***For those waiting on an update for HNBF, it's probably coming tomorrow. This just demanded to come out first***
The idea for this one-shot has been swirling around my head since I attended my friend's wedding a few weeks ago. It's pretty short and simple, but I really just wanted to fluff up a moment to rectify those disappointing moments these two (and us) have had so far.
Hope you like it.
If he'd been asked at the beginning whether he could imagine himself standing here his answer would have been an automatic, 'No'.
Two vampires getting married, in a church for Christ's sake, was probably the most futile accomplishment one could claim to their name, let alone downright ironic considering they'd already promised each other their forevers. But she asked for it, pleaded with the reasoning that it was the symbolism behind it all, and he's really never been able to deny her anything.
So here he stands, in a modern style structure with floor to ceiling windows and elegant peonies dangling on pew bannisters at the end of a white runway awaiting his bride to be, and he can't see past the humanity of all this. It's fitting considering it represents the chunk she's brought out in him. But in contrast, he has the opposite effect on her. His presence shines the light on her darker side, the one Stefan was never able to accept, but he was more than willing to welcome. He'll always welcome every shade of her without judgment.
He looks to the left where Stefan's standing, offering his supportive role as the best man and this in itself is one of their greatest accomplishments since the start. At a time, he could have never asked his brother to stand by his side, carrying the two rings that stood against a romance he'd absolutely refused, but Elena and his brother were simply just not meant to be and he's known this far longer than he can ever admit to.
"You can't tell Stefan," she'd pleaded when he'd found her for the first time after her transition, cradled in an alleyway clutching a human girl against her chest. Crimson blood rimmed her lips and her fangs still dipped below her upper lip. Trepidation streamed from her eyes while agony and regret stretched over her features.
It was the first time he really truly understood why his brother and this girl would never work. A relationship couldn't survive without honesty and they'd simply never had it, not the way he and her did. Furthermore, it couldn't endure the protection she'd need from herself during the transition process while she was still trying to protect his brother from the awful reality of what she'd become.
Stefan had loved the humanity in her. He'd loved that and so much more.
So he'd pulled the body from her shaking hands, understanding all too well that she would punish herself enough for the act without Stefan's judgmental brooding, and focused on her instead. He always did. "You know I won't tell him. Now let's worry about getting you cleaned up."
Stefan's staring down the aisle, a small smile at the corner of his lips as he watches the blonde best friend make her way towards them. His brother originally claimed Caroline reminded him of Lexi and when things with Elena fell apart, he'd seeked that friendship, and ended up with so much more. If Katherine could only see what her power play had resulted in, the bitch would be cursing herself in her sleep.
The blonde flips her brows exuberantly in his direction and shoots his brother a wink before veering off to take her spot on the opposite side of the altar. Then everyone stands as an image of chestnut and radiant white emerges at the church's entryway. And for just a second, before the reality of the moment sweeps over him, his surroundings slow down.
She's the only one who's ever been able to relax the spinning chain of catastrophic events that threaten their lives on a daily basis by simply making them fade into the background. And he can't help but remember the first time she truly caught him by surprise and halted his world on its axis for the first time.
She'd sauntered into his room, eyes fixed with a newly familiar spark of danger and suggestion. Her movements had been fluid, feline almost, as she pounced in his direction and pushed him against the wall. That Petrova fire he'd been begging for a year and a half to ignite was set on full blast and his lips twisted at the edges because this side of her was the one that made them equals.
He'd tricked himself into believing she was strong before, but this afterlife suited her well. Once she'd accepted it, there was nothing that could stand in her way. Including the delicate relationship she'd shared with his brother.
"Why haven't you made a pass at me yet?" she'd questioned. "I've been fair game for weeks now." Insecurities and revealing warmth filtered through her chocolate orbs, separating her from the only other female who currently shared her face. It was the dead giveaway that despite her newfound strength, she was still the same teenage girl he'd originally fell in love with.
He'd pushed her away, releasing a frustrated snort into the air, as he replied, "You shot me down, remember? I'm no longer a participant in this dysfunctional triangle."
Her expression fell then, exposing the rejection coursing through her before her brows furrowed. "You don't understand why I made my choice, do you?"
"I'm pretty sure your choice had everything to do with a squirrel-munching vampire I sometimes give the courtesy of calling my brother," he retorted.
She stepped forward, tracing her index finger along the sharp edge of his jaw. "That choice had everything to do with me and who I was at the time. Not him."
"Sounds profound," he muttered, snapping his head away from the electric current of her fingertip.
"You, your love – you were too much for me to handle," she explained, taking hold of his face again and demanding his attention.
"Yes, I was a panting labra doodle who didn't represent the life you wanted to live, Elena," he snapped, inching closer to her face so she could physically feel the blast of his words. "I got it. In ways I was too much, but in retrospect I just wasn't enough."
