Title: Fragments of the SoulSeries: StarcrossedPairing: Chloe/JeremyRating: T-MDisclaimer: Don't ownSummary: When an encounter with a strange girl leaves Chloe unconscious, Bonnie and Jeremy unwittingly get caught up in the spell. Trapped in Chloe's mind, they are pulled through various memories of past lives Chloe and Jeremy have shared together, and view their tragic outcomes. The more Jeremy finds out, the more he realizes just how starcrossed he and Chloe truly are.
She wasn't happy.
With Sheila there she had to leave the vicinity, din't want to risk the Bennett witch realizing that she was there. Things could get difficult if the woman knew. The teenagers wouldn't tell Sheila about her because they didn't know how she'd react, and wouldn't risk her being anti-vampire. It wasn't that they were protecting Katherine. No. They were protecting Caroline, which was why the blonde vampire was now pacing the bar, a bottle of Barcardi in her hand as she visibly worried herself into a fit.
Seriously, it tired Katherine to just look at her.
She wondered what excuse the bumbling twosome would give Sheila Bennett for what had happened to the trio.
Well, as long as she fixed things - and Katherine was left out of it - it didn't matter.
"Why does she keep doing the same thing over and over again?" Jeremy whispered as he and Bonnie leaned against a tree in the deep woods they now found themselves in. "She always pushes me away, she always tries to protect me - and she always dies because of it!" He ran his hand over his face. "What if I'm not able to stop this? What if she dies because of me? What if I have to live with the fact that I couldn't protect her - that that Original took her away from me - again!" He could feel hysteria building in his chest. "I couldn't do it, Bonnie. I couldn't-I just couldn't!"
"We're not going to let it happen, Jeremy." Bonnie placed her hand comfortingly on his shoulder. "We know things that none of the others did. And knowledge is power. One huge different in this lifetime is that you know about Klaus - about the danger he poses to Chloe. None of your other incarnations knew about him, which was half of the reason why Chloe had the opportunity to do what she did every single lifetime - sacrifice herself." Bonnie might be trying to comfort him, but she was visibly disturbed and worried as well. "I thought that it was just her trying to blend in and keep from attracting the attention of Lionel's assassins. That that was why she pushed people away, but it seems its something her soul has done in each incarnation. She goes it alone."
"Not this time," Jeremy promised.
Bonnie nodded her agreement before she sent him a sideways look. "I wonder."
"Nothing... for now at least." She cleared her throat. "Why could the first memories see us - but not these other ones?"
That was a good question. "Are we getting fainter? Maybe she's about to wake up."
"Maybe." Bonnie licked her lips, expression wary. "When she does, what happens to us?"
Jeremy had no answer to that, but he was saved from answering by silent movement in the woods around them. He felt it before he saw her, and when he did he could only stand in awe. The power - the presence - the familiarity of it nearly drove him back to his knees.
"What is it?" Bonnie stood as well, wary.
"It's her," Jeremy's voice was a whisper.
"Another one of Chloe's incarnations?" Bonnie asked.
"No." He shook his head. "The first."
Bonnie's eyes widened as she turned to him. "How do you know?"
"I just do."
The girl slipped out into view. Her hair was long and golden blonde, pulled back around her neck. A few thin braids fell into her hair. She wore a dress yet had hunting boots, and a bow in her hand, a case with arrows slung on her back. She looked around her, alert.
There was something in the way that she held herself that it seemed as if she were expecting to be attacked at any moment that added urgency to this scene. What was going on? Why was she alone in the woods, armed, and what was she searching for?
Each and every lifetime Jeremy had seen had ended in the death of Chloe's incarnation, and his stomach went nauseas immediately. Was this it? Was he about to view the original death? And yet - how exactly did his soul tie into this? His soul had been present in each and every time jump, so he had to be here too, didn't he?
Suddenly the shadows shifted, and there was a growl, followed by rapid movement, a glance of wolf fur - and then suddenly the girl cried out as the bow was flung out of her hands and she was pushed up against one of the trees. A man stood before her, tall and muscled, covered head and body in a wolf-pelt cloak, gloves with claws on his fingers, fingers which he had closed around her neck.
Jeremy's eyes widened in horror.
Bonnie brought her hand to her mouth.
"You know better than to go walking around these woods alone, Svipul," the male whispered, voice husky and low, almost animalistic. "An animal might stumble upon you unawares and… hurt you."
Her eyes shifted in that familiar way, that way that made Jeremy so nervous the few times he'd seen it in Chloe. "Let go, Gulbrandr."
He let go of her immediately and took a step back, a hand to his forehead as he shook his head. "You know that I despise it when you use your witchcraft against me, Svipul."
Jeremy turned to Bonnie. "You're right. She was a witch."
