It had been a long time since Rebekah and Max had actually spent time together— too long, if Rebekah was being honest, actually. So when the brunette vampire turned up back in Mystic Falls again, Rebekah certainly wasn’t going to say no to a little quality time. The fact that alcohol was involved didn’t hurt either, though typically that was a given between the two of them. A small laugh fell from Rebekah’s lips at the thought and she made a mental note to make sure that they didn’t snap each other’s necks that time. Though in her defense, that had been Max’s idea. Besides, they were both vampires now. There wasn’t anyone to have to change. Rebekah pulled her car into a parking spot in front of the Grill and flipped the overhead vanity mirror down, checking for any imperfections in her make up and fixing them gingerly. She applied a light coat of lipgloss before tilting her head slightly and letting her eyes roam her reflection once more. Deciding that everything was in order enough she snapped it back up and quickly slid out of the car, clicking the lock behind her and listening to the reassuring ‘click’ as she adjusted her handbag on her shoulder and walked across the parking lot.
The sound of heeled boots clicking against the pavement bounced around her and filled the air. Click, click, click. It was a steady sound in the otherwise silent atmosphere and Rebekah quirked an eyebrow up at the lack of noise. Her eyes swept the street around her and hummed to herself in interest as she realized just how empty they were. Chalking it up to the holidays taking up everyone’s time Rebekah pulled the large wooden door open and stepped in out of the chilly air and into the bar. Technically speaking, Rebekah didn’t get cold and so the chilly December air hadn’t really had much effect on her. Still, the change in temperature was welcomed and the rush of warmth through her body didn’t escape her attention.
Inside things were essentially the complete opposite of outside. Warm, loud and full of life was a good way to describe it. Excited chatter filled her ears as people greeted one another and talked animatedly over their meals and drinks about their upcoming holiday plans, or what they had been up to the previous year. Rebekah lifted a hand in a few small waves and flashed friendly smiles at those that she recognized but she didn’t stop for small talk as she walked confidently toward the bar, her blonde hair swaying behind her slightly with each step. She slid into a bar stool and ordered a drink, waiting for Max to join her. All of Rebekah’s other senses picked up on her before she was actually even in the building. Her scent was familiar and after their time together Rebekah had been able to pick it up in a crowd, and she could hear the girl before the door opened to reveal her. “Hey stranger.” Rebekah greeted with a grin as the girl approached her. “Imagine seeing you here. Small world, huh?”
Max fought a grin threatening to appear on her face as she stepped out of her car. It had been a long time since she had seen her former friend, and she welcomed the thought. Over a year ago now, Max had formed and unlikely friendship with the Original vampire, something she found incredibly ironic after she had originally returned to Mystic Falls to take the Mikaelsons down. However, they both found that they had a rather similar fire to their personalities, and struck up a rather unexpected friendship. The friendship ended rather abruptly however, when Rebekah turned the then-human Max in a drunken haze, and Max quickly left town in order to control her rapidly growing blood lust.
But things had changed since then, Max had her blood lust and killer urges under control, and had even managed to mature in the past year or so. She could now trust herself with the blonde vampire, and besides, she could use a night of fun after the ridiculous stress that was organizing everything for Christmas. Walking into the Grill, it was easy enough to spot Rebekah sitting at the bar amongst the large amount of people in the establishment, and Max headed towards her straight away.
She smiled as Rebekah greeted her, feeling that old familiar sense of friendship again, something she didn’t feel with many people these days. “Yes well, no matter how big this world may be somehow Mystic Falls seems to be at the centre of everything”, she said with a grin. “Come here maker”, she said jokingly, as she lightly hugged the blonde girl. Laughing, she sat down on the bar stool, immediately ordering a glass of whiskey. “Speaking of which, we really do need to make sure no necks are snapped tonight, ours or anyone else’s”, she laughed.
