"It never troubles the wolf how many the sheep may be" - Virgil
Caroline was on the phone as she walked briskly though the airport. She had to hurry to catch the flight. She had spent hours fussing over what to wear, fixing her hair, doing her makeup only to wash her face and start over. Everything had to be perfect.
"Bonnie, you're a life saver." Caroline spoke into the phone tucked against her shoulder. "This is seriously amazing."
"One of the few perks of working for an airline." Bonnie responded. "It took a while, but I finally managed to find two flights almost in your price range a week apart, and with my employee discount, it's not so bad at all."
"Seriously, you have no idea how much I owe you for this. It's been eight months since I've seen Tyler, and there's no way I could have afforded this trip without you."
"No problem, I'm happy to help. I can't believe it's been that long since you've seen him!"
"I know, right! And he has another year of the program in South Africa before he can come back. I can't wait to see the look on his face when I show up. He's going to flip."
"He doesn't know you're coming?"
"I wanted to surprise him." Caroline said. "I know his schedule and I have the address for his apartment, so I figured I'd just show up, give him the shock of his life."
"And then the something else of his life." Bonnie smirked.
"Oh, god, yes." Caroline giggled. "It's been wayyyyy too long."
Now boarding all rows, flight 1856 to Johannesburg
"Oops, time to go." Caroline said.
"Call me when you land. And have fun!" Bonnie replied.
The metal bars surrounding the cell at the center of the station seemed to radiate some kind of repellent, because the otherwise relaxed officers of this station stayed as far away as possible, changing their routes across the room to avoid being anywhere near it. The man in the cell was someone they had only heard whispers about and the way he looked at them was something even the most senior officers had never experienced before. They were all on edge.
He looked about thirty, but he held himself with the authority of someone much older. Even now, dripping with blood and bruised up, he looked regal. He sat in the middle of his cage, head held high, looking out at the officers scurrying around as if he was holding court.
He had been knocked unconscious by a falling beam in the warehouse he was torturing his victims in. Had it not been for his incredible bad luck, the men under him selling him out in exchange for lucrative amounts of money and feeble offers of protection and status, the helicopter Kol was coming in on being late, the beam falling just as the swat team swarmed in, none of this would have happened. If plan A, B, or C went according to plan, he wouldn't be here. His plan was artistic, beautiful. The swat team was expected to rush in just as he left he building in a helicopter, the bombs would kill them all, along with the men who betrayed him, he would watch it all unfold from the sky.
If it wasn't for that lousy beam falling on him, it would have been perfect. If it wasn't for Kol's tardiness, he wouldn't have been standing under that beam at the moment. At least he managed to kill most of them by triggering the bombs as they dragged him out of the building. It really was their mistake for not checking his pockets for a detonator before dragging him to the patrol car. If he wasn't so delirious from the concussion, he probably would have managed to kill a few more of them.
The officers chattered nervously, aware that he could hear every word. It didn't matter, the chief assured them, Niklaus Mikaelson would never see the light of day again.
"Call the commissioner, we might have to extradite him to the U.S."
"He's a British national, won't that affect the extradition?"
"He might be British, but the crimes he was pinned to are mostly American. The Canadians might want him too, but there are way more charges in the States."
"They've got several guys we want to stand trial over here, we need this trade with the States."
"Won't the Brits be up in arms over it? Should we put in a call to their consulate?"
"They don't want to claim him, he isn't some ordinary citizen. They're not rushing to defend this guy."
"Just call the commissioner. Catching him is enough of a feather in my hat. I don't want to keep him here. Let's make the trade, there are guys running free over there I want to see behind bars."
The commissioner jolted up in bed when his phone rang in the middle of the night.
"Sir. There's a situation. You're needed at the station immediately."
"What?" He grumbled.
"We got him, sir. I can't believe it. We captured Mikaelson."
"Which one?" The commissioner hissed, unwilling to celebrate until it was confirmed. He was certain they were referring to Kol Mikaelson. He had been running wild for years, always narrowly escaping capture. Rebekah was the youngest, but Kol was the most reckless. If another of them were ever to be caught, it would certainly be Kol. There were whispers that Elijah and Niklaus had something to do with Kol's incredible luck, always swooping in and causing a distraction just as the police were closing in on him, giving him a chance to escape. His older brothers had never been caught, but they were wanted in several countries.
