Author's Note: Once again, thank you so much for your love for my little tale! We are heading into the back stretch so hopefully you will enjoy yourselves!

Part Nine: brought it here

They stand in the aftermath, each trying to digest what has happened here.

They have blood on them. Klaus can feel it on his skin, still warm. He makes no motion to remove it even as he watches his brother swipe a sleeve across his face. In fact, he makes no motion at all, save for the involuntary way his chest rises and falls. He feels none of the euphoria he usually experiences. Instead, there is a rage in him, barely contained.

(someone has tried to come into his home)

The vampires that survived fled the moment they came back to their right minds. He had followed only to find Bonnie crouched over a body in the street. For a moment, he had stood there staring her down (a silent invitation for her to continue the fight he so badly needed perhaps). Then he had turned back; understanding how all of this had come to be.

The bodies that litter the ground of the courtyard speak to the destruction that has occurred.

"She wanted you distracted," Bonnie finally says. It takes a moment for her voice to penetrate through the fog that surrounds his head. He presses his lips together tightly for fear that he will say the first thing that comes to mind. "So I was vulnerable. It was a good plan. If she had been here herself to see it through it might have worked."

Right now, he doesn't care how good of a plan it had been (although he does briefly wonder just where this Lavinia is and why she is taking her sweet time in coming to them). He only cares that his daughter is upstairs (and that she had seen this coming).

"Klaus." Freya now. "Desmond…"

He takes a deep breath, sliding his gaze across the corpses to the vampire in question. Desmond lay flat on his back, bloodied, badly bruised, and bitten. But still very much alive. Well, that last fact will soon change given the werewolf venom coursing through him at the moment. When Klaus looks to his sister, he sees her argument and feels that rage boil over.

"He did not do this on purpose, Klaus," Freya reasons.

"He attacked me. He attacked this family," Klaus shoots back, no longer mindful of how his voice echoes off the walls.

Freya moves forward to stand toe to toe with him. Of those in the room she is probably the only one that can get away with it and she damn well knows it. "Magic - he had no choice. You are just going to let him die after everything he has done to try to please you. Heal him." Her last words are spoken with force; a command and a threat of action all at once.

Reflexly, he almost refuses. Instead he glowers at her but moves forward, his fangs ripping at his flesh so he can give Desmond what he needs to survive. The young vampire laps at his wrist tentatively at first but then greedily, pulling himself up just enough to meet Klaus' gaze. Despite his act of mercy, Klaus is lethal when he speaks. "If you are as clever as I hoped you to be, you will leave this city tonight."

He may not be able to blame Desmond but he refuses to let him get any closer.

When he stands, he finds Freya with her arms crossed. He dares her to say anything but instead she remains quiet, once again robbing him of the fight he wishes so dearly to have. Behind him he can hear Desmond struggle to pull himself to his feet before he makes a hasty retreat.

"The witch has cut a hole in our tentative peace," Elijah says and he sounds weary.

"I don't care what the rest of the vampire community thinks of this family. Let them be angry as long as they take what happened here tonight as a warning should they aim for retribution," Klaus snarls. If he cannot continue to fight he will snap at those around him until they retreat.

None of the others cower as he would like them too.

So he hones in on what he thinks is the easiest target.

Bonnie tilts her head back so that she can meet his gaze. He can hear her heartbeat, faster than it normally would. If that is from fear, it does not show on her face. Determined to win (to expel the anger within him), he lowers his head so it is inches from hers.

"Where were you?" He asks deadpanned.

"Excuse me?" There is heat in her voice, the first sign that he might be able to push her over the edge with him.

"Where were you? My daughter nearly screamed the walls down around us. A fight breaks out. And you were what? Dreaming of fairies? Need I remind you that this entire thing unfolded because the witch wants you."

Before he can drink in the satisfaction of the way she flinches, his attention is pulled away by the sound of footsteps on the stairs. He turns, perhaps to find another outlet for his black mood but instead finds the heat rapidly drains out of him. "Hope?"

Hayley closes her eyes and her shoulders sag just a little.

