Disclaimer: I don't own Vampire Diaries
Kira Gilbert, the younger twin of Elena Gilbert, and the sister that died in the same car accident that claimed their parents lives. Stefan Salvatore only knew her as the girl he'd had to choose not to save that day, Damon only heard of her in stories from her family and friends. While the brothers might not know it, everyone else always felt the hole that was never quite filled after her death. Caroline Forbes never found a friend she loved half so much, there was never anyone else capable of effortlessly pulling Jeremy back into line.
But, for Elena Gilbert, the death of her younger twin had consequences she never once imagined it would. Always in Kira's shadow, Elena, for the first time in her life, saw things from the other side. She was the one people now looked to whenever she walked into a room. Her opinion now held weight she'd never before experienced. She loved her sister, but in her heart of hearts, Elena knew she liked the life she had now, the life that was only hers because of Kira's absence, more than she liked only ever being Kira Gilbert's elder sister.
"Elena," Kira groaned, throwing a look at Caroline's amused face before reluctantly following after her sister's figure. "Elena, come on, let me just get Tyler to walk us home, alright?" She didn't want to bother their parents at this hour, especially with Elena as tipsy as she was, but her older twin was having none of it.
"Do you think I want to be known as the reason the 'great Kira Gilbert' had to leave the party early?" Whirling around, long brown hair streaming through the air, Elena's brown eyes flashed at her angrily. "All I'll hear for a month in the halls is how poor Elena had to be taken home by her perfect sister because she broke up with her boyfriend. Don't you think I have enough on my plate?!"
Suppressing the urge to roll her eyes wasn't easy, especially when she caught sight of Caroline's concerned face over Elena's shoulder, but she did, somehow.
"Elena, you're being ridiculous-!" In hindsight, that probably wasn't the best choice of words.
Her sister's nostrils flared angrily and she spun around on her heel, storming off into the night without another word.
Watching after her sister's quickly disappearing figure, Kira sighed, bringing up her thumb and forefinger to pinch the bridge of her nose.
Why was it so hard for her and her sister to get along? They both loved each other, thought the world of each other, and if Elena really had a problem Kira was the first person she came to. But their relationship was also filled with competitiveness, jealousy and envy. Well…on Elena's side.
Where Elena had to really work at being charming, being social, it all came so naturally to Kira. She didn't freeze up when Mrs Lockwood cornered her at the Grill, guilting her into volunteering for whatever event the town had planned that week. She'd laugh, a witty comment falling easily from her lips, and before the older woman even knew what had happened she was watching the younger Gilbert twin walk out the door with a smile before realising that Kira had once again managed a graceful exit from any town responsibilities.
And where Elena had Bonnie, Kira had Caroline. The blonde Forbes and her were the closest of friends, and Kira felt no compunction jumping over the fence of the Forbes residence and shimmying through the always open window to crawl into Care's bed. Honestly, it had gotten to the point that her parents didn't even bother to call Sheriff Forbes to check if their youngest daughter was at her house or not, they already knew the answer.
And when she wasn't with Caroline, inevitably, she'd be with Tyler. Since she could remember, she'd always been close to the Mayor's son. One of the only people their age capable of taking the cold, harsh comments he'd throw at people and toss similar ones right back at him, Tyler respected her where he respected few others.
Elena, well, Elena was quieter. Less social. And, inevitably, she began being recognised more for being Kira Gilbert's twin, then for being Elena Gilbert.
And she hated it.
"Still want me to walk you home?" Tyler's gruff question from over her shoulder made her hang her head, staring at the dark asphalt beneath her feet for a long moment before she shook her head.
"No, it's fine," She sighed, turning to give him an appreciative smile. "Elena would only be mad at me if you turned up to witness her bad mood."
He laughed, raising the beer bottle to his lips to muffle the noise after she shot him a pointed look.
"I'll see you later, Ty," Kira chuckled, ignoring his reaction, instead leaning in to give him a quick hug. "See you Monday." And then, she was off, jogging after her sister.
Coming around the corner, Kira shook her head at the sight of a wobbly Elena attempting to climb into the back of their parent's car.
"Need some help, Elena?" If the look her sister threw at her was any indication she didn't smother the laughter in her voice as well as she'd thought.
"Are you coming, Kira?" Her Mum asked from the front seat, a small disapproving frown wrinkling her forehead as she observed Elena's less than graceful movements.
Glancing back over her shoulder, the orange glow of the bonfire illuminating the tops of the trees, she felt her face drop with disappointment before she pulled herself together, nodding silently at her parents as she followed Elena into the backseat.
"What's wrong with Elena?" Her Father whispered to her with concern as she slipped inside, closing the car door behind her.
