She's always been alone.

Only child.

Preacher's daughter.

Sent away to boarding school where, friendships were made, but connections truly lacking. Not a ghost wandering the halls, but not a girl getting text messages when schoolwork wasn't involved. Out of sight out of mind, if you had to be poetic about it.

The handle is cold in her hand.

Rebekah still and lifeless below.

Her heart won't stop pounding, the dagger not pulling out as easily as she would have assumed, but a few short breaths and she's staring at the pointy end no longer embedded in her friend's chest. No blood, which is curious, considering the pools that surround her.

She counts to three and nothing happens.

Counts to ten.

Rebekah doesn't move and she wonders if this is some kind of sleeping beauty scenario. Looking on those cold blue lips, that ashen skin, April doesn't know if that's something she could do. The dagger brushes her leg as she laughs devoid of humor. Walking into a torture den filled with blood, the sight of her friend lying dead in a coffin, and the thing she hesitates about seems the easiest task to follow through.

A gasp from below, pulls her out of thought, as Rebekah moves faster than she can see. Pushed against the stone wall, steely fingers clutching her throat, black eyes and a snarling mouth dominate her ever blurring vision.

Dropped just as quickly, she gasps for air, eyes slowly able to focus.

"April?"

The accent. Still sounds so regal.

"Hi," she manages to say.

/\/\/\

A cup of coffee sits untouched on the table separating them.

April watches the steam rise off the liquid, hands fidgeting with the ridiculous sash she hasn't bothered to remove, the tiara suddenly feeling too heavy for her head. Rebekah is grateful for the dagger having been removed, offering said gratitude with awkward silence and an apologetic tilt of her head.

"Are you-" April starts and stops, hands settling into her lap, a deep breath taken before trying again. "Are you dead?"

"In a manner of speaking."

Brows crease together.

"What does that-"

"Vampire."

The word doesn't have the impact she thinks it should. Book and movie interpretations aside, it's one of those things her mind knows can't possibly exist despite the day's evidence to contrary, yet here it is staring her in the face. Her friend was dead, for all intents and purposes, daggered straight through the heart and boxed in a coffin. Just as she knows Caroline was most certainly dead on the bathroom floor before popping up and doing that weird thing with her eyes.

"Oh," is all that comes out of her mouth.

"You're not afraid."

It's a statement, not a question. Oddly true at that. Rebekah is a monster. Most likely a killer. But for whatever reason, any instinctual fear that should be forthcoming from such a fact never presents itself.

"No."

Their eyes meet across the table, April's slightly shy, and Rebekah's intently curious.

"Why not?"

The answer is easy.

"Because you're my friend."

/\/\/\

She's walking down the street when Matt catches sight of her and trots over. Hand on her arm, for a second she's lost in too blue eyes, a nervous chuckle pulls her from the revere and she smiles up at him. He apologizes for things being weird the other day, which is funny, feeling to the need to do so even if he wasn't involved.

For a moment she wonders if he knows, if everyone knows, and she's just some silly little girl not worthy of the truth.

God his eyes are blue.

He doesn't say much else, no indication that the world they live in might not be the same one she's grown up believing it to be. He heads for the Grill and she continues home.

/\/\/\

Rebekah finds a place to stay pretty quickly.

It's not the same house as before, and she's starting to think that the previous one was never truly hers either. Maybe it's a fringe benefit of being a blood sucking fiend, getting a home far cheaper than market value. The question seems silly so she doesn't ask, just sits in the chair offered and accepts the wine goblet placed in her hand.

"I didn't thank you properly," Rebekah says, pouring herself a glass. "For waking me up."

April takes a cautious sip, only having wine the few special occasions her father allowed, holidays and the like. It's a little sour, a little sweet, and she drinks with more confidence due to the smile it brings on Rebekah's face.

"Is that what you were?" April asks, swirling the liquid around inside the cup. "Asleep?"

"More like a coma," Rebekah replies before taking a healthy pull of her own. "No light, no sound, no dreams. Only black."

"That sounds awful."

"It is."

April wants to hug her. Just because. She sets the glass down, rises from that chair, and does exactly that. Rebekah doesn't respond at first, April quick to flush with embarrassment and pull away, but the blonde's free arm wraps around her shoulders and holds her there.

"It was quite a thing you did," Rebekah says softly. "Sneaking down there. Dead things everywhere. Didn't it bother you?"

"Yes," she admits, "But I-" she shivers against the image projected on the back of her eyelids, Rebekah's gentle squeeze offering subtle assurance. "Caroline said make sure your body was still there. Your body, like you were dead, and I just had to see."

"Caroline," Rebekah says grimly.

"Is she one too?" April asks. "A vampire like you?"

"She's nothing like me," comes the answer. "But a vampire yes."

"Are there a lot of them in Mystic Falls?"

"Like a plague."

April breaks the hug, moves back to her chair and drinks more wine.

"You're taking this fairly well," Rebekah notes.

"I think it explains a lot."

