Niklaus lies more than he breathes. That's not a comment about him being dead but one about the way he lives his life. He trusts no one and earns very few allies in return. The people foolish enough to believe that Nik will protect them typically wind up dead at his fangs. Then, once Nik has killed enough and had his full, he packs up, compels the survivors to forget him, and disappears with Rebekah into the night. It's a well-versed rhythm of theirs. The thing about a good song, however, is when the rhythm changes.
Nik lounges about on the bed in their latest abode. A young girl of barely sixteen sits on the ground with her wrist in the air for him to feed. He's bored and aggravated, a combination that should mean unbearable pain for his new snack. However, he has more important matters to deal with than alleviating the slight annoyance. They have to go. He and Rebekah have spent too long in Chicago. Certainly Mikael must be on his way. Besides, Rebekah seems to be enjoying herself too much for Nik's liking.
He glances up again to where his sister fixes her make-up. The two have plans to spend the night with Gloria and Stefan. It's the latter that puts the smile on Rebekah's face. His dear sister certainly does fall fast. He hasn't had to deal with this problem in years. Centuries, in fact. He doesn't like it when he must share Rebekah's attention. Call him selfish but that is simply the way he is.
"We should go to Paris," Nik states. Rebekah glances up from her powder to meet his gaze in the mirror's reflection. She seems confused but not surprised. She knows their pattern. He expects her to look a little happier though. Paris is one of her favorite places, after all. She likes the accents and the food. Currently, Nik likes the distance between there and their new American friend. He doubts Rebekah will be as pleased.
She chirps, "Maybe later, Nik. I like Chicago. There's something about the city that speaks to me." Her eyes fall from his to herself again as she darkens her lips. He likes that color on her. It's a dark red that is eerily reminiscent of blood. It makes him hungry in more ways than one, which makes him want her all to himself once more.
He says, "I'm surprised you can hear the city at all over Stefan's little pants of desire."
Their eyes meet momentarily. There's a warning there on both sides. She wants him not to push. He wants her to admit it. She holds his gaze and says, "Now, now, Nik, careful, you're starting to sound jealous."
"Of that watered down version of me?" He breaks the contact to break his guest's neck. The young girl slumps against the bed. For a moment, Nik imagines her as Stefan, or any other boy that is foolish enough to challenge him. "Never."
Rebekah does not wait for Nik to look at her again. She says, "Stefan is nothing like you, Nik." That does the trick of catching her brother's attention anyway.
Nik moves a bit down the bed, away from his prey and towards his prize.
"Then why are you with him? You've spent over six hundred years trailing me, so what is it that makes him worth changing the pattern?"
That's the real question. Not where are they going. Not when will Mikael catch them. Why Stefan? Why is it always Stefan?
"I just like the city, Niklaus. Let's stay a bit longer."
Why is it never Nik? Their mother, their father, and even Elijah were never truly on his side. Nik is a back-up plan, someone to hitch a wagon to in order to stay alive but not to be happy. His own mother could never love him. How could anyone else? How could Rebekah when she is so much like their mother sometimes? She acts as if she hasn't a care in the world, reigns him in from his benders, holds him when no one is looking. Still, her eyes hold a sad knowledge, a sort of resignation to what her life has to be. He blames Mikael for it. He blames himself. He typically blames himself.
"Not until you tell me why you want him," demands Nik.
She turns on her stool to look at him. Consider him. That sad knowledge he thought about before appears in her eyes, swirling like ice in a never-ending glass. Her voice is barely audible when she speaks.
"You're so determined, Nik. That's why Mikael always hated you so. You get whatever you set your mind to. One day, you will get your doppelganger and your hybrids and you will leave me behind." He wants to argue, but she gives him no time. "Stefan won't."
She speaks her words like they are fact. True and blatant as the stars above. That hurts Nik more than any beating or words of hatred that Mikael could ever dash out. How is that after all of this time Rebekah doesn't know how he feels about her? He may not trust easily, or be kind, but he does not hesitate to show how much he loves her. How much he cares for her and needs her.
His voice may be light, but his words are strong. Honest. They are fact.
"You'll never be alone. You'll always have me."
He watches the sadness turn to something else, darker and more cynical. Frustration. Indignation.
She spits more than asks. "Even if I choose to stay in Chicago? Even if I choose Stefan? Will I still have you then, Nik, or will you stab a dagger through my heart like you did to everyone else in our family?"
He goes silent. He…. He would never… but if she does turn on him, he can't… he loves her so he must…. He turns back to his prey.
"We're done with this conversation."
But Rebekah isn't. She stands from her stool. She demands, "No, Nik. We're not. When we promised to be together, we didn't say it meant that we were together. I am free to do what I please."
"Or who," Nik mumbles bitterly.
She slashes at the air with her hand. "Exactly! I get to decide how to live my life. I choose who I want in my bed. This is the twentieth century now. Women have rights."
He stands himself, his finger pointed at her like the dagger they both know he has hidden out of reach.
He says, "You are not a woman, Rebekah. You're my sister."
"Right, your sister, not your girlfriend and not your ward."
Nik's lips downturn for a brief moment. "Not my girlfriend, huh?" And he speeds to her so that he towers above her small frame. The proximity makes her shiver, makes her want him the way she shouldn't. The way she always does. He can smell the difference in her, hear the way her blood heats up just because he's near her. Not his girlfriend his ass. He remarks, "Your body thinks otherwise." He chuckles to himself and gives in to the urges of his body slightly. His eyes glow as veins show themselves and fangs break free of their confines. He warns her, "Do not play with my emotions, Rebekah, or I will play with yours. You know how roughI am in my games."
It's a threat. He knows she hears it loud and clear. He wonders if she also hears the fear in his voice. He is afraid. After all of these years, he might be losing her and he's afraid. He loves her more than he loves himself, or hates Mikael, or wants to finally be a hybrid. The worst thing that he could ever do to Rebekah would be to stick the dagger through her heart. And even if he did, he would eventually bring her back. He loves her too much to be without her. Meanwhile, the worst thing that she could do to him would be to break his heart in a much less physical sense. A much less repairable sense.
He feels it in his soul before he feels it in his body. She's touching him. She trails a lone finger up the side of his body until she traces her sharp nail along his carotid artery. It leaves his throat drier than it was during transition. It leaves him speechless. But she doesn't stop there. She leans in so that her chest is flesh against his, so that he breathes her in as deeply as she does him. And then she whispers in his ear, "And you know that I like it rough. Game on, big brother."
She blurs away, gone before her words even sink in to his brain. He follows after her to the club with a new sense of calm. She's not leaving him. She's playing with him. Stefan too. She may be falling for Stefan in the process, but she already loves Nik. She loves him more than her new clothes, and more than their mother. Hell, even more than breathing. At the end of the game, that's what matters.