A/N: Another prompt from TwilightBrightStar. Happily, one that centered around my two favorite characters.
Prompt: All human, modern day AU. Elijah, a legal adult, has left home and has his own place. Klaus is still a minor and Mikael does something horrible/abusive and Klaus runs away and ends up at Elijah's house. Elijah talks to Esther and Klaus stays with him.
Disclaimer: The Originals is still not mine. More's the pity.
"Supper is ready, kids!" Esther called up the stairs to her four youngest children.
"What're we eating?" Kol asked, sliding down the banister.
"How many times do I need to tell you to use the stairs?" Esther sighed, rolling her eyes.
"Sorry, Mum," Kol said, grinning and seeming entirely unrepentant.
"May I slide down?" Henrik asked, a gleam in his eyes.
"No, you may not, my dear," Esther said, glaring at Kol. "Rebekah, Niklaus, supper!" she added toward the stairs, raising her voice.
"Coming!" Rebekah called as Esther turned toward the dining room.
"Where is Niklaus?" Mikael demanded, looking around the table.
"He probably didn't hear Mum," Rebekah said nervously. "He was painting."
"How many times was he called?" Mikael asked, narrowing his eyes.
"It's really not a big deal hon. I'll go call him again," Esther said, quickly rising from her seat.
"How many times?" Mikael insisted, slamming his hand down on the table.
Slowly Esther sat back down, recognizing the look on her husband's face. "Two," she murmured, biting back a sigh.
Mikael's mouth thinned and without a word he stood from the table.
"Really, dear, it's not -" Esther started but Mikael was already striding toward the stairs.
Mikael threw Klaus's bedroom door open with a resounding slam and Klaus jumped, absorbed in his latest painting, away from his canvas, startled.
"F-Father," he gasped, shocked.
"Do you think it's acceptable to just ignore your mother?" Mikael snarled.
"W-what?" Klaus asked, confused, the beginnings of fear and dread curling in his gut at the murderous look on his father's face. He knew that look...
"In future, you will answer when your mother calls you for supper," Mikael growled, advancing on his middle child.
"She called for me?" Klaus asked, backing up a step. "I didn't hear. I'm sorry. I was painting," he said desperately.
"You're always painting," Mikael scoffed, yanking the paint brush that Klaus still held out of his hand. "Your head always in the clouds. Time to come to reality, boy," he sneered, leveling a punch to Klaus's stomach and knocking the wind out of him.
"P-Please," Klaus managed to gasp, doubled over.
"Weakling," Mikael spat, punching Klaus in the ribs, causing the teenager to cry out and fall to the floor. "Pathetic," Mikael said, his lip curling in disgust.
"Father," Klaus pleaded, struggling to get up and Mikael, his face twisted in rage and fury, began raining kicks on the teenager sprawled at his feet, Klaus's pleadings and eventual sobs only spurring him on.
At some point the kicks ended and Mikael began using his belt. In an effort not to scream Klaus was biting his lip so hard blood was oozing down his chin. He lost track of time.
"Daddy, stop! STOP!" Rebekah's shrill voice screamed and, panting, Mikael whirled to face her.
"You stand against me?" he snarled, staring at his daughter disbelievingly.
"Stop hurting him!" Rebekah insisted, standing her ground despite the tears streaming down her face.
Mikael stared at her, his eyes glinting dangerously and his chest heaving before turning to look at Klaus again, his face twisting once more at the sight of his son. "Pathetic," he snorted again, aiming a sharp kick at his face and there was a sickening crunch and a burst of blood and Mikael stormed out of the room.
"Nik," Rebekah whispered once he was gone.
"I'm f-f-fine," Klaus stammered through the pain, scarcely aware of what he was saying, his mind buzzing with panic and fear and hurt.
"Nik," Rebekah said again, taking a tentative step toward her older brother and at the movement Klaus instinctively flinched and began struggling to his feet. His efforts caused the pain to double and he dimly noticed that he had wet himself. Nausea had him doubling over and suddenly he was retching into the carpet, the strain on his stomach muscles causing him to cry out in pain.
