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You don’t choose family.

That is what everyone says. You don’t choose family. And yet, aren’t we choosing every day anew? Aren’t we choosing every day to stay with our family? To help them? To guide them and be guided? I have thought about abandoning my family. More than once. That, I am guilty of. It would have made it easier for all of us, if I just had left. It certainly would have avoided some heartache.
But I am weak. Too weak to let go of my love for them. Too weak to be on my own. And where has it gotten me?

All alone on a desolate track to keep the last, unassuming remainders of my family alive.

“Is he fucking kidding me?!”

Her voice was dark and cutting, as she ended her fifth unsuccessful call. The noise of the airport was buzzing around her like a giant bees’ hive. It annoyed her. This was not the welcome she had expected after a nine hour flight from London to Durham. She didn’t need a cute sign, cake or champagne for the first time she sat foot back onto American soil after almost four years, but she had expected for her uncle to at least be there to collect her. They had talked about her arrival two weeks ago — true she hadn’t heard anything from him since then, but she had just assumed that he was busy with whatever was going on in that backwater town he had placed himself in.
Evangeline groaned and ran a hand through her long, mahogany-coloured tresses. It wasn’t completely uncharacteristic for her uncle to forget something important…with a deep, resigned sigh she went to get herself a cab into town.

There wasn’t much left of what she owned on this side of the world; most of her possessions were back home in Oxford and whatever was left was either with her uncle or in a small storing unit at the outskirts of Durham. Her storm-grey eyes watched the town fly by and a small seedling of worry started to grow within her. It sure was like Alaric to be a bit scatter-brained, but he never forgot anything about her.
And with what she heard was happening at the moment in the small town of Mystic Falls…the whole situation didn’t sit well with Evangeline. Her slender fingers played with her bead necklace, as she furrowed her brows unconsciously. She had to be careful once she would be in Mystic Falls. Careful and armed. Maybe it was really just the forgetfulness of her uncle — she truly hoped that was the case. But in a world like this, one could never be too cautious.

“Here we are, Miss”, the driver suddenly said and brought Evangeline out of her dark musings.
“Thanks”, she said and handed him a few dollars, before she left the car. Her eyes roamed over the small storing unit number 576 and a wave of bitter nostalgia washed over her. With a sigh Evangeline brought out her keys to open the unit. The rattling of the large, garage like gate sounded strangely ominous to her and for a short second she asked herself, if it had been the right idea to come back.

But as she turned on the lights the thoughts had left her already with a shake of her head. With all the danger her uncle had put himself into, Evangeline hadn’t been able to sit back with a good conscious and stay in the safety of another continent. Her eyes finally landed on the one possession she had missed most in her two years abroad.
One sharp tug at the dusty tarp and gleaming, black metal was revealed. A small smile danced on the corners of Evangeline’s mouth, as her fingertips connected with the cool metal and followed the curves of her motorbike. It had been way too long, indeed.

Niklaus Mikaelson was a very impatient man, that was common knowledge, so it amazed him time and time again, that people still dared to let him wait. This time it was — as so countless times before — Katerina Petrova, who was testing his patience. She took an awfully long time to wake up after he had snapped her neck in anger. And there was only so much he could glare at while he waited for her to wake again; the guy whose body he loaned was truly a sad slob judging by his apartment.
Finally a groan and the rustling of movement alerted Klaus to the resurrecting vampire on the ground next to him.

“So”, he snarled dangerously, “there is a niece coming today, that Safari Sam was actually scheduled to get from the airport and you failed to mention that before, because…?”
“You kept asking me about the Scooby Gang”, Katherine dared to return, although she wisely stayed crouching on the floor for the moment. Klaus barely resisted the urge to snap her neck again and said instead: “And what do you know about that niece?”
“I just started digging—”, Katherine began meekly, but instantly had a hand around her throat.
What do you know?
Her mind fogged and her body went limp as the compulsion settled in.
“Evangeline Vinter, 23 years old, currently studying in an Ancient Languages master’s programme at Oxford. She is not blood-related to the hunter, so there must be some connection to Isobel, but I didn’t get around to dig that deep in only one day”, she answered in a monotone voice.

“Any pictures around?”, Klaus asked tersely.
“I don’t know”, Katherine replied, slight panic in her voice. She knew, that it wasn’t much she had on the niece; no background story, no information about relatives, no pointers as to how Alaric behaved around her — by far not enough for Klaus — and in an attempt to safe herself she added: “Look in his purse, maybe there’s a picture! He seems to be the type…” She trailed off. Alaric’s brown eyes were hard, as they pried into Kathrine’s.

Then he let go of her and searched the teacher’s purse. It didn’t take him long to find it and sure enough there were at least five pictures in it. Klaus shifted through them; dead, undead, now truly dead wife; delicious looking girlfriend; his doppelganger and her human brother; an old couple sitting on a bench; a young woman with a bright smile on a graduation ceremony — Klaus stopped. His eyes roamed over the picture, taking in the mischievous gleam of storm-grey eyes, cascading mahogany locks and the wide smile of full lips. A devilish smirk found it’s way onto Alaric’s face.
“Well, hello there”, he muttered, his eyes still locked on the beautiful woman in the picture. Maybe he could get more entertainment out of this town than threatening people before he eventually killed them.

Storm-grey eyes roamed the building complex, while perfectly arched eyebrows furrowed together. Evangeline had a bad feeling about this. A very bad one. The corners of her mouth turned down into a light scowl. She checked again if she had the right address, but the one she had in the mail from her uncle was the same she stood in front of.
An almost sub-urban apartment building close to the Town Square. It was nice, really. Almost idyllic with that peaceful small town scenery around. Evangeline wanted to barf. There was nothing peaceful in this world and didn’t she know that all too well.

Evangeline grabbed her helmet and squared her shoulders as she walked into the building with confident steps. She had no doubt, that it would not be her uncle greeting her, but there was also no doubt in her determination. Family was sacred. At least to Evangeline and especially since there were now only three others left except for her and she would do her damned best to keep them safe. And if that meant to face a snake pit, so be it.
The beat of her heart was regular and calm. Her steps firm and with direction. There was no fear in her eyes, just hidden caution, as she rang the bell to her uncle’s apartment. Fear was a weakness and Evangeline hadn’t been weak in many years.

Then the door opened.

It was an exclamation of joy and there was nothing but honesty in her uncle’s eyes. Evangeline grinned widely at him and flung her arms around his neck. But her hair stood on end. This was not her uncle.

“Ric, it’s so good to see you again”, she nonetheless breathed and hugged him a bit tighter. If Evangeline had learnt anything in her years in Europe, it was how to manipulate others.
Then she pushed herself away from her not-uncle and entered the apartment with a huge smile on her face — without an invitation of him.

Be as human as possible.
Don’t give whoever was in her uncle’s body any reason to believe her anything more than a boring human. “You’ve got more grey hair, since I last saw you. Are the students too hard on you?” She turned around to face him again and put her backpack down as she let herself fall onto a bar stool at the kitchen counter.
“They’re a pain, indeed”, he answered and a muscle twitched at Evangeline’s left eye. It was a minuscule movement, but Klaus caught it.
There was a shift in the air. Tense. Cautious. Dangerous.

And yet she smiled at him, as she asked: “How has life been treating you, uncle dearest?” Another twitch. This time the corners of her mouth. That was when it hit him.
The human played with him. He didn’t hide the gleam in his eyes, that was somewhere between rage and mischief.

Evangeline could pin the exact moment in which whoever occupied her uncle’s body realised that she knew. They would suffer for hurting her family. But first, she needed more information. What good was it to run into battle without knowing your enemy?
“Ah, you know”, not-Alaric grinned and poured himself a glass of Bourbon, “teen drama at school, adult drama with Jenna…” — He lifted the bottle and looked at her questioningly. — “Want one?” Evangeline nodded and took the glass he had poured himself with a sly grin.
“Thanks, the flight was exhausting”, she said and nipped at the strong alcohol, while not-Alaric poured himself another glass. Evangeline looked at her uncle. Her brain was running a mile a second as she calculated her next step. Then she downed the remainder of her glass and her gaze turned sharp as her grey eyes connected with his hazel ones.

“No supernatural drama? You mentioned something about a guy called Klaus?”

Such a question was never trivial in neither context it could be asked. But in that particular situation it was as if Evangeline was playing with a match next to gasoline. It was dangerous at best, suicidal for sure and yet, Evangeline knew that she thrived on the thrill of danger. Her skin prickled and her heart beat a bit faster, as she observed not-Alaric’s reaction.
There it was. A slight twitch around his mouth at the mention of the name Klaus.
She had him.
Klaus fucking Mikaelson was the parasite currently residing in her uncle’s body.


“Klaus?”, Klaus asked with a grin. “He’s old news. Damon and I dealt with him.” His eyes took in every movement, every slight shift in her intense eyes.
She was good, oh she really was; but not good enough.

He had over a thousand years of experience with liars and manipulators, himself being a king among them all. No mere human would be able to trick him, no matter how masterly they could hide their true emotions. Everyone had one tell.
For the gorgeous woman in front of him it were her eyes. Large, expressive eyes that could not quite hide all the emotion. Klaus saw the flicker of annoyance and defiance in them. He couldn’t help but feel proud, that she obviously had already heard of him. Vanity, in the end, was a family trait.

“Ah well, that’s a relief then”, she smiled and stood from her stool. “I gotta run, got an appointment with an estate agent about an apartment. Should we catch up over dinner tonight?” She made a grab for her backpack, but her fingers never touched the fabric of the strap.

Klaus moved fast, even without superhuman speed. He grabbed her head as she bent down and smashed her temple against the edge of the kitchen counter. Immediately she fell to the ground, limp and unconscious.
For a few seconds he just stared at her, before he looked up and directly into Katerina’s wide eyes.

“Looks like you got a new flatmate, love. It would be in your best interest to keep it that way until I come back.”
A devilish smirk played on Alaric’s lips.

It was a long, agonised groan that left Evangeline’s lips once she slowly came to herself again. Even before she could open her eyes to escape the darkness, she felt a pounding headache and slight nausea. That asshole had given her a concussion.

“Finally up?”

The unfamiliar voice droned heavily in Evangeline’s head and she instinctively swallowed down the bile that rose with the spinning of her head.
She took a few deep, calming breaths to control the nausea, before she opened her eyes.

She laid on the couch and in front of her, on a comfortable chair, sat a girl with bloody thighs, who stabbed herself repeatedly. Chestnut-brown hair, doe-like eyes, enviable facial bone structure…Evangeline remembered the pictures attached to the mail she had gotten, that had triggered her return to America. Her eyes wandered to the healing wounds on the girl’s legs.
Kathrine then, not Elena.

She had to think fast. Evangeline knew, that she had to get out of the apartment. And for that she needed the help of the vampire sitting across her without being in her debt…rather…it would be preferable, if Katherine Pierce was in her debt…
And there it was. A brilliant, if risky idea.

“Katherine Pierce”, Evangeline groaned and closed her eyes again, as she tried to stop the nausea while sitting up.
“Oh? You’ve heard of me?”, Kathrine grinned. Vanity. Such a disastrous character trait. It made one arrogant and careless.
Exactly what Evangeline needed Kathrine to feel like. Therefore she said: “Who hasn’t?”
“Humans usually”, the vampire said suspiciously. But Evangeline was prepared. She shot the other girl a look with a raised eyebrow and elaborated: “My uncle’s a vampire hunter. What do you think?”
“Cute”, Kathrine mocked with a sly smirk on her full lips, “a baby hunter.”

“Maybe, but one with a stash of vervain” — Hook. — “and a witch willing to go against Klaus” — Line. — “with…let’s say…a cloaking spell?” Sinker. Evangeline grinned at the well-hidden reaction on Katherine’s face. Slightly wide eyes, then calculation and scepticism.
“Why would you help me?”, the vampire asked cautiously. Evangeline let a sly smirk dance on her lips. She only said one word: “Survival.”

“I will not protect you from Klaus”, Katherine immediately snarled, but then she suddenly smirked and continued: “But that was never what you meant, right?” Evangeline grinned. This was actually fun, despite the pounding in her head.
“Your blood to heal my concussion in exchange for the vervain”, Evangeline elaborated in a slurred voice. Talking so much took it’s toll on her head.
“And the witch?”, Katherine demanded to know, but there was a slight grin in her eyes.
“A favour”, Evangeline answered, her eyes trying to focus on the vampire. “One unnamed favour I collect whenever I want.”
“And what would keep me from ripping your witch’s heart out and drain you dry once the spell is cast?”, Katherine asked, now truly curious of the answer. She was certain, that the little human had thought about that and that was something that intrigued her.

“Again, survival”, Evangeline answered slowly, needing to concentrated on every word not to slur it too much. “The cloaking spell will be linked to a curse. If anything happens to me by your hand, the curse will be triggered and cause you to stop from being able to ingest blood. And you do know what happens to a vampire not able to drink blood, right? I heard it’s rather painful. Slow desiccation, that is.”
There was something dark lurking in those storm-grey eyes, as Evangeline spoke her threat.
Katherine couldn’t help but be fascinated by that human. She had known exactly what to say to push her buttons. Something she herself excelled at and only few had had the pleasure to learn—

“Isobel”, Katherine gasped in sudden realisation.
“I’ve been in contact with my aunt for the last couple of years”, Evangeline explained and shrugged nonchalantly, before she winced and closed her eyes in pain. “She was the one telling me, that Alaric’s in danger”, she pressed out through gritted teeth and again swallowed down bail.
“She’s dead, you know?”, Katherine said indifferently, but she observed the human’s reaction closely.
“Oh yes, I know”, Evangeline replied darkly, her voice promising revenge. Then she opened her eyes again and looked at Katherine. “Do we have a deal?”

“Yes”, Katherine replied after contemplating, bit into her wrist and held it out to Evangeline. It was in itself a small show of the respect Evangeline had gained.
But then again, they both knew, that Evangeline wouldn’t be able to really do anything but suffer as long as she had the concussion. Soft lips attached themselves on smooth skin and by the first gulp of thick, metallic blood, Evangeline already felt it’s effects. The fog in her mind cleared and the nausea subsided with the second gulp.
By the third she felt fantastic and stopped drinking from Katherine’s wrist. Without hesitation, Evangeline took off one of her necklaces and walked towards the kitchen.
“You need to drink it, right?”, Evangeline asked and when the vampire nodded, she filled a glass with water and emptied the content of the necklace in it.

Katherine spluttered and groaned, as she forced the vervain-laced water down her throat, burning her insides.
Once done she rushed to Evangeline and pressed her against a wall. Her eyes contracted, as she said: “Removing the only thing that protects you against compulsion in presence of a vampire? Maybe you’re not as good as I thought. You will tell your witch to cast the cloaking spell without the curse attached and without any favour I owe you.
For a second Evangeline simply stared at Katherine, then she smirked a devilish smile, that could compete with Klaus’.
In that moment Katherine realised, that her descendant was freakishly good in playing games and might even make for a useful ally.

“I always keep more than one source of vervain on my body”, Evangeline smirked. “If I remove one obvious source, vampires tend to feel over-confident.” Katherine snarled, but let the young woman go, impressed against her will.
“You truly are a descendant of mine, aren’t you?”, she asked and there was a hint of pride in the vampire’s voice.
“Absolutely”, Evangeline answered unperturbed, “therefore you’ll understand this.” With her last words, Evangeline thrust her hand forward and a hidden stake released upon contact, embedding itself deep into Katherine’s gut. The vampire sank on the ground in pain and Evangeline grabbed her head.
With as much strength as she could muster, Evangeline snapped her ancestor’s neck and the vampire fell motionless to the ground.

“Sorry”, she said to the limp body without sounding sorry at all, “but you’re still compelled to keep me here and I really need to meet with my estate agent.” Evangeline grabbed her backpack and went to search for her uncle’s hidden stash of vampire hunting weapons. The more weapons she had, the better and her own stash was nothing but the emergency amount she always kept on her body.

“Now, let’s see how to get you out of this mess, Uncle Ric…”

The whole house was flooded with light thanks to the large windows. The walls were kept in pale colours as was the furniture, giving the whole house a vibe of lightness and happiness.
Evangeline couldn’t help the sad smile that grazed her lips.

Others could think about Isobel what they wanted, but Evangeline knew, that even though her humanity was turned off, Isobel Flemming would always care for the daughter of the sister she had loved more than herself.
She had been there. At the funeral of Evangeline’s mother. And Evangeline had not seen pain in her aunt’s usually emotionless eyes…she had seen raw agony.

She let her fingertips softly trace over the smooth surface of the kitchen counter. Her eyes stung with unshed tears, as she swallowed the lump in her throat. Isobel looked out for her, even in death.
This house at the outskirts of Mystic Falls had been meant to be a safe house for Elena, true, but the deed had always been on Evangeline’s name. Isobel had always intended for it to belong to Evangeline once she would return. The lightness. The cozy blankets everywhere. The candles just waiting to be lit. Even the small room in the attic perfect for drying herbs. Evangeline felt it in her bones, that this house had been renovated to be hers. Isobel had thought of only her, when she had bought and rebuilt it.

Her hands moved from the kitchen counter to the windowsill. Slight bumps and unevenness on the surface of it made Evangeline frown. But as she looked, she saw small carvings of magic symbols etched into the wood. This was not just a safe house against vampires. This was basically Fort Knox.
A wave of gratitude towards her late aunt washed over Evangeline. This house was warded against everything supernatural.

Evangeline let her backpack fall onto the ground. She was tired and yearned for nothing more than a nap, but the vampire blood inside her was keeping her awake and there was so much to do, so much plotting and planning.

In Mystic Falls, she was a new player. She had no allies and no enemies. A clean slate. It gave her all the opportunities, but left her also with nothing to work with.
With Klaus around and the full moon so close, Evangeline was certain that without her uncle to pledge for her, neither of his friends would welcome her with anything else but bared fangs. Isobel had had her spies, but their compulsion had been lost the moment she died the last time. And the only witch in town was the Bennett girl, from whom Evangeline wouldn’t expect any help either way.
Evangeline’s own friends and contacts were spread across the whole country and Evangeline wasn’t exactly willing to bring them into family matters, if not absolutely needed.

It was like Europe all over again. Evangeline was alone, only to trust her own resourcefulness and skills among hungry wolves.
A shiver went down her spine at the thought of the possible danger. A buzzing anticipation followed immediately and a small grin appeared on her face. She had missed the thrill of unknown danger in the last year.

She sat at the kitchen table and pulled the laptop from her backpack.
It was time to plot the release of her uncle and for that, she needed all the information Isobel had sent her.

Klaus was in a delectably good mood, as he made his way to the teacher’s flat after the decade dance at school. Successfully killing witches had in the end always brightened his day.

That however changed the moment he was close enough to see what should be in front of the apartment. Or rather what wasn’t there — namely the motorbike, that had belonged to the niece. He cursed the lack of his supernatural speed, when he ran up the stairs taking two at a time. The hinges of the door squealed, as he threw it open.

“WHERE IS SHE?!”, he roared at a cowering Katherine.
“I didn’t know”, the girl exclaimed hastily, panic evident in her voice and expression. “She is a huntress like her uncle. I didn’t know!” Panic blew up her pupils as her eyes grew wide with every threatening step Klaus made into her direction. “She snapped my neck! I didn’t kno—”

The sickening crack of a snapped neck echoed through the flat yet again. Klaus breathed heavily in his rage. A measly human had dared to escape his clutches. His eyes fell upon a piece of paper lying on the kitchen counter. Within a few long steps he was there and the paper in his hands.

Maybe next time.

For a second he stood still as a statue. Rage raved within him, though he couldn’t help but to be just a tad bit impressed by the human. Vampires tried to evade him unsuccessfully for centuries and here was this one little, feeble human woman, who dared to mock him after accomplishing an impossible feat.
For now at least.

A lopsided grin appeared on Klaus’ lips, utterly out of place on the kind-hearted hunter’s face. He still wore her uncle.
She would come for him and Klaus would enjoy showing exactly where humans had their place in his world.

It was well into the night, probably already early morning hours, when Evangeline finally shut down her laptop. She took a swig from the cold coffee that still stood next to the empty take away boxes.
A few hours ago she had dared to make a short trip into the town to gather something to eat, coffee and bourbon. With a sigh she got up from her chair and put the empty boxes in the trash. She poured herself a glass of bourbon and leaned against the kitchen counter. Her storm-grey eyes never strayed from the laptop on the kitchen table.

Her actions were plotted and the goal defined:
Get that bastard out of her uncle’s body and keep her family safe.

She could not simply push him out of her uncle’s body or ask him nicely. No, neither force nor kindness would do her any good. And none was Evangeline’s style when it came to protect her family.

Klaus had an advantage by wearing her uncle’s body. But to her utter delight she had seen Damon Salvatore and a very dead Bonnie Bennett drive by during her hidden trip to the supermarket.
Not that any normal human would have been able to tell that the witch was dead…but that meant, that Klaus had played his trump and revealed himself.

She had yet to receive a call from her uncle, though, therefore Evangeline assumed that her uncle had not yet ceased his usefulness to Klaus. Now, if she just could push Klaus into wanting to get out of her uncle’s body…

Evangeline had had enough practice to think herself into the minds of psychopaths over her short lifespan, hence she was rather certain that Klaus wanted to play a bit with his prey. Show who was the alpha male, mess with his enemies and all that jazz. As all were aware of who he was, there was only one left Klaus could still play by using Ric’s body….sweet, clueless Jenna Sommers.

A deceitful smirk garnished her plum lips.
Now what would poor Klaus do, if Jenna knew about vampires?

Chapter Text

There have been more moments in my life in which I felt utterly powerless than I care to admit. Powerlessness leaves you vulnerable. It destroys what you hold dear. It kills without remorse.
The fault is not with the man swinging the sword, but it lies with me for not having a more powerful sword. One that is powerful enough to safe what I love from death and darkness. That fault is a treacherous lover. Leeching on pain and sorrow. A lover shaping me into something I never thought I’d become.

As a kid, my parents told me to look under my bed for the monsters.
As a teenager, they told me to look among my peers for the monsters, for they are real and wear human faces.
As an adult I know, that I don’t have to fear the monsters crawling around, sucking blood in broad daylight or howling at the moon in anger.

I stopped fearing them the moment I realised, that the monsters are inside us all.

So I learnt my monsters by name.
Got to know my demons and became the sum of them all.
I gazed into their eyes.

And they gave me power.

Jenna was stressed.
Her thesis wasn’t coming along as fast as she wanted it to; her niece and nephew did as they pleased and then there was the whole Isobel-issue. Well, maybe she was not only stressed, but also pissed. And it was in such a mood, that she opened the door to the Gilbert house as the bell rang just shy of nine in the morning.
In front of it stood a stunningly beautiful woman, maybe a few years younger than herself, with two cups of coffee and a winning smile. Jenna furrowed her brows as she felt as if she had seen her somewhere before, but she couldn’t quite place her.

“Sorry for intruding in your morning”, the woman said with an apologetic shrug. “I’m Eve Vinter, Ric’s niece.” Jenna’s eyes widened when she remembered the many pictures Ric had shown her in undeniable pride, all containing his niece. But then anger surged through her at the audacity of the girl showing up at her door step.
“Ric isn’t here”, she snapped and went to shut the door.


Jenna sighed. With a silent prayer for enough patience, she completely opened the door again and looked expectantly at the other woman. She didn’t even try to hide her annoyance.
“I know, that he isn’t here”, Evangeline explained, “because there is something wrong with him at the moment.” Jenna furrowed her brows at that. “Maybe you’ve noticed his strange behaviour over the last couple of days? I’d like to help him and for that I have to talk to you. So…can I come in? I even came bearing gifts.” She smiled and lifted up the two cups of coffee.
Another deep sigh escaped Jenna’s throat, but she was worried and really wanted to know what was going on with Ric. Plus, who was she to deny coffee. She stepped aside, mentally kissed working on her thesis today goodbye and said: “Alright, come in.”

“I am very sorry, if I’m making you feel uncomfortable”, Evangeline began once they had sat down at the kitchen table, “that is not my intention.” She took a sip from her strong, black coffee, while Jenna simply shrugged. Evangeline could tell, that she just about had enough with everything and everyone.
“Ric is in danger”, the brunette opened and Jenna’s head snapped up from her coffee at that, “otherwise I wouldn’t be here, but in Europe studying for my master’s degree. Are you willing to hear me out, regardless how mental I will sound?” There was so much sincerity and gravity in the young woman’s eyes, that Jenna could only nod. She wasn’t sure what was going on and Ric’s niece was certainly strange, but she was just so worried.
“Thank you”, Evangeline said. It was the first step in order to execute her plan. She took a deep breath, another sip from her coffee and then she began:
“As you very well know, Isobel was my aunt and I’m so—”

Was? From what I know she’s still around.” The bitterness in Jenna’s voice was obvious. A pained expression rushed over Evangeline’s features, before she replied: “Yes, was…but I’m coming to that later, okay? You agreed to hear me out, so please, let me talk.” She looked at the other woman, who slowly nodded, her scepticism written all over her face.
“As I said, Isobel was my aunt and she was very close to John Gilbert.” — Jenna couldn’t help the snort that left her throat at that, but Evangeline only acknowledged it with a small smile. — “Please keep that in mind, when I now ask you, if you ever believed the bedtime stories your sister started to tell you, once she got to know Greyson Gilbert? Or anything strange she told you to do at night to be safe? And to not invite strangers into your home?”
Evangeline saw how Jenna slowly got more and more in a defencive position, the more questions she asked. Captivated by the younger woman’s voice, Jenna jerked her head in a nod, but pressed her lips tightly together, as she crossed her arms in front of her chest.
“Bram Stoker, Anne Rice, Charlaine Harris”, Evangeline started to list, “they all got it pretty much wrong. Except for one thing…” She bored her storm-grey eyes into Jenna’s, who found herself not able to look away. “The supernatural is real.”

Evangeline didn’t wait for any dramatic pause to give Jenna time to throw her out of her house, instead she pulled out her phone and opened some of the information from Isobel’s mail — specifically the information on the Salvatore brothers.
“I know you are a person of facts”, she stated as she pushed her phone towards the shocked woman opposite, who looked like a fish on land as she searched for words that evaded her. “So I brought facts. Stefan and Damon Salvatore are vampires. They have been since 1864. You’ll find pictures of them in the file on my phone, but of course they can be forged. But what about this news paper article from June 1953?” Evangeline stopped, as she gave Jenna some time to read through the information.
“No”, Jenna exclaimed and forcefully pushed the phone back towards Evangeline. “You’re mental! This is not true.”
“No!”, Jenna snarled. “I want you to leave my house. NOW!” She stood abruptly from her chair and pointed at the door.

Evangeline stood too, although slower and cautious of the other woman. As she had feared, Jenna Sommers was a person who only believed in the things she could see. It pained her to loose one of her own trump cards so early in the game, but Evangeline needed Jenna to believe her in order for her to be safe and help her with Alaric.
“If this isn’t true; if it isn’t true that vampires, werewolves, ghosts and witches exist, then tell me…”, Evangeline said in a soothing tone, the fingers of her right hand playing with her bead necklace as if in deep thought.
She continued with her eyes fixed on Jenna: “…how am I able to do this?” She raised her left hand and with it her coffee cup levitated from the table.

Jenna gasped and clutched for the wall behind her as she stumbled back.
“H-how— What— ?”

“I’m a witch, Jenna”, Evangeline said lowly as not to startle her further.
She let the cup gently float down again and sat back at the table. “And I’m willing to explain everything to you. Everything that was going on lately. Everything that Ric kept from you. Everything that goes bump in the night.”

“Assuming this was no cheap trick and I believe you…why would you do that? You don’t know me”, Jenna asked slowly, as she cautiously sat down too, this time however as far away from Evangeline as possible.
A sad smile flashed across Evangeline’s features, as she answered: “You’re Ric’s girlfriend. That makes you family and I protect my family.” Evangeline sighed deeply, the fierceness of her last sentence leaving her completely.
“Ric, your niece, your nephew, they all kept the knowledge from you in order to keep you safe. And yes, sometimes ignorance is safety…but not when Niklaus Mikaelson is out for your niece’s blood and using my uncle to get what he wants. You deserve to know.”

“Elena’s…”, Jenna uttered, eyes wide in shock and mouth slightly agape. Then her lips pressed into a tight line and her intense eyes focused solely on Evangeline. The brunette could barely hide a victorious smile at the vicious protectiveness that was written all over Jenna’s face. She knew they would get along perfectly.

“Tell me everything.”

Klaus was having a bad day. Katerina was just shy of useless and he couldn’t torture her in this body; the little human hadn’t come to him yet to get her uncle back and he was just generally sick of wearing this body. To top it all of, Jenna had just cancelled their lunch date and therefore he was on his way to the Gilbert house.
He was in desperate need of something to brighten his mood and playing mind games with the Salvatores and his doppelgänger’s family sounded like just the right thing.

He felt annoyance as he walked up to the picture perfect white-picket-fence house. Alone for that he would be going to enjoy messing with the Gilbert family and anyone that entails those bonds. Without hesitation, he rang the bell and just as he had expected, Jenna opened him the door with barely hidden anger. It had been a good idea to come here in order to lighten his mood.
“Jenna”, he said and let his voice sound as pleading as possible. “Come on, we need to talk about it. Won’t you just hear me out, please?” Her eyes narrowed a bit.
“No”, was all she said and went to close the door. Klaus wanted to stop the door, but his hand crashed against an invisible barrier right where the threshold was. His eyes widened.
“What is this?!”, he growled, as he saw the positively beaming look on Jenna’s face.
He pressed against the barrier, but nothing happened. He was locked out. His head shot up and his eyes locked on the figure, that slowly came from the kitchen, down the corridor and stood next to Jenna. A snarl settled on his face.

