A/N: I do not own The Vampire Diaries. Chapter music: 'All that I'm asking for' by LifehouseAugust 10th, 1796
I am unsure of what to write honestly. My fears for Lukos' life were just, Niklaus killed him. I've just come from the funeral; it was such a sad affair. I sensed him, watching me as always, but I didn't go to him. I was to be married, Father would have gained new prospects for his work, and now our plans have been destroyed all because Niklaus made in impulsive move.
I want to be angry with him. I think I am. At least I was until I returned home to find something he'd left for me. It was a drawing, of me. I wonder when he drew it, and why it was left. Apology perhaps… Or a peace offering of sorts? It seems a bit ironic to consider that, Niklaus and apologies don't really fit in the same sentence. How am I to face him again?
I want so desperately to believe in the best of him, but how can I when I am faced with the reminder of whom and what he is? He heard me say it was an obligatory marriage, yet he cared not. Just because he is a vampire, does no good remain in his heart?
August 12th, 1796
I snuck out of the house to meet with him today. I don't know what gave me the courage to do so, or how I knew he'd be waiting for me. I was uncertain on how to compare him to the person I met at home in Athens, when I think of what he has done. He offered no condolences, no remorse. I think the fact that I was angry with him was irritating to him, not the why of it. He claims he did me a favor, that I should be grateful that I am not tied to a fruitless marriage.
I've confronted him on the kiss, and what came over him. For the first time I saw real vulnerability in him, before it was pushed aside by an apathetic sneer. He tried to play off that it meant nothing, that it was simply to annoy my late fiancée. If I was not the witch I am, I may have believed him. I called his bluff and took a rather bold step toward him. Daring him to stop me, I touched his skin. I don't know what I expected; for him to be as cold as snow, for him to pull away, or shove me aside. He was still as stone, if he heard my pulse skyrocket, he gave no sign.
I asked him why he spends his time with me, when he's lived for so long. He gave no reply. He searched for something that I possess, but will not reveal what. Before I could turn away, his response to my advance failing, I was against a tree in the woods, his mouth on mine. I lost myself in it, a tidal wave of emotion that swept me off my feet. Just as quickly as he'd moved, he was missing from against me. He looked angry with himself, as if he had not meant to be so forward.
"I have no interest in human emotions, Chryssa," he rasped to me. His gaze was overcome with ice and frost and it saddened me. How could someone who has lived for centuries and feel so much despair not want love to temper the darkness?
"You have no interest in me, you mean?" I demanded of him."Because that's clearly a lie."
"There is much you don't understand," he protested. "I am not merely a vampire, but something older and more complex. You would do well to forget me."
I have burned his words and mine into my mind, as well as the way he stared at me. I share them with only you, my journal, and my very most trusted friend.
"There is winter in your soul, Niklaus," I tell him and the fragile barrier that has kept me out thins enough to where I can read his projecting thoughts and emotions. It was partly insult, mostly truth meant to rile him. But he wouldn't be riled. In his eyes, I can see that he does not care if he was bitter cold. All the better to be numb from it than to feel. What good had feelings ever done for him? They only served as weaknesses to exploit against him. His family had turned their backs on him, only Elijah and Rebekah remained, after their solemn vow. He had no place for love in his heart, no foothold for anyone to cling to, nor would he tolerate one to exist.
He was indeed winter, frigid, and cruel. It's what they've made him to be. "It must be why I adapt so well to this eternal life," he replied with a sneer, before taking the step back to place a very notable wall between them once more. "Until we meet again, my lady," he said, twisting his lips into a mockery of a smile. It hurt me to see it, to accept that he again is lost to me. He turned his back to her, but in the drafty air and with his enhanced hearing, she knows that he catches her whisper, "Even long winters eventually thaw into spring."
"You're feeling well today, I trust?"
