28 Ch. 27

February, 2010

Alaric was sitting at the bar in Mystic Falls nursing a drink when someone sat down beside him. He'd heard her walk in but hadn't turned around, and thus wasn't prepared when he looked to his right and found his missing wife sitting beside him.

Isobel smiles, "Hello Ric,it's good to see you. You look good."

Alaric might have been more shocked, more flat footed if not for everything he'd learned. Instead he settles for clenching his jaw, "What are you doing here Isobel?"

Isobel just smiles and shakes her head, the whole situation is clearly a bit awkward for her, but she's here on a mission, "I believe you know my daughter Elena. I need to talk to her." She writes a number on a napkin and moves to hand it to Alaric as she talks.

He snorts at that, making no effort to pick it up, taking a drink instead, "Now why would I do anything for you?"

Isobel smiles and leans in, pressing the napkin against his chest, "Because if you don't, I'll start killing people. Starting with Elena's little friends and then moving onto her brother, mother, and father. After that I may just have to go on a massacre through the town Alaric."

Alaric smiles grimly and reaches up to finally take the napkin, "You'll get your meeting Isobel."

Isobel smiles pleasantly and stands to leave, "I knew you'd see it my way Ric. You really are looking good."

Once she's gone Alaric tucks the number away and takes out his phone, calling up an entirely different number, "Hey it's Alaric. Yeah, he'll want to know about this. Isobel showed up just now, like he said would happen. No, she threatened me but that's not the important thing. What he'll care about is that she wants to meet with Elena."

XxScenebreakxX

Next day

Jeremy took his lunch outside of the school like he usually did, settling down at a table and unwrapping the sandwich his vampire mom had made for him. Yeah, that was still a trip, but he was getting used to it. When one thought of vampires they thought of monsters, but honestly neither his mother nor father came across as monstrous. There were no reports of people being attacked and fed on. They hadn't hurt him or Elena. He was tentatively ready to just say vampirism was something that was totally livable.

As he contemplated this, a shadow fell over his table. He looked up and blinked at the incredibly hot woman standing before him, staring at him with such intensity yet also a semi-glazed look in her eyes. Another presence made itself known behind him, and he turned to find a… cowboy was the best word he could use to describe the guy who suddenly seemed incredibly menacing.

Before anything could happen, a blur came out of nowhere and Jeremy was suddenly treated to a front row seat as his mother grabbed both the would-be model and the cowboy by their necks and slammed them into the table until they were unconscious. Jeremy's eyes were wide and he was standing now, his flight reflex immediately bringing him off the bench, "What the fuck mom!"

Miranda was panting only lightly, as she looked down at the two unconscious humans and then up at Jeremy, "Sorry baby, you were in danger."

Jeremy can't help but feel incredulous as he looks down at the so-called dangers, "What, from the cowboy and the model? What were they going to do?"

Miranda breathes out explosively, "There's a vampire in town that we're dealing with. She wants to get at Elena and you, so she sent these compelled humans to kidnap you for leverage. Luckily, I received a warning in time and was able to get here first."

Jeremy rubbed the bridge of his nose, "Great, so I was bait."

Miranda winces at that, "Look… how about we go get lunch and you can skip the rest of today. I'd rather have you with me until this is dealt with, and we can go where ever you want to eat."

Jeremy grimaced, looking down at his sack lunch before nodding slowly, "Fine. Mystic Grill."

Miranda winces again but nods, "Alright, let's go." They leave the two humans unconscious slumped over the table, Jeremy's partially unpacked lunch sitting beside them.

XxScenebreakxX

When Isobel came into the Grill for the meeting Alaric had set up, Elena was nowhere to be seen. So she sat down and waited. I let her stew for a few minutes, waiting for her to glance towards the door at least three times before making my way over to her and settling myself into the chair across from her, "Hello beautiful. You look like you could use some company."

The disdain Isobel looked at me with almost made me ruin the entire act right there and burst out laughing. I managed to keep the smarmy grin on my face though as she leaned across the table and tried to compel me, "I want nothing of your company. You're going to get up and walk away right now."

I can't help myself, I lean forward and start a much more successful compulsion, "I could do that, but how about this instead. You're going to sit back in your chair and not move an inch unless I tell you to. Oh and no talking above your inside voice either!"

As she followed my orders to the letter, her eyes grew wide and fearful, as I'd grown used to seeing from vampires who had no idea who I was. She spoke in the low tone I'd allowed her, "What have you done to me?"

I raise an eyebrow at that, "Come now don't be dimwitted Isobel. I just did what you attempted to do to me."

Isobel is visibly paling, though she's already rather light skinned in that regard, "B-but that's impossible."

I grin wickedly, "Is it? Well, I do suppose I have a penchant for doing the impossible. Now Isobel, I've been told you want to meet with my doppleganger. Why should I allow such a thing?"

She's still off-tilt, and it shows as she bumbles along, "W-what… I, b-because…"

I cut her off with a sharp gesture and speak with an acidic tone, "Isobel, if you have nothing to offer, your usefulness is rapidly coming to an end."

