The Rain King

By Terri Botta

Summary: Sequel to The Queen of Unintended Consequences. Six years after Damon leaves Elena with Klaus, he's called back to handle a delicate situation. An AU Season 3 fic. Veers from canon after Season 3 episode 3.

A/N: This is very much a filler chapter meant to move the plot forward for the next event. Many thanks to my awesome betas Glamoured-by-Eric and Kate C.

Chapter Twenty-Three

Damon's mind was in overdrive. If he thought he'd been in a frenzy before they took down Klaus, now he knew that it had just been a pre-show. There was so much to do, so much clean-up that he had to do right now, when all he wanted was to rush home and see if Elena could look at his face without feeling the urge to kill him.

But he couldn't. They had to figure out a more permanent solution for Klaus other than keeping him wrapped in a rug. They had to figure out what was going on with Abby Bennett. Junior had texted him twice more with increasingly alarmed statements demanding to know what Abby Bennett had to do with anything. Damon would answer him if he could, but the truth was he didn't know more than anyone else. They had to figure out what happened next, and if any of the other Originals would come after them.

And most importantly, they had to find out what the fuck Klaus had meant about him having to be there for Elena's labor.

Everything was hitting all at once. He was frantic, driving like a madman and practically taking the corners on two wheels, which took an incredible amount of talent to do in an Audi SUV.

"Whoa! Whoa!" Ric complained, grabbing the "Oh Shit" handle above his door. "What are you, the Stigg?"

"He's got nothin' on me!" Damon replied, squealing tires as he raced across town.

"These vehicles were not made to Tokyo Drift, man!"

"Watch me!"

They heard the rug Klaus was wrapped in hit the side of the cargo area as Damon made the sharp turn onto the Boarding House driveway.

"Sorry, my bad!" Damon called. "Hope that didn't hurt!"

"I think I left my stomach and half my spleen back on the last hill," Ric said.

"Yent, yent, yent," Damon said, then slammed on the brakes as something stepped in front of the SUV.

The Audi came to a screeching halt, smoke wafting up from the burning brake pads, just a few inches shy of Elijah. The Original stood stock still, suit unruffled and face expressionless.

'Fuck no,' Damon thought just as Ric gasped, "Shit, is that who I think it is?"

"Elijah," Stefan confirmed.

Damon didn't know what to do. They weren't within the protective barrier of the shield yet, and Elijah stood between them and safety. Sure, he could attempt to go around the Original, but Elijah would probably just pick up the front end of the SUV and keep it there.

"Suggestions?" Damon asked as he put the Audi into reverse, the tires spinning on the driveway.

As Damon predicted, Elijah merely grabbed the front end of the vehicle and lifted it off the ground. Even with all wheel drive, without the two front wheels the SUV couldn't pull away from the Original's grip. It did, however, mean that Elijah's hands were busy. Damon cast a glance at Stefan who had another one of his brilliant moments of clarity.

Throwing open the passenger door, Stefan practically flew out of the SUV and dashed to the rear cargo area. He ripped off the hatchback and grabbed the rug with Klaus's body, then he raced for the safety of the barrier. Elijah caught on quickly and dropped the front end of the Audi, but Damon was ready for it and slammed on the gas. The SUV shot forward the moment Elijah let go, and the bumper clipped the Original's leg. It was enough to make him stumble, and they shot past him, speeding towards the boundary. Stefan made it safely across a second before they did, and Elijah bounced off the barrier.

From the other side of the border, Damon used the parking brake to stop the SUV, causing it to screech, spin, and nearly topple over. He got out to survey the damage. Antifreeze and oil were pouring from the mangled front end, and the rear hatch was completely ripped off its hinges.

"It's been a bad day for SUVs today," Damon commented as Ric stumbled out of the back seat. "You okay there, buddy?"

"Fuck you," Ric snarled as he lost his balance and fell to his knees.

"I want my brother's body," Elijah stated from his place outside of the shield.

"I'll take it up with the committee," Damon replied.

"You have no right to him, and I will get him back."

"Ah… No, I don't think so."

"I promise you, I will not wake him until long after Elena, and all her daughter's, progeny," Elijah promised.

Damon scoffed. "As if your word means anything."

"I admit to being untrustworthy in the past, and for that I am ashamed, but I am serious in this. I have seen what my brother has wrought upon the world, and I believe he is better off this way. Who knows, perhaps it will finally teach him some manners," the Original said, casting a disdainful glance at the rolled carpet.

