It's been a year. I'm sorry. Enjoy.


Chapter 3

"Where is she?" Elijah asked as calmly as he was capable.

When Klaus had called and informed him of Elena's sudden appearance, at Rousseau's of all places, he worried. He worried that she was right back in the middle of Mikaelson family drama, but she dodged a bullet seeing as Finn was already away. Kol, however…

The hybrid grinned wolfishly and glanced at the ceiling above him. "Marcel hasn't left her side. He won't let anyone near her – "

"Surely I would be an exception," the elder man said. He missed the look his brother shot him as he ascended the stairs.

"I'd like to have a talk about how she's still alive when you've finished!" Klaus yelled up after him.

Somehow, he knew that Marcel would put his mother in their old room and he was surprised that the room seemed gloomier, even with her inside it.

But seeing her there, for the first time in what seemed like a lifetime, nearly made his knees buckle. She was olive porcelain against silk, a vision of what they once shared.

"You lied to me."

Without missing a beat, he answered, "I never said that she died."

Marcel stood, baring his teeth at his pseudo-father. "You never corrected me! I went decades, Elijah, decadesthinking my mother died! I thought we were a family."

"Marcellus – "

Marcel held up his hand in warning. "Don't. My mother is the one that gave me that name. You can call me Marcel – or nothing at all." He took a deep breath and once again sat by his mother's side, holding her hand. "I'll take it from here, Elijah."

Recognizing the dismissal, Elijah gracefully bowed his head and backed out of the room. It wouldn't stop him from seeing her, but he would step aside for her son.


Elena was tired. And surprisingly comfy. Surprising because the last thing she remembered was pain. And Marcel.

Her eyes flew open and she wished they hadn't. The room was so familiar that it hurt – the same wallpaper, the curtains she had hung, the pictures…

"Mother."

Marcellus.

He looked just as she remembered him, even though she had seen him just nights before. It was different seeing him up close, seeing how his skin hadn't aged, but his eyes had. They were more tired, more alert. She was used to the carefree Marcellus that she had raised, not one so guarded. But, oh, he was handsome. As handsome as could be.

"Oh, my love," she whispered. Her hand went out of its own accord and cupped his cheek, smiling when he turned into her touch. "How I've missed you."

"Mother."

It was apparent in that moment how much they had both missed each other. Limbs were tangled and tears shed as he held her as close as he could, both cursing her for leaving him and thanking her for returning.

When Marcel pulled away and looked into her eyes, his were wet. "I missed you, Mother. Maybe once you're settled, you could tell me of your life since you've been away."

"I would love nothing more," she nodded dutifully. "Who knows of my return?"

"Klaus," he answered before hesitating, "And Elijah. Rebekah and Kol don't know – as for Finn, he hasn't been in contact."

Elena briefly grimaced. "I'd like to keep it as quiet as possible. I overheard some distress in the Quarter – some unrest. Is everything alright?"

"The witches are getting a little full of themselves – I have it handled."

"You or Niklaus?"

His jaw tensed when he looked away. "One in the same. Klaus showed up a little bit ago wanting the Quarter, but Elijah had already let me lead. We're…working together."

"If you say so. I've never known Niklaus to be trustworthy."

"Things change," her son answered cryptically. He stood and gave her a soft smile. "I'd like to introduce you back into the Compound, if you'd allow me, but I know you want to keep a low profile."

"As low as possible."

He gave a tight nod in respect. "I have to take care of a few things – you plan on sticking around right?"

"Of course, my love. Be safe, will you?"


"You were a ghost."

"Well, I technically am dead," she retorted.

Elijah sighed and slipped into the room. Marcel had left not even five minutes before and he had to see her for himself. Whole, healthy, beautiful.

"And," she continued, "I wasn't ready to be found. I went through a lot to try to figure out who I was – "

"And did you?" He asked, his feet leading him across the room and to the empty space behind her where she was brushing out her mahogany curls in front of the vanity she used to sit at for hours. When she was his. "Did you figure it out?"

Elena sighed and set the brush down. "Unfortunately not. I spent the 1900s about. Travelling, trying not to put down roots. I lived quite a few places and managed to get by without too much attention. I ended up with Damon in the end. He found me, you know. I think we were both ready, but we've grown apart. Not in a resentful way," she sighed, finding his eyes in the mirror, "More of a…difference in ways."

"The Salvatore boy? I am surprised, little love. I did not think that he would hold your attention for long. He's very…" he paused and thought of the right word. "Singular minded, yes?"

