It's a little late - two years to be exact. But here's a transition chapter. I seem to have gotten back on board with TVD and TO. Updates aren't regular, but I'm not abandoning it. I promised I would finish all my stories - I'm on my way.
Chapter 27: Beyond The Black Horizon
Elijah had watched passively – albeit reluctantly – as Davina and Freya managed to calm his mate. It was devastating to see the woman he had shared his deepest thoughts and feelings with look right through him as if he meant nothing. And, technically, he meant less than nothing to her.
"The last thing she remembers is calling her parents to pick her up from a party in the woods," Freya said as she walked in. She looked exhausted and nearly collapsed into one of the wingback chairs in the study. "No knowledge of the supernatural."
"Her parents passed – before she met the Salvatores."
Was that what Finn was trying to accomplish? To give them all a fighting chance at winning the Petrova line? Elena was his mate – neither Finn nor Kol's. The very thought made him want to –
"So, all the memories of vampires and witches and werewolves and what have you are just gone," his sister continued. Her eyes were closed and her head tilted backwards as if to soothe an ache. "We don't have time for a rogue human doppelganger in the city while people are trying to kill our family." She paused and sat up, instantly alert. "Wait. If the prophecy that one shall fall by family and Elena was technically family seeing as she's your mate, then that part has been fulfilled."
Elijah sighed. Only he and Elena knew that he had daggered Rebekah to protect her. He would prefer to keep it that way, too. "If we are heeding the prophecy and taking Elena into the variables, then we need to be more careful. Have you…has she asked about her family?"
She nodded. "Many times. Perhaps a call to her brother is in order?"
"I will see to it. In the meantime – her memory. Is there any hope of restoring it?"
"It's hard to fix something when I don't know the cause," the witch fretted. Worry was written across her face and he could tell she was remorseful. "Finn has been unhelpful, but I…he spent so much time on the other side and I don't know what he managed to learn. I know that our mother hasn't always been…" she trailed off, unsure of what word to use.
Elijah began pacing. A human doppelganger meant a lot of different things. Klaus could create more hybrids. Complicated and rare spells could be completed. Sacrifices made. Doppelganger blood was merely a myth since Elena didn't have any children, but now that was back in play. "She will be infinitely harder to protect now. She cannot look after herself as a human this time because she has no memory of defending herself. I do not think that muscle memory would play a part in this."
"How are we supposed to tell her about – "
"I'll handle it," he said. "I have a call to make. Can you – "
"I'll watch over her."
"I never thought that I would be in favor of one of your ill-thought plans."
"And which one would that be?" Klaus answered, "Since I seem to have so many."
"Hybrids." Elijah cringed when he said it. "Normally, I disagree with the idiocy that seems to go hand-in-hand with creating more fledglings – seeing how the Crescent pack worked out – but we need protection now that Elena is human."
Klaus merely blinked at the other man, clearly surprised. Truthfully, Elijah was just as surprised when the request passed his lips, but with the Strix getting restless and new enemies coming out of the woodwork, more hybrids seemed like the safest thing considering the sire bond would be invoked.
"Let me make sure I understand," Klaus started, whatever he had been working on momentarily forgotten. "You want me to take your mate's blood – without permission – and somehow find a new pack of wolves to turn into hybrids to use to protect the compound? Because of the sire bond that will produce unwavering loyalty unlike your Strix?"
Elijah's jaw ticked, but he gave a curt nod regardless. "Precisely."
The younger man stood and clapped his hands together gleefully. "You know, it's not often that we're on the same page, brother, but I do love when we are." He grinned ruefully and motioned to the map that was laid out in front of him. "I've managed to track down a few packs in Georgia – I'll be leaving tonight."
Elijah blinked. "You already took her blood."
It wasn't a question, more of an exhausted statement. It was futile to think that Klaus would wait until he gave permission, but, in this instant, anyway, he was thankful for the initiative.
"If only we could be this amicable in all our schemes."
"Yes, well, that seems highly unlikely, Niklaus. Harmony doesn't ensure success. And right now, that is of the upmost importance." He paused and asked, "Tonight?"
His brother nodded. "Soonest I could arrange. I didn't want my absence to cause unease in the Quarter."
"We need to keep Elena under wraps. No one can know she is human, again."
Klaus grunted in agreement. "The blood alone is tempting enough for witches and vampires. The last thing we need is some witch getting it into her head that she could use the doppelganger to extinct us. Or try again, as it were." He grinned wolfishly, "You called Little Gilbert, I presume?"
"Flying in shortly – I am not looking forward to that conversation."
Thankfully, Freya had volunteered to pick up Jeremy from the airport; Elijah couldn't bear to be away from Elena long enough. But now that he was sitting across from the Original in the one place where Elena had promised they never had to hide, trying to explain what had happened to his mate, he seemed to be at a loss for words.