She gave Max a look. “They are so not going to remember one mention of the word when they were four and two. That’s just not going to happen. They will be fine. I have not scarred them for life. My father left my mother for another man when I was seven and I turned out fine so I think that they will survive living with Nik and I.” She said, shaking her head. “Besides, parts are supposed to be embarrassing, I’m just giving them material for their inevitable therapy sessions later on in life.” She said, letting out a small laugh as she adjusted Kiley on her hip. As she looked at the line, she wrinkled her nose. She knew she shouldn’t compel. She should wait in line like everyone else, but she still had to find a dress for Christmas for her and one for Kiley. “Fine,” she whispered back in the same hushed town. Making her way to the front of the line, she knew Elijah was going to kill her for this later, but she looked the line attendant in the eye, “The mayor’s niece and nephew get to go to the front of the line,” her eyes dilated as did the woman in front of her. “Go ahead.” She said pulling the rope aside for the four of them. If Caroline had a gift, it was most certainly compulsion.
“Better,” She asked Max as they waited for the current occupant of Santa’s lap to go back to her mother before it was their turn. She crouched down to Henrik’s level. “Now you have to tell Santa what you want for Christmas and you might have to help Kiley and tell him what she wants too. Do you think you can do that?” She asked him with a smile. “I can do it, Mommy.” He told her. “Good job sweetie.” She said as he took Kiley’s hand as they walked up to Santa. She turned to Max then. “No I’m not telling you to wait seven hundred years, I’m telling you that you never know when it’s going to happen. Look, I love you, you are a catch and you will find someone and have your own version of this,” she pointed towards Henrik and Kiley. “Whether that means kids or a dog or just a man to travel the globe and never settle in one place with is up to you. You will not be single forever, but I can’t give you an ETA on the love of your life. You just have to be open when it comes.”
Max raised her eyebrow towards Caroline. “You say that now, but when you give them that talk ten years down the line and they start puking everywhere all over your sure-to-be expensive carpets, don’t say I didn’t warn you.” She continued tapping her foot impatiently, getting aggravated with the slow pace in which they were moving forward. “Ha, parents warranting therapy sessions. I know all about that. The first time dearest mother and father told me that Aunt Caroline and Uncle Tyler were the same age as them and gave me the reason they never looked a day older than myself, I almost thought I had literally lost my mind. Seriously, I didn’t leave my room for days after that.” She laughed lightly, thinking back to how afraid she had been of the supernatural, and ironically now she was a part of it.
Finally, Caroline compelled them to the front of the line, bringing Max true Christmas joy as they walked past the dozens of people. The children went up to “Santa” to get their photos taken, and even Max couldn’t help but acknowledge how vomit-inducingly cute the entire thing was. She sighed, groaning a little. “I swear to god Bonnie cursed me or something. Seriously. My lack of a love life and… other things is just unnatural at this point. I mean, a partner I can understand not having but why the hell has it been so long since I last had… cuddles with someone”, she said, being cautious of the children that were near.
“They are four and two, they have absolutely no notion of what that word means unless you give it meaning,” she said, laughing as Max went as far as to cover Henrik’s ears. Her children were far too young for the birds and the bees and she certainly wasn’t looking forward to ever having that conversation and them connecting the dots that all of the time they heard noises and walked in the room to their parents scrambling under the covers meant they had been engaging in some extracurricular activities. She was dreading that day really. The mall was decorated in a manner befitting even Caroline’s picky holiday tastes, complete with lights, fake snow, and enormous Christmas bulbs. She had to smile at the set up they had going, but she did not enjoy the line.
She walked over to it, silently debating whether or not to compel the people away when Max spoke again. “I think it probably takes time and I know that’s the last thing you want to hear, but look at Elijah and Katherine. It took them seven hundred years to pull it together and figure out how to make it work. You have all the time in the world and while I hate seeing you lonely. I think it’s better to be alone then be with someone who doesn’t deserve you. You know there’s always a guest bedroom with your name on it in New York. There’s A LOT of our kind there. So many options.” She offered.
