A/n: Hello loyal, beautiful readers! Guess what I'm doing? Writing and editing when I should be studying for finals! Woo hoo! Thank you writers block for going away at the most inconvenient time ever. Anyway, long time no update! I know! And I'm mortified! Sorry! Why am I yelling? I don't know, I'm just excited to be able to write again! Anyway- comment and give us any ideas you wanna see in the story! Woo hoo and thank you wonderful Kaitlin for writing like fifty percent of this chapter! We tried to make this one longer to make up for being sucky to you.
A resounding chime echoed through the apartment, disturbing the two blond, slumbering residents of said apartment.
"Rmph, Nik. Get the door," the sleepy woman grumbled, rolling towards her boyfriend and slinging her arm over his waist.
When after two whole minutes passed by in complete silence, Caroline peevishly cracked one eye open and lifted her head from the man's chest to look up at his face. Fast asleep. Of course he was. A herd of wild bulls stampeding through the apartment would not wake Niklaus Mikaelson, she could swear it.
She harrumphed as she dragged herself off of Nik's chest and sat up in their bed, looking down at his peacefully sleeping face, "Ok, so I know very well that you are dead asleep and cannot hear me, but I thought that maybe you might've remembered to set an alarm because my best friend told me yesterday that she was going to be here at eight to drop off her son for us to watch and oh look at that; it's 8: 14!"
She mentally noted how bitchy she sounded, but rode it off as being just too early in the morning for her natural personality to emerge; you see, she was not a morning person. At all. Neither of them were actually, which probably should've occurred to her when she was agreeing to be up before eight on a Saturday.
When he only turned over in his sleep so his back was facing her, she'd had enough. "Klaus!" she practically yelled, shaking his shoulders, "They're here!"
Klaus jolted awake, sitting up in bed two seconds after he heard his girlfriend yelling his name. And that was certainly not the way he preferred she yell his name while they were in bed. He blamed his current dirty thoughts on the fact that she'd just woken him from a particularly...pleasing dream. About her. In this bed.
Stop it, Nik, he scolded himself, shaking his head of the thoughts. He rubbed the back of his head as he turned toward Caroline giving him a look, "Uhm...weren't we supposed to do something today?"
At his casual question, her eyes narrowed at him until her insistent stare became a glare, "Yes...and do you remember what it is?"
Smirking, he laughed as he took in her adorable anger, the sleep clearing from his mind now. "Yes, Sweetheart. I remember. That'd be Elena and Damon at the door then, I assume?"
Caroline almost couldn't believe how easy going he was being about this situation. When she first told him about watching Alex, he'd nearly had a coronary. And now he was fine and breezy? Forgive her if she was a tad suspicious. Not that she wasn't pleased about it.
"Okay...I mean yes, yes that's probably them unless Elijah got drunk again and Kat kicked him out," she said with an amused tone.
Oops, probably not the best thing to mention this early in the morning seeing as Klaus growled instead of taking it as a joke. She scratched his back for a moment to apologize for her comment before hopping up out of the bed, suddenly very eager for the whole weekend- besides, if she kept that motion up for long, Klaus would fall back asleep at the drop of a hat. Caroline never ceased to be amused by how he loved physical contact- whether she scratched his back or massaged his scalp or traced the lines of his tattoos as they laid in bed with tangled limbs, he relished her touch despite the tough and cold exterior he constantly put on display. He was like a well-trained guard dog- all work
She turned around at the amused voice behind her to see Nik trying to hold back his laughter...and something else was in his face, there was a hungry glint in his eye...
"What?" she huffed.
He bit his lip to stifle a laugh and glanced down at the comforter over his legs before smirking and looking straight in her eyes as he stood up.
That's when she noticed what he was trying to tell her.
He was completely naked. And as much as the sight of his perfectly sculpted lean muscles over his smooth skin and magnificent-
Right, okay she was more than distracted. But if he was naked that usually meant she was...She looked down at herself and...yep. She'd almost just opened the door naked.
Klaus only laughed as he walked across her view to his dresser to pull out a pair of jeans, shaking his head at the fact that she'd actually forgotten she was still naked from their previous late night activities.
"Don't take this the wrong way, Sweetheart, because I do enjoy the view immensely, but I'd rather you not open the door completely naked," he finished zipping up his jeans as he crossed the room in front of her, walking towards his closet.
