The house was an inferno by the time Klaus pulled away, the flames eating away at the frame and licking at the roof. The Doppelganger was asleep on the back seat, and Maddox was sitting glumly in the passenger seat. The first number he tried was the phone he'd given Caroline but it rang out. He frowned, that was unlike her. At the very least he would have expected a text. A ignored the nagging feeling of unease he felt and rang his house's landline.
" Katerina? "
"Klaus's eyebrows went up. Ah, so the Petrova doppelganger was involved in this debacle. It explained a lot. "Brother," he said. "We have been busy."
There was a heavy pause. " Niklaus , what is this I hear of Mikael? "
So Caroline had been able to contact them. He felt a jolt of relief as he realised whatever trouble she'd gotten herself into, it wasn't Mikael. "Yes," he said aloud. "He paid me a visit this morning and I gave him a taste of what a hybrid bite can feel like. It was very entertaining but I suspect he'll be back to full force by this me, brother, are you running, or are we going to fight this time?"
There was another pause and then he heard another phone being lifted from its cradle. " How do we even know you're telling us the truth. This could be just another trick to get us on side as you plot to dagger us again ," Rebekah hissed.
Klaus rolled his eyes. "Now, now, sister dearest, let bygones be bygones."
" Why you little-"
"Rebekah," Elijah interjected. " Perhaps now is not the time ."
" Oh please, as if you weren't thinking the exact same you really going to let him get away with this?"
Klaus rolled his eyes. "As entertaining as this is, can we pause this little spat and focus on our immediate problem. Our father seemed very perturbed and has somehow joined forces with two Bennett witches-"
" Yes, yes, your little minion filled us in on that little matter, " Elijah said impatiently.
"Oh yes, and what else did dear Caroline say?" Klaus asked coolly.
" Not much, it seems she's fallen foul of Katerina ."
A cool chill ran down Klaus's spine."Perhaps you should elaborate on that."
There was a pause on the other end of the phone. " Katerina interrupted our conversation and then the line went dead."
"I see," Klaus said crisply. "I shall be there for lunch. I do hope you haven't killed my chef." He hung up the phone.
"Katherine Pierce is back in town," he said to Maddox. "And Caroline has had a run in with her."
"Well, i guess her luck had to run out sometime," Maddox murmured, and at any other time Klaus would have commended him on keeping the smugness out of his voice.
"I wouldn't count her out just yet," he said, glancing into the rear view window at Elena's slumped figure. "Are the remaining dregs of Mason Lockwood's pack still camped out by the foot of the falls?"
"There are only two. A woman named Jules and a boy called Ethan. They believe they've being stealthy, and have asked for help from a pack in the Appalachian Mountains," Maddox said dryly.
A cold smile spread across his face. "Well, then, time to correct that little mistaken belief."
Caroline leapt into to the veranda's roof of her home and, holding her breath, forced the latch of the gable window as she pushed it open. To her ears, the sound seemed to be thunderous but Alaric's movements or breath didn't change. He had raided her mother's drinks cabinet and she wrinkled her nose as she crept onto the upstairs landing, taking off her shoes before she made her way to the top of the stairs. Having grown up in the house, she knew every cranny and every could still smell the blood from his wound through the antiseptic bandages he used, which meant he had refused Stefan's blood. A pity she hadn't hit his dominant shoulder but she would lay odds he was on painkillers. He definitely wasn't taking Jenna's death well and even a week ago she would have felt more sympathy for his situation, but her Mom was dead and he was hanging out with her killer. She came to a standstill as a thought came to her. Mom's vampire killing weapon's stash was in the basement but her normal spare piece was kept in the gun safe in her bedroom. She grinned as she realised she was the only one who knew its location or combination.
She tiptoed into her mother's bedroom and ignored the tears stinging her eyes as she examined the room for signs of tampering. It looked like Stefan hadn't bothered to search her room, so why was Alaric still doing here? Had he also known about Mom's weapons stash? If so, why hadn't they just taken it and left?
Too many questions
She opened the closet and pulled back the mat that covered her Mom's gun safe, gently spinning the dial until it clicked open. She reached in and pulled out her Mom's glock. She had actually spent time at the range with this gun. At the time, she had chalked her mother's insistence that she learn up to paranoia, but now she wondered. If she hadn't been turned, would her Mom have eventually told her about the Council? Another question without an answer. The front door opened and was slammed shut and Caroline froze.
