Summary: Greta experiences her first Winter Solstice Christmas away from her family and with Klaus.
A/N: This is dedicated to Cana, Greta Stan #1. Happy Valentine's Day, girl! This Christmas fic is so late that it's now a Valentine's day present. Lol.
Timeline: A year after Greta ran off with Klaus and two years before the sacrifice in season 2.
A/N2: Klaus mentions the death of his parents. I'm mostly going with the info we had about Klaus circa season 2 AKA when Greta was alive, the one where Klaus killed his family. Only here, he only killed his parents.
North Pole Magic
Greta had never really paid attention to Christmas, to the family of it all. She just always had her family.
"Mistletoe. For protection and prosperity."
Her room had been quiet all day. She had lit a white candle the night before, on the twentieth. Noise, any noise that came from outside of her room, was negativity, so she lit a white candle and casted a spell to repel all of it. As long as the candle burned, silence reigned.
"Bough of fir. For protection."
She walked barefoot around the circle she'd created. A green candle burned at it's center. She had lit it eight days ago, and she'd meditated in front of it, same as she'd done with her father and Luka for as long as she could remember. Every night, she sat with it and closed her eyes and envisioned complete darkness. The Winter Solstice provided the shortest day and the longest night of the year, and she knew there was a place in the world where it was dark all day long, where, on the Winter Solstice, the sun never came up.
Every night, she envisioned that place, what it would look like on the day, on this night.
And when she'd closed her eyes and meditated on this night, she had been there. The North pole. Only it wasn't total darkness. She'd been surrounded by a million stars.
Jonas had been doing the same ritual with her and Luka since before either of them had come into their powers, but she hadn't made it to the North pole herself until the Winter Solstice of her eighteenth year. She was born on December 29th, so she had missed the trip at seventeen.
She strategically placed the fir within the circle. The candle burned bright, and with the placement of the fir, she imagined that it burned for her family. They needed protection as well.
She wondered for a brief moment if her father was doing the ritual right now.
"Wreath of holly. To honor the old solar year."
She placed the holly around the candle and smiled when the flame briefly burned an unnatural light green.
She sat cross-legged before the circle, back straight, eyes closed. She didn't realize how much she'd committed the words to memory until she started to recite them without flaw.
"Nox, salutant vos / Tenebrae regnant triumphantis / Honorificate triplici deam / Honorificate triplici deam / Honora regenerationem / Honorificate terrae potentia / Phesmatos, veni, mecum hac nocte."
She recited the spell a second time, her words slow, her body heavy, and then she fell into a chant, her words low.
"Nox, salutant vos / Phesmatos, salutant vos."
"Nox, salutant vos / Phesmatos, salutant vos."
In the living room, Klaus used his drawing pencil to add shading to the moons in the night sky he'd created. He hated drawing in pencil. He'd never been good at it. And because he wasn't good at it when he was alive, he didn't practice when he was dead, so...he remained subpar when it came to pencil drawings. But he had a feeling that Greta would prefer his gift in pencil, so he had bought a kit.
His work station was in the middle of the living room. On top of drawing, he was also decorating the large house he was renting.
Well. His vampire and human workers were decorating, but Klaus viewed his companions as an extension of him, so whatever task he asked them to do was akin to him doing it himself.
The humans and vampires moved about, decorating the tree (that he'd picked himself. With Maddox's input) and placing unlit candles on top of the fire place. A human named Karen placed a jar of red, gold, and green Christmas ornaments on one of the end tables, and a vampire named Hale baked ginger bread cookies in the kitchen.
He didn't know if Greta liked ginger bread cookies. If she didn't, then the cookies would serve as decoration.
Everyone moved about freely because Maddox had casted a privacy spell on both the kitchen and the living room. The only thing they worried about was time. Klaus wanted it all done as soon as possible. All of them wondered what he would do if Greta happened to walk out of her room and decided to come down the stairs.
Klaus wondered what Greta was doing. Was she asleep? Depressed, perhaps? He had spoken about Christmas' approach about two weeks ago. It had been purely strategic, of course. I was almost a year since Greta was with him. This would be the first major holiday without her family, and he'd needed to gauge where her head was. He didn't want to fall into a false sense of security.