He stopped in front of her before crossing to his closet for a shirt, "This," he ran his hands up her bare sides, making her shiver and feel grateful that her belly growing to the size of a watermelon did not deter his appetite for her in the slightest, "Is for my eyes only," he finished with a wink before kissing her on the cheek and grabbing a shirt.
Caroline felt her blush spread from her neck to the tips of her cheekbones. She never used to blush this easily. Side benefit of being pregnant she guessed. Plus Nik had always had a certain effect on her...
"I wouldn't, Nik," she snapped defensively, trying to hide her embarrassment at her...oversight.
He only smirked and stood in front of her, completely dressed, save for the shoes, with an eyebrow raise, "Then why I am the only one clothed?"
She rolled her eyes and turned away from him to walk to her own dresser, scoffing. "I was talking to you and I was distracted and...shut up."
He laughed and he felt the warmth in his chest as he watched her bend over to the bottom drawer of her dresser to retrieve her clothes. He tilted his head to the side mischievously with a wicked smirk on his face.
"If you're trying to get me riled up again, love, you're doing a brilliant job."
That was when she noticed her current position. Oops. She quickly straightened up and whipped her head around to face him, "I was not. Stop it," she tried to make her voice sound threatening but all she could manage was flustered. She hated these pregnancy hormones sometimes.
He raised his hands in defense, "I'm not doing anything. I'm an innocent victim."
She raised one eyebrow to call his bullshit, "How is checking me out while I'm unsuspecting innocent?"
He gave her a look that said she was missing something, "Because it would be much easier for a five month pregnant woman to pick from the top drawer instead of bending over and you were perfectly aware that I am behind you, love."
She looked down, picking at the pretty, light blue maternity dress she'd pulled from her drawer, biting her lip to keep from smirking, "Oops."
He rolled his eyes and started walking towards the bathroom without a word.
"Where are you going? They're waiting outside!"
He looked back at her over his shoulder, smirking, "Cold shower, love. You're the one that chose get me excited again. Guess you'll have to welcome them yourselves love."
"Hey Lena!" Caroline chirped, after she had gotten herself properly dressed and ready to open the door, pulling her best friend in for a hug from the side, careful to avoid bumping her friend with her growing stomach.
Elena grinned, hugging her back, "You seem bubbly this morning, Care."
She tried to fight back a blush, her words bringing back her previous conversation with Nik, "Yeah, um...just excited to play with my superman."
The toddler in question grinned showing his missing front tooth, his icy eyes shining warm at the nickname; Caroline had taken to calling Alex 'Superman' about a year ago when he'd started watching superhero cartoons almost every morning. He loved it; she guessed it was because it made him feel like he had a special place with her.
"Auntie Barbie," he smirked, expecting her fake upset face that she always pulled that made him laugh.
She laughed and rolled her eyes, "Your dad really shouldn't have taught you that nickname." She finished by glaring at her little buddy's father. "Thanks for that Salvajerk."
Damon chuckled condescendingly, "Over five years and that's still the best you can come up with?"
She huffed, "Whatever, just come inside guys."
Elena swatted her husband on the arm as they both walked inside the apartment, "Why can't you ever just be civil to people, Damon?"
He smirked, "Because my way is always more fun and most people are normally wrong."
Caroline actually laughed, "You sound like Nik."
"Speaking of, where is our lovable hothead this morning?"
Damon was expecting an angry or possibly stinging witty comeback from the bubbly blonde, but all he was met with was a blushing pregnant woman...strange.
Caroline looked down, suddenly finding her lack of shoes fascinating, "In the shower," she said quietly.
Elena gave her a curious look, raising one eyebrow slightly, "Why are you blushing then, Caroline?"
"Um..." she suddenly started walking away down the hall in front of them, "I'll just see if he's...done now," she cursed her terrible wording, not that anyone else in the room would catch the small innuendo.
"Nik!" she called through the bathroom door, "Hurry up! They're here!"
She should've realized that he hadn't lied to her and making him speak right then was a horrible idea. It really was still all her fault.
"Coming, Caroline," he growled and she was thankful that he she was the only one who picked up on the edge in his voice; he sounded angry, but he wasn't.
Her face immediately became red when she realized two seconds later that he was purposely making a really obvious innuendo. How does he have enough presence of mind to make that joke while...oops. Oh shit. "Yeah, so...he'll be out in a second," she flashed them her most winning smile to distract them from her seemingly random embarrassment as she walked back in to the kitchen. "Nik's not one for early mornings. Where'd Damon go?" Caroline asked, walking back into the kitchen area.
