Chapter Nine - Long Time no See, Love
Death, what a pathetic excuse of an ending. If humans only knew there was a way to cheat death, of course not for an eternity, but for something that felt like forever. Klaus didn't fear death, but he did his best to avoid it.
When his daughter arrived home he didn't know how to react, she had once again disobeyed his wishes, which was something he didn't take rather well. If it had been someone else, he would have made sure the mistake wouldn't be repeated, but with her it was different. If he did allow himself to punish her then he wouldn't be any better than Mikael. Although Hayley's idea of punishment didn't seem to make any difference with Hope, considering she hadn't really cared for being grounded the last time.
"You killed him?" Klaus asked, he wasn't sure if he should be ashamed or proud of her killing that boy Bradin. Of course, it had been for self-defence, but still.
"Yes," Hope answered. She licked her lips and hugged her legs tighter like she wasn't sure how to make herself comfortable in the situation. "He told me something before he died though."
Elijah straighten up and listened with a tense gaze. None of them had started screaming at Hope for her sneaking out again, not even Hayley. Though Klaus could feel her anxiousness from across the living room.
"He said the witches still are after me, they're trying to find me and sacrifice me," Hope said.
Hayley gasped for air, just like the other people in this silly room, she had thought they had got rid of the witches in this area a long time ago. Looked like Hope's appearance had drawn them back with another wave of lies.
"What should we do?" Rebekah asked when no one said anything.
"Find the witches and make sure no one of them will ever harm us again," Klaus said as it wasn't a subject to discuss.
"Good luck with that," Hope sighed. "You've already tried that and obviously it didn't work, besides, I'm pretty sure they only used Bradin to seek me up and to figure out what I am capable of."
Klaus bit his lip, looking around the room not to crush the glass of bourbon he held in his hand. This made him furious, never that there would be any peace around the Quarter, he felt stupid to believe that this actually would be safe for his daughter. Though, he wasn't ready to sacrifice this city and his kingdom for her just yet, he had worked more than anything to make this a place to call home.
He felt Elijah's gaze at him, which he decided to ignore, his brother had always been very overprotective for the things he cared for. Even as a child.
"Why don't we just get rid of their tries to sacrifice me already?" Hope said getting up to her feet. He was impressed with his littlest wolf, she had shown herself more brave than any other living creature he had come across. And still she was only human, with a little bit of witchcraft inside of her.
"What do you mean, exactly?" Elijah asked showing one of his hands down his pocket.
Hope sighed, throwing her hands up in the air. "I'm about to turn seventeen, I think I'm old enough to make my own decision whether or not to become a hybrid, which by the way seems to be the only thing stopping the witches from killing me."
Klaus smirked, her determination was fascinating, it made him believe that no one would have the guts to stand up against her. She was strong, beautiful and intelligent, just like he had hoped for her to be.
"I agree with my littlest wolf, of course it would be the best to let her become the hybrid she wants to be."
"No way!" Hayley exclaimed. "She is too young for such huge decision."
"This conversation again?" Rebekah sighed. "The last hundred times we have discussed this, we haven't gotten anywhere!"
Elijah stepped forward from behind the armchair. "Surprisingly enough I have to agree with my brother and niece. The witches wouldn't have a reason to sacrifice her if she complete the transition to a hybrid. Of course Hope must be sure about her decision."
Hope nodded with lowered head and a smile on her face. Klaus felt proud of her, of course he didn't want her to become the same monster he was, just as he had been protective with Marcel. But this was different, Hope wanted to become stronger, she wanted to take care of herself and Klaus knew that she would do as she wished whether they liked it or not.
"I can't believe this," Hayley said shaking her head. "She is just a child!"
"To be fair," Klaus said before emptying his glass of bourbon. "She would only be human for another year before her craving for blood would be too much for her to bear."
"Are you sure about this, Hope?" Rebekah asked her. "It's much to handle."
Hope met Bekah with a calm look. "I'm not afraid."
"Good, then we're settled, her transition will take place after her birthday," Klaus said without giving any of them a chance to say otherwise.
Hayley didn't make a gesture of protest, instead she stood up and gave Hope a kiss on her forehead. "Time to go to sleep, little one."
"Alright, goodnight," Hope sighed.
