Title: Your Honor
Fandom: The Vampire Diaries
Category: (drama, romance, adventure, etc)
Summary: Elena leaves Mystic Falls to protect those she loves, goes into hiding, and seeks a way to pay for the damage she's caused. Two years later, an unexpected visitor walks into Bree's bar and threatens to destroy the fragile peace she's created. Elena/Elijah, mentions of other ships
Spoilers: Up to and including 3x15
Warnings: Language, violence
Show/Bookverse: Show 'verse, up to and including 3x15
Disclaimer:The Vampire Diaries belongs to its rightful owners and sadly, none of those people or companies are me. I'm only borrowing them, but I promise to return them once I am finished.
Author's Notes: Thanks to midnight_burn. Mistakes are all entirely mine. Title comes from Bon Iver's 'Blood Bank'.
She's already dropped her glamor by the time he answers – she's getting better at it; it's like flexing a muscle now. She twists on the sofa to latch on to Elijah's offered hand.
"Elena," Klaus greets with false warmth. "I knew I would hear from you soon enough."
"What do you want, Klaus?" she asks, keeping her voice firm, with just a note of the fear she feels.
His voice when he answers seems to echo, as if he's in a large space – possibly the nightclub once more. "It seems I'll be needing your help with something, my dear."
"I'm already sending you blood once a month. I send more than I should and more often than I really should," she responds, the plea evident in her words. Her morning routine is filled with iron pills and vitamins, and she's been lucky that the Petrova Fire has protected her as it has, because anyone else in a similar situation would have become ill by now. Elijah clearly hasn't been aware of this, and his lips thin with displeasure at the new knowledge. "What have you done to them?" she asks.
"Oh, absolutely nothing yet," he responds. "But I figured a little incentive might be in order."
He's tripping playfully through his words, a sign that he's in rare form and Elijah, with his heightened hearing, seems to pick up on this at the same time that she does. He gives her a warning look and she returns to him a nod of recognition; as much as she hates it she'll take a more submissive role in the conversation, and try to make no inflammatory remarks as this continues. If Klaus thinks that they're the central focus of her attention, it keeps the others from harm, she rationalizes. The fact that he's mistrusted Elijah with their keeping is a blessing.
"Your boys have been very clever – dosing themselves with vervain, building up a resistance and ensuring they're not susceptible to compulsion – but I don't think they're tolerating this amount very well. Looking a bit... peaky, if you will."
Oh, ha. That's a good one.
"What do you want?"
"You, darling," he drawls. "Your presence is requested at a little soiree I'm holding in Bulgaria – I'll text you the details, since you sound like you're interested in attending. Please do tell me you can make it; if you can't, though, I'm sure I can find some way of entertaining myself."
She swallows, her throat dry and her voice lost, truly. If she wasn't already involved, hauling ass to an Eastern European country would be difficult. As it is, she's worried that Klaus will call his brother and tell him to do something to the Salvatores if she sounds as if she isn't making an effort to get there. "I-It's going to take me a day or two, but I'm coming. Just please," she breathes heavily, "don't hurt them."
"I can't make assurances of that until you and I are speaking face to face...Keep yourself hidden until the date of my party. The last thing I want is any of your friends involved in this, do I make myself clear? They are all out there, enjoying their happy little lives without you in it, and they've let their guard down, grown naive...I'd hate to have to remind them that the world can be a scary place."
She can make out the sound of heels on hard flooring, and the man on the other end of the phone greets someone. Probably his meal.
"Oh, and my brother Elijah sends his warm regards. He's been quite helpful with my preparations, so don't bother contacting him about my plans – he's already rather involved."
This is supposed to upset her, she knows. Make her feel as if the one Original that she can trust is against her as well.
"See you soon, Elena."
The call ends before she can answer.
Elijah takes the phone from her numb fingers and powers the phone off, placing it behind him on an end table before turning back to her once more.
"His largest mistake so far has been trusting me," he says quietly to her. "And we will keep it that way. So long as he continues to come to me for assistance, we can have some control. Four of those people he's threatening are under this very roof."
"And what about Jeremy? And Matt? And Ric? Tyler is at his beck and call even if he doesn't want to be. What if he goes looking for Caroline or Bonnie to use as bait? Won't it seem suspicious that they're missing?"
The fireplace seems to be flickering erratically, and it catches their attention simultaneously. Elena tries to take a calming breath because setting Elijah's house on fire wouldn't really be conducive to the 'safety' thing they are worrying over.
"For all he knows, they've left to try and find the brothers. As for the others, there are ways to ensure their protection, beyond even what the Fire will allow for, if that is what you'd like."
