She's all poised to use it, to lure him in. All she has to bargain with is her life, so she does: she stabs herself and there's a horrible gasping moment of pain, a horrified cry from Elijah, then she forces the promise out of him and stumbles into his arms. Her hand fumbles for the dagger that will kill him–
His hand is in her hair, everything feels slippery, there's so much blood–
The next second his wrist is at her mouth and the iron tang of blood goes down her throat; she's limp in his arms and she can't feel the dagger, where did it go... She blinks, clarity returning to her vision, and sees Elijah's dark eyes boring into her. He looks at her with a face like stone.
She twists, cries out to Stefan and Damon.
"Don't leave the house–"
That's all she has time to say before he takes her away.
Cold leather pressed against her cheek. It had all happened so fast: she was breathless, dizzy, frozen with shock. The space around her was dark and enclosed. Slowly, Elena sat up, felt around, and realized that she was in the back of a vehicle. She felt the engine thrum into life as the car started. And the driver...
Her eyes met his in the rear view mirror. Elena licked her lips, her mouth dry. She could still taste his blood in her mouth.
"Stay still and keep quiet," he said. "We have a long journey ahead of us."
There was nothing in his gaze that she could relate to, no emotion, not a flicker of anything. His eyes looked black and fathomless. Elena suppressed a shiver, turning away to see where they were. The spidery shapes of trees moved past her. They were on a country road: quiet, dark. They could be anywhere in the woods surrounding Mystic Falls. She leaned back against the seat and breathed deep, trying to keep calm.
The smell of blood was strong. She ran a hand over her stomach, feeling the place where she had stabbed herself. The wound was gone, but her fingers came away sticky.
She was alone in a car with a vampire who had just kidnapped her, and covered in blood. Keeping calm wasn't easy. But Elijah's eyes were fixed on the road ahead of him; he seemed entirely unaffected by the state of his human passenger. He slowed down to take a right turn; she heard the turn signal go clickclickclickclick and when it stopped, she waited until her heartbeat had slowed down to the same rate before finding the courage to speak.
"Where are you taking me?"
He still didn't look at her. Everything about him was distant, as though she was a stranger he was escorting across town. No, not even that: a package to be delivered and ultimately disposed of. She was the doppelgänger, an object to be sought after, fought over and when the time came, destroyed. But she'd had the audacity to fight back, and now here they were. She knew that Elijah wouldn't tell her where they were going. He wouldn't tell her anything.
Elena shifted a little, glancing at the nearest door, wondering how risky it would be to try and jump out... But he'd grab her at once, of course. There was no way she could outrun him. She had no plan, no backup, no chance.
"If you're thinking of doing anything foolish," said Elijah, "I suggest you reconsider. There's no one else for miles around."
She swallowed. "What about my friends?"
"They won't find you."
"No, I mean – you won't hurt them, will you? At the lake house... you promised..."
Elijah frowned. "I agreed and you attempted to kill me. Your word meant nothing. I owe you nothing."
He said it with a chilling finality. In the face of his iron certainty, she felt herself crumbling. "Please–"
"Elena, if you will not be silent, I will make you."
The silence that followed was thick with tension. It hung like a cloud in the air, heavy, tainted with the smell of blood. Elena stared out of the window, lost in thoughts of escape. Stefan and Damon would come for her. They had done so before. But Elijah knew this, and he knew that they had Bonnie on their side. Even if they found her, they were no match for him.
He could kill anyone except her. Her safety was her leverage. Somehow she had to figure out a way to use it.
Damon met Stefan back at the lake house, striding in with such furious energy that his brother didn't have to ask him what had happened. They'd failed to find Elena. Elijah had spirited her away and they had no idea if she was five miles away or five hundred miles.
"I couldn't reach Bonnie," Stefan said quietly, holding up his phone. "I think it'll have to wait until morning."
"We don't have until morning. Elijah could be out of the country by then."
"He could be out of the country by now."
Damon twitched. He felt – too much, he felt rage and desperation and guilt and most of all he felt murderous. He paced up and down, feeling as though he might burst.
"Goddammit," he hissed, and he kicked at the broken door – the one Elijah had so casually destroyed with his stone throwing trick – sending it flying towards the open entrance. The resulting crash was not nearly as satisfying as he would have liked.
"Hey!" Stefan said, not quite shouting, but in warning.
Damon turned towards his brother, who beckoned him over. Stefan picked up some whiskey from the counter next to him to pour a drink, but Damon sped back and snatched it from his hand, drinking straight from the bottle. The alcohol burned down his throat. It didn't ease anything, not at all, but if he had to drown in something, it might as well be drink.
