title: to an aspect of perdition, revolution
fandom: the vampire diaries
disclaimer: not mine
word count: 3,621
warnings: adult themes
summary: Deep down, she knows she can’t resist him forever.
notes: This fic. This fic. There is a bottle of Merlot next to me, half of it is gone. That’s what it took to finally get through the latter part of this debacle (I have no patience for smut, clearly). Add to that several re-watches of last week’s Vampire Diaries because seriously, KLAUS IS SUCH A CREEPER. I love it.
Playing with fire is a dangerous game, a merciless game. And every move runs the risk of burning you whole.
But when the world is going up in flames at every twist, every turn, gone is the luxury of negation. You’re forced to play, cast the die, and soon enough the unasked, unformed question rears its ugly head. It’s an idea that does not take shape until it is far too late, and you’re already too far in to retreat.
How far are you willing to go to save your life?
Elena asks herself just that as she grapples with the higher, tenuous truth of existence (sees the looming gilded archways of heaven and hell).
–death is death
–life is life
And she is teetering on the precipice of both.
. . .
Elijah promises to save her.
The assertion brings with it a (small, minuscule, insignificant) measure of hope and at that, her heart swells. It swells because it feels too much compassion, and too much is exactly what she needs most right now.
And sometimes, after every word has been uttered, he will watch her like he loves her. Like he knows her.
And that is when she begins to suspect that it is not Elena Gilbert he wants to save, but rather, the mirror image of another.
(Not Katherine. She came later, and besides, she wasn’t the first).
Her face often falls at the thought – that no one can deny, photographic evidence – and she is left reeling and feeling too-too puzzled. The notion shouldn’t bother her. Really, it shouldn’t.
Really, it doesn’t.
She almost has herself convinced.
Later though, when he reaches out for her hand, he will let his nails graze her skin, long and agonizingly slow – like a kiss.
Her breath will hitch.
And Elena will wish she could hate him for it.
. . .
Her nights are often plagued with visions of her demise.
Klaus looms over her in all of them, knees bracketed on either side of her ribs. Holding her gaze and she doesn’t blink, he doesn’t blink.
In one dream, his hands are clutched tight around her neck, fingers squeezing in. In another, he drives a dagger deep into her chest, just above her heart and unleashes a flood of angry red.
Her eyes always dart open before the phantom pain has a chance to hit, but death still seems an inevitable conclusion.
Inevitable not because of ill-fated prophesy, of destiny or the wicked, twisted hand of fate, but because she isn’t strong enough, persevering enough.
Deep down, she knows she can’t resist him forever.
No one can resist him forever.
. . .
Elena never addresses the alarming question: why are you still alive?
There is no reason why you should still be alive, she rationalises.
Still, she lives every minute as if it may be her last.
. . .
Day after day, Elena can only watch on as everyone else shuffles around in distress and a rapid craze. Damon and Stefan bicker endlessly, tensions rife and thick. Jenna keeps to herself, quiet and dazed and still reeling from it all. Alaric does what he must; reconciling past wrongs with her aunt, offering support and propping façades of strength for them all.
And at the end of the day, despite internal woes and personal concerns, they will worry over her in a claustrophobic haze until Elena decides she has to get out. Pausing momentarily at the door, she brushes back her hair and plunges into the thick of night like a ghost.
A look or two behind her, a glance for the passing fury of one of her loved ones – that never comes – and she’s running free. Cautious, fearless, Elena figures herself invisible–
“Evening, my dear.”
Elena stills at the velvet drawl, blood going cold. “Klaus.”
“A young girl such as you shouldn’t be out so late, all on her own. Not very seemly. Or healthy, if you know what I mean.”
Elena backs away at his advancing form; hands shaking, neck pulsing and contemplating some measly attempt at escape (that would never see completion).
“Shall I accompany you?” They both know it is not a request.
“Please, I insist. It wouldn’t bode well for either of us if something were to happen to you.”
A deer caught with its leg torn off, Elena does not dare refuse. Klaus smiles pleasantly, offers her his hand and guides her down a clearing in the woods.
A picture-perfect gentleman through and through.
. . .
His intent is clear as crystal: kill kill kill.
He has no soul (she would soon lose hers) and so, she is somewhat surprised to see herself resigned to this mock gesture of civility, her hand tightly encased within the crook of his arm. And there are no qualms (blood juiced from her palms) and no strife (the need to flee or fight), and Elena thinks she has finally lost her mind.
“Tell me, Elena. Just how far are you willing to go to save your life?”
At that she stills (is certain she is going mad). “I-I don’t understand.”
