"Where do you want to go for your birthday?"

Pose this question to the majority of teenaged girls and the answer would be, "Paris." Or at least that would be the answer had Elijah asked Caroline Forbes where she wanted to go for her birthday. But he didn't ask Caroline, but rather her best friend Elena. Elena, who happened to forget all about her birthday due to the continual supernatural happenings that followed wherever she went. At the moment, she was trying to find a way to negotiate with non-negotiating werewolves who wanted nothing more than to descend upon the town of Mystic Falls and kill every vampire they came across. Something about old grudges and whatnot. Elijah wasn't too concerned about the wolves, but did think it was high time Elena took a vacation far away from Virginia, witches, his siblings, and the Salvatore brothers. But Elena didn't know where she wanted to go, being far too concerned with Damon and his kamikaze plans and Klaus' growing interest in Caroline.

They ended up in Spain. While Klaus had always had a soft spot for Rome and Rebekah was eternally fond of Paris, Elijah had a love of Spain. It was, after all, the country where Muslims, Christians, and Jews had lived in peace until Ferdinand and Isabelle had the grand idea of a reconquista and ruined things. But the combined cultures had seeped into the earth and from that ground sprang gypsies, vibrant music, and the brilliant work of masters such as Antoni Gaudi. Elena's jaw had literally dropped when she first saw his work. The brilliance of Spain never failed to amaze Elijah, but this time, with Elena Gilbert on his arm, he found himself enjoying it even more.

"Pick anything you want," he told her as they came to stop inside a boutique lined with dresses fit for queens. Elena glanced around, rather confused as to why they stopped here of all places. These dresses were nothing like the simple cotton ones she had been wearing during their trip. These were grand, elegant pieces of couture designed for royalty or Hollywood film stars. They were not made for girls from small towns in Virginia.

"There is a formal event tonight," Elijah explained, "And should you choose to attend, you will need a suitable gown. Pick one." Elena bit her lip, eyes brightening as she stepped closer to the rows of gowns. A petite saleswoman with a thick accent descended upon her and began to speak at a pace Elena's two years of high school Spanish could not decipher. Elijah came to her rescue and explained in perfect dialect exactly what Elena needed and for what occasion.

"Antone y Rosala Pease? What an event. We make her look beautiful," the woman assured, taking Elena's arm gently and leading her further into the store. She glanced back at Elijah who smiled and gestured for her to follow the saleswoman.

"I hardly think she needs assistance in beauty," he said. Elena rewarded him with a smile.

•◊•◊•

Instead of the traditional hotel, Elijah had rented a small flat in the city for the duration of their stay. In a city with a nightlife of the more supernatural variety, it allowed him to keep Elena safe while providing her with the privacy she needed. Having vampires slipping into your bedroom at night had to be a tiring occurrence for her.

Elijah was in his room putting the last minute touches on his suit and tie when the door slowly opened and in walked Elena. Her purchase had been a secretive one, neither Elena or the saleswoman allowing him to peak inside the box as he handed over his credit card for the purchase that left Elena sticker shocked. Now, with the complete vision standing before him, he was thankful the gown had been kept a secret.

Elena stood warily under his gaze in a lace dress the saleswoman, Marisol, had insisted was made for her. The beaded trumpet gown stood in stark contrast to her skin that insisted on darkening in the Spanish sun. With the chapel train and ivory color, Elena's first instinct when slipping into the gown had been, I look like I'm getting married. She had wandered down that train of thought as she had curled and pinned her hair away from her face. The end of that trail hadn't been a happy one as she realized all the men she had ever loved were immortal beings and if she had any hope of having a happily ever after with one of them, her life would have to change even further.

"Your tie is crooked," she said, stepping forward and adjusting the black cravat. He kept perfectly still as her scent, a combination of rosewood and red mandarin washed over him. She truly was stunning in the simple white dress with her dark hair free about her shoulders. To some, her unadorned appearance would pass as plain, but from where Elijah stood, she was positively breathtaking.

