The Feared Estate

XXII

KLAUS

Caroline's pregnancy days were coming to an end. Even without Bonnie's examinations anyone would be able to tell that the baby was almost due. Caroline's bulging stomach caused her to feel tired and weak while moving around the mansion. It broke my dead heart to watch her this way. I wished for the baby to leave her body soon, so Caroline could return to her usual energetic self. However then the impending fatherhood would reach me…

This brought me to leave Caroline with my sister-in-law and her daughter to move in search of my elder brother. As I took each step I thought of how humiliating this was for me but whenever Caroline brought up the subject of parenthood I could only nod and speak with brief comments otherwise my worried mind would pour out. I had previously busied myself with organising the renovation of the baby's nursery over the past weeks. It kept me involved but at a distance from all the personal things that Caroline kept bringing up. The last conversation we discussed was baby names…

"Do you think it is a he or she?" Caroline asked me as my arm was wrapped around her waist while we walked along the stone path on the grounds of the family estate.

"I do not know sweetheart. Have you asked Bonnie whether she can do some sort of spell to find out?" I was interested in Caroline's wishes but in truth I did not care of the child's gender.

"No, I wish for it to be a surprise," she smiled, gazing into my face as we stopped. She gestured to wooden bench that the gardeners that made at her request. We sat down together, our fingers still interlocked. "I just think we should discuss names." I sighed quietly glancing away. "Klaus, you are their father." She raised her free hand to cup my cheek bringing my gaze back to her own. "I know this makes you feel uneasy and please do not try to deny it. We will do this together okay?" I nodded.

"What sort of names are you thinking of?" I brought Caroline's hand from my face to my lap keeping all our digits weaved together.

"I would like them to be special, something important," she paused. "I was thinking Elizabeth, after my mother, shortened to Lizzie? I think that would be cute. Lizzie Mikaelson?"

"Whatever you want Caroline," I tried to be supportive but she saw right through me.

"No Klaus, whatever we want. Please tell me what you think?"

"Lizzie would work, what are you thinking for a boy? William after your father?" She shook her head. "Please do not tell me you are considering Klaus junior." She chuckled softly.

"No, no, one is quite enough. I hope you do not mind but I was speaking with Elijah about your family. He reminded me of the brothers you lost before you were turned. You told me the story of Henrik did you not?" Guilt rushed through my veins reminding me of the tragic night when we lost a brother to my stupidity. I nodded, remembering the time when Caroline add asked about my family after she inquired about Finn's daggered body. "I did not know if you wanted to name him after Aaron or Henrik?"

"I never knew Aaron, he died before Elijah was born, but I like where you are thinking. Henrik was one of my closest brothers, I think he would be honoured to have our child named after him." I smiled softly trying to keep the emotion inside. "If you are thinking of shortening it, how about Henry? I called Henrik, Rik sometimes so we can define them." She nodded her eyes lighting up slightly in my words.

"Lizzie or Henry then," Caroline confirmed before leaning in closer to my lips. "You will be an extraordinary father Niklaus," she stated before pulling me into a kiss.

Caroline had always known what troubled my mind. She always complimented my future ability as a father trying to increase my confidence for when my role began. 'I believe you could be a magnificent father.' 'You will be an extraordinary father Niklaus.' Even with these phrases I was worried that I would disappoint her.

There was only one father figure in my life and he scared me. Mikael. When I think of a 'father' his wrinkled features spring to mind, I knew this was my chance to be the man I had hoped Mikael would be but how? I did not know. Fatherhood was a mystery.

I extended my hand to the wooden door of Elijah's study. My advanced hearing picked up the sound of his pen scribbling over the sheets. I had been watching Elijah and Nadia recently trying to understand how Elijah could be so good at what he does. Of course Elijah is the noble family man of the Mikaelson family, so I assumed that it would be natural for him.

"Come in," my elder brother's strong tone sounded. I followed Caroline's advice into asking Elijah about the feeling of fatherhood by opening the door and taking a seat opposite my dark haired sibling.