"No" she refuted, twisting her head through the air before throwing conviction into her words. "I wasn't enough for you."
His lips clip upward as he revisits the night that shifted everything and the phrase that took his breath away. Bitter thoughts had sounded in his mind, echoing those very words, ever since that defining choice she'd made on the night of her rebirth, but he'd never believed them. Not until she'd spoken them.
But as she gracefully closes the distance between them, he understands how perfect they are for each other. Neither isn't good enough anymore now that they've finally found their middle and created a seamless fusion.
She's incandescent as the white chiffon fabric drifts through the air, mimicking her movements. Since the first night he picked himself from the road where he desperately waited to feeling something, anything, and came within inches of her world, he's found her mesmerizing. Eyes sparkling with vibrancy and energy, the first indication she wasn't the woman he'd initially thought she was. But he's never found her more radiant nor beautiful than she is today.
I want you to get everything you're looking for.
She's been everything to him for longer than he has a right to admit, the rays of light breaking through his otherwise dark and suffocating existence. But never in his wildest fantasies did he believe he'd ever represent that for her.
As she finally closes the last few steps to take her spot at his side, a smile of adoration lights her features, solidifying that his previous doubts have every right to remain abolished. She's shimmering in pride, blushing in excitement, and lustrous in love.
The fact that this is a result of him and his claim on her is downright surreal.
He takes her hand, runs his thumb over the porcelain of her knuckles and resists the urge to lean in and kiss her right then and there. Every touch they share increases his longing for more. It's just the influence she has on him.
The ceremony is short, but he could swear his heart feels like it's going to beat right through his chest. She hears it of course and offers a reassuring smirk in his direction, the one she's acquired from him. It reappears again as they each repeat the priest's phrase of 'Til Death Do Us Part' and then again when he announces 'You May Now Kiss The Bride'.
He tilts her towards the floor in a dramatic display, reveling in the cheer of their small audience and the taste of gratification on his wife's lips. It last a few seconds longer than appropriate, but what did that matter? They were still undead vampires getting married and rules didn't exactly apply.
Then he looks at his wife, knowing he's never been happier than he is in this precise moment. Instances have come close, but he's finally complete, in every sense of the word.
"I was turned too young," she murmured, twining her fingers with his as they lay face to face in bed. "Sometimes I wished our lives hadn't been as messy as they were. Now, I'll always be a few years younger than you."
"Age is just a number," he assured, wrapping his free hand around her back to pull her closer to him. "An irrelevant one now considering some days you act 13 and others you act 175."
She smiled and pressed her head against his chest, in the precise location where his heart beat for her. "But, still, it would have been nice to turn a few years later so we could be the same age."
He placed a kiss at the crown of her head, inhaling her scent of jasmine and vanilla. In all honesty, he's content with the age she'd turned. If another year or four had passed, so much about her might have changed.
He loves her just the way she is. The eighteen year old that occasionally lets her immaturity flare when she doesn't get her way. The lover who matches the precise rhythm and motion of his moves between the sheets. The friend who never fails to maintain her level of honesty that keeps the foundation of their connection so solid. The mature vampire who offers reason when he's impulsive and reckless. And the partner who reciprocates the way he loves – passionately, ardently, intricately.
She's his perfect match, the spectrum that coincides his own, but he'd already told her that and there was no need to repeat words he'd already spoken.
Silky strands of her hair danced against his lips while his fingertips grazed over the bare skin of her back. "We could always pretend you'd turned at 24," he offered.
"No," she refuted, tilting her head back to look at him. "I'd rather stick to the truth."
A smile rested on her lips, an infectious smile that spread over to his own. "Yeah, lying for an eternity might become a little difficult," he agreed. "It's a long time, you know."
She laughed, sending joyous vibrations against every surface of his skin. He loved to hear her laugh, especially when he was the reason behind it. For far too long, she didn't laugh nearly enough.
"With you," she declared pushing her nose to rest intimately against his, "I'm still not sure it's enough."
"Til Never Do Us Part," she breathes as they glide towards the church's front doors. It's muted and sentimental, strictly for only the two of them like so much about their world seems to be now.
Their steps are effortlessly succinct as they dance down the aisle and from the corner of his eye he notices the tears slipping down her, still, dusty rose cheeks. So many times in the past he's tried to protect her from those salty drops, or at least wipe them and their originator away. But not this time, because the diamond streaks are enriched by the giddy expression that's permeated his wife's face. She's beaming with excitement, the same way he is because they've done this. They each now sport a platinum band signifying the claim over each other's heart that took far too long to solidify.
At least they have eternity to enjoy it. Still, as they exit into their life together, he has to agree with Elena. When it comes to having her by his side - he's not certain even eternity could possibly be long enough.
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