Title: Live and Learn
Author (s): Katie (TheIrishShipperholic) and Court (StoryDreamer25)
Disclaimer: We own nothing but this story
Show/Movie/Book: The Vampire Diaries
Couples/Category: Ensemble pairings (pretty much everyone, unless stated otherwise ). Alternate Universe, all human
Rating: Mature, for language, sexual situations and scenes of war/violence
Summary: AU/AH. It was a time of war, of slavery, of peace and to be free. But it was also a time of finding love, whether it is born from a loss of a husband or an arranged marriage of convenience. This is the way they all live and learn. This…is the life lived during the Civil War. [Collaboration with Court]
Author's Note: Court is getting better with her writing, so I hope that this collaboration will do me justice as all of my others have done with Erin.

Chapter One

Mystic Falls, 1863 – Adams' Home

Whitney was sitting in a rocking chair staring out the window at the dark gray sky and sighed feeling her child kick as they stretched in her belly. She smiled down at her six month bump and rubbed it soothingly. She thought of her soon-to-be husband, William Adams fighting off in the civil war. He would be home soon and they were going to get married and start a family together. She was lost in her thoughts and snapped out of them hearing the doorbell ring throughout the main floor.

She got up and walked to the door and opened it to see a uniformed officer standing there holding a box with a solemn look plastered on his face. She covered her mouth with her hand as tears began to stream down her face. "I am truly sorry, Miss Anderson, but I need to give this to you. I am truly sorry for your loss." She nodded taking the box from him and shut the door and walked into the house and set it on the table. She opened it and inside was his uniform as well as a smaller box which held his ashes she had to guess. She took the box out and placed it shakily on the mantel above the fireplace before she collapsed to the floor sobbing. She barely even heard the footsteps through the house and just sobbed gasping for air every now and again. She felt arms wrap around her but didn't even move.

"Whitney, darling," an accented voice said, fighting its way into her senses and she lifted her head finally to see her dearest and best friend, Kol Mikaelson, standing there.

"He…he's dead, Kol…" Her sentence was spoken on a choked sob as she fell apart once again, clutching her best friend tighter. She sobbed for a few more minutes, before they slowly subsided and she looked up at him through tear filled eyes and wiped her tears away from her vision. "We were supposed to get married…We were going to have a family together, but now I'm so scared Kol…I'm seven months pregnant and alone…" She bit her lower lip and looked down at the ground sighing heavily. She walked slowly over to her piano that she hadn't touched in days and sat down and began to play a solemn melody. She stopped halfway through and cried more banging her fingers on the keys.

Smiling softly, Kol walked over to her and sitting beside her on the bench he wrapped his arms around her. "You don't have to feel that way you know. I've been your best friend forever now Whit. I've liked you as more than my friend for quite a while now. I'll be there for you through your pregnancy and even help in raising your child…"

Whitney turned in his arms and looked at him and as he spoke she felt a blush creep onto her cheeks turning them red. She nodded at what he said, and what she did next just felt right. She leaned forward and pressed her lips to his kissing him softly and she pulled away after a couple minutes. "Sorry…I've liked you that way for months now, I just tried to shove them aside, but found I can't." She looked at him nervously not sure if what she had just done messed up their friendship or made it stronger.

"Never, love," Kol said, leaning to brush his lips over hers gently then stepped back. "But, if you want my help, we should get you out of this lovely mansion, because I'm sure it's full of memories for you."

She smiled feeling him brush his lips over hers again and watched as he stood up. She did as well and looked up at him, because of the height difference and softly smiled at him. "Yeah, I don't think I want to stay here only to be reminded of him; although, could we go to the sea, so I can toss his ashes to the wind?" She looked at him walking slowly over to the table that had the box with his uniform in it and she smiled sadly and looked back at Kol. "I'm not too sure what to do with his uniform though…"

"You should hold onto it for safekeeping and let your son or daughter know how brave their daddy was when his life was taken away from him," Kol told her.

