I was still standing staring at the empty bar stool when Damon noticed me. He was by my side in seconds, his arm on my shoulder.
“Jessica, are you ok?” he was asking me.
I fought the urge to lean into him, instead, looking him in the eye I shook my head. “Klaus…” I whispered. Damon was on full alert, his eyes scanning the bar. When he didn’t see anything or anybody, out of place, he led me to the booth where the others sat, concern on their faces.
Damon moved in on the booth to make room for me. When I hesitated slightly I saw hurt flash across hi features and I instinctively felt the need to do what I could to make him feel better. I slid into the booth next to him and gave him a small smile before turning to face the others.
I instantly regretted being here. The pity was clear on Stefan’s face, Caroline’s wore concern and Elena… well I was probably imaging it out of jealousy, but I thought Elena looked a bit smug. Ignoring the urge to run from the bar I took a deep breath.
“I met Klaus today.”
Shock replaced all the looks the small group wore, and Damon grabbed my hand. I still felt a flutter when he touched me. “Are you ok?” He once again asked me, his eyes searching mine.
Was I ok? I didn’t know anymore, but that was a whole other thing. Right here, now, I nodded. “I’m fine, he didn’t hurt me or anything. In fact, he was… nice.” I felt my nose scrunch up in confusion. “He’s obviously playing some kind of game with me, with us. I just wish I knew what it was. I don’t like being used.”
I saw Damon flinch out of the corner of my eye, but I ignored it. I don’t think I included him in that statement. Realistically I knew he did love me. I just didn’t know if I could fully trust someone who was also in love with his brother’s girlfriend.
Damon, Elena and Stefan started talking, I think they were talking about Klaus and the next step in stopping him. I couldn’t be sure though, I wasn’t exactly paying attention. My gaze was stuck on Elena as she talked between the two brothers.
Precious Elena, the girl everybody risks their lives to save. What the hell was so special about her anyway? Sure she’s a doppelganger, but did that truly make her life more important than Bonnie’s, or Caroline’s, or even mine? I started to feel the old familiar feeling surge through my body.
I blinked rapidly, the thought was gone as quickly as it had popped into my mind. Did I really want to kill her? I mean sure, it would solve the whole Klaus issue. No doppelganger equals no spell to break. It would be easy as well. I could get her on her own, tell her I need to talk about Damon. I could probably pin it on Klaus or Elijah…
“Elijah is out of the question.” Damon was saying.
I felt my body stiffen. Did I say all that out loud? As I looked around the table I realised they were talking about something else. They weren’t even looking at me… wait, Caroline was watching me, worry and concern on her features. I gave her a quick smile before joining in on the conversation.
“So why is Elijah out of the question?” I asked.
Stefan looked at me in confusion, “Don’t you remember? Last week we stuck a dagger through his heart. He’s lying in the basement of the boarding house.”
It was obvious by the surprise on my face that I didn’t know this. We all looked at Damon. “I did tell you… didn’t I” He didn’t sound too sure.
“I guess you had more important things on your mind.” I had turned to look at Elena as I said this. “But now that I do know, is it really wise to keep the one person who might actually be able to stop Klaus, daggered?” I asked.
“We don’t need him. We have…” Damon left the sentence unfinished. We all knew he meant Bonnie, but we had to be careful. You never know who’s listening in. “Anyway,” he continued, “We couldn’t trust Elijah’s word that he wouldn’t hurt Elena.”
Every one of us looked down as the broken glass in my hand. I hadn’t even realised I was holding it. I stood up, “I’m sorry, I have to go. Stefan, whenever you all figure out what your plan is just… contact me if I’m needed.”
I didn’t wait for a reply. I just turned and left. I had reached my car before Caroline caught up with me. “I don’t want to hear it Care.” I said, my voice quiet.
Apparently that wasn’t going to stop her though. “We’re all worried about you.”
I could hear it in her voice, she was worried, but there was something else in her tone. I turned to face her. “What exactly are you worried about?”
“Obviously we’re worried about you, and how you’re doing. It’s just…” Caroline’s voice trailed off, her eyes downcast.
I crossed my arms over my chest, “Just what Caroline?”
She couldn’t look me in the eye. “Sometimes when you’re looking at Elena, it looks like…” Once again she failed to finish her sentence.