Distracted, Ryssa glanced up to see Elijah standing in the room, hands in his pockets as he eyed her. Elijah's favorite past time is to watch her, enjoying the look of concentration on her face as she works. He marvels at the single-minded determination she displays, the delectable way she catches her bottom lip between her teeth and her brows furrow. He could quite happily spend his monotonous days just examining her, memorizing all of her quirks and expressions, for she had many.
"Yeah, I am. I guess I just needed rest," she answered. He came toward her slowly and she swept her eyes over his form. Today's suit was charcoal black, with a crimson tie and black slacks. He was as always calm and collected, the only hint of his thoughts in the wry smile he gave her. She flashed him a quick one and gladly moved over on the bed where she was laying back and reading the grimoire as he joined her. She sat up slightly so that he could wrap an arm around her, his fingertips touching her hip lightly, then he pressed a kiss to her exposed shoulder.
"Are you up to traveling?"
"I think so," she curled her body to align with his and exhaled a contented breath. It was in these stolen patches of time that she was the most comfortable she'd ever been. Being near to Elijah always gave her that feeling of security and that she was wanted. He would do anything for her, she knew. And she would for him as well, have done before. She'd turned her back on friends just to remain loyal, lied and betrayed, had tossed out every reason she'd created to keep herself distant. He consumed her, complemented her like no other. "Are you going to change me into a vampire when we marry?" she asked.
Elijah stilled from beside her, immediately noting the 'when' in her query and sensed that she was waiting for an answer. When he'd admitted his intentions to her at her bequest, he truly had not expected her to react well. Aside from the slight jump in her heart rate, she'd taken his declaration in stride and it now seemed that she had come to terms with the fact that he had been serious. He idly twisted a curl of her hair around his finger as he considered his reply.
"I will not ask that of you, or enforce it. Should that be what you desire, the choice will always rest in your hands."
"I'll have to eventually, if we want to be together."
"Not necessarily," he argued softly. "I don't relish the concept of going on without you, but I also don't want you to give up your right to your magic and humanity for the sake of a future with me. I would allow you to go on as you are, if it is what you wished."
The sincerity in his tone brought a tear to her eye and he wiped it away, the tenderness in his dark gaze gripping her heart. The fact that he would go to such lengths for her amazed her while at the same time didn't. Elijah had expressed his views on her decisions before in the past, but only when they put her at risk. To let her stay a human so that she could be a mother and a witch was a sacrifice he was willing to take, if it made her happy. It would torture him inside if that was what he had to do, but it was a price he was willing to pay.
"In any case, that won't be an issue for a while yet," he added. "Emma is not yet grown and I see no hurry in pressing the matter. We can always come back to this conversation when the opportunity arises, but rest assured, your future is yours for the taking."
She reached out to him and gripped his shirt, pulling him closer and covered his mouth with hers. Their tongues danced as their lips met and she swore she saw fireworks behind her closed eyelids. His touch became less gentle and more urgent and she willingly melted into his embrace. Being with him intimately was like a roller-coaster, or climbing a cliff. He took her ever higher then threw her over the edge, only to catch her as came back down. She believed with every fiber of her being that he would always be there to catch her.
"You can open your eyes now," he whispered in her ear and she obeyed. After they'd finally emerged from the hotel room, he'd taken her and Emma to the airport but hadn't permitted her to see exactly where he'd taken her to.
A large mansion, no a castle
, stood before her and her jaw dropped in awe. The building looked positively ancient, but was incredibly beautiful with high windows, two towers, and wide arches. The front lawn seemed to stretch for miles, and she turned when his hand fell to the small of her back casually. Emma had run ahead and was examining the manor enthusiastically, leaving the two of them alone outside.
"I typically like to have a home at least in each country I visit, as well as major cities," he answered and offered his elbow and she accepted it and let him lead her toward the front door. "This is my Athens one," he smiled.
"You bought a castle?"