“Oh please, they may not know now, but eventually in ten years when you give them that talk, their little brains are gonna flashback to that time they went to see Santa at the mall with their dearest mother and their awesome Aunt Max, and Henrik’s gonna start projectile vomiting at the memory. You laugh now, but trust me, in this world it’s not like it no entirely plausible”, she said, laughing at the fact that their very existence proved that anything in the world could be possible. Max looked around, enjoying the sight of the Christmas decorations surrounding her. Of course, in her almost two centuries of existence technology had grown exponentially, and the mall had taken no liberties this year, with fake snow even falling softly above Santa. However, she groaned when she saw the line, turning towards Caroline. “Okay, are you going to compel them or am I going to have to myself”, she said under her breath.
Max sighed, rolling her eyes in a somewhat child-like manner. “Seven hundred years? You’re telling me I have to wait another five hundred to get la…. oooved?”, she diverted her sentence awkwardly, remembering the children surrounding her. She groaned, her eyebrows furrowing. ”May as well stake myself now if I have to wait that long. No way in hell am I waiting another five hundred years to have ex-nay in the… oh for god’s sake who am I kidding, I can’t talk in secret code and you know what I’m talking about.” She tapped her foot impatiently, waiting for the line to move forward. “Look, I know not to go after anyone who doesn’t deserve me. Why the hell do you think I’ve been single for this long? Because I don’t settle for anything less than me, so between that and the small amount of people they can actually handle me, it’s going to be a long road out of single-dom. As for that New York offer, I may have to take you up on that. I went to Amsterdam a couple of months ago where there’s plenty of there kind, but y’know… it was Amsterdam. They were into some freaky stuff over there”, she said, shuddering jokingly.
She smirked, “He really is whipped and I have to laugh when he tries to deny it. It’s adorable when he tries to assert his authority, play the ‘I’m the original hybrid, most powerful creature in the world’ card. Then I either bribe him with sex or threatening him with something seemingly harmless but truly annoying like Justin Beiber. Keeps them in line. Life lessons from your Aunt Caroline here, Max. They may be powerful, but they are still men. We can win because our brains don’t turn off the second a naked girl is sitting in front of us.” She chuckled, adjusting her hold on Kiley as they entered the busy mall. With everyone attending to their last minute Christmas shopping, it seemed busier than usual, but Caroline knew it wouldn’t be a problem.
She gave Max a look, “It’s a figure of speech and if you are that intimidating, then you clearly aren’t going after the right guys. You and I are strong women and we need equally strong and fierce men to balance us out. Look at Nik and I, or Katherine and Elijah, Charlie and Kol, Damon and Isabella. You need the balance. That’s why I married Nik. Your dad and Uncle Tyler couldn’t handle me,” She teased, knowing she would probably embarrass Max, but that was practically her job.
Max pulled a disgusted face, quickly covering Henrik’s ears with her hand. “You did not just mention the S word in front of the child”, she gasped jokingly, whilst also being incredibly disgusted as well. She took her hands off, laughing at Henrik’s confused reaction. “Don’t worry munchkin, Mommy just said something mentally scarring”, she said with a laugh. Max groaned as she saw the amount of people in the mall, she may like Christmas, but she had always loathed the amount of people it forced her to come into contact with.
She looked over at Caroline, somewhat rolling her eyes. “But that’s the thing, Caroline. Where the hell do I find one? Every person I meet eventually runs off with their tail between their legs immediately after meeting me. And not to mention I’m a little more than a tad picky as to my romantic conquests. There’s very few people I deem worthy of my time, and then when I do, they just back off scared anyway.” She cast her mind back to Liam, her former best friend. For a while there, it seemed as if their friendship could progress further. But after a drunken one night stand he ran off without even so much as a goodbye, further proving to Max that she just wasn’t worth anyone’s time anymore.
