For the first time in what must be centuries, Klaus sits Rebekah down, looks her in the eye, and tells her, "I love you." When he says it, it's like another coffin has been opened, releasing him into the air. He breathes fully and deeply. He even sighs a bit in relief. "It feels good to say that. Goodness, Rebekah, I have been so foolish these past few months. I let you out of my sight. I left you to the Salvatores. It was wrong, and I will never let that happen again. Because I love you." He chuckles a bit that time as his eyes take in this light, this carefree… spark. "I love you. I. Love. You." He pulls her to him, ready to claim her his lips as his for the first time in far too long.
But she pulls away. She pulls away, and the look on her face is not the relief he expects it to be. It is not joy. It is certainly not love. If anything, it looks… repulsed. He repulses her. His feelings repulse her.
He whispers, "Rebekah?"
She shakes her head. Backs away. Her back hits the couch, and she leaps back over it, putting half a room of distance between them. She's still shaking her head. "Nik, why would you say that?"
He rushes to be in front of her with a hand on each of her cheeks, stilling her. He locks his gaze into hers. "Because I mean it. I'm not letting anyone hurt you again, white oak or not."
He tries to communicate just how serious he is. She closes her eyes. He doesn't understand. She's been trying to get him to say it for years. All she's wanted was for him to admit this. He does not get it. What did he do wrong? Should he have wooed her? Should he have done something special? He just agreed to go to that god awful dance. That should be special enough.
Rebekah says, "I can't do this now, Nik. I can't even begin to fathom this. I just -" She brings his hands from her face and puts them at his sides. They fidget. She sighs and presses a kiss to his cheek. It's to placate him. To tide him over. It's humiliating, pathetic. Just like her continued excuse. "I have to think about the dance. After the dance, we can talk. We can…. We'll figure everything out then."
She starts to walk away from him, towards the door. He watches her go, and he wonders if she'll be coming back. It's like the twenties all over again. Who is it this time? What foolish boy has promised her his heart? And why must his heart matter more than Nik's? It makes no sense! He asks her, "Is it Matt? Stefan? Kol?"
"It is you, Niklaus." She turns, and her eyes meet his, all teary and filled with regret. It chills him to the bone. "All you."
Alright. He nods, his face like stone. "Fine." He can handle her rejection. He has his hybrids and Caroline and - well, it's not exactly the first time that she's told him no. It's just the first time he's ever had to accept it. And he will, because he loves her and he knows, no matter what she says or what looks she gives him, that Rebekah loves him too. They're sanctuary. They're home. They are love.