “Okay, look, it’s both of our faults. Just… tell me the punishment, okay? It’s gonna kill me to not know.”
Stefan agreed and they both hung up their phones. Cassie, now more clear-headed, turned back to Nick, “So, I thought you and Melissa were dating?”
Nick, who had been appreciating the view Cassie made in her lacy red bra and unbuttoned jeans, immediately closed up, “What are you talking about?” he asked blankly.
The blonde girl just cocked her head towards her window, “You do realize I can see into your room just as easily as you can see into mine, right?”
Nick scowled before picking up his shirt from where it lay on the bed next to him and threw it over his head, “We’re just hooking up. We’re not dating.”
Cassie smirked, “Then why are you acting all huffy at the mention of her?”
He looked up at her, scowl still firmly in place, before rolling his eyes and conceding, “She wanted me to go to the dance with her.”
Interested, Cassie sat back down on the bed. Nick looked at her with a raised eyebrow, wondering if they were going to pick back up from where they left off, but Cassie shot that idea down with a look, “What did you say?”
“No, obviously,” Nick answered as though it was obvious.
Cassie nodded in understanding, “So, she wants to date, but you just want to hook up,” she summarized. The blond boy shrugged uncomfortably, “Is there a reason why you don’t want to date her?”
Nick sighed, “What is this? A therapy session?”
“I take check, credit card and orgasms,” Cassie quipped.
He let out a chuckle, realizing easily that she was just joking and that he would not be getting any – from her at least – tonight. “I don’t know,” he answered her questions, “It’s weird. We’re friends… sort of. And we’re in the Circle, so if we start to date…”
“And something happens, you’re still stuck together,” Cassie realized quickly, “Youch. That is a toughie… I notice that you didn’t mention lack of interest as one of the reasons.” Cassie smiled when Nick stayed silent, “So you do like her!” She laughed.
“I feel like I’m on an episode of Oprah,” he muttered.
The blonde girl smirked, “You watch Oprah?” At Nick’s glare, she got back on topic, “Look, you can’t worry about tomorrow. If you like her today, then have her today. Worry about tomorrow when it comes.” Seeing that her words bled through, she grinned and pointed out her window, “Now get home and find something to wear to tonight’s dance!”
Nick smirked and snapped off a salute before leaving her bedroom. Soon, however, he popped back in, “In the spirit of not getting the other members of the Circle to hate us, I vote we keep our little almost-sexcapade to ourselves.”
“Obviously,” Cassie replied easily, waving him off as he left.
After practicing a little bit more magic to ensure that her powers were back to normal, Cassie decided to go back to her original problem of Zachary, the stranger who knew she was a witch. Digging through her closet, Cassie dug out a box of her mother’s things that she’d left in Chance Harbor before moving away. Finding a box labeled ‘Amelia’ she brought it out to her room and began sifting through her mother’s belongings. At the bottom sat her mother’s old high school yearbook. Flipping through the pages, she spotted a picture of her mother with Zachary Larson and Heather Barnes. Biting her lip, Cassie wondered what to do with the information before deciding to go to Diana’s. The girl was right earlier; Zachary knowing about magic did involve all of them.
“My father said he knew him in school and that he was really bad news,” Diana said once Cassie explained her findings.
“He doesn’t look like it here,” the blonde gestured toward the yearbook.
Diana moved to sit on the table next to the other girl, “What exactly did he say to you?”
“Just that he knew my mother… and that it can’t happen again,” Cassie said, realizing that she had forgotten something important.
Diana looked away in thought, “Do you think he meant the fire?”
“I guess. What really happened that night?” She asked inquisitively.
Diana looked at her uncomfortably, “I think it was witchcraft and they covered it up. None of our parents will talk about it and no one else knows what really happened.”
Cassie looked down at the book, “Well, it looks like Zachary Larson does,” She said seriously. She wanted to know what happened that night. What killed her father? And what was so horrible that it made her mother leave town and vow to never return?
“Then we need to find out,” Diana said resolutely, “I’m glad you called.”
The blonde looked up at her uncomfortably, “It involves all of us,” She stated vaguely, shutting the book, standing up and heading for the door, “I should get ready for the dance.”
“We can get ready together, if you want,” Diana offered.
Cassie turned in the foyer, “Look, I came because he knew about magic and that affects more than just me. I appreciate your help, but I’m not looking to become friends. Not until I know more about you, about what happened that night sixteen years ago and why my mother ran from this place. I’m sorry, Diana, you seem really nice, but it’s just not going to happen.” She turned on her heel and walked out the door.
When she arrived home, she went to her closet and brought out the clothes she’d picked for the dance. Hanging them next to her mirror, she checked her phone. She knew Klaus and Stefan wouldn’t be arriving until late, but she still felt paranoid that Klaus would arrive just in time to see her out with Luke. Klaus wasn’t one for jealousy, but he did enjoy teasing and torturing Cassie. If he saw her on a date, he’d never let her live it down.
Stripping out of her clothes, Cassie donned her robe. She was about to sit at her desk and apply moisturizer when she noticed Nick creeping from his window. Picking up her cell phone, she sent him a text.
Did you talk to Melissa yet? She asked, turning to face the window so that she could see him.
Nick looked down and pulled out his phone, having received her text he sent one back, No.
Rolling her eyes, Cassie replied, I saw her car by the woods. She’s probably at the abandoned house. Talk to her.
Seeing that she wasn’t going to leave this alone, Nick rolled his eyes and left the window. However, a few minutes later, Cassie spied him getting on his bike and making his way towards the woods. It looked like he was taking her advice after all.
Smiling, Cassie finished applying her make up and donned her slinky white top and black leather skirt. She finished off by applying a lotion to her arms, legs and upper chest that contained small gold sparkles; not enough to be noticeable, but enough to give her skin a special shine. Slipping on gold earrings, she grabbed her keys and walked outside where Sally was already waiting. Apparently a broken arm didn’t impair her driving skills any. Once at the school, the two girls began working on some last minute details for the dance.
People began trailing in and soon the gym was filled. Looking around, Cassie realized that everyone was wearing a dress and she was wearing a skirt and top. Feeling a little awkward, she began looking around for Luke. Spotting him by some tables, she headed over.
“You look great,” He spoke, voice barely audible over the music.
Cassie smiled at the compliment, “So do you,” She replied a little awkwardly. Luke said thanks and Cassie decided to simply confess her thoughts, “I’m a little nervous,” She admitted easily, “I didn’t have a huge social life at my old school… or a small one, or any one at all, actually,” She joked.
“Are you saying you’re a loner?” Luke grinned.
Cassie nodded easily, “I’ve been called worse.”
Luke smiled, “Come on. Let’s go change all that,” he reached down for her hand and led her out to the dance floor. On the way, she spotted Adam and Diana and glanced away uncomfortably, reminded of exactly why she agreed to this date in the first place.
Luke introduced Cassie to a few of his friends before offering to get her something to drink. Cassie looked around as she was once again left alone to watch everyone else and their friends.
“Hey,” Adam said, coming up from behind her. Cassie looked at him and then quickly looked away, unsure of what to say. “You look nice,” he complimented.
“No compliments,” she said, reminding him of their friends-only line.
Instantly getting what she was saying, he grinned. “Sorry,” he said, turning so that he wasn’t even facing her. He found her strict line amusing but at the same time was extremely thankful as it helped him keep his distance.
“Guys!” Sally spoke coming up from behind both of them, “Please dance. No one is dancing. This can’t be one of those lame parties where no one dances,” She said forlornly, looking at the both of them.
“I don’t know where Luke is,” Cassie turned to look for her date.
Sally, smiled evilly, “If you two go out there, I’m sure other people will too,” She said grabbing Cassie’s arm and using her to shove both her and Adam out to the dance floor.
“I’m pretty sure she did that on purpose,” the blonde girl scowled.
“Why? Does she think you want to dance with me?” Adam asked.
Cassie scoffed, “No. I don’t know. Can we not talk about this?” Adam grinned in amusement but obligingly shut up. The two awkwardly came together just as a slow song started. Suspicious, Cassie turned to the DJ to see Sally escaping the scene once more. Scowling, the blonde made a mental note to kill her friend.
“I know you’re trying to keep your distance from me,” Adam spoke lowly, “And I understand. I think.” He looked down at her and smiled softly when she immediately turned away. She was trying to keep her distance but every time she did, it just illustrated how easily Adam got to her; how he didn’t even have to try to get her to feel something for him. “I’m really glad that you reached out to Diana today, though. She really wants to be your friend.”
“Yeah and that’s nice of her, but I’m not so sure it’s a great idea,” Cassie replied.
Unable to help himself, he asked, “Why?” already knowing the answer, but needing to hear Cassie say it out loud.
“Why?” she repeated surprised, “Really?” She asked incredulously, “Because sometimes when we’re together streetlights explode and I think that might be weird for Diana. And you. And me.”
“It’s different now that the Circle is bound,” Adam said.
Cassie looked up at him, noticing how throughout their conversation, they’d drifted closer, “Is it?” She asked, looking up into his eyes.
Adam swallowed harshly as he got her point clearly, “…I don’t know, Cassie,” he admitted, “But we have to make this work somehow. For all of us.” Despite his words, Adam found himself looking down at her lips. Noticing, Cassie’s pupils dilated in lust, her body begging to reach those scant inches up and have their lips touch again.
“Adam!” Hastily separating, Cassie opened her mouth, a lie already on her lips. “Someone broke into the abandoned house when Faye was there. Sounds like it was Zachary Larson,” Diana’s voice shook at her last few words but she left before Adam could say anything. Adam turned to look at Cassie and their eyes met. That was too close. So much for it never happening again…
The duo quickly followed Diana back out to the hallway where the others were already waiting. By then, Diana had regained what ever composition she had lost in walking in on Adam and Cassie dancing so closely. Adam immediately joined Diana’s side and Cassie awkwardly stood by Nick, who she was happy to see came to the dance. When she saw Melissa alone earlier, she had assumed Nick had chickened out.
The group moved deeper into the school, away from the dance. “I had no power to defend myself. I could have been killed all because you took away my magic,” Faye hissed. Cassie was uncomfortably reminded that while she had her powers back, no one else did. She made a mental note to help Nick release his powers soon.
“Don’t blame Diana,” Adam hastily stood up for his girlfriend, “She didn’t know.”
“It doesn’t matter,” Diana said, pushing her thoughts to the side in order to focus on the problem, “What’s important is we’re in danger right now.”
“Why is he coming after us?” Melissa asked. They still didn’t know what reason Zachary had for attacking them.
Faye started listing off what they knew about the man, “He knows about the Circle and he knows we bound it.”
Diana continued, “He knew something about the fire that killed our parents.”
“How?” Nick asked.
“Okay, I looked him up online and I couldn’t find anything else about him or how he’s connected to our families,” Cassie shared.
“Did you check the school records?” Faye asked, already knowing the answer.
Diana shook her head, “We don’t have access to those.”
The other girl smiled and raised her eyebrow, “You do if you have your mom’s master key,” She said, happy that she’d taken the time to stop at her locker and grab them. Suddenly, the group heard footsteps and whirled around, ready to face Zachary as a group. Instead, however, Luke turned the corner.
Everyone let out a relieved breath at the boy’s friendly face, “So, this is where the party is.”
“I was, uh,” Cassie turned her head so that Luke couldn’t see her coming up with a lie, “I was just roping some people into helping Sally with dance committee stuff.”
“Cassie, why don’t you head back in. I will handle the whole clean up problem,” Diana offered.
Cassie looked confused. Not only did she want to help the others, but Diana didn’t know that Cassie could practice individual magic. Leaving Cassie alone was dangerous, “Are you sure?” She tried to clarify.
“Absolutely,” Diana said looking at Adam who was grimacing as he looked at Cassie and Luke together. Suddenly, Cassie understood. Diana was punishing her for getting close with Adam by cutting her out of the group. Cassie didn’t think Diana realized that by segregating Cassie, she was leaving Cassie in danger.
The blonde backed up and left the group, secure in the knowledge that she did owe Diana and if this is what Diana needed to feel better, then she’d do it. Even if Diana didn’t know it, Cassie had her power back. Zachary was of no threat to her.
“So, a loner, huh?” Luke asked, “A loner who is friends with some of the most popular kids at this school,” He teased.
Cassie opened up her mouth, but was unsure of what to say. “Our families are close,” she ended up responding. There was an awkward silence after that, “Everyone seems to be having a good time. Sally will be relieved,” the girl changed the subject.
“Do you want to dance?” Luke asked, “I’m bad at it, just FYI,” He grinned. Cassie smiled, but turned him down. She needed to make sure she could see the exits in case the others needed her or if Zachary showed up at the school. “No, I don’t think so,” Luke finally said, fed up with Cassie’s weirdness all night. Cassie felt bad, but let him go without a fight. It would be easier if she didn’t have to worry about him accidentally stumbling onto something he wasn’t supposed to.
Now that she didn’t have to occupy Luke’s time, she decided to find the others. She knew Diana wanted her away from Adam, but Diana was also the one who said that the Zachary problem involved all of them. She began making her way to the principal’s office figuring everyone was still looking through the school records when she felt someone come up behind her. “Who’s there?” She called, “Nick?” She wondered if the boy was playing another trick on her. If he was, it was poor timing, “Klaus?” She asked wondering if it could be him instead. She wouldn’t put it past him to show up at Chance Harbor early and decide to scare Cassie as a bit of fun, “Not funny,” She grinned.
Instead, Zachary walked out of the shadows. Pursing her lips together, Cassie took a half second to recognize that she was in danger before bolting down the halls. Cursing at herself for wearing high heels, she turned back to see him walking calmly behind her, pursuing her with ease. Ducking into a corner, Cassie hid in a nook and began working to control her breathing the way Klaus taught her. If she could control her breathing, she could control her fear.
Once she felt calmer, she peered out slowly and noticed that Zachary had walked in the opposite direction. Leaning back, she took a deep breath before moving back to the main hall, hoping to get back to the dance where there were plenty of witnesses. Instead, Cassie ran face first into the man she was avoiding. She let out a scream of surprise before automatically ducking and making a run for it.
Feeling his breath on the back of her neck, Cassie screamed for help. As soon as the words left her mouth, Zachary tackled her to the ground. Cassie felt her hair stand up on end and immediately recognized that the others were here. Cursing herself for forgetting to use her magic when she had the chance, she looked up to see Diana, Melissa and Faye. The three girls did a few parlor tricks, nothing fancy, but it was enough to get Zachary to pause.
“Sorry Heather died, but Cassie didn’t kill her,” Diana said, trying to make peace.
Zachary shook his head, “Heather didn’t die. What Amelia did to her was far worse.” Cassie’s eyes widened as she wondered what that meant. She didn’t have long to think on it because Zachary hauled her up roughly. He turned to leave with her, but Adam and Nick blocked his way.
Seeing Cassie being held hostage angered Adam. Instead of focusing his powers with Nick, he drew from Cassie, sending Zachary into the ceiling hard. Cassie ran to Adam who wrapped his arms around her protectively. Seeing this, Diana flinched in anger and sent Zachary falling to the floor, taking her pain out on the man. Immediately, she regretted it when he remained motionless on the ground.
“Okay, now what?” Faye asked hesitantly as she stepped closer to the body.
Melissa moved closer to take a better look, “My god, is he dead?”
Adam stepped closer and looked at Zachary’s back. Noticing movement, he shook his head, “No, he’s breathing.”
Diana finally spoke up, “Well, get away from him just in case.”
Not listening, Melissa turned to face the girl, “What are we going to do?”
“We get the hell out of here,” Faye answered. Nick moved forward, agreeing with her.
Adam shook his head, “We can’t just leave. The school is full of people.”
“So what?” Faye asked, “We’re the only ones he wants to kill.” Cassie agreed with the analysis, but if they left, he would just wake up and try and kill them all over again. If she were alone, she’d implement a more… permanent solution, but as it was, she didn’t think murder would go over very well with the others. They were all so new and unaware of the true harshness involved in being part of the supernatural world.
“We should call the police,” Diana decided.
“And tell them what?” Cassie said, immediately poking a hole in the other girl’s plan. Cassie’s eyes widened as she noticed something behind Diana. Whirling around, everyone tensed as Mrs. Chamberlain came into view.
“What’s going on?” She asked worriedly, taking in the chaos, “What happened?”
Faye moved forwards, “Mom, I can explain.”
Knowing that her best friend needed help, Melissa started, “He was chasing after us-“
”Because we saw him breaking open the lockers,” Diana helped.
“And then we threatened to call the police and he started chasing after us,” Adam added.
Faye continued, “He slipped on the papers and fell. He hit his head hard.”
Cassie internally shook her head. Their story sounded so false. Giving in when Mrs. Chamberlain asked if Zachary made the entire mess by himself, Cassie put her two-cents in, “We don’t know. We came in here and the hallway was already such a disaster zone.” Cassie caught the grateful look in Faye’s eyes and gave a small nod in acknowledgement.
Everyone’s eyes widened when Faye’s mom said she knew the man. Their heart stopped collectively, only to restart when Dawn said that he was an addict who had vandalized the school before. Cassie looked at the other woman suspiciously. Their story was fake, made up completely off the cuff. So what was the likelihood of even a small part of it having plausible background? When Dawn said she didn’t want any of them involved, Cassie felt her suspicions grow, but moved toward the gym nonetheless.
Once the others were in front, she grabbed Nick’s hand and quietly led him back. She slipped off her shoes and put a finger to her lips as she began eavesdropping from the corner. “Charles. I’ve got him,” they heard the woman say.
