This chapter has truly been a downright bitch to write. Honestly, I don't know what was so damn hard, but those words just didn't want to be put on the paper. That's a part of many reasons why this took so long.

You reviewers are amazing as always. I honestly don't know how you put up with me and my lazy, procrastinating ass. Dark coffee dreams… wherever you are… you rock my socks. On with the story.

Chapter 11

The room they entered sparkled in 17th century's splendor. Under her feet lied shining marble squares that were covered by a carpet so white, Bonnie was afraid to step on it. Above her towered a massive vault that was adorned with stained glass that formed flowery patterns in all colors. Only a couple of steps away from her stood a mighty pillar, and beside it another one. She noticed that the beautifully carved pillars were placed regularly along the room. From the roof hung a single grand chandelier that cast a royal glow over the luxurious furniture in the room.

Bonnie took it all in with a growing feeling of discomfort and was hardly conscious of the fact that her coat was being taken from her. She turned around in a daze and saw a strange man smile at her politely and he lowered his head slightly before he hurried away with her coat. Bonnie stared after him, her eyes now wide open and alert. Surely he did not just… bow at her?

She turned around, feeling confused and oh so out of place. She found Elijah standing on her left adjusting his cuffs coolly. He raised his head and met her eyes and immediately she saw his features soften somewhat. He opened his mouth to speak but was interrupted when a woman ran up to them, the sound of her high heels echoing as they beat against the floor.

Bonnie just stared blankly at the woman that stopped before them businesslike, feeling slightly empty-headed. The woman brushed away a strand of hair that had escaped from her hairspreyed bouffant hairdo before she fastened her eyes at them over her pointy glasses. Bonnie thought she saw her eyes narrowing momentarily as she spotted Bonnie's bare legs, but the moment was over so quickly that Bonnie couldn't be sure. She squirmed slightly anyway.

"Do you have a reservation?" She asked curtly, impatiently tapping a pen at the chart she was holding in her hand. The woman kept her eyes solely on the lists in her hand.

"I assume it won't be a problem. Elijah Mikaelson." Elijah answered and the woman immediately ceased her tapping. She lifted her eyes from the papers in haste and eyed them both nervously. Her face paled gradually as she took them in with whole new eyes. Finally she quickly adjusted her white blouse and cleared her throat.

"O-oh. Excuse me sir, I didn't… I mean I-" The woman took a deep breath before she started over with a strained smile on her face. "Please follow me. I'll show you to a table immediately."

Just as the receptionist was about to turn around she glanced down and came to an abrupt halt. She looked in horror at the grimoire in Elijah's hands and began apologizing at once. "I'm so sorry, sir. I gave them specific orders to take care of your things for you. Let me call them back immediately." The woman fumbled in her pocket after her phone. "It's very unprofessional of us. I'm terribly sorry."

Apprehension gushed through Bonnie as the woman finally found her phone and pressed the buttons violently. The grimoire couldn't be taken away from her. She hastily snapped the book out of Elijah's hands and held onto it tightly. The woman looked at her properly for the first time that evening, confusion and stress written in her eyes. Bonnie noticed in the corner of her eye how the hand holding the phone was shaking immensely.

"It's okay." Bonnie assured her hurriedly. "We can bring it with us."

The woman stared down at the large and dirty book, no doubt thinking about the stains it'd make on their expensive tablecloths. She looked up at Bonnie hesitantly and threw a swift glance in Elijah's direction. "I'm not really sure if-"

"Let it be, Mrs. Taylor. I have an agreement to fulfill to the lady that involves the book, I'm afraid." Elijah interrupted politely, a certain gleam shining in his eyes.

The woman obviously named Mrs. Taylor, backed down immediately and for a split second it almost looked like she was going to bow before him. "Of course Mr. Mikaelson, but please let me bring it to the table for you."

With a speed almost of a vampire the book was grabbed from Bonnie's hands and the woman turned around and hurried away. Bonnie looked up at Elijah who only smiled at her and gestured for her to follow Mrs. Taylor who was already on the other side of the room with the book swaying in her hand with an alarming pace. Bonnie only took a resolute step towards him.

