wheatear: (elena has a face)
[personal profile] wheatear
Title: What Happened in New Orleans
Fandom: The Vampire Diaries (TV series)
Characters/Pairings: Elijah/Elena, Katherine
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: Death, violence, dark themes
Summary: The secret is out. Thanks to Katherine, all but one of the Originals are dead, and the hunters are closing in. Nothing seems to rouse Elijah from his grief-stricken stupor. Until another doppelgänger appears. Elijah/Elena. Season 4 AU.


previous


Dear Diary,

Dan and I had an argument. He found out about me going out. It’s stupid. I paid for a babysitter because I didn’t want to ask Joyce again, but the interfering bitch must have been spying on me. The babysitter was fine! I did all the safety checks, I didn’t invite her in, God knows I worry about Louis more than anyone and it’s not like Dan’s ever at home during the day to take care of anything. What am I supposed to do, go crazy with boredom?

So we had a huge fight. He called me a liar, a selfish bitch, an irresponsible mother. Oh fuck you Dan, you sound just like your mother. He asked me why I hadn’t told him. I said because I knew this is how he’d react! Can’t I have a little freedom? I’m always doing what he wants.

Anyway, then he brought up the v-word. What if I ran into vampires? What if they sneaked up on me and got me while I was out on my own? Well, a) it was daytime and b) there are no vampires in Hawaii, jackass. That’s why we moved out here. We wanted a safe place to start a family. Also, way to be insensitive. Going out together didn’t help my parents, did it?

All the yelling woke up Louis and made him cry, which is the thing I am seriously pissed about. Be a jackass, Dan, but not in front of Louis. I made him put Louis to bed, and then he dragged his sorry ass downstairs to sleep on the couch. I won’t speak to him tomorrow and he won’t be getting any sex from me either until he says sorry. See how he likes that.



5. Photographs

Despite how she had phrased it, Elena’s offer had not been a proposition. It was an invitation to live with them. Gone were his guards. There was no sign of Julian or Lucia. Just two girls, an expensive apartment, and lots of alcohol.

By the time he had unpacked, the sun had set, Caroline had arrived home, and music was playing at full blast in the living room. He wandered in to see what was going on.

Elena jumped on the couch, her hair flying around her. Caroline played air guitar. “We are never ever ever–”

“Getting back together!”

“Never ever ever ever,” they sang.

He collapsed into an armchair, that being the only seat free, and watched their antics. Seemingly unaware of their audience, the girls danced, taking advantage of their vampire powers to zip around the room.

“Come on, Elijah!” Elena called. “Join us.”

He shook his head. “I’ll pass.”

She huffed. Meanwhile, Caroline was using a lamp as a microphone. Or so he assumed. Elena blurred over, resting her arms over the back of his chair so that she could express her displeasure at close quarters.

“If I’d known being back in the suit was going to make you this dull, I wouldn’t have been so eager about it. I’m starting to miss the scruff.”

He tipped his head back to look at her. “Now you want me to grow a beard?”

“Just a little scruff. Rough around the edges.”

She leaned down and yanked at his tie. He swatted her away. She laughed.

“I am going to get you living life, Elijah,” she promised. “And not regretting it in the morning.”

*

“Come on, brother. Live a little.” Kol spread his hands. “What is life without blood in your belly and a beautiful girl on your arm, hmm?”

“I can’t imagine,” he said drily.

“Dull!” said Kol. “And since I clearly wear the fun brother crown, I am going to take you out on the town.”

Elijah folded his arms. He half-expected Kol to burst out laughing. His youngest brother was unpredictable at the best of times.

Kol drummed his fingers on the arm of the couch. “I will continue rhyming.”

“Fine,” said Elijah, getting up. “And what of Niklaus?”

“Forget Niklaus! Let’s enjoy some brotherly bonding time.”

Fair enough. Klaus was preoccupied trying to track down the werewolves in town – he never said why, but it was no secret that he wanted to trace back his bloodline. His mission was the only reason any werewolves still survived in New Orleans: the other Originals, including Elijah, had no problem killing werewolves on sight. Rebekah, loyal as ever, had gone to help him.

