'I feel useless.'
Evelyn has conjured up Klaus' art room for their shared dream, finding it is probably one of her favourite places in the compound. She is sat on the ground with her back to the wall and knees hugged tightly to her chest, all the while he paints the sunrise outside. Upon hearing her say that he sighs, pauses and looks over his shoulder to her.
'You did whatever you could,' he says, glowering at the floorboards, 'it's my own daft fault for compelling you. Perhaps if I'd trusted you-'
'No bother beating yourself up over something that'll never happen,' she laughs bitterly, 'I came to terms with that a while back. No need to burden yourself.'
'I'm detecting a heavy use of sarcasm,' he mumbles, turning back to his work.
'Well, the compulsion has come back to bite you on the ass. What're we going to do now?'
'I am going to be here,' he says, gesturing to their surroundings, 'and you are going to keep an eye on the others. You may not be able to un-dagger me, but you can watch over them. When I am awakened you can tell me all about it.'
'So you want be to spy?' she asks, raising her brows as his features twist into a false look of pondering.
'I prefer to call it data collection.'
'God, you're a dick,' she mumbles, pushing herself off the ground. She walks over to him and peers over his shoulder at the painting, 'at least you can paint.'
'Thank you,' he grins, 'now go. If you find anything significant do pay another visit.'
When she opens her eyes she's in what they call 'the garden,' sat on a stool beside the coffin his body lays in, cupping one grey, veined hand in both of her own. It is way past sunrise in real time. The midday sun streams heavily through the small, rectangular windows in the very tops of the walls, making the dust motes in the room hyper-visible with her heightened senses. She frowns at them and stands, and with a start realises she is not alone.
'Elijah,' she says through shaking breath, 'I didn't know you were still here.'
'I wanted to speak with you, if you would give me a moment of your time.' He gestures to the doorway and she eyes it disdainfully. She knows that Klaus wants her to play spy, but really she'd rather just stay and find a way to wake him. Plus she is about eighty percent sure Elijah is trying to distract her. Despite all of this, she eventually nods and stands, walking with him.
'What is it?' she asks.
'It's about your sudden arrival,' he murmurs, offering her a sympathetic smile, 'I understand why you would want to return to my brother, considering your prior affair, and you may think I am speaking out of turn. However, I do care for your wellbeing, and because of this I think you should leave.'
She situates herself in his path, bringing them both to a halt. With a heavy sigh he places his hand on the iron gate of the room, glancing back at his brother's body.
'Do not mistake this for annoyance. I find your company quite endearing, but my brother has brought you nothing but trouble. You may be a vampire now but you are still so young. You could be free, Evelyn. Free to pursue anything you desire. This is not a freedom my brother will grant you if you choose to stay.'
'You were right,' she narrows her eyes at him; 'you are speaking out of turn.'
'I thought as much,' he replies, smiling sheepishly yet managing to look unashamed, 'but I believe you at least know what I am telling you is true.'
'I came back because I was lonely,' Evie explains, holding a hand up as he attempts to speak again, 'despite it being none of your business – there it is. I didn't want to go back to Mystic Falls, so I came here. I haven't come back to pursue a relationship with Klaus or whatever, I just always felt like he has understood me a hell of a lot more than everybody else. And I want to help him – I want to protect Hope.'
'Helping Klaus and protecting my niece are not explicitly interlinked,' he argues, 'and you'll forgive me for not believing you capable of waltzing back into his life as no more than a friend,' his eyes flash with amusement at the thought, a mockery that causes her to ball her hands into fists.
'As I said before, it's none of your business,' she hisses, 'and fine, whatever, maybe they're not linked. But you'll forgive me if I need proof of this before I start working behind his back, if the need ever comes up.'
'Of course,' Elijah beams, 'come, I want to introduce you to someone.'
When they arrive at the church they have around three staircases to climb, but when that's finally out of the way they end up in some sort of storage room-turned-witchy lair. The natural glow of the sunlight is limited by the shutter blinds hanging from every possible window, and this lack-of combined with the flickering orange of candlelight has Evie scrunching her nose in distaste. How she wants to make a sarcastic remark, but Freya is stood finishing up lighting aforementioned candles.
'Elijah,' Freya says, though her eyes are on Evie, 'we have company?'
'Freya, this is Evelyn Gilbert, a former lover of my brother's.'
She appears disgraced by this, but manages to compose herself into politeness as she bows her head in greeting.