"I will but I still consider you to be their father Kol. You've been there for me for years and will most likely continue to be forever. I love you…" She smiled softly and leaned up kissing him wrapping her arms around his neck holding him close. She pulled away after a bit and walked upstairs to her room and sat on her bed out of breath.

"Whitney, darling, are you alright?" he called from where he remained downstairs.

"I'm alright. I'll be down in a bit," she told him, finally catching her breath. Being pregnant while walking up the stairs was not a good combination, especially at how far she was in her condition.

Later

Kol helped Whitney up the steps to his family's mansion carefully, holding her suitcase in his free hand. "Easy does it, love," he told the blonde. She smiled at him as she held firmly onto his arm so that she didn't fall going up to the front door.

The door opened to reveal Kol's stepmother Eleanor stirring what looked to be some sort of batter. "Kol, what are you doing bringing Miss Whitney by? Not that I'm not happy to see you, Whitney," she told the younger blonde.

"Hello again, Eleanor, it's lovely to see you," the pregnant widow said with a smile. She set her suitcase down and bit her lip and still leaned on Kol for support. "Kol brought me here, because, well, William…" She cut off as she cried again not able to get the words out.

Eleanor saw this and set the bowl of batter she was stirring on the counter and gently embraced Whitney. "Oh Whitney…I'm sorry." She just let her cry softly into her chest whimpering every now and then in between choking sobs. "Kol, why don't you take her suitcase upstairs into the spare bedroom next to yours?"

Kol nodded at his stepmother and picked up her suitcase before heading up to the room and set it on the floor and smiled to himself. He was grateful that his stepmother was so willing to allow Whitney to stay here. He knew he had to get her out of her home, otherwise she would have been depressed and he wouldn't have his best friend in a state like that. He walked downstairs and towards the door. "I'll be back, Eleanor. I'm going to visit Finn."

Eleanor nodded at her stepson still rubbing Whitney's back in a soothing manner. Once Kol left and shut the door softly with a click, she walked Whitney over to a large chair and helped her to sit and propped her feet up. "It will get better, I promise Whitney." She smiled and kissed the top of her head softly before returning to the kitchen to resume her cooking.

Hearing a couple of feminine voices traveling up to his office, Mikael smiled finishing what he was doing. He loved to hear the voice of his wife traveling up to his ears; it was like a soft melody. He stood up from his desk and walked downstairs to see Whitney resting in a chair crying softly. He put two and two together and he walked over and wrapped his arms around her gently kissing the top of her head softly. He walked out to the kitchen and wrapped his arms around her waist kissing her shoulder softly. "Hello, love, how is my beautiful wife?"

Eleanor shivered at her husband's kiss on her shoulder almost causing her to drop the bowl. She set it down and turned in his arms to kiss him softly. "I'm doing well thank you darling husband. If it would be alright with you, I'd like Whitney to live here. She doesn't have anyone left in her life besides us Mikael. Her father was killed three years ago, and her mother passed on when she was eight."

Mikael nodded at his wife kissing her cheek softly. "Of course, that is fine, darling. I have to agree with you, she has always thought of us as familial figures anyhow." He squeezed her waist gently and left her to resume her cooking and went to Whitney bending down. "Whitney? How would you feel about living here?"

Whitney looked up at the man she considered a second father and wrapped her arms around his neck and nodded resting her chin on his shoulder. "Thank you, Mikael…" She felt him rub her back in a slow circle before standing up and walking back to his office.

Finn & Sage's Home

Kol walked up the steps to his brother and sister in laws home and rang the doorbell. He saw the door open and a little girl with brilliant red hair that matched her mother's. "Hello Ruby Red, is your mum and dad home?"

"Uncle Kol!" Ruby grinned big, a toothy grin with a few teeth missing and she launched herself at one of her favorite uncles before being set back on her feet. "Yeah, Mummy is in here, and Daddy is too." She grabbed her uncle by the hand and began to drag him towards Finn who chuckled.

Kol just chuckled as Ruby tugged him along and looked at his brother silently communicating that he needed to speak to him alone. Finn saw the look and bent down to Ruby's height. "Ruby Red, why don't you go and find Mummy and see if you can help her? Uncle Kol and I need to talk alone."