"I made her promise not to look," she begins quietly but it is clear that she will not be able to hold onto that throughout what she has to say. "I made our daughter promise to hide herself away in her own home, Klaus."

"I...she can't see this."

"No, she can't." Hayley readily agrees with a nod of her head. "She has enough going on in her head as it is."

It is funny to think only moments ago he had been desperate to rip something apart. Now he stands like a scolded child, utterly lost as to what he can do to fix this. "We will clean it up. She will never have to know what this looks like."

"I think she does anyway." Hayley is showing him no mercy right now. He does not blame her. She is doing what she has always done: protecting their daughter. She turns her head to the side, once more surveying the damage. Then she takes a deep breath. "I think it's best if I take her to the Bayou for a while."

He is already shaking his head.

"Just for awhile," she continues. "Just until this mess, of all it …" There is a pointed look in Bonnie's direction. "...is cleaned up and she doesn't have to worry about things like this anymore."

"No," Klaus protests. This is Hope's home. The only one she has ever known. The things that make her smile are here. Her room is here. Her family is here. She should not be chased out because of this. He looks towards Bonnie and he can see it in her face. She is convinced he is going to toss her out. It would be the best decision. In the moment. But not in the long run. Not when he can get back something he has lost.

So he makes a decision.

"We'll go," he says firmly and notes the look of surprise on Hayley's face. "We will leave and not come back until Lavinia is dead. Hope can stay in her home where she belongs. Where she is happiest."

"Klaus…" He can hear the confusion in Bonnie's voice.

He doesn't turn to look. He is already heading towards the staircase. "Pack your things, little witch. We are leaving."

Right after he holds his daughter and promises her that she will be safe.

X

It does not take her long to pack.

Bonnie shoves the entirety of her wardrobe into a bag. She surveys the room just to be sure and finds that part of her is glad they are leaving. She doesn't belong here. This family is responsible for so much of the pain that clouded her early life. The fact that she is cozying up with them feels like a betrayal to her friends (and to who she used to be).

At least this is almost over.

The only way Lavinia can top what she has just done is to show her face. And when she does, Klaus will be waiting, eager for the slaughter. She imagines he will gleefully tear Lavinia limb from limb, relishing in the bloodlust as it overtakes him. She has always known that he is calculating but quick to anger. Now it seems like he aches for a fight if only so he can tumble into a black rage and come out feeling justified. She finds herself wondering why that is before she gives her head a shake.

She is not here to psychoanalyze Klaus Mikaelson.

Instead, Bonnie slings the bag over her shoulder and leaves Rebekah's room to gather dust once more. She finds Freya waiting for her at the top of the stairs. The eldest Mikaelson leaves her face passive (a fact Bonnie curses because she has no idea if this whole event has turned Freya against her).

"I'm sorry," she whispers, figuring she should assume the worst.

"You didn't do this," Freya retorts immediately, and her hand reaches out to close around Bonnie's wrist. There is a hum of power now, reminding each of them of the bond they share.

"But I brought it here," Bonnie says. When Freya does not respond right away, Bonnie just nods. "I'll make it up to you somehow." She realizes she has just made a promise, witch to witch. She will have to keep it, despite wanting to run from this city the moment all of this is over.

They take an ugly black SVU, leaving the compound behind. Klaus' hands are so tight around the steering wheel she can see the whites of his knuckle. He is staring straight ahead, his jaw clenched together. She has to step carefully right now. Leave him to either calm himself or to stew until he blows up (hopefully she will be far away when it happens). Unconsciously, she leans away from him, her head resting against the cool glass of the window. She watches as the lights of New Orleans blur together at first and then disappear. They are leaving the city behind. She gives him a quick glance, the obvious question on the tip of her tongue. He still has a black cloud dancing gleefully over his head.

She doesn't need to know right now. She'll find out soon enough.

