Chapter 01

[2010 – Undisclosed location, United States]

“This is stupid. Why are we constantly being given idiots to work with?” Sam questioned over her private wire to her partner as she walked back to the car that she’d fled from as the new guy had been pissing her off something royal that evening. It was a blessing that her partner was good with computers that their communications were only among themselves, and the third wheel wasn’t looped in. “Why do we even need another?”

“Maybe Research wants us to train those idiots. Ever thought of that?”

“They are supposed to be trained before they are thrown into the field. You get killed out here if you don’t.”

“Budget cuts,” he quipped.

“I kill. I’m about ready to rip the fucker’s head off,” she muttered, as she paused at the street corner, glaring at the car where the guy sat waiting for her return. How little her friend actually would realize she truly meant her words.

“Hey, I’m missing out on a barbecue here, relax,” Michael replied as he shifted a little from his position on the roof. “Oh, hold on… we’ve got movement.”

“Where Cole?” Sam asked tiredly. “I’m hungry, and I just want to crawl into a real bed.”

“Your four o’clock, Shaw. Wake up the newbie.”

Her lips pulled back in a snarl as she glared up at his position. “Fuck him. He’s not supposed to be sleeping. I’ll take care of it myself,” she snapped. “You get your ass down here and wake him. Go back and pack up and I’ll meet you there. I’ll take care of this shit. Nothing else is happening tonight.”

“I’d rather stay up here and watch your cute ass. If you’re gone, I’ll be stuck with him!”

“You can’t get rid of me that easily Cole. You know that. I’m too much of a bitch to die,” she slyly smiled as she headed over to the alley where a couple of men gathered, talking amongst themselves quietly. She watched from the shadows, listening in with her vampire ears. “Besides, haven’t I shown you that I don’t stay down long yet?”

“Fine, fine,” Michael replied as he started to pack up his sniper gun. “Do what you have to do.”

~o.O.o~

[2010 – Mystic Falls, Virginia, United States]

It had been a fun trick, to inhabit the body of someone these children in Mystic Falls trusted with their life, but he thought it was time to get back to his own, less fragile body. “I’ll be back as soon as I can,” Maddox, his underling, said with a bow. Oh, how polite.

“Yes. Do hurry; I am anxious to get out of this body. And if you get hung up, call me. You know how impatient I get,” he replied before letting the man out and closed the door behind him.

“Where is he going?” Oh, his wonderful Katerina. His wonderful compelled Katherina to protect this fragile body. It was such fun to have finally found her and have her pay for her betrayal.

“To retrieve me so that I can get out of this bad hair-do.” Amongst other things, of course. The daily upkeep of this furry man had started to grate on him as well.

“Are you sure that’s a good idea, Klaus?”

“Well, the full moon is almost upon us,” he said as he moved to the counter and placed the moonstone on the counter. “I have killed the witch, I have the moonstone, and I have the doppelganger waiting in the wings,” Klaus let out a sigh of relief. “Oh, I’m ready to break this curse.”

“And why would you do that here?” Katerina asked confused. “There are so many people here that would try and stop you.”

He should have compelled her to shut her trap, too. It wasn’t as if she could run away and tattle, but she was asking too many questions. And he didn’t mind answering them, for now. “Because I have to, it’s the birthplace of the doppelganger.”

“I didn’t realize that was a requirement.”

“Well, how could you? You betrayed me and fled England before I could give you the details, Katerina,” he replied as he walked towards her with an arrogant smile on his face. “But I did find your birthplace, and I slaughtered your family. So I guess we’re cool.”

~o.O.o~

[2015 – New York City, New York, United States]

Klaus stared at the woman – Root – for a moment, contemplating his options. “Is this some sick joke?” He eventually asked as he crossed his arms over his chest and straightened himself up as he looked down at her.

“I can assure you it isn’t,” she murmured as she looked around the apartment, a slightly wistful expression on her face. “Sameen would like this place. Unfortunately for her, time is of the essence now, and she does not have much of it according to our friend so we should be leaving.”

“I’m not going anywhere with you,” he said before he took her hands in one swift movement and pinned them to the couch before looking her in the eyes. Better safe than sorry and compel the information out of her. “Tell me who you are,” he demanded. “And what are you doing here?”

“My name is Root. I’m here to get you to help me to free Sameen from some very dangerous people that kidnapped her,” Root replied tonelessly, blinking back at him as she remained frozen in his grip.

“When did that happen?” He questioned, his own heart racing at the thought of his girl in danger, as he tightened his hold on the woman. “Why wasn’t I informed?”