"I feel underdressed," she confessed, once satisfied with his tie, "Or like I'm going to a wedding where I'm the bride." She laughed at the obscenity of the idea- marriage? her?- as she stepped to his side and stared at their reflections in the mirror. If she was honest, Elijah was the most beautiful individual she had ever encountered and why he felt the need to lavish her so, she did not understand.

"I have something for you," he said, stepping away and picking up a velvet case that was resting on his bed. Elena's heart jumped as he opened it, removed its contents, and then snapped it shut with a resounding sharp snap that almost echoed off the walls with the silence stretching between them. She stood rigid as he came to stand behind her and wondered if she should draw her hair to the side. It was a necklace, wasn't it?

But no. Elena watched as Elijah settled a jeweled diadem atop her head, his fingers trailing lightly through her hair, brushing past her shoulders, before returning to his sides. Always the perfect, composed gentleman who was capable of driving her mad with lust.

"You look like a queen," he whispered into her ear and watched the visible shiver run the length of her body. He supposed it was cruel of him to tease her so, but coming outright with his affections was a risk too great. Perhaps she would grow tired of him. Or perhaps her small reactions to his attentions were merely him projecting his desires on her. Perhaps it was all some grand delusion he was existing in.

•◊•◊•

"Elías, my friend, your guest is the most stunning creature I have ever beheld." It took mere minutes for Antone Pease and his wife Rosala to become enraptured with Elena, who was still very much unaware the ball she was attending was almost entirely composed of vampiric guests. Elijah was not concerned though. Rosala had promised to escort Elena while the gentlemen had their conversation. He now watched through a second story window as the Azores beauty led her newfound friend on a tour of the extensive garden. Antone followed the gaze of his friend and joined him at the window.

"I do not suppose," he said, "That you are staring at my wife? Without doubt she is fair, but I do believe your eye is turned to another radiant beauty?" The vampire, who had been turned in older age and sported distinguished patches of gray at his temples, smiled at the Original. Elijah stepped away from the window and refilled his empty glass from the decanter Antone kept in his study.

"Elena Gilbert is a friend," Elijah said, trying to convince not only Antone, but himself of the fact. Elena was a friend, a friend with two brothers in love with her back home in Virginia. A place they would soon return to.

"Friends do not travel to España, no matter how glorious it may be, and attend parties as grand as mine." Antone held out his own empty glass and Elijah filled it for him. They toasted for good measure before resuming, without resistance, their places by the window. Something about the two beauties in the garden below pulled at the men like gravity.

"She needed a vacation," Elijah said, "I offered to take her wherever she wanted."

"And she chose Spain?" Antone asked, "For a moment I did not think I could like her anymore than I already did. Clearly, I was mistaken." The Original shook his head.

"I chose Spain," he said, "She merely agreed to come with."

"Without her friends, family, or even the family pet," the younger vampire pointed out, "She came all the way to this glorious country with an Original vampire. Completely left her life to go on an exotic trip." He smirked as he took a sip from his glass and allowed his eyes to follow the movements of his wife as she animatedly told Elena something of great amusement.

"Of course," Antone said, "You must be just friends. I am afraid I am behind on the times. Such behavior must be considered the norm of the modern age." Rosala looked up to see the two men standing in the window watching her and the lovely Elena. She flicked her hand at them in an attempt to shoo them away. Elena turned and saw Elijah watching her from the second story. She raised her hand and waved and both Elijah and Antone raised their glasses in salut. They retreated from the window as the ladies returned to the party inside.

"The lovely Elena cares for you," Antone said, "You may not see it, but Rosa and myself certainly do. The only problem seems to be you. Perhaps you should gamble this one time, hmm, my friend? Time is not an issue."

"Elena is human," Elijah stated the obvious and Antone brushed him off.

"I know that, everyone here knows that. But if her love for you does not change her mind, then we will throw a few more grand parties and Rosa will convince her that being a vampire is a great thing. We could say she would get to see you in a suit all the time and if the gossiping ladies are to be of any validity, you are the sort made for a suit. Who could resist an eternity of you?" The younger vampire emptied his glass with a fiendish wink and set it on his desk before adjusting his suit and heading towards the door.

