Disclaimer: I don't own TVD, I don't even own a copy of The Princess Bride, horrific as that is.
Time frame: Set immediately after "A View to a Kill."
Rebekah pressed the heels of her hands to her eyes until they started to hurt, then wiped away the tears and pinched her pale cheeks. She was not going to let him see her crying.
"I gave you the bloody headstone," she yelled, "and if you think you're getting anything else from me tonight you're a bigger idiot than I ever thought!" She threw open the door and her anger melted away in the cool night air. Standing there wasn't Stefan, but Matt, looking far too much like a kicked puppy.
"Hey," he said. God, he was cute. It was those eyes. And the muscles. And the chivalry. She'd always been a sucker for a white knight - but she was done being a sucker today.
"Go home, Matt," she said, more exhausted than angry. "Tell Stefan or Damon or whoever sent you that I'm done with these games for tonight. We can play again tomorrow."
He put his hand out to stop her closing the door. "I'm not here for them."
She laughed. Loudly. It sounded like a sob.
He stared at her. She couldn't stand that pitying look in his eyes and started to close the door again.
"I heard about Kol," he said finally.
"Don't," she warned, letting her fangs descend, her eyes turn black. "You don't care. You hated him." The past tense burned her throat.
"Yeah," he agreed readily, "but I don't hate you."
Her heart stuttered in shock.
"I was surprised too," he said ruefully and looked down, losing himself in his thoughts. After a moment he seemed to shake himself and met her eyes. "Listen." He reached into his jacket and she braced for the dagger he'd surely come here to plunge in her heart.
He pulled out a thin DVD case, its cover shining in the light from her entryway.
"The Princess Bride," he said. "It's actually Caroline's copy but she shouldn't mind; she's got the blu-ray too."
Rebekah just stared at the curiously looping script, unsure how to respond to the film or the mention of someone she ostensibly hated.
"This isn't an apology - not for any of it, and I don't expect one from you. I just-" He ran a hand through his hair. "I know why you went after me. You have this picture in your head. You wanna be the girl next door with the small town, quarterback boyfriend."
She was impressed that he didn't pretend he hadn't been waiting to ambush her in the school tonight. At the same time though, it was like a slap in the face to hear him degrade her feelings for him, describing himself as nothing more than a prop in her play.
"Well," he said before she could examine his statement further, "tonight that's what I want too. I want to sit on a couch with a cute girl, watch one of the greatest films of all time, and pretend one of my friends didn't commit genocide tonight. What d'you say?" He held out the DVD invitingly.
She pushed down the thrill of hearing him call her cute. Cute. Not lovely or beautiful or goddess walking the earth, all of which she'd heard before. It was barely a compliment at all but it still made her heart jump. For months he'd been giving her the cold shoulder and he expected her to believe tonight of all nights - when her brother was dead and Stefan had gotten his hands on her dagger - he decided to forgive her?
He hadn't though. He'd said himself that they weren't apologizing. This was just for tonight, just for … what? He had friends and she was supposed to believe he was coming to her instead?
"Rebekah," he sighed. "There's a deputy sitting around the corner and if I drive away from here he's gonna give me a ticket for being out past curfew so could you just let me in already?"
She looked over his shoulder into the night, searching for any sign of a cop car.
"Some of us get cold," he added with an overdramatic shiver for emphasis.
She stepped back. He smiled.
She breathed deep, fighting hope and suspicion at once. It was a fantasy. That was all. They were going to pretend to be normal for one night. It didn't mean anything. Except this was the first time they'd been alone since … She almost thought of the night of her party but then that hadn't been him at all, just her own imagination playing werewolf poison-induced tricks on her. Still, this was sure to go better than that had so long as they refrained from murdering one another.
"You can search me for a dagger if you want," he said.
She turned, accidentally slamming the door shut with her speed. The pictures on the wall shook. Matt pulled his lips into a thin smile. He'd taken off his coat while she was second-guessing herself and held his arms out, offering himself to her. She should search him for the dagger. She could see his muscles under his cotton shirt. The fabric was worn thin in the places he was most defined. She definitely wanted to search him, which was exactly why she wouldn't.