“A couple of months ago. She never left information of who to reach if anything happened to her; she thought herself invincible-”

Klaus huffed. Of course, she did. “How do you know about me?”

“God. She followed Sameen, found your information and sent me. She said that you would know how to find her though she refused to tell me how when we were unable to,” she answered, confusion clouding her words as her awareness began to creep into her.

He blinked at her and took a step back as he released her from the compulsion. He would have believed her if she hadn’t mentioned hearing it from God. But if her story had only a little bit of truth, his Sameen was missing. “Who are you working for?”

Root sighed as she frowned. “That’s a loaded question, Niklaus, and one you’ll have to learn on the way. The short answer is that you wouldn’t believe me if I told you, but the answer varies depending on who you ask. More or less, I work for myself, but we do care for the same person…” Her head jerked off to the right as if she was listening for something and reached behind to her back for a handgun she held. “We need to go. Samaritan tracked me here. I’d hate for this beautiful apartment to be riddled with bullets before Sameen had the chance to enjoy it with you.”

He wanted to snort and tell her not to worry about little things such as bullet holes in his new apartment as it’d easily be fixed but decided to play along, for now. The woman was obviously off her rocker, but he could tell that she did care about Sameen; her scent of lilac matched the one on his love’s last letter to him. “Very well then. I am not sure if I’ll be of any help to you, but I will tag along,” he replied, turning around to grab his coat. “Lead the way, Root.”

Klaus had to admit, Root was fast and knew exactly how to avoid cameras. He wasn’t sure why she’d do that, but he was certain he’d find out soon enough. He figured Samaritan was something Sameen was fighting against, with Root, but to be honest, he had never heard of it. Was it even real? The woman talked about hearing things from God and referring to it as she.

“Alright. We’re clear from the complex. Which direction would you like us to head?” Root asked aloud as she eyed down one alley but stopped outside a seedy bar that brought a questionable look on her face. “Are you sure about this? Alright… She says that you are familiar with this crowd and that I am to trust you; that we need to cut through here as we need to get out on the other side. Our ride will be waiting there,” she explained, finally looking up at him.

So it wasn’t God she was talking to, or who spoke to her. It was her mind. Obviously, the woman was talking to herself and making things up as she went along. He looked up to the building and smirked. “Yeah, I am familiar with the crowd, love, just stick with me and don’t make any sudden movements. You’ll be alright.” He opened the door for her and motioned for her to get inside.

Root walked inside confidently, her eyes glancing around as she surveyed the bar but continued her stride through the busy crowd that eyed her with curiosity. Something set her instincts on edge, but she didn’t let herself falter as she looked over her shoulder and smiled at her companion.

Klaus smirked and casually put his arm around her. “They can smell fear, sweetheart. Just keep walking forward.” He kept an eye on the patrons as they continued their way through the bar mostly filled with his kind, the rest of them were human pets or escorts.

“Oh, I’m not afraid of them. I’ve seen scarier in the mental hospital,” she replied casually, and with frank honesty as she met the eyes of the bartender as she passed him.

He knew it. She was insane. “If there isn’t a ride for us when we get out of here, I will personally throw you back in here and let them have their way with you,” he said with a mock grin but meaning every word of it.

She only smiled in response as they reached the door and pushed it open, looking around. Up the corner, a dark sedan’s driver door opened and the driver stepped out and looked over the hood at them.

“It’s about time you showed up, you crazy nutbag!”

“Hello to you too Detective,” Root greeted as she pulled Niklaus over to the car, opening the back door for him and looking around. “It may be prudent for us to leave post haste. Is our mutual friend going to be joining us?”

“Glasses told me to pick you up. He said you’d bring a guest. Who is this guy? Can we trust him?”

“She said we can. Sameen trusts him, so I would say yes,” she mused as she eyed Klaus speculatively.

“Oh sure, if she trusts someone it’s all puppies and kittens,” Fusco said, rolling his eyes. “Detective Lionel Fusco pleased to meet ya, get in the car.”

Root rolled her eyes as she settled into the front seat. “She doesn’t trust anyone. You know this.”

“Klaus, and I’m not sure if I should.”

“You want to find Shaw, right? Well, the nutjobs that got her are playing dirty and Glasses is at the end of his rope so if his magic eight ball is telling him to pull you into the fold then you got some heat that might be a powerplay. Just get in the fucking car.”

