October 16, 2010
If Finn was excited about anything in this new time period, it had to be travel. Airfare was cheap and reliable, and he was able to book his ticket in less than a minute flat. If the answer to his problems was in Mystic Falls, he sure as hell wasn't going to let it pass him by.
The witches didn't want to dally in another coven's area and had to wait to get permission to travel through the city, but an Original had no such qualms. He bid his family a vague goodbye and left New Orleans without a backwards glance. He didn't waste time in the airport or making small talk with passengers, he simply waited until the plane landed and took a private car to the nicest – phrasing it nicely – hotel that Mystic Falls had to offer.
If a woman was what the witches were looking for, he would be sure to find her.
But a familiar face wasn't what he was expecting.
The town of Mystic Falls was small to say the least and if the Original was going to be living there, it was good to make his rounds, be seen in the city, and not be known as a recluse. So, he had decided to shop at the local stores and eat at the grill that seemed to hold the locals attention.
And seeing the familiar raven-haired man that he hadn't seen in a few hundred years was definitely not what he had bargained for.
Damon looked up from the bar, glancing at Finn before his eyes widened in surprise. "Long time, no see."
The older man gave a curt nod and gingerly accepted the seat next to the other man when he motioned to it. "I didn't expect to run into you. Here of all places. It's good to see that you're faring well."
He snorted. "It's been a long time since New Orleans." Damon shrugged and downed the rest of the amber liquid in his glass. "Well, what can I do for you? No one really comes here for…the scenery, y'know?"
"Are you the only…afflicted one living here?"
"It's how I maintain a low profile," the dark-haired man nodded. "Staying in town long?"
Finn hesitated. "Not long, surely. I'm here on a favor to a few witches in New Orleans. They're looking for someone…do you know of any – "
"The only witches here are the Bennetts. And they don't do favors for anyone."
"Elena! Get your shit packed! Right now!"
The brunette groaned from her place on the bed, her book slamming shut as she rolled onto her back. "Why?" She yelled back.
It wasn't often that Damon thought that they should leave their cozy little bubble – unless he went a little overboard with feeding – and he sounded…scared.
"Because your husband is at the goddamn grill," he panted as if he had been a human running up the stairs. "Like, legit husband. Finn? Yeah, he's fucking here and that means you have to fucking go."
How did he find her? He was supposed to be in England. Supposed to be somewhere other than her little town that was boring and safe.
"He said he came from New Orleans," Damon continued, grabbing a suitcase from the closet and filling it hastily. "So, maybe your friends are still there? Or maybe he's been there by himself. I don't know," he threw his hands up before he grabbed another shirt from the closet. "But what I do know is that you need to get out of here or else we're both going to end up six feet under."
"Six feet under?" She parroted. "I don't think that will be the issue, if I'm being honest."
Damon stopped and glared at her. "I don't think honestly if important right now. We've gotta get out of here."
"Did he say something to you?"
"Yes! I couldn't ignore him! He recognized me." He was exasperated at this point, slamming the suitcase closed with more effort than truly needed. It was zipped and chucked towards the door before he headed into the bathroom. "He knows I'm settled down here. We have roots!"
Elena slumped against the sheets. It wasn't exactly how she envisioned everything going. "Wait. If he saw you that means that you can't disappear. If you leave with me, he'll know something is wrong."
"What am I supposed to do? We're public!" He yelled, the sound echoing off the walls. The sound of toiletries being swiped off the vanity nearly muffled him. "Everyone knows I'm married. I'm married to Elena. He's smart, right? He'll piece it together with or without us."
"There's only one option, then," she sighed. With great effort, she managed to get herself out of bed and into the closet, hastily picking something fit for being on the run. "We leave, but go separate directions. I don't want to put you in danger, but if I leave you here, I will."
There was a pause followed by heavy footsteps. "'Lena, I can't – "
"We've done it before."
"You left me before," he pointed out with a grimace. "I didn't really have a choice."
