Always and Forever
Disclaimer: I don't own anything from the television series The Originals and I'm not making any money from this fic
Summary: AU of the season one episode Long Way Back From Hell. Elijah uses a different way of dealing with his brother
Warning(s): Spanking; spoilers up to and including the above-named episode; violence; some mentions of torture; AU; also angst. Lots and lots of angst
Author's Note: Written for day 19 of the SpankVent challenge on Livejournal
The dagger was in his hand... but Elijah couldn't use it. He held a struggling Niklaus in his arms and knew that he needed to protect Rebekah... that he needed to put her first and protect her from their brother, who seemed so far removed from the innocent boy Elijah had grown up with. (And he was as much to blame for what Niklaus had become as Mikael. He knew that).
And yet... Elijah couldn't bring himself to stab Niklaus. He couldn't hurt his brother... not again. This whole time in New Orleans had been about trying to repair his family. As much as Niklaus had done, Elijah had failed his brother and sister more than once. He'd never put voice to it... but he was trying to atone for how he had failed them.
If he had been a better brother... Elijah knew he was considered the noble brother, but his decision to never break his promise stemmed from the only promise that had meant more than his own life... the promise that he would always protect his family. He'd allowed Niklaus and Rebekah to be taken.
He would not fail them again.
Rebekah stared at him and Elijah hated the shocked look on her face... that she thought he would allow Niklaus to hurt her; that he wouldn't attempt to do everything within his power to protect her from their brother's wrath.
But why should she believe any different? In the centuries they had lived, Elijah had chosen to turn a blind eye... allowing Niklaus to act like a petulant child, so long as Rebekah wasn't permanently harmed.
But their family was fractured... broken. Two of Elijah's brothers were dead and he was not going to add any more to that amount.
"Let me go!" Niklaus roared, trying to pull away from Elijah's hold... whether to get away or to continue to attack Rebekah; Elijah didn't know... and he didn't care.
"No, Niklaus." His voice was firm. "I will not release you. Not while you cannot control yourself."
"Control myself?!" Niklaus' response was a vehement hiss and he glared daggers at Rebekah, who looked close to tears. "Why should I do that... against a traitor? I should have killed Marcel instead of turning him!"
Elijah had no doubt that Niklaus knew Marcel was behind them... and that he'd put those words to voice to hurt Marcel as much as he himself was hurting. He didn't look behind him to meet Marcel's eyes, unwilling to let his guard down around Niklaus even for a moment. "Leave us."
"Not without Rebekah."
Elijah didn't know if Marcel choosing Rebekah over Niklaus was enough... not anymore. The devastation on his sister's face pushed the sense of failure deeper within... like a knife twisting in his heart. She'd accused them of picking Niklaus over her... Elijah didn't know how to explain to either of them the different directions he felt himself pulled in; how he wished to have and keep all of his family.
And how he'd failed at that so spectacularly.
"Leave us," Elijah said again. "This is family business."
Niklaus made another attempt to pull away. "She is no family of mine!"
"He'll kill her if she stays." Marcel had stepped close enough for Elijah to see him out of the corner of his eye. "Let me take her... at least long enough for him to calm down. You want to protect her, don't you?"
"Never call into question my feelings for my family." Elijah still held the dagger in his hand and he held it out to Marcel. "Take this. Destroy it. Or use it on one of your enemies. Just keep it far away from them." When Marcel didn't move, he looked at him. "I promise you... I will not allow him to harm her."
"Don't make promises you can't keep!" Niklaus hissed.
Marcel studied Elijah's face. Everyone who knew Elijah knew that he kept his word. When he made a promise, he kept it... even if there were loopholes that he allowed himself. He knew that Marcel was searching for one of those loopholes.
Rebekah's pain-filled whisper drew Elijah's attention to her... to the wounds that were taking a while to heal. He could tell that she'd been poisoned through a wolf's bite... and although she would heal, it would be an unpleasant experience. He quickly made a cut in Niklaus' wrist, ignoring the way his brother fought, and held the bleeding wrist out to Rebekah. "Drink. Marcel, leave."
Rebekah looked exhausted... an appearance that unnerved Elijah and made him feel even more protective over her. When she met his gaze, her face was shadowed with guilt. "There's something I haven't told you."
"That you and Marcel were responsible for our father finding us when we were in New Orleans before. I'm aware. Marcel told me."
Confusion showed on Rebekah's face. "Why aren't you angry?"
"There has been too much bad blood between us." Elijah nodded to Marcel. "You may leave." He didn't intend to continue his sentence until they were alone... and he watched and listened to make sure that Marcel did leave the old hospital, before he looked at Rebekah once more. "Drink. I would not have you fall further into the madness, no matter how temporary it is." His other hand held Niklaus' chin, forcing his brother's face away from their sister.