He was quite tempted to kill the humans and be done with this nonsense. He had told himself that if there weren’t a car, he’d walk. But there was a car and a Detective. He was going to play along, for now, even though the detective sounded just as crazy as Root. Klaus casually shrugged. “Very well then,” he replied as he got into the car and shut the door.

The car reeked of long stakeouts, urine, plastic, burgers, coffee and sweat. It made the idea of this short, pudgy guy being a detective a little bit more plausible, but then again, he could have stolen the car. Whatever was going on, he was sure that he was going to be informed soon enough and decided to bide his time until they’d arrive at their destination.

“So what is it that you do?” Fusco asked, peering at his passenger in the rear view mirror. Root didn’t say anything, glancing over at the man before looking back out the window, silent for the moment.

“I’m an art collector,” Klaus replied casually. “I like antiques and have a vast variety of trinkets back home.”

The man frowned in disbelief as he looked over at the woman. “How in the ever living hell is a fucking art collector going to get our friend back from Samaritan?! I always knew you were Looney Tunes, Root, but you have gone off the deep end this time. That chip in your head needs to be rewired because your signals are crossed!”

“Oh, relax, Lionel,” Root smiled sweetly at him. “You know that she’s never wrong.”

“Bullshit! She let her be taken in the first place!”

“And she feels sorry for that happening, she wanted to save her but couldn’t!” Root glared at him. “I think she wants to make amends and has therefore made me find our passenger.”

“Who the hell is this she?” It was out before Klaus had any idea it was on the tip of his tongue. If this she-person was responsible for Sameen’s predicament, he was going to kill her.

“God,” Root replied immediately.

At the same time, Lionel sneered and shook his head, answering, “A fucking computer.”

He wasn’t sure what was worse, Root with her God ideas or a computer being responsible for the loss of his love. “Alright, stop the car,” he demanded. He was going to leave these two to their own and find out what happened to Sameen by himself.

“Great idea buddy. We’re here anyway,” Fusco said with a sigh. “Let Glasses handle your questions. He created the fucking thing after all. I’m going back to the office. Fruity Pebbles here will let me know if you need me.”

“Have a good day at work, Lionel, you know who to call if you need back up,” she smiled at him as both she and Niklaus got out of the car.

~o.O.o~

[2010 – Undisclosed location, United States]

“Fine, fine,” Michael replied as he started to pack up his sniper gun. “Do what you have to do.”

“Get some decent rest tonight Cole. I’ll be back soon,” Shaw assured him, the veins of her vampire visage peeking out from her eyes causing her to shake her head and clear her thoughts as if it would help gain herself some control. Fuck her creator for leaving her the way he did. Selfish bastard. She almost hated herself for caring for the asshole too.

“Fine, I’m taking the car and sleepyhead,” Michael said as he threw his bag in the back of the car and resisted the urge to slam the door before getting in behind the wheel and smacked the guy’s head. “Bang, you’re dead, asshole.”

Shaw rolled her eyes as she heard the car drive away and returned her attention back to her targets. They were in possession of something the team came for, but also another that she craved deeply. She would take both tonight. Running her tongue over her lip, she strode forward, a wicked gleam in her eyes as she grinned at the men with the moonlight created a devilish halo effect over her head; she greeted the men. “Hello. How much for the computer?” she asked. “Nevermind. I’ll just take it. Along with your lives…” she said before charging at the closest male before he could even raise his weapon.

She broke his arm so he’d drop the weapon and then proceeded to rip his throat out with her teeth before turning to the other guy who was simply too shocked to move. Purring, she made her way over to him and cocked her head. “You’re not even running? How boring,” she sighed as she latched herself onto him and proceeded to drain him of all his blood.

Satisfied, she picked up the computer, wiped her mouth and headed towards the cheap hotel room she was sharing with her partner and their idiot tag-along.

~o.O.o~

[2015 – New York City, New York, United States]

He balled his fists inside his pockets as not to show agitation, but these people were Insane. He had seen a lot during his time, but nothing anything remotely close to this. Klaus knew that his siblings didn’t have a clue about his whereabouts. Otherwise, he’d hazard a guess that they were behind this. Or maybe Sameen was. So far he hadn’t seen any shred of evidence that she was taken – not to mention why she let them take her – and that was the only reason he was currently following Root down a flight of stairs in front of a Chinese takeaway.

It was quite a ways down over a few staircases and for a moment there, he hoped they were going to the abandoned underground system. New York used to be so beautiful, but it had lost a lot of its flair over the years. He remembered his years in the city quite fondly; even though he had been on the run from Mikael at the time.

