The Lady in Red

An Unlawful Union

"Selina? Selina! Are you all right?"

Selina opened her eyes slowly and sat up, staring in stunned silence at her cousin. "What the hell are you still doing here?" she asked finally. "You're supposed to be dead!"

"As are you, my dear," Michael said easily. "And yet, here we both are."

"You know what I mean, Michael," Selina said angrily. "Who turned you?"

Michael stood up and sat next to her. "Our charming cousin Katherine, of course. This was all her doing."

"What do you mean?" Selina asked through her teeth.

"Well, as you know, Father told me that the best thing for you would be to leave us and get married to somebody else rather than stay in the family, and of course I couldn't let that happen. Then I heard him talking to Aunt Amelia about how he had proposed to you and how you'd accepted. And that was the last straw, really. I knew I had to do something to prevent the wedding."

"Michael," Selina said, sitting up, "what do you have against Damon anyway? He's not a bad guy."

"He is if he would abandon you in favor of your sister," Michael said simply. "Anyone who would have such disregard for you isn't worthy."

Selina frowned. "You and Katherine set him up and you know it, Michael. He didn't disregard me because that's how he actually felt. He disregarded me because Katherine used her powers to make him forget about me and fall in love with her."

Michael shook his head. "But that's beside the point. It happened, and you know you can do better."

"Are you insane?" Selina asked. "We're cousins! It's illegal for cousins to marry! Unless you were planning on holing me up at some convent, which let me assure you isn't going to happen."

"No, of course I wasn't going to do that," Michael assured her. "I was just going to find someone more reliable for you."

"Damon's plenty reliable," Selina shot back. "You just don't like him because your twisted mind sees him as competition."

"That's not quite true, dear," Michael countered. "I don't see him as competition. I just see him as someone who's not as good for you as you think."

"And what gives you the right to make that decision?" Selina asked. "And if you say it's because you're a man and thus you automatically know what's good for me, that is just bullshit. It's not 1864 anymore. I've grown up since then. And I'm perfectly capable of running my life on my own without help from anybody, especially the two of you. Now if you don't mind, I'll be on my way."

"Suit yourself," Michael called after her. "But you will be back, I assure you."

"The hell I will," Selina called over her shoulder. "You just crawl back into whatever hole you crawled out of and never darken my doorway again."

"Selina," Tyler called. "How are you planning to get back? We brought my car and there's no way I'm driving you anywhere."

"Even if you wanted to, I wouldn't want you to trouble yourself. Walking back on my own will be no problem at all." And with that, Selina left the mansion, slamming the door behind her.

By the time she got back to the boardinghouse, she had a stitch in her side and was nearly out of breath. Matthew looked at her with concern as she practically fell in the front door, and then didn't get up right away. "You're back early," he commented. "Did you have fun?"

Selina stood up and forced herself to walk over to the couch. "I did have fun. Until Tyler showed up."

"What happened?" Stefan asked.

"Something not good. You know how when we went to the tomb to resurrect Katherine, there was a body missing?"

"Yeah," Damon said. "Do you know who it is? Was? Whatever?"

"Yes," Selina nodded. "And let me just say right now, we all owe you a big apology."

"Thank you," he replied. Then, he frowned. "Why?"

"Well," Selina said carefully, "you know how you thought for years that Michael had it in for you and all he wanted was to split us up so that he could have me for himself? And how we always dismissed your fears because we thought you were being ridiculous?"

"Yeah…?" Damon said, still frowning.

"Well, it turns out we all owe you a big apology because you weren't being silly at all! Michael did want me away from you!"

"What!" Damon yelled. "Are you saying that Michael is the vampire who's gone from the tomb? And he's walking around Mystic Falls right now? How the hell did that happen?"

"Same way a lot of people are here that shouldn't be. It was all Katherine," she replied dryly. "Michael didn't give me a whole lot of information, but he must have told Katherine at some point about wanting to get me away from you. And of course, since that's something that would make me miserable, she went for it."

"So the whole thing with Katherine was a set-up?" Damon asked.

"I guess," Selina replied. "Maybe Michael thought that once I found out you cheated on me, I would be hurt and run to him for comfort, or be so wounded that I would swear off men forever after."