He passed the bottle back to Stefan, who was hunched over at the counter, still and quiet in contrast to Damon's restlessness. His brother looked up at him. Damon could see the despair in his eyes.
"Do you think Elijah will come back?"
"To kill us, maybe." He remembered his conversation with Elijah at the dinner party: Elijah had informed them that he allowed Elena to stay at home as a courtesy, whatever the hell that meant, but the moment they became a liability... Damon felt the heaviness of his next words on his tongue. "He said that if he took her away, we'd never see her again."
They both fell silent at that.
He took her to a beautiful converted farmhouse. Elena stared out over silent fields as the car stopped, wondering just how far they were from civilization. Elijah opened the door for her. She looked up at him mulishly.
His tone was slightly exasperated. He didn't need to explain himself; she knew what he meant. She stepped out and turned away from him, folding her arms. He gestured her towards the entrance. The owner, an old lady, let them in at once and Elena stared as she walked past but there was no sign of curiosity in her eyes. She must have already been compelled.
He took her upstairs and showed her into what appeared to be the master bedroom. There was a four poster bed and exquisite antique furniture. Another door led to an en suite bathroom.
"You must be tired," said Elijah. "You will sleep here tonight, but first..." He took a step towards her. She flinched instinctively, her heart racing again. Elijah held out his hand. "Your necklace, please."
His expression told her that he expected her to obey. After all, if she didn't, it would take him only a second to rip it away. Slowly, Elena unclasped the necklace and handed it over, trying not to shiver as cool fingers brushed her palm. Something about his touch unsettled her. She felt naked without the necklace, though her only consolation was that she had been drinking vervain. She'd been taking it while Stefan drank her blood, so that he could build up a tolerance to both. Elijah still couldn't compel her.
She shrank back as he searched her face. "Look at me."
No, she thought. She twisted, deliberately avoiding his gaze. Elijah clicked his tongue. The next second, she found herself slammed up against the wall. She cried out, but Elijah had her pinned, his body flush against hers. He cupped her face with one hand, forcing her to look at him. She stared at him, eyes wide and fearful. She felt horribly aware of how fragile she was to him, like a butterfly pinned in a drawer.
His gaze turned dark. "Where did you get the dagger?"
She didn't answer. Elijah's eyes remained locked on hers. Everything about him was intense, the feel of him so close nearly overwhelming. She realized a second too late that he was testing her immunity to his mind control, but she couldn't pretend now. The truth was already written all over her face. Her mouth was tight shut, thin and defiant, and she was breathing hard through her nostrils.
Elijah nodded, releasing her abruptly to step away. His face became cold and business-like again. "Understand this. You may have vervain in your blood, but that makes no difference. You will do as I say, when I say it, without question. Now you ought to get yourself cleaned up before you go to bed; Mrs Roberts will help you–"
She interrupted him, desperate to do something, anything, to change the situation and save her friends. "Please. It doesn't have to be this way, we can come to an agreement – you have the dagger now and I can help you lure Klaus, I'll do anything you want..."
"Yes, you will, as soon as the vervain passes out of your system."
It wasn't a surprise, but it still hit her hard. She had days at the most before he could compel her, and then she would have truly lost any chance of saving her loved ones. Elena stepped forward and clutched his arm, struggling to hold back tears. "Elijah, I beg you, I'll answer your questions, I'll help you, I swear – just, don't hurt my friends–"
If he had a better nature at all, she was doing her best to appeal to it. For just a second, she thought she saw a hint of something – some emotion, maybe even sympathy – in his eyes. Then it vanished and all she could see was the impassive vampire again. She might as well be curling her hand around a marble statue for all the good she was doing.
He stared down at her. "Take a shower, Elena. Mrs Roberts will wash your clothes."
A second later, she was alone. Elena stood still, breathing hard, taking a moment to make sure that he really had gone. Then she ran over to check the window. It was locked. A search of the room revealed no useful implement with which to threaten to kill herself – not that she thought that trick would work again anyway, not as long as Elijah could reach her.
He'd taken her phone. He had the dagger. She was trapped in a house where a living person resided, thus barring any other vampires from entering. She couldn't escape. Her only option was to negotiate before he killed everyone she cared about and compelled her to be his willing sacrifice.
Her stomach clenched. What could she offer him to stop that from happening? She had no advantage over him, nothing. She was completely at his mercy.
If he had any.
Mrs Roberts came in to fuss over her, treating her like a welcome guest. Elena couldn't think of what else to do but go along with it.
Somehow, she slept.