She dips her head, and mutters her appreciation before burying her head in her hands and exhaling heavily. "So I guess we wait, now. I'll call him over the next few days and tell him where apparently I am on my route to here, and in the meantime, we can try to get Damon and Stefan better."
"To be safe, perhaps Maggie and Bonnie should practice some defensive spells together?" he suggests. "They seem to be getting along rather well. They'd benefit from the practice."
"Practicing... we were finally up to four miles during our morning runs," she groans. "We haven't done a thing since we got here." She swipes her hands through her hair, and slumps backward. "I guess that and a morning workout will distract Maggie a little. Might be good for me, too. Might help me from freaking out about all of this"
Something sparks in his eyes and his mouth twitches with an uncontrolled smirk. "Are you in need of distraction as well, Elena?" he asks, and the arm that has been draped along the back of the loveseat slides forward enough to allow him to run a finger through the long strands of her hair with such a delicate touch she shivers.
When faced with two options like this, was there much of a choice?
His eyes seek permission that is granted and then his lips are on her own, rough, firm, and gone far too quickly. Elena is unable to stop the noise of protest that she makes when he starts to slip off of the cushions. He hovers for a moment while he is standing, bent over her in a way that his lips brush against her ear.
"Hold that thought for just one moment," he says, lowly, and she shivers. "I've got to make a few phone calls to start setting people to the task of keeping an eye on your friends."
She feels herself nodding and then she's left to herself and she can feel herself reeling over the hectic pace her life is taking right now. She's out of practice at this 'life in her hands' sort of thing and it's weird. It's hard to get the feel of, and now she's got magic on her side (when it wants to be) and only a few short days before they meet with Klaus. It's like trying to stand up on a roller coaster or something.
He returns, closes the door behind him quietly, and she twists to look at him over the back of the loveseat. He holds up his phone for a moment before tossing it onto a chair beside his bed with a careless flick.
"Consider it done; my people in Mystic Falls are all aware of their instructions and know not to get involved, but to keep an eye on them."
It gets awkward once he sits down beside her once more; it suddenly feels like one of her first date's with Matt when no one was home and they'd excitedly talked about what they would do for at least the whole week prior. When it finally came time for their 'movie date' on the couch, limbs and mouths and teeth (and Matt had braces then) were all awkward and they ended up just watching the crappy B-movie next to one another, blushing furiously and not touching.
"It's gone, isn't it?" Elijah asks when he sees the look on her face, and she can't stifle the laugh that erupts from her, because the tone of disappointment in his breathless, almost nervous tone echoes her thoughts.
"I'm sorry, I'm not laughing at you, I swear," she's quick to assure him. "I was just thinking the same thing, and really, I've never seen you look so put out and..."
He exhales and leans back. "I still feel obligated to distract you," he adds, "for now, until we get back to where we were before."
This should be horrifically awful, and she should want to melt into the floor, but since they're both experiencing it, she can't help but feel at ease. "Talk to me," she responds, resting her head along the back edge of the loveseat, becoming serious. "You've been letting me work things out, do what I need for myself, but this can't be easy on you either, Elijah."
"I've had centuries to come to terms with this choice," he retorts, as if by rote. When he looks over at her and sees her quirked eyebrow, he exhales loudly. That answer might satisfy others, but not her. "And yet I still wonder if there is anything worth redeeming in him."
"Maybe we could find another way of stopping him," she suggests, softly, but he shakes his head.
"Countless witches consulted, hours of research, and experiences personally have led me to believe it is impossible to find either a way to spare him, or reason to do so," he answers, darkly. "Finn, I know, would support my decision if involved, as for our younger siblings, well," he pauses and looks to the fireplace, seeing beyond it in his thoughts. "They will come around, in time."
Of course, 'in time' could mean centuries; if she survives this, at least she may only have to worry about two Originals out for her friends and herself. Good to know.
"I'm sorry," she mouths, but he closes his eyes and shakes his head.
There is always a quiet, a peace, to their interactions; it settles on them now, despite their ragged nerves. Her heartbeat is steady, her breathing even. This close to him she can smell the faint smell of his cologne. If there's a way to capture a moment forever, she'd want it to be this one.
Being this open with her feelings regarding something so personal is novel. Stamping out selfish thoughts or wants has been a goal of hers since her parents died, since she'd demanded to go to that party and ended up killing them (she's old enough to know that she didn't cause their deaths directly, but she also knows they'd never have been on the bridge if it wasn't for her), and admitting to herself that this is something she wants feels like a step backwards.
But it feels so good when he touches her (as he his now, his fingers skimming gently over the arm she has on the back of the loveseat), and it's probably all in her head, she knows, but it's giddily addictive and she finds herself moving closer to him, despite the limited distance between them already.