“Hello again, Mr. Mikaelson.”
Her dark, melodic voice drifted over him and although Klaus was seething with anger, he couldn’t help but be a bit impressed — again.
Her expressive eyes gleamed with mirth, as she opened those blood-red lips and said: “Jenna here and I had a very insightful talk this morning and decided to ward the house a bit better. You see, I came across these handy crystals during my travels in France.” She made a general gesture at the house. “They prevent anyone with a less than honest heart from entering the premise they are warding. Fortunately” , A playful smirk pulled at her lips, “the coven who enchanted the crystals was so kind to give them to me as a parting gift.”
There was something in her tone, something dark, that told him that the coven hadn’t handed those crystals over willingly. He knew that tone, because he himself used it all the time.
A short glance at Jenna told him, that she hadn’t caught onto the dark undertone of the other human. It made him curious.

“Miss Vinter”, he said in a forcedly even voice. “Do you think it wise to cross me a second time in not even 48 hours?”
“Well”, Evangeline said as evenly as he, “there is this guy, who thinks messing with my family goes without consequences. I know, that he didn’t know and therefore I could let it slide this first time…” She trailed off and brought her eyes onto his, a fierceness in them, that had him almost tense his muscles at the raw emotion. “But consider this a warning. I know who you are and I don’t care. If you mess with my family, I will make you pay.”
Klaus couldn’t hide a small smirk. That human truly turned out to be rather entertaining. Maybe when his business was done, he would take her with him for a while before killing her. She had surely a way to lighten his mood — even when crossing his plans.

“My, my”, he grinned a lopsided, mocking smirk, “strong words from such a weak creature. Believe me, sweetheart, you are not the first to threaten me.” He let his eyes roam over her face again, taking in her full black lashes, the intense grey eyes, plum red lips and mahogany waves framing perfectly structured cheekbones. “Not the first, indeed, but certainly one of the most ravishing.”
“Why thank you”, she replied nonchalantly, brushing off his complement without a care — seemingly, but Klaus had seen the twitch at her mouth and the slight glimmer of pride in her eyes, “but tell me, has anyone of them ever escaped you after you had them imprisoned? I hear not even the elusive Kathrine Pierce has managed that. Yet.”
“Rest assured, that won’t happen again”, he snarled at the mockery.
“And I assure you, that I will not rest until my family is safe”, she hurled right back at him. There it was again, the fury of a lioness protecting her pups.
It strangely made Klaus smile, although he truly was angered by her, he couldn’t help but smile. What a delectable little human she was. Playing with her was more amusing than messing with Jenna, that was certain. So…why not bring the game a bit further along?
A devilish smirk adorned his lips at the thought.

“In that case, I might need to return your family”, he said lowly, his eyes never leaving hers. “Just to see how much you are really willing to do to keep them safe, while I come for them over and over and over again.” He chuckled at her furrowed eyebrows and turned to leave. That reaction was obviously not, what she had calculated in her pretty head.
Klaus was in a decidedly better mood, now that he had found an interesting opponent in a game of manipulation, plotting and planning. It was never a question who would win the game. The only question was: how long until the little human would break?

“What was that?”, Jenna immediately wanted to know, once not-Alaric was gone and the door closed. Her eyes held concern and a touch uncertainty.
Evangeline looked at her for a second and then answered: “That was me getting Ric out of this mess.” Truth be told, it was not exactly how Evangeline had imagined things would go…but then again, in the end she had achieved what she had wanted to.
“No”, Jenna said sternly, although the slight mirth in her eyes spoke a different tone, “that sounded like some really sick way of flirting.” Evangeline’s head shot to Jenna with a frown.
“That wasn’t flirting”, she dismissed immediately.
Jenna simply quirked her brows and said: “No? Well, then I pity the male population, when you’re actually trying to flirt.” Evangeline lifted one eyebrow at that, but saw no need to deny it. Jenna had formed her opinion and to be quite frank, Evangeline knew, that she could indeed get a guy, once she set her eyes on him.

“Why don’t we put it to the test?”, Evangeline grinned dangerously, the wickedness glimming in her eyes. “You and me at the Grill. See who gets more numbers?” Jenna looked at her, soft hazel eyes large in indignation.
“I know, that your uncle and I are on the outs, especially after…”, she began and drifted off, pain obvious on her face. “We have a lot to talk about, but I still care about him.” Evangeline’s grin softened into a small smile, as she reached for her purse. Her intense eyes settled once more on the older woman for a second.
“I know, otherwise I wouldn’t have warned you about Niklaus”, Evangeline said rather nonchalantly, the implications perfectly clear to Jenna, who frowned slightly at that.
“I told you to have some fun with me, so you can easier stomach everything I told you”, Evangeline continued unperturbed, “Not that you should cheat on my uncle.” The brunette tilted her head slightly. “Sometimes a bit space and a change of perspective is everything you need to sort out a failing relationship. Plus I’m fairly certain, that nothing Mystic Falls has to offer is anywhere near my uncle’s level of devotion. A day out will only make you see, what you have with him.”
A mischievous, lopsided smirk had appeared on her face and Jenna couldn’t help but to laugh.

“You’re a very cheeky little thing, aren’t you?”, she said in mock-wonder, but also grabbed her purse. “Just to be clear, I know everyone in this god-forsaken town and have dated half of them.”
Evangeline chuckled and shrugged her shoulders, as she said: “Just the more fun to see those still try, who haven’t had a shot at your gorgeousness.”

With a freeing laugh on her lips, Jenna followed Evangeline outside the Gilbert house. Maybe she did trust too easily, but as Jenna touched the bracelet filled with vervain, that Evangeline had brought her, Jenna simply felt it in her bones, that she could trust this young, remarkable woman to keep her safe.
Something her own family would have failed at, given the surprise visit of a possessed Alaric.

Evangeline threw back the shot without hesitation. Jenna next to her hadn’t regained her composure yet in order to down her own, she was still laughing and barely staying on her bar stool. Evangeline grinned widely, the warmth of the shot giving her a very comfortable feeling. Jenna slowly sobered up from her laughing fit.
“You didn’t! Tell me, you didn’t use itching powder! You were twenty, not twelve!”, Evangeline accused, her lips a tight line as she tried desperately not to laugh. But as soon as her and Jenna’s eyes met each other, they both burst out laughing again.
“He walked strangely for three weeks”, Jenna pressed out in between her laughing. Evangeline felt her eyes tear up and breathing become harder, as she laughed and just couldn’t stop.
“Poor Logan Fell, whoever you are”, she said, after she had taken a few sobering breaths. Jenna had finally stopped long enough to down her shot, before she waved her hands animatedly in front of Evangeline, who poured them both another round.
“No, no, no, no!”, Jenna protested vehemently. “Not poor Douchbag McDouche! He broke my heart!”
“And you broke his balls!”
Jenna just shrugged, as if he had it coming and somehow Evangeline thought, that he truly did. Then Jenna’s eyes focused from the shot back to her new drinking buddy.
“So, any bad mistakes in your ledger?”

“Too many to count”, Evangeline grinned lopsidedly. “Until recently I wasn’t that much of a relationship-person. Mainly one-night-stands.” Her eyes travelled over the other people enjoying their night at the Mystic Grill, when they fell on a handsome man with black hair and dark eyes. “Aaaand there’s my next deplorable mistake.” Jenna whipped her head around to see, who Evangeline was eyeing up.
“Good choice”, Jenna said with a grin. “That’s Scott Haywood. Local deputy. He’s one of the good guys. We had history AP together.” Evangeline made a grimace at the short bio.
“Then he’s definitely not one for me”, Evangeline groaned and downed another shot. “Too vanilla. All the somewhat handsome guys here are so…so…so good!” She spat the word out and actually looked offended about this particular fact of Mystic Falls. Jenna almost choked on her shot.

“Okay, okay”, she laughed once she successfully swallowed. “I get it. The wicked witch of the East can’t possibly like a lion without teeth.” A mischievous gleam entered Evangeline’s eyes at that.
“Well”, she shrugged nonchalantly, “I do prefer my lion with fangs.” Jenna’s jaw literally dropped at that. Her eyes were narrowed and the fine laughing lines appeared, that made her more beautiful than she already was, as a wide grin split her beaming face.
“Get out!”, she almost screamed, expression still somewhere between shocked and amused. “Really?!” Evangeline just grinned roguishly and nodded.
“My ex in London”, she explained with another shrug.

“Isn’t that…I don’t know…creepy?”, Jenna asked, suddenly deep in buzz-induced thoughts. Evangeline lifted one brow in order to encourage Jenna to elaborate. “You know…aren’t they usually, like…really old? Isn’t that a problem…consent-wise?” And there it was. The reason Evangeline genuinely liked Jenna from the bottom of her heart. Jenna was just so honestly compassionate, that Evangeline almost got tooth decay due to her sweetness.
“Definitely”, Evangeline agreed with a nod and her eyes on her shot, “and I would never advocate two teenagers having sex, when one of them is older than their physical age. Although I’m still rather young, I was already of age, when I met my ex.” — A frown crept onto Evangeline’s features. — “And he was really old.” — The frown deepened, as she downed the shot. — “But then again, I’ve seen some shit already, so I won’t say I’m your typical 23 year-old. That would probably enable me to make better decisions, than others my age.” She shrugged and then grinned at Jenna.
“Let’s talk about things, that don’t sound as if we’re both lunatics. Tell me, how did you meet my uncle?”, Evangeline said with so much smugness coating her words they were almost dripping in it. Jenna just groaned and let her head fall onto the bar next to her full shot glass.

It was late, when Evangeline made it back to her house. Jenna had kept her longer at the Grill than she had anticipated. The alcohol they had drank, left her in a blissful fog, clouding her brain and dulling her emotions.
She fumbled a bit with her keys, as she tried to open the door. A soft rustling in the bushes behind her made Evangeline freeze in her motions, as her head whipped up — making everything spin for a second — and she listened intently. Nothing.

Then the key finally found its way into the lock and a second later, Evangeline was inside her highly guarded house, not bothering to turn on the light. She kicked her shoes off and let her jacket fall to the floor, as she staggered directly into the kitchen. The light was still turned off, as she grabbed the opened bottle of bourbon she had bought the other day.
She didn’t want to see the emptiness of the house. A large, beautiful house with tastefully furnished rooms and space, so much space to think and just be. Evangeline loved that.


Now, she just couldn’t handle to see it, because the space that usually gave her enough room to breath and think, would grow wider and wider, until she would feel small and insignificant and weak. A large, beautiful house…and no one to share it with.
Evangeline sat down on the floor right in the middle of the spacious living room. Everything doused in the dim light of the almost full moon.

Her fingers played with the phone in her hand; letting it rotate over and over.

She took a swig from the bottle.

Dark shadows washed out all colours. The world was grey and dark. The harsh light of Evangeline’s phone broke that serenity. It was foolish.
A deep sigh escaped Evangeline, as she drowned her sorrows in another large gulp of bourbon. Then she tapped on her phone and brought it to her ear. It went straight to voice mail, just as Evangeline had expected.

“Hi Dad”, she said lowly, her voice small and her words slightly slurred. “I jus’ let ya know tha’ I got Ric outta the mess he go’ ‘imself in. Had’o poke the big ol’ hybrid a bi’…bu’ yeah…I go’ ‘im back…jus’ though’ ya shoul’ know.”
She let the hand that held the phone slowly sink down into her lap. Her eyes stung with tears and her throat was tight. If everything was so dull, why did it hurt so much…

She took another swig from the bottle. And right after another big gulp.

The alcohol burned her throat, but Evangeline welcomed the slight sting and relished in the warm feeling in her gut that followed. It filled the emptiness.
At least for the moment.
Because sometimes, there was nothing else left to fill the emptiness with. Sometimes fighting and going stubbornly forward step after step was all that was left. Sometimes making sure, that the select few that held her heart, were healthy and somewhat happy, was the only thing Evangeline had left.

Chapter Text

I met someone today.
He asked who I am.
It was harder to answer, than it should have been.

Should I have answered as the girl, who tries to escape from her problems. Or rather as the girl, who is confident and was taught by multiple witches already. Maybe better as the girl, who loves an adventure and can’t get enough of danger. The most honest would have probably been to answer as the girl, who fears her own demons and wakes from her sleep because of night-terrors.

To thine own be true.

Wise words, Shakespeare. But who am I?

Oh my Lord take this soul, lay me at the bottom of the river.

Evangeline groaned. Her head pounded with the subtlety of a jackhammer. The song indicating an incoming call made her head hurt even more.

The devil has come to carry me home, lay me at the bottom of the river.

A hand came from underneath the heavy blankets. Aimlessly searching for the phone.

Oh my Lord take this hand, save me from—

Evangeline’s voice was rough and she could feel the stale taste of alcohol in her mouth. Gross.
Evie? Are you okay? God, I’m so sorry! I couldn—
“Ric?”, Evangeline asked, as she recognised the panicked voice. She opened one eye, just to be blinded by sunlight and shut it again with a groan.
Yes. God, I’m so sorry, Evie. Did he hurt you?
“Ric. Calm down. I’ve got a headache and you’re shouting. No good combo.”
Why do you have a headache? Did that bastard—
“I drank too much. Stop shouting, for heaven’s sake”, Evangeline grunted, as she pulled herself finally up into a sitting position, willing her head to stop spinning. “I’ll meet you at—”
The Grill!
“There. In an hour. Bye.”
Evie, don’t—
Evangeline simply ended the call. And groaned yet again. As much as she loved to drink a night away…she hated the hangover the day after. She closed her eyes and let her head fall onto the headboard with a sigh. Her world still spinning and her stomach churning uncomfortably.

It took her exactly 76 minutes to arrive at the Mystic Grill. In her hangover brain, the walk from her home at the outskirts of Mystic Falls to the centre didn’t take more than 20 minutes. A huge miscalculation on her part.
When she stepped into the Grill, eyes shielded from the late spring sun with huge black sun glasses and the buckles on her heavy biker boots clinking with every step, some turned their heads to the newcomer.
Evangeline spotted her uncle at the bar, his eyes already on her, as if he had been watching the entrance for the past ten minutes — which he in all honesty probably had.
“Sorry, I—” Evangeline never got to finish her sentence, because the moment she was in reaching distance, Ric had grabbed her and engulfed her in a tight hug.

“Oh Evie”, he mumbled in a broken tone, as he tightened his hug a bit more. Evangeline smiled and hugged him back just as tightly.
They both never truly were people to talk out their issues and have a heart to heart about their feelings. They rather showed their love by actions or — in dire cases — by a hug. And this particular hug said so much more than words would ever be able to.
“We’re good, Ric. We’re good”, Evangeline murmured reassuringly. Finally they let go of each other and sat down at the bar, Evangeline also took off her glasses, although a bit reluctantly.

“I never wanted you in this mess”, Alaric sighed and looked into his empty bourbon glass. “You should be in Oxford doing smart things.”
“You know, I’d never leave you to deal with this on your own”, Evangeline said sternly. “Plus, there’s more family for me here, that I never got to know.” Alaric sighed again.
“I’ll introduce you as soon as we’re finished here. I need to get to Jenna anyway…”, he trailed off, unsure about his girlfriend — if she even was still his girlfriend.
“Oh, Jenna”, Evangeline chuckled lowly. “You may need to know something about her.” Alaric’s face contorted into a frown, as he shot his niece a dark look.
“What did you do?”
“I told her about the supernatural and then went to get drunk with her”, Evangeline said with a nonchalant shrug.
“You did what?!”, Alaric whisper-yelled, his eyes wide in shock. Evangeline waved at the waitress and shot her uncle a lopsided smile, as she elaborated: “Well, not-you-You wanted to mess a bit with Jenna and the fact, that she had no idea what was going on. I don’t like that Klaus guy very much after he gave me a concussion—”
“— so I decided to thwart his plans by paying Jenna an early morning visit. She’s a lovely lady, by the way. And later we went to this place” — Evangeline made a vague gesture to indicate the Grill. — “to drown our sorrows and the downward spiral of our lives in hard liquor.” — She looked at the waitress, who finally found her way to Evangeline. — “A water, please.”
“Stop right there”, Alaric used that interruption to get a word in. “Klaus — the big bad, old as dirt vampire Klaus — gave you a concussion and after that you mess with him again? Are you insane?!” Evangeline considered the words of her uncle for a while, especially the urgent tone they had been spoken in. She pressed her lips together and furrowed her brows, as she tried to assert how to answer him best.

“Ric”, she eventually said softly, “we haven’t seen each other in four years. I’ve seen things and done things in Europe…” She trailed off, eyes far away, before they focused again on Alaric. “You know, I have always had a strong motivation to protect my family, right?” Ric only nodded at that.
“During my travels in Europe I have learnt how to protect properly.” Evangeline’s expression hardened, as she looked right at her uncle, capturing his gaze with hers. “I don’t fear anything, if it’s coming for my family.” Her tone was unforgiving. “Not anymore. Not if it’s a were at full moon or a damn Original. I don’t fear them.” Her storm-grey eyes shone with such determination and fierceness, that it made her look like one of the warrior women from stories about legends long gone.
There was something wild and dark within her whole expression, that had never been there before. Not after years of being hunted. Not after years of fearing to loose everyone dear to her heart. Not after actually loosing most of them. Alaric had to swallow hard as he realised, that his little niece was no longer his little niece. It was obvious, that she was no longer in need of protection.
She was the one protecting now.

He was unsure, if he wanted to know what had happened in Europe or rather not. Some things were better left in the dark, after all. And Alaric had a feeling, that this was something that should be left way down in the pit of darkness under all circumstances.
“Just…be careful, okay? I don’t want to have to explain to your dad, that you died because you pissed off an Original”, was all he said with a resigned sigh. “I need to get to Jenna and you need to get introduced to everyone.” He stood from his bar stool and looked sadly at his empty glass. “Come on.”

“You ready for this?”, Evangeline asked. They stood in front of the Salvatore Boardinghouse. Alaric had his hands shoved deep into the pockets of his jeans, his posture clearly tense.
“No”, he said firmly, but took the last steps to enter the house anyway. Evangeline was right behind him, so she didn’t see what happened and therefore almost walked right into her uncle, when he suddenly stopped.


Evangeline furrowed her brows, as she recognised the voice as Jenna’s. With a smooth side step, she finally could see what was going on. Jenna had a crossbow in her hands and aimed it directly at Alaric.
“Jenna”, Alaric tried to reason, “put the crossbow down, okay? It’s me.”
“Stay away from me”, Jenna said firmly and took another step back.
“Jenna”, Evangeline started, but was cut off by a brunette teenager coming down the hallway.
“What’s going on?”, the girl asked, as another teenager, a boy this time, walked up next to her. And yet another guy appeared from another hallway. Evangeline had to suppress a scoff. They just kept popping up.

From Isobel’s information, she knew that they were Elena Gilbert, Stefan and Damon Salvatore. And if she could trust Isobel, which Evangeline had always been able to, then they came as a package.
“It’s me Elena. I swear, okay?”, Alaric said urgently. “He let me go.” Alaric looked at all of them one after another. “Klaus let me go.”
“Prove it”, tall dark and handsome said immediately and now Evangeline actually scoffed. Earning her some few dark looks.

“Jen”, Evangeline said with a lopsided smirk and her eyes fixed on Jenna, “would I be with him, if he was still Klaus?” Jenna looked at Evangeline as if she just realised that she was there too and slowly lowered her crossbow.
Prove it.” Damon said again more pronounced, his icy-blue eyes trained on Evangeline in deep distrust.
“No it’s okay”, Jenna said, the crossbow loosely at her side by then, “I trust Eve.”
“Eve?”, tall-dark-handsome probed immediately, his eyes still on Evangeline.
“That’s me, genius”, Evangeline smirked and waved her fingers at him.
“Let me introduce you guys”, Alaric jumped in, before the situation could escalate, “Evangeline Vinter, my niece.” Evangeline enjoyed the shocked and confused faces around her. Judging by Jenna’s satisfied smirk, the woman was so smug about finally knowing something the others did not.
“Niece?”, echoed the brunette teenager, her brows furrowed deeply.
Evangeline’s eyes lit up with mischief and the lopsided smirk on her lips stretched into a slasher smile, baring her white teeth.
“Hello, cousin.”

Evangeline revelled in the silence that followed her words.
The witches in France, with whom she had spent a considerable amount of time, had had a slight dramatic flair and Evangeline had naturally adopted two or three things from them. Alaric next to her rolled his eyes. By now he was used to his niece’s over dramatic streak and it wasn’t as if he didn’t enjoy his stunned and speechless friends every once in a while. Alaric also knew, that Evangeline enjoyed it too much to play around, than to actually explain things, therefore he took a deep breath.

“Isobel had an older sister, Irene”, he elaborated, his words loud in the silence, “Evie is Irene’s daughter.”
Evangeline flinched slightly at the mention of her mother’s name, but none noticed, all too enticed by the new revelation.
“The Petrova line seems to be quite expansive”, an evenly voice said. “How peculiar.”

Evangeline’s eyes darted behind Elena, where they connected with brown ones. The corners of her mouth twitched. She should have known, that he was here; there were a doppelganger and Klaus within the town limits of Mystic Falls, of course he wouldn’t be too far away.

“Elijah Mikaelson”, Evangeline said, her tone somewhere between caution and curiosity. Elijah lifted one eyebrow.
“How do you know him, Miss Mini-Bitch?”, Damon asked, mistrust evident in his narrowed eyes.
“I’m well-informed”, Evangeline shrugged her shoulders with a knowing smirk in Damon’s direction.
“Why did Klaus let you go?”, Stefan stepped in this time to prevent a fight between Damon and Evangeline, his eyes on Alaric. Alaric swallowed and his shoulders tensed.
“He wanted me to deliver a message”, he then said and took a deep breath. “The sacrifice happens tonight.” Evangeline observed as the little group in front of her looked at each other, their expressions worried and their body language tense. She couldn’t help but to scoff yet again.

“What I’ve heard of Klaus, you shouldn’t be so surprised”, she said matter of factly. “Today is the full moon; he has the moonstone; surely a werewolf and a vampire; the doppelganger is right here; hell, he might even have a back-up for everything he needs. You knew about him for weeks.” Her piercing storm-grey eyes stopped their travel on Elena. “Please tell me, that you have at least something resembling to a plan.” Elena pulled a face at Evangeline’s patronising tone.
“We have no other choice but to let the sacrifice happen”, she started to explain, her voice sober and Stefan grabbed her hand to give comfort. “Elijah has an elixir, that will revive me after I died.” Evangeline’s eyes travelled to Elijah again.
“Might I take a look at that elixir?”, she asked as politely as possible, although she was already on her way to the Original, not even waiting for his response.
“Be my guest”, Elijah said and gestured towards the living room of the Boardinghouse. But before Evangeline could walk past him she was stopped by Damon zooming right in front of her.

She didn’t even flinch. Damon’s clear eyes scrutinised her, as he obviously tried to asses the phenomenon that was Eve Vinter. Evangeline cocked her head to the side and gifted Damon with a lopsided smirk.
“Why would you want to look at it?”, he asked, his eyes narrowing again.
“Because I’ll know whether the elixir is going to work or not”, Evangeline replied calmly.
“How?” Damon narrowed his eyes even more. Evangeline understood, that Damon Salvatore was desperate and mistrusting, not a good mixture in general, but especially when paired with Evangeline’s temper. Without so much but a jerk of her head, Damon flew into the wall next to him.
“You shouldn’t pick fights with opponents you don’t know, blue-eyes”, Evangeline snarled, her fingers mockingly playing with her necklace, as if he had never been a threat to her at all.

Damon rushed towards her, but Evangeline simply held up one hand and Damon was frozen in the middle of his movement.
“You never know how powerful they are”, she continued, her tone dropping to a lower pitch, slightly tinted dark, “and you, in the end, are just one rather young vampire. So…don’t mess with me, yes?” Damon was left with nothing but to glare at her.
“Shall we, Mr. Mikaelson?”, Evangeline asked in a light tone towards Elijah, who’s mouth twitched in a suppressed smile.

Evangeline eyed the crystal container with intense focus. She could feel the powerful magic exuding from it and had no doubt, that it would work.
“Who spelled it?”, she asked curiously. Evangeline had never seen anything even remotely similarly potent to this.
“A Scottish witch 500 years ago”, Elijah answered without hesitation. “She was well-known for her mastery in potions and elixirs.” He stopped for a second and scrutinised Evangeline before he continued: “If I remember correctly, to a point, where her prominence burnt her at the stake.” Evangeline chuckled darkly at that.
“Ah”, she said lowly, “the fate of every witch. We are so fond of fire, use it in every spell and yet it is historically speaking our greatest foe.” Elijah furrowed his brows at those words.
“Yours too, Miss Vinter?”, he couldn’t help but to ask, curious about her answer.
“Maybe”, Evangeline replied with a nonchalant shrug. “Although I’d rather imagine, that someone rips out whatever still remains of my heart.” A lopsided smirk donned her features and coupled with her confusingly light-toned words it gave her something dark and twisted. Elijah was intrigued. Such a peculiar human.

“You seem rather accomplished for a witch your age”, Elijah enquired casually, as he took the elixir carefully from her.
“I’ve been trained in witchcraft since my sixth birthday”, Evangeline answered equally casual, while she observed Stefan, Elena and Jenna questioning Alaric. “It would be insulting, if I weren’t as good as I am.” She looked up as Elena walked past her to the stairs.
“Any relation to the Norwegian Vinter lineage?”, Elijah asked still trying to keep his casual air. He could see the shift in her expression. Where she had been playfully smug before, the young woman was now giving off a feeling of danger, just as if a poisonous snake flashed her bright colours to warn everyone about her.
“A quite peculiar mixture, isn’t it?”, Evangeline asked with pride in her tone and darkness in her eyes. “I’m the unification of the Petrova and Vinter bloodlines.”

“I pity your foes, Miss Vinter”, Elijah offered with a surprisingly respectful nod.
“Then see to it, that you don’t become one, Mr. Mikaelson. I don’t take threats to my family lightly”, Evangeline informed, her tone casual and her eyes guarded. Elijah actually smiled at that.
“You are threatening an Original, not even a witch as accomplished as you could hope to survive that”, he said with slight mockery in his tone.
“If you say so”, Evangeline replied, but there was something in her voice, a barely audible undercurrent promising pain, something dark and deep in her storm-grey eyes, that made Elijah for the first time in many centuries uncomfortable.
He knew who exactly the bloodline also included, so it was only natural for him to take her threat seriously. For a second, he asked himself, if Niklaus had ever listened closely enough to know who Evangeline Vinter truly was.

Their conversation was interrupted by Stefan suddenly zooming past them and up the staircase. Evangeline furrowed her brows, as Elijah seemed to listen and then suddenly looked rather annoyed. Well, as annoyed as he allowed himself to look anyway. Then Alaric and Jenna ran also towards the rooms upstairs.
“Ric!”, Evangeline yelled after him, because she knew how dangerous it could be for a mere human to get between a vampire fight — no matter the hunter training he had.

She abruptly turned to Elijah again, her eyes wild and her shoulders tense.
“Are they in control?”, she spat at him. Elijah’s mouth twitched, but he listened.
“They have stopped fighting without hurting the humans”, he then offered as an answer and was quite surprised, when Evangeline’s shoulders slacked and her expression relaxed. Elijah slowly stowed the elixir away again. They both heard someone coming down the stairs, judging by the vibes she got, Evangeline knew it was Damon.

“Well sounds like you won’t be needing this anymore”, Elijah said calmly. “Feeding her vampire blood rendered it useless.” Evangeline’s head whipped around towards the young vampire.
“You idiot did what?!”, she hissed, her teeth bared and her eyes burning.
“We all know the elixir wouldn’t have worked anyway”, Damon snarled, as he poured himself a glass of bourbon and emptied it immediately.
“Wrong!”, Evangeline spat, but was ignored.
“Tell Elena I’ll be back before nightfall. We’ll precede as planned”, Elijah said indifferently, grabbing the box containing the elixir, then he looked at Evangeline. “It was a pleasure meeting you, Miss Vinter.” Evangeline nodded at him, her jaw still tight, but her eyes less blazing.
“It wouldn’t have worked”, Damon insisted yet again, pouring himself another drink.

“Your problem Damon”, Elijah began and took a few steps closer to the younger vampire again. “You talk a good game, but you don’t actually know anything. Miss Vinter here confirmed the potency of the elixir. But you don’t trust anyone but you, right?” He looked at Damon, whose jaw clenched.
“She’ll never forgive you. And never for a vampire…it’s a very long time.” With that he nodded at Evangeline, turned and left. Damon stared after him as if Elijah’s words actually hit him.

“Well”, Evangeline hissed, “since you fucked up royally, I need to look through my grimoires to find something to clean up your mess, douche supreme. Tell Ric to call, if he needs me.” Evangeline felt pride at the actually slightly hurt look in Damon’s eyes, before she left with dramatic steps and fury on her mind.

The loud chatter of afternoon business in the Grill was the perfect backdrop for Evangeline to go through one of her oldest grimoires. It had been too silent at her own house and there hadn’t been any food. She delicately turned the page. The grimoire was leather-bound and it’s pages made of yellowed parchment, littered with black ink. Her brows furrowed as she took another sip from her water, her eyes fixed on the foreign scribble.
“Can I get you anything else?”, the waiter interrupted her search. Evangeline looked up with a distant grin.
“No thank you, everything’s okay”, she replied and looked back down, trying to send a signal. One the waiter obviously didn’t get.
“What is that? Looks…strange”, he asked and tried to get a look at her grimoire.
“Armenian”, Evangeline replied, suppressing a sigh.
“What?”, the waiter asked utterly confused.
“Roleplaying”, Evangeline answered nonchalantly, not even looking up and finally, the waiter went to the other end of the bar, where a new guest had just sat down. Evangeline sighed. She knew, who had sat down a couple of bar stools away from her.

