Reading all of your reviews and support for this story has been amazing. Some of you certainly get fired up, don't you? :)
This is the last chapter for this particular story. The next instalment, Heartlines, should hopefully be on its way to you all within a week or two.
In the meantime, if you haven't already had the chance, please check out a small piece I wrote called Small Bump based on the Ed Sheeren song.
This story was inspired by the song Thistle & Weeds by Mumford &Sons.
Thank you all for reading :)
Klaus growled low in his throat. Elijah was being insufferably moral, perched high on his seat like some bloody archangel, untouchable in all his judgemental glory. Klaus wanted to wipe the judgement from his eyes, to see them go blank but he knew, deep down, that his brother spoke true. He had been partly to blame for all this. But he would not, could not accept that his actions had led to Eva's endangerment. The Bayou was not without danger, Hayley knew that. Marcel would have attacked regardless of whether or not he had killed Genevieve. No, Klaus would not allow his brother to pin the weight of that on his shoulders.
As it was, Marcel had yet to show his face during or after the battle. No doubt he was lying low, hiding out in some hovel as he attempted to scramble together what was left of his pathetic excuse for an army. He would never say it, not aloud, but Marcellus' betrayal had cut deeper than he'd first thought. It was one thing to summon Mikael to New Orleans. To attack his child, that was something else entirely. So much for his 'no kids' rule, Klaus thought spitefully. He would see Marcel's head on a pike if it was the last thing he ever did. No matter the consequences.
And then there was Caroline. His sweet, beautiful Caroline who was oblivious to it all.
Klaus knew that he had waited perhaps too long to tell her the truth. He knew that she would not react favourably to Hayley's newfound position in his family. The truth of Genevieve's death would no doubt cause an argument to erupt between the two of them. But Eva? Klaus didn't know how she would react to the knowledge of Eva's existence. He knew though, that no matter how much it terrified him to do so, he had to tell her the truth. He just didn't know how.
All his life he had fought for control, for power. He had built himself up from nothing, constructing wall after wall to guard his heart, to make it impenetrable. He had thought that if people feared him, feared the very utterance of his name then maybe, just maybe, he wouldn't be so afraid. Mikael had terrified him, tormented him; he had beaten him so hard that he still felt the lash of his father's whip on his back, the stinging curl of its arch as it tore through his skin like butter. Even now, in death, the man terrified him.
Klaus needed to be in control. It was as simple as that. He could not let go of the past. No matter how hard he tried, Klaus could not forget the fear. It had shaped him into the monster that he was today. And now he was afraid, so terribly afraid once again, only this time it was of losing her. It was why he had lied for three weeks now, steering her away from the truth at every turn. He feared losing her, feared her leaving him.
They all left him...in the end.
"Niklaus –" Elijah started once more, his hand gripped tight around the spine of some ancient tome.
What he was going to say next, whether it was a continuation of their earlier argument or an apology, Klaus would never know as the door opened with a hurried click. Hayley surveyed the room, the fallen books and broken lamp, the smashed glass and wasted whiskey with an unimpressed arch of her eyebrow. Klaus ground his teeth at the interruption, moving forward to push the brunette out of the room when suddenly he noticed the bundle in her arms. As little hands pushed at the bloodied blanket, Klaus felt all the anger drain from him.
"How is she?" he swallowed, moving to survey the tiny creature fidgeting in Hayley's ever protective arms.
The werewolf shrugged nonchalantly, a small smile softening the harsh lines on her face at his hesitancy. "She's not going to bite, you know? At least not for a couple more years," Hayley smirked, moving to sit in a nearby chair, her arms gently swaying back and forth, lulling the restless child to sleep.
She looked up at him, her head tilted in contemplation, eyes narrowed.
Hayley laughed suddenly. "You really are an idiot, you know that?"
Klaus clenched his jaw. "Oh?"
Hayley simply grinned.
Elijah's suffering sigh was the only sound that could be heard. His brother pinched the bridge of his nose in frustration. He and Hayley were as bad as each other sometimes, so judgemental and so weary of the heavy load they seemed to bear. After all, it was no easy task keeping Niklaus Mikaelson in check. Well, the joke was on them. He was not something to be handled. He was the master puppeteer pulling all the strings. They danced to his tune, not he to theirs.
"Eva is fine," the young werewolf conceded as his glare deepened, her hand running over their sleeping child's face. "Caroline on the other hand..."
Klaus moved quickly toward the woman, stopping mere centimeters from the chair in which she lounged. She could thank their daughter for her continued existence on this earth. "Speak. Now."
