Where this is as far as the VD timeline: This starts after the episode in which Elena un-daggers Elijah and goes away for the day to speak with him. Elena will go back in time for three days, then come back to the present day just before the ritual that kills Jenna and allows Klaus to unlock his werewolf side, at the end of season 2. Major story arcs from VD are included.
She laughed as she drove. It was a slightly insane sound. How the hell did her life turn into this? She remembered just a couple of years ago when what she wore to Homecoming was her biggest dilemma and her upcoming math test was her biggest worry. She didn't want to live like this forever. She shuddered at the thought. By this point, she was in front of the house. She ran up the steps, through the door, and down into the basement where Bonnie was hiding.
"Jeremy, could I have a moment? Its important," she pleaded.
"Sure," Jeremy replied, his forehead creasing. "Everything okay?"
"Yeah, yeah," Elena said, distractedly. She didn't even seem to notice when Jeremy was gone.
"Elena?" Bonnie said, trying to get her friend's attention.
Elena shook herself. "Sorry. Um... do you have a spell that can send someone back in time?"
Bonnie raised her eyebrows. "Why do you want to know?"
"There is a locket spelled by some witches back in the 1400s that Elijah used to have. The night the vampire's were sealed in the tomb, Elijah was in Mystic Falls. A few days later, Elijah's house burned to the ground. Klaus was angry that Katherine had escaped him again. He lost the locket. The locket was made to keep the doppelganger alive during the ritual. I need to go back and get it from Elijah."
"It is way too dangerous."
"Does that mean it is possible?"
Bonnie's voice was hesitant. "I've seen a spell like that in Emily's grimoire, but it is pretty limited. If I remember correctly, you only have three days before you return to your own time."
"That is long enough. Look, I know it isn't the most ideal of plans, but at this point we are kind of out of options. At least this plan doesn't lead to certain death."
"You mean, you hope it doesn't. What if Katherine shows up and decides to kill you? Or the Council decides you're a threat? Or you permanently change history so that you are never even born?"
"Back to the Future much, Bon?"
Bonnie put her hands on her hips, unimpressed. "This isn't funny. There has to be another way. I could try scrying for the necklace."
"Doesn't that require something of the person that it belongs to? Elijah stole it. It technically belongs to some long lost relative of the witch that originally owned it. We don't have time to be making shots in the dark."
"What if Klaus discovers you are gone while you are on this little adventure? What do you want us to say? 'Well, you see, we sent her back in time to get a locket that will save her life after you kill her. I am sure she will be fine and you can continue with your master plan to create more abominations. Oh, and we are almost positive that the magic locket will in no way endanger the spell that requires the death of the doppelganger. If it does, it'll be our bad. Please don't kill us.'"
"My other option is to drink vampire blood ahead of time and then turn. Is that a better option? Because you and I both know that this ritual is going to happen. There is nothing we can do to stop it. Or maybe I should just say my goodbyes and help you guys write my eulogy."
"Hold on," Bonnie said with a sigh, finding the grimoire and setting it down on the ground in front of her. Flipping through the pages, she found the entry that she wanted. "Like I said, it is pretty limited. You'll be back for three days, as in 72 hours exactly. When you leave, all memories pertaining to you will disappear from the minds of the people in the past. However, that does not protect against you changing the progress of events in the future."
"I get it. Get in, get the locket, get out, and don't interfere. Can you do the spell?"
Bonnie sighed again, unable to believe that she was even considering this. "I'm pretty sure I can do it. But you need to decide what day you want to go back to."
"The day before the vampire's are entombed. I want to make sure I have plenty of time to find Elijah and the locket."
"How do you know that Elijah back in 1864 won't kidnap you or kill you outright?"
Elena pulled a ring and a letter out of the tote bag she was carrying. "I was told if I showed him the ring, it would make him stop to listen long enough to give him the letter, which is from Elijah to himself."
