Thank you so much for your patience. My life got really hectic. And I didn't want to rush the last chapter. So it took some TLC.
"Hoy, Bella!" Hayley smiled and shook her head. She slowly turned around to see a few Spaniard boys smiling at her. The brave one who had catcalled her took a step forward. He was wearing a white tank and a black leather jacket. His friends were sitting on their motorcycles, watching him.
"Que quieres?" Hayley said with amusement, allowing herself to humor the young boys just a little bit. She had been taking photographs at the local market, escaping before Elijah woke up and leaving a note to make sure he didn't worry. There were so many people swarming around, it was weird that she had been called out. Her expensive camera, which she hadn't allowed Elijah to buy her and demonstrated that she could compel the store owner without his money, was hanging off her shoulders by its strap.
"Tienes una sonrisa muy hermosa." The boy said with a confident smirk. He said the words slowly, guessing that she knew enough Spanish to understand his words but only if he spoke leisurely enough. "Y tu ojas…" He started to say.
"Usted no ha visto." She declared at soon as she heard the Spanish word for 'eyes'. She was currently wearing dark aviators, blocking anyone from seeing them. With her siren curse, she believed it made it easier to control when she shielded her eyes from the world. It had become a sort of comfort, especially in crowds.
"Si, corazón. Pero ya sé." A few feet behind him, his friends laughed at his charm.
Hayley laughed lightly and stepped intimately closer, making it seem like she were about to kiss him. The boy's cocky smile faltered just the slightest bit. "You should go back to your friends before I decide to drink your blood." She saw the boys dark green eyes dilate under her compulsion. "Vuelve a tus amigos." She commanded even though her compulsion had already worked. The boy blinked with a blank expression but his smile returned quickly after. He grabbed her hand and lightly kissed it, proving his ego hadn't been damaged in the least bit.
Hayley laughed at his cockiness as he rejoined his friends. They got on their motorcycles and rode away but not before the one gave her a wink. Once they disappeared down a curled alleyway, she turned back to the market. She raised her camera's viewfinder to her eyes and snapped a view photos of people buying fruit at the stand a yard or two away. Her sunglasses sat on top of her head, holding back her red-blonde hair. It had become longer than she ever allowed it to. It was slightly wavy from the wind and her lack of concern for styling it properly.
"Tu necesidades de trabajo español." A voice said behind her. She would have sighed with annoyance from another distraction. But her breath caught in her throat when she recognized the voice, even as it spoke another language. Very slowly, she moved the camera down from her eye. "Tu acento es horrible." She heard them add, clearly smiling as they said it.
Hayley slowly turned around and saw Klaus standing amongst the crowd of the market. He was wearing a loose white t-shirt and dark green khaki pants that tucked into scuffed combat boots. His lips held a smile that she had not seen in quite some time. It was the smile she grew to adore before she knew him as Klaus: the brother of the man she loved, but also his enemy. It was Nik that stood before her now.
He had been missing when Elijah and Hayley left Mystic Falls only moments after Elijah had been resurrected before their eyes. At the time, she didn't care. She had been furious with Klaus. But deep down, she knew she was also disgusted with herself for saying she hated him with such a truthful tone. But as the weeks passed of her and Elijah traveling from one country to the next, she started missing her best friend.
Mystic Falls had become some curse that ate away at their friendship. Everything had been working against them. But as soon as Hayley left, the darkness felt like it had been lifted off of her. And certain moments of her day, she would find herself wondering about him and questioning if he had fallen over the dark edge of the tipping point he rested on throughout their friendship.
Hayley now stood uneasily as Klaus watched her closely. While she was expressionless, he was able to keep a certain lightness with his smirk. Eventually, a smile appeared once she got over the shock of his mere presence. She hurriedly walked over to him and wrapped him into an embrace. His arms immediately returned the motion.
She felt him release a breath. And she wondered if he had wondered about her as much as she had him since she'd left Mystic Falls. "What are you doing here?" Hayley asked after she forced herself to let him go. But her hands still grasped his shoulders and his hands were still on her waist.
"You didn't honestly believe I enjoyed that god forsaken town?" Klaus joked.
