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'.
Sunlight, weak but increasing in light and warmth, sneaks into the room, crosses the floor and pools on white sheets and bare skin. Elena's eyes open slowly, alertness sudden as it always is for her in the morning. Instead of her typical view of a landscape of predominantly undisturbed sheets on the other side of the bed, there are the firm and well muscled planes of Elijah's body.
Definitely a positive change in view.
The sheets lay somewhere at the bottom of the bed, a wrinkled mess, but the white duvet was, as she recalls, lazily pulled over both of them by Elijah at some point last night.
Technically, it was this morning.
She takes a long deep breath that tumbles back out as a satisfied sigh. She can't remember the last time she woke up in her own skin, and to have Elijah's against her own in the process – her leg thrown over his, an arm about his torso, his hands on her hip and in her hair – is adding to the hedonistic experience.
She knows he's awake when he takes a breath – the only reason he'd need to is to speak. "How long would you like for me to continue to feign sleeping?" His voice rumbles through his chest, and she feels the morning roughness of it where her cheek rests. She cannot help but grin at the sleepy satisfied notes in his voice; she feels the same way.
"Good morning," she greets once she moves her head to prop it on his chest. She remembers to throw a glance over her shoulder and light one of the sage bundles on her dresser (she put out several on a glass dish the night prior in a hasty act of ingenuity when it was becoming abundantly obvious that they were both feeling pretty vocal).
The hand on her hip starts stroking the flesh there. "Good morning," he echoes, and the languid upturn of his lips is too irresistible; she has to kiss him. Thing escalate quickly, and at one point she shifts enough to put enough pressure on her abdomen to remind her that she's very much human.
"Bathroom," she mumbles urgently against his lips, and he reluctantly withdraws his hands and mouth with a disappointed sigh. She starts to crawl backwards off the bed.
This is another one of those moments where she should want to play it cool and calm and collected but all she can do is smile and act...act normal, actually. Act relaxed. Very similar to the way that Elijah is acting. She doesn't even try to find her robe but does seek out her slippers as she sits on the edge of the bed; the tile is going to be freezing in there.
Not that she's one for vanity, but when she catches sight of herself in the mirror over the bathroom sink, she wants to chide herself for the goofy smile on her face. She tries to smooth her features but the smile creeps back into place.
He barely drew any blood from her neck before healing it, but one look at her and Bree is going to tell her she's channeling 'laid' vibes. It's not like she wants to hang up fliers about it, but she also hopes he's not ashamed of last night – hell, there really isn't any need for him to be ashamed. At all. Actually, his talents in bed explain that little big of a swagger she catches in his gait at times. She's kept half an ear out for the sound of her bedroom door shutting, now as she is in the bathroom would be the time he would have decided to discretely sneak out if he was worried about something like that.
He's still in the bed when she comes back out. He looks over to where she stands in the doorway and raises an eyebrow. "You look surprised."
"Wasn't sure if you'd still be here when I came back out," she admits, feeling sheepish as she says it. He's too mannerly to do something like that.
He sits up, the duvet falling due to its own weight and she's treated to a fantastic show as he stretches. If Elijah were to pick up Damon's habit of roaming around without a shirt she wouldn't be complaining.
"Need I remind you that this is, in fact, my bed?" he quips, and any anxiety she is feeling flies out the window with his playful tone. She gets back onto the bed and wraps part of the duvet around herself, more for warmth than modesty. He twists onto his side to edge closer to her and to keep under the blanket, their bodies mirroring one another's as they prop elbows on the pillows and chins in palms, their free hands tangling between them.
"Are you taking it back?" she counters, feeling light and more than happy to continue in this vein, at least for the time being. "Or are you willing to share?"
He stills, eyes suddenly serious and watching her curiously. "I'm quite willing to share," he responds. "I would...I would like it very much."
"Me too," she mouths, and smiles.
