Title: A Work in Progress
Summary: This is a sequel to my first story. What happens after the events of the Mikaelson ball?
Disclaimer: I don't own any characters familiar to TVD.
Author's Note: Thank you all for all of your encouraging remarks! I've been trying to make a longer story, but I got stuck, so I decided to work on yet another one shot. This is a sequel to my story 'Trust.' I hope you guys enjoy it.
"So…Esther wants to kill her entire family…" Stefan Salvatore voiced, walking Elena Gilbert to her door.
"Yeah…" she trailed off, walking inside. Stefan needed no invitation into her home, but she knew that even if one was extended, he wouldn't take it. Things between them had been awkward at best. Stefan had kept a respectable distance from her both physically and emotionally, and for Elena, it had been a bitter pill to swallow. She hadn't been ready for things to be over between them, but she had learned to let it go. There were still moments when she missed him, but it was getting easier day by day. Elena reached around her shoulders and removed the shawl, setting it down. "And I let her use my blood to start it."
"Elena…" he stepped closer to her, before stopping himself. He wished that things were different, that she didn't find herself in the position that she did. The past three years had hardened her, but she'd tried not to let it affect her.
"They don't all deserve to die," she replied, her back still turned to him. "And for Klaus to die, I have to kill all of them?"
"You aren't going to kill all of them," he replied. He'd always respected Elena. She was a good person, and despite all the things that she'd gone through, she maintained that goodness. She represented the goodness that he strove to be. "You're going to kill Klaus," he continued. "The rest are just…collateral damage."
The brunette frowned at the words she'd heard come out of her ex-boyfriend's mouth. It was something she expected from Damon, not Stefan. She spun around, her disbelief written all over her face. "You did not just say that," she told him. Who was this person she was talking to? "We're not talking about…these are people, Stefan."
"No, they are vampires," he corrected. He was sorry that he'd apparently upset her, but he wouldn't apologize for his comment. He wasn't the only one to feel that way either. "Vampires who have ruined your life since the moment they entered it," his voice was soft but firm, reminding her of the fact. "I can't say that I'm sorry to see any of them go." And he wouldn't. Whatever positive feelings he'd once held for Klaus and Rebekah died years ago. He'd never cared for Elijah. He didn't know the other Milaelson siblings, but if they were anything like their brothers…
Elena let out a weary sigh and smiled sadly. "I stopped it," she whispered. She wasn't regretful for her actions, but she was sorry that she was about to let Stefan down. He'd suffered his own pain because of the Original family, and it wasn't fair to him; but she had to remain true to herself.
It wasn't often that he used his supernatural speed, but he did then. He approached her, grasping her arms in his hands, squeezing tighter than he meant to, but unable to let her go. "Excuse me?"
Elena looked down at the skin he was holding, looking back at him with a pointed look, as though she was trying to imply for him to release her. "I stopped Elijah from drinking it," she repeated, her voice stronger.
His grip tightened. "Why would you do that?"
Elena whimpered. "Stefan, you're hurting me," she told him. When he pulled his hands back, she noticed the red tint on her skin. She was sure that in the morning, she'd have hand shaped bruises there the following morning. She rubbed her arms to try and relieve the dull ache.
"Why would you do that? We were so close to being rid of Klaus!" Elena had often played the martyr, and he'd always let her. She was often the victim, and he had always coddled her because of it. Perhaps he'd made a mistake? "You know, for someone who hates having decisions made for her, you certainly had no problem making them for everyone else," he spit out, his anger welling inside him.
"That's not fair, and you know it!" She exclaimed, her own frustration getting the better of her. "I want Klaus dead, maybe more than anyone, but I am not going to be responsible for…collateral damage," she hissed out the words, throwing them back in his face. When he winced at the action, she pursed her lips.
"No, of course not," he shot back. "We couldn't hurt your precious Elijah!" Even as he spit the words out, he wondered where they'd come from. Damon was the one to say things in the heat of the moment. He, on the other hand, had always looked at things with an air of caution. His brain ruled him, not his emotions. And, if he wasn't so upset, he'd be embarrassed by his juvenile words.
