A/N: Thank you guys so much for your continued support and for bearing with me! I hit 350 reviews this morning, and I just don't even know what to say. Thank you guys so much.
Special thanks to the lovely, incredibly intelligent Briana, without whom none of this would be possible.
The plan had been to go see a movie before crashing at Nik's and waiting for their brother to get home, but the two of them had decided that they were starving at around 5:30, and had foregone the movie theater to go straight to Nik's place. Henrik and Kol raided their older brother's kitchen, piling the dining room table high with their treasure before splitting it up between the two of them, stacking the food onto separate plates, and trekking into the living room to marathon the Star Wars movies.
It was a good idea and Kol was all too happy to spend some quality time with his youngest brother, something he hadn't really had the chance to do despite said brother's move to New York, but he felt his trepidation only grow as he saw how nervous Henrik got over the course of the evening. Not only would the boy look up to front door every fifteen minutes, but also he was also continuously fidgeting, never letting himself grow comfortable on the couch.
"Henry," Kol asked suddenly, in the middle of A New Hope. "Why are we here?"
"My brother, asking the big questions," Henrik deadpanned, eyes not leaving the screen of his iPhone, which he was checking for what had to be the tenth time in fifteen minutes. "I'm only eighteen, Kol, you can't expect me to help you with your existential crises."
"Come on, Henry, don't do that, don't joke," Kol said seriously as he sat up in his seat. He leaned forward and turned his head to look at his youngest brother, concern in his eyes. The last few hours had been fun, but Henrik was clearly trying to distract himself from something. Kol, for the life of him, couldn't figure it out. "Why are we at Nik's place?"
Henrik turned to his older brother, looking affronted. "It's my home, too."
"You've moved out," Kol pointed out as he waved his hand in the general direction of the front door. "I vaguely remember having to haul all of your belongings up two flights of stairs earlier this month."
In response, Henrik held up his own hand to gesture to the hallway leading into the depths of the apartment, which housed the bedrooms, his own included. "There are still some things in there."
The older brother shook his head and rolled his eyes, reaching forward to grab the remote from the coffee table in front of him. Pausing the movie, he turned to look at Henrik and raised his eyebrows. "Well, why are we here?"
Henrik paused, cringing slightly. He rubbed the back of his neck as he confessed, not meeting Kol's gaze. "We're waiting for Nik. I did something...stupid, and I feel like he may come home slightly angry with me. I'd rather just have him yell at me as soon as possible and then not have to worry about it later."
Kol couldn't help himself. He started laughing. It was common knowledge that Henrik did, at times, forget that Nik wasn't just his brother. Henrik was a good kid, Kol knew. He hadn't heard stories of any childhood shenanigans or Mikaelson mischief relating to Henrik, which meant that Nik hadn't had to actually discipline his youngest brother. It was more a matter of making sure that Henrik knew that Nik was there for him, that the entire family was there for him. No point in trying to teach the child lessons that he already knew.
It was funny to see Henrik squirming with tension at the thought of an actual fight with Nik, afraid of being lectured, since it was not a common occurrence.
"Why are you laughing at me?" Henrik demanded.
"Tell me," Kol managed to get out without breaking his smile. "What is it exactly that you did?"
The teenager sighed and shook his head, the roll of his eyes signifying how stupid he thought the whole situation was. "I said something about Nik to Caro- shit." Henrik looked up at his brother, his eyes wide, and expression wary. Nik wasn't a very expressive person. Just because Nik had told him that he was in therapy, that he was seeing Caroline, didn't mean that Kol knew as well. They were all family, yes, but some secrets weren't meant for everyone. This secret, especially, wasn't his to tell.
Kol, on the other hand, just watched his younger brother in silence, wanting to see how Henrik would react to this slip of the tongue. Nik had texted him after their outing at the park, telling him to not mention therapy to anyone else in the family, since Henrik was the only one who knew. Henrik, however, hadn't gotten that particular memo.
"It's not my secret to tell," Henrik said quietly. "I can't break Nik's trust."
"No, you definitely can't," Kol agreed in a strange tone. Henrik looked at his brother, frowning, only to see that Kol was trying to bite back a smile. When he saw Henrik looked at him, he simply shrugged again, letting the smile shine through. "What is it little brother?"
"What do you know?" Henrik narrowed his eyes.
Kol threw an arm over the back of the couch and made to resume the movie. "Apart from the fact that you've apparently already started planning Nik's wedding to Caroline, absolutely nothing."
"Bloody hell, that is not what I said."
"Isn't it, though?"
"That is not what I said, Kol! How did you hear of this, anyway?" Henrik asked.
