The Lady in Red

I Do, I Don't

Selina's eyes widened. "You can't be serious, Michael!"

He nodded. "I am. I wouldn't lie about something like that."

"But why are you doing this to me?" Selina asked. "Do you genuinely care about me, or have you just lost your mind?"

Michael shook his head. "I assure you, my mind is perfectly sound. You may not see it now, but this is what is best for you."

"No it isn't!" Selina felt herself begin to shake. "The best thing would be for you to allow me to marry Damon like I was supposed to 145 years ago while you go find yourself a nice girl. I'm sure there are plenty out there who would go for someone like you."

"No one else matters," Michael replied. "Just you. I have to save you from yourself."

Selina was silent a moment. Clearly, he had a one-track mind and it would be no use trying to convince him of any other plans of action. "All right," she said at last, "I'll marry you. But first, I want you to tell me exactly what happened between you and Katherine. And how Dr. Stensrund was involved. The man was friends with my father and thought of me as another daughter. What was it that made him fall in love with me and want to turn me?"

"All right," Michael said, standing next to her and taking her hand, allowing her to sit upright. "I suppose I do owe you that story. But afterwards, we're getting married."

"All right," Selina nodded, taking a deep breath.

"It all started prior to your engagement," Michael began. "Aunt Amelia stopped by one day to tell father that she'd spoken with Giuseppe Salvatore about Damon asking for your hand. I overheard the conversation and as you can guess, wasn't too happy about it. After Aunt Amelia left, I asked Father what he thought, if he'd advised Aunt Amelia against the marriage. He said he hadn't, and in fact thought that you two were a good match."

"So why didn't you believe him?" Selina asked. "Why is it that you're so attached to me that you've probably thought of nothing else but this for 145 years?"

"Well who else was there for you?!" Michael burst out passionately. "For years you were at home with Aunt Amelia and that man she married who mistreated you. And you couldn't fight back. You were helpless against him and there was no one who could fight for you…except me. And I was happy to do it. I only wish that I'd been able to kill him. Unfortunately though, someone beat me to it."

Selina nodded. "That was my father. So you're not entirely correct when you say that there was no one out there to fight for me. My father was. He just wiped my memory of every encounter we had so I wouldn't go talking about them to Mama." She paused. "All right. So you were against my marriage to Damon after you heard your father talking about it with Mama; what happened next?"

"Well," Michael continued, "I went to your house the next day. That's when I ran into Katherine. I told her what was going on, and she told me that she had a plan that would be mutually beneficial for us: She would get Damon Salvatore and his brother out of the way, and ruin your life, which would make her happy, and I would get to comfort you in your sorrows after Katherine did her work, which would make me happy.

"And Dr. Stensrund?" Selina asked, sickened. "Where does he come in?"

"Just a minute, I'm getting to him," Michael said. "Because separating you and Damon would be so detrimental to you, Katherine decided to reward me for giving her the pleasure by turning me. Then, I asked about you. Obviously, she couldn't turn you, but she knew that Dr. Stensrund was a vampire as well and figured he could do the job. She said he was a sentimental old fool who'd be easily manipulated into doing as she asked. So she and Emily came up with the plan to make you ill so you'd have to see him."

"When they gave me scarlet fever," Selina said.

"Yes," Michael nodded. "They knew he cared for you, so as soon as he found out you were ill, he'd take you away to be cured immediately. But before they made you ill, they went to his house and made him believe that he was in love with you. She said that was so simple it was ridiculous. Then, they made you ill."

"And I went to Dr. Stensrund's house, he turned me, and the rest is history," Selina supplied. "But here's what I don't get." She paused. The reawakened vampires were beginning to get restless. Some were creeping around her, looking at her as if she were a snack.

"Back!" Michael ordered them. They slunk back to the walls of the tomb and didn't move again. He turned back to Selina. "What is it?"

"Well, if the plan was for me to run away with you after I was turned, why did Katherine make Dr. Stensrund believe he was in love with me? That seems counterproductive if you ask me."

"She knew that was the only way he would change you. Nothing else would make him do such a thing to you."

"So basically, the reason why Dr. Stensrund was the one to turn me was because he was closest and Katherine couldn't think of anyone else?"

Michael nodded. "It is actually that simple."

Selina smirked. "And since she basically ruined his life afterwards, I bet getting him involved was an added bonus. Katherine was never happy unless she was making someone else miserable." She paused. "When you found me in the woods and gave me the newspaper, had you been turned yet?"

Michael nodded. "Yes, that was just after Katherine turned me. Father found out of course and put me down here along with the others when the town was cleansed. I never understood why he spared me; I thought he would have just staked me, finished me off."

"It was probably because even though you were a blood-sucking monster, you were still his son. And he liked you. Even if he didn't actually show it," Selina said.

"All right," Michael stepped back, and Selina felt as if a bucket of cold water had been dumped over her head. "Now that you know the story, it's time to get back the matter at hand. And there will be no more interruptions."

"How'd things go with the sheriff?" Stefan asked. "Was it a big problem?"

"She wanted to talk about further measures to protect the town. Apparently, somebody called about suspicious behavior down at the cemetery. Probably they saw Tyler and whoever else resurrecting Michael. The sheriff said if one is out, more will soon follow and we have to be prepared."

Stefan gave a small smile. "Well, you just never know, do you? Are you going to go back upstairs and check on Selina?"

Damon nodded. "Did you notice or anyone suspicious coming around last night?"

