Author's Note: This is the first fic I've ever actually completed and/or posted for TVD or TO, and it's the chaptered fic I've finished or posted in a very long time. As far as canon and spoilers, I haven't actually watched much of the show past mid-season 5 of TVD and mid-season 1 of The Originals, so I'm ignoring canon past about TVD 5x13 and the relative episode of The Originals. Considering the shows fly fast and loose with their own canon, I don't feel too bad about it. Also, this fic is un-beta'd, but I've lightly edited it myself. If you want to beta, you're welcome to send me a PM or leave a thoughtful review where you also request the position. Otherwise, you are subject to my idea of good grammar. Finally, this fic is written in its entirety, including a few related one-shots that I'll be posting alongside it, all of which only need to be edited before being posted, so I should be able to post regularly and frequently.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, Beauty and the Beast, or anything else recognizable. They all belong to their respective owners and I'm just grateful they let us play with them.
Caroline blinked. It wasn't terror, really, and it definitely wasn't because her eyes were dry or she was tired. No, this was pure confusion. Caroline Forbes could not believe her eyes. Because standing directly in front of her was Elijah Mikaelson, and she was in her apartment at Whitmore. Her apartment that was very much inhabited by her very live friend Cara Lynn who was most assuredly on vervain (and, admittedly, completely unaware of vampires).
"Hello, Caroline," he greeted in possibly the most gentlemanly voice Caroline had ever heard, although if her friends and Klaus were to be believed, Elijah was the Original gentleman (pun wholeheartedly intended). Caroline herself had had very limited interactions with the Elder Original. Most of his dealings with Mystic Falls had involved making deals with Elena and the Salvatores in regards to the life of the doppelganger. Caroline's dealings with the Originals almost all centered around either Klaus' feelings toward her (it was hard to call it a crush when she remembered that, at the end of the day, he was over a thousand years old), or the rivalry she and Rebekah had shared due to their disturbingly similar natures.
"Elijah," she greeted warily. She knew she stood absolutely zero chance against him, especially considering Klaus was in possession of the only weapon that could kill an Original, and he had access to all of the daggers that could immobilize his siblings. She also knew that Elijah was an honor-bound man (vampire, whatever) and therefore, her best bet would be a battle of wits and words (and somehow, she seriously doubted that, in spite of her most recent major-change to philosophy with an emphasis in pre-law, she would be any match in that way either). That meant that Caroline's life had to be of so much worth or so little that Elijah didn't feel the need to kill her. Luckily he, unlike Klaus, seemed to be a lot less inclined to violence to appease his every emotion.
"Your roommate most kindly let me in when I mentioned I had business that needed to be discussed with you. I hardly needed to persuade her," he explained smoothly. She waited silently. She'd be in far more control of the situation if she didn't say anything, and he would explain eventually. "This is the sort of thing I cannot discuss around prying ears," he added, after a few moments.
Caroline moved to shut her bedroom door. "Cara Lynn is human, as I'm sure you know, and there are no others like us in the building, let alone this part of town."
"As you may be aware, my brother has been re-securing his chosen throne in New Orleans. While I do not necessarily agree with my brother's goals, I care for him deeply and I have found, over the centuries, it is best to stick close to him, await the eventual fallout, and help him piece his plans and his psyche back together again."
Caroline nodded. She had known about New Orleans in the vaguest sense, and she had figured as much about Elijah's motivations. He continued, "In his latest misguided attempt to set the city to rights—" Caroline snorted here, knowing full well that Elijah was putting a pretty spin on a Klaus-centric bloodbath (that was basically the Original Hybrid version of a temper tantrum. A millennium old and he still hadn't outgrown toddler-level problem-solving skills). Elijah continued on as if she hadn't reacted at all, "—he managed to incur the wrath of the witches of the French Quarter, who are quite powerful alone. In number, they're unlike anything you've ever dealt with. Outside of the Quarter, they are powerless; inside they are nearly unstoppable. And Niklaus was practically in the center of their power when he angered them."
"Arrogant asshole," Caroline grumbled to herself. She tried to ignore the stirrings of sympathy and worry in her stomach and instead focus on the fact that whatever Klaus had brought upon himself, he probably deserved it.
Elijah let out a little chuckle that suggested he didn't disagree with Caroline in the slightest before he continued. "When we first arrived in New Orleans a few years ago, the vampire who had been taking care of the city since our last visit, Marcel, had a witch under his control and a curse had been cast on the werewolves of the area that reversed their regular curse, leaving them wolves except upon the full moon when they transformed into humans.
"In a bid for Hayley's cooperation, we eventually managed to convince a witch to give us the cure and we used it on the local werewolf pack. However, the witches now know they are very capable of crippling someone with a wolf side." Caroline was starting to see where Elijah was going with this, but she didn't understand where she fit into it all. Klaus had promised her he would no longer interfere in her life, and while Elijah may not have known about the promise, Caroline was almost positive there was nothing she could do to help Klaus. She wasn't a witch, and she couldn't break a curse.
"So they hit Klaus with this curse?" she spoke her first sentence to Elijah.
"A modified version of it, yes," he nodded, seeming almost pleased that she had figured that little bit out for herself, as if it were some sort of accomplishment; the quality of opponents in New Orleans must have been pretty abysmal if his expectations of her were so low. "Because of his hybrid nature and his status as an Original vampire, they couldn't confine the effects to just the full moon. While the moon is out, Klaus can be in his normal form, meaning that there is only one day a month where he is completely stuck in his wolf form for its entirety. The other difference is how the curse is broken."
