Bonnie Bennett reread the invitation in her hand. You are cordially invited to join us at the Mikaelson home... Stefan and Damon Salvatore stood a few feet away, watching her. They had stopped at her Grams' house to see if she was home, but her mother, who was staying there for the time being, had told them she'd come to the witch house, and they'd tracked her down. Damon had grabbed the invite from the porch before Abby had answered the door, and he'd enjoyed the expression on her face as she accepted the envelope from him.
"You don't actually expect me to go to this," Bonnie said. A party thrown by the Original family? That sounded like nothing more than a living nightmare, and certainly nothing she wanted to attend.
"We all got invites," Stefan told her. "Us, Elena, Caroline, Matt..."
"Matt?" Bonnie asked, surprised. What interest could the Originals have in a human?
"Something's up," Damon said. "I'm not sure what they're planning, but it's better to go in prepared than not."
"I'm not going," Bonnie said. She'd tried to kill Klaus, on more than one occasion, and she didn't feel overly cordial towards his brother Elijah, either. Not to mention that just last week, the Original Witch, Mama Original, had knocked her and her mother out. Safer to stay at home and away from the Originals. Mikaelsons, she corrected.
"Of course you are," Damon said. "What if something bad were to happen, and you weren't around to help?" He knew her weakness. "You know Elena will be there."
"Klaus won't hurt Elena," Bonnie answered. "He needs her."
"And Matt will be there," Damon added. "Klaus wouldn't hesitate to use him as cannon fodder. Plus, with all the other Originals there, and who knows what kind of wild cards they are..."
Bonnie sighed. "Fine, you proved your point. But I'm not walking into that place alone."
"Aaaaand, that's where Stefan comes in," Damon said, volunteering his brother's services. Stefan gave him a lingering look before turning towards Bonnie.
"Look, I know you'd both rather be there with Elena," Bonnie said. "I don't need a date. Just someone to get me through the front lines alive."
Damon snorted, but he quieted when Bonnie glared at him.
"I think I can manage that," Stefan said, snickering at his brother's reaction to the witch.
It wasn't five minutes after they stepped into the ballroom that Stefan disappeared. Bonnie wasn't overly concerned, as she'd expected it to happen sooner than it had, but she was still a bit uncomfortable until she saw Caroline and Matt walk in. There were plenty of Mystic Falls citizens in attendance, but most of them were older, and she wasn't able to feel even slightly less like someone was about to kill her until she spotted her friends.
For the first hour, she visited with Matt and Caroline, and Matt took turns dancing with both girls. But then Rebekah stormed the group and dragged Matt away. She and Caroline could only exchange raised eyebrows, but Matt didn't seem unhappy about it. Still, Bonnie made sure to keep an eye on him, checking on his safety periodically from across the room.
Bonnie and Caroline discussed the recent events in their lives, with Bonnie consoling Caroline over the death of her father, and then Caroline changing the subject and asking about Bonnie's mother. But before Bonnie could finish her story, she felt a tap on her shoulder. Turning, she came face to shoulder with a very tall guy, tall for her even in heels. Glancing up, she saw a handsome face that she vaguely recognized, though she couldn't place it, topped by sandy blond hair.
"Pardon me," the young man said. Bonnie noted that he was dressed in a nice black tuxedo with a black vest and a black bowtie. It fit him well, she thought, realizing that she found him attractive. She fought back a flush as she tried to pay attention to his words. "I was hoping you'd join me for a dance?" He held his hand out in invitation.
Bonnie stared at his hand for a moment, until she felt a light nudge from behind her, and she glanced back to see Caroline grinning happily. She bit back a grin at her friend's enthusiasm for playing cupid, and she turned back around to face the young man.
She smiled up at him. "I'd like that." She put her hand in his, and she froze as she got a flash of recognition.
"Is everything all right?" he asked, turning and pulling her into the dance. Dark eyes gazed soberly at her, and Bonnie sucked in a breath before smiling. She knew where she'd seen him before. He'd been daggered inside one of Klaus's unlocked coffins.
"Yes," she answered, twirling with him. She hesitated before speaking again. "So, you're one of the Orig- the Mikaelsons."
He smiled. He hadn't missed her correcting herself. So, she knew he was a vampire. "Yes," he answered. He was intrigued. Beautiful and aware of the supernatural in Mystic Falls? Who was this girl? "My name is Kol. But I'm afraid you have me at a disadvantage."
"Bonnie," she answered. "Bonnie Bennett."
And that explained it.
"You're the witch," Kol said, acknowledging that he did, indeed, know of her, at least by reputation. "You released mother, and you tried to kill Klaus. At least twice, from what I've heard."
Bonnie tried to back away and out of Kol's arms, but he held her tight.
"Yes," she said, meeting his eyes. Now that she was in over her head, she was determined not to let him know she was afraid. "It's all true."