She scoffed, looking over at her niece, “If by natural abomination you mean complete and total bad a-s-s, then yes, that’s exactly what I am. I like knowing that no creatures are stronger than me aside from my husband. It’s a comforting feeling.” She said. “And even that is debatable considering I annoyed him into submission this morning. I think he is really starting to regret teaching me how to tailor my torture methods to the victim. I doubt he thought it would be turned on him, but I’m resourceful. I always get what I want.” She said simply.
Once they were parked in the mall’s parking structure, Caroline quickly made sure everything was in her purse before stepping out of the car and beginning to unbuckle Kiley from the car seat in the back. She hitched the little girl on her hip as Henrik hopped out of the other side of the car. “Hold Max’s hand, Henrik.” She warned as they walked through the parking lot towards the mall. “You make yourself sound like a pathetic, unattractive cat lady or something. You are a hot vampire. You can get a man in a heartbeat.”
Max side-eyed Caroline, fighting the laugh that was threatening to spill out of her mouth. “You know, with how whipped your husband is I’m starting to think he’s not that scary after all. You on Christmas eve might be more terrifying than him if I’m being perfectly honest.” She knew how neurotic Caroline could be, especially during something as important as Christmas, and she dreaded to think what she would be like with two children’s Christmases at stake.
After finally finding a park after what seemed like hours scouring for one, Caroline immediately set to taking the two children out of the car. Henrik immediately headed towards Max on his mother’s instructions. Holding out his tiny little hand to her own. Grabbing it, she watched with awe as Caroline took her daughter out of the car, the look of love on her face undeniable. If she was being completely honest, Max had to admit she was slightly jealous of what Caroline had. A family to call her own. And not just close family friends or ancestors, a real family, something Max doubted she’d ever have. Shaking away the thought, the two walked side by side with the children near. “Well that may be true, but a) I don’t even have a heartbeat. And b) I don’t know if it’s my winning sense of humour or the fact that I’m about two hundred years older than the average person, but something about me seems to send men running off the moment they meet me. I think sometimes I’m a little too intimidating for my own good. Y’know, this talent for sarcasm I have that everyone just loves doesn’t always work in my favour”, she said with a hint of ironic sarcasm.
She laughed, reaching back inside for her large purse which also seemed to double as a toy bin these days, “Well, that’s because I am the hybrid bodyguard. I really don’t think anyone would be idiotic enough to mess with our children, but if they did, I would have no trouble playing queen of hearts.” She said matter-of-factly as she buckled Kiley into her car seat as Max did the same with Henrik in his booster seat behind the passenger’s seat. She had been a hybrid for almost three years now, but it was still strange to think of herself that way. She had never been sired which made a huge difference of course. She was still extremely protective by nature.
After making sure that both children had their toys to entertain them during the brief car ride and their juice cups, Caroline slipped into the driver’s seat of the SUV before pulling out of the driveway. “He’s a bit of a scrooge but I remedied that quickly. I threatened to play that god-awful Justin Beiber Christmas song on a loop through the entire house until he did what I wanted him to. He became quite compliant after that.” She said with a devilish smirk. “Christmas at the mansion. You are coming of course, no objections.” She told her firmly.
“Ah right, I forget that sometimes you’re even more of a natural abomination than I am.” She smirked, looking towards Caroline. “Joke, of course.” Despite her reduction to slight normality, Max’s bitter and sometimes-offensive sense of humour had most definitely not gone away, if anything it had increased along with her mood.
Max scoffed, the thought of a 1200 year old hybrid being annoyed by a Justin Bieber song submitting him to celebrate Christmas. “Wow, who would’ve thought the key to defeating the most powerful being on earth would be to play songs from a pop-singer that existed even before my lifetime. It’d be hilarious if it wasn’t so… disturbing.” She fought a smile when Caroline invited her over for Christmas, the thought of spending Christmas with someone other than herself exciting her. Pulling into the mall carpark, she looked over at Caroline. “Okay, sounds great. I sure hope you made room for plus one though, since of course I’ll have to pick through my list of many suitors to find myself out a date”, she said, her voiced laced with sarcasm.