'You can call me Evie,' she says, toying with her hands. She feels nervous around the newest addition to their family, yet still attempts to joke; 'you all really need to start introducing me by my chosen name.'
'You'll forgive us,' Elijah murmurs, 'old formalities die hard.'
'That's not exactly how the saying goes,' Evie replies, arching a brow.
'No matter,' Freya interrupts, 'where is the child now?'
'Gone,' Elijah replies, which gathers the attention of both women.
'Gone?' Freya repeats, clearly frustrated by this, 'Elijah, you need to get her back here immediately,' she turns dramatically and stalks over to a table coated in magical-looking artefacts.
'When Dahlia has been defeated, for now she is safe with her mother,' he mutters.
'Nowhere is safe from Dahlia,' Freya argues, sifting through her handwritten spell work, 'and we will have no chance of ending her without that baby.' Elijah shifts his weight, physically discomforted.
'What are you saying?' he demands.
'Dahlia's protected by powerful magic, with collected items that represent her vulnerabilities – sacred soil, the ash of a fallen Viking and the blood of the witch who broke her heart-'
'Yours,' Elijah says knowingly.
'Yes,' she begins setting out a spell whilst speaking, 'I will use these ingredients to create a killing ground where Dahlia will be rendered mortal, but we need to lure her there, Elijah.'
'Are you suggesting we that I position my niece as bait?'
Freya pauses, pursing her lips in annoyance as she stands up straighter. Elijah eyes her with a look of annoyance as her actions make clear the answer.
'Well that's convenient,' Evie scoffs, narrowing her eyes at Freya, 'asking for something that stupid when Klaus isn't around to say no.'
'Klaus cannot be reasoned with,' she argues.
'You can't honestly believe I would allow you to do this?' Elijah scoffs.
'What I believe is that you will make the right choice,' Freya snaps, leaning over the table between them, 'for Hope. There is no other way to keep her from the miserable existence I endured,' the witch begins scattering salt onto what look like herbs, 'one of slavery and tyrant.'
'Of course, if Dahlia does die you will also be free of that tyranny. No more running or hiding, so do not insult my intelligence by painting your actions as selfless.'
'If you will not bring Hayley back here,' Freya spits, 'I will find Hope myself. As I said, there's no other way.'
Evelyn goes to stalk over to Freya and give her a few choice words, but Elijah clasps her arm in an iron grip before she gets the chance. The witch sneers at her in response, and without a farewell Elijah hastily rushes Evie to the door and pushes her out.
'What're you doing?' she seethes, 'if that bitch gets a hold of Hope-'
'I will ensure she does no such thing, but using violence is not the answer,' Elijah says, giving her a look of pure judgement. She glowers at him but says nothing, watching as he takes his phone from his jacket pocket.
'I believe Camille wants to see me,' he murmurs, 'come.'
She wants to tell him where to stick it and go off on her own, but remembering Klaus' orders she follows on instead – which seems like all she has done since she got to New Orleans. A few streets over they step into a bar. This one is a lot more contemporary than that of yesterday, and various humans work to stock up the shelves and clean the place for the evening. As soon as they appear in the doorway Cami throws Elijah a glare.
'I left you a dozen messages,' she growls.
'Family crisis,' he murmurs.
'You could say that,' Evie scoffs, folding her arms sulkily.
'Have you spoken to Klaus?' Cami asks, ignoring the bickering jibe.
'Before he put a dagger through his heart,' Evie adds with a casual, sarcasm-laced tone.
'No,' Cami shakes her head, but her eyes are on Evie, 'you didn't say anything?'
'I can't,' Evie defends, 'wait- how the hell do you know?'
Cami's cheeks fill with colour as she looks to the floor, shoulders tightening as she awkwardly toys with her hands, 'I stopped by, last night… and overheard your conversation.'
'Wow,' Evie growls, but Elijah cuts her off.
'Tell me what?' he snaps in question.
'Elijah,' Cami says, 'Klaus didn't kill Aiden. He just took the blame because of some insane edict about making people fear him.'
At first Elijah looks taken aback by this new information, but after that fleeting moment he turns to Evelyn with a look of annoyance.
'And why did you not tell me this?'
'I can't,' she reminds him, emphasising the last word in hopes that he'll understand. He does, and with that he appears somewhat victorious, yet also sympathetic.
'Is this not precisely why you shouldn't be here?' he asks, his voice laced with exasperation, 'he doesn't trust you, he will never trust you.'
'Again with the stuff you have no business in. Butt out of my life, Elijah. I chose to be here and I consented to his compulsion.'