He had kidnapped many witches, in preparation for the sacrifice that would grant him full access to his abilities, and he'd had full intention of kidnapping Greta, but when he'd lured her to talk to him, he'd discovered that he hadn't lured her at all. She'd known what he was, and his intentions, the moment he'd walked up to her. She'd questioned him on why he wanted to take her, and he'd felt like he was being interviewed, the situation having developed in a direction he had not anticipated.
She had said yes, and he had immediately become suspicious of her. He had let her come with him, because it wasn't every day that a witch simply agreed to come with him, or any vampire, not that he ever asked, but he kept a sharp eye on her. He'd asked everyone to keep a sharp eye on her, including Maddox.
Now Maddox was more of what he was used to. He thought of Maddox as a second generation kidnapped warlock. He'd kidnapped his father, that is, when he was a little boy. Maddox had grown up in his environment. Maddox's father died when he was nineteen, and he'd been so grief-stricken that he'd asked Klaus to turn him into a vampire.
Maddox had always been in awe of vampires, having grown up around them. But Klaus had denied his request every time, and he'd cautioned the young Maddox from asking any other of the vampires to turn him because that would mean their certain death. Klaus hadn't wanted another vampire. He'd wanted a warlock.
With time, Maddox got over his desire to be a vampire, and he took to enjoying the power that being a warlock gave him.
The man in question was outside of the house. Klaus had asked him to get a personalized, Christmas-style doormat that said, "Bless this house." Actually, Klaus hadn't been able to make up his mind between "Bless this house" and "The Mikaelsons." Maddox wasn't sure but he figured Mikaelson was Klaus' last name. Or it could very well be the name of someone, or a family of someones, that he'd killed long ago. He didn't know much about Klaus' personal life, even though he'd been with him since he was an infant. In the end, he'd told Klaus to go with "Bless this house." It was more ironic, and he'd assured him that Greta would appreciate the humor.
Klaus had asked him if perhaps she would be offended, considering witches sometimes do blessings or "cleansings," and Maddox had reassured him. He spent a little bit more time with Greta than Klaus did.
Maddox flattened the doormat, and he stood up to hook the wreath to the door when he heard a crash of what he assumed was more than four ornaments. He stopped breathing, and adrenaline rushed through his veins.
Inside the house, Klaus' pencil stilled, and everyone stopped moving. The human who had dropped the ornaments, a middle-aged Jewish man named Jael, was frozen on his knees after he'd scurried to try and catch the falling ornaments. He didn't know whether to keep his eyes downcast on the ornaments or look at Klaus. He decided to look at Klaus.
Most of the group looked at Klaus. Some looked towards the stairs, as if Greta could've heard the noise.
Klaus slowly looked up and said, "Clean it up."
"I'm sorry," Jael apologized.
No one moved.
Sometimes apologizing to Klaus was what set him off. Many not-so-dearly departed vampires and humans alike would have been better off not apologizing and letting the offense stick. Klaus didn't always respond well to mistakes or apologies for mistakes. The punishment for vampires was either death or dismissal from his figurative traveling caravan. And the vampires always knew that he was never to see them again anywhere or else. The humans were either killed, or turned into vampires, or compelled to go home, wherever home was, and not remember until they got there. They were then left alone to acclimate back to a normal world, sometimes after years of being removed from it. That's why Klaus never compelled humans to join him. Instead, he sent some of the younger vampires to scout for feeble humans who wanted the kind of dangerous adventure he could provide.
"Just keep working," Klaus said and went back to his drawing. The sun was down. December 21st wasn't close to being almost over, but he wanted Greta to see everything while night blanketed the northern hemisphere.
After he'd mentioned Christmas, he had inquired about her family traditions. He didn't speak to many of his companions, preferring instead to sit back and watch them talk among themselves. He spoke to Maddox the most. But Greta, and her willingness to leave everything behind, fascinated him just a little.
Greta had been hesitant to divulge information, but after she'd gauged his interest, she had spoken. Perhaps she'd been able to tell he was sincerely interested. Perhaps she'd accepted a simple excuse to talk about her family.
She'd told him about the ritual her dad performed every December 21st. She'd spoken about that more than she'd talked about what they did on Christmas day.
Her memories had stuck with him, so he'd decided to surprise her by decorating and celebrating in her honor.
Once he was finished with his drawing, he looked over the other gift he was going to give her. Then he walked around the house to see how everything was holding up.
And once everything was done, Maddox reversed the privacy spell, Klaus thanked everyone, and they all left.