"Walking around and looking at 'safety' things. I don't even know. I'm sorry, Care, I can't stop him. He just gets into this mode sometimes. This is the first time we've left Alex," Elena said, running her fingers through her son's unruly dark locks, "and he's kinda taking the overprotective dad thing a little too far. "
"Damon taking something too far? Couldn't imagine that," Klaus said, striding into the kitchen, his damp hair looking dark brown in the morning light, looking for all the world as if he'd only needed a shower to wake himself up. "G'morning, Elena. What you got there, mate?" Klaus asked Alex, wrapping an arm around Caroline's waist. She smiled up at him; Caroline had come to the conclusion that it wasn't that Klaus wasn't good with kids- he was great with them, she had seen that the other day when they'd helped a lost little girl in the grocery store find her parents- it was just that he didn't trust himself around them. He thought he would lose them, or let them hurt themselves, or lose his temper and scare them. She was hoping this weekend with Alex would help change that to make his transition into fatherhood a little less overwhelming. Baby steps right? She thought. Pun intended.
Alex looked up at Klaus and raised his eyebrow for a moment, looking so frighteningly like his father that Caroline had to fight back a laugh. "Pop Tart! Stawbewy," Alex said, cramming another piece into his mouth without sparing Klaus a second glance.
"Slow down there, buddy," Elena told the two-year-old as Damon came wandering back into the kitchen.
"Did we pass inspection?" Klaus asked dryly, cocking an eyebrow at the raven haired Salvatore and earning a nudge in the ribs from Caroline. What? He'd never liked the eldest had his reasons. Couldn't stop to notice your little brother was binge drinking, Damon?
"Yes but I still have a few concerns," Damon said matter-of-factly, placing his hands on the marble counter top and Elena rolled her eyes, shooting Caroline and Klaus an apologetic look. "First of all, you need to make sure your arts and crafts studio is locked. And I mean locked, not 'oh, I shut the door'. My little guy's smart enough to open a door."
Caroline rolled her eyes and slipped her hand into Klaus' jeans pocket when she felt him stiffen at Damon's comment. He shouldn't assume Nik is going to mess up; it'll only make Nik believe it more. But before Damon could say something else, Elena looked at her watch.
"Oh god, Damon we need to go! Our flight's at 10:40 and thanks to these two sleepyheads, we're a little behind schedule," Elena said, winking at Caroline. "Okay buddy, mommy and daddy are gonna go see Uncle Jeremy now!"
"In California, that's right. I love you, baby. Be a good boy for Auntie Caroline and…Uncle Nik, okay?"
"Oh-tay!" Alex exclaimed, beaming up at his mom. Elena wiped some crumbs off his cheeks before kissing him and moving so Damon could have his turn.
"Hey, buddy- be good okay? At least for Auntie Barbie, raise hell for Klau-"
"Okay, okay! On second thought, little man, be good for both of them, but mainly for Auntie Barbie."
"'Cos she has baby in 'er tummy?" Alex asked, pointing to Caroline's baby bump and looking from it up to his dad, causing Caroline to smile.
"That's right. Can't stress her out too much…if she's anything like your mom I may actually feel bad for Klaus."
"I appreciate the sentiment, mate," Klaus said with a stiff nod of his head, earning another elbow in the ribs from Caroline. "What?"
"Okay, I guess I've drug this out for as long as possible. I love you buddy, I'll miss you."
Alex only looked up at Damon before returning his attention to the sticky red filling on his hand.
Damon ruffled the little boy's hair, "I love you, buddy. High five before I go?"
"No. Not today. Bye-bye."
Klaus couldn't stop the laugh that escaped his lips and Damon looked up and glared. "That's what you think until it's your kid rejecting you like thathe grumbled before Elena started tugging on his arm and dragging him towards the door. Caroline pulled Alex off the counter top and followed Damon and Elena to the door, Klaus on her heels. "Oh, there's some food in his bag. Just some snacks and stuff, his cereal, some juice boxes. And the Max and Ruby DVD- if he has trouble going to sleep or is just grumpy, play that for him."
"I think they've got it, Damon," Elena laughed, waving at the other three. "Bye, thank you! We'll call or text when we land! Love you!"
"Okay, have fun! Everything'll be fine here, guys. Tell Jer we said 'hey'!" Caroline said, smiling and waving to her friends as the stood at the door, Klaus' hand on the small of her back.
"Bye-bye, Momma!" Alex screamed, waving enthusiastically and causing Klaus to laugh again when Damon looked back.
