AUTHOR'S NOTE: Hello my lovelies! How are we? I hope everyone is staying warm, I'm buried under almost 7 inches of snow. I can't wait for Spring.
Thanks to klarolineepiclove, a-little-blonde-distraction, hybridlovelies, and jomosfamilyjewels for their betaing help. Also, huge apologies and thanks to Kristen aka sweetklausoline. She's the one who gave me the idea of having Tatia kidnapping the kids and I wanted to make sure to acknowledge her since I hadn't before.
I wanted to say thank you to all of my readers, reviewers and say hello to the new readers! I love reading you cheering the twins on, calling Tatia buckets of crazy or planning her demise. You all are perfect!
So I'll just shut up now and let you read:
The room was still dark when Klaus woke. A quick glance at the bedside clock told him that it had been less than three hours since he and Caroline had gone to bed. Neither of them had wanted to, how could either of them sleep when the twins were still missing? However his siblings had forced it upon them, claiming that the two of them looked like death before they had retreated to their own homes save for Kol who was asleep on the living room couch. Bonnie had also had stayed after the search had been halted for the night and had taken Caroline's old room, wanting to offer some support to her friend.
Klaus turned and looked at his fiancée's side of the bed, not a bit surprised that it was empty. He had realized he was alone from the moment he became conscious and he got up to go and look for her. As he exited their bedroom, he caught sight of the devastation that was his studio. His anger and grief not to mention the helplessness he was feeling at not being able to be part of the search for his children and had taken it out on his studio. It hadn't brought them back, but it had released a little bit of his anger so that when they did find them, he wouldn't kill his ex-wife out right.
He continued down the stairs until he reached the second story. Unable to stop himself, he veered off the staircase and glanced in the open door of Henry's bedroom. There wasn't much light, just enough from the hallway but he could see that it was exactly how his son had left it the day before when he left for school, everything neat and orderly save for the dirty pajamas strung around the floor. Henry liked to keep his stuff organized, though for the life of him Klaus had never figured out what the system he used was, but he knew where everything was at a moment's notice. However clothes were another story, he and Caroline were always telling him to pick them up but it never seem to stick. A noise from Henry's dresser reminded Klaus of his son's pet Norbert, who had caught sight of him and was moving around his aquarium anxiously.
Klaus started to think that someone would need to feed the lizard soon since his owner was unable to but quickly shot the thought down. Henry would be back soon and would be able to do it, even if Klaus himself had to leave the house and tear the city apart to find him.
After he made his way back out of the bedroom, Klaus returned to the stairs to continue looking for Caroline. He didn't want to stop in Lexi's room like he did Henry's, seeing both of their beds empty when the twins should have been in them sleeping was too much.
Once he reached the first floor, he glanced in the living room and was surprised to see that both couches were empty. He half expected to see Caroline on one talking to his brother or at the least Kol sleeping on the other but the room was vacant. A noise from the kitchen alerted him to where the blonde he was searching for was and he spun on his heel to head in that direction.
When he entered the kitchen, his eyes instantly took in the scene before him. Caroline was in the middle of a collection boxes, cans, and bags of food, mixing something in a large bowl. By the dusting of white powder on her forehead and the pajamas she was still wearing, she looked to be baking something. He should have assumed this would be the first spot to look for her.
While he had left a path of destruction earlier, Caroline had done the exact opposite. Once it had sunk in that they were trapped in the house while everyone else looked for the twins, she became a whirlwind of activity. She cleaned most of the house; putting away all of the Christmas decoration that were still out, organizing the wedding plans, cleaning or dealing with anything and everything that could keep her busy. He knew that it was her way of coping and had not stood in her way but now he couldn't stand by.
Caroline had yet to notice him, and he took the moment to observe her. She looked as if she hadn't slept in days, instead of only twenty four hours and could see why Sage had pushed the two of them upstairs earlier. Her face was pale, her blonde hair piled messily on top of her head, and redness rimmed her normally vibrant blue eyes, eyes that suddenly turned towards him. They were filled with the same sorrow and sadness that he had seen in them earlier along with fear. But it didn't stop her from giving him a small sad smile. "Hey."