He seems to study the skin he touches, and while she knows it was started absentmindedly, or tentatively, the pressure of his fingertips increases slightly, the strokes longer. As if someone flipped a switch, the air seems electric and she can feel her heart in her chest and yes, when she dares to look over into Elijah's eyes, they're dark, hungry once more.
"Kiss me," she asks, demands, wishes.
Dutifully, he closes the space between them, his free hand coming up to tangle in her hair and pull her closer as she yanks at the lapel of his jacket, the need for the feel of his lips on hers hitting a high she can't neglect.
That didn't take long, getting back to this place.
The kiss is hesitant on both of their parts, initially – this is new territory and they both are afraid to venture too quickly into it – but it grows ferocious, heady. The rough feel of his tongue draws a happy sigh from her. Elena's fingers slide over the fabric of his jacket until they find his collar, seeking the flesh of his neck below. She smiles into the kiss when the skimming of her fingertips at the nape of his neck elicits an approving noise.
And that's when he pulls back. Her confusion and desire must be plainly written on her face because he presses a firm, close-mouthed, conciliatory kiss on her lips, even as he shifts his position away from her on the seat.
"Are you-," he stops when he hears just how husky his voice is (she did that, oh God, she did that to him and she's not sorry at all), clears his throat, and tries again. "Are you certain that Caroline and Bonnie need to be on your list?" he asks, straightening his collar.
She barely starts to frown in response (she's still replaying that sound he just made) when logic takes a skip-jump forward and she understands. The glamor is back in place as she tries desperately to fix her hair. "Shit," she mutters. It's barely audible, but she hears Elijah's soft laugh under his breath.
The knock at the door is still too soon, she knows her lips are swollen, and while a stranger would only see the cool and calm collected version of Elijah the majority of the world sees, she can see it: she's gotten to him, and he wants to finish what they have started.
She has to turn away because the fluttering heat, low in her belly, is being instigated by looking at him and her best friends are going to expect that door to be opened and if she can't get herself under control, she's really, utterly afraid she'll literally jump Elijah. As in, cross the room and just attack him. Vampire speed be damned, he wouldn't be able to stop her if she allowed for that to play out.
Elena hears the door open as she tries to arrange herself on the cushions to try to preserve a modicum of her dignity, but when she turns and attempts to look innocently interested in who is at the door, she can see the smallest of wrinkles forming between Caroline's brows as the young woman tries to puzzle out why Maggie's friend is behind closed doors with the Original.
"How may I help you, ladies?" Elijah asks, effortlessly calm.
Bonnie opens her mouth to speak, notices Elena and trips over her words. "Uh, we were...we were coming to ask if you think we could go see Stefan and Damon."
The vampire checks his watch before answering. "I will need to see that it is safe before you visit with them. Give me a moment," he requests, then turns to Elena. "Miss Hawkins, we can finish discussing your security concerns later."
She nods and focuses all of her attention on not blushing but finds it's a losing battle, then chides herself for feeling embarrassed about being caught having a private moment with Elijah. She's an adult, and, alright, there is a definite age difference, but since she undaggered Elijah in the Salvatore basement she's been treated as an equal. There have been no attempts to supersede her decisions, no moments where she's been belittled. She knows she will always have limited experience when compared to him, and it makes no sense to be frustrated by that; if nothing else, she wishes that she's had more time to hear about his life.
And as much as she personally cares about Caroline and Bonnie's opinions on such matters, Aimee Hawkins doesn't have to. To them, she's a recent acquaintance with shoddy powers who has promised to keep an eye on a Bennett. Elijah to Caroline is wealth and power, a reminder of what she could possibly accomplish, as well as become. She has her suspicions that Bonnie has never gotten over the fact that Elijah betrayed them at such a crucial time during the Sacrifice, and it makes sense: Bonnie has never had much of a supportive family aside from Grams. Even Abby's involvement in her life is a delicate, new feature.
Elena gets up from the couch and walks to them, because all three of them are experienced enough in dealings with vampires to understand the importance of invitations. Since they are held to them by the forces of nature, they usually desire to have the same courtesy extended to them. She's not entirely sure if it's respect or fear, but neither the witch or the vampire seem to even place a toe further than the doorway.
"I'm sorry about your friends, but it sounds like they're doing better now."
Bonnie gives her a small, polite and appreciative smile, where as Caroline continues to look anxious. "We'll see," the blond responds.
"Mags told us," Bonnie says, quietly, "about what happened when you went to see Klaus."
Elena's surprise must be very obvious because the witch explains, "When you all got back, Maggie was really upset, and her mom wanted to make sure you were okay, so we offered to just sit with her and keep her company until they got you settled."
"Thank you," she responds, sincerely, but it's obvious that Bonnie is more than empathetic and has more to say. Bonnie takes a deep breath and gives her an earnest look before continuing.