So Elijah and Kol suited up and strolled down Bourbon Street, turning away from the smaller dive bars in disdain. He wanted good music, Kol insisted, jazz, and fine women.

“And no other vampires,” Kol added. “Out!” He dismissed two burly night-walkers with a flick of his hand, both of them instantly retreating from the youngest Original brother. “We are going to dine on the best of humanity tonight. No competition.”

“You start from the left,” Elijah said. “I’ll take the right.”

No further explanation was needed. Between the two of them, they compelled every human in the establishment, and soon enough the entire place existed only for their amusement. A singer in a long flowing gown crooned as she played the piano. Waiters hurried to serve them drinks. The blood began to flow. Several glasses of wine later, Kol reclined at the back of his booth, a laughing girl dripping blood from her wrist into his open mouth. Meanwhile Elijah slow-danced with the piano singer.

That was how Klaus and Rebekah found them. His sister came running in, breathless, her eyes bright and a huge smile on her face.

“Elijah! There you are. Dance with me, I have news.”

He murmured a quick farewell to Annabelle, the piano singer, and moved away from her before Rebekah could shimmy over and shove the girl out of the way. Instead he caught Rebekah’s waist as she ran over to him, and Klaus’s eyes as his brother followed behind. Klaus had the satisfied look of a cat that had just fed, and Elijah raised his eyebrows.

“Good news,” said Rebekah. “Nik showed the mark – do you remember, the one we found on the cop in Mississippi – he showed it to a witch and she told us that it came from North America, not far from where Nik and I were born. The bloodline still exists, it has to.”

Again, Elijah looked over at his brother. Klaus was lounging nearby, already with a glass in hand, but he was watching Rebekah. “So he is one step closer to discovering his heritage.”

“It’s a breakthrough,” Rebekah agreed. She grinned as Elijah twirled her around. “Shall we pop a champagne?”

Elijah quickly agreed. They were all four in high spirits, and Elijah felt a rush of love for every one of them as his sister and brothers crowded into a booth and popped the cork, spraying the table with champagne. Klaus, his hair tousled, wearing a boyish grin; Rebekah, stretching an elegant gloved hand to take her glass; Kol, looking up with a mischievous glint in his eyes – all of them, together.

Kol beckoned one of the young women over. “Darling, pour a little blood for us…”

*

He woke up and for a moment his eyes saw his room in New Orleans as it had once been: a view of the park beyond the iron railing of the balcony, half-obscured by the white curtain drawn across it. Below, the sound of carriages and horses’ hooves clattering on the cobbled street. Inside, oak furniture, a grand four poster bed.

But there was no pretty girl sleeping next to him with bite marks on her neck.

No New Orleans. No city where vampires ruled. No place for the Original family.

He was in Elena’s apartment still, and he lay with his eyes open, trying to recapture that history in his mind’s eye. His brothers and sister in New Orleans, perhaps the last time they had been truly happy together. He had dreamed only of their deaths for so long. But there had been good times too.

“Good morning, sunshine.”

Elena. Of course. And she hadn’t bothered knocking. He sat up, rubbing his eyes.

“Someday you’re going to get up at a reasonable time and I won’t have to wake you.”

Elena padded across the room barefoot and threw open the curtains, bathing them in sunlight. Her clothes were skimpy at best; he couldn’t take his eyes off her. Tiny shorts and a vest top. It was like she was tormenting him deliberately.

He looked away. “What counts as a reasonable time?”

“Ten?”

“It’s nine thirty.”

She shrugged. “Nine. Whatever. We’re vampires; we don’t have a schedule. I just wanted to ask…” She jumped on to his bed. Her hair was tied back into a ponytail, the image of a peppy cheerleader. “How are you feeling this morning?”

“Awake.”

“Good. Any other emotions? Happier ones?”

“I dreamed about my family,” Elijah said.

Her eyes widened. She adjusted her position, sitting cross-legged to face him. “Is that good or bad?”

“I don’t know. I remember that we were happy. I miss that.”

She paused. Something in her face tightened. “Right.”