“I have to say…” Evangeline groaned, as she heard the voice of her uncle.
“…I screwed up”, Damon ended the sentence of Alaric and Evangeline couldn’t help but to roll her eyes.
“Yeah”, Alaric replied. “Yeah, you did.” Evangeline turned in her seat and faced the two males.
“You screwed up ginormous”, she snarled, making the heads of both men fly towards her.
“What are you doing here?”, Damon frowned, clearly very unhappy to see her. Evangeline simply rose an eyebrow and pointed at the grimoire in front of her.
“Ah…yeah”, Damon grumbled, “cleaning up my mess…”

“Gentlemen. Lady.”

A shiver ran up Evangeline’s spine. The voice was dark and soft at the same time, yet she simply knew, that it held hidden danger. It was something that could lure you into damnation as easy as light luring a moth.

“Why so glum?”

It wasn’t the accent, Evangeline had heard many Brits talking by now. It was the sheer seductiveness he oozed even in this five mundane words.
A man had found his place in between her and Damon. Short, curly ash-blond hair; tall and obviously chiselled; leather jacket and a smirk on his face to die for. Evangeline’s eyes widened a tad, as he turned his attention from Damon and Alaric towards her. Sea-green eyes met storm-grey ones. One smirk met another one. And Evangeline could feel her skin tingling in danger and anticipation. It had been a long time, since she had felt a challenge and this man was certainly way more than a challenge.
“Miss Vinter”, he rolled her name on his tongue. Evangeline’s smirk only widened, as her mouth went dry at the sound of it.

Damon groaned and interrupted their little moment. Klaus turned his head back towards the two men, although it seemed somewhat grudgingly.
“Klaus, I presume”, Damon said, his eyes still on the bar counter.
“In the flesh”, Klaus mocked and then looked up at Alaric. “Thanks for the loaner, mate.” Damon straightened up, ready to defend his best friend, but Evangeline beat him to it.
“You’re not welcome, asshole”, she snarled and Klaus was already turning towards her to no doubt threaten her, when Damon stood up and made himself look taller to keep Klaus’ focus on him. That behaviour surprised Evangeline. He was protecting her, even though they did not particularly like each other. A short flash of respect towards the black-haired vampire surged through her.

“Any reason you came here?”, Damon asked, a deep frown settled on his features. Klaus hesitated for a second, but apparently decided to humour the younger vampire.
“I was told you and your brother fancy my doppelganger”, he answered, “Just thought to remind you not to do anything you’d regret.” Evangeline snorted at that.
“Ha”, Damon replied somewhere in between a scoff and a laugh. “Thanks for the advice.” He hesitated, just as always when he prepared himself to do something really stupid. “I suppose I can’t talk you into a…postponement by any chance, huh?” Klaus scoffed at that and Evangeline couldn’t help but to sigh resignedly. The smirk dropped from her lips and she waved for the bar man to give her a bourbon. She would need the alcohol to deal with such idiots.
“You're kidding”, Klaus said, suddenly all smiles gone, as he turned towards Alaric, “He’s kidding, right?”
“No”, Alaric answered with a straight face, “not really.” His shoulders were tense. The situation was dangerous, not only for them, but also for Evangeline and getting her even more in danger than she already was by poking a sleeping wolf was something he would never forgive Damon.

“I mean, come on”, the young vampire pushed on. “What’s one month in the whole grand scheme of things?” Klaus leaned closer to Damon, his voice dropping and his eyes blazing with hatred.
“Let me be clear”, he threatened, stepping yet closer to Damon. “I have my vampire. I have my werewolf. I have everything I need. The ritual will happen tonight. So, if you want to live to see tomorrow” — He dropped his voice even more, so that it was nothing more but the whisper of certain death. — “don’t screw it up.” Then Klaus abruptly turned towards Evangeline, his eyes flying down towards her grimoire.
“You, too, Miss Vinter. I might enjoy the entertainment you provide, but certainly not enough to let you live should you mess with my ritual.” His eyes burnt into hers, but Evangeline didn’t flinch. The left corner of her mouth twitched in an almost smirk.

“Just following through with my promise, Mikaelson”, she replied calmly. “You come for my family, I come for you.” She grabbed her glass of bourbon and downed it without loosing eye contact with Klaus. He just chuckled, a confident smile on his face and a glint of amusement in his eyes.
“Then give it your best”, he said and leaned closer, so he could whisper into Evangeline’s ear, “because it will never be enough to beat me, sweetheart.”
Goosebumps shot over Evangeline’s skin, as she felt his warm breath fan over her neck. Then he was suddenly gone and she was faced with concerned looks of her uncle.
Evangeline gave him an easy smile and readjusted her eyes down onto the grimoire again.

Damon sighed and sat down onto his bar stool.
“Postpone…”, he murmured. Evangeline shot a dark look at him, but it was her uncle, who voiced both their thoughts: “You gonna screw it up, aren’t you?”

“You think, if I take his werewolf out of the equation, she might get over the fact, that I…”, Damon flinched at his own words, “…tried to turn her into a vampire?”
“No”, Evangeline said not even looking up and she just could feel how Damon bared his teeth at her.
“I think it won’t matter”, Alaric cut in, “because you’d be dead.”
“But without the werewolf he can’t perform the ritual tonight”, Damon pushed on, “which means I would’ve bought her one month before the next full moon.”
“And you’ll still be dead”, Alaric said in a matter of fact tone of voice. He looked at Evangeline and than down at his own glass of bourbon.
“Do you help me or what?”, Damon asked. There was a tense pause as everything seemed to be in limbo.

“What do you want me to do?”, Alaric sighed finally and Damon smirked.
“I’ll tell you on the way”, he said and stood from his stool. Alaric also got up from his bar stool with another sigh, while Damon turned towards Evangeline.
“What about you, witch-bitch?”

Evangeline looked up from her grimoire, a clearly not amused expression on her face.
“No”, she said bluntly, “Wanna know why? Yes? Fantastic”, she continued without even waiting for him to answer. “First I’m actually doing something productive to help Elena stay alive without turning.” She pointed at the grimoire. “And second, as I said earlier, I’m fairly certain someone waiting to break a curse for almost a fucking millenia surely has back-up ingredients. So no point in freeing the first set of sacrifices.”
“You’re a bitch… witch-bitch”, Damon hissed and stormed out of the Grill.

“Ric”, Evangeline held her uncle back, “if the vampire is Caroline Forbes…call me.”
“Why?”, her uncle asked confused and with furrowed eyebrows. Evangeline shrugged at that, not willing to give up any information, not even to her uncle.
“Just keeping a promise”, was all she said, before she turned back to her grimoire, effectively dismissing her uncle.

Chapter Text

Today, I killed for the first time.

Do I regret it? I know I should.

But if I hadn’t defended myself, I would be dead. In this world, it’s kill or be killed. And I really like myself alive.
So no, I don’t regret killing and if necessary…I would always do it again.

It was only half an hour later, when Evangeline’s phone rang. Alaric’s name on the display and Blues Saraceno blaring from the speakers.
“Where do we meet?”, Evangeline answered without bothering to greet her uncle. He called and that meant, Caroline Forbes was in danger. Something Evangeline just couldn’t let happen.
Klaus holds Caroline and Tyler in the tomb underneath the old church ruins”, Alaric immediately answered.
Evangeline closed her grimoire and searched for her purse, while she held her phone inbetween her ear and shoulder. “I’ll be there in fifteen minutes.” She let a few bank notes fall next to her half empty glass of apple juice.
“You, go to Jenna and keep her inside the house”, Evangeline instructed, as she stormed out of the Grill. Her biker boots heavy on the wooden floor and her eyes frozen with calm determination.
“I’ll be with Damon. You and Jenna are human”, Evangeline said and pulled her helmet from the space beneath the seat of her motorbike, just to replace it with the grimoire. “Klaus can easily use you as leverage. So, whatever happens.” She let her voice drop and articulated every word very clearly to show her uncle the urgency of her request. “Don’t. Leave. The. House.” With that, she hung up.

A snarl hushed across her face, she really hoped, that Alaric would heed her warning. There was more than one reason, that would make Klaus go after Alaric or Jenna. With those dark thoughts, Evangeline put her phone away and a second later, her mahogany curls vanished beneath her sleek, black helmet.
The roar of the motorbike speeding away from the Grill had many a heads turning. There was no time to loose. Evangeline had multiple lives to protect and maybe it hadn’t been the most intelligent idea to give Klaus yet another reason to go after what remained of her family...
But first, she had to keep a promise.

The forest ground crunched underneath her steps, as Evangeline made her way through the woods to the ruins of the church. Her senses were sharp and her mind alarmed, ready to strike at any second. The magic hidden in the beads of her necklace pulsed with anticipation and the hair on her skin stood in rapture of the thrill.
“— really think Klaus would leave them unprotected?”

The voice of a male wafted over to her and Evangeline finally could pinpoint the source of magic she had felt for a while now. With the fast and silent steps of a seasoned predator, she hastened closer.

“Wishful thinking.”
That was definitely Damon’s voice. Then there was the thump of a body hitting the ground hard. Evangeline fastened her pace a bit more. She could already see Damon pinning a man down.
“Idiot”, she murmured, as the black-haired vampire didn’t kill the other man immediately. And true to her words, Damon was thrown across the clearing by the warlock’s magic the very next second.

Damon’s screams rang through the forest. Evangeline slowed down, eager not to alarm the warlock to her presence. She had to play this carefully, if she didn’t want to get hurt herself.
Before she could form a plan, however, she heard the scrunch of steps close to her. Her storm-grey eyes hushed over the trees, as she instinctively crouched down.

Matt Donovan with a rifle. She would have laughed, had she not felt the need to stay silent.
The next moment a shot rang through the air and Evangeline knew, that this was her opportunity. With large steps, she shot up and towards the injured warlock. He was a pitiful sight, truly. He had fallen to his knees, a large stain of blood quickly forming on his clothes. Right at his chest.
Oh, that Donovan was a good shot.

Evangeline crouched down in front of the warlock. “Hello, there”, she grinned, her voice calm and with a slight playful lilt to it.
The warlock’s eyes tried to focus on her, his brows furrowed in confusion and pain. Then his eyes widened in realisation.
“You—”, he spat out, but had to cough, as blood spluttered down his lips. “Abomination”, he hissed, his eyes filled with raw hatred. Evangeline’s grin widened into a slasher smile.
“Too bad”, she said lowly and it would have sounded soothingly, if there wasn’t a dark undertone to her voice. “He missed your heart.”

Another wave of blood spilt form his mouth and dripped down his chin.

Evangeline’s tone grew more playful with her next words. “But he didn’t miss your lung now, did he? Well…I could heal you…” She tilted her head to the side, her eyes burning into his. A look of utter disgust adorned his face.
“Never— cough — your m-magic—cough”, his words were accompanied by the coughing and gurgling of a dying human. It was music to Evangeline’s ears. “And y-you — cough — are evil.”

Evangeline plastered a fake contemplative look on her face, as she said: “Yes…”
Then a wolfish grin reappeared and her eyes blazed with a dark satisfaction. “Yes, I am.”
The eyes of the warlock widened even more, as if they wanted to fall out of their sockets, and mixed into the loathing and terror was recognition. He knew such a smirk.
He knew it all too well.

He opened his mouth, to…plead? Beg? Pray? He knew, that wouldn’t help. Knew that from experience, too.

It was of no matter. Evangeline brought her hands to his temples before he could even utter a sound and pulled.
An earsplitting scream of pure agony erupted from the warlock’s throat, as his magic was forcefully drained from his very being.
He screamed and screamed and screamed.

Evangeline’s hands glowed a bright red, as she siphoned every little bit of his magic.
A strangled moan escaped her, as she felt the power rush through her veins, burning them, freezing them, making her feel alive.

Damon and Matt stared; the first with narrowed eyes and a morbid fascination, the latter with horror and fear written on his pale face.

In just a few seconds the whole horrific episode had ended, the screams stopped and the warlock fell to his side. Dead.

Evangeline stood and clenched and unclenched her fists, an euphoric smile on her full lips and her whole being radiating a deep satisfaction. She brought a hand up to her necklace and it too glowed a light red, as she transferred the magic and stored it in the beads. For later use.
“You got the rest handled, I presume?”, she turned her head half to Damon. “I have to make sure my uncle and Jenna are safe.” Her eyes met his; grey, the colour of a thunderstorm met blue, the colour of glacier ice. They did not like each other, but now they knew, that they could at least tolerate each other with a begrudging respect.
“Sure”, Damon shrugged, “but we will talk about this later”, he gestured towards the dead warlock and for a second Evangeline hesitated. Then she jerked her head in a sharp nod and as soon as she did, he smiled satisfied and zoomed in front of Matt. Evangeline didn’t bother to listen to their conversation. She had more important things to do and Damon was fully capable of dealing with a human and safe Caroline.
At least, that was what Evangeline hoped. But a glance into the sky told her, that she didn’t have a lot of time before nightfall. Before the ritual.
And now, that Damon (and her) rescued Klaus’ first set of vampire and werewolf, she was certain, that he lusted after revenge. And what better revenge, than to use one of their own in his pesky little ritual?

Evangeline had sped from the forest back to the Gilbert house. Probably breaking some laws. Not that it bothered her.
The moment she had reached the picked-fence house in the perfect suburb, she jumped from her precious bike and pulled her grimoire from the storage under the seat. She reached for her phone, while she stalked up towards the house and hastily dialled Bonnie Bennett’s number.
“Meet at the Witch Burial Ground in half an hour, okay?”, Evangeline cut anything off, that the young Bennett witch might have said. This was a dire time and thankfully Bonnie understood.
Okay. I’ll bring Jeremy and tell Stefan.
“Good”, Evangeline replied and rang the bell at the house. “I’ll bring Ric. You know what to do.” She ended the call, when her uncle opened the door.

“Evie”, he sighed in relief. “The others okay?” Evangeline entered and nodded in answer.
“Yes”, she said, as she walked into the kitchen, where Jenna sat at the table, a cold cup of tea in front of her. She wrung her hands and stood the moment Evangeline entered the room.
“What’s the plan?”, she asked immediately, her green eyes searching Evangeline’s with a strange mix of desperation and determination. This was a woman willing to do everything to save the ones she loved. Evangeline clenched her jaw.
“Elijah will kill Klaus at his weakest moment”, she explained. “For that Elena has to die.” Jenna was about to open her mouth, her eyes wide and fury blazing in her whole demeanour.
Evangeline held up a hand. “She will not stay dead. I promise.” Now it was time for Evangeline’s eyes to burn with an intensity, that made them seem as if they were flooding with resolve.
“Okay”, Jenna murmured. “Okay. Okay…” She ran a hand through her blond tresses and looked at Alaric, then back at Evangeline. “What do we do?”
“You do nothing”, Evangeline said sternly.

Before Jenna could protest, Alaric stepped next to her and took her gently by the shoulders. “You’re an amazing, strong woman, Jen. But this…you’re neither trained nor supernatural. It’s dangerous for you out there today.” Evangeline felt the need to avert her eyes at the intense moment, her uncle and his girlfriend shared.
“It’s dangerous for you, too”, Jenna mumured, all her bravado taken away by Alaric’s honest fear for her life.
He nodded. “It’s dangerous for all of us.” He looked at Evangeline. “But Damon, Stefan and Elijah are vampires. Bonnie and Evie are witches. I’ve been a vampire hunter for years.” He smiled at her. “You and Jeremy…we gotta take care of you, okay?”
“What about Jeremy?”, Jenna asked, trying desperately to hide her fear. “He’s not here with me.”
“He wouldn’t leave Bonnie”, Alaric answered. “But she will spell him into the Old Witch House. She doesn’t want him anywhere near danger, believe me.” Jenna seemed to hesitate.

“Do I need to spell you into your house, too?”, Evangeline asked with a lifted eyebrow. She would have thought, that Jenna wouldn’t need the same treatment as a teenage boy. Evangeline shared a look with Alaric, who conveyed her without words, that he would talk to her. Evangeline nodded and left to wait on the porch to give them space.
Her mind wandered to Elena and the spell Bonnie had found in Emily Bennett’s grimoire. The younger witch had called her shortly before Alaric had informed her about Caroline’s predicament. Evangeline had ever since then tried to find whether the spell would work with vampire blood in Elena’s system or if that rendered the spell useless. The whole thing looked rather promising.

Alaric stepped out of the house and stopped Evangeline’s musings.
“She’ll stay here”, he said, his voice rough with emotion, but his jaw set and his eyes hard. Evangeline nodded. “We’ll make everything right again, Ric. Don’t worry.” Her own eyes darkened and something dangerous lurked within her tone, that sent Alaric’s hair to stand on end. “I will not allow another member of my family to die permanently.”

Evangeline and Alaric arrived at the lodge after a speedy ride on Evangeline’s bike.
“I’m never riding with you again”, Alaric groaned, as he got off the motorbike with shaking legs. His niece just grinned a small, but affectionate grin. “You’re getting old, dearest uncle”, she teased, while she pulled her helmet from her head. “You were the one, who taught me how to drive. Remember?”
“Oh, I remember well”, Alaric scoffed. “I think I got my first grey hairs back then. Prematurely.” Evangeline chuckled at that and she would have teased him further, if it hadn’t been for the dire situation they were in.

Bonnie exited the lodge at that moment and Evangeline and Alaric immediately wiped the smiles from their faces.
“Will it work?”, Bonnie asked Evangeline, her face stern and stressed. Evangeline looked at the younger witch. This was, why all the witches she had met had hated vampires. Vampires always dragged the witches down with them. But then again, Evangeline mused, witches had always hated her more. So she herself, was not too worried about vampires.
It was her luck, that Bonnie was young and inexperienced and didn’t understand, who Evangeline was. Otherwise this whole thing would be a lot more complicated.
“If you got a human willing to die for her, yes”, she said nonchalantly. Relief flooded the dark-skinned witch’s face, showing her beauty and determination. “John Gilbert”, she answered and Evangeline simply nodded. It made sense. A father sacrificing himself, so that his daughter might remain human.
A sweet thought, although futile in Evangeline’s opinion. It didn’t look as if her dear cousin would ever stop to be entangled with the Salvatore brothers or the supernatural in general. John would not prevent his daughter from becoming a vampire, he would simply delay the inevitable. It wasn’t her place to voice these opinions, though. So she kept them to herself.

Before any of them could say anything more, Elijah appeared out of nowhere.
“Miss Bennett, Mister Saltzman, Miss Vinter”, he greeted with a polite nod. Bonnie returned the nod stiffly and said: “I’ll go inside and prepare the spell.” With that she left Alaric and Evangeline alone with Elijah.
“So”, Evangeline started slowly. “You’re going to kill your own brother today? Are you quite sure about that, Mr. Mikaelson?” Her inquisitive stare bored into Elijah’s eyes.
Intense. Distrusting. Warning. A look that was rather familiar to him.
“Indeed, Miss Vinter”, he said with seasoned patience. “You have my word.”
Evangeline scoffed at that and Elijah raised his brows at her blatant disrespect.

“Many have given me their word and broken it right after”, she said, the bitterness seeping into her velvety voice, as she averted her eyes for a second. Remembering things far beyond their knowledge. “It is your actions, that will tell me what kind of man you are.” She looked up at the Original, her lips pulled into a snarl.
“Evie, let’s not agitate the Original, yes”, Alaric tried to gently stop her from threatening yet another Original. He shifted his feet uncomfortably. But Elijah didn’t seem to be offended.
“Klaus will die tonight”, Elijah promised yet again. Evangeline scrutinised him with sharp, intelligent eyes.
“We’ll see, won’t we?”, she then said with a nonchalant shrug. “To be frank, I don’t particularly care, whether Klaus lives or dies.” Elijah furrowed his brows at that and Alaric opened his mouth to protest, but Evangeline continued: “All I care about is keeping my family safe. Given your reasoning, I’m sure you understand.” She shot an inquisitive look at the Original, who simply nodded with a small smile. “So I tell you this; should your brother survive this night, because you come to realise, that killing the very last remaining person sharing blood with you would mean, that you’re truly and irreversibly alone for eternity” — Elijah flinched at her harsh words. — “then I want you to remember, that I will come for you first, should Klaus come to know, that Elena won’t be as dead as he hopefully will think her to be.”

Elijah scrutinised the woman standing in front of him, who dared to threaten him. Him, the eldest among all still roaming earth. A whole head smaller than him. And so delectably fragile, that it would only take one snap of his wrist to kill her.
But there was undeniable power within her words and her very being. In the blazing storms of her eyes. And the lack of any fear in her body language. She seemed more like a predator than the prey.
It was then, that Elijah realised, that such confidence came with experience not with bravery. It only came with years and years of raw survival.

“Your threat is unnecessary”, he then said slowly, choosing his words wisely, “but it has been heard.”
Evangeline shot him a doubtful look, that told him how many had betrayed her trust already. “We’ll see”, she repeated simply and then left to enter the lodge.

Just as she was about to enter, a barrier stopped her from being able to step over the threshold. Evangeline narrowed her eyes.
“You’re kidding”, she murmured and right with her words, the lights within the lodge flickered and wind flared up. Bonnie ran to the entrance, followed by Jeremy, both their eyes wide and confused.
“What’s happening? The witches are screaming in my head about an intruder”, the young Bennett witch asked, agitation clear in her tone. Elijah furrowed his brows slightly and set his eyes onto Evangeline, who seemed to be fuming. Her pretty face was pulled into a snarl, a dangerous, wild glint in her eyes.

“You judgy, biased, ignorant hags!”, Evangeline hissed lowly. The lights flickered even more and the wind picked up, whipping her mahogany tresses around. “Don’t you dare throw such a pitiful hissy fit. You’re no match for me!”, she yelled out and brought a hand to her necklace, while she held up the other one. The necklace glowed and the wind immediately stopped the moment she snapped her fingers. “I won’t enter your little shack”, Evangeline said, deep hatred seeping into her words like venom. “But I will find your names and I will remember. No one of your blood will be safe to cross my path.”
With that she turned on her heels and sped towards her motorbike, while the window shutters of the lodge rattled and the light flickered as wild as it never had before.

“I’ll go and look after Jenna. With those hags around, I won’t be able to help you”, Evangeline snarled, as she walked past her uncle and the Original. Alaric was about to ask what this was about or calm her down or tell her he’ll call her to help later with the ritual. But Evangeline had already put her helmet on and sped away with such ferocious speed, that gravel was flying everywhere.

“Your niece is a remarkable woman, if a bit temperamental at times”, Elijah said to the hunter. Alaric scoffed and suddenly felt very old.
“I probably should apologise for her”, he grumbled. It seemed, as if he was always trying to smooth things over with powerful creatures, just because his niece and his best friend couldn’t shut their mouths.

Elijah however shook his head with a small, genuine smile. “No need. She reminds me of someone I have once known”, he said almost wistfully. Alaric was wise enough not to ask. But then a thought struck him and he grimaced, as if he was in pain. His eyes wandered to the Original, who himself had his eyes trained on the road, where Evangeline had just vanished on her bike.
“But you…ehrm…”, Alaric began, his expression displaying his discomfort openly, “you don’t…well, fancy her, do you?” He winced as soon as Elijah’s dark eyes landed on him.
“No”, the Original answered with slight amusement at the human’s obvious mortification. But he understood, why he had asked. He would have done the same, would he have a niece. Elijah understood the need to protect one’s own.
“In a way, she reminds me of one of my siblings.”

Jenna found herself sitting on the couch, a large blanket wrapped around her and a huge mug with hot coffee in her hands. Evangeline had arrived about fifteen minutes earlier and as she found Jenna running circles in the kitchen, hands wringing and a deep frown etched onto her forehead, the younger woman had decided to intervene. Jenna was grateful for that.
“So you’re Isobel’s niece?”, Jenna asked. Distraction. Distraction was a good thing. Then she wouldn’t have to think about her own niece being sacrificed.
Evangeline’s storm-grey eyes turned soft and there was a pain in them, that Jenna had never seen associated with Isobel Flemming’s name.
“Isobel…”, Evangeline began, hesitation evident in her voice, “she was many things. One of those was being obsessed with the supernatural. With the freedom and power it brought.” The younger woman sighed and Jenna furrowed her brows, listening intently. “Once she became a vampire, that amplified. Made her more cut-throat than she already was as a human." Evangeline sighed. "She didn’t shut off her humanity immediately, you know.” Heartbreak entered her face. Jenna swallowed, as a lump formed in her throat. The utterly defeated look in such a young face was just not right.
“Then my mother died”, Evangeline said lowly, not louder than a whisper. “It was too much for Isobel to bear.” Jenna’s tongue shot out to wet her plum lips.
“How did your mother die?”

Storm-grey eyes flashed with anger and…self-hatred? Jenna furrowed her brows. There was undeniably guilt in Evangeline’s expression.
But before Evangeline had the chance to say anything, Jenna’s phone rang. The blonde reached for it and her eyes widened, as she saw the name on the display.
“Elena”, she uttered in shock, her eyes fixed on Evangeline, as she answered the call.
Jenna? Jenna? Please, help me!” Elena sounded panicked and as if she was running somewhere.
Jenna’s own voice rose a bit in her urgency. “Elena? Is that you?”
Yes. I could— I could escape him! Please, please help me!
Jenna shot up from the couch. “Where are you? I’ll get you!” Her voice was rushed, as she frantically ran to grab her car keys. A firm hand on her arm held Jenna back, however.

Jenna’s eyes shot up and her sight landed right on Evangeline’s stern, closed off face. The younger woman shook her head and mouthed the word trap.
I don’t know. I’m running through the forest. Close to the Lockwood’s, I think. Jenna, I’m so scared.
Elena’s voice drifted through the speaker. Panic. Fear. Raw horror. Jenna shut her eyes and pressed her lips tightly together.
“Your phone has GPS. Turn it on and I’ll find you”, Jenna then said and hung up. Her eyes were hard as she stared at Evangeline and said: “I trust you.”
The witch nodded her head and answered in a sober tone: “I know.”

It was that very moment, that the door bell rang. The two women stared at each other. Then Evangeline narrowed her eyes and walked towards the door, Jenna right behind her.
When she opened it, it was Klaus Mikaelson in the flesh, who stood on the porch with a scowl on his face.
“This was the third time, Miss Vinter”, he began slowly, his voice dripping with venom, “that you thwarted my plans.” Evangeline’s jaw clenched. She had gone too far with him. But it didn’t matter. Alaric and Jenna were safe and Elena would come back from the dead one way or another. Being on Klaus’ hit list was worth it.

A young girl, maybe around Jeremy’s age walked by. A neighbour, who waved with a sweet smile at Jenna.
“Hi Miss Sommers”, she yelled light-heartedly. Klaus’ lips pulled into a wolfish grin. “How fortunate”, he drawled and within the next second the girl was in his grasp and both back on the porch. One of his hands was around the young girls throat, the other came up to his face.
“Such a shame”, he said and his eyes bled red. “Because you are hidden from my reach” — His fangs elongated. — “this innocent, sweet girl will die in your stead.” He bit into his wrist and brought it to the struggling and crying girl’s mouth.

“NO!” Jenna screamed and bolted past Evangeline. Out of the security of the house.
Klaus pushed the young girl from him, making her hit her head hard on the ground.
Evangeline’s yell was too late. Klaus had Jenna in his grasp and his wrist pushed onto her mouth, force-feeding her his blood.
“Predictable”, he said with a sly grin towards Evangeline. Her eyes were as dark as a thunderstorm, as she brought a hand to her necklace and held her other towards Klaus.
“You haven’t won yet”, she hissed as she made his blood boil and broke an aneurysm in his brain over and over and over. Klaus growled in anger and pain. But his body couldn’t withstand the magic. Slowly, slowly his legs gave out underneath his body.
“No”, he snarled and with a quick, painful jerk of his hands, he broke Jenna’s neck.

He yelled in pain, as Evangeline amplified her torture in retaliation. She jerked her head and Jenna’s body was pulled back into the house.
Evangeline felt the magic in the necklace dwindle. She had used too much in the last couple of days.
It stopped as abruptly as it began. Her body cold and shivering from the sudden loss.

All that was heard was the low breathing of the unconscious girl and the hard pants of Klaus and Evangeline.

Klaus slowly regained the control over his body and got up from the porch. His eyes fixed on the dead aunt inside the house’s barrier and then on the heavily panting witch. Her left hand still clasped around her bead necklace.
“A siphoner”, he said in realisation and she let go of her necklace as if it had burnt her. It didn’t matter anymore. He grinned. He knew her secret now.
“You really want her blood on your hands?”, he asked and picked up the young girl. Klaus was certain, that she would not exchange Jenna for the girl, but he was nonetheless curious about her answer.
Evangeline wrinkled her nose. “What do I care about someone I don’t even know?”, her voice sounded thinner than it’s usual rich tone. “Take her. Turn her. Kill her. I don’t care.” Her eyes narrowed and a wolfish grin appeared on her full lips. “I kept my family safe.”
Klaus growled, irritated by her mocking. “Not completely”, he snarled, his sea-green eyes boring into her storm-grey ones. “Your cousin will die. And I will make sure, that it’ll be painful.”

With that he vanished along with the young girl. Evangeline clenched her jaw. She hadn’t thought, that she would use up all the magic she had stored. This would pose a problem.
Her eyes travelled down towards the mangled body of Jenna.
Definitely more than one problem. She could only hope now, that Bonnie was strong enough and Elijah true to his word.

Jenna awoke with a gasp. She laid on the couch in the living room of the Gilbert house. Everything seemed to hurt. Her body ached. The light shining into the room from the hallway burnt in her eyes. Her throat itched painfully. Movement caught Jenna’s attention. Evangeline crouched down next to her with a reassuring smile.
“What happened?”, Jenna asked lowly, as she sat up. Her hand came to her head. Evangeline could only imagine how much it pounded right about now.
She sighed and took the kitchen knife she had prepared. “You remember, that Klaus came by?”, she asked and Jenna nodded, warily eyeing as Evangeline put the knife to the skin on her left wrist.
“He fed you his blood and killed you”, Evangeline explained without sugar-coating it for Jenna. The blonde’s eyes widened.
“You mean, that…that I…I’m— ”, she stopped, not able to complete her sentence as raw panic made her face go pale.
“You’re in transition, yes”, Evangeline said and pulled the knife over her wrist to break the skin. Crimson blood pooled from the wound immediately. “You need to drink”, she continued and held her arm in front of Jenna’s face.
The blond was uncertain, her eyes jumping from the blood that called to her, to Evangeline’s storm-coloured eyes and back again to the blood. Her eyes bled red and her gums ached, as her fangs extended for the first time in her new life. Her eyes were apologetic, as she couldn’t keep them from the blood.
“I’m sorry”, Jenna whispered and then sank her teeth into Evangeline’s soft flesh.
“Sshh”, the witch soothed and pulled Jenna closer, so it was more comfortable for both of them. “Don’t be”, she reassured and gently stroked Jenna’s hair, as she drank with deeper gulps and her own hands grabbed onto Evangeline’s arm to keep it from escaping her.