Ruby nodded at Finn. "Okay Daddy!" She turned and giggled as she skipped to the kitchen to find Sage. "Mummy…?"

Sage turned to see her oldest daughter and chuckled. She rubbed a hand over her pregnant stomach and smiled. "Yes, Ruby, what is it?"

"Daddy told me to come help you. He and Uncle Kol need to talk or somethin'…"

Sage chuckled at her and lifted her onto a stool and put a bowl in front of her and a spoon. "Here, why don't you stir this?"

Finn and Kol went into his office and he gestured for his brother to sit in a chair. "What's going on, brother?" He smiled softly at his third youngest brother and watched as he sat wearily in a chair running a hand through his hair.

Sitting in chair, he ran a hand through his hair once and looked at Finn blowing out a breath. "William, Whitney's husband to be…he's dead, Finn. I brought her to Father and Eleanor's. I couldn't let her stay in that house anymore, Finn. I love her. We kissed…and she confessed she loved me that way too."

Finn nodded and grinned when he heard what Kol told him. "Well then, what's the problem Kol? If she loves you, just love her back. She's already been hurt so don't hurt her anymore."

Kol nodded at his brother and sighed. "It's just she's pregnant, and I know I said I'd help her raise the baby, but what if I'm not a good father?" He looked at him in a worried manner.

Sage came in the room and sat on Finn's lap smiling as he wrapped an arm around her pregnant belly. "Kol, don't worry so much. If she loves you, you'll figure this out together. Finn was so worried when Ruby was born, now look at him."

Kol looked at his brother and nodded seeing how happy he looked. "Well I do hope to marry her someday." He was cut off by his younger sister Rebekah, who came rushing in. "Rebekah, what is it, sister?"

"Whit…Whitney is in labor," she told him, out of breath.

"Okay, I'll be right behind you," he said. She nodded and rushed off, back to their father and step-mum's mansion. Kol turned back to his oldest brother and sister-in-law. "I'm sorry to cut this short, Finn, but I must go."

"Keep us updated," Finn told his brother, who nodded before rushing out after Rebekah.

Arriving at their father's mansion, Kol rushed inside, where he found Eleanor with Whitney. "Whitney, I'm here now," he said, smiling at her reassuringly and squeezing her hand gently.

"It's good that you are, because it's time," Eleanor told her stepson, who nodded and moved to position himself behind Whitney, grasping her hands in his.

"Its okay, Whit, I'm here." He smiled and kissed the top of her head, softly gripping both of her hands in his larger and stronger ones.

"Okay, Whitney, I want you to curl your chin to your belly and give me a big push." Eleanor smiled and held her latex-covered hands beneath where the baby would appear and breathed out slowly. Whitney nodded and she squeezed Kol's hands tightly as she curled herself screaming as she pushed until she couldn't breathe and leaned back against Kol, breathing heavily. She felt him brush her hair out of her face and kiss the top of her head again. "Another big push like that and you'll be meeting your son or daughter very soon, Whitney." Eleanor smiled as she saw the baby's head beginning to crown. "Rebekah, I need you to go get a blanket, washcloths and scissors for when he or she arrives, please." She saw Rebekah nod and leave briefly before bringing back the things she asked for.

Whitney leaned forward, giving her another big push and, soon, she heard the wailing cries of her child. She leaned back against Kol, breathing heavily again. Eleanor cut the cord and, cleaning off the baby, she swaddled it in a blanket and walked over to Whitney and smiled in a motherly manner. "Congratulations, Whitney. You have birth to a beautiful baby girl…"

The young, unwed mother cried soft tears of happiness and she took the baby from Eleanor and remained leaning back against Kol. She sniffled and rubbed a finger softly over one of her daughter's pink cheeks. Kol smiled, and tears were in his eyes as well, but he brushed them away. "What are you going to name her, love?" He kissed her cheek and rested his head on her shoulder as she thought about his question.

Whitney thought for a few more minutes before she came up with a name. "I think I'm going to name her Madison April Porter."

Kol nodded at her and rested his chin on her shoulder once more. "That's a lovely name. She looks like you, you know."

