Prompt: (from the lovely earnmysong, who is angelic, and also waited patiently for two months (at least!) for me to finally finish this story!) The extent of what I want is E getting super pissed at Ric for leaving. Like, what makes him think she can take care of herself? She's not any better off than he is. Brave faces do not equal fine...that kind of thing. Maybe she drunk-dials him and is like, IS THIS BETTER?!
A/N: Not exactly what I was going for initially, but… semi-angsty hinted Elena/Alaric. Title from “Kiss With a Fist” by Florence + the Machine. Set post-3.01.
She hasn’t had that much to drink, really. She’s totally fine to walk home by herself. How she ends up scratching the back of one leg with her other foot, waiting outside a nondescript door that’s not hers, she doesn’t know. Damn Freud and his subconscious urges.
The door still isn’t opening, so she knocks again, more forcefully this time, not stopping until the door suddenly tips inwards and she’s falling over the threshold, without waiting to be invited in.
“That was expensive,” Alaric notes, looking at the spilled whiskey on his hardwood floor. Elena straightens from her supportive position against his chest, and waves a nonchalant hand at him.
“Please, Ric. So was this dress.”
Elena stands there with her hand on her hip, unsure of what to do, until Alaric reappears with a rag, and bends over and starts cleaning up his spilled drink.
“So,” she says. “I see you’re doing fantastic on your own.”
Alaric looks up at her, laughs without any hint of emotion. “I could say the same for you.”
“Touché.” Elena wobbles over to the couch, sits down heavily. “Now, are you going to offer me something to drink, or what? That’s only the polite thing to do for company.”
“You’re not company.” Alaric straightens up, stands looking at her for a long moment, with the damp rag in his hand, and then abruptly moves back to the kitchen, where Elena can hear the clinking of bottles and glasses.
“I like mine straight,” she calls out. “And bring a coaster, Ric, you’re going to ruin your coffee table.”
There’s a burst of unanticipated laughter from the kitchen, and then Ric returns, holding two drinks. Elena reaches out for one of them, but Ric just laughs at her and takes a seat next to her on the couch.
“What’s the other drink for?” Elena asks him, pouting slightly.
“It’s for me,” Ric tells her, “For after you tell me why you’re here.”
“Oh.” Elena crosses and then uncrosses her legs, and then kicks off one of her shoes. Once she’s wrangled the other one off, she curls her feet underneath her on the couch, and widens her eyes at Alaric, who takes an abnormally large sip of whiskey.
As Alaric coughs, Elena fiddles with the stitching on one of the couch cushions.
“So,” Alaric starts. “Why are you here, Elena. Do you need someone to fix the garbage disposal again? Because I can think of several young men who would be glad to come over and do it for you.”
“No.” Elena looks up, and then pushes her hair behind her ear. “You… you weren’t at school today, Ric. I was worried.”
Alaric swirls whiskey around in his glass magnanimously. “I was sick.”
“Huh,” Elena says. “Sure.”
“Didn’t want to infect the students,” Alaric continues. “Obviously, it’s too late for you already.” He gestures at Elena, moves his hand up and down in the air to approximate her current level of disheveled and drunkenness.
There’s a long silence, and then Elena says quietly, “You have to come back.”
Alaric throws his head back and laughs, and then goes to take a drink, but Elena takes it out of his hand before he can. She surveys him over the top of the glass, and then downs the rest of it herself.
“I’m not kidding, Ric.”
“Didn’t think you were.” He stretches uncomfortably, and then attempts to explain. “Elena—it’s like the blind leading the blind. I’m not good for you.”
“Who says I know what’s good for me?” Elena spits back at him, and Alaric can’t answer to that.
“Come on, Ric,” she says, and somehow she’s sitting closer to him than before, and he’s not leaning away. “If we’re all going to die anyway, why not?”
He laughs in her face. “Now you sound like a bad apocalyptic movie.”
Elena tosses her hair. “So what if I do. I’m not leaving here until you come with me.”
“Well, then I guess you’re staying here, because I’m not coming.” Alaric reaches out and takes the empty glass back from Elena, sets it down on the coffee table (no coaster).
She wakes up with her head in his lap and a crink in her neck from sleeping on the couch. Not to mention the burgeoning hangover.
“Ric?” She makes a face, trying to rid herself of the taste in her mouth.
He definitely wasn’t stroking her hair. Not at all.
He sighs, and rubs his face. “I’m not a good person, Elena. I’m not ever going to be what you and Jeremy need me to be.”
Elena blows hair out of her eyes, makes a snorting noise in the back of her throat.
“We don’t need you to be anything, Ric. We just need you there.”
Ric stays silent. The empty space on his finger where the ring used to be throbs. He thinks about telling Elena that he’ll do his best. He thinks about telling her to keep her supernatural drama as far away from him as possible. He thinks about kissing her.
It takes him so long to decide whether to say something that Elena falls back asleep. He touches the faint pale stripe on his finger again, looks longingly at the empty glass on the coffee table. Some things never end.