A/N Thank you all for reviewing!
"I'd forgotten the noise you Mikaelson men create."
Elijah's attention instantly drifted from the large dressing table in front of him, head turning in the direction of the door where the voice had come from. He straightened on his knees, mouth curving up fondly as his eyes landed on Eliza. Feeling his eyes on her, the female vampire smiled affectionately and, just as Elijah opened his mouth to greet her a loud bark interrupted.
The Beagle dog bounded into the room, prancing towards Elijah with an eager bark. The Original turned just in time to prepare for the jump as Maxie leaped onto Elijah, paws nudging at his male master for a response. Elijah let out a small chuckle and complied, petting Maxie softly, the dog happily indulged in it.
Eliza also laughed at the bark, hearing Maxie's enthusiasm."The noise has him all excited."
"Yes, well, Niklaus and Kol never have never complied with the silent rule of using their inside voices."Elijah responded, petting Maxie with a small smile before he raised his head and looked back to Eliza."They are a clamorous combination."
"You shouldn't put all the blame on your brothers, my love, you have been clattering around up here all day."Eliza scolded with a shake of her head, hands resting atop her gold cane, fingers drumming against it casually before she playfully asked."Do I need to send you outside as I did your brothers?"
Eliza grinned when she heard Elijah laugh before patting her thigh with a smile, it growing when she heard Maxie instantly respond."Come here, my Maxie."
Maxie happily bounded over to Eliza, adoringly circling her legs a few times before, when she reached down and petted his head before pointing tot the ground, he obediently sat beside her. Maxie had been trained very well to help guide Eliza if the time was ever needed and sit when Eliza ordered so that he didn't accidentally trip her up, he had seemed to pick that up quite quickly. He was a very loving, protective and loyal companion, especially to Eliza who adored him.
Eliza smiled lovingly down at Maxie, taking out a treat from a small pouch inside her pocket."That's my little love..."
Maxie barked in response, happily leaning up and taking the treat. Elijah watched with a small smile as he put away his tools, shaking his head.
"You treat him too much, Lizzie."
"He treats me every day; it is the least I could do. Besides, I can't resist him."The female vampire shook her head, petting Maxie once more before she straightened, focus back on Elijah."What are you doing up here, anyway?"
"I've taken it upon myself to renovate the bedrooms."Elijah answered with a hint of zest, brushing the dust off his trousers as he got back onto his feet, taking a moment to study his handiwork before he ambled over to Eliza."It is almost time, my love, and I intend for it to be perfect."
"Going by Maxie's barking whenever you begin drilling which has been happening for most of today, i'm sure it will be."Eliza replied, hand shifting from behind her back and Elijah a pair of car keys dangling from her index finger."And is your pursuit for perfection the reason why I just signed for a two new Porsches?"
"Kol was direct with his demands. Far too direct, actually. I also had to purchase one for Rebekah because you know that whenever someone else receives a gift, Rebekah gets very petulant whenever she doesn't."Elijah huffed out a laugh as he remembered his sister's annoying but somewhat lovable pouting."And with a little persuasion, the dealership was more than happy to oblige to deliver for free which saved me time to get started on redecorating."
The Original made a sound of agreement, hand reaching out to take the keys but, as if she had determined his actions before him, Eliza quickly pulled her hand away with a teasing grin. The vampire shook her head before she hid the keys behind her back again.
As if sensing Elijah's questioning look, Eliza simply smiled, bouncing on her heels.
"Kol and Niklaus accidentally broke Maxie's toy box during their roughhousing before I sent them outside."Eliza tutted scolding when she heard Elijah exhale a long breath as he connected the dots and took hold of his shoulders, massaging them for a moment before she wound her arms around his neck, pulling him closer."And, i thought that since you've taken the role of an artisan today, you could take a moment to put it back together."
The Original couldn't help but smile as Eliza tilted her head with a winsome smile, one hand moving to his cheek. Elijah instantly responded, his own arm winding around Eliza and he only looked away when he felt a brush against the bottom of his leg.