Caroline was happy that Nik was finally complying with all of her holiday requests. Albeit, he had agreed under distress. it didn’t take many repeats of the annoying Christmas song to drive someone mad. She knew exactly how to torture her husband and get what she wanted. He had spent most of the morning sporting a look that was a perfect mix between proud of her for finally finding her evil and streak and pissed off that he was the victim of her tyranny. She didn’t mind because the kids were happy that there father was decorating the house with them.
She was in an even better mood when Max revealed to her that she was in town as well. It had been far too long since she had seen her niece in the flesh between Max’s world travels and Caroline trying to get her family settled in their new Manhattan townhouse. It was a process really. Henrik was practically buzzing around the house when she told him Max was coming over to go see Santa with him. “She’s going to be here any minute so go put your boots on and help your sister with hers.” Caroline instructed the little boy as she pulled her own boots on, zipping her jeans into the brown suede heels before hearing the doorbell ring.
Henrik beat her to it, but she opened it for him, waiting to see who it was before peeking his head out from behind his mother’s legs. “Hello Max Donovan, former original threatener and all around trouble-causer. I am happy to accept your Christmas cheer.” She laughed, pulling the brunette into a tight hug. “They are right here.” She smiled as Henrik jumped up to hug her, talking a mile a minute about Santa Claus as Kiley finally made her way over to the door and asked Caroline to pick her up.
Max accepted the blonde vampire’s hug, squeezing Caroline back. They were swiftly interrupted by Henrik, who had begun a habit of talking at almost vampire-levels of speed. Smiling down at the little boy, he offered her his hand, causing a small smile to appear on her face. She took his tiny hand in return, and began walking down the stairs with Caroline and her daughter in hand. “Well at least this time we don’t have those damned hybrid bodyguards with us”, she said, rolling her eyes at Klaus’ overbearing protectiveness.
Once the kids were finally settled in the back of her car, Henrik still rambling on about something to do with reindeers and cookies, Max drove off, leaving the Mikaelson mansion behind. “So, Christmas time. How is the dear old Original hybrid taking it? I can’t exactly imagine him enjoying something like Christmas. It seems too… cheerful for his tastes.” While she somewhat got along with Klaus, she still wasn’t exactly a fan of the hybrid, only tolerating him due to his relationship with Caroline. “Speaking of which, what exactly is the Mikaelson clan doing for Christmas? The thought of you all sitting around a fire exchanging presents is a tad… odd. Just to put it lightly.”
Max bounded up the stairs, excitement buzzing through her. It had been months since she had seen Caroline or her children, and if she was being perfectly honest, the thought of Christmas shopping and taking the kids to see Santa kind of excited her. Christmas had always been her favourite holiday growing up, it was one of the few times her family and their supernatural cohorts actually seemed normal, despite the fact that every Christmas certain people never looked a day older than they had last year.
Knocking on the door, she fought the grin off of her face. These last few months had been the happiest she had ever been. After initially deciding to stay in Mystic Falls for a chance at a normal life, Max decided that normal was a tad too boring for her, and had taken to travelling around the world. No research, no companions, no dire quests to take down the Original family. Just her, her passport, and where ever the hell she wanted to go. No longer controlled by problems that didn’t even exist in her lifetime, she was free to do whatever she wanted. And what she wanted right now, was to be happy. She knew that eventually she’d move back to Mystic Falls, because after everything it was still her home, but for now it appeared to be just a visit for the holidays.
Finally, Caroline opened the door. “Hello Aunt Caroline. My name is Max Donovan, former Original threatener and all around trouble-causer, and I am here to spread some of that holiday cheer”, she said with a large smile forming on her face. “Now, where are those two little munchkins of yours?”
Let’s go! The kids are going to be so excited to see you!
Now that’s what I wanna hear.