Caroline felt completely drained after everything and just wanted this to be over. Klaus had finally moved from behind her, time to take center stage for the finale. He was smirking as he slowly twisted in the middle of the room making sure they could all see him, he was very much in his element and they all knew it.
“Now that all the questions have been asked and answered, there is only one more that requires a response before the consequences are handed down. This one will be for you Caroline, again it will be a yes or no response, and it will affect the severity of the punishments handed down today.”
Caroline nodded her head showing that she understood. She was a little in the dark about what else they could possibly ask her, but if answering could help her friends then she could only pray that it went their way. This would be the only help she could give them today.
“Caroline when this game is over my family and I would like you to agree to live with us for a year. You would stay here at the house with us and you would get to know us as we would get to know you. During this time you would not under any circumstances plot against us, or attempt to kill us. Do you agree?”
They wanted her to live with them? They wanted to get to know her better? She didn’t understand what this new game was they were playing, but if it would help her friends she would play along. She was a vampire after all, she had an eternity ahead of her, she could sacrifice a year.
“Wonderful love. In that case these punishments will be corrective rather than lethal.”
They weren’t going to kill anyone. She nearly went boneless in relief at that revelation. Glancing around the room she saw the same relief overtake the others as well. She’d saved their lives simply by agreeing to live with them for a year. She didn’t know what to think, except, what the hell was the year going to hold for her? She understood them all sure, but that didn’t exactly fill her with confidence. She understood that they were above all volatile, unstable, and homicidal. This did not bode well for her.
Seeing the originals move away to encircle Alaric, most likely to hand down his punishment in a theatrical and melodramatic fashion she understood that her part in this game was over and done with. Deciding the coming year could wait one more day, she concentrated on what was going on around her so that she wouldn’t miss what was being done to her friends. Just because they weren’t going to die, that didn’t mean they would be getting off lightly. Not when the Mikaelsons were handing down judgment.
Alaric waited for one of them to speak, they were just staring at him, like they were weighing their options. Assessing his worth. He knew that wasn’t the case, they’d known what they were going to do to all of them before the first round even began, this was for show, this was for his benefit and their entertainment. He would not flinch, why give them the satisfaction of seeing him sweat. They already said it wouldn’t be lethal and there wasn’t anything he could do to change it. Lifting his chin he looked Klaus straight in the eyes.
“Good on you mate. You admire Caroline’s bravery but it looks like you have a steady supply of that yourself.” Klaus smiled, and it actually looked friendly, that unnerves him more than anything else ever could.
“Yes of course he does brother, he was a hunter after all. No, what he lacks is her loyalty.” Rebekah countered. What were they up to?
“Well, we can fix that can’t we?”
“Of course we can. Kol, would you please do the honors.”
Kol stepped forward and looked into his eyes, it wasn’t until they began to dilate and the compulsion started to take hold that he remembered just how long they’d been down there. All the vervain would have run its course by now, they were all vulnerable to compulsion and it looked like that had been the intent all along. That was why they had drawn the game out to make it last so long, it wasn’t for the nerve racking suspense, it was because the vervain needed time to work its way out of their systems. He only prayed they wouldn’t make him do anything he would regret for the rest of his days, however many there may be of them.
“You applaud Carolines loyalty so much from now on you will show that same loyalty to her, and only her. She will have it above all others in your life, when it comes down to a choice between her and another you will always choose her, because your loyalty will be that absolute. Do you understand?”
“I do.” As broke his gaze away he felt his emotions begin to shift inside of him, he felt his need to be there for Caroline intensify. He’d already decided to be a better friend to her, if he got the chance after this, but this was beyond even that. He knew now beyond a shadow of a doubt that Caroline Forbes was now the most important person in his life.
It was slightly horrifying to have his emotions manipulated like that, but at the same time he knew that if this was all the originals were going to do to him, he got off easy. He’d heard horror stories ever since they’d come to Mystic Falls from one supernatural creature or another about what happens to people who cross them like they had tried to. This was very mild in comparison. He only hoped they were set free before they changed their minds about it.
As they moved away to surround Matt he let his head fall back against the wall behind him and closed his eyes to listen. He couldn’t watch, seeing the most powerful vampires in existence circle around the people he cared about like sharks scenting blood would drive him out of his mind. No, he would listen and pray that they remained lenient towards them all. Though he already knew that their mercy wasn’t likely to extend to everyone. They just weren’t that lucky, and Caroline hadn’t forgiven everyone, after all.
