Elena/Elijah, somewhere after 4x18

A Song In Seven Tongues

Mystic Falls, Virginia

When the end comes for Rebekah, it's a just a little death. The vial of blood falls from her fingers, and she smiles at her siblings. Klaus pulls against Elijah's grasp, furious and bitter, caught in a hold he could have broken, should have broken.

"That was for Elena," he snarls. "How dare you deny me, traitor!"

The accusations fall on a silent room as Rebekah stumbles, clutches her breast, and falls. She never hits the ground.

"No!" the last sons of Ester roar, united at last in their pain. Across the room, the Salvatores glimpse a future they almost bought.

"She's dust," whispers Stefan, "My god, Damon, we would have turned Elena to dust." Turning to the vampire at his side, he blinks when the face of his brother fades to a stranger.

"Full disclosure: I'm not Damon," says Silas, and calmly breaks Stefan's neck.

From a distance, Elena watches the pieces fall like the living version of a chess master's endgame. Down they go: generous Elijah and invincible Klaus, then beautiful Caroline and lonely Katherine. At last there remains only Bonnie Bennett, standing over the bodies with souls in her fingertips and spells on her eyelids.

The strongest, and the weakest, of Elena Gilbert's beloved has come to save the world. Bonnie, daughter of witches, screams until the Earth itself joins her aria. When Silas burns, Elena doesn't even stay to watch his ashes crumble. The vampire that had once been a girl picks a spot outside in the shadows and sits, listening to terror echo within.

A shell, Elena waits. In the place where grief and love should meet, she finds only hunger. It's a dull throbbing taste that never leaves her the roof of her mouth, and it hurts more than any ambition, any passion, any loss. When she thinks about the men who loved her, Elena feels hollow. When she thinks about the friends who believed in her, she wonders if they're dead yet. She's still waiting, still patient, when Elijah's feet come to a halt before her vision.

"You're alive," notes Elena, glancing up at the thousand-year-old monster. "How nice for you."

Ashes streak his face and blood cakes his neck. With every minute more noises pour from the place of power: recriminations, blame, whispers of agony. Always behind the words lurks the echo of magic as wounds regrow to soft flesh. Someone, maybe Caroline, is crying. It's almost morning as Elijah looks down at the vampire wearing a face he loved so very long ago.

"I'm leaving Mystic Falls," he tells her. "My sister is dead, and my parents. Finn and Kol are dead. There's nothing but death in this town."

When he holds his hand out to Elena, she takes it.