Disclaimer: I do not own The Vampire Diaries. That would be Warner Brothers, CW, etc.
Hello, my lovely readers. Welcome back! This is the last book of the CtVS series. Hopefully, I can get an update out next month. On with the show…
Chapter 1: Not Quite Dead
Sunlight dimmed in the cemetery. Rain tapped, tapped on the gravestone. The name of a newly deceased etched out for anyone to read it; unlike some of the older stones in the immediate vicinity. A person stood near the grave. Their fists were balled at their sides as they waited for the undead to rise. Soon. And then a set of fingers broke the surface. The fingers pushed and groped and were soon followed by a blonde mane of hair.
The vampire thrust itself upward and then smiled at the person who waited for them. "Hello, dinner."
"Not so much," Tyler Lockwood replied. He pulled out a stake and waved a hand. "Let's rumble, ass hat."
The male vamp began to circle the young wolf. Tyler ducked back and forth. He felt pretty good about this whole slaying thing. With a little help, he'd been able to kill three vamps this week. And here he thought Caroline was some kind of superhero. Of course, she could take out three vamps in an hour. Still, this wasn't Tyler's calling. And he felt like he was holding his own.
Laughing, the vamp picked up a gravestone and tossed it at Tyler's head. "Okay. Not cool!" Tyler shouted, leaping out of the way. His ankle took the brunt of the edge of the heavy cement. "Ow!" He looked upward. "Bon, a little help! Please!"
Bonnie called back. "Ric's getting attacked in the northeastern corner. It's a three-on-one kind of thing. Sorry, Ty. You're going to have to get creative."
"Man, I hate it when she says that," Tyler groaned.
The vampire who wanted to eat some puppy chow, grinned exposing that gorgeous set of chompers. "Looks like it's just you and me, kid. Don't worry. I'll make it quick." The vamp pounced on Ty.
After a moment, Tyler looked up and saw the vamp had pitched back. "Ew! What are you?" the vampire demanded. "You smell like my old dog, Biscuit."
"Well, say 'Hello' to Biscuit for me," Tyler snapped, freeing a stake from his ankle holster and stabbing the vamp through the heart.
"Ahhhh!" came from where Ty figured Ric must be.
Rolling over, Tyler forced himself to his feet and found that the three vamps Bon mentioned made a few friends. Ric was holding them with a cross, but that would not last long, especially with a female vamp climbing the gate behind Ric.
"Shit," Tyler groaned. "Bon?"
"I'm working on it," Bonnie snapped. The sound of chanting filled the air and one of the vamps got a branch through the heart. Now, three of them turned, snarling and spotted Bonnie. Hell, Tyler didn't know where Bonnie was, exactly, but he figured she was where the vamps were now headed.
"Ty, go help Bonnie!" Alaric gagged out as a vamp began to choke him and bang Ric's head into the gate. The female vamp was still poised to pounce on Ric.
Tyler was torn between helping the Hunter or helping his best friend. "Shit," he groaned.
"Need help?" Someone asked from behind Tyler. "'Cause it kind of looks like death, death, and, oh, yes, death!" Hayley Marshall grinned before by-passing Tyler in a backhand spring. "Miss me? Oh, wait, I forgot your plan doesn't cover tooth removal at no cost. Good thing I'm here to help!" She cheerfully kicked a vamp in the mouth. It slammed into the gate and let out a howl, placing its hand to its mouth.
"Guess de-fanging's in-style this year," Tyler muttered. He went to help Bonnie.
Marcel stood under the mausoleum where a pair of vamps were scaling the sides. He aimed a crossbow and shot them down. Looked like Bonnie no longer needed Tyler's help. He turned to find Hayley whaling on a vamp.
"Hales, just kill it!" Marcel ordered the over-eager Slayer.
Hayley paused and rolled her eyes. Jerking a stake out from her waistband, she finished the vamp off. Getting to her feet, she looked around. "Man, I'm hungry. Who wants to get some dinner?" She asked, giving Ric a quick look before stalking over to join Marcel.
Ric got to his feet but still looked kind of shaky. "Thanks for stopping by. We've got it handled now." His eyes rolled up in his head and he fell to the ground.
Cocking her head to the side; Hayley shook it. "And he used to be a badass?" She hooked a thumb at Ric with a shake of her head. "Huh."