"That's not important," Kol said swiftly, choosing to refrain from telling his brother that Bonnie had sent him a very interesting text message asking if he'd ever marry Caroline. When he'd asked why she'd even wonder something that absurd, Bonnie told him about the conversation at lunch. Now- after finding out about Henrik's pesky habit of interfering- he chose to keep his mouth shut, especially because Nik could really walk in at any moment and did Kol really want to be having a conversation about Bonnie with Henrik, of all people, when that happened?
So he turned his attention back to the matter at hand.
"Yes, well, regardless, it's probably a horrible idea to try your hand at setting up Nik. Especially when the woman you've chosen for him is his therapist," Kol said, his voice growing stern. "Do you realize how stupid you're being?"
The younger boy's expression brightened considerably at this news. His whole attitude was instantly turned around. "He told you?"
"Yes, he did. We had quite the chat about Caroline."
"I like her."
"Then why don't you marry her and lay off Nik?" Kol joked.
"I was trying to be helpful," Henrik protested. He was almost whining, Kol thought, and it was more amusing than watching him squirm.
Finn and Nik had been the brothers who had been around Henrik constantly in the past nine years. He and Rebekah had been mainly in the US, having already been enrolled in college at the time of their parents' death. Elijah, on the other hand, who had been more established than his younger siblings, had the means to go spend a month in the UK to help with the arrangements for the funeral and the wake, even settling the matter of the estate and all of the family assets. He'd also inserted himself into the debate about Henrik's custody, but Nik had pulled through in the end, intent on keeping the young boy with him. As a result, Kol and Rebekah, while incredibly close to their brother, hadn't seen some aspects of his personality that betrayed how young Henrik really was.
"You were being the opposite of helpful, Henrik. Caroline is his therapist and-"
"Nik would be perfect for her! When was the last time our brother even cared enough about a woman to remember her name? He's always so busy thinking about Tatia-"
"Who do you think is helping him not do that anymore? She's being paid to be his emotional support-"
"And he's letting her, Kol! Come on, she's fun and she's really beautiful and she doesn't let him walk all over her, I mean... You like her, don't you?"
"For Nik. You think she would be a good significant other for Nik, right?"
"Why aren't you having this conversation with Katherine or Rebekah," Kol deflected, crossing his arms over his chest. He looked around to reassure himself that no one else could hear this conversation, even though he knew they were alone in the apartment. "This feels slightly emasculating, Henry."
"You've haven't thought about what kind of woman Nik would end up with," Henrik asked stupidly. "What, did you just think he'd be alone forever?"
"I'm not a sixteen-year-old girl, little brother, nor do I have the time to sit and daydream about what Nik's life is going to be like. I had no opinion of Tatia and I don't think that my opinion is needed now."
"Isn't that the point? You had no opinion of Tatia. You didn't care. I liked her because I lived with her and she made it a point to connect with me, but Caroline's different. She's already your friend, and everyone else's. I've talked to her a few times, and Nik clearly trusts her, despite what he says. I just think that she'd be good for him. Is it so wrong to want my brother to be happy?"
"No, it's not. But if you're going to start making stupid, suggestive comments to the woman in question, obviously people are going to have problems with it."
Henrik sighed. "You don't get it, Kol."
"Fine, explain it to me, Henrik!" Kol said loudly, throwing his hands up in the air. "Why is this so important to you?"
"Because I was there when Nik met Tatia," Henrik said dully. "I was there when he was nervous about which fucking tie to wear to their first date, and I was the first person he told when he decided to go and propose to her. In case you've forgotten, he chose me to be his best man, when he had three other brothers to choose from. And, you know, Tatia, she used to make dinner for me, and watch television with me. One year, she even showed up with him to my parent-teacher conferences. Do you remember when I started acting out, and he would call you lot because he just didn't know how to deal with me? Tatia talked him through that, and she talked me through that. I loved her, too. She broke my heart, too. You all forget that when you were flying over the Atlantic Ocean, I was in some sterilized waiting room in Chelsea, trying to keep Nik from tearing his hair out and breaking walls."
Kol's heart, which had sunk to his stomach by now, ached for his younger brother. They all forgot, sometimes, since they were busy living their own lives. Yes, he had learned some major life lessons from Tatia's death, but how many times in a day did he actually sit down and think about her? About her affect on his life?