"Niklaus. We got Niklaus Mikaelson."
The Commissioner was sure he heard wrong. There was no way. One of the world's most infamous and elusive criminals couldn't possibly be sitting in his station. Rumor had it Niklaus was far worse than any of the other Mikaelsons. Finn was serving five consecutive life sentences and he was a saint compared to Niklaus, Esther "The Black Widow" Mikaelson's bastard son. They called him The Wolf. There were whispers that some of his victims looked like they had been attacked by an animal, with three long cuts slicing across them, like a wolf's claw.
The Black Widow had the distinction of being the only woman in recent history to be the head of a major organized crime family. She had taken over when her husband Mikael died under mysterious circumstances. Some people were convinced that she killed him herself, while others whispered that she set The Wolf on him. Her bastard son, her prized possession, the child she flaunted to torment her husband. She had trained all her children well, and while Finn's arrest and quick transport to an impossible to break maximum security prison had been a disappointment that shamed her, she vowed to never again let the police take one of her children.
The Commissioner's head was swimming with thoughts of her. She was dangerously beautiful, even in her 50's, and her pack of children were now all grown up and deadlier than ever. They had been picking off every cop, lawyer, judge and jury member that had anything to do with Finn's arrest. Security guards who worked in his wing of the prison would disappear and wash up on the beaches a week later. It was a warning, a reminded that they hadn't forgotten, that they vowed to free him. Not even the international witness protection program could help the poor souls who dared to cross The Black Widow and her children.
"Say that again?" He hissed into the phone.
"Niklaus Mikaelson. He's in our custody."
"You're saying..." He started, convinced it was all a dream.
"Sir, we have The Wolf in a cage."
"I'm on my way." The Commissioner said, scurrying out of bed and across the room to grab his gun and badge.
Caroline took a deep breath and double checked the address. She was on the second floor of a busy apartment building, only a short walk from the campus where his program was. She looked at the number on the paper, confirming it was the right door. So this was the place she had send all those letters and care packages to. He would probably have hung up all those photos she sent the of the two of them together before he left. She imagined him looking at them when he missed her, just like she did when she thought of him. She held her breath, excited to see the look on his face when he opened the door. This was it. She knocked.
She heard the lock click as someone came to the door, and she straightened up, smoothing out her hair and putting on her best smile. Tyler would be floored.
She was confused when a pretty brunette opened the door. She was wearing a man's shirt and not much else. Had she gotten the wrong apartment?
"You're not my chinese food." The girl said, looking Caroline up and down.
"I'm sorry, I must have the wrong place, I'm looking for-" She started, but a shout from the other room cut her off.
"Hayley, get back in bed!"
Caroline immediately recognized the voice. A sick feeling hit her in the pit of her stomach. She wanted to run away but instead she charged past the girl and into the apartment. She came face to face with a very naked Tyler, who looked like he had seen a ghost.
"Surprise." Caroline said weekly, tears beginning to form.
"Care, I can explain." He started.
"Seriously? Don't bother."
"No, wait. Caroline!" He shouted.
"What? What could you possibly have to say to me, Tyler?"
"Are you really going to try to deny it? Give me some credit. I'm not stupid enough to believe any lie you could come up with."
He just looked down.
"How long has this been going on?" She asked.
He shook his head. "Care, don't. I can't."
He looked at the girl who was shifting uncomfortably in the doorway to the bedroom, trying to cover up a bit. Caroline expected the other girl to fly into a rage along with her, berate him for lying to her as well. She looked more guilty than upset. She must have know he had a girlfriend the whole time.
"How long, Tyler?"
"Hayley and I knew each other from classes a few years ago. We met the first week I was here, it was nice to have someone familiar around."
"You never mentioned her to me. You never told me you found an old friend here."
"It started pretty soon after that."
She shook her head, disgusted.
"I'm sorry, Care. Hayley and I both have people back home. We figured it wouldn't hurt anyone if they didn't know. We were going to stop once we both went back home."
"Do you hear what you're saying, Tyler? How can you even attempt to justify this?"
