jedi_of_urth: (writing)
[personal profile] jedi_of_urth
So [personal profile] siberia21 requested a commentary on To Weather the Storm for the commentary meme. Little did she know the commentary would border on being as long as the fc itself. Hopefully I didn't jack up the formatting too badly, there's a lot more of it involved in this than my usual style of posting.

TWTS original post


Title: To Weather the Storm
Author: [personal profile] jedi_of_urth
Fandom: The Vampire Diaries (TV)
Characters/Pairings: Elena Gilbert/Elijah
Rating: NC-17
Word Count: 9,595
Prompt/Summary: [profile] vd_kink my dear beta for this fic will be referred to as DB (get it?) where her contribution is noted. [personal profile] got_swagger/[profile] turtle_goose the original prompter and beta of the later fics in this series will be TG where her opinions are noted. There will be comments about later parts of this series (written and ideas for the future) as well as the show through early s5/The Originals early s1.

Now let’s talk about the opening bits.
-The title was a late decision, as they usually are for me. I knew before I was too far in the title would probably be storm related somehow, or cold or wind or something in that area TWTS only really gelled for me as I was struggling to wrap up the fic so closing it as titling the story went hand in hand.
-One thing I will say about vd_kink at the time this was prompted, a lot of the prompts were getting way more plot/story based than just ‘X/Y shower sex.’ A lot of us seemed to have these plot bunnies that we wanted to see what other people would do with rather than just kinks we wanted filled. A prompt like this one really wasn’t going to be complete IMO with just the sex, there’s huge story implications in that prompt that, even before I expanded it into a series, made this fic close to 10k words in exploring. I somehow felt that was ridiculous, yet feel less so now that the series is over 50k words. Perception of ridiculousness is an inexact science.

~~~

The wind that blew in through the window was ice cold. It pierced through the blankets Elena wrapped around herself as she huddled in the middle of her bed, and the cold bit against her uncovered face and hands. DB did ask why I had Elena have the window open, and the answer was two-fold. For the purposes of the story I needed Elijah to be able to get in easily; and just for me I tend to want a bit of fresh air getting in even during the winter so I thought with everything going on Elena would want that too. It might be a bit extreme, but it makes sense to me. But she didn’t want to close it, the sting of the cold on her skin felt better than the numbness that had settled in her mind.

Nothing beyond the physical felt real. Even the sounds of Damon and Ric getting drunk downstairs added little more than a din to her lifeless world. Stefan might be down there too, but she didn’t know for sure; he might have left now that those two had gotten down to the serious drinking and she was supposed to be asleep as far as he knew, rather than sitting in the middle of her bed attempting to let the storm drive actual thought out of her head.

DB also convinced me not to have the whole gang downstairs keeping vigil with Elena, and she was right about that. I confess I half forgot that Alaric had moved out at this point in the show (weird considering how much 3x17 upset me) so didn’t even think to write this without him there, but I did scale it back, and I did address the kinda continuity error in TTESIN.

Elena still kept wondering how things had come to this.

She had done everything she could to keep Jeremy safe, and in the end it had made no difference. After they killed Finn, Klaus had retaliated by targeting Jeremy. She hadn’t been able to stop him, and certainly their one time deal hadn’t seemed to matter to the Hybrid. One day she would learn to stop making deal with Originals, last time it had been Jenna and now Jeremy. And what had it all been for?

Elena closed her eyes, dry now as if she’d cried herself out again. She tried to remember happier days with her family, she tried to remember them laughing in the sunlight, she tried to remember them alive, and she couldn’t seem to do it. The images that did come to mind didn’t feel real and the memories, even the faded good ones, hurt too much to recall. Would there ever come a day when she could remember the good times without crying because they would never happen again?

Her eyes may have been closed, but her senses were sharp and raw; there was never a sound of the door being opened, but she sensed a new presence in her room. She was too numb at this point even to be frightened when she opened her eyes and saw the man standing in front of her open window, silhouetted by the moon just past full. She stared at him and Elijah stared back. It was too dark to see his face, but his posture gave his identity away. And keep in mind, I wrote this before I decided Elena had Elijah-sense, if I’d written this after the s3 finale I might have just had her know he was there.

“If you’re here to kill me,” she whispered, “just get it over with.” She didn’t want anyone downstairs to hear her so she kept her voice down.

He kept on staring. Normally Elena would have liked to see his face better so she could gauge what he was thinking, but just now she didn’t care. Not if he what he was thinking about was deciding whether to snap her neck or feed on her or take her away and torture her first. None of it mattered anymore.

She really thought she was beyond caring, but she still flinched slightly when he reached out toward her. This is there to be an early sign that as broken hearted as she is, she hasn’t shut the world or pain out as completely as she thinks. The protective shell she has going on isn’t all she is, and it has cracks in it. It didn’t stop him, and when he did make contact with her his touch on her cheek was surprisingly gentle. She looked up again, but even right next to her his eyes were too shadowed to see clearly, and what she could read of his face was still and expressionless.

“It would seem you and I have some more catching up to do,” he said. DB convinced me not to reuse it exactly, but I did like Elena’s thoughts following it, so I only reworked it a little so I could keep most of the follow-up intact. The words may have changed slightly but they were instantly recognizable. The real change was that this time they were not the least bit friendly, his tone instead almost as cold as the winter wind outside. Yet still his hand rested softly against the side of her face, which only slightly lessoned the slap that was reusing the greeting without its former warmth.

She shrugged, what was there to say at this point? It did seem that killing her wasn’t his first priority, now it seems like of silly to think it ever would be, but given the circumstances of this story I don’t think she’s being unreasonable to think that way but she wasn’t in any mood to play nice with any of the Original family right now. Any compassion she might have extended them had died with Jeremy. But if Elijah was interested in revisiting scenes from their past then she could play too, so she brought a finger to her lips and pointed at her door, indicating there people who would hear them. Not likely, but it was hard to say how drunk the others were yet. This, for example, makes a lot more sense when there are some people around but not everyone hovering.

He removed his hand from her cheek only to offer it to her. “Shall we?”

She glared at him before agreeing to anything, though it was a glare of something between anger and pleading. “I mean it, if you’re going to kill me, do it now. Don’t act like we’re still friends if you’re just here for some more revenge.” Her voice was rising so she wasn’t quite whispering any more, if the others were listening they’d know she had company. No one came rushing in to check though.

“I never said we were still friends,” he said bitterly. “But there has been enough revenge. I’m only offering you a chance to explain yourself if you have anything you wish to say.”

She sighed, a deep resigned sigh. There were things she did want to say, but she didn’t trust herself to say most of them. I sometimes think her attitude changes too quickly between this and a couple paragraphs earlier, but I don’t think it’s too bad. I think it’s more noticeable now that this story takes place in a larger AU, as a one-shot kink meme fill some quick decision making to get the plot moving is kind of par for the course. She’d assumed he’d want her dead for her part on Finn’s death and she still couldn’t really say he didn’t since he’d been all over the map so far. I will note that DB is a lot less prone to comma abuse than I am, so there are some sentences where I feel there should be some extra punctuation. For good or ill, TG and I have more similar writing styles so there probably is more than necessary in some of the later fics. If he wanted to talk the important thing was to get him out of her house, away from anyone else he could hurt if his mood continued to swing wildly.

And she was starting to get curious how this might play out, as long as she didn’t have to play nice. “I’d ask for your word, but I know what you’d say,” she said, almost matching him for bitterness, and took his hand to help her to her to her feet, out of her warmed nest that had shielded her at least partially from the cold air.

She hadn’t even finished standing when he scooped her into his arms and in a few quick steps crossed the room to leap out her window. No one of TV seems to have screens in their windows so people can go in and out them at will, I’m just admitting these characters live in a TV universe. Elena knew she ought to cry out at that, but in the moment all she could think was she shouldn’t leave her window open unattended for however long she was going to be away. This is another thing mostly brought on by real life but used to show Elena’s mind is in kind of a weird place at the moment. And before she knew it he’d set her standing on the ground outside. Elijah made no further move to carry her away, only pointed towards his car down the block.

It was important to me not to have their physical contact at this point in the short seem casual. They have not been habitually tactile with each other before and they would hardly start now. And writing Elijah so restrained early in the story it just wouldn’t be right. Them leaving like this is also something of a consequence of originally having the house full of people that they would have to take their conversation elsewhere; in some ways this feels like it should be happening in her bedroom, but I was never going to force it into that location when I also wanted to take it away from there. Now I’m sort of treating them being together in her house/room as something that will be a big step in their relationship.

The cold night air had been almost unpleasant inside, but outside without her coat or even shoes, it was awful. Environmental details are something I like to put in my stories, I feel like it helps put you/me in the characters’ place and experience. DB often encouraged me to scale back as I can be more than a bit wordy (as you may have noticed) but I only listened a little especially as the environment had become such a factor in my view of the story. She glared at Elijah a moment, but he obviously wasn’t moving until she made up her mind to go back inside or go with him. Outside in the moonlight she could see him better but it didn’t help matters: he could hardly be more blank-faced if he was carved from stone. Even his eyes, where she had learned to read the subtle signs of his thoughts and feelings, remained dark and emotionless.

