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'.
"Elena, please don't waste my time...or Jeremy's."
Elena swallows and fights the rising feeling of bile in her throat. The Petrova Fire is a slow, steady burn under her skin at this obvious sign of danger.
"He's eager to see you. I know this is a surprise, but brothers are like that you know," Klaus says conversationally. "They like to surprise you when you least expect it, popping up places they shouldn't be...like Georgia."
"Klaus," Elijah starts to say, and the plea in his voice, as well as the small, almost imperceptible, note of fear that resonates in his tone riles anger in Elena, directed entirely at Klaus. "Perhaps if the two of us were to-"
"Why would I leave Elena out of our chat, when you two have been working together against me from the very start?" The casual tone in his voice dissolves as he responds, and he all but snarls at them next. "Get outside."
The call ends abruptly, and Elijah pockets his phone as calmly as possible, his eyes never leaving Elena's. They're resigned, and sad. She can feel the down turned press of her lips, a grim expression on her own features. Today's ending now seems clearer than ever. The Fire prickles and continues to jump at various intervals; probably when Klaus gets too close to the manor's gate.
"We can't let the others know," she says. "Once we're outside and I finish the circle, they won't be able to leave the house until I release the spell."
Either by her own magic or by her death, the barrier should hold for quite some time.
They grab up a few of the weapons already out (the dagger is somewhere at the bottom of the bag, and she doesn't have time to find it), and start down the stairs. She's got the gun. When she hands herself over, she'll take the first chance she gets to shoot.
The house is nearly silent. Most of the inhabitants are still asleep, and every creak can be heard as they quietly walk downstairs. Mr. Krall stands at the door, his rifle in hand, having answered Elijah's text.
Elijah turns to her. "Are you ready?"
"No," she says with a watery laugh, a little bitter, a little weary. "Are you?"
He puts a hand on her cheek, and she risks allowing her glamor to drop. Mr. Krall's quiet gasp barely registers with her as Elijah seems to drink in her face. His hand slides to rest on her collarbone, a thumb on her pulse, before he takes a half step closer and sheltered between their forms, his hand comes to rest between her breasts and slightly to her left. He kisses her slowly on the lips as he commits the feel and sound of her fiercely beating heart to memory.
When they part, she throws a quick smile in Mr. Krall's direction. "Thank you," she says, and then Elijah takes her hand and they walk outside.
As soon as they're over the threshold, Elena pulls out the bag of salt and herbs, finishes the circle, repeats the spell, and can feel the thrum of the magic as it takes hold.
They walk to the gate.
Elena holds back a choked sob.
On the other side stands Klaus. Behind him are two vans, their doors left open as everyone hastily exited the vehicle – some by force, it would appear; there are marks of scuffle in the dirt and once-clean snow.
All four of her friends and family are clearly compelled. There are hybrids amongst the group, but Klaus stands flanked by Jeremy and Alaric. Matt and Tyler are behind them, guarding four women. Three of them are performing a spell, but the last is Lucy, whose face is swollen and cut and wet with tears. The strangers bare enough of a resemblance to Lucy to confirm Elena's fears.
They're Bennett witches, and they are three generations of women. Just as he did in their first standoff, Klaus has prepared backups for his spell, as well as diversions.
But there's no backup for the Doppelganger, and that's at least a comfort, a card they will hold for as long as they can. When Klaus speaks, his breath clouds before him, and it fills her with a little hope; Klaus is mortal, vulnerable, and now he will most certainly die.
"There you are," greets Klaus with false warmth. "It's good to see you again, brother, Elena. And you're not hiding, I see! That's a pleasant change of pace."
"Just let them go, Klaus," Elena says, trying to be rational and calm. "I'm going to hand myself over to you, but you have to-"
Klaus shifts his stance a little, and licks his lips, a smug smile creeping into existence. "- You know, it's sort of strange: with all the time that you have spent recently getting intimately acquainted with my brother, I'm surprised you would confuse me with him." The look falters and drops, and she's confronted with the purest, most malicious, feral form of the hybrid she's ever encountered. Beside her, she feels Elijah tense. "As you can tell, I'm mortal. Couldn't break their compulsions, even if I tried. No negotiations, no stall tactics. Let's get this over with, here and now."
Elena starts to shake her head. "But this isn't the spot-"
The hybrid holds up a finger to halt her speech. "-Thank you, that's reminds me," Klaus says, and he snaps his fingers. Alaric steps forward, and in his hands is a metal canister. Klaus sticks his hands in his pockets and idly regards the vampire hunter as he would a fly. "When my brother and I spoke, I agreed to allow him to dole out proper punishment for one of my men disobeying orders." His gaze snaps to Elena, and she feels sick. "I really liked that other one, Elena."