"When the time is right, we'll meet again. Besides, I think we've both grown quite tired of this charade." She knew that Damon agreed when he didn't seem to argue. "Married life is fine, but I think that's not for you, sweetheart."
His blue eyes narrowed and took a long look at her. "What are you saying?"
"I'm saying," she enunciated clearly, "That I think we've run our course for the time being. As I said before, I don't particularly care for this era. Perhaps it's time that I explore and see what else there is to offer."
"You could get hurt."
She agreed easily. "Yes, I could. I could also take off my daylight ring and stand in the center of our lawn until my skin turns to ash. The point is that I've always lived in a gilded cage. Whether it be from the Mikaelsons or you, my love. When I was waiting for you, I had a lot of time on my hands to figure out what I wanted and, unfortunately, I'm still thinking. But, I know that you're unhappy. I'm unhappy. This isn't what I envisioned when I left New Orleans so long ago. I was naïve to think that time wouldn't change the world so much when I've seen it happen right before my eyes."
"I don't want to do this without you." His voice broke just enough that she was able to pick it up and it nearly broke her heart along with it. "I don't want to be running and worrying about where you are and what you're doing. What if you're in danger or he finds you or – "
"That's an awful lot of 'or's," she said gently. Reaching out, she cupped his cheek softly, tenderly. "We must move on from this. We must evolve in this world to make it, no? I do love you, Damon, but this is an empty façade that has left us more drained than fulfilled, don't you think? A lot has changed since 1864."
Tears clung to his lower lashes. "Not the way I feel about you."
"The idea of me is different than who I truly am. I have not adjusted to this time, this – this change. I fear it may take me longer. You're thriving and I'm holding you back. Take some time. It will do us both some good."
January 13, 2011
"Did you hear about Sophie?"
"Gone mad with power," the other woman tsk'd. "Should've stayed with the coven."
Elena kept her ear against the brick of the alleyway, hoping to hear more.
"But Davina Claire, associating with that boy. He's not even a boy, is he? He's a monster!"
"A little wretch of a thing, really. Older than dirt, I'd bet. He's probably using something against her to get what he wants. I've had to take my family away from the Quarter because of this. It's not right, it's in our blood!"
"Sabine will fix this. You know she will."
They tittered away and she sighed, glad to breathe again. Obviously, the older witches weren't worried about being overheard. Especially by a vampire old enough to remember their ancestors.
She wasn't sure what led her back to New Orleans. Maybe the promise of her family reunited or maybe the whispers of how the city was falling apart. Either way, she had bounced through covens and listened to everything she could while remaining hidden in plain sight. No one expected the doppelganger anymore – not when she tried to change how she looked.
A baseball cap, loose fitting clothes, and not a stitch of makeup helped her be as remarkable as wallpaper in a city that never slept.
"Thierry! Get back to Garden!" A voice hissed from the darkness.
Elena flattened herself against the dirty brick and let her senses take over. The city was crawling with supernatural – vampires and witches alike. It made her head hurt.
"I just got out of there! We gotta get to Marcel – there's a whole lot of witchery going on. Took out everyone in the Garden."
Trying to be as stealthy as possible, she crept along with them, careful to keep her distance. What the hell was the Garden? Why did they seem scared?
"Maybe they'll kill that hybrid son of a bitch," the other man, Thierry said. "But even we couldn't be that lucky."
They went quiet after that and she hurried along after them. If she could get to the cause of the issue, maybe she could get to her family.
"Where are you – "
Elena suddenly found herself crowded against the side of the building she had been trying to desperately to blend into. The man looked down at her, the veins pulsing beneath his eyes and his fangs slotted against his bottom lip.
"What do you want? Why are you following us?"
"I-I was lost," she managed to stammer out. Playing the victim sometimes worked out, right? "I heard voices…"
The other man popped up behind him, glancing down at her in distaste. "We don't have time for this. Marcel – "
"Can wait for the moment, Diego," he interrupted. "You're a little young to be alone in the Quarter, aren't you? Maybe we should play with you a little." His fangs glistened in the moonlight when he smiled and she grinned back stupidly. "What's so funny?"
