TITLE: as they lay dying
CHARACTERS: Elena Gilbert, Elijah Mikaelson, Stefan Salvatore
TYPE: oneshot (possibly more if you review and want it)
GENRE (darkfic, romance, angst, etc) : angst, hurt/comfort, friendship, romance
SPOILERS (from the show or books) : For the night of the sacrifice in season two, penultimate episode
SUMMARY: s3!AU. There are repercussions to killing Klaus that they don't predict, like Damon dying of the werewolf bite, or Stefan going off the deep end, or Elena finally deciding that she needs a break and taking off on the first train out of Mystic Falls. Of course she isn't alone. She's got our favorite original by her side. Elena/Elijah.
BACKGROUND: Elijah kills Klaus during the hybrid sacrifice at the end of season two. This starts with the moment where Klaus first says that the Original family isn't buried at sea.
Elena's body is brought away as the whole world seems to crash around them. Lightning flashes and fire roars and there's blood gushing through Elijah's fingers, his brother's blood. One pull, and it is over. Everything is complete. But the promise of their family hangs above his head, the threat from Bonnie, the pain of seeing Elena…. It is all there and he has to make a decision through it all. And his decision, in that moment, is to pull.
She gasps into life, questions unable to even come out through the harried breaths. She somehow manages to say she's fine, but that's not what she's thinking. She's thinking that there is no way in hell that she is fine. Not after watching Jenna die. Not after almost being turned. Not after any of this. She's not fine, and she probably never will be again.
It takes at least an hour before she can function enough to voice any of her thoughts. By that point, though, she has nothing left to say. She's heard it all, seen it all. Seen Ric walking by with a full bottle of scotch only to return twenty minutes later to throw out the empty one. Seen Jeremy help Damon carry John's body back into the house. Seen Stefan try to hold her, help her, but she can only push him away. She doesn't want to be held by him right now. She wants her mom, or her dad, either of her dads, and Jenna, and she wants to go back to before all of this became part of life. Why can't she go back? Stefan is supposed to protect her. He's supposed to be safety and security and a promise that it will all get better. But he's not. The only good thing he's bringing is the news that they did, in fact, kill Klaus. Unsurprisingly, it doesn't fill her with relief. So when that hour passes and she can finally speak correctly and think properly, Elena excuses herself. She needs some air. Alone.
That air eventually turns into a walk to clear her head, which turns into a run, which turns into her standing outside of her house, just looking at it. She sighs and sits down on the driveway. The gravel crunches beneath her but she doesn't acknowledge it. How can she care about some rocks when the only adults left in her family just died? She thinks of them and everyone else who's been killed, or been hurt, or been used. She cries for them all. Eventually, a jacket is wrapped around her shoulders. The material gives its owner away, but the smell is what truly tells her who it is. She doesn't know how to describe it exactly. It's just… it's like culture personified, a mixture of a bunch of small things like ink and old books and that slightly wet smell of an early morning at sea. And grass. Elijah also smells like grass.
He doesn't sit down beside her. He simply stands, looking at the same spot on her house that she does. He says, "I am glad to see you alive, Elena."
She keeps staring, keeps breathing. But every breath smells like him, smells like calm. It makes it harder to breathe, harder to just be. It makes her exist. It makes her feel. She speaks in a whisper so soft that his jacket almost swallows it up. "I'm not."
And where she expects to hear pain, or resentment, or frustration, she only hears understanding.
She looks at him then, sees the lines in his face that make him seem older. How can a person, a vampire, possibly age that much in a few hours? Is she the same way? Does she look more resigned now? She is more resigned, more broken. She thinks her reflection should show that, just like his does. Or maybe it's in her eyes. All of his pain, every single one can be found swimming in his eyes, and it's only in them that she believes he can be centuries old with a brother who has tried to kill him and a family that no longer exists. Just like her. Well, at least she has Jeremy. Elijah… Elijah has no one. Even Klaus is better than no one.
"I'm sorry about Klaus," she says. She means it.
He's thankful, but again only his eyes show that. His voice is the same as ever. "Your compassion knows no bounds, Elena. I am sorry about Jenna. She was a lovely woman. She did not deserve what he did to her. None of you did."
They spend the next hour in silence, until Stefan comes and tells her about the funerals. She demands real ones for each of them. They both should have real funerals, not just a silent burial like some dirty secret. They're her family. Her blood. Her hope. And they're gone as easily as she can snap her fingers, gone without a chance, for her. It's always for her.
