Two Months Later...
A trail of bodies were the only things we could follow. Locator spells were pointless and the research could only take us so far. When I wasn't on the road, I was at the castle trying to get ahead of Klaus but being unable to do so. I was growing frustrated as the time went on and as much as I enjoyed Alaric and Damon's aid in all of this, they had to return back home to keep appearances with Elena and the rest of her friends. They had a life to get back to while I was trying to get my life back.
"Tennessee?" I ask her again as she pulls up the articles of the recent murder. "You want me to head back to Tennessee? I just came back from there."
Aya was showing me the newfound intel on the monitor in front of me. She requested to inform me alone which was a sign that she had bad news to bear to me alone.
"It's what we got," Aya responds as a red dot blinks on the map pulled up on the screen. "Besides it follows the same pattern of mutilated bodies and the victim from Pensacola had family in Memphis."
"Klaus was targeting random victims and now we have a distant bloodline connection to Tennessee." I state with suspicion. Something was going on there somewhere. "Why would Klaus target these random victims that share a distant bloodline? What is so important about them?"
Before Aya could even offer a hypothesis, my phone starts to ring. I give her an apologetic smile as I see Alaric's name pop and I knew it had to be important.
"Let me guess," I start off as I pick up the call. "Tennessee?"
"How'd you know?" Alaric states.
"Aya just briefed me about this murder in Memphis," I fill him in as I look over the police report that Aya managed to get her hands on. Written on a sticky note was an address for some nearby family members. "How did you find out?"
"Elena," Alaric sighs out. "Apparently Sheriff Forbes is helping her out."
"And I'm assuming you haven't told her that we too are also searching for Klaus," I state a bit concerned. "It's been two months, Alaric. I would have thought you would have broken this down for her."
"I'm not the best parental role model, ok?" Alaric sighs out. "I mean... how am I supposed to tell her that her boyfriend is tearing up bodies left and right?"
"Why are you asking me?" I refute as I close the file and lean back on my chair. "I have no experience in dealing with teenagers."
"Well technically speaking, Elena isn't a teenager as of today." Alaric responds quietly. "She just turned 18."
"Then it's about time you treat her like an adult," I state causing him to sigh loudly. Knowing he had enough on his plate I decide to end the call soon. "I'm assuming I'll see you soon then in Memphis? There's a distant lead there."
"Like I have no other choice," Alaric responds tiredly. "Jenna's going to kill me once she hears."
"I'm sure she can handle being out of your presence for a couple hours," I retort as I knew that she had grown tired of Alaric's overprotectiveness. Alaric had forbidden her to wear my resuscitation ring as soon as he heard of the side effects and he also refused to leave her unguarded wherever she went. At first Jenna was fine with the attention until it became borderline obsessive. "Let the girl breathe Alaric. Nothing is going to happen to her."
"Whatever," Alaric remarks annoyed with me by now. "I'll see you later."
The phone call ends and I throw my phone onto the table and look up to a waiting Aya. I let my hand run through my hair as I let out a sigh pass my lips.
"We are moving too slow if the doppelganger is gaining leads at the same time we are," I warn Aya. "There has to be way to move faster than this."
My fingers tap on the rim of the table as I tried to think of something. There murder sprees were random and there were no pattern to be followed until now. There had to be something connecting all of them together but what was it?
"Find me a connection, Aya." I state as I grab the police file and retrieve my coat. "We're missing something here. Dig into that family connection, see if something is going on there. Klaus has some secret agenda and I need to know what it is."
Aya nods at this and begins to make note of this. I nod to her in goodbye before walking out of the conference room. Some witches and vampires quickly make their way in and I assumed they were waiting to get to work with my most recent demands.
I make my way out of the Strix castle and walk down the stone pathway to a strip landing a quarter mile away from the building. I find Aaron is waiting for me with my hunter's bag packed and ready to go. I take up the bag and he immediately offers his hand for me to take as I climbed the small staircase into the private jet.
"Have a nice trip, ma'am."
"Will do, Aaron," I answer as I reach the top step. "Do make sure to tell Carter I'll be late today."