They seal their decision with a kiss. This wasn't some one-night stand; their feelings for one another are deeper for that – the proof of it is in every touch, every word.
Suddenly, the idea of possibly having to give this up, in the next few days, possesses her. Her back now against the mattress, she raises herself up, and it barely takes any pressure on his shoulder for him to sit back, and she settles on his lap with her legs on either side of his waist and arms over his shoulders (she noticed it last night and notices it again – their bodies move so gracefully together, causes and reactions, pushes and pulls, pieces of the same device she doesn't quite know yet); nothing is sexual about it now, just intimate on a level that she's amazed by. She kisses him a little more fiercely before touching her forehead to his.
Elena has never seen him seem so much at peace, or so open. Every guard is down between them (every guard is gone) and they are so very much exposed to one another.
"Can we stay like this?" she whispers, voice rough with emotion. "Can we try to keep this for as long as we can?"
If things continue as she fears they will, it might not be long at all, and the selfish part of her wants to spend every last moment until their meeting with Klaus in Elijah's arms, in this bed. It's unrealistic, but to know at the end of the day they can come to this bed and be truthful and unafraid and incautious...
"Of course," he answers, with a gravity to the words.
Most of their group are late risers, and so when they finally part ways, Elena is still the first person in the kitchen. Maggie is soon to follow; she stumbles in just as Elena is putting away the orange juice.
"M'ning," Mags mumbles, and takes the glass right out of her hand. Elena pulls a face, and as Maggie starts to drink the juice, she watches her over the rim of the glass, facetious challenge in her eyes.
Elena rolls her eyes and grabs the juice back out, and pours herself a glass, then decides that she sure as hell burnt enough calories last night not to have to worry about eating one of those pastries she saw in the corner of the kitchen, freshly baked. She turns around, and holds one up to see if Maggie is interested, and sees a look of shock on her friends face.
"What is it?" she asks around a mouthful of flakey dough. The ponytail that rests over her shoulder is still blond, so she knows that's not it.
"Aims," Maggie says, voice slowly teetering into a giggle as she makes her way over to the confused young woman. "Aims, you totally got lucky last night, didn't you?"
Elena drops her breakfast onto the plate with a sigh. "We are not talking about-"
"Aside from your aura, you've got this ridiculous smile on your face and you were humming to yourself." Maggie laughs and jumps to sit up on the island counter, and leans forward precariously. "Was it awesome? I bet it was awesome. He's like, a thousand years old so I'm sure he knows all sorts of tantric-"
Elena launches a pastry at Maggie, who catches the thing even as she laughs. "Margaret LaForte, you stop that!" she yelps, indignant, but even as the words are out of her mouth she's laughing along with her. "I'm not one to kiss and tell," she manages to say, almost airily, before taking another bite and changing the subject. "So I did manage to map out a good route for us to run. Elijah confirmed with me that it's safe, plus he's got more security on the property so..." she pauses to take a drink of juice, then brandishes the glass in the witch's direction. "Go. Clothes. Sneakers. Four miles."
Maggie's jaw drops. "What?" she asks, tonelessly.
"Four miles," Elena repeats, firmly. "And when we're done with that, we're going back to the crossbow."
The girl blanches. "But mama said-"
"I know, Maggie, but if it comes down to it, I want to know you won't hesitate – you can't hesitate. Elijah's told me a lot about his brother and he's going to try to retaliate once he realizes he's been double-crossed. We have to be ready for everything."
Finished with the plate and glass, she brings them over to the sink. "I'm going to talk to Bree about it and explain it to her. Crossbow, stakes...maybe even a dagger. We can't rely on my magic or yours. We're back to training like at home."
"Can I watch? I've got 'Eye of the Tiger' on my phone – I'll play it while you're working out."
Elena's head snaps around so quickly her ponytail smacks into the other side of her face. Leaning in the kitchen doorway is Damon, his arms folded across his chest.
