Title: Sinners Like Us
Summary: Picks up after 5x11 of TVD and 1x12 of TO. Caroline is trying to forget about her tryst with Klaus, but Bonnie's the anchor and a whole lot of dead witches are running around New Orleans. When her best friend is needed to right the ship in the French Quarter, Caroline can't resist tagging along on her trip to Klaus's new kingdom.
Disclaimer: Everything TVD and TO related belongs to the CW.
A/N: The Klarosex has officially inspired a multi-chapter crossover fic. Lord knows JP and co can't get it right, so I'll give it a shot. Knowledge of major TO characters isn't a must but it's damn helpful.
You'd think it would be the smell he'd forget first. The rustic, leafy scent of nature permeating every breath they took. Or maybe the feel of it. Skin sliding against skin is the same just about anywhere, so it would be more than understandable if that were to fade into just one of the many. Certainly the sight of her, completely awash with ecstasy, stretched out before him, crying out his name, couldn't be seared into his mind's eye forever.
But no. It's the taste that leaves him first. He can't quite recall the way she tasted on his tongue. How that flavor that was so perfectly Caroline melted in his mouth and down his throat, replacing every spice and drug he'd ever tried as the most shockingly addictive thing to grace his lips. The taste he couldn't get enough of, that he'd been so certain would be the one thing he'd hold on to forever, was getting harder and harder to recall.
The rest of it stayed with him though. The memory of her invaded every moment, and when he wasn't thinking of her, he felt her absence. After nearly a month, their few stolen hours in the Salvatore's woods continued to hold him, and he still replayed them on a loop in his head.
Her first hesitant kiss, followed by a slightly bolder one. The feel of her pressed tight against him, and then the pure heaven of pushing inside her. He'd sworn those quiet puffing breaths against his neck were going to be his favorite sounds in the world, until she started to moan softly in his ear. Deeply feminine keens that she hissed out at each thrust, followed by the euphoria of hearing her scream his name.
Those were the memories that plagued him in every waking moment. Hell, in his sleeping ones too. The pleasure of having Caroline haunted him to the point that he couldn't even relish a good kill without being pulled back into his own personal hell. The hell where he got just one taste of exactly what he'd always wanted, and then had to face an eternity without it.
He is pulled out of what seems to be a constant reverie by his one and only apprentice.
"You back in the land of the living buddy?" Marcel questions, offering him a pull from a quite delicious bottle of bourbon. The liquor that should taste exquisite only dulls his senses further, and he thinks he'd take a double if the whiskey could bring back a hint of Caroline's taste.
He supposes the miserable atmosphere surrounding the garbage pile that Rousseau's has become is doing nothing for his mood, but there's no helping it. Sophie Devereaux has called an audience and one does not turn down allies when there are four ominously resurrected witches on the loose.
The witch in question chooses to make her appearance as their third bottle gets finished off.
"If it wasn't depressing as hell in here, I'd say it looks like you two were celebrating." She quips as she unloads candles and crystals from her bag of witchcraft.
"What's there to celebrate?" Klaus grumbles. "Our super charged witch is dead at the hands of a failed ritual, a quarter of my vampire army turned deserter last night, and we have no idea how or why our new enemies have been resurrected. Cheers." He toasts with more than a little resentment.
"The ritual didn't fail," Sophie corrects him. "It just got hijacked."
"Right, and all of this," He gestures to the witchy accoutrements she's brought along, "will help us fix that small issue?"
"Actually, yes." She smiles knowingly at both vampires.
"How's that?" Marcel asks.
It seems that's the question she's been waiting for. "Papa Tunde was found dead in the cemetery last night." She tells them with a fire in her eyes that has been missing since the night she watched her niece's corpse fail to rise.
"And who, might I ask, killed him?" Klaus questions.
"No one knows," Sophie replies. "But that's not the most interesting part." She pauses for effect, but they can both see she's about as eager as a puppy to share the most interesting part.