"What the hell was that?" Bonnie leaned in to hiss to Elijah meanwhile she anxiously glanced down on the white carpet. She prayed her heels wouldn't leave black footprints. There was no way she would be able to pay for the cleaning.

"Excuse me?"

"She went from cold condescending bitch" The corners of his lips tipped up in an amused smile. "… to amiable hostess the moment she heard your name, not to mention you knew hers. I want to know what that was about." She ordered and stared up at him without an ounce of fear.

Elijah just smiled and put an arm around the curve of her back before carefully trying to lead her in the direction the receptionist had run of to, but Bonnie stood firm in her place with her eyes narrowed at him. Elijah raised an eyebrow, the amusement evident in his face.

"I want to know." Bonnie said and made with her tone clear that they wouldn't go anywhere before she knew.

Elijah's eyes twinkled of mirth before he sighed softly. "I may… own this place."

Bonnie didn't even blink as he once again began leading her away, this time without her stopping him. She once again looked around at the expensive furniture, the sculptures and the grand paintings. She somehow felt like she should have seen this coming. Suddenly it seemed so obvious that Elijah would own a place like this. The palatial interior, the majestic exterior, the way the building seemed to have taken the best from every century, heck, even the walls! Every fiber of the place screamed his name.

Bonnie remembered how she had thought he had looked so out of place on her porch all those weeks ago. Like he was cut out from a commercial and placed there on her shabby porch by mistake. Bonnie glanced at him from the corner of her eye. His strides were long and resolute, his head was held high but not patronizingly so, and his posture was impeccable. This was where Elijah Mikaelson belonged, Bonnie decided. This castle fit him perfectly.

But while Elijah walked with confidence, Bonnie walked with timidity. Her steps were careful, her head turned back more often than not to nervously check for smudges behind her on the carpet and… wasn't her dress too short for this place? To her, every pillar they passed towered over her, every sculpture watched her and every mirror mocked her. This was not a place where she would ever be comfortable. To her, this was hell.

They turned a corner and Bonnie caught a flash of color in the corner of her eye. She strained her neck backwards to try to see what it was. It was a painting, but it was different from all the other ones hanging around them.

She stopped and Elijah looked at her surprised. Bonnie only walked closer and stopped before the painting. She watched it carefully. It was simple but very colorful; a canal who flowed peacefully between houses with a bridge in the distance. It was uneven and out of proportion, but with its bright colors it didn't matter. It was filled with happiness and lively colors, something the medieval, chubby women with the see-through dresses around them lacked.

Elijah placed himself beside her and watched the painting as well. "Do you like art, Bonnie?" He looked genuinely interested.

Bonnie avoided his gaze embarrassedly, not really sure herself why that was. "Not really."

A silence fell over them and Bonnie was just about to turn away from the painting, when he spoke again. "It's Venice. Cannaregio, if I'm not mistaken. Lovely quarters with much history, although not all good I'm afraid. In the early 16th century the Jews in the area were forced to live in parts of the town that were in dreadful shape and enclosed by guarded gates. It stayed that way until Napoleon Bonaparte two decades later conquered the Venetian Republic and gave the Jews rights to live and move wherever they please." Elijah paused thoughtfully. "A cold-blooded man; calculating and eager to kill, but never racially prejudiced. That might just have been his only redeeming trait."

"You knew him?" Bonnie asked.

He smiled slightly. "We dined a few times. Niklaus quite enjoyed his… purposefulness and Kol liked to awake his temper by flirting with his wife. Rebekah, if I remember correctly, was too jealous of the empress' dresses to ever touch her food." He smiled fully now. "Personally, I found his company rather tedious."

