"Hey! Easy on the goods!" Misha cried, struggling not to drop the handful of coins in his hands as Kaspar pulled him by his arm into the privacy of the downstairs bathroom and closed the door quickly behind them.

"Oh, relax!" Kaspar scoffed, trying to keep his voice low as Misha twisted harshly out of his grasp, "You're 'goods' are safe."

"Relax?" the warlock complained, immediately stretching his arm and rolling his shoulder to get the kinks out from being manhandled by his brother, "I've got two shows this weekend…that is, if I can ever return to my normal life anytime soon—"

"Misha, you're a drag queen!" Kaspar rolled his eyes with a small smirk, "How is that even remotely normal?"

"Oh! That's rich coming from someone who put's people's essences in dead bodies for a living!" Misha shot back, straightening his posture defensively, "I, on the other hand, bring dead people to life! My Liza is phenomenal! A show stopper!"

Kaspar laughed mockingly, shaking his head

"Okay, fine!" Kaspar relented, holding up his hands in defeat, "White flag… and I quit! Can we talk like rational human beings now?"

"You call this rational?" Misha smirked, "You've shoved me into a hallway bathroom that's no bigger than a can of sardines without any explanation—"

Kaspar suddenly gave him a hard look, then brought his hand to his lips, motioning for his brother to zip his mouth and then pointed to the coins in Misha's hands as he pulled his own handful of coins that Klaus had divided among them from his pocket and they each started gently tossing the coins from one hand to the other, instantly creating a melodic tone of metal clanking.

When they were certain that interference was created and neither Dominic, nor the vampires in the other room, would be able to hear what they were saying, Kaspar leaned back on the sink, still running the coins through his fingers as he studied his brother.

"What the Hell is going on Kaspar?" Misha asked, narrowing his eyes as he fingered his own coins, "What could you possible want to talk about in a commode, out of earshot of everyone?"

"I think you know," his brother answered with a raised eyebrow and Misha sighed, closing his eyes.

"You mean that extra caveat on the whole 'One must die so that I may live'?" the warlock answered softly, looking down to his still moving hands

"Misha, you and I both know that it's not the first time we've heard that phrase as warlocks— and that it's not just any random phrase, but an ancient command from the spirits of nature—the equivalent of magical law," Kaspar said, trying to meet his brother's gaze

Misha nodded as he lifted his head and looked straight into his brother's eyes, "I know. It reared its ugly head back when we faced Esther and we were trying to transfer Klaus' soul into Ioan's body…Mother reminded me."

"Then you understand its true meaning," Kaspar continued, looking over his shoulder toward the closed door and their friends on the other side, "that if Dominic is to get his soul back, someone must die and not just any someone and not from the list of people we've named who have already fallen…they are not enough—"

"It has to be a human," Misha said softly, "A human must die for the scales to balance…for Dominic to get back his human life and regain his soul."

Kaspar nodded sadly, studying his brother as they stood in silence for a moment, then spoke again

"I didn't want to alarm the others, so I didn't bring it up during our little pow-wow out there, but Matt Donovan-though he was a human and his blood awakened Dominic- his death will not count since he was used as Klaus' sacrifice… and well, Stefan and Elijah are vampires…"

"Then it has to be someone else…" Misha acknowledged

"And it means we have some decisions to make here, Misha… get a few things straight between us," Kaspar said in a calm and resolute voice, taking in a deep breath before continuing, "Should we focus on finding Dominic's soul or look for a means of his destruction?"

Misha sighed reluctantly, "Both."

Kaspar nodded in the affirmative, then asked, "Should we bargain with him if we find a way to obtain his soul—our lives and Elijah's in exchange for us performing the rituals of the return of said soul to his body, even if it means a human sacrifice to balance the scales?"

Misha nodded and Kaspar nodded the affirmative again

"If Luka is right," Kaspar continued, "that their tattoos are the key and we find a way to exercise Dominic—send his demon to purgatory and him to Valhalla …do you want me to?"

"Yes." Misha replied without hesitation, "But, honestly, I think we could use both of the before-mentioned scenarios to our advantage."

Kaspar narrowed his eyes, for a moment then asked, "You mean bait him like he's been baiting us?"

Misha nodded, "Dominic knows by now, listening in to our conversations, that we know what his plan is. He also knows that we have the information Luka gave us, that we know about the tattoos, we have a lead on Johnathan Gilbert, and that we are planning on finding his soul and using it as a possible bargaining chip. But, what if we use the bargaining chip not to bargain? What if we use it just to get close to him—you and I—face to face—close enough to finish what Luka was talking about…"

"To decipher his tattoos and find his weakness…then kill him and send him back," Kaspar realized, his eyes widening

"It would be a win-win," Misha concluded

"The scales would balance and there would be no need for a human sacrifice…" Kaspar said softly

Misha nodded with a sad smile, "Elijah and the others would be safe and Dominic…wouldn't exactly get to be human again… but he would be free and so would his soul."