With a deep breath, she asked, "Take me to Marcellus, please."
The darker man, Diego, barked out a laugh. "Marcellus? I think he'd string you up for using that name. It's Marcel."
"I think he'd make an exception for me." With little force, she wrapped her fingers around Thierry's wrist and crushed the fragile bones there in warning. She had never been one for violence, never felt the inclination to hurt someone, but a part of her that valued her life – and her family – knew that brute force sometimes played a part in the game between vampires.
Thierry jerked his hand back, grunting in pain as he glared. "You little bitch."
"I'd watch that mouth of yours if I were you. I don't take kindly to being treated in such an unladylike fashion. I'd wager I'm a bit older than you, after all."
Diego's jaw clenched. "She talks like them. Like the – "
"Originals?" She asked, holding back a smirk when they seemed to pale. "I should like to be reacquainted with them. But first, Marcellus, if you please."
Silence seemed to be the constant during the duration of their journey. Thierry led while Diego caged her in from behind, scared that she would run. Truthfully, she had every intention of running. The thought of returning to the home she had built with Elijah, where she had raised Marcellus, made her very skin itch in a way that it hadn't since she was still human. She hadn't expected that her first night back in the city would lead her right back to where she had fled from centuries before.
They were leading her to the heart of the city, not the plantation house that she had once known. Part of her was happy for the change while the other worried that she was walking into a trap. A trap that would end badly for her.
"Keep up," Diego rasped at her, shoving her shoulder in the darkness and nearly making her stumble.
Elena bit her tongue at the response that laid on her lips, intent on keeping a cool head.
The man in front of her turned his head back for only a moment. "Almost there."
Her boots clipped against the ground. It was methodical, calming, but did nothing to quell the storm of uncertainty that was raging inside her. She was unceremoniously pushed through the door of a large building, one that she surely wouldn't remember again. It was a bit refreshing to be out of the rain, however.
"Wait with her," Thierry said before he was off in a flash, disappearing up a staircase that she hadn't noticed.
Her chocolate eyes roamed the hallway, taking in possible exits. Diego wouldn't be hard to incapacitate, but if there was a chance to see her son again, she would do it.
"Is there some place private we can wait?" She asked quietly.
Suddenly, there was crashing coming from the center of the courtyard. The sound of smashing wood and yelling and she stepped towards it on instinct.
Diego grabbed her, moving her behind him. "Go wait in the room at the end of the hall. Nothing funny, girl."
"Oh, for goodness sake, move over," she nearly growled, having lost her patience. Thankfully, the other vampire did move, but not happily. She followed the sound of wreckage, stopping when it opened up to a large courtyard that must've been beautiful before someone began destroying it. Someone that was extremely familiar.
"That won't bring her back, you know."
Elena stopped dead at the voice, one she hadn't heard since she fled England. Klaus was approaching her child, a look of grief on his face that was so unusual for him.
"This is your fault," Marcel said, turning his attention from the broken furniture. "I should've never let you anywhere near her."
"Marcel – "
"This city was fine before you came back – we were fine!" He hit his hands against his chest – whether it was a way to convince himself or Klaus, Elena wasn't sure. "Davina was safe! She was in control! If you hadn't gotten her worked up – if you hadn't of killed that boy – "
Klaus walked forward, his hand out in a peace offering. "My condolences to the boy, but don't lose perspective. We still have a community! The vampires of this town – "
"I don't care! I don't care about the vampires! She is dead! Do you hear me?" Marcel cried, his face screwed up in a painful mask.
Klaus didn't hesitate to go to him, wrapping his hands around his upper arms in a poor effort of grounding the boy he had come to care for. She thought he would compel him before he took Marcel in a hug, holding him tight as the darker man cried. "I'm sorry. You may think I know nothing of your grief, but you're wrong."
Elena's hand went to her mouth as she watched the heartfelt exchange. Could Klaus truly have changed? The man that she had known was ruthless and savage and everything bad, but perhaps time could heal.