/\

A bottle and a half of merlot later, she's giddy and giggly, and they're watching old movies spread out on the gigantic California King in the master bedroom. Rebekah is not nearly as drunk as April, but is a good sport about the slurred speech and ever growing amount of hand gestures.

"Miss Mystic Falls," Rebekah says, out of the blue. "Aren't we the pretty princess?"

"I don't know how I won," April snorts with laughter, wildly throwing her arms into the air. "I haven't even lived here except for summers the last two years."

Rebekah's hand reaches out, pulls some stray hairs from her face and tucks them safely behind her ear.

"How could you not?"

April's cheeks flush with embarrassment, turning her head away, she sighs and almost falls asleep right there. Marilyn and Jane sing in the background, as Rebekah's hand finds her own, and she smiles so wide it could almost hurt.

"I really like you," she says softly. "I mean you're just so... You know?"

Rebekah doesn't reply at first, and April thinks she may be falling asleep too.

"Thank you," comes out a whisper.

It's the last thing either of them say.

/\/\/\

There's a man standing in the kitchen when April goes to get some orange juice at Rebekah's request. She gaps in surprise, which brings on the scariest smile she's ever seen. So pleased it is, at such a reaction to his presence.

"Miss Young, I presume." He says strangely polite, hands clasped behind his back. "I understand it was you who thought it a good idea to release my sister."

Sister?

"Can you not find it?" Rebekah asks, wandering into the kitchen, rubbing sleep from her eyes.

She stops dead at the sight of her brother, hands instantly clenching into fists.

"What are you doing here Nik?"

"Turns out my hybrids were nothing but a pack of traitorous sycophants," he says.

"And you came for what?" Rebekah replies. "Sympathy?"

"I'm here because despite everything, we're still family."

"You say that as if you know the meaning of the word."

April stands stock still through the exchange, hands wringing the end of her shirt so tight, almost afraid to breathe.

"Come now, Rebekah. No one likes those who hold a grudge."

Rebekah laughs coldly.

"Are you being serious? Did you, of all people, just say that to me? A thousand years, Nik. Chasing down anyone who's ever looked at you cross. Our own brothers, our mother. You go on incessantly about being alone never even acknowledging it's your own doing that keeps you that way."

"Careful sister, you're sounding awfully cross yourself."

April swears her heart stops the instant he looks at her.

"Get out," Rebekah says nodding at the door. "Peddle your sob story to someone who cares to listen."

There's a moment where no one moves, and April is so scared she can't even breathe, but surprisingly he turns on his heels and makes way for the door. The click of the knob closing echoes through the kitchen, as April doubles over gasping, stupid childish tears falling down her cheeks.

Rebekah is at her side instantly, one hand at the elbow, the other wiping away the tears.

"Don't worry about him," she tries to assure.

Easier said than done, April thinks. Something about his eyes, so angry, so alone.

"Hey," Rebekah says, lifting April's chin so that their eyes meet. "I'd never let him hurt you."

April nods, even though the tears continue to fall, she believes her.

/\/\/\

Caroline is at the Grill when she walks in, April catching sight and making a beeline for the bathroom hoping the blonde hasn't seen her. No such luck when, a few seconds later, they're staring at each other awkwardly in the mirror.

"Look," Caroline starts, offering a 'no harm meant' openness of her palms. "About the other day-"

"Forget it," April replies dismissively, reaching into her bag and fiddling with things to create the illusion of purpose. "Matt already apologized on your behalf. Stress, I think he said. So we're good."

The open arms are quickly folded across Caroline's chest, a disbelieving glare now returned in the reflection. April looks back, trying so hard to keep her lip from trembling, and pulling it off fairly well.

"Is there something else?" She asks.

"Where's Rebekah?"

Guess we're done pretending, April thinks, gathering up her courage.

"I know you heard me before," Caroline continues. "The coffin is empty, and I think you know where she is."

"I do," April replies, finally turning around to have the conversation face to face. "She's meeting me here in a few minutes, if you want to say hi."

"What? Look, April, I know you think she's your friend-"

"She is."

"Excuse me?"

"She's is my friend. I know what she is, and I know what you are, and whatever argument you try to make against her isn't really going to work."

"She's dangerous," Caroline counters. "I'm just trying to-"

"Protect me? Is that what you were doing with your weird eye mojo thing? I can take care of myself, thank you very much. So excuse me, I don't want to leave her waiting."

Caroline throws up and arm, blocking her exit.

"Are you going to let me leave?" April asks.

Caroline sighs, lowering her arm.

"Just be careful."

April doesn't reply, finally able to walk out the door. Rebekah waves casually from a table next to the bar, in full view of Matt who's wiping glasses and trying so hard to look casual. April joins her, picking up a menu and perusing the lunch specials.

This town is full of monsters, she thinks. Secrets and lies. So much so that it could drive anyone insane.

Rebekah makes a snide remark about the establishment having the audacity to serve a club sandwich open faced, and April laughs free and easy.

For once in her life she doesn't have to deal with such things alone.