I had to be aware of walking a fine line with Elijah in this section of the fic (the whole thing really). I didn’t want to make him nice with what he was doing, but I didn’t want him to be forceful or controlling either. He’s in total control of the situation and himself at this point, but he’s not controlling her. Because that’s not his goal and it’s not what they do. He’s cold and angry and hurt, but he’s still Elijah and she’s still Elena.

Elena didn’t want to go back inside now that she’d left, and she wasn’t dressed to linger outside and think over her decision even if she’d wanted to. She might as well stick to it now that she’d started. She was tempted to go back on her earlier statement regarding asking for his word though; maybe continue the game of flashbacks with a, ‘Can I trust you?’ but she didn’t do it. Instead, she turned on her fast cooling feet and walked toward his car.

In some ways it was like reliving a horrific, twisted version of the morning after she had undaggered him, stepping into the unknown, alone with Elijah. I think in the first draft there were more callbacks to 2x19 so this flowed a little more naturally, I tried to keep it working because I particularly liked it here. And this story is so interconnected that the next several paragraphs would have had to be rethought if I changed her train of thought too far at this point. Except this time instead of the uneasy beginnings of trust, there was a wall of hate and anger between them, piled high with accumulated betrayals and dead brothers.

And of course there was still his other brother Klaus. Klaus, the same unkillable hybrid that Elena and Elijah had forged their initial alliance in order to destroy, and yet he still walked among them. Because of him, Jeremy was dead. Finn was dead. Jenna and John and Tyler in case anyone was wondering, Tyler is alive in this AU, this is a reference to him being a hybrid now, not that he was killed off screen like Jeremy and Dana, and so many others were dead because they had failed. Elijah’s feelings on that front might have been complicated, but Elena’s weren’t. She had thought for months that she hated Klaus with every fiber of her being, but he kept forcing her to discover new layers of hate inside herself.

This time Elijah drove, and the silence that stretched between them was thick with tension. It didn’t take long to figure out that he was driving toward Klaus’s mansion, and Elena’s anger and fear warred with even greater ferocity the closer they got.

“What do imagine I would say?” Elijah asked suddenly, his eyes still locked coldly on the road in front of them.

“Huh?” For as much as I have them able to just understand each other through this story it’s important to me to sometimes show some realism in not being able to know exactly what the other person means.

“You said you knew what I would say if you asked for my word not to harm you. What do you believe I would have said?” His tone wasn’t vicious, she though it probably should be, but with him talking in this detached tone she got the feeling he cared more that someone doubted his word than understanding her thoughts.

She wanted to answer with as little feeling as he had asked with, but it didn’t work out that way. “That my ability to ask for anything from you is,” she couldn’t stop her voice from cracking on the last words, “quite dead.”

His silence spoke volumes, and it continued until he parked in front of the dark mansion. The funny thing is, I’m not even sure he knows what he would have said in that situation, I have him answer it in TSTWA but that’s looking back on it after what happens here so that may not be quite the truth. Here, her estimation of his response doesn’t sit well with him but he won’t deny that she’s in the neighborhood. And she doesn’t want to hear him say it so she didn’t give him the chance back in her room, but he wouldn’t want to say it either. Elena supposed she should be grateful he parked as close to the door as possible since she’d have to walk across the stone driveway in her socks to get inside, but she still wasn’t feeling very generous.

“So what, are you going to hand me over to the rest of them?” she asked. It looked like no one else was there, but her rolling emotions made she really want to get a reaction out of Elijah, and she knew that questioning his honor would do it..

She could see his jaw clench briefly, but he gave no other sign that her words meant anything to him. “Come inside, Elena.” If you notice, this is the first time in the story he uses her name, I wanted to save it for this line, when he invites her inside for their meeting. I have a thing with the way some characters using others’ names, and it came into play here.

He didn’t wait for her to follow his direction, just got out of the car and walked into the house. Elena was actually grateful for the moment alone to collect herself and her thoughts. He hadn’t denied her accusation but she didn’t think that was his goal. He said that he wanted to talk and Elena still believed him. She reminded herself that she’d agreed to come in order to keep him away from the others when she told him how they had all worked together to kill Finn. Once that came out there would nothing to protect her but the tattered remnants of Elijah’s affection for her.

I don’t think it was exactly conscious of me, but I kept giving Elena chances to walk away. Not times when that was a great option, but she had the chances. I think I wanted to show that she chose to walk deeper into this thing at each stage, and explore why she would do that. It’s not always for the best of reasons, some of them are borderline suicidal, but I gave voice to what those reasons were.

She supposed she wasn’t doing herself any favors by sitting in the rapidly cooling car, so she took a deep breath and pushed open the car door. The air was every bit as cold as it had been outside her house, and the stone ground was colder than the yard had been so she forgot acting unconcerned and ran as fast as she could for the doorway.

Inside, the front hall was hardly warmer than the outside had been, although it was out of the wind. The cold in the tiles seemed to seep through her cotton socks. On the night of the ball everything had been so bright, artificially cheerful and warm for the comfort of the human party guests, but even for the ball there had been no way to make the house feel alive. Now it was deathly still: fitting for a vampire’s house.

There something really artificial about the atmosphere in 3x14, and the other times we the audience see Klaus’s mansion it’s very dark and kind of dreary, so I just put that in the story. Klaus’s mansion is a pretty weird set.

Even as Elena’s eyes adjusted to the darkness well enough to make out the shapes of the sparse furniture in the hall, there was no sign of Elijah. This was obviously a test of some kind, but was it a test simply to see if she could find him? Maybe to see what she would do with unrestricted access to Klaus’s mansion? Or how long she would stand shivering in the front room before she asked for help?

If it was the last he’d be waiting a while. Or maybe she ought to make him help her since he’d dragged her out here in the middle of the night. She had been under the impression courtesy fell under Elijah’s honor code. Elijah’s honor code is kind of weird so it’s kind of whatever suits his/my purposes at any given point.

Before she had quite made up her mind she saw some light coming from one of the back rooms. As she approached she realized that the light was not the steady light of electricity, but flickering firelight. When she did finally turn into the small sitting room she found Elijah standing in front of the fireplace, silhouetted menacingly against the flames. This is one of those visual ideas that I couldn’t shake so it had to fit into the story. Luckily it seemed in character enough for me.

She recognized it for the power play it was. Not only the powerful visual, although he probably had planned that too, but the unspoken message that in order to warm herself by the fire she’d have to stand next to him. She needed to respond in kind, show that she wasn’t intimidated by him – so she walked across the room to stand almost shoulder to shoulder with him in front of the fire.

Out of the corner of her eye she tried to gauge his reaction, but once again his face gave away nothing. After what felt like many long minutes DB pointed out that actually being a couple minutes of silence would be a long time so I made the time stamp less exact and more perception Elijah backed away from the fire, leaving her alone, but he didn’t take a seat on any of the chairs or couches in the room. Instead he continued to pace you know those words that no matter how many times you write you can never seem to remember how they’re spelled? Pace is one of those for me, my brain thinks it should be ‘pase’ and yet I like using it, I’m just constantly correcting the spelling; to the point where I swear it changes spellings from time to time, no way should I have to relearn a four letter word every time I go to use it deep in thought. Elena glanced at him a few times, but tried not to look like she following his movements; she had to be just as cold as him. They weren’t friends anymore, not that it had ever made much sense that they were, realistically, friends is an overstatement of their canon relationship, but I feel like it’s what Elena would use rather than have to think about their relationship enough to come up with a more accurate one but here they were sizing each other up as enemies circling each other determining which of them would strike first.

“I assume it was one of those white oak stakes that Stefan handed over to Klaus,” Elijah finally said. When Elena nodded, he continued, “Is it worth asking where you obtained them?”

“I figured Rebekah told you,” Elena said, surprising herself when she managed to keep her tone even.

“I suspect I was given the abridged version of events. But I did hear that she thought she had burned the oak from Wickery Bridge until Stefan revealed that some of the tree had survived.”

“Does it matter where we got it from? You can tell Klaus we’re still looking for the last stake. And if there are more out there they haven’t told me.” I threw that in as a subtle hint that Elena doesn’t really trust the Salvatores not to keep pretty big things like that from her. I’m not saying they are in this case, but Elena doesn’t really trust that they’re going to include her in things; along with some suppressed resentment of how Damon got involved in this anyway. She didn’t really want to talk about how Damon had gotten the information about the surviving white oak if she could avoid it. Damon might think it something to be gloat about but she didn’t agree.

Elijah’s tone was surprisingly strained when he answered. “I’m not asking on Klaus’s behalf. I just want the truth from you.”