Eyes wide, the two crept away before they got caught. They turned the corner before talking. “I knew something was up with her,” Cassie whispered, putting a steadying hand on Nick’s shoulder as she slipped her heels back on.
“What made you suspicious?” Nick asked, wondering how Cassie knew to double back.
“Our story. Our completely fake, made up story that Mrs. Chamberlain corroborated? No way,” Cassie shook her head, her curls flying, “Too coincidental. And then I remembered Sally. I was the first one there and she was dead, but then Mrs. Chamberlain showed up and suddenly Sally’s all healed? She had to have been the one who did it. Remember what I said about how to use magic to bring back the dead? You’d need a crystal and it would have to be immediate. I didn’t do it and that only leaves her. She healed Sally and for some reason she’s helping us cover up what happened with Zachary.”
The two made their way back to the gym where the others were already waiting with their coats. The dance was already over and kids were streaming out into the streets. Diana suggested Faye go back and see what happened with her mom and the police while Cassie, Adam and Diana waited outside for her.
“So what did your mother say?” Diana asked the minute Faye got back.
“All she knows is that Zachary’s a crazy local who broke into the school,” the girl reported.
“Are they going to arrest him?” Adam asked.
Faye nodded, “Yeah, my mom said security took him to the police station. Lucky us, she asked that they keep it quiet so it doesn’t reflect badly on the school.”
Cassie internally snorted. Yeah, she bet Dawn was keeping it quiet. Unwilling to share what she knew, Cassie instead said, “You guys saved my life. Thanks.”
“Don’t get all weepy about it,” Faye smirked.
Cassie gave a grin back, “No really. Thank you. All of you,” She said looking at each of them. Diana smiled back and Cassie felt a burden lift from her shoulders. It didn’t look like Diana was upset with her anymore.
“See you losers tomorrow,” Faye rolled her eyes, leaving.
The small blonde girl let out a sigh as her mind began working in over time. Soon, she began blurting her thoughts out loud until Diana stopped her, reassuring her that they would find answers, just not today.
Adam offered to give the two girls a ride home, but Diana refused saying she’d bring Cassie home herself. Adam looked confused and Cassie spoke up, “What? Don’t worry about it. I’m fine,” she said, hoping that Diana wasn’t looking to talk about what she had seen earlier between the blonde and Adam.
“I will sleep better knowing that you got home safely,” Diana replied. Cassie smiled uncomfortably. What was she supposed to say to that?
Once at home, Cassie led the other girl into the kitchen so that they could talk without her grandmother hearing them from upstairs. She knew that Jane was on-call tonight and so there was a strong chance that she wasn’t even home, but Cassie didn’t feel like going up and checking.
Grabbing a couple of sodas, she turned back to Diana, “I feel like I never knew who my mom really was,” Cassie said, hoping to avoid talking about the Adam situation. She passed a soda to Diana.
“I don’t remember my mother at all,” Diana confessed, “I guess it must be harder having known her.”
Cassie shrugged slightly. It was hard to say. She knew her mom but she felt like she really didn’t, so she could understand the pain of having questions and never being able to get any answers. “Thanks for hanging with me,” Cassie smiled genuinely.
Diana smiled back before taking a deep breath and visibly gathering her nerves. Cassie tensed knowing what was going to come next, “I know you didn’t ask to be part of the Circle. You’ve got your whole loner thing, I get it.” Cassie smiled in response. Maybe Diana wasn’t going to bring up Adam after all. “And it’s not like Faye and I are BFFs. I mean, she hates me most of the time. I just think we’re better together than we are apart. Power or no power.”
Cassie smiled. Diana had helped save her life. She was a good person; a good friend, “Sorry if I was rude to you.”
Diana smiled at the apology before looking down in thought, “Its okay. I get it. I see the way he looks at you,” She admitted. Half of her was hoping Cassie would deny that Adam looks at her at all, but the other half knew it would be a lie.
“No, its nothing,” Cassie tried to reassure, but her words rang fake even to her own ears.
But Diana clung to her words, “I hope you’re right because I…” She turned to look at Cassie in the eyes, “love him. I’ve loved him for as long as I can remember.”
Seeing the honesty and love in her eyes, Cassie vowed again that nothing between her and Adam could ever happen, “You have nothing to be worried about, Diana,” She promised, “I would never come between you two.”
Diana smiled seeing the honesty in Cassie’s eyes as well, “I really do like you, Cassie. I want us to be friends.”
Cassie smiled, “I’d like that,” She responded genuinely. After bidding Diana goodnight, she walked up to her room and stripped into comfortable pajamas, curling into her bed with her mother’s book of shadows. After what Zachary said, she needed to feel close to her mother. Reading her mother’s note to her, she began from the beginning.
Hours later, Cassie started awake violently. Looking down, she realized she must have fallen asleep reading. She tensed as she heard a creaking sound outside her bedroom door. Wondering if Zachary had been released, she readied herself. This time, she wouldn’t let her instincts and fear override her common sense. She’d use magic to take him out no matter what. Her bedroom door swung open revealing a reddish blond haired male.
ldquo;Klaus!” She grinned widely, jumping off the bed to fling herself into his arms, wrapping her arms and legs around him tightly. Klaus quickly took the opportunity to kiss the small blonde, hands gripping her ass as he moved across the room to set her on her desk. Their lips met frantically as Cassie realized that she hadn’t seen him in months; since the night her mother died.
As Klaus began to lavish her neck, she turned her head slightly to give him better access and inadvertently noticed Nick watching them from his window. She gave him a raised eyebrow and a smirk but the expression was quickly wiped away as she lost herself in a sea of pleasure when Klaus bit down, drinking in her blood. She vaguely noticed Melissa coming up behind Nick, but Nick drew his blinds before the other girl could see what he was looking at. She made a mental note to thank the blond later, but was quickly distracted when Klaus’ hands began creeping up her sleep shorts.
“I’m gonna go,” Stefan announced from the doorway as Cassie and Klaus got a little too into their reunion.
Klaus broke away from Cassie, “Nonsense. I insist you stay,” He ordered. Cassie and Stefan both looked at him oddly, “Since you and Cassie are so close and all,” He said turning to face the blonde. For the first time, Cassie realized that Klaus was mad at her too. “Talking behind my back isn’t very nice, pet,” He explained cruelly before leaning in to lavish her choroidal artery knowing that she wouldn’t be able to protest when he did that.
Her head tilted back as she let out a wanton moan. She mentally cursed Klaus for making her artery her weakness. If he hadn’t associated biting with sex… well, he was a vampire; they all associated biting with sex.
Stefan hesitantly came up from behind Klaus. “Are you serious?” He muttered to the hybrid. Klaus came up for air long enough to glare at the other vampire, making his seriousness blatant. Klaus picked Cassie up and brought her to the bed, laying the girl down gently before backing up. “After you,” He said to Stefan, gesturing to the blonde.
Cassie’s face turned bright red as her ex-boyfriend’s brother awkwardly leaned over her. ‘Sorry’ he mouthed to her silently as he leaned in close.
‘Ditto’ she replied as their lips met in a hesitant kiss. Soon, however, that kiss ceased to be innocent and awkward. Stefan was an amazing kisser; he had years of practice. And Cassie was one of Stefan’s best friends. They already had a shared intimacy. Plus, it had been a while since Elena and blood made for a very arousing experience. Putting all those factors together led to Stefan ripping Cassie’s top from her body as she threaded her fingers through his hair, tugging painfully in excitement. Soon, they felt the bed dip and they detached themselves long enough to look at a smirking Klaus, “Perhaps I should have thought this punishment through a bit more. Neither one of you are looking particularly repentant,” He smirked, leaning over to join the fun.
Cassie’s eyes fluttered open softly. Feeling a heavy weight over her stomach she looked down to see an arm slung across her. Following the limb back, she stared up into the still sleeping face of her best friend. Looking around, she noticed that Klaus was missing from the room. She gently freed herself from Stefan’s embrace. Reaching down, she threw on a shirt she vaguely recognized as Klaus’ before quietly leaving the room.
The smell of coffee brought her to the kitchen where Klaus was already sipping on a cup. She looked at him with a raised eyebrow. Knowing what she was going to say, he spoke first, “Don’t worry. I made sure your grandmother was already gone for work before coming down. I know how you like to avoid trouble,” He smirked.
Cassie smiled as she poured herself a cup of coffee and leaned against the kitchen island next to him. They were silent for a moment before Cassie finally spoke up, “You weren’t really punishing us.” Klaus turned to look at her, an amused expression on his face. His eyebrow rose as though silently asking ‘oh?’ Cassie ignored his look, “You’re using me to lead Stefan farther down to the road of damnation.”
Klaus let out a chuckle, “Damnation? Really?”
She let a small smile come to her lips. But even though she thought it was over-dramatic, it wasn’t her opinion that mattered, “That’s what he thinks of it and you know that.” She turned to face him fully, her face serious, “I don’t like being used, Klaus. Especially not against my best friend. I love you. But don’t do it again,” She warned.
The hybrid was half tempted to say ‘or what?’ but remained silent. Cassie was loyal. It was one of the things he admired most about her. If he wanted her loyalty toward him to continue, he would have to give in to her demands. It was hardly a difficult concession since he hadn’t really planned on doing it again anyway.
Taking his silence as agreement, she put her now empty cup in the sink, “I’m going to grab a shower. If you feed, try not to be conspicuous. This town’s already on edge.” Klaus nodded in agreement, having already planned on being discreet.
Not much later, Cassie left the bathroom, towel drying her hair. She looked up to see Stefan, awake and watching her morosely from her bed. “Hey,” She said softly, unsure of what she was supposed to say. What was one supposed to do after having a threesome with their best friend?
“I’m sorry,” Stefan immediately apologized.
Tossing the towel over her chair, she sat across from the man, “For what?” She asked in confusion.
He looked at her in equal confusion. “Last night,” he explained.
Cassie laughed. “Yes, you should be sorry. How dare you give me great sex and multiple orgasms,” she teased.
Stefan let out an involuntary chuckle, “You know what I mean.”
She smiled softly, “I do, which is why I should be apologizing to you. If I hadn’t opened my big fat mouth about Tennessee, he wouldn’t be so mad at you.”
Before the words were out of her mouth, he was already shaking his head in denial, “No, it was my fault. I shouldn’t have told you to begin with.”
Cassie let out a sigh at the deja-vu she was experiencing. It was typical Stefan; always had to be the martyr, “How about we just say it’s both our faults and call it even,” she smiled, reaching a hand out to cover his own. Stefan looked down at their hands and suddenly the air was electrified, just like last night. Their eyes locked and their faces drew near.
“This isn’t right,” He murmured but leaned over to lay his lips over hers anyway. Their kiss immediately grew charged, passion flowing through them the same way it had previously.
An hour later, Cassie lay gasping for air, clinging to Stefan’s cool body. Looking up into his face, she saw his familiar furrowed brow, “You’re brooding,” She stated, “I wish you wouldn’t.”
“This isn’t right,” He repeated, clearly thinking about Elena.
Cassie raised herself up onto her elbows, looking up at him, “I love you. You’re one of my best friends. I accept you; bunny-hunting you and ripper you. I’m not asking for a relationship and quite frankly, I really don’t want one. How is this wrong?”
“I’m in love with Elena,” Stefan said as though that explained everything.
The blonde shrugged, “So? You can’t be with her, Stefan. Not if you don’t want a bloodbath.” Her words just made Stefan brood even more, “Look, it’s not like I’m in love with you, but if I can help you get over her then I have no problem with that.”
“…Maybe you’re right,” He admitted, “I know Elena’s been getting over me. I should do the same.”
Cassie looked at him in confusion, “What makes you think she’s getting over you?” Something must have betrayed Stefan on his face because her eyes suddenly grew wide and she sat up in bed, “You’re giving your girlfriend to your brother,” She breathed out in realization.
There was an awkward pause before Stefan finally answered, “I love her. And I love him. If I can’t be with her… there’s no one I trust her with more than him.”
Cassie shook her head in awed disbelief. She had never met anyone as kind and self-sacrificing as Stefan. She leaned over and wrapped her arms tight around him, “I love you,” she said for what felt like the hundredth time that day, “And you are amazing.”
Stefan took a moment to just feel Cassie’s comfort before slowly separating, “We should get out of bed,” he smiled. His smile grew wider when Cassie made a reluctant groan. Grabbing her arm, he dragged her back into the bathroom for a second shower.
“So, not that I’m complaining,” Stefan said as he trailed her down the stairs, “But why exactly did Klaus want to come see you?”
Cassie opened the front door, gesturing for Stefan to go first. “You mean he didn’t tell you? He wants me to do another spell for him. He’s searching for more werewolves.” Locking her front door behind them, something occurred to her. “How did you two get in last night?”
Stefan looked sheepish, “We ran into your grandmother as she was coming in from work and compelled her for an invite.” Cassie nodded and mouthed the words ‘oh’. “Another spell?”
“Mmhmm,” She muttered looking at the car parked in front of her house, “I was the one who gave you Ray. Is that your car?” She asked pointing to the dark red Dodge Charger with black racing stripes. At Stefan’s nod, Cassie shook her head and scoffed. “Subtle.”
“Isn’t really Klaus’ style,” Stefan finished as the two walked over to it, “I wonder where he went that he didn’t take the car.”
“Klaus out and about with no one to watch over him,” Cassie gave an exaggerated shudder, “Scary.” Out of the corner of her eye, she spied Nick exiting his house. She smiled and waved at the boy who began making his way over.
“Hey,” the blond greeted, pulling a cigarette from his pack and lighting it up.
“Nick, this is Stefan. Stefan’s a vampire. Stefan, Nick. Nick is in my Circle,” Cassie introduced. Both Nick and Stefan’s eyes widened at her blasé introduction.
Stefan recovered quickly, “Ah. Better hide him before Klaus shows up then,” he grinned, knowing how Cassie’s decision to join a Circle annoyed the hybrid.
“Hide what? Are you two conspiring again? I thought we talked about this,” Klaus spoke, surprising all of them from behind.
Cassie smirked, “Well, you have to admit the punishment didn’t exactly serve as much of a deterrent,” she teased, gently elbowing him.
Klaus hummed but refused to be distracted, “Hide what?”
Cassie turned to Nick and pointed at Stefan, “Vampire you don’t really have to worry about,” then she pointed at Klaus, “Vampire that should terrify you.”
“Excuse me. I am a hybrid, not a vampire,” the Original corrected.
Cassie rolled her eyes, “Drama queen,” She grinned, “I bet you even gave the wolves your little hybrid speech,” seeing Stefan smirk put a knowing grin on the blonde’s face, “You did, didn’t you? A werewolf who isn’t beholden to the moon, a vampire who doesn’t burn in the sun,” she quoted teasingly.
“Yes, yes, I like to dramatize,” Klaus scowled, “Why are you airing secrets right and left?”
“They’re not very secret when you tell everyone you meet,” Stefan added in, but raised his arms in surrender when Klaus turned to glare at him.
“This is Nick,” she gestured to the blond who had been watching in fascination as the other three talked, “He’s in my Circle. Don’t kill him,” She warned.
Nick paused as he looked at Cassie to see if she was being serious. Seeing that she was, he decided that her suggestion to be terrified was apparently merited. “Hey,” he said simply. In his pocket, he felt his phone begin to vibrate. Removing it, he saw that Melissa was calling.
“Do you want to come to lunch with us?” Cassie asked the boy. Looking up, Nick pressed the ‘ignore’ button.
“Sure,” He agreed climbing into the red car after the others. He was interested in what Cassie knew about the supernatural world and this was his chance to find out more. Cassie directed Stefan to the docks, intent on going to the Boathouse for food.
The group began walking along the boardwalk, heading toward the bar and grill. Cassie and Stefan began walking ahead, leaving the other two separated. “So, why don’t you like Cassie’s Circle?” Nick asked Klaus wearily, remembering what the others said about hiding Nick before Klaus could see him. Catching her name, Cassie strained her ears to continue eavesdropping.
“It binds her magic,” Klaus answered simply. “It makes her strength dependent on others. And not just one other, but five. Five baby witches who have absolutely no idea what they’re doing.”
Nick nodded in understanding, “I’ve been trying to convince Cassie to teach us.” Said girl whipped her head around to glare at Nick for opening his mouth. A smirk slowly began to make its way across Klaus’ face.
“Now that… could be something,” He murmured. Cassie’s glare transferred to him, “What? If they were trained, they wouldn’t be holding you back as much. This could be a good thing… a very good thing,” His voice trailed off as he began to think.
“You just want a Circle of six powerful witches on your side,” the blonde girl scowled.
Klaus looked at her as though she were an idiot, “Obviously.”
Nick interrupted, confused, “Why do you need witches on your side?” He asked.
Cassie rolled her eyes, tired of having to explain everything. Maybe they were right; she should just teach them. That way she wouldn’t have to constantly explain things like they were children. “Klaus is an Original. That means he’s one of the first vampires. It makes him very old, very powerful and very much hated. He has an army of supernatural creatures at his beck and call. I, as a witch, work for Klaus. He wants the rest of you to work for him to.”
Contemplating her words, Nick nodded, “And what would that mean?”
Klaus cocked his head to the side, happy to see that the boy was interested, “It means you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. I ask for a spell done and you do it. In exchange, if you ever need something from me, I’ll provide it… within reason.”