"This is life, my dear friend," he called over his shoulder, "Perhaps you should begin to embrace it."

•◊•◊•

Fifteen dances and an undefined number of drinks later, Elena Gilbert was feeling pretty good. Elijah Mikaelson, however, was not. Rosala had cruelly forbidden him from dancing with Elena all evening and had kept the doppleganger in question supplied with a steady stream of champagne. What her master plan was, Elijah was too wary to ask. Rosala may be centuries his junior, but the feisty vampire could wreak severe damage when her plans were thwarted. So Elijah had begrudgingly allowed Elena to dance with every man who asked and had not once plucked a flute of champagne away from her. Now his only challenge was to successfully return her to their flat, but that was proving to be a slight challenge even for an Original. It seemed Elena wanted nothing more than to go swimming.

"It's strange, right?" she said as she stumbled along the cobblestone streets, "You can hear the ocean like, everywhere." She twirled and fell and Elijah caught her, holding her upright until she recovered her bearings.

"Carry me," she commanded, "I'll get where I'm going faster if you do." He had half the mind to carry her home, but knew she would pout the entire way and a pouting Elena was something he could not handle at the moment. So instead, he carefully lifted her into his arms and took off towards the beach. She had the good sense to close her eyes in her tipsy stupor so when at last she was placed on her feet in the sand still warm from the sun that day, her first response had not been to throw up. Instead, she casually lifted a foot into the air while using Elijah as support and sent her shoe flying as she flicked it from her foot. She repeated the action with her other shoe until her bare toes were able to wiggle freely in the sand. Her curls were slowly deflating and becoming an ebony mess down her back and he wasn't entirely sure when she had decided her diadem would be better suited as a necklace. It now hung around his neck, caught on his cravat.

"Onward!" Elena shouted and took off in an awkward lope down the beach and towards the water. Elijah caught her before the saltwater could ruin her gown and lifted her effortlessly into the air. She squealed in response and wrapped her arms around his neck before begging to be set down.

"You'll ruin your dress," he tried to reason as she squirmed in his arms.

"I don't care," she said, "I want to swim!" She drew out the 'mmm' in 'swim' and giggled like a child when he set her down again. She didn't make it very far and fell backwards into his arms.

"I thought you wanted to swim," he said as she turned in his arms and smiled up at him. She shook her head violently, curls whipping against his arms.

"Nope," she said, popping the 'p' and laughing like it was some great joke.

"What do you want to do?" he asked as he carefully slid the shoulder of her gown that had fallen back into place. Her eyes followed his fingers as they abandoned the shoulder of her gown and began to toy with a few wrecked curls. She looked up at him and smiled lazily, her own fingers inching upwards until they clutched at the diadem she had thrown about his neck. The bejeweled masterpiece felt sturdy in her grip and she gave it an experimental tug.

"You tell me," she said. Elijah's honed reflexes were useless against Elena's attack. Before he could register what her intentions were, she had pulled him down by the diadem around his neck and was kissing him as though she could bring him to life. Like Snow White. And really, if he was being honest, Elijah would admit she probably could.

"Elena, stop," he said, pulling back and holding her at arm's length. She struggled in his grasp, trying to kiss him again, but he held her firmly.

"No," he said and watched as her lower lip protruded and she began to pout. She ripped herself away from him and stepped backwards into the ocean.

"Why!" she demanded, arms flung out to her sides, "Why be nice to me and buy me extravagant gifts and bring me to Spain of all places if you're not going to kiss me back when I throw myself at you? Friends don't act like this, Elijah, so why are you doing this? What game are you playing with me?" Her arms dropped to her sides and she hung her head. She stared intently at the hem of her dress flowing with the movement of the ocean as Elijah waded in to join her. She refused to look up, but couldn't resist resting her head on his chest. His arms rose and rested carefully around her shoulders.

"No games," he swore, "That is not my intention for you. But Elena, you are drunk and I would rather you not make decisions now that you will regret in the morning." He tilted her head back and forced her to look at him, dashing away the tears accumulating at the corners of her eyes. The humiliation of her actions was beginning to set in.

