I wait in the little library of the church, along with my brother, for the bells to signal the end of dozens and dozens of lifetime's waiting. At six o'clock, I will make my way up the stairs, not to the sanctuary, where such rituals usually take place, but to a balcony bathed in the golden light of the sunset across the River Tiber.
My brother is unusually quiet, though for once in our too long lives he doesn't seem to be brooding. I know today is difficult for Damon; he loves Elena as much as I do, and it is only to fulfill her wishes that he is here now. I know that without his presence the day would be incomplete, and that even if he isn't here for me I owe him a debt far greater than I can repay.
I survey my brother is his elegant black suit. It is expensive, and he is as comfortable in it as he would be in his own skin. He lounges against an arched window, with an ancient leather bound book open in his hands. His lips move along as he reads in Latin, but every so often he glances up at me.
I pretend I don't notice him surveying me. I pretend I don't know that he's wishing that Elena will change her mind and run off with him. He imagines kissing her, then scooping her into his arms and bounding gracefully over the balustrade with Elena's white dress fluttering behind like a flag of her surrender.
But Elena doesn't change her mind once it's made up, so acting oblivious is the only gift I can give him today. Besides Elena, I love my brother more than anybody in this world, and I would almost give her up for the sake of his happiness. That's if the choice were mine to make.
I decide that I will arrange for the two of them to have a moment alone after the ceremony. Of course, I must me subtle. If Damon suspects I've had a hand in it, he'll hide behind his usual façade of bitter sarcasm. Elena needs this conversation, too. I know that she's never truly confronted her own feelings for Damon, mostly out of respect for my feelings.
Of course, Elena loves Damon. I've known that for years, and I've made peace with it. Perhaps knowing how devoted Elena is to our love is what gave me the strength to do so. Our love is a great white shining thing, made of poet's dreams, and the angel's sighs. It is the blending of two souls who would never be parted. It is the salvation of a doomed man name Salvatore.
Damon doesn't understand such things. Our souls are opposite of one another; if mine is soft, his is keen as a razor. Where I gravitate to grace and beauty, he is pulled by excitement and passion. Only Elena, angel and siren in one beautiful creature, could capture both our hearts and imaginations so completely.
The bells chime as I contemplate my brother, and he snaps his book shut, sliding it back into its place on the shelf. He takes a critical look at me, and steps across the room toward me, "Look at you, covered in dust." He speaks to me in Italian, in a style of speech not heard in centuries. It is the language of our childhood, and I am overwhelmed by this display of fraternity, as he wipes the imagined dust from my lapels.
The bells finish ringing, and he takes my face in his hands, kissing me on each cheek, in a way that was familiar four centuries earlier, he grasps my right forearm with his right hand, and I return the grasp. We look into each other's eyes, and I thank all the gods for this moment. The return of my brother would have been impossible if not for the will of my fiancé, and even if I didn't love her beyond the limits of reason, I would be eternally grateful for this gift. Roughly, I grab him in a quick, but tight embrace.
At the top of the stairs, I take a moment to watch the sun sinking slowly to the horizon, its rays reflecting off the swiftly moving water. I look at a scene that has inspired a thousand paintings, but I cannot fully appreciate its beauty today when I await something far more radiant.
A very slight intake of breath makes me turn away from the panorama, and it is forgotten as my eyes take in what Damon's have already seen.
She stands in a shaft of golden sunlight, and her gown is made of simple white silk that falls elegantly to her feet. It is sleeveless, and her skin is flawless porcelain, only a shade darker than the silk. The neckline is a wide v that showcases her long neck and graceful shoulders. She wears her golden hair up in a classic style, and a short veil hides the details of her perfect face.
Behind her, walks Bonnie, her fiery curls not quite tamed by the clips that hold it in place, wearing a gown of silver satin. The years since Elena's rebirth seem not to have touched her any more than they've touched Elena, but while Elena seems to have stopped aging, Bonnie's face has become smooth and ageless; the face of a still-young witch.
Someday, I reflect, Bonnie's life will start to move forward again. She will find a mate, raise children, and make a home. She won't make a conscious decision to begin ageing, but when she is ready for her life to enter the next stage with her loved ones she will, just as naturally as breathing.
Next to her, Meredith shows the years that haven't touched either of her two best friends, but they have given her poise and even more of the quiet, dignified strength that has always been her most prominent feature. She looks like an Italian dream with her olive-toned skin shining beneath the sun of her ancestors. Her dress is made of the same silver satin as Bonnie's but the cut is different, and it beneath it, her stomach is just starting to proudly push forward. She doesn't smile as Elena walks the remaining space to me, but the expression on her face is both serene and satisfied.
The seconds slip past, as I stand in thrall of Elena's perfection. My brother steps lightly forward, and before fear of his actions can register, he holds his arm out to her. She places her hand in the crook of his elbow, and lets him lead her to stand before me.
With a gentle caress that I pretend not to notice, Damon takes Elena's hand and places it inside mine. Our fingers twine, and she hands her bouquet to Bonnie, so that both our hands can join.
Then, the priest begins to speak the words that will bind us for an eternity. Like millions of lovers before us, Elena and I pledge to love and hold one another faithfully until the end of time, but for us, the words have a deeper, more complex meaning. We have until the end of time, and on the Last Morning, we will love each other still.
As the last of the sunset fades away to twilight, the priest declares us husband and wife. My heart soars as I slide a ring of platinum inlaid with lapis lazuli onto her finger. She slides a matching ring onto mine, and we kiss gently. I realize, at the touch of her lips, that after four hundred years of searching, my life is whole.
Under his breath, Damon whispers, "Perfect," and Elena and I tear our eyes from one another to see him smiling down at his watch. At that moment, the church's bell begins to ring, heavy and slow, while across the city, a shorus of bells begin to peal and chime, proclaiming our union. Down in the street, a young mother points to us, showing us to her young daughter. The girl claps her hands, and laughs happily as I wrap my arm around her waist, our left hands still entwined.
Elena smiles back, and tosses her bouquet, which seems to drift gently down to the woman's outstretched hand. She hands it to the child and waves to my wife in appreciation, before continuing on her way.
I look to my brother, who looks at Elena with only the barest trace of longing in his eyes. Then, he takes a deep breath and asks if he may kiss his new sister. Gently, he lays his lips upon her forehead, and I realize that the sea of bells only represents what he is really giving us this day: acceptance, approval, love.
From the corner of my eye, I see Elena's right hand take Damon's, even as she holds my own in her left. The three of joined thus, we watch the night envelop the city around us.
A/N: I hope you all enjoyed this little piece of fluff as much as I enjoyed writing it. I thought that a trip to the Savatores' native lands might be a good place for the two to leave the past behind them, for once and for all. It seemed poetic for them to come full circle in the same place they became such bitter rivals.
Please review, if you have a moment. I'd love to hear what you think about both the story and the writing. I'm always trying to improve, and feedback is the best way for me to do that.