She gave Klaus a discreet smile before walking past him toward the stairs. He made sure to listen to her every step she took as she entered her bedroom on the top floor before he turned toward his brother.
"I'm surprised you actually did agree with me, brother."
"That makes two of us," Elijah answered with a deep sigh. Hayley shook her head and rushed past Elijah without as much as a look at him, of course that made his forehead go into deep wrinkles.
"Trouble in paradise?" Klaus asked as he poured another drink of bourbon.
"She hasn't been herself lately", Elijah answered. "More anxious, paranoid and unpretentious."
"I'm sure she will come around." Klaus smiled, he was happy with his victory. The most heathen subject in the compound had been when Hope could trigger her hybrid side, at least now he could stop worrying about the witches wanting to kill her.
"I presume you know something?" Elijah asked with suspicious voice. "What is it that you aren't telling me, brother?"
"Nothing to worry about, Elijah," Klaus said before walking toward his brother. "She will tell you eventually."
Klaus was just about to pass Elijah when he took a firm grip around Klaus' arm. "Tell me, Niklaus."
Klaus looked into Elijah's desperate eyes, it was too amusing. He laughed, a heartless, enjoying laugh before taking a step back. "Jealous because she hasn't told you?"
Elijah's gaze went all over the room, everywhere else but meeting Klaus' eyes. Rebekah still sat on the couch, watching her brother's interaction with curiosity. It had been a while since the two of them had shared a conversation about something else than Hope or the Quarters.
"Told me what?" Elijah asked.
"She has been visiting the newest werewolves in town," Klaus said. "Getting to know them, found interest in one of the wolves if I recall it right."
"Nik!" Rebekah couldn't handle her brother's behavior as Elijah's noble face reflected in sadness mixed with anger and surprise before getting back to its palm appearance.
"You're lying," Elijah exhaled, not believing what Klaus said.
"Am I now?" Klaus said before taking a step closer to his brother. "You know I'm right, your noble disguise can't hide your real feelings now, can it brother?"
Elijah took a rough grip around the collar of Klaus' shirt and pushed him up against the wall, making the whole building shake. Klaus dropped his glass of bourbon on the floor, causing it to go into thousands of pieces.
He frowned. "Touched a nerve, have I?"
"You are so impulsive, Niklaus. You don't seem to care about what anyone else feel or how they could react by your way of telling them something," Elijah said. "Don't you have any moral, self-control or sympathy?"
Klaus' smile faded from his face, this was enough. He couldn't stand anyone telling him what he was or what he should do. Not even his siblings. He had made an exception with Hope, only because he was able to control himself with her and not let the demons do the job for him.
He pushed away his brother's grip from his shoulders. "Enough with all of this!"
"No, Niklaus!" Elijah shot back. "I believed you would change when Hope arrived, I put my trust in her hands that she would make you a better person. But this is too much, I can't handle it. Not anymore, your selfishness has gone too far that it won't only hurt your siblings or Hayley anymore, but also your daughter!"
"So it's my fault the little wolf pays interest in another man instead of you?" Klaus asked. "This has nothing to do with me or my self-preservation. You're just mad because Hayley won't love you!"
"Stay out of this, Bekah," Elijah warned her with his hand pointed at her.
Klaus faced his brother, giving him a look that told him he should back off. "Why don't you go and talk to Hayley instead of shouting at me? My relationship with my daughter is something between me and her, it has nothing to do with either of you."
Elijah eyed him, trying to find something to answer him, but he stayed speechless before speeding out of the living room. Klaus stood still, with his face empty. He usually didn't care for Elijah's opinion of him, his trying of making Klaus' redemption by bringing things to love into his life. He hadn't succeeded yet, although Klaus unwillingly did feel love for his creature of a daughter. Maybe Elijah was right, that Hope could be his redemption after all.
He shook his head before making the exit from the living room even though he could feel his little sisters gaze in his back. He needed some fresh air, so he found himself standing on the balcony staring at the fountain in the middle of the courtyard that Elijah had been stubborn to build. He had insisted to make the place more modern and renovated at least half of the building.
This family was falling apart, this time more than ever, their decisions regarding Hope would tear them apart. He knew that and he knew that Hayley knew it. She and him had talked a lot lately, about her and what they should do to make things work. They tried, but his duty as the king of the Quarters took a lot of his time.