Tyler made his way over to Ric as Bonnie levitated to the ground. Her powers were growing at an insane rate. Tyler had no idea how she could do half the things she did nowadays. However, she did not seem to be in full control of her powers either. Not without Freya to help her.
"We should take him to the hospital," Tyler said, bending down next to Ric. "He doesn't look so hot."
"I can heal him," Bonnie said with a matter-of-factness that made Tyler gulp.
"Maybe leave the magic for later. Humans need doctors," Marcel said. He came over and bent over to help Tyler get Ric on his feet.
"Since when do you care, didn't you come to steal Ric's job?" Bonnie demanded. Her eyes lit up with an other-worldly glow. Tyler really wished Freya would finish up whatever in the hell she was up to and get back home, before Bonnie imploded, or exploded, or some kind of plodded.
Marcel shook his head. "Look. I get that your friend is –"
"Don't say it!" Bonnie growled out, her fingertips sparking. "Don't either of you say it!" she snapped, her eyes flicking to Hayley. The sixteen-year-old brunette had come to stand closer to them. "You don't get to breath her name. Do you understand me?"
"Sure. Not a prob, B. But can we stop at a Burger King? I'm craving a Whopper," Hayley suggested as they left the graveyard.
Tyler's eyes flicked over to the Caroline's gravestone. He wished things hadn't turned out how they did. Bonnie's anger worried him. But Klaus' short fuse had them all on edge. Soon, Tyler knew the vampire would be back. And God help all of them.
"Drat. I hate these old castles. No reception!" Rebekah moaned. She stalked the cavernous room, her precious phone in her hand. She bit her lower lip, shaking her long mane. "What if Jer called me and it wouldn't go through?" she complained.
Klaus rolled his eyes. "At least your boyfriend can make a call."
Pausing, Rebekah sighed. "Nik, I am sorry about –" She stopped talking when Klaus turned on her. The look on his face must have conveyed what his words would also do, but he did not speak as often. And he never spoke her name. Anyone who was around him would be wise to do the same.
"Ah, look, we have a delivery," Kol said. He tossed a whimpering villager onto the carpet.
The villager scrambled around the floor like a scared mouse. She beseeched them not to harm her. She had a family. She was the youngest. On and on. Klaus stalked over to her. He caught her by the neck and lifted her to look him in the eye. She stopped speaking, a kind of horror dawning on her.
Klaus craned his neck to look at Kol. "She looks like…" He refused to finish the sentence. "Leave here," he whispered to the girl. Never go near strange men again." He tossed the girl aside and went back to brooding in his chair.
Kol strode over. "Brother, you have to eat!" he snapped. "And I need to return. Bonnie must miss me terribly."
"I'd say she missed our sister more," Rebekah retorted, holding her phone up above her head and scowled at the screen. "Damn it!"
"What is that to mean, sister?" Kol snarled out. He sped over and took Bekah's phone from her. "Tell me what you mean!" Kol hissed out, showing Rebekah his fangs.
"Don't you drop a fang at me, Kol Mikaelson!" Rebekah snarled, showing her own fangs. "Now, give me back my phone, before I take it back and shove something up your –"
"Enough!" Klaus shouted, rising to his feet. "I came here for silence. If you wish to drive me mad, I will be happy to dagger you both and place you back in your boxes!" He watched his siblings. Kol handed the phone to Rebekah. With a sigh, Klaus fell back into his seat and stared into the fire.
All Klaus ever saw anymore was Caroline. He thought he could still feel her presence. He dreamed of her. A lovely and intoxicating dream. Closing his eyes, Klaus saw his dream Caroline. She stood before him. Her hair hanging down in a mass of golden curls. Her lips revealed a teasing smile.
However, Klaus felt his stomach turn when Caroline's eyes turned black. All of her light smothered by the darkness that he'd created within her. Her fangs came out and she laughed in a way that was so alien to the Caroline he knew that every sweet dream ended with him plunging a stake into the heart of his beloved. She was a monster.
"Brother," Freya's voice made Klaus turn his attention to his older sister. She came striding in. Her boots were muddy as well as the bottoms of her riding pants. "I have had word from the local witches. It is true. They confirm that a new threat has come to pass. A darkness has risen and it shall lead to the fall of every last creature on the planet. We must return."