"I'll get Mum," Rebekah said, frightened.
"No!" Klaus gasped, shaking his head almost frantically.
"Nik-" Rebekah began but Klaus interrupted.
"I s-said no!" he insisted, panic fueling him and through sheer stubborn force of will he made it to his feet and staggered past Rebekah and down the stairs.
He didn't know it was raining until he was already outside and running. He couldn't stay there anymore.
Safe. He had to get somewhere safe.
"I have to admit, I was a little skeptical when you said you would cook but that was exquisite," Celeste Dubois said, smiling playfully.
Elijah Mikaelson quirked a brow at her, his lips turning up in a small grin. "I'm pleased it met your approval."
"Oh, it did," Celeste murmured. "In fact, you may even get lucky tonight."
"I already considered myself lucky," Elijah whispered, leaning forward and meeting Celeste's lips in a kiss. "Why don't you sit down and relax while I clear the dishes?" he asked, his lips still against hers.
"I'll make myself comfortable, shall I?" Celeste murmured back, smiling coyly and she just caught sight of Elijah's grin as she sauntered toward the living room.
She was arranging the pillows on his couch when the doorbell rang. "I'll get it!" she called toward the kitchen, thankful she hadn't taken anything off yet. Glancing out the peephole she frowned. "May I help you?" she asked, slowly opening the door and looking with some concern at the kid that was standing there. He couldn't have been more than fifteen or sixteen and his clothes were entirely drenched, no doubt owing to the fact that despite the rain he appeared to have walked from wherever he had come from.
With some alarm Celeste noticed his face was smeared with traces of blood and, she suspected suddenly, tears.
"Are you all right?" Celeste asked when the kid didn't respond, didn't even act like he was aware of her presence. He just stood on the front steps and stared at the ground, his arms wrapped around himself.
"Celeste? Who is it?" Elijah called from the kitchen and at his voice the kid shifted but still didn't say anything.
"I'm not sure," Celeste called back. "A kid. He looks like he might be in bad shape."
"Bad shape?" Elijah repeated, moving out of the kitchen, a frown in his voice, and Celeste was just opening her mouth to ask the kid his name when Elijah caught sight of him. "Niklaus!" he gasped and suddenly he was nudging her aside and pulling the kid in the house. "Niklaus, what happened?"
"He won't talk," Celeste said as the kid's trembling fingers latched onto Elijah's sleeve and held on.
"Niklaus?" Elijah asked, his voice suddenly gentler than Celeste had ever heard it.
"'Lijah," the kid whispered then, barely audible.
"I'm here," Elijah said, cupping the back of the kid's neck and the kid shuddered, trembling, his breath hitching.
"I didn't hear," he whispered, still staring toward the floor. "Supper was ready but I didn't hear."
Celeste glanced at Elijah then and though the kid's comment made no sense to her Elijah's expression hardened.
"I didn't hear," the kid said again, his breath hitching as he became more distressed.
"It's not your fault," Elijah murmured, gently guiding the kid's forehead to rest against his own. "Do you hear me, brother?"
Celeste's eyes widened then as the kid continued to shudder. Elijah's brother. He had told her he had several siblings, most of them younger, but she hadn't met any of them.
Elijah moved then to snag a blanket off the back of his couch and at the loss of contact his little brother whimpered. "I'm right here," Elijah told him, stepping immediately back and wrapping the teenager up.
"Maybe we should take him to the hospital?" Celeste asked uncertainly and instantly both Elijah and his kid brother tensed.
"That won't be necessary," Elijah said briskly. "Celeste, I'm very sorry to have to cut our night short, but -"
"Of course, I understand," Celeste said quickly, grabbing her bag off of Elijah's end table. "I hope your brother is okay," she added, catching Elijah's nod before she showed herself out.
"Let's get you out of these wet clothes," Elijah murmured once Celeste was gone, gently beginning to guide Niklaus toward the bathroom and Niklaus followed without complaint, largely unresponsive, though he kept a tight hold on Elijah's sleeve.
'Shock,' Elijah thought grimly. He was in shock.