He looked down to see Maxie down next to them, quietly watching the pair adoringly. Elijah smiled down at him for a moment before his gaze returned to Eliza.
"I should've expected you to climb aboard the bandwagon as soon as I dusted off the toolbox. I was hoping to settle down after I pry apart my brothers."Elijah feigned a distressed sigh, shaking his head with a small laugh as Eliza gently swatted his arm. He smiled as she dangled the car keys before nodding reaching out a hand, adding."But, seeing as I am wrapped around your little finger, you can consider it to be done by the end of day."
"And consider me grateful, my knight in shining armor."Eliza's mouth curved up into a smile before she got up onto her tiptoes, her lips brushing his cheek. As she did, Eliza placed the sets of car keys into Elijah's hand and folding his fingers over them."How is the redecorating going?"
Eliza's hand reached out just after she spoke and, as expected, Elijah met her halfway. He took her hand in his own, lingering for a moment as he bowed his head and kissed her knuckles before leading her further into the bedroom.
"Kol's bedchamber took the longest considering I had it soundproofed; we will not suffer the sounds of his debauchery. I'm sure you already know that Rebekah's would be the most strenuous considering she would like to be as modern as possible."Elijah slowly walked with Eliza, describing things whenever Eliza asked as the female vampire lingered to touch objects with her fingers."I did consider the same for Kol, but I remember him preferring to spend his time in taverns. For guidance, I did speak with a sweet yet infuriating young woman at the store."
"Should I be jealous?"Eliza asked in a somewhat teasing tone, lips curving up when she felt Elijah smile against her cheek before he kissed her forehead."Was it educational?"
Eliza raised an eyebrow, grip tightening around her cane when Elijah touched her hand as a silent way of telling her he was stepping away. She listened after him as he walked off, amused by his last statement.
Elijah playfully scoffed at the first question as he picked up a family portrait Klaus had sketched a thousand years before, smiling at it fondly, touching the frame he had placed it in. It was a bit worn out, but Elijah never went anywhere without it.
"Of course not, youth today is both uncouth."Elijah clicked his tongue with a shake of his head, somewhat still irked about the encounter."She spent the entire time interrogating me about the hair products I use. Apparently, my 'style' is 'smoking hot', and her boyfriend would be so 'jelly.'"
"You walk a fine line, Elijah Mikaelson."Eliza let out a half-suppressed laugh, shaking her head at Elijah's affronted tone, taking a moment to collect herself before she asked."And Finn?"
"Well, he has never had the chance of free will and choices so, excluding the necessities such as a bed and storage, I simply left him some magazines and a paintbrush as well as a journal where I summarized our families' significant moments over the years as a token of my heartfelt apologies."
Eliza's smile faltered when she heard how low his voice went at the last few words and her brow furrowed in worry. She heard Elijah inhale a long breath as he pushed the thought from his mind and straightened, prepared to make her way over to him but he spoke before she could.
"I'm all right; i'm quite enjoying the distraction."Elijah replied, pausing when he heard a ferocious growl rip through the woods beside their home before a childish yet menacing chuckle followed, growing louder as the growling continued."We both know that Niklaus' and Kol's brawls can last anywhere from an hour to a day and i'd like nothing more than to keep out of it."
"Besides..."Elijah gave a small smile as he set the family portrait on the wall, steadying it as he observed it."preparing our family home ready for the reunion is the least I could do considering I am part of the reason we've been estranged for so long."
Eliza crossed her arms over her chest, cane grazing the floor quietly as she did and the female vampire gave a small frown when she heard the remorse in his voice.
"I am more relieved than anything else."Elijah quietly said as he stepped away to get a better look at the portrait, hands meeting in front of him."It is both glorious and makes me feel guilt ridden."
The Original turned around, a pensive look in his eyes when as his eyes landed back on Eliza. Despite his ashamed expression he gave a half smile and slowly made his way over to her. Eliza's hand reached out for him when she heard his footsteps.