A flicker of guilt crosses his features, and she shakes her head in disgust before turning away.
'Nevertheless,' he continues, 'if I had left Niklaus standing, the very army protecting Hope would have dissolved.'
'But you can't just leave him like that whilst his daughter's in danger!' Cami argues.
'Please,' Elijah scoffs, looking down as he says, 'your feelings are clouding your judgements.'
'Again with this,' Evie sighs.
'My feelings?' Cami asks.
'For my brother,' Elijah says exasperatedly, 'I'm not a fool, Camille. Although I valued our time together in the safe house make no mistake: I was in your head as much as you were in mine.'
'How long are you going to leave him like that? Five years, ten, a lifetime? ' she breathes, looking uncomfortable.
'Until Hope is safe,' he replies, finally breaking eye contact, 'now, I need your help. Evelyn, if you would wait outside.'
'Y'know,' she narrows her eyes, 'you're probably the biggest hypocrite in existence.'
Enraged, she storms out just to get away from him, wishing there was something she could do to get that damn dagger out of Klaus' chest. Right now she'd revel in whatever punishment he'll surely have in store.
Despite his highlighted hypocrisy, Elijah leaves Evelyn compelled to the confinement of the compound before heading off with Cami. Imprisoned, she heads to her room to collect a blood bag and then down to the garden once more. She may not be able to help him, but she can at least keep him company. As she steps into view of his body she feels her breath catch in her throat. He looks absolutely helpless. He is absolutely helpless. Placing her glass on the ground beside her stool, she takes a seat and clutches his hand in her own. Though this time they are not in his art room, and they are not alone. The room flickers for a few moments upon her entering, and the dark-haired woman stood in front of Klaus narrows her eyes at her.
'You interrupted my trance,' she snaps.
'Forgive me for not realising there was one to interrupt,' Evie mutters, 'there was no one around. Usually you have to have physical contact to induce this state.'
'Can she be trusted?' the woman asks, turning to Klaus.
'Indeed,' he nods, 'I compelled her.'
Dispelling any thoughts of what Elijah said on this topic earlier, she turns back to the woman with a mistrusting frown.
'This,' Klaus interrupts, 'is Dahlia. She's trying to show me that my mother isn't a very good person,' he grins, 'I already knew that.'
'She left me for one of the many men who slaughtered our village and stole us away,' Dahlia murmurs, stroking back the hair of a girl who looks very much like a younger version of herself, 'my own sister abandoned me, just as your siblings have done.'
Klaus shifts his weight and looks towards Evie, who is watching the exchange with apprehension. When his eyes meet hers she wants to shake her head, but in fear of losing whatever trust he does have in her she remains still.
'Like you, I have been unjustly painted as the villain of the story.'
Her younger self stands and storms over to a candle and spell book covered table, pushing its contents off and screaming in rage. She continues to smash whatever she comes into contact with, and Klaus turns to her with an annoyed expression.
'If you have a deal to propose then find my body and un-dagger me!'
'No,' she sighs as she stands, wiping tears from her cheeks yet still sounding frustrated, 'I have the means to un-dagger you, I am just not finished here.'
'I don't care about my mother!' he argues, growling the words.
'What I have to show you next is not about your mother, it's about your daughter!' Dahlia snaps, 'and if you have any chance to save her from what is to come I suggest you listen!'
Shocked and silenced by this, Klaus merely nods; Evelyn steps closer, not caring much for boundaries as she clings onto his arm with both hands, feeling uncomfortable in Dahlia's territory yet not wanting to leave him alone with her. With a blink they are elsewhere, surrounded by lifeless trees for miles on end. The sky is a murky grey, and the air is full of the dank scent of wet dirt. In front of them there's a self-made camp fire, and on the right of this a small table with a bowl full of what Evelyn assumes is witch stuff. On their right is a hut that she assumes past-Dahlia lived in.
'Very cliché,' Klaus calls, 'tell me, did you inspire Grimm lore? Enslaving a young girl in a hut on the edge of a dark forest? I suppose you plan for this to be Hope's fate?'
'I did not enslave Freya, I kept her from those who abused our craft, demonised us… And most importantly I shielded her.'
Dahlia is interrupted by Freya pushing through the space between Klaus and herself. Evelyn turns to her, admiring the rough looking yellow dress past-Freya adorns as she throws a couple of flowers into the fire. Enraged, she holds her hand over the dying embers and brings the flames to life. They rise so high they lick at her fingers, yet she doesn't seem keen to stop; startled by this, past-Dahlia stumbles out of the hut.