"I'm sorry! I never meant for you to get hurt. It wasn't supposed to be this way."
She glared at him. "Just so you know, I never cheated on you. I was going to wait for you the whole two years you were over here. At least now I don't have to spent the next year being lied to."
She started to walk away.
"Care, wait! We can fix this!"
She marched back out the door, not wanting him to see her break down. She wouldn't let him have the satisfaction. He didn't deserve to see how much he could hurt her. She grabbed her suitcase and got as far away as her legs could carry her. When she couldn't walk anymore she found a bench to sit on and called Bonnie.
The commissioner slipped a wireless phone through the bars. The man in the cell slowly walked towards it, crouching to pick it up. Niklaus Mikaelson looked astonishingly young for someone with such a long rap sheet. He couldn't be a day over thirty, and well, he had killed a lot more than thirty people. It wasn't just murder either, he was a renaissance man of a criminal, a little of everything, an expert at it all.
The commissioner tried not to shiver or let his fear and repulsion show. Thirty five years on this job and he had never come face to face with a purer form of evil. Criminals like Niklaus Mikaelson only came along once every few centuries. His whole family was legend, slipping through the shadows, all of them avoiding capture, or managing to break free from any attempted imprisonment, at least all of them except the eldest sibling, Finn. Finn had spent more of his life in solitary confinement then he had lived as a man on the outside world. But even Finn Mikaelson, perhaps the most famous criminal in custody, was nothing compared to Niklaus.
Not even The Black Widow, the most powerful woman in organized crime, compared to her son. She had raised all her children to be ruthless, but she took extra care in making sure the bastard was the most savage and unrelenting of them all. It had been an open secret that while Mikael was alive and running the family business that he abused his wife in every way possible, constantly punishing her for her affair and the illegitimate child it produced. Instead of letting it destroy her, it set a fire inside Esther. She endured every hit, every cruel word, every time Mikael held her down and had his way with her when she begged him not to. She absorbed all his anger and slipped into the shadows with the son she didn't have to share with him. She turned the boy into a wolf. Then she took her revenge.
The commissioner knew all about the Mikaelson family. He shifted nervously as he watched the one called The Wolf stand in front of him, just on the other side of the bars, holding the phone.
"What is this about?" The prisoner asked, motioning to the phone.
"You get a phone call. One."
Niklaus turned the phone over in his hands. He knew how this game was played. He smirked as he dialed the numbers to the burner phone Elijah was using.
"They're tracing this so we need to make it quick. I'm in Johannesburg, they want to move me to the U.S. You know what to do." Niklaus said it all as quickly as possible. He hung up the phone and stuck his hands between the bars, turning it back to the commissioner.
The man looked over his prisoner and felt a new sense of rage. Of course Mikaelson would see right through the attempt to trace the call, pinpoint where his allies were. He had flipped the switch and used it to his advantage. Now his people knew where he was. They would need to call in the swat team to surround the station. An attack on the station was more than likely. the Black Widow wouldn't allow another one of her children to be taken. Not without a fight.
The commissioner moved to the tech room, looking for a glimmer of hope, but he already knew the answer. Mikaelson had played them. They wouldn't have anything.
"What do we have?"
"He called a burner cell. The voice on the other line was male, possibly Kol or Elijah Mikaelson. They only got a few words out, so it's hard to say. The most we could pinpoint it's location was somewhere in the Middle East, unless they're using a remote gps system to jam our trackers. If that's the case, it could be anywhere. The phone has since been destroyed, and it was paid for in cash. It's a dead end."
"Fuck!" The commissioner shouted, punching a wall. "Fuck! I don't want him here another day. We won't lose any more men because of him. Call the Americans!"
Caroline had just told Bonnie the whole story. She couldn't stop crying. It was too much. All those months of waiting for him, staying faithful, it had all been a cruel joke.
"Ok, there's a hostel a few miles away, it's really cheap." Bonnie offered, at her work computer, trying to find Caroline's best options within her limited budget.
"I just want to go home. Isn't there anything?"
"All these flights are going to cost over two thousand. Even with my discount."
"I can't stay here, Bonnie!"
"I know, I'm looking, give me a minute... Oh! Wow, this one's cheap and it leaves tonight. A red eye."