Henrik continued, clearly not expecting a response, "I didn't say anything the last time Nik was involved with a woman because I liked her well enough and I saw how much Nik liked her. She tried with me, I know she cared about me, but she was never my friend. And sometimes, I felt like she almost...resented the fact that he had to care of me. I felt like- maybe she thought it was sweet when she married him that, you know, he cared so much about me, but then they actually did get married and I was still around and I had so much of his attention and I just-" Henrik paused to take a break. "She resented me, I know she did. But you can't tell Nik I said anything."
Slowly, Kol was starting to piece together what Henrik was saying. His brother was starting to speak rather desperately now, his expression betraying the amount of hurt he felt. Clearly this issue was something that had been bothering him for a while, but he'd never told Nik. Unfortunately, guilt could eat a person up alive. It was important to disabuse Henrik of this notion as soon as possible. "Henry, do you honestly believe that Tatia cheated on him because of you?"
"It's not like she told you otherwise, is it?" the boy responded stubbornly, picking up on the edge in his brother's tone.
"It's not your fault, Henry. You don't have to make up for the loss of one wife by going out and finding him another one!"
"That's not what I'm doing. I'm just- I'm trying to repay him for everything he's done for me by finding someone who makes him happy. Someone who listens to him and understands him, someone who isn't afraid to stand up to him and pull him out of this phase. That's what Caroline does, right?"
"She's a professional, Henry," Kol said sharply, and even though he didn't want to answer Henrik's earlier question about his own feelings toward Caroline, he couldn't help it. He thought back to how happy Caroline had been when she'd gotten her current job, how hard she'd worked for it. He knew she still worked for it, and how she genuinely cared about her patients. Henrik was right, though, she was attractive. Nik would be a fool not to see that, and Kol had meant every word he'd said jokingly to Nik the other day in Central Park. If it was ever going to happen, and, really, it was inevitable, even he could see, it should happen when there was nothing at stake for Caroline professionally.
The way Kol looked at it, the woman had been there for him, supportive. Even when he was going to open up 21 Club, she'd been the one to sit down with him and make a pro-con list. Caroline had helped him with his business presentation for Mikaelson-Pierce, and even before that, she'd always made it known to him that she considered him a friend.
The fact of the matter was that Caroline cared, plain and simple, and he didn't want to screw her over professionally on the slim chance that his idiot teenage brother managed to convince Niklaus to do anything.
Henrik, sometimes, could be so stupid.
"I just think that-"
"I'm actually quite sick of talking about this," Kol cut off his younger brother yet again, swinging his legs over the side of the couch and planting them firmly on the ground. He grabbed the remote, shot Henrik a glare, and then resumed the movie. "Let's just watch the bloody movie, Henry."
"We've watched Star Wars five million times!"
"It was your idea to drag me here to do this in the first place!"
"I didn't realize Nik would be so late. What time are his sessions, anyway?"
"Why don't you stop worrying about Nik's life and start worrying about your own?" Kol huffed.
"My life is boring as hell."
"You're eighteen, how is that even possible?"
"Well, considering that the most popular bar in the city is owned and operated by my brother, I can't exactly go flashing a fake ID there, now, can I?"
"Don't tell me children these days need alcohol to have fun. In my day- Christ I sound so old- we had other things to do for entertainment."
"Is that your not-so-subtle way of asking me about girls?"
"It wasn't, actually," Kol smirked. "But now that you've brought up that topic, let's talk about girls, Henry."
Henrik, thankfully, was spared from having to continue that conversation. The lock on the front door clicked and turned, and before they knew it, the large wooden door was being pushed in. Nik appeared, running a hand through his hair as he blinked rapidly. "What the hell..." he muttered, looking around the brightly lit apartment.
"In here," Kol called out from the living room. At Henrik's panicked look, Kol shrugged. "What? You wanted to get the yelling over with, right? So go, get the yelling over with."
Henrik didn't respond.
"What are you two doing here?" Nik asked suspiciously as he shrugged off his coat, opening the foyer closet to hang it up. He could hear the TV from his position, the telltale signs of light sabers clashing against each other blaring out from his speakers thirty feet away. Among all the other decisions he had made lately, like agreeing to therapy sessions with Katherine's best friend, he was also starting to rethink the decision to buy a place with hardwood flooring.
"Having a movie marathon," Henrik answered, smiling tentatively. Nik fixed him with a glare, and Henrik's tentative smile disappeared instantly as he saw how irritated his elder brother looked. Kol, on the other hand, simply grinned easily and leaned back onto the leather couch, making himself more comfortable than he already was. He reached for the bowl of popcorn that was resting precariously on the arm of the couch and raised his eyebrows at Nik. "Would you like some?"
"No need to be so hostile, Niklaus, I'm only offering you food."
"In my own home, Kol? How hospitable."