"I've had a hard time adapting to this century," she whispered. Shame flooded her cheeks while her voice was barely audible. "It's much too forward for my liking. Too crass. Where Damon has flourished, I have floundered. I don't believe I'm cut out for this type of life – living as a human. It's more difficult to hide that I don't fit in when they're always around each other."

Elijah smiled softly. "You aren't the only one that has difficulty, Elena. It is with great thought that I have managed to integrate into society without drawing too much attention. There will always be eyes, but it is at your discretion whom attention you command."

"Who's Hayley?" The question had popped into her head and her mouth had failed to filter it. Instantly, she tried to backpedal, "I'm sorry, I – "

But Elijah wasn't upset. In fact, there was an even bigger smile threatening his proper mouth. "And where did you hear that name?"

"In the Quarter. I tried to follow you, and she was with you. You seemed annoyed by her."

"She was under the impression that I was interested in her in more than a friendly way. She was quickly remedied of that notion."

The brunette swallowed harshly. "She's very pretty."

"Yes, but not in the way that is attractive to me." His fingers trailed through her curls lovingly and she turned into his touch. "I have a feeling that you've been without for too long."

Once again her chocolate eyes captured his through the vintage glass, reminding him that their position was so very familiar. "The Quarter is full of vampires. Your brother included." Her eyes widened almost comically and suddenly she was standing and gazing up at him urgently. "Your brother! Finn is in Mystic Falls and he found Damon – he remembered him! That's why I fled. I'm not ready. I don't know what the next step is, but being Finn's plaything once more is not it."

Elijah's brow furrowed. "I was aware he was away, but I didn't believe he was tracking you. Or, rather, the one the witches are tracking. There's going to be a witch uprising if we can't get the Quarter under control. Niklaus has become a tyrant with Marcel second in command. And with that, comes the want to subdue my brother in a way that cannot be done normally. They wish to bind him."

"And they need me, or rather, my blood. But I'm not human, anymore – "

"It's a matter of blood. Simply doppelganger blood. The ritual doesn't call for the sacrifice to be human or not."

Elena sighed. "I can't be sacrificed again. Being a vampire is my last stop before I meet the other side.

"I will not allow that to happen. You blood can be used to weaken us or strengthen us, depending upon the witch and the spell that is used. Kol believes that he has a witch in his pocket – the very seer that saw you. If he can convince her to use your blood to strengthen us instead of weakening us, it will be a moot point and the witches will go back to minding their own business, as will we."

Her body seemed to relax, practically melting into the man in front of her. He held her up with ease, ever aware of her heart and her needs, while reigning in his own.

"Kol should be returning soon. Rebekah is in the bayou, negotiating with the werewolf pack that resides there," her nose had scrunched up and he pressed a kiss to the top of her head. "I know that you'd rather see my sister first, but I'm afraid Kol will not be swayed from seeing you once he knows. And, he will know, as soon as he steps foot in the Compound."

She sighed and got on her tiptoes to catch the corner of his mouth with her plush lips. "The sooner we get the witch and the spell, the sooner the Quarter can go back to rights and we can deal with your eldest brother, yes?"

"Anything for you, little love."


"And you're sure that Davina is on our side?" Klaus asked for the fifth time since Kol had walked in the door. The latter had barely managed to snag a bag of blood from the fridge before being bombarded with questions. "I can't afford to be watching my back – "

"Of course she isn't on our side! You're killing her friends! She likes us," he emphasized, referring to his siblings that weren't Klaus, "But she has no problems letting you rot on the other side if you piss her off enough. Which, if you keep killing people she cares about, she will end you. Do you understand that?"

Klaus rolled his eyes. His foot kicked against the bar as he sat in the stool, creating an annoying thump. "If I can get the werewolves on my side, the witches wouldn't stand a chance – "

"They can literally make your brain explode with a single thought."

"Well, that would be a lot of brains exploding at once, then, and, quite honestly, I doubt their ability to handle myself, the Quarter vampires, and the Crescent wolves all at once," the hybrid answered cockily. "They will submit or pay the price."

Kol grunted in annoyance and stalked out of the kitchen, fully intent on going upstairs and attempting to smother himself with a pillow to get out of the age-old family obligation of loving one another.

"Kol – "

"Not now, Elijah. I truly don't have time for anymore family squabbles right now."

"Kol."

At Elijah's tone, he turned and leveled a truly impressive glare at the older man before snapping, "What?"

"There's someone that would like to see you."

Kol stiffened and scented the air, his undead heart nearly stopping in its entirety when he smelt something completely familiar and distant all at once. "No."

"It's true, brother. She returned earlier in the afternoon."

Kol was already pushing past his brother, his mind set on getting to her. "Why wasn't I told?" He growled, nearly walking into a wall in his haste. "I should've been the first to know – "

"I'm telling you now."