"How cheap?" Caroline asked.
"Like, even less than the one you came in on. It just popped up. My boss must have just added it to the database."
"Get me on it!" Caroline begged.
"Sure, just let me... oh no. Wait. You don't want to be on this flight."
"Just, no. They don't make these flights public. It's just pre screened people who are allowed on board. I can get you cleared, but you're not going to want it. It's cheap because no one wants to be on one of these."
"I don't care! Just sign me up."
"No, Caroline, you don't understand. This is an extradition flight."
"A lot of countries use our airline when they need to move serious prisoners from one country to another. It's actually a lot cheaper for them and attracts less attention than using military planes. Usually they have to be seriously bad to warrant one country allowing another to take them into custody. They're almost always murderers and rapists and kidnappers. Not like one murder either, I'm talking serial killers and people who torture their victims for weeks."
"Bonnie. I don't care. I just need to get home."
"Just listen to me, ok? They do this so people who don't know what's going on won't notice that there's a prisoner walking through the airport or on the plane. He's not going to be handcuffed. He'll look like some ordinary person on your plane."
"Bonnie, it's ok. I can deal with it."
"Ten hours on board with some creep who probably murdered multiple people? You'd be shocked how many of these guys target young women. I don't think it's a good idea Care."
"It's not like I'd be sitting next to him or anything. Won't he be easy to spot? Just look for the guy surrounded by guards?"
"Only if you know what to look for." Bonnie sighed. "Fine, I'll break it down for you. He'll be wearing normal clothes, but if you pay attention, it's like they try to dress these guys as nondescript as possible, and it's always the same. White t-shirt, jeans, sneakers, not carrying any kind of bag or luggage. He'll have a bandage on one of his lower arms, near his wrist."
"What's the bandage for?"
"They don't cuff them, because it attracts too much attention. Instead, they're closely flanked by several plain clothes guards and they're given whats called a 'chemical restraint." Basically, injected with a sedative that keeps them awake and able to walk, but more docile. Then they inject them again once they board, so they're awake but too sedated to stand up or anything like that."
"So don't go near any guys with bandages. Got it."
"He'll be in the middle seat between two guards. Probably guards filling the rows ahead and behind him also. But they're all plain clothes, so they're not going to be obvious to spot."
"Bonnie, just put me on the flight. I can't stay here another day."
"Are you sure? I can loan you money for another one. You don't have to do this."
"No way. Sign me up."
Bonnie sighed. "Alright, sure. Let me just fill out the paperwork."
Caroline made it to her seat and sighed with relief when the plane got ready for takeoff. The middle seat next to her was empty and the window seat was filled by a middle aged woman reading a book. Just to be sure, Caroline glanced at the woman's arms. No bandage.
She looked around the plane and found that Bonnie was right. It was impossible to spot anything unusual. No wonder most people never knew about this. The criminal in their midst was invisible to anyone who wasn't looking for him.
It was creepy. She glanced around, wondering if he was in the row across from her, maybe one behind her. She kept looking for him, and while she couldn't spot him, she couldn't completely rule out the people around her either. It was probably a he, but it could be a she for all she knew. There were lady psychos out there as well. Bonnie was right for not wanting her on this flight. It was unsettling.
Just ten hours. Thats all, then it would all be over and she could go home. After all, ten hours of being freaked out was worth the thousands she saved taking this flight. Once she was off the plane she was planning on spending the rest of her week off from work moping around, missing Tyler, and getting rip-roaringly drunk. Maybe Bonnie and Elena would want to go out somewhere. She could meet a strange guy at a bar and go home with him. Wasn't a good rebound the best cure for feeling crappy about a break up? Maybe she could give Matt a call, things ended with him on an ok note, he might not mind being friends with benefits. There was also Damon for that, but she doubted that would work out well. He had been all over Elena lately.
Caroline closed the book she was reading and checked her ipod. Five hours left. She needed to stretch her legs.
She walked up towards the front of the plane to use the tiny bathroom. It wasn't until she was already walking through the aisle that she realized that she could possibly be walking right past the prisoner on board. It churned her insides to think about being so close to someone like that, even if only for a second.
Once she got in the stall, she splashed some water on her face. She stared into the tiny mirror above the sink.