"We give him to you, and Rebekah and Kol will kill us the first chance they get!" Damon countered.

"I have not seen Rebekah in many weeks," Elijah admitted, turning knowing eyes towards Stefan. "But I assure you that she, Kol and I will honor the terms. If you return Klaus's body to my possession, no one on these grounds or in this town will come to any harm."

"Why do you want Klaus's body?" Ric asked.

Elijah pinned him with a piercing look. "He is my brother. We remain together."

"What do you know about Klaus's final compulsion on Elena? The one that's supposed to kick in when she goes into labor," Stefan questioned.

"My brother compelled Elena to do many things, most of which I was neither privy to nor approved of, but any remaining hold he has on her should have broken once his heart was stopped."

"So you knew about the spell. You knew what we planned to do," Ric said astutely. No one ever said the History Teacher was stupid.

"Of course. The same spell was used to subdue my father some years ago."

"Wait a minute… your father? What?" Damon repeated.


"He was a…" Damon prompted.

"Vampire. Yes. A hunter as well. He hunted us mercilessly, bent on killing us. We ran from him for centuries until he came to this town in search of the newborn doppelganger, and a powerful witch desiccated and entombed him."

"A powerful witch? Here in Mystic Falls?" Damon said, looking at his brother.

"Sheila Bennett? Bonnie's Grams?" Stefan offered.

"No. Abigail Bennett, Bonnie's mother," came a new voice as Lucy Bennett crossed the front lawn to join them. Gloria and Junior, looking wan but thankfully alive, were right behind her.

"Bonnie's mom? According to Bonnie, she disappeared years ago," Stefan said.

"Abigail was forced to abandon her family after she desiccated Mikael. The spell drained her of so much power that she was left unable to use magic," Lucy explained.

"Well, no one told Klaus that because he kidnapped someone named Jamie to force her to cast a spell to bring down the shield around this place," Damon informed.

"Impossible. Abby has spent the last 24 years living without magic," Lucy insisted.

"Maybe it took that long for her batteries to recharge," Ric said.

Lucy shook her head. "If she had come back into her powers, we would have known."

"There would've been a disturbance in the Force," Damon quipped. "So, if she was still depowered what made Klaus think she could cast a spell that would bring the barrier down?"

"Maybe she just made him think she could," Stefan offered. "If Klaus had someone she cared about, she might have tried to bluff."

Damon cast a suspicious eye at Elijah. "Or she was just trying to buy us some time to finish what we were doing."

The Original looked at him with the same poker face, but Damon could see the glint in his eyes.

"Oh, you're in this deep. Very devious. Don't tell me, you, the oh so helpful and loyal brother, just happened to know another Bennett witch, and you just happened to tell Klaus, out of the goodness of your heart. Knowing you were sending him on a wild hare chase so he'd be distracted. Maybe even delayed a few days in getting to Mystic Falls. Maybe giving the real Bennett witch time to get here first," he accused.

Elijah's mouth quirked up into a sly smile. "And here I was always told you were the stupid one. Yes. I led Klaus to Abigail Bennett in hopes of securing more time for Katerina to get here with the other."

"Katerina? Oh yes, I forgot. You and Katherine… you two had a thing way back when before all this doppelganger crap."

"I trust that she is safe?"

Damon shrugged. "She's in the dungeon, where she belongs, but she has all her pieces and parts. For now."

Elijah remained unruffled. "You will release her after the child is born?"

"Haven't decided yet. But look at you. Leading Klaus to the same witch who cast the very spell we intended to use on him. That took guts," Damon prompted.

"Klaus did not believe the spell would apply to him once he had fully transitioned into a hybrid."

"Lucky for us he was wrong," Ric said.

Elijah looked at the man. "I admit I did nothing to dissuade him from that belief."

"Well, aren't we all just devious, backstabbing connivers?" Damon spat, huffing.

Stefan leveled him with a glare. "Some more than others."

"None of this solves the current problems of what to do with Klaus or what is going to happen when Elena goes into labor," Ric reminded.

"I still insist that you give my brother to me," Elijah stated.

"Klaus isn't going anywhere until the baby's born and both momma and daughter are fine," Damon hissed. "We may need his body. It'd be just like Klaus to make it that she needs his blood before she can give birth or something."

"You do have a point," Lucy admitted.