"I trust Stefan," she said airily and strode past him into the living room.
Matt only shrugged like it didn't matter either way and went to her entertainment system. He seemed competent to handle the mess of devices on his own, leaving her to stand aimlessly in the middle of her own living room.
He smiled at her through the reflection on the television screen and in a fit of self-consciousness, she announced, "I'm going to make some popcorn." Anything was better than looking like the wallflower at their party of two.
She took her time finding a decent bowl, waiting until she heard the menu screen start up before heading back out. If they had to sit through ads they might be forced to speak and, assuming he really did just want to pretend for one night, talking would only ruin it. She realized the flaw in her plan when she came back into the room and saw Matt smiling at her from one end of the couch.
"Smells good," he said.
Rebekah tried to smile back as she cursed herself. If only he'd sat in one of the armchairs or she'd been smart enough to sit down first. Now she had to be the one to decide how much distance was to be between them. He said he wanted the illusion; did that mean he wanted to pretend they were together? To sit close as if they were a couple? Or should she respect that she'd almost killed him a few short months ago and sit at the opposite end of the couch?
Her preoccupation with the couch cushions clued him in to something being wrong and he half-rose while taking the bowl from her hands.
"Did you want the armrest?" he asked. "I don't mind-"
"No!" she said, her voice light with relief. "I don't mind at all." She fell onto the cushion beside his and he resumed his seat. Matt settled the bowl into the space between them and hit play.
Rebekah bit her lip until it bled in an effort to stop her smiling. Did he even know he'd saved her from her own awkward indecision or was he just so much of a gentleman that heroics came naturally?
"You've seen this before," Matt accused.
Rebekah turned to him sharply, her smile finally fading as her mouth opened in surprise. "What? No! I've never-"
"Really?" Matt asked, seeming genuinely confused. "Then what's with the smile?"
She floundered long enough for the title to fade and the movie to truly begin. Her eyes snapped decisively to the television and she said the first thing that came to mind. "Wouldn't the girl next door be happy to be here?"
For a moment she worried it was the wrong answer. His expression clouded and he frowned before a small smile emerged and he settled back onto the couch. The bowl bumped a bit closer against her thigh.
She barely managed to grasp the frame of the story before things began in earnest. She worked hard to focus her attentions on the action playing out before her rather than the boy at her side.
"Typical," she muttered only a few seconds later.
"What?" Matt asked and she had the distinct feeling he was laughing at her, though she had no idea why. She was too angry at the film, however, to truly care.
"Men," she said, gesturing towards the screen. "This 'as you wish' nonsense is clearly just the farm boy's way of skirting the issue to get under her skirts. Most likely so he can get this farm once her father dies."
The film stopped abruptly and the bowl slid away from Rebekah as Matt turned in his seat to face her.
"Westley is in love with her," he said seriously, "and because she's of a slightly higher class than him, he can't just go saying that. Plus he's a guy and no guy wants to tell the hot girl he likes her unless he knows she's gonna reciprocate. So he says 'as you wish' and yeah, it's dumb, but it's their thing."
Rebekah stared, uncertain how to respond. Matt colored slightly and ducked his head, running one hand over the back of his neck.
"Jeez, sorry about that. I actually said the same thing you did the first time I saw this."
"Caroline set you straight?" Rebekah asked before she could think better of it. She stared straight ahead at the frozen image of the grandfather and grandson and so missed the expression that went with Matt's response.
"Vicki, actually. This was her favorite movie." His voice dropped to a register that chilled her heart and tugged at her sympathies. He restarted the movie before she could respond.
She was determined to avoid any further awkward interludes and focused all her energies on the film. They were doing this to pretend and she wasn't helping either of them by interrupting. Her resolve didn't last long.
"What! He dies?"
Matt burst out laughing.
"It's not funny! What was the point of all that 'he really loves her' nonsense if he was just going to die two minutes later?" She smacked him in the shoulder. "Stop that! Look at her! She's devastated!" If there was one thing in this world that Rebekah knew it was heartbreak. The girl wasn't crying or wailing in pain, but she might as well have been.