" Alaric ," Stefan called out and her eyes narrowed, the urge to rush downstairs and pounce on him almost overwhelming, but she glanced down at the glock in her hand. It was more than enough to cow Alaric but Stefan would just shrug away the bullets, especially now he was back on human blood. She needed to be smart and wait.
" Hey man ," Alaric called back, his voice slurred with alcohol. She heard Stefan sigh.
" You need to lay off this stuff, " he told Alaric. " It makes you messy ."
" And slow, " Alaric added. " Don't forget slow ." Caroline rolled her eyes.
There was another sigh. "Listen, Alaric, plans have changed. Klaus has thrown his lot in with his family to stop this guy called Mikael. We need to come up with another strategy. "
"Who the hell is MIkael?"
" Not important. The only thing we need to know is that that Klaus and his family are scared of him, and that the Bennett witches are helping him. "
" You're saying we should swap teams " Alaric said slowly.
"It's the only way we can avenge Jenna and Damon, and save Elena ," Stefan told him, and Caroline's eyes narrowed. It sounded like Alaric didn't know it was Bonnie's spell that had killed Jenna .
"I'll go with you ," Alaric said, and Caroline brightened. Maybe she wouldn't have to wave a gun in Alaric's face after all.
" This guy sounds dangerous, Alaric, and as you won't drink my blood to heal you'd only be in my way. " Stefan said.
"I told you why I won't drink it " Alaric said. " There are too many ways I could end up dead at the moment. I don't want to risk turning ."
"Then we'll stick to our plan and you'll wait for her here. Eventually she's going to come for her passport and documents. There is no way she's going to hang around now she knows I know she killed Damon. It's only a matter of time."
Caroline swallowed a snort of disbelief. Stefan actually though she was going to run . She hunkered down and waited for Stefan to leave. At least now she knew where to find Klaus - with his family.
She didn't know how she felt about that.
Jules and the boy didn't even have time to think of running. He and Maddox were upon them before they could roll out of their sleeping bags.
"Tut, tut," Klaus said, as they knelt before him,their hands clutching at their heads and Maddox seared them with pain. "You're not very good at this hiding thing, are you? Perhaps you should have read a book or taken a course-" He grabbed the boy's hair and tilted his head up. "Or stayed in school. How old are you, boy?"
"Eighteen," the boy spat out, rage simmering in his eyes. Liar , Klaus thought, as he moved onto the woman. She was attractive, Klaus noted, and had more than a passing resemblance to the boy beside her. They both had fair hair and blue eyes, as well as the same pronounced cheekbones.
"Siblings?" Klaus asked.
"Cousins," Jules said reluctantly, before lowering her eyes. Klaus smirked, so she had sharp enough instincts to recognise a more powerful alpha. A factor that will become amplified once she was sired to him.
He bit into his wrist and held it to mouth. At first she refused, keeping her mouth shut, but he held her gaze, his pupils dilating as he compelled her. " Drink. "
The boy let out a whimper when he snapped her neck but didn't move. Klaus smiled coldly at him, he would have preferred a more mature male, but beggars can't be choosers.
After what seemed like an age,during which Stefan plied Alaric with coffee and filled him in what had transpired at the Mikaelson house, he eventually left, saying that he was going to try to get into the Bennet house. Caroline smirked, knowing that Bonnie had never given him an invite, so he'll probably have to compel a human to do it for him - which gave her time to arm. She blurred down the stairs and swung into the kitchen, gun extended.
"Do you even know how to use that thing?" Alaric asked, as he tried to get to his feet.
"Seriously?"Caroline shot him the leg and he clutched at it, letting out a yelp of pain as he fell back into the chair, his crossbow falling to the floor. He wasn't screaming so he had to be tranked up to the eyeballs. "I'm the only child of a town sheriff who also happened to be a single mom. Do the math, Alaric. Move again at it will be the other leg." She slid over to the counter and then threw him a towel." You better tie that off with a tourniquet. You're bleeding out and you're going to be here for a while."
"I need a doctor," he hissed.
"You need your head examined," she snapped. "What the hell were you thinking, going up against a bunch of ancient unkillable vampires?" She held up a pair of handcuffs. "Let me introduce you to my cellar."
Twenty minutes later, not only had she changed her clothes and tidied her hair, she had packed her mother's vervain ammo and her weaponry into Alaric's SUV, which was parked down the road. She'd even found a magazine that fit the glock ,and she smiled triumphantly as she loaded the weapon. Bonnie's house was only few blocks over but she decided to move the SUV anyway, just in case Stefan got away from her and doubled back. She was leaving nothing to chance.