He went to his room and showered and dressed, and then he went to Greta's door. There was nothing after his first round of knocking. He hated to think she was asleep. It was only ten thirty-five.
"Who is it?"
His mouth twitched, a tease of a smile. "Klaus. Care to join me downstairs, please? It's a special occasion."
Greta frowned. She didn't open the door, because she heard his footsteps retreating. A special occasion. She hadn't heard anything from Maddox. She looked at the simple and sleeveless dark blue-printed, v-neck blouse she wore. Her light yellow skinny capris didn't scream 'special occasion.' But she'd had no forewarning, so if she wasn't dressed up to par, Klaus could tell her so. She lifted her long and heavy curly black hair and let it settle on her back; then she slipped on a pair of black wedge sandals and went downstairs.
She was smiling, albeit confused, when she entered the living room. She walked the circumference of it, soaking up every homage to Christmas, surprised by some details and suffering a pang of homesickness at others.
"Could you help with this?"
Klaus had stuffed a log into the fireplace, and she laughed. "You got a yule log?"
"Oak. The very best."
She reached out her hand to the log and remembered part of the spell she'd spoken earlier.
Honorificate terrae potentia
Honor the power of the earth.
Suddenly, she snatched her hand back. "I have the perfect thing for this. Do you have wine?"
Her New Orleans accent was still strong. He was growing fond of it. "No," he answered with a frown. He didn't know what she wanted the wine for, but he should have bought wine. He sighed inwardly.
"Do you have salt?"
"Yes," he said with a raise of his eyebrows.
"Okay, get it for me?" She hurried back upstairs.
Klaus frowned and coked his head. When was the last time someone had asked him to...fetch something for them?
Nevertheless, he was holding a container of salt when Greta came back down.
"Thank you." She grabbed the container and sprinkled the log with it. Then she placed the fir and added salt on that, too, to establish a connection between the crystals on the log and those now on the fir.
She was missing the wine, but it should work. The explosion would probably be a lot bigger. Just in case, she placed a line of salt in front of the fireplace and exalted her power over it so that it would contain the fire. "Habitum is incendia."
"Okay, back up. You ready?"
She smiled because she knew he had no idea what was about to happen. She stretched her hand towards the log again, and said, like her father always did at this time of year, "Excipio lux!"
Her heart jumped when the loud pop happened (it was louder due to the lack of wine) and a ball of light green fire engulfed the log. It hit the salt boundary, but she and Klaus took a step back just the same. The salt crystals glittered and shined in the air before they twinkled out.
"Very nice," Klaus commented at the green fire that now burned steady.
"I love that spell. Where is everybody?" she asked as she put the container on top of the fireplace.
"Gone. This is your Christmas party."
She turned to face him, surprise all over her face. "You did all this?"
"In a manner."
She pursed her lips and nodded. He got everyone else to do it. Then sent them home. Sometimes she admired the way his brain worked.
"Why did you do it?"
"Well, you talked about missing your family-"
"I ain't said I missed 'em," she said defensively.
"It was clear. So I figured I would get you as close to them as possible."
After a moment, she said, "It's nice." She walked over to the tree. "No gifts?"
"Oh, you have a gift." He didn't give her the drawing just yet. Instead, he presented her with a crown of ivy. "It goes on your head."
Greta's hands twitched because while a reckless part of her wondered if he was going to put it on for her (he stood so close), she was about to put it on herself. But he lifted his hands and crowned her.
"For protection, fidelity, and honor," he said. His pupils dilated when she looked up at him. Her eyes were perfectly framed by her eyebrows and her full lips stretched in a smile. At that moment, she was the picture of innocence. The newness of it, for she looked nothing like the girl who had grilled him about why he wanted to take her, unsettled his stomach, so he hardened his face and stepped back.
Greta didn't notice. "How do you know that?"
He swallowed before answering, a tactic to steel his composure. "My family partook in the pagan rituals a long time ago. My mother always gave us crowns."
"When you were alive."
She touched the leaves on her head and smiled. "So this is how your family celebrated Christmas?" she asked as she gave the room another once-over. "With a huge tree, and a yule log, and lots of decorations?"
Klaus smiled. "No. My family...ate during Christmas." He walked to his work station, still in the middle of the living room, and sat on the chair. "We only exchanged gifts twice. Both after the...death of my parents. But my family always had dinner on Christmas. A great big facade, as far as I was concerned. I used to be...very much into trying to enjoy it. But it was always a bit melancholic. You see, Christmas was just another day to watch how much my brothers and sister pleased my father, another day of confusion as to why I could never satisfy him."