"What about the bit with Dr. Stensrund?" Stefan asked. "Do you think he was in on it too?"

Selina shrugged. "I don't know. Michael didn't mention anything about Dr. Stensrund, and most of what I just told you is my own speculation, but it makes sense."

"So where's Michael now?" Damon asked. "I'd like to give him a piece of my mind."

"He's with Tyler back at the Mansion. But I don't think we should barge in there just yet. We need time to think up a plan."

"I think the best thing would be for you to deal with this, Selina," Matthew said. "You're clearly the one Michael's most interested in, and you're the most unlikely to get hurt."

"So what should I do?" Selina asked. "Clearly, just asking him to leave isn't going to cut it. He genuinely believes he's doing what's best for me."

Just then, the front doorbell rang.

"I'll get it," Stefan said. "You keep brainstorming." He came back a few minutes later, followed by Elena.

"What are we talking about?" she asked.

"Well for starters," Damon said with a small smile, "I was right and you were wrong, so you can apologize now."

"What do you mean?" Elena asked.

"Her cousin Michael wanted to get rid of me because he had a crush on her. I told you."

"How do we know this?" Elena asked, sitting next to Selina on the couch.

"Remember when we went to call Katherine up at the tomb, and we found a body missing? Well, apparently that body was my cousin Michael. Tyler called him up somehow so we could have a romantic reunion. I was at the park when Tyler showed up and told me he had someone he wanted me to meet. I went with him, and there was Michael, right in front of me and as alive as the day I last saw him."

"And he told you he wants you away from Damon," Elena added.

"Yep," Selina nodded. "He said I could do better because anyone who would abandon me and run off with my sister isn't worthy of me."

"But that was a set up!" Damon protested. "If Katherine hadn't showed up and used her powers on me, nothing would have happened.

"I know," Selina assured him. "That's what I told Michael, but he still wasn't convinced."

"Do you think he's going to try and come back for you?" Elena asked.

"I don't doubt it," Selina replied. "It's probably only a matter of time."

For the rest of the day, none of them left the boarding house, and Selina especially didn't spend any time alone. It wasn't that she was afraid of Michael, it was just that being kidnapped was a chance she wasn't willing to take.

When nothing had happened by nightfall, she felt herself start to relax.

"Maybe he's lost interest," she told Damon as they were preparing to go to bed that night. "There's probably nothing to worry about anymore."

Just then, there was a knock at their bedroom door.

"Come in," Selina called.

Stefan entered, holding the phone in one hand. "It's the Sheriff," he said, holding the phone out to Damon. "She says she needs your help with a job that can't wait until morning.

"But I can't leave her," Damon gestured at Selina. "Not with that cousin of hers out and about."

"Oh, go ahead and go," Selina told him. "I can handle anything Michael dishes out, don't worry."

"That really was genius," Michael commented as he watched Tyler hang up the phone. "With Salvatore out of the way, it will be so easy to get to her."

"It's just one of the perks of ruling the town," Tyler told him, grinning briefly. "So we're going to get her tonight, right?"

"Of course we are," Michael said. "Let's wait another hour and then go get her."

When they arrived at the boarding house, they decided that Tyler would stand guard outside, and Michael would actually go into the boarding house and get Selina. The room she shared with Damon was on the lower floor, so it wasn't hard to pick the lock on the window and sneak in, get Selina, and sneak back out. And Michael made it so she would sleep until they were ready to have her wake up.

They put her in the back of Tyler's car and drove to the crypt, bringing her in amongst the bodies and laying her down on an unoccupied, cobweb-covered slab. They then pulled an old, slightly yellowed wedding dress out from a sack they'd brought with them and slipped it over her, placing slippers on her feet.

Then, Tyler went back to the car to grab one more thing: blood. Michael had managed to procure it somehow. He brought it back and began giving it to the vampires, who began to stir one by one. And as they did, so did Selina. She sat up, and screamed.

"Where the hell am I?" she asked, her eyes wide with terror at the sight of the vampires around her coming back to life. "What's going on?"

"You're at our wedding of course," Michael said. "In the presence of God and all these witnesses, you and I are going to become man and wife."

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