"I thought you guys patched things up?" Henrik asked in confusion, pointing from Kol to Nik. "Why do you sound so angry?"
"We did patch things up. This is just for fun," Kol offered with a smirk. "Am I right, Nik?"
Nik turned to glare at Kol before devoting his attention back to the teenager. "Do you realize how stupid you're being?"
"I'm really sorry, Nik," Henrik said quickly. "In hindsight, it was stupid, but I didn't really say anything awkward to Caroline."
"Except suggesting to her that she should marry you," Kol said to Nik, taking up where Henrik left off. "Can't forget that part." The younger boy glared daggers at Kol, but Kol ignored him, choosing instead to continue seriously. "It was made a joke when someone also suggested that I could marry Caroline, but the point is that our little Cupid, here, doesn't realize that his interference can cause some undesirable side effects."
"You said what?" Nik asked loudly, running his hands through his hair. He started to look around the room, directing his gaze at every object in the room except for Henry. He was so incredibly angry at the fact that Henry thought it was okay to just go saying things like that. Caroline was his therapist, and there was a line that they couldn't cross. Jokes were fine between friends, and he knew that Henrik and Caroline were becoming friends, but she was still his therapist. Henrik was smarter than that. "Why would you say something like that?"
"I...thought it would be funny?" Henrik said, sounding more like he was asking a question than answering one.
"There is a line you do not cross with the woman who is psychoanalyzing me twice a week."
"I know, I'm sorry!"
"What else did you say to her?"
Henrik thought back on all the times he'd talked to Caroline, about Nik, about anything, trying to find anything else. But there was genuinely nothing. The handful of times they'd talked, three, three times, he'd only mentioned to her about how Nik had raised him. How Nik was different than what people perceived him to be. And, okay, yes, he had cracked the joke about marriage, but it was just a joke. Besides, she'd literally given him the perfect opening for delivery, how was he supposed to resist? "Nothing, I didn't say anything to her. Why, what did she tell you?"
"She told me that you told her that I 'respond to emotion', whatever the hell that means. Do I need to remind you that you are only eighteen-years-old and not, in fact, an adult who can go around saying whatever he likes to whomever he wants for purposes that only he knows?"
"Alright, Nik, come now," Kol said as he stood up, placing a hand on Nik's shoulder, pulling his older brother back. Nik didn't break his gaze from Henrik, though, and the teenager looked utterly disheartened.
"Don't, Kol," Nik shoved him off, leaving Kol to move back a few steps to regain his balance. "He's eighteen now, he's not a child. He needs to learn how to behave around people. He can't keep shooting his mouth off."
"I wasn't shooting off my mouth-"
"If Caroline was not as intelligent as she is, what you went saying to her could have made her think that I saw her as anything other than my therapist, Henrik. Do you realize that I actually look forward to going? She helps, and I can't explain it. I don't know how- or why, really- but I trust her. And she puts up with me. I would really appreciate you not ruining that for the sake of some stupid prank of yours."
"Right," Henrik said quietly. "Alright then."
He didn't wait for a response from either of his brothers. He just bent down to grab his phone and his keys from the coffee table before pushing past Nik to go to the front door. Within a minute, after pulling out his jacket from the foyer closet and putting on his shoes, Henrik was out the door.
After a moment of silence, Kol spoke up. "That was- I mean- You handled that well. Considering."
"Shut up, Kol." Klaus collapsed onto the nearest sofa; head tilted back to look at the ceiling.
"He was wrong, though."
"Shut up, Kol," Klaus said dully.
"I've never spoken to Caroline about you, just so you know," Kol said, raising his arms and then dropping them to his sides.
"Do you want to watch Star Wars?"
Klaus let out a deep breathe before sitting up and running his hands over his face. "Yes. Yes, that is exactly what I want to do."
"Stefan and I are never going to get married," Rebekah said sadly, staring at the beer in front of her. "It's just never going to happen."
"Rebekah, come on," Caroline groaned, throwing her head back in exasperation. She stretched her neck, blonde hair falling into her face, and slammed her hands onto the bar. "I don't want to talk about this again."
"You are my friend and it is your duty to help me through my time of need," Rebekah reminded her, grabbing the bottle and bringing it up to her lips. She took a large gulp before pulling it away from her lips and looking down at it, twirling the bottle in her hands. The beer sloshed up against the sides of the glass bottle.
Caroline frowned. "Can you not do that? It's unappealing."
"Unappealing to whom?"
"Me. The person sitting in front of you and trying to have a conversation with you."
"I want to talk about Stefan!"
"You always talk about Stefan."