"Hey yourself." Klaus replied as he made his way further into the kitchen. "What is all of this? We were under strict order to sleep if I recall."
"I did, I mean…I was. But a dream woke me up and I couldn't get back to sleep so I thought I'd come down here so I don't wake you. I was talking to the officers who are on duty and remembered how my mom used to get the worst food when she worked the night shift so I thought I'd make them something." Caroline rambled, as she brought up their other house guests. Lt. Shane had two of his officers stationed at their house around the clock, and were currently residing in the back sitting room where they had set up a makeshift office. "I had all of the ingredients for those pumpkin muffins that Lexi likes so much and Henry eats anything so I thought I could whip up a batch and then they'd be here when they…"
Seeing her eyes filling with tears and her voice crack ever so slightly caused Klaus to move forward and take her in his arms before finishing her sentence. "When they come home."
Caroline nodded, "I know. Any minute we'll get a call from Lt. Shane saying that they found them and are bringing them home to us."
She turned away from him then, focusing back on her baking but not before Klaus caught something else in her eye. Coming up behind her, he placed his hands on her hips and pulled her against him. "What is it Caroline? There's something you're not telling me."
Caroline only shook her head. "I don't know what you're talking about."
"Yes, you do." Klaus retorted. "When you turned away from me, I saw it...guilt."
The word was barely out of his mouth and he felt Caroline's body go rigid that he knew he was right. "Love, what could you possibly feel guilty about?"
There were a few moments of silence before she gave him an answer. "It's my fault, her taking them, it's my fault."
"No, it's not." He argued before spinning her around again to face him. "Tatia is the one that took them…"
"But she wouldn't have if it wasn't for me!" Caroline responded.
"You don't honestly believe that?" Klaus asked. "What have you ever done but love the twins and be the mother that they never had?"
"That's exactly what I did; she left you guys alone for years until I came into the picture and took her place." She stated. "And I threw that in her face. Then I led her to them, giving her exactly what she needed so she could snap them up."
"What are you talking about?" Klaus inquired.
Caroline sighed deeply. "How else could she have known where they went to school if she hadn't followed me the other day after I slammed the door in her face? It's my fault; I should have paid more attention…"
"Caroline, none of this is your fault." Klaus consoled her, cupping her face so she was forced to look at him. "This is all Tatia's and if anyone else's mine. You did nothing wrong, how could you have known that she would do this? None of us did."
"And if you being in our lives brought Tatia back then so be it, I'd rather have you and dealing with her than not to have you. You complete mine and the twins' lives Caroline, and the twins will say the same thing when we find them, because we will find them." Klaus declared. "Tatia reacted impulsively and the police will catch up with her."
Though she wanted to believe Klaus' promise but her fear still created doubt. "The dream I had, it was about them, a nightmare and that's why I couldn't go back to sleep."
"Tell me about it." Klaus beseeched, he could see she was about to decline but a quick look of pleading had her giving in. He knew she was very stressed and tired or she would have put up more of a fight.
"It was something out of one of those Lifetime Movies, where the child is kidnapped and isn't found for years. The twins were all grown up, and we saw them on the street with Tatia. They looked different but it was still them you know?" Caroline asked though she really didn't expect Klaus to answer. "And we ran up and hugged them but they didn't hug us back. They looked at us like we were strangers and were asking Tatia, who they called Mom, who we were…then I woke up. I was shaking and the thought of going back to sleep and facing that again was too much so I came down here."
Klaus nodded in understanding, he could imagine how the dream had torn Caroline up inside, he would have reacted the same way. And he couldn't blame her for not wanting to go back to sleep afterwards, regardless of how exhausted she was feeling. So he wasn't going to force her to go back upstairs with him like he'd be planning to, instead he looked around the kitchen then back to her. "Well what can I do to help?"
Caroline smiled gratefully at him before nodding to the fridge. "They will need some protein to go with the muffins so why don't you get out the eggs and bacon. I'm sure the smell of it is going to wake up Bonnie and Kol but maybe not."