“It means you’d be putting a target on your back for anyone with a grudge to aim at. But it means you get a lot of protection also,” Cassie conceded. Thinking about it, she supposed it wouldn’t really be that bad of an idea. The reason she had originally refused to teach the others was because she didn’t want to tie herself to them, but by binding the Circle, she didn’t really have much of a choice. Plus, they saved her life last night. She owed them the same loyalty in return.
Nick nodded but said no more on the topic. After a brief second, Klaus excused himself, seeing someone he apparently wanted to talk to. Cassie and Nick watched in surprise as he greeted Mrs. Chamberlain. “Go eavesdrop,” Cassie hissed toward the other witch.
“Why me?” He asked in surprise. Stefan also looked surprised that she would ask someone else to listen in on a conversation Klaus was having.
“He would notice me in an instant. Besides, you’re considering joining him so he’ll be more lenient when you get caught,” Cassie shoved the boy forward forcefully, watching as he sulkily made his way over and began to discreetly listen in.
Stefan took the opportunity to talk to Cassie, “You trust Nick,” he stated in slight surprise.
The blonde girl looked caught off guard but admitted easily that she did, “I don’t know why. We just get along really well.” Their conversation was soon interrupted by Cassie’s ringing phone. Looking at the ID, her eyes widened. She showed the phone to Stefan who visibly tensed. Knowing that the caller wouldn’t give up, she picked up, “Well, if it isn’t Damon Salvatore,” she greeted.
“Cassie Blake,” he replied with a smirk, “Been a long time.”
“A little over a year,” Cassie nodded as she mentally counted the time, “What can I do for you?”
“I need to find Stefan. Can you do a little magic and find him?” Damon said, getting straight to the point.
Cassie locked eyes with Stefan who had been listening in next to her. Deciding to play dumb, she replied, “I’m not going to help you carry out your mission of torturing your brother for eternity. Find him yourself.”
“Making my brother constantly miserable is so two years ago,” Damon joked, “Seriously. I need to find him. He’s… in trouble,” he hesitated to add on, but knew that as Stefan’s other best friend besides Lexi, she would want to help.
Realizing this also, Cassie decided to drop the dumb act, “Sorry, Damon, but Stefan doesn’t want you to find him.”
Damon sat up straight, “You’ve talked to him? When?”
“Recently,” she replied vaguely, “And I know all about his deal to serve Klaus in exchange for your life. I have to admit to being a little curious, though. The Damon I know would never risk his own skin, so why are you trying to so hard to get yourself killed? You have to know that Klaus will kill you if you try to interfere with his bargain with Stefan. And it’s only a decade of servitude.” Cassie continued on before Damon could interrupt, “And don’t tell me you can’t stand to spend a decade away from your little brother because I know better. What’s the real reason you’re hunting him down? I thought you wanted your brother to feed on humans.”
Damon growled lowly in frustration, hating all the holes Cassie had just poked into his argument, “I want Stefan to act like a normal vampire. Being a ripper isn’t being in control. I can live without him for a decade, but...”
“Elena can’t,” She let out a self-deprecating chuckle, “Well, that is most certainly the Damon I know. Always in love with his brother’s girl,” Cassie finished with a sigh, noticing Stefan’s flinch at his ex-girlfriend’s name. “Didn’t she decide that she wanted to be human? She and Stefan were never going to work out. It’s better that it ends here. She can find a nice human boy, get married and have kids.” Once again Stefan flinched, turning his face away in an attempt to hide his pain from Cassie.
“Maybe, but she wants him back. It’s probably the guilt,” he said in a blasé tone, “Now where is he?”
“Don’t know. Haven’t seen him,” Cassie smirked, hearing Damon’s growl of frustration. It was clear to him that she did in fact know where Stefan was, “You know, what I’m wondering is why you’re genuinely trying. All you have to do is pretend to search while swooping in at Elena’s time of need. I mean, he practically gave you her in Tennessee and yet you’re still trying. Why is that?”
There was silence on the other end before Damon finally gave in, “He’s my brother, okay? I owe him. I can’t let Klaus use him and turn him into a ripper when I know how much Stefan hates that side of himself. No one can torture Stefan but me.”
Stefan finally looked up, a small smile of amusement on his face. It was the most happiness she’d seen on him since he’d arrived. “I can’t tell you where he is, but I can keep you updated on how he’s doing,” Cassie compromised, not wanting to betray any of her friends’ trust. Knowing that was all he was going to get from her, Damon agreed. “He’s… okay,” Cassie described, looking at Stefan as she thought about what to say, “He’s brooding, which there’s nothing new there, but he’s also sad. But at the same time, I think he feels guilty. Guilty because he likes what he’s doing with Klaus,” she winced at Stefan’s ashamed look. She didn’t want to hurt him, but she didn’t want to lie either, “He likes the blood and I know this may surprise you, but Klaus isn’t exactly bad company. Ten years of servitude… isn’t that bad. And I think he knows that. He misses you and he misses Elena, but he knows that what he’s doing is for the best. All the bad that he’s going through is worth it as long as it keeps you both safe. And like I said, it’s not all bad for him.”
There was a long minute of silence on the other line before Damon finally responded, “…Thank you.”
Cassie hung up the phone and turned to Stefan. “Sorry,” she said softly leaning up to give him a soft kiss on his cheek. Stefan wrapped his arms around her and gave her a tight hug, pressing his face into her neck. Cassie wrapped her own arms around his neck, hugging him back, trying to comfort him as much as she could. After a moment, he pulled away, his eyes beginning to grow dark from burying his face into her neck.
“I should feed,” he muttered, refusing to look her in the eye.
Cassie grabbed his face and turned him to look at her, “So feed from me.”
Stefan shook his head immediately, “I can’t. I won’t stop. I don’t know how,” he gave a self-deprecating smile.
The blonde shook her head as well, “Yes, you do. You stopped last night and you stopped this morning. I trust you. You’ve done it before, you can do it again,” she tossed her hair over her shoulder, but didn’t try and move him closer. She had made her offer clear; Stefan would make his own decision now.
Unable to resist, he leaned down to lift her up and sat her on the dock railing so that he had easy access to her neck. Brushing some stray hair off her shoulder, he leaned over and began to drink. To anyone watching, they were just a young couple necking. No one but the approaching Klaus knew what was really happening.
“Enjoying lunch?” Klaus asked after a few minutes, Nick next to him. Stefan pulled away at the hybrid’s voice and discreetly wiped at the corner of his mouth, removing the blood. Cassie swayed uneasily from where she was sitting and Stefan automatically reached out to steady her. Seeing the problem, Klaus sighed. “Come on. Let’s get some nutrients into her before she faints. She hasn’t eaten since last night and we’ve fed from her a lot today.”
Nick looked on curiously as Stefan picked her up, cradling her in his arms, but Cassie refused to be carried. Stefan set her on her feet but kept a steadying arm around her shoulders as they walked toward the Boathouse. Entering the grill, she and Nick both noticed the rest of the Circle at a booth at the window. They had probably seen all of what just happened. Cassie started to worry what they must have thought of her; ‘necking’ with someone after having gone out with Luke the night before, but before she could stress about it, Klaus had already led the group to a table and had ordered her a large meal. Nick, meanwhile, had checked his cell phone, only to internally groan as he realized that Melissa had texted him asking if he wanted to meet the others for lunch at the Boathouse. If he had just checked his phone while on the drive up, he would have known that the Circle would be there.
“So, did he just…” Nick spoke lowly, gesturing toward her neck.
“Yep,” Klaus responded instead of Cassie, “And I bet she was delicious,” he teased.
Cassie poked her tongue out in a joking response as Adam set the food in front of her, taking over for the waiter who took the original order. She purposely avoided the other boy’s look and dug into her hearty lunch, moving the plate over toward Nick in a clear invitation to share the large meal with her.
“So, I was wondering when you’d like to do the spell,” Klaus spoke after Cassie got a few bites in. From behind him, Adam dropped a glass in shock.
Once again, avoiding Adam’s look, she replied, “Whenever. Tonight?”
“What spell?” Nick asked before snagging a fry. Stefan, too, looked interested. Adam, from where he was not-so-subtly eavesdropping looked completely shocked that Cassie and Nick had told others about their magic.
“Oh, it’s a fun one,” Cassie smiled, turning to Nick, “I’m going to contact the dead.”
“Why?” Stefan asked, “How is that going to find us more werewolves?”
‘Werewolves’ Adam mouthed silently behind the two vampires. Cassie considered herself lucky that the others in the Circle couldn’t hear their conversation the way Adam could otherwise she was sure there’d be an uproar.
“Well, the curse travels through the bloodline. It’s hard to track down wolves now, but by contacting the ghosts of past werewolves, we can track the lineage and find a current werewolf or at least a line that carries the curse,” Cassie explained.
“Curse?” Nick asked at the same time Stefan asked, “They’ll talk to you?”
She turned to answer Stefan’s question first, “Usually, yes. They aren’t like the ghosts of witches. For most of them, this is the first time they’ve been contacted since they died. That’s a long time without talking to someone. Some are still loyal to their families and refuse to talk to me, but some are so happy at contact that they don’t care what I want to know. Unfortunately, not all of the information pans out, though. Last time, I talked to over twenty dead wolves before finding Ray. Some bloodlines can’t be tracked and of those that can, some people don’t have the curse. Klaus could always make them into werewolves à la Katherine, but he doesn’t bother since he needs a pack, not just one wolf.” Turning to Nick, she explained werewolves, not just for his benefit, but also for Adam’s who was still listening, “Being a werewolf is a curse. It’s sort of like a cross between being a witch, which is something you’re born into, and being a vampire, which is something that is done to you. In order to become a werewolf, it has to be in your family’s blood. You also have to trigger the curse. If someone dies at your hands – it can be murder or an accident – if someone dies and it’s your fault, you turn.”
“Will you need any help?” Nick asked, snagging more food from Cassie’s plate. Feeling full, Cassie just pushed it all the way toward him.
“Not really. I’ll do it at midnight,” seeing Nick’s blank look, she sighed and rolled her eyes, “Okay, I’m still on the fence about the others, but I’m definitely teaching you magic. I’m getting tired of explaining everything. Midnight is the darkest meeting of night and day. It’s the one time when the veil that separates our world from the world of the dead is thinnest. It will make it easier to contact the ghosts.”
Klaus stood up, pulling a vibrating cell phone from his pocket. Leaving the restaurant, he took his call outside. Sensing Adam wanted to talk to Cassie and Nick, Stefan excused himself to the bathroom, but in actuality subtly began compelling the people in the restaurant to leave.
“What the hell is going on?” Adam said, sitting in Stefan’s seat so fast, they barely saw him move. The other members of the Circle soon joined them, “You were talking about magic.”
“What?” Diana said in disbelief, “I can’t believe it.”
“You know magic already,” Adam also put in, “You were talking about stuff that I’d never even heard of. I mean, werewolves? Ghosts?”
“Aren’t real,” Faye butt in, looking at Adam skeptically.
“Actually they are,” Nick spoke up, turning to look at Cassie pointedly.
Baring the weight of their stares, Cassie finally gave in, “I’ve known about magic since I was twelve,” she raised her hand to silence their protest, “I honestly had no idea about my mother. I always thought I got my magic from my father and that my mother had no idea. Yes, werewolves are real, ghosts are real and vampires are real. There are more than just witches out there.”
“But-“ Diana cut herself off when Klaus returned from outside. The group remained silent but didn’t move from where they were hovering around the table.
“Friends?” Klaus asked, curious but also suspicious.
“Circle,” Cassie said. Once again, the other four turned to look at her, betrayed looks on their faces, “Look, I’m sorry, but I work for Klaus. I tell him everything involving me and magic,” pausing to think about it, she added, “Actually, I pretty much just tell him everything.” By now, Stefan had also returned from compelling the civilians and was overlooking what was going on.
“I see,” Klaus muttered looking at the other witches thoughtfully, “Well, I’ll give you the same offer I gave Nick. Pledge yourselves to me and I’ll teach you magic beyond your wildest dreams in addition to offering you my protection as you venture into the supernatural.”
“Are you a witch?” Faye asked suspiciously.
Klaus gave a hearty laugh, “Of course not. I’m better,” he ignored Cassie’s scoff of derision, “I’m a hybrid.”
“A what?” Adam asked.
Klaus took a breath, but Cassie cut him off, “No need for the hybrid speech,” she grinned at his pout, “He’s half vampire, half werewolf; all of their strengths, none of their weaknesses.”
Ignoring the part about vampires, werewolves and hybrids, Faye asked about the only thing she cared about, “So how are you going to teach us magic if you’re not even a witch?” Klaus merely looked at Cassie. “Her?” Faye asked in disbelief, “She’s going to teach us magic?”
“I stopped that storm when you couldn’t,” Cassie pointed out, “I’ve been doing magic for four years. I’ve learned from multiple witches about all kinds of magic. I know what I’m doing. The question isn’t if I can teach you magic; it’s if I want to.”
“Luv…” Klaus spoke warningly. The blonde girl rolled her eyes and pouted slightly, but said nothing more on the subject.
“How can you teach us when you can’t even do magic by yourself?” Melissa asked. She had been interested in what everyone was saying, but she was more interested in when exactly Nick and Cassie became such good friends.
“Excuse me?” Klaus asked in a low, dangerous tone looking at Cassie for answers.
“When we first bound the Circle, I discovered that it took away my ability to do individual magic.” Cassie held up her hand before the hybrid could explode in anger, “But with a little help from Nick, I’m good as new. I’m stronger than I ever was and now that I’m bound, I can also amplify my power even more using the others,” She explained vaguely, unwilling to directly say in front of the Circle that she had her individual power back.
Klaus looked intrigued by the concept of even more power whereas the Circle was more interested in the fact that Cassie was clearly a powerhouse, “What exactly did you do?” Faye demanded, “And how come you told Nick?”
“Nick just happened to be there,” Cassie waved off carelessly, “It wasn’t like we planned it. As for what I did… it’s complicated. You won’t be able to replicate it without training and there are some heavy consequences so forget about it.”
Faye looked like she was about to protest, but Klaus interrupted, “She could teach you if you agreed to work for me,” he offered. Cassie once again glared at him, but didn’t contradict his offer.
“Work for you?” Diana spoke up, “Why would you want us to work for you?”
“I’m a powerful man. I have a lot of enemies and a lot of ambitions. Sometimes, I need a little magic to help me on my way,” he explained vaguely.
“Why do you have enemies?” Melissa asked.
“I’m an Original vampire,” Klaus explained, a rather gleeful smile on his face, “One of the first vampires ever. I’m thousands of years old and I have a lot of power, money and influence behind me.”
“Fame whore,” Cassie muttered under her breath earning a chuckle from Stefan and a glare from Klaus, “What?” She asked defensively, a smile twitching on her lips, “You’re famous for being famous. Oh my god, you’re the Paris Hilton of vampires!” She gasped falsely.
Stefan let out a full blown laugh at that. “Oh, for the love of-” Klaus growled before cutting himself off, “Just shut up!”
“Paris Hilton?” Stefan asked Cassie in amusement.
“Well, I was going to say Kim Kardashian, but I wasn’t sure if you’d know who that is. I know you don’t watch a lot of television,” She smiled teasingly, watching Klaus glower from the corner of her eye.
“Oh, I know who the Kardashians are,” Stefan replied earning him surprised looks from both Cassie and Klaus. “…Damon watches a lot of reality tv,” he offered lamely. Cassie silently oh-ed and Klaus looked like he was mentally filing that piece of information away to taunt Damon at a later date with.
“Getting back on point,” Faye interrupted, “All we have to do is work for you and we can get our magic back? I’m in.”
Cassie shook her head at the impulsive girl as Klaus smiled gleefully, “You don’t even know what you’re getting into. A lot of people will want you dead for helping him. You’d be turning on your own kind. Witches hate Klaus. He’s an abomination.” She turned to face him, “No offense.” Klaus shrugged, well aware of the witch community’s opinion of him.
“Why?” Diana asked cautiously.
“Because he’s a hybrid,” Cassie explained, “Witches are nature’s balance. They make sure that no one has too much power. A hybrid has twice the strength of a werewolf and a vampire and no weakness. He was cursed by a witch a long time ago so that he could never tap into his wolf side. He’s only recently lifted the curse and because of that he’s feared even more than usual but he’s also hated more than usual. A witch that helps him is considered an outcast in the magical community because he goes against the balance we’re supposed to protect.”
“But you help him,” Adam pointed out.
Cassie opened her mouth, unsure of what to say, “I owe him. He’s the one who brought me into the world of magic. Without him, who knows what I’d be. Maybe like you guys; piecing together my heritage using small clues. He’s one of my best friends. I love him. I owe him everything.”
“Stirring clock-wise symbolizes embracing time and all that comes with it. By embracing your life, you also embrace your death. This is the ultimate balance,” Cassie lectured as she ground the green paste inside her bowl. “Witches keep the balance and so all good, positive magic use basic steps such as these. On the other hand, the darker magic uses the opposite steps.”
Faye looked on in boredom, “Explain to me why I care?” She sighed filing her nails.
Cassie dropped her head in annoyance, “Not all the magic in the world is in your Book. Think of it like cooking. The books give ‘recipes’ but they don’t always tell you what you’re making. And if you learn the basic steps of cooking, you can create your own ‘recipes’.”
Suddenly, everyone looked interested in what she was saying, “You mean, we can create our own spells and potions?” Faye asked, “To do whatever we want?”
The blonde stared back uneasily, already seeing the danger in this, “If you know the correct steps,” She replied making a mental note not to show the girl anything dark, powerful or dangerous. No need for Faye to get ideas. She was enough of a handful already.
