jedi_of_urth: (elena)
[personal profile] jedi_of_urth
Title: To Take Each Step In Turn
Author: [personal profile] jedi_of_urth
Fandom: The Vampire Diaries (TV)
Characters/Pairings: Ensemble, Elena/Elijah, various canon ships referenced
Rating: NC-17
Warnings: Past character death and related issues, violence on par with the show, sexualized abuse
Word Count: ~34,500
Summary: Part three of ‘To Find a Light In Darkness’, Elena and Elijah’s break from the world comes to an abrupt end courtesy of the Salvatores, but at least it wasn’t Klaus...
Author's Notes: Great thanks to my always awesome beta, and thanks to those who have waited and encouraged me to continue this series. Hopefully the next one won’t take as long.


To Find a Light In Darkness series master post

To Take Each Step In Turn story master post

Previous Chapter

~~~~~~~~~~

“Partners,” Elena agreed. She liked the sound of that and hoped Elijah meant it as much as she wanted to believe he did.

“This is just between us,” he reminded her. “I trust you Elena, but it is considerably more difficult to trust your friends.”

Elena nodded. She understood why he would want to keep information from the others for now, and she wasn’t in any mood to argue that they should be trusted. “I would say it would help them to know you had a plan, but then they’d ask all kinds of questions about why you’re so willing to share with me.”

He turned his head and pressed a slow kiss to the side of her head above her ear. “Are you sure we should discuss future plans or should we focus on what happens tomorrow?”

“We’ll get to that later,” Elena answered. “I want to know what you can do to stop him.” She didn’t mention Klaus by name, she didn’t want to bring him into this space that was just her and Elijah but she needed to know what the plan was to stop what had happened with Klaus from happening again.

Elijah was quiet for a long moment, seemingly gathering his thoughts so Elena let it linger as she shifted to sit under the covers, the pillow still used to shield her upper body for warmth and modesty. She settled back into Elijah’s side shortly, his exposed tackle still something of a distraction at the bottom of her vision. She was careful about positioning her hand on his thigh, she didn’t want it to be arousing right now, but she wanted to keep touching him.

“Ideally, just having the stake would be a deterrent to Niklaus,” Elijah started slowly. Ideally, Elena would have liked it if he had followed her example of not mentioning Klaus by name, but they didn’t always get what they wanted. “But as he knows I would never use it against him, nor allow anyone else to do so – to spare all of his bloodline as much as him,” he reminded her when he apparently picked up on Elena’s tension; one advantage – or possible disadvantage – of having these discussions while naked was it was hard to hide most reactions.

“Are...are the rest of them Klaus’s bloodline?” Elena dared to ask him.

“A story for another time,” Elijah answered flatly, his tone and the tension that quickly spread through his body invited no further discussion.

It had been a bad choice to ask him, Elena knew that, but now that she’d brought it up she gave it one more try. “I’m sorry,” she started, “I didn’t mean that the way it sounded. I know you just want to stop him and stopping him is way more important than my revenge but...I have to feel bad every time I wish he was dead because I may be wishing all of them would die too. I keep hoping they’re yours, so they won’t even try to kill you anymore but...” she let the sentence hang, feeling that the point had gotten across. It had the benefit of all being true, even if she did still end up wishing Klaus was dead either way.

Some of the tension left Elijah’s body at her explanation, but not all of it. “A story for another time,” he repeated, more sadly now than rebuking. “But for now I will say that no one could tell you which of us you would want to spare.”

“So it’s not you?” she asked, a little sad herself. She wanted it to be him, and she wanted to tell the others that it was him, so that whatever happened they would stop trying to kill him.

“Please drop it Elena. It’s a long story that I don’t think you want to hear right now as it does not matter to how we can go about ending Klaus’s tyranny.” He still wouldn’t relax, and his tension was spreading to Elena. Had she ruined everything with her badly-thought-out question?

She closed her eyes briefly and sighed; time to get back on topic, as if plotting the downfall of his brother was much better pillow talk than whose bloodline flowed through her friends. “Okay,” she agreed. “How can we do that?”

