Chapter 3 – Dead Ahead

Matt barely saw any of the house he was walking in, he was in too much of a daze as his compelled mind forced him to continue towards the stairs leading down into the depths of the house where Damon was waiting. When the Originals had first begun to compel him this had seemed fairly benign in comparison to some of the more insidious and violent commands laid against the minds of his friends. Now though his palms were starting to sweat as he moved closer and closer towards the doorway. What was he supposed to do? How much would be enough to satisfy the order? Would it just be him or would one of the Mikaelsons join him? His mind was racing with no end in sight until he crossed the threshold and found Rebekah waiting for him with a near manic grin on her face. The sight of her there, the assurance that he wouldn’t be alone in this, calmed him in a way he wasn’t sure was healthy or normal. He wasn’t sure if seeing her was the release for his panic or if any Mikaelson would have done the same for him, but he was glad it was her.

“Ready to get started?” Glancing from her to the tied up Damon hanging in the center of the room he nodded. There was no point in trying to delay the inevitable, plus he wasn’t even sure if he could delay it. He could try to make small talk or something to distract them all from what was coming but his body would still be moving with or without his consent. 

They had laid out a table of tools off to the side and Rebekah gently guided him towards them, he wasn’t sure what most of them were to be honest. He could recognize bits and pieces like the pliers and the knives of varying sizes but some of it was so foreign his mind couldn’t process what it was or what it was for. There was a small spool of wire, scissors that looked like they wouldn’t cut, small bits and pieces that didn’t seem to go to anything. Deciding to just let the compulsion take over he closed his eyes and let his hand move on its own until he was wrapping his fingers around the pliers. 

“Good first choice.” Rebekah seemed genuinely excited for him and he tried to find some kind of joy to match her own but all he felt was nausea and dread. Sure Damon had hurt his family more than any other outside influence ever had. He killed his sister and used his mother and continually mocked and degraded him for the sin of being human and fragile, but he knew himself well enough to know that he had no heart for torture. He would kill if he had to, but this wasn’t killing, this was inflicting pain for the sake of it.

He had apparently been standing still for too long because Rebekah was suddenly behind him, her hand wrapped around his own to guide him closer to Damon’s skin. He stabbed the sharp metal pliers into his skin just under the ribcage and slowly began to open them, when he met resistance he just worked at it harder until the sound of squelching flesh and cracking bone became normal to hear. He never went back to the torture tray to change to a new instrument, but that was the only concession the compulsion allowed, he wasn’t able to even turn towards the door to leave until his skin was coated red and slick. 

By the time he made it past the threshold of the basement and back up into the light of day all he could hear was the sound of Damon’s screams mixing with Rebekah’s laughter. On his way towards the front door he heard a small whimpering sound to his left and he couldn’t stop himself from turning to see what was happening just to find Tyler on his hands and knees licking Kol’s boots clean. The manic brother had the same sick look of satisfaction on his face that his sister had, it was clear that it was more than just blood that bound this family together, deep down they were all the same.

Stumbling out into the cold light of day he felt his mind finally start to relax as the frenzied need to come to this little house of horrors finally let go, for now. Sliding into the truck his only thoughts were about how to best outfit his truck next time to keep the mess to a minimum, right now every move he made left smears of red on everything. It would be such a pain to clean it.

Damon tried to pull himself together, what Matt had done had lost him a lot of blood but it hadn’t actually done much real damage. He mainly focused on the soft tissue around his abdomen, it made him bleed a lot but as far as tortue goes he’d been through far worse even recently. But he hadn’t fed in days, not since before this whole nightmare began, so the loss of blood was something he couldn’t really afford. He could feel the feeding haze starting to cloud his mind while his skin was becoming stiff over his muscles, he wasn’t desiccating yet but he was close. He knew Rebekah was still there, but he couldn’t focus enough to see her, he could only smell her as she circled around and around him marveling at the quarterbacks first jab at torture. 