In the bathroom Niklaus stood passively while Elijah carefully maneuvered his shirt off of him and Elijah had to bite back a gasp of rage when he saw his little brother's bare chest and back.
Discolored bruises from what looked like vicious blows were already blossoming and Elijah would put money on the bet that several of the nastiest looking ones came from the buckle end of their father's belt.
There were traces of blood on Niklaus's face too, mostly washed away by the rain, and Elijah studied it with concern. Carefully he reached out and gently felt Niklaus's nose and at the gentle examination his brother whimpered again, his fingers tightening on the sleeve he still held.
"I think your nose is broken," Elijah said softly, wondering if he should re-evaluate his decision about the hospital. The nose didn't look out of place though so it would actually probably be fine but Elijah was unsure how many blows had been directed at Niklaus's ribs...
"Hurts," Niklaus whispered, his voice hoarse and ashamed and Elijah's heart clenched. Niklaus very rarely admitted to pain, not even to Elijah, and certainly not without being asked. Their father had drilled it into Niklaus's head that it was a weakness and Niklaus tried desperately not to be weak.
"I know," Elijah acknowledged, squeezing Niklaus's shoulder comfortingly. "How about your ribs? Do they hurt when you breathe?"
Mutely Niklaus shook his head.
"Are you certain?" Elijah asked, lowering his head a little to look into his brother's downcast eyes. "This is important, Niklaus."
Niklaus's eyes flickered briefly to his but he was quiet for a long moment. Patiently, Elijah waited him out. "It all hurts," Niklaus admitted finally, barely above a whisper. "I don't think they're broken though."
Elijah nodded, feeling a rush of relief at his little brother's words, not least of all because they meant Niklaus was actually more aware then he had seemed so far.
Still... best to be certain. "This might hurt, brother," he murmured, reaching out to carefully prod at and feel Niklaus's ribs.
"I trust you," Niklaus whispered and Elijah paused, feeling a rush of emotion, before gently going about his examination.
"I think you're right," Elijah murmured after a couple of minutes that no doubt felt much longer to Niklaus. "Not broken."
Which meant they could probably manage without a hospital after all. In an ideal world Elijah would still like to take him to one but if their father found out - and Elijah had no doubt that he would - it would be Niklaus who would suffer.
Briefly Elijah considered taking Niklaus and confessing everything to the proper officials. Would Niklaus back him? Would he tell the truth if Elijah did?
Pushing down the thoughts Elijah forced what he hoped was a comforting smile. "How about a shower?" he asked his still shivering brother. "Warm you up?"
Niklaus nodded, closing his eyes, and when he made no move to let go of Elijah's sleeve Elijah carefully began to help him take his pants off.
"I don't want to go back," Niklaus whispered, his eyes still closed.
"Hmm?" Elijah murmured, mostly focused on helping his brother to step out of his pants.
"I want to stay with you. I don't want to go back," Niklaus said a little louder, his eyes opening and meeting Elijah's and his voice breaking. "Don't make me go back."
"You're staying here tonight, that's not even a question," Elijah reassured, holding the eye contact with his little brother and wondering if he was really asking what it sounded like he was asking. Did he mean he wanted to stay here permanently? They had never really talked about that though if Elijah were being honest with himself he had wanted to get Niklaus out from under their father's roof for years...
"Not just tonight," Niklaus whispered hoarsely, his fingers clenching and unclenching his older brother's sleeve. "I want -"
"Niklaus," Elijah choked out, abruptly pulling him into a gentle hug, trying his best to be careful of Niklaus's many bruises and Niklaus all but melted against him.
Elijah sighed, closing his eyes. He wanted desperately to tell his younger brother that yes, of course he could move in with him, but... the fact was their parents had custody of Niklaus. Of course if it was what Niklaus really wanted Elijah knew he, himself, had no objection.
Right now though, Niklaus wasn't thinking at his best and just because he was saying it in this moment didn't necessarily mean that once he was clean and dry and rested he would still feel the same. If he did though... there was at least one promise he could make...
"I'll talk to Mother, okay?" he murmured and Niklaus nodded, his tears soaking into Elijah's shoulder.