"Niklaus, what brings you here?" Elijah placed his writing utensil down on the desk pushing all his attention to me. I sighed, not believing I was actually doing this; admitting I felt weak and nervous.

"I…want your advice brother," I stated calmly. Elijah raised his dark brow in surprise. "Fatherhood was dropped on you, and soon it will be on me too." Elijah nodded leaning forward slightly.

"The only advice I can give you my dear brother, is follow your instincts, your human instincts. We have seen your humanity since you fell for your bride. Everyone knows it is there."

"But…but what if I become like him," I sighed pulling my hand through my short curls. I hated feeling vulnerable.

"You could never be father. You may threaten your siblings and cart us around in boxes but you could not bring yourself to kill us Niklaus," Elijah encouraged. "I am sure Caroline is aware of your troubled mind?"

"Very much so."

"Well think of the situation in her shoes. She does not know how to be a mother and yet there she is cuddling her stomach, speaking words of joy about her nearing motherhood. She is being positive and preparing herself for it well. You are both in this together brother. I do not think Katerina would be as happy if I was not here to support her. As husbands, it is our job to support and care for our family." I nodded, taking in each word my brother spoke. "This is a new chapter in your lives Niklaus, Caroline and yourself will fight through the obstacles that appear for your family because in the end it all comes down to one thing. Love."


CAROLINE

I had insisted on leaving the inside of the mansion, needing some fresh air. Katherine and Rebekah both accompanied me with Nadia who ran through the grass in her crimson gown. My arms were linked with my two sisters-in-law as we stuck to the path discussing the finished renovation of one of the upstairs rooms which would be my child's nursery.

"Was is all Nik or did you have some input in the renovation?" Rebekah inquired.

"Mainly him to be honest, I just wanted natural tones. As I insisted to Bonnie that I do not wish to know my child's gender until they are released into the world, therefore we cannot presume anything. Although I did ask for my childhood cot and rocking horse to be brought over," I announced remembering my infant years of joy while riding the wooden horse. Now I had Phoenix, who unfortunately had not been ridden for months as my condition would not allow it.

"I wondered where that came from. Nadia found it and I had to explain to her it was not hers," Katherine added watching her young girl chasing a butterfly near the forest edge. "Stay out from the woods please Nadia." Katherine's tone altered slightly into her authoritative parent voice. I wondered if I would have one.

"Nadia is welcome to use it, her cousin will not be able to ride it for a few years yet," I chuckled rubbing my enormous stomach gently. "My mother told me she used to sit on it with me wrapped in her arms as a baby. It used to calm me when I was upset."

"Aww, maybe you can use that technique on Lizzie," Rebekah smiled.

"Or Henry. I think it is so sweet the names are from people. Have you told your mother about the female option?" Katherine beamed. I nodded.

"She was honoured."

"Henrik would be too you know," Rebekah added, I noticed grief filling her features. "He and Nik were extremely close back then. I am sure he is watching us right now with a huge grin." I smiled thinking of what I had known of Henrik, he seemed to be a joyful and happy young boy.

"Well we will have to see which this little one is then will we not?" I grinned removing my arms from Katherine's and Rebekah's in order to wrap my arms around my child inside me.


NADIA

I was running around in the grass following my mother's instruction not to enter the forest. A butterfly was in sight and I chased it until it flew past the trees entering in the dark area. I had been briefly listening to my mother's conversation with my Aunts enjoying the talk about my little cousin. I hoped they would be a girl, I could only imagine another girl to run and play with like my home with the gypsies, as Mama called them. Sometimes it was lonely being the only child but I also enjoyed the privacy that I never had before.

I picked up the hem of my dress twirling around under the sunlight as it flooded the landscape. My long brown hair was half pinned up and curled down my back. Mama had placed a flower in my hair as we passed the flower bush filled with yellow buds.

