A/N: I usually wait until I have a few chapters ready before I start posting a new fic, but as this takes place after season 4 and I'm not sure how much the premiere is going to mess up my plot, I decided to publish it before it starts.
I have no intention of using whatever happens in season 5 of TVD or in The Originals, but it might change if some of their plotlines end up being useful to mine :)
Please forgive my mistakes, English is not my first language.
Rating: if you think I should continue this, there's gonna be loads of smutty goodness, so definitely M!
He watches helplessly as the tears roll down his brother's face. He can barely remember the last time he saw him like this. He's used to seeing Niklaus react in anger whenever things don't go his way, but this silent despair is something he hasn't seen in... In a thousand years. He has always known that in spite of his vehement denial, his brother's love for the baby was unconditional and stronger than anything he had ever felt before. He fears losing his son is going to break him. Just as the thought crosses his mind, he senses a shift in the air. He looks around, trying to figure out what just happened. The witches left hours ago after they failed to save the child, yet there seems to be something almost magical in the room. Dark. Powerful. Dangerous.
A feeling of unease slowly creeps its way into his heart and he frowns. Something feels very wrong and though he knows that both he and his brother are pretty much indestructible, he also knows that until he has recovered, Niklaus will be of no use should they have to fight. Deciding they have overstayed their welcome, Elijah turns back towards the hybrid to tell him they need to leave now, but what he sees leaves him speechless with shock and fear. Two feelings he does not deal well with.
While Niklaus was cradling the boy's body to his chest only seconds ago, silently rocking back and forth as he cried, his son is now resting on the filthy floor of the crypt, the gaping wound in his chest made even more sinister by the darkness surrounding him. Niklaus has risen from his kneeling position and he stands tall and proud. There are no traces of tears left on his cheeks and his eyes are completely dry... and empty. Elijah almost gasps as he finally realizes what this shift he sensed was.
He tries to analyze the implications, but as it has never happened before, he isn't sure even he is going to be able to foresee the consequences. The only thing he knows for sure is that both Humanity and the supernatural community are going to suffer deeply until he manages to find a solution to this unexpected disaster.
For for the first time in a thousand years, his brother has turned his humanity off.
"You know Marcel. He'll stop at nothing. He doesn't need Nik to hand him this opportunity on a silver platter. If he finds out..."
"Damn it Elijah! We've tried everything. You've been covering up his messes for weeks now, somewhat successfully, I'll admit, but you know you're bound to slip up eventually. If word gets out that Nik has turned it off, there will be hell to pay. His one and only redeeming quality has always been the fact that he cared, in spite of everything. If our allies find out he doesn't care about this town anymore, if they figure out he's not trying to free them, they'll turn their backs on him."
Elijah opens his mouth to reply, but before he can, the voice they both know so well rings out from behind them.
"And I'll kill every single one of them if it comes down to it. Relax, little sister. It's touching really, how worried you are about my safety. It must be exhausting though. I think you should turn it off too. You know, take the pain away."
Sensing what is coming, Rebekah stiffens and resorts to pleading, though she knows how useless it is, "Nik, don't."
"Why not? It's not like you don't know I'm right, deep down. The girl who loved too easily. And got hurt even more easily. I assure you, everything is much easier when you just don't feel," he taunts as he walks up to them, fixing Elijah with an impassive stare, wondering what plot his brother is devising this time to make him turn it back on.
Trying to convince Rebekah to turn off her humanity and join him in the land of careless fun has been his game for the past three weeks, but seeing his brother fail again and again in his attempts to make him feel something – anything – is almost as entertaining as seeing the hurt in his sister's eyes every time he points out how useless and painful her whole existence is.
He doesn't give her a chance to finish. He's had enough of her pleading and crying and trying to reason with him to last him for several lifetimes.
"If you'll both excuse me, there are dozens of tourists just waiting for me to show them how to have a good time in New Orleans."