She actually drifts off, her eyes heavy. As she goes under she remembers reading somewhere that only the truly guilty can sleep after such a heavy event. The reality of her body needing to bounce back after she used up her reserve of magic doesn't even cross her mind. She doesn't dream (no thoughts of Enzo or Lavinia). Instead, she falls into blackness, only to waken to the sound of the door of the SVU being slammed violently. She jerks up to see Klaus eyeing her through the windshield before he begins to stalk away.

He is still angry.

Bonnie waits a beat before climbing out after him, clutching the strap of her bag in one hand. She is met with oppressive humidity and crickets singing. He is ahead of her, moving along a gravel path that appears to disappear into the trees.

So it's back to the Bayou, is it? She thinks with a sigh before trudging after him. She is caught off guard when the trees part and a structure appears. She has to squint her eyes in the darkness but she realizes what she is looking at. A cabin. It has definitely seen better days with shingles missing and a window broken out but it is still standing.

And is apparently their new home until this is finally over.

He has to press his shoulder against the door to force it open. The air is stale and she can practically taste the dust as she steps inside. She is about to speak when his hand flicks a switch, bathing them both in the light of a bare bulb hanging from the ceiling. She makes a face at the intrusion but then gets her first real look at the place. It is not as bad as it could be. There's the dust and leaves have made their way in through the broken window. But there is a stone fireplace along the south wall and stairs that ascend to what she hopes are separate bedrooms. She can hear water lapping at a shore close by. Surrounded by nature, she is almost pleased.

That is until she turns to find Klaus glowering at her.

She plants her feet into the floor and tips her head back. Time to clear the air. "Let's have it, Klaus."

There is death in his voice when he speaks. "My daughter could have been killed."

"Never…"

He doesn't want to hear it. "She could have been KILLED." This time he roars, the sound bouncing off the walls of their temporary stronghold. He seethes and for a moment she thinks he is going to attack her. Then as quickly as he has moved in for the kill, he backs down, turning on his heel and going back out the way he came.

She is left standing in the middle of the cabin, wondering if she should go after him or go the opposite way. Find some other solution to what seems like a never ending problem. In the end, she climbs the stairs, too worn down to do anything else.

X

This the closest he has come to killing her since finding her in the dirt.

All the prior confrontations? They were a game. A spot of fun. He has thoroughly enjoyed getting a rise out of her, in watching the fury rush to her cheeks. It has all been a lark to him - until tonight.

Tonight he had seen himself rip into her for what nearly happened to Hope.

Objectively, he knows that placing the blame entirely at her feet is not as simple as he wants it to be. He has, after all, willingly invited her in and even provoked the entity that caused chaos in his home. In the long run, he will be rewarded for this behavior but he clearly has not weighed the consequences as heavily as he should.

(maybe he is truly mad at himself and she is the easiest scapegoat)

It is easier to focus on his anger rather than let the fear of losing his daughter overtake him. He will be of no use to anyone should that happen. So he embraces his rage, moving deeper into the woods. He is acutely aware of all the animals around him, some in the middle of their nightly prowl. He realizes now just what he can do to let go of everything mixing around inside of him (all that anger, all that fear).

He stops where he is, waiting a moment or two to ensure that he is alone. He carefully sheds his clothes, leaving them tucked away under some brush to be found later. Then he sinks to his knees, calling forth the wolf. He cannot stifle the groan of pain when the first bone breaks, his arm sticking out at an odd angle. Soon other bones follow suit, breaking and remodeling themselves into something else. He grits his teeth as his humanity washes away and in the end, he is nothing but a quivering mass of pure instinct.

He can't resist it. His head tips back and he howls, the sound a warning to anything else that might be thinking of showing their face.

Then he runs straight into the night.

X

The sun spills in the window, bathing the room in warm light but unfortunately waking her from her magic induced hangover. She groans as she rolls to her side, eager to slip back under. She knows it is too late. She is awake and there is no going back.

Besides, if the light isn't enough to wake her fully the shower definitely is.

