Hi guys!

Yeah, it's me. I'm so sorry for how long it has been. To be honest, life had been super chaotic since December and I hadn't had a lot of time for anything. That said, thank you to everyone who leaves me a review, or adds this story to their favorites or follows.

I hope you all are alright!

Love, Thea.



England, 1492 A.D.

With the feeling of the wind in her hair as she rode her horse through the woods as fast as she could, Ingrid couldn't help but throw her head back and laugh in delight. At that speed, it was almost as good as flying.


"Victory will be mine, dearest!" she proclaimed, turning her head to see the way her husband – riding his horse some meters behind her – rolled his eyes at her confidence.

"It's too early to proclaim victory, my love" he chastised, eyes alight with mirth, encouraging his horse to ride faster so he could catch up with her until they were riding neck to neck.

"It's never too early when you know you're the best" she shot back, still laughing.

"Then there's no doubt that victory shall be mine" he laughed, winking at her.

Her cry of protest was soon followed by his laugh, and then they were both laughing as they rode through the familiar scenery of the large forest that surrounded their family castle.

It was sort of a tradition for them.

Decades of marriage had taught them that relationships could not survive and thrive with love alone. If you wanted the flame in a relationship to not dimmish, and grow more and more instead, then both parts needed to make an effort so they could spend time together outside of their daily responsibilities, doing activities they both enjoyed for the simple pleasure of being in the presence of the person you loved.

And therefore, at least once every couple of weeks, and as long as they were under the same roof – because their responsibilities could pull them apart for weeks sometimes – they made it a point to spend at least half of a day together doing anything and everything. Sometimes they went riding or flying – Niklaus preferred horses; but Ingrid loved flying, and so they had flown hippogriffs, pegasus, thestrals, and many other flying creatures that her husband had deemed not too dangerous – or sometimes they went on adventures, exploring and discovering new places, or they just went away to a quiet place where they could talk and enjoy each other company without prying eyes. In the end, what they did wasn't what mattered, not if they spend their time together.

That morning, at her husband's suggestion, they had gone riding at dawn through the forest, stopping only when they had reached the edge of the wards that protected the perimeter of their whole property. There, they had laid down on the grass and enjoyed the delicious breakfast the house-elves had made for them. And it was only hours later that they were making their way back to the castle.

They were at least half an hour away when Niklaus turned his head towards the right, and, after a second of consideration told her they needed to stop.

"Why are we stopping? Is something wrong?" She asked, curious but not particularly concerned.

Considering the sheer size of their property and the number of people that reside inside it, the wards were not designed to tell her where everyone was at every minute of the day. Of course, she would be able to know if she really concentrated but, most of the time, she didn't bother to do it. After all, the wards did alert her when someone crossed them to go inside or outside their property, so she knew for sure no one who represented a threat had dared to step foot inside.

There was no way someone dangerous, or even a stranger, was making their way towards them. Because if that was the case, her overprotective husband would have reacted differently, and he wouldn't be so calm.

"Elijah is coming this way" he told her with a little frown.

Ingrid lifted an eyebrow, surprised and more than a little curious. Their siblings – Elijah and Finn especially – respected the time they took to spend together, and they tried to not interrupt them, not unless there was an emergency. And she couldn't think of a single thing that had gone wrong in the hours they had been away.

They didn't have to wait longer for their brother because, a few moments later, Elijah was there in front of them, evidently having crossed the woods at vampire speed to reach them faster. Their brother had been hearing their little conversation because as soon as he was in front of them, he was apologizing for the interruption and reported a problem with one of the minor lords under Niklaus' command that required his immediate attention.

"Surely it can wait a few more hours" her husband frowned, plainly irritated.

Elijah shook his head. "Because of the nature of the situation, it would be better if you go to see him right away" A pause, and then "Don't worry, brother. I will keep Ingrid's company as we both made our way back"

In response to his words, Niklaus pursed his lips, sending her an unhappy look that told her everything she needed to know about the reason for his annoyance.

"Our morning was only cut short, not ruined" she promised with a smile "We can dine together tonight to compensate for the lost time"

Niklaus grinned, getting off his horse with a movement too quick for her human eyes to follow. And then he was by her side, pressing his lips to the back of her hand with a sweet kiss that carried a thousand unspoken words. "I will see you later, my love" he promised, and then, between one heartbeat and the next, he was gone, and the only thing that was left behind was his horse.

In the silence that followed, Elijah calmly walked towards Niklaus' horse and took the reins in his hands, using them to prompt the horse to move along.

"You're not going to ride" she observed, her voice conveying a silent question.

"I thought it would be best if we walk" Elijah said, not looking at her "That way, we have more time to talk, little sister"

Both of her eyebrows shot to her hairline, surprised and wary by the seriousness in her older brother's voice. After a second of consideration, she got off her horse and imitated his actions, walking with her horse on one side and her older brother on the other.

"I have a feeling…" she started, looking at him out of the corner of her eyes "…that you sent my husband away because you wanted to talk with me alone"

A little, barely-there, smile formed on her brother's face. "Was I that obvious?"

"Just a little." she admitted "It was believable enough, but it lacked the usual finesse of your normal plans… Which tells me you're rushed to have this conversation as soon as possible…. What's happening, Elijah?"

He took a deep breath – which did nothing to alleviate her rising nervousness – and stopped walking, turned towards her, and looked directly into her eyes. "It's about Katerina" And there was no hiding the feeling shining in his eyes.

Ingrid froze.

She would have liked to say she got no idea what he was talking about but, after all the conversations she had shared with the doppelgänger in the weeks she had stayed in their home, that would be a lie. She knew how close Elijah had grown to Tatia's look alike, and how much time they had been spending together. But with the full moon a few days away and all the preparations complete, she had hoped her older brother had decided to follow common sense and not interfere.

