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a/n — i had to google a lot of parenting tips for this, so if any of my family sees my history... it's not what it looks like...

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part vii

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"I am not stressed!" Matt yells, seeming extremely stressed.

"Alright, well, I'm not saying you are," Bonnie holds her hands up in surrender, "But your face is."

"It's just, there are shoes all over the floor, I just stood on an iPad, and Elena keeps crying for no apparent reason!"

"Fatherhood is tough," Bonnie pats his back sympathetically.

"You and Kol keep disappearing to go on new and exciting adventures, Tyler spends most of the week at Liv's, Rebekah's turned into Supernanny, which I am sort of weirdly attracted to, Klaus is being Klaus, and Elijah honestly still scares me," Matt admits.

"Well, there's always Damon," Bonnie smiles cheekily at Matt. He frowns at her.

"Damon who bought Stefan a dog, reaps all the rewards and conveniently disappears whenever there's a crap on the floor, that Damon?"

Bonnie just laughs, "Hey. It's not the first dog we've housed."

"Ha," Matt chortles, "Imagine having to raise werewolves." He shivers at the thought.

"Aren't we already doing that with Tyler?" Matt cracks a smile at that.

"Hey, that's my best friend you're talking about," He shakes his head, feigning disapproval.

"Mmm. Your best friend who cannot for the life of him figure out how to use the washing machine without creating a fire, a fire, Matt! How is that even possible?"

Matt shrugs, "I mean, is that as bad as him being afraid of the hoover?"

Bonnie gasps, "I knew it!"

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Klaus grinds his teeth together, his hands tensely clasped over his knee. Kol blinks occasionally but other than that shows no inclination of even being awake. Elijah purses his lips and critically examines the font on the power point presentation. Rebekah frantically scribbles notes and notices none of this.

"Children in this age group start to form stronger, more complex friendships and peer relationships. It becomes more emotionally important to have friends, especially of the same sex."

"I prefer my friends to be of the opposite sex," Kol mutters and Klaus smirks. Elijah disapproves and Rebekah ignores.

"Of course this also leads to situations of peer pressure. We will have an entire session dedicated to facing those troubling scenarios."

Klaus almost laughs at the thought of anyone pressuring Caroline Forbes to do something she didn't want to do, he pitied the pour soul that tried.

"And, we'll also have puberty fast approaching. Around this age a child will become more aware of his or her body. Body image and eating problems may sometimes develop at this stage."

Rebekah looks panicked to have even more issues to deal with.

"Children may also become more independent at this age, but it's really nothing to worry about."

"Nothing to worry about?" Kol snorts, "'Bout time we have some bloody space."

"It's also common that children could begin facing academic challenges at school."

Rebekah's hand flies into the air and the Parenting Expert Dr-yes-that's-Doctor-not-Woman-Fisher (a comment which Kol incited) points at her.

"What if a child has already been," Rebekah hesitates, "Not so intellectually inclined." She smiles sweetly.

"Oh, well, every single child is developing at a different rate," Dr Fisher shrugs, "Yours just may take slightly longer to find their rhythm of learning, or the right way for them to fully embrace their academic studies."

"Oh no!" Rebekah scoffs, "He's not mine! My child would be extraordinarily bright."

"Oh, my apologies, you just take interest in this like a parent."

"I see myself as more of a Strict-Sometimes-Fun-Always-Gorgeous-Aunt," Rebekah nods enthusiastically, "But that doesn't mean I can't push them to strive for greatness."

Dr Fisher forces a smile, "Yes, well, it is important that a child has a good relationship with their extended family as well as their parents."

Rebekah sees red at the woman hinting at her being an overbearing, nosy aunt and Klaus taps his foot merrily at her anger.

Rebekah would kill her but she really isn't in the mood to compel that many witnesses.

Kol raises his hand and Dr Fisher looks irked but points at him to speak, "What age can they start to fight?"

"What?"

"Kol!"

"Why would you need to know that?"

"Kol, please desist in your actions to attract child protective services to our door."

The original hooligan shrugs, "Just want to know when they'll be able to throw a punch."

Dr Fisher claps her hands together, "Okay. Moving on. To encourage suitable," she eyes Kol, "Social behaviours, prompt your child to join school and community groups, such as a sports team, or to be a volunteer for a charity."

Klaus laughs aloud and everyone turns to him, "I'm just imagining Elijah at a football game wearing school colours." Kol sniggers at the image.

Dr Fisher continues ignoring that side of the room, "Help your child develop his own sense of right and wrong," even Elijah cracks a smile at Kol's pointing and laughing at the absurdity of that statement when it comes to them, "Talk with them about risky things friends might pressure them to do, like smoking or dangerous physical dares."