Looking down, Cassie realized the paste was ready, “Okay, looks like we’re done,” she smiled displaying the lumpy green mixture happily.
Adam smiled back wearily, “What exactly does it do?”
“Oh!” Cassie grinned in amusement, realizing she’d forgotten to tell them what she was making, “Let me show you.” Reaching out, she grabbed Adam’s hand. On his finger lay a band aid from where he’d nicked himself while working. Gently peeling the bandage back, she stuck her finger into the green paste and brought it to her face. Concentrating on her magic, she blew a small breath onto it, “The breath of life,” she explained as she soothed it onto the small cut.
“It tingles,” the boy breathed out in wonder as everyone crowded around to see. After a second, Cassie wiped the mixture off to reveal fresh skin underneath; the cut was gone.
“Its medicine,” Diana gasped in surprise, “Magic can be medicine!” She grinned widely.
Knowing that Diana wanted to be a doctor, Cassie quickly intervened, “It can be, but it’s a dark path, Diana. A lot of healing magic is dark.”
“Why?” Nick asked curiously.
The blonde faltered, unsure of how to explain, “Balance,” she started hesitantly, “A small cut like that is nothing, but the worse the wound, the darker the magic. People are meant to die and to try and reverse that… to some it’s unforgivable.” Cassie noticed the way Nick looked at her oddly and knew he was remembering what happened to Sally. She nodded her head at him slowly, trying to illustrate that they’d talk about it later. His nod back told her he understood.
“But what if it’s an accident,” Diana argued, “Wouldn’t it be better to bring that person back? You’re not trying to cheat death. That person will still die of old age.”
“Who are you to decide who lives and who dies?” Cassie asked simply, knowing that this question would stop Diana’s argument in its tracks. True to form, Diana had no response. Her eyes widened and her mouth opened, but nothing came out. “Two people die and four are born every second. Messing with that ratio can lead to disastrous consequences and I’m not just talking about food, space or population problems, but also magically. There are consequences to every form of major magic. Messing with death has the largest.”
“What is it?” Melissa asked, morbidly curious.
Cassie shrugged, “Honestly? I don’t know. I’ve never tried to mess with it. I hear it depends on the situation though. Zombies, ghosts and who knows what else. People come back but they don’t come back right or something comes back with them. Either way, it’s not something to mess with. Ever.” She stated looking at Diana seriously, knowing that she would be the one most tempted to delve into the magic if it meant saving a life.
Slowly, everyone nodded. After a brief silence as they all thought about her words, Faye spoke up, “So… what else can you show us?”
Hours later, Cassie collapsed onto her bed, totally exhausted. Who knew it took so much effort to teach five witches magic?
“You okay?” Nick asked from where he was leaning back against her door.
“I pray that I wasn’t this annoying when I was learning magic,” she replied, flipping over onto her stomach so that she could look up at the boy. “No offense. You weren’t that bad at all, inappropriate innuendos aside.”
Nick smirked and walked over to sit next to her on the bed. “Well, the others don’t have private sessions with you,” he meaningfully caressed her arm as he spoke.
Cassie looked up at the blond with a raised eyebrow as she sat up, “And how are things going with Melissa?” She asked pointedly, an amused smile on her lips.
A scowl came across his face. “She’s not my girlfriend,” he stroked her cheek purposefully, but there was no longer any heat to his touch.
Cassie rolled her eyes and moved away from his hand. Getting serious, she said, “Let’s get this over with. I’m exhausted.” She crossed her legs and waited for Nick to do the same across from her. “Close your eyes and picture the darkness. Don’t just see the darkness, but embrace the thought until it becomes your reality. It is all you see, it is all you feel, it is all you know. Follow that darkness as deep as you can. You are following it deep inside your very being. You will follow it until you can’t follow it anymore,” Cassie intoned deeply, closing her eyes to follow her own internal path.
After a few moments, Nick spoke up, “I’m there.”
“Good,” Cassie smiled, not opening her eyes. “This is your magical core. For right now, just feel it. Recognize that this is a part of yourself. That this is where your power comes from.” After giving Nick a few minutes, Cassie spoke again, “Now, keeping your eyes closed and focused on your magical core, I want you to use your magic. Focus on a glass of water. You will feel a tendril of magic escape. Follow the tendril’s pathway outside of your body. Sense how it will meet with mine. Focus on the glass of water now.”
Cassie opened her eyes and watched as they did magic together, the glass appearing. In a second, Nick opened his eyes too, “I did it. I saw my core and I saw how my magic met with yours…”
The blonde nodded, “That’s the binding. Go home and try and do it all over again. You’ll feel something restricting your magic. That’s also from the binding. Don’t fight it; you’re not strong enough yet. Just get used to your core and get a feel for your restrictions. In a couple days, we’ll try this again and see how far we get with getting you back your individual power.”
Nick stood up, cracking his bones from sitting still so long. He raised a hand in goodbye and left her room. She heard the front door open and close as he left. Looking out the window, she noticed him walk up his porch. She slid the window open, “Don’t forget to keep practicing!” She yelled out causing him to look up in surprise. He waved his hand at her in a ‘yeah, yeah’ gesture and went inside his house.
Cassie once more went back to her bed to lie down. She let her eyes flutter shut as she promised herself a quick nap before getting to work on the large pile of homework she had waiting for her.
A shrill ring echoed through the quiet room. Cassie grumbled as she blindly groped for her phone, “Hello?” She asked groggily as she tucked the phone between her ear and her pillow, curling back into her bed.
“Cass,” Stefan gasped from the other end, “I don’t know what to do. I didn’t remember, but now I do. I have no idea what’s going on in my head. Cassie, please.”
Wide awake now, the blonde sat up. She grabbed her clock and winced at the hour, “What happened? Tell me what’s going on.” As Stefan spoke, Cassie found it easier and easier to stay awake. Just hearing his story pumped adrenaline through her veins. “Klaus is going to need a way to find the necklace,” Cassie stated once Stefan finished.
“We’re heading back to Gloria’s in the morning. But Cassie…”
The blonde nodded her head, “Because the compulsion was just released, the memories feel like they happened yesterday even though it’s been ninety years. You need to breathe, Stefan. Work through your thoughts and memories.”
Even though she couldn’t see him, he nodded through the phone, “It’s just that…”
“You feel genuine loyalty to Klaus now. Before, you were protecting Damon, your brother, and Elena, the woman you love. Now, you feel like Klaus is also your brother and Rebekah is also the woman you love,” Cassie summarized, not needing Stefan to say the words to know what he was thinking, “Ideally, I’d say take a step back from all of them, but I guess you can’t really do that. You’re bound to Klaus and now to Rebekah.”
“So, I breathe and work through it,” Stefan gave a self-deprecating smile at her advice.
The girl shrugged, “At least until you get back here. By then, I’ll probably have thought up better advice.”
He let out a chuckle in genuine amusement, “Alright. I’ll see you soon.”
“You’ll have to introduce me to your new girlfriend,” Cassie teased as she heard Stefan’s sigh of exasperation as he hung up.
Settling back into bed, Cassie fell asleep trying to think of better advice to give to her friend. It was barely two hours later that she woke up. She had set her alarm early so that she would have time to finish her research on Heather Barnes. Throwing herself into a cold shower to wake up, Cassie then donned jean capris and a floral spaghetti strap top and began to work.
“Zachary said my mother did something terrible to Heather Barnes. He said it was worse than death,” Cassie started a few hours later at school.
“So what did you find out?” Diana asked as the two girls made their way through the busy hallways.
“After the fire she spent two years in psychiatric hospitals. Then she was released and she just dropped off and disappeared,” Cassie shook her head, annoyed with herself for not finding out more.
”Does she have any family?” Diana tried.
“A brother in Thin Creek. No phone listing but he does live close to here. Want to go with me after school and check it out?” Cassie offered, wanting to extend her hand in friendship. After the dance last Friday, she felt like she really owed it to Diana to be her friend, especially after the weekend revelations about Cassie’s magical knowledge.
”Yeah, of course,” the girl nodded before pausing as she remembered something. “Wait, I can’t go today.”
“Can’t go where?” Adam asked as he joined the duo.
“Hey, you,” Diana smiled giving him a welcoming peck on the lips. “Thin Creek,” she answered.
He looked at the two incredulously, “Why do you want to go to Thin Creek?”
“We’re trying to find out what happened to Heather Barnes. She has a brother there,” the brunette explained.
His brow furrowed in thought, “You think he knows something?”
Cassie smiled awkwardly at him, her last conversation with Diana still weighed heavily on her mind, “Well, its worth checking out. But I can go by myself. Not a big deal,” she offered, already seeing where this would head.
“You don’t want to do that. Thin Creek is a sketchy area,” Adam said worriedly.
Diana nodded in agreement before turning to her boyfriend, “Adam, why don’t you take her? I can’t reschedule my counseling eval,” she offered.
Cassie turned to look at the girl incredulously. A couple of nights ago, Diana was confessing how she knew how Adam looked at Cassie and now she was throwing the two of them together? “No, its fine. Really, I’m fine.”
“Heather was in that fire sixteen years ago. Maybe she can tell us what happened to our parents,” Diana looked at Adam coaxingly, knowing she was pushing all of the right buttons with him.
Unable to resist, Adam gave in, “Sure. I’ll pick you up after school,” he said to Cassie.
“Okay,” the blonde agreed hesitantly, outnumbered.
“It’s okay, really,” Diana smiled reassuringly, “We’re friends. We’re in this together.”
A little while later, Cassie had just gotten out of her morning math class when her phone rang. Looking down, she noticed it was Stefan again, “Hey, sorry, no new advice,” she smiled, putting away her books in her locker.
“I need your help,” were the first words out of Stefan’s mouth.
Looking around, Cassie discreetly tucked herself into an empty classroom, “What’s going on?”
“I thought I had everything under control, but I don’t,” Stefan paced frantically, running his hand through his hair, “I thought I could get to Gloria and ask her or maybe compel her. But Katherine detoured me and by the time I got there, Klaus and Rebekah were already having her work on the spell.”
“Woah, wait. Katherine?” Cassie asked in surprise. She did not expect that. If there was one thing she thought she could count on, it was that Katherine would run in the opposite direction of danger and sticking around Klaus was the very contradiction of that.
“Apparently, she wants in on my Anti-Klaus plan,” he shook his head in disbelief.
“You have an Anti-Klaus plan?” Cassie laughed.
Stefan gave a self-deprecating chuckle in response, “Nope. My plan consists of throwing as many obstacles in Klaus’ way as I can. Unfortunately, that’s proving difficult when Gloria’s found the necklace.”
“Klaus knows about Elena?” Cassie asked in surprise.
“Not yet. Gloria saw her but didn’t know that she was the doppelganger, but soon she’ll realize it and tell Klaus. I need to go stop her,” Stefan spoke, walking out the door, intent on returning to the bar.
“And I’ll call Damon,” Cassie offered.
Stefan paused, “What?”
“Well, think about it. If I can get Damon to give me Elena’s necklace, then that’s one more obstacle between Klaus and Elena,” she explained her reasoning, getting more onboard with her own plan now that she was really thinking about it.
Stefan shook his head, “But if Klaus finds out…”
“It’s a magical necklace. It would hardly be surprising if it fell into magical hands. Besides, you came to me for help first. He knows how I operate. If he had come to me asking about the necklace, he would be the one I’d help,” she reasoned.
“He’s not going to like this,” Stefan warned.
“Ehh,” Cassie shrugged hanging up the phone before dialing Damon’s number.
“Cassie! Twice in one week. To what do I owe this pleasure?” Damon spoke loudly, a crowd of voices could be heard behind him.
“Where are you?” she asked.
He let out a sigh of boredom, “Founders’ Party. Don’t ask. So, what’s up?”
“I need you to give me Elena’s necklace,” Cassie stated simply.
“Sorry, I think I must have misheard you. I could have sworn you just said you want me to give you Elena’s necklace. But I know that’s not right because A. how would you even know about that and B. why should I?” Damon smirked taking a sip of his beer.
A tight smile crossed the blonde’s lips, “You know how I know about Elena and her necklace. Stefan is still one of my best friends. More so, since you killed Lexi.”
“You’re still talking with him?” Damon asked probingly.
She rolled her eyes, “If you’re asking if I know where he is, the answer is still no. However, we do still talk and he told me to get Elena’s necklace.”
“And why would he tell you that?” the older man asked, “In case he didn’t also happen to mention, that necklace is a symbol of his love for Elena.”
“It’s a symbol of his love for someone,” Cassie muttered, thinking about Rebekah, “Look, Klaus is looking for it. He’s been having a witch scry for it. If you don’t want him finding out Elena’s still alive, you need to give that necklace to me.”
“What do you mean ‘his love for someone’?” Damon asked, totally ignoring the more important point.
“Damon!” She yelled angrily.
“Alright!” Damon began moving away from the party, “Elena’s having her witch friend look at it.”
“Good,” Cassie smiled, “You can have Bonnie send it to me using magic.”
Damon’s brow rose when she name dropped, “What else has my brother been telling you?” He asked curiously.
“That he practically laid his girlfriend on your lap and you still couldn’t keep her away from him,” Cassie snarked cruelly.
Over the phone, she could hear Damon grind his teeth in anger, “You know, you never explained that. What do you mean he laid Elena on my lap?”
“What?” a muffled female voice could be heard over the line.
“Not now, Elena. The grown ups are talking,” Damon cooed to the other girl like she was a child.
“Huh, so that’s what the infamous Elena sounds like,” Cassie wondered out loud, “I’m pretty sure she’s older than me,” she mentioned.
“She is,” Damon returned to their conversation, “But you’re much more mature,” he smiled smugly, knowing he was annoying Elena.
“Damon, who are you talking to?” Elena asked with an impatient brow raised.
“No one. Mind your own business,” He retorted before speaking to Cassie, “Now, you were telling me about what Stefan said?”
“Only that he loves Elena and he loves you and that if he can’t be with her, there’s only one person he trusts to take care of her,” the blonde spoke, idly twirling a lock of hair. The silence on the other end made her smile. It was rare that Damon was ever humbled.
“He said that?” Elena asked, more clearly now. Damon had obviously put the phone on speaker.
“The infamous Elena Gilbert. You have something that I need,” Cassie sidestepped the question. She had never intended for Elena to hear what she had told Damon. In fact, she had never really intended to talk to the girl at all. Cassie didn’t know her, but she knew that she didn’t like her.
“I do?” the girl asked in surprise.
“Cassie wants the necklace. She says that Stefan told her to get it,” Damon explained quickly.
A new high pitched voice spoke up, “How do we know that she’s telling the truth?” she said suspiciously.
Damon responded for Cassie, “She doesn’t lie.”
“I hide things, I bend the truth, I speak in riddles, but I really hate lying,” She explained.
“Just because you hate lying, doesn’t mean you don’t do it,” another new voice, this one a lower female tone, spoke up.
Getting annoyed, Cassie exploded, “Okay, can you people introduce yourselves? I’m getting confused.”
“I’m Caroline,” the first voice said perkily.
“Bonnie,” was all the last voice said.
Nodding her head, the blonde smirked, “The baby vampire and the Bennett witch. Gotcha. And you’re right. I do lie. But not often and not right now. Normally, I’d say call Stefan and ask, but even if he wasn’t busy killing someone right now, I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t pick up.”
“Why’s he killing someone?” Elena asked worriedly.
Rolling her eyes at the girl’s naivety, Cassie responded, “Because he’s not going to like the answer Gloria’s going to give him. Now, the necklace?”
“I thought you said you didn’t know where Stefan is?” Damon smirked.
Cassie sighed, “And I thought we both realized I was lying. The necklace?” She asked forcefully.
“I thought you didn’t lie,” Bonnie interrupted.
“I was helping Stefan. For him, I’d lie,” Cassie was getting really tired of the others dancing around the topic, “Look, we’re running out of time.”
“Why does Klaus want the necklace?” Damon finally asked the most important question.
“Stefan told you how things are going wrong with the hybrids, right? And that it’s because of Elena? Klaus wants to talk to the original witch and in order to do that, he needs the necklace. Now, Stefan is killing Gloria to buy me enough time to get the necklace. By giving me the necklace, you are putting obstacles in Klaus’ path, keeping him from finding Elena and giving Stefan and Katherine enough time to come up with a plan.”
“Katherine?” Elena asked in disbelief.
Cassie threw her arms up in exasperation, “Is that all you heard in what I just said? The fact that your ex is working with his ex?”
“What is she doing there?” Damon asked thoughtfully, “She’s usually the first to run from danger. She must really love Stefan,” he spat angrily.
“Or hate Klaus,” Cassie input, “Now, please! The necklace!”
The others were silent over the line and Cassie knew they were all giving each other meaningful looks as they debated silently. Finally, Damon spoke, “Judgy’s sending it now.”
Looking down at the desk she was leaning against, Cassie smiled as she noticed the necklace next to her, “Thanks.”
“Be careful,” Bonnie warned, feeling obligated to help the other witch, “It has its own magic,” she said before hanging up.
Cassie looked at the object curiously before slipping it into her pocket and dialing Stefan back. Not receiving an answer, she left the simple message of, “I’ve got it.”
Later, after school, Cassie and Adam drove out to Thin Creek. She wanted to learn about Heather Barnes, but she also really wanted to hide the necklace. Unfortunately, that would have to wait until after her little field trip with Adam.
“This is looking more and more like a bad idea,” she muttered looking around at the deserted houses. Adam reassured her. “What is this place?” She asked.