"Is Elena okay? You said she had an accident," Jeremy said, cutting to the chase. Petulance seemed to be a trait that had carried over when he turned. "She's a vampire now – an accident is a little far fetched."
Taking a deep breath, Elijah offered, "What if it was a witch accident?"
"A witch accident?" He repeated skeptically. "I know Bonnie got into her far share of trouble, but I don't know what witches here are like."
"My brother seems to have come back to the land of the living, a human and all, and made it his…priority to restore Elena's humanity."
The younger man shook his head, not understanding. "So, she's human? Again? How does that – "
"With the restoration of her humanity, she seems to have lost her memories," Elijah answered without missing a beat. "The last thing she remembers is the night your parents died." He paused and amended, "Without them dying, of course."
Jeremy sat quiet for a few moments. His mouth opened and closed a few times as he grappled with the other man's words. "So…she doesn't remember vampires?"
"You see my dilemma."
"We need to talk to Stefan. Find out how she took it when she figured it out the first time."
Elijah sighed. "I was afraid you would say that, but also prepared. I have already called him and he is making his way here. Perhaps you should wait to see her. You are much…older than she remembers."
Elena was confused. The room she was in seemed familiar somehow, but she couldn't quite place it. It was kind of like she was reading a book, but pages were missing and she couldn't figure out the undertones of the story.
The characters were easy to identify, however.
There was the thin blonde that kind of reminded her of Caroline, but was much sweeter and not in the sickly way. She helped her with her hair when it seemed like it was matted with-with something.
Then there was the small brunette with really big blue eyes. She looked to be around Elena's age and chanted a lot, especially when she was sitting in front of a book that looked like it belonged in a museum. The young boy was always around her, too. Maybe dating by the looks of it, but she wasn't sure. He looked at her a lot.
But the one that seemed to stop her dead in her tracks each time was the older man. Not much older, maybe in his late twenties or so. He and the younger boy were definitely brothers, but the older one seemed so sad. Not his looks or his words, but the way he looked at her as if he could say exactly what he was thinking without even speaking.
It was unnerving, yet she wasn't scared.
Part of her figured she ought to be scared. Weren't her parents worried? What about Jeremy? Or poor Matt, he must be worried sick. They were supposed to go to the Grill on Friday, did she miss Friday?
"Excuse me," she said, interrupting the chanting girl, "Do you know when my parents are going to get here?"
The girl opened her eyes. There was something on her face, but Elena couldn't place it. "I don't think they're here yet. Elijah will get you when they're here."
"The tall one," she blinked as if Elena was supposed to know who it was. "He's been…looking after you."
She nodded and sat down on the bed. The room looked lived in. The blonde said it was hers, but she didn't recognize anything. "Are we friends?" She asked finally, noticing that the chanting hadn't resumed. "I feel like we're…familiar?"
The girl smiled. "We're friends. We've…helped each other out a few times." Sensing Elena's confusion, she added, "I'm Davina. The tall girl is Freya and the other guy is Kol. He's Elijah's brother." Bingo. "We're gonna help you get all readjusted, okay? I know it's scary."
The door burst open the moment Elena was about to respond, causing her to nearly swallow her tongue.
"Finn's gone," the blonde, Freya, panted. "I've told Elijah, but I need you to help me find him. I don't – I can't get a track on him."
"Of course," Davina answered, getting up immediately. She seemed to remember Elena and turned back to give a reassuring smile. "Don't worry, we'll be right back, okay?"
The olive-skinned girl just nodded meekly as they filed out of the room, shutting – and locking – the door behind them. Was she a prisoner? That seemed a little unlikely.
Deciding to do a little exploring, she looked into a large armoire against the wall by the window, popping the solid door open with ease. There were neat stacks of books, some quite a bit older than others. Elena debated on picking one up, but her fingers had a mind of their own.
The newish leather felt familiar in her hands. The cover was blank and opened easily, revealing a small name sketched elegantly on the inside.
Her first thought was to close it, but something told her not to. There were quite a bit of the pages filled, but she flipped to the last entry. Surely if she didn't read much, it wasn't an invasion of privacy, was it?
"We spoke of a child tonight. A child that may need to be conceived magically, but a child nonetheless. Worry always seems to replace hope when it comes to her; I feel as if she is missing out on so much by committing to be with me. A human life is not something that is in the cards for a being such as myself, but I would stay with her until her heart stops beating should she wish it.
"She is so kind, so warm. It is frustratingly simple to see why she is so loved, so needed among her friends. While she is with me, I strive for her to have as normal of a life as possible, but the city around us seems to have different thoughts on the idea. If we left New Orleans, perhaps we would be out of foot long enough for the city to cease to remember the doppelganger and merely remember a young woman that was cherished.