Bonnie watched him smiling fondly in memory as he lost himself in it. Somehow she knew she just had been let in on a moment that up till now had been secret and, judging by Elijah's smile, sacred. She turned her eyes back to the painting and tried to picture the bloodthirsty siblings sitting around a large table in medieval clothing and acting like a family. She tried to picture Klaus smile his equally entertained and equally mocking smile as he listened to the French emperor talk about his plans to conquer Europe, now and then sending Kol amused glances where he was whispering improper things in the empress' ear. Rebekah would sit silent in her chair and glare daggers at the blushing woman; meanwhile Elijah would watch the whole thing in quiet amusement.

Bonnie frowned as a thought hit her. "What about the other one?" She searched for his name. "Finn, right?"

Bonnie was annoyed with herself that she actually cared.

The smile turned into a thin line. "I believe you've met my older brother, Bonnie. Finn had then already isolated himself from us long ago and his yearning for death had made him… unstable." Elijah tasted the word in his mouth uncertainly. "Niklaus had already daggered him four decades earlier. Their views on life had always been rather different and they had difficulty agreeing over most things."

As always, a strong wave of disgust washed over Bonnie at the mention of Klaus and she had to turn away to hide the grimace that bloomed on her face. Elijah seemed to notice it anyway and chuckled. "I assure you, it was for the best. Even if his fate was cruel and I still don't agree with Niklaus' ways, it was far better than what Kol eventually would have done."

"I thought he wanted to die."

Elijah's dark eyes bore into her and in that moment he looked so much older. "I know you don't think highly of my family, Ms. Bennett, and frankly we've never given you any reason to, but we would never wish death upon our own. Kol would never have murdered Finn." He sighed heavily before he continued. "But Kol was early on into the occult. He often travelled with witches and he was truly fascinated by their magic, especially their cleansing rituals."

Bonnie still stared at him as he paused and straightened his tie, wetting his lips as if uncertain if he should continue. He did, but with a far more cautious tone to his voice. "The times were different back then. People were highly superstitious and molded by what they heard in church. They were taught that everything different was the work of the devil and they believed it blindly. This was also the belief of witches. They saw it like their calling to hold torture sessions every full moon for all those who stood out in society. Handicapped children and people with leprosy were mostly targeted." Bonnie stared at him in horror.

"The humans rarely survived the meetings and it was as rarely the witches' intent for them to do so. Kol's idea was to bring Finn to their sessions. The witches wouldn't be able to kill him, but they would be able to… soothe his mind, as they called it. My guess is that what they had in mind would work like lobotomy, making my brother calm and… easier to handle."

A heavy silence covered them. Bonnie's mind scrambled as she tried to get her head around the horrible story. It was sick. It was twisted. Bonnie wanted to throw up.

Bonnie swallowed the horrible taste in her mouth. She needed to get the words out. "So your brother, Kol, was ready to let some witches fuck with Finn's, his own brother's, head… wanted to make him a fucking zombie… and you tell me you loved each other?"

Elijah's smile was grim. "No one of us wanted him to hate himself, Bonnie. He was constantly trying to find a way to kill himself, attempted method after method, and through it all he was still the elder brother we all had looked up to as humans. Kol believed his old self would come back if he let the witches cleanse him."

Elijah's eyes were glassy, but he didn't let his eyes let go of their hold on hers.

"We didn't let him, though and Niklaus finally daggered Finn. His hope was that Finn would return to his old self when the whole family was reunited again. Unfortunately, it was more than Finn that lost their true selves along the way and the reunion didn't become what he had hoped."

Elijah finally looked away and Bonnie felt a strange numbness take over. His words spun around in her head and echoed in her ears. The Mikaelsons did what they had to do to stick together. Their ways to do so were disturbing and downright wrong, but Bonnie got it. They were teenagers, barely adults, that never changed while the world around them constantly did, and all that they had left were each other. They needed each other too much to let one of them leave.

Damn it all to hell, she actually got it.

I'm aware that this is quite different from the rest of my chapters, but it is highly necessary. I know you people out there probably have your own versions of how the Mikaelson family history plays out, but this is mine.

I actually would have a lot to rant about the recent… happenings in the TVD universe but, guys; it's far too late over here for that. I needed to get this done and therefore stayed up way over my bedtime. Hopefully you liked it! See you next time!