Elena looked away from him again. Damn him. She believed him; she had to stop doing that. And that’s the trick, when it comes to the Salvatores she tells herself she trusts them but if you look at the way she acts/things she says she really doesn’t; she says she knows not to trust Elijah, but she does. I think canon’s pretty much with me on that one. “Fine,” she said angrily, though she wasn’t sure whether she was angrier at him or herself, “you want the truth, I’ll tell you the truth. Yes, we were trying to kill you all. We didn’t know Klaus was trying to break the binding spell, or we would have acted sooner. We wanted you all dead. Are you happy now?” She was breathing hard by the time she finished, dozens of emotions threatening to overtake her.

“No,” Elijah said simply.

She narrowed her eyes. “Then what do you want?”

“Why Finn?”

In case it wasn’t clear in the writing, I have a lot of issues with Finn’s death. I’ve largely moved on from it since I wrote this, but I still don’t like it. And at the time I assumed Elijah would have a lot of issues with it too so of course I was willing to let him get into that. I assumed he would care, that no matter how much he loves Elena he would be upset by losing his brother like that. Canonically he really doesn’t seem to, as both Finn and Kol’s death don’t seem to have put him off Elena, but at least my Elijah gets to have complicated feelings on the subject.

“He was convenient,” Elena said, her words still coming out in a hiss, not nearly as nonchalant as she wanted to seem. “It could have been anyone, but Finn was the one we got to first.”

“Finn did nothing to any of you.”

He was right, Finn hadn’t done anything to threaten any of them, but Elijah’s words also confused her. “Would it have made a difference? He’d have been just as dead if we’d killed one of the others instead.” She’d expected Elijah to focus more on that aspect rather than Finn’s innocence. Because to Elena, Finn is something of a non-issue. Klaus, Rebekah, and Elijah are the factors she considers when it comes to that family; Finn and Kol are just extra parts. I haven’t really changed that so far in this series, and likely won’t for some time, she feels bad now for Elijah’s sake but Fin himself is still not something she gives thought to.

“You also couldn’t know with certainty that the binding spell was still in effect, but you still chose to attack the one of us who did nothing to harm any of you.” Elena still didn’t quite understand why that was his focus, but she could hear the beginnings of emotion in his voice and unfortunately she knew all too well how it hurt to talk about a brother you’d lost.

“Yes,” she admitted, “but if Kol had been getting drunk at the Grill that night we’d have gone for him instead.”

“And if I had been there?” he asked, his voice very carefully controlled again as he stepped toward her. “Would you run a stake through my heart?”

A surge of anger overtook Elena then. “How can you even ask me what I’d do to get rid of Klaus? She doesn’t really have an answer to that, because she couldn’t have done it, but she really does want Klaus dead. I’d do anything to kill him after what he’s done. It wasn’t that long ago you thought so too.”

“And I spared his life for those of my family,” he said slowly.

She shook her head, and swallowed hard against the lump rising in her throat. His words didn’t have the effect he must have wanted though. “What about my family?” she asked, her voice full of her hatred for everything that had happened since she’d first heard of the Sun and Moon Curse. “Klaus has done nothing but destroy us, piece by piece. I’m not going to apologize for trying to stop him.”

“Finn was our brother.” He still spoke with slow deliberation but she could hear how much control he was using to keep the emotion out of his voice. “I’d imagine you’d be sympathetic to that right now.”

To balance out the fact that I was telling this story only from Elena’s POV, and her POV isn’t as sympathetic to Elijah’s view as it is later in the series, I wanted to give Elijah some opportunities to get his points in clearly. Elijah’s pain may not be as obvious, but Elena isn’t the only one suffering costs in this war and if she’s not going to see that Elijah’s not going to let her just forget. The original prompt, quite rightly, wanted them both broken so I needed to establish Elijah’s without the inner voice Elena has in the story.

“You bastard,” she bit out. “How dare you-”

“Did you imagine that you are the only one who has suffered here?”

“I don’t care!” she shouted as she threw her arms out forcefully, narrowly avoiding smacking one of the back of a chair as she did so. I remember DB was concerned I had them too still for too long so I added more gestures in. “I don’t care if all of you die. I want you all to die!”

The words echoed through the empty house. It was the first time she’d said that so plainly without any pang of regret for the man in front of her. Dimly she knew that she had let her anger get the better of her, because normally, in spite of everything including common sense, she cared about Elijah. I’ve consistently struggled with getting the fic to acknowledge that she’s willingly gone along with more than one plan that would have gotten Elijah killed, where her canon attitudes on the subject seem more than a little inconsistent. I think I’ve found a decent balance of things, including having her determined but struggling not to care about him right now. She didn’t care now though, she didn’t. Right now she meant every word.

Elijah didn’t raise his voice to match her shouts; if anything his voice became lower as it grew more intense, more forceful. He just stared at her with those cold eyes, unmoving as she heaved for breath. “Do you mean that?”

“Of course I do,” she answered quickly. She was still on the verge of yelling at him, but something about the way her words echoed in the nearly abandoned mansion had sounded wrong and made her hesitate to do it again.

Elijah sped across the room, until he was invading her personal space. “Do you mean it?”

Maybe it was that he was so much closer now, but the question sounded different this time. Some new shred of emotion had entered it, almost pleading, almost like some part of him still cared about her and was desperate for her to deny it. It was the barest crack in his armor and the fact that she noticed probably said more about the state of her defenses than it did about his. This is another factor of putting it in Elena’s POV when she’s in this state of mind. The shifts aren’t just in Elijah’s behavior, but what Elena manages to notice about it. So I wanted to acknowledge that in the story itself.

She couldn’t look at him, so she stared back into the fire briefly. She felt like crying, but her eyes remained stubbornly dry. No tears left. “Find a way to ask me that last week,” she said bitterly. Her hands unconsciously balled into fists, as she moved a few pounding steps away from the fireplace, away from Elijah and the way being around him reminded her why her answer hadn’t been so clear a week ago. Now it was that clear.

“Finn was suicidal anyway,” she continued angrily, tempted to kick at the furniture as she walked through the room. “Jeremy had finally gotten over all that, finally had a chance at a future. Even if Finn spent nine hundred years in a coffin, he still had more time than Jeremy will ever get. DB was fond of this point for Elena, and so was I really. It cuts to the core difference between the two deaths, and why for all the sympathy Elena and Elijah may have for each other when they let themselves feel it, they’re very different griefs. So maybe I’m not the only one’s hurt here, but don’t you think I’m allowed to want you all dead? Maybe you all deserve it.”

Elena’s voice was rising again, almost screaming the last part at him. And again Elijah met it with deadly calm. “Are you attempting to provoke me?”

Some other time she might have found that funny. She was already pretty sure he wanted to kill her so it wasn’t like she needed to provoke him any more if he wanted to do it, and if he didn’t ranting at him wasn’t going to be enough to make Elijah leap to hurt her. That section made total sense to me when I wrote it, now I think it’s a little awkward; the show one upped me therewith Elijah boiling it down to “If I wanted her dead she would have been as soon as I arrived.” And Elena knowing that’s the truth, if he wanted to kill her, she’d be dead; since she’s alive he clearly doesn’t want to kill her, and he’s self-controlled enough not to be provoked by random outbursts. Some other time she might have thought that. Tonight, as upset as she was, to her it almost sounded like he was trying to provoke her now, and she was ready to be provoked. “Fuck you!” she shouted at him, not caring if her words echoed through the house.

Elena didn’t often swear. Her mom had always said it would rot her vocabulary and since Elena had wanted to be a writer she avoided it when possible. It’s a pet peeve of mine when characters swear in fanfic when they don’t in their source material. Yes we all know they don’t swear in canon mostly because of broadcast regulations, but that’s the canon way they talk. So while I wanted Elena to swear a little in this fic I had sure it was clearly something she didn’t normally do, since she normally doesn’t. But her mom was dead, and that dream with her, and sometimes there were just no other words for it.

“Fuck all of you,” she cried again, and slammed her fists down on the table in front of her. The wood was solid and unyielding and she hammered her fists into it again and again, cursing Elijah, Rebekah, Kol, Finn, Esther, even Mikael once or twice, and above all Klaus. The entire family could (should) go to hell as far as she was concerned.

By the time Elena was done, she had cracked the glossy finish of the coffee table I had a visual in my head for how this worked, but I’m not sure I painted it clearly enough for readers and she was sobbing in earnest: dry, hacking sobs that shook her whole body. She still had no more tears to cry. She sank to the floor and gasped for breath. On top of everything else, she had hurt her hands. She might even be bleeding from her self-inflicted wounds; not the best thing to do when alone with a vengeful vampire. So far I’ve made blood kind of a thing in this AU. Partly because it’s TVD and blood is kind of a thing, and by extension what it represents in various relationships is another thing.

“So hate me all you want,” she managed to get out. “I don’t care. I don’t care about anything anymore.” She looked back into the fire, and tried to breathe, but she couldn’t find the air.