“Used to be an old fishing village,” he explained. “Most people moved away; this is what’s left,” looking around, he walked up to one of the decrepit houses, “This is it.” He knocked on the door and the two jumped when a man opened it. “Hi, we’re looking for Wade Barnes,” Adam spoke hesitantly.
“Actually, we’re looking for Heather Barnes, but we know that Wade lives here,” Cassie clarified, Bonnie’s remarks about lying earlier making her touchy.
“I’m Wade. What do you want with my sister?” He asked gruffly.
“My mother, Amelia Blake; she was friends with Heather when they were young,” the blonde girl explained without actually answering his question. His responding scoff earned him odd looks from the two teenagers.
“You knew Amelia?” Adam stated more than asked.
“I knew her,” Wade said but added nothing else.
Cassie looked up at him cautiously, “My mother died a few months ago. I was hoping to ask Heather a few questions. Do you know where she is?”
Wade looked at her silently for a moment before nodding toward his house, “She’s right here.”
“Oh!” the witch said in surprise, “Would it be alright if we talk to her?”
“No, it wouldn’t,” the man said cruelly.
Adam finally spoke up, “Maybe that’s something Heather should decide.”
“You think so?” Wade asked in a weird tone that made the two hesitate, “Then come on in.” The two teens looked at each other before entering the house. They followed Wade to a back room where they noticed a woman sitting in a rocking chair.
“Heather?” Cassie asked, leaning over to look at the woman.
“She hasn’t moved in sixteen years,” Wade said bitterly, staring at Cassie.
She looked up at him, “What’s wrong with her?” She asked hesitantly, feeling sick to her stomach with worry; worried that her mom had done this to Heather, worried that something else had.
“Years back there was a fire at the boatyard,” Wade spoke shakily, as he tried to contain his emotions.
Adam looked up at the familiar story, “We know.”
“Some died, some survived… if you call this surviving,” he said, the bitter tone returning to his voice once more.
“Do the doctors know what caused it?” Adam asked hopeful, but knowing that he wouldn’t like the answer he would get.
“No one does,” he said softly looking at the still woman before his gaze turned back to Cassie, blame in his eyes, “She went there with your mother.”
“Why?” She asked softly.
“I don’t know,” he responded, but something in his voice made it seem like he expected Cassie to know, “Kids used to go to that boatyard to party and have fun. She was a different person back then,” He said softly.
Nodding slightly, Cassie leaned down to talk to Heather, “I’m sorry,” she whispered. Her eyes widened when she felt the necklace in her pocket heat just as Heather lunged forward to grab her by the arm.
Cassie breathed heavily, gazing wide eyed at the now unmoving woman. She could feel her heart thumping wildly in her chest in fear. As her breathing began to slow, she briefly wondered why her heart was still racing. Looking down, she realized that Adam’s arms were still wrapped tightly around her waist as she leaned back into him. His slightly chilly hands were resting on her bare stomach, her shirt having ridden up during the chaos.
Looking up into Adam’s eyes, they both seemed to realize their position at the same moment and they simultaneously separated.
“You said she hadn’t moved in sixteen years,” Adam spoke accusingly, turning his focus on to the situation at hand.
“Not at all. Not a muscle. And then you come,” Wade replied, looking at Cassie searchingly. As Wade talked, Cassie and Adam both noticed a mark on the inside of Heather’s wrist.
As they were leaving, Cassie asked, “That scar on her arm. It’s our families’ witchcraft, isn’t it?”
“It’s a sigil. They’re used for certain spells. I’ve seen them before in our research,” Adam admitted easily as they made their way back to his car.
“Do you think that’s what could be wrong with her?” Cassie asked, “A spell? Zachary said that my mother did something to Heather that was worse than death. Is that what he meant?” She looked up at Adam questioningly, the desperation to know apparent on her face.
Adam looked back regretfully, “Cassie, I don’t know.”
“Is that why she grabbed me? Because somehow she knew I was related?” Cassie continued asking desperately. She knew that Adam had none of the answers, but she couldn’t seem to stop her mouth from moving, “This doesn’t make any sense. Heather was her friend. Why would she do that to her friend?”
“We don’t know that your mother did this,” Adam tried to reassure her.
“No. I do know,” she replied solemnly before stalking back to the car. She had spent her life believing that her mother was innocent from all the magic in Cassie’s life and now to think that her mother had delved into the dark magics…
Cassie let out a breath as Adam pulled up to her house, “Do you want to come in?” She asked hesitantly.
He shook his head slowly, “I don’t think that’s such a good idea.”
“You’re probably right, but there’s something I want to show you,” she smiled slightly before getting out of the car. She brought Adam to her room and gestured around in a ‘this is it’ motion.
“Where’s your grandmother?” he asked, half hoping that the older woman would be back soon to put a damper on the mood that was beginning to build between the two teens.
“At the hospital working a late shift. She’s a nurse,” Cassie smiled proudly. Her mother had only had a high school education and so growing up, Amelia had always worked menial jobs. When they’d move around, sometimes they’d live in crappy apartments, getting by on the tips her mother made waitressing. Sometimes, if they were lucky, they made enough to rent a house. In the town they had last lived in, the town her mother had died in, Cassie had taken a part time job at a local bookstore and Amelia had worked at a bank. It was enough to afford them a pretty nice house to rent before they moved on. Or had planned to move on anyway.
“I know. When I was ten, she set my arm when I broke it,” Adam grinned, clearly proud of whatever back story caused the break.
Suddenly Cassie remembered why she invited him up to her room to begin with. She pulled out the tile from her fireplace and grabbed her mother’s book of shadows. Her father’s book was packed away somewhere having long since been memorized by Cassie. “I found this,” she declared as Adam turned around to face her. The amused smile dropped from his lips as he realized what she held in her hands.
“Is that what I think it is?” He asked, eyes glued to the leather.
Cassie smiled, “My mother’s Book of Shadows. I found it when I first got here.”
“How?” Adam asked, unable to believe that Cassie found in one day what he and the others had spent the last year looking for.
“My mother left it for me,” the blonde shrugged, “She wanted me to find it. I haven’t told anyone.”
Adam finally looked up from the Book to stare at her, “Can I see it?” He asked. Cassie nodded and handed it over, “Each of the families has its own book, but we’ve only found Diana’s. So everything we know about we are we know from her book, but its specific to her family,” he explained as he began frantically flipping through all of the pages, “Different spells, different histories, this book is completely different,” he looked up at the blonde, “We could learn so much from this.”
Cassie smirked. She had already suspected that her mother’s book was different from Diana’s because it was also different from her father’s. She moved to sit next to Adam and began searching through the book, “The sigil on Heather’s arm… I’ve seen it in here.” Finding it, she showed Adam, “That’s my mother’s handwriting. She had to be the one to put the spell on Heather,” she whispered to herself, “I need to know why.”
While Cassie trailed off thinking about why her mother had done what she did, Adam read the entry for the sigil, “It’s a suppression spell of some kind,” he said in confusion.
“Why would my mother do that? She would never hurt someone like this; not the mother I knew,” she said but even as she spoke she knew her words were probably false. The truth is she hadn’t known her mother. She hadn’t known that Amelia was a witch; who knows what her mother was capable of. Cassie knew what she herself was capable of doing for magic and for Klaus and shuddered to think that her mother was the same.
“I’m sorry, Cassie,” Adam said genuinely, drawing Cassie’s thoughts back to the present. Looking down, she made a decision.
“I want to undo it. If we can undo this spell then she can tell us what happened,” Cassie bargained, knowing that Adam would want to know that information as well.
“If it even works,” he pointed out.
Cassie shook her head, “We have to try. You saw that woman. If we can make her better, we have to.”
He looked at her oddly, “I thought you said that was a dark path, Cassie.”
The blonde hesitated, worrying her lip, “We’re not healing her. She’s not dead,” she tried to reason, but knew that everything she was saying was a lie. She was being a hypocrite, but she didn’t care. She had to know what happened.
Early the next morning, Cassie and Adam met at the abandoned house to work on reversing the sigil. “Okay, it looks like we have everything we need,” she spoke, mentally going through the check list of ingredients, “I’m going to need your help though.”
“With what?” Adam asked in surprise.
“I’m kinda petrified of needles,” She admitted. At Adam’s raised eyebrow she frowned, “Yeah, I know. My two best friends are vampires and I’m terrified of a needle. It’s not the blood, I don’t care about that. But needles?” She shivered.
“Okay,” he agreed with a grin.
She held out her hand and turned herself away as much as she could. She felt Adam grab her hand but there was no pain, “Are you gonna do it or are you just going to keep torturing me?” She asked slightly hysterical.
“Okay,” he pricked her finger with the needle and let a few drops spill into a small vial before wrapping a piece of gauze around the appendage. She turned around to look up at him and their eyes locked. This time, their moment was brief as she noticed Diana in the doorway a second later.
Diana didn’t want them to do the spell and Cassie couldn’t help but wonder if the girl would still have that opinion if she hadn’t walked in on Cassie and Adam. When put in the middle, Adam ended up siding with Diana which brought a small smile to the brunette’s face. That’s when Cassie realized that this argument was just Diana’s way of re-asserting control. Testing this, Cassie mentioned her own Book of Shadows and the look on Diana’s face proved the blonde right. Seeing the look also, Adam tried to help explain, but Diana was adamant.
Feeling anger at Diana’s childishness well up inside, Cassie put on a smirk, “It’s okay. That’s what individual magic is for.”
Diana shook her head, “We can’t do individual magic anymore.”
Cassie tilted her head, “Can’t I?” She asked before snapping her finger. All of the candles in the room lit on fire. Adam looked around in surprise, but Diana looked fearful, “Silly, baby witch,” Cassie leaned forward to play with a tendril of the brunette’s hair, “Binding’s for kids,” she smirked as she picked up her book and the potion and walked out.
It was only once she got into her car that she let out her anger. She realized that she had given away a major advantage and all because she had gotten angry, but she couldn’t help it. She hated being looked down on. Perhaps, hanging out with Klaus and Damon had given her a complex.
She leaned back and thumped her head against her headrest hard. A knock on her car window had her almost jumping out of her skin. Seeing Faye, Cassie rolled down her windows.
“What are you doing here?” the other girl asked wondering if there was another magic lesson and she’d forgotten.
“Adam, Diana and I were talking. I just left,” Cassie gestured toward the house.
“Why so pouty?” Faye smirked.
Cassie shook her head, “You wouldn’t understand.”
The brunette leaned over the car, “Try me.”
Looking up, Cassie sighed, “Fine. I want to undo a spell that could answer a lot of questions about how our parents died sixteen years ago and Diana and Adam won’t help me!” She ended angrily.
Faye looked at her oddly, “Boy, did I miss a chapter,” she shook her head. Looking down at Cassie’s lap, Faye spotted something familiar looking, “Wait a minute. Is that a Book of Shadows? You have your own?” She gasped snatching it from the blonde, “I have looked and looked for my family’s book and I can’t find it.”
“That’s enough,” Cassie grabbed the book and tossed it onto her passenger’s seat, away from Faye’s grasp.
“Oh, come on. Don’t be like that. I thought you needed help,” Faye taunted teasingly.
Cassie grinned. She didn’t need the help, but the idea of the other girl offering made her smile, “You’re gonna help me?”
“Sure, if you let me read your book, why not?” The brunette conditioned, “I mean, you need my help and to be honest, I’ve never understood why we’re not better friends.”
The blonde looked at her incredulously, but now that she was on the outs with Diana, perhaps forging a friendship with Faye could be a good thing. She already had Nick in her corner, but if she could get Faye, she could also get Melissa and that meant she would have the majority of the Circle. Cassie let a small smile creep across her face. “Meet me at my house tonight at ten.”
Returning to her house, Cassie threw herself onto her bed. She turned on her side, intent on having a small nap to make up for the crappy day she had been having when her cell phone rang. Sighing in annoyance, she reached over to check the caller ID. Unfortunately, it was Klaus, so she couldn’t ignore it.
“Hey, how’s the windy city?” She grinned.
”Windy,” he quipped, “I need a favor. It appears I am in need of a witch.”
“I thought that’s what you went to Chicago for,” Cassie replied, playing dumb. She couldn’t let Klaus know that Stefan had already told her about everything that was going on, “Gloria. And have I mentioned lately that I am a little offended that you went to her instead of going with my idea.”
“I’m still going to try your theory on the full moon, but that is three weeks away, darling. Meanwhile, I want to try and contact the first witch,” Klaus responded.
“Why? She hated your guts, didn’t she? She’ll just lie to you,” Cassie sighed, flopping onto her back.
“Any information, even lies, is better than no information,” He returned, “Now, unfortunately, Gloria has decided to leave and so I find myself in-“
“Need of a new witch,” she finished, “So you said. When you say Gloria has decided to leave, don’t you mean you ended up killing her?”
Klaus pursed his lips, “Actually, no. She has genuinely left. I find myself rather annoyed. If I had time, I would track her down and rip out her throat. Perhaps later,” he mused to himself.
Rolling her eyes, Cassie addressed the actual point to the phone call, “I can’t contact the original witch. I don’t know how to. That’s why you went to Gloria in the first place,” She pointed out obviously.
“Gloria said that she could contact the witch by using Rebekah’s necklace.”
“Who?” Cassie faked confusion.
“Don’t play dumb. You can’t tell me that the instant I reversed my compulsion, Stefan didn’t pick up the phone and tell you everything,” Klaus sighed at his overly emotional vampire friend.
“I admit nothing,” Cassie smiled, “Okay, if I had the necklace, I might be able to figure out Gloria’s plan.”
“One problem,” he interrupted.
“You don’t have the necklace?” she felt safe responding. If Klaus expected Stefan to tell her about Rebekah, then he probably expected Stefan to also tell her about their problems finding the necklace.
“Gloria was using Bekah as a conduit to search for the necklace. She said she found something and then disappeared,” He scowled.
Cassie suggested, “Maybe she found something she didn’t like.”
“Or maybe she found something she did,” He returned suspiciously.
“Either way, I might be able to find out,” Cassie offered, “Bring me Rebekah and I’ll see what I can do.”
“That’s why you’re my favorite,” Klaus smirked.
Cassie grinned, “According to Stefan, you say that about all the witches,” She teased before hanging up. She rolled onto her side to put the phone on her nightstand, but let out a yelp in surprise, “Nick! You scared the crap out of me.”
“Sorry,” the blond boy responded, “Who were you on the phone with?”
”Klaus,” Cassie sat up to look at the boy closely, “What’s wrong?”
Nick hesitated before sitting down next to Cassie on the bed, “Melissa was a mistake.”
She reached out to rub his arm comfortingly, “Hey, what happened?” She asked worriedly.
“She flipped out on me this morning,” he scowled in remembrance, “Because I was talking to some girl.”
Cassie nodded in understanding, “She was jealous.”
“She went off on me with some crap about how I was never going to change and how Faye was right and how she was sick of being my slut-toy.”
She stayed silent for a second, but she couldn’t hold her thoughts in, “Slut-toy?” She asked, trying not to laugh.
Nick grinned in response, “Yeah. I think she wanted to say fuck-toy, but there were kids around.”
“Because slut-toy is so much more appropriate,” She laughed, happy when the blond laughed with her. With the mood lightened, Cassie felt more comfortable giving advice, “I think she was just jealous and insecure. She saw you with this other girl and thought maybe it was because she wasn’t good enough.”
Nick shook his head, “Maybe that’s true, but she still didn’t have the right to go off on me. It’s not like she’s my girlfriend.”
Cassie shrugged, “But I bet she wants to be.”
He let out a sigh and flopped back on her bed, “This is getting way too complicated for me.”
“Do you want to dump her?” she asked.
“A. In order to dump her, I’d have to be with her in the first place. B. I think she dumped me, remember?” he responded.
Cassie shook her head, blond curls flying, “Nope. She likes you. She’ll be back, probably apologizing for acting like a bitch.” Nick sighed in response. “It sounds like you don’t want to get back with her.”
“I don’t know. Melissa’s cool and she’s a witch so she gets it. But at the same time, she’s getting to be way too much drama. Plus, we’re bound together so maybe it’s better if we stop here instead of having more problems down the line,” he reasoned.
“Sounds very logical,” she nodded while internally wondering if his heart had any intention of following his plan. He seemed to really like Melissa. While Cassie’s mind was off thinking, Nick took the opportunity to plant a kiss on her lips, “What are you doing?” She asked once they separated.
“Moving on,” Nick replied resolutely as his hands drew her shirt over her head.
Later that night, Cassie crept out of her room, taking one last glance back at the slumbering boy in her bed. Grabbing her car keys, she waited for Faye on her porch. It was during her research of Heather that Cassie came across the information that Wade was the mechanical technician for the local hospital at Thin Creek. So, on their way to Thin Creek, she and Faye made a little detour. Then they waited and sure enough, after twenty minutes, Wade left to fix the mechanical problems over at the hospital.
“This is really creepy,” Faye said, looking around the run down house, “Your mother did this? Why?” She asked looking at the scar on the inside of Heather’s wrist.
Cassie shook her head as she prepared everything, “I don’t know. That’s what I’m hoping to find out.”
“I mean, seriously, what could anyone do to deserve… Your mother must have been one mean ass witch,” Faye stated tactlessly.
“Faye!” Cassie objected, “Please, can we just try to help her?”
“Sorry. Let’s do this,” Faye smiled excitedly as she flipped through Cassie’s Book of Shadows.
