Title: In my mind’s eye, Horatio
Category: The Vampire Diaries
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Word Count: 2,615
Summary: Forbidden paradise resides in a small crevice where truth collides and festers.
Notes: A Vampire Dairies fic, at last. All I have to say is: this pairing, I ship it like it’s my job.
“Are you negotiating with me?”
There is a melody rising in his voice, amused and astounded, and not him at all. At all.
Elijah can’t remember the last time a human – lowly slip of a girl – dared to openly challenge him. The very notion is unthinkable, unheard of. Antithetical–
to everything he’s ever known.
And he can’t help but be intrigued, a shadow stringing around his lips. A smile. Genuine. His.
Amidst quiet contemplation the surprise is gone, for a moment, but cloud nine speeds by far too quick and rough to be appreciated. The sight of a necklace dangling (taunting him) from her lovely neck forces his mind to prioritise as he rips it from its place, another hand digging into loose strands of russet hair.
He pulls, hard.
Her yelp of surprise leaves him gruesomely euphoric with glowing indifference.
. . .
The sum of a thousand lives is a fickle opulence.
Endless and tedious, the day-to-day task of simply being demands purpose. Elijah – Original, immortal not-immortal – knows this, and through eagerly devoured reads and countless ordeals, he gains copious wisdom and scores of insight for the universe.
So calls himself clever, is astute, yet nothing can prepare him for the emerging battle bottled stonily within. Locked and keyed under blood, muscle and skin.
Madness, enlightenment, he has no name for it (dares not consider it anything else).
And like the sound of his own casket snapping down shut, the plunge into some netherworld of irrationality and doubt, he’s suddenly on high and restless and wanting.
. . .
“I want the girl, on the count of three, or heads will roll.”
Elijah hates being challenged.
. . .
A game, the girl silently proposes.
And he smiles, thinking she’s lost her wits. Clouded and veiled beneath a layer of deadly hubris – only there are no Gods to strike her and them (two boys, tall and taller, thin and thinner, identical in their blind, hollow simplicity) down today.
So she honours him with the first move.
The vervain comes flying, hits him square in the face. The heat is churning, burning into a fierce, ground-up ball of annoyance and amusement in his core as the scars slowly, surely fade away. Her surprise is short lived, and he licks his lips at the look of horror registering on her face.
As she’s left all alone and frantic and anxious, and desperately seeking some way out.
That comes tumbling down the stairs, a proverbial knight in shining armour, stake after stake and his patience is wearing thin.
Deciding to end this little foray, he prepares to sever the boy’s head–
only to find his own makeshift weapon straining tight against tenderised skin and cracking ribs.
Elijah dies with grace.
He laughs in his mind even as his corpse is nailed to the door.
. . .
He never can get used to experiencing death on a rewind cycle.
Then again, he’s been dead for a while now.
. . .
Wry and humorously dry, he deliberates over the present with little thought for yesterday. There is no need to exercise in cases of futility. The game – that is how she likes to play – has only just begun, and as un-dead host, he has the advantage.
Elijah chuckles at that; harsh, unrelenting like frost in a snow-filled storm because he knows (the future better than anyone else). And knows that however feared he may be, Klaus remains the more menacing danger to all.
Alliance is the natural transition in any such case, and the enemy of an enemy makes for an interesting bedfellow.
. . .
“Hey, I’m Elijah.”
He appears before her with rabid purpose, his words so quick and sudden he knows he’s caught her unawares. And like a prophesy ringing true, Elena jumps at the sight of him, eyes wide, mouth agape with a heavy case of sudden aphasia. Expecting and bracing for a reactive, apocalyptic chain of events.
She has little to challenge him with this time round, and maintains a weary guard, if only for her aunt. Knowing full well he is dangerous and ruinous, able to see plain and lucid her every move.
Luckily for her he is there on more peaceful terms.
“It’s a pleasure,” he relays, leisurely closing the distance.
Elena takes his offered hand, her palm slick with fear and sweat against his own. Paying no heed he shakes it anyway, as any gentleman would.
It’s only proper; he never did get to formally introduce himself.
. . .
Elena is an audacious one.
As soon as the door has closed behind his back she is making a mad, fruitless dash up the stairs. As if that will ‘save’ her. As if that will make a difference. But of course she’s that kind of girl – would be – relentless yet naïve in the face of danger.
Elijah finds her endearing because of it; all the more lovely when stripped of security.
Naturally, he is always two steps ahead.
. . .
His hand closes around hers like a vise, the pulse there racing and threatening to implode.