And who knew? Maybe, if this really was what Niklaus wanted, their mother would accept it. She had never really done much to stop Mikael's abuse but Elijah knew she didn't like it. Perhaps this much she would do.
"Okay. Shower now," Elijah whispered, gently nudging his baby brother. "I'll get you some clean clothes."
In the shower Klaus turned the water on as hot as he could stand and lifted his face to the spray despite the pain it caused his nose.
Gradually, slowly, he was starting to feel like himself again and in retrospect he was a little uncertain why this particular beating had affected him quite so... strongly. Father had been in a rage though and it had lasted longer than usual. If Rebekah hadn't come in when she did...
Klaus drew in a shaky breath and forced his thoughts away. Tonight at least, he wouldn't have to worry about his father anymore. Elijah would see to that. Elijah.
Klaus knew his brother thought that he hadn't been thinking clearly when he had asked to stay with him but... the truth was in his most secret thoughts he had been dreaming of living with Elijah ever since his older brother had gotten his own place and he wasn't about to take it back now that he had finally said it.
When the water started to cool Klaus shut it off, stepped out, and began toweling himself dry. Elijah had given him Tylenol before he had gotten in the shower, regretfully remarking that if they weren't willing to go to a doctor or the hospital that he couldn't get anything stronger for him. The medicine had dulled the pain some but he still ached all over and his nose was throbbing. Carefully he stepped to the fogged up mirror, both wanting to see and not wanting to see. Elijah had said it wasn't out of place though...
Taking a deep breath Klaus wiped the fog off the mirror and immediately saw that his nose had started bleeding again. What he had thought was wetness from the shower was actually blood streaked from his nostrils and down his chin. Sighing, he grabbed some wadded up toilet paper and began trying to stop it. The only way he could think to manage it was to stuff it up his nose and he bit his lip at the pain, breathing heavily by the time he was finished.
Elijah had left some of his own sweatpants and a tee shirt for him and, shivering, he hurried into them. They smelled like Elijah and they made Klaus feel both safer and younger at the same time.
Blood from his nose was quickly seeping through the toilet paper and he sighed, giving up.
"'Lijah?" Klaus muttered, his voice muffled from the toilet paper stuffed up his aching nose. "I can't get it to stop bleeding," he said, feeling every bit as pathetic and useless as his father claimed.
Wordlessly Elijah pulled out one of the chairs at his kitchen table, motioning for Klaus to sit, and Klaus noticed the cotton balls Elijah already had waiting. As usual his older brother was prepared. "I will of course try to be careful but this may hurt," Elijah murmured, wringing out a wash cloth and Klaus nodded wearily. "This will be cold," Elijah warned, gently pressing the cloth to Klaus's nose and simply holding it there for a few minutes before lowering it and picking up a cotton ball.
It did hurt, Klaus reflected as his brother worked to carefully lodge the cotton balls in his nose to soak up the blood, but not as much as receiving the kick to the face in the first place had hurt. Klaus sighed, closing his eyes. God, he was pathetic. Was it any wonder his father hated him?
A firm but somehow still gentle tap on his forehead startled him into opening his eyes.
"That's enough of that," Elijah said lightly, stepping back to admire his handiwork with the cotton balls.
"Enough of what?" Klaus asked, not meeting his brother's all too knowing eyes.
"You know very well what," Elijah said reprovingly. "Please don't insult my intelligence and yours by pretending otherwise."
"Sorry," Klaus muttered, staring at the floor and to his horror suddenly fighting tears.
"Niklaus." Elijah's voice was soft and all at once Klaus felt the wash cloth, warm and soothing now, on his face gently wiping the remaining blood from his face. And if a few tears escaped Elijah made no comment, only wiped them away too. "Nothing he says is true, Niklaus," Elijah murmured. "Nothing. Do you understand me?"
Not taking his eyes off of the floor Klaus nodded.
"Hey." Elijah tilted Klaus's chin up until their eyes met. "Nothing," he repeated, raising a brow. "Okay?"