Greta held her breath. Not out of fear, but out of slight discomfort. She had no idea why he felt like sharing all of this personal information. He sounded like he was back in that time, back with his family, and he was looking at her like she only kind of existed.
"Only," he continued, "all of our neighbors celebrated this particular day."
She swallowed. "I'm sorry to hear that. I can't imagine what birthdays were like for you."
He raised his eyebrows, smirked and shrugged.
"You couldn't even get his attention on your birthday?" She was incredulous.
"Quite the contrary. My birthday was the one day he treated me like...family. It's unfortunate that I always got the sense that he did it for my mother." It was truly ironic, considering his birthday should have represented his mother's betrayal.
"And here I thought my family was frustrating."
"My family, darling Greta, is much worse than frustrating." And nowadays he was the main reason why that was the case, something he didn't mind at all.
Greta didn't like how him calling her "Darling Greta" bounced around in her ear. He'd never called her darling before. He'd never called her anything outside of her name. He'd heard him call the other girls and the women "Sweetheart." She wasn't sure she'd heard him call them darling. Then again, she wasn't with him all the time.
She told herself to stop being a damn fool and was thankful for his next comment.
"I imagine birthdays were a happy time for you."
"Always. My dad always put on a magic show for me," she said as she walked around to distract herself. "The Grimoire I have? He gave it to me on my eighteenth birthday. He meant it to be some kind of decoration, just this book I would have and read on occasion."
"But that's not how you took it."
Restlessness with her father's rules about magic is why she'd been eager to go with Klaus. Her father was more of an academic warlock. She had no idea how he got to be so powerful considering he didn't do anything with his powers. He collected grimoires and researched the occult, the real occult. And that was it. She, on the other hand, had been itching to get her powers. She loved that her dad used his powers for mundane things, and she wanted to be able to do that too.
But that's not all she wanted to do. But her dad had felt different.
"Too bad he gave me one of the least dangerous grimoires. But that's fine. The spells are good. And I guess it's...a kind of tangible memory of him."
She didn't want to just learn about magic, and read grimoires and hear stories. She wanted to do. She wanted to test her powers and their limitations. An incident with Luka and some bullies when her brother was a freshman in high school had only increased her desire to practice. She'd taken one of her dad's more powerful grimoires and had let Luka watch her put the curse together, and he'd been giddy as she'd spoken the words meant for the boys who had promised to jump him the next day.
The curse had been their secret.
Her dad had found out anyway. He'd made her reverse it and then he'd given her a lecture.
Joining Klaus was paying off. Her powers were like a muscle, and to strengthen them, Klaus gave her people to fight. He put the word out that he'd be breaking his curse soon. Vampires came for them, and it was up to her to kill them. Klaus only had one rule: she must kill them with a spell. Setting them on fire wouldn't help his cause. He needed her to be strong enough to undo a thousand-year old curse bound with blood.
The spells she'd come up with for the first four vampires had failed. She hadn't worded them correctly, so she had ended up having to kill the vampires with fire. She'd quickly encountered Klaus' impatience. It used to scare her. One time he'd snapped at her for failing, and she'd asked him how he'd like it if she tried to kill him. That had been the first time she'd seen someone look truly murderous.
But she hadn't been afraid of the violence that stormed in his eyes. She had been prepared to bludgeon him with magic until one of them died.
But he hadn't attacked. Instead, he'd sneered at her and asked her if she really thought she could.
"Try me," she'd answered. "I ain't here for you; I'm here for me."
She sometimes thought back to that moment and wondered if her admission had been smart.
Klaus talked about her fighting his older enemies, now. The ones closer to his age.
"But I'm starting my own grimoire," she continued, her mind back on the present. "And what I'm putting together for your sacrifice is the first entry."
"When will I see it?"
"When it's ready."
"I don't quite like surprises. A man in my position can't afford to."
She shrugged nonchalantly. If his curse had been bound by blood, then blood would be needed to unbind it. The thought made her nervous, but a little excited. Klaus only knew that a doppelganger and a specific moonstone would be needed, just like the first time. The rest of what would be needed was up to her.
Klaus bit the inside of his bottom lip at her non-verbal defiance. "How did your family celebrate Christmas?"