Slowly, Elijah approached her and knelt down in front of her. She didn’t even have the strength to flinch away as he gently reached for one of her hands. He then proceeded, carefully, with hands surprisingly soft and tender, to wrap her bleeding knuckles in one of his handkerchiefs. He showed no sign of being affected by her blood beyond his focus on the task at hand. I try not to ignore the fact that Elijah is a vampire, in spite of his self-control when it comes to most aspects of being a vampire. I also tend to think that Elena wouldn’t be able to forget what he is, certainly not at this point in their relationship. He’s careful and controlled, but those are necessary traits that moderate his vampire nature, not remove it from her perception of him. Elena was sobbing and coughing and felt like retching from the pain in her chest; she barely felt the pain in her hands.

After Elijah finished bandaging her right hand, he produced another handkerchief and dressed her left hand as well. Only when he had finished that did he place a finger under her chin and try to make her look him in the eye. It’s about this point that it becomes clear Elijah’s attitude has changed. Him actually touching her, even minorly as this is, is a big step for him. He’s moving past the anger onto the other questions about their relationship. She tried to look away, not ready to hear any more he had to say.

“Elena,” he said softly, his voice finally gentled to a tone she was more familiar with, “I could never hate you, not truly. I would remind you, this was before the show proved that he would never even blame her for things that are her fault. In my world he at least got to be angry even if he couldn’t bring himself to really hate her. Whatever else you think of us, you can believe that of me.”

The damning part was, she still believed him. Even before she looked him in the eye she knew he meant it. While his gaze didn’t yet have the same warmth it once had, it was far from cold and hurtful; it was honest.

When she looked away again he nudged the table out of the way so that he could shift position and sit beside her on the stone floor. That’s meant to be a small reminder of Elijah’s strength, Elena noted it was a heavy table that he beat against and Elijah just nudges it out of the way, again small things to remember the objectively he’s the powerful one here. One arm went around her shoulders, lightly pulling her towards him until he could wrap the other arm around her and cradle her head as she cried dry tears. She didn’t resist. She wasn’t sure that she could.

She believed him when he said that he didn’t hate her, but it was the soothing sounds he made as he held her that radiated the warmth of the friendship they had once had, a relationship that she had thought had been destroyed forever. But that only made her sob harder. She didn’t want his friendship – she wanted to hate him, she needed to hate him. I’ve done this in at least one other story and it often informs my Elena characterization. Elena is not good at hate or even really anger at people she cares about, but them hating her makes it a whole lot easier for her to keep up, the second caring outweighs hate/anger she can’t keep it up. If he hated her it would be so much easier.

But after a few minutes, it was even easier to be soothed by the presence of his arms around her. She could breathe again, though her mouth was dry and her throat heavy and raw. By the time she stopped shaking she was clinging to him, her face buried in his shoulder, and she’d climbed halfway into his lap in order to hold on to him as tightly as she could.

It was wrong, but he held her and whispered soothing nonsense to her instead of telling her that she was responsible for ruining his suit in addition to everything else she had done. I (and I think others) tend to treat the suits as an extension of Elijah’s very being, and at this point I figure Elena would to, once she’s more used to seeing him out of the suits that can change, but here the suits are extension of who Elijah is to her. She expected him to separate himself from her now that she had control of herself again and wasn’t gripping his clothes so tightly. But he didn’t move away, and after a couple more minutes she looked up at his face.

He looked back at her expectantly and she swallowed. She wanted to hide back in his dark clad shoulder, but she forced herself to meet his gaze. She wouldn’t allow herself to look away again; her ability to meet his eyes unflinchingly was a part of whatever connection they had always had, that’s getting a little meta I suppose but I don’t think it’s OOC for her to think about that kind of thing in this moment and somehow that connection still existed.

She knew he was waiting for an answer to his question. Did she really want them all dead? But it wasn’t as simple that for her. “The last time I cared about you more that I cared about killing Klaus, Bonnie’s mom got turned into a vampire,” she explained, her voice was still shaking, still on the edge of hysteria, rather than sounding as sure as she wanted to seem. “I can’t let myself care, not if it means that the people I love get hurt.” While this fic is largely about the fallout of 3x18, being an Elena/Elijah story it’s also got to deal with the fallout of 3x15. And trying to reconcile Elena’s shift in attitude in those stories.

At that, he was the one to look away. Even though he still didn’t release her she could see the distant look coming back over his face and she was desperate to keep him here and now, in the moment. “I can’t care,” she insisted again, “but it doesn’t mean that I don’t. I do care about you, but I care about Abby and Caroline and Tyler too. You’ve been a vampire for a thousand years; you can turn it off. Do you have any idea what it’s like to care too much?”

A hem. This is probably as good a time as any to acknowledge Jeremy’s canon death as opposed to the one in this fic written almost a year before it happened on the show. I do sometimes feel like I’ve downplayed some of Elena’s trauma relative to what we saw in canon but I think there are a few factors to keep in mind. For one, Elena is human in this one, which keeps the heightened vampire emotions out of play. Along the same lines, the end of s3 had not happened, Alaric was alive and Elena hadn’t added the trauma of her own death to the pile of shit on her plate. For another, Jeremy’s canon death happened as part of the ‘find Elena the cure’ quest; while this is only marginally less about her than that was it is enough of a difference to note. Also, this one was a little more distant, he was in Denver rather than dying in her arms and then having his rotting body in the house all day. And also, we’re picking up the story a few days later, and being human she hadn’t turned off her emotions on the subject (except the part where she has numbed herself to the pain as much as humanly possible). I would not have foreseen her burning down the house and having such a big breakdown, but I don’t really feel like mine completely undersells what she’d go through losing Jeremy; just not as huge a statement as canon put her through.

That seemed to pull him up, stop him from withdrawing back inside himself. He still didn’t look back at her though, even as he spoke again. “It is one of your best qualities. And I have taken advantage of it again.”

Finally he did look back at her, studying her carefully; Elena felt unable to say anything as he scanned her expression for something. “I admire your capacity for love,” he said softly. “It hadn’t occurred to me before what that may mean for your capacity for hatred.”

Now was Elena’s turn to look away, biting at her lip. She really didn’t like the idea of what he had just said. “I only hate Klaus,” she said. But as soon as the words were out she wasn’t sure they made a difference; maybe she only hated Klaus, but it was a powerful hate that had driven her to make compromises with her conscience that she normally wouldn’t have. And that ultimately is my justification for a lot of things about this story. Why would Elena go along with the plans to kill the Originals regardless of her complicated feelings for Elijah? Klaus hate. Which is why I had to have him show up in TTESIN, to confront the reason why her attitude towards the family as a whole is what it is, and for Elijah to see what drives her attitude with that.

“I hate him too,” Elijah said, his voice barely above a whisper, as if he was afraid Klaus might hear him. He must have sensed her confusion though, because he continued, his voice still hushed. “For a thousand years I watched him change from the kind, affectionate, man he was to the monster he is now. I hate what he has become.”

Okay so I just had my exploration of headcanon vs. actual canon wrt Jeremy’s death, and here’s another one. I don’t necessarily think Elijah’s attitude here is completely different than Elijah’s in canon, but considering what TO has presented us with it deserves attention. I maintain that mid s3 Elijah was very much not on Klaus’s side in much of anything, and since that’s when this takes place it’s still right imo. I’d never say Elijah hates Klaus the way Elena hates Klaus, but he sadness-hates what Klaus has become and hasn’t made the transition he has in TO to trying to save Klaus from what he is. There’s an element of that attitude, that if they can check Klaus’s power and help him find another way maybe Klaus would become something better than he is, but Elijah doesn’t have a lot of hope for that in this story.

Elena looked back into Elijah’s eyes, and saw the truth of what he said. And there was a deeper message that she could see there now; he was letting her in again, because he knew she understood. She understood the way he hated the monster-Klaus for killing the human man that Elijah had loved, not unlike the way Elena hated what Stefan had become even though she still wanted to save him from it. “You can hate him, but not me?” she asked softly.

If his previous look had been open that she could read it if she wanted, this thrust the meaning on her. His look was so deep and open and full of feeling. Elena shied away from the word love that shot across her mind briefly. “Never you,” he whispered. There was no doubting him when he looked at her like that, and spoke in that voice.

Mostly she knew it didn’t matter what he said. Even if it was true that he didn’t now, it hadn’t stopped him from threatening her life before and when he had less cause. If she ever attacked any of the others, except maybe Klaus, he’d defend them first before thinking of her life. And if one day she turned and became a monster like Klaus or Katherine, Elijah would hate her then.

I wanted Elijah to say he’d never hate her, but I also knew how kind of stupid that sounded since Klaus is the big bad in this story and therefore someone Elijah would ultimately be against. So was trying to reconcile those attitudes I just had Elena admit to herself there were holes in his argument. Again, I had not expected the show to one up me on Elijah’s inability to get angry at Elena. I suppose that’s why they felt the need to have him so accommodating to Klaus; if he can love Elena in spite of what she’s done, he does seem forgiving of people he cares about. Also, yes, from the start I knew that I had to acknowledge the Katherine issue, because Elena is very aware of Elijah’s history with the doppelgangers and how he pretty much hates Katherine now; and it acknowledges the way Elena knows, or at least fears, that she could become Katherine if she was pushed into it.