Rebekah huffs at that, "Just last week Damon dared Tyler to jump from the roof onto the trampoline and had Stefan watch as Tyler landed on the hidden wooden spikes underneath the bouncy deathtrap."

"Quite literally a bouncy deathtrap on this occasion," Klaus muses.

"You should actively attempt to meet and befriend the families of your child's friends," the Originals instantly express disgust at this suggestion, "Talk with your child about respecting others. Encourage them to help people in need—"

Elijah sighs, "Katerina glued Elena's hair to her bed-frame only yesterday."

"She really does continue to prove there's no hope for her black, tarty soul," Rebekah quips.

"—and talk with them about what to do when others are not kind or are disrespectful."

Kol raises his eyebrows, "What ages are too young for murder?"

Klaus shrugs, "What ages are old enough?"

"Ah," Kol points at him in good humour.

"I can't believe you're raising children," Rebekah grumbles.

"Any questions before we break for lunch?

"A couple of months ago they were seven and now they're already nine years old, hey Teach, got any parenting advice for that?" Rebekah glares at Klaus's whispered comment. Then, kind of wishes she could ask.

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"I am not addicted," Tyler argues while pouring another bowl of Cheerios, "Five bowls in an hour isn't excessive."

"I think that fits the definition, actually," Liv eyes him as he pours the milk, "You might have a problem."

"Can I not enjoy some crunchy bites of the only happiness in my life?" She sucks in her cheeks and he freezes, "Uh, besides you, of course."

"I'm just a little suspicious of how much you like them," she teases him.

"Ah, it's not like I'll gain weight," he says dismissively.

Liv raises her eyebrows, "Someone's cocky about their metabolism."

Tyler realises he hasn't told his new girlfriend he's an immortal werewolf-vampire crossbreed. He brings a large spoon of Cheerios to his lips and thinks, maybe tomorrow.

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Bonnie is joyfully moving her body to a Tinie Tempah song and procrastinating washing the dishes when Matt screams her name. She hits the stop button and runs toward his voice.

"What is it? What's wrong?"

Matt places his hand to his forehead, he points to Stefan. Bonnie glances inquisitively toward the child.

"What happened?"

Matt shrugs, "Oh, you know, Stefan's ripping heads off of Barbies now."

Bonnie gapes as she notices the pile of doll heads beside Stefan. The little boy happily beams up at her.

"Oh crap," Bonnie mutters, "Maybe they'll know how to deal with this after their parenting course?"

Matt, decidedly, gives up.

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"I don't like minding Katherine and Caroline. They always whisper about me," Damon comments as he strolls into the kitchen.

"You could take the dog for a walk?"

"Oh, to the bar!"

"No Damon—"

"Yes Damon," he jogs off to fetch the dog leash.

Rebekah's been nagging him to flea the dog, or anti-flea, flea eradication of some sort. Fleas be gone! The title of the next chapter of Damon's pathetic new life. The last chapter was mind-numbingly boring and incredibly frustrating and mostly consisted of him actually having to actively engage in arguments — plural — with a nine year old to prove that for the last time Stefan you are NOT allergic to broccoli just because you keep saying it doesn't make it true.

The dog whines as Damon approaches it.

"Here, Doggy Doggy."

The dog hides under Stefan's bed.

"He don't like you," Stefan watches from his play area, assembling his Lego blocks.

"Eh, most people don't," Damon shrugs, tossing the lead lazily and heads to the Grill by himself.

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The door swings open and four original vampires make their way through it.

"Parenting expert?" Rebekah scoffs,"Please, she was incompetent at best."

"Someone's peeved at being told to 'have a less intense role in someone else's child's life'."

"As if she knows anything, I'd wager she's not even a real doctor," Rebekah huffs, "Except, of course, that would mean agreeing with Kol and I've yet to sink that low."

Matt appears before them fully clothed but visibly wet, with three saturated towels draped over his shoulders and arms, "Damon's hell dog jumped into the bath with Elena and ran around soaking the whole second floor, Caroline hit Katherine so hard in the head with a shoe we think she might have a concussion, Jeremy has cleaned muddy boot prints off of the floor by licking them, now his stomach hurts, and Stefan has ripped the heads off of every doll in the house."

"Well, that's disturbing," Elijah comments.

"Ah good ol' Ripper," Klaus smiles, 'good ol' Caroline', he thinks, too.

"Aw, it's always nice when they show an interest in new hobbies," Kol muses.

Rebekah wishes she were daggered.

