The Lady in Red

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Mitch was having a dream: Selina was in bed; she looked awful. She was pale and shaky, her eyes were rimmed in red, and her long black hair was a mess. She looked different somehow. It definitely wasn't her as she was today. This must have been what she was like back then, after he stopped visiting. After a moment, the door to the bedroom opened and in walked Dr. Stensrund. He sat beside her on the bed and took her hand. He asked her something, although Mitch couldn't quite understand what it was. After he asked it, Selina had an angry look on her face. She began to shake her head wildly, holding on to the locket she always wore, as if showing it to him. This went on for awhile before Dr. Stensrund finally put his hand on her shoulder to stop her. Then, he left the room for a moment, coming back with a glass of some sort of medicine. Selina took it and then settled down to sleep…next, she was in an attic, tied to a chair and thrashing wildly. She had fangs and they were bared as she struggled to free herself. Mitch was afraid she was going to knock the chair over and hurt herself. Then, Dr. Stensrund entered. They began to talk. This time, Mitch understood their conversation.

"Let me go, please," Selina was saying. "I'm so hungry."

"In just a minute, Selina. You have to be patient." Dr. Stensrund was looking at her now as if she were a dangerous animal he was trying to tame. And perhaps she was.

"And where's my locket?" she asked. "I had it two seconds ago and I want it back!"

"Ah, my dear." Dr. Stensrund was looking at her with pity now. "I hid it for your own good. You'll never find it. If I can't have you, no one can."

"I want to eat. Now." Selina snapped. Mitch could tell she'd just been turned. Only new vampires had that much trouble controlling their urges.

"You want to eat?" Dr. Stensrund asked. "Fine."

And it was only then that Mitch noticed the two men chained to the wall of the attic across from Selina's chair. They were half-awake. Dr. Stensrund untied her slowly. "Go ahead and eat, my dear," he said, nodding at the men. "Eat all you want."

Selina charged the two men, going straight for both their necks. Blood was spurting everywhere, and when Selina had finished with one man, she threw his body aside and went for the other one. He met the same fate. By the time she was finished, she seemed to have gained some of her mind back. She began to cry, sobbing with all her might as she gazed at the two lifeless men on the attic floor. She threw herself down beside them and didn't say a word.

"No!" He woke up with a gasp. He didn't usually dream, but this one had been vivid, real, and terrifying. He had no doubt why he was dreaming it. Selina had probably sent it to him to prove her point about Dr. Stensrund. And as much as he didn't want to admit it to himself, it had worked. He now believed everything she'd told him without question. It would probably make her day when he told her.

"So," Selina said as she strolled into the kitchen of the boarding house and saw Mitch sitting at the table. "Did you have any interesting, unusually terrifying and vivid dreams last night?" She sat down next to him, an action that surprised him a little.

"As a matter of fact, I did," he told her dryly. "And I have to admit, I admire your tactics."

"Did they work?" she asked seriously. "Do you believe me now?"

After a moment, he nodded. "I do. I don't like what I saw, but I do believe you. Does that make you feel better?"

She thought a moment. "It doesn't make up for everything, but it helps a little."

Mitch sighed. "Selina, if this is about Dr. Stensrund and I erasing all your memories of me, we didn't do it to hurt you. We had good intentions and we meant well."

She stood up, frowning. "Everybody means well, Mitch. Like how Mama meant well when she married again; how she meant well when she sent me away from home to that stupid, hoity-toity finishing school; like when she let me think Mr. Pierce was my father for eight years so that I wouldn't feel like a part of me was missing; and like you, when you left to expand the country and win medals, leaving me to be at the mercy of the devil in the guise of Robert Pierce. Yes, people mean well. But in the end, despite good intentions, something always goes wrong, and somebody always ends up getting hurt."

Mitch could only stare at her. He could literally think of nothing to say to that. He was saved however, by the sound of somebody coming down the stairs. He looked up, and at the sight of Stefan and Damon let out a visible sigh of relief.

"What's going on?" Stefan asked. "Is something wrong?"

"No," Selina shook her head. "Mitch was just telling me about an unusually vivid dream he had last night. But I have to go. I have errands to run in town. I should be back in a while though; I'll have my cell on if anyone needs to reach me." And with that, she left out the back door, being careful to slam it behind her.

"Are you going to be okay?" Stefan asked Mitch.

"Yeah, I think," he replied. "When she gets this way, how long does it usually last?"

"Until she does something really, really stupid. Or nearly does something stupid," Damon answered. "A month ago, she was mad at me, so one day she decided she couldn't live here anymore and then went off with Tyler Lockwood to stay with him. only after she moved in, did she realize his intentions were more romantic then platonic or familial, and once he demonstrated that by attempting to seduce her, she came to her senses and moved back in. Well, to be more exact, she went to a bar and got drunk and then I brought her back here and it's where she's been ever since."

