The Next Chapter

Chapter 112

A/N It's a long one. Hope you guys like it.

Chapter 112

Buffy, Damon, Willow, and Tara pulled into the Quarter and looked around at everything. Klaus's house was only a few more blocks. The place seemed completely different from the last time she'd been here. Things felt more…. Charged. And there seemed to be a werewolf on every corner.

"This place seems…. Scary." Tara said.

"You sense it too?" Willow asked. Tara nodded and Willow took her hand. "Hopefully we won't be here long."

"It's sad that it's scary. I've always wanted to visit New Orleans."

"It wasn't always like this." Damon said.

"Klaus and Elijah told me that the werewolves took over the quarter and kicked all the vampires out." Buffy said, pulling into a parking space. "They tried to get rid of Klaus, Elijah, and Hayley, but they messed with the wrong vampires." The four of them got out and walked into the garden entrance of the massive house. "Klaus? Hayley?" She called.

Hayley appeared at the top of the stairs. "Took you long enough."

"Sorry. I brought some witches that are on our side." Buffy said. "Where's Klaus?"

"I don't know. He's not answering my phone calls."

"This her?" Marcel asked, walking out from the shadows behind Hayley. He was sizing Buffy up as he ventured down the stairs.

"Nice to meet you, too, Marcel." Buffy said to him.

"How do you know me?"

"I was with Elijah and Klaus when they first came back here. Elijah told me who you are."

"I never thought either of them would be spending time with a Vampire Slayer let alone a Vampire Slayer hanging out with vampires."

"Well, I was never a normal Vampire Slayer." Buffy turned to Willow and Tara. "Guys, that's Hayley and Marcel."

"I remember Hayley." Willow said. "She was the werewolf that helped Katherine kill Jeremy."

"I didn't know she was going to do that." Hayley insisted.

"Let's not rehash old wounds, ok?" Buffy said. "That's a can of worms that will take way too long to deal with. Do you guys have any idea where Elijah could be?"

"No. He and one of my wolves named Oliver were attacked by a pack of wolves being led by Esther."

"Have you been to where he was attacked?" Damon asked.

"Yes. There's blood everywhere…. werewolf and vampire. There was a trail, but I couldn't track it."

"Ok, is this place safe?" Buffy asked. "If Willow and Tara stay here and work on locating Elijah, will anyone come in and try to hurt them?"

"No one comes here."

"We'll be ok, Buffy." Willow said, taking Tara's hand. "We'll put up protection wards."

"Ok." Buffy nodded. "Then we need to try and track Klaus while they locate Elijah." She turned back to Willow and Tara. "Don't go after Elijah if you find him before we get back."

"I won't let her." Tara said.

"Good." Buffy turned to Hayley. "They're going to need some of Elijah's belongings. Would you mind showing them to his room?"

"Sure." Hayley waited for Willow and Tara to catch up and they disappeared inside the upstairs.

Buffy pulled out her phone and dialed Klaus's number. "Uh, I'm a tad busy." He answered after a few rings.

"Then why did you even answer?"

"Buffy?"

"I'm kind of offended. I drive all the way down here to help you out and you're not even home to greet me."

"You're in New Orleans?"

"I promised you I would come help, didn't I?"

"I thought you were going to ignore me to spend time with your beloved husband."

"He's here with me. Where are you? Do you even know that your brother is missing?"

"Elijah's missing?"

"Yes. I've got Willow and Tara trying to locate him. So where are you?"

"I'm hunting Mikael."

"By yourself? What, are looking to get killed?"

"He doesn't have the white oak stake."

"I'm pretty sure your father hates you enough to keep you prisoner until he can find a way to get it."

"Do you have it with you?"

"Of course I have it with me. How else am I supposed to kill your father?"

"You should've left it in Mystic Falls where it was safe."

"So, what? You wanted me to come down here and talk him into not killing you? He's not exactly Mr. Reasonable." Buffy sighed. "Would you just tell me where you are and I'll come help you find and kill him?"

"He has a friend of mine. I need to hurry."

"You have friends?"

"You're hysterical."

"Are you going to tell me where you are or am I going to have to get some magical assistance?"

"I'm in the bayou near a cabin. Are you with Marcel?"

"Yeah, he's here."

"Tell him that the cabin belongs to Davina's family. He should know where to find it. Track me from there. I'm going to keep searching for Cami and get her back. And then, we're going to end this. Either Mikael or I will be ash by day's end."

"It better damn well not be you."

"Then hurry up." Klaus hung up and Buffy rolled her eyes.

"What a drama queen." She turned to Marcel. "Davina's family cabin? You know it?"

"Yeah. Is that where he is?" Marcel asked.

"No. He's hunting Mikael because Mikael has some girl named Cami."

"He has Cami? Let's go." Marcel marched past her and Damon and headed for the exit.

Buffy glanced at Damon and then looked at Hayley as they followed Marcel. "Who's Cami?"

"She's a human that Klaus is fond of." Hayley said.

"Weird." Damon said.

"Very." Hayley looked at Buffy for a moment. "But then again, you might see why he's fond of her."

They followed Marcel out of the city and into the bayou. As soon as they neared the cabin, Buffy caught Klaus's trail. She told Damon to follow it and she would see him when they caught up. He kissed her quickly and let go of her hand. The trail ended at some old warehouse on the outskirts of the city.

She heard Klaus say, "Not as weak as you remember, am I?"

Buffy rushed in just as Mikael threw a wicked looked blade at a woman who had to be Cami. Cami let out a yelp when Buffy's hand appeared in front of her face, catching the blade before it stabbed her in the face. Mikael turned around and Klaus grinned.

"Hi Mikael." Buffy said, holding the blade.

"Miss Summers." Mikael said.

"You do realize I can't let you kill him?"

"Do you think you can stop me?"

Buffy pulled the white oak stake from inside her jacket and flipped it expertly in her hand a couple of times. "Pretty sure I've got the means."

"You're just a Slayer. You're no match for me."

"Boy, am I going to love proving you wrong."

Buffy threw the stake at Mikael's head. He caught it and in that split second, Buffy was suddenly in front of him. She grabbed the stake back and kicked Mikael in the chest, sending him flying back. He looked shocked at her speed, but quickly had to defend himself against her onslaught. More than once he went after the white oak stake, but Buffy kept it out of his reach.

"Eventually you'll tire, girl." Mikael threatened. "You may be a Slayer, but you're still just a human at the core."

