Disclaimer: I do not own Vampire Diaries
For anyone interested, I've created some looks for Rei using Polyvore, the link is up on my profile.
"Jenna, put the cross-bow down, ok? it's me," Alaric stated as genuinely as he could, backing up.
"Stay away from me," Jenna snapped, lifting the weapon higher in threat.
Running feet pounded down the corridor and he almost sagged in relief at the sight that met his eyes.
"What's going on?" Elena asked cautiously, eyeing him as if she expected him to suddenly pounce on her.
"It's me, Elena, I swear, ok? He let me go. Klaus let me go."
"Prove it," Damon stepped forward, his arms crossed threateningly as they all stared him down.
"Ok, uh," Shooting Jenna a quick glance, he rubbed the back of his neck nervously, forcing the words out of his mouth. "The first night you and I spent together, Jeremy walked in right when I was about to-"
"It's him!" Jenna cut him off with a high squeak, lowering the cross-bow.
The tension instantly melted away, Stefan looking at him apologetically. "Why did he let you go?"
Alaric hesitated, the silence lengthening until he finally sighed in defeat.
"He wanted me to deliver a message. The sacrifice happens tonight."
The dark hallway descending into heavy quiet.
"Great," Damon, predictably, broke the silence, throwing his arms into the air. "Guy certainly works fast, doesn't he?"
"Not helping, Damon," Stefan muttered, wrapping his arm around Elena comfortingly.
Looking around at all the tired faces Alaric wasn't able to keep it in anymore, the words rising despite the bad-timing. "Why does Klaus have Rei?" He demanded urgently.
Worry seized him at the way Damon's ice blue eyes immediately darkened and looked away from him. The way Elena's body tensed, her eyebrows pulling down into a frown while Stefan just shot him a sympathetic glance.
"Perhaps we might move this conversation into the library?" A soft, masculine voice interrupted the simmering atmosphere effortlessly.
Spinning around, Alaric's eyes widened with shock at the sight of the Original he had daggered mere months before leaning lazily against the stair banister, his intense, dark eyes focused solely on him.
Without waiting for a response, Elijah suddenly turned and walked back through the doors at his back, his silent order for them to follow inescapable.
"You undaggered Elijah?" He whispered harshly, not able to quell the urge to quieten his voice despite knowing that the vampire would still be able to hear him.
Damon's eyes abruptly brightened at his words and he wasted no time in shooting Elena a smug, triumphant glare.
"Let's just…talk inside," Stefan breathed, running a tired hand down his face.
Gritting his teeth at the useless relocation, Alaric, nevertheless, followed the others into the library, taking a seat on one of the old, expensive armchairs.
"I'm glad you're alright, Rick," Elena broke the silence, sending him a small, sincere smile.
"Do you remember anything that happened?" Stefan asked.
"No," He shook his head, telling himself to be patient. He knew that they'd have questions, anyone would. Even so, with worry churning in his gut it was difficult to acknowledge the sensible logic and simply wait for them to return to the subject of Rei. "It's like I blacked out and woke up three days later. Katherine was there," So was Rei, his mind whispered.
"She's under compulsion," Stefan explained, answering his unsaid question. "Damon snuck her some vervain, but she can't leave until Klaus tells her she can."
"Where is Damon?" Elena suddenly asked, looking around the room.
"I saw him go upstairs," Jenna spoke into her hands, staring down at the intricate Persian carpet at her feet unseeingly.
Seeing that she was right, that the eldest Salvatore brother was no-where in the room, Alaric shook his head at Elena when she got up to leave. Ignoring her look of confusion, he tilted his neck back to look up at the tall ceiling.
"Damon!" He snapped forcefully, worry, urgency and a creeping sense of dread frying his nerves. "Would you get down here!"
He could see that his short-tempered demand had surprised the occupants of the room, he was normally much more laid-back, but he didn't care. Something was going on. There was an air in the room that he couldn't quite put his finger on, a tense, cold atmosphere that was setting his teeth on edge.