The last staircase brought them to a large storage area where there was a vending machine at one side of the room, and Root went straight for it. She inserted a few coins in the machine, punched in a code and then the contraption gave way like some secret door to another set of stairs. The event made him think he had landed in a spy movie.

“Are you doing alright there? I’m sure it must be a little overwhelming,” Root said calmly. “You appear to be taking this in stride when you don’t seem to want to leave.”

“Let’s just say that you’ve caught my interest. If I want to leave, I shall take it on my terms,” Klaus replied casually.

She treated him to another of her over the shoulder smiles. “As if you could. What would Sameen say?”

“She’d be impressed by the amount of restraint I’m exerting because you and the detective get on my nerves. So far, you haven’t given me any evidence of Sameen’s disappearance other than her not showing up at the apartment, and you have been leading me all across New York.”

Root slightly nodded as they descended the final set of stairs. “Oh, Harold! I brought our new friend! I hope you have everything ready!” she called as she strolled over to the well-lit train car at the end.

Why wasn’t he surprised that upon the mention of his name, a scrawny, nerdy man turned around with slight apprehension in his eyes? He even wore glasses. Klaus wasn’t sure if the man deliberately went for the geek stereotype or not.

“Ah, Mr. Mikaelson,” Finch got up from his chair and walked towards him with his hand stretched out for him to shake. “My apologies for the excitement you’ve just had, but it’s a necessary precaution.”

Excitement? Klaus scoffed as he shook the man’s hand and then put his hand back in his pocket. “There’s no need,” he eventually said evenly. He was contemplating compelling this Harold guy, but he decided to wait. Root was still around.

“So I assume you would like some answers, yes?” Finch hesitantly asked as he eyed him, stepping back towards his computer.

“If they’re making sense, yes.”

He nodded slightly. “Alright. Where shall I begin… I’m afraid that ultimately I created this mess and for that, I deeply apologize and together we work to make up for it every day. Sameen understood the sacrifice, but I’m getting ahead of myself. How much of our government’s homeland defense and daily security practices are you aware of Mr. Mikaelson?”

“Ah, absolutely nothing, I’m afraid,” he said after a moment of thought, carefully choosing his words. “I try not to make a permanent mark on the world; I keep to myself.”

Harold looked at him curiously, and with a little suspicion. “While it’s doable it’s extremely difficult without assistance. We’ve been living like this for the past year or so, staying in the shadows of the New York surveillance system. After September 11th, I created a computer system, an artificial intelligence, that was able to predict probable threats to American citizens based on behavior and electronic data. The Machine, as I refer to it, is frighteningly accurate and was sold to the US government. After some time, it evolved on its own and – disappeared. Adapting and somehow connecting with a chosen person, Root, as you have met, has become exceedingly helpful as another group has developed a similar competing system, but they don’t just intend to kill actual threats, but even threats against their agenda. It’s not something we want, and they’ve been trying to kill all of us in the process of us just trying to save a few innocent lives, including your Sameen whom they have taken in the process.”

Right now Klaus regretted his decision to stick with ordinary paper and pens to get his messages across. Apart from his smartphone, he felt slightly lost and out of his depth. “So far you lot have been telling me that Sameen’s gone without giving me a shred of evidence,” he said agitated and started to pace the room, he needed to calm down before people got hurt.

“The Machine has been able to salvage some video from that night. She went with them so that we might escape, against our protests mind you,” Harold informed him as he inputted several commands in the computer to pull up the saved file, reluctantly hitting the play button and turning away. “Here you go. I do not wish to see it again. Mr. Reese should be back soon. I need to prepare Bear’s supper.”

He always admired Sameen’s ability to blend in and to take care of herself, but as he watched the footage of her being taken down by a hail of bullets, something inside of him just snapped. She should have been able to fight her way out of that; they’d at least slow her down just a little but why didn’t she do anything about it? Furious after seeing the footage, he grabbed the nearest chair and threw it at the subway cart, shattering a handful of windows as he did.

Klaus ignored the gasps of surprise coming out of Root and Harold, but the yelp of an animal surprised him. Soon enough, the dog came charging at him, with his teeth bared and growling.

“Bear! Nee!” Harold’s voice sounded panicked, agitating the dog even further as it wanted to protect its owner. “Foei!”

He could smell Sameen on the dog, even after the weeks she’d been gone, he could still smell her on the dog as if she’d been with him all this time. Bear must have been sleeping on one of her clothes. Klaus squatted down and held out his hand to the dog. “You’re just afraid, aren’t you?” He said calmly to the dog. “I would be if some tosser would throw a chair at something. Kom maar, het is al goed.”