Stefan shook his head. "I didn't."

"I didn't either," Matthew said as he entered the room. "I think she's okay. We would have heard if someone was coming to get her."

"You're right. In order to pull off a kidnapping and get off scot-free, you have to have brains, which Tyler seems to lack."

"What about Michael?" Stefan asked.

Damon put one foot on the bottom stair and turned to face the other two. "If he so much as lays a hand on her, he is going to be very, very sorry."

He continued up the stairs and into their bedroom.

"What do you see?" Stefan called back. "Is she there?"

"No," Damon came out, shaking with anger. "She's gone. He and Tyler must've gotten her last night."

He came back down the stairs. "We have to find her. Who knows what he's had time to do?"

"Now let's just calm down a minute," Matthew said. "We don't even know where Michael took her."

"Well, how are we going to find out?" Damon asked through his teeth.

"I know a way," Stefan said. "Grab something of hers and then let's go to my car."

With Stefan driving at breakneck speed, they made it to Bonnie's in ten minutes. Stefan knocked on the door, thankful that it was Bonnie who answered. "What is it, Stefan?" she asked. Then, she saw the looks on their faces. "What's happened?"

"Selina's been kidnapped," Stefan replied. "She was taken from the boarding house last night, we have no idea where she is, and we have good reason to believe that she is in real danger. Could you find her for us?"

Bonnie frowned. "I can try. Do you have something of hers with you? That's the easiest way to make a connection."

Stefan nodded and gave her the object. It was the old picture of Selina that Damon kept under his mattress. Bonnie took it in her hands and sat down on the front steps, closing her eyes. "Now, just let me get in contact with her." After a moment, she began to get an image of Selina. First it was fuzzy, then it became clearer. "She's at a wedding?...getting married…at the crypt!" Bonnie opened her eyes. "And there's a guy who looks almost exactly like Tyler there too. She's holding on the best she can, but you don't have much time. They're in the tomb. Go as fast as you can. But get wood first. And lots of it. You're going to need it."

"Thanks, Bonnie," Stefan said as they raced back to his car.

Before going to the cemetery, they did as Bonnie had instructed and grabbed any wooden object they could get their hands on. Pencils, tree branches, and a baseball bat that had been sitting in the attic of Matthew's old house. They threw all of it into the trunk and headed for the cemetery, hoping that they'd get there in time.

Selina stood staring straight ahead, trying not to move. It was just her luck that one of the vampires that had been stuck down here after the Great Purge was a minister. She hadn't wanted to do this of course, but she really didn't see any way out of it. Michael's brain was clearly gone. And if she didn't agree to his outrageous demands, he just might kill her. So, here she was, about to be married to him. She just hoped that Damon and Stefan had discovered she was gone and were coming to get her out.

"…And do you, Michael Lockwood, take this woman, Selina Amelia Elizabeth Warren to be your lawfully wedded wife?"

"I do," Michael nodded, looking at her.

The priest turned to Selina. "And do you, Selina Amelia Elizabeth Warren, take this man, Michael Lockwood, to be your lawfully wedded husband?"

Selina paused. She really didn't want to say yes of course. On the other hand, if she did say yes, she could always stake the priest afterwards and make the whole thing null and void. She'd taken too long. She could feel Michael's grip on her arm, painfully tight. Damon, she thought desperately, my God, Damon where the hell are you? "I do," she said meekly.

"Well I don't."

Selina turned, spots dancing in front of her eyes. Was that Damon? And Stefan? And her father? Had they come to rescue her? Yes, they had.

Michael hissed, baring his fangs. "Well, you don't really matter, do you?"

Damon strode toward him with measured pace, his fury barely controlled. "Get the hell away from my wife," he whispered. "Before I tear your heart out."

Michael ever so gently pushed Selina away from him and approached Damon. "Are you saying you want to fight?" he asked.

"More then you'll ever know," Damon said and rushed at him, holding one of the tree branches like a sword. He went for Michael's heart, but missed. Michael came after him with a thrust, but was also unsuccessful. They were pretty evenly matched as far as skill and Selina could barely take her eyes off them.

She had to however, to help her father and Stefan deal with the hoard of undead that were swarming around them and attempting to break free of the tomb and get into town. Together, they managed to thin the herd. While dealing with a particularly nasty one, Selina got a look at Tyler's face. He watched the scene with an air of indifference, as if the scene below him had no effect on him at all.

After the vampires had been dealt with, Selina turned her attention back to Damon and Michael, who were still doing battle. Neither had yet gotten the upper hand, but just as she turned back to look, Damon's eyes met hers and with a sudden shift in position, he had Michael down on the ground and was twisting the branch into his chest. "Die, God damn you," he whispered, and with an angry hiss, Michael was no more.

At that moment, Tyler's face changed. He grabbed a branch that was lying on the ground unattended and came up behind Selina, intending to thrust it into her back. But Matthew saw him first and was faster. He ran at Tyler, managing to knock him away from Selina. But just as she turned to see what was happening, Tyler grinned a wicked grin and plunged the branch into Matthew's chest.

"Daddy!" Selina screamed, bursting into tears. She lowered herself down to the ground and sobbed a moment. Then, the tears dried on her cheeks and she became filled with anger, rushing Tyler, and hitting him so hard that he was unconscious. Then, everything was silent. Selina began to sob quietly. Damon and Stefan put their arms around her and just held on.

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