"In a thousand years, I have felt such relief like this twice."His last words came out as a whisper, a smile curving at his mouth."When my siblings looked at me with affection despite what I did to them and when you first told me you loved me."
Elijah gently cupped Eliza's cheeks, hands framing her face, his smile broadening when she instantly smiled, but his smile soon vanished as he suddenly remembered why he held her so delicately. The Original stepped back as if his touch would taint Eliza's skin, but he couldn't bring himself to let go of her hand that had reached out and grabbed his own.
"And both times my first thought was 'why?'."His thumb gently brushed the soft skin of her knuckles before he interlocked their fingers."It was soon forgotten because the relief was tremendous but there are moments, moments that become closer as time goes on, where that question haunts me. Why?"
Elijah stared off into nothing as he remembered Rebekah running into his arms and Kol laughing with him and Eliza, at the expense of Elijah, of course. Even Finn, who had been locked away for nine hundred years had met Elijah's eyes, something that meant a lot considering he had abandoned his eldest brother.
"You don't get to ask why someone loves you."Eliza shook her head, firmly holding onto his hand before she pulled him toward her once more, refusing to allow him to suffer on his own despite him being inches away."You can either accept it or run from it. And you, Elijah Mikaelson, are not someone who runs from things."
"You remain the glue that keeps us together. That is one of the many reasons why I adore you so."Eliza held Elijah's large hands tightly, her hands trapping his pair in-between her own, holding them against her chest just over her heart."And that is why they love you, too."
Elijah drew in a long breath, eyes closing for a short moment as Eliza's steady and valiant heartbeat echoed in his ears. It calmed him for a moment; her heartbeat was his favorite sound. It was music to his ears, especially at night when Eliza was curled up beside him, safe and sound.
The Original opened his eyes, lingering with Eliza for a moment before he gently pulled away and turned around.
"That is both my issue and my sanctuary. You love me; they love me. I have never hurt you, it would kill me, but I have hurt them."Elijah was almost ashamed as he looked up at the portrait, smiling sadly as the children versions of his family smiled back at him."They might be able to move on and still regard me with some sort of respect and affection and, in time, possibly forgiveness but i..."
He paused to take a breath, finger brushing the daylight ring on his finger.
"I will never be able to forgive myself."
Eliza remained silent, earnestly listening to her love as he spoke. Elijah rarely talked about such things with anyone, he always maintained his composure and prided himself on being the tower of strength others leaned on. But there were moments, rare moments, where he would let himself go and allow himself to be the one being comforted. The last time had happened just after Eliza and himself were reunited after Mikael had burned down New Orleans.
Elijah had taken a long time to allow himself that solace in her, and she would never take it for granted. It had taken years for him to accept that being part of a unit, being together, meant that Elijah could allow himself to remove his seemingly inscrutable mask whenever they were alone.
"I seek to uphold this impression of the noble Mikaelson, a devoted family man though I am anything but that."Elijah looked to the preteen version of himself in the portrait before he shook his head, gesturing to the reflection in the mirror across the room with a hint of abhorrence before he quietly added."It is a mere facade that is slowly revealing the devil behind it."
So, after realizing he wasn't alone, in the rare times he needed solace, Elijah turned to his own tower of strength. Eliza.
"Elijah, please don't torture yourself chasing after this image you believe you need to live up to."Eliza slowly made her way over to Elijah, her gold cane in hand but her guide was his heartbeat."If you seek to uphold this image, the closest to pristine as you can get, then you will lose sight of who you are."
Elijah turned away from the portrait, clearing his throat as he felt his chest tighten."And who is that?"
"A dashing sight in a suit from what I hear."Eliza grinned, free hand coming up and resting on Elijah's shoulder, grip loosening around her gold cane now that she wasn't relying on it anymore. Her knuckles gaze Elijah's jawline lovingly, her grin widening when she heard his sharp intake of breath."You are your family's patriarch. Finn is the eldest but they all, even him, look to you when things go south. They look to you for a solution; they look to you to guide them. If it weren't for you, they would've been lost long ago, scattered around the world and without each other."