"Go on then, love. You're clearly dying to share." Klaus slurs.
"One of the Harvest girls woke up this morning."
When the sun rises on Whitmore College, Caroline is sadly already awake. Her subconscious seems persistent in its efforts to give her quite graphic dreams of her most recent encounter with the Original Hybrid, and she's been waking up frustrated for weeks as a result.
The whispered words of 'I promise' seem to be a common theme in these dreams, and she can't help but notice how unsatisfying they've become. When she'd made the decision to show Klaus how she really felt instead of telling him, those words had been like a get-out-of-jail-free card. But as the weeks dragged on, and the reality of never seeing him again started to sink in, they'd stopped sounding like a promise and started feeling like a threat.
If she got her way, she'd never lay eyes on Niklaus Mikaelson again. And good riddance, really. But Caroline can't help but worry that in giving her freedom now, he's taken away something more important down the road.
Trying to clear her head a fall back asleep, Caroline has nearly made it back to dreamland when the overpowering smell of incense washes over her.
She groans awake, sitting up and nearly choking on the herbs Bonnie is trying to surreptitiously burn in their dorm's bathroom.
"Bonnie," She whines. "What did we say about incense before noon?"
Her dark skinned roommate peaks around the door, an apologetic look on her face.
"I know, I know, I was hoping it wouldn't wake you." Bonnie apologizes.
"More nightmares?" Elena's sleep-coated voice floats out from underneath the pile of blankets that has become the doppelganger's new home since her break up.
"I don't know what it is," Bonnie sighs. "These last two weeks have just been so awful. And then last night…" She trails off.
The topic of Bonnie's nightmares had been a constant discussion these past couple of weeks. They'd started just before Katherine's death and had seemed to only get worse as time went on. With Bonnie no longer being a witch, it seemed unlikely that she was getting visions, but she still somehow seemed certain that whatever was giving her these dreams was witchy in nature. Caroline had tried dream analysis with the help of her trusty psychology 101 book, to no avail. The only thing Bonnie could remember was a sense of eerie dread, and then a startling wake up call that left her breathless. Realizing her crap textbook would be no help, Caroline did her best to be sympathetic. Unfortunately, when it came to deep discussions about the all important "balance" and the Other Side, she had to admit it all went a little over her head.
And now, Elena's new 'mood swings' meant she was either entirely invested, or completely apathetic to Bonnie's dilemma. This morning seemed to fall into the former category though.
"What was it this time?" Elena asks, making room on her bed for Bonnie to cuddle up.
"It was worse than it's ever been. I was helping a spirit pass over, but it was just way more…violent." Bonnie shivered at the memory. "Some spirits can be a bit reluctant to go, but none of them ever felt like this."
"What did it feel like?" Caroline asks.
Bonnie's eyes glaze over, thinking back on the man dressed all in white with a menacing gaze and a powerful aura. "Angry." She decides on the best word. "It's like he was trying to pull me over with him or something."
"That can't happen though, right?" Elena can't help the fear that seeps into her voice.
"Of course not." Bonnie's laugh sounds hollow to all three of them. "I can't exactly be an anchor if I'm on the Other Side, can I?"
The mood is anything but lightened by what was supposed to be a silly question. They all decide to leave it hanging.
"I'm just exhausted. I'm sure once I get a good night's sleep it will be business as usual."
"Maybe check with your Grams or someone over there just in case?" Caroline suggests. "I mean you've got a direct line to anyone you want right? It can't hurt to see if a witch or two has some thoughts?"
Bonnie shrugs at the idea, "Maybe."
Caroline isn't satisfied with the answer, but it's clear the discussion is over. No matter how much she wants to overanalyze and triple check that her best friend is going to be ok, she knows it's best to let it go.
As long as letting it go means she can still quietly stress over it all day.
Sophie Devereaux is nothing if not predictable.