If this were two years ago, she'd roll her eyes and say something back that was a flirty retort. He'd sidle over and help her with the dishes. There would be something heavy and unspoken and they'd both get frustrated until he lost his patience and did something erratic. The cycle would then start over.
Now, she gives him a smile that doesn't quite reach her eyes. "Glad to-oh shit." The plate lands in the sink with a clatter and she runs, hands still sudsy, past Damon.
Stefan and Caroline are probably going to be looking for someplace where they can be 'alone' – the bedrooms are all upstairs. That means walking past the LaForte's room. That means Bree will see that Stefan has been let out of his cell...which means that Damon is, too.
Elena doesn't make it very far before she catches sight of Bree rounding the corner of the service hallway, a crossbow in hand.
This is the second time she's been in the crosshairs of one in twenty-four hours. She can't see from this far away if it's the one with the tricky safety. It probably is.
What are the chances that the arrow will catch fire and not land on something valuable or flammable? Pretty slim.
She swipes her hand to the side, suds flying, hoping to catch Bree at enough of a surprise to be able to knock it out of her hands. Opening a curtain with her weak powers is one thing, but prying a weapon out of this woman's grip is something else altogether.
Damon follows the her out into the hallway, much to her dismay. His eyebrows are scrunched together.
"What the hell is-"
Bree swings the crossbow over to target him. "Damon Salvatore, you and I are overdue for a little chat,"she declares.
"Bree, you need to put that down," Elena says, slowly as she tries to creep forward, "you know this won't end well and I think this guy is on Elena's list."
There will be a whole slew of questions that will result if she lets that stake-arrow go.
She doesn't listen to the warning but continues to glare at the vampire behind Elena. "That's nice...but I need to talk with him. Set some ground rules."
"Mama!" yelps Maggie running down the hallway towards the trio. "Stop that!"
The bartender doesn't listen, and Elena sees Maggie's face screw up with determination before she launches herself at her mother's back. As slight as the girl is, she surprises her mother enough to send them wobbling sideways, towards some old weaponry in a display stand.
Before Elena can even process it, she's charging at the two of them, pushing them both out of the way of the weapons, and trying to twist the pair now falling towards the carpet. Bree ends up on the bottom of the pile, while Elena cushions Mag's blow.
Flat on her back and the breath knocked out of her, Elena is the first to see Bonnie peering over the side of the second story bannister, the cellphone still to her ear. From the other side come Stefan, shirtless, and Caroline, wrapped in a sheet and looking bedraggled. The door from the Krall's wing is tentatively pushed open by Mr. Krall.
Well at least they're ensuring sure no one is bored around here.
Maggie scrambles over her mother and withdraws the white, skinny object from the crossbow.
"There wasn't even a stake in it!" She holds up a tube of rolled up paper.
Bree, groaning as she gets to her knees to stand up, shakes her head. "I was just going to scare him."
Damon speeds towards them, leaning over her, anger on his face. "By threatening me with a crossbow? You already tried to kill me once!"
"You actually killed me!"
"And you came pretty close to doing the same to me."
"Only after you killed Lexie!"
Elena closes her eyes and buries her face in her hands while she waits to catch her breath before standing. "Can you two just stop? Please?"
There's talking over her, and she's half-certain she hears Maggie rapidly marching her mother away, telling her off. Damon and Stefan, now downstairs, are talking to the side. "Fine," Damon snaps. "I'll talk to her later, but don't expect anything to come of it." Stefan sighs heavily and exits.
Suddenly there's a hand being offered to her, and the large lapis lazuli stone in the ring on the fingers is a dead giveaway before she even draws her head up enough to look up at Damon.
"Thank you," he says with obviously forced civility as he helps her up from the floor. "For trying to help me before."
That's a lot, coming from him. She busies herself with brushing herself off and telling him it was nothing. "Bree is just...she's kind of stressed right now and we purposely didn't tell her where you were before – once we found out you were that Damon it seemed like the right thing to do. Should have counted on something like that."
