You don't get to die
and be reborn the same.
You come back,
but you come back wrong.
This is the price you pay
- Nathaniel Orion G. K.
PART I: SILLAGE
She only takes consciousness of her surroundings when she is three, going on four. Sarah remembers with painful accuracy that while she may be Sarah Lockwood now, she used to be Sarah Peters once, and before that, Sarah Rossi, and Sarah Granger, and –
This is her only constant, in all her lives, her name. It doesn't matter where or when she is reborn. She is always Sarah. Her twenty-nine lives are all blurred inside her mind for a moment, before settling.
She is Sarah, she is always going to be Sarah.
She is almost four and her eyes are full of wonder.
In her past life, her twenty-eight, she watched a compelling show on CW, which followed the life of a very unfortunate seventeen-year-old. The Vampire Diaries was one of, if not the most, famous show on the channel.
Sarah remembers how she loved Elena, how she felt for her when she lost her parents, aunt, biological father and mother, brother, friends – and all because she looked the way she did. Everything about her life was unfair, but then the showrunners had to go and ruin her character with a pointless love triangle that only made her unlikeable the more it went on.
Sarah used to be Team Stefan but then the humanity-off vampire had to bring Elena on Wickery Bridge and make her relive her parents' death, and only so he could get Klaus to agree to do something useless.
Well, fuck you Stefan!
Not that she could ever be Team Damon. That guy was a complete dick, controlling and obsessive and Sarah wasn't about to forget what he did to Caroline in season one. Ugh, fuck you too Damon!
Yet, both Stefan and Damon were very interesting characters. Even tragic, one could say. Stefan was an addict, his life was full of disaster and mess because of it; and Damon made the mistake of loving too much, falling in too deep.
Then, there was Katherine, Katerina who run all her life because she had the audacity to want to live. Sarah just couldn't bring herself to hate her.
And the Originals … the best characters of the show. Completely fucked-up, and not without reason. Immortality isn't a blessing, it's a curse. Add the psycho father who hunted them down and the crazy mother who wanted to end them, Sarah was surprised they even felt emotions, after a thousand years.
Sarah looks at Tyler, her younger brother, playing with his toy star wars characters, and wonders. This is not the first time she is reborn, but it is the first time she is reborn in a tv show. Not only she is reborn in a fictional world, she is reborn in a non-existing-character!
Sarah Lockwood smiles, wondering about her new life.
She makes a list when she is five and she is just starting to learn how to read and write. She already knows how to, obviously, but she has no desire to attract the attention of her parents and teacher.
Her first three lives she hadn't thought about hiding what a child absolutely couldn't know, like writing, reading, doing math, speaking other languages, and they had called her a genius or a witch.
Life is easier if people are not looking out for you. And she is only in kindergarten.
She is a Lockwood now, which means she carries a dormant werewolf gene. Good, it means she won't be completely helpless. Not as strong as a vampire or as fast, but she could be lethal to them and definitely not weak. Weakness would get her killed in this world.
She decides she is going to activate the curse when she is eleven or twelve. This means she has to kill someone. She realizes how unfair it is, that to gain power she has to break something within her, be less human and more monster. But she doesn't have a choice. She has to be stronger.
There are other problems. For one, if she is a werewolf when Katherine and Klaus come to town, there is a chance one or both of them could use her as a potential sacrifice. Fortunately, the moonstone is a perfect bargaining chip and is conveniently in the hands of her family. Besides she could use her knowledge of the series to procure other werewolves.
She is aware of how callous she is being, how ruthless, with the lives of innocent people, but again, mercy is weakness in this world, it would get her killed. And it doesn't matter how many lives Sarah has gone through; she doesn't want to die.
A second issue is even more problematic at first glance. A werewolf is forced to transform every night of full moon and the changing is excruciating. Breaking every bone of your body doesn't sound like fun.
Sarah has gone though enough pain in her lives (she gave birth several times! Somehow she doesn't think anything can match that) that she thinks she can handle that. The problem is that she means to hide her powers at least until she reaches the second season timeline and knowledge about werewolves is gained from Isobel's researches.
If she wants to hide her wolf side she can't change every month, how long until her parents notice she isn't home every full moon?
But if she activates the curse there is no way to avoid the monthly transformation. She is stuck for a while on this catch, when she remembers a plot twist in the spin off The Originals. Moonlight Amulets.
She can easily get one from Sheila Bennet, if she plays her cards right. The witch would make one for her if she is Bonnie's friend and she makes her realize how horrible it would be if she accidentally killed someone while in wolf form. If she cries a little, say a couple of right words …
Callous and ruthless. Callous and ruthless.
She only needs a black kyanite gemstone.
The real problems would begin when the Salvatores would come to town.
The first point in her to do list is somehow helping them to, if not reconcile, at least get along. Stefan must help Damon open the tomb without doublecrossing him. And he must be there for him when he discovers that Katherine played him. She has to convince them somehow that what they did to each other can be forgiven, and they can rebuild their relationship from the ashes of what it was in 1864.