Elijah paused to think again and compose himself after the turn of the conversation had unsettled him so much. Elena squeezed lightly at his knee, a little extra connection between them right now. He relaxed a little more, but she could tell he wasn’t letting it go. “I’m hopeful there’s enough residual magic in the white oak to affect Klaus. I have contacts I will need to consult with once the matter with Alaric is resolved.”

Elena twisted around to look at his face. “You’re leaving?” Her voice caught just slightly as she asked that. She didn’t want to think about him leaving, she wanted to think there would be time once Alaric was better to figure out this thing with Elijah.

Another deep breath seemed to calm Elijah down some more as he studied her briefly. He even managed a small, reassuring smile that worked to reassure both of them. “Even if my contacts would come here to do business it would be unwise.”

“How so?” Elena asked. That made her a little tense; him making deals behind her back to come between her and Klaus she could understand, but she didn’t need him deciding to protect her the way so many others did.

“Klaus would be sure to notice if I start holding court in Mystic Falls,” he said with nonchalance his body didn’t quite sell. “Nor would it be wise to risk some of them running into others.” Elena continued to study him until he continued. “And there is no reason to risk your safety, including you friends so I presume you would approve.”

Elena sighed again and settled back to have her back pressed to his side so she was turned away from him slightly. She wasn’t sure which was more upsetting, that he was presuming things, or that he was right that she couldn’t argue with it. Plus she was still upset that he was leaving at all. She hugged the pillow tight against her body as she sorted out her thoughts, while Elijah waited patiently to find out how she would respond.

She didn’t want him to go, she couldn’t stand the thought of losing him now that they’d started things together. She’d missed him when he left before, she’d made herself not dwell on it or even admit to it but she had; for him to leave again after all this gave her faint flutterings of panic to think about. She could control it for now, but it would get worse; and she wanted things to get better.

It had only been a day, she reminded herself. Last night at this time they hadn’t even been friends, now she was lying naked next to him, upset with the idea of being separated from him. It would be better just to be honest. “I don’t want you to go,” she said slowly.

His hand trailed slowly down her arm and back up before he answered. “I would offer to take you with me but I wouldn’t ask you to leave your friends.”

“That would take some explaining,” she said humorlessly. He was right again that she wouldn’t run off with him even if he asked. Even if she was willing to explain it, she wouldn’t just leave everyone behind, particularly not Alaric right as she got him back. That it would be something of a relief to escape the mess with the Salvatores was a passing thought she put out of her mind for now – except the wearily note that Alaric had been right about her desire to put some distance between herself and them. “And we already agreed we’re going to keep this between us.”

“We did,” he agreed, sounding a little resigned to what they both knew was necessary. Not that Elena was ready to tell anyone, but the necessity of keeping it secret was harder to deal with.

Elena twisted around again to face him again. Elijah had a far off look in his eye, like he was working through some mental puzzle that Elena doubted he was ready to share with her. “So what you’re saying is, you really don’t have a plan yet,” she said with a small smile.

He returned her half grin and focused in on her, whatever he’d been thinking on put out of mind for the moment. “I told you as much.”

“Leaving is still more of a plan that you said earlier,” she pointed out.

“Only a little,” he said, mock defensively.

“Is here anything you can do from here? We’re not going to be working on Alaric all day every day right?”

“I may arrange some meetings by phone,” he admitted. “I presume you want to be kept informed of my plans?” His tone was almost teasing for the last, but it was an honest offer.

“You presume correctly. You usually do, even if I wouldn’t mind if you presumed a little less.”

“I’ll keep that in mind.” Elena believed he would, although seeing as he understood her well enough to usually guess correctly at her wishes she wasn’t sure how much would actually change or how much she even wanted it to, she just needed him to be aware that she didn’t need him presuming everything about her.

She sat up straighter so they were almost eye to eye before she brought a hand up to cup his cheek. He looked at her quizzically but didn’t pull away. “We’re going to figure this out,” she told him, although her voice was a little shy of confident about that. “We can do it together.”

They held each other’s gaze for a long moment before he nodded as he leaned slightly into her hand. Elena brushed her thumb across his lips for a moment before pulling him forward until their lips met again. His lips were soft and supple and her tongue played against them as they slightly parted against hers. It was a long, deep, lingering kiss but in spite of their nudity it wasn’t about having sex again right now, they even left the pillow sandwiched between them. It was something they both needed, to reaffirm their easy connection after the uncomfortable turns of their conversation.