"I am centuries old, little Ryssa," he teased as they crossed the threshold and he was amused at the wonder in her expression as she took everything in. "I have learned to appreciate magnificence. In my choice of residence, as well as in my choice of companion," he added and she blushed.
"It's breathtaking," she breathed and he happily gave her a tour, telling her stories about the history of the building. It had once belonged to a count that Elijah had been an acquaintance of, who had fallen to ruin in the late 1600's. Her eyes were wide as saucers as he spun a tale of love, loss and betrayal and ultimately how it had fallen into his possession. Truthfully, it was one his more favorite vacation places and he'd known that she would be just as enchanted with it as he'd been. He was a man of fine taste, as evidenced by his penchant for suits as well as his mannerisms.
Once he'd shown her around the inside, he took her out to the gardens – there were three— and the rest of the grounds which included a stable with horses. There they found Emma talking animatedly to a chestnut mare that was nudging at the girl and trying to nibble on her hair. Elijah helped Ryssa onto the back of the black gelding that she'd immediately become infatuated with and after asking who Emma wanted to sit with, hefted her onto the mare, then mounted behind her. The three of them went for a ride through the trail that led around the castle and the woods, forgetting all about Mystic Falls and the events of the last few months. All that mattered was that they were together; a family unit of their own consisting of a thousand year old Original vampire, the strongest Matthias witch in existence, and the small girl that held a place in both of their hearts.
Sighing as she absently stared out the window at the passing trees, she smiled when his hand closed over hers. She and Elijah had decided to go into town for another play, while a loyal servant attended to Emma on his orders. She'd never thought that she would actually see the world outside of the United States, but with him it was thrilling. He made every experience more meaningful, she'd been without him long enough to acknowledge what it was to have him close. She was steadily falling deeper into love with him, and all of her reservations were dwindling away each moment they spent in each other's presence.
Elijah lifted the hand he held and kissed her fingertips, then playfully bit into the flesh between her thumb and forefinger and heard her sharp intake of breath. His dark eyes danced mischievously in the privacy of the backseat of the limo. He was pulling out all of the stops to court her, sparing no expense, and he was almost positive that she was in over her head with it all. She was nearly ready for the truth; he mused to himself and suppressed the uneasiness at the thought. While she had never outright rejected or refused him, to put everything out there as she'd once done was a chilling prospect. He'd spent centuries alone because love had never led him anywhere good. He'd loved Tatia and lost her, then cared for Katerina, only for those affections to go unrequited. Elena also held the Petrova fire and allure, but his sights had been set on someone else to fully get the brunt of it. No one compared to his witch, she was one of a kind, and if all went according to plan, she would be his through either the remainder of his life or hers.
Before long the car pulled up to the theater and he exited first, rushed over to her side and she let him assist her in climbing out, her hand once more in his. They approached the front gates but were detained by a pair of guards and she felt the vampire tense beside her. When she was unceremoniously pushed aside and in the direction of an abandoned alley, she whirled to find that Elijah had just torn the heart out of the chest of one of the guards. She wanted to help but she could only gape as he repeated the process with two more guards who she realized after their faces changed, were actually vampires.
He struck them down with little to no effort, not showing any sort of mercy and once the attacks had ceased, he moved to go to her. He didn't see the last vampire but she did. Her protective instincts kicking in, she lashed out at the vampire, causing an aneurism and dropping the vampire where he stood before he could reach the Original. Elijah heard the cry of pain from behind him and glanced from the fallen and ashen vampire to the witch who now covered her mouth with a delicate hand. He blurred over to her and took her into his arms, twisting them so that she couldn't see the vampire she'd just killed in cold blood with her magic.
"Ryssa, look at me," he said soothingly as he cupped her head in both of his hands and she fixed her gaze onto his. "You're alright, no one's going to hurt you."
"Who…" she swallowed and tried again when her voice came out as more of a croak. "What just happened?"