I glanced back at the women hoping that I could be as beautiful as either of them when I grew up. I knew Father and Uncle Klaus were lucky to have such stunning wives. I hoped Auntie Rebekah would find her match soon. My human eyes caught the outline of Father and Uncle Klaus watching us below while in conversation from the upstairs hall window. I raised my hand to wave but they did not return it, I do not think they saw me.

A loud scream pulled my attention from the men to Caroline almost collapsing to the floor. In less than a second Uncle Klaus was at the scene. I had never seen anyone move that fast before, of course Father had shown me his abilities but never quite like this.

"Caroline, I have got you love," Klaus comforted her bringing her into his arms.

"The baby is coming," Caroline breathed heavily.

"Rebekah get Bonnie now," Klaus demanded his tone forceful as he carried Caroline back inside.

My Mother walked towards me extending her arms to lift me up. I accepted watching the scene ahead.

"Auntie Caroline okay?" I asked in my sweet tone.

"Your little cousin wants to be born," Mother informed me following the path that the others had taken into the grand building.

I saw Bonnie and Uncle Kol race passed us following everyone else up the staircase along with some maids.

"Bonnie!" Uncle Klaus' voice raged from upstairs as she ran as fast as her human legs would let her. While she was on the stairs I noticed Uncle Kol flashed her into his arms towards the voices.

"Uncle Klaus angry?" I observed as my mother slowly ascending the stairs taking me in the direction of my bedroom.

"He is just worried about Caroline," Mother answered simply.


KATHERINE

I sat with Nadia as I listened to Caroline screams and Klaus' shouting. I envied my daughter's human ears so she did not have to witness it all. It reminded me of the time when Nadia was born and how she was ripped from my arms by my parents who did not care about me but our family's reputation. I was so grateful to Elijah for allowing my daughter to come home.

I could hear how unsettled Klaus was in his voice as he supported Caroline with her birth. Elijah had told me about him coming to ask him about fatherhood which I thought was kind of sweet. He obviously wants to do the best for his new family, like Elijah does with Nadia and me. I wished I could have had Elijah with me during Nadia's birth, it would have made the experience better in my eyes. I also wished Nadia was biologically Elijah's but now it did not really matter Nadia was ours and a Mikaelson no matter what anyone said.

I wanted to tune out from the scene across the building but I also wished to know what was going on. Soon enough there was silence and then a baby's cry.

"He is healthy," I heard Bonnie say.

"He?" Caroline's voice was tired and breathy.

"You have a baby boy," I could hear the smile in Bonnie's voice.

I walked from the seat in Nadia's room towards the bed where she played quietly with two rag dolls from my childhood I had Elena collect months ago.

"Would you like to see if your cousin wants to say hello?" I asked my daughter softly. She nodded keenly slipping off the bed.

Holding Nadia's tiny hand I led her towards Klaus and Caroline's chambers to be greeted by Elijah at the door.

"Everything went fine, Caroline is very tired," Elijah informed us picking Nadia up from the ground. I smiled at him before stepping into the room finding Caroline lying on her bed holding a beautiful baby boy in her arms. Klaus sat beside her, smiling down at his son. He seemed truly happy after all his yelling earlier about Caroline's health.

"Congratulations," I spoke softly not wanting to disturb the quiet angel in his mother's arms.

"Thank you," Caroline breathed her forehead covered in sweat. "Henry meet your Auntie Katherine." The little boy had his father's striking blue eyes, they fluttered around the room until resting on me. He was wrapped in a loose white towel with his head lying on Caroline's elbow as she cradled him.

"Can I see?" Nadia squealed running towards me.

"Shh," I placed a finger over my lips to my daughter silencing her.

"Sorry Mama," she whispered before finding a position around the bed were she could see the new addition to the family. "Hello little cousin," she greeted him while I noticed Bonnie, Kol, Rebekah, Anna and another maid leave the room to give them some privacy.

"This is Henry," Caroline introduced them before smiling up at Klaus and pressing her sweaty hair against his shoulder.

"Henry Mikaelson," Klaus added with a light smile.

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