He didn't want to talk anymore. He didn't want to hear anything Elijah had to say. He didn't want to do anything other than break down the door that was between him and the love of his life and take her in his arms for the first time in nearly two hundred years and never let her go again.

Kol wasn't sure what he was expecting, but seeing Elena gathering clothes into a suitcase wasn't it.

"Elena."

It was said with such love and adoration that the woman in question paused her ministrations and looked at the door in confusion before the largest smile came across her beautiful lips. Her mouth opened to say something, but she shut it as soon as he was against her, pulling her tightly into his arms and burying his face in her curls.

It was something that he had done nearly a thousand times before, but each time felt like the first time. Each time he was with her, his skin seemed like it was on fire and his heart on the verge of stopping. It was the most exquisite torture and he would gladly endure it for the rest of forever.

"Oh, darling, I missed you so much," he whispered with so much feeling it made her knees buckle. He held her up easily, wanting to kiss her lips and make her feel at home once more.

When she pulled away and gazed into his eyes, it was like everything clicked into place for him. The girls after her had been nothing but bed warmers. His heart belonged to her through and through and he was a fool to think anything different.

"I love you," she whispered to quietly that it sounded like a shout in the room. "I love you, Kol Mikaelson."

He grinned, a full-blown grin that took up his entire face. "And I love you."


"She'll help – I know she will."

"And does your standing invitation to her knickers see to that?"

Elena watched curiously as Kol and Rebekah went back and forth. Granted, there had always been a playful teasing between them, but they seemed more hardened – more hurtful than before. Had she caused that? They were as thick as thieves before she had left.

Elijah and Klaus had excused themselves nearly an hour before Rebekah had trudged into the Compound with a bad attitude and an even worse wardrobe seeing as the bayou wasn't exactly a city. But the smile on her face when she had seen Elena was almost worth the hell she had gone through to help her brother.

"I haven't been in her knickers, thank you very much!" Kol retorted hotly. His brown eyes cut to Elena's before he looked away in shame. "I've just been helping her. She doesn't have anyone. She died – Marcel still thinks she's dead! I'm keeping her hidden and safe from her bloody coven."

"Marcellus knows her?" Elena asked quietly.

Rebekah made an affirmative sound in the back of her throat. "He was quite distraught when he heard of her passing. She was sacrificed for ancestral magic and managed to come back more powerful. She's our hidden weapon and, with your blood, hopefully all this will blow over." The blonde paused and looked over at her best friend from her place lounging on the sofa. "Speaking of problems blowing over, when should we expect Damon, do you think?"

"Damon?"

Ignoring Kol, the brunette answered, "I didn't tell him where I was going. I assume Elijah told you?"

"More like he sent me a rather lengthy text, but what have you."

Kol tried again. "Damon? The boy that travelled here with us – "

"An unfortunate attachment," Rebekah continued, "He wasn't that good in bed, you know. I suppose to each her own, however. He was always a bit too…hm, I can't think of the word. Ridiculous? Intense? Much too much. I assume he's leading Finn elsewhere?"

"Finn?" Kol asked, even more confused.

"We didn't have a plan. We simply decided to go separate ways to avoid being caught. I couldn't face him alone and I needed to come home. I thought that we would be stronger together. I can't run forever. Lord knows I've tried."

Poor Kol looked as if he was ready to burst a blood vessel. "Damon? Finn? Would someone care to fill me in on everything I've missed?" He gave his sister a haughty look. "Apparently, our brother cares more about getting you informed – "

"You were too busy trying to inhale Elena's face with your mouth. Calm down."

Elena blushed before giving Kol the summary of what had happened over the past two hundred years, including her tryst with Damon and how they had lived together for a time before they'd gotten to be to complacent with one another.

Kol snorted. "At least it took decades for us to be in a rut – poor Salvatore can't even handle you for – "

"Shut it, Kol. Be pleased she hasn't said whom she's decided to share her bed with yet."

Elena, sensing Rebekah's playful mood, eagerly built onto the blonde's thought. "Well, I was thinking that since it hasn't seemed to work out with three of your brothers, that I might as well take up time with you, Bekah. I've never been with a blonde."

Unfortunately, neither girl could keep it together for long and soon they were in stitches as Kol's mouth opened and closed a few times while he struggled and sputtered.

"I'm only kidding," Elena managed to get out between giggles while Rebekah nearly fell off the sofa. "Lord, look at your face. I'm sharing my bed with you, you idiot."

"Idiot? I much prefer other pet names."

The brunette rolled her eyes. "Well, come on, pet. Let's get the witch here and see about getting the city set to rights, shall we?"


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