Thump, thump, thump. STOP.
A moment’s pause follows amidst a quiet storm, every aspect of her wonderful, intoxicating mortality exposed and Elena turns to look at him with imploring eyes and a dripping heart – pitter-patter red on the floor. He suspects she wants to shout and cry and raise the entire town (the brother defenders) to her aid. But he puts a finger to his lips and she appropriately swallows the hasty words on the tip of her tongue.
“What do you want?” she asks instead.
“I think it’s about time you and I have a chat.”
She lifts her head, surprised.
And through reconciled words, careful truths and cautious looks, Elijah and Elena sign a truce.
. . .
“I need you to do one more thing for me.”
Elena’s request is blunt, to the point. A measure of expectation breaking through the barrier of apparent daring. She hangs onto it, this sign of hope (that all will be alright, that all will be safe) and uses his terms against him (needs her as he does, well and present for the final mêlée).
Elijah raises an aristocratic brow, thinking she is fishing in thin air.
“We’re negotiating now?”
She does not waver, merely tilts her head just a little, a rocking boat set out to conquer roaring tides.
And so he humours her; swears a measly promise and gains her trust in the process. Just like that.
Just like that.
. . .
At dusk – if not daily then at least weekly, it had become a hardened ceremony – he checks in on her. So as to make sure his investment is secure, that she is not waist-deep in some sort of trouble (terrible habit, really).
Or so he says and tells himself, hallucinating the compelling lie to be dictation.
Day after day, visit after visit, he finds himself gazing at her longer and longer, mere observation teetering upon fixation. And wrestles mind (reason, clarity) with a tight, coiling, gnawing at the pit of his stomach (carnal, irrational).
Too often reason prevails, anything and everything else crushed into non-existence and non-concern. But in this game, despite his assertions and practical, precarious intentions, he is still left to wonder and ponder over desultory languish and entropic anguish–
all in abundance in happily ever never-never-land.
And one evening, Elena dares to voice personal suspicions, throwing him back into the deep end of illusions and impiety.
“Why do you keep looking at me like that?”
“Just… coming to terms with something.”
He spies a slight shiver as she nods and turns away.
The grin that spreads across his face is positively ravenous.
. . .
They begin a dance of sorts.
A look here, a frown there. He is relentless and she is rebellious. Her actions, every glance and every word that demand she not yield, are like blisters forming in neat patterns over his skin. Creeping through cells and dispersing into the bloodstream. A sickened intravenous.
The poison is in the blood.
Elijah knows he should leave her be – he is practical and logical, and Elena is not Katerina – but despite all reason he decides to give resignation a chance to ferment. Curious to see where it all ends (and to hell with another of his not-nine lives).
From the septic decay of muddy mire, comes the sweetest of fruits. But harvest season is also slaughter season, and before he knows it he’s already biting down on Eve’s accursed apple.
Having worked through whisker-soft caresses and longer, brazen glances, all doubts are rendered obsolete.
As he pictures her stretched taut beneath him, desires at last set free of façades. Forbidden paradise resides in a small crevice where truth collides and festers, after all.
It’s a hell he’d voluntarily visit.
. . .
Social gatherings are always a tedious affair, and Mystic Falls seems to have its endless share of weekly monotony. In celebrating past accomplishments and founding families and local traditions and… he loses track.
But Elijah is a patient man and knows all too well the time honoured adage of good things coming to those who wait. And soon enough, amidst the twirling, faceless couples he spies with his little eye the lovely Elena herself, donned in chiffon and taffeta and left, best of all, utterly alone.
Suddenly, the atmosphere transforms. It becomes pleasant, becomes endurable. And so Elijah dismisses his nonchalant barriers and polite verbal responses to offer his hand to a lady – the lady – at last.
“Would you honour me with this dance?”
A bite of the lip, a glance left and right (there are no Salvatores to be found) and she places her hand, warily, in his.
Triumphant, he takes her around the waist and pulls her into the waltz with utter finesse. Sets his gaze and observes her obvious suffering – she tries so hard to stifle her displeasure. She is edgy and rigid, spine completely straight, unnatural, and her eyes emanate pure terror.
If anything, she looks disturbed and beautiful and–
“I want to thank you, for helping my friends.”
except, maybe, she isn’t.
“No need for gratitude, dear Elena. I am a man of my word.”
“Yes, you are,” she adds as an afterthought, as if this were new information in need of careful deliberation. The inference amuses him.