Without a second thought, she turned around, swiftly making her way towards the door she had come through. This wasn't a moment that she wanted to intrude on.
"Where do you think you're going?" Diego asked, reaching for her once more.
Evading his seeking fingers, she sidestepped the vampire and briefly glanced towards the courtyard. "I don't think now's the time," she said softly. "Don't worry – I'm not going too far. I would be…indebted if you didn't tell Marcellus of this."
"And are you gonna be a threat to the Quarter?" He asked in a disbelieving tone.
"No," she answered without missing a beat. "Simply observing. Passing through, if you please."
"You're new around here, aren't you?"
"Yes, just moved in a few months ago."
"How do you like it so far?"
Finn was very tired of small talk in a small town with small-minded people. It had been a long few months trying to blend in and catch any sign of Damon once more. Which, the man had disappeared without a trace, possibly spooked by the original.
"Settling in nicely," he answered politely. "Trying to make friends and see how everything works. It's been a long time since I've lived in such a…charming town."
The bartender smiled and gave him a wink. "Well, if you need anything, let me know."
"Actually," he said, catching her eye, "I'm looking for someone. Damon Salvatore?"
"Oh," she fretted. "I haven't seen him in a few months. He and his wife used to live in the Boarding House on the edge of town. I haven't seen her, either."
Married? Odd of him as a vampire.
With a smile, he nodded, "Thank you. I don't think I'll be staying here too long. Perhaps a month more."
There was a different energy to the Quarter when the sun rose again. It was charged with tension and unease and it drifted through Elena's bones without permission.
She heard whispers of dead vampires being found surrounded by voodoo nonsense that she hadn't given a second thought to since she last saw Marie Laveau. The witches of New Orleans were understandably frightened, based on what she had managed to pick up from gossip. Executions, supernatural weather, a Harvest of some sort. She was obviously out of the loop, but something had upset Marcellus to the core.
No vampires had come for her, so she assumed that the Quarter was still in the dark about her arrival. Maybe Diego and Thierry could be trusted.
"Hayley – "
"I said I was sorry, Elijah. I never meant to betray your trust."
"Yes, and I've heard that many times over the past twenty-four hours. It seems to fall a bit flatter each time."
Elena sank down in the chair she was occupying outside of a bar, pulling the ball cap down further to hide her face. Chancing a peek, she noticed the tall woman next to the original, graceful and fluid in her movements. There was a heartbeat, quicker than human, but still present among the bustle of the city.
"As of now, Rebekah is my priority. And if who we think has returned to the living, we must act accordingly."
They moved quickly through the streets and Elena got up as stealthily as she could to follow. Unfortunately, the streets had changed too much for her to keep up and they were lost in less than a few blocks.
"Dammit," she cursed.
Doubling back proved fruitless when she realized she couldn't retrace her steps in the right way to find Elijah's scent. Bars began to blend together the closer she got to Bourbon Street and it was frustrating.
A muffled scream drew her attention and she peered into a shuttered bar, jumping back when something hit the window. Glancing around the street, she was thankful that no one noticed and she easily broke the lock on the door to slip inside.
A man in a white suit was standing over something – someone – and it looked like he was in trouble.
"Get out of here!"
A woman was standing behind the bar, a phone in her hand as she ducked when a bottle came flying at her.
Elena didn't hesitate as she jumped at the man, wrapping her arm around his throat in an effort to give the person beneath him time to move. And move he did.
With a single hit, the man in white went flying and took Elena with him, her back slamming against the bar and causing her vision to white out momentarily. His fingers pressed against her forehead as he chanted. Pain seared through her veins and she gasped at the sensation.
Too much was happening at once.
The man on the ground was Marcellus.
Another slam to the bar had her tumbling over it, crashing on top of the bottles that were already broken.
"Klaus is on his way!" The woman yelled, much too close to her.
The noise continued, but Elena couldn't seem to lift her head to find out who was winning. Something landed on top of her and she heard a crack before she felt the tendrils of darkness pulling at her.