Title: Promise of Forever
Fandom: The Vampire Diaries
Author's Note: This is it! The very end! Hope you all don't hate me too much and thank you all for reading this far! I've been bribed into write a prequel so hopefully that'll get started soon. I'm terrible at ending things, I hate to see them go, so hopefully you guys find some closure to everything that's happened.
90 years down the road...
The bar's atmosphere filled his senses as he pulled off his scarf and wrapped the thin fabric around one hand, scanning the tables casually for any sign of Elijah and Rebekah. He spotted them sitting a bit out of the way, making note of them as he turned to get a drink from the bar, compelling away the bartender when he was carded. With a heavy sigh, Kol dropped into the seat next to Rebekah, setting his drink on the table and flashing her a grin. His sister turned her head to look at him, blinking at his sudden appearance but otherwise not saying a word to him. Elijah grinned happily at him, pleased to see him there.
"Kol, glad you could join us."
"Why would I miss it?" asked Kol casually, shaking out of his coat and tossing it across the only empty chair at the table. "Seeing my dear family gives me every bit of joy-"
"Shut up, Kol," interrupted Rebekah, leaning back in her chair and folding her arms across her stomach while he gestured rudely at her. She eyed him closely for a moment and then turned her gaze onto Elijah. "And who are we drinking to this time?" she asked, quirking an eyebrow. Kol leaned forward with interest, dropping his elbows onto the table and placing his chin on his clasped hands. "Finn? Mikael, maybe?"
Kol's face went blank instantly; Rebekah sat up straighter, smirking a little to herself and fiddled with a piece of hair hanging over her shoulder. "I think that's a lovely idea."
"I think it's shit."
Rebekah ignored him completely, but Elijah frowned at him with disapproval. "Kol, she's your wife-"
"Was," snapped Kol, glaring at his brother. "It's been almost a century, when are you going to give this up?"
"When you come to your senses and realize that compelling her to forget you and everything she's gone through - everything that made her who she was, mind you - was complete idiocy," Kol sat hack in his chair heavily, looking away crossly. He could feel Elijah's eyes on the side of his face; all joking aside, he had explained his reasons very carefully to each of his siblings after Anna had left. She deserved a little peace from him, it was his obligation to give it to her. Elijah's tone became soft and serious, dropping his head down to try and catch Kol's eye. "Don't you think it's been long enough?"
Kol sipped his drink, making a face at the poor quality of the alcohol and a bit because Elijah was a bore. "Are we going to have this conversation every time we get together?" he asked with faux cheer, grinning brightly at his brother. "Do I have to remind you what happened last time?"
Rebekah rolled her eyes as she picked her nails, listening to their conversation despite her nonparticipation. Even after all this time, she was still cross with him for compelling Anna.
"Why do we invite him again?" she asked Elijah casually, ignoring the affronted look Kol sent her. "You have a better chance of Nik magically un-desicating himself then of Kol admitting any sort of fault."
"I wasn't wrong," snapped Kol, practically snarling when Rebekah shot him a dry, unimpressed look over her shoulder. "Rebekah, you don't have any idea what-"
"I thought we weren't talking about it?" commented Elijah smugly, lifting a glass of wine to his lips and smirking around the lip. Kol turned his glare onto him, keeping silent for a moment before shaking his head and standing up.
"If all you two are going to do is make me sit here and talk about Anna, then I'm leaving."
Rebekah and Elijah both started protesting at him; Rebekah went so far as to grab his wrist to try and pull him back into his seat, and Elijah stole his coat. He held it hostage while Rebekah pouted up at him. "Don't be an ass, Kol, just stay," she insisted, tugging him hard one final time. Kol rolled his eyes and pulled his wrist from her hand, shaking his head as he sat back down with all the grace and class he possessed. Elijah nodded, satisfied, and tossed Kol's coat back across the chair, far less haphazardly than Kol originally had; Rebekah was still staring at him though, more seriously now.
"Kol...Kol if you're really so upset to talk about her then maybe it is time you try to find her."
"Shush, Rebekah, if he doesn't want to talk about it after 90 years then we wont," this was said with a pointed look at Kol, who grinned pleasantly and kicked Elijah in the shin.
Rebekah looked between her two brothers silently for a moment; pushing her chair back, she shook her head and sighed. "I need a drink," she muttered, flicking Kol in the ear as she passed him. "Try not to kill anyone while I'm gone."
"A hollow promise even if we made it, sister," Kol called after her, grinning as he turned back to Elijah. "Can we talk about something more...mannered?"
