Chapter Six - Grounded with Death
"What were you thinking?" Hayley screamed. "You could have died, Hope! Died!"
She had never seen her mother angry before, and now when she knew what it looked like, she didn't want to repeat it. After the police officer had brought her home it was like everyone in the house decided to become an overprotective parent, even Klaus was mad at her.
"But I didn't," Hope simply said making her mother even more angry.
"This is not a joke!"
Hope sat on a chair in the kitchen with a towel wrapped around her, Hayley was on the other side of the table, which was the only thing blocking her from grabbing Hope and shake her into her senses.
"And you two," Hayley turned toward Klaus and Elijah. "You were supposed to look after her!"
"Oh yes, of course, go ahead and blame me," Klaus said sarcastic. "It was my intention of her sneaking out in the middle of the night."
"Calm down, both of you," Elijah said taking a step forward. "I'm sure Hope has an explanation of why she decided to jump of that bridge."
"It was a dare," Hope shrugged.
"A dare?" Hayley shouted. "Great, you did something that stupid because of a dare!"
"I had to! Otherwise I wouldn't have won the fight."
"Which fight?" Elijah asked.
"Between me and another girl who thinks she is the queen, I must have that title or I will be nothing!" Hope tried to defend herself.
Hayley threw her hands in the air with a dramatic sigh, obviously she didn't appreciate the social rules in school.
"I knew this would happen," Hayley said. "She spends one weekend with Klaus and this is what happens!"
"Careful, little wolf", Klaus growled to let her know that she should keep her future thoughts about that subject to herself.
"No, I won't keep calm, Klaus! It's obvious what she is doing, you're all obsessed with being the king of the French Quarters and now she believes she has to do the same with school!"
"Hayley-" Elijah started but got cut off as Klaus threw a glass of water across the room. It hit the wall and went into a thousand of pieces.
"Say another word and I will find you a nice little coffin to put you in for the rest of this century," Klaus warned.
Hope felt her heart beat faster, she had seen her adoptive parents argue many times, but that was nothing compared to this. Elijah and Rebekah didn't seem to find this rather unusual, but it scared Hope. What if they always had these fights when she did something she wasn't supposed to do?
She couldn't just start avoiding trouble, she liked doing stuff that was forbidden and that wouldn't change for a long while.
"Look, this is not dad's fault!" Hope begun not even reacting on her choice of word for describing Klaus. Earlier she had called him Nik, or Klaus, but never father or dad. "I'm the one you should be angry at, I was the one to jump, not him!"
Klaus' angry face at once changed back to his pale, kind of amused look, while Hayley still looked as mad at her as before.
"You're grounded," Hayley decided.
"I'm what?" Hope had never been grounded in her entire life, not even when she had drunk all night and been home at six in the morning. "Oh come on, that's not fair! You haven't even made any rules, so how would I know what I can do and can't do?"
"I believe jumping of a bridge belongs to the can't do list," Rebekah remarked.
"Come on, Bekah, I believe this is something between parents and their daughter," Elijah said before pushing his little sister out of the kitchen.
"But I want to see Nik get his ass kicked," Rebekah whined on their way out causing Hope to smile for the first time since she had gotten home. She had school the next day, which meant that she would be very tired because it was three in the morning.
Hayley pulled out a bar stool next to Hope and sat down, while Klaus leaned against the sink on the other side of the table. With the look on their faces, she understood it wasn't such a good idea to smile.
It was the first time Hope was alone with both of her parents, she had spent most of the weekend in Klaus' company and she had talked for hours with Hayley the first days she had been in New Orleans. But never that she would have been in a room with only the both of them to talk to.
"So, let's get this over with then shall we?" Klaus said with a sigh. "You're not allowed to do anything that might kill you until you have completed your transition to a hybrid."
"Her choice of being a hybrid should be her own choice to make and that's going to wait until she is eighteen," Hayley said with calm voice. Hope didn't know if it was because of them being alone that Hayley finally had calm down, or because she was tired of screaming.
Klaus didn't seem too keen on Hayley's demand, but decided to nod as an answer. "As you wish."
"I don't want to wait another year until I can be like you," Hope exclaimed, she tried to keep her voice casual and adult. But her tired look didn't make it believable. "besides, how bad can it be? You two seem to be just fine with it and if there's still some witches who are after me then it might be the best that I trigger the hybrid side of me before they get to me."
"She has a point, little wolf," Klaus said toward Hayley. "We can't be around her every second of every day. If we don't lock her up in her room because she jumped of a bloody bridge!"
Hope didn't dare to meet her father's eyes, she could almost feel the blood in his vanes boil because of anger.
"Oh, now you decide to become a caring parent", Hayley screamed, making the whole building shake. Or at least that was what it felt like.