They continue to move in unison, never falling astray or missing a step or a beat. He stares right at her, irises lustrous and cunning (dipped brown amber into black tar), pupils dilated and manic (widened to capture light like celestial black holes). Elijah keeps on smiling, reinvents himself for a mar-ve-lous performance to further crack the ice.
“I pray you won’t hold this against me, but you are looking incredibly enchanting this evening, Elena.”
She blushes. Crimson and virulent, the harsh shade spreads across her face like a far-reaching, hysterical plague. And before she can gather her wits, fortify her walls once more, he goes in for the kill.
Elijah twirls her around, dips her low.
The audience gasps and claps (idiots), thinking the sight is so charming, so wonderful, so endearing they could just die. When he leans down to kiss her, he makes sure each one of her friends (now resurfaced) has a front-row view. First-class, first-rate, just for them.
Elena is paralysed from surprise (doesn’t resist).
The music fades and she eagerly departs, shaken to the core.
Pleased, he ignores the murderous glares burning holes into his back, content enough to gaze after a fleeting trail of dark flowing hair.
He licks his lips and tastes her still.
. . .
This is not a romance.
That is what he tells himself as he shoves her against a wall, her skull making a dull thud upon impact as she bites down hard on a grunt. Eyes glassy and lifeless, she remains lax and lovely in his arms. Ready and willing: the hapless kill.
Elijah can only sigh, encircling her wrists – delicate, fragile little things bound to break, bound to fade. And kisses her, knowing it isn’t quite right and not at all what he wants–
merely a dream, maddening and sardonic and surrealistic. Playing its natural course in his mind, detached from a world to make his own–
he parts her lips.
Elijah cannot help himself.
“Your name is Elena,” he whispers, eyes boring into hers, iridescent like opals in the moonlight.
And the compulsion weaves its spell, takes effect. The pale imitation before him transforming into something beyond soft alabaster and swirling brunette angst. It is measly consolation, but consolation all the same as his mouth marks its path down, down to her throat.
She murmurs, she squirms.
His head spins, barely escaping the dissolution of vertigo as he gorges on crimson delight turning venom on his tongue.
The illusion shatters, a perfectly distilled dystopia left in its place.
. . .
There is a pool of blood around his arms.
It is not his.
. . .
He sees the future and the past reflected in everything, realises the world he knows is slowly crumbling (giving way to unfulfilled insanity). And yet in the world between worlds, deep in the throes of imagination, anything is possible.
There is no time, no air, no illusory differences, and no existence. He can have and do anything he wants – enchant coal to gold, play the hero and save the girl.
And drown in her scent, lips and teeth breaking skin across the length of her naked back.
But to merge truth and lies, the real and the fake, therein lies the rub.
Fortunately he’s a devil without a heart (and Faustian pacts are his specialty).
. . .
When beauty dies, there is no one there to witness it. Its glorious death. Its tragic death. Or, perhaps, a death that is obscure and wasteful.
And something that will not matter after a few minutes past.
But Elena is beautiful nearing the day of her death. In that modest, melancholic way of hers. Like the light has been filtered out, and she is a jewel shining (ironically). Shining black and sombre.
Elijah finds himself turning nostalgic.
“Do you regret… sacrificing yourself so easily? Securing your demise. Just like that.”
Just like that, a bite to the neck or a dagger to the heart, scarlet trickling down over crystal skin and arteries.
“No. Not if it means my friends and family will be safe.”
“I admire your selflessness. Others, however, would deem it foolishness.”
“Well, there’s nothing much I can do about it now. A deal is a deal.”
“Indeed. Yet I cannot help but wonder, if there isn’t a way to lessen your plight.”
Elena turns to look at him, to really look at him, wondering whether she dares consider his words sincere or unnecessarily cruel. There is time still, if only for a little while. Time to contemplate, to remember all that is lost and about to be–
lost. In transition, in translation. Elijah is not a man to waste words, after all.
So she turns hopeful, swallows bewilderment. Though vigilant, she narrows her eyes and varnishes suspicions to shine.
“What’s your price?”
“My price?” It’s his turn to play surprised.
“Everyone wants something. You want something.”
Elijah chuckles quietly, eerily, lets his hand travel to her reddening cheek. Foresees a beautiful unfolding; a parody of lions and lambs. For he has become obsessed with taking her apart, piece by piece, until one of them breaks.
And so, he puts to use his wits and vaulted knowledge. Rethinks the means and the ends as they continue with their dance, push and tug, her continued daring rolling over him like liquid fire.
“Are we negotiating then?”
Elena stands firm, defiant (a smile on her face).