"Thanks for that," Mitch said. "So she got so mad at you that she ran off and almost slept with her cousin?"

"Yeah," Damon said. "She might try it again this time. Or she might just come back home once she's blown off some steam. She can be quite unpredictable sometimes."

"She said she had some errands to run; do you think we should worry?" Mitch asked.

"I wouldn't yet," Stefan said. "She let things go on for quite some time before she started the whole thing with Tyler. Let's just assume that she really is doing errands, and watch her for signs of anything weird after she gets back."

Selina parked in the street, walked up the front steps of the house and rang the doorbell. After awhile, someone came and answered. It was Bonnie.

"Selina!" she said in surprise, "what are you doing here?"

"I need a favor," Selina replied. "Can we talk? It can be out here if it would make you feel more comfortable."

After watching her for a moment, Bonnie carefully stepped out onto the front steps. "What do you need? And why do you need it from me? We barely know each other."

"Well," Selina said, "this is going to sound crazy, and it'll probably even freak you out a little, but Damon told me that my sister is buried in a tomb under the church instead of, you know, being dead like I originally thought she was. He had this idea that he could bring her back, you know; resurrect her somehow with magic, only, due to some bad luck, the easy way to do that isn't really doable anymore. We went to Georgia to talk to one of his exes who is a witch, and she said that if we could get our hands on Emily's spell book, we could find the spell she used to seal up my sister, and we could bring Katherine back so that I could have closure. The only problem is, once we find the book, we'll need a witch to perform the spell. Would you be willing?"

Bonnie's eyes widened. "You're asking me to help you bring your sister back?" she asked slowly.

"Yeah," Selina said. It would really help me out."

"It's just going to be her, right?" Bonnie asked. "Not any of the others?"

Selina shook her head. "No, just Katherine, I promise. I want to have a few words with her and then it'll all be over, because I'm going to destroy her."

Bonnie thought a moment, then sighed. "All right. I guess if you promise not to let the town be overrun by all the vampires in the tomb, I'll help you out with the spell."

Selina smiled and hugged her. "Thank you, Bonnie. You have no idea how grateful I am for what you've just promised to do for me."

"Bonnie, who's at the door?"

Bonnie looked up at the older woman who stood with her hand on the doorframe and smiled at her. "Grams, this is Selina. She's visiting from Charleston and staying with Stefan and Damon."

Grams eyed Selina suspiciously. "You're one of them, aren't you?" she asked. "A vampire?"

Selina bristled. "I didn't come here to cause trouble if that's what you're inferring," she said. "I came to asked Bonnie a favor, which she has kindly agreed to do for me."

Grams frowned at Bonnie. "What did I tell you about dealing with vampires?" she asked. "It doesn't lead to good. Any time witches get involved in vampire affairs, it turns out to be a big mess." She looked at Selina. "Whatever it is you want, we won't do it for you. Be on your way now."

"I think you will do me that favor," Selina said, standing up. "After all, you do owe me one."

Grams shook her head. "We don't owe you anything."

"Actually Grams," Bonnie said slowly, "in a sense, we do owe her."

"What?" Grams asked.

"My name is Selina Warren," Selina said. "And your ancestress Emily Bennet was handmaiden to my half-sister Katherine. To help satisfy one of Katherine's sick whims involving my fiancée and my future brother-in-law, Emily made me sick with some magical plants to prevent me from getting in the way. She gave me a fatal type of scarlet fever, which put me in the care of Dr. Stensrund, who was in love with me and turned me into a vampire so I'd have to marry him and not my fiancée. In other words, if it wasn't for Emily, I could have gotten married, lived out my life, and died. But, thanks to her, here I am."

"All right," Grams said finally. "We'll help you with the spell. But if anyone gets hurt, so will you. I'll make sure of it."

Back at the boarding house, Mitch was still upset over Selina's unsettling behavior. "What can I do to get Selina to like me again?" he asked Stefan.

"I don't know, Mitch. Things like this take time. I don't think there's anything we could do that would just make her magically go from hating you to liking you in a short amount of time."

"We could tell her that we'll help her look for the grimoire," Damon said as he came into the living room. "That ought to cheer her up real quick."

"I told you, it's not a good idea to mess with that," Mitch said through his teeth.

"Why not?" Damon asked. "What are you so afraid of, anyway?"

"Nothing in particular," Mitch said. "I just think that there was a reason why those vampires got sealed in the tomb. Probably because the townspeople thought that they would do harm. And what if they do? Selina will probably be the first one they go for."

"Actually, I don't think that's a bad idea," Stefan said, looking at his brother. "If we tell her we're going to help her that will get her in a better mood. And if the five of us are looking in different places and we, meaning you, me, Damon and Elena, find it first, we can keep the book away from her, and then she won't be able to open the tomb."

"You want us to lie to Selina," Mitch said.

"It doesn't matter," Stefan replied. "It's for her own good."

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