With that, he flashes away, leaving them to stare after him. Rebekah pulls herself together. Seeing the brother she has always been the closest to despite their many disagreements act like this is hard on her, but she has managed to remain strong ever since her nephew's death, she isn't going to break now. Turning back to Elijah, she gives a frustrated sigh.
"Why doesn't he just leave? He doesn't care about this town or about overthrowing Marcel anymore. There's nothing left for him here."
"There's nothing left for him anywhere," Elijah points out.
Something seems to click into place at this and Rebekah's eyes light up with her newfound idea.
"That's not strictly true, is it?"
Her brother frowns, for once one step behind.
"What do you mean?"
"There is something – or should I say someone – left for him. Back in Mystic Falls."
"The Forbes girl?" he asks with mild surprise. "We tried that route with Hayley, he didn't even care whether she lived or die," he says, reminding her of that day two weeks ago when he plunged his hand into Hayley's chest and told Niklaus he was going to tear out her heart unless he stopped him. The hybrid had just shrugged and left, and Elijah had let Hayley go.
"Of course it didn't work with the she-wolf, he never cared about her."
"Even if he did care for the vampire, I doubt an infatuation..."
"It's more than that."
Elijah's frown deepens as he studies her face. After a while, he gets that she's not going to say anymore unless he pushes her and he gives a small sigh as he relents.
"What do you mean?"
"You know how I always said Nik isn't capable of love? Well... I'm pretty sure I was wrong."
"You think that he's actually in love with her?" Elijah asks, understandably sceptical.
"I think that whatever it is he felt or didn't feel for her, she's our last hope."
Her brother considers this for a minute.
"Do you think the girl returns these hypothetical feelings?"
"I don't know, but it doesn't matter. She'll come either way. She's one of the good guys," Rebekah reminds him with a sneer. "She knows how disastrous Nik turning it off is. She knows we'll only be able to keep him from going too crazy for so long. He's killing people by the dozen, Elijah, and that's only because he hasn't gotten bored yet. It's going to get worse. If she thinks there's something she can do about it, she will."
"Then I do believe a trip to Mystic Falls is in order."
Still laughing at Jeremy's joke – and at the mere fact that he's here – Elena gets up to open the door. When she sees who is standing on the other side, her lingering smile instantly falls from her face.
"Elijah," she breathes.
He's always been the Original she trusted the most – or should she say, mistrusted the less – but after over a year of radio silence, she thought she was done with this family. Seeing him here today is a shock, as their visits never bode well for the town and its inhabitants.
"Elena," he greets in his most velvety voice. "Please don't worry. I won't stay long and I'm not looking for trouble."
She raises a sceptical eyebrow but steps aside to let him in. He's already been invited in anyway, if he really wants to come in, nothing she does will keep him out. He thanks her with a courteous nod as she crosses her arms on her chest. Seeing who was at the door, Jeremy instantly gets up to stand in front of her protectively, glaring at the intruder.
"What do you want?"
"I was hoping I would find Miss Forbes here. She was not at home, and neither was the Sheriff." Elena and Jeremy exchange glances and Elijah immediately knows that something is not quite right. "I need to speak with her. It's important."
Elena seems to hesitate before she half-asks, half-states, "You don't know?"
"We've... Err... We've always sort of assumed that Klaus was keeping tabs on her."
"I assume he is," Elijah confirms. "But my brother isn't exactly in a sharing mood, provided he does indeed know whatever it is you think I should know. What is it?"
Elena takes a deep breath. For some reason, she doesn't seem to be able to just blurt out whatever is on her mind. Instead, she asks, "Did you try entering the Forbes' house?"
"No. As I've never been invited in..."
"Yeah well. You would have been able to enter."
It takes him less than half a second to come to the only possible conclusion.
"Liz Forbes is dead."
"She was killed by Silas. Ever since he had played his mind tricks on Caroline and almost killed her mom, Caroline had been feeding her blood everyday so that if anything like that ever happened again, she'd die with vampire blood in her system. We're not sure what happened, we think Silas tricked Sheriff Forbes into thinking she had taken her blood that morning, only she hadn't. He killed her."