Buffy elbowed him in the face and grabbed his neck, hauling him off his feet. Her eyes changed and her fangs dropped. "I doubt it." She closed her fingers and ripped the front half of Mikael's throat off. He began to desiccate and Buffy tossed his body aside, dropping the piece of his neck in her hand. She turned to Klaus, who was checking on Cami. "Hey, stranger."

"In the nick time, love." Klaus said. "You look lovely. Much better than the last time we saw each other."

"Thanks. I can't say the same about you." She plucked at his torn shirt and he grinned.

"Who are you?" Cami asked.

"Terribly sorry." Klaus said. "Cami, this is, Buffy. Buffy, this is Cami."

"Hi." Buffy looked at her bloodied hand. "I'll shake your hand later."

"Thanks." Cami said. "How do you know Klaus?"

"Oh, he spent a lot of time trying to torture and kill me and my family."

"And your friends."

"And my friends."

"I succeeded a few times." Buffy gave him an annoyed glare. "I'd apologize, but…."

"You don't do apologies."

Klaus looked offended. "I apologized to you on a number of occasions."

"They weren't exactly great apologies. More like 'hey Buffy, I'm sorry you're mad at me for whatever crappy thing I've done this time, but I'm me, so you should just expect it.'"

Cami looked at Klaus. "She's got you pegged."

Klaus grinned again. "Oh, how I miss your company." He reached out and embraced Buffy tightly. "Where's your resurrected husband?"

"He's on his way here with Marcel and Hayley." Buffy said.

Before anyone else could speak, Mikael grabbed Buffy around the waist and threw her backwards, taking the white oak stake from her in the process. She landed hard and rolled a few feet. Klaus tried to defend Cami, but Mikael anticipated it and was there with the stake, shoving it in Klaus's chest.

"Klaus!" Cami screamed.

Buffy rushed at Mikael, but he backhanded her in the face. He kicked Cami away from a desiccating Klaus. As Buffy got back up, she noticed that Klaus wasn't catching on fire. She heard voices from another room in the warehouse and realized that someone was doing a spell.

"Why aren't you burning?" Mikael yelled at Klaus. "If you were dead, it would burn. BURN!"

Buffy glanced in the direction of the witches, but Mikael was already on his way to intervene. She dove over to where Cami was trying to pull the stake out and grabbed it. When she yanked it out of his chest, Klaus's color started to return to his skin.

"Oh, that was close." Buffy breathed.

"What do you think you're doing?" Mikael asked behind them.

Buffy stood up and placed herself between Mikael and Klaus. "I think I'm going to kill you, now."

Mikael's eyes changed and he was about to attack, but Damon appeared and pulled him away. He started hitting Mikael over and over so quickly that he was too disoriented to fight back right away. Mikael eventually knocked Damon down and grabbed a broken piece of wood. He started to drive it home, but Buffy kicked Mikael away from her husband. Marcel appeared and punched him in the face before kicking him backwards.

"Enough! This night has been a long parade of fools. I'll enjoy killing every last one of you." Mikael roared.

Klaus suddenly woke up with a loud gasp. Buffy helped Damon to his feet and the two of them with Marcel formed a barrier in front of Klaus. Suddenly, Hayley arrived and threw a chain around Mikael's neck, yanking on it so hard it knocked him off of his feet.

"Yeah, I wouldn't bet on it." She said before hitting him in the face with the chain. Klaus got to his feet and joined Buffy, Damon, and Marcel. Hayley rushed over to them and stood off against Mikael. Even the little witch from the other room joined them.

"It's over, Mikael." Klaus said. "You're outnumbered. Are you going to beg for your miserable life?"

"You think having people makes you strong? It proves how weak you are. Come find me when you don't have fools, women, and children fighting your battles." He threw the scrap of wood at them and rushed away.

Buffy let out a short laugh that startled everyone. "Sorry. He's kind of an idiot."

"Why do you say that?" Marcel asked, glancing at the little witch as she slipped into the other room she'd come from.

"Because having people does make you strong. I'm living proof of that." Buffy took Damon's hand and he smiled at her.

Marcel nodded and headed after the little witch. Klaus turned to Cami and checked her bite wound. She looked pale and weak. Damon noticed that the wound in Klaus's chest hadn't healed. "Klaus, why aren't you healing?" Damon asked.

"The white oak stake was shoved into my heart. I desiccated. I need blood." Klaus said. He looked at Buffy. "You pulled the stake out in the nick of time. A moment longer and I would have been done for."

"I wasn't just saving you." Buffy said.

"You know, in a thousand years, I think it's the first time I've seen him run."

"He was still weak." Cami said.

"And he knew he was outmatched." Hayley said as she and Marcel joined them.

"We checked the perimeter and he's definitely gone." Marcel said.

"I appreciate your assistance." Klaus said.

"Well, hey! You die, I die. Just call me selfish."

"You die, a lot of people die." Buffy said.

"But, Klaus…. we have another problem." Hayley said.

"Right." Klaus nodded. "My brother."

"Willow and Tara are working on locating him." Buffy said.

"I suspect that my mother has him. She won't be easily found. I need to draw her out." Klaus started to leave, but Buffy grabbed his arm.

"Klaus, stop. There's no need to go and put yourself in more danger until we know what Willow and Tara find."

"They may have some trouble breaking through any wards she puts up."

"Pretty sure your mother has never actually gone up against someone that's just as powerful as she is." Buffy released his arm and put her hands on her hips. "We're going to go back to your house and see what Willow and Tara have come up with. And if we need to, then we can go with your half-assed plan to draw her out."

"It's not half-assed." Buffy raised an eyebrow at Klaus. "Don't look at me like that." He turned and walked off.

Cami looked at Buffy incredulously. "I've never seen him allow anyone to talk to him like that."

"Neither have I…. Not without killing them afterwards." Marcel agreed.

"He's in love with her." Damon said at the same time Buffy said, "I'm the closest thing he has to a best friend."

Buffy smiled slightly at her husband. "It's a little of both?"

"Sure." Damon said unconvincingly.

She gave his hand a squeeze. "We better catch up to him before he decides to go through with whatever plan he's trying to cook up."

Buffy followed Klaus to the plantation house he had once called home before it had been burned down recently. Damon held tightly to her hand, still not loving the fact that they were with Klaus. Willow and Tara had located a general location where Elijah could be, but Esther had put up multiple and complicated wards to keep other witches out. It was taking longer to break through each one. Klaus had been happy that he could go through with his plan.

"So, we're digging up your mother's body and then what?" Buffy asked, still trying to figure out what Klaus's plan was exactly.

"I'm going to burn it." Klaus said, holding up the full gas can he was carrying.

"Ok, then what?"

"Do you have no faith that I know what I'm doing?"