"Really?" Bonnie's eyes widened. "I can't understand what they're saying again." She suddenly grinned, proudly. "Of course I was right." She nudged Jeremy. "Now pay close attention. They might tell us what sort of witch she is and how her magic works. Once we know that, we'll be one step closer to figuring out how to stop whatever is cracking inside of her."
"You lie." Svipul smiled provocatively before she flicked her hand and sent the man flying to the ground viciously.
Gulbrandr grunted as he hit the ground hard, the blow sending his wolf-head hood falling off to reveal dark hair, eyes, and a handsome face despite the scars on it. He sat up, a sharp smile on his face as he eyed her and crooked a claw-covered finger at her.
Throwing her shiver of arrows to the ground, Svipul scrunched up the skirt of her dress as she moved to straddle his hips, her skirt splayed around them as she wrapped her arms around his neck and smiled into his face.
Gulbrandr dug his hands on her hips with a smirk on his lips before he kissed her.
Eyes slipping closed, Svipul let out a soft, contented sound as the warrior kissed her softer than Jeremy would've expected given his appearance and previous actions. The kiss was that of someone who felt nothing but adoration, who was scared to hurt a much more fragile being than themselves - that of someone who knew his own strength and was desperate to reign it in.
"I will not break, Gulbrandr," Svipul whispered against his lips, her tone tender. "You can let go when it comes to me."
"No," he whispered and pulled away enough to cup her cheek and stare into her face. "I know you feel that you can protect yourself with your magic, but you have never come across one of my kind in battle. We—we are monsters. We kill, not for the necessity or for the war - but because we need to kill, we need to feel warm blood against our skin."
She leaned into his touch. "You know, for a man who attacks me every single time we meet in the woods, you are terribly overprotective when it comes to my safety."
"I cannot help myself, I react on instinct when I sense you near," he admitted with some shame. "I have not been with you for nine moons now. My body has been starved from want of you."
She smiled. "You have kept count."
He glared at her, clearly unhappy with her happiness.
"Do not scowl, my love, I have missed you as well," she promised as she pressed a kiss to his forehead.
"I do not know if I believe you." Gulbrandr's face was the picture of displeasure, and he looked very close to a pout. "You were late in arriving."
Something shifted in her expression. "I met someone, and he opened my eyes."
His dark eyes narrowed. "Who is it that you have met?"
"He introduced himself to me while I was on my way to see you." Svipul pulled away slightly, her face scrunched up in wondrous thought. "He knew of me, of my aunt, of my magic. He offered to take me away from this life, to give me everything I could ever want."
Jeremy could see the jealousy, the possessiveness and insecurity on Gulbrandr's face as he stared up into Svipul's face. It would seem that those were traits that were deeply ingrained in his soul.
"All he wants in return, is the use of my magic," she continued on, lost in thought and blind to Gulbrandr's increasingly dark expression. "He told me things, Gulbrandr—I cannot begin to explain them to you—but I wish to go. I wish to work at his side." She finally focused on his face, which was now completely closed off. "I wish for you to leave with me."
The surprise was quick on Gulbrandr's face. "Why would I go?"
Hurt flashed over her face before she lowered her head and traced her fingertip against his chest. "My aunt will never allow me to leave her, she is too dependent on me, and the chieftain will never interfere out of fear of insulting her."
Disgust covered Gulbrandr's face. "The chieftain will not interfere because he wishes to be between your thighs himself." He gripped said thighs tightly and pulled her in closer. "And even if not, he would never give someone like you to a mere dog like me."
"You are not a dog!" Svipul snarled as she grabbed his face and forced him to look her in the eyes. "You are Gulbrandr, son of Erik, son of Bjarke, son of Hagen. You are the most able-bodied warrior, the strongest, most powerful Berserker who has ever lived. You have won that ungrateful bastard his domain." She rested her hand on his heart. "You are the man with the heart of a wolf. You are my beautiful, wild Gulbrandr."
The warrior stared up at her, and while he didn't speak, Jeremy could see it all written plainly in his dark eyes. Svipul was Gulbrandr's soul, his everything.
"We are one, in soul, body and mind." Svipul kept her hand pressed against his heart. "Even if we were to die, our souls would find each other over and over again, because we were once one soul split into two, and we will never be complete, never be happy, unless we are together."
He stared up into her face. "And this man you spoke of?"
"Niklaus?" She shook her head with laughter. "Oh my beloved Gulbrandr, it is not like that! You are my heart, he knows that, he wants you to come as well. He wants us both, Gulbrandr. He'll teach me all that my aunt is too afraid to, and he will be a leader that you can be proud of. He has such power, my love. And there is so much that you do not know, but you will, I promise." She pressed a kiss to his forehead. "Niklaus has opened my eyes, I am no longer blind, and no longer shackled. I am free, and I wish to share in this freedom with you. Forever." She pulled away enough to stare pleadingly into his face. "I wish to marry you, Gulbrandr. I wish to have your children growing within me. I wish to grow old with you by my side."