"I do not always talk about Stefan," Rebekah protested. "I talk to you about a whole bunch of things, like movies and books and how much I hate those stupid vampire novels with the sparkly people and I talk to you about my cases and how much Elena annoys me and-"
"Okay, okay, I get it," Caroline said, putting her hand up to interrupt Rebekah. "We can talk about Stefan. Let me just go get a drink, okay?"
"No need," Rebekah said as she signaled to one of the bartenders. Since it was just she and Caroline on this busy Saturday night, the girls had chosen to do Kol a small favor by taking two seats at the bar instead of occupying their usual high-profile corner booth. He wasn't actually at the club -he took Saturday nights off, leaving the running of his club to his manager- but no doubt he'd hear about it. Rebekah and Caroline would probably get a box of chocolates each. If they were lucky.
Only if Kol was in the mood, though.
Dean, one of Kol's earliest hires, leaned over the bar to ask them what they wanted. Rebekah ordered for both of them, and Dean came back three minutes later with two fruity drinks that probably had more alcohol than Caroline would have liked to ingest in the entire night. One look at Rebekah's expectant expression, though, and Caroline knew she'd have to take one for the team.
"I'm only having two drinks tonight, Bekah," Caroline warned her friend as she reached out to grab the dainty martini glass. In high school and college, she'd been the party girl, unafraid to go out and do whatever, drink whatever. After a particularly horrendous hangover a few nights after breaking up with Tyler, however, she'd decided to never again allow herself to wake up in that position. The memory of that day-long headache was still burned into the back of her brain, and she'd be damned if she was peer-pressured into drinking more than she wanted to at the age of twenty-eight.
"Fine, but I'll be having a little more than that," Rebekah shot back, downing half her glass in one go. She blinked rapidly before shaking her head and looking at Caroline. "Call my brother if I get drunk, will you?"
"Sure," Caroline agreed readily. It wasn't anything she hadn't done before. Rebekah always called Kol when she got drunk at the bar, claiming that she didn't want to tear Elijah away from what little time he had for his daughters.
"You know, Stefan and I have been together for like, years and every time we get too serious, he just breaks up with me? And I take it, Caroline; I just take it lying down. I let him walk all over me."
"Oh, shit, we're really going to talk about Stefan?"
"Yes, you bitch!"
"I've said it before and I'll say it again, okay, I've known Stefan just as long as you have and he is going to take his own time to do things, Rebekah, he doesn't want to fuck it up. So...maybe he won't propose tomorrow, but he will propose. And when he does get down on one knee, it is only going to be in front of you."
"How long am I supposed to wait?" Rebekah asked as she downed the rest of her drink. "I mean- whoa that is strong, what did Dean put in here?"
Caroline, who had only sipped at the drink, didn't feel the effects at all. Even so, Rebekah shouldn't be feeling this tipsy after just one drink. "Hey, Beks, when was the last time you ate?" They hadn't eaten anything in the hour they'd been at the bar; just nursed a few beers- one for Caroline and two for Rebekah- and Rebekah had mentioned having back-to-back meetings with clients all day. She didn't know what it was exactly that Rebekah dealt with, but she did know her friend well enough to realize that if Rebekah was immersed in work all day, she'd probably forgotten to eat.
Two beers plus a strong martini on an empty stomach would definitely make for a tipsy Bekah, and with the way the woman was going, Caroline would be calling Kol sooner than she thought.
Rebekah ended up ordering another drink, and by the time she finished it a half an hour later, Caroline had been treated to hearing a slightly unsteady version of the other blonde's entire romantic history with Stefan Salvatore. Their first meeting during their freshman year, how smitten the boy had been with Elena Gilbert- something that still irritated Rebekah to this day- and how Rebekah had been his best friend the entire time. Then one day, Rebekah had gone on a date with Galen Vaughn, come home smiling like mad, and the jealous monster in Stefan's chest had awoken.
Caroline, to her credit, survived six months of angst-filled phone calls from Stefan before she finally cracked and told the younger, blonder Salvatore that the current object of his affections had pined for him for years while he'd been off making eyes at his brother's girl.
That one conversation had changed everything, and the next time Caroline visited New York, the two were practically attached at the hip.
A lot had changed for them since then, obviously, but not necessarily in a bad way. Rebekah had decided that she'd spent far too much of her life simply wanting to be with Stefan, and she didn't want to continue that way. She was a Mikaelson, dammit, with a reputation to uphold and a brain that could do just that; no point in wasting it. After graduating from Columbia Law School, she'd joined one of the top fifty law firms in the city (or so she said to Caroline). So much of her time was devoted to her job that Caroline didn't blame Stefan for how clingy he could be. He loved Rebekah, he wanted her, but she would inevitably put her work first and then they'd break up because she was quite literally never around.