Evidently, she had been wrong. Because there was only one reason why Elijah would come to her to talk about Katerina.

"You've grown fond of her" she deduced, pursing her lips.

"I love her, little sister" Elijah proclaimed, and there was nothing but pure conviction in his eyes and voice.

"She's the doppelgänger, brother" she sighed, feeling her worry increase. Being fond of someone was one thing, fondness could come and be gone at any moment, especially for someone who had lived as long as them. But love… love was another story entirely. And to love as a vampire was a hundred times more intense than what a normal human felt.

And it was all made worse by the fact that, in all their centuries alive, Elijah had only proclaimed to love another, and that person had been Tatia.

"I know" he said, pursing his lips "But I can't help how I felt"

"She looks exactly like your first love, it's only natural you feel an echo of those emotions when you see Katerina"

"It's not that" he told her immediately, his tone of voice defensive and fierce "I loved Tatia, I grieved her death, and I cherish the memories I have of her, but I am no longer in love with her.… My feelings for Katerina are rooted in who she is"

"And who is she? how much do you truly know her character?" she pressed "You've known the girl for only a few weeks. That's a blink of an eye for people like us."

"Immortality has taught me love can grow at any moment, regardless of how much time you have known that person… I don't need more time with her to know I want the chance to spend the rest of my eternity with her."

She stared at him, wide-eyed and stunned, understanding the implications of his proclamation at once. "You want to turn her into a vampire. She, the doppelgänger and human key to breaking Niklaus' – your brother's – curse"

He lifted his chin, defiant and unrepentant. "Yes"

"And does she know about this?" she demanded, feeling her head spin and her heart constrict in her chest. "Have you told her of our family's secrets and plans while you plot the best way to turn your back on our family?"

"I have no plans to turn my back on our family. We swore to stand together always and forever, and that's what we will do." he proclaimed, and the utter sincerity of his words thwarted the icy betrayal she had been feeling "Katerina doesn't' know anything about this. Not about the curse or her role in it, not about us, and not about my feelings for her… I didn't want to tell her anything before I had the chance to talk with all of you first"

She laughed without real amusement. "And what's the plan, big brother? Were you hoping to tell us that everyone would just accept it without protesting? Because let me tell you, there are no words in a human language to describe how deeply furious Niklaus is going to be"

And that was putting it lightly.

Niklaus had lived centuries with his werewolf side bound by the curse his mother had placed on him. And after all the waiting and planning, he finally had everything he needed to break his curse and be completely free. And if his own older brother – the very same brother who had promised, time and time again, to help him – try to stop him to save the life of a human girl Elijah had met for only a few weeks, Niklaus was bound to respond in a way that could break apart their family forever.

"That's why I came to you first" he admitted, grimacing a little as he thought of Niklaus' possible reactions.

"You want me to tell my husband he can't break his centuries-old curse because you're in love with the main ingredient?" she demanded, incredulous.

"No" he said immediately "I want your support… I don't want Katerina to die, I love her, and I want to be by her side for the rest of eternity, but I also want to break Niklaus' curse. He deserves to be free… And hence, I'm going to call a family meeting and propose postponing the ritual to figure out a way to do both, save her life and break the curse."

A vote. The way their family had been taking big decisions since the day after Esther had been killed, when they had needed to decide what to do next and they had cast a vote, to run away from Mikael and stay together always and forever. It was a simple method that had worked well for them in all their centuries alive. Someone proposed what all of them should do, and the other five voted in favor or against the proposal, winning what the majority wanted.

A decision made by vote was absolute and everyone in their family needed to adhere to the decision, even if they had manifested their opinions against it.

"So that's what this is" she realized, staring at her brother's eyes "You want my vote"

"And your help" Elijah nodded "You and Kol are the only ones with enough magical knowledge to find a way to save her life"

Ingrid snorted, amused by the very thought of Kol helping Katerina in any way. "Our brother will first chop off his own arm and legs before he helps the doppelgänger"

"That might be true, but he will follow your lead if you vote in favor" Elijah argued "And after the vote is cast, he will adhere to the decision"

There was a ring of truth in his words and they both knew it. Kol didn't like Katerina and would never move a finger to help her if he could help it, but if she argued in favor of Elijah's proposal, their brother's opinion could be swayed if only because they would need to invent a way to save the doppelgänger's life and Kol loved magical challenges.

"Rebekah will never vote in favor" she declared, instead of commenting anything else about Kol. Their sister hated Katerina too much for looking like Tatia, for looking like the only person she had despised as a human, to vote in favor of saving her life.

If anything, their sister was bound to throw a spectacular tantrum when she found out her older brother had fallen in love with someone she hated so much.

"No" he agreed, looking entirely too calm "And I don't think Finn would vote in favor either"

She nodded in agreement. Finn hardly cared for anything that wasn't related to their family, and he didn't particularly like the doppelgänger. He, practical as always, would prefer to kill her and break Niklaus' curse right away, so they could have another layer of protection against Mikael's strength.

But with those odds, it would mean the final decision would fall on one person. "Niklaus would never vote in favor"

"Maybe" Elijah conceded, looking at the distance and smiling a little for some reason "But maybe he would see this is not me betraying him, this is just me, asking for the chance to experience the kind of love Niklaus and you have been lucky enough to share for five hundred years" he turned his eyes back to her, and she was shocked to see the plea in them "I want the chance that kind of love and devotion to, little sister"

For a moment, neither of them moved, as Ingrid absorbed his words and thought them through.