But if she knew all that, he probably did too, and yet he said it anyway. Elijah was careful with his words, but he still said he could never hate her, even after everything.

All those thoughts spun through Elena’s mind as Elijah’s position shifted slightly, bringing his face closer and closer to her. He gave her plenty of time to react, but she didn’t understand his intentions until just before his lips met hers. She still had a few seconds to pull away, but she didn’t and with those seconds gone he was kissing her.

Like with Elena agreeing to go off with Elijah, this does feel a little like a concession to the prompt filling aspect of this story’s creation. It’s a bit of a stretch that Elijah would put the moves on her at a time like this, but I tried to find a mostly in character way through it. That he wants to kiss her, he’s wanted to kiss her for a while so he might as well try now. He’s curious, and with things between them shifting so rapidly he decides to go forward with it. And it’s kind of selfish move on his part and he does know that, but to him it feels like the right things to do. I did want this to seem a little iffy, but I didn’t want it to get into full taking advantage territory.

After such reserve leading up to the kiss she would have expected the kiss itself to be equally restrained, but it wasn’t. His mouth was firm against hers, and when she gasped slightly in surprise his tongue slipped into her open mouth. Elena was too surprised to know how to respond, her mind reeling trying to process the very idea of what was happening.

Surprising and invasive might be the first words she would use to describe the kiss, but it was sweet too. Elijah kissed with purpose, and he knew what he was doing with the way his tongue caressed the inside of her mouth, able to calm and arouse her at the same time. By the time he did end the kiss Elena had reached the point where she didn’t want him to. Her eyes had fallen closed and her mouth hung open after he had separated his own from it.

“Always and forever,” he whispered slowly, each word precisely said, his breath just brushing against her ear as he said them. DB pointed out that my descriptions of kissing (and really the porny section too) are a little dry and series-of-events rather than sensations (this is the second draft which was improved somewhat I think) but this she liked. Elena’s eyes snapped open and met his, finding the promise of his words clearly written there. The depth of feeling and affection in his dark eyes, warmed by the fire’s glow, was astounding. She could lose herself to the depth of what Elijah gave her.

Losing herself sounded like a good idea right now. Partly due to POV I’m sure, I also felt like I did a better job balancing the kind of iffy factors of their hook up from Elena’s side. She’s not exactly in her best state of mind with all this; she’s capable of rational decision making but not entirely using that ability. Like with other things, she’s not exactly making this choice for the best of reasons. I kind of cut down on this element in later installments, because once she has started down this road she likes what she finds and wants to keep going but in this one it’s meant to be a bit iffy. Losing herself to something besides grief and loneliness or the burning hatred she’d so recently given in to, was more than tempting. It was new and exciting, and she wanted it.

He stayed still as she leaned forward for another kiss, parted his lips and allowed her to explore his mouth as he had with hers. She liked kissing him as much as she had liked being kissed by him, but she knew she’d like it more if they were both kissing each other at the same time.

His eyes asked a thousand questions when she finally pulled back from his lips. Elena smiled. It was a tight, shy smile, but she had been out of practice since she had heard about Jeremy. “How about we start with now?” she asked quietly. It might not be as romantic as always and forever, but it was what she had to work with. That’s a sentiment I felt was important to get in there. He’s already at the ‘always and forever’ stage (I explore the usage of the family words more in TTESIT and kind of regret that it took me that long even if it’s only a day later in story time), and she’s just thinking about now. It was also around this point that it started to sink in that as long as this story was shaping up to be I had ideas that went beyond it, including this ‘always and forever’ vs. now theme popping up again in the future. The series hasn’t developed quite the way I originally imagined it progressing, but some of the ideas have survived, we’ll see if this one comes back into play at some point.

He gave her a nod and a half grin. Even a half grin made his lips seem all the more kissable to her, so she leaned in again. As soon as he leaned in to meet her, she knew she’d been right: both of them as active participants was infinitely better than either of their one sided kisses. His smile against her lips made her smile in return, both of them honest and happy.

She shifted so she was straddling his lap, before returning to kissing him with more passion than she had expected from herself. But even as she melted against Elijah’s firm body, she began to feel reality starting to catch up with her. It was her bandaged hands that broke the spell; I admit I don’t make that a big deal out of her wounded hands, and maybe I should have given that more attention, but I like the parts I did bring them up in as she brought them up to run through his shortened hair the extra bulk of his improvised dressings came between her and her goal.

She deepened their kiss then, trying to keep further thought at bay as long as she could; but even as he moaned under her attentions, his hands gently pushed against her shoulders, pressing her away from him. She half groaned, half sighed in protest as she gave in to his suggestion. As she did sit back, his hands drifted lower, resting on her chest just above the swell of her breasts – a no doubt careful compromise between desire to do more than make out and his honor that demanded he not move faster than she wanted. This is a better example of what I was going for with Elijah moving things forward between them. He wants this, but he’s not sure how far she’s willing to go. He’s not exactly pushing her, but it’s pretty obvious that he wants her.

She nodded her permission, but he continued to study her face. Instead of moving lower, one hand came up to caress her cheek. “Tell me what you want, Elena.”

Something in his tone demanded complete honesty. She glanced at her bandaged hands that had broken her hold on this moment alone, before she answered. “I want to forget about all of this, at least for a little while.” I can’t remember for sure, but I think I’d written at least the first idea of her wanting to forget about everything else while they were having sex before I wrote it coming up here; I’m fairly sure I at least had it in mind as a theme during this section. Her voice caught in her throat again as she spoke, but she made herself look back at him.

All she saw in his face was understanding and sympathy, and she wasn’t sure she wanted that when she was looking to forget. “Something like this cannot be compelled away,” he said sadly. This was meant as just another passing reminder that Elijah thinks about things differently, being a vampire with really good compulsion abilities, but it also allowed me to explicitly put in that her thoughts about what she was doing were her own. With this show it’s kind of a good idea to state this kind of thing.

Elena shook her head. “I didn’t mean that,” she assured him. “You couldn’t anyway; we put vervain in a lot of things in this town these days.”

His hand moved from her cheek to push her hair back behind her ear, and he smiled slightly. “Good to know.”

“What?”

He was still smiling slightly, but his tone was serious. “So we both know that whatever happens tonight, I haven’t compelled you.” It’s a short line, but it’s got a lot of info in it. Its main setup is what I explore a lot more in TSTWA, that Elijah knows that she normally wouldn’t be doing this with him. That if he didn’t know she was full of vervain he might well worry that he’d accidentally compelled her into things; one of the other things this sets up that later installments play with is just how damn powerful I see Elijah’s compulsion being, it’s the crux of the Alaric plan and that here he’d worry he could do it without meaning to. While at the same time assuring her that, things being as they are, she’s still in control of her own mind in this and allowed to decide how far she wants it to go. He looked hard at her for another moment, letting all the possible meanings of what he said sink in, before he leaned in toward her again.

He didn’t quite kiss her, waiting for her to decide if she still wanted to after what he’d said, but he didn’t have to wait more than a moment. His words and the feel of his hands on her body made her feel hot with desire, warmed from within rather than just the fire.

Emboldened by that desire she pushed his suit jacket back from his shoulders. Elijah complied with that plan easily, though he had some trouble getting his hands pulled through the sleeves. That made Elena laugh against his lips as she kept kissing him; it was sort of reassuring that Elijah wasn’t smooth at everything. One of the things that’s stuck with from behind the scenes info on B5 was a comment that a couple times they used takes where the actors had trouble getting their jackets off smoothly, which ended up showing the characters as more human since that’s not the way things go in fiction, especially TV world but do in real life. So it’s the sort of small detail I throw into stories sometimes, it’s probably more effective if I didn’t draw attention to it, but I thought it was a good fit here.

As soon as he had settled out of his jacket his hands were on her back, one resting on her waist, the other tracing sensually along her spine. He stayed on the outside of her clothes, but she started tugging the shirt from his pants, anxious to feel skin beyond his face and hands. On Elijah, anything else was unknown territory and that made her excited to explore it. Again we’re back to the suits as part of Elijah’s identity issue, and how Elena’s instinct is to find out what’s beyond that element. With her muffled grip she managed to dig past his dress shirt and his undershirt to finally make contact with his skin; just that for a man in so many layers felt like she had found something new and foreign.

Straddling him as she was, she could feel him growing more aroused as they continued to explore each other. By the time either of them spoke again she had Elijah looking quite disheveled, although he hadn’t actually shed any clothes since his jacket. But he hadn’t removed any of her clothing either. He had followed her lead and gone underneath her shirt, gracing her skin with well-placed touches and grazes along her body.

His fingers finally grazed along the under edge of her bra when he asked again, “Tell me what you want.”