The whole situation sucked, really, especially for Bekah. She was stuck between a rock and a hard place, not wanting to sacrifice her career for the love of her life. Caroline didn't really think that anyone should be put in that place, but life was about making sacrifices. Stefan had tried- and succeeded- at cutting back on his hours, so why couldn't Rebekah?
It wasn't her life after all.
"He's never gonna wanna marry me," Rebekah sighed into her empty martini glass, swirling the olive stick around. It clinked against the glass, and Caroline had to clench her hands into fists to physically prevent herself from reaching out and stopping Rebekah's hand.
Stefan had told her that he'd actually been carrying around a ring for six months now, but he was too worried to actually do anything with it. Clearly the two needed to have a serious talk about their relationship, Caroline thought, propping up her elbow on the bar, resting her head in her palm. "Sweetie, do you want me to call your brother now?"
"Yes, please," Rebekah hiccupped. "Call Nik, please." She hummed softly before placing her arms on the bar and then using them as a pillow for her head.
"Nik?" Caroline stared. "I thought you wanted me to call Kol?"
"No, Kol will be, uh, out, right? Kol does things. And er, Henry, Henry! He's a teenager. Can't come in, won't come in, no no no."
"Okay, then I'll call Elijah," Caroline said, desperation coloring her tone. "He can come right?"
"Judge-y, stiff, Elijah?" Rebekah blinked up at her. "'Oh Bekah,' he'll sigh. 'Why do you feel the need to inebriate? It is most uncut!'"
"You know, like...jungle people! Shit, what's the word?"
"Yes! That! That is the word."
"How about I just call Stefan and ask him to take you home?"
"But I want Niiiiiiik. Get me Nik. Only...Only Nik," Rebekah said softly, finally closing her eyes. Caroline looked around frantically, double-checking to see if Kol was, by some miracle, at the bar, but he wasn't.
Just her luck.
She'd already seen too much of Klaus outside of the office than she was comfortable with, but this couldn't be helped. Rebekah got what Rebekah wanted, and she'd asked for her older brother. Caroline would deliver just that.
Quickly fishing into Rebekah's purse, she pulled out the white iPhone, Harry Potter cover and all, and swiped her finger on the screen to unlock it. Thankfully, the blonde Brit didn't have a password, so Caroline was dialing Klaus' number within seconds.
He picked up almost immediately. "Hello?"
"Hey, uh, Klaus?" Caroline asked softly.
"Hello?" he replied loudly. "What- Rebekah?"
There was too much background noise, wherever he was, so she'd have to speak up. "Actually it's Caroline. I'm with Bekah at the club and she's a little drunk and um, asleep on the bar. She asked me to call you because she didn't want to bother Stefan."
"Caroline?" he asked in confusion. He continued quickly, "Well, that's pointless because Stefan is actually with me right now. We just got out of the Knicks' game."
"Oh, how was that?"
"It was okay. They lost. Apparently that's very common but- what?" he pulled the phone away from his mouth, voice growing faint as he spoke to Stefan. "Oh, yeah, okay, yeah, I'll do that. Caroline, we're just going to come get her. Stay there."
"Well, I'm not going anywhere so..."
"Yeah, see you soon."
He hung up abruptly, and she was left to sadly smile at her friend who was, by now, fast asleep. If it weren't Kol's club, Rebekah wouldn't have even dared to do such a thing.
Twenty minutes later, as Caroline checked Facebook for the fifteenth time that night, she felt a tap on her shoulder. She turned to see the smiling face of Stefan Salvatore. Klaus was standing right next to him, hair looking ruffled by the wind.
"Hello," Stefan greeted, eyes twinkling as his gaze fell on Rebekah. "She really hit the bottle, didn't she?"
"That she did," Caroline said agreeably, pushing off her stool. Now that the guys were here to pick up Rebekah, there was no reason to stay.
"Did she say anything about me?"
Caroline let out a laugh. "Oh, sweetie," she pointed to Rebekah. "That is all you."
At that, Klaus let out a laugh, and she let her attention wander to him. "Hello. How was the Knicks' game?"
"Pretty boring," he said truthfully. "I'm more of a football man myself."
"He means 'soccer'," Stefan called back over his shoulder as he nudged Rebekah awake.
"No, I mean 'football'," Klaus retorted good-naturedly, a smile shining through. He had dimples, Caroline noticed. "Because that is what the rest of the world calls it, and that is what the magnificent sport deserves to be called."