“Not much finesse to it but he got the job done. Next time we’ll have to ease him into talking a bit more, after all he must have plenty to say to you. I know I would.” He wanted to quip back to say something scathing about the Original family or maybe even Matt’s family but he couldn’t. His throat was so dry it felt like it was filled with sand and he couldn’t force a single word out even if he concentrated and pushed all his effort towards it. 

“Nothing to say?” Bitch! She knew why he wasn’t talking, starving him was deliberate just another layer of torure added each time one of them came down to dine with him. Forced to smell the blood but never taste a drop, it was maddening. Kol was a particularly messy eater and always had his blood dripped meal walk around him a few times just out of reach to watch him lunge for it only to be pulled back by the chains. 

“Well then, I suppose you can just listen if you’re not feeling chatty. Now that Matt has given in to the compulsion once it will wind tighter and tighter around him forcing him to come back sooner each time. Next time the pliers won’t be an option and each tool he uses on you will be removed until he’s tried them all. Doesn’t that sound exciting, something new to look forward to. Again and again. I personally can’t wait.” As she spoke she ran her fingers up and down his chest grazing against the edges of his wounds but never really touching them until she was done. Now that she was done talking she took great delight in digging her vicious little nails into the jagged wounds tearing him further apart opening the wounds more and more as she worked her hand deeper and deeper inside of him. He could feel her wiggling her fingers, her rings scratching against his organs until he lost the battle with himself and passed out.

Elijah heard the screaming coming from the basement as one of their new guests was attended to and decided to go check on the other. Ascending the stairs towards the attic he guarded his heart against the pleas he was sure would be dripping from Elena’s tongue once she saw him. In some ways she was just the same as every other who had worn her face in the past, she would use him to her own advantage if he let her. When they had first met he’d compared her to his beloved Katerina and seen her as the girl he loved had once been. Innocent and kind in a way that she wasn’t anymore. He wanted to protect that, protect her, and now he found himself torn over what to do. He didn’t want her to suffer needlessly, no matter what else she might be Elena was a scared teenage girl, but he also couldn’t allow her transgressions to go unanswered. For all of her faults and schemes even Katerina had never been so bold as to try to kill any of his family. 

Opening the door he found her on the floor with her ear pressed against the hardwood, she was listening to the screams of the elder Salvator coming from below. The house was designed for any sounds from the basement to travel easily to every floor, it made games of intimidation far easier to play. Now it was more of a nuisance. 

“Elena.” She jumped up onto her knees at the sound of his voice, startled and maybe even a little guilty. “I must ask you to please remove yourself from the floor. It will do you no good to hear what is going on below.”

“What? Don’t want me to hear what you’re doing to Damon?” Her eyes were judgemental and scathing like she thought he should feel shame for the actions of his family. He did not. 

“I personally do not care one iota for the suffering of Damon Slavatore. He is the worst kind of vampire and beyond that the worst kind of man there could be. He is a rapist, a sadist, a bully, and a braggart and undeserving of my protections or my pity. I ask you to refrain from listening because as I said it will do you no good and may even do you ill.” She jerked herself to her feet and stomped over to the bed, the only place to sit, and proceeded to have what looked to be a good long sulk. If she was waiting for him to apologize she would be sorely disappointed. 

Moving forward he set her afternoon meal down on the small t.v. tray that was set up for her to eat at. It was a simple lunch of a sandwich and water with an apple to round out the meal, she would be given a more substantial meal in the evening after her blood donation was collected.

“I’m not hungry.”

“Suit yourself.” Turning to leave he hadn’t made it four steps when she spoke again, apparently his lack of care for her choice to refrain from eating wasn’t the reaction she had wanted.

“Where is Caroline?” She tried to sound casual in her questioning but it was clear from the stress shaking her voice that the answer was important to her. He saw no need to hold back his words and informing her of things going on in the outside world that didn’t involve pain or fear might help her to stave off the depression and anxiety he knew would plague her before long. It always did.

