A/N: Hey guys, long time, no see. It's been a harsh couple of months since I was last here, not the worst, but difficult with a lot of IRL stuff going on. So I am sorry this took so long to come out. We have one more chapter after this and maybe an epilogue. In whatever ends up being the final chapter, I will have some for you guys to vote on which will determine how the third installment of this series goes. So be on look out for that. In the meantime, here is the next chapter and with any luck, the final chapter and possible epilogue will be out much sooner than this one.
As a side note, I debated for a long time on what song Caroline should sing and I landed on Darling by Halsey because I love anything Halsey does and I think the song mostly fits with what Caroline wants to convey. Singing is in italics with quotation marks just so you guys are aware when you see it. Either way, I hope the song at least kind of fits when you guys read it, I own neither the characters used here or the song.
Summary: Caroline was building a life for herself, her plans were set and continually derailed by the supernatural world. The next thing to take her off course is the discovery that she is married, to Klaus Mikaelson and a vampire/witch hybrid. With her memories of their life back, she finds herself in New Orleans, ruling beside the big bad himself. Sequel to Sun and Moon, An Immortal Dance.
Chapter Twenty One
Marcel never would have described himself as a particularly anxious person, granted he would be lying if he said he didn't worry often about things out of his control. The plan had been going exceptionally well as far as he was concerned, the problem came in when he hadn't heard anything from Elijah yet. The fighting in the streets had been difficult in the beginning, but thanks to Caroline's magic and whatever witch stuff she had done, things turned out easier and everyone on their side was okay. The streets were empty now, all of Francesca's wolves were taken care of and now all that remained were the Crescent wolves, Klaus' hybrids and vampires. Anyone who was hurt was being healed, things should have been looking up, but as time passed and no word came, Marcel continued to have that worry in the back of his mind.
"You have that look on your face," said Davina, coming to stand by him.
He frowned at her, "A look? I don't have a look."
She gave him an unimpressed smile, "Yes you do. The one where you're really worried, creased brow, deep scowl. You wore that look when I was in the attic."
Marcel nodded a bit absently, "Ah, that look."
He remembered all the hours he spent worrying about her in St Anne's church, how he feared the witches finding her and getting past his vampires. It hadn't been that long ago, yet it felt like a lifetime had passed since then. Granted all of the events that have happened were enough to last for a full life.
"I'm sure they're okay," Davina told him next, "It takes a lot more than some wolves and witches to take down the Mikaelsons."
Marcel chuckled dryly, "Yeah, you'd think so. But not even they are invincible. Close to it."
"Close enough," Davina added softly.
Marcel glanced at her, he took a small breath. "I'm sorry-"
"I know," Davina interrupted. "I'm sorry too."
There were more words that need to be said, they both knew it too, but things weren't alright here yet, now wasn't the time for them to talk. But at least this was promising, that the two of them would be okay. Marcel loved her, he would do anything to protect her from harm, even if it meant he had to die in the fight trying and that was okay with him. He just needed her to know that he did care about her, that he only ever wanted her to be protected, to be safe. For a few moments, the two just stood there looking at the empty streets, sunrise was at least an hour away still, it had certainly been a long night, but hopefully the new day would bring about something good. His cell phone rang, making him jerk in his place and Davina did as well. He answered it.
"Marcel." It was Cami, she sounded worse for wear. "How quickly can you get to the cemetery?"
"Less than five minutes," Marcel replied, he glanced at Davina.
Cami exhaled, "Good, good. You need to go there, meet Klaus and Elijah there. The witches, they killed Hayley then took Caroline and the baby."
Marcel shut his eyes for a moment, "No... "
"Yeah… I'm-I'm here with her body and, and-"
"Say no more, I'm sending Davina and Josh your way," Marcel said softly. "It's going to be okay."
Cami didn't say anything, he heard her uneasy breath as she tried not to cry and then the connection went off. Hayley was gone. The witches killed her. It may have been many years ago, but Marcel remembered the day he saved her as a baby like it was yesterday. No one messed with kids under his watch. He did all he could to protect her then, brought her to a good family and he hoped that she would be safe and happy. Yet she ended up back here, dead. Anger burned in him, he would avenge her and all those that the witches had hurt, if it was the last thing he did.