A few seconds more, then Evangeline tried to pull her wrist from Jenna’s mouth.
“That’s enough, Jenna”, she said lowly, as the young vampire didn’t let go. Her voice must have broken the allure of the blood, because as soon as Evangeline had finished speaking, Jenna had pushed her away a bit too harshly and stood at the opposite side of the room, her whole body tightly pressed against the wall. Blood coated her lips and her eyes were still red and dark and underneath veins bulged in typical vampire-fashion.
“I’m sorry”, she whispered, now hazel eyes wide in horror, as she still couldn’t stop herself from looking at the blood. “I’m so sorry, Eve.”
Evangeline hastily grabbed for the first aid kit she had prepared before Jenna awoke. “As I said, don’t be”, she repeated herself, while she treated her wound expertly. “You’re family and I don’t let family die.” Her grey eyes shot up from her arm to look at Jenna, before she returned to wrapping her wrist with a bandage after she had put butterfly bandages and gauze onto the wound.
“And I like you”, Evangeline confessed with a rare, soft smile usually reserved for her uncle. “We’re friends, aren’t we?”

For a second, Jenna saw the vulnerability hush over Evangeline’s beautiful features at the admission. Her own fear softened at that. She wasn’t alone in this. Neither of them was.
If everything went according to plan, Alaric was safe and Elena would come back after being sacrificed. The only hiccup would be her turning, but as Jenna looked into the open expression of Evangeline, she knew, that it would be okay. A relieved smile adorned her lips and she answered: “Of course we are.”

They waited for the night to pass. Mostly in comfortable silence, for they were both occupied with their own thoughts. Every now and then, Jenna asked a question about vampirism and Evangeline answered to the best of her knowledge, which was quite extensive. They drank coffee and waited. For hours.
As the sun slowly rose, Evangeline pulled the curtains closed, so the sunlight wouldn’t hurt Jenna. There was no jewelry with lapislazuli in the house and even if there was…Evangeline didn’t have enough magic to even try the spell, that would turn the jewelry into something to protect Jenna from daylight. So they waited in artificial darkness.

It surprised Evangeline to an extend, that Jenna was so calm and had apparently not much of a problem with being around her heart beat. Her eyes roamed over her friend, sitting next to her on the couch, while some re-run of F.R.I.E.N.D.S. blared from the TV. It was yet another distraction until they heard from Alaric or Stefan or just someone really. Jenna’s face contorted, as she listened intently, a grimace whenever a character on the show was hurt and a beaming smile when Phoebe laughed.
It was then, when it hit Evangeline. Jenna had been overly compassionate as a human, it would be only amplified as a vampire. A gentle smile tugged on the corners of her mouth. Jenna would make a formidable vampire with a bit of guidance. And maybe…maybe her pure, compassionate soul could be the light, that balanced out the darkness lurking within Evangeline’s own heart. In return, she would make sure, that Jenna’s innocence and tendency to trust easily wouldn’t get her staked.

Just as the jingle started for the next episode, Jenna shot up and zoomed towards the door. Evangeline frowned. Obviously the vampire had heard something she hadn’t. With hasty steps, the young woman followed her undead friend, just to find Alaric, Elena, Stefan, Jeremy and Bonnie enter through the front door. Jenna jumped at her niece and almost crushed her in a hug.
“Jen, remember your strength”, Evangeline chided softly and Jenna let go of Elena immediately, a slightly sheepish look on her face. Elena’s eyes widened and Bonnie frowned deeply. Alaric’s eyes shot from his girlfriend to his niece, realisation dawning in his expression.
“Klaus”, Evangeline offered as an explanation. Elena gasped in horror. “He wanted to use you”, she whispered, her doe-like eyes wide and trained on her aunt. “That’s why he was so angry. That’s why he had Heather.”
“Heather?”, Jeremy asked with a scowl. “Our neighbour? She’s got algebra with me.”
Elena shook her head sadly. “Not anymore, Jer”, she said lowly, pain laced her words and Stefan put a comforting arm around her. “Klaus sacrificed her.” Her brown eyes found Evangeline’s.
“He came to get Jenna, because Damon and I rescued Caroline and Tyler”, she explained and continued with a shrug: “So I thought rather your neighbour than Jen.” Her voice had been so nonchalant, that Elena opened her mouth in indignation and Jeremy scowled at her. Bonnie on the other hand had a contemplative look on her face, as she eyed Evangeline.
“I’m sorry, if Klaus hurt you more than necessary”, Evangeline said lowly to Elena, a flicker of guilt in her eyes. “He said he would make your death painful as revenge for my meddling.” Elena paled, but shook her head. She understood. As much as it pained her, that Heather was dead…she was glad, that Evangeline had been here to save Jenna.

“So Klaus is dead?”, Evangeline asked, but was met with silence and abashed expressions. She scoffed. “I told him so”, she muttered angrily and walked into the kitchen to gather her stuff.
“But Klaus thinks you’re dead, right?”, Evangeline asked Elena, as she walked back into the hallway. The brunette simply nodded.
Jenna opened her mouth, before her niece could answer: “You going somewhere?”
“There are some things I have to take care of as soon as possible”, Evangeline said and resisted the urge to touch her necklace. Without at least some magic stored in the jewelry, she was a sitting duck, who pissed off a rather powerful hybrid. She wasn’t going to wait around for him to find her without a way to defend herself. Recklessness was maybe a trait she called her own, but not utter stupidity.
“But you’re coming back soon, right?”, Jenna asked, her eyes pleading and her voice low. “And you’re careful, yes? Klaus is out there and really not happy with you.” A gentle smile adorned Evangeline’s face.
“It should only take a few days. Talk to Caroline, she’ll help you”, she answered and then shot a look at Stefan. “And don’t let yourself get talked into a bunny diet. You need to be strong and I know you can handle the thirst.” Elena went to protest, but Evangeline just put a hand on her cousin’s shoulder and gave her a reassuring smile. Then she nodded at Stefan, Bonnie and Jeremy, before she left the Gilbert house. Her uncle right after her.

As soon as the door closed behind them, Alaric pulled his niece into a tight hug. For a second, Evangeline let herself revel in the closeness and safety of his strong embrace.
“Thanks”, he murmured into her ear, then he let go of her just to hold her shoulders and put her at an arm’s length away to look intently at her. “Be safe out there. Call regularly.” Evangeline smiled and nodded. Her uncle knew, what she had to do. He always hated it, when she left to hunt down magic. But he also knew, that without it she would be too vulnerable.
“Keep Elena hidden as long as Klaus and Elijah are still in town. Get Bonnie to make Jenna a daylight ring”, she replied in turn. “And stay safe yourself.” Alaric nodded and let go of her.
“I’ll call your father and let him know you’re back and hunting”, he said. Evangeline hesitated for a second, not sure if she wanted her dad to know, then she jerked her head in a short nod. A last smile, a little wave, then she walked to her motorbike, put on her helmet and sped away with screeching tires.
Alaric sighed deeply, before he went back inside to deal with his newly-turned vampire girlfriend, her recently-sacrificed niece, her angsty teenager nephew and the attached witchy girlfriend and century-old vampire boyfriend. He couldn’t help the smile that crept onto his face despite the worry-lines on his forehead. He certainly had found himself a unique family to call his own.

Chapter Text

The things I am willing to do for family. Sometimes, in dark, lonely moments…they frighten me.

It is no question, that I would kill for the people I hold dear. Never has been.
But I know in my very bones, that I would die for them, too.

That is, why I don’t give my love and trust easily. Because once given, I would also give my life.

Three days came and went by in which Alaric and Caroline helped Jenna adapt to her new life as fast as possible. And Jenna adapted swimmingly. She was a natural, just as Evangeline had predicted.
Jenna’s compassion helped her quench the thirst whenever among humans, her fierce protective streak only deepened (much to the charging of two very grounded teenagers with ears still ringing from the telling-off they got) and although her strong-mindedness had turned into the stubbornness of a mule, Jenna was doing great. Alaric was relieved about it and at the same time, he struggled.
He had lost his wife to the supernatural, now his girlfriend and best friend were vampires. His kind-of in-a-way adopted niece and nephew were both caught up in the supernatural, romantically and otherwise. His own niece was a witch without magic and in order to defend herself, she had to steal that magic from other witches.
And maybe he needed a bit of time to adjust, that it wouldn’t be like it was with Isobel this time around…at least, that’s what he hoped for.

But then again in the world of the supernatural, nothing was ever black and white. And while Elena, Jeremy and Bonnie fumed about Elijah’s betrayal during the ritual, Alaric remembered Evangeline’s words to the Original and wasn’t so surprised or angry anymore. After Isobel had vanished, he himself had been alone for a long time; had seen what the loneliness had done to his brother-in-law and to his niece. In a way, he could understand Elijah for not killing Klaus. In a way.
What currently bothered Alaric the most, was the absence of Stefan and Damon and the horrific confession of his best friend last night over one or two too many glasses of Bourbon.

Alaric sighed deeply and ran a hand through his hair. There was absolutely nothing about a cure for a werewolf bite in the vast research he had taken from his late wife’s office. Nothing.
They hadn’t much time. Three days had already been wasted without a solution.
Alaric sighed again. Maybe Evangeline would know about something, that could help Damon. His niece had seen many things during her travels.

He got up from his desk and went to put on a black suit. John’s funeral was in two hours and he had to be there for his family.
As his hand glided over the smooth fabric and his eyes wandered towards the research on his kitchen table, he could only hope for two things: that his niece would be back soon and that she knew how to save Damon.

Stefan stood next to Elena, as she lay down a red rose on John Gilbert’s grave. Jeremy and Bonnie just behind them, waiting on their turn. Alaric, Jenna and Caroline stood there as well, red roses in hands and heads hanging low. None of them liked John, not really, but they could respect his sacrifice for what it was: the act of a loving parent. Damon kept his distance, but he was there, silently supporting the little ragtag group of friends, that should hate each other by nature.
The family was alone after the service to pay their respect. The church and graveyard had been filled with people beforehand, because when one of their own died, the town came together to mourn. And John Gilbert was a son of Mystic Falls in every way. The good and the bad.

As they all moved to go, Stefan saw Damon still standing away from them.
“We’re gonna go back to the house”, he said as he reached his brother.
Damon didn’t look at him, as he answered: “I think, I’ll skip the coffee and tea cakes.” His voice no different than usual. Stefan sighed. He hated to say the next, but he nodded slowly to himself. He hadn’t expected another reaction from Damon than being difficult.
“Damon, she needs us right now”, he said, the words feeling like ash in his mouth. “All of us.”
“And what’s the plan then, Stefan?”, Damon replied, still not looking at him. “The curse is broken. How does one go about killing an all-powerful wolf-vamp and his two-faced, older brother?”
“I have no idea”, Stefan admitted, slight annoyance seeping into his tone. They could think about that later. Now? Now they had to be there for Elena.

Finally, Damon turned around. “Then we get an idea”, he said. “Fast.” Stefan really didn’t want to do this here, but apparently his brother was not deterred.
“I’m not gonna let Elena loose anybody else.” His tone was strong and determined. Damon’s expression steeled into something hard.
“I wouldn’t make any promises, brother”, he sarcastically cautioned Stefan.
The younger Salvatore furrowed his brows. His brother never said anything like that without reason. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
Damon pulled his lips into a snarl and started to roll up the sleeve of his left arm. “Tyler Lockwood bit me”, he spat out, just as he showed the infection of a werewolf bite on his skin.

Stefan’s eyes widened and his mouth opened in shock. This was not supposed to happen. Not now. Not ever.
“It’s actually more of a nib, but…”, Damon tried to talk around the problem, as Stefan got closer and took his arm to look at the bite. “…there it is.” Worry etched itself deep onto Stefan’s face. This was not something his brother could simply talk his way out of. The bite looked admittedly not like much…but they knew, what it was capable of. And as much as Stefan loathed his brother, he didn’t want him to die.
Damon annoyed by the worry and shock on Stefan’s face, pulled his arm away. His ice-blue eyes travelled over the graveyard and for a second he wondered, whether they would hold such a nice service for him too.

“I’ll find something”, Stefan promised, his brown eyes intense. “A cure.” Damon shook his head.
“There is no cure, Stefan”, he said lowly, articulated. His brother needed to understand, that there was nothing, nothing, they could do to save him. He looked towards the fresh grave of John Gilbert.
“We kept Elena human”, Stefan started, his tone urgent, but his face laced with worry. “Right?” Damon didn’t look at him. “We found a way, when there was no way”, Stefan pushed further. But yet no reaction from his brother.
“Hey”, Stefan said and finally, Damon looked at him. His whole expression closed off and his true feelings hidden underneath his usual aloof mask.
“I will do this”, Stefan promised yet again. He would not let his brother die. They had promised each other an eternity of misery after all.
“You wanna do something for me?”, Damon asked, his eyes hard and his jaw clenched. “Keep this from Elena. Last thing she needs is another grave to mourn.” In a rare show of something akin to affection, Damon grabbed his brother’s shoulder and squeezed.
Stefan looked at Damon with deep worry-lines and furrowed brows. He knew, this was a goodbye from his brother.

As Damon walked away from him through rows of graves, Stefan knew with the rawness of a sudden revelation, that he would do anything to save his brother.

And anything it was.

The blood ran down his throat, thick and addicting. He couldn’t stop. Not the thought of Elena could stop him. Or the thought of what Klaus wanted from him. He wouldn’t stop.
Not if this meant saving Damon.

He groaned, as he threw the empty blood bag away.
“Very cooperative”, Klaus said and walked towards where Stefan crouched on the floor. “It’s almost, as if you’re enjoying it.” He let yet another blood bag fall in front of Stefan.
“No more”, the younger vampire pressed out and looked up at Klaus looming over him. The smirk fell from the hybrid’s face. “Not until you give me the cure”, Stefan demanded.
“Not until we make a deal”, Klaus immediately replied, his voice calm, but he was clearly annoyed with Stefan’s behaviour. “It’s your choice, Stefan”, Klaus continued and crouched down in front of Stefan to pick up the blood bag. “You can either remain here, living your life in Mystic Falls…or you can embrace, what you truly are.” He held the blood bag towards Stefan. “Leave town with me and save your brother’s life.”

The blood called to him. It sang and begged and he couldn’t resist. Not when his brother’s life was at stake. For a moment, he hesitated.
Elena entered his thoughts, her bright smile and warm eyes. She would hate him for becoming like this. But the blood’s call was strong. And his willingness to do anything to save his brother, to keep Damon alive…it was enough to banish the thought of Elena from his mind.
With a growl, he grabbed the blood bag and tore into it.

Klaus stood with a smile. “That’s the spirit”, he said with satisfaction coating his British drawl.
“Sweetheart”, he turned towards Katherine and grabbed the bottle with his blood on the way towards her. His strong fingers gripped her chin hard and lifted her from where she sat, so he could look into her eyes. “Take this over to Damon and come right back”, he compelled. Stefan immediately looked up from the blood bag, horror written all over his face.
“You want me to leave?”, Katherine asked, just to make sure.
“No!”, Stefan uttered. He knew, that Katherine was on vervain.
Klaus on the other hand enjoyed the moment thoroughly. “Yes”, he said and smirked. A tenseness hung in the air. “And if I were you—” Katherine grabbed the bottle from his hands and sped away. The door to Alaric’s apartment left wide open.

“—I’d hurry”, Klaus finished, amusement in his tone and a sly smirk on his face. He turned and sat, so he could enjoy the look on Stefan’s face. Oh, how he loved to mess with others. Such a lovely game.
“She’ll never take it to Damon”, Stefan said, his eyes wide as it dawned on him, that his efforts had been fruitless. Klaus just made a helpless gesture, but the mocking smile widened on his lips.
The hybrid knew Katherine, had known her for many centuries now. And although Katherine loved to think herself unpredictable, Klaus knew better. Damon was one of her favourite playthings. She would ensure for him to be around to torment some more.

Just as Klaus kept Katherine alive and running, because that was much worse for the freedom-loving woman than death.
“Clean up”, Klaus said to Stefan and threw a cloth towards him, “we got a tight schedule.” The grin still wide on his face, as Stefan hesitantly took the cloth and started to wipe the blood off.

It wasn’t much later, when they both stood in a warehouse just at the outskirts of Mystic Falls. Klaus’ minions were loading coffins into a truck. Including the just recently added, daggered Elijah.
“So?”, Klaus asked, as Stefan looked at his phone for the hundredth time. This time, he had a message from Elena, asking where he was and telling him, that Damon was okay and his efforts not futile. “Did Katerina make it in time?”
Stefan slowly looked up. “You won’t be seeing her again, you know?” There was a defiance in this expression, that Klaus did not appreciate.
“Because she’s on vervain?”, the hybrid asked mockingly. At Stefan’s slight furrow of his brows, Klaus continued: “I’ve been around for a long time, Stefan. I rarely get played for a fool.” Klaus’ mind shortly went to the young siphoner, as he said that. Rarely indeed. But he didn’t linger too long. He had something in mind for that little vixen.
“Besides”, he said with a smirk, “she won’t get far. You’ll help me see to that.”

Stefan, fed up already with Klaus’ dramatics, stepped closer towards the hybrid. His brother was safe, there was nothing to delay his departure.
“Can we go?”, he asked, eager to leave Mystic Falls and the temptation to break his deal with Klaus. The smirk on the hybrid’s face turned from mocking to sly.
“Not quite”, Klaus said. “You see, I have a gift for you.” He turned and held up a hand to someone behind him. “Come here, sweetheart. Don’t be afraid.” A young girl stepped out from behind one of the shelves of the warehouse. Her eyes wide in fright, but she did as Klaus said without hesitation.
“See, I wanna make sure you honour our deal”, Klaus began and gently pushed the hair of the girl aside to free her neck. “That you’ll be of use to me.” His teeth elongated, his eyes burned gold, his sclera bled black and veins bulged underneath his demonic eyes. Then he bit into the girl’s neck and drank a few gulps.
“I could’ve compelled her to behave”, he said, blood dripping down his fangs, as the girl struggled in his iron grip. “But a real ripper enjoys the hunt.” He let her go and the girl ran screaming. Stefan’s eyes were fixed on her. But he fought the urge to hunt her.
“Go, have a little snack, while I…” A wolfish grin appeared on Klaus’ lips, that made Stefan’s blood run cold. “I’m going to take care of one last thing before we start our road trip.”

With that, Klaus vanished. Stefan struggled for the split of a second. The fast beating heart of the girl — pounding in his ears. Her panicked steps thundering on the ground — music to his instincts. And her blood…
Her blood
In the blink of an eye, Stefan was in front of the screaming girl. His eyes red, veins visible and then his sharp fangs teared into the tender flesh of her neck.

Evangeline stopped her bike just outside her little cottage. Her body ached, her muscles were sore and she yearned for a shower. A hunt always left her deeply satisfied and powered up, but oh so tired.
She pulled the helmet from her head and stowed her bike in the garage. Her eyes wandered to the dried blood on her clothes and she sighed annoyed. One hand went to her face, as she walked out of the garage to make her way into the safety of her home. She rubbed at the blood splatters, that caked the left side of her cheek. The last witch had been a tad bit pesky.
“Definitely a shower first”, Evangeline murmured to herself tiredly, “then calling Ric.” Although she assumed, that her uncle knew what it included, when Evangeline went on one of her hunts — because honestly, no witch would willingly share their magic — Evangeline had always refrained from telling Alaric the more gruesome, bloody details of how she actually obtained the magic she stored in her necklace.
Just as she touched the metal of her keys within the depths of her backpack, half-way to the front door of her house, a shiver ran down her spine. Her hairs stood on end.

Someone was watching her.

Cautiously, Evangeline pulled the keys from her backpack and gently put the backpack on the ground. Muscles coiled in alarm, her whole body tense with the readiness of a predator, she turned around.
Her sharp eyes took in her surroundings, but it was too dark for her human eyes to actually see something.
Getting into the house would be a good idea, though.

The keys clinked in her right hand, as she took a careful step closer to the cottage, leaving the backpack where it was.
Her other hand started to reached for her necklace.

A sickeningly sweet scent wafted over to her. It made her movements immediately slower and her sore muscles ached even more.
Evangeline’s eyes widened, their grey swirling in a confused fury.

A harsh cough rattled her lungs.

“Lobelia?”, she muttered, her throat tight and itching.

A figure stepped out of the shadows of the trees surrounding her cottage.
The sickening smoke of burning lobelia getting stronger with every step the figure took towards Evangeline.

Her legs gave out underneath her and Evangeline fell to the ground in a coughing fit. Dark spots appeared in her vision.
Her head pounded and everything seemed to spin around her.
She felt as if she wasn’t able to breath anymore. And every breath she managed to take, burned her lungs like a hot iron.

“Hello, love.”

She would recognise that British drawl anywhere.
Fear gripped Evangeline’s heart, as she looked up, directly into the sea-green eyes and sly smirk of one certain hybrid.
“Klaus”, she whispered weakly, her eyes wide in horror, before her body couldn’t resist the lobelia anymore and soft wings of darkness took her off into the false safety of unconsciousness.

Klaus looked down at the young woman, a triumphant smirk dancing on his lips. He twirled the smoldering lobelia flower between his fingers, before he let it fall and ground it with his heal until it didn’t gleam anymore.
As the intense smell of lobelia weakened, the sweet scent of blood reached Klaus’ senses and he furrowed his brows slightly. It didn’t smell fresh, so she couldn’t have hurt herself as she fell.
So where did it come from?

He crouched down and gently pushed a few mahogany locks away from her face. There.
On her smooth, porcelain skin, the dark red of dried blood painted a beautiful picture.

“Now, where have you been, little witch?”, he asked himself lowly, as his eyes trailed down her lithe body and found more dried blood on her clothes. He couldn’t detect any wounds on her. So it had to be the blood of someone else. He raised a brow in interest. This human intrigued him more and more with every time he met her.
“I guess, you’ll stay alive for a bit longer”, he mused as he picked her body up with ease. A dark, wolfish grin, that promised dangerous things, appeared on his lips. His sea-green eyes fixed on the beautiful, unconscious woman.

“Oh, we’re going to have so much fun together, sweetheart.”

Chapter Text

Survival. Adaption. Darwinism.
Call it by whichever name you prefer. At the end of the day, the only thing that counts is to come out breathing.

And I am breathing.

The first thing Evangeline felt, as she slowly came to herself, was pain.
Her head pounded with it and her muscles ached. Completely disoriented, she pried her eyes open. The sunlight hurt her, but she still could see the roof of a car above her. A low moan escaped her throat, as she tried to turn her sore body onto a side-ways position, so she could see on whose back seat she laid.

“Up already, sweetheart?”

Evangeline stilled mid-movement. Her eyes widened and her heart jumped in fright, as she slowly lifted her gaze and saw none other than Niklaus Mikaelson sitting behind the steering wheel. Every muscle in her body tensed, as she remembered last night. Her return to Mystic Falls. The smell of lobelia. Klaus… And then nothing.
Immediately her left hand flew to her neck, but there was nothing. A strangled gasp escaped her full lips.
“Ah, sorry, love”, Klaus said and Evangeline could hear the smirk in his voice. “You understand, I had to take precautions.” He reached into the pocket of his leather jacket and pulled her necklace made of pretty opal beads out, just to dangle it mockingly in Evangeline’s sight.

Evangeline said nothing, but forced her body to sit up, regardless of her soreness. She refused to show more weakness, than he had already seen.
Her eyes never left Klaus and as he glanced into the rear-view mirror, he was met with grey eyes barely containing a tempest of fury and fear. Such an attractive look for her. His grin widened and he let the necklace slip back into his pocket.
Still staying silent, Evangeline took in her surroundings. Her eyes widened in surprise, when she saw Stefan sitting in the passenger’s seat. Now this was not what she had expected at all. Her brows furrowed. There were only few scenarios she could imagine, that would make Stefan leave Elena. One worse than the other.

“Stefan is the third participant of our little road trip”, Klaus explained amused. “His brother was bitten by a werewolf and to save him, Stefan here sacrificed a serene life in Mystic Falls. Well” — Klaus smirked. — “maybe not that serene with all the painful reminders of sweet Elena.” Evangeline clenched her jaw.
“You got a cure for a werewolf bite?”, she asked, ignoring any comment about her cousin. She knew, that Elena was safe and sound. Klaus didn’t. And that brought a sick feeling of satisfaction with it.
“My blood”, Klaus answered, his eyes gleaming with amusement. “You gotta love nature sometimes.”
Evangeline wrinkled her nose. “How very poetic”, she mocked in a sarcastic drawl.

“Now, now”, Klaus chastised, the smirk falling from his lips and his eyes turning dark, “don’t get cocky back there, little witch. Or are you? Without any magic, that is. Are you still a witch?” Evangeline ground her teeth. Anger burned in her veins, boiling her blood and pounding in her ears.
“I’m as much a witch or not a witch, as you’re a vampire or not a vampire”, she answered sharply. “Or was it werewolf or not werewolf?” Her voice was coated with venom. He of all should know how it felt to be mocked for one’s heritage. But Evangeline didn’t expect any consideration from the hybrid. The stories of him and his foul temper, after all, were infamous.
“Careful, love”, Klaus warned with a growl. Evangeline only glared at him. She felt confident enough, that Klaus wouldn’t want her dead, otherwise he wouldn’t have kidnapped her once the lobelia had taken her out. His words had hurt. She knew, that they shouldn’t. Not after how often she had been mocked and discriminated and hunted down for being a siphoner. She hadn’t been able to help herself, as her temper had gotten the better of her.
For a moment their eyes met again in the rear-view mirror. Klaus intent to shoot her a glare, but as they looked at each other a sudden understanding seemed to flood into Klaus’ eyes. He immediately returned his gaze onto the street in front of them, as Evangeline furrowed her brows. She hadn’t displayed her hurt so openly, that he could’ve seen it, right?

“You took me for a reason”, she said to get over the strange moment. Stefan turned in his seat and looked at her with furrowed eyebrows, a gentle warning in his eyes. But Evangeline was confident, that Klaus wanted something from her and wouldn’t kill her until he had it. At least that was, what she bet her life on.
As Klaus didn’t react, but stared stubbornly ahead, Evangeline pressed on: “So? Why did you take me along for this merry trip?”
“Tell me, love”, Klaus drawled and Evangeline felt her skin tingle at his tone, “where does all the blood come from?”

Evangeline looked down at her clothes and true enough, there was still the blood from yesterday’s witch. Her right hand went to her left cheek.
The blood on her face was gone. She furrowed her brows and looked at Stefan, who simply nodded towards Klaus.
Evangeline shivered. She wasn’t sure, whether it was in a good or a bad way.

The thrill of danger rushed through her system and the anger ceased to make place for a cold, calculating feeling. She had yearned for more adventure, for the addicting thrill of danger, for the sweet rush of unpredictability. All the months she had just spent in Oxford after travelling through Europe for years, she had craved for it and here it was. Presented to her on a silver platter.
Her tongue shot out to wet her lips. She couldn’t help the excited gleam in her eyes and the sly smile on her lips.
“You don’t think, that witches offer up their magic just because I ask, do you?”, she drawled slowly.

There was a shift in the air. As if Evangeline’s rediscovery of her confidence had changed the odds. A shift of power.
A bit at least. Evangeline would feel better, if she would have her necklace.
Stefan furrowed his brows, as he saw Klaus’ eyes narrow, but his smirk widen. The vampire’s eyes shot to Evangeline, who displayed a similar expression. The agitation washing over him, made Stefan close his eyes tightly.

“So you take it. With force”, Klaus said in realisation and a touch of excitement. Stefan tried to suppress a groan, but opened his eyes again. He stared stubbornly ahead, not intent on seeing in addition to hearing, what strangeness currently occurred between Klaus and Evangeline.
“Exactly.” Evangeline’s answer was tinted with something dark. It was clear in her voice, that she did not care about hurting the witches she took the magic from. Stefan shivered. He remembered how utterly blasé she had been concerning the death of Heather in Klaus’ sacrifice.
“Now that’s an interesting turn of events”, Klaus mused lightly, interest coating his voice. Evangeline smirked smugly.

Stefan’s eyes widened slightly as he realised, that Evangeline wasn’t as sweet or kind as her cousin, wasn’t as moral or faithful as her uncle. Looking back now, seeing Klaus and Evangeline interact in such a way, Stefan started to realise, that Evangeline being with them, under the influence of Klaus and not with Jenna and Alaric…was so much worse, than anything he could have imagined the moment Klaus had appeared with the unconscious witch.

Evangeline, on the other hand, was utterly content with the way the conversation had developed. Her sore body sank back into the comfortable seat of Klaus’ car. Sure, she didn’t have her necklace back — yet — Klaus still held her captive and was still very capable of killing her any second he wanted.
But she was Scheharazad and she had just successfully captured the king with her tales to live another day.

A hybrid, a vampire and a witch were on a road trip. It all seemed like a really bad joke to Evangeline, but she had long ago learnt to take things as they came. Survival in the end meant adapting to different circumstances as fast as possible and if Evangeline was anything, she was a survivor.