Elijah turned his head and looked to Eliza, a small but grateful smile on his face as he heard the sternness in her voice. She was comforting him but also scolding him for not seeing what she did. That was her gift. Eliza didn't have eyesight, but she looked through people, it was a curse for those who crossed her but a blessing for Elijah. He still wondered what she saw in him that made her adore him so.
"Of course, you aren't perfect, but neither are they. You are hard on yourself because you know that you are the head of this family and you do not want to end up like Mikael."Eliza reached out and took hold of Elijah's hands, as if she were able to take away the pain she could hear in his voice."And you are not him. If you hadn't had acted, Mikael would have slaughtered us in 1919, and we would not be together today."
Elijah's bowed his head, his forehead resting atop Eliza's hand on his shoulder."The good I have done for them does not outweigh the bad."
Eliza wanted to protest but, after hearing his tone which was laced with guilt and sensing he wanted to say more, she remained quiet but did tighten his grip on his shoulder in silent support.
"I could barely look at Kol when we visited him and, in spite of his anger, he welcomed me in true Kol fashion. Rebekah, without a second thought or a hint of anger, ran into my arms the way she's been doing since she's been able to walk and Finn..."Elijah was unable to hide a small smile as he thought of each sibling, grateful they hadn't abandoned him as he did them."Well, his anger was palpable the moment he saw me but, in spite his constant reprimanding he smiled at me when he first saw me, despite the indignation."
Elijah swallowed the lump in his throat, attempting to compose himself as he were usually able to do without trouble. But the more he thought about his family being reunited, the more trouble he was having doing that. He had been looking forward to them all being under one roof for so long, but he had also been repressing the pain he had done to them.
"I know that indignation."Elijah murmured, looking down at his shaking hands before he hid them behind his back."I have felt it myself towards my oppressor, but I became the oppressor despite vowing not to."
He had done nothing as Klaus had daggered Kol, he had restrained his younger brother many times during the process. He had toiled on whenever Rebekah had been daggered simply because she had wanted to live a life with a lover freely. He had denied Rebekah the chance at love he himself had found simply because he had allowed Klaus to dagger her.
And, finally, Finn. The brother who had slept in a box longer than he had lived as a man. His eldest brother who, despite their issues he did, deep down love and Elijah had slept many nights in a warm bed while his brother was locked away in a dark basement with a dagger in his heart
For centuries Elijah had repressed his guilt over so many daggerings, and now that he had to face his siblings all at once the guilt was starting to consume him.
Elijah suddenly found it hard to breathe and, in the midst of the consuming guilt, he was confused. Never before had he struggled to compose himself. The Originals fingers curled into fists beside him as he felt a sharp pang in his heart at the dozen times he had watched his brother and sister desiccate.
Elijah's vision turned blurry as he raised his head, muttering."I'm so sorry."
Elijah suddenly could no longer stand and Eliza, feeling the Original freeze beside her, turned in his direction. Elijah's arms instantly wrapped around the female vampire who, after letting her cane clatter to the ground, reached for him without a second thought. Elijah, not wanting Eliza to see him in such a state, hid his face in her shoulder, embracing her as closely as he could, a shaking hand hiding itself in her long locks.
"How can I ever forgive myself?"
Eliza's lower lip quivered when Elijah's voice cracked, but she refused to let Elijah see because, in true Elijah style, he would switch their roles so that he would be the one doing the comforting. Eliza arched up into the Original, her embrace tightening as he desperately clutched at her arm, as if he were worried she would disappear. She hugged him as tight as she could, thankful that he were older than her, so he wasn't going to break.
"Immortality is a saving grace when forgiveness is part of the equation. In order to live, you must learn to forgive. And, as they forgive you, you must forgive yourself."Eliza murmured against him, soothingly combing her fingers through his hair because, as she learned one late night, it brought him a sense of calmness."And, until you forgive yourself, which you will, i'll forgive you."