Elijah hummed around his wine glass, nodding as he set it down and laid his arm across the tabletop. "Just until Rebekah comes back. I don't want her to figure out that we actually get along."
"Then we'd have to do these little get together's more often," agreed Kol, an actual smile crossing his face. "I assume you've spoken with Caroline? How was Bonnie's funeral?"
Elijah lifted a shoulder. "Caroline did a beautiful job, as expected. I saw Jeremy and Elena there, he said he'd spoken to you recently?"
"Eh, I have a soft spot for him," said Kol casually, glancing off with a slight shrug. "He entertains me, at least."
Elijah smirked around his wine glass, his eyes sliding over Kol's shoulder for a moment. The younger Miklaeson watched him blink and abruptly set down his glass, his eyes widening a fraction as whatever he was staring at-
"Look at who I found." Kol perked at the sound of Rebekah's voice behind him, twisting around in his seat, hoping maybe she'd brought someone for them to snack on. Instead he froze; his eyes falling down the figure Rebekah had plastered to her side. She lifted her hand in an awkward hello, a thin smile on her lips as her eyes slid over Kol completely and onto Elijah.
Kol was still staring at her rudely, and she in turn, ignored him. He briefly wondered if it was him or his compulsion that was putting her off. He snapped out of his funk with a snarl, glaring at Rebekah as he pushed himself out of his chair. That seemed to get Anna's attention, and she blinked at him in surprise, causing him to pause in his lean to grab his coat.
"Elijah," said his brother quickly, standing up and reaching across the table to shake Anna's hand. She did so with a quick quirk of her lips before turning her eyes back onto Kol again. "And my younger brother Kol."
Anna nodded, looking uncomfortable for a moment before she turned her head up to look at Rebekah. "I still don't know what I'm doing here. Can you let me go now?"
"No," the blonde snapped back simply, pushing her into the direction of Rebekah's abandoned seat. Anna grimaced at the manhandling, eyeing Elijah strangely as Rebekah slide around to the opposite side of the table and shoved Kol back into his chair with equal force before plopping down next to him and preventing him from taking his coat back.
He could easily leave without it...but he liked that coat, and he'd never hear the end of it from Rebekah if he just up and left. Besides, he thought as he turned to look at Anna out of the corner of his eye, maybe he missed the brunette more than he thought he had. Just seeing her again made him feel less cranky with his siblings.
"So Anna, how have the last 90 years treated you?" asked Rebekah bluntly, earning looks from her brothers while Anna just raised an eyebrow at her from across the table and folded her hands in her lap.
"Should I even be a little surprised that the Original vampire's know who I am?" asked Anna boredly, looking at Elijah. He grinned politely at her, but the smile melted off his face when she looked away; rolling his eyes he managed to very subtly pick up one of the toothpicks lying on the table and stab his sister in the thigh with it, shooting her a contemptuous look as he did.
"Probably not, darling," said Kol, smiling tightly at her as he folded his arms across the table and leaned into them. Anna blinked at him, the same strange expression she had on her face when Elijah introduced her to him.
"Do I know you?" she asked, her eyebrows pulling together innocently. Kol felt Rebekah shift in her chair and resisted the urge to kick her. He grinned at Anna, shaking his head.
"You'd remember a face like mine, I'm sure." Anna hn'd and looked away, reaching up to fiddle with something around her neck. Kol swallowed, his gaze zeroing on the very familiar leather tied around her neck.
He was some sort of idiot for leaving her in possession with something he'd given her. Elijah raised an eyebrow at him, obviously thinking along the same lines as he was. He laid an arm across the table and turned toward Anna, pointing at her hand. "That looks quite old. Where did you get it?"
Kol could have killed the older man as Anna's eyebrows shot up, her necklace falling from her hand in surprise. "Oh...um, I'm actually not sure," she admitted sheepishly. "One day i just had it."
"Really?" muttered Rebekah, glancing at Kol. "How strange."
"Do you have many lapses in your memory?" asked Elijah in that same fake interested tone. Anna's shoulders dropped as she stared at him suspiciously, and Kol felt himself warming to the idea that maybe she had the same feelings for them all, even if she didn't know why.
"Why do you ask?"
"No reason," said Elijah quickly, glancing at Kol, the corner of his mouth twitching upward. "It's just that Kol used to experience something similar."
Kol could have killed him as Anna's head snapped around to stare at him in surprise. "Really?" she asked with interest, staring at his profile carefully for a moment before she met his eyes. "I thought the Original's were infallible."