Bonnie nodded. She then began setting up the tools she needed- candles, water, a bowl. "Just make sure that you do not try to change events," Bonnie instructed her sternly. "You cannot save them."
"I understand. I will stay out of the way as much as possible." Even if she did hate the idea of just sitting by and watching the nightmare unfold, she knew how dangerous meddling could be.
Bonnie nodded. "Okay, write the date you want to go back to on this piece of paper."
Elena complied and Bonnie began the spell. After a minute of incantations, she lit the paper on fire and threw it in the bowl. The candles flared high and then sputtered out. Bonnie opened her eyes. Elena was gone.
. . .
Elena sat up, feeling dizzy. She shook her head and stood up. As she brushed the dirt and leaves from her clothes, she remembered that she was still in jeans. She really should have changed before the spell. She slipped her tote bag off her shoulder and pulled out the 1800s style dress she had worn earlier in the year for Founder's Day. She left the corset in the bag. There was no way she could lace it herself. She only hoped no one took notice. She quickly changed, praying no one would appear in the forest before she was done. Then she put her clothes in the bag. Looking around, she found two trees growing close together. She hid the bag between them and started towards town.
As she walked, she began thinking about what she was going to tell Katherine. She decided the best plan was to feign innocence. Act shocked at the fact that they looked like twins. Katherine usually planned things carefully. Elena could only hope that meant Katherine wouldn't act rashly and kidnap her to take her to Klaus before she could retrieve the locket.
Ahead of her, she saw a house she didn't recognize. Not that she was surprised at this. She skirted around the side, not wishing for anyone to see her. It would seem odd for a stranger in town to be wondering around the woods, probably on someone's land.
She reached a dirt road. Looking to her left, she saw the driveway that led up to the house. She had just turned to walk away from the house when she heard the clop of several horse's hooves coming down the road towards her. The carriage slowed and stopped next to her.
"Katherine?" Elena's heart skipped a beat. She recognized that voice.
Damon stepped out of the carriage. "What are you doing?"
Elena couldn't help but stare. She knew that, as of tomorrow, Damon would never age. And yet present day Damon looked so much older than the Damon standing before her. It was the eyes, she realized. This Damon's eyes weren't cold and bitter. They did have a look of concern in them, though. Elena shook herself, realizing that Damon was waiting for her to say something.
Damon's brow furrowed. She was looking at him like she had never seen him before. He laid a hand on her shoulder, "Are you okay?"
"Umm... I'm sorry, but you must be mistaking me for someone else. My name is Elena, not Katherine. I'm new to town."
Damon stared at her for another minute or two, clearly dumbfounded. "I... I see. I'm very sorry for the mix-up. You just look remarkably like someone I know. Can I give you a ride somewhere?" he asked, gesturing to the carriage.
"I'm not sure. My parents died last year, you see. They used to tell me a story about one of my great-grandparents that was from Mystic Falls. So I decided to come and see if I had any family still here." Elena hoped the story sounded more believable to him than it did to her.
"What did you say your name was?"
"Elena. Elena Gilbert."
"I see." Damon was still looking at her skeptically. He half wondered if Katherine was playing some strange game. "Well, if you would be so kind as to come with me to the house," he pointed at the house she had seen, "we will see about finding your relatives."
"Okay," Elena responded. It wasn't like she had a better game plan.
They walked to the carriage and Damon offered her his hand to help her up. She accepted and, placing her hand in his and lifting her skirt with her other hand, she stepped up and through the door. She looked around as Damon climbed in. She had never been in a carriage before. Her eyes then settled on Damon. "May I ask what your name is?"
"How rude of me. My name is Damon Salvatore." The carriage lurched into motion as he spoke.
Elena smiled a little. Since when did Damon care about being rude? "It is nice to meet you, Mr. Salvatore. And I thank you very much for your assistance."
Damon couldn't help but to return her smile. There was something about her... He decided she couldn't be Katherine. Her face was somehow kinder, her eyes more innocent. How intriguing. He couldn't wait to see Katherine's reaction to Elena. He was sure it was going to be interesting. "It is my pleasure," he responded.
