"Love couldn't be moved by circumstance, poor choices, or even blatant lies—skewed and damaged, yes, but the heart couldn't deny what it wanted most once the desire was planted. Whether in bliss or affliction, love owned you all the same."
― Rachael Wade, The Tragedy of Knowledge
She hadn't known about the baby. Not until... not until that night; the night that changed everything, really. And she wasn't shocked or angry or any of the other millions of emotions that she could have felt had the circumstances of her finding out been different. But they weren't. Maybe everything had happened for a reason in the grand scheme of things.
And how could she be mad at him, this broken, water logged man, standing outside her apartment? Head bowed, water drifting down his body, pooling at his feet, half turned away from her door as if he expected her to send him away. Muttering after she asked what he was doing there, "I had a child Caroline. She was so... so beautiful. And now she's dead." So matter-of-factly he said it; she could almost believe that he didn't care. That he was unaffected by the loss of a child she hadn't known existed. If she hadn't known him as well as she did; if she hadn't been able to detect the miniscule amount of hurt and sadness that leaked into his voice, the tears he forced down, and she thought wildly that he had never been more human than he was then.
Caroline hadn't even had time to truly processed her emotions after he said that. At a loss for a moment, she eventually acted on instinct, grabbing her keys in one move, and closing the door behind her before she tugged him to her. He clutched her to him, and for a moment she let herself enjoy the feeling of his body pressed against hers, before she pulled back slightly and gripped his hand, bringing him along to her car.
She drove them to her favorite cafe, making sure he was seated at a secluded table before ordering them both drinks, bringing them back and forcing the warm drink into his hands. They drank in silence for a while, well she drank her coffee and stared at him and he stared down at the table, his hands clenching and unclenching, fingers reaching for the cup only to pull away at the last second.
Finally, tired of his continued silence, knowing that even if it hurt him he needed to confide in someone about what happened, and he had come to her after all, she asked softly, "Do you want to talk about it?"
He shook his head slowly, looking out the window as he crossed his arms, leaning back in his chair. She sighed, but she wasn't ready to admit defeat yet. "Klaus, you can talk to me. That's what friends are for. Let me help you." In whatever way you need.
He finally, for the first time since he showed up at her door, looked her in the eye. She could see the red there, the tears threatening to spill over, and her heart broke for him. Klaus set his hands back on the table, and she reached hers out, covering his large hands with her smaller ones. He looked down at their hands for a moment before looking back out the window. "I," He swallowed and she willed herself to be patient for him. "I slept with Hayley. It was just a one time thing, it was supposed to help me..." He trailed off again.
Caroline waited as long as she could, all the while battling an unexpected surge of jealousy, before urging him on. "Help you what?"
He looked her dead in the eye. "Get over you." He faced the window again, and her heart beat wildly. So he had wanted to get over her. Almost as if he knew what she was feeling- hurt, betrayal, sad resignation- and didn't he always? he quickly added. "It didn't work, I doubt any amount of one night stands would erase what I feel for you. Even if I wanted it to, and I don't. Not anymore."
She couldn't help the soft sigh of relief, before she gently said, "What does this have to do with a child Klaus?" Because in case you didn't notice, we're not supposed to be able to procreate.
"A 'loophole of nature', that's what the witches called it. Because I'm not a vampire, I'm a hybrid, and there has to be a balance. Hayley got pregnant from our one night together. I hated it Caroline. I hated that child. I never wanted to be a father. I never- I never wanted to chance that I could end up like Mikael." He broke off, looking down at the table again, before he pulled one of his hands out from under hears, gripping her hand instead. "I couldn't let myself care. Elijah wanted me to. Hayley couldn't have cared less, all she's ever cared about is her own life. I avoided everyone for all eight months. And then one night, I heard a cry, and I followed the noise."
A drop of wetness hit her hand, and she nearly jumped in shock before her mind caught up with what was happening and she realized that he was crying. Oh, had she ever really thought that he was incapable of emotions?
"When I saw her, oh god Caroline, it was instant. I loved her. I loved my daughter with my whole being. I never believed that, that fathers loved their children when they saw them, but I did, and I wish I hadn't." His voice hardened as he went on, before softening again. "And then she died, the flu, would you believe it?, and all I could think was that there was only one person who could make me feel like I still wanted to live on. It was you Caroline. It will always be you."
She choked down a sob, rising abruptly and slid into the seat next to him. She wrapped her arms around him, and held him, for hours, before she led him back to her apartment and into her bed. And then she held him until dawn broke through her bedroom window. She would be there for this man, this man who had endured so much hurt and pain, because he always, inexplicably came to her, trusted in her, and she... she loved him. Amidst everything. She was falling in love with him. So she would do her best to comfort him, for as long as he needed. Because if she new one thing, she knew that that was a part of loving someone.