Elijah, Rebekah and Kol was of course there for them, but it wasn't their responsibility to make sure Hope would find her peace. It wasn't an easy job, not for any of them. If they continued like this it would mean the end of their family and he couldn't let that happen. His family meant more than anything else to him, even more than his position as the king.
Of course he wasn't ready to let that go yet, not now when he just had got it back. But he believed that if he was put in a position to choose between the French Quarter and his family, he would choose them.
Hope being here had meant a huge difference for all of them, they hadn't as much time for themselves anymore and they were blaming each other for her mistakes. She didn't make it easy for them, but Klaus didn't blame her for it. He couldn't allow himself to do it, they were the adult ones in this family and it was their responsibility to make things work. Not hers.
"Nik," Kol called from behind. Klaus dug his nails into the dark wood of the balcony railing.
"Leave me alone, Kol. I'm not in the mood of a chat," he said without turning around. His annoying brother always knew when to make an entrance.
"You're in a good mood," Kol said before leaning against the railing beside him.
"What do you want?" he growled.
"Nothing much, I just wanted you to know that I might have found someone that would cheer you up in this dark days of yours, of course if you don't want my help I will leave you alone with your brooding thoughts."
Klaus gave him a tired look. "I'm not up for any of your games, Kol."
"It's not a game, big brother," Kol said amused. "I come bearing gifts."
"Whatever it is that you're up for this time, it can wait."
"I believe otherwise," Kol said standing in Klaus' way before he had a chance to escape.
Klaus searched his baby brother's eyes for something that would give him away that this was a joke. He had no interest of doing as Kol said, his plans often ended up as a failure anyways, what made him believe that this would be any different?
"Fine, what is it?" Klaus said when Kol didn't seem to give up his exited news.
Kol smirked and did a gesture toward the entrance of the compound. "Come on out, darling."
Klaus turned his gaze toward the iron doors without showing himself exited, because he wasn't, he was tired and he would rather go up to his bedroom and sleep his anger off him than see any of Kol's stupid surprises.
But this time he actually did manage to surprise Klaus. His heart skipped a beat inside his chest, it was like every single thought of being angry disappeared into thin air. He felt no reason of being mad at anyone when he saw the angelic person coming toward him on the courtyard. He had thought he would never see her again, that her existence wouldn't matter to him anymore.
She was beautiful, just like always, dressed in her normal denim jeans with a jacket and top. Her curly blonde hair fell loosely over her shoulders, making her blue-green eyes appear more soft. She looked even more beautiful than he had seen her last time, over seventeen years ago when he had promised her never to come to Mystic Falls again. The memory made him smile.
"Caroline," he exhaled making himself resist the impulse of immediately jumping down from the balcony to face her.
"Hi," she said shyly.
"So, what have you been up to the last decade, love?" Klaus asked. He kept his hands linked behind his back as they walked together at the streets in the French Quarter. It was an amazing city at night, with people from all across the world coming forward to attend the late night events. It was one of the main reasons why he enjoyed the town as much as he did.
"Well, after graduating from the Whitmore College, which by the way also included a lot of studying even though I had hoped it wouldn't," Caroline told him with enthusiasm, "I said goodbye to Elena and Stefan, who nowadays actually are married and situated somewhere in New Jersey with Jeremy and his girlfriend and I went travelling around Europe."
"You did, huh?" Klaus smiled. "Let me guess, the Eiffel tower was bigger than you expected?"
Caroline laughed, which sounded like music to his ears. It was unbelievable to him that she actually was here. He hadn't thought about her that much the last couple of years, of course he still remembered her every now and then, but he had been too focused on finding Hope and the Quarter to actually think about her.
Now that she was here, he wanted to know everything that she had done, her hopes, her dreams. Everything. Though he felt a little disappointed that she had decided to visit Europe without him.
"To be honest, yes, it looked much smaller in the brochure," Caroline joked.
"What are you doing in New Orleans, then sweetheart?" he asked, looking at her in the corner of his eye. He could feel her nervousness, it was obvious because she didn't look at him.
"I'm reading medicine, actually, in a college nearby," she explained with hesitation.
Klaus chuckled. "College?" He let out a sigh and let his gaze trail upwards until he could see the stars on the black sky. "How about Tyler? You must have a bunch of boys wanting your attention in school."