Elijah hesitated. Had he glimpsed a flicker of empathy in her eyes? Elena had made it clear that she did not want him to discuss her emotions or lack of them, and so he had dropped the subject. But no vampire could keep the switch turned off forever. Someday, she would have to face all the pain she had suppressed.

“I would like to get up,” he said instead.

“What?” It took her a moment to catch on. “Oh.” Sitting on the covers, she was effectively blocking his way out. Elena slid off the bed.

“Where do you keep your blood?” he asked.

“Kitchen,” she replied. “In the fridge.”

He got up. Elena leaned against the wall, watching him openly. Elijah decided that for propriety’s sake he had better put on a shirt. Unfortunately this meant that he had to approach Elena. She stepped aside when he approached, and folded her arms while he opened the wardrobe.

“You’re hungry already?”

“I could do with a bite.”

“I thought Originals didn’t need as much blood as other vampires.”

“I can survive longer without it,” he said, “but I still have an appetite.” She covered her mouth with her hand, hiding a grin. Elijah frowned. “What?”

“Nothing.” She turned away, picking out a tie to hand to him. “Here.”

“Thank you.”

He draped the tie around his neck. “I need to eat,” said Elijah. “Is there anything I should know after that? What am I doing here, Elena?”

“Well,” she said, taking it upon herself to button his shirt for him, “consider this place yours. You can do whatever you want, as long as you don’t mess anything up or change the order of the DVDs. Caroline gets grumpy about that. But yeah, go out, stay in, your choice. Obviously don’t get caught.”

She worked briskly as she spoke, her eyes fixed on his shirt. Elijah still could not look away from her. He was sure that he had glimpsed something. Perhaps she cared more than she was letting on. It always started that way.

“What are you doing?” he asked.

“I’m going out,” said Elena. “But you can’t come with me. I’m out on business. It’s a private trip.”

“You mean you’re going to see Julian and Lucia.”

She finished the last button and stepped back. “Like I said, it’s private.”

“Well,” he said, “in that case I’ll see you tonight.”

“You’re smiling,” said Elena.

He caught himself. “Hmm?”

“You’re smiling.” Her smile was wide, infectious; she lifted a hand to bid him goodbye, and he had to resist the urge to touch her on the arm. “I’ll see you tonight.”

He stared after the space she had occupied for several seconds after she had gone, and his smile lingered.

*

Elijah walked downstairs to find Caroline in the kitchen, typing something on her phone. It was the first time he had seen her alone.

“Elena?” he asked. They were probably in touch.

She shook her head. “Tonight’s dinner.”

He removed a blood bag from the fridge and walked over to sit down opposite her. “So you’re inviting dinner over.”

“Uh huh.”

A tiny frown creased her forehead. Elijah observed her. He knew of Caroline Forbes as Elena’s friend, and later as the object of Klaus’s obsession. A lot of things had changed since then. A lot of people had died.

He spoke quietly. “You’ve turned off your emotions too.”

Caroline didn’t look up. “Um, yeah. Are you just going to state the obvious? Because that gets old fast.”

“Unfortunately, being on the run meant that I was never able to return to Mystic Falls. So I’m a little out of date. Last I knew, Elena had lost her humanity, but I didn’t think that you had.”

“Well, she did it first.”

“What happened?”

She paused, looking up this time, then stood up to grab a clean glass out of the cupboard. “My mom died.” She turned back, holding out her hand for the blood bag. Elijah passed it over to her. “People found out that she’d been covering up the truth about vampires. Her own deputies shot her dead.”

She gazed evenly at Elijah as she spoke, her tone matter-of-fact. She might as well have been reciting a story on the news, some tragedy that had happened in a faraway place to some people that no one cared about.

Elijah shifted back in his chair. “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be. I’m over it.” She tipped a little blood into her glass, then gave the bag back to him. “I called Elena and I asked her to come back to Mystic Falls. We killed everyone on the council and then we ran.” She shrugged. “We’ve been together ever since.”

“Where did you go?”

“Well, we were looking for somewhere no one would recognize Elena. Which was pretty hard when her face was on all the news channels. We ended up going from town to town, not really settling anywhere.”

“And now?”

She looked blank. “Now what?”

“You met Lucia,” he prompted her.