Aaron nods at this and I finally step into the jet. A flight attendant greets me and moves to pull up the staircase and seal the door closed. While this happens, I take a seat on one of the chairs and place my bag on the table in front of me. I look out the window and watch as Aaron motioned to the pilot that we were free to fly. It didn't take long to get us into the air and I leaned into the leather seat as I waited to arrive to Tennessee.
Tennessee House, Memphis
I lean against the Strix-issued porsche as I watched the house from afar. I glance down at my watch again as I noticed Damon and Alaric running a tad late. After a while, I hear the purr of an engine come from a mile away and turn to find the white escalade coming down the road. I push myself off the car as Alaric parked the car behind mine.
"Nice ride," Damon comments as he takes in the red porsche.
"Courtesy of the Strix," I answer as I pull of the sunglasses from my face and tuck them away.
"Those are some damn nice perks," Damon mutters under his breath as he admires the car. "How does one gain a membership into your fancy club?"
"Well, you can either date the co-founder," I state as I point to myself, "Or prove yourself to be a humanitarian."
The answer caused Alaric to snort and Damon to scowl. He glared at my brother who just raises his hands up in defense.
"Being the good guy is overrated," Damon responds as he looked away from us and towards the house. "Come on, we're wasting daylight and we have a birthday party that we have to attend."
"Well send Elena my regards," I state as I follow after Damon with my brother by my side. "After we're done here, I have to get back to overlook some research."
"Really?" Alaric sighs out concerned. "You haven't stopped working these past few months. I rarely see you and when I do it's doing check-ups like this."
"I have to find Elijah," I remind him as always. "I can't leave him like that with Klaus. He doesn't deserve that."
"Yeah, right..." Damon snarks as we stop in front of the house. "That guy stabbed us in the back when he went back on his word to kill Klaus."
"And if he had killed Klaus you wouldn't have gotten the cure from your wolf bite and you wouldn't be standing here, would you?" I argue causing Damon to scoff.
The argument is cut short as Damon's phone begins to buzz. He pulls it out of his pocket and frowns before ending the call and putting it away.
"Elena?" Alaric asks. Damon just scowls and I shake my head at both of them.
"Unbelievable," I mutter. "I don't know why you two just don't come clean and tell her where we are."
"Because Andie said this was a half lead and I don't want to get her hopes up." Damon states.
"You and Andie are still a thing?" I ask a bit surprised.
"I have needs," Damon mutters under his breath.
The conversation fades away as Damon and I look around the scene. The birds chirped amongst the trees and the wind rustled its leaves. Besides that, I couldn't hear anything else.
"It's quiet," Alaric comments.
"Yeah," Damon responds with a frown. "Too quiet."
"Damn it," I mutter as I climb up the porch of the house and make my way to the front door. The door opens easily and I extend my foot over the door to test if I could get inside. As expected, my boot easily passes through the doorway and I sigh knowing that owner had to be dead. "I guess we're finding the bodies again."
I walk into the house with Damon and Alaric right behind me. Along the hallway walls are blood stains and handprints that leave a trail. I follow after it and walk in to find the two dead women sitting upright on the living room couch facing the TV. Their bodies and clothes were covered in blood.
"Ugh," Alaric groans out at the sight of them. "Vampire for sure."
"Stefan, for sure," Damon comments as he steps towards the bodies.
"How do you know?" I ask surprised. Though I knew Stefan and Klaus were together in this killing spree, I never thought of Stefan as this kind of vampire.
"It's his signature," Damon explains to me. "There's a reason they call him the Ripper. Feeds so hard he blacks out and rips them apart, but then when he's done, he feels remorse."
Damon uses the heel of his boot and shakes the knee of one of the girls. The head quickly drops from the body and rolls onto the floor.
"It's the damndest thing," Damon comments distantly. "He put the bodies back together."
"Back together?" Alaric asks with dark curiosity.
"Definitely Stefan," Damon responds with a frown.
Damon walks out of the room and I didn't question it. I assumed the sight of two dismembered women that his brother left behind could cause a toll on him.
"If I ever..." I trail off as I look away from the two bodies and stare at my brother. "If I ever do something like this, take a stake and drive it straight to my heart."