“My brother has at long last mastered the fine art of persuasion,” he tells her with a sigh. “And so I have decided to be merciful, if you help me break this curse. Willingly.”
“Yes, he always was pathetically taken with you Petrova girls. But I suppose I shouldn’t fault him; I can certainly see and appreciate the appeal.”
Her eyes narrow at that, a frown forming about parted lips, and something base and intrinsic is suddenly telling her to run. Run now. But the notion is quashed as quickly as it’s formed when she finds herself pressed up against a tree, a startled yelp on her lips. Stuck in a rut and piled head-high on terror and fright.
Swallowing hard, she pulls against his hold – is met with a chuckle. Brushing aside her hair, his expression is pensive, curious.
“You are beautiful. Maybe, just maybe you will live yet.”
There is something ominous, something insidious about his words, his tone. Something implied (that she cannot discern). Still, Elena fights against the fear snapping at her nerve-endings, fights to maintain a brave, defiant front. “I am not playing this game.”
“Game? Oh I assure you, I am being quite genuine.”
“What do you want?”
“Are you familiar with the concept of hieros gamos?”
She shakes her head.
“No, of course not,” he hums amusedly, his hands suddenly tightening on her arms – thinking the streaks he’s leaving will be quite pretty in the morning. And he’s got a hungry, yearning look on his face.
And she is really, really scared now (eyes wide, the resemblance to a lamb on the brink of slaughter is uncanny).
“Perhaps Elijah would do well to elaborate, should you ask him. I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise.”
He whispers the words into the curve of her shoulder, making her shiver – not from terror or revulsion, though there is terror and revulsion there, somewhere, buried deep in the pit of her stomach.
She shivers from something else entirely as he opens his mouth against the skin of her neck, his tongue hot as he licks a slow path from the base of her throat to her ear.
“Until tomorrow, Elena.”
It is only after he’s left, grin in place, that she realises she’s breathing too hard.
. . .
Her head is all messed up and broken.
The skull’s fractured, rotten, and Elena tells herself she really shouldn’t have expected better from Elijah. For all his gallantry and recherché refinement, he still exists beyond the realm of mortal, beyond the petty adversities and afflictions of human hurts and–
She trusted him. Considered him honest, honourable. Was deluded enough, stupid enough to believe he saw her as an equal, as someone capable of making decisions for herself.
Naïveties and illusions now shattered, she is left with nothing (resentment rising). Irrational and perplexing hurt as she storms into his room that same night with livid demands.
“You made a deal on my behalf, with Klaus, and you didn’t think to tell me about it?!”
“Elena–” he begins, but she’s already closing the distance and on impulse, slaps him. A terse, resounding, smarting brush across the face.
And his eyes are narrowing into slits, daggers aimed at her heart, but she doesn’t care. She just wants to hurt him. Make him feel a scrap of her anguish.
“This is my life you’re negotiating with, Elijah. My life!”
She raises a hand to him again but he catches her wrist mid-swing, pushes her back and they both stumble with the force of it. His hands grab at her waist and hips, pull at her arms to try and steady her, but she fights against his hold. Thrashes about in a mad rage, nails sharp, scratching down the side of his neck and for a second, she thinks she draws blood before the wound has a chance to disappear. And she’s feeling an overwhelming sensation of giddy and heady, beating at his chest before his grip tightens on her wrists.
Eyes boring into hers, her body slumps against his as she comes down from the hysterical high.
Crash and burn.
And there is a pause, a moment where all he does is look at her with eyes weary and dark, sunken – as if he is wrestling with numerous internal demons and slowly losing ground.
“I’m sorry,” he whispers against her lips, his words disheartening in their sincerity.
Elena meets his gaze, startled (that he even spoke). It’s more than she expected from him, more than she could have asked for, and her furies are swiftly forgotten as she inhales deep, her body shuddering with it.
Like a narcotic effect, she lets him drag her down into false, gratifying ease.
. . .
They sit on his couch shoulder-to-shoulder as he tells her what Klaus would not.
She is fatigued and feverish (the tint of dewy roses), and he is nothing but unapologetic truth as he offers her another choice she cares little for. And her mouth tastes like salt and copper, and her head is spinning as word after word rolls, rolls off the tip of his tongue and drops onto the floor like a crux, like a curse.
When he is done, her mind is still on all queries save one.
His response is instant, unwavering. “I promised I wouldn’t let you die.”
It is the second time she’s heard those words, but they sting worse than ever. Stupid. Sentimental. She should be accustomed by now, should expect such emotions and notions–
and a stab still manages to rip into her heart.