"Get a grip, Caroline. It's fine. Don't be such a baby."
She took a few deep breaths and walked back out. Her eyes scanned over each row as she walked past, looking for the signs Bonnie had told her about. She got distracted from her search when she spotted an insanely hot guy sitting in one of the middle seats a few rows ahead. He was seriously attractive, and she felt herself turn red when he caught her staring at him. He looked her up and down, giving her a wicked smile, and she quickly turned her head, trying to keep him from seeing her blush.
The plane hit a patch of turbulence and she stumbled, falling to her hands and knees in the narrow aisle.
Oh, god. That hot guy just saw me fall. How embarrassing. She cringed, thinking of how she had briefly considered "accidentally" running into the hot guy at the airport once they deplaned, maybe trying to get his number. No use now. She had totally embarrassed herself right in front of him.
A middle aged man stood up and offered her help, gently pulling her up by the arm.
"Are you ok, miss?"
"I'm fine. Just embarrassed." She smiled sheepishly at him.
"Don't be. Happens all the time." He laughed "One time I slipped on a patch of ice walking to work, ended up in the hospital."
She smiled back at him, grateful for someone to make her feel a little less humiliated.
She dusted herself off and got ready to walk back to her seat when she noticed the hot guy a few rows down was watching her intently. She tried not to look, but she kept stealing glances, and every time she looked, he was looking back at her.
When she got closer, she could see more than just his face and her eyes traveled to his form fitting white t shirt, the strong muscular arms that she wanted to reach out and touch, a defined chest just below that thin fabric. She was walking slower now, just to get a few extra seconds of time to look at him before returning to her seat.
His large hands were folded in his lap. It was odd that he was just sitting there, not reading anything or on a computer. Then she noticed something at the top of one of his wrists as he moved his hands. A bandage.
She flooded with fear. White t shirt. Jeans. Sneakers. No luggage, no book, nothing on him. The bandage.
Her eyes met his again and she flinched away, scurrying down the aisle.
He stayed as still as possible, trying to give the guards the illusion that their sedative was working. They had brought extra doses, and while he could build up an immunity to one shot or two, four or five would certainly keep him down. And then it would all be for nothing.
He was bored waiting for it. Five hours left on the flight. They were just about where they needed to be, give or take a few miles. It wouldn't be long now.
A young woman walked up the aisle to the bathroom. He watched her blonde curls bounce around her as she walked, glancing down to admire her form. He wondered what she looked like, he didn't see her get on the plane. She went into the bathroom stall and he imagined what her face looked like. She was probably nothing special. After all, she had those amazing long legs, the hair. It was unlikely that someone with a body like that could have a face to match. Not like it mattered. Everyone on the plane except him would be dead in a matter of minutes.
She was walking back and he was stunned by her beauty. She really was a pretty little thing. She was glancing around the rows of people, as if she was looking for something. She spotted him and blushed a bit when he looked back at her.
Excellent. There were few things, murder aside, that were as enjoyable as making a beautiful woman blush. He could tell by the way he had caught her looking that she liked what she saw. He looked over at her, his eyes lazily scanning up and down her body, and he watched her turn a deeper shade of red when she noticed what he was doing.
He imagined himself whispering in her ear, giving her an itemized list of every filthy thing he wanted to do to her, telling her all the ways he would take her, the plans he had for that little body of hers. He wondered what her voice sounded like, what his name would sound like tumbling from those lips.
He was distracted when the plane hit a bump and she went flying forward, landing on her hands and knees in the aisle. He wanted to get out of his seat, go to her, either to help her up or to take her right then and there, he hadn't really decided. He tried to imagine what her lips tasted like, what her skin smelled of, what she was wearing under that pretty little outfit. Of course, it was just a fleeting thought. He had to remain still, appear to be sedated, for at least a few more minutes.
Some disgusting balding middle aged man touched her. It made him seethe with anger to see someone else touch the young lady that was starring in his own private fantasy at that very moment. He wanted to rip the man's arms off for having the gall to touch her. He wanted her all to himself. It was too bad really. Only a few minutes away. She was far too beautiful to meet her end like this.