She huffs and crosses her arms, giving him an earnest look. "Just try not to instigate her, please?"
It's the wrong thing to say. He freezes, obviously spooked by Elena's behavior performed by a stranger's body. Her stomach plummets as she realizes just how her she was being in that moment.
She scrambles to cover. She casts her eyes downward and tucks her hair behind her ear. "Sorry! Sorry, that was really forward of me. It's just that you were trying to piss my friend off in the basement and um, Bree is already really looking for a reason to be allowed to hurt you...Elijah really stressed how important it was that you and your brother are kept safe for your friend, and-"
"You're not fooling anyone, you know," he cuts her off.
There's a tightness in her chest. "W-what?" she sputters.
A smirk spreads on his lips, and she tries not to panic as he leans closer, and whispers in her ear. Rationally, there is no way he would ever be so calm if he'd discovered her secret.
"Caroline caught Elijah's walk of shame. Now that is something I would have paid to see."
There's relief, somewhere inside of her, but for now the anger bubbles to the surface, and she lets it. "That's not really any of your business," she snaps.
She misses the Damon that she'd left behind in Mystic Falls. She misses how happy they were, despite everything, to know that they at least had one another. It had been easy for her to forget, with time and distance, some of his graver transgressions, but she needs to understand that even his worst actions are part of him, and back then she'd compartmentalized him in her mind. Now, she accepts him, all of him; she is far from innocent herself. She will always love him, she knows, the Salvatore she never truly gave a chance.
She'd made him promise to never leave her and then she fled. She told him this in the letter, too. (Guilt seems to thrive in the aftermath of all her actions.)
This volatile man is what she's caused, back to the way he was when they had first met. Elena hoped one day that he'd be able to find someone to care for him in a way that wouldn't leave him even more broken than he already was; she'd hoped it would be her, but she was wrong.
Damon seems to size her up as he steps around her, ignorant of how indignant she appears.
Elena stares up at the ceiling, calling on deities she's never really much counted on for patience for the upcoming days. Avoiding Damon is on the top of her list, because being around him makes her want to be herself, and she can't do that. Too much is at stake for him to discover her secret.
She and Elijah keep to their promise; after they both spend their days lying and plotting and preparing and fretting, they reach for one another in bed to find peace and comfort. They talk of their lives and
the conversations twist and wander like their bodies and hands.
Everyone knows they're sleeping together, but aside from the occasional joke, they leave it be. The cast of characters considered, they're thought to be pretty boring. Caroline and Stefan are still in the early stages of their relationship and happy – it's impossible to find one without the other. Bonnie spends part of her time practicing magic with Maggie, and another large portion of it speaking on the phone with Jeremy (they are back together it seems). Maggie is starting a stealthy attempt at flirting with Mr. Krall's son without Bree knowing. Bree keeps trying to contact Lucy, and furiously speeds through texts looking for a way to protect them all. And Damon? After he and Bree had a little heart-to-heart, they metaphorically shook hands, and while he didn't actually apologize, they were both at least talking to one another without trying to kill each other. She even walked past the library at one point to find them cheerfully arguing over bands.
Elena busies herself with training Maggie, or practicing magic on her own – she struggles to find a way to control it. Restraint evades her and she turns to books.
Knowing there isn't much of anything written regarding the Petrova Fire, she tries to look up other, closely-related forms of magic, for some sort of information. While there isn't a great deal she is finding about protection that seems to connect to her own magic, she is finding out quite a bit about Doppelgangers. The word seems to pop out at her with alarming, increasing regularity, as she goes through Grimoires and manuscripts. Finally, after a lot of thought and worrying, she goes to Bree to talk.
The date of the Resurrection is speedily approaching, and Elena is trying to cram in as much time as she can, trying to soak up all the memories of her friends' faces, their voices...she can't really enjoy time with them as herself, but even as she stands on the periphery, she is greedily cataloging these moments.