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It takes an hour for Rebekah to curb the madness that occurred while she was away. She doles out tasks and keeps everyone at optimum efficiency by bribing them with the smell of freshly baked cookies (she uses a small fan to waft the heavenly scent around the house).

Tyler closes the front door behind him, "Daddy's home."

"Don't you mean Doggy's home?" Kol calls from somewhere upstairs.

Tyler rolls his eyes. Rebekah grabs him by the back of his neck.

"Ow! Too far too far!"

Rebekah deposits the hybrid onto a chair in the kitchen, "Once I'm finished the grocery list you'll need to go to the supermarket, and the garage to get the oil issue in the jeep fixed, and possibly the hospital to compel a doctor."

"A doctor? What happened?"

"Caroline may have bludgeoned Katherine to death. She's still breathing so we're being optimistic."

"Oh, that would be great revenge," Tyler notes.

"I suggested rolling the dice and checking if she'd made it in the morning but Elijah insists on getting her medical attention."

"She probably would. She's one hell of a survivor," Rebekah nods in agreement.

Rebekah picks her pen up off of the table and inspects her list. Tyler smiles at Elena who smiles back.

"Why is she all wet?"

"Failure."

Tyler blinks, "Okay."

"What meat do you want for dinner today, Tiny Annoyance?" Elena seems to know Rebekah is talking to her.

"Meat?" she asks.

"Those turkey rashers Katherine likes, those chicken nuggets you all appear to love, or the extremely under-cooked steak pieces Stefan gobbles up. Which animal will we be consuming today?"

"Animals? I don't want to eat animals!" Elena wails, hugging her horse teddy tight to her chest.

"Oh, sweetie, wait 'til you're eating people," Rebekah pats her naive little head.

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Matt and Tyler are excused from house duties to go run errands in town. Matt because he's barely coping and on the verge of a mental breakdown and Tyler because Rebekah doesn't trust him with anything else. Also, besides Bonnie, they're the only two who won't slice a store employee's throat open for 'looking at them funny' (yes, this did really happen).

"Did you notice we're always the ones who have to do this?" Tyler complains, grabbing an absurd amount of Laughing Cow Cheese (cause Damon keeps eating it and the kids get jealous).

"I don't mind it," Matt shrugs as he mans the cart.

"Well, I do. Mostly because I don't understand Rebekah's shopping list. This one says 'not peanut butter' what does that even mean?"

Matt chuckles, "I'm so tired, man. I honestly have no idea."

"You okay? Cause you can opt out of all of this. You don't have to stay here. You're human. Live your life."

Matt sighs, "I know. But, my friends are my life. I might need to find a hobby but I couldn't imagine leaving them. Especially not with the Originals."

"There's me."

"Especially not with you."

"Hey!" Tyler and Matt laugh.

"I was thinking," Matt continues, "Of maybe doing some community service, maybe join Civil Defense?"

"That could be cool, man. You can learn some new ways to kick Damon's ass."

"When you put it like that it's a great idea."

They lapse into comfortable silence.

Tyler picks up some rose scented bath bombs and sighs, "I have officially lost all of my masculinity."

Matt feigns shock, "You had some?"

"Shut up, Donovan."

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Damon hums as he enters the mansion on the edge of town. He stops humming upon seeing the Originals and Bonnie gathered in the living room.

"Who died?"

"Nobody yet," Rebekah eyes him.

"Damon," Bonnie interrupts their glaring, "We need to talk about Vaughn."

"What has the little Van-Helsing-wannabe rascal done now?"

"He's corroborated information on Silas' whereabouts."

"Ah, poo," Damon pushes out his bottom lip.

"He's coming tomorrow to retrieve the white oak stake, willingly or otherwise."

"Well," Damon shrugs, "He'a not gonna find it."

Klaus flashes in front of Damon intimidatingly, "Give us the location of the stake, Damon."

"How about no?"

"Alright!" Bonnie exclaims, hoping to delay further conflict, "We need to figure this out. Is it in our best interest to give Vaughn the stake? If he kills Silas, one less immortal psychopath running around."

"If we give the stake to him and he fails," Klaus argues, "Then Silas, an immortal menace with a bad reputation, now has a weapon that can kill all of us."

"Oh, yeah," Bonnie mutters.

"Well," Damon adds, "Alaric's already stabbed Mr Immortal Hybrid King and, in utter Klaus fashion, he's still alive."

Klaus shrugs, looking smug.

"Bloody hell," Rebekah groans, "If he comes here and gets blood on my carpets I'll kill all of you anyway."

"I guess we'll be finding out tomorrow either way."

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