“I wish there was another way. Truly, I do. But the decision is yours alone to make, Elena. Say no, and we’ll simply carry on with our current plan.”
Of which any number of things could go wrong. Of which any number of people could get hurt, killed. Of which she could end up dead dead dead–
how far are you willing to go to save your life?
The answer brandishes itself clear and resolute.
“I’ll do it.”
Her eyes are wide, wet and gleaming in the too-bright room as they meet and hold his startled gaze.
“I’ll do it,” she repeats, voice scarcely above a whisper.
Elijah nods once, twice, and again.
Studies her closely (it's become a habit of his). Resigned to his findings, whatever they may be, he prepares to sit up and leave her be – to a moment of peace, a moment of solitude. Only she won't have it. Reaching out as quick as her limbs will allow, she is eager to grab onto something; an arm, a fistful of his shirt, a hand too near and still in reach.
“Elijah? Please… I don’t want to be alone tonight.”
Elena isn’t sure what to expect, looking into his dark and tired eyes as she waits for a move, a response. But once the moratorium has past, to her relief, he quietly sits back down and wraps an arm around her. She has little energy to return the gesture and instead digs her slender fingers into his arms.
Her eyes, red-rimmed, turn dry.
. . .
Like a video playing in slow-motion in her mind, with the sound all distorted and the faces all blurred, Elena pictures and feels hands on her face (neck, chest, and breasts).
And someone – Klaus – is kissing her. Hot-blooded and full of rage; fingers pulling her hair, pulling her head back, fingers pulling her hips to his, and there is a laugh ringing deep, mad, harsh and–
the illusion shifts to Elijah, one hand on her waist, the other cradling her head.
His touch is soft, terribly soft. His hips shift against her, rhythm lost in desperation as he pushes that much deeper (but never deep enough, never hard enough, ever fearful she might break), and all the while her name pours from his lips like a mantra.
He says her name like he knows everything about her. Her. Elena. Not Katherine, not another. He whispers her name into her mouth and kisses her like she’s redemption.
She darts awake.
. . .
It is an unfamiliar bed, and there is an unfamiliar arm resting across her waist.
Heart beating fast and threatening to burst, body trembling and shaking and pulsing (and wanting) she tries to pull away. Tries and tries (fails and fails) and is pulled right back against the hard, rigid lines of a too-masculine chest.
“What is it?”
“Nothing. A bad dream,” she replies, hoping he cannot hear the tremor in her voice.
“Just… just breathe.”
He sounds tentative in his advice, the situation palpably unfamiliar to both, but she resigns herself to it and tries to find some level of comfort in his hold. And maybe it is an unconscionable, conscientious mistake but she finds she does not mind when he lulls her back to sleep, fingers weaving through her hair. To where the shirt she’s wearing parts, and she feels his hand on her neck, on her back and moving down.
Mutely (demurely) she casts away her defences. Her insides lie in ruins, and Elijah (in the semblance of some conquering antihero) pulls at her weary heart. Tears at it a little more with every caress.
Elena does not stop him.
Maybe she can delude herself into thinking this is what she’s wanted all along.
. . .
Shaking herself of disillusions and disenchantments, thinking only of finale, completion and full-circles, Elena goes to Klaus the following night.
Goes all alone and leaves a melancholic twang in her wake.
“Dare I say, you’ve made the right choice,” he relays, his smile full-blown and something awful.
Prophetic, like he’s seen deep into her very soul and knows there is nothing good there. And she’s suddenly feeling too-too guilty and too-too repulsive, and still, she knows she won’t be turning back.
“I hate you.”
He laughs at that, raises her chin to him with a mere finger; she imagines her eyes defiant – his are eager. “I know.”
Stripped of control, stripped of any sway (like a lost-favoured duchess forgotten), his hand moves to rest on the waistband of her jeans. His fingers are quick. And she is all messed-up inside, nervous, drained–
still like a marionette.
“This won’t be pretty,” he promises, expression turning grave.
He pulls on the zipper.
Elena does not breathe.
. . .
Elena does not run.
. . .
He pushes her face down into the ground. When she breathes in, the taste is vile, acrid, and dry as the fire’s smoke fills her lungs.
Bodies – two, a werewolf and a vampire – lie torn to shreds in front of her and she shivers at the sight (imagines herself amongst them). And everything, as far as the eye can see, is angry hot and blazing red. Dante’s Inferno awaiting its damned and it’s all she can do not to choke. Not to cry.
“Moonlight. Fire. A witch’s hymn. A perfect night for romance, wouldn’t you agree?”