Caroline stopped to lean against the wall beside the small bar Kol eagerly visited daily. "I haven't seen Tyler for over ten years, I don't even know if he is alive. Besides, would I really come and visit you if I had a bunch of boys wanting my attention, as you put it?"
"Fair enough," Klaus said standing in front of her. He could smell her perfume from where he was standing, it made his stomach twist. Over seventeen years, and she still managed to take his breath away. At the same time that it made him feel pathetic, it made him want something more than only the Quarters and his family, it made him hope.
"So how about you then?" Caroline asked. "No women around craving for your attention?"
Klaus couldn't resist himself for laughing for her way of asking him, she actually sounded like a kid getting candy for christmas. "Well besides for my sister, there is one."
Her reaction was unexplainable, it was like all of her expectations had taken away from her and everything that was left was her breath hanging in the air.
"I didn't believe you were capable of loving anyone," she said, swallowing to get a hold on her voice.
"Neither did I, love," he admitted. This was very funny to him, to see her sort of jealous look when she actually thought he was in love with a woman. To be fair, he actually was, with the girl he was father to.
He could have let her suffer longer, but that would only make her more angry when she found out the truth.
"Who is she?" Caroline asked, forcing herself a smile.
"Wha- … Oh my god, you're sick! I thought you meant- … I will kill you!" Caroline stepped forward while trying to hide her shame, luckily for her being a vampire, her cheeks didn't turn read otherwise she would blush more than ever before.
Klaus laughed at her reaction, it was ridiculous. "Don't blame me, love. You're the one blushing."
"Shut up," she muttered when she calmed down by taking a deep breath. "I can't believe you have a daughter, I heard she died?"
"It was a diversion for the witches that were after her, actually," he explained with a low voice, worried that someone could hear them. "We just got her back after fifteen years in hide-out."
"Wow, that sounds complicated."
"It has its ups and downs," he admitted, looking anywhere else but into her eyes. Talking about his teenaged daughter with her wasn't anything he had seen coming.
"How is she?" Caroline asked without hesitation. "Is she attending school? Having any friends?"
Klaus raised his eyebrows. "Are you really interested in my daughter's life?"
"I'm asking, am I not?"
"She is … detemited, smart, beautiful and very stubborn," Klaus explained. He realised it was the first time he actually understood how much he cared for Hope, she was his daughter, no one elses. It was his blood that ran through her vanes. "She won't let anyone tell her what to do."
Caroline smiled at him. "Sounds like her father."
They stayed silent for a moment, watching the people on the street laugh around and watching the parade that someone had decided to have as an event this day.
"You should consider yourself lucky," Caroline finally broke the silence. She was leaning against the wall again, not looking at him. "Having the chance to at least have one child."
Of course, she was upset because vampires couldn't procreate. A lot of vampires felt the same way as her and he couldn't find a reason to blame her. Caroline was a wonderful, young woman and she probably had a lot of reasons why she didn't want to be a vampire. Although the biggest one have to be this one, and to be honest it didn't surprise him.
"I know," he said, taking a step toward her. "I'm reminding myself every day."
She nodded. "Would you do it again? This must sound really weird for you but, would you consider ever having another kid?"
Klaus blinked a few times, he hadn't thought about it. Sure it had crossed his mind as he had found out it was possible for him, but never that he would have considered making another one. There was nothing wrong with Hope, she was the one being he loved with his whole heart, but if another child meant the witches coming after it, then he wouldn't be able to put the child thought that kind of misery.
"I haven't thought about it," he said truthfully. He knew how much honesty meant for both of them. "I missed Hope's whole childhood, I know nothing about raising a child."
"Her name is Hope?" Caroline smiled. "Beautiful name."
Klaus took a deep breath, he needed to change the subject, talking about children made his mind turn into a blur. Not that her reaction regarding Hope made him feel insecure, on the contrary to be honest, but it scared him a bit. What if she had some sort of ulterior motive behind her questions?
"Not that I enjoy our small talk, love, but what is the real reason for you seeking me up?" he asked, it had been on his mind ever since Kol brought her to him from that party he had visited with Hope.
"Is there something you want?"
He didn't want to sound suspicious, but his voice didn't make it believable. Caroline's eyes switched in fear, letting him know that her being here wasn't totally harmless.