"What is that supposed to mean?" She asked, shocked to hear something so pointed about Elijah out of his mouth. Damon was the one that constantly threw insults around about Elijah and the rest of his siblings.
Stefan nearly growled at her. How dare she act so clueless! "Don't give me that doe eyed, confused look," he ordered. "Don't think that I don't see the way that Elijah looks at you…or the way you look at him when you think no one is looking."
Stefan was actually jealous? He'd lost that right months ago. She considered his accusation. Yes, she felt an attraction for Elijah. He was beautiful, both inside and out, he was a man of honor and she'd come to respect him for it. He'd saved her life more than once, and maybe there was a little bit of…interest on her side, but she had never instigated anything. Not only did she already have enough on her plate, but her love life, or lack thereof, was already complicated enough; without the addition of a thousand year old vampire. Besides, he'd lived so long, she knew that she was way out of Elijah's league.
"That's not it, and you know it," she shot back, ignoring her thoughts on Elijah. Elena stared imploringly at Stefan; they'd never seen eye to eye on the older vampire, and she didn't expect them to any time in the near future. "He's a good person."
"He's a vampire! You've seen what my dark nature does to me, seen me at my worst. You've read the recollections that the Ripper kept. Elijah is just as bad, if not more so!" There was a reason why the Originals were so feared.
"A person's past shouldn't dictate their future," she finished softly. "You, more than anyone, should know that. If you weren't a good person, I wouldn't have looked twice at you. I wouldn't have fought for our relationship. Elijah is a good man, Stefan."
"When are you going to remove those rose colored glasses?" He stared imploringly into her eyes, wishing that she would just see the light. He watched Elena shake her head, dismissing him.
This was not how she envisioned the night ending. After her conversation with Elijah and her reflection on the relationships in her life, this was supposed to be her moment to break Stefan of his resolve, to see if there was just a little piece of him that she could reach. She didn't mean to fight with him, but she couldn't betray her feelings either.
"You should go. I think that we've both said enough tonight," she suggested. Maybe tomorrow, once they'd both had time to process everything, they could talk without insulting each other?
"Yeah, that might be best," he agreed, tight lipped. His jaw was ticking, as though he wanted to say something else, but he held himself back. Without another word, he turned and walked out the door, pulling it closed, but not hard enough to shut it.
"Stefan!" Elena called. She walked to the door, wanting to catch him. She didn't want to let him leave so upset. After all they had done for each other, he deserved more than that. He never turned around to look at her, but he'd stopped. "I am sorry that my actions hurt you," she confessed. "I wish that I was strong enough to deceive Elijah tonight."
Even though she couldn't see it, Stefan lifted up one side of his mouth in a lopsided smile. Elena was a horrible liar, and they both knew that. "No you don't."
Elena let out her own small smile. He'd called her on it. "I know, I just…I hate disappointing you."
"We'll talk tomorrow, Elena," he replied stiffly.
Leaning against the frame of her front door, she watched him speed off into the night. Her nerves were shot, and she wanted nothing more than to break into the abundance of alcohol that Alaric had stashed. Instead, she closed the door, locking it behind her. Elena grabbed the shawl that she wore earlier and made her way upstairs to her room.
Normally the silence of the house would bug her, but she was thankful for it that night. She'd been so used to noise, if it wasn't her brother, then it had been Jenna. After Jenna's death, she and Jeremy remained at the house. Alaric divided his time between his own apartment and spending time with Elena and Jeremy at their place. Lately though, he'd spent much of his time away from the house, and after Damon compelled her brother to leave…a feeling of loneliness hit her nerves.
She wasn't prepared to find another person in her room, but when she realized who it was, she wasn't surprised at all. Elijah was perched on her window seat. His jacket was unbuttoned, and his bowtie, hung loosely around his neck. She couldn't remember the last time she'd found him so attractive. He appeared completely relaxed in her bedroom, in her world.