The carriage stopped in front of the house. Damon hopped down and then turned to help Elena down. As she placed her hand in his again, her eyes met his and he found himself lost in them for a moment. She looked at him like she knew him, like she cared. She broke eye contact and stepped down. Maybe he had imagined it.
Elena had felt like an electrical current had jolted through her as her fingers settled into his hand. And his eyes on hers- it was like he could see her soul.
The front door opened. "Damon. I'm glad your back, I..." the voice trailed off as the speaker noticed Elena.
Elena took a deep breath. Here goes nothing. "Oh my," she said, pretending to be shocked. "You must be Katherine."
Katherine's eyes narrowed. It was like she was looking in the mirror. Who was this girl? She had to be another doppelganger... How interesting. "How do you know my name?"
"Mr. Salvatore called me Katherine when he saw me walking along the road. Said I reminded him of someone. We obviously look a lot alike," that was the understatement of the year.
"I see," Katherine responded.
Elena shivered. She had never heard two such simple words sound so cold, so menacing. No doubt about it, Katherine was not happy that she was there.
Katherine's gaze moved to Damon. "Why did you bring her here?"
Damon's eyebrows lowered. He didn't understand why Katherine was suddenly so testy, although he realized he should be accustomed to her mood swings by now. "She came to town looking for family that she had heard lived in Mystic Falls. Her surname is Gilbert. I told her I would introduce her to the Gilbert family."
As he spoke, Katherine was thinking through her options. This girl could be useful to her. She just had to play her cards right. She smiled suddenly and her voice became gracious, "It is almost time for dinner. Surely we can spare a room for her for the night. Then we can bring her to meet the Gilbert's tomorrow afternoon. I will send a note over to arrange a luncheon."
"Of course," Damon responded, his surprise evident on his face.
Katherine's sudden shift in mood worried Elena. Katherine never did anything that didn't benefit herself. She also felt a small wave of anger wash through her body. How dare Katherine stand on Salvatore property and say "we" as if the house was hers? It was just another reminder of how arrogant... Elena quickly redirected her train of thought before she got too worked up. She couldn't afford for her face to betray her thoughts. "You are very gracious to allow me to stay in your home. Thank you," she said, purposefully directing her gaze towards Damon.
Damon's eyebrows raised slightly. If he didn't know better, he would think that Elena had purposefully given Katherine the cut direct. The steely look in her eyes further supported that theory. But no, why would she do such a thing to someone she knew nothing about? "You are very welcome."
"Please, come in," Katherine said with a hard edge to her voice.
Elena smiled brilliantly. It might be petty, but any day in which she can upset Katherine was a good day as far as she was concerned. Although, not seeing her at all was better. She did not want to make Katherine too suspicious, however, so she nodded her head at Katherine and thanked her as she walked into the house.
Katherine called a servant to show Elena to her room. She instructed the servant to escort her back down to the dining room at 6 o'clock sharp. Elena was turning to follow the servant when she heard another voice and footsteps coming towards them.
"Wherever did you go, Katherine? We have yet to finish our game."
Elena quickly looked over at Damon. A look of pain crossed his face and was gone in a blink of the eye. Just then, Stefan came into view. He stopped short when he saw Elena. His gaze traveled between Katherine and Elena, confusion and surprise evident on his face.
"This is Elena. She will be our guest for the evening," Katherine told him. She walked over and hooked her arm through his with a smile that could not be mistaken for anything but predatory.
Stefan stared at Katherine for a moment, obviously still confused. He knew better than to question Katherine, however. So he looked at Elena and smiled, "It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance. Will we be seeing you at dinner?"
"Yes, thank you," Elena responded, a beat late. She was studying Stefan's eyes. They were less... wary and cautious, she decided.
"Well, then we will leave you to get settled in," Katherine said.
Elena nodded and turned to follow the servant upstairs.