Rebekah moved closer, but she made Elijah think of a beaten dog... or Niklaus, after Mikael had got hold of him. It hurt to realise that he was one of the main causes of that look on her face.
Even though she had to be starving, Rebekah showed remarkable restraint in dropping Niklaus' arm after only a couple of mouthfuls of blood. When she looked at them both, some of her old fire had returned. "What's going to stop me from leaving?"
In the past, Elijah had allowed Rebekah to leave when she wished... and as he looked at her, he realised that he had been mistaken in that as well. From the very start of her existence, Rebekah had had no one to fight for her... had been treated as an afterthought; manipulated and controlled because she loved her family too much to fight free of them. But she had never been treated as a priority... and it was that knowledge that caused Elijah to say what he did. "I cannot keep hold of both you and Niklaus right now, but if you choose to leave, I will come and find you and I will do exactly what I am about to do to Niklaus. And then I will keep you both by my side. There will be no more daggering. We will not shed each others' blood. We will be a family again."
"Those are pretty words, brother, but they mean little when you chose the wolf-bitch carrying my child above us!" Niklaus hissed.
"And that was an error in judgement," Elijah agreed. "It is not an error I will make again." He had threatened once to beat Niklaus the same way their father had done... but he had no intention of doing that. He was going to punish his brother... but it was going to be as much about re-affirming their relationship as anything else. He looked at Rebekah and spoke... allowing his love for his sister to show through. "Please don't leave."
Tears stood in Rebekah's eyes, but she slumped against the wall and gave him a weary nod.
Elijah relaxed a fraction, knowing that Rebekah would keep her promise. It meant he could give Niklaus his full attention and he moved Niklaus, placing his brother across his raised leg and wrapping an arm around his waist so he could keep Niklaus close and still.
"You can't do this!" Niklaus' struggles doubled.
"That is where you are wrong, Niklaus." Elijah tugged his pants and boxers down in one swift movement. "Telling you I would beat you in the same way Mikael did was wrong and I will apologise for that. I will not raise a hand to you in anger, my brother. I will not abandon you again, no matter how you attempt to drive me away." He raised his hand and brought it down hard... though he didn't use anything like his full vampire strength.
It was clearly hard enough, because Niklaus hissed and threw his hand back, digging his nails into Elijah's wrist. "Stop this!"
Blood ran down his arm, but Elijah had more restraint than any of them were aware of and he repeated the swat, then delivered a third. "We are past the time you may give me orders."
Niklaus kicked with one leg, but Elijah ignored the pain where it connected with his stomach and settled quickly into a rhythm, swatting down to Niklaus' thighs before starting over from the top again.
The smacks were crisp and loud in the quiet of the room. Elijah didn't speak until he was halfway through the second circuit... and even then, he didn't slow the swats. "I love you, Niklaus. I have spent a thousand years knowing I need to atone for my part in creating this monster you have tried to become... but I will no longer stand by and allow you to destroy yourself and rip apart the only family we have left."
"You cannot give me orders...!"
"I am your older brother. And you will listen to me. Not because I demand your obedience through beatings and fear... but because I love you and because I will protect you, even from yourself, in whatever way I must. I will not demand you deny your heritage. I will not beat you to within an inch of your life. When it becomes necessary, I will spank you... and then there will no longer be any tension between us. I will forgive you when you need forgiveness. I will punish you when you need punishment. And I will love you... not just when you need to be loved... but for eternity. I promise you that, Niklaus."
With the final word, Niklaus let out a harsh sob... and then another, until he was sobbing over Elijah's knee, his body limp and accepting. Elijah stopped and then helped Niklaus to his feet, wrapping his arms around his brother in a tight hug. "I will never stop... I have never stopped," he promised. "You and Rebekah are the only family I have left and I will do everything within my power to ensure we stay together."
"I don't know if I believe that... but I'll try, 'Lijah," Niklaus whispered, slumping against Elijah's shoulder.
"Good." Elijah tightened his embrace around Niklaus, holding him for a while longer, before his brother pulled away.
Niklaus glanced at Rebekah, but the anger and betrayal was gone from his face. The tears made him look far younger than he actually was... more like the child who had looked up to Elijah so long ago. Elijah placed a hand on his shoulder and squeezed gently, then beckoned Rebekah over to him.
Although her steps were slow, Rebekah moved to Elijah's side. He reached out and drew her into his arms, holding her tightly to himself. "I will not abandon you again... either of you," he promised. "It will take you a while to believe it, I know... but I hope that you will learn to trust my word in time."
"Well..." And Niklaus was smiling; a real smile, one that held none of the anger or pain that had haunted him for so long. "You are the noble brother." He looked at Rebekah... and then stepped over and hugged her without another word.