Disclaimer: I do not own The Vampire Diaries or it's characters. If I did, The Originals would never have happened, Kol would be alive and happily causing mayhem somewhere, and Klaus and Caroline would be travelling the world and sexing it up.
"You seem surprised." Marcel smiles at him with bloody teeth, and he can't help but wince on his old friend's behalf. It seems his treatment at the hands of his men had not been pleasant.
Marcel had been with him since the beginning of his reign, since before that. They'd been friends while he'd been training to take over the role of king, a constant companion for as long as he can remember.
It seems unbelievable that this could be happening, that his oldest friend could have been the one that betrayed him. He tries to sort through the events of the past few months, trying to pick out when Marcel had ever behaved suspiciously.
"Why?" Is all he asks, as Marcel settles himself against the wall of his cell, legs stretched out before him. It's with a curt nod that Klaus turns, pulling up a stool to the iron bars of the cell and dismissing the guard to the end of the hallway simultaneously.
"The simple explanation? Old loyalties die hard." Marcel replies smoothly, and things start to make sense in his mind.
Marcel was from Dorne, the proud kingdom to the South that had only bowed the knees to their Targaryen conquerors after they had been joined to the Seven Kingdoms through a peaceful marriage alliance with the Targaryen family.
Since then, Dorne had always remained loyal to the Targaryens.
"Tyler isn't a Targaryen though. Not in the traditional sense." He points out neutrally as he fiddles with the bracers strapped to his arms.
"He has enough of their blood in his veins to make a somewhat compelling claim to the throne. We spoke, and I saw the sense in his claim. Surely you know how much your family is hated in these parts? People still remember the actions of the Mad Queen."
Marcel spits at the mention of Cersei Lannister. She was an ancestor he was not particularly proud of, but as Tyrion always used to mention, you never could pick your family. She had paid her dues in the end, strangled to death by her twin, Jaime.
"I suppose the efforts of my father and my grandfather before him were for naught?" Klaus asks with a sigh.
"They helped. But even that wasn't enough. There will always be someone who seeks to take your crown, as long as you have Lannister blood running through your veins. Marrying Caroline was a smart move. Her family is rich, but they also have one of the largest standing armies currently in Westeros." Marcel lets out a wracking cough, and from the corner of his eye Klaus sees Kol appear at the end of the hallway.
He beckons his brother towards him, waiting until Kol bends down close to him. He whispers something to his brother, Marcel watching them with a curious gaze. Understanding passes over Kol's face before he's giving a nod, turning on his heels and striding up the stairs and out of the Black Cells.
"Organising my execution then?" Marcel asks evenly, voice neutral despite the death that almost certainly awaits him.
He's not a fool. He knows very well that Marcel can't live, not after this. But what he does need to find out is if Marcel's rebellion is the action of a few men, or an entire kingdom. He doesn't have the energy nor the inclination to go to war with Dorne, the Southern Kingdom providing much of the tropical fruit and wine that he and his nobles consumed on a daily basis.
That and he quite liked the Dornish.
He just smiles at Marcel, running a hand through his hair.
"Do I need to be worried about open rebellion?" He asks of Marcel, who lets out a chuckle.
"Straight to the point as always Nik."
The nickname pierces him like a dagger, and he tries not to flinch at the name rolling off Marcel's tongue. That name is reserved for those closest to him.
"Answer the question." He commands, leaning forward on the stool as Marcel regards him with begrudging respect.
"No." Marcel replies, licking his lips. "The Prince of Dorne was unwilling to take part in whatever plans I had for Tyler Blackfyre. He seems to like you, respect you. In fact, he threatened to execute me for being a traitor to my kingdom, before I escaped."
"And he didn't see fit to warn me of your impending betrayal?" Klaus points out as Marcel smirks.
"He tried. I intercepted his raven, unbeknownst to him."
Klaus scowls at this, making a mental note to send a letter to the Prince as soon as possible. Despite Marcel's promise that Dorne was not planning a rebellion, it would be wise to reassure the Prince that their alliance was still strong."
"What was your plan then, if you did not have the backing of your kingdom?"
Marcel spreads his hands wide in a placating gesture.
"There are still sell swords that hate the Lannisters, that hate you. It would not have been hard to find good men. Tyler had enough money to do so."
Kol appears at his side, a glare directed towards Marcel as he hands over a goblet and a flask of Dornish wine. Klaus pours out some of the wine, holding out the goblet for Marcel to take.