Stefan shook his head. "Brits and their egos."
He finally succeeded at waking up Rebekah. She groaned and stood up, eyes still closed as she ran her hands over Stefan's torso to find the lapels of his coat. When her hands reached their destination, she pulled him closer to her and blinked rapidly, trying to expel the last vestiges of sleep. "Stefan?"
"Right here, babe."
"I didn't want you to see me like this."
"No, I just-" she reached up to rub her eyes, smudging her makeup in the process. "I didn't want you to see me drunk."
"Rebekah, I want to see you in all of your moods, okay? I don't want you to have to go get drunk with Caroline when you get mad at me, I want you to talk to me," Stefan said, grabbing Rebekah's hands and pulling them to him.
"Hey!" Caroline protested. "Caroline did not get drunk."
"Caroline got tipsy enough to start referring to herself in the third person," Klaus muttered under his breath so Stefan and Rebekah couldn't hear. They were off in their own world by this point anyway, with Stefan's hands cradling Rebekah's face, his thumbs wiping the tears that were falling.
Caroline looked up at Klaus in surprise. "Was that a joke?"
"It happens on occasion," he smiled. "It's been a good night. Besides, what happened to not expecting certain behaviors from me?"
"I- um. Yeah, no, I just- You're different tonight."
"Stefan doesn't walk on eggshells. Neither do you. The game may have been boring, but the company was not," Klaus shrugged. "Like I said, a good night."
"That's great," she smiled at him. "I'm glad."
Stefan and Rebekah finally emerged from their bubble, turning to Klaus and Caroline. "I'm going to take her home," Stefan said, referring to their shared apartment. It was technically theirs, but Stefan moved out to live with Jeremy whenever he and Rebekah broke up. It was a complicated process, but Stefan didn't complain. Caroline, frankly, couldn't care less.
"Great, we can share a cab," Caroline said eagerly. Stefan nodded, opening his mouth to say something before being interrupted by Klaus.
"Actually, Caroline, I was hoping I could talk to you for a moment?"
"Oh," she said, looking hesitantly from one expectant gaze to the other. Rebekah hiccupped again, breaking the brief silence, and Caroline decided to just let the couple go. "You know what, just take her home. It'll be easier for me to just get my own cab anyway."
"We can split a cab," Klaus stepped in. "That isn't a problem. But I do need to talk to you."
"Okay," Stefan said. "Well, have fun doing that. I will see you later, Caroline, and Klaus I will see you at work on Monday."
"Yeah, thanks for the ticket, mate," Klaus said as Stefan and Rebekah walked past them toward the front door. Klaus gestured to two bar stools in front of them, and Caroline took a seat, finding herself exactly where she'd started out. "I'm sorry for keeping you, I know it's late."
"No, it's fine."
"Can I buy you a drink? I mean..."
"No, no. That's slightly inappropriate. You're my patient. I am on call at all times."
"Right, that's exactly what I wanted to talk to you about. See, you have a really close friendship with siblings. Like, Rebekah and Kol, apparently, you're close to Kol? I didn't know you were close to Kol, but that's not the point. They may tell you things, like Henrik does, that I don't want you to know. Or maybe things that I want to be able to tell you on my own time and I don't want to be...blindsided, I guess."
Caroline tilted her head to the side, looking at him from a new angle. He wasn't as relaxed as he'd been in the presence of his sister and Stefan, but his eyes were a lot softer than they were during sessions. She couldn't help the amusement that injected itself into her tone. "I don't know how you're going to take this, but ninety-nine point nine percent of the time, your family and I do not talk about you."
"Oh, I know, I'm not that self-absorbed," he agreed. "But it has come to my attention that my teenage brother has made jokes and talked to you about me and I don't know what you know about me. That makes me uncomfortable."
"I would appreciate it if you spoke to Henrik about boundaries."
"Boundaries," Caroline repeated.
"Yes, I know you're fond of those. I don't know the protocol, but I was hoping you would speak to him about what he can say about me when in your presence. He's had a bit of an issue around people his own age after we've moved and I don't want to say he can't be your friend because that is slightly ridiculous and any idiot can see that you're quite amicable, but you told me to trust you. And I can't do that if I don't know what I'm trusting you with."
Oh. Well, this was different. She typically didn't have to worry about familial interference with patients over the age of twenty-one because she never actually interacted with family, but this was a special case where she interacted with family all the time. Case in point, sitting here at a bar stool in his brother's bar, Klaus occupying the seat that her friend, his sister, had been using just a half an hour before.
Caroline really had no choice but to agree. "I can see where you're coming from, so yes. Of course I will."