Finally this gets her attention and she blurts out, "I have Jeremy Gilbert!" Her eyes are wide and she's panting. She clearly intended to use this threat on Elena, and is afraid it will have little effect on me. It's a valid fear as I just smile and cock an eyebrow. She gulps, but pushes forward anyways, "I want the Gilbert Device, or he dies."

I chuckle now, making her shrink back into her chair, "Ah, I see. Katherine is still trying to dispose of the tomb vampires she doesn't know are all already dead. I suppose I killed John before he could mention what his brother told him. It is amusing to think you believed you could convince Elena to steal from her parents in exchange for her brother's life, especially when I have possession of all of Johnathan Gilbert's so-called inventions."

I pause for dramatic effect before grinning slyly, "As for you having Jeremy Gilbert… I assume you're talking about the same Jeremy Gilbert sitting over there with his mother having lunch?"

Isobel's head follows where I'm looking and she finds what I've said to be true. She looks back at me with undisguised shock and horror and I just smile, "Ah, well I suppose that's the end of that." I lean in and once more compel her, "You're going to stand up and walk out of here. You'll find Alaric and Damon waiting for you outside and you will let them lead you away. You will not resist, you will not try to run."

She stands slowly, mechanically making her way out of the Grill. I look at Miranda and Jeremy one more time only to find Miranda looking back. I grin and nod my head and she swallows convulsively before nodding in return. Then I leave the Grill behind as well, following after Isobel.

XxScenebreakxX

Jeremy frowns as he sees his mother looking across the room to someone else, seeing her nod he turns to see Mr. Masters nodding back. He raises an eyebrow at his mother when her attention finally returns to him, "Mom? What was that about?"

Miranda just smiles, hiding the anxiety she's feeling over what she just overheard as best she can, "Mr. Masters was just informing me that he has our rogue vampire problem locked down. You'll be able to go to school tomorrow!"

Jeremy blinks at that, "That was rather fast wasn't it?"

Miranda smiles reassuringly, compulsion forcing her to spout Vali's rhetoric even when inside she was reeling from finding out he'd killed her brother-in-law, "Mr. Masters works quite fast Jeremy, and he has invested quite a lot in protecting our town from those who might want to hurt it."

Jeremy just nods, seeming to take this in for a few moments as he eats. Eventually though he speaks again, "You know I figured out a while ago that you guys were lying. You didn't really deal with the vampire who turned the entire council."

Miranda freezes up at that, paling drastically, not even able to hide her horror, "W-what? What are you saying Jeremy?"

Jeremy just shrugs before pointing his fork at his mother, "You guys weren't really careful about it. Vampire comes into town a few years back and turns all of you? Mr. Master shows up five years ago and within a year he's practically running things, even if it is mostly in the background. I'm not oblivious mom. He showed up and turned you all didn't he? What's his end game? Why does he care so much about one small town?"

Miranda looks extremely worried now as she reaches across the table and takes Jeremy's hands in hers, "Jeremy, you have to promise me you won't do anything to make him angry. You can't investigate him, you can't plot against him. Promise me."

Jeremy frowns at that but nods slowly, "He hasn't really done anything wrong besides turn all of you right? Why are you so scared of him mom?"

Miranda swallows heavily and settles for giving a little bit in an attempt to keep her son from finding out about the mind control that would literally cause her to turn him in if he moved against Vali Masters, "He's part of an old family of Vampires Jeremy. I'm talking a thousand years old. They were the first, the originals. And the reason he's here is because his older brother will be coming here soon and Vali has been preparing our town for that arrival. He wants to protect us Jeremy, believe that. According to Vali his brother is nowhere near as gentle as he. He says that by claiming us, by taking control, he's placing us under his protection."

Jeremy furrows his brow at that, "Seriously? A thousand years? I can't even imagine."

Miranda nods empathetically, seeing an opening, "That's why you can't do anything that he might perceive as threatening. We just need to weather the coming storm, and with Vali on our side we should be able to. Please promise me you won't provoke him."

Jeremy nods slowly, "Alright mom. I promise."

Miranda smiles half-heartedly, but knows once she parts ways with Jeremy later she'll still be forced to report this to Vali, as well as what she overheard, as she already wants to tell her husband.

XxScenebreakxX

I raise an eyebrow when Miranda calls me shortly after we just saw each other. Accepting the call I bring the phone to my ear, "Yes my dear?"

Miranda is clearly in tears on the other end, "Mr. M-masters, Jeremy figured out the truth, he knows about you. A-and while you were speaking with Isobel, I heard what you did to John."

I'm silent for several long moments before I sigh explosively, "Of course you did. And now you're calling because the compulsion I put on you is forcing you to let me know you or your son may try to plot against me."

It was a rhetorical question, but Miranda still answered with a shaky, "Y-yes."

"Right well, first of all my sincerest apologies for putting you into this situation Mrs. Gilbert. You will not tell anyone what you know, if that wasn't already clear. You will not hint, you will not try to steer anyone in the direction of the truth. I'll be by later tonight to relieve this burden from your memories."