“She is currently at school. I am told that she will be staying late over the next few weeks to prepare for some form of competition at the end of this month.”

“Is she living here now?” She sounded hurt at the idea, like she didn’t know the deal that was in place. It was a feint but one he was familiar with, he hardened his heart even more against the doe eyes and trembling voice. He would not succumb, not again.

“That is the arrangement that has been made, yes.” He didn’t want to remind her of things past too much, it might set off a response none of them wanted to deal with. Prisoners and “guests” had strange reactions at times and he didn’t wish to cause a problem where one currently didn’t exist. So far Elena had been a moody but model guest.

“I haven’t seen her.”

“So far she has had no call to come up here.” He didn’t mention what Klaus had told him about seeing Caroline coming down from this very room before. If she had chosen not to interact with Elena that was her choice and he would not be the one to take it from her.

“What is she afraid to face me?” Now Elena looked smug, like she thought she held some form of power over the other girl. That would not do.

“Miss Gilbert it would be a mistake to believe you have any sort of power in this situation. You are here as a punishment for your past actions against my family and Caroline, if she has not yet been to see you then it is because she does not yet desire to do so. Some of the things revealed during our previous session together would have been quite hurtful and it may take time for her to come here.” He could see it in her eyes, the desire to harm Caroline in any way that she could even if it was just emotionally. She was blaming Caroline either for her being in this room in the first place or simply for not already securing her freedom from it, either way this would simply not do. 

Flashing forward he knocked the tray out of his path and grabbed her face to keep her close enough to catch her eye. “If Caroline Forbes chooses to come and see you you will do nothing to harm her in any way either emotionally, physically, or psychologically. If you do harm her you will immediately apologize and punish yourself in the same manner and with an equal amount of severity. Am I understood?”

“I understand.” The words were wooden and slack and music to his ears.

“Good.” Turning away he walked out without a backwards glance. Whatever torn allegiances he was feeling before he was perfectly content now. 

Family above all.

 Klaus stood half bent over a table in his study looking over the map that he’d been puzzling over for the past week. He was close; he knew he was, he just needed to find the pattern. Hearing the door behind him scrape gently against the plush carpet as it was pushed open he tensed momentarily wondering if Kol was coming to try his luck at a fight again. His younger brother was getting bored and that led to a great many ambush tactics used against them all. Then the scent of her perfume hit his nose and he relaxed. Caroline might be angry with them for what she saw as their high-handedness but she was at least civilized in her rage.

“Something I can do for you love?”

“Don’t call me love.” He let the reprimand go easily, they both knew he wasn’t going to stop. Glancing up he found her across from him biting her lip and looking down at his maps obviously trying to find the right words. He decided to let her think he wouldn’t push her, this was the first time she’d willingly sought him out without his siblings around as a buffer.

“What are you doing with all of these?” Tiptoeing around the subject then, it must be something that was going to upset him or embarrass her. 

“I’m trying to sort out just where in this vast mess resides the wolf pack I’m hunting for.”

“You’re looking for more wolves? Are you going to make more hybrids?” Her eyes had sharpened and she was now looking at him instead of the maps. Her eyes were piercing and nearly glowed with her inner light and anger. She was beautiful.

“That is the eventual goal, yes. Why else would I be collecting blood from the doppleganger?” He had thought his plans obvious but it would seem he was mistaken. He wasn’t sure what Caroline thought he would be using the blood for, if not this. Doppelganger blood only held one purpose to him and that was to help him build his army.

“Are you going to give them a choice or are you just going to attack them like you did Tyler?” 

“Tyler was a necessity love, I needed Bonnie to focus and get me my answers. If I had more time to plan, believe me he would not be a hybrid at all.” Oh, how he wished he had never turned Tyler. As the first of his hybrids he was such a disappointment, but he had served his purpose well. 