"Drink. I imagine you are famished." He offers as Marcel gazes at him for a long moment, before he's leaning over and taking the goblet.
"My favourite." Marcel notes in surprise as he stares down at the goblet held between his hands. Kol backs away, giving him space with Marcel as the other man gives a sigh.
"A toast then, to my death. And ruined friendships." Marcel lifts the goblet towards him, and then drains it in one.
He sits back and waits.
He should do this publicly, an execution on the steps of the Great Sept like the Kings of old had done to those that had tried to take the crown. It was almost tradition, and he had done it once or twice in his reign.
Public executions served their purpose twofold. Not only did it rid him of a known enemy, it also served as a warning to the small folk, to anyone who was thinking of doing something just as stupid.
He can almost see the moment the poison takes hold in Marcel's body, the other man's eyes widening imperceptibly as the goblet clatters to the floor. The poison he'd chosen was particularly fast working, almost painless as it worked to shut down the body.
"Ah." Marcel sighs, leaning back against the wall of his cell. "You always manage to surprise me Nik."
He says nothing in reply, watching as Marcel's eyes flutter close, watches as his whole body relaxes.
"Thank you." Marcel whispers before he takes his last breath.
He waits a few moments before he stands, turning to Kol.
"It's done. I'll be with Caroline if anyone needs me."
He's up with the sunrise the next day, arms braced against the window sill as the cool air filters into the bed chamber.
His mind is moving quickly, cataloguing everything that has happened, everything that will happen in the next few days. He can't help but bury his head in his hands, let out a soft groan.
He hadn't wanted to kill Marcel. But he couldn't let him live. Marcel had been buried in an unmarked grave outside of the city walls, the only reminder of one of his oldest friends.
Arms slip around his waist from behind, and he almost jumps before remembering that it's Caroline. She presses a cheek into his back, huffing out a breath as her fingers lace together over his chest.
"Are you okay?" She asks simply, giving him plenty of room to evade the question if he wishes.
He covers her hands with one of his own, still staring out the window.
"I have to execute Tyler." He replies neutrally, unsure as to how she will react to this news.
"I know." Is all she responds with, her tone even. She makes no move to beg for the boy's life, no move to talk him out of it. The simple acceptance of the fate of someone she'd known for almost her whole life stuns him into silence.
"I don't want you to resent me." He finally admits out loud, letting go of the thought that had kept him up at night, that had plagued him with doubt ever since Marcel's death.
Caroline's hands curl over his heart, squeezing just a little tighter.
"That isn't going to happen. You have my word. Klaus, he threatened you, this kingdom, the stability of the land. He made his decision, and now he has to accept the consequences of his actions. I would never hate you for doing your duty, for keeping me safe." Caroline says quietly, and he lets out the breath that he never even realised that he was holding.
"You've known him for a long time." He points out as Caroline tugs at him, forcing him to turn and face her.
"You are my future Klaus. Not Tyler, or anyone else. Only you."
"And you are mine." He tells her, clasping her hands between his own. "I love you." He tells her simply.
Caroline's smile is like the sun.
"And I, you."
In the end, he decides to keep the execution of Tyler Blackfyre a secret. His head will be displayed on the walls for the small folk to see, branded a traitor to the Six Kingdoms.
The boy was already terrified enough, you could see it in his eyes as he was taken from his cell and hauled in front of him in a shaded courtyard.
Guards had prepared a block for him earlier, and he'd ordered his great sword to be sharpened yesterday, Kol delivering it to the blacksmith. A clean stroke was better, certainly less messy.
He'd left Caroline earlier, pressing one last kiss to her temple before she'd gone to find Rebekah, to meet her new sister for lunch. Kol had accompanied her before coming to meet him.
He stands still as a statue, staring down at the boy in front of him, wondering what his motivations possibly could have been. His sister, Davina Blackfyre had been informed of his impending execution by Kol, and by all accounts the girl had taken it well, a little horrified by her brother's scheming.
He still planned on wedding her to Kol, especially now that she would be alone in the world.
"Tyler Blackfyre." He begins, the other boy finally meeting his eyes with a resigned air. Dried blood covered his face and he looked gaunt and pale, a side effect of his time in the Black Cells.
A King carrying out an execution was not usually done in the South. A typically Northern Practice, he knew that Tyrion had spent enough time in Jon Snow's company to know that the boy favoured that particular brand of justice, and that Tyrion respected him for it.
"The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword."