The kiss ended eventually and Elena pulled back just enough to smile at him, not a wide beaming smile, but a natural and easy one that no longer felt like something she forced for anyone. She was happy here with him, even when it wasn’t all easy. And the smile he gave her in return was the same kind of easy expression, just content and happy with what they had.

Her smile still in place, Elena settled back into his side again; only losing that happy feeling as she started to speak again. “Do you really want to talk about what happens tomorrow?” she asked. They could handle it, at least talking about it certainly, but it would involve some other people she didn’t really want to bring into bed with her and Elijah.

Elijah’s arm tightened around her again, the other crossing around to hold her arm loosely. It was all to wordlessly assure her that he was with her in this, whether that meant minimizing Klaus’s impact on her life or facing the problems of her friends with her. “I think it’s important to know what you mean to tell them about Klaus.”

Elena hadn’t given it any thought at all; she’d been preoccupied with other things. She hadn’t exactly planned on not telling them anything, but she hadn’t really intended to say anything about it. She had, she supposed, hoped to just avoid it coming up. And if it had been only her secret she might have tried that – it might not have lasted very long but it could wait – but it wasn’t just her, it wasn’t just even her and Elijah. This involved Klaus, and things involving Klaus had a way of biting a person in the ass eventually; and trying to keep it secret would likely make that bite worse.

“He said he was going to leave town again,” she started.

“And he will. He may take some time to look in on your friend Caroline, but I think he’s put that short obsession behind him.”

Elena sat bolt upright and halfway out of bed as she asked him, “Do I need to warn Caroline that Klaus is back?”

“If you want to,” he said without much care. “How will you tell her you know Klaus is back?”

Elena sat on the edge of the bed, her mind whirling slightly without clear thought. “We can mostly tell the truth,” she reasoned out loud. “It happened, she doesn’t need to know what we did after or that...” She ran a hand over her mouth, trying to wipe away the realization that hit her. “That I didn’t even think to tell her,” she finished. Or Stefan, a corner of her mind thought; Klaus was almost as likely to go harass Stefan while he was in town, and he would tell Stefan what had happened earlier, and then they were screwed when one of them realized Elena hadn’t gone home right afterward.

Elijah reached out to lay a light hand on her back. “I’ll take you home, or to Caroline’s if that’s what you want.”

“It’s not what I want,” Elena found herself saying. “I want to stay here; especially if you’re going to leave, I want to do everything in the time we do have together. I want to be with you, because this,” she turned towards him as she gestured to include the two of them and what they had together, “this is so much better than the rest of my life. I want it to make the rest of my life better because this is part of it; but instead, everything else is trying to drag this down to its level.”

Elijah began to rub small circles on her back as her speech died down. It was nice to have said it, but Elena wasn’t sure what to do next, she could hardly bounce up and go check on Caroline after that, she had to know what Elijah would say. After a long, quiet, expectant moment he answered her declaration. “I wish I could dagger him for you.”

Elena blinked as she processed his rather random statement, but a smile played at her lips even before she was sure how to respond. Something about it amused her; maybe just the randomness, maybe his deadpan tone as he said it, but she kind of wanted to laugh about it. Just a little, the situation was still too serious for much laughter, but it had the effect of lightening her mood the way he had probably intended.

She turned around to face him fully again, Caroline could wait a couple minutes more. She was now as naked and exposed as he was and she would have liked to stay and enjoy that situation, but it wasn’t going to happen tonight. “It’s never going to be easy is it?” she asked seriously.

“Unlikely,” he answered. He didn’t try and lie to her about the situation, though part of her wished he would.

Elena reached out for his hand, and brought it up so she could hold it between her own. His grip tightened slightly around her hand but didn’t try to hold when she started to pull away. “I’ll go call Caroline.”

She glanced at their discarded clothes but neither of their shirts had made it upstairs and there weren’t any loose sheets to wrap herself in. Elena wasn’t much of an exhibitionist, although she hadn’t had a lot of experience being alone in a house with just her lovers, there was almost always someone else around. She settled for hugging her pillow as coverage, and still felt awkward and exposed to go walking around Elijah’s house.