One of the hybrids steps forward.
Alaric's fingers tighten their grip on the canister for a second (she can't see his ring, why can't she see his ring?), and Elena understands that he's fully aware inside, but he can't move. The eyes that make contact with her are the same warm hazel ones that regarded her with care, with the affection of an almost-father, with hope even when it seemed it should be lost, with pride as she learned to defend herself.
And now he's trying to say goodbye.
When Jenna died, she was able to tell her to turn off her emotions, to numb herself to the pain. She can't, for Alaric. She can't do that, nor can she protect him. The Gilbert ring won't protect him. Her magic won't.
There's a tear running down his cheek, just as hands grip his head.
You never forget the sound.
Alaric's body crumples to the ground, and the canister's contents spill out on the snow. Elijah's arms are an iron band around her waist, and for a second she struggles against him, trying to free herself to slip through the bars. Her own scream reaches her ears and her knees start to buckle.
"Ric!" comes a second voice, bellowing, behind them. When she twists her head to look, Stefan is beating at the invisible barrier that keeps him inside. Caroline's devastated, silent expression changes to horror as she catches sight of Elena over Elijah's arm.
"Elena?" she calls. "Elena! Don't!"
Caroline's realization soon spreads through the group now crowded at the door.
The world spins and twirls and slips from her fingers like her magic and time itself.
"No more games, Elena," warns Klaus. He toes the dark contents of the canister, spreading them out on the snow. "This is dirt from the place Tatia was born...guess that takes care of that part," he addresses them, matter-of-fact. "It's the day of her death."
He gingerly pulls out a second metal container from within his leather jacket. "My mole amongst your men let me know where you were keeping her remains."
Even with everything going on, Elena cannot help but see the possessive way he runs his fingers over the stainless steel. It's not the affection or reverence that Elijah touches her with; it's authoritative, assuming.
"Got my witches – better than the ones you were giving me, by the way. Grandmother, mother, and child. Magic always works better in threes, Rebekah told me that. These three didn't even know they were part of the Bennett family, can you believe it?" he jerks a thumb in their direction. "Grandmother was given up for adoption by her mother. Guess she didn't want her marked with the Bennett name." Klaus shrugs. "Didn't help her much, I suppose."
Elijah's arms around her shift, and his hand clutches at her throat. There's no real pressure in his grip, but she knows what he's doing. She brings her hands up to latch on to his arm, as if to try to fight him. "And all of those plans would be ruined if she were to die now."
"Oh, you wouldn't do that," Klaus waves off the threat. "You love her." He says it like it's an accusation of the worst kind, a sneer on his face as he gives his brother a disappointed look. "And she loves you, pathetic as it is. She'll kill for you and die for you, Elijah; it's as plain as day. And yet you deny your brother what he wants most in this world?"
"How do you know Tatia will want you, after she's Resurrected?" Elijah counters.
"She'll be grateful," snaps Klaus, and his voice escalates in volume and conviction as he continues. "She died and I will be giving her the life she couldn't have possibly dreamed of, then. Unlike the rest of you lot, that will mean something. She won't leave me. She won't abandon me. She won't betray me, as my own flesh and blood has done."
Klaus' eyes glisten with unshed tears of anger and hurt. In his twisted mind, he cannot see that Tatia's had a thousand years to come to peace on the other side. To rip her from that now would be a torture too horrific to begin to fathom. All he sees is that he would finally have a companion beside him who wouldn't hate him as his own family does now.
The hybrid sniffs and furiously wipes at his face before he continues. "And I was only mildly suspicious until the parking garage. The second I saw how she flambéed my guard, I knew something was amiss. Hate to break it to you, Elena, but that's what really ruined it for you."
He points at Elena. "The Petrova Fire, how's that working out for you, love? My trio here told me about it – turns out Bennett Grimoires aren't terribly hard to come by and are slightly numerous. Quite an interesting piece of magic, really." His grin goes wicked. "But it's got it's downsides. Peter!"
Maggie must have snuck out of the house to meet with Mr. Krall's son before Elena and Elijah stepped out and sealed the house. Peter appears from behind the shed, and even though he's all but carrying Maggie, she doesn't put up much of a fight. She looks angry, but determined. Bree is screaming hysterically from inside the house, and Lucy, on the other side of the gate, looks heartbroken. As the pair pass by Elena and Elijah, her eyes flicker over Elena's face, for the first time truly seeing her.
"Aimee?" she whispers, resisting Peter's attempts to move her forward.
"I'm sorry," Elena says. "Mags, I'm so, so sorry. Please, just, don't-"
Elena's outstretched fingers brush against Maggie's, whose curl up into a fist.