Katerina wasn't worth prolonging Niklaus' curse. But the decision she was about to make wasn't about her. It was about Elijah – her older brother, the one who had protected her all her life and had done everything in his power to make sure everyone in their family was safe and happy. The one who had never before asked to put his need and wishes above the ones of anyone else in their family – and giving him the chance of finding eternal love. The kind she had always wished for him.

Even if that love was Katerina Petrova.

Ingrid sighed, knowing what her decision was. "Of all the people in this whole world, you had to fall for her…"

A smile, genuine and hopeful, appeared on her older brother's face when he heard her words, the same words he had told her when he'd found out about her relationship with Niklaus. "I couldn't help it." he told her, echoing the words she had told him back then "Somehow I fell in love when I wasn't looking and now it's too late to do anything but follow the pull of my heart."

An answering smile appeared on her lips and Ingrid advanced until she could put her hand on her brother's shoulder. "Then whatever happens next, I would support you." she promised, silently hoping her husband would try and do so as well.

"Thank you, little sister." he said, hugging her tight against his chest "I would never forget it."


For a long moment after Elijah delivered the news about Ingrid's new identity in her new life and the fact that she had a son, Niklaus just stood there, silent, and unable to move. He was aware of the way Elijah was tracking every single one of his movements with his eyes, and the way Finn's face had lit up for a moment after hearing the news before everything had been smoothed out of his face when he had glanced in his direction. He was aware of the fact his older brothers were warily looking at him – as if he was a bomb about to explode – as they waited to see what his reaction was going to be.

But he didn't have the energy to talk, much less move, not when he was trapped in his memories.

At that moment, most of Niklaus wasn't in that room. Instead, he was back in the forest that surrounded the hut where they had grown up, as Ingrid and he declared their love and devotion for each other, and they promised to fight together all the obstacles that would come their way when their relationship became known. It was back in another forest in Scotland, where he had asked her to marry him, and she had agreed to spend her eternity with him. It was back on the grounds of Hogwarts, where they had gotten married surrounded by their family, the founders, and the group of friends they had managed to make along the way. It was back in their old castle in France, where they had made a vow to love and cherish each other, to never betray each other, and to always follow their hearts back to the other. It was back in an old and cold room, with only their siblings as their witnesses, where he had to hold her burned corpse, crying, as he whispered promises to do everything in his power to bring her back to life.

At that moment, there was a part of him that was back on all the memories they had made, in all their promises they had made, in the love they had shared. For more than six hundred years, they had been together, they had been married for almost as long, and for all that time, their hearts had beaten for no one besides each other.

And then Ingrid had been killed – ripped apart from his side at the very moment when their enemy had known he and the rest of their family wouldn't be able to save her – and all the memories, vows, and promises they had made, all of that had turned to ash in the same instant she had died.

Not for Niklaus.

Never for him.

For the last thousand years, he had only been in love with Ingrid, and the thought of betraying her had never crossed his mind. Even after she had died, the idea of being with another – no matter how temporary – had felt like a betrayal of the worst kind. Mortals tended to say that, after the person you love died, it was necessary that enough time passed before the person was able to move on and find new love. But mortals – who chose to betray their loved ones when they hadn't been together for more than a span of decades, years, or sometimes even months - could never hope to understand the kind of intensity with which he loved Ingrid.

He loved her with an intensity that was impossible to explain in any language he knew. She was the love of his life. And after she had died, he had waited – happily and impatient in equal measures – for the day he could see her once more. For the day they could be together once more.

But he had known, deep down and for a long time, that the next time he would see his beloved, there was the possibility that her heart could belong to another. Not for forever, never forever. He believed in them, he believed their love was able to survive death and reincarnation. He believed that, at the end of it all, they were going to be together once more. He believed that no matter what, he would be her last love. But he had known that Ingrid, who had been reborn without her memories, was bound to live her life as she saw fit, and falling in love was another part of life. And expecting anything less would be unfair on his part.

He knew that. He had known that for a long time.

However, nothing could have prepared him for the icy pain that cursed through his body at the very idea of her loving someone so much she had settled down into normal family life and had a child. Someone out there had given her the very thing he would never be able to give her, and the idea of her choosing that person, choosing her child – the child a part of her had always wanted – and rejecting him, and the eternity they could have together, terrified to his very core.

In this life, Ingrid had chosen a normal life, a life where she could have children and grow old….

"Did you say she is Aria Potter?" he repeated, as his thoughts razed inside his head trying to find an explanation that made sense "That's not possible. Aria Potter should be in her late twenties. Ingrid didn't look older than eighteen in the memory we saw of her."

"That's right" Finn agreed, frowning "Even for a wand-wielder, that should be impossible"

Elijah nodded calmly. "I discussed the same thing with Rebekah, but she explained Kol had reasons to believe she stopped aging because of the reincarnation ritual"

"Is that possible?" he demanded immediately "Kol never mentioned anything like that before"

"Rebekah didn't have all the details, but she and Kol are convinced Aria Potter is Ingrid" The corner of Elijah's lips pulled up when he added "So much so that our little brother went ahead to confront her after figuring out the truth"

"He went to talk to her?" Finn asked, closing his eyes in exasperation "That little wildly, impatient, fox. He didn't stick to our plan."

"Do you really expect him to wait?" Niklaus asked, more amused than anything else. "In his shoes, I would have done the very same thing"

And that was probably why he had not protested the idea of Kol accompanying Elijah to Mystic Falls.

His little brother had many, many qualities that annoyed him to no end, and because of their personalities, it was rare when they could go for more than a few months without clashing about something or another. But if there was someone whose devotion to Ingrid could match his, then that person was Kol. Regarding her, they had fought about many things over the years, and his little brother had never sided with him over her in anything – though, to be fair, even when he hadn't liked it, Kol had never sided against Ingrid – but he had never doubted that Kol had always acted with Ingrid's best interests at heart.

