Author's note: Well. This is weird. I... think I accidentally wrote baby-fic. Huh.
Warnings: Um, I killed someone in this. Plus it's kinda gross. And a bit twisted. I'm not even sure if I like it. I'm not even sure what it is.
Disclaimer: Nope, I don't own TVD. The characters are probably quite glad about that.
The discontented wail of a newborn infant, wrenched from the comfort of the womb, pierces the early morning.
Klaus flinches, heart thudding like it hasn't in centuries. Across the room, Elijah sits forward and adjusts his shirt cuffs minutely. Only those very close to him would recognise he is a powder keg of excited, nervous energy.
'Niklaus,' Elijah breathes, turning bright eyes on his brother. Klaus cannot meet his gaze. He remains, as he has remained for the past eighteen and a half torturous hours, a silent stone figure in the old-fashioned armchair. An untouched tumbler of bourbon rests on the sideboard, inches from his hand. 'Niklaus,' Elijah urges him again. 'Your child is here.'
Klaus knows that, of course. He's listened to the whole wretched ordeal unravelling throughout the night. Banned from the birthing chambers on the first floor of the house; unwanted and helpless to do anything, for once in his long life. He's heard the witches chanting, his sister barking out orders, the other girls soothing and muttering and storytelling when it got too bad.
It wasn't an easy birth, from the sounds of it. More than once it crossed his mind that she might die. When she started cursing and groaning his fists had clenched at his sides. When the noise had stopped a few hours ago and her voice trailed off into a subdued feverish mutter, his face had frozen into the hollow mask that now confronted Elijah in the pale morning light.
'Nik,' Rebekah's voice startles him into looking up. She's grubby in her jeans and vaguely blood smeared sweater but she's glowing with happiness, looking like the young girl he hasn't seen in many a decade. Her arms hold a bundle of white blankets, encasing the newborn baby. He can smell his child—it's weird and unexpected—he can smell the baby and he recognises the scent of what is his. Family. Blood. Belonging. 'You have a son,' his sister tells him.
Klaus has killed hundreds of people. Some of them were children. Babies, even. He has a thousand years of blood on his hands. People he's tormented, people he's hurt and chased and tortured. He has killed people in the last week and yesterday he drained a seventeen year old girl to within an inch of her life, loving the taste of her fear and the rattle of her breath as she slipped towards oblivion.
'You have a son,' Rebekah says, and she's smiling, and there's blood on her t-shirt.
'Is she-' Klaus starts.
'Caroline's fine,' Rebekah says, her attention still fixed on the tiny boy wriggling in her arms. 'The old crones started removing the spell as soon as this little one was born. Caroline's healing now.'
Klaus breathes out relief and anger and fear that he doesn't know what to do with. Rebekah steps forward and Klaus steps back, but his sister is moving too quickly and his arms shoot out automatically to take the swaddled infant before he knows he's been tricked. Rebekah smiles triumphantly and goes to stand next to Elijah, hugging her eldest brother in their shared joy.
The baby is tiny and wrinkled. His eyes when they blink up at Klaus are pure blue. Klaus's son weighs nothing in his arms and makes a soft, happy sounding squeal as the Original Hybrid peers down at the tiny boy. Klaus has no idea what to do with this turn of events. He glances at his siblings in a kind of panic, but they are smiling indulgently and offer absolutely no help, and when he looks back at the small speck of a person he is holding the child is fast asleep.
'Rebekah,' a soft voice comes from the doorway. Elena looks exhausted, overwhelmed and a bit pissed off. Join the club. He allows his gaze to drift over the girl who has worked tirelessly helping Caroline this past night. He wants to thank her. He's not sure how.
She's staring oddly at him and there's something in her eyes he can't decipher. Never could. Part of why he's always disliked this doppelganger so much is how little he understands her. Listening to her with Caroline during the long hours of her labour, Klaus thinks he perhaps sees a little more of what Caroline, the Salvatore's, hell even Elijah seem to value in this girl.
'I need some more towels,' Elena is saying to his sister now, and Klaus frowns as he listens for Caroline and her attendants upstairs.
'I should—' Klaus mutters, handing the baby back to Rebekah and heading towards the great central hallway housing the staircase that will lead him to Caroline.
'Klaus, no!' Elena says, sticking a hand out towards him, but pulling it back before she makes contact, as if his touch might burn her. It might. He turns an expectant, annoyed glare on her. 'Caroline's still...um...' Elena breaks off and her cheeks flush pink. Klaus rallies his brain cells and thinks back to what he knows of the birthing process, feeling somewhat of an idiot when Elena's meaning hits him. She's clutching freshly laundered towels in her arms now. He wonders who washed them over the course of the night. Possibly, Elijah, he guesses.