"Nope. None. You're hot headed and you pretty much always go into these things half-cocked. You've never once really thought a plan out all the way. It's why I managed to spoil about ninety-eight percent of your plans."

"You sound like my younger sister."

"Hey, that's a great way to think of her!" Damon said.

Buffy laughed and gave his hand a squeeze. "We're here." Klaus announced, stopping in front of a small headstone that said simply Esther, Our Beloved Mother.

"That's actually pretty funny." Buffy said.

"At one time she was our beloved mother."

"Now she's 'our psycho mother who's bent on destroying us for what she did to us.' But I see why you went with 'beloved mother'. The other is just way too long for this headstone."

Klaus smiled, laughing slightly, and disappeared for a second. When he returned, he was holding shovels for them. "Let's start digging, shall we?"

Buffy and Damon exchanged glances before taking the shovels from Klaus. The three of them got to work and began digging. Using their vampire speed, they were able to get to the coffin in no time. Damon helped Klaus pull it from the ground and set it down.

Klaus turned and glared at the starlings chirping in the trees nearby as he began to douse the coffin in gasoline. "Are you watching this, mother? Nothing says 'I loathe you' quite like desecrating a corpse!" He pulled out a lighter and lit it, but before he could throw it on the coffin, a familiar voice called out behind them.

"Niklaus!" They turned to see Elijah on the other side of the yard walking toward the house.

Klaus exchanged confused glances with Buffy and Damon. He was suspicious, but followed Elijah anyway. Inside, Elijah was tapping the keys of the burnt piano as Klaus slowly approached him. Buffy and Damon stayed back and flanked Klaus, just in case.

"I didn't know you would be bringing friends." Elijah said. "Hello, Buffy. Damon."

"You're not Elijah." Buffy said. Klaus turned to look at her. "Elijah would be a lot more curious about why Damon is standing here."

Klaus turned back to the fake Elijah. "That's right. I never got the chance to tell him about Damon's little resurrection. Enough with the petty illusions, Esther! Where is Elijah?"

A dark skinned woman appeared behind them from outside saying, "He's preoccupied at the moment. I'm helping him find his way. But, not to worry, I'll return him to you. All I ask is that you hear me out."

"You expect me to sit through a sermon of your lies?"

"I have lied in the past, to my shame. But, I'm going to tell you the truth. I'm in the process of making Elijah into the man he was meant to be. And, I intend to do the same for you." The woman turned to Buffy and Damon. "Buffy, it is lovely to see you again. I never got to congratulate you and Damon on your marriage. The last time I saw you, you two were newly engaged."

"And the last time we saw you, you were dead…. And blonde." Buffy retorted.

"We all change."

"Yeah, we've heard that Kol and Finn are back, too, but in different bodies like yourself. Isn't that a little weird?"

"I love my children no matter what body they're in."

"I find that hard to believe." Damon said. "The last time we met, you were hell bent on killing them all. Pretty sure that's not how you're supposed to show love to your children."

"I was trying to save them. As I'm trying to do now. Niklaus." She turned her attention to Klaus. "This plantation…. Ruined by fire…. How sad, not to mention symbolic. After all, you never intended to build a true home here. Even as Hayley carried your child, as Rebekah and Elijah sought to defend you, your thoughts were focused on only your conquest of the Quarter. Tell me, how did that go?"

"I'm sorry." Klaus said. "Is this some sort of motherly critique? Please feel free to choke on it."

"I mention your failures only to make a point, my dear. You've endured several lifetimes of misery, never mind the suffering you've caused others, even to your own blood. You yourself remain trapped in a perpetual state of despair. I have come to offer you a means to escape that cycle."

"And that's about all the hypocrisy I can take. I suggest you give me my brother before I get angry."

"Such hatred. It breaks my heart to see you like this. The boy I loved."

"Your love was a curse, an affect you feigned. The truth is, you're no better than Mikael and like him you seem to have crawled back from the grave simply to ruin your children." Esther's eyes widened in shock. Apparently, Mikael's return to the living was news to her. "Oh! You didn't know! Yes, the Destroyer has risen, brought back to kill me by the witch Davina. Surely Kol has revealed everything to you? Or, is Mother's loyal little boot-licker not quite so loyal, after all?"

"If Mikael has returned, we will need to deal with him."

"We? Is that a joke? Am I to forego centuries of hatred for my evil mother in order to join her in besting the very demon she herself allowed to raise me? I don't think so." Klaus gestured at Buffy standing next to him. "That's why this beautiful creature is here."

Esther sighed. "I am grateful that Buffy is here to help you, but you must understand: I am not evil, Niklaus. I am your salvation. And Mikael? He was not always a demon. Long ago, he loved his children with all his heart. He doted on your brother Finn, but it was our first-born, Freya, who was the apple of his eye."

"You really think that saccharine recollections of ancient history will have any effect on me at all?"

"What I think is that you have gone mad from centuries of hating your parents. But, if you join me now, I can grant you peace. And, should Mikael return with the intent to harm you, I will strike him down myself."

"That's quite an offer. But, you know, got all the help I need." Klaus put his hand on Buffy's shoulder and she reached up to grip it in approval.

"You reject me out of hatred, but I have something stronger. I have the truth about your father…. Not Mikael, you're real father." Esther turned and headed outside.

Klaus looked at Buffy and Damon. They both shrugged in unison. Buffy pushed on Klaus's arm. "Go after her. You wanted to draw her out…."

Klaus sighed and followed Esther outside. She was stopped by her grave staring into the hole. "A thousand years ago, in a fit of rage, you wrapped your bare hands around my neck and squeezed until I died. Do you even remember why?"

"Let's see…. You turned us all into monsters. You cursed me, denied me of my hybrid nature…. You lied to me about my father…."

"It's that one above all. You killed me because I kept you from ever knowing your true father."

"My hatred for you runs so deep, it's difficult to pinpoint its origin. Maybe I hate that I'm the product of a whore's lechery?"

Esther slapped Klaus across the face. "Watch your mouth! You will do well to remember that you are still my son!"

"You judge me evil, yet it was your lust that made me what I am."

"And not once have I ever regretted the love I had for your father. And, you have never known the truth of how that love came to be, or what happened in the months after Mikael and I lost your sister Freya to the plague. There are no words for the loss of a child, as you well know."

"Damon, I…." Buffy started.

He shook his head, understanding. "Go."

She was suddenly standing beside Klaus, taking his hand to comfort him. He looked down at her, grateful for her support. Damon joined them a moment later and gently squeezed Klaus's shoulder. His eyes glistened slightly with tears and he turned his head away to hide them.