Whitney nodded and smiled and kissing her daughter's cheek she smiled at Eleanor handing her back to the older blonde, who placed her in the bassinet next to Whitney. Whitney turned to look at Kol and kissed him softly and her hand caressed his face softly. "Thank you, Kol."

He kissed her back and nodded kissing her forehead before getting up from behind her. "I'm going to give the others a visit; they wanted me to keep them updated." He walked out of the room then went to find his sketchbook to sketch a new picture of mother and daughter. He opted for letting them rest because he didn't want to wake the newborn or the mother who had fallen asleep.

Later

Whitney was awake propped up on a mound of pillows and holding her newborn infant in her arm smiling softly as the little girl cooed at her. She looked up hearing a light tap on the door and saw Niklaus with his very pregnant bride-to-be Caroline. "Niklaus, Caroline, what a lovely surprise." Klaus smiled softly as he walked over and sat in the chair beside her bed.

"May I hold her?" he asked gently, not wanting to impose.

"Of course, she might just be your future niece some day." She smiled and handed her child to Klaus, who held her and ran his thumb over her soft cheek. He gasped, feeling Madison wrap a tiny hand around his pinkie finger, gripping it. He looked up at Whitney, who just smiled knowingly.

"She did that to me earlier, too. Adorable, isn't it?" She watched as he nodded and then handed her off to Caroline, who smiled, kissing her forehead softly. She gasped also and chuckled at the feeling of her belly being kicked. She handed Madison back to Whitney before she dropped her then grabbed Klaus' hand and watched his expression as he felt his child kick for him. "It appears little Liam is active today." She chuckled and kissed him softly then looked at Whitney. "We'll let you have some more visitors." Caroline trailed off upon seeing Kol coming back into the room.

Kol nodded as his future sister in law and brother before sitting on the bed next to Whitney and leaned down kissing her softly. "How are you feeling?"

Whitney smiled and kissed him back. "I'm doing well, thank you, Kol. I did want to ask you something, though. Would you consider adopting Madison so she can take your last name?"

Kol nodded and leaned down to kiss her again and nibbled her lower lip before pulling away. "Of course I'll adopt her, Whitney. It would be my honor." He smiled and sat up hearing Eleanor call up the stairs that it was time for dinner. "I'll be right down, Eleanor!" He got up and smiled at Whitney. "Do you feel up to going down for dinner?"

She giggled as her stomach growled loudly. "Yeah, I do." She threw the covers aside and stood up with his help while she cradled her child once more. Whitney was now dressed in a fresh nightgown and skirt combination, her stomach having shrunk somewhat considerably after giving birth. She still had some pregnancy fat still, but knew it would go down eventually. She walked down the stairs with Kol, following close behind him and she gasped upon seeing everyone standing around talking. "Eleanor, you didn't…"

"I did, my dear. I thought you deserved something nice after everything you've gone through." Eleanor smiled at the blonde and hugged her softly so as not to harm Madison.

Whitney walked over and set Madison down in her bassinet smiling as her new baby slept soundly. She turned and walked over to Finn and Sage and as she saw him open his arms she wrapped her arms around him hugging him. She felt a sibling type bond with him ever since she met him when she was five and had fallen down and scraped her knee.
Finn chuckled softly and hugged her back. "It's good to see you, Whit, and I'm sorry for your loss."

Whitney looked up at him and nodded. "Thank you, but I feel like he's watching over me from above now. I think he brought Kol to me when I needed him the most." She walked over to Kol and slipped her hand into his smiling and leaned up to kiss his cheek softly. She walked with him over to the table and sat down next to him and on her other side was Mikael who smiled and nodded at her.

"We are gathered here tonight not only to celebrate the birth of a new life into this world, but to also mourn the loss of the man who gave his life bravely protecting this country. Here's a toast to William and Madison!" He raised his glass as did everyone else and they clinked glasses before each sipped from it. "Now, let us eat." He smiled and sat back down and smiled at his wife resting a hand on her knee squeezing it softly.