'It'll be quick now,' Elena says, awkwardly. 'She's already started vampire healing again, so it's just going through the motions.'
Klaus smirks, nods tiredly and holds his palms up in the universal sign of I-am-backing-off. Elena's gone from the room at vampire speed before he even settles back down in his seat.
The baby appears to be sleeping now, content in Rebekah's arms with Elijah looking fondly on.
'What are you going to name him?' his brother asks.
Caroline stares at the ceiling, willing her mind to quieten. Everything is agony, and the physical pain is barely the beginning of it. She knows her body is healing now. She can feel the skin and muscle knitting back together, strength seeping back into the body that had become exhausted over her extended childbirth.
Childbirth, indeed. Caroline scoffs under her breath, fighting back angry tears that sting her eyes. She feels empty. It should be a relief, and maybe it is. Maybe she can go home and pretend this nightmare never happened.
She thought she would die, last night. She thought she would die for this tiny person that had lived inside her; this precious, awful thing she hadn't asked for. She thinks, maybe, that if Elena hadn't been there at each dark moment to pull her back to herself, then she might have died. But perhaps that is just melodramatic.
The bedroom is quiet now, but there's too much going on inside her head to find any peace. Rebekah has finally left, thank God, to be with her brothers downstairs. She'd whisked the baby away at its first cry, when Caroline had feebly pushed the shorter midwife's arms away as she'd tried to lay the baby to her breast.
'It's not my child,' Caroline had whispered, and turned her head away. The taller midwife had gasped and Elena had squeezed Caroline's hand. The three Deveraux witches had ignored her as they prepared candles and nasty smelling herbs for their incantations. Rebekah had glanced awkwardly at the blonde girl who had just finished pushing her nephew into the world, and then swept out of the room as soon as the baby had been swaddled.
Now, the midwives are cleaning up the last of the afterbirth mess. The witches are finished with their strange rituals and the crone amongst them, the olive skinned, black-haired hippie grandmother type who had started all this in the first place, moves gracefully to Caroline's bedside as the midwife disappears out of the door.
'I am sorry for your suffering, child,' she says, but Caroline rolls her eyes and laughs, a harsh, painful and mirthless sound.
'Don't,' she bites out, feeling strength flowing back into her body and bonding with the cold, sad, anger she has been holding onto throughout the night. 'You did this to me for your own, twisted purposes and you didn't care that it hurt me as long as your coven got what it wanted. You're no better than him. Evil.'
The witch flinches as though physically struck, but stands her ground.
'You may not believe me,' she says, 'but I wish there had been another way. The seer is never wrong on such matters. Without you, the child would have died and—'
Caroline tries to rally herself to face the hag down, but is stopped in her tracks by Elena's cold, angry voice.
'Get out,' Elena says, moving to Caroline's side and setting a stack of clean towels on the dresser. She turns and stares down the crone and the two younger Deveraux cousins, letting her eyes turn black and veiny, and her fangs elongate into a vicious snarl. 'You've put Caroline through enough. You've done what you came to do so get the hell out of this house, right the fuck now.'
Caroline sinks into the bed, and lets Elena runs the unwanted women out of her room. She hears Rebekah finish the job downstairs, ushering the three New Orleans witches out of the house with acid dripping from her ultra polite words. With her concentration focused on downstairs, she inadvertently picks up the tiny snuffle of a sigh from the sleeping baby, and a sharp pain stabs in her gut. Easing onto her rapidly healing side, Caroline sobs angry tears into the bed sheet and doesn't even protest when Elena sinks onto the bed with her, wrapping her friend up in her arms and murmuring soothing noises into her sweat-damp blonde hair.
'Drink some blood,' Elena says, when Caroline has quietened. A blood bag with a bright yellow straw jabbed into it is pressed into Caroline's hands and she loses herself for a few minutes in the taste and the smell and the rush of life force that is so intoxicating. For the first time in months, she feels like a vampire again.
'What is he?' she asks Elena suddenly.
'Beautiful,' Elena replies instinctively, and then bites her lip. 'Sorry.' She looks hesitantly at Caroline. 'I don't know. He just looks like a baby. He has some hair, I think. Blue eyes.'
Caroline smiles sadly.
'I hate him,' she says, but Elena knows she doesn't mean the child.
Six months ago
This wasn't how she'd expected the weekend to go.
When Stefan had said, 'Let's visit New Orleans,' Caroline had envisioned sightseeing, jambalaya, lots of pretending not to notice Stefan and Rebekah sneaking off together for extended periods of time and, possible, some semi awkward and sweepingly romantic conversations with the man who had proclaimed himself to be her last love.
Not this: a tense, angry face-off on the front porch between a coven of witches, the Original siblings and an apparently pregnant she-wolf stuck in the middle of the tug-o-war.