"Return?" Kol replied. "With him? With you?" He shook a finger at Freya. "You, my dear, are quite mad if you think I'll allow you anywhere near Bonnie."
"Like you can stop me," Freya sneered. "Besides, brother, it is the twenty-first century." she stripped her gloves off as she spoke. "Miss Bennett can choose who she prefers."
"Well, it won't be you," Kol retorted, glaring and sitting down on the arm of a couch.
Rebekah let out snort. "Looks like the new slayer's making quite the name for herself."
Now, Klaus sat forward in his chair. "What, pray tell, does that mean?" he demanded.
Rebekah shrugged. "Jeremy says that Hayley's killed more vampires than…the other one did in her first week."
"With help?" Kol added.
Shrugging, Rebekah went back to her phone. "She was taken by the council as a child. Raised within its ranks. She was taught how to kill vamps since she was little." Freya said.
The other siblings stared at Freya before she looked up. "I can research, too, you know. And I might have made a friend, or two, in New Orleans."
"You have friends?" Kol offered Freya a mocking smile.
Sitting back, Klaus steepled his fingers. "Good."
"Good?" Rebekah demanded. "How is this good? She thinks we have a debt to settle with the council. How is her being good at this…good? It's a death warrant, is what it is."
"Never fear, Bekah. Nik's sinister mind is plotting, aren't you, brother?" Kol inquired. "He'll work on a way to put an end to this silliness with The Hunter's Council, mark my words."
Kol was right. Klaus damned well intended on ending their golden girl and nailing her heart to their door before he flooded their pretty courtyard with blood. The thought left Klaus smiling. "Freya is right. It is time that we returned home. Isn't it?" He watched Kol and Bekah trade smirks before he got to his feet. "Then it is settled. We return tonight."
"Okay, kid. Show us what you've got," Marcel coaxed Hayley.
Grinning, she spun in a circle, her leg flying and she felt a thrill when her foot connected with the piece of wood Marcel held between them. Bonnie and Tyler sat on the stairs, watching and sharing a bag of Doritos. "Show off," Tyler called out.
Hayley grinned. "I'm so much better than last month!" she cheered, jumping up and down and punching at the air. "Come on, Powers of Darkness! Show me what you got!"
The double doors of the library opened and Jeremy Gilbert came in. "They got Klaus Mikaelson." He waved his phone. "According to Bekah's, he's due to arrive tonight." Going to sit on the end of the table nearest the doorway, Jeremy cocked an eyebrow. "You're not ready to take him on."
"Really?" Hayley demanded. "What makes you an expert?" she demanded.
Jeremy slid off the table. He held up his hands. "Fight me." He challenged her.
Laughing, Hayley shook her head. "No. You're human. I'd break you."
"I'm not kidding," Jeremy replied. He picked up a book and tossed it at Hayley. "Hit me," he cried.
"No!" Hayley moved out of the way when Jeremy tossed a book at her head. "What is wrong with you?"
"Jeremy, cut it out, man," Tyler snapped. He got up and made his way toward Jeremy who pointed a finger at the wolf. Tyler hesitated, his head turning to look at Bonnie. She brushed off her hands but did not move to intercede. Hayley thought the witch didn't like her. That was fine. Hayley did not come here to make friends.
"Jer, you want to get your ass handed to you?" Marcel inquired, leaning against the counter.
Jeremy did not seem to be paying attention. His sole focus was on Hayley. "Come on, Hales. I'm just a human, remember? What are you afraid of?"
With a shake of her head, Hayley rolled her eyes. "Don't say I didn't warn you." She darted forward and raised her fist, ready to knock Jeremy out.
The doors opened and a cry came from whoever came in the door. "Get away from my brother!" Elena Gilbert's voice.
Too late. Hayley's fist made contact…with Jeremy's open hand. He did not even flinch. Now his fingers closed around Hayley's hand and he spun her into him, her back slammed into his chest. "See. Not ready," he grunted as she squirmed.
Letting go of Hayley; Jeremy stood back. "Again?"
"What are you doing?" Elena cried, moving to stand by Tyler. Her words were aimed at Jeremy.
