A/N: Little story from when everyone thought Klaus was dead. We saw the Elijah and Bek hug but Kol kind of got forgotten. I absolutely LOVE Kol so I wrote this. Probably OOC but I can't bring myself to care.
Disclaimer: If I owned Vampire Diaries, Kol would be back on the show and the Originals would be family again. Klaus, Elijah, Kol and Rebekah.
The eight-year-old scrambled into the three, ignoring his brother yelling at him to come back down because he was going to get stuck. Kol's eyes were burning, tears pricking his eyes from his father's latest rant. He just wanted his family to be happy but he liked playing pranks. He had never meant to make Mikael so angry.
Kol curled into the fork of the branch, tears pouring down his cheeks as his messy hair fell into his eyes. He could hear his big brother yelling for him but couldn't bring himself to care. Elijah never got in trouble, not like this. It was always him and Nik. Mikael hated them both more than any of their siblings.
He looked around after a few minutes of heart-wrenching sobs, realising he was too high up. Kol had never climbed this high before, always scared he wouldn't be able to get down. He had never told anyone about his fears, no one except Elijah.
Kol was always a bit of a loner in his family. Klaus and Elijah were close and Rebekah fit perfectly into their little group. Hendrick and Rebekah were close too, the two of them being the youngest. Finn never really fit in with his siblings, preferring to help their mother out as much he could. Kol always annoyed his parents and most of his siblings but Elijah was the only one that wouldn't laugh at his fears.
And there he was, looking up at the huddled form in the tree. Kol met his brother's worried brown eyes and whimpered, "Elijah. I'm stuck."
The soft sigh caught his ears and Kol hung his head, feeling awful. He was only eight and kind of small for his age and he hadn't wanted to cause trouble for Elijah. Being the oldest meant he always had to be responsible and that he always had to help with his siblings. Kol felt sorry for him, always having to be in control, and the last thing he had wanted was to make things harder for his big brother. That's why he had hidden, so Elijah didn't have to watch him cry or feel like he had to make him feel better.
"Kol, just stay there. I'm going to get one of the villagers to help you down," Elijah promised, trying to smile up at his little brother even though he was worried. Kol had never gotten stuck before and he couldn't bear the thought of him getting hurt.
The younger froze, knowing that if anyone in the village told Mikael his father would be even angrier and he didn't want that. Mikael was the only thing he was scared of. The eight-year-old started trying to scramble down the tree, struggling to find handholds and footholds.
"Kol!" Elijah yelled, normally calm voice panicked. He could see his brother was going to slip, going to get himself killed. Just thinking about it made his heart wrench.
Just as he was about to run back to the village for help he saw Kol's foot slip and he fell. It wasn't a long drop but the half-choked scream of pain felt like a stab in the gut to Elijah as he raced towards his little brother. Kol was sobbing, arm twisted at a nasty angle and Elijah skidded to a stop next to him, gently trying to roll him over.
Two pairs of near-identical brown eyes met as Kol sobbed, "I-I'm sorry! I just didn't want Father to find out."
Elijah sighed, stroking his little brother's hair as he whispered, "I know brother. I know. We're all scared of him. We need to get you home."
Kol whimpered, nodding, and let Elijah help him to his feet. His left arm hung limply and as he stood the broken bones grated, bringing fresh tears to his eyes. He swayed weakly, pain in his arm growing by the second.
"Can you walk brother?" Elijah asked softly, steadying Kol. He shook his head and Elijah sighed before carefully lifting his brother into his arms.
Kol was light, luckily, and didn't protest to being carried. As Elijah started to walk to the village he whimpered softly, movements jarring the injured bones. Neither of them spoke until they were at the edge of the trees, the village visible beyond, and Elijah stopped.
"You should have listened to me Kol," the older sighed, looking down at his brother. "I know you hate me when I point out I'm oldest and know best but sometimes I do. You could've died."
Brown eyes dropped as Kol whispered, "I just didn't want Father to find out. I thought I'd be okay; it didn't seem like a big drop. I didn't think I'd get hurt."