'Wait, the kid is Klaus's?' Stefan says, doubtfully, as Rebekah hushes him and Klaus glares.
'How dare you?' he practically spits at Hayley, who cowers back under the force of his anger. 'I told you what would happen if you flaunted this situation to manipulate me.'
Caroline feels sick.
Hayley is pregnant with Klaus's baby. Klaus can make babies.
Klaus has slept with Hayley.
'What..?' Caroline gasps, conflicting emotions glazing into one mindless jumble inside her.
'Caroline,' Klaus turns worriedly to her. 'Please just let me explain, love. After I've dealt with these unwelcome guests.' His gaze snaps back to Hayley and Caroline follows his eyeline. An odd, twisting sensation stirs inside as she watches Hayley clasp her arms protectively over the protruding curve of her stomach, where she has begun to swell with Klaus's child.
'I'm warning you, Hybrid,' the raven-haired crone of the coven says, stepping forward on tired limbs with fire blazing in her eyes. 'We have done what is necessary to ensure the protection of this child. The special birth is foretold and the babe will come safely into the world, whether you like it or not!'
'I do not enjoy your pathetic threats,' Klaus sneers. Caroline can tell that fury is building in him from the way his voice gets more controlled and detached.
'Be reasonable, Klaus.' Hayley manages to achieve sounding scared and pissed off at the same time. 'You can't expect to keep me a dirty little secret forever. I'm carrying your child!'
'Sweetheart,' Klaus says, coldly, 'you very much underestimate the hold that has over me. In fact, right now, it's mostly an inconvenience.'
That's when it happens, you see. All hell breaks loose.
Klaus lunges for Hayley; Elijah's eyebrows shoot up as he lunges for Klaus; the witches start screeching in indignation; and Rebekah bitch slaps the one nearest to her, seemingly just for the hell of it. Klaus pulls himself up short, inches from where Hayley's shaking in her cheap boots.
Stefan quirks a mildly alarmed glance at Caroline and opens his mouth to say something, but it never comes out. Or maybe it does, but Caroline's too busy dealing with the wrenching agony that's twisting in her stomach and causing blood to thunder deafeningly in her ears.
Across the porch, Hayley's eyes have rolled back in her head and her body has flexed upwards in an alarming contortion.
She drops like a stone, dead weight on the porch decking.
Caroline hits the ground a second later and rolls to her side, clutching her stomach and howling as her insides split apart and rearrange themselves. For a moment, she's reminded of when she watched the Hybrid's forcing their change over and over again, trying to break the sire bond all those months ago. She can see Hayley's wide eyed, lifeless gaze through the muddle of feet and legs between them.
She vomits, blood and god knows what spewing onto the ground and spraying someone's jean clad leg in the process. Nausea and dizziness grip her body. Weakness, like her human self.
'Caroline!' Stefan, or Klaus, or both of them are down beside her in the filth, their horrified faces swimming in front of her.
The crone is whispering, and the words swirl loudly in Caroline's ears, but she can't decipher them. 'What,' Caroline tries to say, and the black-haired old woman shakes her head sadly.
Then, as suddenly as it started, it all stops. The world right's itself.
'What did you do to her?' Klaus is up again and roaring in the crone's face.
'What we must,' hisses the witch. 'I warned you Hybrid, the spell was already cast. The spirits protect the baby. Now, they have acted to make sure you will do the child no harm as it prepares to enter this world.'
There's noise, and Caroline shuts her eyes against the commotion as she hears the witches leave. Klaus is smashing decking furniture, impotent with rage against the witches he cannot harm. Eliljah cannot calm him down.
'Hey,' Stefan says, softly, leaning over Caroline. 'I'm going to pull you up, ok?'
Caroline nods and lets Stefan pull her to her feet. His hands come up to the side of her face, scanning her for injuries. Finding something of her normal spark returning to Caroline's eyes, he quickly pulls his friend into a hug.
They both freeze.
'Uh, Klaus,' Stefan says.
'What?' Klaus is by their side in a flash, moody and anxious after Caroline's temporary incapacitation.
Slowly, without his eyes leaving Caroline's, Stefan eases back from the blonde girl.
Caroline and Klaus both follow Stefan's eyes down to Caroline's waist.
The gentle bump curves conspicuously out from the fitted blouse she dressed in that morning. Her hand automatically moves to cradle the shape and, in an awful moment of revelation, she can feel the child growing within her.
'What the hell?' she gasps. Her horrified gaze snaps up to Klaus's own gobsmacked expression.
'Bloody hell,' Rebekah says, 'that's weird.'
To be continued...? If you think this is utter tripe, please be gentle with me. xxx