"Bye, little man!"
"Can you say by to daddy?" Caroline asked, peering at Alex as he toyed with her necklace.
"He be otay."
"Well then," Klaus said, smirking. Caroline shook her head and looked back over her shoulder to see him giving a slight wave towards the Gilberts as the got in their car.
"Oh!" Damon shouted back at them, his head hanging out the window as Elena began to pull out of the parking spot. "Bed time's at 8. 8:30 if you give him a bath!"
And then they were pulling out of the parking lot and headed down the road.
"Gosh, superman, I didn't realize how heavy you'd gotten!" Caroline exclaimed, turning back into the apartment and putting the two-year-old down.
Alex suddenly looked up and around, a confused look on his face.
"Where daddy go?"
"Daddy just went to the airport with mommy, silly!"
"Oh yeah," he said, smirking. "I fo'got. I gots 'eggos! 'Eggo and cars! Come see, come see, Auntie Barbie!" Alex exclaimed before taking off in search of his bags as fast as his little legs could carry him.
"Quite the riot already."
"Yeah, I need coffee. Make some for me?"
Klaus just rolled his eyes with a fond smile before heading off into the kitchen.
The next morning, after a busy day of Legos, race cars, and loading up to go eat lunch with Elijah, Katherine, and Rebekah-Nik watching his brother interact with the two-year-old very closely, hoping to pick up on some of the fatherly things he was sure skipped over him in the gene pool-they'd all been fairly worn out at bed time. Once Alex had gone down, Caroline had curled up next to him on the couch after putting one of her movies in the player. Needless to say, neither of them had made it through the whole thing- and to think, this was supposed to be the 'easier' part…
Klaus grumbled and rolled over on the coach, reaching his arm out for Caroline. His arm hit the mattress and he reluctantly opened his eyes to look over at her spot only to find it was, indeed, empty. He groaned in annoyance and ran a hand through his sleep-mussed curls as he sat up. "Caroline?" he called out.
He raised his eyebrows as he waited for an answer. Nothing. He got out of bed, throwing the covers off as he started to get worried. One day. One day and he had already lost his girlfriend and the kid. He wasn't cut out for this, he kept repeating in his mind as he went down the hall in his pajama pants.
He paused, turning his head, when he heard sounds coming from his art studio. Quietly he walked over to the open door and peaked into the room. He stood there in something akin to stunned silence at what he found.
After a moment, he leaned against the doorway and watched Caroline smiling sweetly as she guided Alex's little green paint covered fingers across the paper she'd clipped onto one of his easels. He should be upset. They were wasting expensive paint. But he noticed the paper they were using was cheap printer paper and he could only smirk to himself. Caroline must have switched it out so not to waste his supplies. A smile slowly started to form on his face without his noticing as the toddler laughed, an unhindered happy sound, up at his girlfriend and tapped her nose with his fingers. He suppressed a laugh at the mock indignant look she gave him; it didn't work with a green nose.
He didn't want to examine why he wasn't upset, why he was the upset. He had the strangest sentiment run through his head that he could watch her do this all day and not get bored. Caroline was a natural mother, or would be. She cared more than she should even, for anyone around her. And she remembered things: birthdays, anniversaries, best friends' favorite colors and gift preferences, the whole lot of it. She was responsible in that way, smart.
But him? Klaus scoffed.
Would he be able to match how magnificent she would be with a wide smile on her face when she played with their child? He half doubted if he would have to match it; she could be wonderful enough for the two of them. But no, he had to. He had to pay her back as well somehow. He couldn't let her carry all the weight of this. He was never the type of man to let other people carry his burdens…Burden…is that what I really think fatherhood is going to be? He couldn't even dwell on the chilling thought for too long. He just knew he had to try. For her. Caroline had given him so much happiness, more than he'd had combined in all the years he'd had before he knew her. She deserves more than him, but he was determined to give her as much back as he possibly could because she chose him.
When he tilted his head away from the too-bright shine of the sun coming through the window, Alex's face was obscured by the glare, and for half a second, Klaus could see a different face, playing with and learning from Caroline. It was a little boy who he assumed was their Zakary. He'd imagined him more like his mother but here, surrounded by his art he could see some of his passion shining through in the toddler who had dirty blonde curls adorning his head but the scrunch Caroline's face took on when she was concentrating on something. But he blinked. And the toddler was Alex again, the spawn of the bane of his existence and his girlfriend's best friend. Maybe spawn is a rude word; Alex wasn't all that bad, even if he was undoubtedly Damon's son.