Matt reached out and took the hand Rebekah was using to gesture angrily at the screen.
"I promise you this movie has a happy ending. Okay?" He put her hand gently in her lap. "Trust me." He smiled so charmingly… The girl next door, she decided, would trust the boy next door. She nodded and his smile brightened slightly.
She held her tongue through the kidnapping, the eels, the climb. She tried to ignore her own tragic history with her father as the Spaniard related his and smiled at the Sicilian's hubris. The pirate taunted the princess with the tale of her love's death, spitting the dead man's talk of true love back at her. Rebekah grabbed for the remote control and paused the film.
"What are you doing?" Matt demanded.
"Why are you showing me this?" she asked. Her reaching had upset the bowl and Matt was busy plucking spilled kernels from his lap. He looked up at her and she quickly added, "Why are you here? The truth this time."
She'd caught him in his lie. It was clear in the way he stared and, when he couldn't find an answer, ran his hand over his face. He looked to her again and she thought he might raise his hand to her, just as the pirate had done only minutes ago.
Finally, he said, "Vicki was my sister."
Rebekah's heart sank and she wished she'd only let it go instead of opening this wound.
"She was …" He laughed humorlessly and shook his head. "You probably wouldn't have liked her. Caroline didn't."
Rebekah bristled at the implication that she was anything like that stuck-up brat but didn't dare interrupt.
"But she was my sister, you know?" he asked and she could only nod. "She was kind of a mess and then Damon turned her and it only got worse and then … I thought she left," he said quietly. He rested his elbows on his knees and shook his head slowly. "I didn't question it for a minute - and she was my baby sister." He kicked the coffee table and it jumped an inch or two but from the looks of it he only managed to hurt his leg. "Elena says she was out of control, that she was gonna kill her and Jeremy and … I believe her, I do, but it still hurts."
He rocked in his seat and Rebekah reached out to comfort him. He straightened and Rebekah snatched her hand back before he could notice.
He laughed again. "You know, when I found out about Caroline, at first I thought it was her. I didn't know about any of the others and I thought Caroline had done it." He ran his hands over his face and pressed the heels to his temples. "They found her body a few weeks after she disappeared and it was … it was the single worst moment of my life. I didn't even know how she'd died or what really happened and I was just too broken to even care. Can you imagine that?"
"Yes," Rebekah said, her voice thick with unshed tears. She knew that sort of pain well. It was why she'd sobbed harder as her brother's dead body was laid in the ground than when Klaus first brought it home, and why she'd buried Alexander even after he tried to kill her and her family. It was also, she'd come to realize, why her parents had been willing to murder their living children if it meant keeping them from a more permanent death.
Matt smiled sadly at her, then leaned forward again, his attention on something far more distant than the television in front of them. He took a deep, heavy breath before speaking again. "All over the world right now people are losing the people they love. Vampires in Kol's bloodline are just dropping dead. They might have family and friends, people who have no idea what's happening, who might not even know they were vampires and they're just … dying."
Rebekah carefully moved the bowl to the coffee table and sat closer to him so that she could run a comforting hand over his back. His head dropped and he reached one hand across his lap to clutch her free hand. After a time he released her and sat up. Rebekah dropped her hand to her lap to hold in the warmth that he'd taken away.
"I really am sorry about Kol," he said to the ceiling. "Not just because of everyone else out there but … because I know how it hurts."
She nodded dully, her eyes on her hands. "Kol was an ass but he was my brother. We came into the world together and I-" She took a breath. "I can't imagine him not being out there somewhere in it."
Matt's arm wrapped around her shoulders and she abandoned all her remaining pride, allowing him to pull her close. He said nothing more, no false words of comfort, only made soothing noises as she cried into his chest. She felt drops of warmth leaking into her hair and knew she was not alone. She could not say how long they stayed like that but when she finally felt ready to pull away the screen had gone black and the popcorn was cold. She reached for the remote where it had fallen on the floor and was surprised to find his arm waiting to hold her when she sat back.
She smiled up at him, not just for the honesty or the cry or even the arm around her shoulders, but because she trusted him. She hit play and settled back against his shoulder to watch the promised happy ending unfold.