“Matt Donovan, setting aside the fact that you were the one that killed our dear brother Finn, you truly are a nice guy aren’t you.” Klaus began, even though he didn’t seem all that broken up about Finn, he was still their family so there was always that chance that they would kill him for it, promise to Caroline be damned.
Matt tried not to react to the mention of Finn, he still had nightmares about that, and its consequences. They’d asked him to help kill one vampire, not hundreds, he kept dreaming about a vampire like Caroline minding their own business one day just to fall down dead because of his actions a world away in Mystic Falls.
“However, you also seem to have a bit of a loyalty problem. Yours is divided among too many people so we’re going to help you with that. Not to mention your little propensity to spill others secrets for the greater good, as you see fit. That just won’t do at all, we’ll have to fix that little character flaw of yours. Rebekah would you like the honors this time.”
“Why thank you dear brother I would. Don’t worry Matt we also have a special surprise for you, a gift really. I think it will help you with a lot of your issues. Think of it as therapy, vampire edition.”
Catching his gaze her eyes began to dilate as her power overtook his mind.
“Matt, you will protect Carolines secrets from anyone and everyone who isn’t an original. Your loyalty to her will be absolute, placing her above the rest of your friends until your dying day. Now for your gift, you will have a hand in Damons punishment, a way for you to work out your aggression towards him. Do you understand?”
“I understand.” He did understand. While he felt his emotions shift and his resolve to punish Damon solidify, something else clicked into place for him as well. The Originals thought of Caroline as family. At first he’d thought they were doing this because they supported Klaus’s little obsession with her, or because they realized how well she understood them somehow, but that wasn’t it at all. Or at least that wasn’t all of it.
To them she was already their sister, they were just waiting for her to realize it like they had, which was what the coming year was about. They were going to treat her like family, because to them that’s what she was now. With that revelation all the worry and doubt he’d held about their plans for Caroline over the next year dissolved. Because no matter what else they were to each other, they valued family above everything else. Their punishments showed that more than anything else ever could have.
Tyler watched as each original took up a place around him. He’d been dreading this moment and now it was here. What would they do to him?
“I’ll do this one Elijah if you don’t mind.”
“Not at all Kol, he’s all yours.” Wonderful Sid Vicious was to be his executioner.
“Listen close pet, your life is about to change.” He felt his compulsion weave itself through his mind and panic tried to set it, but it couldn’t because he was no longer in control. He remembered this feeling and he hated it even more now than ever before.
“You serve your own interests so wonderfully, I think it’s time you served something else instead. Us. From this moment forward your life will be one of servitude to the Original family and to Caroline. Every suggestion will be treated like an order, once it’s given you won’t be able to stop yourself from compliance. You will serve us all as your sire bond dictates that you serve Nik. Do you understand?”
“I understand.” Yeah, he understood alright, now he was everyone’s little bitch. As he watched them move on to Jeremy he tried to feel some sympathy for him, he wasn’t likely to get off much easier than he had, but he just couldn’t muster up the emotions necessary. He was numb.
Jeremy kept his eyes closed, not wanting his mind invaded by these monsters. Even after he felt someone moving closer and kneeling down to be at eye level, he refused to open them. He would not just submit to this, his mind was his, he wouldn’t let them take it over. A surprise blow to his face had his eyes opening of their own volition, searching for the threat, for the next hit. It was only for a few seconds but that was all it took for Klaus’s gaze to capture his own.
“You think that being a human bloodbag is the worst fate that can befall a person, so now you’ll share it. You will offer your blood to Caroline at any time you see that she might be hungry, it’s up to her whether or not she accepts the offer, but you will make it. If she does accept then you will gladly follow through. Since you seem to dismiss Caroline from your thoughts so easily she will now be the center of them. Her safety and well-being will be the focus of your world, thoughts of her will consume you, as thoughts of revenge against us once did. Do you understand?”
“I understand.” That was it, a few seconds and his mind was overtaken and his life was destroyed.
Stefan had watched as his friends were systematically broken down and rebuilt as Klaus and his deranged siblings wanted them to be. He understood their game now, they couldn’t really hurt most of them without Caroline never forgiving them so instead they were settling for psychological torture instead. They were messing with their minds, turning them into puppets whose strings they pulled. Caroline would still be upset by it, sure, but as time passed and they all continued to live their lives, albeit with a few choice modifications to their behavior, she would begin to get over it. Maybe even forget about it. As plans went it was a fairly solid one.