She smiled. She knew he was irritated. "Well as far as the family part: we don't have a lot of family. It's just me, my dad, and Luka."
"Where's your mother?"
"Living a divorced life in-living a divorced life." She decided it wasn't smart to tell Klaus her location. But her mother lived overseas. They visited her and she visited them during summers.
"Anyways. We do have a lot of neighbors. And every year they either come over ours for dinner or a party or we go to theirs. My dad is an amazin' cook. It's like everything he cooks could be in a five-star restaurant," she laughs. "Even the simplest thing, like a sandwich. It's just...so good."
Greta hoped her dad cooked this year. She imagined that he would, if only as a gesture of defiance, one that said that things hadn't changed forever, that he was going to get his daughter back; he was going to have his family again. She hoped he cooked for Luka, hoped he traveled to the North pole and welcomed the light in the fireplace for Luka.
Luka wasn't getting his powers for another year. She was sad that she was going to miss it. She hoped he wouldn't let her absence dampen his excitement, but she knew that was a futile hope.
Klaus saw the shadows in her eyes before she turned to examine the Christmas tree. He suddenly had second thoughts about his drawing. Not about the timing of it, about the quality.
"It's my birthday in eight days."
"We'll be in South America by then."
Her full hair swung around and bounced against her with the force of her turn to face him. He stared at her for a minute, unclear as to how...as to how. He needed it to stop, whatever it was. He frowned and then swallowed. Standing, he said, "Suriname, to be exact."
"I don't speak Spanish," she said with a laugh.
He smiled. "They speak Dutch, actually. Among other languages, but...I speak Dutch."
She nodded. "Oh nice. My daddy taught us French, and I took it in high school. How long we gonna stay there?"
She looked very excited, so he made an impulsive decision. "As long as you want."
The excitement froze on her face. His words bounced in her ear again. As long as she wants. He'd probably said that to other people.
Other people. She'd forgotten it was just the two of them here. He'd really made everyone decorate the place for her and then kicked them out.
Klaus tried hard not to clutch the drawing, (he didn't want to wrinkle it), and walked to her. "Your second gift. The last. Promise," he added at the look on her face.
She took the cream paper from him and rolled it open. Everything in her still at what she saw, and her blood warmed. She blinked and swallowed hard.
What was he doing?
In front of her was the North pole. The canvas was mostly dark, a sign of the Winter Solstice. What caught her breath were the stars. They hung large and close, almost touching the earth. There was no one on the landscape. It was as if it was done from her point of view. And Luka's and her father's.
Klaus was moved by the look on her face. Until-
"I don't want it."
"It's nice," she said breathlessly when she looked at the drawing again. "It's beautiful," she said, looking back up at him, "But I don't want it."
"Why not?" His voice contained a sharp edge.
"Because I don't. Because it isn't necessary."
"It's a gift."
"That I don't want."
"Have I done something to offend you?"
She chuckled. "No. Trust me; it's nice. All of this is nice. Thank you for all of it." She handed the drawing back to him.
Instead of taking it, he stared at her.
"Would you like me to put it on the fireplace?"
He kept staring, mouth in a tight line.
She moved around him then, her body a little tense in case he moved in any direction. She put the drawing on top of the fireplace and walked backwards. "Good night...Klaus." She turned and headed up the stairs.
"Good night, Greta."
She paused on the fourth step, because his voice didn't contain the edge anymore. It was soft and almost contemplative. She continued on to her room.
Once upstairs, she tried not to listen for his movements. It wasn't just that she was with him for her own cause. He wanted her with him for his cause. And what after? She had no guarantee with him. What would happen after she undid his curse? She didn't even want to think about what would happen if she failed to undo his curse or if she failed gravely at any point before then.
He'd told her that going after his enemies, after the very old vampires, was how most of the inexperienced witches and warlocks before her had died. And most of those old vampires? They knew he was going to have another witch attack them at any moment: her. This was life or death for her, and if death came, well...wouldn't Klaus just watch and then curse her corpse for failing?
She went to sleep in a bad mood. She wouldn't be contemplating death if she was back home with her family.
She would wake up in a good mood.
She dreamed of the star-studded North pole.
Dream Weaving was the lone way vampires could get into a witch's mind.
Klaus made her dream of the North pole.
A/N: If you're interested in another Greta/Klaus story, check out Worth, Regret, and Peace.