I can hear her swallow convulsively through her tears as she asks, "A-and Jeremy?"

I grin, "You'll find that I'm not overly worried about Jeremy my dear. Keep him on the straight and narrow and you need fear nothing from me on his behalf. He can't exactly threaten any of my plans, and you'll make sure he never does, won't you?"

She answers with a, "Yes sir…" and I grin, "Wonderful. I'll see you later tonight. Ta."

I hang up the phone and turn my attention back to the room, where Alaric and Damon stood over a defeated Isobel, who sat docile in a chair. Walking over, I sighed dramatically, "Now, what to do with you. You really have out lived your usefulness to me, haven't you? Unless…"

From the red marks on her face, she'd tried to plead with both Alaric and Damon to help her escape, and ended up getting slapped by her husband for it. Now she looked at me with some hope, "Anything. What do you want?"

I grin, "You have a direct line to Katherine, don't you? What I want is to talk to her. Give me your phone, now."

She nods quickly and offers it up, letting me snatch it from her hands without a single complaint. I open up the list for last calls and easily find Katherine's name there. Pressing the connect button I smile and hold the phone to my ear.

Katherine picks up on the third ring, "Isobel? You can't possibly have gotten the device this quickly, so why are you calling me?"

"Ouch Katherine, no faith in your subordinates I see! What if she had gotten it this early? Would she have gotten a biscuit for a job well done?"

There's a long pause before a growl emits from the other end, "Vali. You're really starting to piss me off."

I grin wickedly, always enjoying this fiery side of Katherine, "Am I? Sorry, I feel like this is my fault. See last time we talked I forgot to mention that I already opened the tomb under the church and killed every vampire inside. John knew that from his brother, but I may have interrupted the conversation you two had before he could mention it. Now you've sent Isobel right into my hands for absolutely no reason at all. My bad darling."

Her voice is a snarl now, "Vali, I will murder you if you don't stop this foolish posturing. You forget your place, all you were is a bed warmer and a money bag and that's all you'll ever be."

I grin at that, "How wonderfully hurtful of you my dear. Would you like to talk to Isobel for a moment?"

There's another pause before she finally grudgingly speaks, "She's still alive? Yes. I would."

I saunter over to where the scared vampire is sitting and place the phone next to her ear. Katherine must have asked how she got caught so quickly, because the first thing she hisses out is, "He can compel me Katherine!"

I take the phone away, winking at Isobel and placing a finger to my lips as she pales and shrinks back in her seat. It was exactly what I wanted her to say, but she had no way of knowing if she'd just pissed me off or not. I bring the phone back to my ear, "Well, that wasn't very nice of her."

Katherine sounds perpetually angry now as she replies, "What the fuck is she talking about Vali?"

"She means exactly what she said Katherine. I've compelled her, and she cannot escape me because of this. She never stood a chance."

Katherine is clearly incredulous, "You can't have compelled her Vali, you're only a little bit over a century old. The only vampires that can compel others are Originals."

"I'm hurt Katherine, that you haven't managed to put it together yet. Did Klaus never tell you about his wayward brother? My name is still the same. Surely he mentioned the Vali that abandoned his family near the beginning of our thousand years of immortality."

There's only silence from Katherine now so I continue with a wide grin as the other three occupants in the room can only bear witness to my power trip, "If you haven't figured it out yet, I compelled you to believe you sired me. I locked away your memories of our true time together before you left."

Finally Katherine speaks, "If that's true, unlock them. Prove it and give me whatever you stole from me."

She thinks she's calling my bluff, but I can only chuckle in response, "You really don't want that my dear."

I can almost hear her shake her head over the phone, "I do want it. If you've stolen a hundred and twenty years from me, I want them back."

I sigh over dramatically, "Very well Katherine, you can remember."

I hear the phone drop to the floor as she collapses upon my words, immediately beginning to sob. I speak up eventually, "Katerina darling. Pick up the phone."

There's scrambling as she grabs it, and I turn my own to speaker a moment before her voice comes through, blathering apologies and the like for her behavior through the tears that are clearly streaming down her face. The others in the room all look incredibly disturbed by the complete personality shift, even Damon who wanted this revenge. I grin and override Katherine's attempted apologies, "Katerina, calm down and listen to me."

She immediately goes silent, and I continue, "You have nothing to apologize for Katerina. This was my idea from start to finish, and I must admit it was incredibly entertaining while it lasted. Now then, I know you're close by. You have twenty four hours to get to Mystic Falls and enter the range set for you before you start burning up. Do you understand?"

There's a shaky response from the other end, "Y-yes M-master."

I grin and tack on one more thing, "Oh and Katerina, I know you have Mason Lockwood wrapped around your finger. Bring him with you please."

I can hear the defeat in her voice, "Yes sir."

I smile and hang up on her before looking to the others in the room, who are all looking at me with unreadable expressions. I just grin, "She totally wants me."

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