Knowing there was no point in trying to evade or stop what was coming when Rebekah stepped up to him he simply looked into her eyes and waited for her power to wash over him.
“Good choice Stefan. Don’t worry dear, yours is simple enough, you said yourself that you haven’t been a good friend to Caroline so from now on you will be. You will be the best friend to her that you are able to be. No more phoning it in, you will take her side in all arguments and you will be there for her as you haven’t been until now. Do you understand?”
“I understand.” She had been right, his was a simple one. They were compelling him to do what he’d already sworn to himself he would do if given the chance. He chose to see the compulsion as a backup, insurance that he did what he meant to do by her for once, instead of meaning to do it then getting side tracked by something else.
Elena couldn’t believe what she was hearing. The originals were compelling all of her friends within an inch of their sanity. Why would they do this? Oh yeah, she remembered why now, Caroline. If she ever took blood from Jeremy because of that stupid compulsion, she swore she would kill her herself.
As Elijah stepped up to her, she amended her plans, she’d kill her if she could. Who knew what was about to happen to her. Everyone else had gotten off relatively easily so far, but with her luck they’d simply kill her.
“Elena, you’ve repeatedly schemed and planned to get out of giving my brother your blood. Something he only asked for once a month, while he left you to live your life, yet you never saw the leniency in his actions. So now we will be doing things the way they should have been done all along. You will be locked up here in a special room we’ve made for you in the attic. You will never try to leave that room without one of us or Caroline with you, and we will take your blood as we need it. Do you understand?”
“I understand.” She was being turned into a blood slave. How was that fair? All she ever wanted was to live her life without Klaus in it, how was that so wrong? Her only hope now was that Caroline would get her out of there, but she doubted that she would. The little traitor hadn’t forgiven her before, why would she help her now.
Damon was furious, how could they do something like that to Elena. Blondie better not let that stand. They’d given her the way to save her friend, and she’d better take it at her first opportunity. Looking up he saw Klaus standing over him looking smug and pleased with himself. This couldn’t end well for him.
“Damon, you are a disgusting sorry excuse for a vampire. Only someone without any self-respect would compel others to sleep with them. You have tortured those closest to you Stefan, Alaric, Matt, and Caroline for years now, so now it’s your turn. You will be locked away down here in this very room where my siblings and I, Caroline, and Matt will be using you as stress relief of sorts. Whenever the day’s events are just too frustrating we will come down here to pay you a visit and we will relieve that stress in any way we see fit. You will not be restrained but neither will you resist nor attempt to leave this room without my permission. Oh, and should that poison tongue of yours wag too often, I will rip it out of your head daily until you learn to keep it still. Do you understand?”
“I understand.” At least he and Elena would still be in the same house, if only at opposite ends of it. He could hold onto that if nothing else. There was no way Klaus would ever release him, he was going to be in this room until the day he died. This was all Carolines fault, if Klaus hadn’t been so obsessed with her none of this would have happened.
Bonnie couldn’t believe it. When this little game of theirs started she’d thought for sure that they would all be dead before it was over, but this. This was something she hadn’t seen coming at all. She didn’t know how to feel about this. Her friends weren’t being killed, but they weren’t exactly being let go either. Even the ones that weren’t being kept here, trapped, like Elena and Damon were still going to be restrained by the originals in some way. These compulsions were a way of punishing them even after they were released and she dreaded to hear what hers was going to be.
Waiting wouldn’t make it go away so she simply looked up at Kol and waited.
“You seem to place friendship above all, you just seem to be picking the wrong friends to back, so we’re going to help you with that Bonnie. You will forget Elena Gilbert was a close friend. You and she used to be friends while she was on the cheer squad with you and Caroline but after she quit you lost touch. Caroline is your best friend.”
She felt her memories begin to shift and change. Everything was still there, all the plans and stunts, the only change was to the reasons why she agreed to help. Elena was being taken from her and there was nothing she could do to stop or even slow it down. By the time her chains were released and she was being led out of the house Elena Gilbert was just some girl she’d vaguely known before her parents died and she stopped being a cheerleader.
She wondered what Caroline was up to this weekend, maybe they could have a girls night.