.

Sweethearts! You're all so lovely and leave so many beautiful words of praise that my heart can't take it! I love each and every one of you, from the binge readers, to the loyal followers, to the people who deem their their "favorite" to those who never speak but keep reading. I could not be more appreciative.


Hello my lovely fanfic family! I know, I'm surprised to see me too! But has I've said, I'd never abandon a story without saying so. And, no, I'm not here to say that today either. This isn't a full blown chapter update but since the wait has gotten disgustingly long, I'm gifting another mini game as a peace offering.

P.S. and by the way, I wanted to let you all know I am still working on getting the finale finished, but this time I'm giving myself a deadline. I am going to force myself to have it finished to post NEXT FRIDAY! Yes, this means Family Game Night will be officially finished next weekend and yes, my heart is breaking too. It's been a trip, you guys, but I want this to go out with a bang and I'm working my damnedest to do so.

In the meantime, enjoy the mini game and I'll be back next week!


Mini Game: Operation

"This is absolute nonsense," Rebekah remarked with a scoff, sitting back as she crossed her arms in appall.

Caroline rolled her eyes. "It's a children's game. It's not supposed to make sense."

"What do you mean?" Kol argued. "It makes perfect sense. They put an apple where his Adam's apple should be. What about that is such a hard concept to grasp for you people?"

Rebekah grabbed the little plastic game piece, shaking it in his face. "Men do not walk around with apples lodged in their throats, Kol!"

"It isn't meant to be taken literal," Klaus muttered.

Kol's eyes narrowed as his expression dulled. "Clearly it isn't literal. But it's funny." He sat back, folding his hands behind his head. "That's the problem with the lot of you. No sense of humor."

"Is it my fault I want a game with some actual substance?" she protested.

"Considering every other aspect of your life is lacking, I don't see why it would matter." He smirked cheekily.

"Here we go," Caroline sighed, sitting back against Klaus' outstretched arm.

"And just what is that supposed to mean!?"

Klaus murmured into her hair, "How long until she storms off?"

"The fact that I even have to explain just proves I'm right," Kol continued.

Caroline repressed a laugh. "I give it three minutes."

Klaus lifted a brow. "Optimistic, are we?"

"Perceptive, actually." She turned and pursed her lips, a conspiratorial twinkle igniting in her gaze. "What's your bet?"

"It's a wager now, is it?"

"We'll discuss terms later. Let's just see who wins."

He smirked at her, mischief alight in his eyes. "She won't leave. It's too soon."

"Well then. Game on, Klaus."

"Game on, love."

"Excuse you?!" Rebekah stood, infuriated. "If you're trying to imply something, then bloody say it!"

Kol rose too, his grin widening as his eyes sparkled with a delightful amusement. "All right! Your life's a bore! Your relationship with Matt is bland, and you're practically reinforcing those points by continuously spending game nights here when you could be out doing whatever else you wanted!"

"Oh so now I'm desperate because I enjoy spending time with my family?!" She lifted a brow coolly and crossed her arms. "And what's your excuse?"

Kol laughed. "I've been daggered for a century. I'm playing catch up."

"Speaking of playing…" Elijah attempted to interject. "Shall we?"

"Yes," Klaus agreed, sitting up a little straighter as his hold around Caroline tightened some. "Read out the instructions, Elijah."

Rebekah huffed in defeat and retook her seat, as did Kol. Caroline pouted along with her, displeased with her loss. Klaus leaned in and his breath against her ear was annoyingly hot and arousing.

"Looks like I won," he taunted. "What do I get?"

"Shh," she hissed.

"All right," Elijah agreed aloud after reading the instructions to himself. "The game is called Operation. There are two sets of cards; the 'specialist' cards, which are distributed evenly before gameplay, and the 'doctor' cards which remain in a face down stack. For each turn, a player takes a 'doctor' card from the stack. This card determines which 'ailment' you must operate on. Use the tweezers to remove the 'ailment' from Sam."

"Still say he doesn't look like a Sam," Kol lamented.

"This must be done without contacting the metal," Elijah continued. "If the tweezers and the metal touch, the buzzer will go off. For most 'ailments', this involves removing a small, white, plastic piece. However, to cure Sam's ankle problem, you must carefully stretch an elastic band over his joints. If you succeed in removing the 'ailment', collect your earnings. If you fail and the buzzer goes off, the participant who holds the relevant 'specialist' card has a turn, with the opportunity of earning twice the money. Note that, on your turn, if you are the 'specialist' card holder, you may purposely botch your operation to be given a second go for twice as much money."