At the doorway she glanced back and Elijah was definitely watching her bare back as she walked away and seemed to enjoy the sight; which made Elena smile a little even if it didn’t make her feel much more comfortable.

Downstairs, Elena took a moment to slip on Elijah’s rumpled shirt; it wasn’t long enough that she would have wanted anyone to see her, but she felt more comfortable walking around the house. Then she went back to her coat and pulled her phone out of the pocket. The startup tones sounded loud as she waited for it to power up and fiddled with the buttons of her borrowed shirt. Should she be working harder to keep her secret relationship separate from the other elements of her life? Going home and then calling Caroline would fit in with the truth of what had happened with Klaus, just ignoring the stop over at Elijah’s when describing it to others. Caroline could be to Elena’s house faster than Elena could get dressed and get home if that was what Care wanted to do.

Caroline had been dividing her time between Elena and Bonnie for the last few days, when the three of them weren’t all together. The last couple days Caroline had been hovering less, but she was still Caroline and Elena figured she’d take charge of bucking everyone’s spirits up once she knew what was going on. But she deserved the be warned about Klaus’s presence, and Elena could just say she and Elijah had been driving around discussing what to do with Alaric, which was a perfectly reasonable thing they might have done if they hadn’t been having sex instead.

Elena didn’t have any new messages waiting for her once her phone booted up. That had stopped seeming strange sometime in the last year, but she could remember the days when leaving her phone off for even a few hours in the evening would have meant several calls or texts once she went to check on them. “Call Caroline,” she said, counting on the voice activation to do the rest.

Waiting as the phone rang, Elena started to fear she’d waited too long and Klaus had already gone and done something to Caroline in his sick little attraction to her. But Caroline answered after the third ring, all concern and questions if Elena needed her. “No Care,” Elena said. “I’m worried about you. Klaus is back in town, for tonight at least, and I guess he’s still into you or something so...” she let the sentence hang, knowing Caroline would happily finish the thought or just continue with the words unspoken.

Caroline did not disappoint. “It’s okay Elena; Mom’s at work and I’m not at home so he’s not going to be able to do much to us. Are you okay though? Klaus is kind of obsessed with destroying your life after all.”

“I’m okay,” Elena assured her, and almost meant it. “No new harm done.”

“Are you sure? ‘Cause I can come stay with you if you want.”

“No,” Elena said, shaking her head even though it wasn’t a video call. “Care, go out, enjoy what you’re doing, I’ll be fine.”

“Okay,” Caroline said slowly, yielding a little easier than Elena had expected. “I’ll see you in the morning then, for this epic meeting you’re planning.”

“Oh, and Caroline...could you not tell Stefan and Damon about Klaus? I’ll tell them tomorrow, but I’m not ready to deal with more Salvatore drama tonight.”

“Sure, sure Elena,” Caroline said sympathetically. As much as Elena thought Caroline was probably still hoping Elena and Stefan would reconcile, she had gotten Elena’s need to consider it over, at least since Jeremy’s death. Caroline and Stefan were starting to be friends again, and before Jeremy’s death she’d brought the subject up with Elena more, but for now she was willing to leave the subject mostly alone or at least drop it as soon as Elena asked her to.

Which was more than she could say for Stefan and Damon themselves. Things were such a mess there, and she had all but promised them she would make a choice between them soon, just before her life got turned completely upside down with Jeremy’s death. But they were still waiting for an answer, even if she was in no condition to give them one. And it was starting to feel like she wasn’t hesitating because she couldn’t bear to hurt one of them, but because she wasn’t sure she wanted either of them.

And then there was Elijah. He had never entered the race for her heart, so he didn’t treat it like something to be won; not that she was ready to give it to him yet. It was too soon to be love, even for Elena who could fall in love quite quickly if she felt it, and something like falling in love was enough for now. And she was choosing this over the other offers at her door. Maybe Elijah was right and one day she’d regret that choice, but it was her choice and she didn’t regret that at all.

So she ended her call to Caroline, and went back upstairs. It turned out they did have time tonight, and she intended to make the most of it.

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October 2013

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