He’d answered her last request, so far, but his question asked her to think again, and thinking brought back earlier thoughts. “What do you want, Elijah?” she asked instead, and she sounded much more confident that she had so far tonight. Since a) we’re in Elena’s head and b) Elijah has been the one pushing things forward it’s easy think he needs to check in with her desires, but I feel sometimes she needs to be the one asking him. She deserves to know, and he deserves to have his desires considered.

He went back to doing that studying her face thing, though his fingers kept rubbing her flushed shin while he did it. “I would very much like to take you to bed,” he answered. “If that’s what you want.”

Her heart was pounding in her chest as she nodded. “Yes,” she breathed. She wanted that. There was no way she’d be able to explain her choice to anyone tomorrow, she already knew that, and she had to banish Stefan and Damon’s faces from her mind, but she wanted it. One could argue this is another brush off in the name of porn, but I feel okay about this one. It feels legitimate to where her mind is at the moment. She doesn’t want to think about consequences right now, she just wants to feel something good. It has been a bit of an issue in places with the series going forward. She wanted to be comforted by this man who should offer her no comfort; she wanted to feel safe in the arms of one of the least safe men she’d ever known; she wanted it all.

He studied her for another moment and then for the second time that night he scooped her up into his arms faster than she could realize what he was doing. But this time he didn’t race to their destination, and she knew he was giving her every chance to reconsider. She leaned forward and kissed him again; reconsidering would mean thinking and she still didn’t want to do that.

As he carried her away from the warm sitting room, back into the cold front hall, she shivered in his arms. He held her closer, though as a vampire his body provided little warmth, and hurried up the staircase. He continued quickly down the hallways until they reached one of the bedrooms; it was presumably his room though Elena couldn’t see anything that marked it as such. It’s actually headcanon for this story that Klaus did elaborately decorate Elijah’s room (after all Esther’s suite was well furnished), but Elijah took one look at the artwork and chucked it into a spare room, just keeping the furniture he might actually use. Rebekah and Kol saw what he was doing and got rid of some of the stuff they weren’t crazy about but not as much as Elijah, and Finn just didn’t care since he didn’t plan to be there very long. I’m not saying that was always the intent behind having his room bare, but I didn’t want Klaus’s artwork hanging in Elijah’s room during this scene and so had it be undecorated. I’m pretty sure Elijah is glad he didn’t have any Klaus artwork around for this scene either.

He set her carefully on the wide raised bed and kissed her deeply again, gradually leaning her back to rest against the soft comforter. Her arms were still laced around his neck and she locked her grip around him, drinking him in as he settled above her. All thoughts of the cold were forgotten as she blindly fumbled with the buttons of his shirt

But he hadn’t forgotten. When he was apparently satisfied that she was aroused and quite willing he pulled away from her. “I’d hate for you to catch cold,” he said. Yes I am aware you don’t actually catch colds from being cold, and so is Elijah, but he wants Elena to be as comfortable as possible now that she’s agreed to sleep with him. Also it was important to me to bring the environmental details back into play after I’d ignored them for so long. It was too dark to see his expression, again, but she could hear the humor in his tone. She was halfway through unbuttoning his shirt before he pushed her hands away. “Give me a moment,” he said, and rushed out of the room.

Elena sat up slightly and looked around the room, but there wasn’t much to see. The only light she had was the moonlight that shone through the partially open curtains, but even in that light she could see that the room was large with heavy furnishings, yet bare of anything beyond the furniture. Which made sense. Elijah hadn’t spent much time here to make the room his own.

She wondered again where he had gone after Esther’s ritual. She wondered how things might have been different if he had stayed. This was of course the other reason for getting Elijah out of the room briefly. Lest we forget that they’re in this situation because of entirely preventable tragedy. I’m not saying Elijah should have stayed (okay, I think he should have stayed, but because I want Elijah around, not that what happened in his absence is the fault of his absence...okay I’m not blaming him for leaving in spite of the fact that him being around probably would have made things turn out better) but I didn’t want to lose track of what had happened so far in this chain of events now that they’ve made it to the bedroom.

Once she thought that, the thought wouldn’t leave her mind, no matter how much she didn’t want to think it, until he returned to the room.

“Where did you go?” she asked cautiously, leaning back on her elbows rather than lying down completely again.

“I went to switch the heater on,” he explained, apparently not realizing she meant in a larger sense. “As I said, I’d hate for you to catch cold.”

He came back to stand over her prone form, and soon reached out to caress her cheek again. His touch was again gentle and meaningful. With his enhanced vision the dark wasn’t a problem for him studying her so he could probably see her expression clearly enough to see the larger question she asked. “Perhaps I shouldn’t have gone,” he said.

“Just don’t go again,” she said and brought her arms around his neck again.

He kissed her again, and it wasn’t lost on Elena that he hadn’t promised that he wouldn’t leave her again. But it would have been foolish to expect him to stay. For now it was enough that they both knew he’d be welcome to. I felt this moment was important to include, it’s about as close as I wanted Elena to admit to thinking beyond what they’re doing tonight.

Again his lips and hands quickly soothed away her worries about what would happen later, rooting her in the moment and the passion between them. She surrendered almost all control to him as his hands dove back under her shirt and unclasped her bra, then slowly drew her clothing off of her, his fingers trailing long touches along her arms as he did. At some point too late to go back and address it through the story I realized Elena should probably have been in her pajamas for this, considering when Elijah came over to visit her, but since I had her in day clothes she was also wearing a bra in the sexy scenes, at least I was consistent.

It must have been warmer in here now, or she was so warm with desire that she hardly noticed the cold air against her exposed skin as she scooted back to lie against the plush pillows, pulling Elijah with her. He was still mostly dressed as he looked down at her exposed chest, his expression unreadable in the dim moonlight.

“Do you know how long I’ve wanted to do this?” he asked, his voice low and hushed.

She wondered if he meant with Katherine or Tatia and he didn’t elaborate, his attention now focused on her breasts. And that made Elena even less inclined to ask than she might have been otherwise, and she doubted she ever would have wanted to know very badly. Elena both wants to know and really doesn’t want to know more about his history with the doppelgangers. She hasn’t really realized that his feelings for her are a different matter entirely (technically very loosely connected I suppose, but not as much as she assumes at the moment). She doesn’t assume he’s using her as a stand in, she wouldn’t accept that from him, but she assumes it’s a bigger factor than it is for him.

Though far from uncertain his attentions did have an exploratory feel to them, as if he was testing to see what pleased her the most. This was meant as a subtle sign that he doesn’t have experience sexing doppelgangers. Both because I assume their relationship is a lot more modern than the past ones would have been and to slightly reinforce Elena’s wondering if he’s talking about wanting this for the last millennium. So Elena decided not to hold back from expressing when she particularly liked something. Their solitude in the large house made her more free with her vocalizations than she usually allowed herself to be.

Her gasps and moans of encouragement only seemed to strengthen his commitment to the task at hand. Before she knew it Elena was moaning and writhing against him, wanting even more than this wonderful torture. Elijah seemed to take the hint and pulled the rest of her clothing off quickly so she was lying completely naked before him.

She was completely bare and exposed before him and he was still mostly dressed. “This hardly seems fair,” she said, reaching forward to grab his shirt again, but he easily kept out of her grasp.

The moonlight caught his face just right to show off his grin. “I promise to make it worth your while,” he said seductively. He kissed her again, first on the lips, then trailing down her throat, over her breasts and stomach until he reached the hair that covered her sex. Then he continued lower, alternating open mouthed kisses on the inner sides of her thighs.

Then, instead of the wet kisses he’d been using, he brought his teeth into things. Just light grazes, they couldn’t even be called love bites, but it was the faintest of reminders of what he was. And then, was that the faintest touch of his fangs or were his teeth just particularly sharp? There was a version of this in my mind where I thought he might actually bite her, but it never felt right so I kept putting it off and as of now it’s been pushed off to a ways in the future if I keep going that far (I have oodles of plot ideas for this AU). But I still wanted Elena to be aware of him as a vampire so I left in the parts that drew attention to it. It was exhilarating, even though she knew it shouldn’t be. Adrenaline mixed with desire, flooding her body, sharpening every sense.

And then, his sharp teeth still grazing the overly sensitive skin of her thigh, he plunged two fingers into her dripping core. She was so wet that he slid in easily, and still he spread his fingers wider to stretch her out.

Elena’s head was already thrown back against the plush pillows, moaning wildly when he slid a third finger into her channel, causing her to buck forcefully against his hand. His other hand captured her hip to keep her steady as his fingers pumped in and out of her, not letting her take control.

And then, only then when she thought she was already about to lose control did his mouth descend on her clitoris. Earlier she had asked him to make her forget, and everything he was doing now was succeeding. There was no thought for anything outside this moment. Everything and all of her was right here.

I sometimes think these paragraphs get a bit repetitive of her letting loose and reveling in how good she feels, and I kind of remember writing the sex scene in sections and then piecing it together so ending up with some recurring bits, but I didn’t want to delete any of them when I put them together. Maybe that was a good choice, maybe it wasn’t, but this is what we ended up with.