"Go to St Annes with Josh," Marcel said, his voice low, "Cami is there with Hayley's body. Protect her. I'm off to help Klaus and Elijah get Caroline and the baby."
Marcel didn't wait for Davina to reply, as soon as he finished speaking, he raced away as fast as his feet would carry him. No one else would die tonight. He couldn't fail anyone else.
Caroline wasn't sure how much time had passed when she opened her eyes, but she could see bits of light peeking in the sky which told her that morning was here. She adjusted her position slightly, her hands were bound above her with vervain laced rope to a statue, she could have ripped through the rope if she didn't focus on the pain. Part of her considered the idea. She could break the rope, vamp speed away with the baby. But then her back up plan would fall through and she didn't have another one to cover it. Even if she got away, the witches would still come for her baby, Esther would still come for her daughter and that wasn't something Caroline could let happen.
For as long as she could remember, she had wanted kids and a picture perfect family. Becoming a vampire had been one of the best things to ever happen to her, though it took her chances of having kids away and that hurt her. Learning Klaus was going to have a child, with a woman she could barely stand before, killed her on the inside and on the outside if she was being honest because it was so unfair. They talked of children briefly, she could never entertain the idea to him much because she couldn't have kids as a vampire. Even as she was human in the past, she didn't believe she could have one and her time there was limited at best and how could she stand to go back to her time without her child? How could she have had a child, only then to leave them with Niklaus? She couldn't have done it.
They would never have children of their own, not in that way, not with their immortal lives ahead of them like this. And then she discovered he'd be living out that fantasy, but not with her. But the final nail in the coffin was learning that the baby was hers. The child belonged to her and Klaus, it was their daughter, they were going to have a baby. When the shock left her, she had been happy, but it turned to anger, angry to know that the witches stole her child, angry they did all of this. But now, now she had a chance to put an end to them permanently. She just had to play her cards right.
The sound of crying broke her from her thoughts, she snapped her gaze over to the side and noticed there in a little bassinet several feet out of her reach was the baby, her baby, crying. She tugged at the rope, let out a small gasp at the pain, but didn't let her stop her. She broke it, making her wrist scream, but she didn't care, her baby was crying.
Caroline tried to stand, but her knees gave way beneath her, so she just crawled over to the baby. Exhaustion washed over her as she rose to her knees and with shaking, but sturdy hands, she lifted the baby out of the bassinet. With the baby in her arms, she collapsed against the stone wall behind her and cradled the infant who quieted down.
"Hi," Caroline whispered to the baby, "It's nice to meet you. I'm Caroline, I'm your mom."
Caroline's bottom lip trembled at that, she hadn't been able to say it out loud before, she hadn't let her mind think too much into it afraid that it would crush her. But there were the words, there was the baby in her arms, She could not put it away anymore. Hot tears slipped down her cheeks, joy at truly acknowledging that the baby was hers and sorrow because this would be their only moment together. The baby whimpered softly, glossy eyes staring up at her.
"It's okay, it's okay, you're going to be okay," Caroline sniffed, stopping her voice from shaking as she continued, "Your dad, he's going to come get you and take such good care of you. You'll have plenty of aunts and uncles to spoil you rotten, they'll be there every step of the way. And Hayley, she, she carried you and she'll be your mom even, even- though I can't." Caroline took a steadying breath. "And I'll watch over you, from somewhere else. But you're gonna, you're gonna be happy. Safe and loved. I'm so, so sorry I won't be there."
Caroline held the baby a little bit tighter than before as the baby began to cry, almost in response to her words, though Caroline knew the baby had no idea what she was saying or talking about. The baby could have been crying for any number of things, though Caroline wasn't sure why and knew that she'd never be able to learn the different noises her child makes.
Regardless, she knew that she needed to help her settle down, maybe even get her to go back to sleep so she wouldn't witness anything that would happen soon. Her mother always sang to her when she was younger, so she would do the same now. Though she wouldn't sing any of the more traditional lullabies at her disposal, instead she would sing something that more or less fit the scenario. It was a song she heard some weeks ago and it stuck with her.