So, he had let Kol go with Elijah, knowing that if the circumstances changed and they needed to act quickly due to new information, his little brother would act in the best possible way to ensure Ingrid's safety and happiness, while also making sure she would start to trust them.

There was no denying that a part of him was annoyed that Kol had been the first to meet her again – even if it was oddly fitting considering the circumstances of their birth in Ingrid's first life – but he could push his annoyance to the side, understanding why his little brother had acted that way. If Ingrid – now Aria – was truly ageless, then they needed to meet her and integrate themselves into her life as soon as possible. Otherwise, they risked the chance of losing her trust right away.

After all, someone who wasn't affected by time didn't trust as easily as a normal human being.

"And what about the father of her child?" Finn asked, cutting off his train of thought "Even if she disappeared from the face of the earth after the war, the news of Aria Potter getting married would have reached the press by now, and I haven't even heard rumors about it."

Elijah pursed his lips, showing his displeasure. "Rebekah didn't find anything about him in the Potter family records"

Niklaus stilled at that. He hated the very thought of Ingrid with another, he hated it. But that didn't change the fact that he knew her better than he knew himself. She wasn't the kind of person who would decide to have a child with someone they didn't love, or for whom she didn't feel any sort of connection. And even he was somehow wrong, and she had gotten pregnant by accident – doubtful, knowing how the strictness with which birth control was enforced in the magical world – then he couldn't conceive the idea of her denying the father of her child the recognition he deserved in her family records. Not when doing so meant the father had no rights over her child.

"That doesn't make any sense" Finn commented, his thoughts going in the same direction as his "Even if the father is dead, our little sister would have made sure his name was written in the family records as tradition dictates"

"What's the name of her child?" he demanded, as thousands of different possibilities went through his mind and then swiftly discarded "And how old did you say they were?"

"His name is Edward Remus Potter-Black" Elijah announced, and there was impossible to miss the smile, genuine and filled with happiness, that was painted on his lips "And he's about to reach his twelfth birthday"

He quickly made the math on his head and couldn't help but frown. "In that case, he was born weeks before the war was over"

Everyone in the magical world knew the story of the Girl-Who-Conquered – previously known as the Girl-Who-Lived – and how she had defeated the most powerful Dark Lord of modern times at the age of seventeen. And it was also common knowledge Aria Potter had disappeared for almost a year before reappearing to fight in the Battle of Hogwarts, ending the war with the defeat of Lord Voldemort.

Before that day, he had thought she had been hiding to train and become strong enough to face a Dark Lord when she was still a Hogwarts student. But knowing she had a child in the last year of the war changed his perspective completely. After all, it was well known that the magic of a witch was unstable for a couple of months before and after giving birth, and she had gone to fight not long after she had given birth, which meant she could have been killed that day.

And whoever had allowed her to fight in that condition was going to meet a very painful end soon enough.

"Do you think the father of her child left her?" Finn asked, and there was a coldness in his voice and eyes that was very rare for his older brother. In his brother, that kind of expression preceded the most painful and creative of tortures. "Taking into consideration the date of his birth, she was barely of age and in the middle of a war when her child was conceived… And if you consider the fact that she gave her last names to her child and didn't mention the father, it makes me believed the father was a coward who ran away scared"

Niklaus snarled at the very thought.

He could live with the thought of Ingrid loving another enough to have a child with that person. He didn't like it, but that was expected and normal, and he could get over it with enough time. But the idea of her being a single mother at seventeen, alone and afraid, and marked as the enemy number one of a Dark Lord in a country in the middle of a bloody war, and all that because some deadbeat scum got her pregnant and then didn't get enough courage to stick around and protect her and the child… Oh, the very idea of it burned his insides.

If the father of her child was alive, he was going to kill him, he decided with cold pragmatism.

Ingrid obviously didn't care about the father of her child, otherwise, he would be mentioned somewhere in the records, and he couldn't see her allowing her child near a coward like that. So, nobody – that Niklaus cared about – was going to get upset if the deadbeat father was killed in a rather bloody and painful fashion.

(He would start chopping off his testicles and forcing him to eat them, Niklaus decided, imagining the torture ahead with relish.)

"We don't anything more about the child's origins" Elijah said, but the stillness in his posture told them without words that he was also contemplating the possibilities and considering torturing the father of Ingrid's child. And later, when he wasn't so blinded by his rage, Niklaus was going to look back and found funny the thought of the three of them, together, planning to torture and murder another in the name of Ingrid's virtue and honor for the first time in a millennium. "And we won't know anything more unless we go to Mystic Falls and find out for ourselves"

"So, it has finally been decided that we will all go?" Finn asked, eager enough to go and meet Ingrid again to allow dropping the previous topic.

"Yes" Elijah confirmed with a single nod "Given the circumstances, it will be best if we're all there as soon as possible"

"Excellent" Finn smiled, clearly pleased "Then we'll go to pack our belongings and-"

"What else do you know about her child, Elijah?" Niklaus asked, cutting his older brother off.

"Only what Rebekah told me, which is what I have already told you" His brother admitted, studying him intensely "She also said Kol bumped into him on the street when she and Kol were talking on the phone. She says he introduced himself as Teddy, and he must look a lot like Ingrid because Kol knew he was her child right away"

Niklaus nodded, taking in the information, and trying to imagine a child that looked so like his beloved that Kol had known who he was as soon as he had met him. Maybe their magic was similar, or maybe he was so alike to her to even consider a coincidence. But he wouldn't know for sure, not until he met the child in person.

Until he met Teddy.

"What are you thinking, Niklaus?" Elijah demanded, advancing towards him with careful steps.

"Nothing you should be concerned about."