So she had sat back in the car and enjoyed the passing landscape. Sadly, Klaus was driving at a speed, that made it hard to distinguish anything but whether they were passing forests, cities or lowlands. So Evangeline soon was bored and started to plot multiple ways to get her necklace back and to keep Klaus favourable towards her, so he wouldn’t kill her.
As she ran out of possible options to regain her magic way too soon, Evangeline struggled to keep her mouth shut and not provoke Klaus out of sheer boredom. That would be a dumb move. But surely an entertaining one…

“Eve, did you tell Ric, that you were back in Mystic Falls?”, Stefan suddenly asked, as if he had read her thoughts and deemed them too dangerous a game to play.
Evangeline furrowed her brows. “No”, she answered honestly. “I wanted to take a shower first. You understand, that I don’t particularly want my uncle to see me like this.” She gestured down towards the dried blood on her clothes, although Stefan wouldn’t see the blood due to the odd angle he had to turn in order to see her at all. “Someone interrupted that plan, though.” Her grey eyes glared at the back of Klaus’ head, right into his dirty-blond curls, that looked disturbingly soft and touchable. Her fingers twitched and her left brow rose. Maybe it was a family thing…Elijah, after all, had also positively gorgeous hair. Although, Evangeline found herself preferring Klaus’ curls to Elijah’s pristine hair cut.
God! She hadn’t been laid in way too long, if she started thinking about Klaus of all in such a manner. Her grey orbs traced what little she saw of the hybrid in the rear-view mirror. He was undeniably handsome, though. That she could admit in the sanctuary of her own mind.
“Eve? Are you listening to me?”

Evangeline blinked.

“Or were you too busy burning holes into Klaus’ head?” For the first time, since Evangeline awoke, Stefan sounded amused and not utterly emotionless.
She sneered at the vampire in front of her.
“I just wondered”, Stefan said and pulled — to Evangeline’s surprise — her backpack from the legroom, “because your phone doesn’t stop ringing.” There was a certain annoyance to his tone and Evangeline understood, that while it might amuse Klaus in a sick way, to keep people calling her without ever allowing anyone to answer the call; it might annoy Stefan, for both their supernatural hearing would pick up the vibrating of her phone. Evangeline, on the other hand, had been blissfully unaware of anyone trying to reach her.

“That’s probably Ric”, she said in a way of explanation as to why the caller didn’t give up. “I usually call every three to four days, just to let him know that I’m still alive.” She shrugged nonchalantly, although her forehead was wrinkled with worry. Her uncle didn’t take too well to her not responding. She knew from experience.
“And why would your uncle assume, that you’re in any danger, love?”, Klaus joined the conversation and Evangeline could feel his eyes bore into her by means of the rear-view mirror. Her lips twitched at his mocking tone. What did he know to have the right to mock the constant threat looming over her life?!
“Probably because I’m hunting witches down to steal their magic, you overgrown puppy with anger issues”, Evangeline snapped harshly at him, her temper yet again getting the better of her. Stefan sighed lowly. He shouldn’t have started a conversation. He just shouldn’t have…

“Careful”, Klaus warned yet again, his voice low and threatening, “or I might make Safari Sam’s worries come true.” Evangeline huffed. Her anger making her braver, than she would be if she had time to calm down. But any sharp reply was doused from her full lips, as Stefan pulled out a yet again vibrating phone from her backpack.
Evangeline stared at the device in Stefan’s hand in a mixture of longing and fear. Now, that made Klaus curious. Why would she be afraid of her uncle calling?

“Why don’t you answer it, love?”, he asked with a mischievous glint in his sea-green eyes. Grey orbs shot up to the rear-view mirror to meet his gaze.
“You would let me?” She sounded surprised, but suspicious. Ah, how he loved to play games with her. “On one condition”, he therefore said and looked back at the street. “If you even think about giving him our location in any way, I’ll turn right around and kill what is left of your family.”
Evangeline’s jaw tightened, but she pulled out a hand in front of her, so Stefan could give her the phone. The vampire hesitated for a second, unsure about what Klaus was up to, but then caved, as Evangeline wriggled her fingers in impatience.

Evangeline took a deep breath, braced herself and then answered the call. “Ric?”
Evie, you okay? I found lobelia at your home.
For a moment, Evangeline debated, whether she was okay or not and to her surprise, she was more okay with the road trip than she probably should be — except of course the missing necklace around her neck, but that was something she would seek to righten as soon as possible.
“Yeah, I’m good”, she therefore said and the two supernatural beings with her perked up, as they didn’t hear her heart skip a beat. “The lobelia…well, Klaus needs to work on how he hands out his invitations to join him for a road trip.” Her eyes narrowed and stared at the back of the hybrid’s head. Klaus had the decency to chuckle lowly at her almost playful sounding jab.
You’re with Klaus and Stefan?” Alaric sounded worried and defeated. It made Evangeline’s heart ache.
“Yes”, she replied in a soothing tone, “and apart from Klaus’ lobelia stunt, they’ve both treated me well so far. They even stopped to get me food and something to drink.”
Well, that’s the least— Wait…”, Alaric’s voice turned to suspicious. “Why are you so okay with this?
“It’s exciting”, Evangeline answered with a nonchalant shrug, although she knew, that her uncle couldn’t see her.
There was a long-suffering sigh on the other end of the line. “Evie…
“I’ll be careful. Promise”, she assured him and looked at the hybrid, who had his eyes fixed on the rear-view mirror to watch her. If he hadn’t been a supernatural creature with inhuman reflexes, Evangeline would have been worried. Then her eyes flitted over to Stefan. “Besides”, she added, “I’ve got Stefan with me.”
That really doesn’t make things better”, Alaric sighed and Evangeline could almost see how he ran a hand through his hair in exasperation. “Do you at least have some magic?
“Technically, yes”, Evangeline answered. “Klaus has my necklace for the moment. But don’t worry” — Grey eyes locked with sea-green ones. — “I’ll get it back soon enough.”
Evangeline Merga Vinter this is no—
“Ric”, Evangeline interrupted him. “I can take care of myself. You know that.”
Another sigh from Alaric. “Stefan, I know you can hear me. Keep an eye on her…please.” Stefan’s only reaction was to incline his head further and somehow Evangeline had the feeling, that he would take Alaric’s assingment annoyingly serious.
“That’s not necessa—”, Evangeline tried to intervene, but this time it was her uncle, who cut her short.
You know it is. Stop being so frustratingly grown up!
Evangeline chuckled at her uncle’s tone. “I’m every parent’s dream; independent, smart, grown up, responsible…and you do nothing but complain.”
Responsible my ass”, Alaric muttered annoyed, but Evangeline could hear the good humour in his voice.
“How’s Jenna doing?”, Evangeline asked suddenly to change the subject. For the moment, Klaus seemed to be humoured by their conversation, but it probably wasn’t what he had expected and Evangeline feared, that he would make her end the call soon.
She’s adjusting”, Alaric answered. “Caroline is—
“Now I think that’s quite enough”, Klaus interrupted harshly. Evangeline looked at him and nodded.
“I gotta go”, she said.
You calling again soon?” Alaric didn’t fight and that was something Evangeline had always appreciated about her uncle. He usually knew, when to talk and when to shut up.
“I don’t know”, she replied honestly, her eyes trained on Klaus. “Ric…”, she hesitated, unsure whether it was wise to utter the next words in the company she currently found herself in or not, “please don’t tell him.”
You know I have to.
“Ric, he’ll—”
Evie. I promised. Nothing you say will change that.
Evangeline sighed and closed her eyes to avoid the suddenly rather inquisitive look of one certain hybrid. “Okay, I understand. Just tell him, that I’m not in immediate danger, yes?”
You know I’m going to be honest”, was all her uncle offered.
“Fantastic”, Evangeline said in a slightly sarcastic drawl. “I’ll call again as soon as possible.”
Take care, Evie”, his tone was filled with hidden pleas to be careful and promises to move heaven and hell to find her should she need it. Evangeline smiled genuinely to herself and ended the call without another word. She handed her phone to Stefan and leaned back into the seat. Her eyes fixed on the rear-view mirror, silently challenging Klaus to ask her all the questions his face portrayed.

But the hybrid just smirked a sly smirk and drove without saying a word. He was curious. Of course he was. In the end, it had been a brilliant idea to let her take the call. It had revealed at least three weaknesses to him.
For the moment, however, he would have to think through how to play her to get the answers he wanted. And the waspish witch could do with a bit of stewing in her own juices.

It was hours later, sometime around early evening, when they arrived at a nice hotel somewhere in Florida. Klaus parked the car and turned towards Stefan.
“Compel us two rooms, would you?”, he ordered and although Stefan hesitated and threw a look at Evangeline in the backseat, he got out and did as he was told. Klaus got out of the car, too, and pulled out his phone. Evangeline furrowed her brows, as she also exited the car, curious about the call Klaus was making and quite frankly, her whole body was sore from the hunt, the lobelia and sitting on the backseat of a car for too many hours to count.
Klaus shot her a disapproving look, but Evangeline simply leaned at the car and crossed her arms. She tried to eavesdrop, but it was no use, Klaus muttered in such low tones, that she wasn’t able to pick up on it without supernatural hearing. So that only told her, that the hybrid was talking to another supernatural creature, most likely one of his compelled minions.

Stefan came back, just as Klaus put his phone away and turned towards Evangeline. The vampire scowled at the two, but dropped the keys into Klaus' hand and mimicked Evangeline’s defencive stance with crossed arms and a closed off expression.

For a second, Klaus just stood there and contemplated about his two companions. He would not force Evangeline to share with one of them, because despite popular belief he wasn’t a monster. But — and that was, what bothered him — nothing stopped her from leaving, if she had a room to herself. And anything could enter her room without them being able to react fast enough. Klaus did not think her stupid enough to try and escape him, no.
His eyes travelled towards her and although her arms were crossed and her feet had a wide stance ready to jump and run or fight…those expressive eyes of her were filled with equal parts worry and curiosity. Now, he could brush off her worry to be due to his presence and the whole kidnapping thing, but Klaus had the impression, that she actually enjoyed the trip. At least more than Stefan did.

The only other logical reason for her worries would be the pretty little necklace currently residing within the pocket of his jacket and not hanging around her neck. He understood, that it would make someone like her nervous to be without her power, but maybe…maybe there was more to it. Maybe there actually was a valid reason for Safari Sam to be so worried.
She would not have any protection, if she didn’t share a room with one of them and he yet had to find out what her secret was. His decision made, Klaus was about to open his mouth to talk, when Evangeline herself beat him to it. She had finally grown tired of his musings.

“So…”, she drawled and tilted her head slightly to the side, “who’s going to share with me?”

This was not, what Klaus had expected. He narrowed his eyes onto her, eager to drink up even the tiniest reading he could get on her body language.
“You don’t insist on having your own room?”, he asked, curious to her reasoning. Evangeline leaned further back into the car, a lazy smile dancing on her lips, but Klaus could see the tenseness in her muscles and the wariness in her eyes.
“You got my necklace, therefore I’m reasonably powerless”, she admitted. Her feet shifted slightly in the discomfort she tried to hide. “I guess, I have to play the damsel in distress for a while”, she continued and looked right into Klaus’ eyes. He wanted to scoff. Although her discomfort was obvious and the necklace was indeed in his possession, he doubted, that the woman in front of him would ever qualify as a damsel in distress. Not entirely, anyway.
“So, again, who’s going to be my knight in shining armour?”, her tone was just that perfectly right mix of sarcastic and mockingly light-hearted.

A devious smile appeared on Klaus’ face, as he himself shifted his feet to turn his body more towards Evangeline.
“You’re no princess, sweetheart”, he grinned, drawing out the pet name with his British drawl, “but you can decide between Red Riding Hood and Mina Murray.”
Evangeline’s lips wanted to pull into a smile at his references, but she kept it from showing. Instead she trained her eyes on Stefan and then on Klaus, as she contemplated her choices. She would feel more secure with Stefan, since…well, the other option was Klaus. But Stefan was her younger cousin’s boyfriend and she just felt downright weird to share a room with him. Besides, if she shared with Klaus, she might get a chance to get her necklace back.
Therefore she stated with a slow smirk: “Red always suited me rather well.”
“Oh, I agree”, Klaus’ lips adorned a cocky grin, as he unashamedly eyed her up and down and lingered on the still present blood stains on her clothes. “But I’m certain the humans won’t appreciate it as much as I do.” With those words, he pulled out her necklace and then slipped off his jacket to put it over Evangeline’s shoulders. Their eyes met and Klaus lifted a single brow in a silent challenge.
Evangeline stared at him for the fraction of a second and then silently slipped her arms into the jacket and zipped it up, effectively hiding the blood stains from sight. Finished, she looked up again and it was now her turn to lift her brow in a silent challenge.
It was a bit childish, but Evangeline just couldn’t help herself. Klaus seemed to instinctively know, which buttons he had to press to get a rouse out of her.

Stefan coughed awkwardly and although he was entirely freaked out at how those two had taken to each other — not sure if they were going to murder each other any second now or jump each other’s bones — he kept an annoyed facade, as he said: “Can we go to our rooms now? It’s been a long day.”
“Sure, mate. Go ahead”, Klaus said, not taking his eyes from Evangeline. He extended his hand and dangled one of the keys in front of Stefan. The vampire grabbed it, but Klaus still held the key tightly as to keep Stefan from leaving just yet. “Don’t even think about leaving or I’ll head back to Mystic Falls and make a chewing toy out of your brother.” His eyes finally dragged away from Evangeline’s and stared at his unwilling companion.
Stefan nodded sharply and as soon as Klaus let go of the key, he made his way inside the hotel.

Evangeline huffed, as the vampire abandoned her without a second glance. So much for looking after her. Then she turned her grey eyes back onto Klaus. He had a way too satisfied glint in his eyes. Evangeline’s jaw tightened, as he offered her the hand not holding the key and her necklace.
“Ready, love?”, he drawled, as that blasted lopsided smirk appeared on his lips and all Evangeline could think was Oh, shit.

Annoyance radiated off of her, as she pushed herself off the car, deliberately ignoring Klaus’ offered hand. His smirk widened at her behaviour and Evangeline had to restrain herself from slapping it off his face.
“What are we even doing here?”, she asked, eager to change where her thoughts were going. She would not risk a fight with Klaus as long as she didn’t have her necklace.
Klaus’ smirk grew dangerous, as his eyes flashed a bright gold. “Tonight”, he said, his voice playful, although the undertone promised pain and purgatory, “we’re going for a walk in the moonlight.”

Chapter Text

Intimacy is a luxury I don’t allow myself.
Not to confuse it with pleasure, that I am willing to get myself whenever and wherever. A girl has needs after all.

But that bond a real relationship needs. The vulnerability. The weakness…
Love is nothing to built survival on. It is a weakness. A way for my enemies to hurt me. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Something I learnt, when they murdered my mother in cold blood.

I don’t miss love. I don’t.

I don’t want to be in love. I don’t want to be loved.
All I want is to survive.

Evangeline was pissed.
Utterly, completely pissed.

She didn’t care, that she had stormed ahead to get to the room she shared with Klaus, once they had been back at the hotel.
Didn’t care, that her muddy shoes left marks all over the floor.

There will be wolves tonight, Klaus had said.
My contacts wouldn’t dare to be wrong, Klaus had said.

Evangeline seethed, as she opened the door. She was miserable. And cold. And wet.
She glared at the window, where rain crashed against the glass in complete darkness.
Her only comfort currently was, that at least the contacts were dead; killed by Klaus in a rage equal to Evangeline’s, although caused by completely different reasons.

She pulled her ruined shoes from her feet and then her soaked socks, shuddering at the unpleasant feeling.
Klaus had had his outlet. He had been able to vent his wrath. Evangeline had neither the means — she was still short one important necklace — nor the opportunity to vent her own rage. And that pissed her off even more.
Despite the assurance of Klaus’ contacts, there hadn’t been any werewolves tonight and it hadn’t been due to the bad weather. They had trudged through Ocala National Forest for hours, before they even found any signs of werewolves ever frequenting the place to turn. Then it had started to rain and despite Evangeline’s best efforts, Klaus had insisted to keep on searching.
And searching they did. But the only thing they found were caves with rusty chains, abandoned many years ago.

So Evangeline’s shoes were ruined for nothing.
Her clothes stuck to her like a second skin for nothing.
Her hair dripped and clung to her cheeks and the cold made her shiver for nothing.

If she had been a vampire or a wolf, she was positive, that she would growl loudly. If there was one thing she hated, it was uselessness.
And that whole wandering trip had been more than useless.

Evangeline sneezed loudly. Her body shook and shivered from the cold.

Suddenly a white, fluffy towel was pushed into her sight. For a second, Evangeline was startled. She hadn’t heard Klaus approach. Much less expected him to show such attention, even though he himself still fumed with anger and was dripping wet from the rain.
She took the towel and pressed out a sharp: “Thanks.” She had been raised to have manners after all.
“Sure”, was all he said. No pet name. No teasing. No nothing. Evangeline looked up and saw the anger in his eyes. It was strange to see it directed at someone else, not her for a change.

As she started to dry her hair with the towel, Evangeline felt her hands twitch with the urge to blast something into oblivion. But there was no magic close to her and that left her to feel strangely hollow.
It was then, that her wrath turned into exhaustion. A vampire and a hybrid didn’t have any problems with hiking through rough terrain, but Evangeline as a witch was still somewhat human. The night had left her tired, miserable and angry. Not a good combination.

Without even acknowledging Klaus — who, in Evangeline’s mind, was responsible for the disaster and her foul mood — she stormed into the bathroom and banged the door shut. She peeled her wet clothes off her body and took a hot shower. The warmth of the water washing away most of her agitation and misery. And as Evangeline pulled on the fluffy bathrobe provided by the hotel, she felt a whole lot better.
The only issue now was, that she didn’t have another set of clothes. Klaus had not bothered to pack her an overnight bag and a change of clothes, when he had kidnapped her. And her own backpack hadn’t contained anything but dirty clothes from her short hunting trip.

Evangeline did not want to succumb to yet another fit of rage and misery, so she reigned in her temper and spread her wet clothes — including underwear, much to her chagrin — over the towel rack to dry them. The bathrobe tightly secured to her slender body and the towel wrapped around her head, Evangeline left the bathroom.
To her utter surprise, Klaus was still dripping wet and almost patiently waiting for his turn in the bathroom. Almost, because he was currently yelling at some poor sob on the other end of his phone. Tired and now after a hot shower a bit more peaceably tempered, Evangeline ignored him in favour of the steaming tea on the little coffee table. It was only after Klaus had ended the call and vanished into the bathroom himself, that Evangeline realised, that it must have been him, who had ordered the tea for her.

The mug in her hand, as she gently blew onto it to cool it down and her eyes fixed on the bathroom door, she contemplated his actions. It was a strangely caring move and as thus completely unsettling.
But to be completely fair, Evangeline didn’t know Klaus. She furrowed her brows and took a small sip from her tea. Peppermint, not her favourite, but still a rather good choice. Her thoughts went back into the car, when Klaus had the decency to mock the threat upon her life. She had been so angry, because who was he to judge something he had no knowledge about.
Grey eyes fixed on the bathroom door, Evangeline became perfectly aware, that assuming Klaus was the monster everyone whispered in hushed, feared tones about, was disgustingly hypocritical of her. Her nails tapped on the mug, as she was decidedly unhappy with that revelation. It made him…human. She sighed and took another sip from the tea, the warmth spreading through her body and drawing a tiny moan from her throat.

As the sound of the shower running came from the closed door, Evangeline let her senses spread in search for the necklace.
The good news were, that it was easy to find, a beacon of magic, bright and alluring. Bad news? Klaus took it into the bathroom with him. He was probably aware, that hiding it wouldn’t help and had opted to keep it on his body at all times. A soft, frustrated groan escaped Evangeline’s full lips.

There was no way, she would get her necklace back anytime soon. Her lips pulled into a tight line and her mind became focused.
She could always siphon some other magic and then take her necklace by force. But the only available magic currently was Stefan or Klaus themselves or Stefan’s daylight ring and Evangeline wasn’t cruel enough to take that from him or desperate enough to try and make skin contact with either. That would be a handy little trump card Klaus didn’t yet know about.
Patience it was, then. Evangeline leaned back into the plush couch and took a sip from her tea. Not her favourite part of a plan, but she could be patient if needed. At one point or another they were bound to encounter magic and then there was nothing that could stop her from executing revenge on Klaus.

Speaking of the devil and he shall appear.
Right when Evangeline had a satisfied, dark smile on her face only half hidden by the mug, the bathroom door opened again and Klaus stepped out. His eyes immediately found her grey ones. Upon seeing the look on her face, he lifted one brow in a silent question.
Evangeline just looked away. It infuriated her to see her necklace resting around his neck as if it belonged there. And she knew, that he knew how much it bothered her. But he also wore a shirt and pyjama pants, something Evangeline was certain he didn’t usually do. He seemed to be an only boxer shorts, if anything, kinda man. Again, such a strange act of consideration towards her.
Maybe she would only hurt him a bit, once she got her necklace back, just out of principle not complete hatred. She too could be considerate after all.

As he walked around and gathered his phone to make yet another call, Evangeline watched him. Her eyes trailed over his physique, appreciated how the toned muscles coiled underneath the fabric of his shirt in a way that made her mouth dry and how the pyjama bottoms clung to his hips and ass. He wasn’t burly, one might even dare to call him sinewy instead. His strength was more subtle; it wasn’t obvious in his muscle mass, but in how controlled every movement seemed. He probably wasn’t completely used to his heightened hybrid strength yet — and quite frankly, that made him all the more dangerous.
Evangeline’s tongue darted out to wet her lips. Dangerous and oh so attractive.

He turned around suddenly and caught her staring. Evangeline hadn’t even noticed, that he had already ended his call. Had he even made it yet?
Instead of letting her slight embarrassment at being caught watching him show, she only continued to stare at him with a lazy smirk. After all, he had been ogling her backside the whole hiking trip earlier that night. At her silent challenge, his own lips pulled into a slow, predatory smirk. The game was on.
What game exactly, Evangeline wasn’t entirely sure, but as the thrill of danger and excitement ran through her veins, she found herself not caring at all.

The next morning came way too soon with a clear blue sky and Evangeline waking up alone in the room. The other bed was neatly made and Klaus nowhere to be seen. Since she couldn’t feel her necklace anywhere close, but could sense a small amount of magic from the room next door, she assumed that Klaus was who knows where, while Stefan had been left behind. Or at least his daylight ring.
Stretching her aching muscles — it wasn’t exactly comfortable sleeping in a bathrobe after all — Evangeline noticed the stack of clothes on the couch, right next to a small overnighter bag. Her brows furrowed, as she got out of bed to examine them. Jeans, shirts, tank tops, a jacket, even pyjamas and underwear. Not entirely her style, but still tasteful and undoubtedly meant for her. An involuntary smile pushed itself onto her lips.

Maybe she should be creeped out by the fact, that each and every clothing item was the perfect size. But then again, she had laid out her clothes in the bathroom last night and they had a tag with the size. Deciding to not linger too much on yet another act of consideration from Klaus, Evangeline grabbed pants, a shirt, underwear — she even found a toothbrush and toothpaste in the bag — and went into the bathroom to get ready for whatever atrocity Klaus had planned to find himself some werewolves.

As she brushed her teeth, Evangeline wondered, whether it would entertain her more or less, if she would actively help him find werewolves. In the contact list of her phone were at least two or three exemplars of the elusive species after all. She spit the toothpaste into the sink, a decision made. For the moment, she would keep him guessing. Maybe later on, she would offer her help. Depending on when she got bored of the hunt.
It was petty, really, and Evangeline knew, that she was childish. But as long as he had her necklace around his neck, she would be petty.

Something she was definitely not regretting, when Klaus barged in about half an hour later, smirk on his lips and triumph in his eyes.
“Pack up, love”, he said, “we’re going to see a witch.”
Evangeline blinked up at him. Was he serious?
“Fantastic”, she snarled and shot up from where she had comfortably slouched on the couch. “Let’s get the defenceless siphoner to a witch. What’s the worst that could happen?” Her face was a mask of rage and if she would possess her magic, the light would flicker without a doubt. “I’ll tell you. Either I kill her or she’ll kill me!”

Within a blink, Klaus was in front of her, his right hand around her throat. Not squeezing, just to keep her there. His tall frame towered threateningly over her, all toned muscle and self-righteous wrath. He was so close, that she could feel his body heat seep into her skin. She had to crane her neck to look at him. Defiant grey clashed with glowing amber.
He brought his head down, so his lips lightly touched the shell of her ear.
“Stop pushing me, sweetheart”, he whispered lowly and Evangeline felt his sharp fangs scrape against her skin. A shudder ran through her body and she wasn’t entirely sure, whether it was one she enjoyed or not.
Fighting through her conflicting feelings, Evangeline hissed right back: “Then stop trying to get me killed.” The grip around her throat tightened infinitesimally. Still not hurting her.
“Maybe I should just kill you right here and now”, he mused and Evangeline’s heart skipped a beat in fright. Klaus smirked at that.
Her voice was lacking mockery, but it was a tad bit smug as she replied: “But that wouldn’t be near as entertaining as keeping me around.” The twitch in the fingers around her throat showed just how much restrain he currently exercised. Evangeline had no doubt, that usually people lost their head for what she dared. It was a fine line she tried to walk, especially considering her life was what she gambled with.

Klaus growled, but he let go of her and his eyes turned back to their human sea-green colour. He strode to the other side of the room to gather his own stuff in aggressive movements.
“Pack up”, he repeated, but added: “You can stay in the car, while I pay the witch a visit.”

There was a strange tension between Klaus and Evangeline, that Stefan wasn’t happy to witness. They had been challenging each other since they had met, so that wasn’t what worried the vampire. Not even the bantering, that started every now and then just to end as suddenly as it began and Stefan wasn’t sure, whether it was their way to vent with having to be around each other or a weird way of flirting.
No, it were the little things, that worried him. The new clothes, that clung to Evangeline’s tall, slender frame. The hidden respect, that crawled into Klaus’ eyes, whenever she had a particularly witty respond to his snark. The fact, that Evangeline didn’t glare at him or her necklace around his neck, whenever her eyes turned towards the hybrid, but only every other time.
Those were the things, that worried Stefan.

When they arrived and Klaus ordered Stefan to stay with Evangeline in the car, he was more than suspicious and the moment Klaus had vanished into the small occult shop, he turned in his seat to stare at Evangeline.
“Okay”, he said lowly, not entirely sure how to address the strangeness, “what happened between you two?”
For a moment Evangeline furrowed her brows in confusion, then her eyes lit up with realisation. “Because we’re staying in the car?”, she nonetheless clarified and as Stefan simply nodded, she continued: “We had an argument about whether it would be a good idea to bring me to another witch or not. In the end, we agreed that it wouldn’t.”
Stefan’s brows shot up to his hair line. The implied and you’re still alive hung heavy in the air. Evangeline simply shrugged and turned her head to look out of the car widow, effectively ending the conversation. She knew, that Klaus’ lenient way with her was based on the fact, that for the moment she was a fascinating puzzle to him. That wasn’t what bothered her or what kept her up at night.
The real question was, what would happen once he lost his fascination with her…and if her necklace was back in her possession by then.

Before she could consider a possible way of action, once that would happen, a familiar feeling tugged at the edges of her senses. Magic. Maybe she could stea—
Her eyes widened. Lots of magic.
“There’s someone coming”, she said to Stefan, little tone to her voice, as she tried to be as neutral as possible. But her heart rate did speed up a bit.
Stefan looked at her strangely. “Yeah”, he replied, “I hear them.” Evangeline understood his nonchalance. The car parked on the side of a perfectly normal street in a perfectly normal little backwater town of Florida. The only slightly abnormal thing was the occult shop.
As more and more magic appeared, Evangeline knew, that this wasn’t a normal occurrence. The witch Klaus threatened at this very moment to help him find werewolves either had called for help against the hybrid or had scheduled a seance with her coven. Whatever the reason, there were at least three more witches heading their way.
“Stefan”, there was an urgency in Evangeline’s tone, that had the vampire tense his muscles, “witches are coming.”
He didn’t understand. Evangeline almost groaned in frustration. Of course, he knew witches and vampires, but he hadn’t been around long enough to encounter a siphoner, so he had no idea about the danger they were in.

Her eyes narrowed and her teeth nibbled on her lower lip, as Evangeline calculated hastily. She felt a lot of magic coming from the witches and initially she had planned to steal some from them. But four witches against a magic-less siphoner and a young-ish vampire…the odds weren’t exactly in their favour.
So she did the only thing she could think of. With a hasty movement, she let her body fall into the legroom in an attempt to hide from the witches passing by.
“Wha—”, Stefan began to ask, but Evangeline shushed him aggressively.
“Don’t talk”, she ordered harshly. “Act as if you’re alone in the car.” Stefan furrowed his brow, but did as he was told. He heard her heart beat loudly. Her breath speeding up and then stopping all together as she held it.

Three witches and a warlock approached the car.
One turned her head towards it.
The moment seemed to linger, as time stopped.

Then they had passed the car and entered the occult shop.

Evangeline released a breath of relief and climbed back up onto her seat.
“What was that about?”, Stefan asked concerned at seeing that proud woman hide like a little girl, as he turned around to talk to her.
Evangeline took a deep breath. “Witches and I don’t exactly see eye to eye”, she explained in a low tone. “Witches like me, who aren’t able to produce their own magic are abominations to normal witches.” She was careful to keep her voice neutral, but her eyes blazed with loathing. “We instead have the ability to absorb magic. They call us siphoners and as it always is with things different to what humans know; they hate it.”
Understanding dawned on Stefan’s face. This explained so much about who Evangeline was.
“So they hunt you?”, he asked hesitantly.
“Some do”, Evangeline answered dismissively and Stefan knew, that it wasn’t even close to the whole story.
“But you could just live as a human, couldn’t you?”, Stefan wondered. Evangeline shot a look at him, that made a cold shiver run down his spine. Her eyes a tempest of fury and indignation.
“Regardless that it would mean to deny myself my very nature…Witches would still feel, that I’m a siphoner as soon as they accidentally touch me”, Evangeline tried to explain calmly. But her controlled tone only made it worse for Stefan. He squirmed under her intense stare, as she continued: “And then I’d be defenceless and completely at their mercy. I wouldn’t survive a month.”
Stefan nodded slowly, but then he furrowed his brows. “Wouldn’t your coven defend you?”, he asked, because as he knew a coven was like family to witches. Something sacred. Evangeline only scoffed.
“My coven”, there was an acidic bitterness in her voice, as she spat the words, “tried to kill me as soon as they discovered, that I was a siphoner.” Her grey eyes had turned cold and all Stefan could do was nod. He knew, that if he pushed her further, she would hurt him. Necklace or not.