Klaus lowered his head without taking his eyes of her. "All I have done this last few years is to care for her, I would never do anything to harm her. So why don't we move on to a more important subject instead of fighting about who of us cares more for her?" He was talking with a low, calm voice, which made Hope shiver. It made her feel unconfident almost like she was the smallest living thing on earth at the moment.
Hayley shook her head and Hope sighed loudly covering her head with the towel. They didn't come anywhere with this, her parents were too different to make choices about her.
"Look, this isn't going to work if you two don't agree on anything," Hope said without looking at either of them. "I grew up with parents who argued every night when they thought I had gone to sleep and it ended in a divorce and me growing up on my own. I know you guys aren't really together or anything, but to make this work we have to start living as a family, otherwise we will just end up fighting all the time and I didn't come here to do that."
Klaus and Hayley exchanged a look, she knew neither of them were used with the idea of a normal family. But that was something Hope had looked forward to ever since she had sat down in the car with Elijah.
"What do you proffer, littlest wolf?" Klaus asked.
"I know we're not normal in any kind of way, but I believe small normal stuff count. Like breakfast, dinner and I don't know, travelling?" Hope tried to explain. "I'm new on this too, you know."
At least that seemed to get her parents on other thoughts for a while.
"Count in homework," Klaus added pointing at her. "I've noticed you're lazy with that one, sweetheart."
Hope smiled, she had skipped her homework today because of the dare, but also because she wasn't used to doing homework. Back in New York they didn't really get any and if they did, it was only because the teachers had a bad day and needed someone to punish.
"We'll see about that," Hope smiled and picked up a grape from the plate that Rebekah had put in front of her earlier, according to her it was important to Hope to eat healthy snacks, even though it was in the middle of a night.
She threw the grape right at Klaus who reacted immediately and caught it in his hand, though he squeezed it too hard and it got crushed in his hand.
"Oh no you didn't!" The next moment grapes were flying all over the kitchen, with Hayley trying to hide herself under the table and Hope covering her face with the towel while throwing grapes at Klaus.
Before Hope knew about it, Klaus was in front of her grabbing the towel and dragged it from her before he took a firm grip around her wrists behind her back. "That's not fair!"
"I believe it is, littlest wolf," Klaus chuckled and held his daughter in a steady grip before Hayley started to throw the last standing grapes from the plate. But instead of aiming at Hope, Hayley succeeded to hit Klaus' face, which made him lose his grip around Hope.
"Let's take him down, mom!" Hope screamed coming up beside Hayley. She couldn't remember the last time she had felt this comfortable and relaxed in the company of an adult, let alone her own parents.
"So this is your definition of making rules, brother?" Elijah asked from the doorway causing all of them to stop with their doings and turning around. Rebekah was laughing in the background of the sight of her big brother, also known for the big bad hybrid.
"And guess who have to clean this mess up," Rebekah then realized and walked into the kitchen with a tired look.
"Well, sorry," Hope laughed without really meaning her apology, which made Hayley give her a warning gaze. Klaus had at once gone back to himself again, looking like a lost puppy who tried to find a reliable explanation for its actions.
"You should get to bed, Hope" Hayley commanded pointing toward the exit. "And don't forget that you're still grounded."
"Fine." Hope rolled her eyes but did as her mother told her.
He didn't know how to react, this behavior was not normal for him. He shouldn't have allowed himself with such pleasure. There was something about that girl that made him feel another way than usual, and it scared him.
"I'm proud of you." Klaus looked up to meet his big brother's eyes. He had escaped to his study room where he spent most of the time painting and clearing up his mind.
"Spare me the pity-talk, Elijah," Klaus muttered and swept his glass filled with bourbon before re-filling it again.
"She brings out the humanity in you, Nik," Elijah told him, taking yet another step forward. "Don't shut that out."
"Love is a weakness."
"We have had this conversation before, and you know my opinion in the matter."
"Then why don't you go back to reading your old journals, brother." He felt the irritation filling him again and he tried to drown the feelings with the liquor going down his throat.
"You know you love that child," Elijah slowly said while walking toward the door. "You admitted it to her fifteen years ago."
Of course he remembered the day he was about to say goodbye to his daughter. It had been a rainy sunday, only a couple of days before christmas. It had been first time since he had given her to Rebekah.
Klaus shook the thoughts out of his head and sat down by his desk, his head hurting because of the memories.
"Nik, what are you doing here? Hayley and Elijah just left," Rebekah asked in surprise to see her brother on her porch. He was soaking wet because of the pouring rain and he had a miserable look on his face.
Packed-up bags were placed in the hallway and boxes filled with stuff were covering the floors making it almost impossible to walk.
"I wanted to .. I ... " he couldn't find the right words to explain his sudden arrival. When they had spoken on the phone earlier he had been perfectly clear that he wasn't going to say goodbye. He had told Rebekah that he had to stay in New Orleans for a lot of different reasons, one of them being the witches trying to strange him.