"I'd rather you not regret me," he said. She rose and wrapped her arms around his shoulders and buried her head into his neck.

"Take me home," she pleaded. Once again, he lifted her into his arms and promised they would be back at the flat in no time.

"No," she said, "Take me back to Mystic Falls."

•◊•◊•

For the first two weeks after their return to the States, Elijah did not see Elena. He heard a great deal of her from his brother Klaus who was a bit annoyed that Caroline was opting to spend time with her friend and not him. Really brother, you couldn't have kept her away for a little bit longer? Even Rebekah would make the occasional comment about the "doppleganger wench" who had all the men in town lusting after her so there were no men left for any other girl. He found this upsetting and wanted to call Rosala and yell at her for ruining things between him and Elena. But then Elena arrived one day when Klaus and Rebekah were out and he forgot all about Rosala, ball gowns, and beaches in Spain. He did not, could not, however, forget the feel of her lips and how she tasted like champagne and spice and things like promises of a better life. That was something he would never forget.

"I'm completely sober," was her greeting of choice and Elijah repressed the urge to grin. She smiled politely and asked how he was and the smalltalk that followed was maddening as he found himself focusing on her lips and not so much the words they were forming.

"I wanted to return this," she said, holding up the diadem, "I'm sure there's some sentimental memory behind it, so you should take it back." She held it out to him, but he did not move to take it, so it hung between them in the midst of an awkward moment.

"No sentimental memory," he lied, knowing full well he'd never be able to look at that piece of jewelry again without thinking about it being wrapped around his neck as she kissed him, "It was a gift for you and I would appreciate you keeping it. You do not have to wear it again, but it would be polite if you at least kept it." Elena flushed and ducked her head, nervously fiddling with the diadem before wrapping it around her wrist. Elijah stepped forward and ran his fingers along the jeweled cord and felt her pulse jump at his touch. Her heart raced, but she refused to look at him.

"Elena," he said, "Will you not look at me?" She bit her lip and he could hear her holding her breath as she finally made eye contact.

"I'm sorry," she said in a rush, "Here you were being nice and taking me to Spain and I had to go and get drunk and ruin everything." She made to fiddle with the diadem, but her fingers collided with his and she recoiled as if burned. He could see her mind formulating the best possible retreat and he pulled her into his arms before she could escape.

"You did nothing wrong," he said, stroking her cheek, "In fact, you did what I had been longing to do for quite some time, but I was never brave enough. You were though. You've always been the brave one, Elena." She shook her head and tried to pull away, but his arms had formed a cage around her that she could not escape. And honestly, she didn't want to.

"I'm not brave," she said, "You're the Original."

"The Original who is dumbstruck and in awe of a human." Her eyes flickered up to meet his and she could see the truth written plainly across his face. Elijah was never anything but honest and she thought herself the fool for ever doubting him.

"In Spain," she said, "You said your intention for me was not to play games. I can't remember much about that night, but I do remember you saying that. So what are your intentions for me, Elijah?" He released her and stepped back, shaking his head as he went. This time, it was Elena who pursued and tried to hold him in her arms.

"I can't," he said, "I can't."

"Be brave, for me."

Neither could be certain who made the first move. All they could agree on was that one moment there was a chasm of space infinitely too wide between them and the next moment they could not seem to get close enough to one another. The diadem around Elena's wrist scraped Elijah's neck as she wrapped her arms around him and pulled him even closer as they finally kissed without the influence of Rosala's champagne. His fingers kneaded into her hips and he swallowed her gasp when her back collided with the wall. His hands slid beneath her shirt and when it was mutually decided they just weren't close enough, he dropped one hand to her thigh and hoisted her legs up around his hips. Her hair brushed against the skin she had managed to expose in her attempt to rid him of his shirt and jacket and she shoved it out of the way as she kissed the length of his exposed neck.