Taking in the information, Elijah nods solemnly.
"Where is Caroline now?"
"We don't know," Jeremy answers.
"How do you not know where your only remaining best friend is?" Elijah asks, his eyes on Elena.
"You have to understand. After Bonnie's death, and finding out that Silas had taken Stefan's place and dropped him God knows where, and breaking up with Tyler, and then her mom..."
"She's turned it off," Elijah realises after Elena has listed off every heartbreaking moment Caroline has had to endure in a few short months. "When?"
"About a month ago. She took off and no one's heard from her since."
Elijah's eyes narrow at this new piece of information. A month ago, Niklaus was still himself. If his feelings for the Forbes girl were really as strong as Rebekah seems to think they were, then Elijah doesn't believe for a second that he would have let her live her life in such a dangerous town without taking a few precautions. He must have kept an eye on her somehow – his best bet is compelled vampires – which means that he has to know what happened to her. But if he does, why didn't he do something? One thing he knows for sure is that her light is the first thing that attracted the original hybrid to the baby vampire. Knowing that she had turned her humanity off, he would have done something. Why didn't he? Something is missing here. Shaking his head, Elijah stores his questions away as the only person who would be able to answer them is not here right now.
"And you have no idea where she went?"
"None. Tyler tried to track her, he got as far as the airport, but after that her trail just vanished."
"So it's safe to assume that she has left the state, possibly the country."
He doesn't ask her if Caroline has ever dreamed of visiting one place in particular. It would be useless. The girl is not herself anymore. She can't be attached to any of her former dreams. Besides, she probably figured the places she's talked about with her friends are the first ones they'll search, which means she's going to avoid them if she doesn't want to be found. Finding her might be hard, but certainly not as hard as putting up with an emotionless Niklaus.
"I assume that given their diverging schedules and the fact that Caroline was attending university in Whitmore, she had to leave her blood somewhere, as her mother couldn't always drink directly from her," he ventures, the question clear in his raised eyebrows.
"Yeah, there were always a few bags of Caroline's blood stored away in their fridge."
"Are they still there?"
"No, we gave them to Meredith. We figured she could use them for her patients. Why?"
He doesn't bother answering. The hospital has just become his next stop on his search for Caroline Forbes.
Whoever invented locator spells, Elijah sends them a silent thank you along with one to Meredith Fell, who made this one possible with the blood she kept preciously. Honestly, he would have been able to find Caroline the old fashioned way, by investigating, looking for animal attacks, sending out her picture to his contacts all over the world, but magic does make things easier most of the time.
Watching the girl from a dark corner of the club she chose tonight, he ponders on how to proceed from here. He figures the easiest way would be to sneak up on her, break her neck and carry her out. The other dancers would think he was helping his drunken girlfriend, and if anyone got in his way, he could just compel them. However, he is reluctant. He knows things will be much easier in the next few days if the girl is helping him willingly, and he figures breaking her neck is not the best way to go about that. The problem is he has seen plenty of vampires with their humanity off, and bargaining with them is never easy as they don't care about anything. He could threaten to kill her if she doesn't do his bidding, but he suspects she is smart enough to realize that if he flew all the way over here to find her, it means she's his last hope and he cannot afford to destroy it.
There is one thing he could try. Not caring about anything means a terribly boring existence, hence the rampage she's gone on ever since she arrived in New York. Passing the time with sex and blood is pretty much all vampires who have turned it off have left. He can offer her some form of entertainment. New Orleans is a great playground for vampires, Marcel has made sure of that. Making up his mind, he walks up to her, ignoring the way her short black dress inches up her thighs with every move she makes. Placing a hand on her shoulder, he waits until she turns around to face him before he greets her with a smile.
"Elijah!" she exclaims in apparent pleased surprise. "How nice to see you. Though I'll admit I thought if any Original was going to find me, it wouldn't be you. Klaus sent you to do his dirty work?"