The first thing she noticed was Stefan's car and she slowed, her eyes on alert. She quickly realised they're was no need. Stefan wasn't exactly being covert. Bonnie's front door was a gaping hole and culprit was pacing the veranda impatiently. "Are you sure you can't find anything?" he called inside.
"No, there's nothing here."
Caroline's mouth went dry. She recognised that voice. It was Matt's. She hadn't seen him since that time he helped her mother and that asshole GIlbert to trap her. How could she have been stupid? Of course Stefan would use him against her. He was easy meat.
Her mouth straightened into a thin line as she stepped into Stefan's eyeline, and took aim and fired before he could react. She missed his heart by less than inch and he staggered back, his eyes widening as he realised the bullets were wood tipped and vervain soaked. She fired again, winging him in the leg as he blurred for cover. Matt stepped out onto the veranda, a crossbow in his hand. Caroline's eyes widened as he took aim and fired, and she ducked. The arrow struck the lawn to her left. His human reflexes weren't able to keep raised her weapon and hit the veranda deck an inch from his feet.
"Stay out of this, Matt," she warned him, but it was too late. Stefan had leapt back onto the veranda and grabbed Matt by the neck, holding him in front of him like a shield.
"Throw the gun away, Caroline," he said. "I promise to make it quick."
"I don't believe you," she said.
"I'll kill him," Stefan said, and Matt's eyes widened as he realised for the first time the danger he was in.
"You'll kill him anyway," Caroline said. "Just like you killed my mother." The words struck home to her intended target - Matt. He began to struggle, and Stefan grimaced. The moment Matt was dead, he no longer had a shield, but Matt was also on vervain, so he couldn't compel him to be still.
He threw Matt at her, and he flew through the air like a rag doll. Caroline darted to break his fall and, by the time she looked around again, he was gone. Matt struggled in her hold and she let go. He stepped back, eyeing her warily.
"You better run, Matt," she said. "Get out of town for a few days."
"What about you, he asked hoarsely, rubbing his throat."
Caroline smiled at him sadly. "Goodbye, Matt, have a nice life."
"He nodded slowly. "I'm sorry about Liz," he offered as he backed away.
Caroline's smile fell away as she watched him hurry down the street. Yeah, everyone was sorry except for the one guy who should be. She turned and eyed Stefan's vintage Porsche, noticing the keys that were still in the ignition. Her smile returned. She could be petty.
Klaus sulked in his chair. The atmosphere at the Mikaelson table was chilly to say the least, and it wasn't improved by the wine choice. The meal's only saving grace was that they'd obviously held onto his chef.
"I think your guests are awake," Elijah said tersely, and sure enough, he could hear the voices of Ethan and Jules in the basement, snapping loudly at the Bennett girl. Not literally, thankfully. He would not like to explain to Caroline how he had gotten her witch accidentally dead.
"They'll keep," Klaus said and indeed they would. Klaus had left a vial of the Doppelganger's blood for each of them with their chain's reach, If they did not wish to partake of it...well, then they truly were too stupid to live. Nevertheless, Maddox shifted behind him.
"Shall I check - just in case the Bennett witch tries something." Klaus nodded and Maddox disappeared from the room.
"Speaking of chains," Klaus said. "My first stipulation for this charade is that we put the Salvatore boy on a leash. He needs to learn some manners."
"The boy is under our protection," Rebekah disagreed. "And, while we're at it, you will lift that little compulsion you've laid on him."
And what do you think is going to happen then, Rebekah? That he's going to fall into you waiting arms. I'm afraid he's moved onto another lover, sister. Maybe you've heard of her? Elena Gilbert, the Doppelganger in your basement - but, no matter, this point is non negotiable. The Ripper will gravitate towards the force that puts him in opposition to me and so cannot be trusted."
"He only wants to kill the girl, not you," Rebekah said archly. "Not gotten attached, have we? After all, it's a small price to pay for ridding ourselves of our dear father once and for all...and speaking of unfinished business, where is your dear Caroline?"