"What are you two making there?" He smirked as he brought both sets of blue eyes to him.
"Din-saur," Alex chirped without looking back at Klaus. He pointed out the horns and tail he thought were well defined on the dinosaur. Nik only saw a green blob with legs but he smiled anyway.
"Very good, not bad lines, maybe work on the shading?"
Caroline giggled when she rolled her eyes and the sound lifted his smile higher, "Shut up, art snob. We can't all be Picasso's."
"Well, the kid has only started. Alex might very well turn into a prodigy. But I'm afraid it might be too late for you, love," he teased.
Caroline scrunched her face up at him and flung some paint at him off a brush.
"Auntie Barbie! Paint fight?" Alex looked between them with a wide, excited grin and dangerously hopeful eyes.
"No," Klaus' eyes widened. "No! Don't even think about it!"
Caroline grinned with a playful look of vengeance in her eyes that he was a bit scared of. Not that he'd ever admit it.
"Fire!" Caroline laugh-shouted.
Nik ducked as Alex came at him armed with a dish of green paint in his hands.
Before he could finish his command, Alex had flicked paint all over Nik's face. Nik growled and grabbed the tyke, lifting him up as the paint fell and splattered all over both of them, "Oh, now you've done it, mate!"
Caroline laughed as Nik spun Alex around.
"Auntie Barbie!" Alex called out.
Caroline grumbled in bed at the sound and moved her arm to shift and hit Klaus' shoulder. "Nik," she whined, "Nik, get up. Alex wants something."
He groaned indistinctly and winked one angry eye open at her, "What, Caroline?"
"Alex," she yawned, moving to go back to sleep, "Go check on him."
"Are you ser-"
Before he could question her, Caroline had fallen quickly back to sleep. Of course.
He pulled himself out of bed and down the hall, grumbling the whole way as he wandered into the guest room, wiping a hand over his face and mumbling, "What is it?"
Alex was sitting up and blinked a couple times at the figure in the door. "I ask for Auntie, Unc' Nik," he whimpered, hugging his blanket tighter to his chest.
He rolled his eyes irritably, "I know. I heard. But Auntie deemed it my job to make sure you hadn't snuck out of bed and stuck your finger in a light socket and fell back asleep."
The toddler frowned in confusion at the sarcasm as he looked at Klaus in the doorway with sadness he was trying to hide, "Momma and Daddy not here."
"Oh," Klaus dead-panned, realizing what the lonely look in his eyes was about, "You miss your parents."
He walked to the bed and sat beside where the child was sleeping, situating himself a bit awkwardly. The bed was big enough for two Alex's, but he wasn't used to sharing space with a kid.
Alex nodded, "They read me sto'ies. An' Momma sings…where dey go?"
Klaus couldn't pretend the lost tone of the little boy's voice didn't throw him, make something in his chest ache. He didn't have the slightest idea how to comfort. With Caroline he just kind of held her, not that he minded all that much but with a kid?
"They had to go see your Uncle Jeremy, remember? But they'll…be back, you know?" He said. It was the first thing that came to his mind and he peered down at Alex, waiting to see if it made any difference.
"Yeah," Alex bit his lip hesitantly, "When mommy an' daddy come home?"
Klaus licked his lip nervously, "In two days."
"Oh," the boy pouted when the time period seemed immeasurably long to him, creasing his brows in thought. "Two…they not be here."
"No," he started unsurely, "But they will be back for you, sooner than you know it."
"Of course, Alex. Parents are supposed to come back. It's…in the job description. Good parents will love you and see you through everything, and that includes good nights…they won't stay gone long. You have good parents," he said, grimacing at how awkward and uncomfortable the words sounded leaving his mouth. He poked the boy in the stomach to tickle him a little and was rewarded with a smile
Klaus nodded. "Better than most. If that's all settled…g'night, mate."
Alex nodded. "Mommy 'n daddy good. Nigh-night, Unc' Nik."
Klaus smiled fondly at the mispronunciation as he stood, tucking the blankets around the two-year-old more snuggly and leaving the room, cracking the door as he made his way back to his bed and Caroline.