Rebekah snorted. "That's ethical."

"Strategy, Rebekah." Kol sat up, rubbing his hands together. "I'm going to be the next great surgeon. Who's ready?"

Caroline scoffed a laugh. "Who in their right mind would let you near them with a scalpel?"

"You'll be eating your words when I win this game. Just you wait."

"Winning this game doesn't make you a surgeon!" she laughed incredulously. "You'd need way more credentials than that."

"Obviously. Which is why I binge watched all of House in a week."

"Oh my god. Seriously? Kol, you need an actual medical license. And on top of that, you'd need to go to Medical school. As in, college. As in higher education?"

"Are you calling me dumb? Nik, she's calling me dumb."

"You're not dumb, Kol," Rebekah reassured him. "You're just an idiot."

"I'm an idiot savant," he corrected.

"May I continue?" Elijah implored.

Klaus gestured. "Please."

"If the 'ailment' is removed, then that 'doctor' card is eliminated from play. If the 'ailment' remains, replace the card to the bottom of the stack. Continue until all 'ailments' are removed from Sam. The participant with the most money at the end of the game is the winner."

"Great." Kol rubbed his hands together. "Who goes first?"

"How about ladies first tonight?" Caroline smiled sweetly, reaching for the card deck.

Rebekah grabbed her wrist, smiling sweetly back at her. "Age before beauty."

"Did you just call yourself ugly?"

"Oh, you know what I meant!" She snatched the first card up and observed the WISHBONE ailment. "Great. The toughest one on my first go."

"The rubber band is harder," Caroline assured her. "Trust me."

"You've played this before?" Klaus was intrigued.

"Unfair advantage!" Kol protested.

She rolled her eyes. "I was like five. And I sucked at it. Elena always won," she said bitterly, crossing her arms. Klaus gave her an affectionate squeeze and she let up with a smile.

"I'm going to remove the wishbone now," Rebekah told them all, reminding them of her turn.

"Just go slowly," Elijah coached.

The room fell quiet as she picked the tweezers up, giving them a test squeeze, then leaned forward for a better view of "Sam". Just as she lowered the tweezers, Kol stopped her.

"Why is the wishbone by his heart?"

Rebekah almost snarled. "Will you shut up?"

She sighed and recomposed herself, going for the piece again. Her hand shook slightly as she eased the tip of the tweezers into the slot. Just as she got a grip on the apex, Elijah let out a loud cough making her hand shake and hitting the edge. The buzzer went off and Rebekah gasped, the wishbone dropping back into place.

Elijah froze, his hand covering his mouth as Rebekah slowly raised her eyes to his in a glare. He swallowed and shook his head. "I swear to you that was not intentional."

"You're as bad as Kol, you know that?"

"Rebek - " he coughed again, clearing his throat. "I sipped my drink too quickly."

"Whatever. You're so smart, you go." She held out the tweezers.

"Rebekah - "

"Take it!"

He frowned but took the tweezers and picked up a card. It read BROKEN HEART.

"All too familiar with that ailment, eh, brother?" Klaus was all smiles as Elijah shot him a dirty look.

"Be nice," Caroline scolded.

Kol tapped his fingers on the table anxiously. "Get on with it, Elijah. We don't have all century."

"Patience, Kol. Surgery takes time and precision."

"There he goes taking a game seriously again."

"Says the one who watched House to prep," Caroline argued.

"Darling, I watched House because he's funny and I fancy ogling the pretty little blonde girl. She reminds me of you, actually. Incredibly naive and entirely too empathetic."

Caroline scoffed. "And you and Dr. House are like sociopathic soul mates."

Elijah carefully began to lift the heart upwards, the tweezers latched on the crack in the center. He smiled victoriously. "If you think you can beat me, you would be gravely - " The buzzer sounded and the heart dropped, along with his face. "Mistaken."

Rebekah smiled lazily but cold. "Face it, Elijah. You can't heal a broken heart. Only time can."

Elijah scowled, rubbing his hand after laying the tweezers down. "It shocked me."

"It's barely a tap, don't be a baby."

"It caught me off guard. If you knew it did that, you could have told me."

"And you could have held your cough off."

"It was an uncontrollable bodily function."

"Your existence is an uncontrollable bodily function."

He rolled his eyes. "Very mature of you."

Caroline cleared her throat. "So I'm gonna go now." She plucked a card from the deck and read it out: "CHARLIE HORSE."

"Fitting as you like horses," Klaus commented.

"Aww how cute. You remembered."

"That sounded vaguely sarcastic."