He stopped and Caroline watched him expectantly, wondering how it was different, and why. But he stopped, as if it were difficult for him to say. Caroline would bet her entire stash of blood bags in her secret mini-fridge in the corner that this way to break the curse was why Elijah was there in Virginia, hundreds of miles away from his cursed brother.
"How do you break it?" she prompted.
"As you have probably already surmised, that is why I am here. One of the young witches who keeps us informed said that, while she didn't help to cast this spell, she created the original, and she could feel how this one was different just in the magic of the New Orleans witches that she is tapped into. She said that for Klaus to return to normal, it will take the act of true love." Elijah looked almost embarrassed by his pronouncement.
It took a moment for it to sink in. Caroline felt all of the pieces clicking together in her brain. And when it all fell into the neat boxes she had in her mind, she let out a giggle. And when that giggle wasn't enough, she laughed for a good couple of minutes.
"As much as the thought amuses you, we all know why I am here, Caroline," Elijah suddenly seemed to be channeling Klaus as far as conveying is annoyance and irritation.
"That's not why I'm laughing," Caroline gasped out, calming down a little bit because of the inherent danger of an angry Original. "It's just, the curse isn't represented by a rose, is it?" she let out another burst of giggles, sobering when she saw that Elijah didn't get the reference and still looked like he wanted to remove her spleen or something else painful but ultimately unimportant. "Beauty and the Beast. You're explaining the plot of Beauty and the Beast." She had managed to contain the giggling for now, but couldn't keep the amused grin off her face.
"La Belle et la bête," Elijah murmured to himself, shaking his head. It seemed he was amused too. "I hope you plan to explain the indignity of it all to Niklaus in excruciating detail," he added, suddenly looking like someone's brother. Klaus' brother.
Caroline paused here. "Actually…" she said somewhat reluctantly. His gaze snapped back, serious again. "Look, I'm a student. I'm barely in my twenties and I'm just starting my life. I've had this conversation with Klaus, a couple years ago. We made a deal, and I can't just up and leave my life here. In spite of everything he says, he doesn't love me." A denial she'd made to herself a million times. "I'm sorry. I wish I could be more help."
"I have spent nearly a thousand years by my brother's side," Elijah informed her. "I have seen Niklaus at his best and at his worst. I know him, and I know that the only time he resembles the brother I remember, the man he once was, is when he's spent time with you."
"I don't know what you want me to say," Caroline responded. "I can't just drop everything because Klaus needs true love's kiss to return to his regularly scheduled massacres. Maybe he needs some time away from it all to think about some things, find himself. The usual."
"You are between semesters and I know for a fact that the board of admissions at both Tulane and Whitmore are vervain free. I will agree to pay your rent until your roommate can find a suitable replacement and we can move your things to New Orleans." Elijah was all business. "My brother will tear the city apart until he gets this curse broken, thereby ruining his chances of doing just that."
He paused a beat while she gaped at his no-nonsense tone. "And it's not a kiss he requires. It is the act of true love."
Caroline wished she would gag at the thought. "Seriously? The witches thought that it would be funny to get him laid?" she forced out instead.
"Witches have a notoriously twisted sense of humor," Elijah said with a grimace.
"I take it you're not going to take no for an answer." Caroline hefted out a sigh with an eye roll. "God, this is why I like Klaus better, and do not tell him I said that."
Elijah merely quirked an amused eyebrow. "Klaus would totally let me get away with just walking away. He has let me get away with it," she explained.
"Be that as it may, I have a wolf-Klaus locked up because he lashes out and tries, rather successfully, I might add, to bite anyone he sees. I made it here today because it is the new moon and he will not be able to turn human enough to escape until tomorrow night. You are my last-ditch effort to save my brother," Elijah confided.
Before Caroline could make any comment toward that, there was a knock at her bedroom door. She grinned as politely as she could at Elijah and opened the door. "Cara, what's up?"
"You do know that guy, right? I know I shouldn't have let him in but, like, he seemed sincere." She grinned tightly.
"Don't worry. I had a thing with his brother a long time ago. He's appealing on the behalf. Typical guy stuff," she shrugged it off. "Is that all you needed?"
"No. Actually, I was wondering if I could borrow that bracelet you have. That twisty, sparkly, definitely expensive one. It's going to look so great with that green dress I got. You know the one, and I'm going out clubbing to pick out a man. You can even come with, find you one too." Cara Lynn actually grinned brightly.
Elijah shot Caroline a look that told her he knew the bracelet in question, probably because he'd been there when Klaus stole it. "I can't Cara, not tonight. I actually have to go on a trip to visit some friends in Louisiana. Maybe when I get back."
"But I can borrow the bracelet, right? It makes my whole outfit."
Caroline didn't know how exactly to deny it politely. For the first time in a long time, she felt like channeling Elena, whom she hadn't seen in, months? A year, maybe? Caroline was decidedly avoiding Mystic Falls and Elena had dropped out of school. Things had been strange between all of them.
"Actually, I can't loan it to you. I know it sounds stupid, but, um, it…" she faltered. Did she lie or did she tell the truth? She settled for, "Look, it's really personal. I just…I don't want to disappoint the person who gave it to me."
Cara Lynn nodded. "Fine. Ruin my outfit. Whatever, I'll just wear the blue one that makes my tits look fabulous. Sure to pick up a guy that way." And she strutted out.
"I'm glad to see you've come around to my way of thinking. Pack quickly. I've chartered a flight and I'd hate to lose our flight time."
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