In a blur of movement too fast for his eyes to catch, Damon was suddenly spread conceitedly across the armchair opposite him, his legs kicked over one of the sides.
"What's up, Rick?" Ice-blue orbs glinted at him coldly, warningly.
"I believe Mr Saltzman is curious to know how Miss Potter came to be in my brother's clutches, Damon," Elijah stated calmly; pinning the arrogant, younger vampire with his gaze. "Perhaps you might do him the courtesy of answering those questions?"
"I saw her at the apartment," Alaric leaned forward in his chair, staring at them closely. "Why does he have her?" But Damon just stared into the fire moodily, refusing to meet his gaze. "Is she alright? You said that you slipped Katherine some vervain, did you see Rei? Speak to her?" With each unanswered question his voice grew louder, more agitated. "Why haven't you been able to get her out?…What's the plan?" Elena and Stefan exchanged long, heavy stares, communicating with each other silently. "For God's sake! Answer me!"
"Rick, please," Elena raised her hands calmingly, taking in a deep, steadying breath. "Klaus took Rei the night of the dance. We don't know exactly when, but when he confronted Bonnie and I, we found out why."
"Yes?" He pressed.
"It was Rei that was the one to steal the moonstone, Rick, not Katherine," Her voice was sympathetic and soft, but all Alaric could do was stare.
Ice-blue orbs snapped up to pierce him. "That's all you have to say?" Damon demanded. "'And?' She stole the moonstone from us, Rick! She betrayed us."
Mouth agape, his eyes flickered between the Salvatores and Elena.
"Are you serious?" He breathed out through a disbelieving laugh.
"Rick-" Elena began, her face confused by his lack of reaction, but he cut her off.
"You have tried to-I mean," He struggled to find words past his escalating sense of horror. "You have tried to get her out, haven't you?"
Their silence was damning.
Alaric pushed up from his chair with a curse, a furious scowl darkening his features. "You've got to be freaking kidding me!" He hissed under his breath, pacing angrily. Rei must think that they'd all turned their backs on her. That they didn't care!
"Klaus had his witches put up a boundary spell to keep her in, Rick," Damon interrupted his murderous thoughts with an angry glare. "We have no way of getting her out without tipping our hand and revealing that Bonnie is still alive."
"And did you tell Rei this?" He countered instantly, already knowing the answer. "Did you tell the seventeen year old girl trapped in an apartment with one of the most dangerous personalities on the planet, that you weren't throwing her to the wolves? That she just needed to hold out? Wait one more day until the ritual is over before we get her out? That we will make sure she's safe?!"
"We need to know why she took the moonstone, Rick!" Elena jumped up, stretching out her arms as if to separate the two fuming men should they start fighting. "Klaus took her because she wouldn't tell him where it was, but, I don't know, maybe she's looking to strike some sort of deal with him like Katherine was."
"That's ridiculous!" He scoffed, not bothering to hide his anger at the suggestion.
"Well, then why?" Damon drawled silkily. "Tell me. Why would she take it when she knows how important it is, Rick?"
"Because she thought that it was safer with her!" Alaric snapped.
Sound came to a screeching stop.
"…You knew?" Elena whispered hoarsely, her eyes hurt.
Running a hand through his hair, he shot the interested Original a wary glance before explaining. "She told me after she took it."
"Why didn't you tell us?" Stefan asked softly.
"Because of this," He waved his hand at them angrily. "Because you'd jump to the wrong conclusions and wouldn't have heard her out."
"What is there to hear out?!" Damon yelled, leaping to his feet, his eyes furious. "If there wasn't anything wrong in what she did she wouldn't have kept it a secret!"
"How many people knew that the moonstone resided somewhere in the Boarding House?" The quiet question took everyone by surprise.
Elijah's back was to the room, his eyes fixed on the cold landscape outside.
"What does tha-"
"Matter?" The Original finished, cutting off the words. "It matters a great deal. As I understand it, as soon as Rei liberated the stone from the Salvatores, only two people in the world knew where it was."
"One, actually," Alaric admitted uncomfortably.
Dark brown eyes flicked up, locking with his own.