"Did it?" She smiled playfully and reached for the tweezers. "Watch this." She aligned the tweezers as if she was going to pick the piece up, then purposely let it hit the edge. Sam's nose lit up as the buzzer sounded.

"I appreciate your confidence, love, but I don't think that's the proper technique."

"Au contraire, Original one. I happen to be holding the 'Specialist' card so I get to go again. And I get double the money."

"If you succeed."

She lifted a brow at his challenge and went for the gold. It took her a minute and a half of concentration and maneuvers, but at the end, the Charlie Horse was out of Sam and in the palm of her hand. She looked back at Klaus with a smug grin.

"What was that you said about my confidence?"

He sat up, dimples rearing. "It's very appealing." He kissed her sweetly and she hummed in bliss.

"Vomit," Rebekah muttered.

Caroline rolled her eyes and grabbed the tweezers, handing them to Klaus. "You're up."

"Careful," he warned with a wicked smile, taking the tweezers from her hand. "Someone might misinterpret your words."

"Someone like you?" She shook her head at him when he pursed his lips and selected a card. "What'd you get?"

"WRENCHED ANKLE."

"And it's a literal wrench," Rebekah dully noticed. "Surprise surprise."

"Well what do you expect for a 'wrenched ankle' Rebekah? A screwdriver?"

"They could put SCREW LOOSE by its head," Klaus joined in.

"Only if the body was Kol's," Caroline added.

"Touchè."

"Hysterical." Kol shook his head. "The point is, you have no sense of whimsy, Beks."

"Forgive me for not enjoying these silly puns."

"Are you two done?" Klaus waited for them to speak but they both remained silent. He nodded in gratitude and looked over his victim. "It's really in there, isn't it?"

"That's what she said," Kol blurted. "The she being Caroline, obviously."

Caroline rolled her head towards him exhaustedly. "Seriously?"

"What? I couldn't resist."

Klaus held up the tweezers with the wrench intact between the tips. "Well that was fairly easy."

"Show off," Elijah grumbled.

"Bitterness gives you wrinkles," he teased.

"You two spend way too much time together," Kol shook his head at Klaus and Caroline.

"To be fair, an ankle is far easier than a heart," Elijah pointed out.

Klaus laughed. "It's a game, Elijah."

"The point remains."

"Fine. Have it your way."

"My turn!" Kol seized his card, face scrunching when he saw the words – ANKLE BONE CONNECTED TO THE KNEE BONE. "That's not even punny."

"It's part of a song to teach kids about anatomy," Caroline informed him.

"It's still not punny."

"Just go."

He sighed and picked up the rubber band, looking at it skeptically. Rebekah pursed her lips in a knowing smile.

"This ought to be good."

Before starting, Kol set his card down and laced his fingers to flex his palms outward, pushing his shoulders forward to stretch in preparation. He let out a short breath and sighed, dropping his hands and rolling his shoulders back. He gave his neck a crack to each side, shaking his hands out to each side and wiggled his hips to settle himself in his seat better.

"All right. I'm ready."

"And I'm ancient," Klaus quipped.

"Honestly," Rebekah agreed. "Could you have taken any longer?"

"It's like Elijah says, baby sister. These things take patience." He narrowed his eyes, the tip of his tongue sticking out as he slowly eased the first end of the rubber band around the spoke. "And precision."

"No way," Caroline breathed, leaning forward in disbelief.

The rest of the family soon followed suit and everyone was on the edge of their seats to watch Kol take on the hardest ailment of the game. He swiped his tongue across his lip and gently stretched the band, carefully edging it to the second tiny pillar and just barely got it around. He dropped the tweezers and his hands shot straight up in the air.

"DONE!"

Elijah gaped, eyes bulging. "How did you do that?"

"What?" His arms dropped. "It was easy."

"It's the hardest one in the game," Caroline argued in disbelief.

"I saw you touch the sides," his sister objected. "It never buzzed."

"Are you feeling okay, Bekah? Perhaps you need Dr. Kol to fix you up."

"Don't you dare."

"What can I say? I have a healing touch."

"Ugh." Caroline made a face of disgust.

Elijah frowned, picking the game up altogether and tilting it forward. His brows soon dropped and his eyes rolled. "He turned the switch off."

"You can't prove anything!"

"The switch was on your side, Kol. You could easily have switched it off between turns."

"Heresay!"

"What, did you binge Law and Order too?"

"As a matter of fact I did, but I'm not at the liberty to discuss such matters without a lawyer present."

Caroline snickered, shaking her head. "You're hopeless."