"Darling don't you weep, there's a place for me," Caroline sang softly, gently rocking the baby. "Somewhere we can sleep. See you in your dreams. Darling don't you cry. Head fast toward the light. Foolish men have tried. But only you have shown me how to love being alive." Caroline wore a sad smile as she kept going. "Ever since a little girl, I found it sweet. Driving past a graveyard on a lonesome street, all the little flowers gave me something to believe in. Never knew the feeling of a stable home, been a couple years of living on the road. Couldn't really tell you where they'd leave a stone to visit me when I am dead and gone." The baby stopped crying. "Darling don't you cry. Head fast toward the light. Foolish men have tried. But only you have shown me how to love being alive."
As the baby's eyes closed, Caroline rested her forehead against the baby's, inhaling deeply to keep herself from sobbing. Her supernatural hearing should have alerted her that someone was watching her and close, but she was too focused on the feeling of the little head against her. Had she been paying attention, she would have noticed the red headed witch watching her with genuine remorse. But there wasn't anytime for her to dive into her own emotions. It was time to get things moving. Yet she waited a few moment longer, just watching as Caroline rocked the baby in her arms, keeping their heads pressed together. It would be one of the only moments they ever shared.
Ages had passed since Klaus, Elijah and Marcel made it to the cemetery, searching every corner of it, only to find not a single clue as to where Caroline or the baby was being held. Their scents were erased, untraceable for them. But they couldn't give up now. They had to keep searching. Klaus could feel every bit of his mind and spirit spiraling inside of him, each being torn apart by the fear of losing his wife and daughter. Anything, but them. He would give up anything if it meant they would live. The sun was beginning to rise, they were running out of time and out of options.
"They have to be here," Klaus shouted at the top of his lungs, every bit of his frustration and fear leaking through.
Elijah let out a frustrated breath, "We have searched it over and over, but they are not here."
"They should be here, every ritual they have performed as always been here," Marcel said, his expression the calmest of the vampires. He tilted his gaze up. "That statue, it's the same one we've passed before despite heading in the same direction."
Elijah turned his head sharply to him, "Of course. They fabricated some kind of illusion."
Klaus sped away from the vampires on top of a tomb, what he saw made his blood boil, "That is one way to put it." He jumped down to them. "It's ingenious, we can see them, feel them, but they are not real."
Elijah brought his hands to the back of his neck, "There has got to be a way. If we, if we could just push through."
"What we need to do is focus," Klaus said plainly.
Elijah whirled around to face him, his expression dark as he pointed a finger at his brother, "My only focus right now is that child and Caroline's safety, do you understand me? This, all of this is the world you created."
Klaus took a step forward, "Elijah-"
"All your scheming, all the enemies you have made in your miserable life, what results did you expect!" Elijah could not hold back anymore, his emotions too heightened and control too thin. "That your child would be born into a happy or safe life? That we could live freely as some sort of family?"
"That was your fantasy, not mine," Klaus snapped.
"No, this was our family's last hope," Elijah shouted at him, his desperation shining through. "Our last hope was Caroline, was that baby. And both are gone. And Hay-" Elijah let out a choked noise, "Hayley is dead- she, she's gone forever… I-I let her in, I-" tears spilled from Elijah's eyes, but he forced himself to not let anymore fall.
He could not say more, he turned away and pressed his head on to the nearest fake stone, raising his hands above him as he tried to center himself. Now was not the time for him to give into his grief, not when his niece and sister-in-law were still out there and with any luck should the fates allow, alive. But he was drowning right now, even if he did not need to actually breathe and the action no longer did anything for him, he felt as if he for once needed the air again. Only he knew this air would never return. For the breath he wanted had a name. A hand rested on his back, he knew it was Klaus based on the feeling.
"You can tell your niece how much Hayley cared for her, loved her, after we save her. All of us will keep Hayley's memory alive when they are both returned to us," Klaus said, his tone soft and serious.
Elijah turned his head to look at Klaus, he didn't say anything, but nodded just the same. They were wasting time, time they didn't have enough of. With that, he rose to his feet once more, not feeling better, but knowing they needed to move along. The three vampires raced there way through the cemetery, going in deeper, marking they way, anything they could think of to ensure they did not get lost or stuck.
Klaus could hardly stand it, every piece of him felt like it was being torn apart the more they searched and neither his wife nor child were there. It killed him, it killed him so deeply that no pain could ever top what he felt now. And he knew he would have given anything to have them back in his arms, he would do anything, take anyone down or make any deal if it meant they would be unharmed. If it meant his daughter and wife would be okay. They were the only things that mattered to him. He entered a room with candles, the same one he had entered before and slammed the stone all, his frustration and desperation only growing stronger with each passing second.