Kol reacted differently than she expected. He laughed. And his laughter made Bonnie relax, but only slightly. If he was anything like his brother, his mood could turn on a dime.
"Then I should thank you," Kol said, pulling Bonnie closer and spinning her to the music. "Elijah told us that Klaus had killed our mother, and were it not for you, we would never know otherwise." He smiled down at her.
"You aren't going to kill me for trying to kill Klaus?" Bonnie asked, still feeling suspicious. There was no way an Original could forgive something like that.
Kol laughed again. "Why would I want to kill someone as beautiful and as brave as you are?"
Bonnie flushed. "I tried to kill your brother," she reminded him, wondering why she was doing so after the words left her lips. Was she trying to get herself killed? Lets confess all your sins to the brother of the man you tried to kill.
Kol smiled down at her. "We've all tried to kill Klaus at one point or another," he said. "And he's tried to kill us as well." Kol shrugged. "After being daggered for a hundred years, I was ready to kill him myself. And that was just a fraction of the time Finn was daggered."
"But he's your brother," Bonnie argued, skeptical that Kol could just forgive and forget her transgression against his brother. She was more prepared for battle than she was for flirting, and certainly more comfortable with the former.
Kol grinned. "Relax, Bonnie," he said. "Hurting you is the farthest thing from my mind." He spun her around twice to emphasize the point, and Bonnie couldn't keep from laughing. "Much better."
Bonnie lost track of time after that, as she and Kol dance and laughed and flirted. After a while, she started feeling warm, and she told him she needed to get some air.
"I can show you the terrace," Kol said, and Bonnie nodded. He took her hand and led her through the crowd. Bonnie spotted Caroline dancing with Klaus, and she hoped that her friend knew better than to trust a single word the hybrid said.
Esther wandered through the crowd, looking for Kol. She'd seen him dancing with the Bennett witch, and she wanted to speak with the girl. The first of her children she ran into was Finn, who had last seen Kol on the dance floor. After checking with Elijah, who hadn't seen Kol or Bonnie all night, she bumped into Rebekah, who sent her in the direction of the terrace.
As she got closer to the terrace, she just knew both Kol and the Bennett girl were outside. She could feel both of them; Kol she was connected to as a parent, but Bonnie she could sense as a fellow witch. She stopped just outside the doors and listened for a minute, so as not to interrupt anything, but her son and the witch were simply discussing the view from the terrace, and so she stepped outside.
She watched as the vampire and the witch turned to face her. They were standing close, but not an inappropriate close, she noticed. Of course not; Kol had always been respectful towards women, especially ones who could kick his tail all over the county for any indiscretion.
"Mother," Kol said, bowing.
Esther didn't miss the fact that Bonnie paled noticably.
"Kol," she said. She turned towards her son's dance partner. "Miss Bennett, I should thank you for my freedom."
The witch snapped her open mouth shut, like she didn't know what to say.
"And I would like to speak to you sometime," she continued. "About witchcraft. I think there are a lot of things we could learn from each other."
She watched the younger witch swallow hard, but then a stubborn resolve formed in the girl's eyes.
"Of course," Bonnie said. She glanced over at Kol. "If you will excuse me? It's getting chilly out here."
Kol nodded, and then witch's eyes turned to Esther, who nodded as well. Bonnie almost ran off the terrace and back into the ballroom.
Kol watched her go, and from his forlorn expression, Esther could tell that her son liked what he knew of the young witch. Good. That worked well for her.
"I need you to do something for me, Kol," Esther said. "We must not let any harm come to Miss Bennett."
Kol nodded. That would be no difficult task for him. "Of course, mother."
"She's more valuable than anyone around here realizes," Esther said.
Klaus took a sip of his champagne as he looked around the ballroom for an interesting face. Everyone here was either someone he didn't know, and there were plenty of those, or someone he'd rather he didn't know. Despite his warning to the Salvatores that they would be the destruction of his doppelganger, they hadn't listened, and both were following the girl around like lost puppies. That blond football player had shown up, and Rebekah had been hanging over him all night. Caroline was here as well, and she'd been so disappointed when he told her that Tyler wasn't coming and that he hadn't heard from him in a while, that he'd had to shrug his shoulders and walk away.
His eyes landed on a dark-haired woman with her back to him, but he recognized her anyway, because she wasn't like anyone else in the building. The witch. Her black hair was curled and down over her shoulders, and her forest green gown was simple, but elegant, and clung to her curves like a lover.
Without even thinking about it, Klaus found himself moving towards her, until he stopped behind her. She smelled of cucumbers and fruity things, a refreshing scent in the otherwise cloying room. Before he could stop himself, he was speaking.
"Bonnie, may I have this dance?"