"Rei never told me where she hid it. She said that that way if everyone figured out that she had taken it I wouldn't have to lie when I said I didn't know where it was."
Elijah raised an eyebrow, his eyes glinting. "Did she?" He murmured softly, a private smile softening the stern press of his mouth.
Alaric's eyes narrowed, not liking the humour filled interest he could see in the dangerous vampire's eyes. He hadn't forgotten the…eerie amount of attention the Original had paid his friend before they'd daggered him. He'd forgotten exactly how uncomfortable the knowledge made him, the memory of it not doing the dangerous interest in Elijah's eyes justice, but the reminder was chilling.
"Then I must confess to some confusion concerning your anger at Rei, gentlemen, Elena," He nodded at each of them. "It seems to me that the moonstone was, indeed, far safer with Miss Potter than hidden in Damon's soap bowl. Wouldn't you agree?"
Katherine watched the two Wiccans close the door behind them, their orders clear. With a tense swallow, she turned back to face her captor, unsurprised to see him staring down at Rei's unconscious form, a speculative glint in his eye.
He'd been up early, organising everything he'd need to break the curse tonight. She could appreciate the ease with which he pulled all the delicate strings together, the monumental task of assembling the ritual's ingredients transforming into a deceptively simple exercise before her eyes.
"Are you not worried that the others will notice she's missing?" Unable to stand the suffocating silence a second longer, Katherine spoke up, keeping her tone light.
She'd noticed a change in Klaus' demeanour whenever he looked at the british witch, a…delighted humour that she couldn't understand was prevalent in his gaze every time he looked at the black-haired girl. And he had looked at her. Often.
"No," He answered shortly, looking up from his laptop with a piercing stare. "They're all far too distracted by my doppelgänger at the moment, they won't notice Miss Forbes' absence."
She looked away from him, unable to disguise the hate she felt at how possessively he labeled the doppelgänger as his.
The way he'd referred to her all those years ago.
With three last clicks at the keyboard, Klaus abruptly rose from his bent over position at the table and crossed the room.
Coming to a stop beside the limp body laid out on the old, beaten couch, blue-grey orbs ran slowly over Rei's peaceful face for the umpteenth time.
In one, smooth move, Klaus suddenly bent down, sliding his arms under the girl's body, lifting her up to rest against his chest.
Katherine's eyes widened and she pressed her lips together tightly as she watched her tormentor stride confidently into the main bedroom, the room he'd been using, and place Rei down on the far more comfortable double bed.
"If she wakes," Klaus ordered, sweeping back into the room as if he'd not just done what he had, "make sure she does not leave the apartment, understood?" He didn't bother to look at her as he spoke, scooping up his keys from the small kitchen island.
"How?" Keeping her voice level was difficult, but somehow, she managed it. "What about her magic? If she can do that to an apartment-"
"That won't be a problem," Klaus cut her off sharply, his voice confident.
She could only stare at him, clasping her hands together against the urge to demand how such powerful, destructive magic wouldn't be a problem. It certainly seemed like a big problem to her! How was she meant to stop the witch if she really wanted to leave?!
"Where are you going?" She asked instead, hiding her apprehension.
"With Greta and Maddox retrieving my vampire and werewolf, I need to go make sure my doppelgänger doesn't do anything stupid," He told her shortly, his mind clearly far away. "I expect by the time that I return our guest will have recovered and I'll retrieve the moonstone then."
Had she missed something?!
The girl she'd seen last night had no intention of telling Klaus where to find the stone. She hadn't even buckled at the threat to her friends! What made him think it would be so simple?
"Will you have enough time?" She asked cautiously, aware that she was treading on thin ice by presuming to comment on his plans. "You'll only have a few hours to convince her to tell you where she's hidden it."
Shrugging on his jacket, blue-grey eyes flashed up to lock with hers, a dark smirk pulling at his lips.
"I'll only need five minutes once she's awake," Klaus grinned crookedly, and despite her disbelief, Katherine found herself believing him.
There was no doubt in his eyes.
He knew something.
Something that had changed the game. Changed everything for him.