Caroline crept as quietly as she could through the kitchen. It was late, far later than she ever intended to come back home. She had gotten into her office this morning full intending to leave in an hour; you know, just check up on things before going home to rescue her boyfriend from toddler time. But one thing had led to another and one hour turned into four. Then it really snowballed when she had stopped by to see her cheerleaders at their Homecoming game on the way home and had ended up staying the whole game talking to the girls. After all, it had been a while since she stopped by. She always meant to call and tell him she was going to be late…
She snuck into the living room where she could hear the music from Alex's 'Max and Ruby' DVD coming from the TV. She stopped in the doorway and smiled at the sight before her; Alex was curled up on Klaus' chest, brown curls in his eyes while he clutched his blanket and his juice cup (inevitably orange jucie, knowing Nik) his little mouth hanging open in sleep. Klaus' eyes were shut, too, and he had a hand on Alex's back and Caroline couldn't resist pulling her phone out to take a picture.
"It's about bloody time."
Oh, shutter must have woke him up. Gotta remember to change that to silent. She looked up to see Klaus' blue eyes watching her, rimmed red with worry. "I'm sorry," she whispered so as not to wake up Alex. "I tried to call you but every time I had a free second this morning, something else came up and I just got caught up. And then, I just had to sto-"
She half expected her rant to be interrupted, but she didn't expect the cold, tired tone of his voice, "I don't want to hear it, Caroline," he said, maneuvering himself into a sitting position while trying not to wake the two-year-old and stood up, disappearing to put Alex to bed.
Caroline rolled her eyes at his dramatics and moodiness, unaware of how deep that mood really went, before wandering back into the kitchen to get something to eat. She hadn't eaten since lunch and that was only a Caesar salad. She was pregnant for god's sake, she needed more nutrients. Klaus came back and sat on the bar, playing with his hands in a nervous habit she'd picked up on after the first month of dating; he wrings his hands when he's brooding.
"What's wrong?" she narrowed her eyes slightly, realizing he wasn't just the normal kind of annoyed from watching a toddler all day.
Klaus didn't answer and Caroline almost rolled her eyes again. Yes, she knew he was upset but he was still irritating as hell sometimes.
"Seriously, Nik? I'm sorry. I never meant to leave you alone all day," she said a bit too flippantly, hoping if he got pissed, he would just spit out what was wrong so she could help if it was bad or ignore his anger if it was stupid.
He still refused to respond, pursing his lips and continuing to stare at the granite counter top.
"Can I get you anything?" She tried for sass this time.
Once again, Klaus remained silent and Caroline turned back to the refrigerator, "I don't even understand what your deal is right now. I said I'm sorry, I've asked you what's wrong and you keep ignoring me."
"I'm thinking," he snapped flatly.
Caroline groaned, "And what was so awful about today? You did fine! Better than fine, Nik! He's asleep and happy. It's not like you killed him."
"Stay out of it, Caroline," he growled, those exact words setting off a trigger in him. "I'm just trying to think."
"Okay, think! I'm just trying to help."
"You can't help me!"
He was so sick of that; her always having to fix everything, even him. Well guess what I'm not one of your little projects, sweetheart.
"Well, maybe, your panties wouldn't be in a twist if you just spoke your mind every once in a while, sheesh."
"My knickers aren't in a twist," he hissed, seriously close to losing control with her. That had almost never happened. And both times it had in the years they'd been together, it ended with Caroline hating herself for doubting if he was worth it. But she came back both times, because she knew he was, however hard loving him may be.
"And I'm the queen of England," Caroline scoffed.
"Caroline…," he warned.
"Nik. I'm sorry! I just don't understand why you're being like this. What is wrong?"
"What's wrong?!" His eyes widened in disbelieving anger at her casual attitude, "I just spent the day terrified that I was going to lose him or let him get his finger stuck in an electrical socket or that he'd turn the stove on and catch the house on fire or-
"Why?" she almost laughed at his paranoia, not knowing where it was coming from, "I told you to call me if anything happened, Nik. You aren't in this alone! You won't be."
That was it. That was what he'd worried over all day- that he wouldn't be able to do it. That whenever Caroline left, like she inevitably would, he thought, he wouldn't be able to care for this kid by himself. He could still hardly accept the idea that he was going to be a father.
"Oh, I think you'll find I am."
He was backtracking. She couldn't believe this. These months she spent trying to get him to listen and see and he was regressing. And she couldn't for the life of her figure out why.
"What are you even talking about?"
"You have no idea just how awful today was, how petrified I was watching a kid that isn't even mine and having to be that much more cautious about what I do. What the bloody hell will I do when it is mine?"
"Well, welcome to growing up, Nik! Welcome to what being a parent is like. I'm sorry you're going to have to exhibit a little bit of responsibility for once!"