"The identity of the father of her child doesn't matter." his brother said, sounding a little desperate "The only thing that matter is that Ingrid was granted her wish. She has a child, Niklaus. A child of her blood and ours. For the first time in a millennium, a new Mikaelson has been born. And that's a miracle in itself… A miracle we all are going to protect."

He stared at his brother, faintly amused. "Is that a threat, brother? Are you afraid I'm planning to endanger the child in some way, Elijah?"

"Are you?" he asked, looking directly into his eyes. At the other end of the room, Finn was so still he could have passed as a statue, following the discussion only with his eyes. But he had no doubt his oldest brother was ready to intervene – and attack – in the instant Niklaus said something he didn't like.

"No, I am not planning on harming the child in any way." he announced, watching as both of his brothers relaxed their stances "He is her child. He is a part of her. And I could never hate or hurt any part of her."

Niklaus looked beyond his older brothers, imagining in his head how happy Ingrid probably looked every time she was around her child, a child that looked like her. And his heart yearned to see that sight with his own eyes.

He yearned to be reunited with the love of his life. But – he realized between one heartbeat and the next – he also yearned to meet her child. Elijah was right when he said the biological father of the child didn't matter – Niklaus knew how true that was better than most – the only thing that mattered was that the child was her blood and her family.

Ingrid was his family, his wife. And that made her child his family as well.

It was as simple as that.

"He's going to be my child as well." he announced, feeling the rightness of his decision down to his very immortal bones "Ingrid is his mother, and I shall be his father soon enough."

And no one was going to get in his way of that.


"You don't look well-rested, Neville" a familiar voice said, pulling him out of his thoughts "Have the Nargles brothered your sleep?"

Years before, back when he'd first met Luna and he'd realized how badly people on Hogwarts bullied her just because she didn't fit in the same mole of what everyone else thought as normal, Neville had promised to himself to never snap at her or making her feel unsafe around him. Back then, he had promised to himself that Luna would never be wary of being anything but herself around him.

And that promise hadn't died out just because their romantic relationship hadn't worked in the end.

However, at that moment, after everything that had happened in the last twenty fours hours, he came very close to telling her something very, very rude. Instead, he took a deep breath and tried to cool off his feelings. "I couldn't sleep because I was too busy wondering if I did the right thing. After all, I let the person I see as my sister and best friend face an Original Vampires on her own not knowing what they want with her" he said, and if his voice sounded a little as if he was growling, well, that was because even he had his limits to his temper and he was very close to it after everything.

The day before, after he had given Rebekah the information he had promised to her – and he had made sure they were alone and outside of the earshot of the Minister when he'd done it, as his days of trusting Kingsley were over – he had sat down on his office and he had gone over the very same information, looking for a clue of what the Original Vampires could possible want with it. He trusted the vow Rebekah had made about not using the information to hurt or endanger anyone, but it never hurt to be too careful.

So, he had sat down, looking for a clue of why the Originals – who had stayed away from politics for centuries – had been so interested to negotiate with the British Minister in exchange for that information. But he had found nothing out of the ordinary no matter how much he had gone over the papers and, just when he'd been about to give up, he had noted that the only thing that had changed relatively recently was the fact that the Potter and Black families were united under the same Lady for the first time in existence, which probably wouldn't change from then on considering Aria's immortality.

And the moment that thought had crossed his mind, he had realized that the Originals could be interested in his best friend.

If Aria had really lived all those past lives and interacted with other known vampires like her encounter with Katherine had indicated, then there was a very real possibility that she had met the Originals in one – or maybe even several – of her past lives. And they could be interested in information that would lead them to her, which meant Aria needed to be warned about it in case they appeared in Mystic Falls and represented some kind of threat to her, Teddy, and the other two kids his best friend had taken under her wing.

When he had realized that, Neville had immediately taken out his mirror and called her, forgetting about the time difference and the fact that she was probably in the company of the werewolf she had decided to take under her magical guardianship. But while he had been calling her, Luna had appeared in his office, telling him to cut off the call before he endangered Aria's future.

At the beginning of their relationship, Neville had wondered if Luna was touched by the sight or if the reason why she knew more than everyone else was simply due to her ability to listen to things most people wouldn't even believe. But as time had gone by, he had come to realize that it didn't matter the source of her knowledge, the only thing that mattered was that, when Luna talked in that tone of voice, you needed to shut up and listen.

So, when Luna had looked straight into his eyes and told him "If you warn her about their visit, her future will change for the worse, and Aria Potter will never be free to be who she is meant to be… If you interfere right now, you would deprive her of the kind of love and companionship mortals can only dream about" Neville had believed her, and had promptly cut off the call, wanting to know more about what was happening.

But no matter how much he had asked Luna about it; she had refused to tell him anything besides the fact that, soon enough, Aria was bound to meet an Original and he wasn't allowed to talk to her until that meeting had already happened. And while he had initially agreed to not say anything, the more time had passed – and especially after Aria had called asking about his previous call – the more worried he had become about the what-ifs.

Because if something went wrong, if the Originals did something to hurt or endanger Aria or Teddy, or even Caroline or Tyler, then Neville would never be able to forgive himself. They might not share blood, but he loved Aria like a sister, and Teddy was like a son to him, and even though he had never met them, Caroline and Tyler were their family and, therefore, were also important to him.

"Everything will be alright, Neville" Luna smiled, full of the kind of confidence he had rarely seen in her "And at the end of it all, her life, Teddy's, and yours too, would be all the better because of it"

"Mine?" he asked, confused.

Her smile turned a little wistful as she stared at him with something that wasn't sadness, but it was quite close. "You will be happier, Neville" she said "Happier than you could have been with me, I'm sure of it."