"You're the last person that I expected to see tonight," she confessed. She wasn't sure why she was so at ease around him, but she was. She folded her shawl over her desk chair and turned to face him.
"I figured that a conversation was in order," he replied easily, his eyes holding a gentleness to them that she enjoyed seeing. If he wasn't giving off his usual self-assured persona, he played at being completely at ease. As admirable as the trait was, she looked forward to getting glimpses of the real man.
Elena continued to gaze at Elijah unapologetically. "What are you doing here? I mean, not that I mind the visit, but I just assumed you would be dealing with other matters."
Noticing her perusal of him, Elijah nearly smirked, but instead he focused on her statement. Despite the seriousness of the situation he now found himself in, he was intrigued by the moment they shared earlier in the garden. It was constantly replaying in his mind. "Yes, well, Kol's ego was rather bruised by his run in with Damon," he started to explain the reason why he wasn't brainstorming with his siblings.
Elena held her hand up to silence him. "About that…I said something to Damon and he was acting out in anger."
Elijah arched one eyebrow in question for what exactly she'd said to the vampire. "Be that as it may, Kol admitted to starting it by playing with Rebekah's date."
She frowned, stepping closer to Elijah. "Matt? Is he okay?" Oh god, what if he was seriously injured and that was why Elijah was here…to break the news to her.
"He's fine," he answered. He hadn't been pleased, hearing the commotion in front of his door, only to find Damon leaning over his brother in a threatening manner, but it wasn't the first time his brother had been in a situation similar to that. Kol had a way of just…rubbing people the wrong way. Elijah and his siblings learned long ago not to get in the middle of his issues. "Damon stepped in and helped him. After the party ended, my sister went off to track him down and apologize for Kol."
"Elijah, there's something that I forgot to tell you earlier," the expression on her face was grave. She only hoped it wasn't too late. "Finn…I think he's working with Esther on this plan of hers," Elena said quietly. Her head bent down and she was looking at her fingers that laced together in front of her. She couldn't believe she didn't tell him! How could that have slipped her mind! What if he'd already talked to Finn? "It just slipped my mind, and I'm sorry that I didn't think of it before now."
Elijah paused for a second, considering her words before he gracefully stalked towards Elena. He stopped in front of her, using his hand, he tilted her head up so her eyes met his. She appeared genuine, not that he had any reason to doubt her; not after her actions that night. She could have very well let him drink the concoction and he wouldn't have been any wiser of it. "What makes you think that Finn is a part of it?"
"He was in the room with Esther before I arrived. He was…assertive," Elena frowned, wondering if she'd used the right word to describe him and the moment. "He was glad that I'd gone up there alone, and when he left, Esther was already burning the sage for privacy." Not to mention there was the fact that he remained so distant to his siblings. Elena hadn't seen them all enough to know for sure, but from what she did witness, Finn seemed to hold himself separately from his brothers and sister.
Elijah pursed his lips for a moment, thinking about her words. He was saddened to hear that Finn was willing to help their mother, but in all honesty, he wasn't surprised. Of all of them, Finn struggled most with what they became. Klaus had daggered him so long ago, that he never had a chance to properly adjust to life as a vampire. In that reasoning, it would make sense that Finn was the one ready to end it all.
Elena's heart hurt for the man before her. Her eyes searched his and she tried to convey her sincerity of his situation. "I'm sorry that this is happening to your family…to you," she apologized. While she hadn't been in a similar situation, she knew what it was like to want something so bad, achieve it and then lose it.
"I don't understand why I just can't be happy," he muttered, pulling away from her both physically and emotionally.
She spoke before she could help herself. "The world is how we view it, simple as that. Happiness is, in the end, up to us…not anyone else." She wasn't sure if the words were appreciated, and she wasn't even sure if she should have said it. The man before her placed his belief in the fact that everything would be so much better if his family was together again. Maybe it would be, but maybe it wouldn't make a difference. She just wanted him to know that his hope for a happy future wasn't dependent on this.