"She broke up with Matt," Kira explained, sharing a look filled with understanding with her mother as she clicked the seatbelt into place.
"Well not all of us can flit from guy to guy like you, Kira," Elena, having caught the quiet words, shot at her venomously.
Blue eyes widening, her temper pushed to its limits with her sister's snarky behaviour tonight, Kira whipped around, her dark mahogany hair flying through the air.
"Dating, is not flitting from guy to guy, Elena," She growled lowly, shoving her long hair back behind her ear with a violent movement. "You went out with Matt for a year, I haven't found anyone that I want to commit to yet, that does not make me a player!"
Why did her sister always have to bring her romantic life up like it was something to be ashamed of?! She dated! It was normal! You know what wasn't normal?! Going on a date with the first guy that asked you out and then staying with him for a whole damn year despite the fact that you were never particularly interested in the guy!
"Well, why can't you find someone?!" Elena hissed, her chocolate eyes glinting angrily, a flare of envy burning deep in their depths. "You've gone out with all the good-looking guys in our year already, Kira! You had that fling with Dylan Hancock a few months ago and he just graduated! Bonnie even told me that you turned down Michael Hadley tonight, and nobody does that!" She spat furiously, the alcohol giving her more courage and less sense than she was used to.
"Girls, enough!" Grayson barked from the front of the car. "Elena, cool down, you're going to say something you regret."
But Kira's wide, sapphire eyes were focused unerringly on her sister's suddenly slack face, as if Elena had just realised what she'd said and how badly her ruthless sister would take such judgement.
Kira wasn't someone you wanted to get on the bad-side of. She was ferocious when provoked, and once she'd made up her mind about a person, that was it, it would take a miracle to reverse her opinion. But the real danger was the younger twin's temper. Elena didn't know where Kira got it, but her beautiful, petite, fair-skinned sister had a fearsome temper. She'd seen the chestnut brunette verbally decimate individuals twice her age within minutes if she were successfully provoked. The one guy that had tried to take advantage of her, that hadn't understood the meaning of 'stop', had unleashed a devastating anger that Elena had never seen in her sister before or since. Instead of coming back from her date a shaking, quivering mess of nerves and fear, Kira had been…furious.
She'd destroyed the eighteen year old, Jason Drake. Elena had watched from the sidelines as her sister methodically broke every aspect of the pig's life. A few words to Tyler and a couple of the guys on the football team, and Jason was in the hospital nursing a broken leg and black eye, his football scholarship and only ticket out of Mystic Falls vanishing from between his fingers. On good terms with all her teachers, Kira had cashed in a couple of favours from a few of the teacher's pets in the school, getting them to begin dropping hints and rumours about students cheating on their final exams.
Elena had no idea how Kira found out that Jason had cheated on his leaving exams, she shuddered to know, but a small part of her wondered if maybe her sister had manufactured that too.
All she knew is when Kira had finished with him, Jason Drake's life wasn't worth living.
"We'll talk later," Kira stated softly, giving Elena a dark look before turning her head to stare out the car window.
Swallowing, Elena looked down at her limp hands, hating the feeling of guilt that quickly spread through her entire body as she remembered the look of hurt in her sister's eyes when she'd called her out on her inability to settle down with one guy.
Kira was always there for her, just as Elena was always there for Kira. They were twins, and they loved each other to death. It was just so hard sometimes. Gritting her teeth together, Elena shook her head, pushing back the tears that were pricking at the backs of her eyes. She wouldn't cry, she refused to. She felt petty for being mad at Kira for something she couldn't control. It wasn't her little sister's fault that Elena felt like she was sliding into the background, dwarfed under the phenomenal weight of her sister's shadow.
Kira was special. Everyone in Mystic Falls knew that. She wasn't destined for a small town life, a small town boy.
It was just so hard being the sister of someone like Kira Gilbert.
"Grayson! Look out!" Miranda screamed, the headlights cold on the empty bridge road.
Everything happened so fast. Kira barely remembered it. The screams of her mother and sister as they went through the safety barrier, the yells of her Father as he desperately tried to regain control of the car. The drop of her stomach as the car flew through the air, the shock concussion and lancing pain across her ribs as they hit the water and she was thrown forward, jerking violently against the straining seatbelt.
But she did remember grabbing Elena's fingers tightly in her own. The realisation of what had happened as they quickly sunk beneath the water's dark surface. The sensation of lungs burning as she wished desperately for air, for one breath, only, it never came. And in those last few moments, as the darkness that surrounded her grew thicker, she felt her sister's fingers tugged harshly out of her own, the current of the water moving as something beside her was pulled.