fell in love with being defiant
[personal profile] ghostrunner
Vampire Diaries
Alaric, Elena, Jeremy





--

Alaric doesn't seem to want to go back home but he won't take either of the empty bedrooms. She understands both of those things, actually. His apartment is cold and dark and soaked with memories of blood and violation. Both of the empty bedrooms previously belonged to... to tragically dead people.

She sees why he doesn't want to be back in his apartment alone, but she can't really see why it's better here, shoulder to shoulder with the empty spaces Jenna used to take up.

Alaric stays on the couch and they don't say a word about it.

Frankly, she's worried and she prefers being able to keep an eye on him.

--

Jeremy's gotten jumpy and strange. He gasps at shadows and a couple of times she thinks she hears him whisper the names of his dead vampire girlfriends in the dark silences of the house where no one's really sleeping.

That's all she needs.

--

They sit on the couch and watch tv late into the night. They'll watch anything without violence or romance or magic.

They watch a lot of HGTV.

They'll sleep when they're dead.

The gallows humor is getting a little thick around here.

--

Jeremy gets a summer job at the grill, partly so that someone can keep half an eye on Matt, make sure he's coping with all this terrible knowledge, partly just to have something human to hold on to.

Elena and Alaric spend a lot of nights alone together.

They sit on the kitchen floor and drink, because at this point the shame of civilized people is completely beyond them.

She lets her foot brush his shins and thinks about the muscle in his shoulders when he carries her to bed some nights and puts her down gently on top of the covers.

She doesn't say, what will you do now that Jenna is gone?

He doesn't say, what will you do if Stefan never comes back?

--

They eat take out almost every night.

No one feels like cooking. Elena can't and Jeremy doesn't have the energy after work and Alaric is usually stumbling and slow by dinner time. He could take out a vampire, probably, but he couldn't be trusted to judge the doneness of meat or anything.

Jenna had a drawer full of take out menus and they abuse it shamelessly. Sometimes Jeremy brings food home from the grill and they eat it mechanically.

Life goes on because it has to, but damned if they're gonna make it easy.

--

Jeremy has dark circles under his eyes and blood around his nails where he's been picking at his cuticles.

Alaric looks almost blank, like he doesn't have the energy to animate his face.

Between them their shoulders take up most of the couch. Jeremy's been spending a lot of time alone at the gym.

Elena squeezes herself between them even though there's another couch and it's seventy-five degrees at midnight.

Alaric's hair is getting long and unruly. He's sipping scotch and he hasn't shaved in a week.

Her thigh presses against his, her shorts riding up against his jeans.

She takes the glass out of his hand, and where once he would have said something, all he does now is watch her. She can feel his eyes on her, on the column of her throat while she swallows.

Their fingers tangle when she hands it back.

The air is wet and hot and too thick to breathe. The scotch burns on her lips, but not as much as it used to.

Jeremy puts on an interior design show.

--

Sheriff Forbes gets them another lead on "mysterious animal attacks" and Damon tells Elena to stay put, let Klaus think she's dead, takes Alaric with him.

(She's given up trying to understand their friendship. They glower at her when she points out the irony.)

Alaric comes back drawn and pale. He shakes his head at her questioning, hopeful face, and goes straight for the scotch they don't bother to keep in the liquor cabinet anymore.

There's a picture of Jenna and Alaric in a frame in the living room that they don't bother to put away the same way they haven't packed up her things, or repainted the master bedroom since their parents died.

She catches him all the time looking at it sadly, ever-present glass halfway to his lips, but he won't ask them to get rid of it just because it makes him sad the same way they won't ask him to leave just because he's dragging them down.

--

Elena's counting the days until her eighteenth birthday. Not because she loves her birthday, she doesn't. Not because she's excited about being an adult, she's not.

She's just tiredly looking forward to the day when she doesn't have to get Alaric's signature, or, in a pinch, Damon's, on her bank accounts or Jeremy's DMV forms.

They're happy to do it, seemingly uncaring for the rules of society outside their own created little fucked up family, but Elena hates it. She looks forward to the end of this forced reminder of her youth.

Alaric catches her by the arm, his hands big and rough on her skin.

She doesn't shiver at his touch, but she doesn't shake him off either.

"Don't be in such a hurry to grow up," he tells her. She remembers that he married young. And how that ended.

"Why?" she demands. "What is there of childhood left for me to lose?"

--

No one really sleeps in this house.

Jeremy comes back from the Grill at 11:30, drops a plastic bag of take out on the coffee table, gets a beer out of the fridge, and joins them in front of the television.

Elena and Alaric are watching a program on building display shelves.

Reality tv makes them edgy, and competition shows are stressful. They don't watch cooking shows because they can barely stand the sight of food to eat it as it is.

Elena steals Jeremy's beer because hers has gotten warm.

Alaric doesn't exactly buy them alcohol so much as he buys beer and whiskey and the occasional piece of fruit or loaf of bread along with the grocery list of coffee, coffee filters, and milk (for coffee). He leaves all of this in the kitchen and doesn't seem to care what happens to it.

Sometimes Elena can be bothered to be worried about this, and she tries, sometimes, to curtail Jeremy's drinking out of long ingrained habit. It's a reflex, she tells him when he looks pointedly at Alaric's scotch in her hand.

Jeremy punches her lightly in the ribs, gets up, gets himself another beer.

Alaric's eyes flicker between her and Jeremy and she waits, daring (begging) him to say something, but he just turns back to the Toyota commercial on the screen and looks defeated.

It's not that she's waiting for him to step up and be an adult, exactly. That's not his job, she didn't ask and he didn't offer. But she knows it's killing him slow to not care and she wishes he'd either accept it or put a stop to it because watching him disappoint himself is starting to kill her.

Jeremy turns the volume up and Alaric takes another swallow of scotch.

She traces sheen of sweat on the nape of his neck with her eyes and doesn't say anything.

--

fin
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