"You enjoyed it enough to build a mansion there." Hayley countered. Then her arms dropped from his shoulders and she broke away from his grasp on her hips. "I guess it lost its appeal when a key doppelgänger lost her purpose after being turned." Then she stopped herself before going on. He didn't come here to get accused by her even more. "I'm sorry…you're standing right in front of me after months and the first thing I do is start bringing up why we stopped talking."
Klaus' jaw tightened. And Hayley waited for his anger to erupt and for Nik to disappear. But he took in a deep breath and crossed his arms over his chest. "I should be the one apologizing." He watched her mouth drop open slightly from his statement. "I am sorry for the pain I have caused you. But what I am sorry for most is that I disparaged our friendship. And you must know that I value it almost more than my family."
Hayley looked around at the people passing by. She couldn't look into his eyes. Not when they were being so sincere, something practically unknown for Klaus. "Are you going to apologize to them too?" She asked him roughly.
"I have made many more mistakes and caused crueler harm to them. It will take more than an apology. And they hate me too much to truly forgive me within this century." Klaus said it without regret or guilt, but Hayley could see through the façade. She opened her mouth to say something but was cut off when he looked over her shoulder to a distance. "My dear brother has found you."
Hayley quickly turned around to see Elijah watching them from the end of the market. The wary gaze on his younger brother broke for a second as his eyes met Hayley's and his expression immediately softened. She gave him a small smile, saddened that he didn't seem surprised or even moved by Klaus' presence.
Hayley turned back around to see Klaus looking at her already, instead of his older brother. "It's okay." She whispered. His eyes widened just barely from the disbelief of her forgiveness. "I said things that hurt you. And maybe they should've been said. Maybe they had to in order for you to see what you are capable of turning into. But I can't imagine going through immortality without my friend."
Klaus nodded. Then without hesitating, he wrapped Hayley into a hug again. As his chin rested above her shoulder, he looked at Elijah to see he was staring cautiously at him. He trusted Hayley, but he would never trust Niklaus.
She broke away and Klaus' gaze turned back to her. He smiled at her and she started walking toward Elijah. When she felt that he wasn't following, she stopped and gave him a questioning look. Klaus just shook his head. It took her a moment to understand he wouldn't join her. Hayley narrowed her eyes in confusion but turned and continued walking to Elijah. When she reached him, she turned back around to see that Klaus was nowhere to be found.
"He came all this way just to apologize to me." Hayley said quietly as she stared at the spot he had just been standing. Then she looked up at Elijah. "But he wouldn't even do the same for you, let alone come and talk to you…his own brother."
"No, he didn't come here to apologize to me." Elijah said as he stared in the direction his younger brother had disappeared.
"How do you know?" Hayley challenged.
Then Elijah met her questioning gaze. "Because he knows I would not have forgiven him." Then he watched her face line, unconvinced that Klaus had flown across an ocean just to apologize only to her. "He came here for you, Hayley."
She was about to argue further, but a pack of children ran past them screaming and giggling. Her gaze followed them as they ran down the street. Immediately, she remembered a talk Elijah and her had at the beginning of their tour around Europe. They had been lying under the covers of their Paris bed, the French windows open to the rain outside.
"Elijah." Hayley whispered. Her head was resting on his well-built chest and her hand on his abs. She didn't have to look up at his face to know that he was paying attention and waiting for her to continue. "What did you see when-when you were dead?" She stuttered the question in a whisper. Even just recalling the memory made her breath hitch.
"What caused you to believe I saw anything at all?" He responded almost too smoothly.
That was when she tilted her neck to read him. "You hide it well." She gave him credit. Then she looked away. "You've been muttering in your sleep." She finally confessed in a whisper without making eye contact. She felt his entire body stiffen.
"I did not wish to burden you with my recollections. You have been traumatized enough by the event." Elijah said after a beat.
Hayley sat up and moved onto the pillow so she could look at him. "If you're trying to protect me from something, I can handle it. Obviously it's been on your mind. You never talk about what happened that night. And I thought you would open up over time, but it's been getting worse every night." Then she saw that he still seemed unconvinced. She reached out and brushed his cheek. "Talking about it and sharing it will only help." She proposed.
Elijah stared into her eyes for what seemed like minutes. He wanted to tell her. But he honestly didn't know how she would react to the things his mother showed him. And he hated being ill equipped. He was always a step ahead. And he knew Hayley so well, but not with this.