Buffy glared at Esther and when she spoke, her voice was like ice. "You better have a point to this story. You're the reason he lost his daughter. You and your little witches." As Esther opened her mouth, Buffy added, "And don't think I won't kill you and make sure you never come back. Did you forget who my best friend is?"

Esther nodded and looked at Klaus. "After Freya died, Mikael was inconsolable. Compelled by his grief, we were forced to pack our things and set across the seas. Eventually, his despair would drive us apart, and that's when I saw him for the first time…. Your father. I'd never seen a man like him. Powerful, yet wise, but loved by his people. And because Mikael had chosen to leave me alone in his grief, shunning me from his life…. I found myself drawn to another."

"Spare me the sordid details of my origin." Klaus snapped.

"I only speak the truth."

"Then tell me this, Mother: Why did your Adonis abandon his son? Why did he allow me to be raised by a monster who hated me? Why not claim me for himself, raise me among the wolves? Or, was he as ashamed of his bastard as you were?"

"No, no, no. He loved you. It was I who forbade it. I knew if Mikael had learned of my infidelity, he would've destroyed us in his rage. I had no choice. When I learned I was with child, I went back to Mikael. I told him I was having his baby. He showed no joy, but neither did he suspect the truth. When you were born, it renewed his spirits. We had Kol, Rebekah, Henrik…. Because of you, we were a family again!"

"A family built on secrets and lies."

"Oh, you were my secret joy! And, to protect your secret, I denied you a life with your father. But, what if I could make up for all that? By curing you of this sickness that's infected your soul? Whereas I put Kol and Finn into the bodies of a witch, you I shall place into the body of a werewolf! So you can live out your days as what you were always meant to be!"

"What could possibly make you think I would agree to such a thing?"

"With mortality, you could start over. You could have a family of your own. Happiness, peace, all the things you have long been denied?"

Esther moved toward Klaus, but Buffy stepped between them and blocked her from Klaus. "Does your husband realize that you love my son?"

"Nice try, Esther, but I'm not in love with Klaus and Damon knows it. Your son is my friend. I care about him. And you're not going to continue to hurt him anymore. It's too bad you didn't spend any time with my mother on the Other Side. You would've learned what it was like to be a good mother. Now tell us where Elijah is and go back hell."

Esther sighed. "I had hoped your influence on my son would've opened his eyes to a part of him that yearned for an end to his vicious ways. To yearn to be more like you. Loyal, loving, and willing to do anything for his family."

"In case you didn't notice, he is all of those things. He just had a couple of really bad examples for a very long time on how to properly show it."

Esther threw out her hand and sent Klaus and Damon flying backwards. Buffy didn't move since she was still wearing Willow's magical protection. Damon hadn't had a chance to get his back, yet. "Damon!" Buffy rushed over to her husband and helped him to his feet.

Klaus was trying to attack Esther, but she was holding him off magically. "If you are determined to perpetuate the cycles of the violence to which you have become accustomed, then I'll have to accommodate you." She made her outstretched hand into a fist and twisted it in the air. Klaus's neck snapped and he fell to the ground, unconscious.

"Why did you do that?" Buffy demanded.

"It's the only thing he understands."

"No, it's not. He can be reasoned with if the reasoning isn't batshit crazy."

Esther smiled. "It's nice that he has someone that believes in him. It's almost a shame that you chose Damon over him." She looked at Damon. "Maybe my son would be more like you had he been given Buffy's affections." She shook her head. "No matter. When he wakes, tell him that Elijah is sleeping. Chained to the wall of a tomb in Lafayette Cemetery. I'll lift the spell that hides him. You are free to take him home. Now, his own mind will work out his choice for him. When he wakes, he'll make his own decision. Every single thing I've said to Niklaus tonight is the truth. Whether he chooses to believe it is up to him." She turned and walked off, disappearing into the trees.

Damon shook his head. "Batshit crazy is the perfect description for her."

Buffy chuckled as she kneeled down and set Klaus's head right. "She's definitely got some serious issues." Her cell phone started ringing and she grabbed it. "Hey."

"Where have you been?" Willow demanded. "I've been trying to get a hold of you for the last hour."

Buffy pulled her phone away from her ear to see that she had perfect reception. "Must've been some witchy interference. We just had a run in with Esther. Everything ok?"

"We found Elijah. It took some serious doing, but we finally managed to pinpoint him at…."

"Lafayette Cemetery. Yeah, Esther told us."

"Oh. Well, now I feel useless."

"You may not be. She said something that makes me think she's done something to him. As soon as Klaus wakes up, we're going to go rescue Elijah. Where are Hayley and Marcel?"

"They're off rescuing one of her wolves that Esther has sentenced to death."

"She's been busy. Ok, Will, just sit tight. We'll be back as soon as we can."

"Ok. See you soon."

Buffy hung up and looked up at Damon. "When we get back, we're going to have to have Willow put the protection spell on you again."

"I completely forgot about it until the bitch threw me across the yard." Damon said, rubbing his neck.

"Are you ok?" She reached up and placed her hand on his cheek.

He rubbed his face against her palm. "Nothing a kiss from my beautiful wife can't heal."

Buffy smiled. "I think I can provide that." She folded herself in his arms and lost herself in his kiss.

"I can't get enough of this." He said against her lips.

When they finally came up for air, Buffy laid her head against his chest and inhaled his scent. "Five months without it was far too long."

Damon glanced down at Klaus. "So, you and Klaus…. What's going on between you two? What did I miss in my absence?"

Buffy sat down next to Klaus and pulled Damon down with her. She curled up under his arm and played with the fingers of his free hand. "Klaus came not long after you…. Left. He was in so much pain after losing his daughter…. Nothing happened, if that's what you're wondering. Neither of us was in any kind of shape for anything beyond lying in bed and wanting to not exist. We barely said three words to each other the whole time. And you know that I've thought of him as a friend for a while now, but after that visit…." She shook her head. "I care about him, Damon. He and Elijah became like family to me the last few months. Elijah calls me constantly to make sure I'm ok. He called me more than Stefan did. He was the first person to get me to say more than five words in a row. Klaus and I, though, we understood what it meant to lose something so dear to us. To have a piece of us ripped away. We didn't have to talk to understand each other." She looked up at Damon. "And if you haven't noticed, he hasn't hit on me once. Klaus and I understand each other a lot better now. We know where we stand with the other. I hate that it took loosing people so precious to us for it to happen, but…. You don't have to worry about Klaus."

"So, you're my girl?"

"I've always been your girl." Buffy rested her head on his shoulder and he kissed the top of her head, tightening his arm around her.