"There has never been another that captures my heart as well as Elena. For years I have tried to put her from my mind, yet I cannot. One's mate cannot be spurned in such a way and I am glad to have her back.
"We have the future ahead of us and I welcome every step of the journey with her and her alone."
Elena smacked the book shut, her heart beating wildly in her chest. Her mind struggled to keep up with what she had read. Elijah was romantically involved with her. With her. On what planet did that even make sense?
It was obvious that they were all hiding something from her, but she wasn't sure what. Peering out the window once more, she realized it wasn't that far a drop if she were to jump. She could learn more from the outside than the inside, after all.
People smiled at her when she passed. They went out of their way to nod to her or give her a look that conveyed a sort of respect that she simply didn't understand.
Last time she checked, she was a sixteen-year-old girl that lived in a nondescript town in Virginia with her family. She was a cheerleader, a friend, and a nice girl. Certainly undeserving of the admiration that the people of the city seemed to bestow upon her. She recalled none of their faces, none of their names, but that hardly seemed to matter.
"Out without you mate?"
Elena stopped and looked at the dark-skinned man that was walking towards her. Looking behind her and realizing he was talking to her, she smiled as to not give herself away. "Only sometimes."
"You're a shit liar," he grinned, coming to a stop in front of her. Dark eyes peered down at her and she looked up defiantly. "Elijah doesn't know you're missing, does he?"
She challenged, "Is he supposed to?"
"Considering the Quarter is crawling with people who want something against him, I'd say so."
"And what about you? Are you his friend or trying to get something against him?"
The man looked confused. "What do you mean? You know what side I'm on, Gilbert."
"Of course," she nodded. It was futile trying to cover up her error when the man took out his phone and began typing. "It was nice seeing you, though. I'll – I'll pass that along to Elijah when I see him."
"Ah, ah, ah," he said, grabbing her upper arm and pulling her towards him. "I don't think so. You staged a coup and I'm not looking to get dismembered by an Original. You're coming with me, please."
Elena struggled against him, pulling away as hard as she could and becoming frustrated when it was doing no good. With a huff, she looked up at him and said lowly, "I'll scream."
"No you won't," he replied, catching her eye and she swore that she actually smacked her mouth shut against her will. "You'll wait with me until Elijah gets down here."
"I don't have to like it," she grunted and jerked her arm out of his grasp. Unfortunately, it felt as if her legs wouldn't work to get away from him. "What did you do to me?" She demanded.
He whistled low. "I thought the amnesia was a joke; apparently not."
"Who are you?"
"Marcel Gerard, your mate's ally and, currently, your babysitter."
She hissed, "Why can't I move?"
"I compelled you," Marcel said easily. "Vampire thing – don't worry, I'm not hungry."
Her chocolate eyes widened so much that she was sure they were about to fall out of her head. "V-Vampire? What?"
"You were one for a while. Twice, actually," he continued, not realizing she was having an existential crisis next to him. "Human, vampire, human, vampire, and now human, again. Seems like quite a ride when you break it down that way. As far as I know, you're the only one to do it. Maybe it's because you're the doppelganger, or maybe because you have witches on your side, I'm not sure."
"I think I'm going to be sick."
And she wasn't lying. Her insides felt like they were trying to become outsides and he was speaking about the impossible as if she had asked him what he had for breakfast. Which, if what he was saying was true, he probably ate some poor tourist.
He looked at her in worry. "Please don't."
"I'll take it from here, Marcellus."
Elena looked up to see Elijah staring down at her. "Come along, min kjære. We have to get you somewhere a little safer."
After everything Marcel said, she should have been scared of him. Scared to take his hand and follow him anywhere. But somewhere, deep down, she knew that he would never hurt her. She trusted him inexplicitly and if that made her a fool, then so be it.
Taking his hand, she softly said, "Okay."
"How real is all of this?"
Elijah was surprised when she had asked about vampires and witches and her part in all of it. He was even more surprised when she remained calm during the entire explanation – the origin of the vampires, the role she had played time and time again, what had led to this moment, and, most importantly, who they were to each other. Elena had taken the news so well that he feared she might be in shock.
He had taken her to the plantation house that his family hadn't inhabited since Hope was a child, hoping for privacy. Jeremy was lurking somewhere if it didn't end well and Stefan was happily on his way, but his presence seemed to be a moot point now.
"Like…Marcel said that I've been a vampire a few times and turned back into a human – I thought it was a permanent thing."
"It normally is," Elijah answered. "There was a cure, a way to return to being human, and you sought it for you and your…lover at the time."
"Yes. You were both going to take the cure and live a human life, but circumstances got in the way and you were preserved for a time. I looked after you and we've been together since."
The petite brunette nodded slowly in understanding. "So, this is my life now?"
He wanted to say yes. He wanted to say that there was no way out of the bond once they'd completed it, but she had a fresh start. A new chance to live her life without the supernatural taint.
