I haven't been watching The Vampire Diaries since Klaus left Mystic Falls, and I won't be watching The Originals unless Caroline arrives in New Orleans. Nonetheless, they still inspire me (as does Birdy's cover of the song, which I've altered a little for the title).
Louisiana, 13:43 CDT
He'd come so far, killed so many, achieved so much; all without the jurisdiction of a human heart. He was why the weak feared the dark and the silent and the still. He'd sat at the roots of a family tree which had flourished, nourished by blood. He'd gazed at the stars while most others were still staring at their shoes, and he'd done as much as he could do alone. His siblings he used, or loved, or laid out and kept cold. They were as constant as those stars, although a great deal more irritating.
Marcel had killed Elijah.
Klaus had killed Marcel.
It was as simple and as horrific as that.
Now, with the light of a stained glass window pouring red, purple and green onto his back, in the best and brightest city in the world, he leaned on the bar and wished he had no heart. It had been stirred, it had wakened, and now it bled. He had no compass to guide him now. He'd been left to navigate the world alone, a world which hated or feared or ignored him. The last was the worst – the eyes which skittered over him where he sat, drinking his bourbon, denying him any reason to hurt them because he hurt. He planted his elbows on the polished wood, cupped the glass between his hands and hated with everything he had the pain he felt because he'd given in to the demands of a human heart.
The midday sunshine drenched the sparsely populated room and illuminated the dust motes as they swirled. Klaus, undead and dead to the beauty of the scene or the city, thought no further ahead than drinking the bar dry and then draining the life out of something, not someone, handy.
Virginia, 02:16 EDT
"My brother is dead."
"My brother is dead."
"My brother Elijah is dead."
She didn't mean to sigh, a gush of sound which had more to do with relief because it was the wrong name than relief because it was a name she wished would die. "I'm so sorry."
"My brother needs you."
"My brother needs you. Here. In New Orleans."
"Rebekah, I can't."
"He hasn't moved. Hasn't spoken. Hasn't murdered, hasn't maimed, hasn't done anything except sit on a barstool and stare into space. You are the last person I would willingly choose to call, and yet I'm calling, because he needs you. He needs to know there's still light and life left in the world, and even though I can't fathom the reasons why, I know that's what he sees when he looks at you."
"You can. You will."
"Really? And who's going to make me, you?"
"You will. You'll come because deep down, under all your happy teenage fantasies of college life and eternal youth, you care for him. No matter what how far away he goes, you'll always care for him."
She didn't mean to stay silent, to clutch the phone in her hand like it was a live grenade and she was holding down the spoon. She didn't mean to give any satisfaction by failing to answer 'no'.
Louisiana, 14:01 CDT
The daylight had started to genuinely annoy him. Night was so much softer, and there were so many more people, and so many more of them were afraid of him. It felt wrong that the sun was shining when Elijah was dead and dust, even more so as it shone down on his brother like a blessing from above. No one had blessed him. He blessed himself, but it seemed as if he wouldn't be able to save himself – from his heart, anyway. He considered clawing it out of his chest in the detached, dispassionate way he was considering everything just then. He would shred his skin, and part his ribs, and tear it out, and then perhaps everything would stop. Perhaps it would grow back dead.
Spots of brightness split and sparked all over the bar, reflected off gold sequins. She walked in looking like she'd come from a party, the slim-cut jeans, the pretty tank top, the cascade of golden leaves falling from her ears into the peeled banana colour of her blonde hair.
He could almost taste her on the air.
She stopped in the doorway, her head on one side, halfway in and halfway out, halfway towards being the kind of close that was too close. She hadn't decided whether she'd come too far already, across state lines and into the past, over the threshold of a bar in the middle of the day and towards a person who'd once professed to love her. She'd left the party. She'd sat in her room and thought and not spoken to anyone about it, not even the people who mattered most to her.
Maybe that was her answer.
"I'm so sorry," she said again, and sat down beside him. He gazed at her glitter like a man might gaze at stars, ignorant of their chemistry but blinded by their beauty. His movements were small, his back was hunched, and her heart went out to him, breaking down the bars which had caged it.
"I'm so tired," he told her.
Under no other circumstances would she have reached out to him. She placed the tips of her fingers on his temples, smoothed her thumbs over the lines in his forehead. She felt tears come to her own eyes when he closed his, her own hurts coming back to haunt her since the room was full of ghosts.
"Drinking whisky won't bring him back."
"I'm not trying to bring him back. I'm trying to make him leave me alone."
"You loved him."
"Yes." It was choked out, the answer neither of them were expecting. "I wish I didn't."
"You wish everything could go back to the way it was, all your siblings daggered and neither alive nor dead, no one to answer to and no one to grieve for."
"You know it can't ever be like that again."
And because he was so close to being undone, so close to turning back time and not even being a human again, but being a child again – her hands slid down to his shoulders, to ease the tension there too, and his hands came up and held tightly onto her wrists.
"Thank you." He pushed his face into her shoulder, felt the human heart contract and confuse itself with yet more feelings, more than it should be able to contain right now. She gently stroked the hair on the back of his head, as confused and made guilty by that confusion as he was. "Thank you."
They sat there, as hours passed and the night drew in, any coloured light in the room made irrelevant by the fact that she was there, full of light, full of the promise of everything going back to the way it was and never could be again; by the fact that she was there, and he was there, in New Orleans.
No one dared tell them no.
No one dared ask them to go.
So when they slept, it was with her back against a leather banquette and his head in her lap, both deafened by silence since there were no more words to be said.
There were words between them, but they would take time.
They would take time.