“That’s not what I asked. I know why you turned Tyler like that, I was there remember, I asked you if you’re going to give the others a choice.” She was standing opposite him with her arms crossed across her chest in a proper snit. This meant something to her. Something personal.

“Do you honestly think they would choose to remain in agony?” The process of turning was nothing but pain for hours on end, who would ever choose that over what he had to offer? He could give them freedom and help them find joy in their wolves again. 

“Do you honestly think they wouldn’t if they understood exactly what taking your “gift” entails? Keeping your bones from breaking with heavy chains is not a fair trade that many would make. Sure you might get a few who would but that’s just because they’ll think they’re different, that they could refuse you and that the others are weak.”

“I don’t treat them unkindly, Caroline.” He was downright jovial with his hybrids, he never asked anything of them he wouldn’t ask from others. They were well fed and clothed and housed, he had given them all new lives and a true purpose.

“You might not treat them as badly as you could, but even you have to admit that you don’t treat them well either. You have taken a group of people who never asked to have you barge into their lives and made them into your stooges.”

“Now, that’s a bit harsh love. Are you sure you’re not projecting about me barging into your life?”

“What you and your family have done to me is borderline kidnapping and beyond control freak levels, which is saying something coming from me, but at least I still have my own mind. You didn’t compel me, you didn’t force me, you gave me a choice. A shitty choice where the only other option was watching my friends die one after another and most likely living with the guilt of knowing it was my fault after, but a choice.”

“I gave them a choice as well.” If they hadn’t wanted to turn they could have fought harder to remain as they were. Many wolves had died rather than transition just like some humans did, he refrained from mentioning her father but it was on the tip of his tongue.

“Did you? Because you just stood here and said you were hunting for a new pack of wolves to turn.”

“What do you suggest that I just wait for them to come to me?” What a foolish idea, no wolf would ever willingly walk into his home and offer themselves to him. It just wasn’t their way.

“Why not? You haven’t even tried that way yet. You’re not waiting for word to get out and sitting back to see if anyone comes to you of their own free will and offers up their life. You are actively tracking them down and forcing your way in.”

“You don’t understand wolves Caroline.” Turning back to the map he could feel the muscle in his jaw begin to jump and throb. He was trying hard to keep a hold of his temper and it was taking everything in him to hold back and not lay into her for being so presumptuous. He didn’t ask for her opinion on his hybrids, she had come to him not the other way around.

“And you don’t understand people. Would you be able to get every wolf that way? No. I imagine there are some wolves out there too proud of their heritage to ever think about becoming something else, but there would be just as many who want what you have to offer. If you had come to Tyler in any other way and told him you held the key to never having to go through the agony of changing again he would have jumped at the chance. Even with all the slavery strings attached he would have probably thought it was worth it, but he was always a bit of a dumb jock who didn’t think things through.”

“So you suggest that I just sit back and wait.” The words left a bitter taste in his mouth, he was not a passive man by nature and the idea of just waiting to see if any wolves came to him made his own inner wolf restless. Why would he wait when he was so close to finding them on his own?

“Why not? At least then you could be something other than the villain. Who knows maybe if you treated them with respect and like you thought that werewolves were actually worth something to you you might just gain what you’re really looking for.”

“And what’s that love?”

“A pack.”

“I have a pack.” He had turned them all by his own hand, they were his.

“No you don’t, and I think deep down you know that. Why else would you be looking so hard for something more.”

When the door closed behind her he stood there seething for a moment before reaching out his hand and swiping the maps off the table and onto the floor. How dare she say something like that! 

Turning away he grabbed the scotch and poured himself a glass trying to calm his instincts and bank his anger before he did something he might actually regret. He admired Caroline for her honesty but sometimes it was a sharp tongue she wielded. 

It wasn’t until he was more than halfway through his glass that he realized that she never told him what she sought him out for. 

Previous Chapter

Next Chapter

Questions, Comments, Concerns....

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s