The brunette stared at him, calm and unfazed by his burst of anger. "You didn't tell her, did you? All this time and you, what, couldn't find the right words, the right time?"
"What are you talking about?"
"You know what I'm talking about," Hayley spat, judgement flaring in her dark brown eyes. She grimaced sharply, licking her lips. "I pity that poor girl. To love you must be a curse. And to think, she had to hear it all while you two idiots bickered like an old married couple."
Klaus felt as though the ground moved violently beneath his feet. He swallowed hard. "What do you –"
"She came upstairs. I watched her, followed her and saw the exact moment that you broke her heart. And then, I watched her run."
Klaus shook his head in denial, eyeing the brunette in front of him. Hayley was a vindictive bitch. That was all this was, because it couldn't be true. He didn't think he could handle it if it was.
"If you love her, let her go," she continued. "Heaven knows I don't like Caroline Forbes. Truthfully, I can't stand her but even I can see that she deserves better than the likes of you."
He looked desperately for some sign of deception, some indication that her words were nothing but lies meant to cut and hurt him. He was searching for something that was not there.
Klaus sucked in a sharp breath.
He would not let her go. He would not let her leave him. Not like this, not now.
Klaus ran as fast as he could toward the street. He had to find her. He had to explain. She couldn't leave him. He had been so close to telling her the truth. Why couldn't she have simply waited five more minutes?! Anger flared inside him at the thought. If Caroline had listened, had actually waited like she'd been told to, then maybe he wouldn't be here running after her like some fool. Klaus felt like he was always the one chasing, never the one being chased. At least, not by her.
He breathed deeply and closed his eye, letting his werewolf senses take hold. He could taste her on the wind, a sweet perfume that was so singularly Caroline that it could belong to no one else. The werewolf in him stirred and Klaus quickly followed the scent.
He ran for such a long time. The city blurred around him, a beautifully distorted painting of colour and light and sound. He moved too fast for the human eye to see. Klaus didn't care about anything, about being seen or being stopped. He had to find her. It was as simple as that.
He had to make her stay. With him. That was all that mattered.
Finally, he saw her in the distance. A beautiful blur of gold and white; she was running, her legs moving as fast as they could as she pushed through the trees, branches tearing at her already ruined dress. She had run to the woods, through the woods, heading north at such a rapid speed that Klaus had to wonder if she'd even thought about what it was she was doing, or if her body simply moved on instinct.
She was fast.
He was faster.
Klaus tackled the blonde to the ground, his arms wrapping around her torso as she screamed in surprise and anger, her nails drawing blood as she clawed at him. She struggled in his arms, legs kicking, nails biting. He flipped her over, using his hands to pin her arms above her head. She glared up at him, hair a messy blonde halo of tangled leaves and dirt.
She was beautiful in her rage.
"Let me go," she kicked at his legs, trying to wriggle free from his grasp.
"Sweetheart, you need to calm down," he tried to reason with her, tried to placate the burning rage that festered in her eyes.
Caroline's jawed clenched. "Go to hell."
Her knee came up hard. Klaus' eyes widened at the impact. He let out a small grunt of surprise, his hands moving down instinctively toward the pain, as he rolled to the side. He'd probably deserved that.
Klaus looked up from the ground with a grimace, eyeing the blonde as she leaned against a nearby tree breathing hard. He felt a pang of guilt at the look on her face. She was scared. Of him. His Caroline; she was scared of the truth, of his words. He knew that she was confused and angry. She had every right to be. But she was also terrified, so completely terrified of the emotions he drew from her that it was simply easier to shut them off. That was the one thing, above her leaving him, that scared him the most. She couldn't turn it off. Klaus wouldn't let her.
"No," she spat, fresh tears pooling in her eyes. "You don't get to call me that. Not anymore."
Klaus pushed himself up from the ground. He tried to search for the right words, for some sort of explanation. Only two words came to mind. "I'm sorry."
"You lied to me," she cried, her hand clutching the tree behind her for support.
"You have a child, Klaus," Caroline screamed, closing her eyes in pain. "How could you not tell me that?"
"I'm sorry?" she shook her head in disbelief.
"And what about Hayley? Genevieve? You killed her," Caroline persisted.
Every wrong, every word she threw at him cut deeper. He didn't know what to say other than 'sorry' over and over again like some simpleton. He had never been in this position before. In every other lovers spat he'd had over the years, all the women he'd let himself drown in, he'd simply killed them or moved on if they grew too bold or too tiresome. He couldn't do that with her. Caroline was different in so many ways. She was it, for him. Even if he moved on, even if he had to, she would always be it, the one, his dream.