"My mother was there, waiting for me." He said slowly. Hayley's expression remained composed, knowing if she showed a certain reaction Elijah wouldn't continue. He turned his head so he stared up at the high ceiling as he recalled the memories that had been haunting his dreams. "She showed me apparitions…things that could have been, things that I believed, things that I yearned for once." Elijah blinked. "I know she meant to help me, to let me see things that would make me hate myself less."
"But it made it worse." Hayley cut in. He didn't take his eyes off the ceiling as he nodded in agreement. "What did you see? I know it has something to do with me. Otherwise you wouldn't have tried so hard to hide it." She swallowed and wondered why her throat had become so dry all of the sudden. "Every time you look at me, it's like you're being reminded of something that causes an overwhelming amount of grief."
His stare snapped down to hers. "All of it was you." The clarification fled quickly from his mouth. "She showed me what I thought your life would have been had she not led it to mine. It was something I had imagined many times before, but actually seeing it caused a pain I can never describe. Jealousy: something I have rarely felt before you. I was filled with it. But she said it was never a possibility."
Elijah couldn't handle Hayley's encouraging face as he continued and looked back up at the ceiling. "Then…it was if we had never met." His jaw closed and tightened as he decided he did not wish to elaborate any further.
"Was it really that bad?" Hayley tried to laugh it off. But then Elijah gave her a look and she knew it was. Her smile immediately faded. He didn't need to say anymore. Somehow she had always known her life would have been darker than she could ever imagine if she had never met Elijah…or Klaus. Even when she became upset with Esther for steering her life, she still knew it was for the best.
"And the last?" Hayley murmured after silence had settled for too long. Elijah mouth opened to speak, but the words didn't come out. His throat had become dry. He turned slowly to look at her. And she swore she saw him blink back tears.
"A child." He rasped. Her brow furrowed with misunderstanding. "Our child." He simplified. "She looked just like you. Except her hair…she got that from me."
All of Hayley's composure was lost as she put together what he was saying. He had seen their unborn child, the thing that their love would never be able to bring to the world. Her eyes watered but she quickly blinked, trying to stay strong for his benefit.
"She reminded me of you and the day we met. I was simply walking and you sat abandoned on the curb, just waiting to change my life." Elijah finished with a sad smile.
"Maybe Esther was giving you the fight to get back to this side." Hayley muttered through a sniff. Holding back the tears still caused her nose to run.
"An impossibility?" Elijah countered.
"No. The idea that you cared enough to fight death." She clarified.
Hayley glanced at Elijah and saw that he had caught her watching the children for a period of time that proved she'd been thinking about their past conversation.
"I would've been a horrible mom." She said lightly. "I never wanted kids. I spent my whole life terrified that I'd be my parents."
"As does everyone." Elijah tried to reassure her.
"But does everyone lose sleep over the thought?" She challenged. Her mind was always wondered about how much of her problems were caused by her parents. Her inability to trust others, her darkness that threatened to devour, her failure to express her emotions, how much of that would have disappeared had other parents raised her?
He shifted his weight while his hands were in suit pockets. The weather was warm, therefore Elijah's usual attire shifted slightly. Instead of his dark suits, he now wore a light, almost khaki color. His shirt was a baby blue and his tie navy.
"Then why did it make you so sad?" He asked her. They both knew he was referring to her reaction when he shared his in-between visions from his mother.
Hayley looked down, knowing her answer already but embarrassed to tell him. "Because I saw how much you wished it could be true."
Elijah sighed and stepped closer to her. With one hand, he cupped her cheek and gently kissed her lips. He lingered there, not caring that countless people were around them. Hayley was not for public affections, but he didn't care. His point needed to be made. "For the record, you will forever be more than I want and beyond what I deserve." He kissed her before she could make any sarcastic comments or arguments. Then he moved his mouth to her ear to whisper. "And you would have been an amazing mother, despite what you believe." Her cheek felt his swift kiss.
"I do not fully understand why you are so curious after all this time?" Elijah laughed as they drove around countless hills. The roads were not even paved, instead made out of dirt that was still wet from recent rainfall. Short walls of piled up stone lines either side of the road. Mist lingered in the distance, making it hard for them to see the tops of many peaks. Yet the scenery was so green that it made Hayley feel like she was in a movie instead of real life.
"Well, this is the only place you've kept secret." She argued through a smile.