"Come on in," Rebekah offered with sweet voice before stepping aside so he could pass.
"When are they picking her up?"
"Tomorrow at six."
Klaus nodded. He wished it wouldn't have to be this way, that the witches hadn't found out about Hope still being alive. But they had and now they were only days from taking her from him for eternity. He couldn't let that happen, even if that meant sending her away.
"I didn't hear a car," Rebekah said with her voice sounding questionable.
"All the way to Chicago?"
Klaus was a original hybrid, he was the fastest creature on earth, but even he was surprised by the speed he had been able to force himself to achieve. Maybe his thoughts about seeing his daughter had made him run faster, though he couldn't tell.
"Let me grab you a towel," Rebekah said. She disappeared, but was soon back because of using her vampire speed, offering him the towel to him. "Hope's in the livingroom watching cartoons."
"Bekah," he hurried to say before she had the chance to turn around. "I know we've got our differences, but if ... " he sighed, this was too much emotions for him to handle. "If you want to come back to New Orleans, then I won't be there to stop you."
Rebekah met his eyes with surprise, giving his daughter to her was one thing, but to accept their spats and fights was another. "Thank you, Nik. I would like that."
Rebekah gave him a weak smile before making a gesture toward a pair of double doors. "Want to meet your daughter?"
Klaus hesitated, maybe this was a bad idea after all. He didn't know how to act with a two year old, let alone his own baby daughter.
"It's going to be okay", Rebekah told him when she noticed his anxiousness. "She's a really smart girl, she already knows how to talk and how to put on a sweetie face to get what she wants."
Rebekah moved past him and opened the double doors showing a huge living room, but Klaus didn't pay attention to anything else than a little girl sitting at the small table with a focused facial expression. She had shoulder long, dark brown hair, a round face and light blue eyes. She was the most beautiful person he had ever seen on his thousand years on earth.
"Auntie Bex, I drew you a picture," Hope said with a huge smile. She jumped down from the chair and ran over to Klaus' sister with a piece of paper in her tiny hands.
"Thank you sweetie, it's really lovely" Rebekah said accepting the paper from Hope. She sat down on her knees in front of the little girl and gazed over to Klaus for a second. "Do you remember when I told you about your daddy?"
The little girl blinked a few times before she slowly nodded. "He is a busy man."
Klaus didn't know how to react, she was adorable, and obviously intelligent. He remembered Hayley telling him about how Hope used Bekah's ipad to teach herself how to form sentences. He never had thought the newest technology actually would be helpful for children.
"Well, Hope, your father decided to pay you a visit before your trip tomorrow," Rebekah said, her voice breaking by every other word.
Hope turned her eyes towards Klaus and nodded again. He found himself crouching down to her level just like Rebekah had done before smiling at his daughter.
"Hi there," he said smoothly.
"Hi," Hope answered taking a step toward him. "Why are you so wet?"
Klaus chuckled, not being able to understand it was his daughter right there in front of him. "I've been out in the rain, sweetheart."
Hope formed her lips into a straight line and wrinkled her forehead. "How come you didn't use an umbrella? Me and Bex always use umbrellas when it's raining."
Klaus tried not to laugh, what of a reliable excuse could he come up with for a two year old without lying to her? Not that she would mind that considering her age, but for Klaus it was something he wanted to avoid.
"I forgot it," he said. It wasn't totally a lie, he hadn't even bothered to think about it when he had left the compound.
He hadn't even noticed that Rebekah had left the room, though he could hear her heartbeat on the other side of the wall.
"Wanna see my drawings?" Hope asked and took his hand to drag him toward the table before he had any chance of saying otherwise. Her small hand in his made his stomach twist. Her grip was so firm, it made him wish she never had to let his hand go. "Bekah thinks I am gonna be an artist!"
The drawings were surprisingly good for a two year old, even better than what his had been in his youngest years. She had his talent, only that she used it to more than express her feelings.
Hope continued to talk about what she found interesting, she even showed him some of her favorite programs on Bekah's ipad. Klaus became utterly surprised when Hope decided she wanted to draw him a picture too, she told him he could have it so he wouldn't forget her.
"I will never forget you, sweetheart," he promised her. "Not as long as I walk on this earth."
Then she started laughing, giggling at the words he just told her. It confused him, what was it?
"You talk funny, daddy," Hope explained and gave him one of her innocent smiles. "But it is okay, I like you anyways."
She crawled down from her seat beside him in the couch and sat down right in his lap, leaning her head on his shoulder. Her heart beated faster than his normal rhythm, he could feel it banging against his chest.
Hope took his free hand in hers and unfolded his fingers so she could put her hand in his. It looked so tiny compared to his, with her fingers not even close of touching his. So different, but yet so similar.
