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Someone smiles at you (does it matter who? Maybe it was the busboy, or the man leaning against the pillar, or the lady applying lipstick or the waiter serving you champagne) and you smile back, even though you know you shouldn’t. (Because you know what this results in, bruises and arguments and someone’s heart being torn out.)

But you still do it, because you were bought up with manners (and anger and hatred and if the edges of your smile have always been brittle, then no one needs to know) and then you get up and immerse yourself in conversation (with a businessman, a politician, a king, a president, a prime minister, they all merge into the same thing at a certain point) about something important (a business deal, a treaty, an alliance) and you are calm and composed, even when an arm snakes around you promising anger and bruises in the morning (and honestly, you don’t even care anymore, you passed being tired centuries ago.)

You don’t understand why you stick by his side (no one does) but you do, because you are the noble one, the honorable one (the monster in the shadows who never reveals his face), but they don’t see that part of you, the part which would rather see it all burn, than try to save it again.

There are coups and battles and wars and somehow you find yourself in the middle of it all even though you are sure you are not the one who instigated them (but people hardly differentiate between the two of you anymore, you’re both monsters, he just doesn’t bother washing the blood off of his hands anymore while you scrub at it as if that will make it go away).

No one protests anymore, few dare to stand up to the pair of you anymore (there was a prodigal son and a sister and a little wolf, but they weren’t there anymore, both of you a force of nature they were tired of standing up against (even immortals grew weary).

You thought of leaving too, you’ve thought of it many times, (but the arm wrapped around you feels like shackles now) whatever freedom you had was taken away after he made you his, after he decided that he wanted no one by his side but his elder brother so he devoured you.

You became his arm candy (and really, you hated these terms, thought them crude, but there is no other apt description), and his negotiator, the one he counted on to provide words, and his chief strategist and best general, all in one.

It is him you have to go to for everything now, for the law still says that claimed omegas have no control over their wealth or property (because someone who already is property cannot own anything), so now he buys you your suits and the tailors who used to scramble to provide you with what you needed now look at you as if you are a boy being taken out to be dressed by his rich lover. (And really, you could snap their necks, but you try not to kill for petty reasons, so you just compel them instead, make them call you ‘my lord’ or ‘master’ because it’s been years since someone called you that and now whenever the word master rolls off your tongue, it’s in deference to him.)

And your sister (the younger one) still visits, now that she has found happiness with the little wolf (and you notice that your sister and brother share the same possessive traits and you wonder if it is something all alphas have, if the ones that bow you to you because you are an original want to bend and break you and you already know the answer to the question so you just close your eyes for a moment in sympathy for little wolf and wonder what happened to the sweet girl who used to smile at you when gave her flowers, you wonder what happened to your baby sister).

Your elder sister ran away with the prodigal son (not that you blamed her, she came to say goodbye to you and you had seen it in her eyes that she wished you would have agreed to run with her) and for days you had thought that your brother’s fury would know no end. He had whipped your back until it was held together by strips of flesh, blood flowing down in rivulets (you later learnt that only hybrid blood could heal those wounds, the leather he had whipped you with was infused with his venom, a special concoction of Vincent’s).

But you stayed by his side, because always and forever is now ingrained in your soul. (You wondered what Kol would think of this, the only brother who had shown sympathy for your state, before he ran away with the little witch and the prodigal son had cut through half the quarter for his almost daughter. But you had even punished Kol at your brother’s behest over and over throughout the centuries.)

You doubt even god could save you now.

You stay with your brother when he takes New Orleans for himself, this time for good and when his plans for world domination come true, when all the governments fall and Niklaus wears a crown and the world kneels at his feet. When he gives Rebekah continents to play with and strings up his prodigal son to show what happens to traitors. (Freya is pardoned and she becomes his right hand, killing those who defy him. Kol tried rebelling but your brother gave him all he asked for and he and Davina rule somewhere you are never allowed to visit.)

Then he makes you bear a child, and you see tears in his eyes when he holds his daughter for the first time.
A century ago you had been the epitome of control, but those days were no more and the only semblance of control he gives you is when he allows you to name your daughter.

Hope, you call her, Hope, he repeats with reverent eyes.

Perhaps you have found your salvation, even though you know he will mold her in his image.