Eleanor smiled affectionately at him, putting her hand over his and patting it firmly but gently. And then she sent a motherly smile around the table to all of her stepchildren, starting with Finn, then Elijah, Klaus, Kol, Rebekah, Henrik, and then her own children with Mikael, twins Sabrina and Olivier. "We have been blessed."

"We truly have, my love," Mikael murmured back.

Finn smiled over at his wife when he heard his father and stepmother talking quietly, leaning toward her as she did the same and kissing her softly. Elijah mimicked his older brother, with his darling Katerina, Klaus with Caroline and Kol with Whitney. Rebekah and Sabrina both wrinkled their noses while Henrik and Oliver made kissing sounds. "Henrik, son, please do behave," Eleanor told her youngest stepson.

"Sorry, Ellie," he said, smiling brightly at her. Eleanor gave her own son a stern look when it looked like he was going to punch his half-brother in the arm.

"None of that nonsense, Olivier, you know better," she said in her thick, motherly British accent.

"I'm sorry, Mother," he said, hanging his head solemnly.

Mikael chuckled. "Let us not waste the meal, shall we?" he said. "I know that Eleanor worked hard to put it all together for our guest and her young child."

Whitney's cheeks turned bright red, but she still smiled at the Mikaelson patriarch. "Thank you for the hard work you put into making all this wonderful, Eleanor," she told the matriarch.

"Of course, dear; you know I already consider you part of the family even though you may not be blood." Eleanor smiled and reached across the table to hold her hand and squeezed it softly.

Whitney smiled back and once their hands let go of each other she looked around and couldn't decide what to eat there was so much food. She eventually decided on a small slab of steak, some mashed potatoes, and string beans. She sprinkled some salt and pepper on her food and ate it slowly so as not to get a belly ache or hiccups. She finished and stood up excusing herself and walked over to the bassinet and ran a finger softly over her daughter's cheek. She gasped lightly feeling hands come around her waist. "Sorry, love, I didn't mean to startle you," Kol apologized, kissing her cheek.

Whitney stood up and, turning in his arms, smirked at him. "I bet you can't catch me, if you can, you can have me for the evening."

"Oh, you're issuing a challenge, hmm? Well then, challenge accepted, Ms. Porter. You better be ready to eat those words." He smirked and waited for her to take off running.

Seeing his look, she turned taking off running and snuck in between Caroline and Niklaus. "Sorry!" she said running in between them and smacked straight into Finn's chest and fell. She scrambled back up giggling running away before hiding behind her father figure.

Mikael looked back and chuckled seeing his son come over searching for Whitney. He reached back and poked her side emitting a loud giggle. Whitney took off running again and around Elijah and Katherine who just shook their heads chuckling and squealed in delight when she was picked up and thrown over a strong shoulder. "Kol, put me down!" She beat her fists against his back amidst the laughter from his family.

"Eleanor, can you watch Madison for a bit?" Kol looked at her and smiled softly.

"Of course I can, Kol." Eleanor smiled and leaned into Mikael who wrapped an arm around her shoulders pulling her close.

Walking upstairs with Whitney slung over his shoulder and entering his room he tossed her gently on the bed. He went back to his door and shit it locking it and looked back at her smiling. "I love you, Whitney Porter." He stood in front of the bed and smiled down at her.

"And I love you, Kol Mikaelson." She smiled and grabbed him by the tie tugging him down to her kissing him.

Kol chuckled against her lips before pushing her down on the bed kissing her. "I don't wish to hurt you, Whit, since you did just have Madison today. Perhaps in a couple of weeks when you're all healed up…"

"Okay, Kol, but for now, can we just cuddle?" Whitney smiled up at her best friend and soon hoped that word would change to lover.

"Your wish is my command, darling Whitney." He crawled onto the bed, pulling her to him while tracing soft circles on her shoulder.

Author's Note: So, the whole thing with wars that happened in the states or abroad must be my new thing, because I really enjoyed writing this first chapter with my dear friend and "shipper" twin, Court. She is awesome, and although she's still learning when it comes to writing fan fiction, I'm more than willing to help her along the way.