"Where is my brother?" Klaus asked. "I thought he'd be passed out in living room, is he in Lexi's room?"
Caroline shook her head. "I don't know for sure, but I'm pretty sure he's with Bonnie in my old room."
Klaus' eyebrows shot up in surprise. "You're serious?"
Nodding at him, she explained. "I know he's kind of dating Anna but it wasn't that serious and it seems like the two of them kind of reconnected I guess? Extreme situations cause people to rethink things. I don't know, I'll talk to her later, once this is over."
Knowing that it was Bonnie who ended things between her and his brother, he was sure that Kol wasn't upset at her apparent turnaround and he hoped that Kol didn't screw things up. He liked Anna, but Caroline's friend seemed to ground his bachelor brother a bit more.
The two of them worked side by side baking and cooking and before long, they had a meal prepared for the pair of grateful officers. After forcing something down him beside coffee, Caroline got to work on cleaning up the kitchen. The sun had been up about an hour when Bonnie and Kol joined them and shortly after, Klaus' phone went off. Recognizing the newly familiar number, he answered. "Lt. Shane?"
"Mr. Mikaelson, there's been a development with your children."
The twins were wide-awake when the lock to their door clicked, announcing their captor's presence. They'd been up for awhile, talking and making a plan on what to do. After they had calmed down a little the night before, the twins started thinking of a way to let the cops and their parents know where they were or if they were lucky, get away. They hadn't seen any phones so they had to think of something else, they just hoped it worked.
Tatia made her way cautiously inside, and saw the two children sitting quietly on the bed. When they didn't jump right up and rush at her immediately like they had the night before when she had been nice enough to bring them some dinner, she relaxed a little. It seemed the little brats had finally realized who was in charge. "I see the two of you have calmed down a bit, no more silly arguments right?"
Both of the twins nodded, shook their heads, giving her the answer they figured she'd want. She smiled brightly at their reply, "Good, well I guess you guys probably want something to eat. Growing and all of that."
"Yes, please." Henry answered. The only thing that they had eaten were a few bags of chips, and soggy sandwiches since lunch at school the day before. While they wanted to go home, their stomachs just wanted something to eat.
Tatia studied them for a minute before opening the door wider. "Come with me to the kitchen, and have breakfast. But if you misbehave, I'll toss you both right back in here understand?"
Again, the twins nodded in unison, getting up from the bed and heading to the door. They followed her back down the stairs, looking around at everything they had missed seeing the night before when they had been dragged upstairs. There wasn't much, all the windows had curtains over them so they couldn't see outside and there still was no phone in sight. They did see the large front door though, and they could see that it had one of those locks that could be unlocked just by flipping the switch. They just had to get to it, but they were steered away and to the kitchen.
"Here we go." Tatia announced, motioning to the table with flourish.
Lexi and Henry saw all kinds of stuff that their dad and Caroline would never give them for breakfast, or at least not this much. Powdered donuts, pop tarts, pastries, along with chocolate milk. They looked at each other before launching themselves at the food on the table.
As the kids started to gorge themselves on the food, Tatia moved to get herself a cup of coffee. The two of them would be busy for a while, after all didn't all kids dream of breakfasts full of junk food?
After getting a few things in their stomachs, Henry reached for his milk but ended up knocking it over instead. It had been almost full and he hit it hard enough that it had gone flying all over the place, making a huge mess.
Tatia jumped up right away, cursing as she did. "Look at the mess you made! Can't you do something as simple as drink from a glass without making a mess!"
But Lexi and Henry took advantage of her distraction and dashed out of the room, heading straight for the front door. Despite her shorter legs, Lexi reached it first. She twisted the lock quickly and yanked the door open before barreling through it, Henry right behind her. They heard Tatia yelling for them as Henry slammed the door behind them but it didn't stop her for long. She flew out the door, chasing after them as the twins reached the sidewalk. They didn't know where they were so they took a chance and turned left, running as fast as their legs could take them. Unfortunately, they only made it a block before she caught up with them.