Elijah sighed. "Very well. I will return for my brother once the child is born. If you do not give him to me, I can promise you that none of you will have any peace until you do."

"We'll think about it," Damon snapped back.

The Original didn't bother to reply as he walked off, disappearing down the driveway.

"Okay, now what?" Junior asked.

"Now we secure Klaus's body and make the final preparations for Elena to go into labor," Gloria answered.

"What do you suggest?" Damon questioned.

"Lucy and Katherine brought a special coffin with them to contain Klaus's body. Once he is in it, it can be sealed against all magic and hidden from any spells that would attempt to reveal its location," she said.

"Okay. That was a good use of forethought," Damon commented. "Where is it?"

"We left it in the back of the truck we stole. We hid the truck in the woods when we got here," Lucy answered.

"Okay. You go get the truck and bring that coffin here. Stefan, go with her just in case Elijah decides he really doesn't want to play ball," Damon decided.

Much to his amazement, neither the witch nor his brother questioned his request, and both headed off without protest.

'Okay, what's next?' he thought.

"What do we do with him while we're waiting?" Junior asked, returning Damon's attention to the rolled up rug on the lawn. Looking at it, it had a suspicious bulge in the middle of it, much like a snake that had just consumed a large meal.

Damon shrugged and hefted the rolled up carpet over his shoulder. "Bring it inside, I guess."

He led the way as they entered the house, and he tossed his burden on one of the sofas. "That'll do for now."

The next thing taken care of, he turned to Jeremy. "You're looking remarkably chipper for someone who had his heart stopped not long ago."

The kid stood up a little straighter and looked him in the eye. "Lucy was able to bring me back pretty quickly. She performed CPR as soon as she felt the spell complete. I was gone for less than a minute."

Damon nodded and looked at Gloria, the next question almost catching in his throat. "How's Elena?"

"Resting. She felt the compulsion break. We all did. After that, her heart rate spiked, and she started to hyperventilate. I put her to sleep. Hopefully, she will be alright when she wakes," the witch answered.

"Klaus hinted that something would happen to Elena if he wasn't here for the birth. Something that wasn't a compulsion."

Gloria creased her brow thoughtfully. "It shouldn't matter. Once she drinks the Nightshade potion, you'll be able to access her mind. If Klaus has put any kind of geis or suggestion on her, you should be able to counteract it."

Well, that made him feel much better. "Okay."

Behind him, Junior huffed. "So what happened? It worked, obviously, but what went down when you got to the place Klaus was holed up?"

"Like Bonnie reported, there were only two guards and Tyler in the house with Klaus," Ric answered, handing Damon a drink. Trust Ric to take care of the important things. "I took out the one outside the house while Damon and Stefan took care of the guy inside, then we all went after Klaus. We found him exactly where Bonnie said he would be."

Damon took a swig of the bourbon Ric had handed him. "You know the guy paints? Found him working on a portrait he said he was going to put in the baby's room. It wasn't half bad."

Junior gritted his teeth and clenched his fists. "But what happened? How did you get him?"

"We were getting our asses kicked. Stefan and I had Klaus, but he was fighting us. He head butted Ric and knocked him across the room. I was losing my grip, Stefan was losing his grip. We were all about to become Klaus chew toys…"

"And?" Jeremy pressed.

"And Lockwood saved us. He grabbed Klaus, held him down, and Stefan was able to dig his fingers into Klaus's chest. After that, it was all over."

"Tyler went against Klaus and helped you?"

Damon took another drink. "Yup. Turns out Klaus drowning his mom didn't inspire loyalty."

Junior blinked. "Wow. I mean, I know that was what we'd hoped for, that Tyler would go against Klaus, but… wow. That was great."

Damon shrugged, trying to blow off the significance of a progeny breaking a Sirebond. "Couldn't have done it without him."

"Where is he now?"

"He said he was going to go gather up the rest of the hybrids. Said that without Klaus, they'd need a leader," Damon answered.

"He said he'd call Caroline as soon as he could," Ric added.

"I should let Blondie know that. Excuse me," Damon announced.

"You just want an excuse to go see Elena to make sure she can look at your ugly face without wanting to kill you," Junior teased.

Damon patted the boy on the cheek. "Little Gilbert, when are you going to learn that women wanting to kill me when they see my face is normal for me?"

He gave them all a saucy wink and tried to remain nonchalant as he headed for the stairs. It took everything he had not to go racing up and knock down the bedroom door. Instead he forced himself to walk calmly down the hall and rap politely on the closed door.