"Berserkers do not live to grow old," and yet his voice was thick with emotion, love, lust, even fear. "But if I could, I would do so with you."
She kissed him, happily.
He returned the kiss.
Bonnie hugged herself, a large smile on her face. "I don't have to know the language to know that you two were so incredibly in love."
Jeremy found that he couldn't respond, his own throat thick with emotion.
This interaction between their souls was completely different from the other timelines. There was an openness in Chloe's soul, a vulnerability, a willingness to throw caution to the wind that she'd lost in the following incarnations. What had happened to rid her of it?
"Will you come with me?" Svipul stared into Gulbrandr's face in near fear. "Say you will."
He stared up into his eyes and smiled. "I will."
She cried out, tears in her eyes as she kissed him, and he wrapped his arms around her, kissing her just as happily, before suddenly he pushed her away and grabbed at his chest.
Gulbrandr's eyes widened in pain, in fear, the sounds of his breaths loud and forced.
Bonnie's mouth parted in horror. "What's happening?"
"Gulbrandr?" Svipul's eyes were wide in terror as she knelt in front of him. "Gulbrandr? What is happening? Gulbrandr!"
"You would leave?" Another voice cut into the moment, causing both the Berserker and the Witch to turn to see a woman with long black hair emerge from the woods, her hand held out towards Gulbrandr.
"Aunt!" Svipul hurried to her feet and stood between them. "Stop it! Please! You will kill him!"
"No my child, I will not kill him." The woman with the regal air to her raised her chin. "You have killed him." And with a twist of her wrist, the sound of bones breaking could be heard as Gulbrandr's ribcage deformed. He coughed out blood and turned his gaze on Svipul for one last second before he collapsed on the ground, eyes lifeless.
Jeremy's eyes widened in shock. In each lifetime he'd seen Chloe's death, he hadn't been prepared to see his own.
Bonnie's hand went to her mouth to try and stifle her cry.
"NO!" Svipul threw herself on her knees and gathered his dead body in her arms. "NO! GULBRANDR! NO!" She turned her gaze on her aunt. "How could you? HOW COULD YOU?"
"I did nothing, this is all your work." The woman was unmoved. "You ungrateful child. You would leave me, abandon me, for what? For this flea-bitten dog? How dare you?"
Tears fell down her cheeks, Svipul closed her eyes tightly and pressed a kiss to Gulbrandr's forehead. She let out a heartbroken sob as her tears fell upon his face. She cradled him in her arms, her forehead pressed to his as she rocked back and forth. "No. Gulbrandr. No."
Jeremy's emotions rocketed at her mourning, and he found himself swallowing, found himself desperate to be able to comfort her. This was Chloe's soul, this was her pain, this was part of what had made her who she was today.
"He did not have to die," Svipul's aunt declared. "But you killed him when you convinced him to leave with you, to defy your destinies and be together. Because of you, because of your selfish, childish desires, your dog lies dead."
"Do not call him that." When Svipul looked up, her pupils had expanded, no ounce of color in her eyes, merely black against white.
"Do you plan on confronting me?" The woman wasn't worried, instead her tone was mocking. "Do you wish to die here with him? You stupid, blind child!"
"I know the truth!" Svipul screamed, her whole body shaking. "Niklaus has told me everything!"
This was the first time Jeremy had seen some sort of hesitation, a clear reaction, from the woman.
"Niklaus?" She spat the name.
"He's opened my eyes, aunt." Svipul's voice went very calm. "He's told me what you've kept from me all these years."
"Oh, I doubt that he has told you the truth, merely the version of it which best suites his intentions." The woman sneered. "And you are a fool, you fall for his deception. He needs you, he needs your bloodline, he needs what's in your ancestry - and once he is done using you he will dispose of you and you shall be as dead as your dog."
"Then I will let him." Svipul was still calm. "I will help him, I will do all that he needs me to, and when he kills me, my soul will join Gulbrandr's."
The woman narrowed her eyes. "You would defy me to your death?"
Svipul nodded. "Yes."
Anger and disgust welled in that woman's eyes. "Fine. But when you die, your soul will not be reunited with that of your dog's. You will be caught in an eternal wave of loss, of grief. You will live with the heartbreak you have so evilly dealt me this day."
"Do not do it, aunt," Svipul whispered.
"I curse you and your dog!" The woman snarled as thunder and lightning clashed above her. "I curse your souls to always meet, to always desire, and to always be separated before you can be happy!" She pointed a finger to Svipul. "I curse your dog to die, in your arms over and over again. I curse you to feel this heartbreak in every lifetime."
"No!" Svipul screamed as she shook her head. "No, I beg of you!"
Bonnie looked between them and the sky. "What is going on? I feel magic - and a lot of it."
Jeremy stepped forwards, ignoring her question.