Eliza pulled back as Elijah raised his head, hands reaching up and framing his face as he had done earlier. She mumbled soothingly to him when she brushed her thumb along his cheek and ended up brushing away a tear.
She faintly heard Elijah mutter angrily to himself for allowing a tear to fall but she chose to ignore it, aware that he would only feel more guilt for allowing her to witness more weakness even if she did attempt to tell him otherwise. Despite his twinge of shame at his tears, Elijah happily nestled into her palm, eyes shutting.
"You are repenting but we all are."Eliza touched his cheek gently once more before she brushed back his dark hair as her hand moved to the back of his head. She pulled him down so that his forehead touched hers."Do not shoulder the blame, we have all had a hand in this, but we're united now. It does not mean we won't make a mistake hereafter, but we're together, that is what matters."
Elijah fleetingly nodded, eyes shut firmly as he felt the tight, aching pang in his heart slowly subside. The guilt was still a pit in his stomach, but the self-dislike he had built up and repressed was beginning to abate. It was no longer eating at him.
"You are flawed, just as I am, please accept that. That is what makes each of us unique. And I see beauty in your flaws, just as you see beauty in mine."Eliza squeezed Elijah's larger hand reassuringly before bringing it to her mouth and kissing his knuckles lovingly."Nobody is perfect."
Elijah's eyes opened, and the Original stared at Eliza, lost in the vibrancy of her eyes that, despite her being unable to see him, somehow saw through him and managed to find what he assumed had been lost long ago.
"Nonsense."The Original looked down at their joined hands with a ghost of a smile before speaking with complete reverence."You are perfect."
"Oh, Eli..."Eliza shook her head with a breathy laugh, her lips curving up into a tender smile as Elijah's hold on her hand tightened as hers had earlier."Aren't I supposed to be the blind one?"
Elijah stared at the female vampire who continued to smile at him before wholeheartedly, without realizing it, he also smiled. The quiet laughter followed soon after, the painful solemness in his eyes quickly subsiding and it being returned with a vibrancy that had slowly grown more lighter the longer he was by Eliza's side.
"You never fail to make me smile, Lizzie, even in my darkest of moments."Elijah gazed at his sweetheart with an adoring smile, a hand shifting from hers before it reached up towards her cheek.
He gently clasped her cheek and leaned down, lingering for a moment so that his eyes could flicker over her face once more, his smile growing when he heard Eliza's heartbeat race. Elijah's thumb brushed back and forth her soft skin as Eliza's head tilted up and she met him halfway as Elijah sought out her mouth with his own.
He kissed her once gently and longingly, lingering once more when he pulled back, lips brushing Eliza's. And, just as every other time they shared a kiss, Elijah's own heartbeat quickened, reminding him that he was, indeed, a somewhat un-living being. Then, as if a man compelled, Elijah captured Eliza's lips once more but their second kiss, while just as affectionate, was intense.
Needing to get closer, Eliza's hands let go of Elijah, wrapping them around herself before one of her hands touched his cheek before moving to the back of his head, fingers entangling in his hair. She arched up into him, moving onto her tip toes and, pressing as close as she could to Elijah, the pair becoming lost in the loving embrace.
When they pulled away from the kiss, Elijah leaned forward, lolling his forehead against Eliza's in need to remain close the female vampire. Eliza held onto the male vampire, hand shifting to the back of his neck and her other on his chest. The pair remained quiet for a while, contently lingering in their embrace.
The silent was softly lifted when Eliza moved her hand along Elijah's chest until she was where his heart was, sighing delightedly as his heart steadily beat against her palm.
"I love you, Eli."
Elijah's eyes remained lost in Eliza's for a long moment before his cheek rested against hers. The vampire smiled against Eliza's cheek, the female vampire letting out a breathy laugh as she felt it, humming happily to herself.
"I know,"Elijah whispered as he continued to stroke her cheek, eyes warm as Eliza turned her head and nestled contently into his palm."I love you, too, Lizzie."
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