He stilled, surprised by her words and the unexpected turn of the conversation. Usually, they both pretended that the romantic relationship they had shared for almost four years had never happened. And he couldn't believe she had just told him something like that, especially when she was the one who was getting married soon.

"Luna, what-"

"I think it's time to go now" she said, getting to her feet and ignoring him completely "Your next visitor is about to arrive, and I heard some people say it's awkward when the former meets the new one"

"What?" he demanded, thoroughly confused "What do you mean?"

"I've known for a long time that you will happy… so don't waste this opportunity and be happy, Neville" she smiled. And, for some reason, it felt like she was ending something with her words and smile "Trust me when I say that everything will be alright in the end"

And without giving him the chance to say anything else, she was gone from his office, leaving him blinking in confusion and wondering what had happened. He was still doing that when a knock on his door broke him out of his thoughts, prompting him to focus on the present.

"Hello, Neville Longbottom" Rebekah Mikaelson said, entering his office as if she owned it, and taking a seat in front of him with an impressive amount of confidence "It feels like forever since I saw you last"

Neville huffed a small laugh, feeling amused despite the confusion Luna had left in her wake and the fact that he wasn't sure how to feel about the interest Rebekah and her family had in Aria. "Hello, Rebekah…. If I'm not mistaken, we saw each other yesterday"

Her smile was full of coquettish teasing. "As if said… forever"

This time, his laugh was loud. "Are you always like this when you're not stressed and after something?" he asked after his laugh had calmed down to the occasional chuckle, genuinely curious "Or you're just happy to have gotten your way?"

"I'm just grateful for the help you gave me" she said, shrugging her shoulders "Almost anyone else would have asked for something in return for the information you gave me"

He raised an eyebrow. "I did ask something of you"

She rolled her eyes. "A vow to make sure nobody gets hurt is not exactly a reward"

"Who says it isn't?"

At his words, Rebekah stared at him for a moment, seemingly looking for something before signing with a little smile on her face. "You're a one-of-a-kind wizard, Neville Longbottom" she said softly "It's a shame I won't stay in England long enough to get to know you more"

"You're leaving?"

She nodded. "All of my family is finally getting back together after a long time, and I can't miss it"

That, more than anything else, told him where she was going, and Neville had to bite his cheek from blurting something incriminatory right away. He liked Rebekah; she was cool and nothing like he had thought an original vampire would be. But he wasn't about to reveal to her any of his secrets – or any of Aria's secrets – until he knew for sure what was the connection between the Original Vampires and Aria.

And he wasn't going to know that until he talked with Aria after she met an Original, whenever that might be.

He sighed. "I understand" he assured her, smiling a little "I would do anything for those I consider family"

"As I would do too" Rebekah agreed in a whisper "Family above anyone else"

"I couldn't agree more" he declared.

And as he watched her leave, he had to wonder if they would meet each other again, and if when they did, he would be protecting his family and she would be protecting hers.

Neville had to wonder if the next time he would meet Rebekah Mikaelson, they would meet as allies or as enemies.


There was a hot, burning fury inside Aria's very soul.

It was a fire that had been burning from the moment she had arrived at that decrepit trailer and had seen the state in which her children had been. It was the kind of fire that had pushed her to chase down Bellatrix after Sirius died and cast the cruciatus curse on her, the kind of fire that demanded pain and blood in retribution for what had happened.

Someone had dared to hurt her children. To chain them up, lock them in a cage, and torture them. They had made them bleed. And for every drop of blood, they had lost because of them, she was going to make them bleed ten thousand times that amount, and even then, she was never going to be able to forgive them. Because at the end of it all, she would never allow someone to hurt her family and get away with it.

But, if anything, her teenage years had taught her how to keep her cool and not lose her temper when the situation demanded it. So, when she had seen how to hurt her children had been, she had known that revenge needed to wait for the time being. She would make them – whoever they were – pay for what they had done but, first, she needed to ensure her children were alright.

(And, despite everything, killing those werewolves had not calmed her burning fury one bit. Not when she knew they weren't the ones directly responsible for the pain and hurt her children had endured.

She needed the head – literally – of the alpha.)

"You need to drink all of them" she chastised Teddy, pushing the collection of potions Kol had given him.

Using a portkey, the five of them had made their way to the family sitting room of her home on record speed.

The kids were sitting together on the larger sofa, and each of them was sporting some sort of injury that was being quickly tended by Aria and Kreacher – the elf, for all his grouchy demeanor, had quickly gone in search of blankets, bandages for Teddy and Tyler, and blood for Caroline – and had not left her side as they went from one kid to the next, making sure all their injuries were properly healed. With them was also Kol, who had used his vampire speed to go and return with a small suitcase that contained a whole potion laboratory on the inside and carried more potions than she had previously thought existed. And, after he had quickly examined Teddy and Tyler and handled them a collection of vials, explaining what each potion was, he had claimed the comfiest armchair in the room and watched the scene in front of him unfold in silence.

If she wanted, Aria knew she was within her rights to tell Kol it was time for him to go home. She could tell him she appreciated his help but this was a family moment and he didn't count on that no matter how he had introduced himself to her children – and when she didn't have more important things to do, she was going to at least jinx him for dropping that sort of bomb without warning; the only saving grace was that her children, beyond exclamations of surprise and disbelief, had refrained from commenting after she had promised to explain later – but it didn't felt right to kick Kol out.

It was true that she still had no idea how she felt about everything he had told her – the mere thought of what it meant that she had been the Immortal Witch gave her chills; curse her rotten Potter luck, making it impossible for her to have anything remotely normal in her life – and she wasn't ready to claim Kol as family, nor was she ready to accept the sibling – twin? – bond he was offering.