"Losing control like that can be really scary, so if you ever want to practice meditating or something, just um, just let me know, okay? You or Maggie."
"That's...wow, thank you, Bonnie."
It looks like the witch is about to say something else, but over her shoulder, Elena spies Elijah rounding the corner. Caroline whips around and waits for him to speak, expectantly.
"They are fairing much better than before," he declares, voice positive. "The dilution of the vervain they were attached to was very weak; another day in the cells and the vervain should be out of their systems; t."
Anything too strong and they'd have started to desiccate too quickly for Klaus' plans.
He fixes both the witch and the vampire with serious looks. "It is my brother's expectations that they be continually kept on vervain until Elena appears."
Caroline's bitter, suddenly tear-filled laugh can't be ignored. "Of course," she says, sarcastically.
Elijah's gaze is warning for only a second, but it's enough for Caroline to see. "Moving ahead I need your utmost cooperation to ensure their safety."
"Of course," Bonnie assures him, readily. "The last thing we want is Klaus somehow finding out about any of this."
"We don't want to hurt Elena, either," voices Caroline, sounding more than slightly defensive.
"Very well," responds Elijah solemnly. "Please exercise caution while we are down there, as we are still not sure of what my brother has compelled them to do." He turns from the pair to Elena, still in the doorway, gives her an acknowledging bow of the head, and the three are off.
She wishes she had an excuse to go down there with them, to be able to see that Damon and Stefan are healing, for her own peace of mind. Despite her best efforts she can't think of a valid reason.
It would be ridiculous to wait in his room for him to come back, displaying a sense of dependence she doesn't feel, nor want to. Plus it seems too rude to poke around his things.
She returns to her room and changes into a pair of sweats and sneakers, sticks a can of aerosolized vervain into the pocket of her sweatshirt and secures a wooden stake in the back of her pants, where she has sewn a loop of snug, elastic band expressly for this purpose. She finishes throwing her hair up in a ponytail on her way to the door. Feeling jittery, it seems a good plan to for a run and scope out a safe path for her and Maggie to take if they decide to do this later. Elena has barely cleared the gates at a starting trot when the girl in question texts her on her normal cell.
Where r u?
Not that she wants to try to infer a lot from ten characters on her screen, but the text is informal and she takes that to be a good sign. After texting back that she's on her way, she quickly returns to the house, and before climbing it, peeks her head around the back of the grand staircase that leads to Elijah's wing and conceals the basement's entrance; the door is still open, a sign that they're probably still down there. She starts the climb upward.
"Bonnie texted me that she and Caroline were going to the basement with Elijah, and I looked all over for you," chides Maggie as soon as Elena steps onto the landing. The girl is sitting against the closed door of Elena's room, arms crossed. Her annoyance is only minor, but the older girls sees
she's trying to press onward and away from the awkward discussion from earlier. It's like a weight on Elena's shoulders lifts; she doesn't see her as a monster.
"I was this close-" Maggie squints and holds up her pointer and thumb finger with barely a space between them "-to doing a locator spell, Aims. And you know I could, we share blood so it's like, super easy. You worried me."
"I went out for a run," Elena explains, slightly winded from relief and her sprint back in and up the stairs. Man, she's let herself go. She's eager to get back to normal, as well, so she plays along. "I was thinking it would be good if we get back to our routine, maybe see if Caroline and Bonnie want to come with. Bonnie said she'd practice with us, too."
"Oh cool." Typically, Maggie would be excited about something like this – outside of the four wall of the Bennett-LaForte house, they didn't know many witches – but there's no enthusiasm to her words. Elena frowns.
"What's wrong, Mags?"
The girl sighs, clasping her hands together but quickly devolving into knotting the fingers nervously. "Those vampires in the basement, Klaus had them for a while, right?"
"Possibly," she answers, slowly, knowing where this is headed. "You want to go ask them about Lucy?"
"Mama said 'no', but she's still sleeping and...and I was hoping you'd go down there with me." When she sees her friend start to protest, she leans forward and grabs her arms, giving her an anxious, wide-eyed look. "Please? If you're with me, I know I'm safe. I just...I want to make sure that Klaus wasn't lying when he said he's treating her well."
Elena opens her mouth but stops. Part of her is happy to see that Maggie still trusts her. Another part is teetering between sad and approving that she's suspicious of Klaus. No matter what happens from here on out, at least Elena can take comfort in the fact that she's trying to be cautious.
It's fine if Maggie grows up as long as she doesn't grow weary.
She swallows and blinks back at the stinging in her eyes. "Sure," she answers, and holds out her hand to help her friend off of the floor.
Maggie doesn't flinch before she takes it.