"Theoretically, I have kept all of our destinations a secret."
Hayley rolled her eyes. "Yes, but you are refusing to answer absolutely any of my questions and you didn't hire a driver." She pointed out and gestured to him steering the g-class Mercedes that caused them to stick out compared to all of the other small, European cars. But they hadn't passed anyone in the last hour and a half. "The only thing I know is that we're in Ireland. But that's only because of the airport." She murmured, not bothering to hide her annoyance of being kept in the dark.
"This place is unmarked on any map. No one has even been informed of its location or actuality. And I wish for it to remain that way. Therefore, I am driving." Elijah informed her very calmly and glanced over to see that she was watching him seriously. Apparently she hadn't expected it to be such a disclosure.
They were driving between two steep hills when Elijah followed the road into a sharp turn. Hayley turned her attention to the road ahead and stared in awe when they began driving through a tunnel made solely out of trees that had overlapped each other from both sides of the road. Nothing could be seen through the foliage as they continued forward. Elijah watched her carefully, interested by how amazed she appeared.
When the end of the tunnel was reached, a new sight was displayed. On the left, they were only yards away from the edge of a cliff. A hundred feet below, waves crashed against the rocky wall. On the cloudy day, the ocean had a hauntingly grey tint to it. At the other side of the road, green mountains jagged the grounds. It seemed like anyone who ventured through them would never come back. Hayley's jaw dropped as she took in the new scenery around them.
"This is incredible." She breathed to herself.
Elijah smirked at her personal comment. Once they passed the large knoll they had been driving alongside for the past few minutes, they could see downward at the bottom of the cliff they seemed to be driving on amongst the other mountains. A few miles down, a mansion rested on flat ground. Although they were still far away from it, Hayley could roughly see it below and knew that was their destination.
But 20 minutes later, Elijah was driving through an iron gate that was the only opening to get inside the property. On either side of the gate, tall stone pillars rested with gargoyles on top of both. The mansion got closer and closer to view as Elijah drove forward. Hayley became even more stunned as she realized 'mansion' didn't justify it at all. The estate was a Victorian-gothic castle, stretching for what seemed like blocks. It was made of stone and extravagantly covered in vines. With the overcast and greenery, it made Hayley feel like she was in an ancient folklore.
Eventually, Elijah stopped the car right at end of the stone driveway. Hayley didn't break her stare at the castle as she got out of the car. She was quiet as her eyes took in every detail of the structure. Elijah remained content as seeing her literally speechless. After what felt like moments, she finally looked at him over the hood of the car as he leaned against it.
"This belongs to your family?" She asked in shock.
Elijah shook his head. "No. It belongs only to me. As well as you...Hayley Mikaelson was formally comprised in the deed as of yesterday." He saw her eyes widened in disbelief. He stepped around the car to stand by her side, looking at the castle along with her. "It is one of the few properties that solely belong to me instead of my entire family. They are not even aware of its existence." Hayley took her eyes off of the estate once again to regard him with confusion. "When I finally broke away from Niklaus and Rebekah, it was where my escape ended. This is the first home I could call my own."
Hayley finally understood and held the house with a different outlook. It now appeared as it truly was: a safe haven, a sanctuary, and a home that would never be destroyed. Without looking away from it, she gently grabbed his hand, intertwining their fingers. She leaned into him and rested her head on his shoulders. Elijah didn't realize how much it meant to her, sharing such a place with her. It felt like they were the last of civilization, having this green world to them as their own paradise.
"I assured it was ready for our arrival. But the servants were under strict orders to leave for our stay." Elijah stated. "I recognized long ago how much you hate being waited on. I thought you would prefer it unoccupied."
Hayley smiled at his consideration. Her thumb continuously brushed his as their hands stayed together. "I thought you said no one knows about it." She wondered.
"They have all been compelled into secrecy." He assured her. Then he fulfilled his urge to kiss her and lightly pressed his lips to her cheek. "As of right now, we are lost to the world…we do not exist." He said softly.
"I think the clouds are going away just in time for sunrise!" Hayley squealed excitedly. She was practically skipping ahead of Elijah as he followed with a beaming smile that no one else would see but her.
"Shouldn't you be more disconcerted that you had to stay up all night instead of waking up early to see the sunrise?" He teased her.