"You're kidding," Alaric states with a short laugh. His amusement falters as he takes notice of my face. "You're not kidding."
"I've only been drinking out of blood bags," I explain to Alaric. "The allure of drinking from the source is still there in my mind. If I happen to... If I become a ripper like this, I need you to put a stop to me."
Alaric shakes his head at me, "Nope. I can't. You're my sister, my only sister. You're all the family I have."
"I could kill you and everyone you love," I remind my brother. "That could be Jenna, Elena, Jeremy... That could be Carter..."
"You would never hurt that kid," Alaric exclaims. "And you will never get to that point. Gris, I know you..."
"No, you don't!" I shout at him. "We haven't talked in years since you left and ever since I came back into your life we've only talked a handful of times. You don't know me, Alaric. You don't know the things I've done. You don't know the half of it."
"Then give me a chance to," Alaric argues back. "You leave every time and hide out at your boyfriend's elite club. I've made a home for myself in Mystic Falls. Come back with me and stay. Give me a chance to fix us."
I didn't know how to respond. Part of me felt warm at his desperate need to fix our relationship, but part of me knew the cold truth. It knew that my life was a hurricane of disaster and I didn't want to ruin his perfect world back in Mystic Falls. I didn't want to drag my brother into misery.
Before I could say any of this, Damon walks back in with a tank of gasoline. Without a word to us, he starts to douse the room in it.
"What are you doing?" Alaric exclaims surprised.
"Covering their tracks," Damon responds tiredly. "Clearly they have no interest in staying in the dark, but I do."
Alaric tugs me out of the room as Damon throws gasoline onto the tapestries and the walls. My foot drops onto the floor and I hear a loud creak come from under it.
"Hang on," I tell Damon causing him to stop. He walks up to me and I take a step back. Alaric and Damon then pull the rug aside and reveals a hidden trapdoor. Damon pulls it open and reveals a hidden basement with chained shackles along the the wall.
"Well, what do you know?" Damon mutters in amusement. "Werewolves."
Damon closes the door and picks up the tank of gasoline again and gets rid of the remainder of it. We all step out of the room and Damon lights a match and tosses it onto the floor. Soon the whole room catches flame and all of us leave the scene.
We all step down the porch in silence and I think over what Damon said. Werewolves. The connection I needed was staring at my face.
"Oh my god," I mutter as I quickly pull out my phone.
"What?" Alaric asks confused.
"I found it," I tell them. "I found what I've been missing."
Damon and Alaric share a look of confusion while I dial Aya. She instantly picks up and I sigh in relief, interrupting her greeting.
"Werewolves," I tell her as I cut her off. "The family connection. They're werewolves. He's searching for werewolves."
"But if he's found them already why does he keep killing them off?" Aya brings to my attention.
"They're lone wolves," I state as I think back to the solitary murders. "I think he's looking for an Alpha and a pack. Aya... I need to find out why he's doing this. I need answers."
"I'll start searching for the next of kin," Aya starts to say.
"No, drop that," I interrupt her. "I need to find out why Klaus is after werewolves. Why does he need them? What will he benefit from them?"
"Alright, I'll converse with the witches then," Aya concludes. "They can consult their magic crystals or those beyond to find an answer. I'll also have some vampires search for potential future victims. I doubt Klaus is done with his search."
"Yes," I tell her. "That sounds like a brilliant plan, Aya. Thank you."
Aya ends the call and I let out a relieved chuckle. After two months of searching and travelling, I finally got a break. I turn to Damon and Alaric who seemed to have gotten lost in my quick conversation with Aya.
"I'm going to find him," I say with a bubbling laugh as I pull both of them into an unexpected hug. "I'm going to find him."
Salvatore Boarding House, Mystic Falls
"You promised me a good time," I state as Alaric pours me a glass of bourbon into a glass. I look around at the loud, teenage-filled Boarding House with a look of distaste. "I didn't think that would mean a high school party."
"How do you think I feel?" Alaric mumbles tiredly as he hands me the glass. "I am every parent's worst nightmare. I am the chaperone teacher from hell."
"I love high school parties," Damon hums out happily as he leaned back onto the brick column behind him. I shook my head at him.