When she turns on the taps she is greeted with an earthy smell that has her wondering if this thing is pulling water directly from the bayou itself. However, it runs clear and she is drawn in by the chance of washing away any remnants of the last few hours. It is only when she fully immerses herself under the stream does she realize that it is far from warm. She lets out an ungodly screech and nearly launches herself back over the shower's edge. But then she figures she is already soaked. There is no turning back now (a recurrent theme in her life at the moment).

When she descends the stairs, clean, dressed and just a tiny bit cold she is surprised to find Elijah in the middle of the cabin. She stops on the bottom step, and the two eye one another as if they are waiting for one wrong move that will descend the moment into a battle.

She decides she has to break the deadlock. "Do you always wear a suit?" she asks. "Because you're in the middle of nowhere in Westwood. It's...a strange look."

He manages something resembling a smile. She is reminded that this is the first time she has been alone with Elijah Mikaelson in nearly a decade. She is better off not reminiscing about what brought them together the last time around. She has bigger fish to fry at the moment (and one Mikaelson brother at her throat is enough). "What are you doing here?" She frames the question in a neutral tone, moving from the stairs but keeping to the outskirts of the cabin.

He eyes her cautiously and then tilts his head towards the makeshift kitchen. "I thought you may be in need of supplies." Various cloth bags litter the cupboard.

She is already taking a step towards them, only stopping to glance sideways at him. " - coffee?"

He nods his head.

"Oh thank God," she breathes. She wastes no time digging into the bags to find just what she is looking for. She is vaguely aware of the way he still stands in the middle with his hands firmly shoved in his pockets, watching her as if she is some oddity. She has a feeling she knows why. "He's not here."

"I gathered as much." She hears the shuffle of feet and imagines Elijah is trying to wipe the dirt from his designer shoes. "I don't suppose you flung him into the bayou, did you?" His humor is dry and Bonnie wants to laugh (but he doesn't deserve it).

Instead she thinks of how she had just been settling into the warmth of the bed upstairs when she heard it. A howl. Guttural and long. It had echoed throughout the trees that surrounded this place.

"I think he spent the night getting in touch with his animal side." She goes through the motions of setting a kettle of water on the stove. She expects that she will have to light the burner underneath it with a few whispered words but surprisingly it comes to life on its own. Finally she turns to face Elijah once more. "It's probably better that way."

They might have tried to truly kill one another.

Elijah's head dips; whether it is in agreement or simply exasperation with his brother's moods she has no idea. "He tends to hold it all in…"

Bonnie raises a hand. "You don't have to tell me," she begins. "Mostly because I don't want to know. I am not here to be his therapist." Something passes across Elijah's face, a flicker that causes his eyebrows to knit together (she doesn't want to know either). "He and I have a business arrangement."

"About that…"

"Which is none of your concern," she says evenly. She is not going to defend her choice to trade magic for Klaus' sheer strength. She knows, at her core, that is wrong but she sees that she has no other course to travel. She will not allow herself to be judged by the likes of Elijah Mikaelson. If he tries, she will soon undress that suit from him and show him to be the hypocrite he truly is. Instead, she pushes the conversation in a different direction entirely (and he can't very well ignore it, dangled in front of his face like the carrot it is). "How's Hope?"

His eyes find the floor and he finally pulls hands free from his pockets. She watches as he curls one of them inward. The gesture tells her everything she needs to know about the lengths Elijah will go to protect his niece - he is more than willing to stain that Westwood suit of his with blood. "She is...managing. Wondering where her father is, of course."

Bonnie knows if Klaus doesn't return in the next few minutes Elijah will want her to send Klaus on that particular guilt trip for him.

Fat chance, she is not doing his dirty work.

"But she didn't see any of it - during or afterward," Elijah says as if that is a victory in and of itself.

Bonnie is digging around the cupboards and finds one of those tin camping mugs. As she is pulling it from its perch, she gives him a look. "She didn't?" There is a pause while Elijah comes to terms with the fact that her words are far more loaded than he wants them to be. She decides to keep pushing forward. "Hope is pretty powerful for her age. I hope you all have a plan in place…"

"There is one," he begins curtly. "Which is none of your concern."

Fair enough.

X

There is a faint taste of blood in the back of his throat.

