"Why am I not surprised that the instant your niece bats her eyes you melt like a ball of wax and give her exactly what she wants?" Elena asked, the amusement lacing her tone dissolving into laughter when Elijah managed to look more like a scolded little boy than the badass Original vampire she'd met four years ago.

Klaus was more volatile than usual today and Elijah found himself having to physically restrain his brother more than once so when he finally gets home, he's exhausted and all he wants is a glass of Scotch and then he wants to take Elena up to their room and fuck her until she forgets her own name, but then she's in front of him with the glass of Scotch he's craving and when she suggests they got out for dinner and then a walk along the river Elijah can't bring himself to say no because, really, it's the best offer he's had all day.

As Elijah watches Elena feed Hope and hum softly to the little girl his stomach twists painfully at the thought that this is the closest she'll ever get to having a child of her own and he can't help feeling guilty even if logically he knows none of the blame rests on his shoulders.

Elijah has millions of images of Elena filed away in his mind for future reference, but he thinks the image of her that he's comitting to memory right now might just be his favorite.

"Are you trying to corrupt me, Mr. Mikaelson?" Elena asked, her voice breathy with excitement and anticipation as Elijah pulled her into an empty exam room.

"I used to think that being a vampire was a curse," Elena admitted as she, Rebekah, and Hayley sat by the pool enjoying the warm weather and soaking up the sun's brilliant rays as they sipped margaritas, "but now I see it as a blessing because if I hadn't become a vampire then I wouldn't have the life that I do now and I wouldn't be as happy as I am."

"That's easy," Elena replied in answer to Damon's question about what exactly they were going to tell Hope when she was old enough to ask questions about all the weird stuff that happened in their house, "we'll just tell her she's got her own personal team of superheroes protecting her."

Elena didn't bother to suppress her giggles as Elijah wrestled with Hope in what was rapidly becoming a vain attempt to keep her still so that he could change her diaper.

"You two are worse than a bloody bodice ripper," Rebekah complained when she entered the kitchen and found Elena and Elijah engaging in behavior that was bordering on unsanitary considering this was where they ate.

"You've always seen right through my facade," Elijah spoke softly, trailing his index finger gently down Elena's cheek as she slept soundly beside him, "and that's only one of the multitude of reasons I fell in love with you."