She was aware only of his mouth locked on her clit, seeming to know just when suck and swirl and press; of his fingers as they pumped in and out of her body, pushing oh so right where she needed him. Of the wonderful feeling that grew and grew until it all climaxed into a single moment of absolute, perfect bliss.

For a few blissful moments, all she was aware of was the pleasure he gave her as she rode out the waves of ecstasy he brought over her entire being. But as she came down from the heights of her orgasm, reason painfully reasserted itself and she was aware how vulnerable she was against an Original she had been sure wanted her dead an hour ago. Not just physically vulnerable in her undressed, post-orgasmic state, but emotionally the very idea of having to doubt him again made her shiver. This is sort of Elena briefly dealing with what Elijah will get into in TSTWA, that as fast as they’ve moved this along it’s really hard to know what’s real and what’s just a rush or even possibly outright false. What if she’s gotten herself in a situation where she completely misread what was going on here? What if he comes out of this rush and remembers that he should hate her? Just as she’s starting to accept that she sees it as more than the rush? Fortunately she didn’t have to doubt him as he crawled back up to cover her body with his own.

She’d usually felt awkward kissing Matt or Stefan right after they’d gone down on her, but she met Elijah’s kiss hungrily, desperate to drive away the confusion and grief and fear that had flooded back into her mind.

Next to her need, his kiss was annoyingly gentle, as his hands tenderly stroked only her arms, avoiding all the places he had so recently paid attention to. Then with another soft, almost loving, kiss he removed himself from her long enough to at last remove his own clothing.

Elena swallowed hard, trying and barely succeeding to push back her uncertainty. For the first time since they came up here she fully wished that there was more light in Elijah’s room. Before tonight she’d never given much thought to the man under those fine suits and she wanted to see it now. The idea of having sex with a man she’d barely ever seen less than fully clothed (in layers in Elijah’s case) was a new one for her. More of the suits as identity stuff, but this time as much to remember that Elena’s previous sex experience has always been relationship based. She’s not sexually repressed, but she’s not as casual about it as say Caroline either. Like with cursing as I discussed earlier, I feel you have to acknowledge her canon behavior when it comes to sex. What’s happening here would be unexpected given her history, and stands to represent either that she’s changing or he her feelings for Elijah are a lot deeper than she’s realized. I treat it as some of the first and a lot of the second.

But it was only a few breaths before he was back with her, again covering her body with his own. She didn’t need to see him to feel the hard muscles of his torso under her hands, the toned arms that held her so sweetly, the substantial size of his erection against her thigh. For some reason I always remember back in Buffy fandom there was a sort of trend towards fairly exactly dick measuring and comparing between Buffy’s other lovers. And that was the first fandom I got into sexy fic with, but writing it now seemed really awkward so this was me brushing it aside and not getting into measurements.

And still every touch of his hand to her skin and kiss against her lips and face and neck was impossibly gentle. Again the word loving flitted across her mind to describe his behavior, and again she did her best to ignore it: love and Elijah didn’t belong in the same sentence, not for her. I put Elena on a pretty steep learning curve in this series that it wasn’t out of the realm of possibility for him to love her (and vice versa) but I felt it was important to this story that she not see it that way. Whatever they were tonight didn’t change that fact, and that was part of what she wanted him to make her forget. Her thoughts were far too clear right now; she needed more to make her forget again.

It was when he started to enter her, still slowly and gently that she shook her head. “No,” she said, her voice cracking slightly. He stopped, halfway inside her and looked at her in confusion. Yeah, he probably ought to put the breaks on completely when she says no, he doesn’t know what she’s objecting too, but Elijah isn’t the perfect gentleman he’s kind of like people to think he it, and he’s pretty surprised and she quickly gets into the explanation. But I think we can all trust if she’d just said no he would have backed off. “I don’t want to feel anything but this,” she said. When he still didn’t seem to understand her request she whispered, “I don’t need you to be nice to me.” This was naturally brought on by the prompt, since TG wanted the sex to be a lot of different things, and I am a little uncomfortable with how I incorporated it, but I think I made it work in character for this story which is the important thing.

He waited another breath before he moved, but when he did, in a flash he had her hands captured in his on the pillow beside her head. His own weight and a little vampire strength would keep her pinned until he let her go. Tomorrow she’d have bruises on her wrists to complement her battered hands. He trailed a series of small bites down her jawline onto her neck where he sank his teeth into the base where neck met shoulder. He didn’t bite hard, at least not with his fangs, but it was no gentle love nip either. Even when I toyed with the idea of having him actually bite her in this story I knew I wouldn’t let her see him vamp out. Elijah keeps his vampire nature under such tight control that no way was he letting that out this time. And once I thought about that factor I backed off the biting idea again, at least enough to have him only kind of bite her a little.

The pain jolted her and she tried to rock her hips to take him deeper inside her but once she had managed that his hips pressed down hard on her, keeping her from taking control of their coupling. “Is this what you wanted?” he growled in her ear.

She thought about telling him that if he had to ask he wasn’t doing enough, but all she said was, “More.”

He switched to the other side of her neck, his teeth grazing her pulse point, and then he bit her. He only used his human shaped teeth, but they were sharp and with Original strength they were still strong enough to break the skin. As he did, he shifted his hips just slightly so that he was penetrating even deeper inside her, but he still wouldn’t actually just fuck her. She gasped, both from the new pain and the maddening presence of him thrust fully inside her but doing no more than filling her completely.

“How about now?” he asked, but didn’t give her a chance to answer before his mouth returned to her neck and his tongue went to work coaxing more blood to the surface though she doubted there was much for him to drink. Also the fact that as she pointed out earlier, she’s full of vervain; that wasn’t my primary concern in keeping the semi-biting well outside of feeding on her, since it really didn’t seem like the right move, but it is another reason he wouldn’t.

“More,” she said again. Just as she did his hips started to move, circling in time with the ministrations of his tongue against her neck. “More,” she gasped again. Each time his movements caused him to brush against her clit all she wanted was, “more, more.”

She felt him smile against her neck and wondered if it was about sexual desire or the predator’s freedom to hurt her. Obviously I kept coming back to her never forgetting that he’s a vampire, because it’s a big reminder to her about what she thinks this is about for them. That it’s pretty much just sex to him, and by extension he wouldn’t have limits on what he’d do to her, especially if she’s not objecting. And sure, down the line, some fully consensual and probably mutual blood play could be a thing (like I said, I have ideas), but what she’s reading into it is that he wouldn’t mind hurting her just because he can, and that’s incredibly untrue. As soon as she thought that she knew it was unfair, even if it was probably both. But she only had that clarity of thought for a moment before his tongue pressed hard into the sensitive spot he’d created as his hips bore down on her. He did it twice more before he eased off her.

She moaned involuntarily as he drew out of her, just the tip of his erection resting against her opening. And she was aware that he wasn’t lavishing attention on her tender neck anymore, and even his grip on her wrists loosened until he was hardly holding her down at all. At basically the same point she started thinking he wouldn’t mind hurting her, he realized he was almost doing that, and so he backed off. There might have been some vervain laced blood that triggered him getting control of himself too. She opened her eyes to find him staring down at her, his eyes darkened with blood or desire, and there was just a hint of her blood shining on his lips in the moonlight. Sure he had her attention he spoke softly, “I don’t want to hurt you.”

She hated him for his compassion, for his concern, for his thoughtfulness when she didn’t want to think about anything. Pushing against his hands that still loosely restrained her to the bed she kissed him. She could taste the tang of her own blood in his mouth, but she’d been around vampires long enough to be familiar with the taste of secondhand blood. When she stopped kissing him she shifted her hips toward him, asking, inviting, demanding him to take her. But she spoke less urgently when she told him what she wanted. “I want you to fuck me until we both forget.” This was one of the early sets of lines I wrote for the sex scene, probably about the time I wrote the cursing back when she was cussing out the Original family. I ended up liking these couple sentences a lot so I left them pretty much intact, her desperation to forget her pain and willingness be at Elijah’s mercy in the face of his pain. It’s not a romantic idea, it’s a pretty dark one in fact, more in keeping with the original prompt than a lot of the sex ended up being I suppose, but I needed to bring in the dark side of why this is happening before I could circle it back to the more hopeful side.

He released one of her wrists entirely and brushed his fingers against her tender throat before tracing lightly along her jawline until it rested under her chin. Unlike before she didn’t resist his efforts to make her meet his gaze. She couldn’t see him as well as he could surely see her, but she could see the honesty in his face when he spoke. “I never want to hurt you.” And that’s when this turns to the dark side of their motivations and rejects it. He doesn’t want to hurt her, he never did, she doesn’t deserve to be hurt like this; I dealt with the angst and punishing elements of the prompts, time to be comforting. I’ve hopefully earned the comforting because I think they’ve earned it.