Guard dog Caroline opened the door a crack, her eyes wary, until she saw it was him.

"Damon," she whispered.

"You were expecting someone else?"

He was shocked when she opened the door fully and threw her arms around him. "Is it true? Is he really gone?"

Despite all of his misgivings towards her, she had been an invaluable member of the team, and he did sort of like her, so he returned the hug. "As much as we can make him gone, yeah. Stefan and the Bennett witch have gone to get a special coffin she and Katherine brought with them."

She pulled out of his arms and stepped back, leaving the door open for him to pass through. Elena was asleep on the bed, looking peaceful and comfortable.

"How is she?" he asked.

"Gloria had to knock her out. We all felt the compulsion break, and Elena just started freaking out. I think Klaus compelled her to forget stuff, and she was starting to remember," Blondie told him as she sat on the bed and brushed a stray hair from Elena's face.

"He have any hold on you anymore?" he questioned, looking seriously at her.

Caroline shook her head. "Klaus hasn't had any hold on me since you gave me that vervain. But…" She paused, thoughtful. "He may have made me forget a few things, too. It's a bit like after I turned and all the shit you made me forget came back."

He winced, being reminded of how he'd treated her when they'd first met.

"Where is he now?"

"Wrapped up in a rug in the parlor. After that, I'm not sure. Elijah wants Klaus, but we're keeping him until the baby is born just in case we need him. Klaus hinted that something bad would happen if he wasn't present for the birth."

"What does that mean?"

"Wish I knew, but Gloria says it shouldn't matter once Elena drinks the Nightshade and I can get into her mind."

"You said Elijah wants Klaus?"

"Yeah, came here to promise us an eternity of torment if we don't hand him over."

Caroline nodded. "He'd do it, too. He's just as ruthless as Klaus, he's just polite about it."

Damon grunted an assent. Just because Elijah was restricted by his own dubious moral code didn't mean he wasn't an asshole.

"So what happened? How'd you do it?"

He raised an eyebrow at her. "No one's been in to tell you?"

She shook her head. "Other than Gloria coming to knock Elena out, I've been left in here alone. We're an island in here."

She didn't sound too happy about it, but she knew her place was to stay and guard Elena in case everything else went wrong.

"Stefan, Ric and I went to the foreclosed mansion Klaus was squatting in. We killed the two hybrid guards, but Lockwood was with Klaus. We waited and then Lockwood left. Stefan and I rushed Klaus and grabbed him, and Ric tried to get close enough to make the blood connection for the spell," he explained. "It wasn't working. Klaus was too strong, and Stefan and I were losing our grip on him. Then Lockwood came back, and he grabbed Klaus so Stefan was able to dig his fingers into Klaus's chest."

"Tyler broke the Sirebond?" she gasped.

He nodded. "Yeah. Looks like Klaus killing Carol was the final straw."

Tears welled up in Caroline's eyes. "He's been trying for years. He's always hated Klaus. Klaus took such twisted pleasure in making him do things he didn't want to do because he was Sirebound. I'm so glad he finally did it."

"He saved our asses."

She sniffled and wiped her nose. "That's really awesome news."

"He wanted me to tell you that he'll call as soon as he can. He's rounding up all the hybrids. He said that without Klaus, they'll need someone to lead them."

Blondie made a noise of agreement, then went to her purse and pulled out a cell phone. "I suppose it's okay for me to plug this thing back in then. With Klaus gone, I don't have to worry about him tracking it."

She had her back to him as she fumbled with the charger, and he heard her breath hitch on a sob. He didn't know why he did it, but he suddenly felt an overwhelming urge to hug her.

"Hey, hey," he said gently, wrapping his arms around her as she trembled. "It's okay. It's over."

She shook her head. "I don't believe it. It was too easy. Something else bad is going to happen. I just know it."

"Then we deal with it as it comes."

A knock on the bedroom door interrupted them, and Blondie stepped away from him as Ric opened the door and peered in.

"Stefan and Lucy are back."

Damon noded. "Be right there."

Caroline returned to sitting on the bed, her face serious and worried.

"I'll be back soon. You keep watch over Elena."

"Not like I have anything else to do," she replied, half-complaining.

"Yent, yent, yent. I'll send up some yarn so you can catch up on your knitting."


He winked and followed Ric out of the bedroom.