When Klaus finally woke up, the sun had set and darkness was surrounding them. He gasped awake, looking around a bit panicked. "Where…."

"Are you ok?" Buffy asked, helping him to stand.

"I was remembering the day I found out who my real father was. Only that was after Mikael slaughtered him."

"I'm sorry.""Where did my mother disappear to?"

"No telling, but she told us we could have Elijah."

"You know where he is?"

"According to her, he's chained to a wall in a tomb in Lafayette Cemetery. And Willow confirmed that's where he is. But your mother said something else."

"What?"

"'His own mind will work out his choice for him.' Coming from your mother…. That worries me."

"As it does me, but we don't have time to worry just yet. Let's go rescue my brother, shall we?"

Buffy, Damon, and Klaus made their way through Lafayette Cemetery. They heard the sounds of fighting nearby and Klaus went to investigate. Buffy rolled her eyes and grabbed his arm. "Klaus, it's a werewolf fight. If Damon and I go in there…."

"Yes." Klaus nodded. "Go after Elijah. If I don't catch up with you here, I'll meet you back at my home."

"Ok. Be safe. If Mikael shows up…."

"You keep the stake. It's safer in your hands. I'll call for you if I need you." Klaus turned to leave, but stopped. "Buffy…. If my mother shows up…."

"I will make her regret it."

"Thank you." He turned and rushed off for the fight.

Buffy and Damon kept moving. They finally came to the crypt that Willow had pinpointed after Esther's wards had been removed. When they walked in, they found Elijah hanging from his arms and chained to the walls. He was on his knees and covered in blood.

"Elijah!" Buffy rushed over to him and yanked on the chains. Damon came to help, but they wouldn't budge. She spotted the little figure hanging by its arms. "Damon…." He looked at where she was gesturing and grabbed the figure, tearing it down. Buffy yanked on the chains again and they snapped easily this time. Elijah collapsed into her arms and she cradled him against her. She bit into her wrist and tried to feed him her blood. "He's not waking up."

"Whatever Esther did to him, I don't think blood will heal it." Damon said, crouching down to check Elijah for any wounds.

"Should we wait for Klaus?"

Damon walked over to the doorway and stuck his head out. He could still hear fighting and it was closer than he was comfortable with. "No. If that fight gets too close to us, we'll be in even more danger trying to carry him." He came over and the two of them lifted Elijah up by his arms, dragging his feet as they left the cemetery.

Willow looked down at Elijah sleeping in his bed with Tara standing just behind her. He hadn't moved or made any sounds since Buffy and Damon had found him. He was breathing erratically and was covered in a thin sheen of sweat. His muscles were tense and every now and then he would squeeze tightly on Buffy's hand as she sat next to him on the bed, making her wince slightly. Damon was pacing the floor and trying to get a hold of Klaus.

"It's definitely mystical." Willow said, examining Elijah's eyes and neck. "There's a rash here on his neck that shouldn't be there."

"Can you wake him up?" Buffy asked.

"I can try." Willow went around to the other side of the bed and sat down. She placed her fingertips on Elijah's temples and closed her eyes.

"He's still not answering." Damon said, joining Tara standing by Buffy.

"I hope he's ok." Buffy said.

"Worry no more, love." Klaus said, walking into the room. "How is he?"

"He's still sleeping."

"Willow?" Tara asked worriedly.

Klaus rushed over and gently pulled Willow away from Elijah. Her nose had begun to bleed and her eyes had turned black. "It's Esther's spell." Klaus said.

"Elijah's mind is in such chaos." Willow said, actually grateful to Klaus for holding her up. Tara came over and held Willow's hand. "I got snippets of whatever he's dreaming and it's…. scary. But there's something else blocking his mind. It's really dark magic."

"Klaus, you're his brother." Damon said. "Do you think you can get in his mind? You know it better than we do."

Klaus made sure Willow was going to be able to stand before he reached over and touched Elijah's temple with one hand and his chest with the other. "I know you are locked in battle, however deep in your mind our mother has set the stage. Hear my voice. Our mother thinks she will win because she has left you alone, but you are not alone. Let me in." Elijah's body went rigid and he began to seize. "Let me help end whatever torment she has forced upon you." Klaus's nose began to bleed and he groaned in pain.

"Klaus, stop!" Buffy grabbed his wrists and pulled him away. He blinked rapidly and looked up at her. "Are you ok?"

"Esther has blocked us out."

"Maybe you'll know the spell she used." Buffy moved Elijah's head to the side and showed Klaus the weird looking rash on his neck.

"I haven't seen this since I was a child." Klaus said, leaning over to inspect the rash. "Mikael would return home from battle more blindly temperamental than usual, and our mother would use the petals of a rare merlock orchid to put him to sleep. She would mend his mind with a spell, and then wake him with the roots of the same plant. If she has access to it now, then maybe it also grows in the Bayou." He looked over at Willow. "If I can find it, will you help with the spell to reverse this affliction my mother has placed on my brother?"

"Yeah. Of course." Willow said.

Klaus stood up and started to leave. Buffy followed him out onto the balcony overlooking the courtyard. "What happened to you?" She asked. "Back at the cemetery, I mean. You took your sweet time getting back."

"Esther brought my father back from the dead. My true father."

"Geez, it's nice of her to keep handing out those 'get of dead free' cards. Coulda used one of those about five months ago." Buffy looked up at Klaus. "Did you speak to him?"

"Nothing of consequence. He is just a ploy my mother is using to try and woo me into her web of deceit."

"But he's alive?"

"Yes."

"And he's out there."

"What are you getting at?"

"Aren't you the least bit curious about him?"

"No." Klaus began walking again and Buffy continued to follow him.

"Oh, come on! Don't lie to me. Klaus, you've spent a thousand years knowing that you had a real father who wasn't out to murder you and now he's here and you can talk to him…."

"He's just a pawn in mother's game!"

"He's still your father and she kept him from you! He's got to have some resentment there. Use that. Turn him against her. You're great at manipulating people."

Klaus stopped suddenly and looked down at her. "Are you coming with me?"

Buffy realized that she'd actually followed him all the way to the end of the block and they were about to cross the street. "Apparently I am." She brought out her phone and called Damon as she and Klaus continued walking.

"Where did you go?" He asked by way of answering.

"Sorry, I was getting on Klaus's case and ended up following him out. I'll be back later."

"Do you want me to come with you?"

"I would love that, but we're kind of far away now and I couldn't tell you how we got here. Stay with Willow and help her get that spell ready."

"Be careful, babe."

"I will. I love you."