It was why he let her scream, why he let her attack him without reproach. He would give her the white oak stake and let her kill him if it meant her forgiveness. That was all he wanted. Her forgiveness.
Caroline let out a pained cry, fresh tears falling. He tried to move towards her, to comfort her, but she backed away at his approach. The rejection stung.
Klaus licked his lips, running a hand through his hair. "I didn't know how to tell you," he confessed honestly.
"Didn't know how or didn't want to?" she countered, furiously wiping away the tears on her face.
"Both," his admittance drew a shaky breath from the blonde as she slowly slid down the tree, her head falling back against the bark.
"Were you ever going to tell me?"
He watched her silently, noticing the slow rise and fall of her chest as her breathing evened out and her anger slowly subsided into despair. Klaus moved to sit next to her, their shoulders close but not touching. Her eyes remained closed, face turned toward the sky as she rested against the large oak tree behind them. For the first time in a very long time, Klaus genuinely hated himself for what he had done.
"Yes," he spoke quietly. "I was going to tell you about Hayley and Eva. I had planned to do it after I was done with Elijah."
Caroline laughed brokenly, blue eyes turning to look at him with sad despair. "Patience never really was my strong suit."
"Nor mine," he admitted sadly, lifting a tentative hand to cup her cheek. The fact that she let him touch her made his heart soar. "What now, sweetheart? Where do we go from here?"
He had finally dared to ask the gnawing question. It had plagued him ever since Hayley's spiteful declaration. Her words echoed in his mind in a vicious cycle.
To love you must be a curse.
You really are an idiot, you know that?
She deserves better than the likes of you.
I pity that poor girl.
Round and round, her words ate at his confidence like a pack of ravenous vultures. But what hurt the most, what cut the deepest, was the truth he saw in them. Caroline did deserve better than the likes of him. She deserved so much better than a lying, murdering thousand year old bastard whose love bore only pain and destruction. His love was a curse.
Caroline's hand moved to rest across his. "I have to go home."
He closed his eyes, swallowing hard. "Don't."
"I have to, Klaus," her voice was soft and sad. Her hand gripped his tighter. "You're not ready for this. I'm not ready for this. We were fools to think otherwise."
Blind fools, he agreed silently.
He refused to open his eyes, to see the pain he knew would be reflected in her beautiful blues. It was easier this way. Rejection was so much easier to stomach when he didn't have to look it in the face.
"You lied to me. You didn't trust me enough to tell me the truth, Klaus. You didn't even trust me to accept your daughter... I would have. If you'd told me about her, I would have," Caroline continued, her voice breaking at the admission. He would not cry. Not in front of her. He was stronger than that. "I love you. It's taken me such a long time to see it, but I do. I love you, Klaus Mikaelson."
His heart beat faster at her words.
After all this time, finally she admitted her love for him.
Caroline Forbes loved him.
"But we both need to grow as people before we can ever think about being together. We are two entirely different people with entirely different lives. I need to stop being so reliant on love for happiness and you, you need to learn to be better, to learn to trust, to be good...for Eva."
Caroline Forbes loved him.
And she was breaking up with him.
"Klaus, you need to change. I need to change. And until we both do I don't think that this will work. We'd destroy each other in the end," her voice was beseeching and beautifully broken.
Just like him. Beautifully broken.
If you love her, let her go.
He did love her, more than he had any other being his whole life. His love for his daughter was different. His love for Eva was soft and sweet, a warm burn that settled in his chest. Caroline was indescribable. She stole his breath. Everything he was belonged to her. Hayley was right. If he truly loved her, he would let her go. Klaus would not let his own selfish desires destroy her.
"I want you to promise me," his voice shook as he tried to regain some semblance of control. This was the hardest thing that he had ever done in his life. "I want you to promise me that when you go, you will not look back. I want you to live your life to the fullest. I want you to love and be loved. But I also want you to know that I will be here, waiting, until you're ready.
I will wait for you, Caroline Forbes, until the end of time if I have to. I will wait until we're both ready because you are right. Of course, you're right. I need to change. And I will. But I want you to promise me that when you are ready, you won't let fear hold you back. Promise you'll come back to me love... one day."
A long silence stretched after his words, only the sound of their soft, broken breaths could be heard. He waited, heart still in terror. He had never spoken so openly, so truthfully to another being before. He had laid his trust in her, just as she'd asked him to.
He felt her lips, soft and sweet, against his cheek. He could taste the saltiness of her tears on his lips.
He opened his eyes and she was gone.
I know it may have been horrible of me to leave it there but I thought that the ending was fitting.
Keep in mind, the story is not yet over!
There may be a happy ending yet ;)