"Is Andie coming?" I ask him trying to get my mind off the young human beings who were flittering in and out of the house. The urge for blood was slowly ticking in as time went by and Damon recommended a glass of his finest bourbon to take my mind off the hunger.
"Ten o'clock broadcast." Damon responds. "Should be here in a little bit."
"Fun times," I mutter as I down my glass and motion for my brother to serve me more. "I still don't understand how this party is supposed to be a congrats on my beautiful breakthrough."
"Just go with the flow, Gris." Damon sighs out. "Go with the flow."
I narrow my eyes at him and turn to Alaric.
"Did he just call me Gris?" I ask him surprised.
"Uh-huh," Alaric says as he drank from his glass. "You two are friends now."
"Great," I whisper and before Damon could remark on my unenthusiastic tone, Elena comes out with a tired expression.
"Hello Birthday Girl!" Damon exclaims at the sight of her.
"Drink!" Elena orders as she holds out her arm and takes Damon's glass. She downs the glass quickly and grimaces at the taste. "Jeremy's smoking again."
"Is his stash any good?" Damon remarks with a sly grin. Elena just glares at him, "You're an ass."
Elena shakes his head at Damon and then turns to Alaric.
"Talk to him, please," she pleads. "He looks up to you."
Elena hands the glass back to Damon and walks away leaving Alaric to handle the situation.
"You're screwed if Jenna finds out," I point out.
"Ahh," Alaric sighs out knowing I was right. "I better get to it then."
I watch him walk away and turn to Damon with a smirk.
"It's funny how he was judging me for adopting a kid when he's practically playing dad for two teenagers," I state with a chuckle. I lean my head back and close my eyes for a second as I tried to block out the noise of beating hearts.
"You should cut him some slack..." Damon tells me. I slowly open my eyes at him and find Damon staring down at his glass with a serious expression. "He worries about you. Especially now since you're a vampire on a deadly mission to get your boyfriend back from the evil Klaus."
"Elijah is all I have," I confess to him as I play with the glass in my hand. "He's the only one who understands me."
Damon scowls as I said this.
"Please tell me you're not one of those girls," Damon scoffs annoyed. I raise my eyes at him in question and he shakes his head at me. "The one whose whole purpose in life is some guy. Come on Gris, you can do better."
"Elijah is my soulmate," I tell Damon seriously. "He literally is my other half."
Damon rolls his eyes at this and I knew he wouldn't believe another word I said.
"Gris, you gotta let people in," Damon mutters. "You gotta let people get to know you and then you won't be alone anymore and Elijah won't have to be the only person in your corner."
I down my second glass quickly and look away from Damon's stare.
"Your brother wants to get to know you, Gris."
I let Damon's words settle in knowing he was right. A sigh passes through my lips as my eyes meet his.
"How drunk are you?" I ask with a half-grin breaking the tense-filled conversation. Damon rolls his eyes at me and looks away. "No, seriously. I need to make a note of how many glasses of bourbon I have to get into you to get this mushy, sentimental bullcrap."
"Shut up," Damon mutters with a small grin on his own. "As far as I know, this never happened."
I couldn't help but chuckle at that, "I'm growing on you, aren't I?"
"Whatever baby Saltzman," Damon responds with a roll of his eyes. He looks at the near empty bottle then back up at me. "How are you not drunk yet?"
"Unlike you, I can hold my liquor," I state as I pour myself the last glass. "Besides, if you want drunk Gris, you gotta put tequila in me."
"Well, that's what we're gonna do then," Damon states as he pulls a nearby girl and starts to compel her to bring us a bottle. I shake my head at this but let him do his thing. While we waited, Alaric came back out with a defeated expression.
"I'm assuming things didn't go well," I ask Alaric as he pulls up a chair and takes a seat.
"Nope," he says as he pinches the bridge of his nose stressfully. "Jenna's going to kill me when I get them back home."
I pat my brother on the back with a sympathetic expression. Damon's phone begins to buzz with a text and he scowls at he reads it. He pockets his phone and stands up.
"Andie wants me to pick her up."