Her conversations with Klaus are mostly by text, but sometimes by phone. She's told him that she's in Bulgaria, but instead of wanting to meet with her, he's insisted that she continue to remain hidden. While it works out better for her, she's also nervous that he demands no proof of her location in a neighboring city.
On the fourth day, after a loud, rambunctious dinner with everyone, Elena returns to her room knowing that Elijah will be late, and decides to read for a while, to calm her nerves. He is out of the country, taking care of business, actual business; she's learned he is involved in real estate as a way to make money ("It keeps me busy" he casually said of his billions, to her shock).
The crinkle of pages wakes her, and she opens her eyes to see Elijah standing beside the bed, gently placing the aged and delicate book she had been studying down onto the bedside table. She sits up with some effort, as her limbs are sleep-heavy and sore from the day's training.
He ducks his head as he loosens his tie to give her a lingering kiss that wakes her fully back up. It says 'I'm here' and 'I'm safe', and it saves them the effort of actually talking. While he may have wished to fully remove his clothing before getting into the bed, they manage the process quite well on the bed after Elena pulls him down and he obliges.
He starts to crawl down her body, pressing kisses as he goes, and she stares up at the ceiling willing herself to just put aside the conversation they need to have, but when his full lips, now warmed by her own body heat, press low on her belly she sits up. "We need to talk," she says, hushed and breathless, eyes closed.
Another kiss in the same location and he repositions himself, kneeling in the bed. In the dark of her room, she can barely see it but he quips an eyebrow.
"I need to know what you want for us, for the future," she adds, quickly. "Because...because if I'm still alive, Elijah, I...I really want to continue to see where this goes."
"As do I," he says, calmly, but far too quickly. "And Bree told us there really is no reason for you to come to harm; the blood of the Doppelganger is only required in the second part of the ceremony."
She nods, confirming that. "I-I know that, I do, and I know she said that the first part is difficult, but it won't cause harm to Luce and Mags, but..."
She trails off, licks her lips, and takes a deep breath before continuing.
"I was doing some research myself, and I kept noticing just how many spells require my blood. Not just spells your brother would be interested in, other spells. Your mother and Ayanna may have used Tatia's blood for their own purposes, but really, they were using a convenient resource."
"You know I do not think about you like-" he starts to say firmly, impassioned.
"-I know you don't, Elijah," she assures him quickly, and she props herself up on her elbows. "I know, but there are others who do see it that way. Think about it: it's been very obvious for a very long time that you and your family are looking for the Petrova Doppelganger; you've called dibs and lesser vampires or werewolves or witches or...whatever, they've been scared off. But remove your brother and-"
"-And they will seek you out." He mutters something under his breath in a language that sounds almost guttural, and is probably ancient, but definitely a curse. "Naturally, you worry about your family."
"Should...something happen to you, I gave my word that I will watch over them," he says, carefully. "That will not change, Elena. I will watch over them. No matter what choices you make, your friends, your family...should you have children-"
"-There won't be children, Elijah," she says, and her voice breaks; it's something she's given serious thought over the last few days, and it breaks her heart to make the choice, but she has to. "If I were to have children, then somewhere down the line, there would be another Petrova Doppelganger. There would be a...a great-great ad nauseum granddaughter of mine running around with a target on her back and I won't allow that. I can't-" she stops and swallows back the tears. "I want children, more than I want a normal life, but it's not going to happen."
She wipes quickly at the few tears escaping, and resolves to continue. "But Jeremy would be targeted, since he's my brother; we are biologically related, and I don't want anyone coming after him."
He must hear her heart rate increase because he frowns worriedly and tilts his head slightly, waiting.
"I think...I think if I am still alive when this is over, I think I want you to turn me."
His response is instantaneous. "You don't want that. You didn't want to be a vampire, Elena, and I know that is still not your desire, even as you say that." His voice rises as he speaks.
