"Elena, snap out of it. He's wearing the ring," I heard Caroline say as though from a great distance.
I don't know how long I had been kneeling there staring at Jonathan Gilbert's lifeless corpse. It could have been five seconds. It could have been an hour. It wasn't until she repeated herself a second time and then lifted his hand and nearly shoved it into my face that my brain started functioning again.
Of course, if Emily had already enchanted his special vampire compass so it would actually work, she also would have enchanted his ring, the ring Jeremy wore back home, so he couldn't die by supernatural means.
With a deep breath I forced myself to sit up straighter from where I had been hunched over Jonathan's body. Several times since we had first arrived here in 1864 Mystic Falls I had thought it would be cool and interesting to talk to my famous ancestor, well famous within the small circle of in-the-know descendants of the Founders' Council. But now it seemed unlikely to happen. I knew from experience it would be at least several hours until he would revive and if we made the next opening of the anomaly, we would be long gone before then. And at the moment I had no desire to linger here one second longer than absolutely necessary. Many more vampires were wandering these woods. The Council's men were shooting at anything that moved. Katherine could also be out here somewhere. Damon and Stefan had her blood in their systems and if they died in the next few hours, it would nullify all our efforts of coming here. Suddenly a T. Rex or two didn't seem nearly as scary as these woods.
"We need to get his body under cover, so someone doesn't stumble across it before he recovers. I don't know if anyone is aware of his ring besides him and Emily. If he revives in front of the Council's men, he will probably be killed for being a supernatural creature."
Caroline nodded, as she stooped to pick up the body. "I'll hide him in the trees. The rest of you get moving."
For a moment I took in the incongruous sight of Caroline still in the bright yellow 19th century ball gown stained with large splotches of her and Harry's blood holding the large man in her arms. When had my life taken the turn into the totally bizarre? Was it when the Porsche had passed through the first anomaly or way back when I learned Stefan, the 21st century Stefan, was a vampire?
It wasn't until I saw Caroline race away at a speed almost too great to follow with my eyes that I realized I had been kneeling there long enough so Lester, Damon, and Stefan had caught up. As I climbed back to my feet, Harry knelt down and whispered into each of the frozen vampires' ears. When he was finished, they rose slowly and went shambling off with an awkward, ungainly gait looking more like zombies than vampires.
When Harry climbed back to his feet, I shot him a quizzical look.
"I told them to go to Fell's Church since that's where the other vampires are being taken. I also told them they will be wading through waist deep molasses the whole way and that they can't attack or hurt anyone. Good enough?"
I nodded. Harry's eyes still glowed like spotlights, but at least they no longer exerted the hold over me they had earlier.
Harry gave me a brief smile and turned towards Damon. "Mister Salvatore, would you mind walking with me and leading the way to the cemetery? I have something I would like to discuss with you." When Damon nodded after a glance in my direction, the new King gestured in the general direction we had been heading.
After a quick glance of his own in my direction, Lester moved up along the other side of Harry. Obviously, the older man was trying to give me some time alone with Stefan, who was the whole reason I had dragged our little group to 1864. And I appreciated the gesture; I hadn't had a moment alone with him and had barely had any time to even think about him in the thirty minutes since I had first spotted him in the gazebo.
But now that we had a few minutes, I suddenly didn't have the slightest clue what to say. All I could think to do was start at the beginning.
"We never had a chance to be properly introduced," I began. "My name is Elena, Elena Gilbert."
Stefan gave a cautious nod. "I gathered that from what the others have been calling you. And Damon has been trying to tell me some crazy story about you being from the future."
I nodded as we walked. And then almost without realizing it, I reached out my left hand and intertwined my fingers with his. It felt so natural and right. I had almost forgotten how much I missed his touch in the month from my perspective that had passed since I had last seen him up in 2011.
"I am from the year 2011. I will first meet you when you are one hundred sixty one years old," I said before pausing to look at him for a moment. The lighting out here in the woods was poor, but I could still make out his face. And it looked terribly young. Suddenly, it felt like I was the one who was centuries old. Stefan's life, this Stefan's life, had been utterly ordinary until meeting Katherine and learning about vampires only a few weeks earlier. But I had known about vampires for over eighteen months and had dealt with Elijah and Klaus, who were both a lot scarier than Katherine. And I had traveled through six anomalies with history seeming to change and morph every time. I had battled dinosaurs, giant snakes, and predators from the future. I felt way older than my seventeen years.
"One hundred sixty one years old?" echoed Stefan, as though he couldn't grasp what I was saying.
"If you hadn't come with me, you would have been turned into a vampire tonight. You would have spent almost one hundred fifty years as a vampire before we would have met in the distant future. You will have to trust me, but you would have been much happier never having become a vampire."
He looked at me and I could see the uncertainty and confusion in his eyes.
I stopped walking and pulled Stefan around until we were standing face-to-face, separated by less than eight inches. "I love you, Stefan. I have come back through time so I could be with you before you became a vampire, so I could prevent you from becoming a vampire." For just a moment I realized my first few words seemed to be almost a perfect echo of the words Kyle Reese had said to Sarah Connor in the first Terminator movie. God, I had watched way too much TV down through the years.