When she doesn’t reply, he bites along the length of her naked back, forces an unwitting gasp to leave her lips. Slicks his tongue against dips, against curves and her spine involuntary arches beneath him.
He catches her by the hips, holds her still.
“Are you ready, my dear?”
He does not wait for a response before he drives into her, hard.
. . .
Time stalls, time stops, time only seems to run in reverse.
She clenches her jaw as he begins to move inside her, makes her fists all tight and indignant, and tries to catch the sounds eager to part her lips as Klaus takes and takes. As he grunts against the column of her throat, whispers taunts and crude nothings into her skin (calls her a good girl, asks her if she can take it).
Elena curses him feverishly: Go to Hell!
Slams her eyes shut and fights through the wade of blackness, desperately searching for something, anything to take her mind off what he is saying, what he is doing.
She pictures Stefan’s face, the eternal, loving glint in his eye.
She pictures Elijah–
remembers the feel of his fingers in her hair, against her skin. His lips at her brow, grazing against it in a not-quite kiss–
“Hello, brother. Come to watch?”
and her heart skips a beat, stops, drops.
Lodging itself in her throat and she cannot speak, only choke. For a moment the blackness shifts and in the corner of her mind a spark ignites.
By some charm, some spell, some black magic or curse, Elena opens her eyes and waits for Elijah to lull her away once more.
. . .
Sometimes, she thinks she is smouldering in endless perdition.
It is clear her strength has become a charade, a pretty fabrication she somehow summoned to cover blindspots and veil vulnerabilities, if only for a moment. So she could protect them; friends, family, loved ones, for a startled breath in time.
But Elena knows, deep down, her resolve has its limits. That there’s only so much so can take before she breaks. Before she asphyxiates (hangs up the noose).
“Or, perhaps, you have come to join us?” Klaus muses. “What do you say, Elena? Care to indulge him?”
Heart and lungs smouldering into ash (burned inside out), Elena meets Elijah’s gaze. Holds it. Seeks solace she knows, deep down, he will provide.
Mouths a single word.
A single word is all it takes.
. . .
“Look at me.”
His tone is gentle, soothing. His fingers dance up her sides, along her ribs before coming to pause upon her cheeks. With a sound halfway between a swallow and a whimper, she allows herself to be embroiled, entangled, ensnared in the darkness of his eyes and it is then that he moves in to kiss her.
He kisses her and he tastes like old books and time and salvation.
He tastes like the accumulation of everything she may have ever wanted and perhaps that’s what makes her wrap her arms around him, makes her deepen the kiss that much more.
Elijah groans into her mouth.
Elena pulls at his shirt and tries to ignore Klaus, the way his laugh strikes at her core, the sound unfriendly and cruel against her ear.
. . .
Her world is a whirlwind of tongues and hands.
In the haze she can no longer discern who is who; who is inside her, who is in her mouth, who is pulling at her hair and who is biting down on her shoulder.
“Elena,” someone grounds out against her back, one hand tangled in her hair and another at her waist, pulling her hips into his. Elena shakes beneath him, her body wracked with gasping, sobbing breaths, her face wet.
Her voice is hoarse and unfamiliar to her ears when she finally speaks, a scrambled mixture of please and oh, God and his name, she won’t stop saying his name – Elijah – and she is so, so close and–
someone grabs her by the nape of the neck, pulls back, exposing the column of her throat.
She feels fangs rip into flesh and instantly sees white.
. . .
She is scarcely aware of the tears in her eyes, sneaky and cunning and snaking down her cheeks.
“I am sorry, Elena.”
“I will return, I promise.”
Delirious, Elena reaches out to the voice. Grasps thin air.
The livid cries of battle echo around her.
. . .
When everything has burned to a crisp and a char, when the embers have died and lost their warmth, when the world has come to a halt, there will be a girl.
(And a man.
And another man–
long gone, as if they never existed at all.)
Elena opens her eyes to nothing but black; a dark night sky and shadows much too eerie for her liking. And she is cold and pulling at her jacket and looking about her in a confused daze because–
she is in the woods (does not remember going out)
her clothes are torn and creased (they weren’t like this before)
everything is quiet, too quiet (there were screams, she swears she heard screams)
she is still alive (a full moon looms overhead and she should be dead)
Still, she is alive. And the fighting has come to a stop. Something happened, something she cannot remember. Something not so long ago, yet already cemented into the pages of the distant past and so easily forgot.
All she recalls is a man and a girl and a man, and a single promise ingrained deep in her mind.
“I will return, I promise.”