# # # # # #

Bonnie's eyes rolled back in her head as her eyelids fluttered before opening slowly.

Taking in a deep breath and stretching her arm back on the pillow, she looked around the room above her then down to the bed she was lying on, recognizing the place immediately as Jeremy Gilbert's bedroom.

But, she was alone and Jeremy was nowhere to be found.

How long had she been asleep?

The last thing she remembered was leaving Misha, Kaspar and Elijah back at the Salvatore Mansion after they had explained how they had brought her back and Jeremy taking her to his house to keep her safe.

They relaxed on the couch, cuddled and watched movies until late into the night…but, that's all she remembered.

She sighed as she tried to lift her head, rolling her shoulders as she slowly sat up on the edge of the bed, still in the clothes from the night Esther had killed her.

Getting her bearings and assuring herself that she wouldn't throw up, Bonnie finally stood. She was a little unsteady, but slowly, she tried to make her way around the end of the bed, grabbing the bed posts for support as she went.

Suddenly, a figure appeared in the doorway and Bonnie jolted, falling back against the bed in shock and bouncing off the mattress before falling on her hands and knees onto the hardwood floor.

It was Emily Bennett.

Her eyes were dark and cold as they connected with Bonnie's frightened ones as the young witch looked up at her ancestor.

"The heart of the invention is the soul…" Emily whispered, then turned and walked back through the threshold.

Bonnie scrambled to her feet and, stumbling as quickly as she could without falling over from dizziness, followed the witch.

When she finally made it to the threshold, falling against the door frame out of exhaustion, she looked up and down the hallway…

But it was empty and Emily was gone.

Suddenly, she heard footsteps and watched as Jeremy reached the top landing of the staircase

"Hey, there sleepy head," he smiled, holding a mug of steaming coffee, presumably for her, in his hands

Bonnie smiled back weakly, straightening on the door frame and readying herself to walk forward and meet him, when she suddenly sensed something…or rather someone… nearby.

She turned quickly and immediately found Johnathan Gilbert, Jeremy and Elena's ancestor, standing at her side, causing her to fall back against the door frame again in shock.

Bonnie knew it was the inventor because she had seen his picture once at City Hall when she was a child. He stood in period clothing and eyed the two of them with curiosity for a moment, then reached into his pocket and pulled out the Gilbert compass.

Bonnie looked to Jeremy, but he didn't seem to notice his ancestor standing there, he just kept his eyes on the witch with a soft smile on his lips and the coffee still in hand.

Bonnie immediately shifted her stunned gaze back to Johnathan Gilbert as she watched him study the compass in his palm as it started to spin wildly.

Then, finally, after a few moments, it stopped and pointed directly at Jeremy.

Bonnie gasped as Johnathan Gilbert looked up from the compass toward his descendent.

"One must die, so that I may live…" the inventor said in a low, almost inhuman voice, his eyes flashing darkly.

Then, before Bonnie could say or do anything, he disappeared and in a flash re-appeared in front of Jeremy Gilbert, then with one swift motion tore the teenager's heart from his chest with his free hand.

"No!" Bonnie screamed as Jeremy fell and the coffee mug smashed to pieces as it hit the floor.

# # # # #

"No!" Bonnie cried as she opened her eyes and sat straight up in bed.

She quickly eyed her surroundings and took in a staggered breath when she realized she was in Jeremy's room…

In his bed…

And he was safe, sleeping soundly next to her in his favorite Megadeth T-shirt.

Bonnie smiled in relief, then suddenly felt light headed and fell back onto the pillow, squinting toward the sun that now shown through the blinds as she ran a hand over her sweating forehead.

She tried to calm herself from her nightmare, closing her eyes and taking steady breaths as she reached out and caressed Jeremy's shoulder for reassurance.

Suddenly, she jumped when the land line phone in the Gilbert house rang, clutching the comforter closer around her.

Moments later, Jeremy grumbled and turned on his side toward the night stand, reaching blindly for the phone on the third ring.

"Hello?" he answered in a groggy voice, not even opening his eyes as he pulled the phone haphazardly to his right ear.

There was a pause as he rolled over and Bonnie watched him rub a hand over his face, then stretch his arm as he finally opened his eyes and listened.

"The Gilbert journals?" he asked as he struggled to sit up on his elbows, "Yeah...Caroline...um...Elena brought the rest of them home from the lake house...I think they're around here somewhere."