“Alright, I’m going to apply this stuff Adam and I made and then we’ll do the chant together,” the blonde began mixing her vial of blood in with the mild green paste.
Faye tilted her head in thought, “Will it work?”
Cassie shrugged in response, “I have no idea. I don’t know what the spell is, I don’t know what the words mean, I don’t even know how to pronounce them,” She admitted easily. She had only found her mother’s book a few weeks ago. She hadn’t had time to learn her family’s magic yet.
Not liking the negative mood, the brunette spoke up, “Okay, we can do this. You dragged me all the way out here so let’s get to the bottom of it.”
Cassie spread the liquid on the scar and the two girls did the spell. When they received no results, they tried again, but still got nothing. Hearing the front door open, the two looked at each other in panic before fleeing back to Cassie’s car through an open window.
“So how about we go back to your place and check out the book?”
“Another time,” Cassie replied, totally exhausted and she still needed to figure out what was up with the necklace.
But Faye wouldn’t let it go, “I’d say I’ve earned a peak, wouldn’t you?” Something in Cassie’s face must have shown because Faye grinned, “Yes!”
Later, Faye sat on Cassie’s bed as the blonde paced nervously. She was itching to reach into the nook in her fireplace and to begin examining the necklace, “Okay, that’s enough for today,” she reached out to grab the book, but Faye was quicker.
“Oh, calm down,” the brunette smirked, “Or I could take it home with me and be out of your hair,” she offered. Cassie gave an incredulous look, but a knock interrupted before she could say anything.
She was halfway down the stairs before she noticed that the door was already open, “Klaus?” She asked looking around. Seeing no one, she closed and locked the door before heading to the kitchen to grab some snacks.
Cassie nearly jumped out of her skin when Heather appeared in front of her. She kept asking about Amelia and Cassie had to explain that her mother was gone. “It went inside me,” Heather cried.
“What did?” Cassie asked, totally freaked out.
“Evil. And I can still feel it. It hurts,” Heather let out a scream as her body was shoved into the wall, “Your mother couldn’t get it out, but she made the pain go away. Now its come back.”
Cassie stood back in horror as she realized that she was the one who had brought the pain back to this woman. Her eyes widened as Heather fell to the ground in one of her fits. After waking up, Heather explained some things, but before Cassie could ask more, a small, slim thing crawled within Heather’s body and suddenly it was like she was a completely different person. Heather shoved Cassie into the fridge so hard that she blacked out.
She woke up to the sound of Faye’s scream. She was halfway up the stairs before she even realized she had moved. Running into her bedroom, she grabbed Heather by the hair and yanked her away from Faye. “Come on! Run!” Cassie grabbed the other girl’s arm and dragged her away. The two screamed as Heather jumped between them and the front door. “Back door!” The witches only made it to the dining room before the lights went out and the kitchen went completely black. There was no way they were going to risk going through the pitch black room.
Cassie looked around and quickly realized that by hiding in the only room with light, it meant that they were completely out in the open, “Front door, run!”
The two fumbled with the lock but once they got it open they screamed again. “It’s me!” Nick exclaimed, “What’s going on?”
“Look behind you!” Melissa interrupted.
Cassie gave a shriek as she was grabbed from behind and thrown into a bookcase. Nick grabbed Heather and shoved her up against a wall. Heather took one look at Nick and ran for the front door.
She was in the middle of the street when her brother showed up, “Heather! Heather, it’s me!” The woman turned to look at him but a man used the opportunity to come up from behind her and snap her neck.
“Hi, sweetheart. I’m home,” Klaus looked down to see a small snake crawling out of the dead woman’s mouth, trying to slither away. He stomped forcefully on its tail before pulling out a lighter and crushing it, causing the fluid to drip onto the snake. Then he flicked another lighter and dropped it, watching as the snake squirmed as it died, “Demons. I hate the little buggers,” he looked up to see Cassie and her friends’ surprised faces, “Now, what did I miss?”
Chapter 8: Interlude
“Please tell me I didn’t just give my necklace over to some weirdo,” Elena said, turning to face Damon, her two best girlfriends at her side, backing her up.
“Relax. I’ve known Cassie for years,” Damon shrugged casually.
Caroline sneered, “That’s not reassuring. We all know what you’re like.” Elena and Bonnie both rolled their eyes at the blonde. She had been snippy about Damon all day.
“She’s a friend of Stefan’s,” Damon explained, “His best friend, really now that Lexi’s gone.”
“Oh, look. Someone else Damon’s killed,” Caroline snarked. Elena turned to give her a look. Sighing, the blonde decided to give it a rest for the moment.
“Is she a vampire?” Elena asked, but Damon was already shaking his head.
“Cassie’s a witch. A really powerful one too. Unlike Judgy, she gets her magic from both of her parents, not that she knows that per-se,” He explained, “A couple of years ago, Lexi was taking Stefan on their annual Lets-Do-Something-Crazy-For-Stefan’s-Birthday trip. They took a detour through New Jersey where Cassie was living at the time. Lexi wanted to introduce her two best friends. Stefan ended up moving into town for a while and of course, what kind of person would I be if I didn’t make sure my little brother was okay,” Damon put on his best innocent face which, to say the least, was unconvincing.
“So basically you followed them to torture Stefan some more,” Caroline couldn’t help but add.
Damon shrugged unapologetically, “Eh. Course, I had to meet Stefan’s new friend-“
“To try and turn her against him,” Caroline continued to translate Damon-speak.
Getting a little annoyed, the man opted to ignore the blonde, “Little did I know the girl was a little firecracker,” he wolf whistled, making sure to keep an eye on Elena to see her reaction, “We hooked up and Stefan brooded about it. The end.”
Elena’s eyebrow rose in incredulousness, “Really? The end? And you expect me to buy that? Why was she calling now? And how did she know all that stuff about you, me and Stefan?” She mumbled slightly, remembering Cassie’s words about how Stefan had given Elena to Damon to take care of because he loved them both and trusted them both.
“I told you,” Damon shrugged, “They’re best friends. Apparently, the fact that Stefan’s killing people doesn’t really factor into her opinion of him.”
Caroline shrugged, “Apparently the fact that you kill people didn’t factor into her opinion of you.”
“Nor did it factor into yours,” Damon smirked cruelly as Caroline flinched at the reminder that at this time last year, Caroline had been throwing herself at the older vampire. No one else realized that Caroline had still been interested in Damon even after realizing that he was a vampire. Everyone thought she had been compelled to stay with him and to some extent she was, but it was mostly her choice, especially in the beginning. Damon had only compelled her not to freak out about his bites.
“Guys, come on,” Bonnie tried to calm everyone down, “Can we just focus?”
“What else do you know about her?” Elena asked seriously.
Damon shrugged, “Not much. Like I said, both her parents were witches. Her dad died in some sort of accident before Cassie was born. Her mom ran from her hometown, swore off magic and kept Cassie from practicing too. Cassie met a vampire when she was twelve and that’s how she discovered witchcraft. She began practicing in secret, not knowing that her mother was also a witch. She studied under several witches, learning a broad range of magic and because the man who found her was a vampire, she’s always had a soft spot for us. Unlike others,” he said, looking at Bonnie meaningfully.
“Lexi wasn’t the one who discovered her?” Elena asked.
Damon shook his head, “No. She met Lexi through one of the witches she was studying under. I never knew who discovered her,” he said distractedly as he took out his phone and began messing with it.
“What are you doing?” Caroline asked, miffed that he was ignoring them.
“If Stefan’s killing Gloria then he’s still in Chicago, but the way Cassie was talking…” Damon trailed off, “Stefan had definitely been to see her before and that means he’ll probably be back again,” he waved his phone in front of their faces. He was on an airline website, “Chance Harbor, anyone?”
“I have almost never been so glad to see anyone in my entire life,” Cassie spoke as she walked towards Klaus. She threw her arms around his shoulders and hugged him tightly. She became vaguely aware of screeching tires and footsteps and realized that Adam and Diana had arrived, but she didn’t let go, “I love you,” she whispered into Klaus’ chest.
“Almost never been so glad?” Klaus pulled away smirking, “I’m offended.”
A small smile crossed Cassie’s lips, “Well, maybe if you had arrived two minutes earlier, you would have taken the top spot. As it is, Nick wins.”
Stefan and a blonde girl appeared by their side. Seeing the chaos and the distraught man freaking out by the car, Stefan walked over to the stranger, “What happened?” He compelled Wade.
“That man. He murdered my sister!” Wade yelled drawing everyone’s attention.
“Your sister was not murdered. You and all of these people are witnesses. Your sister was in an accident-” before Stefan could finish his compulsion, they heard a squeal of tires as a car ran over Heather’s dead body. A large man got out of the car and began freaking out, screaming that he didn’t see her and that she had just been lying there. Sighing, Stefan returned to the brother, “a car accident. She ran into the middle of the street. No one could stop her. Call the police.” Stefan then sped over to the driver and compelled him to believe the same story.
“What would I do without you?” Klaus asked as Stefan rejoined the group.
“Compel your own victims?” Rebekah offered.
Cassie detached herself from Klaus’ arm long enough to hug Stefan, “You guys aren’t allowed to leave me ever again,” She whispered into his shoulder, “I can’t handle this shit.”
Stefan pulled away enough to look down into Cassie’s eyes, “What happened?” He asked.
“Yes, what was a demon doing attacking you?” Klaus asked from behind them, “Start from the beginning.”
Cassie nodded and quietly began explaining everything that had happened, starting with finding Heather Barnes’ brother on the internet, to the entire group. Some, like Faye, didn’t know the beginning, some like Adam and Diana didn’t know the end and some, like Melissa, Nick, Klaus, Rebekah and Stefan didn’t know what the hell was going on at all.
By the time Cassie was finishing up her explanation, the police had already arrived and the EMS team had declared Heather dead. They all gave their statements saying that Heather had broken into Cassie’s home and attacked the two girls. When Nick and Melissa arrived, she fled into the streets where she was run over by an oncoming car.
As the police officers asked everyone their questions, Stefan pulled Cassie to the side, “How are you doing?” He asked.
“Okay,” Cassie nodded, only slightly shaky now, “No one’s ever attacked me like that. She scared me more than she hurt me.”
Stefan nodded and pulled her into a hug. After several moments, Cassie separated and looked up at him with a smile, feeling the last of the fear fade. Seeing this, Stefan returned her smile, “So, I don’t suppose now would be a good time to ask about that better advice you promised me.”
Cassie threw her head back and laughed, catching the attention of everyone. She quickly stifled her laugh, not wanting to seem callous at the site of a woman’s death, “I have actually come up with some better advice. Well, really, it’s more like a stating of the obvious.”
“Oh, good. I like obvious choices,” He nodded obligingly, “Do tell.”
“Well, Elena’s dead,” Cassie started off with, knowing that Klaus and Rebekah were probably listening, “And even if she weren’t, she wanted to have a human life which is not something you could have given to her. If you had stayed, you would have broken up anyway. And then, knowing you, would have tortured yourself by stalking her from a distance and watching her fall in love with somebody else, have kids, get old, wither and die.”
Stefan looked at her oddly at her tactless words, but never the less nodded in agreement. That did seem like something he would have done.
“On the other hand, there’s Rebekah, who is not dead and is not human. The good news is that you will never have to watch her live her life without you, grow old and die. The bad news is, when you two break up – which you will because no one lasts for eternity – since she’s not going to die, you will inevitably run into each other again. So, don’t have a bad break up.”
“So the obvious choice is to fall out of love with both of them?” Stefan asked, unsure of her point.
Cassie tilted her head to the side, “No, the obvious choice is Rebekah. If you don’t date a vampire, who else is there? Everyone else will die on you. Well, I mean, unless you find a human that wants to turn, but Elena didn’t so forget about her.”
He nodded slowly, “Mmhmm. And how do you suggest I go about forgetting about her?”
Blinking, she looked up at him in thought, “Well, originally, I believe the plan was for you to use me as a way to forget about her, but now you have Rebekah…”
Stefan shook his head, “I’m not going to use Rebekah as an Elena replacement.”
“I didn’t say to,” the blonde witch pursed her lips in annoyance at the idea that Stefan genuinely thought that was her plan, “You love both of them, right?” She waited for the vampire to reluctantly nod, “So, focus all your love and attention on Rebekah and hopefully your love for Elena will fade.”
He raised a skeptical eyebrow, “And you think this will work?”
Cassie made a face in response, “Eh. I give it a fifty/fifty shot, but at least you’ll be getting laid. A sex-less Stefan is a grumpy Stefan.” Stefan let out a chuckle in response and Cassie turned around when she heard Klaus and Rebekah laughing as well. She knew they were listening in. “Now, I believe the police are done so I’m going back inside.”
She and Stefan walked back to the group in time to hear Faye ask Melissa if she wanted a ride home. When Melissa indicated she was going to stay with Nick, Cassie looked up to meet Nick’s eyes. She raised an eyebrow in a mix of ‘I told you so’ and ‘what are you going to do?’ He just shrugged in return, but led Melissa over to his house anyway. Cassie smiled slightly; she knew he was going to get back with the girl.
“Stefan and I are going to head to the hotel,” Rebekah announced grabbing said man’s arm and dragging him away unceremoniously. She apparently took her job of sexing Stefan until he got over his ex very seriously.
Diana and Adam left soon leaving Klaus and Cassie alone as they walked to her house. She led him into her room and sat him down on her bed. Without speaking, she stripped him of his shirt. He raised an interested eyebrow, but his lecherous look became curious when she merely pushed him back and had him roll over onto his stomach. He felt her straddle his lower back and let out a groan of pleasure when she began massaging his back. She started up at his shoulders and made her way all the way to his lower back before working back up again.
“God, I love you,” He slurred heavily as he relaxed into her touch, “You have no idea how much I’ve needed this.” Cassie hummed lightly in acknowledgement and continued working on his tense muscles. After a few minutes of work, Klaus began to speak, “I don’t understand what’s wrong. I did everything right. I got the werewolf, the vampire and the doppelganger. I had my witch, I did the spell and the sacrifice. Why isn’t it working?” He muttered.
Cassie sat silently for a moment as she continued to soothe his muscles, “Why is it so important to you to make these hybrids?”
“Every king needs an army,” he answered easily.
The blonde paused in her ministrations for a moment, “Liar,” She smirked before leaning down, pressing her chest against his back and laying her head against his shoulder, “…You’re lonely,” She whispered softly into his ears, clutching him closer to herself, “You grew up with so many brothers and sisters. Throughout the years, they left you. You felt angry and betrayed so you killed them. In the end, everything you do is because you feel alone. Stefan, me, the hybrids… You’re trying to build a new family,” She nuzzled his hair, “I love you. You are not alone. But what I don’t understand is why you’re trying to build a new family when you still have your old one.”
Klaus lay completely still under her body as he internally processed her words. Then, suddenly, he flipped his body over. He moved so fast that he did little more than jostle Cassie with his movement. Blinking in surprise, she looked down at his serious face as he leaned up to kiss her passionately. He grabbed the hem of her shirt and slipped it over her head and then began making a trail of kisses from her lips, down her throat to her bra clad chest, but at no point did he bite her. Tonight was not about feeding.
Cassie woke up the next morning with a groan. She reached out and answered her phone only to realize that it was the alarm, not a phone call. She looked behind her to see Klaus still slumbering beside her. She threw herself out of bed and got dressed for school. She checked on the sleeping hybrid one last time before heading out.
She had just put her bag inside her locker when she was suddenly surrounded. “Hey,” Faye greeted, “So what exactly happened last night?”
Cassie shrugged with faux casualness, “You were there.”
“And we saw your boyfriend kill a woman,” Faye answered back. The entire group quickly shushed the girl and looked around to see if anyone had heard her.
“He’s not my boyfriend,” Cassie replied first. At the group’s incredulous looks, she half shrugged, “He’s not. He’s just a really good friend.”
“That you sleep with,” Nick smirked. Once again, Cassie shrugged in response, not answering verbally.
“Look,” Adam scowled, “Can we just focus?”
The blonde girl sighed and finally gave the group her full attention, “He, Stefan and Rebekah came to see me. They heard our screams. Klaus just got there first.”
“And killed Heather,” Diana pointed out seriously.
Nick turned to look at the girl, “He’s a vampire. What did you expect him to do to when he finds someone attacking his friend,” he looked over at Cassie pointedly.
Ignoring the remark, Cassie nodded, “Vampires aren’t nice people,” she paused in thought, “…mostly. Their first response to any problem tends to be killing… or compelling,” she frowned.
“Compelling,” Melissa finally spoke, “That’s the mind control thing, right?”
“Right,” Cassie nodded, happy that they had been paying at least a moderate amount of attention to her little magic lessons, “Stefan compelled Wade and the driver to believe that Heather ran into the street and got run over.”
“So no one knows that Klaus did?” Diana asked in disbelief, “That’s sick. He killed someone.”
“Because he’s a vampire,” Faye spoke up, “We just went over this. Try and keep up, Diana,” She turned to face Cassie, “Now, I know you’re whatever with Klaus, but what about Stefan?”
“With Rebekah… the blonde girl,” Cassie clarified at their shared blank looks.
The brunette pouted, “Oh. Well, how serious is it? Because I was thinking-“
“Nothing,” Cassie interrupted, “You were thinking nothing because if you were thinking something, Rebekah would rip you to tiny shreds.”
“Okay,” Faye replied, eyes wide, “I wasn’t thinking anything.”
Diana butted in again, “Can we please go back to the murder part of this conversation? How can we just let him get away with that?”