But, all her reservations aside, it didn't change the fact that something deep within her liked Kol, and the more time she spent with him, the more she realized that – very hazy memories of her past life aside – if they had met for the first time in this life, Kol would have been someone she would have liked to call a friend. Of course, that didn't mean she was ready to trust him blindly or anything like that, but Kol had offered his help without hesitation as soon as she had said her children were in danger, he had not demanded anything of her in return for said help, he had done everything he could do to rescue and heal Teddy, Tyler, and Caroline, and there was nothing but warm fondness in his eyes when he looked at Teddy, not to mention that he had treated Caroline and Tyler with nothing but politeness. So, after everything that had happened in the last hour, from helping her rescue her children and killing alongside her a bunch of werewolves, it felt like Kol had earned the right to be trusted to be there with her family.

After all, there was nothing like surviving life-threatening situations and committing crimes – like murder – together to form the solid foundation of a lasting and strong relationship.

"But they taste awful" Teddy complained, making faces at the potion in his hand.

"That's how you know they are going to work" Kol commented, his eyes still following Teddy with a kind of warm fascination and fondness she couldn't begin to understand "There more awful the flavor, the more effective the results"

"Really?" Tyler asked, eyeing dubiously the three smelly vials in his hands.

Because he was a werewolf, the bullet wound on his leg and the rest of his injuries had healed by the time they had made their way back to the house. But he was still mortal, so his body felt the impact of the blood loss, as well as the tiredness and dizziness of having wasted a lot of his energy on healing itself as soon as possible. And to remedy that, Tyler needed to take a potion to replenish his blood, another for his energy, and a final one that Kol had recommended and apparently made sure any internal injuries were properly healed.

On the other hand, Teddy had been the one who had been the least injured. He only had some bullet graze wounds and a mild concussion, but because he was the only one without some sort of super healing, he needed to take more potions than Tyler to make sure he was properly healed, and nothing was wrong in his body after the whole experience.

The only one who didn't need to take potions was Caroline, whose wounds had closed themselves instantly just after she had drunk a couple of blood bags and Aria had helped her get the bullets soaked on vervain out of her skin. But even though her body was perfectly healthy, the blonde had been the one who had been hurt the worse. That day, Caroline had experienced torture at the hands of another, and the distant, pained look in her eyes, as well as how little she was participating in the conversation, was a clear indication of that.

"Nah, that's just a saying that wand-wielders tend to repeat because most common potions taste something nasty" Kol smiled "Of course, any decent potion maker worth their salt would know that there are a lot of potions that don't have any flavor or are taste sweeter"

At that, she turned in his direction, incredulous. Potions wasn't her best subject, as her Hogwarts grades could attest, but she had experienced an awful lot of different injuries, wounds, and even diseases, and she had never drunk a single potion that tasted decent. "Are you serious? Are there potions that taste good? I have never heard of anything like that"

Kol shrugged. "Those potions are pretty rare and only the most talented potion masters can hope to make them right but yeah, they exist."

"How do you know so much about that?" Teddy asked, still grimacing after he had drunk his potions at lighting speed.

"I'm something of an expert on potions" Kol smirked, full of confidence and arrogance "I'm the best potion maker in history"

The look Teddy sent Kol was full of admiration and curiosity. Her little wolf appeared a second away from bursting with all the questions he seemed to have. "Can you teach me? I've always liked potions but that's not mum's favorite subject"

"Is that true, sister?" Kol asked, throwing a questioning look in her direction "How is that po-"

"Are you going to do something about the rest of the wolves?" Caroline cut him off, looking straight at her "The ones you killed are not the only members of that pack"

"Yeah, I know" she nodded "The alpha of the pack and at least half of his people weren't there"

The eyes of Caroline and Tyler went wide, both visibly surprised by her comment. "How did you know that?" the blonde asked "We haven't told you that yet"

"It was pretty damn obvious" Kol and Aria said at the same time with a snort.

The overlapping of their voices made them turn toward each other, and Aria could see the growing smile on Kol's face.

"Because the wolves we fought weren't really experienced-"

"-and whoever hurt them knew what they were doing-"

"-and it was obvious it was the alpha-"

"-and alphas don't move alone-"

"-the safety of numbers and-"

"-packs like to hunt together-"

"So that's why it's obvious" they finished together with a nod.

In front of them, Teddy was staring at them with a wide, delighted grin, while Tyler had dropped open his mouth and Caroline's eyebrows had risen until they were almost touching her hairline. Even Kreacher, who had stayed in the room under the pretense of cleaning, had stopped and was staring at them.

"Okay" Tyler said, slowly "I can see the resemblance now"

"Are you truly my uncle?" Teddy demanded, leaning towards Kol. "I thought mum didn't have any blood family that was worth interacting with"

"How is this possible?" Caroline asked "You're an only child, you told me that."

"Mistress is even greater than Kreacher knew" her elf sniffed, looking altogether too smug to be healthy "To be considered the family of an Old One"

"He's not my brother, not exactly"

"I am your brother" Kol shot back almost before she finished speaking "I told you that already"

Aria rolled her eyes. "It's complicated" she announced "And it's not important for our topic of conversation right now… You guys know where the alpha and the rest of the pack went?"

Caroline nodded immediately. "He wanted to know who killed Mason" and she didn't miss the aborted movement the blonde did towards her neck "I- I told him the Salvatore brothers killed him, so they went looking for them"

"Of course they would be stupid enough to kill a werewolf and not prepare for the retaliation from his pack" Kol murmured in a whisper, sounding disgusted. Louder, he said "So they are going after them… Taking into consideration how long it takes them to track them down in this town, we can still catch up with them before they hurt anyone else"

"If the ones who get hurt are the Salvatore brothers, let them" Tyler commented.