His jaw taut in anger, he jerked his head over to the last remaining guard that hadn't been killed and pinned the vampire to the wall with one hand. "Who sent you?" he demanded coldly. So help him, if it had been Klaus… He had very few enemies since he tended to kill anyone that opposed him, but someone had specifically sent the guards to intercept him and his witch and he meant to know who.
"She'll kill me…" the guard stammered and his grip tightened.
going to kill you but first you're going to answer me," he growled and compelled the guard.
"Esther," the vampire rasped out and Elijah faltered slightly. "You were not to be harmed, our orders were to harass the girl."
"For what reason?"
"I interfered with her plan," Ryssa interjected and the guard tried to nod in agreement but Elijah's hand prevented him from doing so. "It's because I kept you from drinking the champagne," she told the Original in a hushed voice. "She's getting back at me for it so that I won't be around to stop her from killing you again. That has to be it."
"Look away, Ryssa," Elijah instructed her and she hesitated only a fraction of a second before she did as he asked. She winced at the telltale sound of a thud then silence. She chanced a look and felt her stomach roll violently at the sight of Elijah tossing the vampire's severed head aside nonchalantly. She couldn't tear her eyes away from the sight until he was standing in front of her and had lifted her chin to meet his onyx ones. Usually they were filled with warmth when he watched her, but in them now she could see nothing of what he felt or thought. "I would not blame you if you wished to go home, Ryssa."
"But the play…"
"Will be there tomorrow or the next night. I would understand if you would rather return to Emma's side instead."
He was giving her an out, and with a shaky nod, she took it. Without a word, he helped her back into the car and didn't release her hand until they had pulled up at the manor and were in the room that would serve as their own. Like she'd done when he'd saved Damon from the wolves, she washed the blood from his hands and they stood by the window, only their hands end eyes making contact.
"You killed for me," he broke the silence and cleared his throat when he realized his voice was rougher than it should have been. He'd witnessed her using magic to throw a vampire several feet away, and to threaten his brother but tonight she'd taken a life to protect him. He could have done it easily and wished he had, to save her from adding that to her conscience.
"You've done it for me," she reminded him quietly, "I simply returned the favor."
The corner of his mouth twitched in an attempt to smile as he scrutinized her, he was about to compel her but she placed her fingertips over his mouth before he could. He stopped and let his question show in his eyes and she worried her lip between her teeth, her scent ripening with nerves.
"I knew the consequences of my actions before I did them, 'Lijah," she said. "I don't want to forget."
"You shouldn't have to remember doing something like that."
"It was for you," she argued. "It was because you were in danger and I was scared for you. I did it to protect you because…" his eyes narrowed as she trailed off and tried to pull away from his firm grasp but he didn't budge.
"Because I love you."
It was said in barely a whisper, more of a prayer as a single tear fell to land on his hand. She hadn't said the words since he'd been undaggered, and there was no taking them back. She'd forsaken the safety of her self-built walls to save the one man who had never let her down. Even when he'd been in stasis, he had never left her side. She'd been so confused and trapped in her misery while he'd been away that she feared saying the words. When he'd promised to fight his way through everything else and of a future with her, she'd tripped. When he'd adopted Emma, she'd stumbled. All they'd gone through together and apart had led to this, to now. And it was with a heavy yet full heart that she was able to say what she felt. She was completely in love with Elijah Mikaelson, the thousand year old Original vampire.
Neither of them spoke after her confession; her out of fear at exposing herself and him in utter joy. How he'd waited for those words to slip from her lips, and at last, they had. If he said them back as he so desperately wanted to, then his fate – their fate – would be sealed. He kept them inside, just this once as his mind formed a plan. He would tell her the following night, as soon as he made the appropriate arrangements.
He gave into his baser instincts and claimed her mouth with his, then picked her up and brought her to the bed. For tonight he would have to be content with telling her in other ways just how much her words and her love meant to him. The rest would wait, and then forever would begin.