With practiced ease, Elijah rid them of both their shirts and nibbled at the base of her ear as she left hot, open mouthed kisses along his shoulder. When her feet touched the ground again, they were no longer in the hallway, but standing in the threshold of his bedroom. He pulled away, keeping her grounded to the wall with his hands on her hips. There was a silent question there, Will you regret me in the morning? She broke his hold on her, pushed off against the wall, and pressed him into the doorjamb as she resumed her assault on his mouth. No, no, I won't regret you, she said as she fumbled with his belt while his hands slid across her abdomen, his thumb slipping beneath the fabric of her bra. She hissed at the contact and he inhaled the sound like she was inhaling him.

He was better at this, more practiced, but she didn't let herself wander down that trail of thought, instead chalking up his ability to remove the majority of their garments as some perk of being a vampire. After all, when you can remove someone's pants in a fraction of a second after kissing them to the point of delirium, that has to be a supernatural talent.

One hand slipped beneath the fabric of her lingerie as the other secured itself around her waist, keeping her steady as her legs found perch on his hips again. He walked them backwards into his room and she reached over his head and slammed the door shut, dropping her head onto of his as he nipped whatever exposed flesh he could find. He dropped her onto his bed and she was about to pout at the loss of contact before his body was there again, filling the empty space and hovering above hers as her own body rose to meet his. It felt like static electricity was passing between them and Elena watched as his eyes darkened and his canines elongated.

He was about to pull back, she could tell by the way his muscles bunched and coiled beneath her roaming hands, but she grabbed the back of his head and scraped her nails along his skin as she kissed him, deliberately cutting her tongue on one of his fangs. This suddenly wasn't two people coming together. This was an Original vampire and a doppleganger and if Elena allowed herself to think about it, she was breaking the cycle. For once, the doppleganger was choosing the older brother, choosing Elijah. It wasn't about carnal lust and desire anymore. It was about magic and things Elena didn't understand and blood. There was blood involved and if Elena knew anything, she knew blood was the most binding force.

This was it. There was no turning back.

•◊•◊•

Elena awoke in a room vastly different from her own to the sensation of someone playing with her hair. She turned to find Elijah, one arm draped over her waist, the other busy toying with what Caroline would have called sex hair. He was watching her carefully, taking in her minute gestures with the attention of a scientist examining an experiment. He was waiting for the other shoe to drop. Thus he was beyond surprised when Elena rose, kissed him, and then settled onto his chest where she casually drew geometric figures above his heart.

"Were you ever like this with Tatia and Katherine?" she asked because she found she could not bury the question any longer. She had to know if things with Elijah would be the same as with Stefan and Damon where they were always acutely aware of her resemblance to Katherine.

"No," Elijah said and she kissed his shoulder for his answer. His fingers stroked the length of her back and she propped her chin on her hand to look at him. He fiddled with her hair and brushed a few strands away from her face, his smile never fading.

"If you are wondering if I see Tatia and Katerina when I look at you," he said, "The answer is also no. I have only ever seen you, Elena, and I hope to keep seeing you for a very long time." She grinned and ran a hand through his hair, watching as he angled his head into her touch.

"Is that your way of saying you love me?" she asked. His eyes dropped and looked away, a look she was beginning to recognize as his tell when he was unsure. She rose and grasped his chin, forcing him to look at her.

"Fortune favors the brave, you know." He wrapped an arm around her waist, pulled her down, and kissed her.

"Yes, Elena," he said, "I do love you."

"Good," she replied with a wicked grin, "Because I had no intention of getting rid of you. Who else is going to take me to Antone and Rosala's next party?" She shrieked as he rolled her under him and peppered her face with kisses. Their legs tangled and her nails scraped his scalp as he playfully nipped at her neck. Projected onto the wall at the opposite end of the room was an array of sparkling rainbows from where the sunlight streaming in through the window was bounding off the diadem still wrapped around Elena's wrist. A wrist currently pinned above her head as Elijah kissed the length of her body.

They didn't leave his bed for quite some time. And when they finally did, they decided a trip to Greece was in order.

a/n: This was a very indirect request from Tumblr where one girl said, "I want a fic with this, this, and this" and someone thought it'd be brilliant to respond and say I could do it. Challenge Accepted.

Fave, flame, faint.

oxox.