What could she say to that? It was a confession, an apology, a promise; full of emotions she couldn’t begin to think about now. Yes, I and both of them are aware that for all he’s never wanted to hurt her, he definitely has in the past, but this is about moving forward into doing better in the future. Instead she brought her own hand to touch his cheek as he had taken to doing with her. All she did was nod, but she put as much feeling into it as she could. Whatever it was she meant to convey, he seemed to understand it and thrust into her, not so slowly as he had at first, but still carefully.

His eyes held hers captive as his hips began to rock. It didn’t take long for Elena to realize that each thrust was different, varying angle or depth or speed; the uncertainty forced her to continue to allow him control of their coupling but the surprise of each movement only made it more pleasurable for her. By this point I’d pretty much decided there would be a sequel, so I didn’t need to work around to Elena taking more control of their more loving coupling in this specific story the way I probably would have thought I needed to if this was going to be all of the story. His eyes never showed bloodlust, only desire and emotion that she couldn’t bear to look away from.

After a minute, or two, or however long it was; Elijah finally closed his eyes, breaking the spell they had fallen into. “Elena,” he breathed as his head buried in her shoulder and his thrusts grew less methodical, more abandoned to passion that she was happy to abandon herself to as well.

Both of them were breathing erratically as their bodies slammed together again and again, and Elena’s earlier willingness to be vocal about her desire returned. Her entire vocabulary reduced to “Oh yes, Elijah,” in various forms, with the occasional “more” or “there” added in as her cries grew louder and louder as he continued to drive her senseless.

For his part, he seemed to have only one word to use as he repeated her name over and over again until even he didn’t put the same distinction on the syllables that he normally did. So I have a thing for the way Elijah says Elena’s name, this should not be a surprise at this point. If Elena had had the capacity for rational thought she would have been surprised he’d lasted this long when he was clearly so close to finishing. But she wasn’t capable of rational thought as every thrust of their hips pushed, and pushed, and pushed her closer to the edge until finally she went over it and all she could do was cling to Elijah as she rode out a tidal wave of pleasure that consumed them both.

She was still clinging to him as they both came down from the heights of their pleasure. He pulled out of her and shifted them so they were lying on their sides facing each other rather than him on top of her, but he didn’t pull away from her tight hold on his body. It is kind of unbalanced that I spent so much time on the uncomfortable parts of their sexy time then I kind of skim over the good part, but that’s what sequels are for. Having gotten past the really awkward bits they can let themselves enjoy the last part of this time and even more the next time. Although, reading it straight through it doesn’t strike me as being as unbalanced as it seems when I stop to comment on the dark stuff.

Again reality reasserted itself on her mind, but it wasn’t the same crushing return she had faced earlier. She was aware that the air was still cool again her heated skin, aware that the dressings on her hands had come loose, aware of the very pleasant ache between her legs. Piece by piece the events and emotions of the night, and recent days, moved back into her conscious thought, but she clung to Elijah as it did. She had at least lost all fear of losing him. They have each other, that doesn’t seem like a lot in the face of what the world has thrown at them but it’s something.

“Do you want to stay?” he eventually asked once their breathing had returned to normal.

“Yes,” she answered without thinking. She didn’t want to go anywhere right now, least of all go home. “If you want me to stay,” she added.

In answer he reached out and pulled the comforter out from under them so that he could spread it over their still naked bodies. As soon as she had settled into his arms beneath the warm blanket, sleep seemed ready to overtake her quickly. But she reached out and stroked Elijah’s cheek again, and smiled sleepily at him. She didn’t have the words yet, she didn’t even know what she wanted to say if she had the words, so for now touches and smiles would have to do, but she knew he’d understand. This wasn’t a story about resolving anything really, it was a story about broken souls turning to each other for comfort and finding themselves reflected back through the other one. But it did pretty much beg for a sequel where they actually dealt with what they would be to each other.

As Elena’s eyes drifted closed, she could still hear the winter wind blowing outside. Nothing had changed out there, the storm hadn’t even passed through; but so much had changed for her since she had been out in those cold winds. Even if this storm did blow through, there would be more, but at least for now she felt warm and like she could survive it. It’s not magical healing sex that makes life suddenly better, as of yet it’s not even particularly solid ground in the storm. The feeling marginally better that comes from this is more about dealing with some of the pain with someone who listened and accepted it. Proving she can survive having the pain confronted and find something that feels good in spite of all that. By virtue of how slow I’ve had the time of the sequels move I think some of that has been lost, but I wanted to move them forward anyway.

She might not weather it well, but she would survive it.

Overall, I think this fic holds up. It is probably as dark as I will have things between our lovers in the series. They’ll still fight and argue and negotiate, there may be some anger sex involved down the road, and Klaus can definitely make things pretty dark for them, but I don’t know that I would make things between them so dark again. I’ve tried not to have them move past it too quickly, but sometimes I’m pretty sure I have. Because I prefer writing the lighter, more hopeful, team-y-er side of them over focusing on the angry, broken, and desperate way they are in a fair portion of this one. There’s some lighter moments in this one obviously that help me feel like it works that they move on pretty quickly but this is definitely the most intense characterization I’ve done so far, and really am likely to. I’m glad I wrote it here, but it’s not me long term; even as I was writing this when I’d think about possible follow ups they would grow closer pretty quickly with a lot less of the ugly side that pops up here. Because I feel like once these two start admitting how much they care about each other, they’re not going to hurt each other like this again, it’s just who they both are.

So yeah, apparently I had a lot I could comment on here. I am pretty wordy on the subject of my precious babies.

THANK YOU!! :D

Date: 2013-10-27 10:33 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] siberia21
So so SO much! This is like having a bonus ("shadow") ff to my fav one!

It´s timeless, the characters still in character, natural reactions and different events in the tv show can´t change that (Jeremy´s death, Elena´s vampire emotions... it´s a perfect reaction of a caring human). It still amazes me how far you were able to get the characters within a one-shot (!) with a propper build up and natural development. It never feels forced. I pushed aside many one shots just because of the "brush off in the name of porn" but not once I felt it here. Also, there are skillfully written one shots that couldn´t get through to me just because the darkness was too overwhelming and no light left (and that´s not how I like to see EE). I so love how perfectly this one is balanced.

I am fascinated by the process of "getting there" and how you guys think things through. Such details that you pay attention to (like adding gestures and moves so they don´t feel still for too long). I know how the result works on me but it´s amazing to get to know how YOU make it work. Thank you again!

Please keep going as far as you can with this AU, your ideas and notes and hints and the potential of it won´t let me sleep. Now off re-reading the rest as I am happily lost in your world again.:)

Date: 2013-10-28 08:54 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] siberia21
Haha, Damon tends to do that! I know you said it´s not easy to not write him (and Stefan) too awful but I really liked what you did with them - a lot of writers don´t know how to deal with them in an EE story so they just get rid of them or make them complete je*ks with no character at all just to show the contrast to how Elijah treats Elena. It´s a little awkward to read then, although I obviously don´t want them in the story more than necessary either. So YES, you kept them short, didn´t robbed them of personality, presented their pov and explained the shift in Elena´s view of them. All of them in character. Besides Damon trying to figure out how to heat his blood (5-6 brilliant paragraphs) is some vision!lol I very much enjoyed.

Klaus/Elijah relationship is complex and layered and should be explored as such. It can be powerful in many ways (the good or the destructive ways). In the show they tend to make it black/white when it suits them because of some plots and disregard the character development. Finn´s death (and Kol´s speaking of dead brothers) - in relation to Elijah - they just ignored it (which is also completely OOC for him)... or was it dealt with off screen? *sigh* I will always prefer your way! :D

Date: 2013-10-29 08:56 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] siberia21
Exactly! Elena does have (some kind of) relationship with the Salvatores and can´t just brush them off overnight. I like when she tries to work things out (in new conditions) and realizes herself she wants...someone else.:D (God, I love fan fiction!)

I always supposed Elijah wasn´t present when Klaus daggered any of their siblings. The problem is that with TO now they need an altered history and they needed Elijah present for the NO invasion. I do not believe they give it as much thought as you do. *sigh* They just do what suits them. But I adore that you can always find inspiration and suck out the tiniest suitable details for your stories (you actually did the same with the original prompt for this one-shot, most people would have imagined something very different reading the prompt, but it was all there!). That´s why I enjoy your reviews so much.:)

I agree, Elijah would NO way watch Klaus daggering (especially) Rebekah!

Me too! I have seen 4x18 more than once (or twice) and plan on re-watching it again. Even the Katherine thing couldn´t ruin it for me. (4x20 as well of course.) The rest of the season - well, I could do without watching it at all and I am not watching season five, Silas and his doppelganger + eternal-soulmates-epic-couple is more than I can take.

Date: 2013-10-30 01:26 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] siberia21
I am not hopeful at all but I do hope they will prove me wrong. After all I want to enjoy it as much as possible.:)

YES! I just love the way you think. If they only brought the Elijah/Katherine thing for the Elijah/Elena kiss, then it still makes no sense but I feel better about it!:D

Thanks again!

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