Title: "Love Me (Not)"

Status: OneShot

Fandom: The Vampire Diaries; The Originals

Pairing(s)/Character(s): Elijah Mikaelson/Niklaus Mikaelson

Disclaimer: Copyright CW and LJ Smith.

Rating: T

Genre: Alternate Universe – Canon, Alternate Timeline, gen, slash, friendship, family, character introspection

Warnings: incest

Summary: Love is a weakness, love is strength, love will be their downfall, love will save them all. Klaus and Elijah have a fundamental difference of opinion...

AN: The dialogue is taken straight out of 2x19 "Klaus."

Love Me (Not)

"Love is a vampire's greatest weakness."

Klaus states this as if it is an absolute truth and not only one side of the coin, voice harsh. He brings his face closer and Elijah feels blood-warm breath on his skin, it stirs fine hairs and draws his attention to the angry tilt of pale lips.

"And we are not weak, Elijah," Klaus continues, tone filled with contempt for the very idea of being moved by so mundane and human a feeling. His eyes are dark with emotion, blown wide and intense as Klaus' hands settle on Elijah's arms, their hold loose yet, only a hint of nails through expensive fabric. "We do not feel and we do not care."

The kiss is as brutal as expected, less show of affection or lust than a gesture of dominance, but quickly gentles out of necessity, tamed by Elijah's grip on Klaus' neck, ready to snap it; he licks blood from his brother's tongue and swallows his moan.

If longing had a specific smell it would be this: patchouli, the metal and leather of a sword sheathed, blood, arousal and pain, all under the earthy tang of denial.

Klaus breaks away and repeats, "I do not care."

Elijah knows those words by heart, has suffered to hear them quite often through the centuries; they leave him tired and wary. It is a lie he sometimes fears to have morphed into truth while his back had been turned. But now it is plain to see, Klaus' desperate need to convince both of them that he speaks true.

(Such moments come and go with dear Niklaus, far less predictable than the wax and wane of the moon they loved to watch as children, painting ancient heroes across the starry sky, leaning against each other, back to chest, seeking warmth.)

Elijah understands the fear that compels his brother ever forward, has witnessed it ever since they were human. It is not quite pity he feels, for that would be an insult, cut deep and divide them. Perhaps his own helplessness makes him ache, hands bound in the face of Klaus' violent temper, remorseless cruelty and vain egotism.

Klaus' mangled idea of love is destructive and selfish and can't be appeased, like their unending hunger for blood, it gnaws at them. What Klaus holds dear he grips tight, crushing it; except, their family is immortal, which only serves to make things worse: all the more opportunities for them to leave Klaus behind, their unfettered, fallen from grace, unloved bastard brother.

Klaus, who doesn't know what he is searching for, can't realize that he already has what he truly wants, who can't trust that Elijah will always love him. He promised: always and forever.

"We did once," he returns mildly, after too long a pause, never having looked away; licking his lips. You do, Elijah does not say, satisfied with the proof Klaus has given him, albeit without meaning to.

Klaus shrugs. "Too many lifetimes ago to still matter."

Elijah inclines his head. Sometimes, the best course of action is to simply indulge him. "Of course, brother."

They let the issue rest – this night - in companionable silence.

[Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within. ~ James Baldwin]

The End