When Matt agrees to road trip around the world with Rebekah, he's expecting more traditional backpacking, so he packs accordingly. Jeans, shorts, t-shirts, and a jacket.

Rebekah unceremoniously dumps everything on his bed, looks disdainfully at most of it, and hands Matt his favorite jacket. "Here. You can wear this until we get to New York. I'll have to get you new clothes for the trip."

"I said backpacking under Vegas rules, Rebekah, not letting you be some sort of sugar mama," returns Matt in a wry voice.

"Dear god never call me that again." Rebekah shakes her head in disgust. "We will backpack and sleep under the stars. I'll even sleep in a hostel a few nights so you get the full experience. Though I have no doubt you'll be begging for a proper hotel after dealing with those mattresses. If you think vampires have a biting problem, wait until bedbugs have a go at you."

Matt makes a face at her. "I didn't agree to this so you could be in charge of everything."

Rebekah sighs. "But you did agree. So will you please let me buy you a few things? I want you to experience the best of the world, not just cheap tourist attractions, and for some of that you need better clothing."

"You can buy me whatever will fit in a backpack." Matt refuses to cave to the pout Rebekah turns on him. So what if it's far cuter than any Caroline ever used, and he certainly fell sway to those often enough.

"But what about plays or the opera? I refuse to allow you to attend the Sydney Opera or the Russian Ballet in a wrinkled suit pulled out of a canvas bag." If Rebekah is also thinking about how good Matt looks in a suit—and she has brothers who basically set the bar for such things—that's her business.

Matt holds out for another moment before giving in. "Fine. For special occasions, you can buy suits in that city. But that's it, Rebekah." He opts for honesty. "I need to feel like we're somewhat equals on this trip."

Rebekah nods her head, understanding what Matt's asking for. He spends too much time being the token human of Mystic Falls and while he's very good at it, she knows he wants to just be Matt again. Rebekah feels more than a little honored that despite everything, Matt trusts that she will be the one to let him do so. "Okay."

They leave within a few days of graduation. Matt has a number of text messages on his phone, all saying things that hit random levels of typical Mystic Falls crazy, but he pushes them into a tiny little compartment in his mind. He can't do anything about it, and if he's being perfectly honest, he's not really in the mood to try. His friends are adults now—have been for some time really—and they can fix their own messes. Besides, it's more than likely that at least two people will die and come back to life before the summer's over. It'll basically be like he's just skipping a couple cycles of America's Next Supernatural Disaster.

As Buffy would say, they can beep him if the apocalypse comes.

He schedules an email to be sent after he's left, that way no one can try to change his mind, to all his friends. It just says that he's going on a road trip with Rebekah. That it's his choice, no one else's and he's not being forced into this. He notes that he's not taking his phone and he doesn't really care about their opinions on it.

Matt kind of suspects that while she'd protest the loudest, Caroline would secretly support him the most.

New York is a bit of a whirlwind. Rebekah's intent is to stop over just long enough to do some shopping before they fly into Dublin, but he convinces her to give it a few extra days so he can see the Statue of Liberty and eat pizza in Little Italy and be a typical tourist.

Rebekah mocks him a little and bemoans that she'll never live down being such an obvious tourist—a word she says with dripping disdain—but she smiles a little more genuinely and outright giggles when he reenacts the Lady & the Tramp spaghetti scene, so Matt figures it's worth it.

There's a tiny part of him that says he should be more cautious. They both agreed to a no-strings summer, but Matt's not cruel enough to want to completely break Rebekah's heart and he knows this means more to her. But there's another part of him that likes seeing the way her eyes crinkle when she smiles and how much kinder she is when she doesn't have family to live up to. So he kisses her as they look out over the Harbor and lets her lean into him while walking back to the hotel from a Broadway show and tells the nagging voice in his head to shut up.

It seems like they only just arrived when they're packing up to hop on the plane to Dublin.

Matt has to admit that the clothes Rebekah picked out are incredibly comfortable. He feels less like the kid from small town Virginia too.

Rebekah tugs him into an airport gift shop while they wait for the plane to board. "C'mon, let's get souvenirs."

Matt looks at the tacky display of I heart NYC t-shirts next to them and then back at Rebekah. "This falls under your approved clothing category?" He finds that shocking.

"Not in the least. The best souvenirs are the memories and the food and the things you can't take back with you. But it's still fun to get kitschy gifts. And I've never really had anyone to send things back too." She holds up a Statue of Liberty pen. "See, Elijah would hate this, just as much as he hates his Eiffel Tower pen, but I'll give it to him anyway."

Matt rifles through the shirts. "Do you think they have one that says 'I left your heart in New York'? I'd send that to Damon."

"You're sending gifts to Damon?" Rebekah tilts her head at him.

"I'm mocking Damon. There's a difference."

Rebekah laughs, all high and bright like she's been doing for days, and Matt feels like he can't help but push her against the wall and kiss her until neither of them can breathe in anything but each other.

They get kicked out of the gift shop. But there are dozens more and Rebekah links her hands with Matt's as they leave and beams at him and he considers that worth the expulsion.

Forty-five minutes later, they're boarding the flight. Rebekah bought first class tickets—naturally—and first class on British Airways is amazing. Matt pulls the curtains closed as soon as permitted to do so, kisses Rebekah, then settles in. "Okay maybe I can let you pay for a few more things."

"I thought you might say that." She pokes her head out to order drinks from the attendant now that they're fully in the air and hands Matt his once they arrive. She's quiet for a second. "I'm glad you agreed to come with me," she says finally.

Matt looks at Rebekah, then at the window, then back at Rebekah again.


"You aren't still on that don't compel people to prove you have humanity thing, are you?" he asks.

Rebekah shakes her head with a teasing smile. "Hardly. I wanted to prove a point then. But let's face it, getting my way is so much more fun. Why?"

Matt lifts her hand up to his mouth, kisses the tips of her fingers, before sucking one into his mouth for a long moment, eyes never leaving Rebekah's. "It's a seventeen hour flight."

He grins at her—almost a leer—and then reclines his seat as far back as it will go. "The flight attendant did say to enjoy the ride."