"I got into a bit of trouble with a witch," said Kol, turning to Anna; he lifted a hand nonchalantly. "But that was a long time ago. Nothing Mystic Falls couldn't fix."
Anna snorted. "I haven't been in Mystic Falls in almost a century. Hate it there, always have."
"Really?" asked Kol, leaning forward as his interest was peaked. "Bad memories?"
"My mother died there." the expression on Kol's face melted off and he blinked across at her for a moment. He had no idea that Pearl had died...or considered that her death had been the reason Anna was in Mystic Falls when he'd shown up. He was still reeling as Anna shrugged, leaning her elbows on the table as she spoke to him. "I stayed for a little while, out of obligation or something. I mean I spent over a hundred and fifty years waiting for her-"
"I'm sorry," interrupted Kol without thinking, cutting off Anna, who stared at him with her mouth hanging open mid-sentence. "I didn't know."
Shooting him a quizzical look, Anna cocked her head to the side. "Why would you have known?"
He was worse at pretending they didn't know each other than she had been, and she'd really sucked at it. Kol glanced down, shaking his head and taking a drink. "I didn't. That's why I said it."
Anna opened and closed her mouth a few times, before she finally shut it and turned her head away, staring at the table in confusion for a moment. Kol glanced up to glare at his siblings, but found them both too absorbed in their own conversation to be bothered by his. Sighing inwardly, Kol leaned back in his chair, taking an opportunity to look at Anna. After nearly a century she still looked the same, dark clothes and long wavy hair with her many bangles and rings and too many piercings in her ears (though thought may have been new...he couldn't be sure); he had convinced himself that giving her a clean slate was the best thing for her - that the role reversal would help him understand why she would have stayed with him without a second thought after so long - and had somehow backed himself into a corner where he didn't want anything to do with her.
It was supposed to be temporary; it was starting to turn permanent.
Kol cleared his throat, pushing his chair back and standing smoothly, catching Anna's eye and sparing her a slight smile. "It was nice to meet you Annabelle," he said, turning to Rebekah and snapping at her in silent demand for his coat. She handed it over, looking torn, and pouted at Elijah as if he could make their brother stay. "See you both later?"
Elijah raised a hand, digging a slip of paper out of his pocket and handing it over; Kol quirked an eyebrow, flipping it over and finding an address scrawled on it. "If you have nothing pressing to get to, why don't you stay with us for a bit? Like old times?"
Kol smirked at the gestured, flicking his eyes up at meet Elijah's. "Planning on breaking open Nik's coffin, finally?"
"The idea crossed my mind."
Kol made a face, nodding. "We'll see."
He left without another word or a look back, but he could feel eyes on his back as he went.
By the time Kol actually decided to pay a visit to the address his brother had given him, it was well into the night and he'd come up with zero excuse as to why he'd decided to stay with them. When Elijah answered the door, all Kol did was shrug and shoulder his way inside, tossing a pack of playing cards at Rebekah's forehead and pouring himself a glass of wine before either of them had a chance to even say hello.
After that, it was just like old times.
"-I thought sixes were wild?"
"We're not playing Uno?" asked Rebekah in bewilderment, frowning over the top of her cards at Elijah as he groped blinding for the wine bottle, glasses forgotten. Kol snorted and batted his brother's hand away, taking a long drink from the bottle and handing it over when he was finished.
"Does anyone know what we're actually playing anymore?"
Elijah's snort cut off Rebekah's confusion in tandem with a sharp knock on the door. All three of them sobered, turning to look across the foryer. Rebekah's lower lip jutted out, glancing at each of her brother's while they just stared at the door. Someone knocked again.
"Kol, get the door," ordered Elijah, his voice overly haughty. His eyes danced with mirth, proof to how drunk and relaxed he was, as Kol climbed to his feet; he listened to Rebekah flop back against the couch, grumbling about giving up and starting over as Kol jogged to the front door as whoever it was on the other side knocked impatiently again.
"Yes, yes, keep your knickers-" Kol's voice faltered as he pulled open the door, blinking down at Anna, with her hair raised to knock. She lowered her arm jerkily, her eyes darting around him briefly. Kol relaxed into the door, feeling a grin spread across his face at the sight of her. "Anna."
"You know my name." Kol blinked at her, his eyes narrowing slightly in amusement because duh he sort of just said it.