“That’s Elena’s business, not mine,” said Caroline. “I just organize the parties.” She finished her glass, then stood up. “Speaking of… I’ve got work to do.”

She walked out, heels click-clacking over the wooden floor. Elijah stayed where he was. Then he reached over, picked up the empty glass, and went over to the sink to wash it.

*

He spent the rest of the day in solitude. In the evening, the doorbell rang. Elijah almost didn’t answer. He wasn’t allowed to receive visitors. He had to remind himself that there were new rules, that none of his vampire guards were here to take care of things. So he pressed the buzzer to let his visitor in, and opened the door to find a young man standing there with a bottle of wine and a hopeful expression. Elijah took one look at him and guessed immediately that he was Caroline’s “date”.

The hopeful expression faded.

“Um,” said the young man. “Is Caroline in? I could, uh, come back later.”

“No need,” said Elijah smoothly. “Please, come in.”

He ushered the young man in, took the bottle of wine which was cheap and nasty, and poured its contents down the sink.

“Now,” said Elijah, compelling his guest who stared open-mouthed, “let’s fill this with something a little more palatable, shall we?”

Elena and Caroline arrived home just as he was placing the wine bottle in the fridge.

“Neat,” said Caroline, when she realized what he’d done, “but I want mine fresh from the vein.”

She pulled their guest away, leaving Elena and Elijah looking at each other.

“Coming to join us?” Elena asked.

“Is that an order?”

She smirked.

Later, when the young man lay unconscious on the couch – but not dead, both Elena and Caroline were careful about that – they finished the contents of the bottle and moved on to alcoholic beverages instead. Elena twisted Caroline’s hair into braids. She was perched in an armchair, while Caroline sat cross-legged on the floor.

Elijah settled himself comfortably on the empty corner of the couch. “Caroline told me how you came to leave Mystic Falls.”

Elena looked up. “Didn’t I tell you that already?”

She had told him stories of her friends’ deaths. “Not every detail.”

“I gave him the basics,” said Caroline. “You don’t mind, do you?”

“No, not at all,” said Elena. “I thought it might help Elijah to hear how so many of our friends brutally died as a result of his family’s presence in our town. Did you tell him about Matt? I don’t think he heard that one.”

He frowned. “Matt?”

“Matt Donovan,” said Caroline serenely. She was painting her nails. “Ex-boyfriend to both of us. He turned the Lockwood mansion into a refuge for the council and anyone else who wanted to hide out from vampires.”

“Dumb move,” said Elena. “Caroline had already been invited in. So when we hunted down the council, all she had to do was go inside and force Matt to invite me in too.”

“‘Not you too, Care!’” Caroline imitated Matt’s reaction, holding up her hands.

“I take it you killed him,” said Elijah.

“We did it together,” said Elena, “and then we burned down the house along with everyone in it.” She finished the last braid. “Kenny’s is open. Shall we make a move?”

*

It became a habit. Partying. Elena and Caroline had fully adopted the hedonistic lifestyle. Caroline claimed to be attending the local community college, but he saw no evidence of it. They went out most nights and sometimes Elijah accompanied them, but both girls remained cagey about their daytime activities.

It was easy to go along with them. He had promised to do as Elena told him. For perhaps the first time in his life, he had no responsibilities. He asked no questions.

He read a vampire book that Caroline lent him, a worn paperback that she must have thumbed through several times, and wondered distantly why none of the characters felt remotely connected to his own life. Outside, the world went on its way without him. He dipped in and out of it.

The sun set. Elijah turned his head, away from the last pale rays that found their way through the window, and lay the book down on his pillow as he looked at the bedside table next to him.

He kept the urn that contained Rebekah’s ashes and a few other small items – a sketch of Klaus’s, Kol’s ring – in one of the drawers. It was unlocked. He had left it unopened, knowing that he could go back to it at any time.

Downstairs, a distant bang and whoop told him that Caroline had arrived home – and she had company once again. Elijah remained quiet. No point in disturbing them. What was it Rebekah used to do? She would sneak off with her lovers – Elijah disapproved, of course – but Klaus was the one who would throw a jealous fit. More than once he had to stop Klaus from killing them. He didn’t always succeed.