"You're right, it's not. But I also don't want my friends and family constantly at risk of being hurt or killed just because they know me. If I become a vampire I could protect them – I'm not able to do that right now. It's like the Fire controls me, Elijah. I can't do this anymore, I can't protect them and it's not fair to them and, and..."
She flounders, unable to verbalize just how much she's afraid, and angry, and grieving.
He crawls back over her, and kisses her, so strong and filled with love that it seems to brand its way into her memory. The kisses trail down her neck and finally between her breasts and over her heart. "If that is what you wish, so be it," he murmurs against her skin, and it is obvious from his tone of voice it's not what he wants.
It's not what she wants, either, but it's something she'll need to do. It seems selfish, to think that she'll have forever, afterward.
She's so lost in her thoughts that she isn't aware that he's moved to take up the space beside her on the bed until he's tucking her in against his side, and instinctively, she throws a leg over his and rests her head on his chest. Their need for one another is not sexual tonight.
She cranes her neck to give him another kiss, an appreciative one, and as she settles against him, she feels a strange, distant sense of calm wash over her. She's made her decision, and at least now she knows she's going to die on her own terms, no matter what.
"I'm scared," she admits, to herself and him, and he presses a kiss to the top of her head.
"You are, my lovely Elena," Elijah says, voice thick with emotion, "by far the bravest woman I have ever known. There are few who would give up their life for those they love, though many say they would. Of the Petrova Doppelgangers that I've known or knew of, you have the most courage."
"Tell me about the other ones," she whispers, happy for a distraction. "You've told me about Katherine and a little about Tatia, but what about the others?"
"Most were kept hidden from me, or were killed before I discovered them," he says with a heavy sigh and what suspiciously sounded like a wet sniff. More than a little alarmed, she moves so she can look up to his face and sees him drying his cheeks with the back of his hand.
She tries to wrap herself around him even more, and rests her head on his shoulder. After a quick kiss to his neck, she settles. "Did you know any of their names?"
"Charlotte," he replies. "I knew of Charlotte. That was the 1790s, I think. I nearly even met her. From what I found out about her, she was quite clever, rather spirited, and curious by nature," he says. "She wrote for a New England paper under her brother's name, and as he was the one to deliver the articles, they were never the wiser. Spent most of her life traveling the world as a lady's maid, always seeking employment with women about to leave the country for their husband's business ventures.
"She had a son out of wedlock with a wealthy landowner from Georgia whom she met on the continent, but he was the one who raised the child. Katherine discovered Charlotte's existence a short time before I did. Poisoned her. She fell ill and took lodgings in Mystic Falls where she passed away. I arrived in time for her funeral; her lover traveled to the town and spared no expense."
"So that's why I was born there, because she died there?" She feels him nod. "Is that why Katherine came to Mystic Falls?"
"It was the middle of the next century, so yes, she may have believed enough time had passed for the next Doppelganger to be born."
It's also means that she was born in the same place that Tatia died, and that fact sits strangely in her gut.
"How old was she," she asks, quietly, "when she died?"
"Thirty eight." He speaks the words with a reverence that shakes her.
Suddenly, to her, that seems like a very long lifetime – longer than hers will ever be, and she thinks at least one of us lived that long, as if she were in some sort of strange sisterhood of women with the same face, the same fate, but different personalities. Somehow, there is comfort in that. One of them lived and had a child and saw the world, and did those things on their own terms.
Elijah had purposely chosen to speak of her, she knows.
"Thank you," she says, and closes her eyes to try to sleep.
"I won't let you lose your humanity," he vows, and she marvels at how well he knows her.
"I'll try not to lose it, either," she responds, and searches in the dark for his hand, finding it on his chest. Their hands lay clasped together there. "You have my word," she says, an echo of his own, and she smiles into his skin.
"And you, Elena Gilbert, have my heart."
And he is going to have hers, for the always of her mortal lifetime, and the forever of their time on earth.
Of all the things she possesses that she is risking these days, at least she knows her heart is safe.