"Father doesn't..." Klaus swallowed and a tear trailed down his cheek. "Not to anyone else," he whispered, trusting Elijah would know what he meant. Would know he was referring to the fact that he was the only one their father bullied.
"That doesn't mean anything. He's sick, Niklaus," Elijah said, sighing. "Do you trust me?" he asked.
Klaus nodded, not trusting himself to speak as Elijah pulled him to his feet.
"Then trust me now," Elijah said, putting a hand at the back of Klaus's neck and bringing their foreheads together. "It is not your fault. You are worth far more than Father will ever be and nothing he says deserves even a second of your contemplation." Gently Elijah shook him, mindful of his injuries. "Do you understand me, brother?"
"I understand," Klaus whispered, his breath hitching and Elijah nodded, squeezing his neck affectionately before releasing him and moving to the stove to remove a plate of warm food. Klaus swallowed thickly as Elijah set it down in front of him, recalling abruptly that he hadn't even given Elijah a particularly coherent account of what had happened tonight with their father and yet his big brother was still able to surmise that he hadn't gotten a chance to eat. "Thanks," he managed and Elijah gripped his shoulder before moving to the sink and starting the dishes, allowing Klaus to eat and get himself under control.
Once he finished eating Klaus got up and began drying the dishes, he and Elijah working together quietly and efficiently.
"The spare bedroom is still made up from last weekend when you and Kol stayed over," Elijah said once the last dish was put away.
"Are you putting me to bed, brother?" Klaus asked, lips quirking up in a small grin.
"Someone has to," Elijah quipped and though his words were light and there was amusement in his eyes Klaus found himself abruptly overwhelmed. There was no one in his life that loved him quite like Elijah did, he thought suddenly. "Sleep, Niklaus," Elijah murmured and Klaus nodded. "Keep your head elevated."
"Elevated?" Klaus asked, frowning.
"For your nose," Elijah specified and Klaus nodded again.
"Night, Elijah," he said softly.
"Goodnight, Niklaus," Elijah responded with a sad smile.
An hour and a half later and Klaus couldn't get comfortable. Everything ached and he couldn't find a position that kept his head elevated and didn't give him a sore neck.
Huffing out a frustrated breath Klaus lowered his feet to the floor and pulled himself up, biting back a groan at the flair of pain the movement caused.
Maybe Elijah was still up... and if not then maybe he would just watch TV for a bit. Moving quietly, instinctively trying not to wake Mikael even in Elijah's house, Klaus left the room, noting as he did so that Elijah's bedroom door was open and his bed made. Still up then.
Klaus found him sitting on the couch reading a book. "Can't sleep?" Elijah asked when he spotted him.
"I would love to sleep," Klaus admitted tiredly. "I just can't seem to find a decent position."
"Come sit, brother," Elijah said. "You should at least relax if not sleep."
"Nothing is comfortable," Klaus muttered, carefully lowering himself beside his older brother and Elijah made a humming noise of sympathy, reaching for the remote and turning the TV on, keeping the volume down low.
"I spoke with Mother," Elijah said quietly. "She's willing to let you stay here with me for awhile if you really want to. She said we could pack some of your belongings tomorrow while Father is at work."
"I do really want to," Klaus admitted, turning to look at his older brother, hope flaring for the first time in a long time. "How long is awhile?" he asked, his heart pounding.
"I didn't press for specifics just yet. I thought it best to ease her into the idea," Elijah said. "It's a start though. And I took the offer to let us pack your things as a good sign."
"Yeah," Klaus breathed, wondering if this was really happening. As though guessing his thoughts Elijah smiled softly at him, reassurance and safety and love, and Klaus soaked it up, feeling himself finally relaxing.
"Let's not worry about it just now," Elijah said, and Klaus nodded, allowing his head to slump on Elijah's shoulder. "Here," Elijah murmured after a moment, carefully shifting Klaus so his head was on a pillow on Elijah's lap. "Rest, brother."
And Klaus did, the low drone of the TV, the thought of living with Elijah, and most of all Elijah himself, doing what Klaus's bed had been unable to do. He slept.