Barely one hint of hope that her precious Monique could return to her, and she is back on the Harvest like a bloodhound on a scent. He had to admire her tenacity, though. She'd engaged Marcel's desire to restore Davina more quickly than he'd thought possible.
"I mean, it's no sure fire thing, but it's too big of a coincidence for Alyssa to be resurrected within hours of one the witches who jacked the Harvest dying."
"Coincidence my ass, how do we find the next witch?" Marcel asks.
"I already found her." Sophie answers proudly, but pauses when pulling the map for her locator spell out of her bag. "And this is the part where we make a deal."
"A deal?" Klaus's interest is piqued.
"I did a standard locator spell, just searching for your standard power hot spots. The first one I found was Bastianna."
"Who the bloody hell is Bastianna?" Klaus replies.
"She's one of the coven elders." Marcel answers him, eyeing Sophie skeptically. "One of the crazy witches who wanted to sacrifice Davina in the first place."
"Not so crazy now that you know the whole thing works, is it?" Sophie points out. She moves on quickly when she realizes her humor is not appreciated. "I need Bastianna to tell me how to successfully complete the Reaping part of the ritual. She's our best chance of successfully bringing all the sacrificed girls back to life. Including Davina." She looks pointedly at Marcel.
"What do you mean successfully? The first girl is already up, that's good enough for me." He shoots back, on edge now that his ally appears to be having second thoughts.
Sophie groans, exasperated. "Alyssa is up, but she's weak. We're doing everything we can to keep her healthy, but the Reaping isn't working like it should. The girls should have come back revitalized and powerful. Instead, Alyssa's practically at death's door."
"So, maybe she just needs time to recover?" Marcel suggests.
"Maybe," Sophie says, "But I don't want to take any chances. Bastianna will be able to tell me for sure. And I need to be sure."
"And why would this elder want to help you?" Klaus inquires, joining the fray at last. "Completing the Harvest would require her death. I suspect she quite likes being back in the land of the living."
"Whatever her faults, Bastianna was a part of this coven. She cared about those girls, and she believed in the Harvest. More than that, as a witch, it's her duty to protect the balance. If I can talk to her, I'm sure she'll agree to help."
Klaus seriously doubted that a witch so interested in power would be willing to die for a few girls whose throats she'd slit herself. Especially now that she had acquired that power without having to share it with an entire coven. Poor Sophie Devereaux, with all her talk of loyalty and sister witches, she truly had no idea how seductive magic could be. For a witch like Bastianna, it was no doubt an intoxicating feeling, being in complete control and authority. Klaus knew better than anyone what a person would and would not sacrifice for control.
But who was he to rain on her naïve parade?
"What exactly does your deal entail then, sweetheart?"
"You bring me Bastianna. Alive." Sophie answers firmly. "Then, I help you find the remaining two witches for the sacrifice. Once we complete the Harvest and fix the Reaping, Davina will be alive, there will be no more super powered witches wandering the quarter, and we'll all get to live out our dysfunctional little lives in peace."
Klaus considers this. Giving the witches the keys to their ancestral magic with no way to control them would be war waiting to happen. It would be better to kill these witches off one by one and let the Reaping fail on it's own.
But one look at Marcel's hopeful face, and he realizes the lengths his surrogate son would go to, to make this happen. Marcellus loves his little witch dearly, and it seems they have no way of finding their remaining foes without Sophie's participation. The duties of a king really never end, do they?
"It appears we have a deal."
Rebekah Mikaelson had never been accused of laziness, and now was not the time to start. Staging a coup to overthrow her dastardly brother for control of the city of New Orleans does not excuse her from other familial duties, and today those duties include decorating her future niece's nursery.
She'd managed to wrangle Hayley and Elijah into helping, and she does not plan to squander this golden opportunity.
Yards and yards of lace and silk are covered with a variety of bows and tulle, plus a dozen or so paint samples. She can't help but enjoy herself as she helps the pregnant girl wade through the first layer, while her eldest brother watches on in amusement.