'Freya,' she calls worryingly, clutching a tree to assist herself down the short ledge to where Freya is stood. She looks down at the once again dying fire, frowning at something. 'Where did you get the Yarrow flower?' Anger floods her eyes as she realises, 'you cannot go past the stream, it is too dangerous!'
'Then where shall I go?' Freya shouts, 'to the hovel? Or maybe your garden- oh no, I'm not allowed to venture that far. I might encounter another person and you would not stand for that!'
'People are frightened of that which they do not understand!' She cups Freya's cheeks, 'they will only hate you.'
'I HATE THIS PLACE!' She shrieks; yanking Dahlia's hands away, 'I want to see more than the same trees, the same hills, a face that isn't yours!'
Her rage ignites a terrifying strength of uncontrolled magic. Whatever decomposing leaves are left on the floor are picked up as a swirl of heavy wind encompasses the area. Freya clutches her head in her hand as though holding it together.
'Control yourself,' past-Dahlia shouts, drawing closer. Blood drips from her nose as she sobs to herself, 'Focus!' she begins throwing it up too, and Dahlia says her name in fear now. Freya screams, looking up at the flying leaves with pain in her eyes. Dahlia kneels as she does and pulls her into her arms. After a moment she clasps her head in her hands and forces her to face her.
'Sing with me, calm your heart.'
Freya does as she is told, and Evelyn recognises it as the chimes of the church's bells last night. Feeling even more discomforted than she already had, her grip tightens on Klaus' arm. He looks away from the scene to her, studying her face keenly. Evelyn attempts to plead with him with her eyes – she doesn't like this, she doesn't trust Dahlia, she wants to understand why he's still listening to her.
'She was completely out of control,' he murmurs, turning back to the scene. The heavy winds lessen as they continue to hum that damn melody.
'First-born witches of this bloodline possess devastating power,' Dahlia explains.
'You say that this is what's to come for Hope?'
'Hope will suffer far more than Freya,' Dahlia almost scoffs, 'Hope's magic will be tainted by a thirst for blood as well as an aggressive wolf temperament. Without the proper tutorage that only I can provide, Hope's power will grow unchecked. She will lash out at everyone, including you. She will devastate the city that you love and then her terror will spread far beyond… I too am a first born, so I was the only one to help save Freya from herself, just as I am the only one who can save your daughter!' He shifts doubtfully and Dahlia's eyes become pleading, 'you've seen it, Klaus. You need me.'
With a start Evie is pulled from the trance. After she gets over the disorientation she notices the hand on her arm and looks up. As soon as she notices it belongs to Elijah she sends him a glare.
'What do you want now?' she hisses.
'For you to not go running to my brother whenever you acquire information he does not yet know,' he murmurs, 'he has you wrapped around his little finger, doesn't he?'
'Give it a rest,' she groans.
'Miss him already?' A dark-skinned male enters, looking from Elijah to Evie with a confused expression, 'who's this?'
'Klaus' ex-girlfriend,' Elijah says, and the man narrows his eyes.
'And you let her down here?'
'I had to keep her in the house,' he replies, turning to him, 'Klaus did not kill Aiden, Marcel.'
Marcel turns back to Klaus' body and sighs, running a hand over his buzzed hair, 'so, who the hell did it then?'
'Freya, Dahlia, any number of witches with the desire to turn me against my brother.'
'Hmm,' Marcel hums, 'so given that taking out enemies is sort of Klaus' forte, you thinking about pulling that dagger out?'
Evelyn turns to watch Elijah, who stares into space for a moment before shaking his head.
'Until it is safe I would rather not unleash that Shakespearean rage.'
'Well, whoever did frame him for Aiden's death got us to take our biggest weapon off the table, which means,' Marcel turns to Elijah with a shrug, 'you're going to have to think like him.'
Elijah finally looks guilty, something that Evie wishes she could thrive in, but if he is refusing to remove the dagger then she's not really won, has she? His phone vibrates, pulling him from gazing sadly at his desiccating brother. Evelyn and Marcel watch as he reads whatever message he has received, and after a brief moment of silence he turns to Marcel.
'They have a plan,' he murmurs, 'we have to collect a vial of Hope's blood.'
'Are they at the bayou?' Marcel asks, to which Elijah nods.
'I will go,' he says, 'you should leave, Marcel. I am going to prepare this place for the fight, and when it begins you may not want to be around.'