Inside the occult shop, Klaus had gotten what he wanted.
But there was one more thing he was curious about…

He didn’t care, that three more witches and a warlock entered the back room of the shop. His eyes were trained on the owner, who stood tall and proud, but had been willing to offer up a lead. She would also answer his other questions, Klaus had no doubt about that.
“Thank you for your cooperation”, Klaus grinned a devious smirk. “There’s just one more thing…” He trailed off, leaving all five magic wielders in suspense. The tension was thick in the air and he could smell their fear, could hear the fast beating of their hearts. A rush of satisfaction went through him. Power truly was delicious. It never ceased to lift his mood whenever witches quivered in fear of him.
His tone, however, was casual as he asked: “Do you know a woman by the name Evangeline Vinter?”

The reaction was instantaneous.
The owner’s eyes narrowed, hatred flashed over her features, before they turned carefully neutral. The youngest among them — one of the just arrived witches and the warlock — weren’t as good at controlling their emotions. The pungent smell of fear intensified and their eyes widened, as they shot to their elders in a need of guidance.
“Her name is well-known in the witch community”, the owner said calmly, but didn’t offer more. Klaus narrowed his eyes.
“And why exactly would that be?”, he pressed on. The old witch hesitated and Klaus shortly flashed his amber glowing eyes. He had no patience for such games.

“She’s an abomination”, the owner spat out, obviously not happy about revealing such secrets. Klaus tried not to instinctively flinch at the word. “A siphoner.” The word sounded like a disease falling like ash and acid from the old witch’s lips. She looked at the hybrid, careful about her next words and Klaus smelled her fear waft over him.
“Siphoners are rarely born and if they are, each coven has their own way to deal with them. The Gemini Coven developed a ritual to create a real witch out of two siphoners. The Bishop Coven simply exiles them. The Jaquard Coven executes them at the first sign of siphoning.” The old witch clenched her jaw and her teeth ground together as she refused to continue.
“Please”, Klaus said with a lopsided smirk, his tone dangerously light-hearted, “don’t stop now. I’m sure the interesting part of the story just started.”
“The…Vinters are an old bloodline. Crafty and powerful”, she continued unwillingly. Her fear of the hybrid overpowering her sense of duty to her kin’s secrets. “They fled, before their coven could execute their sentence. Ten years ago, Alphard Jaquard put a royal bounty on their heads, especially on Evangeline’s. Ever since then a lot of blood has been shed.” She sighed and her old age showed. As if the continued survival of Evangeline burdened her personally.
“The bounty is…tempting enough to hunt them anyway. Well” — A dark, satisfied smile crept onto the old hag’s face. — “whatever is left of them. Irene Vinter was killed long ago. Christen Vinter is hunting down his old coven, but there are rumours, that he’s dead as well and Evangeline…that little bitch killed more witches, than the community is willing to oversee.” She shrugged with a large grin on her wrinkled face. “With all of us after her, she will be dead soon enough and we will dance on her grave.”

Klaus absorbed the information like a sponge water. But the more he heard, the more rage bubbled in his veins.
He had heard similar things being whispered about himself for centuries. Had been cursed by his own mother because of his status as an abomination. Had been belittled and hunted by Mikael for the very same reason that witches hunted Evangeline. The darkness in his heart, fed by a millennium of hatred, pulsed thirstily at the words the witch said in her ignorance.
“You have been very helpful”, he said and lowered his head, as if contemplating his next step. But there was no contemplating to do. Not. At. All.

One second he stood there leisurely, his hands casually in the pockets of his jeans, as he had listened to the owner’s story, the next he was in front of her and she crumbled to the ground with a surprised gasp.
Her heart in his hand, before he let it fall to the ground with a dull thud.

“Let this be a warning”, he said slowly, his voice paced, but his eyes burning a bright amber. “You are no judges, although you fancy yourself to be nature’s executioners.” One of the younger witches lifted their hand, no doubt to hurt Klaus for his words and his actions, but another put a hand on the younger witch’s shoulder.
“Don’t”, she said, her eyes desperately fixed on Klaus, so they wouldn’t wander towards their dead elder. Klaus smirked. Their fear balm to his blackened heart. The salty scent of tears mixed with the coppery smell of blood, as Klaus turned around to leave. Unafraid to turn his back towards them. He could not die. And they would not dare to attack him. Not even to avenge the leader of their small coven.
No, Niklaus Mikaelson was truly immortal and the witches knew that all too well.

“You paint us the monsters”, he said as he slowly walked out of the room, his voice low and dark, sending shivers down their backs, “but never forget, that he who sows wind shall reap the whirlwind.”

Chapter Text

There are people you just click with. One conversation is enough, sometimes even less than that.
It just feels like you’re able to talk to them, because they understand. Because they’re like me in a way, that people rarely are.

I’ve met only few people like that. Zadie. Alaric. Anna.

Usually they don’t understand, what it means to survive.
People judge by what they see as they put their morals against my survival. I always loose that comparison.
Do I care? Not really, no. Why should I?

Walk a mile in my shoes, then we’ll talk again.
I’m not a monster by my own design.

They travelled to yet another backwater town, this time close to the Everglades, that very day. The car ride had been decidedly quiet.
Stefan had fought the lingering smell of blood on Klaus (the hybrid had only offered the witch pissed me off as an explanation) and really didn’t want to start another conversation, that led to the strange banter of his two travel companions.
Evangeline was busy with planning how to best keep herself hidden from the attention Klaus always drew to himself by everything supernatural. It wouldn’t do her any good, if word got out, that she was back stateside.
And Klaus had yet to process all the information the witch had given him and to his great chagrin it wasn’t the lead to a possible werewolf, that occupied his mind in the silent hours he drove on the long highways of Florida.

This time, it wasn’t a four star hotel they would stay in. It wasn’t the place to find something like that. So a dingy motel it was and for a moment Evangeline wondered, that the great, feared-by-all Klaus Mikaelson would stoop so low as to stay there. Apparently he really wanted to find werewolves.
Stefan, although he hadn’t seemed to be all too excited about their abode, had been eager to leave the lingering smell of blood in the car to compel them two rooms. Klaus and Evangeline stayed behind, the brunette witch leaning against the car with crossed arms and Klaus looking around, taking in their surroundings. Sea-green eyes alert and sharp, a secretive smirk on his lips as if he was amused by something only he was worth knowing.
“Supposedly”, Klaus began suddenly, his tone all business-like and his eyes slowly shifting towards Evangeline, “someone by the name of Cliff Spurling lives here. He’s got a little problem sleeping at the night of a full moon, ever since a work buddy told him about werewolves.” Evangeline tilted her head towards the hybrid and listened intently, glad for the distraction Klaus provided from her own dark thoughts. “So he goes to see a witch and asks how to guard his home against werewolves.”
A slasher smile appeared on his face. She knew exactly where his thought process was ending.

For a moment she hesitated and Klaus let her ponder, gave her the time she needed to decide whether she wanted to play with him or not. But as miffed as Evangeline was, that Klaus held her necklace hostage, she started to enjoy the darkness he offered. It tempted her.
“Poor lad”, she said therefore with a lazy shrug, “doesn’t know that won’t do him any good against vampires.” At the dark promise glinting in his eyes when he heard her words, Evangeline couldn’t help but to smile a wicked grin herself. An understanding flowed between them, just a little something that made the air shift a bit.

“Got the rooms”, a decidedly cranky voice interrupted. “Seems like you need it.” Stefan tossed one of the keys to Klaus, who caught it effortlessly without taking his eyes from Evangeline, before the brooding vampire took his bag from the car and left for his room. “Oh… and we might need to leave for another motel tomorrow morning”, he tossed over his shoulder. “I got a bit thirsty.”
At that Klaus smirked and Evangeline sighed.
“You understand, that I won’t be able to defend myself, if he decides he wants to take a bite out of me, right?”, Evangeline asked a bit peeved, as she herself pulled her bag from the backseat of the car. Her eyes wandered to her necklace around the hybrid’s neck. Mocking her with how close and yet far away it was.
“Oh, he wouldn’t dare”, Klaus said so self-assured, that Evangeline thought it better not to ask why exactly he was so sure on that fact. Instead she pushed past him and headed towards the general direction of the rooms. Klaus would follow and tell her which one was their room.

And sure enough, he followed with an amused chuckle.

It was when Evangeline braided her hair for the night on the not-so-soft bed — already in her pyjamas, because Klaus let her always have the bath first — that she contemplated a delicate matter. She had thought long and hard during the drive and she hadn’t been able to come up with anything else. Her heart sped up with the desperate need to keep her presence in North America a secret.
Therefore her lips were pressed into a tight line and her eyes stoically fixed on the bathroom door. Klaus did look a bit surprised once he left the bathroom, at how intently she had been waiting for that, but he didn’t say anything. Instead he threw his phone onto the second bed and leaned leisurely against the door frame. He knew that Evangeline wanted something from him, so humouring her, he crossed his arms and looked at her expectantly.
Evangeline struggled. Her mind at war with itself, but she hadn’t found a better solution. It would show a weakness, but somehow she had the feeling, that at least for the moment, Klaus wouldn’t exploit that.
“I would appreciate it”, she started hesitantly, her eyes drifting away from him, looking at anything in the room but him and his stupid smirk and his stupidly powerful aura, “if you wouldn’t mention my name or that I’m currently travelling with you anywhere.”

She glanced back at him to gauge his reaction. The almost sheepish look Klaus sported underneath a grand display of indifference, however, told Evangeline that her request had been too late. She groaned and let herself fall back onto the bed with a heavy thud.
“You understand” — Something in his tone made Evangeline sit up again to fully look at him. — “that I still can’t return your necklace to you”, Klaus said simply with a lopsided smirk on his lips, knowing that she had figured out what had happened in the occult shop earlier that day. But his eyes were stern and related another message all together.
The foreign sensation of feeling safe washed over Evangeline at the determination in them. She stared at him — brows furrowed in contemplation, lips slightly parted — and refused to read too much into it.

Then she huffed and the moment was gone. “Damn, chatty witch”, she cursed under her breath, but the promise in those sea-green eyes let her smile just a tiny bit nonetheless.
“She’s dead, love”, Klaus chuckled genuinely amused, “cursing her wouldn’t do any good.” He was disgustingly satisfied with that little fact. Apparently he had taken a lot of pleasure in killing her.
Evangeline lifted a brow. “Well, I would need my necklace for that now, wouldn’t I?” Her tone was that of friendly banter and as the words left her lips, Evangeline knew their sentiment to be true. There was no real malice behind them. Not anymore.
Did she still want her necklace back? Hell yes.
Was she still annoyed by the way Klaus had taken it from her? Of fucking course.
Was she willing to do anything to get it back as soon as possible? Not entirely. Maybe it was entertaining to see, just how far a hybrid’s promise goes. And to be honest, she had relied on having magic way too much in the last couple of years. It was time she remembered the lessons her mother had bestowed upon her. Lessons, that didn’t need magic to defend oneself, but a quick, ruthless mind.

Cliff Spurling was a man in his mid-thirties with skin weathered from work and a liking to beer that made him rather unattractive. He did have an impressive moustache, though. Klaus, Stefan and Evangeline found him sitting outside a hardware store, beer in hand and a stained wife beater showing off three or four tattoos on his arms. It was early afternoon, the sun still too hot to be comfortable and people generally seeking the sanctuary of air con inside the buildings.
Stefan was ordered to keep an eye on him and call Klaus as soon as Cliff went home, so they could get information out of him without prying eyes.

“So”, Klaus started in casual conversation, as he and Evangeline walked through the streets of the small Florida town, “what do siphoners do all day?” He seemed half-joking and half genuinely interested.
“I studied Ancient Languages in Oxford before you took my uncle for a joy ride”, Evangeline answered with a playful smile in an equally half-joking, half-serious manner. Surprisingly enough, that was all that was needed to start an easily flowing discussion about the artistic aesthetics of Egyptian hieroglyphs, the impact of Sumerian script on human development and whether or not Younger Futhark sounded as beautiful as Klaus insisted.
Sometime along their discussion, they had found some sort of café/bar/post office, that offered coffee — or at least something similar to coffee. It was black and strong, so Klaus and Evangeline were satisfied enough.

There was something weirdly relaxing, as Evangeline found, about just sitting in a rundown mash-up of stores that offered the only drinkable coffee in nowhere, Florida with Klaus and simply talking with him.

Somewhere between ordering first and second coffee their conversation had shifted from Ancient Languages towards the languages either spoke. Switching from English to French to Russian to Mandarin to Swedish in a speed that had Evangeline’s mind spinning. She would never admit, but he was giving her a run for her money. But then again, he had had lifetimes to perfect his language skills.
They had settled on Swedish, feeling as if that was the language least to be understood by anyone but them, when Evangeline had brought them onto the topic of information extraction. It had started innocent enough with the brunette sipping from her coffee and asking Klaus how he planned to get information out of Cliff Spurling.
By their third coffee, they were deep in a heated discussion held in Swedish whether forcing information or seducing information was more effective. Surprisingly it wasn’t Klaus, who was in favour for forcing it. Evangeline ended the argument with a simple: “Well, I would have to touch to seduce and any witch would instantly know what I am. So that’s just not going to work.”

Before Klaus could open his mouth with no doubt a witty comeback, his phone rang.
“Looks like we have to cut this short, love”, he said and his brows furrowed at the reluctant tone in his voice. He seemed just as surprised as Evangeline when reality caught up and that it actually had been over three hours since they had left Stefan to watch Cliff. It had been so easy to hold a pleasant conversation.
Evangeline felt her body tense at that revelation and only then did she realise, that she had relaxed in Klaus’ proximity. Her grey eyes flew towards him and she saw a similar tension in his shoulders.

“Well, then let’s not have Broody the Vamp wait any longer”, Evangeline said with a forced grin. It scared her, how easy it had been for her to feel comfortable in his presence. Klaus nodded, piled some dollar notes on the table to pay for both of them and then left without caring if Evangeline followed or not.
“Then let’s see who gets the answer I want faster”, Klaus joked and grinned, his head slightly tilted down to look at Evangeline. A silent challenge in his eyes. And just like that he brushed past any awkwardness. In a mutual understanding, Evangeline followed suit without thinking too much about it.
Her eyes travelled from Klaus’ eyes towards her necklace around his neck. “I would need my magic for that, though”, she accepted his challenge.
Klaus’ grin widened. “Oh, love, don’t get greedy now.” There was something in his voice, that made Evangeline’s skin tingle and heat rush to her cheeks. But because she wasn’t one to back down and simply roll over, she stared right at him. A smirk slowly stretched her full lips as she said: “It was worth a shot.” She shrugged dismissively and turned away from Klaus.
“I think we really shouldn’t let Stefan wait any longer with the human”, she threw over her shoulder. Klaus chuckled lowly and headed in the opposite direction Evangeline had turned towards.

Their soon-to-be-dead-informant lived at the very edge of the town in a creaky house, that looked as if it was haunted by the thing from the swamp. The irony of what would happen in such a setting in only a few minutes was not lost on Evangeline and so her full lips were adorned with an amused little smile as she stepped onto the rundown porch behind Klaus and Stefan, just as the latter knocked.
“Yeah?”, Cliff seemed wary, as he opened the door, not the screen door, though — as if that would provide any protection.
Why don’t you invite me and my friend here in, so we can have a little private chat, eh?”, Klaus compelled easily, the British drawl in his voice dark and a tad bit impatient.
Cliff’s eyes immediately washed over with the typical far-away look and he opened his mouth to say: “Come in, both of you.”

The inside of the house was just as creaky and dirty as the outside. Evangeline wrinkled her nose at the many empty beer bottles on the kitchen counter. She could only imagine how bad it must be for the vampire and the hybrid with their heightened senses.
Just sit down and keep silent” Klaus compelled Cliff, who immediately sat down on one of the chair at his kitchen table. A smile danced on Klaus’ lips, as he inspected Cliff’s knives.

Stefan had an apprehensive look on his face, as he stood in the door frame between hallway and kitchen, his arms crossed in front of his chest. His whole body language screaming, that he didn’t want to be where he was. Evangeline found her place next to him, leisurely leaning against the door frame, with her hands in the pockets of her jeans shorts, looking as if she was standing in a friend’s kitchen and talking about the weather.

“Now”, Klaus said as soon as he found a knife he was satisfied with and turned towards the poor human, “let’s have a talk about full moon nights.” His eyes twinkled with anticipation.

“You’re not going to stop him?”, Stefan whispered to Evangeline. His body leaned a bit closer to the witch, but not too close so her blood couldn’t call for him.
The brunette shot him a short look of confused wonder, before she returned her gaze towards Klaus, who had started to tell Cliff what exactly he wanted to know. Without looking at Stefan, she asked genuinely interested in his answer: “Do tell what gives you the impression, that I could stop him?”
Although Evangeline did not shy back from violence in general, she didn’t usually condone unnecessary cruelty. But to go against Klaus was downright suicidal. So it surprised her utterly, that Stefan would suggest her trying such a thing.

Stefan furrowed his brows. “You and him—”
“Don’t fool yourself, Stefan”, Evangeline interrupted in a harsh whisper, understanding what he meant. Her grey orbs bored into his eyes, cold and hard and cruel. Stefan pressed his lips together and Evangeline looked back to where Klaus was still talking to the human.
She elaborated in a low tone: “Don’t fool yourself into thinking, that I could have a sway over what Niklaus Mikaelson is doing. Or that I am anything like my cousin and rush to help every poor sod along my way.” She tilted her head slightly towards Stefan, but didn’t look away from Cliff. “Both will get you killed.”
A cold shiver ran over Stefan’s skin at how matter-of-factly she had said the last sentence. No, if Stefan had ever searched for similarities between Elena and Evangeline, at the latest now he knew they were profoundly different. It made him curious to why that was…and if he would ever truly get along with the witch.

A strangled cry of pain made Stefan’s head shoot towards Cliff and Klaus. The hybrid had just started to really torture the human. And Stefan was eager to get any distraction from the smell of fresh blood, that he could get.
“How can you be okay with this?”, he tried again to connect with Evangeline. “You’re here against your will just as much as I.” It was obvious, that he meant not just the torture of the human informant, but also how nonchalant Evangeline dealt with Klaus in general.
“Just because I wasn’t invited properly, doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy the ride”, the young woman shrugged and turned to look at Stefan. “I’m an opportunist and since I’m not going anywhere until I’ve got my necklace back, I can make the best out of the situation, right? And you, you offered a decade of your immortal life to save your brother.” She lifted a brow, when her words hadn’t the wanted effect on the vampire. “I’d wager”, she continued therefore in a slow tone, “a decade was rather forthcoming. It could’ve been eternal servitude and I know, that you would have taken that offer as well, if it meant saving Damon.”
Stefan felt as if he had been punched in the gut. He couldn’t deny the truth and pragmatism in Evangeline’s words. To save Damon he truly would’ve done anything. Bile rose in his throat and he had an acidic taste on his tongue, as he realised that Klaus had indeed been rather generous (considering he was Klaus). It made Stefan sick to his stomach, that Evangeline was so okay with all this and — on top of it — was right to be. The smell of blood lingering in the air didn’t help either, and so Stefan’s expression was dark and tortured.
“Oh don’t look so glum”, the young woman teased, a wicked smile on her full lips.
“You’re a witch.” Evangeline’s eyes darkened into a grey tempest as Stefan said that. “You’re human”, he tried again and then nodded towards a smirking Klaus and a substantially bleeding Cliff. “How is this possibly okay for you?”

There was genuine interest in Stefan’s voice, although the strain of the blood was audible, too. But it seemed as if he truly wanted to understand, why Evangeline wasn’t bothered with the things Elena and Bonnie had long gone to war against. Therefore Evangeline honoured his honest curiosity by turning her head completely towards him to look him dead in the eyes.
“I take after my ancestor”, she said with a dark smirk and a sarcastic drawl to her voice. “I’m a survivor, not an idealist.”
And yes, in that moment, Stefan truly felt hauntingly reminded of Katherine Pierce.

“If you’re quite finished gossipping”, Klaus’ mocking tone cut through Stefan’s and Evangeline’s conversation. They both turned their heads towards a very satisfied hybrid and an exhausted, bleeding human. Klaus’ sea-green eyes shortly rested on Evangeline, before they turned towards Stefan. His smirk widened, as he saw the vampire’s eyes start to turn red and his veins bulge slightly, now that his focus was brought towards Cliff.
“Stefan, mate”, Klaus smirked, “he’s all yours.”

Stefan struggled. The veins bulged completely under his eyes, where crimson slowly flooded them, washing away his humanity. Klaus grinned, entirely too satisfied with the monster he was creating. And Evangeline was pissed. She gripped Stefan’s wrist tightly to gain his attention and stepped closer towards him.
Klaus’ muscles tensed and his eyes narrowed, as Evangeline pushed her body onto Stefan’s so she could bring her mouth next to his ear. The skin on skin contact grounded Stefan as much as it drove him crazy. He knew, that this was Elena’s cousin, Alaric’s niece and at the same time, he could hear the pumping of her blood and felt the warmth of her skin.
“Don’t you dare point a finger at me preaching morality”, Evangeline hissed lowly into his ear, her hot breath fanning over his neck, her tone low and dangerous, “when you can barely contain your own monster.”

Before Stefan could react, the warmth of her body and the rush of her blood was taken away from him and all he could feel was suffocating guilt and burning thirst, as he sank his fangs into Cliff Spurling’s neck.

Klaus on the other hand, had gripped the little witch around her waist and hoisted her out of the room, before Stefan had been able to loose it. He pushed her harshly off the porch and followed her stumbling body with large steps. A scowl was present on his handsome face and his sea-green eyes were dark with annoyance.
“That was stupid”, he scolded immediately.
“Not the first vampire I poked”, Evangeline snapped back, as soon as she had found her footing again, her face mirroring his anger. Klaus zoomed in front of her and pulled her necklace from his neck to dangle it in front of Evangeline’s face.
“But the first one you poke while you’re powerless”, he growled and shook the necklace. Evangeline’s eyes darkened some more and she stepped onto her toes to be on eye-level with Klaus. Their faces closer to each other than ever before. Her left hand shot out to grab Klaus’ wrist, similar to what she did with Stefan, the sudden contact of their skin surprising both of them.
But Evangeline pushed past the surprise and the tingling feeling Klaus’ skin left on her fingers.

“I’m never completely powerless”, she hissed and her hand glowed red as she siphoned the magic of Klaus’ very being to make his blood boil. He growled in pain, but just as sudden as Evangeline had grabbed onto his wrist, she let go of it and the pain stopped. She didn’t want to hurt him too bad, she just wanted to make a point.
“I do appreciate your concern for my health, though”, she said, her head turned away from him and her eyes stubbornly fixed on the chipped paint of one of the porch posts. There was such genuine surprise in her tone, that Klaus forgot for a moment, that he had wanted to put her in her place for daring to hurt him.
His heart clenched unbidden at how familiar her carefully guarded expression was; how well-known the tone of her voice somewhere between surprise, doubt and confusion sounded.
“We need to pack”, was all Klaus said, as he walked past Evangeline without addressing what just happened. “Pensacola is a long way from here and I rather have us start driving as soon as possible.”

Chapter Text

How does one trust, when betrayal is all one knows?

Mistrust festers like an open wound in my soul. Darkening it. It’s lonely. Yes.

But if I trust no one, I will survive.
I stayed alive so long against all odds. Survived burning stakes and poisoned gifts.
There’s no one I need but myself.

I am enough. And my goals are clear.

In Pensacola they found the guy, who told Cliff Spurling about werewolves. A young chap of maybe mid-twenty by the name Richard Williams, who had a young wife — just married, too — and knew about werewolves from a guy he worked with called Ray Sutton. Neither the unfortunate work-buddy of Ray the werewolf, nor his wife survived the encounter with Stefan and his insatiable thirst.
Klaus on the other hand tended to feed along the way on young women, who usually were willingly giving him their blood. It amused Klaus, that humans were so enamoured with him, that they would readily die just to be bitten.

Over the weeks it took their little group to travel from Florida to Louisiana and from Louisiana to Tennessee, Stefan left a trail of bodies as he succumbed more and more to his ripper side. They were hidden well enough from the officials, but Klaus knew that it was Damon, who was tracking them and not the FBI. Again, the hybrid found a strange amusement in the fruitless efforts of the elder Salvatore in getting on their trail. Evangeline had seen his eyes gleam with mirth more than once, whenever his minions had reported, that yes, Damon had showed up at their last location, but no, he hadn’t picked up on where they went after that.
Evangeline had called Alaric every three days for the beginning of their trip, but the calls had gotten shorter and shorter and more and more days were in between them, until Alaric had confessed something, that had made Evangeline absolutely speechless.
“Evie”, he had said, “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but knowing that Klaus is with you…” Klaus himself had perked up at this and even Stefan had stopped his brooding for a moment. “I don’t think I ever felt, as if you were more safe, since you’re on your own. I don’t trust him. I don’t like him. But I don’t think anyone is more capable of killing witches than him.” And that, that had Evangeline’s jaw drop to the floor; had earned her a knowing, very annoyed look from Stefan and a hybrid, who was smug for three days straight afterwards.

But true to her uncle’s words, Klaus had relieved five witches of their hearts since their travels started, just to stop rumours floating around, that Evangeline was back stateside. He argued, that it would considerably hinder his quest to find a pack of werewolves, if witches hunted them.
No one dared to utter, that he could simply let Evangeline have her necklace back and be on her marry way. Evangeline took his reasoning, as flimsy as it was, without questioning it. Neither her nor Klaus wanted to think about any other possible reason he could have to react in such a way.
They did, however, grow more comfortable with sharing a room along the road and somewhere between Arkansas and Mississippi, Klaus had taken a liking to a little game. Ever since he had forgotten to take a new shirt into the bathroom with him and Evangeline hadn’t been able to not ogle his admittedly very attractive, naked torso, he would parade around in nothing but his jeans, curious about how long it would take Evangeline to crack and snap at him to put a shirt on.

As payback, Evangeline had taken to comment on his drawings and sketches and hinted, that if he would just give her back her necklace, she may be inclined to help speed up his search for werewolves. Klaus always growled at her in a way, that they both knew wasn’t meant to threaten earnestly, but also never took her up on her offer.
They didn’t talk about why exactly he wanted to have her around and they didn’t think about it either, both entirely too occupied with being wary about how comfortable they felt around the other; suspicious about the friendship, that was slowly building between them and utterly focused on not trusting the other too much.

But Evangeline did notice, that Klaus had started to stop at her favourite food places and if they had driven the night through, because he had wanted to travel faster, there had always been a cup of coffee with the exact right amount of sugar for her, although Evangeline had never told him how she liked her coffee. He must have remembered it from back in that swamp town in Florida weeks ago.
She showed how appreciated it was by not being as antagonistic towards Klaus as Stefan tended to be; by starting conversations with the hybrid, because surprisingly enough, he rather obviously loathed silence and loneliness; simply by letting him know with a look or a smile, that his efforts were noticed and genuinely appreciated.

All that wasn’t that hard, to be honest, and Evangeline had started to adapt to the presence of the murderous hybrid and the brooding ripper, who grew more villainous the more he succumbed to his blood lust.
Alone at night, when her demons wouldn’t let her sleep and she would sit at the window of their hotel room to stare blankly outside — knowing full well, that Klaus knew that she was awake — Evangeline couldn’t help but to think, that travelling with a group, as mis-matched as theirs probably was, was considerably better than travelling all alone.

It also wasn’t lost to Evangeline, that whenever she had had a bad night filled with nightmares and standing or sitting at windows, Klaus would start up a conversation about the countries of Europe and effectively pulled Evangeline into a conversation about the nice times she had while she travelled the Old Continent. How much Evangeline missed her time in Europe apparently had been rather obvious. There just were too many bad memories connected to the United States for her to truly feel comfortable.
The hybrid always disguised it as gloating where he had been and that he had done something with his immortal life in difference to Stefan, but Evangeline felt as if he was trying to help her in his own, twisted way.
Sometimes, when Klaus would mock Stefan and his tendency to torture himself with his vampirism instead of enjoying the world like he did and even Evangeline did, their eyes would meet in the rear-view mirror and Evangeline’s would show her gratitude for a second, melting the hard grey to warm silver, and Klaus’ eyes would soften just a fraction, before he would look away, the typical look of superiority in them again.

The strangest thing, however, happened some nights before they would reach the home Ray Sutton kept coming back to. According to Richard Williams two friends of his lived there year-round, while Ray only came back for full moons to be with his pack.
Klaus had decided to stop at a nice hotel and this time, when Evangeline got up in the middle of the night to stand at the window, arms wrapped around her body in an attempt to comfort herself, Klaus got up too and stepped right behind her. His eyes traced the sensual curve of her neck and the tension in her muscles caused by nightmares and years of survival.
Evangeline could feel the heat of his body seep through the thin material she wore. His presence, the powerful aura that surrounded him, it made her feel safer. She knew, that if she would take just a small step back and tilt her body just a tiny bit, that she could lean against his tall, secure frame. She didn’t, though.