She fakes intrigue at that and he sighs inwardly. She's putting up a façade, it's obvious in the way her eyes remain empty in spite of her smile and raised eyebrows. Even though he just told her that's not the case, she probably thinks that his brother sent him here to talk some sense into her, and making him think that she's fine is the only solution she's found to get him to leave her alone as quickly as possible.
"Then what are you doing here?"
"I need your help," he states bluntly.
She gives a delighted laugh at that, and he notes she's a terrible actress. The Caroline Forbes he knows – granted, not that well, but still – would immediately ask what the problem is. This empty version of her former self is just revelling in the knowledge that one of the most powerful vampires in History has come to her for help.
"Right. Well, good luck with that. Your family made life a living hell in Mystic Falls. I don't see why I should help you."
"From what I gather, Niklaus and you were somewhat friendly when he left."
She shrugs and turns away from him to resume her dancing, clearly bored with the conversation. The man she was grinding against earlier instantly wraps his arms around her waist and Elijah idly thinks that he's glad his brother is not here to see this. Deciding that playing nice isn't getting him anywhere, he yanks on her arm and flashes them both out of the club, not caring about the humans who might see them. He's moving too fast for anyone to comprehend what's happening anyway, especially in the state they're all in. Once they're outside, he stops, releasing his grip on her wrist just as she starts struggling to get free. She stumbles backwards and he instinctively reaches out to steady her but she jumps out of the way, glaring at him for the stunt he just pulled.
"What the hell!"
"I hoped it wouldn't come down to this, but you will follow me back to New Orleans, even if I have to kill or compel you."
"I'm on vervain, dumbass."
"I know," he acknowledges, ignoring the insult. He smelled it on her breath the instant he was close enough. "I could bleed it out of you or just wait it out. Or you can come with me and avoid any unpleasantness."
She huffs at him, crosses her arms in front of her and raises her chin in challenge.
"Are you going to tell me why I'm being kidnapped?"
"Niklaus has turned off his humanity."
A smile creeps up her lips at that.
"What happened that the almighty Original Hybrid couldn't handle?"
"His son died."
This leaves her speechless, and Elijah holds back a smile as he thinks that all hope is not lost for her. Clearly she's not immune to surprise, and surprise is an emotion, however much she may dislike it.
"What do you want me to do about it?" she asks once she has recovered.
"What do you think?"
She thinks for a second. Her eyes suddenly widen as the realisation hits her and she shakes her head.
"I think you came to the wrong vampire. Maybe I would have been able to do something a month ago, but now..."
Elijah nods, glad that she's given up on pretending. She was terrible at it and it was a waste of time.
"On the contrary. I think seeing you like this is going to get to him."
"And if it doesn't?"
He gives her a smile, as pleasant as what he's about to say is threatening.
"I will compel you to turn it back on and see how long it takes until my brother starts feeling pity when the guilt of everything you've done over the past four weeks starts eating you up."
She freezes at the thought and fixes him with a murderous glare. She knows she's trapped. She knows there's nothing she can do about it. And more importantly – she doesn't really care. She's bored anyway, and while she dislikes the idea of helping anyone, it might make for a good distraction, at least for a while. Plus it would mean Elijah would owe her, and having one of the most powerful beings on the planet indebted to you can't be all bad. If she ends up deciding that she's had enough, she'll just run away. Katherine managed to escape the original family for five centuries, she'll just take a page out of her book.
She gives a resolute nod and Elijah smiles at her once again, motioning for her to follow him. The next few days are going to be interesting.
A/N: I'm trying my hand at something new here and I'm not sure I can handle it. I have absolutely no idea how to write an emotionless Caroline (or Klaus for that matter). Plus, the few times I tried writing smut, I've made a point of using it as a means to an end (usually emotional connection) but with this story, that's probably not what sex is going to be about. Not sure I'll manage to get it right. Not to mention I have some ideas for a few cool scenes but I don't know how to link them all together. So yeah... this story is basically a big challenge to myself. Please let me know if you think it's worth all the anguish I'm going to put myself through if I decide to continue this.