"By the power invested in me by The Seven, as King of the Andals, Lord of the Six Kingdoms, and Protector of the Realm, find you guilty of treason and regicide, and so I do sentence you to die."
Two of the guards force Tyler down onto the block, holding his arms out wide as the boy rests his head in the niche carved out specifically for this purpose.
He draws his sword, the blade scraping against the scabbard as he grips it with both hands.
"Do you have any last words?" He asks, pausing to at least give the boy this reprieve. Tyler remains silent, and it's only when he meets Kol's eyes that he swings his sword above his head and brings it down onto the boy's neck.
Blood spurts from the open wound left behind, the head bouncing into the reeds placed below the block. A guard steps forward to take his sword, to clean it before returning it, but he shakes his head, instead holding his hand out for a cloth.
It's respect he sees in the guard's eyes, as his bidding is done. As he wipes the cloth over his sword, ensuring that he's wiped up every last drop of blood, he sees Tyler's body being removed out of the corner of his eye.
The Maester will prepare his body, peeling away the skin and organs, arranging for his bones to be sent back to his family home. He knows not who will ensure that Tyler receives a proper burial, but it is not his duty to ensure that it happens.
He will keep Tyler's head for himself, to display outside the Keep before it is tarred and sent with the rest of his bones.
Kol comes to him, clasping a hand to his shoulder, eyes watching carefully for any sign that he's affected by this.
"Okay?" Kol asks in a low voice as the guard's move towards the corner of the courtyard discreetly, as they've been taught.
He nods, shrugging off his brother's hand as he sheathes his sword.
"I'm fine. I'd rather not do this, but it needed to be done. Where is Caroline?" He asks, as they pass from the courtyard into another, busier one.
"She's still with Bekah last I heard. They're probably down at the Cliff Gardens."
He lets Kol lead the way as they continue their meandering progress throughout The Keep. He'd sent a raven to Dorne just this morning, an overture to their Prince, to invite him to Court. It had been some time since the Dornish had visited, and he needed to make sure that Marcel wasn't playing with him, wasn't choosing to manipulate him one more time before he went to his grave.
He spots two golden heads almost as soon as he steps into the garden, Rebekah and Caroline whispering, heads bent together like they've known each other for years rather than a few days.
Rebekah lets out a burst of laughter and he can't help but stop short, glancing at Kol in surprise. Rebekah was a serious person by nature, rarely let her guard down to anyone but her brothers, and only in private.
"It seems that your wife has charmed our sister a great deal." Kol points out unnecessarily, his own smile tugging at the corner of his lips.
It's Caroline that spots him first, her eyes taking in everything from the wearied set to his shoulders to the somewhat forced smile on his face. She touches Rebekah lightly on the shoulder before drifting towards them, the skirts of her gown trailing on the stone behind her, resplendent in Lannister red.
He offers her his arm and she takes it, calling out a farewell to Rebekah over her shoulder. The other girl lifts a hand in return, before Kol is stepping over to his sister, saying something to her that makes him swat her playfully on the shoulder.
"Are you alright?" Caroline questions gently as they turn down a path, heads bent closely together.
He listens to his boots crunch against the stony path for a moment or two before he replies.
"Not really. But I will be." He promises, hand coming up to squeeze her own where it's resting on his arm.
"I know you will." She replies confidently, like she just knows beyond a shadow of a doubt. "You're a strong man, a great ruler. And we will deal with whatever comes next together."
He lets those words sink in, astounded by the love that she has for him, love that he never thought he would ever experience in an arranged marriage, especially given how antagonistic their early acquaintanceship had been.
He stops them, stepping closer as he cups her face between his hands, bending down to kiss her slowly, lazily, like they had all of the time in the world.
Because they did.
Caroline looks dazed when he finally steps down, and he can't help but smile down at her when he finally replies.
A/N: Aaaand that's it for our Game of Thrones universe. I had a really fun time writing this one, and hope you guys loved it as well. This was never intended to be a full length story, and it's a nice change to be able to write something a little shorter.
Thankyou to all who favourited, read, and reviewed, as ever you all mean the world to me, and I always get excited when my inbox pings with that little notification. I loved hearing all of your thoughts about this universe and this story.
I'll see you over on my other incomplete works- Fever Pitch, Spies AU, and How It All Ends. Bare with me as I figure out just how I'm going to weave these particular tales.
I'm also sporadically on Tumblr filling prompts here and there.
As always, I'll see you on the other side!