Klaus willed himself not show anything on his face. "We were separated during our little kerfuffle this morning but I've no doubt she will arrive directly. She is a resourceful little minx. As for Stefan, if you think he doesn't blame me for his brother's death, now that he knows she was under my compulsion, then you're an idiot." It was a half truth, which inferred Caroline had been directly compelled to kill Damon, rather than just cornered into it. But needs must, and he needed to sow distrust into this alliance. He turned to Elijah. "I believe there are a free set of chains available downstairs, now that you've disposed of the Sheriff?"
"Wait a minute, we haven't finished this discussion yet!" protested Rebekah.
Kol rolled his eyes. "Let it be, Bekah, he only asked that young Salvatore be locked up, not for his head. You said yourself that NIk actually liked him back in the day."
"Although I'm less enamoured with the current incarnation," Klaus added under his breath.
"She killed his brother," Rebekah said. "He has every right to be angry."
"She killed her rapist," Klaus retorted, and Rebekah blinked. "Ah, he forewent to mention that part did he?"
"It didn't come up," she admitted reluctantly.
"But there is someone coming up the driveway in a vehicle," Finn said, his eyes moving to the dining room door.
"Not again," Rebekah muttered. "We just got the foyer patched up from the last incident."
Klaus smiled as they all tensed at the table, ready for another attack, but the car came to sedate halt. He recognised the knock and he was already getting out of his seat, when he heard Caroline's clear voice.
" Caroline Forbes ," she said. " I'm with Klaus. My luggage is in the trunk, thanks "
Klaus smirked as he stepped into the foyer. "I see it didn't take you long to find me….is that Stefan's Porsche?"
"Stefan is kind of a blather mouth," she said, with a shrug. "And doesn't lock his car. Who knew?" She came to a halt. "Do I smell food?
This was probably the dumbest idea she ever had, she should have waited in Klaus's room. She had been sitting at the table for less than ten minutes and Klaus had already stabbed Kol's hand with cheese fork after he'd compelled the chef to slit a wrist and serve his blood for dessert.
It went downhill from there.
The idea had been to make herself irreplaceable to the other siblings, but she had a funny feeling she would only be collateral in their eyes. The sooner she could get out from under their thumb, the better - but she needed Bonnie's help to do that.
The battle between the two brothers spilled out into the foyer, and Caroline sighed as the other siblings followed them out, treating it like a spectator sport. She poured herself a glass of red and sunk lower into her chair. The longer this went on, the closer Stefan got to tracking down Mikael and telling him everything he knew.
Eventually, Elijah intervened - and by intervened, Caroline meant he used the remains of the dining chair to attach Kol to the wall. She would be lying if she said she didn't enjoy that. She hadn't forgotten how he's compelled Stefan to kill Bonnie.
Elijah made a show of fixing his cuff links. "I think it's time we discussed our future plans." he said."If, as Miss Forbes has said, Stefan Salvatore has joined our father in his crusade to kill us. I think we may expect a visit soon.
"We could relocate to the Lockwood mansion again," Caroline murmured to Klaus. "Stefan lost his invite when Carol died."
"But our father will still be able to find us, with the help of the Bennett witches," Rebekah said.
Maddox gave a polite cough as he rejoined them and Caroline turned to look at him. "Actually, it's witch, not witches. The one called Abby Bennett has no power."
Caroline raised an eyebrow. "You mean she's a squib?" Maddox grimaced, getting the reference, but the rest looked at her blankly. That's what she got for hanging out with dinosaurs.
"I don't believe she was always without power," he said. "Her mother was powerful and so was her daughter. Magic that great rarely skips a generation."
She saw her opportunity and leapt at it. "So we use our Bennett witch to cancel out their Bennett Witch. You said it yourself, Bonnie is powerful, and Bonnie works from the same Grimoire so she'll know her tricks." Although not powerful enough to get out of chains, Caroline ruefully thought. Klaus threw her an amused look.
"I know you're eager to free your friend, Sweetheart, but something tells me Bonnie won't be eager to help."
She turned to him. "Let me at least try . If you promise not to hurt her Mom,she might help."
Klaus rolled his eyes and looked at Elijah. Caroline stiffened, despite herself; she had not forgotten Elijah's part in her Mother's death, and had wondered if her mother would still be alive today if she hadn't listened to Klaus and staked him with the wood from Wickory bridge. She didn't like the fact Klaus seemed to want his opinion despite all that had happened, and she was reminded that the Mikaelsons were family. She knew Klaus enjoyed having her around but given the choice…?
No, she could not afford for that to happen.
With a nod, Elijah led the way into the basement. "Let us get this over with."