"You know, you could help make a decision or two, Elijah." Rebekah pouts at him as only little sisters can. "We're doing all the work, and Hayley is utterly clueless."
"Ouch." Hayley protests, throwing a piece of tulle at her new friend.
"I think I'll be of more use observing for now." Elijah calls from his spot in the doorway. "I'm shockingly useless when it comes to interior decorating."
His eyes somehow manage to find Hayley's and he's as surprised as ever by the life and joy he finds there. To not only be carrying Niklaus's child, but to bear that a burden while being simultaneously smothered by Rebekah and shunned by himself? It's truly a wonderful thing to discover just how much this young woman can take on.
It seems his gaze has rested on her too long because she takes it as an invitation to approach him. She leaves Rebekah with the fabrics, but his sister doesn't seem to notice much beyond the varying hues of pink on the table before her.
"How are you feeling?" He asks before she can get whatever words she'd had prepared out. He's not interested in empty apologies. They both know that she'd do what she did to Celeste again if given the opportunity. Hayley would always be Hayley's first priority. She was quite like Katherine in that regard. Perhaps he had a type.
"I'm feeling fine." She answers. "Approaching month eight and big as ever."
The joke almost eases the tension between them, but those eyes find his again and he knows there is more.
"Are we ever going to be friends again, Elijah?"
He takes a deep breath and observes his sister's antics with the bassinet she'd brought up. For the sake of his niece, he supposes a friendly relationship with Hayley would be best. But toeing that line with her is becoming increasingly confusing. One moment he is admiring her strength, and the next he is cursing her wickedness.
"Rebekah tells me that forgiving my family is a mistake I am doomed to repeat." He tells her, finally making eye contact again. "I'd assume it will be no different with you, given time."
It's not exactly forgiveness, but it's an acknowledgement of family that always seems to satiate some deep hunger in the wolf girl before him. For now, it is enough.
The moment is broken by shrill ringing of Rebekah's phone.
"What the bloody hell do you want now, Nik?"
Sometimes, on a beautiful day like this, it was easy to forget that Mystic Falls - and subsequently the campus of Whitmore College - was teaming with supernatural drama. Caroline could lay in the grass with her best friends, chunking cheetos at each other and cheering when they managed to make one in each others' mouths.
But then inevitably, something would draw their focus back to the world of the strange around them, and playtime would be over. Currently, it is Bonnie's half-hearted participation in said cheeto throwing that is bringing her and Elena back down to earth.
"You ok Bon?" Elena grabs her friend's hand, and Bonnie's smile tugs a little wider.
"Just tired still." Bonnie answers.
She's been tired for weeks, Caroline knows, but now she looks downright exhausted. Like a thousand naps wouldn't be enough to get her back on her feet.
"And it looks like today's about to get even more tiring." Bonnie says, her gaze focused off on an empty part of the quad.
Caroline and Elena turn their heads to see what's caught her attention, but when they come up empty Caroline is the one to figure out what's up.
"A spirit?" She asks.
"Another witch." Bonnie nods. "Dark. Like the one last night."
The waves of terror coming off of their friend are hard not to sense, and both Elena and Caroline grab hold of Bonnie's arms to keep her grounded. The comforting gesture does not go unappreciated, but moments later they can tell that this new spirit is passing over by the pained breaths Bonnie lets out. Just when they think it's passing, a harsh cry escapes Bonnie's lips and the shaking begins. Violent shudders wrack the Anchor's body and each breath is a sob she tries and fails to contain.
"What the hell?" Elena shoots Caroline a horrified look.
"I don't know, it's never been this bad before." Caroline tries to smooth Bonnie's hair back, but the extra touch only seems to ignite the pain further.
"Something's wrong." Bonnie gasps out before a few last spasms rock her limbs and her eyes roll back in her head.
"We've got to get her back to the room, Elena." Caroline can hear her voice cracking with worry, but she does her best to master that fear. "Now."