A smirk kissed his lips as he looked back to the woman in front of him. "You are an old soul, aren't you?" He took a moment to examine her eyes. Her eyes always betrayed what she was feeling, and until Elena, he had considered it a weakness. Now, it captivated him. She had overcome so much to become the person that stood before him. He knew that it wasn't easy, but she had persevered against it all.
She met his gaze, the intensity of it taking her breath away. "It's something that I heard once, and I've tried to keep it in the back of my mind since." The horror that was her life seemed to be never ending. It was easy, the feeling of just giving up, it would well up inside her sometimes.
Elijah noticed that their bodies moved closer to one another, this moment, it had taken on a life of its own. Things had grown intimate, too intimate. He stepped away from her. "I…understand that you told Stefan about your actions tonight."
Elena stepped away from him as well. "How long have you been here?"
"Long enough," he eluded. He'd heard it all, Stefan's anger and Elena's vehement arguments. What really gathered his attention was the way that she stood up for him. It wasn't the first time that she'd squared off against Stefan over him, but the last time it was in front of him and she was trying to make a point to him. This time, she'd had no idea that he was even there. She genuinely did like him and was willing to do what she could to help him.
The female let out a weary sigh. She turned her back on Elijah, moving to her vanity, she began undressing, as much as she could with Elijah in her room. She looked into the mirror, removing her earrings. "Until Klaus compelled him, Stefan was my rock. I would have done anything for him." Now it seemed as though Stefan and Elijah had switched places. "Isn't it funny how quickly things change?" Elena sighed. "I shouldn't have said the things that I said to him. He's been through so much because of Klaus."
"I know that it wasn't easy to do what you did," he acknowledged from across the room. He watched her place her earrings away before turning back to the mirror. She began removing hair pins, but when they began to tangle in the loose curls, she grew annoyed. "I won't let anything happen to you, Elena." Her actions were bound to settle badly with some people, but he wouldn't let her go through it alone.
She loved the way he said her name. Through the reflection of the mirror, she watched him step up behind her. When she felt his fingers in her hair, pulling at the pins she was unable to remove, her hands dropped to her side.
"You looked enchanting tonight," Elijah complimented her, changing the subject. His gaze was focused on her long locks, but with his abilities, he was able to see her reaction through the mirror before them. A faint blush tainted her cheeks, and he almost considered retracting his words and issuing an apology, but mirth began dancing in her eyes.
Elena knew that all it would take was one response and they would be swept up in the moment. After her confession earlier in the evening, it seemed as though a dam was broken. Her emotional filter had been switched off, and she guessed that it was similar for Elijah. She couldn't let that happen. Not then, not after her fight with Stefan. Despite the way she felt for the Original vampire, she wanted to make sure that if anything, though she doubted it would, happened between them; it wouldn't be some form of rebound. Instead, she forced herself to smile.
"I looked enchanting?" She asked, dissecting his words. "How do I look now?" She teased.
"Bewitching." His response was honest and unexpected. The make-up that she wore that evening was wearing off, making her look more like herself. The curls in her hair were falling, and she seemed to feel more comfortable then than when she was all dolled up.
Elena met his eyes through the mirror. His gaze moved to her, but his skilled fingers continued to pull at the pins in her hair. "Why did you come tonight?" She knew what he said before, but there was something else to it.
"I…wanted to see you," he replied. He needed to see her! "I wanted to see how you were doing." He pulled the last hair pin out and he watched as her hair cascaded down around her shoulders. "Our conversation tonight had me thinking."
"All of it," he admitted. If it had been anyone else, he would have paused before even thinking about admitting it. This…thing that he felt for her had taken him by surprise. He remembered their conversation not too long ago inside the Lockwood mansion. She'd asked him about his feelings for Katherine, and he vehemently denied that it'd never happen again. He supposed he meant it at the time. While Katerina had been human, she managed to bewitch him, not unlike the way that Elena had, but when he thought back on it, it paled in comparison to the second time around. Perhaps it was because he was so guarded this time? He tried to prepare himself against it, but Elena managed to squeeze through the cracks?