Hayley immediately stopped her frolicking and she purposely removed her smile. Slowly, she turned and walked toward him. A foot or two away, she stopped and crossed her arms as she narrowed her eyes. "I didn't hear you complaining all through the night."
Elijah smirked at her suave reference about their delicate intimacy.
Hayley beamed at getting the reaction she wanted. She closed the distance between them. Her hand instinctively went for his tie, but there was not one around his neck. She settled with her hand grazing from his bare collarbone to his shoulder. "It is quite weird seeing you wear something other than a suit or nothing at all."
Elijah glanced down at his attire. In place of his suite, he had a navy dress shirt that was unbuttoned completely, showing off his sculpted upper body. And his legs were exposed for once with his grey swim shorts. "Well it is rather inappropriate to go swimming in a suit." He mocked her. A grin slowly grew on Hayley's lips she began walking backwards and started making her way up a small dune of sand.
Above them, the clouds parted just like she had predicted. Elijah glanced up at beautiful sky above them. He had taken her to Ireland during its short time of good weather. She hated tropical places, but she loved water. It was like he had chosen this place hundreds of years ago for her without knowing.
Hayley could hear the waves just on the other side of the sand hill. "If anyone would swim in a suit, its you." She giggled as she made her way over sand. Elijah looked away from the sky and quickly followed. As soon as he reached the top and looked down at her, time seemed to slow.
Her feet were at the very edge of the shore, barely letting the water touch her skin. She squealed with delight at being at the beach, something that she was never accessible to during her human life in the Midwest. As soon as she felt Elijah's eyes on her, she turned and skipped back to him. She was speaking to him, but he was too engrossed with her appearance to hear.
Right in that moment, before his eyes, was the first vision he had ever seen of Hayley. Earlier, he hadn't realized she was wearing the same black and white striped bathing suit with the oversize baby blue sweater. When had watched the scene before, he had confused the setting for a sunset.
"Elijah?" Hayley questioned him out of his daze, seeing that he was zoning out. Then she laughed at catching him preoccupied. It was the laugh he had heard that night, years ago. He looked at her as if she wasn't real. Then she became concerned once she read his expression. "Why are you looking at me like that?" She asked softly.
Elijah opened his mouth. But when he tried to speak, his throat was as dry as the sand he stood on. He cleared his throat. "You know of how I learnt of your existence."
She slowly nodded, brow creased with confusion on how that had anything to do with how he was acting. "Genevieve showed you a vision of me."
"This. Right here." Elijah gasped. For some reason, it was hard for him to breathe or even speak as he saw the sunrise lighting her. Hayley tilted her head slightly and gave him an encouraging smile, waiting for him to elaborate further. But he simply stared deeper into her eyes. And ever so slowly, she understood what he was saying.
"This is what you saw? This is what led you to me?" She asked. Elijah nodded with a clenched jaw. Hayley looked down at herself and around at setting they were engrossed in. It was like she was trying to picture what it had all looked like to him when the prophecy was thrown upon him as his fate.
"It's like this was the moment we were supposed to fight for all along." Hayley whispered. She had a sad smile as she pulled the baggy sweater over her shoulder even though it would fall again in seconds. She walked to him and grabbed his hands in hers.
"I feel as though this cannot be real." Elijah murmured as he brushed her cheekbone. "I want to hate my mother. But how is it even possible when she brought me to you?" He looked into her eyes and couldn't stop falling in love with how they were the same color as the Irish sea. Her blonde-red hair fluttered in the beach wind.
"Did you ever wonder if this was her way of apologizing for turning you and your family? If she couldn't make you understand you aren't a monster from the in-between, she found someone who could." Hayley proposed.
"Then I accept her apology." Elijah answered. Before she had time to respond or even react, he kissed her passionately. Her hands instinctively went around his neck, kissing him back as the sun rose above the horizon and the dark clouds parted.
"I love you, Hayley. Always and forever." He whispered before continuing to kiss her.
For anyone who is curious, the castle was based on Margam castle Humewood castle.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for reading this story and sticking with me. There would be absolutely no point in writing any of my fanfics if no one shared how much they enjoyed them. So, to anyone who ever reviewed this story, thank you. You are the reason I was able to finish it.
In regard to the AU (Elijah/Hayley in 1700s) i mentioned in a few of the past chapters, I'm not sure if it's definite or not. But who knows.
Until next time...