"I love you." Damon hung up and Buffy put her phone back in her pocket.

Klaus looked down at her. "Thank you."

"For what?" Buffy asked.

"For coming down here to help despite you having just gotten Damon back from the dead. I know you'd rather be with him."

"You're welcome."

"You're rather like family now, are you not?"

She nudged him playfully with her elbow. "Hey, you're the one that called me your little sister."

Klaus chuckled slightly. "I will admit, I do still want you to be mine, I doubt that will change, but I acknowledge that it's just not my time and I'm content to have you in my life as my friend until that time comes." He took her hand and kissed her knuckles very formally.

Buffy shook her head. "You have seriously done some growing up here in New Orleans."

"Don't tell anyone."

"Oh, I won't. I wouldn't want anyone to actually like you." Buffy squeezed Klaus's hand before letting it go and then looked around. "Do you have any idea where we're going to find this stuff?"

"None. But I assume it's closer to the cemetery since that's where mother has decided to set up camp."

"Ok, then…. I guess since I have no idea what this flower looks like, I'm just keeping you company while we search."

"I'm not going to complain. I've finally got you in New Orleans. Tell me everything that's been going on with you."

A few hours later, they were still searching the bayou for the orchids. The two of them had kept up a steady stream of easy conversation. Buffy really wished that he would let more people see this side of him. Then she and Elijah wouldn't be the only ones to know that Klaus was a good person inside.

For the last thirty minutes, Buffy had been tracking a man that had been following them with a knife in his hand. He thought he was being sneaky, but she could hear the man's breathing and the beating of his heart. Klaus had to have heard it too, but he gave no outward notion of it until he suddenly rushed over to the man and pinned him against a tree.

"Stop following me." He growled. "I have no intention of taking Esther's bargain, and no desire to be remade a mortal being. Now, kindly piss off. I'm in a hurry to help my real family."

"You seek the merlock orchid." The man called after Klaus as he stomped back to Buffy.

"How did you know that?"

"I saw your friends carry Elijah home last night. Who do you think used to find the orchid for your mother to put Mikael to sleep? Without my help, you could search forever."

"Is that your dad?" Buffy asked Klaus.

"My name is Ansel." The man said to Buffy, holding out his hand for her to shake.

Buffy pushed Klaus's restraining hands away from her and shook Ansel's hand. "I'm…."

"Buffy Summers. Yes. You have been a good influence on my son. Perhaps you could help him to actually speak with me."

Klaus pulled Buffy away from Ansel. "My mother brought you back from the dead. My sense of strategy tells me that it wasn't to play a father-son game of hide and seek."

"You can storm off in a fit of stubbornness if you like, but I suggest you do so toward the west."

"You know where the flowers are?" Buffy asked. Ansel gestured to his right and Buffy turned to look at Klaus. He sighed and changed directions, pulling Buffy along by her arm.

Buffy allowed it for a few minutes knowing that Ansel was behind them. "Ok, Klaus…." She pulled her arm out of his grasp. "Running away isn't going to solve anything."

Klaus glared at her for a moment and then continued walking. "A thousand years estranged, and you choose to walk in silence?" Ansel asked. "Surely you have questions for me."

"Just one: is there a way to cure Elijah without having to listen to the pointless ramblings of an old man?" Klaus snapped.

"I'm afraid the price of my expertise is conversation." Ansel patted Klaus on the back and slipped past him so he could take the lead.

Buffy smiled at Klaus when he looked down at her. "It's not an unreasonable request."

"I don't want to talk to him."

"Oh please! Of course you do." She took a breath and then gripped Klaus's upper arms. "It's ok to be curious. It's ok to want to talk to him."

"Stop being so bloody reasonable!" Buffy shook her head at him and hugged him quickly. He sighed and they followed after Ansel. After a few minutes, Klaus finally said, "You know, I used to tell myself that my real father must have had no idea I existed. Otherwise, he'd never leave me to suffer under Mikael."

"Esther forbade me from seeing you." Ansel said. "So, I waited, knowing that one day, you would trigger your curse and need your real father. When that happened, Mikael found me first. I fought him for you."

"Yes, well, your grand declaration is just a few years too late."

"Now, you joke, but I know you've always felt a void in your life. I've watched you from beyond for centuries. You've traveled all corners of the world, seen monuments erected, feasted on the blood of the history's most extraordinary men, but you've never found true peace. The only moments of joy in your life, however fleeting, have been simple pleasures. As you climbed the Himalayas, as you tended to your horses. Quiet days, teaching that boy Shakespeare…."

"Stop."

"I watched you paint. I watched you learn to be a better man through your love for this woman." Ansel gestured at Buffy. "I watched you feel your unborn daughter's kick…."

Klaus suddenly grabbed Ansel in a choke-hold. "Klaus!" Buffy cried.

"I said, stop!" Klaus snapped. Buffy managed to pull him off of Ansel and hold onto his arm. "A millennium of observing me…. Were your eyes closed as I slaughtered whole villages? Fed my way through thousands of innocents? Because, let's face it…. I have a tendency to play with my food. Have I made you proud, Father?" Klaus yanked his arm away from Buffy's grip and stormed off.

Buffy turned to Ansel. "Are you working for Esther?"

"No, I'm not. She brought me back, yes, but I am not under her influence. I just want to talk to my son."

"That's what I thought.""You have great influence over him, Buffy. He truly does care deeply for you. Will you help me?"

"I'll do what I can. If you've been watching him all this time, then you know that he's a stubborn ass about ninety-eight percent of the time."

Ansel chuckled. "He comes by it honestly."

Buffy's phone began ringing and she answered it, still chuckling at Ansel's retort. "How's it going?" Damon asked."Well, I met Klaus's biological father and he seems like a pretty decent guy. He's leading us to where Esther has hidden the orchids. How's Willow coming with the spell?"

"She's got everything she needs. We're just waiting on the orchid."

"With Ansel's help, we should be back soon enough. I'll call you when we're on our way back. How is Elijah? Any change?"

"None. He's still out cold. He jerks and talks a little, but that's it. No waking up. Maybe if the orchid doesn't wake him up, we should start looking for his one true love. I hear that wakes people up from mystical sleeps."

Buffy laughed. "Well, if I ever end up in one, I sure am glad to have you around."

"You saying I'm your one true love?"

"Maybe. Or maybe I'm just saying that you're pretty decent at kissing."

"Maybe I'm both."

"Maybe."

"I love you."

"I love you."

"I'll see you soon."

"Bye." Buffy hung up and stuck her phone back in her pocket.

"How is my brother?" Klaus asked, falling back to walk next to Buffy and letting Ansel take the lead again.