She wides just once that life could be about something more. Maybe that's why she's drawn to Elijah's suicide mission, to his wild goose chase, to his new life goal.
He tells her at the funeral, "I'm going to find my family. If it means swimming to the bottom of the ocean, I will do it."
She smiles, but they both can hear the beat of her heart following it, calling out 'take me with you.'
When Damon is dying, she talks to him. She spends hours with him. And when he's mumbling about 1864, she knows that it doesn't matter the year, that Damon will always be someone she likes and hates and loves. He's found his way under her skin and into the very muscle that keeps her body functioning. Both muscles, both organs, her heart and her brain. They're thinking in sync when she kisses him, and they stay that way until he shudders and slowly turns the gray that seems to have become her life.
Elijah is at Damon's funeral too. He stands far away from the rest of them, but he hear the entire service. And when she whispers his name in a silent plea, he is beside her, wrapping her in his jacket and allowing their closeness to soothe them both. Stefan says nothing. He's been that way since Elena left Damon's room that day. He's hardly looked her way other than for their brief sessions where he comes into her room and drinks his small fill of blood for the day. He's taking more than he should be, but she doesn't worry. She's not afraid. Much.
She takes it back. She's very, very afraid. It's the night of the funeral and Stefan - he won't let go. His lips are on her wrist and his fangs are digging. He tears at her, as if that will make his hunger end, make the pain end. It only worsens hers. He's more than just taking the bare necessities. He's feeding, as fully as he can from her wrist. Her heart is racing so he's getting more and more, but it doesn't seem to be enough. She cries out stop more times than she count. Pushes at his head. Pulls her wrist. He doesn't seem to hear her, just keeps digging until he's ripping into her, tearing apart more of her wrist than should be possible, forcing tears from her eyes and screams from her throat. She doesn't come up with her escape plan until her wrist already near broken, until she's faint, and grasps the locket to ground her other hand. The locket he gave her, the locket filled with vervain. She rips it from her neck and breaks it, pulling out the vervain and forcing it between his teeth and her flesh.
He reels back in pain and that demonic emptiness that she used to relate with Damon is displayed on him so clearly, so much clearer than it ever was with the older Salvatore. It's Stefan who's the monster, the true vampire. She understands then what he meant weeks before when he said that he was worse.
His face morphs in the silence of the room into the tortured look she knows well. It doesn't hold the same appeal when her blood covers his face from nose to chin and every speck of skin in between.
"Elena, I-I'm so sorry. I shouldn't have - its Damon - I-I'm sorry."
She looks away, her now broken wrist hanging in the air between them.
"Go," she croaks. Her throat is hoarse from the screaming, tired from the crying, exhausted from breathing every single day of the last year. She wishes that could stop. All of it. It just needs to stop.
She pleads, "Please, Stefan, just go."
He listens, but she feels his eyes on her as he leaves, as the front door closes, as seconds tick by. She crumbles onto her bed. What does she do now? She's got a broken wrist and a broken heart and no health insurance. No anything because she's seventeen. She's only seventeen. She needs someone to help her. Anyone. She almost dials for Ric, but Elijah appears before she can even look at her phone twice.
He wastes no time. The moment he enters the room, he's offering her a small cup. She takes it with her healthy wrist and peers inside. The sight repulses her. It's blood. His. She swallows down the queasiness and does the same with the entirety of the glass.
He explains, "I could smell your blood for miles, Elena. I figured that you would rather not drink from my wrist given the state of your own."
She thinks about his comment. It's true. She doesn't even want to look at another wrist again. But she does check to make sure hers is back to normal. It is. Perfectly so. It's almost sickening. How is it that her skin can be fixed so easily whole her mind cannot? While her life cannot? It's wrong.
She forces down the rising anger. It's misplaced. Misplaced from years and months of deflection and deigned indifference. She doesn't need it now. She needs a break. A real one.
"You didn't leave," she points out.
He tells her, "In fact, I did. I got to the next town over before I smelled your blood and heard your scream. So I turned around. I couldn't leave without knowing that you were safe."
She hears that and hears what it could mean, what she can make it mean. "If you want me safe, take me with you. If I'm with you, I'll be fine. We'll both be fine."
And much like any other deal she proposes, Elijah says, "Yes."