Pulling open the front door, he didn't spare her a backwards glance as he pulled it shut, his last three words drifting through the air before the solid wood cut off the sound.
"Behave yourself, Katerina."
Caroline tugged her handbag higher up on her shoulder as she skirted around the people exiting the Grill. As soon as the fresh air hit her face, she stopped, closing her eyes and breathing in deeply as she attempted to centre herself.
She felt exhausted. Which, for a vampire, was a rare and strange feeling. Especially as her muscles contracted with spryness, constantly ready to leap high in the air, tackle her human prey or bound over large gullies.
Her body was, as it always was these days, perfect.
But her mind, her thoughts, her emotions…the last twenty-four hours had drained every source of energy from her being with frightening efficiency.
Shaking her blonde curls, sky blue eyes snapped open, a stubborn fire flaring to life within the tired depths as she set off at a march towards the hospital.
She might not be able to help Rei, her heart clenched and she pushed roughly past a middle-aged trucker on the sidewalk, ignoring his loud hollers as she power-walked away. She might not be capable of getting Rei away from Klaus herself, she might not be powerful enough to take on a one thousand-year old hybrid and the psychotic bitch that turned her, but by God, she could do this.
Carol Lockwood had fallen over the tall stair banister at her house this morning and had been rushed to hospital. She'd overheard one of the town deputies telling her mum about it on the radio as she'd been wallowing in her room, trying desperately to think of something, anything, that she might be able to do to help Rei.
That's when she'd realised that the female Mayor was alone. Recently widowed, her son disappearing from town with no word other than a letter that said he 'needed time', the woman was all alone.
Looking up, the ugly outside of Mystic Falls hospital rose above her, but that wasn't what made her freeze; her eyes widening as her mouth dropped open in shock.
"Tyler?" She whispered hoarsely.
Standing not three paces away from her was an equaled stunned looking Tyler Lockwood, and Caroline felt her eyes well as she realised just how much she'd missed the idiot these last two months.
"I'll give you a few minutes." Her eyes snapped towards the sound only to take an alarmed step back as the female werewolf who had ruthlessly tormented her and Rei mere months before met her eyes.
"Thank you," Tyler nodded at the honey haired woman.
"Just a few, Tyler," Jules warned him sharply, sending Caroline a long, suspicious stare before she walked off, giving them some privacy.
"She's just making sure I'm safe," Tyler said, having obviously seen the flare of anger in her eyes as she glared after the she-wolf.
Seeing the evidence of just who he'd been with all this time, Caroline folded her arms across chest, staring at him through frosty eyes.
"So, what, are you two, like, friends now?"
"She's been helping me," He gave her a long look, his light brown eyes drifting over her face searchingly. "How are you?"
She wanted so badly to laugh then. To answer him with the truth in all its horrifying detail, instead of the almost obligatory 'fine' she knew was expected of her. But she didn't.
"I heard about your mum. I just came to check in on her."
He nodded slowly, his mouth pulling up into a grateful smile. "She's banged up, but she'll be okay."
"And you? Um…How's everything with you?" The words sounded as awkward as they felt and Caroline looked away from him, despising the space that was between them now.
"I'm hanging in there."
She nodded once, biting her lip hard as her mind whirled. Should she tell him about Rei? Would he care? She remembered the way he'd held the english girl so tightly in his arms that night, reluctant to hand her over, even to Caroline, and shook her head. Of course, he'd care. She knew he would. So why was she hesitating? She needed to talk to someone. Someone that would help, that would want to help, that would be just as outraged and worried as her.
So why was she hesitating?
"I should get going. Jules and I need to get on the road."
As soon as the words had left his lips Caroline felt her anger flare. The familiar feeling of abandonment that she'd been feeling ever since the werewolf had up and left town without telling her goodbye, spreading through her. How was she supposed to trust that he'd stick around to help? Even for Rei? She didn't trust Jules, and she wouldn't stand for the wench being told about Rei's predicament.
The bitch would probably just laugh anyway, she'd probably be delighted.