She got up and started walking and he felt pure satisfaction as he caught her continuing to stare at him. He smirked back at her, appreciating the view. She kept glancing his way, looking down to avoid keeping eye contact. She reminded him of a deer in the forest, the way she acted skittish and nervous under his gaze. He would have enjoyed the hunt if there was ever a chance. If only he had spotter her a few days earlier. If he hadn't been knocked unconscious by that falling beam, the police never would have gotten him. If he was busy chasing a beautiful woman through the city, he would never have found the time to torture those disgusting traitors, and he would never have been in that rotting warehouse.
Despite his unconventional upbringing, he had a fascination with the arts, with beautiful things. Genuinely beautiful women were among the rarest of treasures, and while he loved playing with them, the chase, getting them into his bed, he did not feel for them as people and he never loved them. They were simply beautiful things to entertain him, nothing more. It was their family crest, after all: "Love for anything beyond family is the greatest weakness. We do not feel and we do not care." Of course he had no interest in loving the gorgeous blonde who was sauntering down the aisle of the plane, he had felt only lust. He wanted to pull her back in the airplane bathroom and fuck her senseless, then move on with his day. She was nothing to him. At the same time, it was a shame that such beauty would be destroyed in just a few short minutes.
He caught her scan over his body with her eyes, doing it quickly as if she thought he might not catch her. Her gaze was suddenly locked on his hands, and he smirked, wondering what she was imagining his hands doing. If only there was a chance to show her just what he could do. He furrowed his brow a bit when her expression changed suddenly and she looked at him with fear. He quickly realized that she knew what he was. She had flinched back as soon as she saw the bandage. Someone had warned her.
He tilted his head a little, watching her scurry away out of the side of his eye. Once he heard the distant click of her seatbelt a few rows back he turned forward again and waited. Elijah knew what to do. They had a plan. It would be any moment now.
Caroline was shaken up as she returned to her seat. She tried to keep her hands steady as she pulled her seat belt back on, but she was too jittery and they shook as she clicked it shut.
"Are you alright?" The woman at the window seat asked her.
"Oh, I'm fine, just a little-"
There was an explosion and the cabin was filled with smoke. Caroline's body was jerked forward by the impact and her head hit the seat in front of her. She felt the searing pain take over and her vision went spotty as she felt the plane take a nose dive, bags popping out of the overhead compartments, a cart crashing down the aisle. The colors around her were fading even as she tried desperately to stay awake. She couldn't hold on any longer. Everything went black.
Caroline opened her eyes and saw leaves obstructing her view. A chill ran over her body and she swatted the leaves off, sitting up. Her head was pounding. Everything hurt.
Her clothes were wet and matted with sand and dirt. There was soot all over her skin. It didn't make sense. Where was she? How did she get here?
It all started coming back to her. The explosion. The fire. The nosedive the plane was taking. The last thing she remembered was the pain of hitting her head against the seat in front of her.
She hesitantly got to her feet and looked around. She had no memory of getting here. Was it possible for her to have swam to shore and not remembered? If she managed to survive the crash, than certainly others must have as well. She looked around and didn't see anyone. The forest she was in was thick and it took a few minutes of walking to reach the edge and be able to spot the beach again. She walked down on it and looked around. There was no one. Nothing. There was only one set of footprints trailing from the edge of the water and into the forest. She put her foot in the sand next to them. Not her footprints. These were much bigger. Someone else was here. Someone who must have carried her across the beach, because there was no evidence of her ever walking across it.
Caroline cautiously walked through the forrest, back to where she woke up. She moved past the spot and followed a soft noise. The sound of water.
It looked like some kind of lagoon. There were large rocks along the edges and the water was bubbling down from a stream that cut through a side of the jagged rock that sloped up the terrain. She hoped it was fresh water and not salt, because she felt dizzy and in desperate need of a drink of water. She stepped a bit closer but halted when she saw something on the rocks at the edge of the lagoon.
A white t shirt. Jeans. Sneakers. A pair of black boxer briefs. All rinsed clean of the debris that her own clothes carried and set out to dry on the rocks. She spotted the figure swimming through the lagoon and hoped that someone else on the flight was wearing the same thing. Please don't let it be him, please don't let it be him.
He turned around she felt her heart drop into her stomach. Of course it was him.