It is what brings him to. His eyes snap open and to stare at the canopy of leaves above him. He takes a moment to stretch out his limbs, hearing a final crack or two. He felt worn down but sated. The anger that had fueled him the night before has dulled considerably (he is unsure of whether or not it will flare up the moment he lays eyes on the witch but for now, he believes his strategy has worked).

Klaus slowly turns so his stomach presses against the cool ground. He lifts his head to get a better sense of his surroundings and realizes he is just as blessedly alone as he had been when he had given himself over to the wolf in the first place. He pushes himself to his feet and begins the lazy walk back to his clothes. He only bothers with the pants. He is covered with dirt and blood, no sense in staining a perfectly good shirt. Besides, part of him still craves how the sun feels on his skin (it has to be the wolf in him; for he wants nothing more to find a sunny space to curl up in).

However, reality calls and he has no choice but to go back to it.

This will be all over soon.

(or so he tells himself)

X

Bonnie is on her second cup of coffee, indulging in it at the end of a rather dubious looking dock. She had contemplated if it was safe to even venture out onto but in the end, she had decided she had taken so many risks in the past few months, one more wouldn't hurt. Now she dangles her legs over the edge, swinging them back and forth while she practically injects caffeine straight into her veins (Elijah conveniently forgot milk and sugar but she is making due). The toes of her right foot skim across the surface of the water and for a moment she considers dipping them straight in. Then she remembers she is in the bayou. The waters are probably teaming with alligators and cottonmouths. She is all for communing with nature but not being consumed by it.

She chooses to sit cross legged instead, focusing on all the energy her surroundings give off. She breathes it deep, allowing it to seep in through her pores to take root inside. Since Elijah left, she has been busy and now her magic has settled happily in the pit of her stomach. It has been awhile since she could practice freely, without worry to the consequence or an audience jeering her on. Yes, she had been struck with that painful reminder of her ties to Lavinia but she had smiled at the pain. She considers it as a sign that this will all be over soon.

She hears footsteps and stills her body for a moment. She worries for a brief second that her enemy will catch her off guard (and without her greatest weapon; wherever he may be). But instead, the intrusion she feels is familiar. She glances over her shoulder to see Klaus standing at the edges of the clearing, looking like he has rolled in the mud for the better part of the night. His features are screwed up in confusion.

"That energy you're feeling..." she begins and she is once more looking out at the water. "...is a warning system created by yours truly. Go ahead, you can cross it. All it does is alert me to the fact that you are here. Though, I have to admit, judging by the look of you, I would probably have smelled you before my supernatural doorbell was rung."

What follows is silence. She hopes he is contemplating whether she is telling the truth. Maybe he is worried that when steps over that invisible line he will get a jolt of her magic. Alas, it is not to be. She has only wanted to be sure that they are never surprised again.

Finally she feels the dock shift and when she looks up he looms over her. She is right about the smell, wrinkling her nose as it assaults her senses. So much for the inviting lure of nature. Despite how he has invaded her space, she does not see the anger that had filled him the night before.

"Feeling better?" she asks, daring to poke the bear (or, she supposes in this case, the wolf).

His mouth is pressed into a thin line. "I was able to run off the worst of it."

"Good," she tells him simply. "Because we have to focus on one thing and one thing only. Tearing at one another's throats will get us nowhere."

He grins and there is something off putting about it. "Oh, but it would feel wonderful, little witch."

She decides the best way to answer is to roll her eyes. She does so with great flourish before sipping her coffee. "Elijah was here. He left some things to eat. Both for you and me. I have no idea how you prefer your...sustenance so I tossed them in the freezer." She figures if he is truly put out he can do a repeat performance of the night before.

"And what did my brother have to say?"

"Please call your daughter," she says and when she sees the pained look on his face she decides that she can't be as cruel as Elijah has wanted her to be. "After you shower of course."

He makes some sort of grunt in aquisence and then storms off towards the cabin. A few minutes later, she hears the same indignant yelp she had made hours earlier and smiles into her coffee cup.