"Caroline, stop it!" Klaus growled, making her take a step back as he ran his hands through his hair once more. "No responsibility? Caroline, I've carried responsibility for years now! You have NO idea what you're talking about or what I've had to live with!"
"I don't, do I?" she stepped back, realizing the scope of what he meant and just how out of his loop she was right now, "Then please tell me!" She hated how it sounded like an accusation and a plad, "Just go ahead and enlighten me, then, since I have no idea how to be responsible and grow up. It's not like I'm carrying a baby or anything! Talk about responsibility!" Caroline said, her voice raised as she glared at Klaus.
"Bloody hell, that's what I'm trying not to do! This isn't yours to deal with! You're already being responsible for the both of us so pardon me from trying to spare you from dealing with any more of my 'baggage', sweetheart," he ground out, jumping up and beginning to pace around the kitchen. She didn't deserve this. He knew that.
"I'd rather deal with your baggage than try to figure out what the hell you're talking about! God, Klaus, you would be the one to freak out about watching over a two-year-old for no good reason! You over think everything! It's ridiculo-"
"I killed my brother, Caroline!" Klaus finally yelled, voice shaking, "He's dead and it's my fault! Forgive me for 'overthinking' and 'freaking out' about potentially harming our baby when I have to babysit a two-year-old!"
Caroline stopped all of her movements and looked up at him with careful shock in her eyes, "You what?" she whispered.
Klaus stopped pacing, his eyes went wide, and he swallowed nervously as he realized what he'd just said, how his biggest, most well kept secret had slipped out carelessly. He gulped again before meeting Caroline's concerned gaze. He couldn't stand that look- that burning desire to see into his mind and make all the dark go away. Because she couldn't. No one could do that by him and he didn't deserve that look. So he just couldn't answer her. Not now, not ever. That wasn't supposed to come out. God damnit how could she always pull these things out of him?!
He had to get out. Maybe running would make her forget everything that he'd just said. It was irrational but it was the only thought he could accept in that moment. Taking deep breaths, Klaus turned and grabbed his car keys.
"What…? Where are you going?"
He didn't answer. He couldn't bring himself to without breaking. His brother. His baby brother. Little Henrik with his bright eyes and big heart. Gone and it had been all his fault and nothing shamed him more than knowing that.
"Nik?!" Caroline asked again, a frantic tone in her voice.
He turned for a split second on his way out the door, looking back at Caroline's shocked figure over his shoulder-something in his chest aching to comfort her and aching more because he knew he couldn't- before walking briskly out the door and leaving Caroline standing alone in the kitchen, his confession floating around in the tense silence as he tried to prevent the onslaught of memories breaking through his carefully constructed defenses.
"But Lijah, we wanted to go for ice cream before we went home." Nik could remember the small voice perfectly in his mind as it whined innocently, as if it had taken place yesterday instead of years ago. His little brother was the only person that could make whining sound innocent.
Elijah gripped the wheel harder in irritation, "Henrik, we're already late. Father will be angrier the later we get in."
The boys knew that Elijah respected their father and tried his best to keep them all out of trouble, but Henrik was right. They had planned on stopping to get ice cream. Klaus laughed morosely to himself at their petulance. With Rebekah at the next door neighbors and Mikael working late, Elijah had been in charge of getting them all fed when they'd ventured out for the evening.
Nik saw his six-year old brother pouting beside him, Finn sitting quietly in the front and Kol on the other side of Nik. He had rolled his eyes at Finn's indifference. But he was not indifferent. He had always had a weak spot for little Henrik; his heart clenched when his baby brother was sad.
Thirteen-year-old Nik knew that his brother would stay in a mood all night if he didn't distract him. That was the thing about Henrik, even at a young age he had the same stubborn talent Nik had- holding grudges for ridiculous amounts of time, but he was also very distractible, due to his age. Henrik's temperament could change minute by minute, but overall he was usually a happy boy and Nik tried to keep him that way.
"Ignore, Lij, Henry," Nik started in a conspiratorial voice, "He's just grumpy because his girlfriend broke up with him again today. And it looks permanent this time," Nik laughed, seeing Elijah's shoulders stiffen in the front seat and he anticipated his yell of, "Mind your own business, Niklaus. Don't teach our brother your childish ways of amusement." Elijah always did get extremely condescending when offended.
He kept going, baiting him, nudging Henrik, then Kol, with his shoulder knowing that seeing his uptight brother pissed off always made Henrik laugh.