"Don't you think this is incredible weird for me?" she shouted, making Klaus take a step back in surprise. "God, Klaus! It has been seventeen years since I saw you for the last time, all of my friends are either dead or have their own lives. I have tried to keep myself occupied, but still I found myself applying to a college in New Orleans! New Orleans, of all cities, Klaus!" She started pacing back and forth in front of him, dragging her hand through her hair. "I just wanted a normal life, with usual college flings and making my own mistakes and having friends I could tell my embracing secrets to! But I can't think of any of them, all of my thoughts brings me back to you!"
"No, let me finish!" she cut him off. "All of my friends have moved on, Elena and Stefan are living happily ever after, Matt is married and has two kids and Bonnie and Damon are dead! I seem to be the only one not being able to move on from what happened seventeen years ago! I've tried to keep my mind of it, but it keeps coming back to me. And I thought that if everyone else have gotten over it, then why don't I do the same?"
Caroline breathed out, letting all of the air from her lungs disappear before leaning back against the wall. She looked exhausted, yet her heart didn't pound as effective as before. She seemed relaxed, like all of her problems had been lifted from her shoulders.
Klaus usually didn't let himself feel either surprised or confused, but her sudden impulse of pour her heart out to him made him feel both. She never failed to impress him, this must have taken her a lot of sleepless nights to get her mind through. He couldn't even imagine what kind of bravery she had had to gather before meeting him and telling him all of this.
Klaus licked his lips, allowing himself to take a step toward her. "I understand this must be rather confusing to you., sweetheart"
"Really?" Caroline exhaled. "Because I just felt like I've had a competition in who-talks-the-fastest and pouring-out-all-of-your-patheric-feelings."
At least she hadn't change.
"And now, seeing you like this," she made dramatic gestures around her, "in this city and with a daughter you actually seem to care about. I can't stop myself for allowing me to … to … forgive you. Or at least considering looking past everything since everyone else seem to do it."
Klaus didn't really understand where she wanted to come with her confession, had she actually forgiven him for all the so-called horrible things he had done toward her friends in Mystic Falls? If that was the real reason why she had found him, then he wouldn't know how to react. In the same way as it made him exited, it also made him pretty damn scared.
He hadn't been able to allow himself for actually hoping for her to turn up on his doorstep one day, and if she decided to do it he had thought it would be in a couple of centuries. Not only almost two decades later.
"What are you saying, love?" Klaus asked, taking another step forward, reaching his hand toward her hair to stroke it behind her ear. If she hadn't been a vampire, he could have bet on that she was blushing. "Are you really ready to give up on your hopes and dream of becoming a normal student at college? Ready to commit yourself to something more adult and dangerous than you have ever experienced? Because as I told you before, I will wait for you, no matter how long it takes."
He searched in her eyes for something that would make her break, but couldn't find anything else than the girl he had seen the last time. Always so independent, self-secure and proud. She was the second most beautiful person he knew, with the exception for his own daughter.
Caroline swallowed, breaking their eye contact to watch the parade on the street. People cheered, screamed and laughed everywhere, it was an fantastic feeling to know all of these people only were there to celebrate and have fun. He loved this place, he had done it ever since he had put his foot here all these years ago, and he would probably do it for the rest of his eternity of life. But it wouldn't matter if he hadn't the people he cared about around him, thereby his family and the woman he allowed himself to show his weakness to. Love is after all a vampire's greatest weakness.
Caroline took a deep breath. "Yes, I am ready."
With those words he crashed his lips into hers, not letting her give in for a second. His hand cupping his cheek, while the other one searched comfort on the wall beside her head. It did indeed take her a while before she understood what was happening and allowed herself to respond to his kiss. She wrapped her hands around his neck, dragging him even closer to her. Feeling her body against his made him shiver, it had been over a thousand years since he had kissed anyone like this.
With such passion, meaning every movement he made with his lips and tongue. It was new to him, exiting and even a bit terrifying. But he enjoyed every second as he could taste Caroline's lips against his, inhaling the scent of her wonderful perfume and feeling how much she also gave in to this.
Ironically enough, he did feel like a college slash high school boy, since they were making-out in public with screaming teenagers all around them. But he didn't care, all he wanted was to make sure to never let her go again.