The blonde looked at the girl like she was stupid, “He’s been getting away with murder for thousands of years. Trying to stop him will only have him getting away with your murder.”
“We’re witches. I mean, surely we can stop him,” Melissa piped up.
Nick and Cassie looked at the girl as though she were an idiot, “Uhm, no. We can’t,” Nick replied. He didn’t know Klaus well, but he did know the man better than the others and to say Klaus was dangerous was putting it mildly.
“So you’re okay working for a murderer?” Diana asked incredulously.
Cassie shrugged, “I’m used to it. I’ve been around vampires for years.”
Nick nodded, “He’s actually a pretty cool guy and considering that freaky demon chick was trying to kill us, I’m pretty okay with him killing her.”
Melissa shook her head, “We never should have agreed to work for him.” Diana nodded in agreement. Adam looked uneasy, but didn’t say anything whereas Cassie was pretty sure Faye wasn’t even paying attention anymore.
Cassie shrugged, “You wanted to learn magic. That was the deal; loyalty for knowledge.” The bell rang and all around them, students began to hustle towards their classes. Simultaneously, Cassie’s phone vibrated. Looking down, she quickly read and replied to her text message before looking back up, “Look, I need to head to class. You guys need to get your heads on straight here. You signed up for this; there’s no backing out now. Once you agree to work for Klaus, that’s it.”
Later, Cassie had almost reached the main exit to the school when Faye cornered her, “Hey, look. About earlier, I just wanted to say I’m totally cool with you and Klaus. Vampires kill; it’s what vampires do.”
Cassie raised a skeptical eyebrow, “I’ll be sure and tell him that,” she snarked.
Faye nodded, “Good,” she said seriously, “So that means our magic lessons are still on?”
The blonde sighed. She really should have known, “Yes, Faye. Magic’s still on.”
The brunette smiled widely and opened her mouth to say something when something caught her attention, “Would you look at that?” She murmured, staring at the back of a guy leaning against a tree.
Looking at the man, Cassie smirked as the two girls continued exiting the school, thus getting closer to him, “That is a hot back.” Suddenly, the man turned around to scowl at the two girls.
“I never should have told you about that,” Stefan shook his head.
“What? Isn’t that what your lady love said the first time she and her best friend saw you?” Cassie teased.
He looked down at her with a teasing scowl, “Come on, let’s go,” he turned on his heel and left.
“Someone’s grumpy,” Cassie said to herself before turning to her companion, “See you later.” She met up with Stefan at her car and they climbed in as she headed for Chance Harbor’s limited shopping area.
“I just wanted to say thanks for agreeing to this,” Stefan spoke, “When I texted earlier, I half expected you to say no.”
“Why?” Cassie wondered.
He shook his head and shrugged a little, “I don’t know. I just didn’t know if you’d be interested in going shopping with Rebekah. She can be… kind of a handful.”
“In bed?” She smirked. When Stefan sent her an exasperated look, she let out a genuine laugh, “Oh, come on. Spill. What happened last night?” Stefan shifted uneasily in embarrassment and Cassie let out an exaggerated gasp, “Did you lose your virginity?” She asked in faux seriousness, “Do we need to have The Talk? The safest sex is no sex at all, ya know.”
“God, I’m starting to remember why I fled the state when you and Damon got together,” Stefan groaned.
Cassie let out a laugh but dropped the subject as they pulled up to the store. Klaus was waiting outside with a frantic ‘save me’ look on his face. “Oh thank god,” he muttered as the two exited the car, “She’s driving me crazy,” he turned to look at Stefan, “Go in there and calm her down.”
“Me?” Stefan asked incredulously, “She’s your sister.”
“Yes. As in I’m stuck with her. You, on the other hand, chose to be with her,” he retorted.
Cassie placed a hand on both of their chests, “Boys. Let’s both go in. Maybe I can help.” The two vampires looked at each other and then simultaneously looked at her with identical smirks on their lips. Feeling uneasy, Cassie walked into the store, the two men trailing behind her.
“No, no, no, no, no!” Rebekah could be heard screeching at the poor shop girl, “I said gold! Not glitter, just gold! As it the color?” She asked as though the shop girl didn’t know what gold was, “God, if I want something done right, I need to do it myself,” She muttered turning away from the shaking worker, effectively dismissing her.
“Hey,” Cassie smiled hesitantly as she walked up to the blonde vampire who had begun frantically searching through the racks of clothing.
Rebekah looked up in surprise, having only just noticed that she was no longer alone, “Cassie!” She smiled leaning over to give the surprised girl a light hug, “I’m so glad you agreed to go shopping with me. The boys are just so unhelpful,” she glowered over at where Klaus and Stefan were taking refuge as far away from Rebekah as they could be while still being in the same shop. Noticing the two girls staring at them, Klaus looked up and gave a sarcastic wave, a grimace on his face.
Cassie let out a laugh, “Yeah. I can see how their cowering might not be very helpful,” She turned her attention toward the clothes, “So, what are we looking for?”
“Gold,” the vampire replied, once more flipping through hangers, “I bought these amazing shoes in Chicago. They’re gold and sparkly so I need something to go with it. But it can’t have sparkles because I feel like if I wore them both at the same time they’d be too…” She trailed off as she tried to think of how to explain.
“Sparkly,” Cassie answered simply. Rebekah shrugged in agreement. After a few silent moments of searching Cassie let out a quiet sound of triumph as she retrieved a slinky gold halter shirt with a V cut to just below the sternum.
Rebekah took it with a wide eyed, but intrigued look, “I got dirty looks in the 1800s for wearing trousers,” she pouted.
Admiring a dress that had caught her eye, Cassie reached out and held it to her body, looking at her reflection in the nearby mirror, “You wore trousers then so that we could wear nothing now,” Cassie responded easily as she admired how the dress looked. Noticing the weird looks the others were giving her and Klaus’ amused smile, she turned around, “What?” She asked in confusion.
“You need to spend less time with Klaus,” Stefan told her as the two men came closer, deeming it safe now that Rebekah had what she wanted, “That’s exactly what he said when Rebekah was shopping in Chicago,” he grinned, grabbing the shirt from Rebekah’s hands while Klaus simultaneously stole the dress from Cassie’s. The two men went to the check out counter while the two girls decided to wait for them outside.
“So, I just wanted to ask about your relationship with Stefan,” Rebekah spoke the minute they’d left the store. The tone of her voice made Cassie instantly weary, “He says you’re one of his closest friends…”
The blonde witch nodded hesitantly, “We’ve known each other for a couple of years. A mutual vampire friend introduced us.”
“Tell me about it,” She smirked viciously, determined to find out the truth.
Cassie turned to face her fully, “Okay, let’s cut the crap. You want to know if I’m going to be a problem for your relationship with Stefan. Yes, Stefan and I have hooked up, but it didn’t mean anything and we both knew it. I was just helping him try and get over Elena. He’s my friend and nothing more. And in case you forgot, I was the one helping to push him towards you. I’m not trying to interfere with what the two of you have going on.”
“But he listens to you,” Rebekah pouted, taking in the witch’s words.
Cassie shrugged, “Because we’re friends. He knows he can trust me. I hope that in time, you’ll know the same,” She said, looking at the other girl earnestly. She really did want to be friends with Rebekah. It didn’t seem like the Original vampire was planning on leaving Stefan’s side and she was Klaus’ sister, so it would be good if they at least got along.
With one last suspicious look, Rebekah asked, “And you’re sure you aren’t interested in him? He’s quite the catch.”
Cassie grimaced, “Maybe to someone else,” She smiled, “But he’s like a brother,” at Rebekah’s odd look, Cassie clarified, “Okay, not exactly a brother, but the idea is the same. I know him way too well and we’d never work as anything but good friends.”
Satisfied with the answer, Rebekah linked her arm through Cassie’s, “Then we will be very good friends,” She smiled just as the two boys walked out of the store, the girls’ purchases in hand.
It was only as the foursome were entering Cassie’s house that she caught sight of a familiar reflection in the window. Frowning, she said she had to put her new dress away as she also told the other three to get comfortable. Making her way to her room, she grabbed her phone as she simultaneously scanned the area surrounding the house.
As she was looking around, the line picked up and the familiar tones of Damon Salvatore rang in her ear, “Hello, Cassie,” he spoke smoothly, a smirk no doubt playing on his lips.
“Please tell your little human girlfriend to stop stalking Stefan before Klaus notices and kills her… again,” Cassie spoke getting straight to the point as her eyes spotted a familiar figure crouching behind a tree across the street.
There was a momentary pause of confusion, “What are you talking about? Elena’s right here.”
Cassie paused as she peaked out the window again. “Oh. Please tell your little vampire girlfriend to stop stalking Stefan before Klaus notices and… oh, wait,” a cruel smirk overcame her lips as she thought her words through, “Never mind,” she said cheerfully before hanging up.
Said cheerful smirk was still on her lips as she descended the stairs. “What has you all happy?” Klaus asked suspiciously while dragging the witch to sit on his knee. Cassie giggled slightly hysterically but said nothing. The two male vampires exchanged worried looks but didn’t make any further comment. Rebekah, on the other hand, had no such qualms and opened her mouth to say something no doubt cutting when the door bell rang.
Cassie’s head tilted to the side in curiosity but she stood up to get the door. Klaus’ hand reached out to grip her wrist, “Are you expecting anybody?” He asked suspiciously, still on edge after her run in with a demon. When Cassie shook her head, he stood up and went to the front door with her.
Opening it, Cassie’s jaw dropped and she felt Klaus’ chest grumble with barely repressed anger at the sight before him. Shaking her head, she did nothing but mutter, “You’re an idiot,” at the two people standing on her doorstep.
“Sorry if I didn’t realize you’d invite a psychotic hybrid into your house,” Damon sneered back, pushing Elena behind him protectively.
Chapter 10: Interlude
“Look, are you sure you want to do this?” Damon asked, grabbing Elena’s elbow and pulling her to the side of the busy airport terminal.
“He said that he didn’t want to be with me anymore and if that’s really true, I can accept that,” she responded, swallowing hard as she thought about Stefan’s words, “But it doesn’t change the fact that he needs our help.” Damon sighed but seemed to accept her words. “Now, are you sure he’ll be here?”
The vampire nodded as they continued on their way through security, “Oh, yeah. I know Cassie and the way she was talking? She’d seen him. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised; they were pretty close back in New Jersey. I just hadn’t realized they still talked.”
“And she’s a witch,” Elena tried to remember everything Damon had told her about the girl, “And your ex.”
Damon smirked, “Jealous?”
Elena just gave him an un-amused look, “She was discovered by a vampire and studied under a bunch of different witches. She was best friends with Lexi and Stefan.”
A few of the other people in line at the checkpoint gave the girl an odd look. “She’s rehearsing for a role. Actresses,” Damon rolled his eyes dramatically. The others nodded in understanding and stopped paying attention to the duo. Damon then turned his attention back to Elena, “Do you think you could talk louder? I don’t think the people in Alaska heard you blurting out secrets!”
“Sorry,” Elena smiled, looking decidedly unapologetic.
They were waiting at the terminal for their rental car to pull up when Damon’s cell phone rang, “Hello, Cassie,” he smiled.
“Please tell your little human girlfriend to stop stalking Stefan before Klaus notices and kills her… again,” Cassie said getting straight to the point.
The vampire’s forehead scrunched in confusion, “What are you talking about? Elena’s right here.” Elena looked up at the mention of her name and stared at Damon questioningly.
Cassie paused as she peaked out the window again. “Oh. Please tell your little vampire girlfriend to stop stalking Stefan before Klaus notices and… oh, wait. Never mind,” with that, the blonde unceremoniously hung up.
“Huh,” Damon looked down at his phone with a scowl.
Elena’s eyes were wide with worry, “What is it? Did something happen to Stefan?”
Turning his scowl on her, he shook his head, “Good new is, Stefan’s definitely here in Chance Harbor. Bad news is apparently Katherine’s been following him,” he shook his head in disbelief, ignoring the way Elena’s body tensed at the mention of her vampire ancestor, “Un-fucking-believable,” he muttered, “Always for Stefan.”
Elena looked up at him with pitying eyes, “Hey, I’m sure she’s not there for Stefan,” she tried to reassure both of them.
Damon looked back at her with a scoff, “No, she’s there for Klaus,” He said sarcastically, “Of course she’s there for Stefan. It’s always about Stefan,” He shook his head and stared off into space. Damon realized the hypocrisy of his words since his world pretty much revolved around his little brother too. But why did the women he loved have to always love Stefan instead of Damon? Stefan had straight up told Elena that he didn’t want to be with her and she was still flying to the other side of the country for him.
On the bright side, at least he’d get to see Cassie. She was always up for some fun.
Chapter 11: Interlude
“Why are we here again?” Adam asked in confusion as he glanced around Nick’s room. He hadn’t been up here in ages. Not since they were kids.
“Nick said that he’s been hooking up with someone else. I want to know who,” Melissa answered, rifling through Nick’s things, searching for something; anything. She needed to know who else Nick was with.
“I like it,” Faye grinned, also snooping through Nick’s belongings. She had no interest in finding out who the blond was sleeping with but she’d take any excuse given to go through someone’s personal things.
“And I repeat, why are we here again?” Adam asked, gesturing towards himself and Diana.
Before Melissa could answer, Faye interrupted, “Uhm, guys? I think I know who Nick’s been hooking up with,” she said staring out the window. Everyone gathered behind her to see a half naked Cassie in her room.
Adam fidgeted uncomfortably, aware of the way his girlfriend’s stare was boring into his skull. It wasn’t his fault that he just saw Cassie in her underwear. Faye should have told them what they would be looking at, “So we need to warn Cassie to close her curtains. So what?”
“Wait for it,” Faye grinned in sick amusement. A second later, everyone’s jaw dropped in surprise when an equally half naked Nick crept up behind Cassie to wrap his arms around her.
“I can’t believe it,” Melissa whispered hoarsely. She’d thought maybe it was some slut at school, but Cassie? She couldn’t compete with Cassie. The blonde was all magic and fire and sexiness.
“Me neither,” Adam added, sounding sick.
Diana spoke for the first time, “Come on, guys. Let’s give them their privacy,” She reached out and pulled down Nick’s blinds, hiding the scene from view.
“Where’s my little brother?” Damon asked, optimistically hoping to ignore Klaus.
“Your little brother?” Cassie played dumb, trying to come up with some sort of plan or lie to help the situation. It was not working.
Damon glared at her, “Yes. Tall. Brooding. Your best friend.”
She shook her head, eyes too wide, “Nope. No brooding vampires here.” She studiously ignored Klaus’ piercing gaze into the side of her face. She knew he was so far beyond pissed that there probably wasn’t even a word to describe it. This was a horrible thing to find out; especially since she had spent just last night whispering her love and devotion to him. She couldn’t have betrayed him more.
“It’s okay, Cass,” Stefan spoke, coming up from behind her, a resigned look on his face, “I can accept what I’ve done and admit my wrongdoings.”
“Stefan,” Elena whispered softly, her eyes drinking in the sight of him. In Chicago he had looked so angry and quite honestly dangerous. But now he looked like his normal self; quiet, brooding and serious.
“Hello, Elena,” He gave a bittersweet smile, “I wish you would have listened to me.”
“And what exactly did you tell her?” Klaus finally asked, his voice laced with acidity.
Stefan, to his credit, met the angry hybrid’s gaze steadily, “That I didn’t want to see her ever again. That she needed to leave me alone.” Neither man noticed the girl’s flinch at her ex-boyfriend’s words, but everyone else did. Rebekah gained a superior smirk, Damon put a comforting hand on Elena’s arm and Cassie shifted uncomfortably.
“Oh?” Klaus asked, “And why would you tell her that? Because you knew that she was the reason I couldn’t make hybrids and you were keeping her safe?” He snarled angrily, finally releasing the calm façade he’d held earlier.
“Yes,” Stefan replied calmly, “I owed you servitude in exchange for my brother’s life. Anything beyond that was not part of our arrangement.”
“Servitude implies loyalty to me!” the hybrid replied furiously, taking a step closer to Stefan. Damon automatically took a step forward to help his brother, but came up against the barrier that wouldn’t allow him entrance without Cassie’s invitation. He looked at the witch pleadingly, but she nibbled on her lower lip worriedly, eyes darting between Stefan, Klaus and Damon, unsure of what to do.
Stefan nodded, “And I am loyal to you. Everything you told me to do, I did. You never asked me why your hybrids weren’t working, so I never told you.”
“Loopholes and trickery,” Klaus spat. Cassie cleared her throat awkwardly knowing that his words were aimed at her too.
“Look, can we just breathe and explain?” Cassie asked, tentatively reaching out to place what she hoped was a calming hand on Klaus’ arm. He turned to look at her. The pleading in her eyes must have worked because he nodded stiffly and walked back into the living room. Cassie turned to Damon and Elena, “Come in,” she smiled thinly before following the others into the other room.
She winced when she noticed Klaus standing instead of returning to his seat. Instead, Cassie took his place, choosing to sit in the armchair. “We did a spell,” Stefan finally spoke up once Damon and Elena had seated themselves as far away from Klaus as possible, “So that Elena would survive the ritual. Once I knew she was safe, I went to you for our bargain. Since that bargain, I have been nothing but loyal to you.”