"Still the same."

"We're almost there." Ansel said.

Sure enough, a few minutes later they came to a large tree where the merlock orchids were growing on the branches. Unfortunately, the tree was surrounded by dozens and dozens of purple-flowered herbs. "Vervain." Buffy said, stepping back from the plants.

"It's everywhere." Klaus growled. "My relentless mother has set a trap."

"I'll retrieve the merlock for you." Ansel said with a smile.

"At what cost?"

Ansel suddenly threw his knife into the ground and got in Klaus's face. "Why don't you use your vampire abilities to end your doubts? Search my mind. You'll see I'm not aligned with your mother."

"I have absolutely no interest in the inner-workings of your brain."

"I'm surprised at your cowardice."

"Oh?"

"While you stand here in fear of me, your brother suffers further."

Klaus actually looked hurt by Ansel's words. He finally relented. "Gather the orchids."

A few more hours later, the sun had set and Ansel had set up a little camp to prepare the orchids for Willow's spell. He had made a small campfire and sat across from Buffy and Klaus. He was using a long knife to cut the merlock orchids as Klaus watched him. Buffy was texting Damon and not paying too much attention to Klaus and Ansel's conversation.

"I've always seen a blade to have a very different use." Klaus said.

"Mikael taught you to kill, Klaus. But, you were born to create. Power lies in embracing your true nature." Ansel said.

"You think I should accept my mother's offer? Sacrifice my vampirism? And then what? Become a florist?"

"You wouldn't be sacrificing anything. As a wolf, you'll be king to an entire species. You would feel at true peace. And you'll be a better father."

"I am no longer a father." Klaus stood up angrily and walked away from the campfire.

Ansel didn't let up, though. "In our animal form, we feel everything more acutely. When you were a boy, after each full moon, I would wake closer to your village, having been drawn to you in the night. Since I've been back, each month when I turn, I wake further from New Orleans. I know the call of my own blood, Klaus." Klaus turned toward Ansel with a shocked face. Buffy's head shot up as she put two and two together just before Ansel said, "I know your child is still alive."

Klaus's eyes widened and he turned away. Buffy stood up and walked over to him. "Is that true?" He didn't answer her. "Klaus?" When his eyes met her, she saw the truth in them.

Ansel walked over to them and handed Klaus a handkerchief with the prepared orchids. "This will help Elijah." He turned away, but Klaus called out to him.

"Ansel. I'd be lying if I said your offer wasn't appealing. I've never known a parent to be a benevolent force. I think I would have liked to have been your son. But, a different path was chosen for me, and I have, for the past one thousand years, been the son of Mikael. Paranoid. Vengeful. And, powerful enough to protect my daughter."

Ansel clasped the back of Klaus' head affectionately. "I want to help you defend her."

"I believe you. But love is what Esther twists. She will take the best of your intentions and she will use them to get to my little girl." Klaus took Ansel's hand in his own and clasped it tightly. "You waited too long before you came to rescue me. I won't make the same mistake with Hope." Klaus suddenly picked up Ansel's blade and Ansel turned toward him, confused and hurt.

"No. No, Klaus. I know you. You are not capable of this."

"That's the first lie you've told me."

"Klaus don't!" Buffy cried just before Klaus slashed sliced open Ansel's chest. Ansel gasped, staggering forward, and Klaus looked horrified at what he'd just done. He stepped forward and caught his dying father in his arms, slowly lowering his body onto the ground. Ansel caressed Klaus's cheek with his hand before he died. Klaus began to cry, overwhelmed by all the new emotions, but he quickly steeled himself and stood up.

"Why did you do that?" Buffy asked.

"To protect my daughter." He moved towards her. "No one can know she's alive."

"Put the knife down, Klaus."

"I don't want to hurt you."

"Then don't."

"My daughter…."

"Do you honestly think that I would ever betray you like that? Do you think that I would ever hurt Hope in any way?"

"If someone threatened you…."

"Who's going to even try? I'm a Vampire Slayer vampire. I'm like you. And I have a witch that's just as powerful as your mother that would back me up one-hundred percent."

"I don't want to hurt you."

"So don't." Buffy placed her hands on either side of Klaus's face, trusting that he wouldn't actually go through with it, and looked him in the eyes. "I fought for Hope before she was even born. I wanted you to have her. I had to talk you into it. There is no way that I would ever in a million years do anything to hurt her. You know that."

Klaus let the knife drop from his hand and wrapped his arms around her. "I'm sorry."

"It's ok. I completely understand." Buffy gently stroked the back of his head as she held him. He began to cry and she held him tighter, letting him sob into her shoulder. They sank to the ground as Buffy comforted Klaus. When he finally quieted, Buffy asked, "Where is she?"

"She's with Rebekah." Klaus said, not leaving her arms. "We sent her away and told everyone that she had been killed to keep her safe."

"Do you ever talk to Rebekah?"

"She checks in periodically to give us updates on Hope." Klaus lifted his head and looked at Buffy. "I would give anything to see my daughter again. To hold her in my arms."

"But not until she's completely safe."

"Not a moment before."

She reached up and wiped away the tear tracks from his cheeks. "No one will ever find out from me that Hope is alive. I swear to you that I will kill anyone that is out to harm her."

Klaus took one of her hands and held it against his lips for a long moment. "I don't know how you've done it, but I completely trust you. I should never have threatened you."

"I would've done the same thing." She gave his hand a squeeze before standing up. "We need to get back to Elijah."

Klaus stood up as well and leaned in to kiss her cheek. "I am very grateful to have you in my life, Buffy."

Buffy and Klaus headed straight for Elijah's room when they got back to the compound. Damon, Willow, and Tara were there waiting. They stood up, looking a bit surprised at their sudden entrance. Klaus handed Willow the handkerchief Ansel had given him. She headed out to the kitchen to finish her spell.

Damon took Buffy's hand. "Are you ok? What happened out there?"

Buffy smiled up at Damon. "I met Klaus's real dad. He was a decent guy."

"Was?"

"Long story." She reached up and kissed Damon, letting her lips linger for a moment. As much as she wanted to tell Damon what she'd learned, she wouldn't betray Klaus and Hope like that. Not until Klaus said it was ok. If he had briefly thought about killing her when she'd found out, then he definitely wouldn't hesitate to kill Damon and she would never put her husband in danger like that.

"Got it." Willow announced, walking back in. She handed the poultice to Klaus and he walked over to Elijah.

"May I have some privacy with my brother?" Klaus asked.

"We'll be in the courtyard." Willow said, taking Tara's hand and leaving.