Seeing that she was so close to them, Henry did the only thing he could think of to make sure that at least one of them got away. He reached over and shoved Lexi forwarded, propelling her away from Tatia's reach. "Lexi, go!"
Lexi looked over her shoulder just in time to see Tatia grab her brother's arm and yank him to her. Though he had told her to go, she couldn't abandon him. She whirled around, rushing towards them as she opened her mouth and screamed. "Get away from him! Stop hurting him!"
Henry joined and the two of them caused a huge commotion. Tatia was starting to panic when she saw people passing by starting to pay attention to them. She needed to get these two back inside and quickly. She tightened her grip on Henry while grabbing a hold of his sister. "Stop this or you aren't going to like what happens when we get back to the house."
"We aren't going anywhere with you!" Henry yelled. "We want to go home!"
Tatia moved to drag them again back to the house but before she could, a woman and two men surrounded them.
"Ma'am, is there a problem?"
"No, no problem. I'm just trying to get my children home, so we can get to school but you know how kids are." Tatia lied, giving them her sweetest smile while rolling her eyes as if the twins were just acting out.
"She's lying!" Lexi exclaimed.
Henry nodded. "She's not our mother! She took us from our parents!"
"Help us." Lexi added.
"Now you two stop all these dramatics or these nice people are going to think you're serious." Tatia scolded. "Now it's time for school…"
Tatia tried again to lead them away but their audience stopped them, that was when she noticed that one of them had out their cell phone. She could hear the woman talking to the police, and she knew that there was only one way out of this. She'd have to punish Klaus another way.
Releasing her hold on both of the kids, Tatia took off in the opposite direction. However, she only made it a half a dozen steps before the two men grabbed a hold of her. "Take your hands off of me!"
"I don't think so Miss," One of them said. "We're going to have the police come and sort this out."
Lexi and Henry watched the whole scene, until the woman kneeled down in front of them. "Don't worry, sweeties. We'll figure this out."
Klaus and Caroline were out of the SUV before the officer had even come to a full stop, rushing past the blockades towards the gathering of officers. After Lt. Shane had called them to inform them that the twins had been located, they had insisted on seeing them right away and not waiting for them to bring the twins home. Therefore, they had demanded that the officer either take them there or they would go themselves, which is how they had ended up at the scene of where they had been found.
Caroline and Klaus had covered half the distance when they spotted a pair of familiar blonde heads, who noticed them at the same time. Before Lt. Shane could stop them, the twins pulled away and bolted towards them. "Dad! Mom!"
Klaus caught Lexi as she jumped into his arms, while Henry almost tackled Caroline with a hug. With him in her arms, Caroline felt as if she could breathe for the first time since she had arrived at school to find them missing. Klaus reached over and pulled her and Henry in close with his other arm, and Caroline was able to hug Lexi as well. She felt the tears rising up in her eyes and didn't stop them as they began to fall. Things could have gone so wrong; she could have been shed tears of sorrow as easily as tears of joy.
Henry noticed the tears falling from her face then. "Mom, why are you crying? We're here."
"They're happy tears sweetie." Caroline replied, before realizing what he had called her, what they had both called her when they had come running to them. "You called me…Mom."
Both of the kids nodded, before Lexi spoke up. "Is it okay? You are our mom…"
"It's fine sweetie, it's perfect." Caroline answered as she leaned up and kissed Lexi's cheek before doing the same to the top of Henry's head.
Klaus' expression caught her eye then, he was watching them with unrestrained adoration and pride. Anything she wanted to say was caught in her throat so she just kept hugging them, her family until Lt. Shane joined them. He quickly elaborated on the brief account he had given them on the phone, explaining how the kids had been found and what else they had found out. Tatia had hidden herself and the twins away in a nearby house, a house she had temporarily rented under the name Tatia Petrova, a version of their families' surname. "So in essence they rescued themselves with a little help from some good Samaritans. They are quite exceptional children."