"Your fake, compelled girlfriend wants you to be a chivalrous boyfriend?" Alaric asks with a mixture of a surprise and confusion.
"Well, it's a complicated dynamic." Damon comments as he passes of his glass to my brother.
"Obviously," I mutter as the compelled girl from before shows up with the crystal bottle. Damon smiles at her and takes the bottle before turning her away.
"Hold the fort down, will ya?" Damon asks as he hands the bottle off to Alaric. "And make sure your sister drinks that whole thing."
I shake my head at him and watch him walk away. Alaric looks at the tequila bottle then at me in question.
"Isn't it bad to mix clear alcohol with dark?" Alaric asks as he cracks open the bottle and serves me a shot. I shrug at him not knowing what was behind Damon's logic.
"I don't know," I answer. "Maybe the vampire healing spiel helps with that?"
"Your guess is as good as mine," Alaric states as he clinks his bourbon glass with my tequila one. "Cheers."
Third POV, Alaric's Apartment
"Easy there, easy there," Alaric says as he lead a slightly-drunk Griselda through his apartment. He tosses his key onto the counter in the kitchen and walks his sister towards his bed before dropping her in it. "I knew I shouldn't have let you drink that bottle."
Griselda giggles at this, actually giggles as she snuggles deeper into the covers.
"Hmm, this is so warm," Griselda comments as her eyes flutter close.
Alaric rolls his eyes at this and restrains himself from making a comment. He helped his sister out of her shoes instead and pulled the covers out from under her, causing her to whine, before he let the cover drop on top of her. Alaric couldn't remember the last time he tucked his sister into bed and the sight of her pleased expression made him recall all of the fond memories of their childhood.
Griselda's eyes flutter open in apprehension and she sits up from the bed. Alaric is quick to reach for her, but Griselda just brushes the hair from her face and looks up at her brother.
"Carter," she states. "I have to call Carter and tell him I'm not coming home tonight."
Alaric watched the deep concern she had over the boy and the illusion of childhood memories disappear. Alaric forgot that they were both adults now with two separate lives. Their childhood had been a united front, but now they were on separate paths leading into two different directions.
"I'll call Aya and tell her to relay the message," Alaric tells her trying to ease her back into sleep. "Now rest. You're most likely won't have a hangover tomorrow, but you should still sleep the drunkenness off at least."
"Ok," Griselda responds lazily as she lays back down. She shuffles a little bit until she finds a position that's comfortable.
Alaric watched her a little bit wondering how his vampire sister could have become such a drunken child. He smiles at the sight before making sure she had finally succumbed to sleep. He shuts off the lights and presses a kiss on the temple of her head. Griselda groans and Alaric freezes in his spot. Griselda's eyes slowly flutter open and she sadly smiles up at her brother.
"I'm sorry for everything, Ric." Griselda mumbles sleepily. "I'm sorry for dragging you into my problems. I didn't mean to ruin your perfect life."
Alaric sadly smiles down at his sister and brushes her hair away from her face.
"My life is far from being perfect," Alaric confesses to her.
"Is it though," Griselda whispers as she scowls at him. "You have Jenna and two kids who look up to you. You have friends and a job and..." tears well up in her eyes as she looks up at him, "...You have a home."
She giggles at this as tears roll down her cheeks.
"Ric, you got what we always wanted when we were kids," Griselda tells him. "You got yourself a home and I... I've got nothing."
"That's not true," Alaric tries to comfort his sister. "You've got Carter..."
"I can't take care of Carter when I can barely take care of myself," Griselda whispers as her eyes pressed closed. "I can't do it if Elijah isn't here."
"Well I'm here," Alaric reminds her. "You still got me, ok?"
Griselda smiles at this and seems to calm down a bit.
"Maybe I should stay here like you said," Griselda mumbles tiredly as her eyes remained closed. "Carter would like it here... I think we both would..."
Alaric couldn't help but feel the warmth spread through his chest as he heard this. Even though he was sure his sister would forget this whole drunken conversation in the morning it was nice to hear her at least consider moving into town. He'll take care of her again until she was able to stand back on her own. Though he had Jenna, Elena, and Jeremy to think about already, adding his sister into the mix would be a welcomed reprieve.