"You're leaving again?" She asked stonily, hands curled at her sides.
"I left for a reason, Caroline," He said gently, sensing her mood.
Sky-blue orbs snapped up, piercing the male Lockwood with a furious glare. "You didn't have to leave in the first place," She snapped, hurt. "Rei and I were helping you, weren't we? Before she turned up, you said that you thought that you could do this. That it was going to be more than hard but that you had a plan! We had a plan!"
Her words seemed to spark an answering anger in Tyler and he took a quick step towards her. "Are you telling me that you would have been willing to help me after that night, Caroline?" He asked lowly, his eyes hard. "I saw the way you looked at me. You said that we weren't friends anymore, that you didn't want to see me!"
"You didn't have to leave! You shouldn't have left, Tyler! I needed you! Rei needed you!"
There must have been something in her tone that betrayed her bone-deep terror for the emerald-eyed girl because his face instantly slackened, becoming worried.
"What happened, Caroline?" He asked softly.
Swallowing back the sob that was climbing up her throat, she shook her head, letting out a helpless little laugh. "No-one will listen to me, Tyler. Bonnie, Stefan, they all say that we can't do anything but wait, that there's nothing we can do right now, and I suppose they're right, but all I can think about is how scared and alone she must be right now. That he could be hurting her, t-that it'll be t-t-to late by the time we-we-" The rush of words spilled from her lips without control and she felt the salty tears falling down her cheeks as the stress and worry finally caught up to her.
"Caroline, Caroline!" Warm, large hands shook her, calling her back to the present. Tyler's frantically worried eyes looked down at her. "Are you talking about Rei? Is she…does someone have her?"
Unable to give voice to the confirmation, she nodded mutely, watching through relieved eyes as Tyler pulled away from her with a loud curse, his hands running through his hair, tugging at the strands roughly.
To see someone react the same way she had, to see the immediate worry, fear, anxiousness paint across his face with nothing of the accompanying suspicion or logic that had dominated the others, filled the blonde with an incalculable sense of relief. She was beginning to think the entire town was going crazy for being able to push the dangerous position Rei was in so completely aside.
"Who has her?" Tyler demanded sharply, striding back over to her quickly, his eyes alight with anger. "Who took her, Caroline?"
Her words cut off with a piercing scream as pain exploded across her temples, bringing her to her knees. Some part of her was aware that Tyler was gasping in pain, holding his head in his hands as his confused eyes peered up at something above them.
Two shadows suddenly engulfed their cowering figures, the smaller one bending down and injecting her with the familiar weakening poison that was vervain.
As her eyes fluttered shut, darkness creeping in, the last thing she heard was a female voice telling someone to put them both in the back.
Alaric threw the black-haired vampire a furious glare, tugging the bottle of whiskey out of his lax grip roughly.
"I screwed up, didn't I?" Damon asked miserably, as if he'd noticed nothing of his friend's mood.
"What? Forcing Elena to swallow your blood so that she'll transition into a vampire? Something she's never wanted to be? No," He drawled sarcastically, not caring about the flinches that shook the elder Salvatore after each question he spoke. "That was a brilliant move."
"What if I got Klaus to postpone the ritual for another month?" The vampire mused out loud, spinning the glass on the bar's counter. "After all, no werewolf, no vampire, no sacrifice, right?"
"Wrong," Alaric sneered. "Didn't you hear a word Elijah said? Klaus has been trying to break this curse for a thousand years, Damon, he knows what he's doing."
"Since when did you become such a pessimist?" Damon barked, fed-up with his attitude.
"Since I realised how petty, judgemental and small-minded the people in this town were," He shot back immediately, going to stand up from his stool only to be abruptly pulled back down.
"Don't you dare call me petty, Rick," Damon muttered harshly under his breath, squeezing his arm until he had to bite his tongue to keep from gasping in pain. "We're not talking about who stole whose favourite headband, we're talking about stealing the all important moonstone and watching us run around like chickens with our heads cut off looking for it!" He hissed furiously, letting him go with a strong push.