Bear lowered his head as he stopped growling and walked over to Klaus, sniffing his hand and then put his head underneath his hand to allow Klaus to pet him.

“Braaf.”

Both Root and Finch looked at the scene before them in complete silence and shock. It took Harold a few moments to recover as he looked at Klaus. “You know Dutch?”

Klaus shrugged. “I’m well traveled.”

“John is going to have a ball with this,” Root murmured with amusement as she watched how taken the dog was with the man already.

Maybe what he’d been told in the last couple of hours had been the truth. It sounded ridiculous, but it was plausible. He had seen the footage of Sameen’s mishap and the dog smelled like her. Sameen loved dogs, and he wondered if she’d like that part of him as well. He smiled as the dog licked his face and then got to his feet. “Well then, where did your last lead take you? Where did you lose her?”

“How did you…” Root stammered surprised.

“Well, you obviously care about Sameen. Surely you must have looked everywhere for leads as to find her location.”

“She has been searching and knew she isn’t in New York anymore. It’s just extremely difficult for us to get out of the city with our limitations right now. It could be many places, but she’s narrowing it down to Washington and possibly Colorado. There’s a third that has been factoring in so whatever is going on it seems like they are trying to keep her as confused as possible knowing she’s watching, trying to find her,” Root replied.

“She’s still in New York then,” Klaus said adamantly before being met with confusion. “If your machine is as smart as you say she is, and that other one similar to her, then what better way to fool each other is to make your opponent think the target’s no longer in one place and instead somewhere else? It’s a classic diversion tactic.”

“I don’t know who he is, but he makes sense.”

Klaus turned around to see the latest arrival and tried to hide his surprise. A tall man in a suit. It was quite likely that he was part of some military. Oh, he had to try hard to hide his amusement now. The little pet was still around, after all these years! Still, Elijah’s influence must have lingered somewhere in his mind seeing as he wore suits.

“The question is then, if she is in fact still in New York, then where? And how do we look for her when we can be seen on the cameras? You seem capable, I’m sure, but you don’t know these people we’ve been dealing with,” the man softly spoke as he eyed him up and down.

“I don’t have to know the people you’ve been dealing with,” Klaus spoke calmly, amused by how the man was trying to size him up, wondering if he could take Klaus down if needed. “And I have my ways to get what I want.” John Fletcher could not take down Klaus, even if he wanted to. No, if Klaus wanted to, he’d kill the Elijah groupie in a heartbeat, but it seemed like the humans he had surrounded himself with liked him too much to be truly missed. He sincerely hoped this was not the case for his Sameen. He did not want to have lost her to him.

“How?” Root asked. “You’re just an art collector.”

[Suspicion detected. Chance of being caught 50 percent.]

[Sending message to Last Resort. New number acquired.]

[Message: Do not reveal. Diversion created. Leave.]

While Klaus looked at the message on his phone, various numbers popped up on the computer screen. “That’s odd,” Finch said as he turned around to his computer. “She never does it like that.”

“She’s evolving, Harold.”

“I am sorry, Mr. Mikaelson, we have to wait with trying to find Miss Shaw until we’ve dealt with this,” Harold said as he turned to Klaus. “As much as we all miss her, she wouldn’t want us to give up on our numbers. We have tried that approach, and it didn’t end well.”

Klaus was impressed by how this machine had her humans, and her vampires, wrapped around her little finger. Or power cord and nodded. “I need some time to process all of this,” he said as he waved his hand around. “I’d say you know where to find me.”

“Maybe it’s safer for you to stay at a hotel until this is all over? Samaritan tracked Root to your apartment.”

He inwardly growled. “Even then, you know where to find me. Good night.” Once Klaus was sure he wasn’t being followed by one of them with the computer, he used his speed to get up the stairs and slowed down again when he emerged. What was the world coming to? The entirety of New York being surveilled by a single computer? Were humans that thick to trust something artificial?

And he was a vampire hybrid. What the hell was he thinking? If they only knew the real big bad in the world was brought to their doorstep by their hand, but he wasn’t interested in bringing down any government. He just wanted his girl back.

He figured that if that other machine had tracked Root to his apartment, it was watching him now as well, and that could be problematic. However, that bar he and Root had walked through earlier was the perfect way to divide and conquer. He was going to have them look for signs of Sameen, and he was going to check up on any interesting developments if they returned.

Sometimes it paid to be everyone’s worst nightmare.

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