Sarah snorts to herself, nothing can be forgiven. Almost two hundred years of screwing each other's lives aren't just going to disappear, but she can try.
After the tomb vampires, finally Katherine would be coming to town. And then the whole sacrifice plot! Honestly, she can't wait. Elijah and Klaus (and Kol) are the best villains, if they can be called that, in the entire show. She has to be able to offer Klaus what Katherine would: the moonstone, the doppelganger, the vampire, the werewolf.
Sarah doesn't like thinking about it, but she is probably going to offer Katherine as the vampire sacrifice. Her heart twists in her chest. She doesn't want to, really. But even if her offer is rejected, Klaus would probably appreciate her thinking, would find it poetic. She shudders. It's a win-win in both situations. If Klaus accepts and sacrifice Katherine, she wouldn't go and wake up Mikael and she wouldn't discover she's a traveler and all her later-seasons plots wouldn't exist, which mean less work for her.
If Klaus refuses she would still show him how ruthless she could be and he would like that about her. It's imperative for Sarah that she is in his good graces. He would be less inclined to kill her.
She would have to please all the originals, one way or another.
She would have to give all the vampires in this show what they craved most: love. Complicity, understanding, mercy.
All of them would want something of her, and she would have to give it to them.
When she is eleven she is on a school trip to New York with her class.
In the time she has been alive in this world she has worked hard to make connections to all the important people. She is her family golden daughter, her mother loves her because she always follows her around in her high-society meetings and is learning from her how to be a good hostess.
Her father loves her because she is a fierce little thing, she wants to learn the way of politics from him and they go to the gym to train together. She enrolls in a boxing class to make him happy, and he is.
Tyler hates her because she is everything their parents want and she is just perfect, isn't she? But she loves her because she always hugs him when he fights with their father and she defends him in every way she can.
Caroline loves her because Sarah supports her in every little, shallow thing she wants to do, while telling her how smart she is, and how pretty she is that day.
Bonnie loves her because Sarah always seems to know when she is feeling lonely, and she is always cheering her up when her father isn't there and her gran is drunk.
Elena loves her because she is Elena, and her heart is just that big.
It isn't easy, not at all, but she manages.
She is eleven and she knows it is time to activate her curse. (Callous and ruthless.)
They are on the Empire State Building, and she knows no one is looking at her, but she is wary of security cameras. She hesitates for a moment. (She is not yet a complete monster, she thinks.)
Then she pushes a man down the stairs that link the 99th floor and the 100th . From the outside it looks like she just crashed into him. He trips on her foot and smashes his head on the concrete, after falling down a flight of stairs. He gets up, saying he is fine, but he unknowingly banged his head hard enough he has a head trauma.
He dies later that day, and her wolf is born.
She waits the full moon and her first transformation before going to Sheila Bennett.
The changing really is excruciating, almost as bad as giving birth, almost.
She can't say she remembers well what happened after she changed, but she remembers the freedom, the wild feeling of power, the singing in her blood. It is beautiful and dreadful.
The next morning she runs to Sheila Bennett, crying, telling her vaguely what happened to her. Everything she says is true, but she's still not telling her the truth.
She is eleven and sobbing, and Bonnie's friend and the witch's face, which has hardened at her tale, softens.
"Help me, Mrs Bennett, Bonnies says you are a witch." She says, with tears running down her face, "I'm cursed!"
After she has cried and sobbed all her sorrow, Sheila sits her down and tells her exactly what she is, but not in as many details as she could, and what they are going to do.
A few days later she has a moonlight necklace.
It's funny, nothing supernatural has really happened yet, and she is already tainted.
Her game of masks and hidden personas goes on painfully slow, but functionally. Every month she writes down everything she remembers about the original plot, she tries to sketch the faces of all the people she is going to meet, friends and foes alike.
As years go by, she slowly starts to forget bits and pieces, things that she keeps in mind only thanks to her journals.
When she is well into her teenage years she realizes she doesn't remember Lexi's face, Esther's, Mikael's, Finn's.
She has sketches of them, but they are just that, lines on a paper sheet.
Slowly she starts to get attached to the people she knows, not the characters. She starts to love Tyler, her mother, even her father, who is frankly a bastard.
She loves Elena's sweetness, Caroline's perkiness, Bonnie's wisdom. She cares about Vicky and Matt, alone in their home after their mother left them to follow her latest lover.
One day she tells them they are all her family. No, she laughs, they are her pack.
She means it, and she is terrified.
Miranda and Grayson Gilbert die. She can't help the twinge in her heart when she looks at Elena's dead, dead eyes. A part of her died with her parents.
Sarah stares at their tombstones, she will try to keep their daughter alive and human.
It's September 7, 2009, and Sarah meets Stefan Salvatore for the first time.