"I have, to, Aims," she responds, sadly. "Peter said they'll hurt Mom if I don't."
Just as her friend turns to face Klaus, Elena catches sight of something glimmering in her waistband.
The second Maggie's feet are outside of the gate, Elena feels the pull in her gut, and cannot help it as she twist so quickly out of Elijah's arms that he loses his grasp and her feet are moving towards the gates.
"No!" Elena's back is slammed into the bars, with a little more force than necessary. Elijah presses her against them despite her body struggling to evade him. She looks up to see true panic on his face.
"She'll torch you if it comes to it," threatens Klaus, happily, "you can't fight this thing for too long. And look, now I've got a spare set of Bennett witches. Romance doesn't hold much power over this thing, brother."
Klaus stretches out his hand and offers it as one does to a dog. "Now just trot on over to me, sweetheart. Should anyone else try to come through those gates but you, Elena, Matt's been compelled to rip them apart."
Elena tries to tamp down on the fire beneath her skin, to control it before it gets Elijah or someone else hurt. The gate's bars are pressed deeply into her back, and she looks up to Elijah.
Klaus' pride would be his downfall. This was what they knew, and they only hoped for a chance to use it against him.
The plan is horrible and perfect and she has to act now.
"Elijah," she whispers, and has to wet her lips and swallow to make sure her voice is strong enough to speak. "Elijah, you've got to let me go, now."
Elijah looks down at her, and looks as if he's about to argue with her. She slips the little revolver out, and loads a round of bullets into with shaking fingers before pressing it against him. When he sees this, his features slide from a tense attempt at aloofness to acceptance.
Just as Klaus is using her words and magic against herself, she's going to set his own cunning to destroy his plans.
Elijah kisses her with bruising force, and when his head dips to bite into his wrist, he pauses to inhale her scent. He presses his wrist to her mouth, and she pulls into her mouth the coppery, powerful liquid that will save her and her friends.
She kisses him one more time, and when they part she whispers the three words to him that she knows with her whole heart to be true, and he lets her go because he feels them as well.
She puts her glamor back on.
Once she's through the gate, Elena's Converse sneakers press into the snow, and the cold bites as the wet seeps into them. The wind tears at her hair and it's blond, and she knows it's the last time it will ever be so. The air is crisp and the sun is shining down and the world hums with magic. She's lived most of her life ignorant and ungrateful of just how wonderful life was, how precious and utterly incredible it is.
Her feet press forward, and she knows she has never moved with such confidence. Her arm comes up and she raises the gun to aim at Klaus. Her steps start to speed up and she tries to think of all the reasons she's doing this as she starts to run towards Klaus and Maggie, who is now in his grasp. Her friends and family do not deserve to live in constant fear of this...boy and the might he wields. Anger and fierce protectiveness flood her emotions and outweigh the terror as she runs towards her death.
Klaus suddenly understands why she has her glamor back on, and despite all of his screams for Matt to stop, he's mortal, he can't do a damn thing.
Matt pushes past the hybrid beside him, and starts to run at her. It makes sense, sadly and fantastically, that he'd be the one to end her life. Her first love, the man who promised he'd see her again, the one who made her swear that they'd never leave one another, back when they were children and they knew nothing.
His hands claw at her blond hair. Her memories of them scuffling around as children flash through her mind as she fights to struggle against him. She can't hold her own for too long against him, but she needs to give Maggie a chance.
He's got her back to his chest, and momentum turns them towards the manor. The world spins, she sees Elijah and remembers the feel of his skin against hers, the peacefulness that always comes from being by him. She loses control of it and a thousand sights and sensations from her memory try to consume her. She's giving up so much.
But every reason she's thought of makes it worth it.
Matt's wicked hunting knife winks in the light and she looks up as he pulls on the back of her head, fingers roughly tangled in her hair. The random thought that at least she knows he's a good hunter, quick and neat, floats through her mind. Her friends are screaming in the house, and she makes one last choice. She wants to spare them the sight of her death; they shouldn't have to see it like this. Elena drops all her weight to the side and is able to get Matt to turn with her, until she's facing Klaus and Matt forces her to her knees.
Maggie's eyes are wide and her cheeks are tear-streaked, but when they make eye contact, the girl swallows and that look of determination is back on her face. She's terrified but she's doing it because she has to – bravery burning bright at this moment. Elena can't help but smile proudly – her last act while still breathing – as Maggie spins and jams the missing dagger, chalky with the dust of a white oak tree, into Klaus' chest.
Elena's head is forced further back, her vision is filled with the blinding white of the winter sky and sun.
The blade stings then burns, a kiss across her neck.Next Chapter