"How about this Kol. From now on, if I tell you to stay, you stay. Just trust that I know best sometimes."
It was a thousand years later and Kol was hiding again, struggling to hold back the tears. His emotions were tearing through him, forcing their way to the surface after a thousand years of being shoved down. Klaus was dead. He was dead for good and he wasn't going to come back.
Even after all the anger he had felt for his half-brother knowing his he was gone and never coming back made his heart ache. Kol didn't want to feel, he hadn't for a long time. Anger and bloodlust and pleasure were all he could cope with. Once they had turned his family had been gone and he had run as fast as he could before Mikael found him. He'd always be scared of him.
Hendrick was dead, his sweet little brother, his favourite sibling. Finn was dead and even if Kol had hated his self-sacrificial self-loathing streak he hadn't wanted him dead, even if it hadn't killed the rest of the family. Klaus was dead and he never thought he'd be upset, not this upset. The only thing Kol and Klaus had really had in common was Mikael's hatred. They had been friends once but that was a long time ago. He hadn't wanted it to hurt like this.
Rebekah and Elijah were still alive but that meant little to him. They had each other. It was always them and Nik, they had chosen each other. Always and forever. Kol didn't think they'd even bother to look for him. After running once after their mother had died they had never looked at him the same way, like they were waiting for him to leave.
Bitterness burned inside him, mingling with the grief as a new batch of tears burned their way down his cheeks. He didn't want to cry, he didn't want to be weak. That was one thing Kol never wanted to be. He couldn't control it though, not now, not when he realised that without Nik to fight and bicker with he really was alone. Elijah and Rebekah had probably forgotten his existence.
Kol didn't like hiding. That made him feel even weaker but he was hiding anyway. It was easier when he was alone. There was no one to lie to. The woods were peaceful, calm, and reminded him of his childhood when everything was so much easier. For all he actually knew this was somewhere he had sat as a child but the odds were low. The earth changed after a thousand years. Everything had changed but he and his family's strange broken dynamic was the same.
The running water and myriad heartbeats had his attention wholly as he tried to calm down so when those little hearts sped up he noticed. Before he could get up or even wipe away the evidence of his emotions someone was walking out from the trees, meeting Kol's eyes with his similar dark brown, reflecting the grief.
"Elijah," he whispered, getting up before clearing his throat. "You didn't need to come looking for me. Shouldn't you be with Rebekah?"
The words were callous, calm, but as his big brother moved closer and wrapped him in a hug wordlessly the façade started to crack. It had been a thousand years since Kol had felt anyone in his family gave a damn whether he was okay.
"Let it out, Kol," Elijah murmured, rubbing his brother's back soothingly. "It helps."
His laugh was choked and bitter before he tried to pull out of Elijah's arm, snapping, "It won't bring Klaus back! He's dead, for good! Maybe that just doesn't register for you."
His grip was like a vice as he held Kol still, sighing, "Can't you just trust I know best?"
It was so similar to the words from a thousand years ago that he couldn't help but flash back to that day. He had been scared and Elijah had been there for him. Almost like he was reading Kol's mind the elder smiled slightly, letting go of him with one arm and resting his hand right where the bone in Kol's forearm had snapped.
"Do you remember when you hurt yourself?" Elijah asked quietly, watching his younger brother's face as he nodded. "You fell because you didn't listen. I told you to wait and if you had you probably wouldn't have injured your arm. You promised you'd trust that I knew best, from then on."
Kol was hesitant to let anyone in, let alone Elijah, but he wrapped his arms around his brother, tears gone despite the pain. It had been a thousand years since it had seemed like his brother had cared for him. It had always been Bekah and Nik. He had never been an important part of the family.
"We're going to be okay, brother," Elijah promised, tightening his grip on Kol like he was scared he'd leave again. Normally the fact he had thought he'd run would piss off the younger slight unstable Original. Today, it made him feel like maybe they really could be brothers again.
It was probably an awful thing to think but it darted though Kol's mind, unbidden. 'Klaus may be dead, but at least we're going to be a family again.' That almost caused a smile.
I started this ages ago, wrote the second bit with adult!Originals today. Does it show?