"Please, aunt." Svipul bowed her head. "Please, I beg of you, do not do this. I cannot - I cannot live a life of forever losing him."
There was silence as the woman moved towards her and then knelt down. She reached out and placed her hand on Svipul's chin, tilting the girl's gaze up towards her. "You ask for mercy after showing me such great disdain?"
"He has done you no harm," Svipul begged.
"He would have taken you from me." The woman narrowed her eyes before she took in a deep breath. "But if you love him as gretly as you claim—."
"I do!" Svipul cried out. "I love him more than I love myself."
"Do you?" The woman tilted her head. "Do you really? Think hard before you answer, girl."
"I do." Svipul's eyes hardened. "If I could trade my life for his, I would."
Jeremy took another step forwards, horror filling him. "No."
"Jeremy?" Bonnie sounded scared. "Jeremy, what's happening?"
"Then, I will allow you the chance to prove to me that you truly love your dog." There was malice in those eyes as the woman caressed her niece's cheek in mock tenderness. "Each time your souls meet, in every lifetime, once you and your dog allow yourselves to be together, to truly love each other freely, he will die - unless you take your own life beforehand."
Jeremy stood frozen.
"I will even give you a warning, an omen that his soul's time is coming to an end." She smirked. "Niklaus will find your soul in every lifetime, he will come for you to fulfill your purpose, and when he does, you will know that your dog's life has come to an end. If you do not take your life, he will die, horribly."
Svipul stared down at Gulbrandr's lifeless face, her tears falling silently onto him. "You will let him live out the remainder of that lifetime in happiness and completion if I do?"
"If he dies after you take your life, it will be by no machination of mine," she promised. "As far as I am concerned, he can die a ripe old age in each lifetime if you do your part."
Svipul took in a deep breath. "You will allow me to remember all of this so I can be forewarned? So I do not unknowingly let him die?" She clung to Gulbrandr's body as if to life.
Her aunt nodded. "Yes, the knowledge will come to you, and only you, in each and every lifetime you share."
Svipul closed her eyes. "And I will have him, for a time, before I have to say goodbye?"
The woman eyed her curiously. "Yes, I will give you a grace period. I am merciful."
The girl nodded. "I understand."
"It is not too late." Her aunt reached out and touched her hair. "If you tell me how repentant you are, that you see the error of your ways, I will spare you this torment. You do not have to share in his misery. Just repent and I will remove the curse over your soul."
"What of his soul?" Svipul whispered.
"His curse is fixed deep within and I will never remove it," her aunt promised. "He will forever die should his soul meet yours, cling to yours, love yours - but your soul will not be touched by this darkness. You will not share in his misery if you merely repent and beg me for mercy."
"Is the curse on my soul right now?" Svipul asked softly.
"Yes," her aunt nodded. "And unless you repent and I speak the words, it will remain there."
In the blinking of an eye, Svipul yanked Gulbrandr's lifeless, glove-covered hand and brought the claws piercing through her own heart.
Bonnie cried out as she backed away.
Jeremy collapsed to his knees.
The aunt's eyes were wide in horror. "What have you done?"
Svipul's gaze lowered to Gulbrandr's face, and she smiled one last time, before she collapsed on top of him.
"No," her aunt whispered as she stared down at her lifeless body in horror. "No!" She gathered Svipul's body in her arms and held her closed, closing her eyes as she rocked back and forth, almost mirroring Svipul's previous actions with Gulbrandr. "You foolish child!"
The last thing Jeremy saw, before the world around him began to shatter, was Gulbrandr's and Svipul's blood mixing in the grass between their lifeless bodies.
Someone had cast a spell on Chloe Alexander.
Sheila Bennett had watched Jeremy Gilbert and Bonnie come out of their magic-induced comas, both red-eyed and close to tears - Bonnie confused and Jeremy looking about to break. Neither shared what they'd seen during their time asleep, saying they couldn't remember, but Sheila knew that they were keeping something to themselves.
It was all in the looks they shared when they thought no one was noticing.
It was all in the way Jeremy watched Chloe as she slept.
"Why didn't she wake up when we did?" Bonnie asked, hugging herself as she watched Jeremy sit on the edge of the bed and stare down silently at the sleeping blonde.
Sheila placed her arm around her granddaughter's shoulders. "Whoever placed that spell on your friend used a hook and anchor spell, it was harder to remove than I'd previously thought. She's exhausted, but she should awaken fine within a couple of hours." She turned her dark eyes on Bonnie. "Are you in trouble, Bonnie?"
Bonnie wouldn't look at her. "Not me, Grams."
Sheila followed her granddaughter's pity-filled gaze towards Jeremy and Chloe. "Are they in trouble?"
Bonnie looked close to tears as she gulped. She didn't say anything out loud, but Sheila could see the utter fear in her grandmother's eyes as she watched them.