“Warm nights remind me of Italy”, she said abruptly, her tone low and far-away. She didn’t turn around and Klaus didn’t react in any way. He just stood behind Evangeline, a silent assurance.
“There was a coven”, Evangeline continued, her arms wrapped around her slender body a bit tighter. “Some relations to the main Jaquard-bloodline in France. I…wasn’t careful enough.” She sighed and her whole body shook underneath the weight she carried.
“No one ever got as close as them to actually kill me.” A sarcastic chuckle escaped her throat. Her eyes burned with unshed tears, as her skin screamed in pain nothing but a memory now. The scars on her skin itched and her mouth felt like it was washed with acid and ash.
She felt the heat of fire and smelled olive trees and myrtle mixed with the sickening scent of her own coppery blood.
The chanting all around her.
The pain—

“Look at me.”

Klaus’ voice was soft and gentle.
The detached, logical part of Evangeline’s brain wondered, how it had gotten through the cacophony of memories.

She slowly turned around, her head hung low and she swallowed what little pride she had left to lift her gaze and meet Klaus head on. But there was no mockery in his sea-green eyes. There was no wicked grin on his lips. There was something so genuine and serious in his expression, that Evangeline suddenly didn’t dare to breath.
“I assure you”, he said gently, as he lifted his right hand and slowly brought it to Evangeline’s face, “that no one will ever hurt you again.” His thumb tenderly brushed away the lone tear, that fell down on Evangeline’s cheek.
“I assure you”, Klaus continued and he tilted his head down, so that he could look her right into the eyes, “that any one, who will come after you, will meet a spectacular end.”

It was a moment of raw vulnerability. Their gazes were locked, unable to look away.
Thoughts of wariness and distrust nothing but a faint echo long forgotten.

Evangeline blinked, then she opened her mouth, closed it, opened it again and asked: “Why?”
Her voice was quiet, barely audible, but Klaus would have heard it even without his supernatural senses. His whole being was focused on the beautiful woman in front of him and none of his worries were loud enough at that moment to quench his urge to comfort her.

“Because you are a very remarkable woman”, he said with a small genuine smile. “You are dark and twisted and yet you are still so young, so innocent in many things. You are stronger than you might think at the moment. You know what you want and you know how to get it. I admire that.” He looked at her so tenderly, that Evangeline’s heart clenched and her stomach fluttered. “Despite your youth, you know sorrow and I am sorry, that it hardened you. But still…still I see you belief in the good in people. In Stefan. In me.” His smile turned softer, even gentler yet. “Not even the devil can be entirely evil in your eyes. You understand why he’s evil and take it with stride. I admire that, too.”
Klaus’ thumb gently caressed Evangeline’s cheek. His eyes never left hers and she could see something in them, that made her mouth go dry. Her skin tingled, where he touched her. And never, never before had she been complimented on her darker, more morally questionable side. She had felt something….something between them from the very beginning. Had not dared to linger on it. Hadn’t wanted to risk thinking about it. Trust…trust didn’t come easy for her. And here Klaus was. Trusting as little as she and yet pouring his heart out.

A war raged within her. Betrayed too often and by the ones she trusted most, Evangeline didn’t open herself easily.
Yet she couldn’t…wouldn’t deny, that there was something there.

“Don’t ever change, love”, Klaus murmured, enthralled by the kaleidoscope of emotions within her grey eyes. And suddenly it felt as if she was able to truly breath for the very first time in her life.
“I won’t”, she whispered lowly, equally trapped by his gaze. As if a flood gate had opened, she wanted to say something more, so much more; tell him, that she understood why he hid that he cared; tell him, that she knew what it felt like to be alone, to be the abomination, the devil. Tell him, that he would always have a kindred spirit in her. A friend. Something she knew neither of them had had in such a long time.
“Niklaus, I—”
But how could she? Suddenly she was nervous, that she would say the wrong things after how beautifully he had expressed himself.

“Klaus is enough”, he said.
What a strange thing to say in such a situation. She furrowed her brows.
Was he as nervous as she was?

“I don’t like Klaus”, she replied automatically. Everyone called him Klaus, it was the name he was feared by. Evangeline didn’t want to fear him.
A low chuckle broke her train of thought and his hand left her cheek. “Tell me how you feel, why don’t you, love”, he laughed.
And he truly laughed, an honest, open laugh. Evangeline was mesmerised.

“I’m not like everybody else. I don’t want to call you by a name everybody else fears”, she explained, a small smile on her own lips. She had made him laugh. A sense of pride filled her.
“Then what do you want to call me?”, Klaus asked with a grin, his eyes dancing with genuine amusement.
Surprised, that he would allow it, Evangeline took a step back and leaned against the windowsill as she made a large show out of thinking up a name. “Is Nik an option?”, she wanted to know. For a second Klaus’ eyes darkened and an unreadable expression rushed over his face. Then the smile was back and he inclined his head towards her in a little bow.
“You may call me Nik, if you so wish to”, he said, his British drawl more prominent than usually. “But only”, he looked straight into her eyes, a wicked grin on his lips, “if I may call you Lin.”
Evangeline rose an eyebrow, but couldn’t help the wide smile on her face. “Why?”, she asked yet again.
There was something endearingly roughish about Klaus, when he answered: “Because I’m not like everybody else.”

When Evangeline awoke the next morning, Klaus wasn’t anywhere in their suite, but her necklace rested on the little table next to her bed.

The Southern Comfort was a rundown bar somewhere along the highway in nowhere, Tennessee and as soon as they made it there two days later, Klaus turned towards Stefan with the order to compel anyone in the bar to act as if nothing out of the ordinary happened. Then he turned towards Evangeline, the anticipation almost palpable around him.
“Thank you, Nik”, she said lowly, honestly. It was the first time, they were alone with each other. Klaus’ smile softened a bit.
It was noticeable in her whole body language, that she felt more at ease with her necklace where it belonged. Her back was as straight as Klaus remembered from when he first met her; her smile just a bit more wicked on her full lips; her movements that tiny bit more confident, that would tell anyone that she was a predator not the pray.
Yes, Klaus did not regret his decision to hand her back her necklace.

“Of course, love,” he simply replied, but knew that Evangeline had understood the gesture for what it was. The offer of…well, friendship didn’t sound right…what they had was…something neither wanted to define. But that was okay, too.
“Once you’re tired of torturing him”, Evangeline said nonchalantly, “get me some of his blood and I’ll scry for the location of his pack.”
Klaus nodded, the smile reaching his eyes. He knew, that this was her way to accept his offer.
“I really like, that you don’t even think I wouldn’t torture him”, Klaus grinned, as he started to walk towards the bar.
Evangeline shot him a look with a raised eyebrow and fell in step next to him. “Well, you enjoy to be the villain in this, right?”, she grinned wickedly. Klaus opened the door and held it for her, letting her step past him into the bar.
“Indeed I do.”

It took a while for Ray to appear, but when he did, Klaus jumped right into action. Evangeline followed and sat down next to Klaus at the bar, just as Ray stood up to leave.
“Not so fast, mate”, Klaus stopped him. “You only just got here.” There was a dangerous edge to his voice, that made Evangeline’s skin tingle. She turned slightly on the barstool to have a better view of what happened.
“Now your type”, Klaus continued, “are very hard to come by.” As if his words were a signal, Ray turned around to leave as fast as possible, but Stefan was already there to cut him off.
“I wouldn’t do that”, he said slowly and pushed the werewolf back against the bar. Evangeline grinned. Yes, Ray didn’t do anything but existing and maybe it was wrong to enjoy his discomfort…but she had met enough werewolves and only few were sensible enough to keep away from humans during full moons. Plus, as Klaus planned, they wouldn’t stay dead anyway.

“Vampires”, Ray cursed, his eyes darting from Stefan to Klaus, who stood in front of Evangeline.
“You’re swifty swift Ray”, he joked and grabbed Ray’s bottle of beer. “Yes”, Klaus said, leisurely leaning at the bar, but Evangeline kicked his leg gently, unhappy with being shielded in such a way. Klaus rolled his eyes and shifted a bit to the side as he continued talking: “My friend here is a vampire. He’s compelled everyone in the bar”, Klaus made a vague gesture with his beer bottle, “so don’t look for any help.”
Ray’s eyes wandered over the other people and landed on Evangeline.
“I wouldn’t do that, either”, Stefan repeated. Evangeline raised a brow.
“Ah”, Klaus said and stepped aside a bit more, so Evangeline was better seen. “You have found the single most beautiful creature in the bar”, he grinned and inclined his head towards Evangeline, who only rolled her eyes but chuckled nonetheless. “Most beautiful and most dangerous.” Klaus let his voice drop, the warning in it clear.
“Well, with the exception of me, of course.” He smirked yet again.

As Ray’s eyes shot from Evangeline, who really didn’t look as threatening as Klaus made her out to be, to Klaus, the hybrid grinned wickedly.
“I’m something else”, he said lowly, pride and arrogance dripping from his words. “A different kind of monster. I’ve got some vampire. I’ve got some wolf.”
“What?” Poor Ray seemed genuinely confused and Klaus enjoyed it entirely too much.
“A hybrid, Ray. I’m both”, Klaus explained as if it was the most natural of things. Evangeline smirked at his antics, while Stefan rolled his eyes. “You see”, Klaus continued, entirely focused on Ray, “I want to create more of me. Now, you’re the first werewolf I’ve come across in many a moon.” Klaus lifted his bottle of beer towards Ray, his smirk large. “Pun intended”, he chuckled.
“So not funny”, Evangeline muttered under her breath and Stefan cracked a small smile at that. Klaus just shot a dark look towards the witch, who simply shrugged and waved at him to continue with Ray, who seemed completely confused by the three strange people cornering him.
“Right”, Klaus said and turned towards Ray again. “I need you to lead me to your pack.” Ray’s eyes widened and Evangeline was sure, that if she had the hearing of a vampire, she would hear his heart speed up. “Sooo”, Klaus drew out the syllable. “Where can I find them, Ray?”

Ray shook his head.
“You can’t compel me”, he said. “It won’t work.” Stefan lifted his brows and scratched the side of his head. Evangeline just shrugged, as Klaus looked towards her. They both knew, that it wouldn’t be that easy.
“Right”, Klaus sighed as he turned towards Stefan, who also made a noncommittal gesture.
“You see”, Klaus said and tilted his head, looking at Ray again, “I could let Lin here magic the information out of you, whether you want it or not.” Ray’s eyes shot towards Evangeline, his face pale and fear obvious in them. Evangeline gave him a sweet little wave with her fingers. Maybe she was enjoying it too much, too.
“But”, Klaus brought the focus back to himself, “my friend Stefan has rediscovered his passion for torture over the last couple of weeks.” Ray seemed to pale even more. “So, who am I to deny him such fun, right?”

As if he was asking for a beer, Stefan turned towards the bar man and asked: “Can you bring out the darts, please?” Then he looked at Evangeline, who pulled a small pouch from her handbag and threw it towards him. Stefan caught it effortlessly and started talking, while he slowly opened the pouch.
“Tell you what, Ray”, Stefan said, eyes focused on his task, just looking up shortly to see if Ray listened to him, “we’re gonna play a little drinking game”, his eyes darkened and a smile appeared on his lips as he pulled a plant from the pouch and Ray paled, “something I like to call truth or wolfsbane.”

The painful groans, that came from Ray as Stefan turned him into a pincushion laced with wolfsbane, didn’t bother Evangeline. She took a sip from her whiskey. What bothered her was something entirely different.
Her fingers traced over the smooth opal beads of her necklace. Her brows furrowed and her lips tightened into a thin line.

Grey eyes wandered, her slender fingers still playing with her necklace. Klaus sat next to where Stefan tortured Ray for information. He had his feet leisurely propped up against a table and seemed to enjoy himself thoroughly. Evangeline pursed her lips. It hadn’t been all that bad to be on the road with him. For the love of all that was unholy, he wasn’t all that bad.
But he had shown her a weakness Evangeline didn’t want to ever experience again.

A pretty woman with dark hair walked up to Klaus, who pulled his feet from the table. Evangeline tilted her head, as she watched them talk.
The magic prickled underneath her fingers, just daring her to use it. To feel the rush of power. To be invincible.

Her brows furrowed some more, as Klaus and the woman got awfully close.
Evangeline’s lips pulled into a smile, wicked and dark, as a thought shot through her mind. Klaus looked up and past the woman, his sea-green eyes locking with grey orbs as if it was the most natural of actions. One of his brows lifted in a silent question as he saw her expression, but Evangeline just shook her head. Their eyes were still fixed on each other, when Klaus dismissed the woman and Evangeline lifted her hands to open the clasp of her necklace.
Just as she pulled the necklace down and put it on the bar in front of her, Klaus was distracted by Stefan.

Evangeline stared at her necklace. A rush of anxiety flooded her veins.

“I need to go away for a bit”, Stefan’s voice suddenly sounded from right next to her. Evangeline looked up, rather confused. A hard, tight expression rested on the vampire’s face. “Put that back on”, he nodded towards the necklace. “And don’t do anything stupid, that would make Ric stake me, okay?” He tilted his head down to emphasise his point.
“I never do stupid things”, Evangeline shot back with a lifted brow.
“Debatable”, Stefan just answered and then he was gone. Evangeline was left confused, but when she turned her head towards Klaus, he was busy torturing Ray. By the small smirk he wore, she knew that he had listened to their conversation, but since he didn’t deem it necessary to comment, Evangeline shrugged to herself and concentrated yet again on the necklace in front of her.

She could still feel the magic. Could almost physically feel it call for her.
Her skin tingled and her fingers twitched. The magic was still so potent. So maybe…maybe she would be able to siphon it without touching it?

Never had Evangeline felt as frustrated as she did in that very moment.
For hours she had stared at her necklace and tried to call it’s magic to her without touching it. She had ordered the magic. Lured it. Begged it.


In a small temper tantrum, Evangeline grabbed her necklace and let all the bottles behind the bar explode.
“That’s better”, she muttered darkly, as she put the necklace back on.

She felt his presence, before she heard him talk.
“What has you in such a spectacular mood?”, he asked, tone teasing, but when Evangeline turned her head to look at him, she could see the scowl on his handsome face. Her eyes travelled to a barely conscious Ray. Her tongue darted out to wet her lips and for a second, she could see his eyes shoot down to her mouth. This was Klaus. The Hybrid. The Great Evil.
The very creature, who sacrificed her own cousin. Evangeline should loath him. Keep all her secrets to herself.
Her survival instinct screamed at her.

And yet….

He stood there, patiently. Somehow he knew, that she didn’t trust him. Not completely, at least. And it was probably the same for him. Evangeline would never presume, that he trusted her.
It made her tense muscles relax. There was no need to explain, if she needed a bit longer to answer a question, because she had to calculate the risk of answering. He understood.
And as simple as it should be; as easy as it should be to just hate him and make him the one responsible for everything bad that happened in the world…Evangeline had seen enough to know, that things were never easy. And he understood that, too.

“I tried to siphon magic from my necklace without touching it”, Evangeline said, her tone as neutral as possible and her eyes trained on him to take in any reaction. Sharp and intelligent, they drank up anything he offered. But all he did was tilt his head slightly, mull over what she said and then nod.
“Reasonable idea”, he replied in an easy conversing tone, his own foul mood still lingering underneath, but he was actively trying to keep it out. “It didn’t go so well, I reckon?”
Evangeline growled. She actually growled at that.
And Klaus couldn’t help himself. It just was entirely too adorable.
He laughed.

“Don’t laugh at me!”, Evangeline yelled scandalised by his reaction, but a laugh fought it’s way up her throat nonetheless.
Klaus really tried to reign in his amusement. “I’m sorry, love, but maybe you should leave the growling to me.” Evangeline huffed, but the corners of her mouth were pulled up against her will. She pushed her lower lip forward involuntarily and looked away slightly embarrassed.
Warm fingers gently pulled at her chin to get her to look at him again. “Don’t pout”, he smiled and his thumb tapped playfully on her lower lip. “You’re going to master it one day.”
Evangeline pulled her chin away from his fingers and huffed indignantly. “Of course I will”, she said without the sliver of a doubt, then she looked at him all too inquisitively. “What had you in a foul mood?”, she wanted to know. Klaus rolled his eyes at her change of topic, but nodded towards Ray. “He’s surprisingly stubborn.”

The brunette witch lifted a brow. “Well, then get me some of his blood and a bowl.” Her tone was almost condescending. She had told him, that she would help him.
For a moment Klaus hesitated. His eyes travelled to the necklace and then back to Ray. Evangeline realised, that he probably didn’t want for her to use up any magic, if it wasn’t necessary. The look in her eyes softened.
“Really”, she said with a reassuring smile. “Get me some blood and a bowl. I need to keep in practice anyway.”
All arguments rebutted, Klaus nodded eventually and went to get her what she needed.

Ray’s blood was thick and dark, as it lazily sloshed in the bowl Klaus had gotten from the barman. Evangeline had a hand on her necklace and the other above the bowl.
“Deixei ti einai krymmeno*.” Her hand and the necklace started to glow a faint red, as she started to chant.
She closed her eyes and repeated: “Deixei ti einai krymmeno.”

The blood slowly moved counter-clock wise.

“Deixei ti einai krymmeno.”

Her tone was low, laced with darkness and as if she spoke in multiple, layered voices.

“Deixei ti ein—”

Suddenly she stopped breathing. Her eyes flew open. A white sheen obscured their beautiful grey.
The necklace glowed brighter, as her fingers gripped it tighter.

Her eerily white eyes shot around, as if they were watching something only she could see. Full lips pulled into a silent gasp.
Horror was written on her face.

Klaus furrowed his brows, as a foreign feeling turned his blood cold. He had seen witches scry before. He knew, that this was normal. And yet…
Yet he was worried.

The spook ended as soon as it started and with a large, rattling breath in, Evangeline’s eyes turned to normal and her hands fell down to her side. She breathed heavily and the haunted look hadn’t yet left her face. Her skin had paled as she looked up and stared right into Klaus’ concerned eyes.
Her eyes were wide and fear coated her voice, as she lowly whispered: “They’re all going to die.”

Chapter Text



Sometimes that’s all that’s left.
Hurtful, beastly things, that make my heart ache and my soul scream.

It did not surprise Evangeline entirely, that she found herself hiking through the Smoky Mountains only hours later. Stefan was carrying a dead Ray and Klaus seemed more tense then ever. It wasn’t that he didn’t heed her warning, that he didn’t trust her enough to believe, that she told the truth about what she had seen.
But Klaus had been alive long enough to know, that scrying wasn’t a precise craft. Witches saw one possibility of many. Although Evangeline felt rather confident, that what she had seen was most likely to happen, there was still a tiny chance, that it didn’t. The future, after all, wasn’t set in stone. So she hadn’t been too offended, when Klaus had turned Ray and insisted on finding his pack to make them hybrids as well.

“You okay?”, Klaus suddenly said. “Is Ray getting heavy?” His tone was mocking and Evangeline rolled her eyes. As much as she enjoyed his banter usually, she was rather unhappy about hiking again.
“I’m fine”, Stefan answered, annoyance seeping through his voice. Klaus smirked. “You sure about that?”, he pushed on. “You know, we’ve been walking for quite a while now. If you need some water or a little sit-down…” He trailed off jokingly. Evangeline’s face darkened.
“Hey!”, she protested. “Why are you asking the vampire, if he’s tired? What about a break for me? Huh?” Klaus turned to look at where she trailed behind them. His smile widened at her defiant, pouting look.
“As long as you’re able to complain, love”, he said with a grin, “you’re able to walk.” His smirk grew devious and a certain twinkle entered his eyes. “But I could always carry you.” He lifted his brows playfully and Evangeline just rolled her eyes.
“Now, what would you do, if I would take you up on that offer”, she huffed, but stoically walked on. Klaus grinned and opened his arms in a wide gesture.
“Just say the word, love”, he smirked, knowing full-well, that she wouldn’t show any weakness, not even in such a situation. As Evangeline just glared at him, Klaus shrugged with a wink towards her and turned back to Stefan. “So how’s it going, mate?”

“You know”, Stefan said in a forced conversational tone, “I get, that we’re…uh…we’re stuck together.” He shot a look at Klaus. “But if we could just skip the chitchat, that would be great.”
“So much brooding”, Klaus mused, as the three of them (plus an unconscious Ray) trudged on. “Your self-loathing is suffocating you, my friend.” Evangeline couldn’t help but to pull a face. Klaus was actually right with that one. But of course, Stefan was having none of that.
“Maybe it’s because I’m a little tired of hunting werewolves”, he said and it astounded Evangeline how passive-aggressive he could sound. “We’ve been at it all summer.”

Just as Stefan said his last sentence, they finally came upon a small clearing. People were bustling around in it, putting tents together and gathering fire wood. They had yet to notice the little ragtag group.
“Thanks to our pal Ray”, Klaus said lowly, a triumphant smirk on his lips, “we found ourselves a pack.” His eyes greedily took in the many, many werewolves. “There.”
Stefan walked on without reacting much. As Evangeline wanted to follow him, Klaus put a hand on her right upper arm to stop her. His grip wasn’t too tight, it didn’t hurt, but Evangeline could feel his fingers press softly into her flesh.
“Keep close”, he said, never taking his eyes from the pack, but the warning was clear. Evangeline huffed an annoyed breath.
“Sure”, she replied, though, just to sooth his temper and pulled her arm away from him. The part of her, that wasn’t slightly offended, actually understood the genuine concern behind his words.

The pack started to look up, as Stefan got closer. They stood up from what they were doing, eyes fixed on the intruder.
Ever the drama-queen, Stefan let Ray fall from his shoulders onto the ground, where he could easily be seen by all. Klaus and Evangeline slowly followed Stefan, as a woman rushed forward.
“Ray!”, she yelled and fell onto her knees next to him. “Oh my god.” Horror laced her tone, as she tenderly examined his wounds. “What’s going on?”

Whispers started all around camp.
Fear polluted the air and Evangeline saw the satisfied look on Klaus’ face. He truly enjoyed being feared.
And it wasn’t the worst thing, Evangeline knew that. Her mind wandered towards the witches. She, too, enjoyed that they feared her. But if fear was the only emotion one experienced… Alaric popped into her mind. And her father. Her mother. Jenna. Elena. Zadie. Love, as Evangeline found, was much more powerful than fear.
Maybe Klaus would learn that one day, too.

“Who are you?”, the woman asked suspiciously. Stefan didn’t react.
“The important question is…”, Klaus answered, as he stepped next to Stefan, Evangeline by his other side, “who am I.” He smirked. “Please, forgive the intrusion. My name is Klaus.”
Evangeline could almost taste the satisfaction with which Klaus introduced himself.

The female werewolf slowly got up from where she had crouched next to Ray. Her eyes never left Klaus.
“You’re the hybrid.” Fear painted her face pale.
“You’ve heard of me”, Klaus replied and Evangeline suddenly felt reminded of a kid, that discovered the cookie jar. His smirk widened and his eyes twinkled.

Evangeline sat on a log in the middle of the clearing, hybrids awaking all around her, but her mind was on her vision. Her full lips pressed together, as her sharp eyes trained on the wedding band she wore on her right hand. It had been her mother’s.
Unconsciously her fingers started to play with it. Her mother had always told her to trust her gut feeling. She had always said, that the women of their bloodline had an impeccable gut. And as Evangeline looked up and saw the bleeding and shivering mass of hybrids, she had a really bad feeling…especially after Ray had fled into the woods with Stefan on his trail.

A barely noticeable shift in the air was all the warning Evangeline had.

Her body shot around, left hand reaching to grab her necklace and right hand instinctively held protectively in front of her. Grey orbs widened in surprise, as a rabid hybrid stopped only shortly before her. Mouth wide open, ready to bite with glistening, sharp fangs and wild, bleeding eyes.
Evangeline’s own eyes widened some more, as she felt, that her magic hadn’t yet taken hold of the young man.
Nonetheless he had stopped his attack.
As the failed hybrid fell to the side and Klaus was revealed behind him, dark look on his face, fangs out and a heart in his hand, Evangeline knew why her magic hadn’t worked. There hadn’t actually been any need for her to react at all. A small, grateful smile flitted over her lips.
Klaus’ face remained dark and his fangs elongated, but his eyes softened a fraction.

A low growl pulled their focus away from each other. Their heads turned in sync. Evangeline instinctively tightened the grip on her necklace. Klaus’ eyes burned amber and dark veins started to bulge underneath them. A warning growl ripped from his throat. Low and dangerous. Primal. Sending a pleasant shiver down Evangeline’s back.
They were facing a horde of snarling and bleeding hybrids. All focused on Evangeline and Klaus.

Klaus tensed his muscles. Evangeline slowly stood from the log. Her movements controlled and careful, so she wouldn’t provoke a reaction from the rabid wolves.

The snarling intensified, as Klaus pushed his body slightly in front of Evangeline and crouched just a bit in preparation for the fight.

“Wait”, Evangeline said softly and offered her hand. “You shouldn’t have to do that.”
As Klaus turned his head to look at her, his hybrid features still present, he didn’t see the expected flicker of fear. Her expression was sad and Klaus had to swallow. He didn’t like that look on her face. His eyes wandered to rest on her hand; small and slender, offering him help.
He gently took it, his larger hand encasing hers like a protective cocoon, as he allowed her to siphon him.

Evangeline closed her eyes, concentrating on all the rabid hybrids around them. Her grip tightened infinitesimally.
Then she brought her other hand up and the failed hybrids attacked.

With nothing but a flick of her wrist and the feeling of ice being pulled through Klaus’ veins, they all fell to the ground at once.
Dead; their hearts burst into tiny pieces.

Klaus found himself missing her touch, when she let go of his hand. He tried not to linger on it.
This had been a display of power. Not even he had known many witches in his many centuries as powerful as what Evangeline had showed a glimpse of. Despite the situation, a smile tugged at his mouth and his eyes softened, as she stepped away from him and sat on the log again, waiting for Stefan to return.
This hadn’t been to demonstrate her power to him. Not to try and intimidate him or impress him, as so many witches tended to. Not to show him, that she was a formidable enemy or a desperate ally. No, it was an offer of help.
It was…something else entirely.

He sat down next to her. Closer than needed on the large log, but neither of them commented on it.
Evangeline’s head tilted and her brows furrowed. Then her grey orbs landed on Klaus.
“Would you show me your memory of when you were cursed? Do you trust me enough for that?”

The question caught Klaus completely off guard. Instinctively a low growl escaped his throat. A warning.
But the siphoner didn’t even blink at it. Klaus took a deep breath to calm himself and ground his teeth in thought. Eyes flashing a bright amber, he looked at Evangeline. “Why would you need to know that?”, he asked in a low, dangerous tone.
“If I know exactly how the curse was made, I might be able to tell you why the hybrids aren’t working”, Evangeline replied calmly. There was a well-hidden curiosity in her voice. It was a gamble on her part to ask him so openly to trust her. She was curious as to how he would react.
Her intelligent eyes rested on him, but he stared right ahead at the dead hybrids surrounding them.

This time it was her, who gave him time to think over how to react. To contemplate his options and weigh the risks.
She wasn’t offended, that he needed to think about it. Of course not, she understood.
So she took her time to watch the shadows and lights of the camp fire dance on his face, as he tried to decide how far his trust went. They had time at least until Stefan returned and if he didn’t trust her enough, Evangeline would perfectly understand that.
She wasn’t even sure herself, whether or not she would trust him with a memory of hers.

Just as Evangeline started to think, that he wouldn’t react at all, a hand was harshly shoved towards her. Her eyes shifted from his face to his hand and back, but Klaus did not look at her. He stared stoically ahead, hand extended and lips tightly pressed together. The young witch swallowed, extended her own hand and hesitated for a second.
When she looked up this time, he stared right back at her. Fear mingled with hesitant trust swirled in his sea-green orbs. Without loosing eye contact, Evangeline pushed any doubts away and took his hand. Skin tingled. Eyes locked.
Breath stopped.

And then the world tilted at it’s very anchoring and Evangeline found herself falling into another time.

The night air was cold and the sky illuminated by a silvery full moon.
Soft chanting hung above the clearing. Chanting and loud yelling.

Evangeline moved as silently as possible, although she knew, that no one would be able to hear her. She was in Klaus’ memory after all. The leaves didn’t scrunch underneath her feet. The air wasn’t changed by her presence. The cruel curse would take it’s way no matter what she would do or see.
But the memory had influence on her. If Klaus wanted it that way or not, she wasn’t sure. She could feel the fire of the Original Witch’s spell on her skin, could smell the herbs she burned and the coppery scent of the dead girl lying next to the fire.

“Brother! Please! Don’t let them do this to me!”

Klaus’ voice made Evangeline shoot around. Her eyes widened, as she saw two men chaining Klaus to some sort of cross. Her lips pressed together, as she identified the brunette man as Elijah.

“Do it now, boy! NOW!”

Evangeline’s grey eyes rushed towards the blonde man holding Klaus. Realisation shot through her body like ice and fire. Her head whipped around to the Original Witch and back to the three men struggling.
“Of course”, she whispered lowly. “The Original family.”
The chanting grew louder and the fire shot into the air, as the Original Witch threw the heart of a werewolf into it. Evangeline immediately recollected herself and turned away from the cruelty Elijah had bestowed upon Klaus.
Sharp, intelligent eyes took in every little movement, every whispered word and every ingredient used in the spell; from the herbs to the timing, the constellation of moon and stars, the dead werewolf and dead vampire and…the dead human girl, who looked suspiciously like Elena.

As Klaus’ screams flowed and ebbed and the horror of what had happened that night so many centuries ago unfolded; as she felt the darkness in the air and the foulness of the spell written within it’s very magic, Evangeline was pulled from the memory.

Her body shivered and her world titled, as it’s anchoring shifted back into present times. Strong hands steadied her, warm and safe around her shoulders.
She looked up, tears burning in her eyes. They met sea-green orbs. There was vulnerability in them and defiance, a pain festering for a millennium and an unspoken warning to never talk about it ever again.
Evangeline swallowed her own tears down. Tried to reign in her emotions, as she fought the feeling of utter familiarity.
“You must have felt so betrayed”, she whispered in a rough tone.