"We're running out of time," Marcel said softly.
Elijah kicked the wall, knocking over some glass and a candle, "We need to move faster if we are to have any hope of saving them."
The three vampires snapped their gaze to the right to see a figure standing in the frame. A woman, it was Hayley. With slow steps, she entered the room, her expression blank. None of them could believe what they were seeing in front of them. How was she alive? Elijah was the first one to recover from surprise as he closed the distance between himself and her. Hesitantly, afraid that she was not real, but his imagination, he lifted his hands and brought them to her face.
Silent for a moment, she just looked at him. When she had woken up, she had been terrified, her last memory being of her- the baby, of Monique slicing her throat, dying. It overwhelmed her senses at first, but then she felt a tug, a pull that told her she needed to move, that she had to get going, to the baby and Caroline. She could feel them, she could feel the baby tethered to her and she could sense Caroline. She had to find them, she had to get to them.
"How are you here," Elijah asked, breaking her from her thoughts.
She answered, plainly, "I woke up in the church. Hungry in a way I have never been. And that I needed to move." Hayley glanced away. "The baby and Caroline are here, I can sense them."
"The baby's blood, you died with it in your system," Marcel whispered softly, understanding settling over each of them.
"You're in transition and must drink the baby's blood if you're to survive," Klaus said next, he sounded the slightest bit strained.
Hayley met his gaze, "I don't care about that. I'm going to find our-" she sighed, "Let's go."
With that, Hayley walked out of the room and into the open, following the pull she had been feeling since she woke up. She didn't need to look behind her to know Elijah, Klaus and Marcel were following her.
"It's time," Genevieve said, breaking Caroline from her thoughts.
The younger witch lifted her gaze up to Genevieve and the two Harvest Girls behind her. This was it. And even though Caroline didn't want to die, she knew that it was better than watching her child be killed. No one would lay a hand on her baby or her family ever again, she would make sure of that. She knew what would happen when she left this world and when she did, there was a witch who needed to suffer for what she had tried to do. Not saying anything, Caroline rose to her feet, the sleeping baby securely in her arms. When one of the Harvest girls, Abigail, moved to take the baby from her, Caroline's eyes flashed red, the veins below her eyes turned a sickening ash color as she bared her fangs looking as menacing as possible. The Harvest girl froze in her place.
"I will follow you, the baby does not leave my arms until I am on the altar," Caroline said, her voice sending chills through each of the witches.
The Harvest girl moved away and gestured for Caroline to follow Genevieve. Caroline said nothing, she glanced towards the red haired witch as her eyes returned to normal and fangs receded. Without another word, Genevieve turned away from her, unable to take the look in the younger woman's eyes. While Genevieve may not have been Caroline's biggest fan, she would not have wished this onto anyone. Having to sacrifice your own child, or be sacrificed in their place. But the ancestors demanded the magic of Caroline's bloodline be brought to them.
The youngest of the family held the most power as they were next in line to inherit the magic, this newborn would hold more power than Caroline did. Or she would have if Caroline hadn't removed her link. Her baby would not be a witch without that connection and it killed Caroline on the inside to have done it, she knew it was the only thing that would keep her alive. The ancestors wanted her for her magic, a powerful witch she would be and a wolf as well as a vampire, the first of her kind. But without magic, she could be none of those things and she would be safe. For now at least.
Caroline just needed to get to the altar, soon as the ritual was over, everything would be okay. Caroline had already died once before, suffocated by Katherine in the hospital. She'd been 'killed' by having her neck snapped, all of those had shocked her and she had been unable to fight back. This, this was different. She saw the altar ahead of her, the same altar where the Harvest girls were sacrificed, the place she would be sacrificed as well.
Her throat went dry as she kept walking and even though her heart no longer beat in her chest, the memory of it doing so was enough to remind her of the ache it could cause from nerves. Once she was in front of the altar, she turned to the side to see the basket where her baby would rest as she died. Again a Harvest girl, Monique this time, moved to take the baby, but Caroline moved away.
"Don't touch her," Caroline hissed sharply, her eyes flashing once again. "I'll set her down."