Marcel nods and heads off with a flash, Elijah turns his attention to Evelyn who is glaring at him, arms folded over her chest defiantly.
'What about me?' she sneers.
'You will remain here,' he meets her eyes, 'but shall stop inviting my brother into trances.'
'As soon as all this is over I'm going to start taking vervain,' she hisses, veins rising and eyes changing in her fury at a second bout of non-consensual compulsion. He turns and walks away, 'you complain Klaus is using me, but he didn't force compulsion on me! And here you are, pretending to be moral.'
He's long gone by this point. She presses her back against the wall beside the head of the coffin and sighs, willing herself not to cry out of frustration. She remains there for some time, holding her head in her hands, finding it hard to regret coming back yet exhausted by the happenings of the past few days alone; but she is here for a reason and she'll be damned if any of this chases her away. At a loss for anything to do, she slides into a sitting position, resting the side of her head against the coffin and closing her eyes.
She is scared to tell Klaus why she really came back. The thoughts had grown like weeds in her mind, rooting their way into her subconscious and blooming into something that left a vile, deep ache in the pit of her stomach. How she tried ignoring them, but no state of intoxication or lips of another man could make it go away… Make him go away. She forces her eyes open, hoping that by doing so she will find something to ground herself with. Her gaze lingers on the light seeping through those tiny windows, and eventually the contrast in brightness sets off a headache that draws her thoughts away from the 'demons in their closet.'
Evelyn remains there for a good few hours, finding serenity in the vacancy of overpowering thoughts. This spell of silence is broken, however, when she hears a gasp from above. Her eyes widen, breath catching in her throat as she stands. Of course Dahlia would wake him – how could she overlook that? The risen veins in his face sink, and she takes his hand to watch the colour flood back into his skin. After a moment of waiting he lifts his free hand to the dagger and forces it from his chest.
'Thank God,' she breathes in relief, backing away slightly as he stumbles out of the coffin.
'Blood,' he rasps.
'Take some of mine,' she offers, clutching his arms to steady him. He clasps her elbows as she does so, and when he's stopped swaying on his feet he sinks his teeth into her neck. In any other circumstance she'd offer her wrist, but desiccation seems to have done a pretty big number on him. He is courteous, only taking what he needs to be able to stand without help. When he's finished he remains hold of her long enough to place a kiss on the already healing bite, and she has to grind her teeth to stop the shiver that threatens her spine.
'Let's go,' she says, 'we should both feed before the hunger gets worse.'
'Elijah,' Evie picks up Hayley's voice with her hyper-hearing, and it seems Klaus does the same. His eyes burn with anger as he stalks upstairs, and she follows; they stop just outside the living room, where Elijah and Rebekah are stood hovering over a cell phone.'I'm calling to say goodbye. Hope and I… we can't be a part of your family anymore. All Hope's life her family has tried to destroy her, that can't be my little girl's story. Family is supposed to love you, and even if she is free of Dahlia's first born curse Hope would still be Klaus' daughter. She'd inherit a thousand years of enemies, all his anger and rage; I don't want Hope to be a Mikaelson… All the pain that comes with that name, she doesn't deserve that. Elijah, I… Goodbye.'
'She's right, Elijah,' Rebekah says.
Klaus turns and walks in the other direction. Confused, Evelyn does the same, catching up to him much quicker thanks to his drained state. Feeling weak, she refrains from saying anything, just silently following him until they reach a street with a stairwell leading to some underground tunnels. He pushes a rusted gate open and waits for her to join him, and when she has they enter together. Dahlia is stood performing magic on a table surrounded by candlelight, and when she sees them she smiles.
'I knew you were the smartest of your siblings,' she drawls, 'no brute Viking blood in those veins... I'm glad to see you made the right decision.'
'I never cared for Hayley,' Klaus growls, his voice much weaker than it would normally sound, 'but you should know the rest of my family will stand against us in defence of her.'
'We will have to go through them,' she meets his eyes, 'are you prepared for that?'
Klaus stumbles forwards, though manages to stay on his feet as he snaps:
'They have more than earned everything that is to come,' he kneels afterwards, too weak to stay put, 'we need to hurry. Even now, Hayley is attempting to flee with my child.'
'Hmm,' Dahlia sighs, looking amused as she begins stirring herbs in a tar-like substance, 'don't worry. She won't get far tonight.'
A sudden crash of thunder echoes through the stone corridors of the basement, and Evelyn gets a feeling the storm to come is anything but natural.