Bonnie spun around at the question. It was clear that he'd startled her, both with his presence, and his question. She stared down at the hand he held out, and then she turned her green eyes on his face.
"I don't thi-"
Before Bonnie could finish shooting down his offer, Klaus had her in his arms on the dance floor. She flushed, and he could tell she wanted to speak her piece, but she held her tongue, and he smiled.
"Why, Miss Bennett, you look truly stunning tonight," he said, twirling her around the dance floor. "I can't understand how I never noticed before."
Bonnie glared up at him, her anger making her eyes glint like emeralds. Klaus had meant what he told her, she really was stunning, especially when she was angry.
"Probably because you've always been trying to kill me," she told him.
Klaus shook his head, dismissing her accusation. "I've only tried once," he pointed out. "And you cleverly evaded that." He was quiet for a moment. "And I'm glad I didn't, because everything you've done has helped me."
Bonnie's forehead scrunched as she gazed up at him in confusion. "How have I helped you?"
"Well, you saved Elena's life," Klaus answered. "And had she died, I wouldn't be able to use her blood to make hybrids."
Bonnie shifted in his arms. His words made her uncomfortable. "I didn't do it for you."
Klaus laughed softly. "I know that," he said. "But I benefitted from it nonetheless. And then, you found a way to keep my hybrids from dying."
"I did that for Tyler," she told him. "Not for you."
Klaus smiled, his dimples deepening. He ignored her words. "And then you released my mother from her sealed casket, and she's reunited my family, just as I always wanted."
"I didn't do any of it for you," Bonnie repeated, trying to back out of his arms. Klaus gripped her tighter, determined to not let her run away from him.
"But just think of the possibilities," Klaus said. "If you and I were to team up, the sky would be the limit. There's nothing we wouldn't be able to do, to accomplish." He stopped dancing and slid his hand up to Bonnie's cheek to brush a strand of hair away from her face. As expected, she flinched away from his fingers.
"I'll never team up with you," Bonnie said, her chin jutting forward as her jaw tightened. "I hate you."
Klaus smirked. He'd heard those words before, many times. They'd all played out the same way. "There's a fine line between love and hate," he reminded her.
Before Bonnie could speak, another voice interrupted.
"May I cut in?"
Bonnie glanced over at her rescuer. Kol. She smiled in relief and reached out for his hand.
"Brother," Klaus said. He didn't release Bonnie from his hold. He didn't like the relieved look that had crossed her face at the sight of Kol. "You could at least wait until the song is over."
"But this woman is so beautiful, I can't help myself," Kol answered, never taking his eyes from Bonnie's face. "Miss Bennett?"
Bonnie's smiled widened as she took his hand. "Of course."
Klaus watched as Kol led the witch away. He knew he'd mishandled things with Bonnie in a royal way. And now that he couldn't take his eyes from her, after months of plotting her demise, he found himself kicking himself for wasting that time. The rest of the night he spent seething with jealousy, watching as Bonnie and his baby brother Kol danced, flirted, and laughed together.
Bonnie was having so much fun, she didn't notice that the ball room had been emptying out until there were only a handful of people left. Matt was one of them, although she'd noticed that Rebekah had disappeared a while ago. Matt made eye contact with her, and she knew he was only waiting around the party to make certain she had a way home. That was Matt; always taking care of the people he cared about.
"What time is it?" she asked when Kol finally stopped spinning her around the dance floor. She was both relieved and disappointed; she hadn't danced so much in a long time, and her feet were killing her, but she was enjoying the attention this sweet and charming - and handsome - thousand year old vampire was showering her way.
Kol thought for a moment, and Bonnie glanced at his wrists. He wasn't wearing a watch, and she hadn't seen a clock anywhere in the ball room. "I'm not sure, but I'm guessing fairly late."
Bonnie sighed. She didn't really want to leave, because she was having fun, but she knew she should. Besides, she didn't want to make Matt wait all night, no matter how patient her friend was. "I should probably be going while I have a ride."
"Cinderella leaving the ball before midnight?" Kol looked disappointed. "At least leave me a glass slipper, princess, so I have reason to find you again."
Bonnie smiled at the analogy. She did feel like Cinderella at the ball, between the room, her gown, and the attention Kol had given her all evening. "If I had one, I would," she answered. She enjoyed Kol's attention and company, and if she was honest with herself, she knew she'd found one member of the Original family that didn't completely frighten her, although she was sure he would be capable of doing so if he chose.
Kol stepped back and bowed to Bonnie, and then he took her hand again. He raised it to his lips and gazed at her over their joined fingers. "Then we shall meet again, Miss Bennett." He pressed his lips to her hand, and Bonnie sucked in a breath as his kiss sent tingles of pleasure up her arm.
"I hope so," she whispered, backing away from him. She turned to walk towards Matt, but before she reached him, she glanced back one final time, to find Kol still watching her as she walked away.