"I told you I needed her ALIVE!" Sophie's screams echo off the stone walls of the vampire compound common area. "We had a deal!"
Klaus take his time following the uninvited witch into his home. Normally, he'd find the witch's ire amusing, if he wasn't currently soaked through to the skin. There was usually nothing quite so lovely in this world as an infuriated and powerless witch.
"Deal's changed love," Klaus growls, pulling off his drenched coat and shaking it out. "She was quite a bit more reluctant than expected."
"Nik took a nice swim in the river when he got too close." Rebekah chuckled, unable to contain her amusement.
"We're going to need more vampire muscle for the next one." Marcel calls from just outside the doors, slinging a dead Bastianna's body over his shoulder.
"Agreed," Klaus says, "That was a bit too close for comfort and no doubt the next one will have absorbed her fallen sister's magic. Elijah!" He calls up to the second floor. "Care to come witch hunting with us?"
Elijah appears by the railing, a pouting Hayley not far behind much to Klaus's chagrin. Do they ever leave each other's presence?
"I'm sorry, what next one?" Sophie scoffs. "You're crazy if you think I'm helping you now."
"Come on Soph," Marcel is all good cheer and smiles. "Two down, two to go!" He grins. Klaus hasn't seen him this upbeat in weeks. If he'd known the promise of Davina's return would have such a powerful effect on his friend's mood, he would have sworn to bring the girl back to life, kicking and screaming, weeks ago. Empty promise or not.
"Wrong!" Sophie shouts. "Now we've got no way to complete the Harvest. Which means I'm done helping you. No more locator spells, means no more witches, means no Davina. Good luck with that." Sophie huffed as she threw her grimoires and candles back into her bag, clearly intending to storm off.
"Now, now," Klaus tuts, blocking her path. "Don't make me call your bluff Sophie Devereaux. We both know you want your niece back more than anything. If my math is correct, you only need one more dead witch to make that happen, and we," he gestures to his siblings and Marcel, "are the only ones capable of giving that to you."
Sophie lets out an exasperated groan. "And what if they all die anyway?" She asks. "Claudia hasn't risen yet, and Alyssa is only getting worse."
He's surprised to see Marcel's good mood vanish at the news that the second girl hasn't come back to life.
"So pop on over to the cemetery and see if she's just fashionably late." Klaus grins, trying to coax Marcel back into higher spirits. "How's that for trial and error?"
The former king doesn't' take the bait though, and refocuses on Sophie. Damn it all to hell, he must truly believe them incapable of saving Davina without this witch's help.
"What do you want from us?" Marcel asks. "There's no bringing back Bastianna, so what's the workaround?"
Sophie sighs, at a loss for what to do next. "I needed Bastianna to tell me who manipulated the Harvest. Or at least how they did it." Sophie explains to Marcel. "If even one component was changed, we could watch the girls fade away to nothing when the Reaping period ends."
"Well then, the solution is to find the next witch and make her talk, isn't it?" Klaus spat out.
"And what, you think she's going to be a beacon of truth? Helping us is exactly the opposite of what's in her best interest. Bastianna was our only shot." Sophie says hopelessly.
Marcel starts to pace, flipping a table in frustration. "Fine!" He yells, "Then have a freaking séance with those other dead elders. They care so much about this coven? Make them tell you how to fix it!"
Klaus has to admit, the idea has promise. Other elders of the coven would have a vested interest in helping their descendants complete the Harvest. Especially since without magic, those descendants would be left in a city of supernatural creatures with no way to defend themselves. Witches certainly tended to look out for their own.
But even this proposal gets shot down.
"Like it's so easy?" Sophie scoffs. "The power I'd need to contact someone on the Other Side is more than I had before the Harvest magic got ripped away from us. You're lucky locator spells are even working for me. I'm completely cut off from the ancestors."
"Well then," Rebekah pipes in, righting the table that had taken the brunt of Marcel's rage. "Isn't it lucky for us that we know someone who can speak freely with the dead?"