"I love you, sweetheart," he whispered before placing a kiss on her forehead as she fell asleep in his arms. He closed his eyes causing a single tear fall down his cheek.
Klaus opened his eyes to shake off the memory from his brain, the feelings he had felt when he had held her in his arms were unbearable. He didn't know how to react with them, how to use them and how to forget them. Every single memory of his days on earth had been banished from his knowledge and hidden in a place where he himself was free from them. But this memory, was too much for him to keep hidden.
Later that night, Rebekah had told him something that had made him more motivated to get the French Quarters back into safety. He needed it to make it a home for his daughter more than ever.
"Nik, the witch I used to put a cloaking spell on Hope told me something," Rebekah said when she walked into the living room. Klaus looked up from his sleeping daughter and gently put her down beside him on the couch.
"What?" he asked. He could feel the worry that was coming out of his sister, she wasn't able to look him in the eye."What is it, Bekah?"
"The witch told me that Hope's hybrid side hasn't been trigged yet," Rebekah begun to explain. "But the second she turns eighteen, her craving for blood will be more intense than for any other creature in this world."
Klaus turned his gaze toward the small sleeping human, without as much as a problem on her mind. She was the most innocent person in his life, he would never allow himself to put her in danger again.
"You know what that means, Nik," Rebekah said with fear in her voice. "We have to have the Quarter safe within sixteen years, otherwise our whole existence will be in danger."
"I promise you, sister," Klaus said looking her right in the eye. "That I will do everything in my power to make this family whole again, no matter the cost."
Grounded for two weeks, which led to a lot of complaining and trying to use her imagination to come up with something to use her time on.
Kol had been very social those two weeks, he had actually been kind of a pain in the ass when it came to Hope. Always finding new pranks to play on his siblings and Hayley, don't even mention the people walking around on the street. It turned out those two made a good team, Kol was a mastermind and Hope had more experience on pranks than anyone else.
But Hayley's definition of being grounded had been taken to another level when she had found Hope and Kol on the balcony throwing balloons filled with colored water on passing-byers. She had strictly said that Hope wouldn't be allowed to step outside the compound, included the balcony and courtyard.
"You should be happy you only got two weeks," Trip said at lunch two weeks after she had jumped off the bridge. "I got three weeks and a list filled with choirs to do everyday."
"That's because you don't know how to negotiate with your parents," Hope smiled in victory.
It had been unusual quiet in school the last couple of days. After she had jumped off the bridge everyone wanted to talk to her, but now everything went back to normal. Or at least almost.
Rachel spent most of her schooldays hiding from other people, her little minions that had followed her had split up and had friends of their own. Hope lived everyday as in paradise, everyone greeted her and no one dared to stand up against her. Just like she wanted it to be.
"Oh my god," Summer exclaimed. She looked up from the newspaper she had read and gave Hope a disgraceful look.
"What is it?" she asked but didn't wait for an answer before she had taken the paper from Summer's hands. It didn't take her long before she found what Summer was so upset about.
Two people found dead in Brooklyn, New York. Still no evidence of what may have happened.
And then a picture of a man and a woman lying next to each other in a torn down apartment. Hope's apartment. She didn't have to read the whole story that the author of the article had written, she already knew what had happened.
"Did you know them?" Summer asked carefully. She had told them that she had lived in Brooklyn with her adoptive mom before she had come here. She had told them nothing about why and how the Mikaelson's had found her after her disappearance from New Orleans almost seventeen years ago.
"I need to go," she breathed before getting up from her seat and walking out of the dining hall. She couldn't think, breathe or anything else but run out of the school and toward the French Quarters. She felt sick, like she wanted to throw up everything she just had ate.
Her adoptive parents firm faces on the picture, both with white skin and empty looks. Not a scar or anything that would proof their death was because of a fight.
By the time she made it to the compound her pulse was pounding in her ears, her throat dry and eyes threatening to let tears fall down. She already knew where to find him, and she didn't bother to answer when Hayley asked her why she was home so early.
"You killed them!" she screamed at him as she slammed the door open to his study. "Don't try to lie to me, I know it was you!"
She took a step toward Klaus with her arm outstretched in front of her. He met her upset gaze with his, staying stiff and without any emotions.
"How could you? They were my parents!" Hope shouted not being able to hold back the tears any longer.
"No, Hope," Klaus answered with an angry voice. "We are your parents!"
Hope shook violently her head, it wasn't true. What kind of father would kill other people, let alone people who actually did matter to his own daughter?
"They didn't care for you, they mistreated you and-"
"No they didn't!" Hope cut him off. "They loved me and you killed them! You're a monster!"
She ran out of Klaus' study and up the stairs toward her bedroom. She was done with this, she wanted to go back to New York.