Elena met his gaze in the mirror. She was tempted to turn around and face him, but she was afraid the action would break the spell that had somehow been woven between them.
"Earlier, you said that I made an impression on you," Elijah observed.
Elena took a deep breath. "Yes."
"I just needed to tell you that, you've made one on me as well," he told her. He'd wanted to say it earlier in the evening, but there were too many emotions floating around at the time. After the party ended, he'd thought on his mother and Finn and trying to find a new plan of action against them, but his conversation with Elena continued to leak through his thoughts. That was the reason for his unscheduled visit to the Gilbert residence. He needed to find a resolution for his feelings, no matter what the ending result was.
Elena felt a smile break through on her face. She turned around searched his eyes. For some reason, she expected to find a smirking man, so completely unaffected by the moment, but he appeared to be nervous. "And what sort of impression would that be?" She asked, repeating the words that he'd asked of her earlier in the evening.
He cupped her cheeks in his hands. "The most important, life altering, never ending kind," Elijah confessed in a whisper. "Vampires are very selfish creatures. It took me five hundred years to find someone that made me care about something…more. After the way things worked out, it took another five hundred years for you to enter my life. I tried to remain as cool and…collected as I could, but you slipped right past the barriers I put up."
Elena offered a small smile as she considered his words. "I didn't anticipate feeling something for you either."
"I've existed for about a thousand years, and I've seen things that you could only imagine, but none of it means…I've been alone all those years. I…I'm ready to share that with someone, spend the rest of my life with someone. And I want that person to be you."
Knowing that her words would fail in comparison to the eloquent words that he'd confessed, Elena decided to do the next best thing. She brought her hands up around his neck and pulled his head towards her. Their lips met for the first time. She felt butterflies in her stomach, but there was no nervousness.
Elijah responded in earnest. One hand moved to the back of her head, the other moved down to her waist, pulling her closer in to him. He deepened the kiss, nearly moaning at the back of his throat when their tongued entwined.
Elena wasn't sure how long they kissed, but to her, it was one of the best moments of her life. When air became an issue for her, she pulled away, leaning her head down.
Elijah placed a tender kiss on her forehead. "Someone once told me that a life without love was no life at all," the words that Katherine uttered years ago rang in his mind. "I look forward to testing that theory, with you by my side."
"How is this going to work?" She nearly laughed. She still had Damon and Stefan to deal with, not to mention Bonnie. She knew her best friend would have issues with Elena's new love interest. Then there was his sister, who so strongly disliked her, while one of his brothers had already killed her. They would have their work cut out for them.
"One day at a time," he answered. "There will always be issues, our lives guarantee that, but I will remain by your side through it all, if you allow me."
"I can't think of anything I want more," Elena replied. "I…do you think you could stay with me tonight?"
Elijah arched an eyebrow.
Elena, as if sensing where his thoughts turned, blushed. "I'm not ready for the night to end," she confessed, reaching for her back and trying to unzip the gown that she still wore.
Elijah stepped behind her, pulling down the zipper, keeping his left pinky extended so that it trailed down her naked back as he unzipped it.
"Are you trying to seduce me?" Elena asked, her voice was light and teasing, but her heartbeat sped up at his actions.
"Would you like me to?" He asked, just as easily, but his words held an unspoken promise.
Elena turned her head to look at him. "Something tells me that you and I would burn each other alive when we do make it to bed."
He pulled her flush against his body. "It doesn't have to be a bed," he breathed in her ear. "But think I agree with your thoughts," he added in a smooth voice.
That night, Elijah settled himself on her bed, propped up against the headboard. Elena was tucked into his side. Periodically, he would lean down and kiss her forehead, smiling when she would burrow closer to his body. For the first time in a long time, he didn't worry about the day that followed. He had Elena by his side, and while he understood that it was a work in progress, he knew that it would all work out in the end.