Cassie awkwardly cleared her throat, gaining looks from everyone. She gave Stefan a sharp look that Klaus picked up on, “What else?” He asked, refusing to look at Cassie. Stefan hesitated but nodded at the blonde witch. She stood up and went to one of the many knickknacks in her grandmother’s living room and pulled out the necklace. After showing half of the Circle her hiding place in the fireplace, she decided to move the necklace to somewhere less conspicuous. “I guess this goes back to you,” She muttered mirthlessly as she handed the piece of jewelry back to the doppelganger.
“The necklace,” Klaus spoke with disgust, staring at Cassie with such loathing that she physically flinched.
“The necklace?” Rebekah spoke up, eyes on the piece of jewelry in Elena’s hand, “My necklace?” She turned to Stefan in fury, “You gave her my necklace!” She shrieked angrily. Before anyone could react, she ran over using her vampire speed and snatched the jewelry from Elena’s hand and returned it to its rightful place around her own neck.
Stefan stood up, cautiously walking toward the temperamental Original, “I didn’t remember that it was yours. I saw it on the ground and I picked it up. I held onto it for decades and I couldn’t remember why. I don’t know why I gave that specific necklace to her. Maybe, even though I didn’t remember you, I still associated the necklace with somebody who meant a lot to me; somebody I loved,” he said sincerely, trying his hardest to ignore the heartbreaking look on Elena’s face. He had decided last night that Cassie was right. Elena wanted to be human and he wasn’t. He was never going to be able to be with her but he could be with Rebekah. It was up to him to fight for what he wanted. He was sorry to hurt Elena who had been through so much with him, but he couldn’t go back to her because of feelings of guilt. He refused to demean her that way.
“Really?” Rebekah asked hesitantly, her teeth gnawing on her lower lip as she considered his words.
He gave a small smile, “I thought you could always tell when I’m lying,” He challenged confidently. His words gave her the necessary confidence in his declaration. In two strides she had reached him and had pulled him down for a searing kiss. The sound of Elena’s small choked sob was just icing on Rebekah’s cake.
“Great,” Klaus sneered, breaking the moment, “You’ve earned back my sister’s undying love.” Elena and Damon both turned to look at the couple in surprise. Stefan’s new girlfriend was an Original? And what had Stefan meant about the necklace being Rebekah’s first? How long had Stefan know the girl? “Can we please get back to the truth now?” He turned to look at Cassie, daring her to try and lie.
She tilted her head up proudly, “Stefan asked for my help. You know that I honor my friend’s requests. Had you come to me first, I would have put you before him.” Klaus scowled but said nothing. He did know her policy. It was one of the things he admired most about her; it was also one of the ways he knew that she would always remain loyal to him. Seeing that Klaus was calming down slightly, Cassie continued, “Stefan told me everything. I didn’t help him with the doppelganger, but when you realized that your hybrids weren’t working, I did help him hide her survival from you. We don’t know that her continued life is the reason for your failure to turn others,” She spoke warningly when Klaus opened his mouth, no doubt to claim that hiding Elena was a betrayal, “I offered you plenty of alternatives. Had we tried other things and then come to the realization that something had gone wrong with the ritual, then I would have spoken with Stefan about whether or not I could continue to help him hide the doppelganger.” Seeing that Klaus was reluctantly accepting her words, she continued her explanation, “When you went to Gloria, she found out that Stefan knew where the necklace was. Instead of telling you, she wanted it – and its power – for herself. She attacked Stefan and nearly killed him, trying to torture and magic the information out of him.”
Elena looked at Stefan in horror. She’d had no idea what he had endured to keep her safe. Working for Klaus was one thing, but torture?
“Meanwhile, I got the necklace from Elena,” Cassie continued, “I was meant to be another obstacle between you two. Nothing bad, just something to buy time if you ever made it this far. The plan was that you would come to me to find the necklace which would ‘coincidentally’ be at my house. It’s not unusual for a witch to have picked up a magical object or two. This would have given us enough time to have Damon move Elena from Mystic Falls if necessary. I could contact the original witch – maybe -,” She said self-deprecatingly. She was no where near as powerful as Gloria was, “And I would pray that the problem was something other than the doppelganger’s survival.” She looked up to stare at Klaus defiantly. She had done nothing wrong. She had helped to stall the hybrid, but never outright stop him. The scowl on his face said that he realized that too. Seeing that, she turned her head from him, pouting obviously. Klaus rolled his eyes and walked over to the armchair and gently kneed her legs. She got up and let him regain his former seat but instead of sitting on his lap like she had earlier, she perched herself on the arm. Once again Klaus rolled his eyes before he grabbed her by the hips and yanked her to where she belonged. A small smile twitched on her lips. He forgave her.
“Let’s talk to the witch,” Klaus spoke startling everyone. Cassie turned to look at him with a raised eyebrow, “Don’t look at me like that. I listen,” he smirked, “Let’s see if killing the doppelganger is truly the solution to my problem before I do it.”
Hesitating, Cassie reached her arm out for the necklace which Rebekah unclasped and unwillingly handed over. The witch grabbed one of the many candles lying around the living room before lighting it up and beginning to chant. As Cassie focused on the spell to connect to the original witch, she vaguely heard Stefan speak.
“Klaus,” He said hesitantly.
“Don’t,” the hybrid replied shortly, “Her, I forgive. You… I need to think on.” Stefan nodded slowly in understanding before returning his focus on Cassie, but Klaus couldn’t help himself, “You were my brother,” He scowled.
“I am your brother,” Stefan returned seriously, ignoring Damon and Elena’s surprised and slightly horrified looks, “I made my decision before I remembered everything. After Chicago, I was confused. I was torn between my loyalty to Damon and Elena and my loyalty to you and Rebekah; two brothers and two loves. I didn’t know what to do.”
“You sided with them,” Rebekah spat angrily in Elena’s direction causing the human girl to flinch.
Stefan turned back to the blonde vampire, “Like I said, I made my decision before I remembered you. I didn’t want to go against either of you, but everything had already been set in motion and to be fair, it wasn’t like I was plotting your demise,” he pointed out, “I was just hiding something from you.”
“Everyone’s allowed secrets,” Cassie butt in causing everyone to turn to her. She turned to look at Klaus, pointedly ignoring Stefan, “She says that in order to be able to create hybrids, you need to kill the doppelganger.”
Damon jumped to his feet and grabbed Elena, intent on running, but Rebekah stopped him, her face already turned with her eagerness to rip into the throat of the woman she hated.
“Rebekah,” Klaus spoke up warningly.
“What?” She asked with a pout, “This is what you want, isn’t it?”
Cassie let a small smile cross her lips, “The first witch hated Klaus…” she reminded the blonde vampire.
“Which means that killing Elena would be a very bad idea,” He finished. He turned to look at the frightened girl, “Congratulations,” He smirked, “You just went from the top of my kill list to the top of my protect list. The last person to do that was…” He trailed off and gave a significant look at the blonde at his side. Cassie gave a large smile in remembrance. The day she met Klaus seemed like so long ago. “At any rate, it’s a very short list,” he finished.
“I don’t believe you,” Damon spoke up suspiciously.
“I don’t care,” Klaus rebutted earning himself Cassie’s laugh.
“Okay,” She soothed with a grin, “Why don’t we take a night to process. Damon and Elena can stay at the same hotel as you three, but in different rooms,” She raised her hand to stop Klaus’ protest, “They need to think and they can’t do that with you hovering. This way they get some space and you don’t get antsy.”
It took a slight bit more convincing but she eventually got them all to agree to the arrangements and thus out of her house. Bone tired, she trudged up the stairs to her bedroom. She barely even blinked when she noticed a half naked Nick lounging on her bed.
“So not a good time,” She moaned, wearily stripping out of her clothes. She was too tired to even put pajamas on.
“Relax,” He smirked, coming up behind her to wrap his arms in a comforting hug to her back, “I’m just here for some peace and quiet from Melissa,” he muttered into her hair.
Cassie turned in his embrace to face him, “What’s this about Melissa?” She asked in curiosity.
Nick let out a sigh and let his arms drop from her. She took the opportunity to crawl into bed, scooching over to one side so that Nick could also crawl in, “She’s not my girlfriend,” he finally replied as he clicked off the last light in the room.
“So you’ve said. Many times. But you like her,” She smiled slightly, turning on her side to face him. In the dark, all he could make out was the side of her face in the moonlight’s glow. She looked almost ethereal for a moment.
“But she’s not my girlfriend,” He pointed out, ignoring the below-the-belt stirrings he was beginning to feel for her, “She keeps acting like I owe her something.”
Cassie’s brow scrunched in confusion, “I feel like I’m missing something here.”
Nick sighed, “You were right about her apologizing for going off on me, but I told her straight up that even though I wasn’t flirting with that girl, I could have been and she had no right to be mad at me for that. She agreed. But then I told her that I had hooked up with someone else and she got pissed.”
Cassie rolled her eyes, “Well, duh. She probably realized nothing was going on with you and that girl or if something was, that it was just flirting. But no one wants to hear that the guy that they’re into fucked someone else. Which, by the way, I have no idea how that happened.”
The blond boy let a smirk cross his lips as he reached out to gently touch the bare skin below her bra, “I could remind you.”
Cassie gave him a small amused smile. She liked Nick; he was fun and sexy and didn’t take their “relationship” too seriously. Plus, he had a serious talent with magic. But to be honest, she just wasn’t that into him, “Sorry,” She grinned, “Not tonight.” He shrugged easily and let it go, withdrawing his touch. Together they fell into comfortable silence that led to an equally comfortable sleep.
When Cassie woke up the next morning, it was to an empty bed. Looking at the clock, she realized why. Jumping out of bed, Cassie showered quickly before running for school. She had already missed her first three classes.
She had just made it to her locker after arriving to her fourth class late. Within seconds, she was surrounded, “Hey,” She greeted the Circle as they all stared at her oddly.
Nick moved to her side, “You got up late,” He muttered softly into her ear so that the others couldn’t hear.
“I was exhausted,” She replied, not bothering to whisper.
Faye gave a smirk, “I bet you were,” She insinuated.
The two blonds gave her an odd look, “Okay, you guys have been acting weird all day,” Nick finally spoke up, “What’s going on?”
“What’s going on between you two?” Melissa broke in, unable to keep her thoughts inside her head anymore.
Cassie froze, “What do you mean?”
“We saw you guys last night,” Diana intervened tactfully. When the two looked at her in confusion, she clarified, “We were in Nick’s room and saw you two in Cassie’s room…” She trailed off, unwilling to go further.
Cassie’s eyes lit up with realization, but Nick’s darkened in anger, “And what exactly were you doing in my room?” He asked.
“How could you tell me something like that and not expect me to try and find out more?” Melissa asked, near tears.
“So you snooped through my things!” Nick yelled, drawing attention from the other students in the hall. Cassie put a hand on his arm and tried to calm him down. Creating a small connection between their magic proved to soothe him enough to lower his voice, “For the last time, Melissa, you are not my girlfriend. Who I screw around with is none of your business.”
“Hey!” Faye butt in, “Don’t talk to her like that.”
Seeing another confrontation brewing, Cassie stepped in, “Okay, look. Yes, Nick and I hooked up. Once. We’re just friends. Last night, we talked and that was all.”
“That’s not what it looked like,” Adam muttered earning himself a glare from both Cassie and Diana.
“People who had sex with each other have a deeper level of comfort,” the blonde girl tried to explain.
“You’d know all about that,” Melissa sneered, “Klaus, Stefan and Nick? And you’ve got Adam on your line too.”
“Woah,” Nick held up a hand to the small girl, “Don’t talk to Cassie that way,” he shook his head in disgust at Melissa’s actions, “She’s just trying to explain things to you.”
Diana moved to stand in the middle of the tense group, “Look, why don’t we talk about something else? Whose going on the school trip to New Orleans?” She said perkily, trying to distract everyone.
Fortunately, it succeeded as everyone in the group said they were going, much to Cassie’s horror, “What? Are you crazy?!” She yelled, “You can’t go to New Orleans!”
Melissa looked like she wanted to say something mean, but was interrupted before she could open her mouth, “Why not?” Diana asked, “It’s for a good cause. Hurricane victims still need our help.”
“And there’ll be no parents,” Faye added, explaining why she was going on the school trip.
“Witches- sane witches,” Cassie corrected, “Don’t go down to Louisiana and especially not New Orleans.”
“Why?” Nick asked curiously.
“Voodoo, Hoodoo,” Cassie listed, “Bad things happen to supernatural beings down there. Last time, I was almost dissected alive because some priestess thought eating a young witch’s heart would grant her immortality. Last time I go on a road trip with Damon Salvatore without asking the destination,” She muttered to herself.
“Wait, seriously?” Adam asked.
“What do you think I’ve been telling you?!” Cassie asked throwing her hands up in the air in exasperation, “You can’t go!” Even Melissa looked freaked out.
“But all those people still trying to recover from Katrina… they need our help,” Diana tried to persuade the others who were now looking weary of attending the trip.
“Do what everyone else does,” Cassie said. When everyone looked at her questioningly, she replied obviously, “Send a check.”
Faye let out a laugh at her words and it seemed like the girl forgave Cassie for the fight they were just in. Even Melissa and Diana were persuaded; it seemed to be the consensus that the six witches would not be attending the school’s volunteer trip this year.
After school, Cassie dragged the Circle to the Boathouse where the others were waiting for her. She decided that having more witnesses (and more witches to help stop any potential vampire fights) would be a good thing.
After a round of introductions, the two groups just sat there in awkward silence for several moments before Cassie couldn’t take it anymore. She turned to face the vampire on her right, “So Stefan says you like Keeping up with the Kardashians.”
Suddenly everyone who knew him turned to face Damon with a weird look on their face “…What? It’s either that or Jersey Shore,” he sneered self-consciously. Soon a raucous laughter shook their area of the restaurant. With one small comment, Cassie had managed to ease the tension considerably. Soon, they were sharing hysterical and embarrassing stories and tidbits about each other.
“Oh, please. Your mother loved me,” Damon bragged, bringing his arm to rest across Cassie’s shoulders.
ldquo;Yeah,” She replied with a grin, “What mother doesn’t love meeting her fourteen year old daughter’s twenty-three year old boyfriend?” She asked sarcastically.
“Fourteen!” Faye shrieked with laughter.
“She’s very mature for her age,” Damon replied, feeling Elena’s judging look on the side of his face, “And like I said, her mother loved me.”
“Because you compelled her!” Cassie laughed, “The first time I introduced him to her, she threw a frying pan at his head and tried to call the cops. Said he was a pedophile,” She smirked.
“I remember that,” Stefan chuckled, squeezing Rebekah’s hand beside him, “Lexi and I didn’t stop laughing for days.”
Damon scowled at the memory, “She came around,” He shrugged nonchalantly.
‘No she didn’t’ Cassie mouthed beside him, shaking her head. The whole table burst into another round of laughter. She grinned when Damon caught on and scowled at her.
Hours later, Cassie meandered next to Elena as they all began to separate to return home, “Not as evil as you thought, huh?” She asked the girl.
Elena hesitated, “It could have all been for show,” She replied.
Cassie shrugged, “But it wasn’t.”
The doppelganger wrapped her arms around herself fighting a chill that was purely internal. “What… what do you want from me?” She finally asked.
“We want to find out why the first witch wants you dead,” the blonde girl answered, “We want to see how you fit into the hybrid process. And we want to protect you until those answers are figured out.”
Elena absorbed her words before slowly nodding, “I want a guarantee that none of my friends or family will be hurt,” She turned to look at Cassie despite knowing that she should be negotiating this with Klaus.
The blonde didn’t have to turn back to know what Klaus’ reply would be, “As long as you and your friends don’t betray us or our bargain, they’re safe,” the witch made sure that her words were very clear. If Elena went back on her word or if any of her friends did so, then all of the girl’s loved ones were fair game.
Elena nodded in understanding before her eyes strayed to the two brothers walking slightly farther away to her side. Despite the fact that they were walking together, neither Stefan nor Damon said a word of acknowledgement to each other. “And I want Stefan to come back to Mystic Falls with me.”
Before anyone could blink, Rebekah had let out an angry snarl at the doppelganger. It was only Stefan’s arm around her shoulders that prevented the blonde vampire from attacking the girl. Klaus raised a hand that sullenly silenced his sister.
“Of course,” Klaus agreed to his sister’s displeasure, “Like I said; you need to be protected. We will all be returning to Mystic Falls with you.”
“I mean permanently,” Elena turned to face him, head up as she stood her ground, “You can’t force him to leave. He can go when and if he wants to.”
“Deal,” The hybrid nodded amicably.
After a brief moment of suspicion, Elena nodded too, “Deal.”
Klaus then turned to deal with his pouting sister, “Relax, Bekah. Stefan loves you. You are going with him to Mystic Falls and if he wants to stay, the doppelganger said nothing about you being able to stay with him. And of course, I’m sure that if you want to leave, your boyfriend will be more than happy to follow along,” He smirked, relishing in the flinch Elena gave at the reminder that Stefan was no longer hers.
They all climbed into their separate cars and made their way to the airport. Elena and Damon had been gone too long and since the girl could no longer pee without a guard, the three vampires were set to follow them back.
“Nick told me about your conversation with Mrs. Chamberlain,” Cassie spoke softly, watching as Stefan and Rebekah bought the group plane tickets, “What are you helping her with?”
Klaus turned to look at her out of the corner of his eye, “Her powers were taken from her. She wants them back. In order to do that, she needed a crystal, which I happened to have.”
“Why does she need a crystal?” She asked worried about what the woman was planning.
He shrugged, “She needs to find someone.”
“Who?” Cassie asked in confusion, tired of the cat and mouse game of information Klaus was playing.