I took a step closer to her, “Looks like what? That I’m about to rip her pretty little head from her shoulders? Or like I’m going to sink my teeth into her neck and drain every last drop from her body.” I could hear the dark edge in my voice, but I was beyond caring. “Wouldn’t that be the right thing to do though? I mean, instead of letting countless people die to save the doppelganger, wouldn’t her death save the countless lives that Klaus will take to get to her?”
“You don’t mean that.” Caroline whispered, horror etched on her face, “You’re just upset.”
My lips parted, to more than likely agree with her, but the words waiting on my tongue weren’t spoked aloud as my gaze went past Caroline to the entrance to the Grill where Stefan, Elena and Damon all stood, shock on their faces.
I fought the tears, I would not let them see me cry. I barked a single empty laugh instead, “Or maybe I’m just broken.”
With that I sped off, leaving my car. I was quicker on my own. Within moments I was at the top of the water fall the town was named for, looking down.
I don’t know why that was the word I used. I had been about to say poisonous, or toxic, but broken is what slipped out. Maybe I was broken. Every time I thought I had myself figured out I was wrong. I kept thinking I have accepted who I was, but if that was the case why was I still hiding the truth from the others? Of course I knew the answer to that. I was afraid of what would happen if they saw the real me.
My mind drifted past the thoughts of self-doubt and moved onto Elijah. How could they be so stupid, keeping him daggered? I mean sure, Bonnie was still in the game, but there was always the chance that she could fail. If that happened there would be nothing standing in Klaus’s way.
I came to a simple decision, and with my mind made up I left the falls and ran to the boarding house. Once there I paused briefly, listening. When I was sure the house was empty I let myself in. I quickly made my way to the basement, pausing at the cell door. My mind flashed back to the last time I had been down here. That time they had vervained me, this time they would probably just kill me.
I pushed the door open and there he was, Elijah. He looked dead… which was kind of ironic I thought, being a vampire and all. He was lying on the dirt floor, an old antique looking silver dagger stuck in his chest. I knelt beside him, and taking a deep breath, I wrapped my hands around the dagger and pulled it out.
I didn’t know how long it would take for the effect of the dagger to wear off, I just hoped it wouldn’t be too long. While I waited I went to the chest freezer, glad to see they had returned the blood bags after I turned my messed up emotions back on. I grabbed two of them and turned to go check on Elijah.
As I turned I let out a small yelp, dropping the bags. Apparently it didn’t take long for the dagger’s effects to wear off after all. Elijah stood before me, a look of such anger on his face that it actually scared me. Without saying anything I retrieved the bags I had dropped and held them out to him.
“Give me one reason why I do not end your life right now.” His voice was tight as he spoke, which also freaked me out.
“I just found out today that you were here. I let you out.” I quickly answered, the fear evident in my voice.
Almost immediately his entire posture relaxed, he took one of the bags and bit into it, the colour returning to his skin, replacing the deathly grey look. When it was clear that he wasn’t going to kill me, not at the moment anyway, I too relaxed… slightly. “We need to go now; I don’t know when the others will be home.” I rushed the words out. I didn’t exactly want to find out if they would vervain or kill me for this.
Elijah nodded, we both turned and ran up the stairs… and of course, right into Damon, Stefan and Elena. “What the hell is this?” Damon shouted, stepping closer to us.
I subconsciously stepped back, closer to Elijah, never taking my eyes of my friends, if they still were that. I held my hands up in front of me. “I know this looks bad,” I started, eyeing them warily, “but you need to understand, Elijah can stop Klaus, we can’t.”
“We had a plan Jessica.” Damon snapped, cutting me off. His face contorted with anger as he took a step towards me.
Before I could answer him, before I could blink really, I felt Elijah’s hands on my waist. Suddenly we were standing deep in the woods. It took a second for me to collect my bearings. The look that had been on Damon’s face, the anger and judgement, it hurt me more than I thought it would. He had looked at me as though I were a stranger. Although maybe I did deserve it, the things I had done in the last few months, and now… siding with Elijah.
“Jessica, please stop pacing.” Elijah’s voice snapped me out of my mental debate with myself and I looked down at my feet in surprise. I hadn’t realised I was pacing. “Sorry.” I mumbled.