Klaus’ brows furrowed. This was not the first thing he would have thought her to say. Usually when people heard his story, they pitied him or hated him or commented how unfair his parents had been. But they never, never knew what it actually had felt like to be tied to that post and watch his own family take away part of his identity.
Then he remembered, what the witch had said about Evangeline. What the young siphoner’s coven had tried to do.
“You’re familiar with the feeling”, was all he said, his tone carefully neutral and Evangeline only nodded.

“Did she hate you?”, Evangeline asked, eyes still trained on Klaus. They had moved closer to each other when Klaus had showed her the memory, now their legs were almost touching, but none of them minded really. Klaus shrugged. And Evangeline nodded once in understanding.
Who truly knew why people turned on one? People, who had vowed to protect one and keep one safe from harm.
“If she hated what you are, that much”, Evangeline began, as an idea formed in her head, “then maybe she would built in a failsafe, should you ever manage to break the curse.” She tilted her head in thought and nibbled on her lower lip. “Would that be something your mother would do?”

If Klaus was surprised, that Evangeline made the right connection after seeing his memory, he didn’t show it.
“Most certainly”, he instead said with a sarcastic drawl to hide his acrimony. “She’s always been a vindictive bitch.” Evangeline nodded slowly yet again. She had to play this right, had to choose her next words very wisely.
Her fingers started to play with her bead necklace as if in thought. “What if I tell you, that I might have a theory why your hybrids fail?”, she said slowly and looked away from Klaus to the corpses surrounding them.
“I’m all ears, love”, Klaus pushed, clearly not happy with Evangeline’s game of delaying her verdict.
“Would your mother hate you so much, that she would want you to be alone forever?”, Evangeline began, tone neutral and eyes on the dead hybrids. “Would she hate you so much, that she would built in a loophole that would make you unable to create new hybrids?” Her eyes travelled back to Klaus’s. “Would she hate you so much, that the only thing to create hybrids… would be the blood of the very girl you had to sacrifice till death?”

Silence rang in her ears, after her last syllable ebbed away.

Evangeline wasn’t able to interpret his expression. Rage, most certainly. Probably also despair. And so, so much pain.

“What if I tell you”, Evangeline continued, her fingers still safely on her necklace, her muscles tense and her senses alarmed, “that we found a way to resurrect Elena from the dead after you killed her?”

Her heart beat furiously and she was certain, that Klaus could hear it, as it almost sprang from her ribcage. For the first time Evangeline was truly afraid of Klaus.
Not because of what he could do to her, she was absolutely able to defend herself after all… but because she feared to loose whatever it was they had built between each other over the summer months.

Before she could open her mouth to say something more, the familiarity of a hand around her throat cut off her air supply and her body was easily lifted up and into the air.
“YOU BETRAYED ME!”, Klaus roared, his breath hot on her face and his eyes burning amber. This time he actually choked her.
His hand around her throat hurt and breathing became difficult.
Evangeline narrowed her eyes and his hand started to boil from their skin contact.

With a howl of pain, he had to let go of her. Evangeline dropped to the ground, but immediately straightened herself.
She wouldn’t be afraid of him.

“I never betrayed you”, she snarled right back and Klaus growled but didn’t make another move for her. “All I did was rescue MY FAMILY FROM YOUR INSANITY!”
MY INSANITY? You just saw what my mother di—”
“I understand how you feel. Believe me, I do!”, Evangeline cut Klaus off and took a step closer to him. Her hand fell from her necklace, offering peace and control to Klaus.
Her tone softened, as she continued: “And I won’t hold it against you, that you wanted to break this monstrosity of a curse. I also won’t hold it against you, that you would think I betrayed you.” A flash of hurt crossed over her face, that Evangeline didn’t know she felt until it was evident in her voice. “I would never betray anyone in such a way! I wouldn’t betray you. You’re the first friend I made in a long time. The first one, who understands.”
“You lie!”, Klaus growled. “YOU LIED ALL SUMMER!”
He shouted and raged and took a bottle of beer and threw it against a tree in his anger, where it burst and rained millions of glass pieces onto the ground.
Shattered, like what little trust he had had in Evangeline. And just like the bottle, Evangeline’s heart shattered a little bit, too.
She had felt as if Klaus had become an ally, someone she could maybe truly trust one day.

“I didn’t”, she replied calmly, the hurt evident in her tone and down-cast eyes. “All I ever said was, that you killed Elena. And that you did. Elena died by your hands.” Her eyes were hard, unyielding as she looked up and even though she didn’t have a hand on her necklace, the wind seemed to pick up around her.
“My cousin, my family, died by your hands and I never held it against you. I won’t ever, too, because I now know why you had to break the curse. And you did that! You got what you wanted. You’re a hybrid, aren’t you?” She took a deep calming breath, but it was of no use. Her eyes blazed with righteous fury as she snarled her next words with venom in her tone.
“We found a way to bring her back. To undo what you did, because we love her. Because she’s family and I would do anything for the people I consider family.”

Evangeline breathed hard as she finished talking. Rage burned in her being and anger rushed hot through her veins. How dare he accuse her of betrayal!

A chuckle reached her ears.
It was so out of place, so unexpected, that Evangeline’s whole anger was snuffed out like a candle and replaced by confusion.

Klaus’ shoulders had fallen, his whole face showed defeat and hurt, but there was a softness in his eyes that confused Evangeline so much, that she was afraid he went completely bonkers now.
“You did it”, was all he said and Evangeline only understood, when he gestured towards the small storm all around them, whirling around leaves and sparks of fire. Her eyes widened, as she saw the soft glow of her necklace and felt the familiar power of magic flowing through her.

A wide, genuine smile spread on her lips and although she didn’t want to, her eyes found Klaus’ in childish triumph and wonder.

And it was then, that Klaus felt his anger wash away.
Only tiredness was left and as she looked at him with such trust and joy, right after he had strangled her and shouted at her and she had yelled right back, facing him head on, he knew, that he could be vulnerable around her. This wasn’t a fight he was able to win. So he let himself fall down onto the log again.

“I guess, I would have done the same”, he said in a way to apologise for his behaviour. The storm calmed down. He felt the warmth of her body as she sat down close to him. It was strangely comforting, her warmth fighting the coldness of how tired and lonely he felt.
“No, you wouldn’t”, Evangeline replied, the smile audible in her voice. “You would’ve killed anything and everything the moment they threatened your family. Not find a way to let them think they succeeded, while keeping your family safe.” Klaus couldn’t help but to half shrug half nod. There was no denying a true fact after all.
“If Elena coming back from the dead would have any influence on your curse”, Evangeline continued slowly, her tone low and reassuring, “then your existence as a hybrid would have been limited to the time she was dead.”
“Now, I would say that as well, if I were you to ensure sweet Elena’s continued survival”, Klaus mocked. It was obvious, that he wasn’t sure what to make of Evangeline at the moment.
“Again”, the siphoner grinned almost fondly, but there was sadness in her eyes, “you wouldn’t. You would kill the threat, not try to convince it, that there’s nothing to threaten.” Klaus huffed, but again, he couldn’t deny her logic. They fell silent. Both uncertain how to handle the other, uncertain how they felt, uncertain how to behave at all, which made the air awkward and tense.

“Is there a witch you trust enough to either confirm or refute my theory?”

The question was so unexpected, that Klaus’ head shot towards the pretty brunette next to him. Sea-green eyes scrutinised her features to weigh, if she was honest or not.
“You would voluntarily go to a witch for this?”, he asked lowly, his eyes never left her face to drink in any reaction she might show.
Her expression was open and honest as she answered: “I don’t like it.” Her full lips pulled into a grimace. “But if you’re keeping close, I can always siphon you and kill her, should she try anything funny.” Evangeline shrugged nonchalantly with a playful grin, but there was a fear in her eyes, that wasn’t completely hidden to Klaus.
His heart jumped and his mouth suddenly felt rather dry.
“I promised you, nothing will happen to you”, he said simply and caught her gaze with his. “I intend to keep that promise. Even if that might mean killing one of my favourite witches.”
Evangeline felt uncomfortable. His moods gave her whiplash and she wasn’t sure how to adapt to them at the moment.
Nonetheless her stomach, that traitorous thing, fluttered slightly at his exclamation.

“So you got someone in mind?”, Evangeline asked, eventually deciding to brush right past his promise and what it elicited. She felt too tired to deal with that can of worms for the time being.
“Gloria”, Klaus answered simply, effortlessly following her lead to act more neutral towards each other, but curious if Evangeline had heard of her.
“Ah”, the brunette nodded slowly, “heard she’s been around since the 20’s. Doesn’t she own a bar in Chicago?”
“You’re well-informed”, Klaus complimented and Evangeline only shrugged lazily. They both knew, that information like this could make the difference between dying and surviving.
“We might not even get problems with her”, Evangeline mused as she tilted her head and nonchalantly leaned against Klaus’ shoulder. “She’s been exiled from her coven many years ago.” She yawned. A tiredness washed over her, that didn’t feel entirely natural. Maybe using magic without touching was more draining than she had anticipated…
“Oh?”, Klaus asked, but didn’t move. His muscles were tense and warmth spread through his body from where the weight of Evangeline’s head rested on his shoulder.
“Yeah”, Evangeline yawned again and her eyes slowly drifted shut. “They didn’t approve of…” She yawned again. “…of how she kept…” Her voice trailed off. “…expanding her…life.” Her last words were nothing but soft whispers in the wind. Klaus furrowed his brows as he heard her steady heart beat and regular, deep breaths.

He gingerly lifted a hand, eager not to move too much, so he wouldn’t disturb her. His fingers softly brushed a mahogany strand of hair out of her face. He froze, as she sighed at the touch and snuggled a bit closer into his side.
Klaus couldn’t stop the genuine smile from spreading on his lips. He didn’t want to, anyway.

When Stefan came back, carrying a dead Ray, Evangeline was still asleep and Klaus had shifted her body so she would be more comfortable. The vampire only rose one brow at Evangeline’s head in Klaus’ lap and the very obvious strangulation marks around her throat, but didn’t comment on it further. He had long but learnt to not question the strange dynamics between those two.
Therefore he also didn’t question why Klaus was so calm in the light of his failed master race. Stefan just took the hybrid’s moods as they were and was grateful, that he gave him some of his blood without much ado, even if it was so they wouldn’t disturb the sleeping siphoner and not because Klaus wouldn’t like to make Stefan beg.

Chapter Text

Sometimes everything feels as if it’s falling apart.
As if the world is burning with bright flames and I am in the middle of it.

Am I causing the destruction or is it killing me?

I don’t know…I…don’t know.

All I know is, that I shatter sometimes and it’s hard to pull all the pieces back together.

Evangeline awoke the next day in the back of Klaus’ car. The hybrid sat across from her, Stefan next to him — their usual sitting arrangement ever since Klaus had lost interest in driving himself. She fought the blush down, that wanted to creep onto her cheeks, as she sat up and remembered where she fell asleep the last night.
Instead she simply shot Klaus a grateful look and then turned her eyes towards Stefan.

“You okay?”, she asked. The last time she had seen him, he had suffered from a werewolf bite and although he was obviously still amongst the undead, she felt the urge to ask.
They didn’t exactly become the best of friends, but they looked out for each other. Stefan limited the time Evangeline was alone with Klaus and tried to influence her instead of Alaric and Jenna. Evangeline on the other hand, tried to reign in Klaus as much as she could and sometimes even distracted him, so Stefan could pine after Elena without fear of being discovered.
“I’m not dying anymore”, was all he answered with a scowl. Evangeline nodded and stretched out her tight back muscles. Her shirt rode up a bit and she felt Klaus’ eyes on the small sliver of skin that was revealed.
“Put on your seat belt, love.”
Her grey eyes wandered towards the hybrid, who rose a brow in a silent challenge. The triumphant look in his eyes told her, that he knew well enough, that she was aware of his staring. Evangeline rolled her eyes, but did as he ordered.
“Not all of us are invincible”, he smirked and Evangeline had to fight a smile at his disgustingly smug expression. Stefan next to Klaus took a deep breath and deliberately looked out of the car window. Annoyance oozed from him so much, that Klaus and Evangeline couldn’t help but to share a short, amused look.

The rest of the drive was pleasant enough. Evangeline enjoyed the silence to process and work through what had happened between her and Klaus the last evening.
It had been a vulnerable moment — from both of them. And although she didn’t want to excuse his violent behaviour and ridiculous accusations…she could understand his paranoia. Her eyes wandered to him. He was reading something that looked like a very old journal, his brows slightly furrowed in concentration.
He seemed to be relaxed, but there was an underlaying tension in his muscles. An alertness he had at any hour of the day.

Evangeline felt the same tension in her muscles; knew that the constant vigilance could be addictive. The irony wasn’t lost on her, that of the four creatures in the car (including the vampiric driver), the two most dangerous ones were the least relaxed. And now she was about to actively go and see a witch of all things supernatural.
A part of her was questioning her sanity. Gloria was a powerful witch. Powerful enough to make survival hard for her, if she decided, that the reward Alphard Jaquard had put on her head was worth the trouble.
Then she remembered Klaus’ promise.

Her heart stumbled a bit.

Klaus immediately looked up, his eyes attentive and a soft frown in the lines around his mouth. He returned his focus to the journal as soon as he had seen, that she was okay and there was nothing to worry about. A warm tingle spread through Evangeline and she hastily turned her head away to look out of the window.
What in the name of all that was unholy was she doing here?

They walked up to a bar, when Stefan suddenly stopped and turned to look at Klaus with an incredulous look in his eyes. The smirk on the hybrids face told Evangeline everything she needed to know. The knowledge, that whatever would happen in Gloria’s bar would be definitely entertaining, didn’t avert her from her plan though.
“So”, Evangeline started in a light, conversational tone, “while you go and confirm my theory with Gloria—”
“Oh”, Klaus interrupted with a grin, “I like the confidence.”
“— I’ll stock up on magic and supplies, now that we’re in a decent city”, Evangeline finished completely undeterred. Her eyes were on Klaus and her tone clear, that she wasn’t asking for permission. Stefan sighed, as Klaus’ expression darkened more and more with every word she said.
“Here we go again”, Stefan muttered and pushed his hands in the pockets of his pants. This might take a while.

Klaus ignored the other vampire and focused solely on Evangeline. “No”, he said in a hard, sharp tone, “you’re not.”
“Excuse me”, Evangeline hissed, a frown pulling at her expression, indignation evident in her blazing eyes.
“You’re not leaving”, Klaus said and turned. Obviously the end of the conversation for him. Evangeline’s face said otherwise. And Stefan groaned with a roll of his eyes.

She straightened her back and squared her shoulders. The friction in the air around her rose suddenly. Her muscles tensed and Stefan felt as if he looked at a predator ready to pounce on her pray.
“I wasn’t asking for permission”, she snarled at the back of Klaus’ head, every word punctuated. “I need fresh ingredients and have to see if I can contact some of my friends.”
“I said no”, the hybrid growled and whirled around to face her again. Evangeline took a step towards him, her head held high and her eyes staring in open defiance at him. The tension grew thick and dangerous. Stefan felt the urge to take a step away from the fighting couple?…allies?…frenemies? Whatever the hell they were.
It amazed him in a sick way, how fast and intensely Klaus and Evangeline clashed.

“And what do I care?”, Evangeline snapped. It was a low blow and she didn’t actually mean it, she knew that. He knew that. And yet hurt flashed shortly in his eyes.
“Do not suffocate me, Nik”, Evangeline said a bit softer. “It won’t end well for any of us.” Klaus closed his eyes in an attempt to calm himself, to fight the déja vu creeping upon him of when his sister had said painfully similar things. He took a deep breath, her scent of herbs, old paper and something earthy he couldn’t quite name flooded his senses. The prickling underneath his eyes told him, that his veins bulged slightly.
“Get in there”, he said, slowly opening his eyes. “We’ll ask Gloria to help you.” Evangeline opened her mouth, protest clear in her eyes, so Klaus held up a hand.
“If she doesn’t”, he continued with a deep sigh, “you can take Lawrence” — He nodded towards one of his vampire minions. — “and go find what you need in the city. You got four hours, if you’re not back by then, I will come and get you.” It was his way to offer a compromise.
“Thanks”, Evangeline said, her temper calmed as sudden as it had flared. “I might even search for some clues to another pack of werewolves.” Her way of saying, that she wasn’t mad at him anymore. And just like that the air was clear and easy to breath again, as if nothing ever happened between them. It always baffled Stefan.

The smell of old wood, cold cigar smoke and too many stories to tell wafted towards them as soon as they entered the bar. It was empty still, as it was only late afternoon and the bar yet to open. Stefan was the first to enter, then Klaus and right behind the hybrid, Evangeline.
“Looks familiar, doesn’t it?”, Klaus said with a smug grin.
Stefan looked around, the baffled look returned to his face. “I can’t believe this place is still here…” He and Klaus leaned against the railing. Evangeline remained behind them, as she leisurely leaned against a table, one hand resting on the wooden surface, the other toying with her bead necklace. She felt the shift in the air as soon as Gloria entered the bar room.
“You gotta be kidding me.”
Her figure was still half hidden by the game of dusty light and shadow. Stefan walked closer to have a better look. Klaus’ grin widened, while Evangeline’s look grew carefully neutral.

“So”, Klaus began, “a hybrid walks into a bar, says to the bartender—”
“Stop”, Gloria interrupted him immediately. She walked into the light, as she continued: “You might be invincible, but that doesn’t make you funny.” Her voice was withered and she had aged, but she was still very much alive. A confused look furrowed Stefan’s forehead. Evangeline’s tongue shot out to wet her lips. Her muscles were tense and she didn’t let go of her necklace. Wouldn’t for as long as she was around the witch.
Gloria’s eyes fell on the young vampire. “I remember you”, she said.
“Yeah”, Stefan replied with a rather sceptic tone in his voice, “you’re Gloria.” The old witch made a confirming hum, while a sardonic smile danced on her lips. “Shouldn’t you be—”
“Old and dead?”, Gloria interrupted Stefan. She smiled widely. “Now if I die”, she looked around her bar, “who’s gonna run this place, huh?” Klaus had moved closer as well. He placed himself in between Gloria and Evangeline, it looked as natural as the right hand in his jeans pocket and yet, Evangeline knew, that it was deliberate.

“Gloria’s a very powerful witch”, the hybrid offered as an explanation to Stefan. Gloria’s focus switched onto the hybrid.
“I can slow the ageing down some”, she replied with a sarcastic drawl in her melodic voice. “Herbs and Spells.” She tilted her head in a half-shrug. “But don’t worry, it’ll catch up to me one day.”
Klaus’ eyes were fixed onto the witch, as he said: “Stefan”, he turned his head slowly, “why don’t you go and fix us something from behind the bar?” Stefan, who knew entirely too well, when he was dismissed by the hybrid made a face, but obied nonetheless.
“Yeah, sure thing”, he said and stepped away.

As soon as he left his spot, Gloria’s eyes fell on Evangeline.
“Now that’s a face I never thought I’d see”, the old witch said and took a step closer. Evangeline straightened up some and Klaus’ muscles tensed. Gloria’s eyes shot towards the hybrid and then back to Evangeline. A small smile danced on her lips and she held up her hands as a sign of no bad intentions.
“No need to worry”, she said and her face pulled into a scowl. “Alphard’s a bitter, old man, who doesn’t know what he’s hunting.” Evangeline’s grey eyes met her dark ones. An understanding flowed between the two witches. Gloria wasn’t just powerful, she was clever.
“But you do”, Evangeline said and it wasn’t a question. Her muscles loosened up a bit. Gloria wasn’t a threat to her. At least at the moment.
The elder witch shrugged nonchalantly. “I have no desire to go against a Vinter teamed up with a Mikaelson”, her eyes were knowing, as they roamed between the two. “That would be suicide and now why would I do that, if I took such great lengths to stay alive, huh?” A cocky smirk played around her lips, as she sat down at a table and gestured for Klaus and Evangeline to join her.

“You look ravishing, by the way”, Klaus complimented with a smile. It wasn’t genuine, though, and that brought a strangely satisfied feeling for Evangeline with it.
“Don’t”, Gloria stopped him in a sharp tone. “I know why you’re here. A hybrid out to make new hybrid’s? That kinda news travels.” She leaned back into her chair and her eyes moved to Evangeline. “I didn’t hear about you travelling with him, though.” Evangeline’s smile turned devious and her eyes twinkled with dark satisfaction.
“But there was an increase in dead witches. Their hearts ripped out”, Gloria continued and turned her focus towards Klaus, who had an alarmingly similar expression to Evangeline. A shiver went down Gloria’s back at such a display of unity. She knew, that she was witnessing the beginning of an alliance with the potential of utter destruction.
“Now, why would I know anything about that?”, Klaus drawled, his British accent heavy and the smugness dripping from his words. Gloria just lifted a brow, but didn’t comment further on it. As she said before, she wasn’t suicidal.

“What am I doing wrong?”, Klaus asked, also leaning back. “I broke the curse.”
“Obviously you did something wrong”, Gloria answered with a tinge of mocking. Klaus titled his head. He shared a look with Evangeline. Silent communication flowed easily between them. Then Klaus turned his eyes back towards Gloria, a very obviously expecting look in his eyes.
“Look”, Gloria began, a bit nervous now, “every spell has a loophole. But a curse that old…” She shook her head slightly. “We’d have to contact the witch, who created it.” Evangeline narrowed her eyes, as the elder witch avoided to look at her.
“Well”, Klaus said, “that would be the Original Witch.” A smile spread across his face. “She’s very dead.”
“I know”, Gloria immediately dismissed him. “And for me to contact her, I need help.” Evangeline hid her surprise at that. She only lifted a brow and never let her eyes stray from Gloria. Something was going on, that didn’t quite add up.

“Bring me Rebekah.”
It was as if Gloria’s request shifted the whole air around Klaus.
“Rebekah”, he repeated, tasted out the name on his tongue, nodded sarcastically and turned his head to look out of the window beside Evangeline. Annoyance clear in his expression.
The siphoner still tried to decipher what it was that Gloria was after. The only female Mikaelson wasn’t necessarily needed to contact the Original Witch. Klaus as someone who had been cursed by her, had a strong enough connection to use him — even not knowing, that he shared blood with her.
The Original Witch’s magic still lingered and clung to him like tar, Evangeline could feel it from where she was sitting.

“Rebekah…”, Klaus said again with a sigh, his eyes travelled to the ceiling and then down at his hands. He was obviously uncomfortable. “Is a bit…preoccupied.” He looked back at Gloria.
“She has what I need”, the old witch insisted. “Bring her to me.”
A crackle of magic filled the air and Evangeline readied herself to act, if the power play between Klaus and Gloria escalated.

“What is this?”

Stefan’s incredulous question burst right into the growing tension. Klaus, Evangeline and Gloria turned their heads just to see the young vampire standing at the bar a deep frown on his face and a picture in his hands. Klaus immediately smirked and rose from his chair.
“Well, I told you”, he said, the smugness coating every syllable. “Chicago’s a magical place.” Evangeline lifted a brow in confusion.
“But this is me”, Stefan argued and it seemed as if he was panicking. “With you.”
He turned the picture and now it was Evangeline’s turn to be baffled.

The picture showed Stefan with an arm around Klaus, both obviously having fun and clothed as if they travelled back to the Roaring Twenties. Gloria’s grin was as amused as Klaus’ and when he met Evangeline’s eyes, she knew, that there was a whole story behind the picture. Something that would certainly change things. And judging by the smugness, that suddenly surrounded Klaus, it was something that would amuse him greatly.
“Well, Gloria”, he said and slowly turned. “Looks like you get what you want.”
Somehow Evangeline had the feeling, that she wouldn’t like, what he had planned. The almost sheepishly anticipatory look in his eyes made Evangeline shift on her chair and cling to her magic. She suddenly had the urge to train to siphon magic without touching her necklace excessively.

“Now”, Klaus grinned and turned to Gloria, “back to the things I want.”
“Oh? There’s more?”, Gloria lifted a brow. Evangeline felt his powerful presence as Klaus stepped behind her.
“Eva here needs a bit magic, some herbs, a bit of information,…”, he trailed off at the look on Gloria’s face. It had hardened and Evangeline wanted to smile triumphantly. Stefan shifted uncomfortably, a bit overwhelmed with the situation, but decided to stay close to the bar. This didn’t look like something he wanted to get caught in.
“No”, Gloria refused flat out. Her dark eyes turned towards Evangeline. “Not to offend you”, she said with a sarcastic drawl, “but although Alphard is an idiot, you’re still a mistake of Mother.” Evangeline’s smile turned from fake, but polite to blatantly devilish.
“Oh, don’t worry, I’m not offended, although you certainly meant to”, Evangeline said sweetly. “Life gets so much easier, when you stop caring what others think about you. Don’t you agree, Nik?” The impressed twinkle in Klaus’ eyes and the dangerous crackle of magic shifting the air around Evangeline made Gloria’s skin prickle and a cold shiver run down her spine.
“But don’t be fooled”, Evangeline’s tone dropped, although it didn’t loose it’s sickening sweetness, “I always remember, who helped me and who didn’t.” It wasn’t a threat, not an openly voiced one anyway.
Simply the statement of a fact and yet Klaus looked like the cat who ate the canary, while Gloria seemed as uncomfortable as Klaus when asked about Rebekah. What really made Stefan worry, though, was the darkness he saw lurking right underneath Evangeline’s composed facade.
The hair on his arms stood on end and for a moment, he didn’t know what scared him more; Klaus or Evangeline.

“Come, love”, Klaus said and offered his hand to Evangeline. Whether it was to calm her temper or to offer a way for her to access magic, he wasn’t entirely sure himself. “We’ll get the things you need somewhere else.”
Evangeline took his hand and let him help her stand up from the chair. Her posture was oozing confidence, as her head was held high and she seemed taller than she actually was. A last look towards Gloria and then she turned, Klaus right by her side.
Stefan felt as if Gloria was an advisory at court, who just lost the favour of her king and queen. It was strange and weird and yet alarmingly fitting in his confused mind.

“There’s a rumour”, Gloria suddenly blurted out.
Evangeline and Klaus stopped on their way out. Klaus turned around fully, while Evangeline only tilted her head, entirely too unwilling to offer Gloria even the slightest bit of politeness.
“Do continue, Gloria”, Klaus said with a fake smile. He still needed her to confirm Evangeline’s theory, after all.
Gloria leaned back in her chair, knowing full-well, that Klaus wouldn’t kill her before she had solved his problem. And that left her with a bit of time to get what she wanted; out of this mess alive, preferably with the Original Witch’s talisman in her possession.
“I heard through the grapevine, that Alphard’s preparing for a grand finale”, Gloria’s melodic voice drifted through the empty bar. Evangeline’s jaw clenched and for a second the world seemed to stop turning as it held it’s breath for her reaction.

Then Evangeline whirled around, eyes a grey tempest of fury, but her tone forcefully calm: “What did you just say?”
Gloria narrowed her eyes, as she saw her necklace glow a faint red, although Evangeline had her hands clenched into tight fists at her sides. She never took her focus from the young siphoner, as she chose her next words as wisely as she would, if she talked to Klaus. “There are rumours, that Alphard’s gathering his allies and all the branches of his blood line to get you and your father once and for all.”

Evangeline’s shoulders tensed, her whole body seemed to be strung to breaking point. Stefan swallowed, his muscles tensed as well as his fight or flight instinct kicked in. Gloria furrowed her brows a bit, but flared her magic in preparation. Grey eyes lifted from the ground, hard and cold like a blizzard and certainly as deadly as one.
Klaus seemed entirely enthralled.

That won’t happen.” Evangeline’s tone was low and dangerous. The light flickered on and off. Gloria looked up at the ceiling and her eyes narrowed infinitesimally. Her focus shot back down. Evangeline was still not touching her necklace actively.
The young siphoner looked directly at the elder witch. “Let the covens know, that if they want a fight…” Her expression darkened some more. “I’ll bring a war.”
The magic, that whirled around her tasted foul and acidic on Gloria’s tongue. It was then, that the experienced witch realised, that Evangeline Vinter had gone darker than anyone had dared to go in many centuries. And that she wasn’t strong enough to control the darkness, if the fluctuation of it’s intensity was any indication.
Maybe Alphard actually wasn’t a fool in wanting her dead…

“Hunting witches?”, Klaus’ voice was disturbingly light-hearted and dripped with anticipation. “Oh, this is gonna be so much fun.” His dark smirk mirrored Evangeline’s perfectly.
Gloria and Stefan shared a small, petrified look. Evangeline didn’t even react, too focused on her own emotions.

“Now, now, love. Don’t destroy Gloria’s bar. She is my favourite witch, you know”, Klaus mocked lightly. Evangeline blinked and it was as if a veil of foggy, red rage lifted from her being. Her eyes immediately found Gloria, who wore wariness well-hidden on her face. Evangeline lifted her chin in defiance. The elder witch had seen her use magic without the usual requirement for siphoners to actively touch their source of magic. So what?
Klaus’ presence right behind her, his warmth and silent support made her feel safe. She felt as if she could face the whole Jaquard coven in that moment. So who was Gloria in the greater scheme of things?

But Klaus was right in calming her down. There was no point in getting angry now. First she needed to confirm the rumour, count the numbers Alphard was apparently gathering and inform her father. A calmness washed over her, as she started to plan and use the calculated logic that was common in the Petrova line. A temper tantrum wouldn’t help her defeat her enemies.
“I’ve got to prepare”, she said completely calm now, as if her temper hadn’t flared and threatened to rip Gloria’s bar apart just moments ago.
“Four hours, Eva, and take Lawrence with you”, Klaus reminded with a silent warning in his lifted brows. The young brunette nodded and left the bar without looking at Stefan or Gloria.

“Well”, Klaus had a lopsided smirk on his lips and an unreadable twinkle in his eyes as he turned towards his two remaining companions, “isn’t she simply delightful?”