Steadying himself against the counter, Alaric turned to face his 'friend'. "She didn't give him the moonstone, Damon," He spat angrily, softening his voice when he noticed they'd attracted quite a few curious stares from around the Grill. "Would you stop thinking of yourself for once and actually do Rei the favour of looking at this situation through her eyes! She gives the moonstone to Elijah to repay a debt-"
"Don't even get me started on Elijah," Damon snarled, his arctic eyes alight with the newly acquired knowledge that Rei had been the one to liberate the stone from the well Mason Lockwood had hidden it in. "She knew how important that stone was to Elena's safety, she knew! She was in the God damn room when we were discussing how to put Katherine down at the Masquerade Ball, Rick! She knew that Katherine thought we had the moonstone! Why not say anything then, huh?"
Releasing a heavy sigh, he sunk back into his stool, rubbing at his face. "She hardly knew us then, Damon," He tried to explain. It was hard to remember that the man sitting beside him was many times his years in age. He never acted like it. "You'd threatened her life multiple times at that point, if I remember correctly. You didn't trust her, she didn't trust you. If you were in her position, would you have handed it over to complete strangers?"
He could see that his words were getting to him, but there was a stubborn set to Damon's jaw that he recognised all too well.
"Jesus Christ, Damon!" He exclaimed furiously, his patience exhausted. "Does it even matter?!"
"Of course, it matters," The vampire snarled.
"I agree," A soft, accented voice interrupted.
Jerking around, Alaric frowned at the unfamiliar face smirking at them. With one arm leaning on the counter, his body facing towards them, casualness seemed to radiate from the blonde man. A relaxed, confident air that was strangely noticeable. Looking around the Grill, he frowned at the amount of eyes peering at them curiously. No, he realised, not them, him. With the realisation of just how much attention the young man's simple presence had engendered in their suddenly attentive audience, Alaric felt the hairs on the back of his neck lift, a horrible feeling of dread spreading through his belly.
Damon looked up, his face instantly pulling down into a grimace. "Ugh. Klaus, I presume?"
"In the flesh," The blonde man smirked before his eyes suddenly glanced over to look at Alaric. "Thanks for the loaner, mate."
His hands clenched into fists against the counter and it took all of his self-control not to do anything.
Damon pushed back from the bar, rising to his feet. "Any reason you stopped by to say hi?" He sneered, eyes dark.
Klaus tilted his head to the side, observing them with a small, amused smile curling up the left side of his mouth.
"I'm told that you and your brother fancies my doppelgänger. Just thought I'd remind you to not do anything you'll regret."
"Ha," Damon scoffed, his body practically trembling with aggression. "Thanks for the advice…I don't suppose I could talk you into a postponement, by any chance, huh?"
"You are kidding." Klaus looked at Alaric. "He is kidding, right?"
Biting back his urge to flinch, the vicious light in Klaus' eyes was more than enough evidence that the hybrid's casual words were nothing more than a deception.
"No, not really," He admitted softly, reluctantly.
"I mean, come on, what's one month in the whole grand scheme of things?" Damon coaxed pathetically.
"Let me be clear…" All humour bled from blue-grey eyes. "I have my vampire. I have my werewolf. I have everything that I need. The ritual will happen tonight. So, if you want to live to see tomorrow…don't screw it up."
Alaric sucked in a sharp breath as the dangerous Original turned to leave, his heart pounding harshly against his ribs.
"Everything?" Damon suddenly called out.
What the hell was Damon doing?!
Slowly, ever so slowly, Klaus turned back around.
"You have the moonstone?" The black-haired Salvatore raised a disbelieving eyebrow, his tone insulting. "Rei told you where she hid it?"
There was no way, Alaric thought, watching the hybrid's face closely.
Klaus smirked. "Can't trust anyone these days, can you, Mr Salvatore?"
"She wouldn't ha-!"
"The ritual will happen tonight, gentlemen," Klaus cut him off smoothly. "I have everything that I need."
Next chapter we get our first peek into Klaus' mind (It's very small, mind you, but it's the start of getting to see Klaus' POV from now on ;D) Excited?