Elijah gave me a half smile. “Now, we have to talk. I need to know exactly what I’ve missed in my… absence.”
“Klaus is here, in Mystic Falls.” I started, getting straight to the point. The briefest flicker of shock passed over Elijah’s face, before it returned to his usual poised expression. “Tell me everything.” He ordered.
I came to another decision in that moment, a lot of them happening lately. Only time would tell if they would be my downfall. “Fine, but not here.”
Just under an hour later we were in a house that apparently Elijah had been using before he had been daggered. When we arrived he had excused himself to shower and change his clothes. We were now in the sitting room but I couldn’t sit.
“There are some things you might need to know… about me.” I paused, my nervousness showing in my voice. “A few months ago I had turned off my emotions. I had trouble dealing with… well with everything. They tried to get me to flip them back on but it didn’t work. It was you Elijah, you’re sort of the reason I did it in the end.” I stopped talking to look at him, he looked mildly interested, but didn’t speak so I continued.
“The night you attacked Damon, when I saw you were about to kill him and I felt something in me snap. You almost killed me instead when I got between you.”
“I remember that night,” Elijah cut in, “what has this got to do with Klaus?”
I kept talking as if I hadn’t heard him. “The problem is, when I turned them back on I think something broke in me. When I first saw Elena and Jeremy after that I was overwhelmed with the urge to kill them. It took everything in me to remain calm and not attack them. Since then I’ve had these… anger issues. I would be fine one second, and the next overcome with rage. The only way to sedate it would be to feed. I’ve even killed a few people, by mistake of course.” Now I paused, watching his expression out of the corner of my eye, “and I may have let people think that it was you that killed them.”
I saw his expression tighten slightly and I turned to look at him properly, “I am so sorry. I was just so afraid that if anyone found out, I would be vervained again, and that stuff nearly killed me the last time. I was also afraid Damon would…” My lips snapped shut, I took a breath, then continued, “If it matters at all, the ones I killed weren’t exactly good people.”
Elijah looked like he was going to say something but changed his mind. Instead he asked me what was the point of all of this.
Finally I sat down, “The point of all this is, I think we were blindsided by Klaus because when he first came to town, he wasn’t in his own body. He was in our friends, Alaric. None of us knew. Although I think I may have figured it out, that Alaric wasn’t Alaric. It was something Klaus said to me. I can’t remember so he must have done something to me, but if I knew something was wrong and didn’t tell the others… I more than likely did it to protect my own secret, and because of that he was able to catch us off guard.”
Elijah spoke then, “Klaus probably compelled you, to forget you noticed he wasn’t Alaric… but when did you talk to Klaus?” He said the whole sentence so matter of factly I almost didn’t register the first part.
“He compelled me? Son of bitch, how the hell did I not think of that?” I could hear the annoyance in my own voice. We knew he could compel vampires, and yet I still didn’t think of it.
“When did you speak with Klaus?” Elijah repeated, as if I hadn’t spoken.
“Well the first time I remember talking to him was at the school dance, when he was in Alaric’s body. He came up to me in the carpark, it was then I realised… again, apparently… that he wasn’t Alaric. He said something about me being too bright, that I had figured it out before, then he snapped my neck. When I woke up I was in Alaric’s apartment with Katherine. She had been compelled to keep me there but I managed to snap her neck and escape.”
Elijah looked deep in thought, “And that was the last time you saw him?”
“In Alaric’s body yes. But I met him again today, first at my mother’s grave where he introduced himself as Nik, then at the Grill. He bought me a drink, we talked about this town, family… abusive fathers. I thought he was nice and normal. Of course I figured out he was Klaus, but he was gone at that stage. I don’t know why he’s playing these games with…” My sentence trailed off as I realised Elijah was staring at me in complete and utter shock. “What?” I demanded.
“He really mentioned our father to you?” He asked, his voice laced with disbelief.
“Well he didn’t tell me much, just that he was abusive…” I paused, wait a minute… “Our? As in yours and his? As in you’re… brothers?”
Elijah stood and left the room, only to return a moment later with two glasses of bourbon. He handed one to me before once again sitting down.
“I guess it’s my turn to explain a few things.”