Part 1

New Orleans, 1821

Elijah couldn't feel anything when he walked across the street. It had been two weeks since he had buried his beloved Celeste and he was still trying to cope with his grief and anger. How was he supposed to forgive his brother for getting Celeste killed so brutally? He hadn't spoken a word to Niklaus after Celeste's death, and he wasn't sure when he would be able to do that. Not even for Marcellus.

Elijah had tried to be there for the boy, but right now he was unable to look after anyone. Fortunately his brother had been smart enough to keep his distance. Rebekah had tried her best to comfort Elijah; she certainly knew how it felt like to lose a lover because of Niklaus. Elijah genuinely appreciated her efforts, but the truth was that he couldn't bring himself to tell her what he was really feeling. He simply couldn't upset her like that. Not to mention he had never really been comfortable talking about his deepest feelings with anyone. No, this was something he needed to handle by himself.

The sun would set soon, and he really didn't have any specific place to go, he simply needed to walk. The problem was that there weren't many places where he could go without being somehow reminded of Celeste. Holding her lifeless body had truly broken his heart. She had been the first woman Elijah had loved for centuries. Unlike his brothers, Elijah didn't see women as some kind of commodity. That didn't mean he would have been some kind of a monk, obviously he has had many lovers before Celeste. Maybe he hadn't loved them all, but he had always treated them respectfully.

Celeste however he had loved with all his heart. And now she was gone… Rage was building up within him; he needed to somehow drown his pain. He didn't want to feel like this anymore. Well, he didn't really have to feel anything if he didn't want to… No, he didn't have to. It would be easy to end the pain. For a moment he was seriously considering it, flipping the switch. Why not? Niklaus always mocked his "nobility" and clearly his brother thought that he could do whatever he wanted without any consequences. Perhaps it was time to teach Niklaus a lesson he would never forget.

He was lost in his gloomy thoughts when he passed an alley and heard a weak sound. A meow. For some reason the sound made him to stop. The animal that had made the sound was clearly in pain. So what, why would he care about some stray cat? Another meow. He sighed in surrender, he wasn't a monster yet, was he? He had to look for a moment before he found the animal and he couldn't help but to startle. The white cat was lying on the ground, she was severely injured and obviously too weak to move. She was breathing heavily; blood had tainted her fur. Someone had really hurt the poor animal.

"Hey," Elijah muttered and kneeled next to the cat. Slowly she turned her head; there was nothing but tired surrender in her eyes. She knew that she was completely helpless and she seemed to be expecting more pain.

"It's alright," Elijah said and gently touched the cat's head. "I'm not going to hurt you."

For a moment the cat was looking straight at him with her bright blue eyes and let out a weak meow.

"It's alright," Elijah repeated and removed his jacket. Very carefully he lifted the animal up and wrapped the jacket around her.

"I'm going to help you, little one."

The cat didn't turn her eyes away from him; she was too weak to struggle. Elijah really wasn't sure what he was doing, all he knew was that he couldn't just leave the animal here to die. Carefully he carried her away from the alley and found a rental carriage to take him home. Fortunately, he didn't run into anyone on his way to his room, he really didn't want to explain himself. Gently he placed the cat on his bed and examined her injuries.

"Well, it seems that you are a female," he muttered. He really didn't know much about cats; he had never had one. Horses were the animals he was most familiar with and he had often taken care of their injuries. The cat was looking at him calmly when he started to clean her wounds.

"I'm sorry," he said when the poor animal let out a meow of pain. "I'm trying my best to be careful."

He really couldn't understand who could have done this to an innocent creature. Not that he wouldn't have seen things like this before, sometimes humans could be just as cruel as or even crueler than vampires. Some of them actually took pleasure of hurting animals. The good news was that even though the cat was very weak, her wounds didn't seem to be fatal.

"There, all done," he said after he was finished.

The animal was breathing calmly; her bright blue eyes were still observing him.

"I think you need something to eat…" he muttered. What did cats eat? "I'll be right back."

He really wasn't sure why he was talking to the cat; he doubted that she could understand his words. He went to the kitchen and ran into one of their cooks, an elderly woman called Mrs. Bolton.

"Good evening, sir," the woman said respectfully, clearly she was surprised to see Elijah in the kitchen.

"Good evening. I… I need some suitable food for…a cat."

The woman's eyes widened, but she knew better than make any comments.

"Yes, sir. I have some meat stew; would that be alright?"

"Yes, whatever you have is fine."

Elijah was starting to feel uncomfortable, but he didn't show it. The woman quickly prepared him a portion of stew and poured some water into a small bowl.

"Here you are, sir."

"Thank you."

He headed back to his room, hoping not to run into any of his siblings. Surprisingly, he didn't. The cat was right where he had left her.

"Alright…" he muttered and placed the plate and the bowl on the small table before lifting the cat up. She didn't resist in any way, she was simply observing him. He sat at the table and placed the cat onto his lap. She drank when he placed the water bowl in front of her face and ate too, but not very much.

"Good girl," he said and gently petted the cat. He was surprised when she started to purr.

"I think you need a name," he muttered. "I mean, I would like to call you something else than… a cat. How about… Charlotte?"

For some reason the name had just popped in his head, he had no idea if it was a typical name for a cat.

"What do you think?"

The cat was still purring, she rubbed her head against his hand.

"Alright, Charlotte it is."

He continued petting the cat after she had already fallen asleep on his lap. He looked at the creature and actually found himself smiling. How that was possible, he really wasn't sure. At first, he felt guilty, how could he smile when he had just buried Celeste? But then again, he had also forgotten all his thoughts about flipping the switch. That was all thanks to Charlotte. He had never had any pets, but he couldn't deny how nice it felt to pet the warm little creature. Perhaps he would keep her.