Damon held Buffy's hand as he walked out, but Klaus said, "Buffy, please stay? If he's feral from this spell, I might need some assistance restraining him."

Buffy looked up at Damon. "I'll meet you in the courtyard?"

"Of course." Damon looked at Klaus for a moment before kissing Buffy quickly and shutting the door behind him.

Buffy walked over to the bed and climbed up to sit next to Elijah, taking his hand in hers. "We were innocent once, Elijah." Klaus said as he rubbed the poultice on Elijah's neck. "This bloodlust was forced upon us by our parents, turning us from prey to predator. We're the demons lurking in shadow. We are the savage villains in fairy tales taught to children. But, not for my child. Not for Hope. In her stories, we are knights in shining armor. Without you by my side, I don't think I can survive my own love for my daughter. I need you. I need you, brother. The monster in me can only be challenged by the monster in you. Only together can we fight our demons and save our family."

Elijah woke up with a loud gasp and his grip on Buffy's hand tightened to a painful vice. His eyes focused on Klaus's smiling face first before resting on Buffy. "Buffy?"

"Hey Elijah." Buffy said gently.

"What are you doing here?"

"Klaus and Hayley called me when you went missing. I came as soon as I could."

"Let's let Elijah orient himself and freshen up." Klaus said, coming around the bed and helping Buffy down. "We'll return when you're ready." As soon as the door was shut, Klaus took Buffy down the hall to his room. Buffy walked over to the painting on the wall over the bed. It looked like the sky at dusk and one of the clouds was painted golden and seemed to be moving as if it was blonde hair being blown around by the wind. "I painted that not long after I moved here. It was inspired by you."

"It's beautiful."

"Buffy, I trust you implicitly with this secret. Damon…."

"I won't tell him unless you say it's ok. You killed your own father and nearly killed me. I'm not risking my husband like that."

"Thank you. One day I will have Hope back and then everyone shall know. But until that day…."

"Until that day, your secret is safe with me. I'll kill anyone who crosses my path looking for her." Buffy sighed when her phone began ringing. "Hey Rick. How are you feeling?"

"Well, I've been released from the hospital." Rick said. "How's it going down there in New Orleans?"

"Oh, the usual. Death, mayhem, a crazy Original Witch mother, and a psycho Original vampire father."

"Will you guys be home for Thanksgiving? Elena is planning a big party."

"I didn't realize it was almost Thanksgiving."

"Well, you've been a little busy."

"Let me talk to Damon and I'll call you back?"

"Sure."

Buffy hung up. "Who knew it was almost Thanksgiving?"

"I hadn't realized it myself." Klaus said. "You'll be leaving soon?"

"Probably. I'd like to see some kind of resolution to this before I leave, though."

"As would I." Klaus thought for a moment. "I have an errand to run. I'll return shortly."

Before Buffy could say anything, Klaus rushed out of the room. She shook her head and headed for the kitchen. She got herself a bag of blood and one for Elijah. As she waited for his to heat up, she drank hers and reflected on everything that had happened that day. The door to Elijah's room was cracked slightly, but she still knocked and waited for Elijah to invite her in. He was standing at his full length mirror looking at his unfinished tie.

"Hey." Buffy said, walking up to him.

"It was an unexpected surprise to find you here when I awoke." Elijah said, hugging her tightly."I thought you would be busy trying to find a way to bring Damon back."

"Well, I stopped when he came back."

He pulled back and looked down at her. "Damon has returned?" She nodded, handing him the mug of blood. "Thank you. I knew you would find a way."

"I didn't…. Actually…. Bonnie did. She sent him back and now she's stuck in some alternate universe. She sacrificed herself so he could come back to me."

"I'm sure you'll find a way to save her." Elijah gave her a small smile, leaning over to kiss her forehead.

Buffy reached up and started tying Elijah's tie. "How do you feel?"

"The worst has past. Though, I suspect the nightmares are far from over. How long have you been here?"

"Couple of days. Hayley called me and told me you were missing. With your mother and father back among the living, I got worried."

"I'm sure Klaus was happy to see you."

"He's been very excited…. And very grown up."

"How so?"

"He hasn't hit on me once. He said that it was better to have me in his life as a friend instead of not at all. And he didn't kill me when I found out about Hope." Elijah became very still under her hands. "I'll let him tell you all about it because it's his story to tell, but Hope's secret is safe with me." She finished his tie and straightened it for him.

"How did you find out?"

"Like I said, I'll let Klaus tell you."

"And where is my brother?""No idea. He said he had an errand to run and he would be back."

Elijah nodded. "Buffy, I can't stress to you…."

"How important it is to keep her safe."

"He's trusting you with this. Do you realize how important that is?"

"Of course I do. Especially after today."

"What happened today?"

"I spent the day with my father. My real father." Klaus said, walking into the room. "Esther brought him back from the dead, believing he could convince me to renounce vampirism. The thought of what I could be…. Had I been raised by him…. Had I been nurtured…. This was his." He handed Elijah a notebook and he opened it to find a sketch of a much younger Klaus inside. "He knew about Hope. I wanted to trust him more than anything in the world. I… I wanted to, but…. I couldn't be sure. And I would never forgive myself if something happened to her because of my selfish desire for a father. So, I killed him. Without hesitation. I killed him."

"You killed him for Hope." Buffy said, squeezing Klaus's hand.

Elijah approached them and handed Klaus the notebook. "And whatever innocence remains, we must protect at any cost." Elijah put a hand on the back of Klaus's head comfortingly and took Buffy's hand, connecting the three of them. "This family will make sure of that." Klaus began to cry and Buffy and Elijah wrapped their arms around him.

When he finally calmed down, Klaus stood up straight and wiped the tears from his cheeks. "Gather your strength. After the message I sent mother tonight, I expect hellfire to rain upon us imminently."

"We need to make a move before she strikes."

Marcel and Hayley appeared in the doorway. "Well, actually, moves were made while you were sleeping." Marcel said.

"It's good to see you vertical." Hayley said. "Marcel and I each left a gift for you in the ballroom. You're welcome?"

Buffy, Elijah, and Klaus exchanged looks and headed out of the room. Damon met Buffy at the foot of the stairs in the courtyard and took her hand. In the ballroom, Finn and Kol in their new bodies were suspended from the balcony by their wrists. Willow and Tara stood off to the side looking pleased with their handiwork. They had spelled the manacles so no one supernatural could break them, witch or otherwise.

"Kidnapping? That's a rather unpleasant way to begin a family reunion!" Kol said.

"Well, wait until you see how we end it!" Klaus announced.

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.