The coffin wasn't a coffin so much as it was a sarcophagus. It had two layers, a smaller coffin which looked to be made of iron, and a larger one made of stone that the smaller one nested into. Both were covered in runes and carvings, only half of which he recognized the meanings for. The whole thing had to weigh close to a ton, and Damon was worried it would crack the underlying support beams of the floor.

"Where did you find this?" he asked with an appreciative whistle.

"It's been in my family for generations. It was created by some of my most powerful ancestors to hold the werewolf-vampire hybrid. It was made about the same time as the Moonstone curse," Lucy replied.

Damon shook his head and ran his hand along the cold top surface. "Gotta say neither of Emily's kids ever mentioned knowing about anything like this."

Lucy smiled coldly. "Just because you raised those children after Emily was killed, does not mean you were entitled to know all of the Bennett witch secrets."

Damon gave her a cold smile of his own. "And we all know how much you witches love your secrets."

She leveled him with a bland stare and did not answer until Ric clapped his hands.

"Ok, so if we are quite finished with the staring contest, can we get Klaus in this thing and decide where we're going to put it?"

Damon and Stefan lifted the iron lid off the inner casket, then unwrapped Klaus's body from inside the rolled rug and placed it in the coffin. For a moment, he thought Klaus was going to open his eyes, but the Original remained dormant as they arranged him in the casket and lowered the lid. Once the lid of the outer stone coffin was in place, Lucy stepped forward and said an incantation over the sarcophagus, presumably to seal and protect it.

"Okay, now what?" Ric questioned.

"Now we need to figure out what to do with him until Elena's baby is born, and then figure out what to do with him after," Damon said.

"Are we considering giving him to Elijah?" Junior asked.

"I'm not in favor of it," Damon admitted.

"If we don't hand him over, Elijah won't stop until we do. All of us, including Elena and her baby, would be at risk. Katherine spent 500 years running from Klaus. Do we want to spend the next 500 running from Elijah?" Stefan offered.

"But can he be trusted to keep Klaus contained?" Ric said.

"Other than the night he refused to kill Klaus during the Moonstone ceremony, Elijah's always kept his word. And there's no love lost between him and Klaus. He was always cleaning up after one of Klaus's rampages," Stefan admitted somewhat guiltily, probably because Elijah was also cleaning up after the rampages he and Rebekah wrought as well.

Damon nodded. He knew all too well what it was like to have to do damage control after another one of Stefan's Ripper benders.

"I still vote for dumping him in the Mariana Trench," Damon affirmed, just because he felt he had to. There was no sense in just agreeing with them.

"If we do that, then there's always a risk that he'll be found. Technology is advancing, and exploring things like the bottom of the ocean are becoming more feasible. At least if Klaus is with Elijah, we know he'll be guarded," Ric pointed out.

Damon frowned. "True, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. I hate giving any of those assholes what they want. It rankles me."

Stefan just shrugged as if to say that was the least of their problems.

"I suppose we should give him Katherine, too?" Damon snarked peevishly.

"She's not anyone's to give," Lucy interrupted. "But she has made some references which lead me to believe that she and Elijah may be trying to reconcile."

He huffed and rolled his eyes. "Fine. I don't care. Just as long as none of them darken my door with anymore bullshit, and leave Elena alone, I'm okay with it."

"Let's see what happens when Elena goes into labor first," Gloria offered.

Damon nodded. "I'm okay with that. In the meantime, let's get this thing in the garage before it damages the floor joists."

It took both him and Stefan to move the double casket to the garage without Lucy Bennett's help. Apparently, she had been willing to cast a "lightening" spell on it when she and Stefan had to get it out the truck, but now that there were two able bodied vampires to lug the thing, she wasn't willing to waste her energy. It was a struggle, but they managed, and afterwards they were at a bit of loose ends. He busied himself with making something for everyone to eat. In the chaos of the day, they'd skipped lunch and now it was approaching evening. In the midst of everything, Gloria had remembered his honey wheat bread dough, and it was waiting for him, ready to be baked. He tossed it in the oven and worked on making a batch of homemade ricotta cheese for a baked pasta casserole.

Once things were bubbling and baking along, he took a few moments to gloat over Katherine in the dungeon, only to find her crumpled against the rock wall of her cell, looking dazed. Apparently, everything Klaus had made her do and forget had come back in a big rush, and she was having trouble processing. Her shell-shocked expression made it no fun to tease her, so he called Stefan down to talk to her because Baby Bro was going through the same thing, only to a lesser extent. Turns out, he'd already remembered the vast majority of the crap Klaus had made him forget, so the rush of buried memories wasn't nearly as overwhelming as it could've been.