"I'm fine, Lena. Go back to class," Jeremy said as Hayley aimed a double kick at his solar plexus. Again, he blocked her movements. This time Hayley felt the air whoosh out of her as her back hit the floor.
"You okay?" Jeremy asked, bending over her.
Feeling horrified that the human could beat her, Hayley knocked his hand away and scrambled to her feet. "I'm fine. Just… How the hell are you fighting like this?"
"Don't know," Jeremy shrugged. "I just started feeling different," Jeremy said with a shrug.
Marcel looked at Hayley. "Are Caroline…"
"No. It was before that. Not too long. Just something changed. I felt stronger. And I could sense…her." Jeremy nodded at Hayley. "And Caroline. You know, before…"
"You can sense me?" Hayley felt annoyed. She folded her arms over her chest. "What does that mean, Marcel?"
Marcel looked unsure. "I'm going to have to make some calls," he told them.
"Don't bother," Alaric Saltzman startled them. "He's a Hunter."
"I thought that's what I am," Hayley retorted, looking back at the former mentor of Caroline Forbes. "There can't be two of us."
"There aren't," Alaric said with a shake of his head. "You see, Jeremy's descended from a line of Hunters. We're the ones who watch over the Slayers. And most of us were not born for this gig. We simply learned to do this work. But sometimes Hunter's genes are passed through their families' lines. Like April, the girl that Kol killed in New Orleans. She had both the Slayer and Hunter genes. Made her one of kind. Now that's gone. Jeremy was triggered. Like you were when Care..."
"Right. So does that mean Jer's in charge of me, 'cause that's kind of sexist," Hayley said. She placed a hand on her hip. "Besides, I don't really like this whole his being able to kick my ass thing."
"Don't worry, Hayley," Alaric said. "Your powers will grow. And Jer's will ebb. Soon. When a new born-Hunter is triggered, they have amazing strength, but it dies off as they use it. Most of them use too much and the battery dies down. He'll always be stronger than humans, but never like this."
"Really?" Jeremy seemed disappointed. "So this is temporary?"
"Means you can keep fighting me and all you're doing is kicking your own ass, Super-Boy!" Hayley taunted Jer, feeling better. "Come on, want to go again?" She felt amused by the idea now that she knew the results.
Jeremy rolled his eyes. "Whatever. I'm out of here." He strode out of the room.
"What? You're scared of getting your ass kicked by the girl?" Hayley shouted after him. She could get used to this life. Grinning, she went over to the counter and collected a water bottle. "So much fun."
"You're forgetting about our Klaus problem," Marcel reminded her.
Hayley shrugged. "Let Jer fight him. I'll watch." She leaned against the counter.
"This isn't funny, Hayley," Alaric snapped. "Since Caroline…Klaus is going to be even more irrational than ever. And he won't stop until he rips you apart."
Shrugging, Hayley hopped on the counter. "I'm not scared of him. He wants to deal with his grief by kicking the crap out me, let him come, but I won't sit around like a scared little mouse. If he wants to kill me, he's going to have one hell of a fight on his hands."
Rolling around in the dirt with a vampire on top of her, Caroline Forbes let out an annoyed snarl. It looked like all of the old vamps who'd ever escaped her stake were after her. They seemed to think her turning had changed her abilities. Idiots.
"I. Am. Not. In. The. Mood!" Caroline snapped, flinging the vamp into a wall, pummeling it before staking him. "I just wanted to pick up a Rom-Com and a pizza. It's a Friday night and my dating potential is dismal."
With a shrug, Caroline made her way down the empty street. "Stupid vamp," she grumbled, looking at her smushed pizza. At least it hadn't fallen—face-side up—in the sodden pavement. Now, she just needed to find that perfect Rom-Com. She'd had enough drama to get through a lifetime. Not that Caroline really felt like watching someone else's romance.
Speaking of which… Rounding the corner, Caroline saw a couple necking. She cocked her head to one side and pulled out a slice of pizza. What would taste really good with this would be some nice, warm B-positive. Where in the hell had that come from.
Caroline shoved the rest of the slice into the box. Making her way to the lonely little apartment she'd rented four weeks ago, Caroline fished out her key and slid it into the door before entering. She kicked the door closed her behind while tossing the keys on the counter. Thankfully they did not rip another hole.