Monique rolled her eyes, but nonetheless moved back and went to her position on one side of the altar, Abigail on the other while Geneivieve was in the center across from Caroline. The vampire hybrid glanced up at Genevieve, the message in her eyes was clear, but it didn't matter. Nothing could stop this. Caroline walked over to the side, she bent down and rested the baby into the basket that had been stuffed with blankets to be more comfortable. That just barely reassured Caroline that for a little while, her baby would be okay before her family could find her.
Once the baby was settled, Caroline realized she didn't have a name for her. Her and Klaus never talked enough about children to get into names and while she certainly had a list, she couldn't give one to her now. Not when the name of the baby wouldn't stick because she wouldn't remember and Caroline wouldn't be able to tell Klaus.
Caroline smiled weakly at the baby looking up at her, "Goodbye angel."
Caroline bent down and kissed the baby's forehead, pausing there and soaking up the moment. She would have given anything to know how to dive into the baby's head, to make this moment last for as long as she needed without any real time passing, but she didn't know the trick and she couldn't stall forever. With a deep breath, Caroline stood and made her way to the altar, she climbed onto it and laid down as the witches began chanting. She stared up at the clear blue sky, her eyes stinging from the heartache she felt.
It was for the best, it was for the best.
She began to feel the magic of the ritual circling around, the power of the French Quarter witches bearing down on her as she felt her bloodline's own magic try to fight it off. While she may have been offering up the power, it did not mean her ancestors would let her go without a fight. They could not stop her, not really, but they could make the ritual more challenging for the others. It was all they could do. It may not have been enough to win, but it was enough to make their point clear. A knife was above her, held in a pale hand and she could barely make out Genevieve's features as her vision was blurring.
Even though Caroline as a vampire could only be killed by the removal of her head or a stake to the heart, she guessed the knife was enchanted with some kind of spell to kill her. It didn't matter how really, she just knew it would end her. Part of her wanted to shut her eyes, but she would not give the woman the satisfaction of seeing her fear. She would keep her eyes open.
Something flew above her, she heard the shattering of glass. Sluggish, she looked to her left to see Genevieve on the ground, shattered pottery around her. When she tilted her head to the right, she saw blurred figures, she could barely make out who they were, but pieced together it was Klaus, Elijah, Marcel and Hayley.
"No," Caroline forced the word out, "They'll hurt her!"
The Harvest girls stood in front of Caroline blocking her view, launching the four of them back. Caroline wanted to do something, she wanted to say something, but she could barely see straight, hear anything, she was powerless.
Klaus pushed himself up sharply after the Harvest girls flew him back. He would not let them win, they would take his wife or child from him. One of the girls, likely Deveraux, spoke to him about this being their strongest hour and that he faced all of their ancestors. As if he gave a damn about any of that. All he wanted was his family back and he would get them without fail. Once back on his feet, Hayley, Elijah and Marcel with him, he spotted Genevieve rise from where she had been knocked down by his brother.
"You cannot stop us," she shouted at them. "You can take the baby, but Caroline remains here."
"Like hell she does," Klaus snapped at her, his fangs bared and veins bulging.
He raced forward, only to be knocked back by the twin boys he had killed decades ago. He would need to deal with them, he rushed towards them once more, only for them to throw him into a tomb, breaking the stone walls and tumbling into them.
Elijah had not been much better off, it was as if he were stuck on the ground in his place, but he would not stop fighting against the magic. These witches could not win. His gaze fell to Caroline, she was limp on the altar. Time was running out, they had to get her and the baby out of here. Marcel was at his side, the two of them trying to make any ground, but they barely moved forward. Quickly, they looked around for a weapon of some kind that they could use, anything.
Hayley raced around the side, halting Genevieve from getting the knife that was about to kill Caroline. She was done with this woman and her troublesome clan. Nothing would make her feel better than to tear the woman apart limb from limb, to destroy her and every other witch involved in this mess. Hayley fought her, she was better at hand to hand combat, but when Genevieve stretched out her hand, she was attacked with the worst headache she had ever had, stopping her movements and pulling a scream from her throat.
Klaus burst from the tomb he had been thrown into, he could not take on the brothers, but he could lessen their connection by going for the Harvest girl, either one. He ripped out a piece of the metal gate beside him, adjusted his grip and threw it with every bit of strength he had. It soared through the air and pierced the blonde girl through the heart and stuck her to the wall.