Calls were made to Liz and Meredith giving updates and getting news. Liz was still elbows deep in the aftermath of the hybrids' rampage through town, but at least all the fires were put out and casualties had been kept to a minimum. Meredith continued to be on call in case Elena went into labor, and everyone was breathing a little easier now that the threat of Klaus wasn't bearing down on them. He also called to have the wrecked Audi towed to a local shop where it could be evaluated for cost effectiveness of repair versus replacement, then he and Stefan shoved the damaged vehicle further down the driveway so the tow truck could take it away.

Sometime between dinner and dessert, Lockwood called to inform them that he'd gathered up the wayward hybrids and installed himself as their leader. He said that he would be sticking around for a while to be on hand for Elena's labor and also to act as the returning, grief-stricken prodigal son who had learned of his mother's tragic death. Now that he was the only Lockwood standing, he could get back into the manor house because, technically, he owned it.

It was several hours after everything had happened. The sun had set, and the day was winding down. He and Ric were enjoying a few good drinks in the parlor when Blondie came into the room, her face serious.

"Elena's awake. She's asking for you," she said, looking at Damon.

"How is she?" he asked, immediately rising to his feet and knocking back the last of his drink.

"Groggy, but okay. I'm not sure what Gloria did to her has completely worn off yet."

He gave Ric a short nod as he put down his empty glass and headed for the stairs. Blondie didn't follow as he went up and rapped on the bedroom door. He heard Elena's weak "Come in," so he turned the knob on the unlocked door and stepped in.

Elena was still in bed, the room dimly lit by a single bedside lamp.

"Hey," he greeted as he warily approached the bed.

"Hey," she replied, her voice hoarse, but she was smiling fondly.

She reached out a hand towards him, and he took it between both of his own as he sat down on the side of the mattress.

"How are you feeling?" he asked, searching her eyes for any sign that she was about to freak out and try to kill him.

"Like I'm nine months pregnant and just got hit by a bus."

He grimaced. "Ouch."

"How are you?"

"Okay. I'm okay. Drinking too much. Spending too much time with loose women. Driving fast cars…"

She slapped his arm half-heartedly. "Jerk."

He chuckled and something inside him relaxed. "Elena…"

"He made me forget so much… I can't make sense of half of it," she whispered, her free hand going to her forehead. "And the things he wanted me to do… It's like I was watching someone else do them."

"You were. You weren't yourself. Klaus compelled you."

"Damon, I am so, so sorry."

In that one sentence, he knew that she was being genuine, and his heart soared. All his wishes and dreams of being able to build a life with an adult, consenting Elena came back with a rush, and he looked at her as if they were seeing each other for the first time in years – which wasn't too far from the truth. Now free of Klaus's compulsion, they could begin to relearn each other as free, clear-thinking individuals, though part of him would miss certain aspects of Stepford Elena, Vampire Girlfriend! Edition.

He gave her a tender smile and brought her fingers to his lips. "You have nothing to be sorry for."

"I do. There's so much I have to apologize for…"

He gently cut her off with a finger to her lips. "No, you don't. Anything you did under Klaus's compulsion wasn't your fault, and I don't hold it against you."

"I did a lot of things before then."

He smirked and gave a little shrug. "I'll let you make it up to me."

She laughed softly. "You never change."

"Part of my charm, and you love me for it."

Her smile widened. "I do. Against all logic, I do."

He smiled back and smoothed her hair tenderly, pleased when she closed her eyes and leaned into his touch.

"You hungry?" he asked.

"Not really. Caroline gave me some warmed up soup a little while ago."

"Okay, but you should probably drink something," he said, reaching for the glass of water on the bedside table.

She sat up a little to accept the glass and took a small sip before handing it back. "Thanks."

"Anytime. Do you need to go to the bathroom?"

She shook her head as she settled back down, curling onto her side. "Amazingly, for once I don't. I'm just really tired."

He rubbed the small of her back. "Then you should sleep. Got a baby coming any day now. You should rest while you can."

"Stay with me?"

"Always," he promised as he slid into bed behind her and wrapped a loose arm around her side.

He felt her fingers entwine with his as she drifted off to sleep.