"We met earlier," he chuckled. He nodded inside the house, taking a step away from the door. "Wanna come inside? We're all just-"
Anna's hand shot out, dragging him back to the doorway by his sleeve and cutting off his invitation in. He frowned down at the serious expression on her face, shaking his arm out of her grip when she refused to let go. "You knew my name," she said again, but smacked her hand against the doorframe when he rolled his eyes and made to turn away. "My full name," she clarified. "When you left the bar, you called me Annabelle; and I don't go by that name."
"Oh shit," whispered Kol under his breath, pulling back slightly. Anna leveled her gaze, a determination in her eyes that Kol personally knew very well. Her curiosity had been piqued, and she would hold on until she'd been satisfied.
"You know me," she said firmly, it wasn't even a question. "And I...I should know you too, I know I should." the 'I can feel it' left hanging between them, unspoken. Kol swallowed, feeling nauseated.
"I don't know what you're talking about," said Kol lightly, shrugged. The curiosity and determination on her face was briefly replaced by annoyance, but it didn't last long. Anna's eyes narrowed back at him, running her tongue over her lip as she shifted on her feet.
"Yes, you do," she said. "And I'm definitely not leaving until you tell me."
Behind him, Kol heard Elijah sigh. "I give up; they're obviously soulmates."
He rolled his eyes, and Rebekah squealed in delight. Something crashed, but Kol didn't dare turn around to see what damage had been caused, busy as he was staring at Anna's impassive face. "You don't wanna know," he said, lowering his voice and leaning closer to her. "Trust me."
Anna stepped closer, drawing herself up to her full height (which wasn't much) and propping one hand on her hip. "You totally just dug yourself a grave," she said, just as softly, quirking an eyebrow at him. "I wanna know. I'm not going anywhere until I do."
Biting his lower lip, Kol glanced over his shoulder; both of his siblings had disappeared, which was annoying. He turned back to find that Anna's gaze had softened, her eyes falling to his lips briefly. "I know you..." she breathed, taking another step toward him. "I know I do."
Kol couldn't help it, he leaned closer to her. He was selfish and he missed her; he wanted to punish himself for making her wait for him. Anna reached for him, her fingertips ghosting across the front of his shirt when he pulled away abruptly, leaving her looking startled by his disappearance; something he really hoped wasn't sadness flashed across her face. "I'm not someone you want to remember, love," said Kol.
"Fuck that," breathed Anna, pushing herself into the house and making Kol step back. "You don't get to tell me what I can and can't know." This time he didn't move when she stopped in front of him, craning her head back to stare up at him. "I didn't know I was missing something until I saw you tonight. How fucking cheesy is that?" she asked absently, shaking her head. "You messed up when you called me Annabelle, it's only fair that you put everything back where it belongs."
Oh and did he want to. His resolve to keep her in the dark was slowly slipping away; this was enough, right? To know what she'd gone through, this was fine? Kol reached for her face, touching her cheek briefly before wrapping his hand the back of her head and holding her still. He kept silent, like he could, and reversed his compulsion over her; pulling away when he was done and stuffing his hands into his pockets.
Anna was silent, her eyes unfocused as she (well, he assumed; he'd never actually been compelled before, so it could have been a completely different experience) remembered him. Ninety years wasn't that long, for their relationship it wasn't even significant; they'd spent more time being apart in their marriage then they had spent together.
Finally, Anna blinked. "You..." she started dumbly, looking flabbergasted. Kol was prepared for a bit of yelling, maybe a slap or a kick in the shin, but he was startled when Anna reached out with both hands and dragged him toward her by the front of his shirt, rising up on her toes to meet him. The tip of her nose bumped against the underside of his jaw before he had time to lean his head down; Anna was smiling, stupidly, just like she had been when he'd erased her memories of him, and she shook her head gently. "You are an idiot."
Kol's face split into a grin, pulling his hands out of his pockets and resting them on her waist. "You're not angry with me?"
"I'll be angry at you later," said Anna, her voice catching on her words. "Right now I just want you to kiss me."
"I love you, Anna."
"Love you too, idiot," she snapped, rolling her eyes. She pressed her lips against his quickly, but before she could pull away completely, Kol slid his hand up her back and tightened his grip on her waist; kissing her back. Anna relaxed against him, loosening her grip on his shirt and sliding her arms around his neck. His eyes fluttered open when he felt her pull away, but she didn't try to move out of his arms, which he took as a good sign. "Don't ever make me forget you again, Kol," she warned him, brushing her fingers along the side of his neck.
Shaking his head, Kol lifted the corner of his mouth into a half smile. "Never."
"Do you promise?"