Elijah gave a tight-lipped smile. "I met you many, many years ago in a dusty, abandoned house not unlike this one. At the time, you were human and I was…tasked with retrieving you with little care for your life outside of taking it when it was needed." He sighed, watching how she raptly followed his every move. "Now, I stand here as someone who has loved you for nearly as long and I have realized that I cannot take your choice from you, again."
"I don't understand."
"Sweet, Elena. You could still be what you want to be, what you said you were when I met you. You can go back to Mystic Falls and resume a normal, complete life."
She swallowed harshly. "And everyone I know is dead – that wouldn't be the life I knew."
"That is very true, however, you would not have to put on a charade of not remembering your life in the city. You would not be forced to do anything and you would remain safe and human."
"Is my humanity that important to you?"
He paused, taken aback by her question. He had fought long and hard to keep her human. To keep her away from such a life of darkness and foreboding that sometimes he forgot how insightful she truly was.
"You have a second chance. You could go home – "
"Did we really want a baby?"
He stopped breathing. "Where did you hear that?"
"Your journal," she whispered, looking down in embarrassment. Her cheeks burned and she knew he was staring at her. "I thought…I thought if I knew more, maybe I would remember."
Elijah took a deep breath and nodded. "It was a thought that was explored before you transitioned again. We…did not have a chance to…it didn't happen."
"Was it possible?"
The single word slipped through his lips unbidden, but he couldn't lie to his mate. There was a way to conceive as long as Elena was still human, but it wasn't worth putting a target on her back.
The house shook around them and Elena stood as soon as he took a step towards the windows.
"What's – oh!"
The windows exploded inwards, leaving glass everywhere as he shielded her.
"Get upstairs!" He ordered. It wasn't long until he fell to his knees and clutched his head in anguish.
"Elijah? Elijah!" She cried, dropping to her knees beside him and wrapping her arms around him. "What's wrong? What can I do?"
Then she heard it. A high-pitched screech that made her scream in pain. Tears streamed from her eyes and she couldn't focus. Her vision became a blur and she welcomed the relief of unconsciousness.
"Remind me why we're doing this again?"
"You scratch my back, I scratch yours," Finn answered, pouring over a grimoire. "Incapacitating Elijah was a pain, her brother was simple. Why are young vampires still so impressionable? You would think he would've thought enough to protect himself from a witch. Instead, he's on the first flight back to his hometown with little more than an urge of my mind. You got the witch, I presume?"
Lucien looked affronted. "Of course I did! Do you think I'd be standing here if I didn't? I had to get another witch just to get this bag of bones." He paused and wrinkled his nose. "Well, not entirely bones, mind you. Still decomposing as it were."
Being in the cemetery wasn't anything that Finn was unfamiliar with, but he hated making deals with vampires; especially Lucien Castle. He was as fickle as he was friendly and there was no way to verify the body that had been brought to him was that of the witch.
More than anything, Finn wanted to kill the dumb boy and go about consecrating the witch, but that wasn't an option. They were functioning on limited time – limited time until Elijah woke and became hell bent on finding the sleeping girl.
"Marcel has been on the lookout, too," Lucien said. He hovered around the entrance to the tomb, repeatedly looking over his shoulder as if something was going to come and snatch him. "What did you need the bloody witch for, anyway? I thought you just needed doppelganger blood."
Finn flipped a few pages and pinched a tuft of herbs between his fingers. "To consecrate a witch that didn't practice ancestral magic, the one absorbing the magic must be closely related, either by blood or bond, to said witch. Therefore, I cannot be the one absorbing it, but a human can. Specifically this human."
"Let me get this right – you're going to channel the magic to her, suck it out into you, and then hope that she falls in love with your witchy self after you used her as a-a pit stop?" The vampire asked in disbelief. He shook his head and guffawed. "And here I thought I was stupid."
The older man clenched his teeth. "And where did you get the idea of love?"
"It's written on your face, mate. The Petrovas really are something, aren't they?"
"So it would seem."
Lucien shuffled about, a line appearing between his brows. It didn't make sense for the human to be a conduit of the magic. To absorb magic, the one being absorbed had to die. That's why witches killed each other in the Quarter.
"You're not planning on helping me become an Original, are you?" He finally asked. "You want the girl and the magic for yourself – but how are you going to get the magic out, eh? You have to kill her."
Finn grimaced. The book snapped shut in front of him and he glared heavily at the other man. "I've thought about that. If she were to transition once I've bled her and absorbed the magic, then she would be living, but a vampire. Then, I could restart the process of restoring her humanity. She would be a vampire temporarily and then human once more. That's why you're here."
"You want my blood."
He shrugged. "Better she be linked to Niklaus for a moment instead of Elijah. Now, be a helpful lad and bleed into that vial over there. We haven't much time."