Another door slam, a scuffling sound – this time much closer. Well, if they were going to be noisy, maybe he would go elsewhere…

“Help!”

The cry was faint and weak. A human being would not have heard it, but Elijah did, and he responded without thinking. He moved in a flash, rushing from his room to Caroline’s, throwing open the door–

Caroline collapsed against the floorboards. A man stooped over her, his throat bloody. He had a rucksack, and from it he pulled out a stake. Both looked up, Caroline with a small gulp of relief, the man in shock.

Elijah rushed him, knocking the stake out of the man’s hand, and pinned him against Caroline’s dresser.

“What, did you think she was all alone?” Elijah asked softly.

The man shuddered. He was still bleeding from the neck; Elijah could see the bite marks that Caroline had inflicted. But his eyes were defiant.

“Who are you?” Elijah asked.

No response.

Elijah sucked in an irritated breath. Well, if they had to play this game… He brought one hand up to the man’s neck, the injured side – and dug his fingers into the bite wounds.

The man screamed. His eyes rolled up into the back of his head. Elijah stopped before he could black out. Gingerly, he tasted the blood on the tip of his finger, and wrinkled his nose.

“Vervain and a stake,” he said lightly. “So you came prepared. Who are you?”

“A vampire hunter,” the man rasped.

“Evidently.” Behind him, he could hear Caroline beginning to stir just a little. The vervain in the man’s blood wasn’t potent. It was enough to keep a vampire down just long enough to kill them. A favourite hunter’s tactic. “Who do you work for?”

“No one.”

“Do you know who I am?”

“A monster,” the man spat.

He smiled. “I’m Elijah.”

He waited the second it took for that pronouncement to sink in, for the whites to show around the hunter’s eyes. Then he yanked the man’s head back with a fistful of his hair, twisted, and pulled the head clean off. Blood spurted from the severed neck as the body collapsed; Elijah stepped aside to avoid it, the head swinging from his hand.

His eyes met Caroline’s.

“You got blood everywhere,” she said.

“Yes,” said Elijah, looking around, though he wasn’t really sorry. He hadn’t felt so alive in months. “That was a little messy. I’ll clean up,” he offered, stepping forward. He held out his other hand to her, the one that wasn’t holding a severed head. “Can you stand?”

She nodded, and he helped her to her feet. “Thanks. I’m gonna go wash the taste of vervain out of my mouth.”

She passed her hand over her eyes, wobbling a little, and for a moment he was concerned, but she shook her head and walked out of the room just fine. She would recover quickly. By far the longer job was taking care of the body and cleaning the room. Elijah assessed his handiwork. Dead body, severed head, blood all over the floor. Streaks of blood on the dresser, including on the mirror. A few flecks of blood had even found their way on to the bed.

Seeing that, he decided that he might as well use the sheet to wrap up the body. So he did, pulling off the covers. Then his shoe hit something next to the dead man’s rucksack, something under the bed. Elijah frowned, crouching down. There was a box under there. He pulled it out, in case it had blood on it too, but it didn’t seem to.

He paused. It was more of a case than a box. He could see a thin slip of card sticking out from a corner. A photograph. Elijah slid it out of the case and held it up between thumb and forefinger.

It was a picture of Caroline, Elena and Bonnie in their cheerleading outfits. Smiling into the camera. They looked so young.

Elijah swallowed. He replaced the photograph quickly, opening the box to do so. He was unsurprised to find other photographs in there, and what looked like a yearbook. He closed the box just as quickly, pushing it back under the bed. This was Caroline’s, and obviously private.

Did Elena have something like that? No – she had burned down her house. In all likelihood, she didn’t. Caroline kept her humanity close. Elena pushed it away.

He wasn’t exactly in a position to help either of them.

Elijah sighed, putting the photographs out of his mind. The adrenaline rush had faded. He needed to clean up.

*

He had disposed of the body by the time Elena returned. She brought back a fresh human victim for them to share and another newbie vampire for him to compel. This time it was a well-dressed woman of around thirty five or forty, a woman whose handsome face niggled at him because he was sure that he had seen her before, but when Elena introduced her as Emily, he was none the wiser. He compelled her as instructed, and then hesitated, frowning.