Elijah and Marcel were able to get to their feet then, the power against them less than before. The remaining Harvest girl turned away, she bent down and grabbed the knife before rushing back to the altar. Hayley struggled to get to Genevieve, she only barely tackled her giving her a break from the searing headache, only for it to come rushing back. And not only that, it went to Elijah and Klaus, forcing them down. But Marcel was just out of range, he saw Monique with the knife raised above Caroline.
He had to break his law and it would haunt him, especially when this had been the niece of a woman he loved, but it had to be done. For Caroline, for that baby. He threw the star he received from Cami to the girl, a dark object that gave the target a thousand cuts. Monique was frozen for a moment, her body becoming littered with cuts and blood pouring from her mouth, the knife loose in her hand. But just as she was going down, Genevieve appeared seemingly out of nowhere, taking the knife from her and plunging it into Caroline's heart.
Marcel stood frozen for a moment as three raging shouts of the word no echoed in his ears before a burst of wind knocked him and the others to the ground. For the briefest of moments, the world was still, not a sound could be heard. But the moment was over as quickly as it came. He was on his feet once more, but he did not move right away. It was Hayley who recovered first, who forced Genevieve to the ground with Elijah appearing at her side. And then, there was Klaus who was at the altar, pulling the knife out of Caroline's blood stained dress.
"No," Klaus said hoarsely, "No, Caroline. Caroline, sweetheart."
As carefully as he could, he pulled her off the altar and into his arms, slipping to the ground as he held her with the utmost care, as though she were the most delicate thing in the world. A feeling of deja vu settled over him, he'd been here before, centuries ago, when Michael had killed her in front of him. He'd held her then, just as he now. He cradled her head, keeping her gaze on him though there was hardly any life left in her gaze. There was the faintest glow of her skin, but it was fading along with all the color she had.
Caroline could barely make out his features, but she would know Klaus anywhere, from anyone. The love of her life, someone who meant so much to her, who she only ever wanted to be happy, to have peace. A small wheeze left her, she didn't have the strength to talk. All she could do, was give him a smile. This would be the second time he had to say goodbye to her this way. If she could have spoken, she would have, but she was so tired, so hurt. With the smallest bit of energy she had, she tried to lift her hand, but it barely moved. Klaus saw the movement though and grabbed her hand, bringing it to his chest.
"Please," he choked out, hot tears falling down his cheeks.
Caroline gave him the softest, weakest smile he had ever seen. And though no words left her lips, he heard her voice in his mind as if she were whispering in his ears.
I told you I would see you again day, remember? I was right.
Klaus sniffled, his nose was red as the rims of his eyes, "You did, you did."
We've said goodbye before, we'll say hello again.
"Don't leave me," Klaus whispered, she hated how broken he sounded.
I love you, so much. Tell her, tell her I loved her, with every piece of me.
And then, the light was gone from her eyes along with the color of her skin. The hand he held went limp in his own and all he could do, was press his forehead to her own as he sobbed. Seconds, minutes, maybe hours passed that he remained in that position, just cradling her body as his tears fell onto her blank face. It shouldn't have been this way, this shouldn't have happened. Tears still falling, breath uneven, he moved one arm under her knees and stood with her. He glanced at Elijah and Hayley, both of their expressions heartbroken over this loss, but filled with the same anger and thirst for blood as his own. His gaze shifted to Genevieve on the ground.
"We'll handle her," Hayley said, "Get her back home."
Klaus nodded once to her, but he could not find his voice. A moment later, he noticed Marcel at his side and in his arms, the baby he and Caroline shared. Their daughter, who would now grow up without her biological mother. He stared at his baby for a moment, in awe of her small body, of her little hands and eyes that were taking in this new world. Oh, she was beautiful, she was everything. His grip tightened around Caroline, he would do right by their daughter, he would make sure she grew up safe, loved and everything in between. Without speaking, he sped back to the compound, Marcel at his side.
When Caroline opened her eyes, she was no longer in the cemetery and based on the feeling inside and outside of her, she knew she was on the other side. She took a breath though she didn't really need it, but the action brought her some semblance of strength. It was time for her to get to work, she had a family to get back to after all.