"We should go, Kol" Aria decided. Turning towards her children, she said "You need to rest, so it's better if you stay here under the watchful eye of Kreacher"

Teddy and Tyler nodded, accepting her words and relaxing their positions on the sofa. But there was a tension on Caroline's face and body that she recognized by experience. She knew they needed to go, so she could make sure those werewolves bastards didn't hurt anyone else and make them pay for what they had done already, but it didn't feel right to leave Caroline without saying anything, not when she got a good idea of what was going through her head at the moment.

Sighing, she made her way towards the blond and squatted down in front of her, taking her hands in hers. "It's not easy, to experience torture at the hands of another and keep on with your life with a smile on your face" she began, looking straight into Caroline's eyes and aware of the fact that everyone else in the room was listening "you're going to ask yourself questions, wondering if there was something else you could have done to change how it ended, and there are days you're going to stare at yourself in the mirror, and the only thing you're going to see is the invisible marks they left behind. Because the thing is that you won't ever forget what happened, no matter how much time it passes… but you will learn how to live without letting the memories affect you" she promised, squeezing her hands and smiling at the blonde's teary-eyed expression "You're strong, Caroline, and you're going to get through this with your head held high. You know why?"

"Why?" she asked in a whisper.

"Because you have us by your side" Aria smiled, beckoning Teddy and Tyler closer with a movement of her head. A moment later, they were both putting their hands over their joined hands, linking all of them "And we're going to be there for you, no matter what happens"

Despite the tears in her eyes, the smile that appeared on Carline's face was genuine and bright. "We're family" she said.

"We're family" the three of them echoed, smiling.

They stood there for a couple of moments more, savoring their closeness after everything that had happened, before Aria was forced to get to her feet, knowing time was running out if she wanted to catch the werewolves before they found out the rest of their pack had been killed. A pack of werewolves on the loose was one thing, but she didn't want to endanger anyone else in the town when the wolves went into revenge mode after they would learn the fate of their packmates.

With that in mind, she gave Kreacher instructions to look after her three children, who seemed to have decided to do a movie marathon while she was out hunting werewolves, and, after a quick goodbye, she left the house with Kol.

"So…" he said, with forced nonchalantly as they walked towards the town "How old were you the first time you got tortured?"

She snorted, not surprised by the fact he had caught that. "Fourteen" she admitted, giving him a sidelong glance "How do you know the Salvatore brothers?"

"Because of their relationship with the doppelgänger" he said with a casual shrug "They are a couple of morons with no hope to match our family, but it's always better to plan ahead and know all your enemies"

"…I think I'm going to need a little more information than that"

"Of course" he accepted easily "I told you I was going to tell you anything you wanted to know, and I meant it."

It was probably because she could tell how sincere he was being that she decided to wait a little longer to ask all those questions that kept circling in her head. She had time to figure out what the Original Vampires were planning, and there was another thing that was more important. "Thank you" Aria said, turning to look directly into his eyes "For all your help today. For coming with me to save my children and the potions, and even being here with me right now… Thank you, Kol"

"You're my sister, of course I would help you" he declared, his tone conveying how absurd he thought she was being for even considering otherwise "And Teddy is my only nephew, the youngest in our family, I would die to protect him… And everyone in the family is going to think the same as soon as they heard about him."

"Just like that?"

"He's your child and our blood. He's family." he said simply, his eyes serious "And for us, there's nothing more important than family. Always and forever."

Aria stared at him, wondering if she was going crazy for believing his words as much as she was doing in that moment. "And Caroline and Tyler?" she demanded after a moment "What about them?"

"What are they to you?" Kol asked, instead of answering her question "You treat them as part of your family and call them your children, even when they're not your blood."

"I'm their magical guardian." she declared, lifting her chin proudly "And that makes them my family. They might not share my blood, but I considered them my children."

Of all the possible reactions to her declaration, she wasn't expecting Kol to throw his head back and laugh, delighted. "Only you, sister dearest, would be capable of forming a magical bond like that with a muggle werewolf and a baby vampire… Oh, how I've missed you."

"I don't know if there's an insult in there somewhere or not."

"Of course not." Kol snorted. Still smiling, he added "And about your previous question, if you considered them family, we're going to protect Caroline Forbes and Tyler Lockwood too. Just… Just don't expect us to treat them the same way we're going to treat Teddy. After a millennium alive, it's not easy for any of us to be open with anyone who is not our blood."

She considered his words for a moment before she nodded, understanding the sentiment behind them because of everything she had gone through. "Fair enough" she conceded.

"Now…" he said, grinning in a way she was beginning to recognize as the desire for blood and death "Are we going to hunt down those werewolves or what?"

"Let's go." she said, matching his grin with one of her own, and knowing her burning rage was about to be sated at last.


It was the pounding on the front door of her house that woke her up.

Bonnie had been sleeping on the couch after an exhausting day where she had been forced to be in the company of vampires because Elena refused to leave Damon's side since they had found he'd been bitten by a werewolf. And her bad mood had only worsened because of her inability to find a single mention of a cure for a werewolf bite on a vampire in her grimoire.

But when she heard the loud knock on her door, she got to her feet in an instant, feeling alert. It was late, she could see that on the clock on the wall, and no one she knew would go to visit her at her house at that hour, not unless it was an emergency.

Wary, she crossed the distance towards the door and opened it, ready to face whatever was waiting for her on the other side of the door. But she couldn't have prepared herself to come face to face with an unknown older man and with two teenagers who could only be his children, a boy and a girl of around her age, who were smiling at her with a familiarity that startled her.

"Hello, Bonnie Bennett." the older man said, and there was something on his smile that made her magic send her a chill of awareness down her spine "My name is Jonas Martin, and these are my children, Luka, and Greta… We've been looking for you. There's much we need to discuss."

...So, thoughts?