“What are you going to do for us, Emily?”

Emily glanced over at Elena uncertainly.

“She’ll find out later,” said Elena. “Go back to Lucia.”

He watched the woman get up and leave. Meanwhile, Elena was watching him.

“You saved Caroline’s life tonight,” she said. “It’s good to know that you have our backs.”

“I’m glad I can be of use.”

Elena folded her arms. “Is that a promise?”

It had been an off-the-cuff remark, but she seemed to take him at his word. Over the next week, she brought in four more vampires to join their cause. He looked for a pattern, a connection of some kind, but the only thing the newbie vampires seemed to have in common was that they were all rich. Their jewellery, the cut of their clothes, their hair and teeth – all pointed to a wealthy lifestyle.

When he had dismissed the last one, an earnest-looking young man called David, Elijah stopped Elena from leaving.

“Wait.”

She paused, turning back. “What?”

“I’d like to talk.”

Elena raised an eyebrow. She walked back and sat down on the couch next to him. “Spill.”

“How long am I going to be kept in the dark?”

“Like I said,” Elena replied. “Until I know you’re ready.”

“How can you know that?”

“Trust me. I’ll know.”

She stated it like a fact, plainly and simply. That was one thing about her that hadn’t changed even after she’d abandoned her humanity: Elena Gilbert was still extremely perceptive. He even believed her.

Elijah leaned back on the couch. “You’ve come a long way from Mystic Falls. The town of your birth, and yet you destroyed it. Why?”

Elena blinked at him. “Only the council. Maybe a few other people who got in our way. As for why? Revenge.”

“I understand revenge,” said Elijah. “Revenge comes from anger. Grief. Pain. Those are emotions, Elena. It means you care.”

“When the world burns, you have to be the one burning it.” She shrugged. “That way it hurts less.”

New Orleans, he thought. An entire city, burning. The joy of it eclipsing the pain, if only temporarily. Elena watched him for a moment, blank-faced, then seemed to decide that their short conversation was at an end. Standing up, she walked out of the room, closing the door quietly behind her.

He felt cold. Deep in his bones. There was no pleasure in death, but there was pleasure in killing. None in being hunted, but in hunting. He stared down, unmoving, at his hands. It was what he was made for. To be faster, stronger, better. Not to hide, but to tear down. To spill blood. That was when he felt most truly alive.

Elijah closed his eyes.

*

He started watching the news again. Elena and Caroline turned it on for breakfast every morning and sometimes in the evenings as well.

Elena blew on her coffee while Elijah frowned at the news anchor who was ranting about vampire sympathizers, bleeding-heart liberals, and spies in the government all in the same breath.

“Gotta love Fox News,” Elena murmured. “They’ve finally got an evil conspiracy to report that’s true. Speaking of…” She picked up her cell phone. “Dario’s dead. I got the message late last night.”

He blinked. “Shouldn’t we be moving on?”

One vampire hunter had almost killed Caroline. Now another had gotten to Dario. The hunters were closing in. They had to be. They had spent over a month in this town already, and this was around the time that Lucia usually told him to pack his suitcase. Why were they still here?

“Not yet,” said Elena. She was checking her messages. “He was somewhere else when it happened. Morning, Caroline.”

Elijah glanced up as Caroline walked into the kitchen and thrust a gold and black card into his hand.

“What’s this?”

“Tickets!” said Caroline triumphantly. “We’re doing a classic Prohibition-era cocktail party. It’s going to be a blast.”

He stared at the ticket. “Did you organize this?”

“Duh. You have to come in costume, by the way. The Roaring Twenties. I expect a hat.”

“You’re serious.”

He looked at Elena, but she was busy writing a text on her phone, ignoring them both.

Caroline folded her arms. “Do I look like I’m not serious? Think The Great Gatsby. Handsome millionaires, flappers, Elena as Daisy Buchanan…”

Speakeasies, jazz, and fine women. Kol would have loved it.

He frowned. “And what about you?”

“I’m your friendly hostess.”

“It’ll be fun,” said Elena, looking up. “You should go, Elijah. That’s an order.”

Well, when she put it like that…

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