The first week she accidently ripped a hole in the kitchen wall. Caroline had to work on her self-control, all over again. Yay. Rolling her eyes, Caroline went to the fridge, pulled out a blood bag and made her way to the couch.
Picking up the remote, she flipped on the TV. The Notebook was playing. Caroline opened the pizza box and settled in for the night.
Eyes sliding closed after an hour, Caroline slid down the couch. Her body told her to sleep. As a vampire, she did not need to sleep as much as humans, but it felt good. It felt normal.
If only Caroline could manage not to dream. Over and over again, she found herself dreaming of Klaus. And Hayley. And death. Stupid. Stupid brain.
Tossing in her sleep, Caroline kicked over her coffee table and did not notice as the pizza and blood bag went flying. She let out a soft moan in her sleep.
"Just go to bed. If Klaus shows up to kill ya; I'll let you know." Marcel stood in the middle of the living room.
Hayley let out a sarcastic laugh. "I'm not scared of him," she retorted. "Besides, Jer's the new Big, Bad Vampire Hunter thingy. Let him deal with Klaus."
"Tell that to Klaus," Alaric added, moving into Caroline's eyesight. He folded his arms over his chest. "I just lost Caroline. Please, just stay here until Klaus finds someone else to torture."
"Don't think it works that way. Isn't he, like, one of those obsessive psychos who nail puppies to doors and leave you scary "love" notes dripping with venom, probably literally. I'm not a baby. I will not hide with my thumb in my mouth." Hayley shrugged. "There was a prophecy that said Care would die, right? Well, if there's one for me; then I guess I can't fight fate."
"Hayley," Marcel ground out. "Go to bed."
Hayley scoffed but went into the bedroom, slamming the door. She went and sat on the bed. After a long moment, she snuck over to a closet, took out a bag and then went to her window. Lifting it, she climbed out.
The scene melted away and Caroline watched Klaus stalking to the cemetery where Caroline was buried. "Come out, Slayer," he shouted, turning on his heel. "And face me. If you dare." A little smile played on his face.
Hayley came out from behind a tree. "Come to kill me. Well, come on. Let's end this."
Blows were traded and Hayley laid in the mud, her face twisting as she tried to stand. Her right cheek was puffy. Blood poured from a wound in her left leg. Her right arm hung useless at her side. She smiled a bloody, grim smile. "Is that the best you've got?"
Waking, Caroline sat bolt upright. She shook her head. Same dream. Every night. Weeks now. Ever since she died. Pushing her feet into her sneakers. Caroline sped into the kitchen. She grabbed her keys. Now, it was time for her nightly routine.
Foot pressed down on the gas pedal, Caroline urged the old car she'd compelled from a guy who liked to speed. He'd only end up killing someone one day.
Rain had begun to pour down. Just like in her dream. It rained other nights, over the month and Caroline never knew if she was losing her mind or if Klaus really would try to kill Hayley. And why the hell did Caroline care? She was in retirement. Hayley was the newbie. No need for two of them, especially now that Caroline was part of the We Sport Fangs Club.
Pulling onto a side street, Caroline made her way to the cemetery. Her boots spat out glops of mud and water. But her steps were silent. Funny.
Sounds of a fight. Nothing new. Just some rando vamps. They'd picked on the wrong group tonight. Caroline went in through the gate. Her instincts sent her closer and closer to her grave. A girl's dark form was fanned out over the grave. Her eyes were round and fierce. She was fighting death itself.
A man's hand came down to connect with the girl's already battered face and to shatter Caroline's gravestone.
With one, quick leap, Caroline flew straight ahead. She went over the man's head and landed in a crouch over his would-be victim. Hair falling over her face, Caroline peered at the girl through her sopping mane. Not dead. Still breathing.
"How…" the girl cried, shaking her head. She looked defeated, half-dead, and a tiny prickle of fear seemed to course through her because she shuddered. Or maybe she was cold.
Jerking off her jacket, Caroline wrapped it around Hayley's shaking, bleeding body before she turned on her heel to face her enemy, her lover and the man who'd killed her.
"Caroline?" Klaus hissed out. He did not look any happier to see her than she felt to see him. "You're dead."
"Not quite," Caroline retorted, baring fangs at him and waiting for the attack, that she felt inevitable, to come.
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