"Yes, they are." Klaus agreed as he looked at his children proudly then back to the Lieutenant. "Where is my ex-wife?"
"We have her in custody in the back of one of the cars. We were just about to transport her…" Lt. Shane informed them before they were cut off by a familiar screech.
"We are their family and so help me if you don't let me past this line then you are going to know exactly how it feels to have a size six stiletto shoved up your ass."
The group turned to see Katherine with Elijah and the rest of the family behind him, including Bonnie and Kol. Thankfully they were known to the officer in charge and he waved them in. The twins quickly pulled away from their parents to hug their aunts and uncles. As they did, Klaus looked to Lt. Shane. "I want to speak with her, with Tatia. I know she's in custody but I want to talk to her."
"Me too." Katherine said speaking up. "She's my sister, and I want to ask her why she did this."
"This is very unorthodox, but I'll allow it though I don't think she will say much." Lt. Shane responded.
Before he moved to follow the other man, Klaus looked Caroline, taking in her reaction to his request. She seemed to understand why he was doing it and nodded to him. Klaus motioned for Katherine to go ahead of him, though he was pretty sure she would have knocked him over if he hadn't and the two followed the officer.
As they approached, one of the other officers retrieved Tatia from inside the vehicle. Klaus' eyes instantly went to the shining cuffs that bound her wrists but it was the hatred in her eyes that really caught his attention. However before he could say anything, Tatia's head was thrown to the side by the force of her sister's hand as she slapped her.
"Mrs. Mikealson!" Lt. Shane exclaimed as he tried to pull her away from the detainee but she was having none of it.
"How could you Tatia? I knew you were a vicious coldhearted bitch but this is low even for you!" Katherine screamed.
"You wouldn't understand." Tatia fired back.
"You took those kids away from those who love them! You used my bond with them so that they would trust you! Did you want them so badly?" Katherine asked. "I have a hard time believing that since you walked out on them so long ago."
"You have no idea what it is to hate someone so deeply that you are willing to do anything to punish them." Tatia explained.
As comprehension dawned on him, it was Klaus' turn to speak. "This had nothing to do with her desire to see them, but everything to do with getting back at me and hurting me in one of the worst ways.."
"I've wanted to hurt you for years," Tatia confessed. "But knowing that you were alone was enough for me. When I saw the announcement in the paper of your engagement, I couldn't let you be happy. I had planned to come back, drive a wedge between you and your beloved to the point that she would leave you and you'd be alone again. But I knew on that first day that you had her too blinded to believe that you might cheat on her with me. So when I saw her leaving the house to go get the twins, I was struck with inspiration. If I couldn't turn her away from you, I could turn them. Then you would be without the family you were willing to do anything to get which included destroying me."
Klaus cringed at her words. He knew what she meant, by forcing her to get pregnant; she saw him as the one who made her the way she was now. While her own actions were also part of that transformation, he knew his own were as well. A part of him felt as if he should apologize, but the hatred he felt for her after what she had done to the twins overrode it. Instead, he simply turned and walked away from her, Katherine beside him as they returned to where Caroline, Henry, Lexi and the others were waiting. They could hear Tatia screaming at them, hysterical statements about Caroline playing house with her kids and Klaus being a maniacal sociopath but they ignored her. Thankfully the officers quickly subdued her, putting her back into the waiting squad car.
As he looked at the face of his children, he could see that they had heard every word that Tatia had said as had Caroline. She was holding the twins' hands tightly, while leaning over and talking to them. "Don't pay any attention to her, she's just trying to hurt us more but we won't let her, will we?"
Both Lexi and Henry just shook their heads, not even bothering to look at the woman who gave birth to them, instead focusing on the mother in front of them. Caroline looked up at him, giving him a brilliant smile before saying.
"Let's go home."
And with that, the four of them turned their backs on Tatia forever.
We are almost to end guys, just one (possibly two but probably one) more parts and then the Epilogues. Yes, I said epilogues. I plan to do more than one so as to show glimpses of their lives in the future. My wonderful betas have given me a few ideas for them that I think you'll like.