"Great," he said, offering her a smile. "Thank you for delaying your trip home."
"Well, you asked nicely, so," she replied, pushing off her stool just as he did. It made for an awkward situation, with less than an inch between them, but then Klaus tilted his head to her, signaling that she should move first, and the moment was broken.
What the hell?
Neither of them spoke until the exited the building. "Are we splitting a cab?" he asked as they stared out onto the busy street. "Which way are you?"
She made a fist with her hand and pointed to the right with her thumb, arm bent at the elbow. Klaus nodded in response and tilted his head the opposite direction. "I'm over there."
"So, I'll see you Tuesday?" she asked apprehensively as she pulled her coat tighter around her, stepping closer to the edge of the sidewalk. It was the end of September, and the New York chill was starting to set in. No doubt it'd be freezing by this time on a December night, but they still had some relatively warm nights left.
Klaus started walking away, too, calling back an answer over his shoulder. "Yes, Tuesday."
Tuesday, she thought as she raised her hand to hail a cab. One stopped almost immediately, and she thought back to the night when they'd taken one cab from her office to the club.
Klaus Mikaelson was seriously something else.
"Hey," Katherine said as she padded into their bedroom, closing the door behind her. Elijah looked up, placing his files on his lap above the blankets, watching as his wife bent down to grab the remote from the TV cabinet.
"Girls asleep?" Elijah asked as she slipped into bed beside him, tangling her legs with his.
She grinned. "It's nine o'clock on a Sunday night, 'Lijah, what do you think?"
"You're right, that was a stupid question."
"Hmm," she hummed as she snuggled closer to him, lifting his right arm and pulling it around her. Her husband took the hint; abandoning whatever papers for work he was reading and placing the entire file on his bedside table. Elijah had to stretch, and she was treated to the sight of his taut back muscles stretching his t-shirt. He may feel more comfortable in suits and starched shirts, but Katherine personally found Elijah most attractive when he was disheveled.
"What are we watching?" Elijah asked her as she turned on the television.
"You can choose, I don't mind, as long as it isn't news," Katherine told him, resting her head in the crook between his shoulder and his neck. "I'm glad we decided to go to Coney Island yesterday. The girls really needed that. It wasn't easy being sick for so long."
"It was fun to see them yell at each other though."
"What? It's nice to see that my daughters have some fight in them. They get along too well sometimes, that's bad. Then they can get powerful and overthrow us."
"Overthrow us? They are four and two."
"They are getting bigger every day, please don't take my warnings lightly."
"Oh, 'Lijah," Katherine teased. "It's okay if you can't resist their puppy dog faces. We have a wonderful gene pool, our daughters are blessed. It's just hard to resist their cuteness."
"Karen has this face for when she's demanding something from me, she looks so proud and she stands just like you."
"She acts like you," Katherine disagreed with a raise of her eyebrows. "That child will come with me to the office and glare at everyone until they stop looking at her."
"Too full of sass, that one."
"I can't wait to see what happens when she starts dating."
"What?" Elijah said seriously, looking down at his wife in surprise. "Dating? She's not going to be dating until she's thirty!"
"We'll see, 'Lijah," Katherine said sweetly, patting her husband on the arm. "Now stop talking, the show is starting."
Dating, Elijah thought, tuning out the television. His little girls?
A/N: So the review templates are back because I'm obnoxious and I love reviews and you guys review more when there's a template. I will be updating every two weeks, though the next update may be slightly delayed because I have two midterms this week. Yay, school. You can always leave me an ask on tumblr or tweet at me on Twitter, I am sassyklaroline on both. Reviews always help, too. (hint, hint). Okay, I'll stop now. The Stebekah was inserted because of Dan and the Raughn was inserted because of me. No, really, I'm done now.
How dare you take so long to update? schOOL IS NOT IMPORTANT, QUIT SCHOOL AND WRITE FANFICTION ALL DAY.
The Henrik argument (made sense/came out of nowhere/poor kid can I go give him a hug/ he needs to stop being an arrogant jerk)
Everybody give it up for Kol. I can see how much you love Kol, Meha. I'm (glad/mad) because I (hate/love) Kol. Look, Kol!
I (liked/hated/didn't notice) your slight mention of Kennett.
OMG Stebekah! Raughn! I ship (Stebekah/Raughn). Bekah deserves ALL THE THINGS.
Aw, Caroline noticed that Klaus had dimples! They kind of had a moment. Did they kind of have a moment?
No, seriously, the Stebekah was (cute/not cute) insert (more/less) Stebekah please.
Good talk Klaroline!
awh KALIJAH SO SWEET.