Having run out of words to press my case, I stepped closer, raised myself up onto my toes, and pressed my lips to his. At first, I didn't feel the near electric tingling I had felt when I had kissed Damon, but the longer the kiss stretched, the more I could feel my body begin to respond. It wasn't like kissing the vampire Stefan, this Stefan was still very tentative as he probably had only ever kissed Katherine before unlike the Stefan I had known who had doubtlessly kissed hundreds of women in the century and a half he had been a vampire before we finally met.
I think I wouldn't have minded if that kiss had gone on forever, but we were eventually interrupted by a sharp, quiet hiss. As I pulled my lips away from Stefan and opened my eyes, I realized Caroline was standing right next to us. Immediately, before I could say or do anything, Caroline grabbed both my and Stefan's arms and twisted us around until we were facing in the direction Damon and the others had gone. Then she gave us a brisk shove to get us moving.
"These woods are crawling with people – vampires and humans. We need to focus on reaching the anomaly. You can get all kissy-face later," whispered Caroline with both a trace of rebuke and humor in her tone.
It took us another thirty minutes to reach the cemetery and I spent the whole time talking quietly with Stefan. I told him about our old lives up in the future. I told him about the horrific things I knew he had done as a vampire during the upcoming hundred and fifty years including slaughtering hundreds of people. I knew I did it to convince him it was better for him to stay human and come with me to the future than stay here and end up a vampire.
But even as I spoke, my heart was in a sudden quandary. I had travel back in time to retrieve Stefan, but I still couldn't get out of my mind the time I had spent at the ball with Damon. Dancing with him, kissing him had felt so good and so right. How could I want both brothers so much?
Almost brusquely I forced thoughts of the Salvatore brothers to the back of my mind. Has Caroline had said earlier, it could wait for later. At the moment, the cemetery was crawling with people. From the shadows we watched as two more wagons loaded with men and captured vampires trundled passed our position and headed towards the front of the modest church.
Once it was clear, I pulled my iPhone from my pocket. Shielding the screen as best I could within Lester's dark coat, which I was still wearing over just my panties, I briefly turned the phone on so I could check the time.
"If Bonnie is on schedule, the anomaly should open in less than five minutes," I whispered before jamming the phone back into the jacket pocket.
"Then we better work our way around closer to where it will open, assuming it will open in the same place," said Caroline. "Follow me."
It was hard to believe anyone could creep stealthily passed all the people around while wearing a bright yellow dress with a broad hoop skirt. But if anyone could, it would be the vampire Caroline.
Caroline led the way along the fence surrounding the cemetery for several hundred feet until we reached a spot where some large bushes would give some cover as we climbed over the fence. I couldn't help but notice the large flash of pale white skin that was exposed as Caroline crawled over the fence. She obviously wasn't wearing any frilly bloomers under her gown either. And I could tell I wasn't the only one to notice. All four pairs of male eyes in our little group were unconsciously drawn to her long, fully exposed legs. I thought I was going to have to pinch some of them to get them moving again.
After we all made it across the fence, we started to creep across the sprawling cemetery. We used trees, bushes, headstones, whatever cover we could find. Towards the end we were helped by the arrival of the six vampires from our earlier encounter with Jonathan Gilbert. As they came shambling in through the main entrance, the attention of all the men in the cemetery were focused in their direction.
And it was a good thing we were close to the required spot and the Council's men were distracted; when the anomaly bloomed to life right on schedule, it seemed to light up half the cemetery. As soon as I saw it, I grabbed Stefan and Damon each by the hand and raced forward. I knew all the others wanted to get back through the anomaly as much as I did, but one or both of the brothers might balk at the last moment.
"Come on, we have to hurry," I said urging them on and not bothering to whisper. "Once we are through the anomaly, we will be safe."
I could feel both of them begin to hesitate as we approached the weird crystalline structure. Even though I had been through anomalies many times before, it still seemed hard to comprehend that it wasn't solid and that passing through it was possible and would lead to another time and place. But I could start to hear shouts from the men by the Church and we needed to get through the anomaly before someone started shooting.
The others must have sense the same hesitation in the brothers that I did for abruptly, Caroline swept Stefan up in her arms and raced forward. Then Harry grabbed Damon up in a fireman's carry and sprinted after her. Lester and I were left bringing up the rear.
Lester was just in the middle of making some comment about being too old for all this running around when we passed through the anomaly, but his words abruptly froze when we reached the other side.
From what Bonnie had said, I had expected her to open this new anomaly mere seconds after she had closed the one we had arrived through four hours earlier. So I fully expected to step out into broad daylight in the wide glade that had existed 123,000 years earlier where the modern Mystic Falls stood. However while it was once again daylight, we most definitely were NOT in the expected alpine glade.
End of Chapter 33
Well, that's all I have finished for now. Considering how little interest there seems to be for this story, I'm not sure I will ever come back to it or simply move on to other things. I will leave it here for a little while and then move it over to the Vampire Diaries/Primeval crossover category where it more rightly fits.
Have a great day!