"Oh come, on Elijah, you can admit your heartbreak! We won't tell!"
That got Kol, possibly the most talented at being irritating of all of them, to join in. "Yeah, Lij. Tell us about your girl! Do you think you can get her back?"
They could all see their oldest brother's posture change from mildly irritated to wanting to rip heads off. They all had tempers like that and Nik knew right that second that he had flipped the switch on Elijah's. His personal life was personal. They all knew that.
He gripped the wheel hard and turned over his shoulder with a growl,"I will not tell any of you anything! I will not even acknowledge if you're anywhere in the vicinity of being correct! I'm trying to drive without the incessant ribbing of your-"
Bright headlights flashing in all of their eyes and the horrible, haunting sound of screeching tires is all Nik really remembered of the next few moments as Elijah turned off the road as quickly as he could, the car jostling all of them before it flipped once. Kol had gripped the seat in front of him, hugging it tightly as two of his teeth were knocked out. Finn had thankfully been wearing a seat belt that constricted around him and bruised his chest. The airbag pushed out onto Elijah, cracking one of his ribs but keeping him inside the car. Nik had forgotten everything else in panic and grabbed for Henrik, holding him around the waist as the driver slammed into the side of their car that Henrik was sitting on. He could feel his little brother being hit in the side and falling over in his arms, his head bashing into the opposite window. He wasn't wearing a seat belt. The next few moments were full of screams, panicked breathing, and his own fuzzy vision before everything went black.
He hadn't known what was happening until later when he was laying in his own hospital bed, the bright lights glaring down at him, blinding him as if he were in an inquisition. Klaus had sustained a concussion and internal bleeding and had to undergo surgery. That was when the truth had come out- that he wasn't Mikael's son- and confirmed his father's suspicions about his true parentage, changing his life for the worst.
Klaus remembered waking up to his father and brothers in his room, waiting for him to wake. Rebekah was in his father's arms and she pounced on the bed as soon as his eyes had opened and adjusted to the white lights, kissing his 'boo-boos' to 'make him better'.
He knew there was something wrong, with a heavy silence weighing them down, his brother's strained smiles as they ruffled his hair and squeezed his sore shoulders before Mikael and Elijah shooed them all from the room.
They stood there, one on either side of him. Elijah's eyes were glassy and, even at thirteen, Klaus could count on his fingers the number of times he'd seen his big brother cry and it terrified him. Mikael was upset. He was strangely calm, acting for all the world like he was relieved Klaus had made it out alive and while he now knew the reason behind the almost-smile that graced the man's lips, it had chilled him to the core. The thought of it still did.
Mikael was speaking, Elijah reaching for his hand, kneeling down so he was level with his head. Everything was a blur, he couldn't even remember anything that was said except for five words.
"Niklaus, Henrik didn't make it."
Those five words rang in his mind, hitting him with an impact equivalent to the force of the crash he'd been in and shattered his world permanently.
It wasn't until after they had all gone home that Klaus remembered clearly and realized what had happened. He didn't see the blue and red glare of the EMT lights reflecting off of Elijah's face as he shouted and begged the paramedics to do something while Henry lay with a bloody head on a stretcher, but he pieced together the event in his mind from what he did see.
Before Elijah could have finished the yelling he'd started for their teasing, a trucker had slammed into the side of the car that Henrik was sitting on. Elijah had turned the wheel when he turned around to yell at them. The truck had veered slightly out of its lane. In five minutes, their kid brother was dead. He could still see Kol crying by his bedside. Kol never cried again after that night.
But Nik did.
Sitting in his SUV, gripping the steering wheel with white knuckles and tears on his cheeks, Klaus let the memories come. There was no stopping them now. They were out in the open, floating about unguarded except for the darkness and the isolation of his SUV.
A/n: Ok so…that was depressing. I'm sorry for those feels. I got carried away. You guys know I have a morbid fascination with sad flashbacks. Kaitlin wrote the first half of that scene and I wrote the morbid end of it…Anyway, hopefully the babysitting fluff balanced that out. Anyway, Klaus isn't gone for good. They just need some time apart before they make up, probably with yelling and rough kissing. But if you want more than that, you'll have to ask because this is a T fic. Haha.
Oh Ps! Did anyone else hear about the Kindle publishing fanfiction and giving authors royalties soon? Woo hoo! I'd get paid for my madness. If you guys bought this that is. Oh, Kaitlin would too!