Author's Note: And we are trucking on through! Let me know what you guys thought about the meeting with Marcel, and what the future looks like for our New Orleans gang! Let me know what you think! Enjoy!
Caroline's grip on Klaus's hand hurts her own hand, but somehow her face managed to stay even. There is a long moment of silence where Caroline can only hear the sounds of the bar around them. Water moving through pipes, food being prepared in the kitchen, people talking amongst themselves, or walking around through the rooms. And if she focuses hard enough, she can hear the blood flowing through the veins of the person sitting at the table behind her. She quickly reaches forward with her free hand and grabs at her glass, bringing it to her lips and swallows a few gulps knowing that it won't help with the thirst scratching at her throat, or even take the edge off.
Maybe she was wrong earlier. Maybe she needs to get out of here sooner than she thought. But she can still hold on as she shoves down the flash of hunger that threatens to shift her eyes.
It doesn't, thankfully. But she can't sit in this silence anymore.
"I don't think they'll hurt me so long as Klaus is pretending to play along," Caroline chokes out, pushing the water away a bit.
Marcel is staring at Caroline, but his eyes are far away. While on her, they appear to be looking through her at something beyond. The thoughts that draw him in. His thumbs thump against the tabletop in an interesting rhythm that seems like it could be from a song, but it's nothing Caroline recognizes.
It takes him a long moment to process the information before asking, "And the witch? Who is it?"
Caroline's jaw snaps shut when Klaus squeezes her hand. She forces herself not to look at him as he says, his voice in a low growl more akin to an animal than a person. "If there was any way I could deal with whichever which it was without threatening the life of Caroline or her baby, I would. For now, I'll let the witches play their game, thinking that they are in control."
"And then what, Klaus?" Marcel asks, blinking back into the present. "What are you going to do? Slaughter the witches?"
"Why not?" Klaus asks flippantly. "They are so eager to draw upon their ancestors, why not let them join them?"
"Because that's wrong," Caroline blurts out. Klaus sighs, casting her a sideways glance. "Don't look at me like that, Klaus. You know it's wrong. I'm sorry, Marcel, I don't know what's going on, and honestly, I don't super care one way or the other, but this is his fault. He's the one that's oppressing them and they are lashing out in whatever way they can. They shouldn't all have to die because they're fighting back against someone who is infringing on their rights."
Marcel raises an eyebrow while Klaus gives her a look. "And whose side are you on, pre tell?"
Caroline scoffs, frowning at the Hybrid. "I'm on our side. Or my side, whatever. The point is, I have no love for these witches, especially since they are threatening the life of my baby all because they want to stiff-arm you into distracting Marcel for whatever reason they need you to do that, but I'm just saying... I can't exactly invalidate their side of this conflict," she says, shrugging her shoulders.
Klaus glares at her and for a moment she couldn't figure out why he was getting mad at her again, and then it hit her. They were supposed to be expressing their dislike for the witches to assuage Marcel that they weren't really against him. She could have slapped herself. Honestly, she was making this about a thousand times harder for him than it had to be. She makes a face back at him, hoping the apologetic look is enough to convey her realizing what she did wrong. Klaus gets the message with a flutter of his long lashes but she can tell he's mad.
She could honestly slap herself.
Caroline looks over at Marcel, trying to figure out a way out of this without making it obvious that she's backtracking. "I know how all of this must sound..." she says slowly, trying to organize her thoughts, "but I'm just trying to be as impartial about this as possible. I'm not a witch, I don't have magic spells to help me out in any way, but... my baby will. Probably, I mean."
The new bit of information catches Marcel's attention. "Oh yeah? Your baby daddy is a witch?"
"Was," Caroline blurts out. "He's dead now."
Marcel seems somewhat surprised, as does Klaus. So easily killed off in their story. Now he looks a bit insulted. Caroline had to stop herself from rolling her eyes, there was literally no way to please him.
"Me being pregnant was a surprise," Caroline carries on, forcing herself to ignore Klaus staring at the side of her head. "It's as Klaus said, I didn't know I was pregnant until the witches here told me."
"Is the baby's father from New Orleans?" Marcel asks, amicably. Definitely could be a probing question, but he seems sincere in it.
"No," Caroline says, shaking her head. "His family actually comes from Europe."
Klaus seems genuinely surprised that she would remember something that he only mentioned in passing. Naturally, Klaus's accent kind of helped her down the path to this half-truth, but if she recalled correctly, he said something about his mother being from some part of northern Europe. Which is probably where his... uh, Mikael is from too? She's not sure. She's lucky she remembers the absolute basics of Viking history. And she means the absolute basics. Bear minimum.
She's not sure why he's even slightly impressed, she could have also just guessed from his accent. But she supposes if it makes him happy, for whatever reason, then at least she can accept that.
"I see..." Marcel says slowly. "Because your baby is a witch, you can't be compelled, I get it."
Caroline isn't even slightly sure if that's true if a human mother carrying a witch baby is immune to compulsion, but it makes perfect sense and seeing as both of the older vampire and the hybrid isn't denying it, there has to at least be a grain of truth in it. At least that means that no one is going to go off on her not being able to be compelled. Which begs the question, can Originals compel her because she's a vampire, or would they actually be unable to because she's carrying a witch? There are just so many questions.
If she can't be compelled by an Original, that would be pretty cool. Not that it's a rampant problem that she has, but still.
"I think that this has offered all of us much to think about, don't you, Marcel?" Klaus asks, face composed.
"I think so," Marcel admits, looking between the two of them.
Klaus reaches into his wallet and pulls out a wad of cash pulling out a couple of twenties and passing it over to Caroline with a sweet, "Would you find dear Cami and makes sure she's paid for our drinks, love?" Caroline nods, climbing to her feet, relieved that this was coming to an end - at least for now - and slides out of the booth with Klaus before heading to the bar where Cami was serving up more drinks. As she walked away from the table, Caroline couldn't help herself and listen in.
"Listen closely, Marcel, now that you know, keep your men off of Caroline. I was lenient leading up to this, but I won't warn you again. Keep them away from her. I don't know them, nor do I trust them."
"They're my guys, they won't hurt her, Klaus," Marcel says, standing up so he's eye to eye with Klaus. "Besides, seeing as you're so strangely possessive over her, you'd think you'd want more people looking out for her."
"I don't trust your band of baby vampires to look after Caroline," Klaus growls. "Not with the death grip you have one the witches, and the collective hatred that the vampires have for them, I'm not letting them anywhere near Caroline, or the baby growing in her belly."
Marcel and Klaus stare at each other as Caroline peaks over her shoulder at them, waiting for Cami to finish up with the order she's working on. She sucks in a breath, wondering if they were going to start fighting each other right here, so soon after it seemed like they'd come to a somewhat amicable end to the hostilities, at least for a moment.
"Fine," Marcel says slowly, "but only because you're so adamant about this, and I want us to be back on good terms." He presses the tips of his fingers onto the table, staring into Klaus's eyes unflinching. "Tell me, Klaus. What's the fascination with this girl? What's she to you?"
Klaus's eye twitches slightly as he sucks in a breath, tilting his head in such a way so that he was looking through his long lashes at Marcel, trying to decide something. "You don't have to worry about Caroline, Marcellus."
Caroline jumps, spinning around to look at Cami, who was smiling back at her. "Oh, hey, sorry. I was... um," she glances over at her shoulder to see Marcel and Klaus still staring at each other before looking back at Cami, not sure what to say. "Uh..."
"Eavesdropping?" Cami guesses, raising her eyebrows.
"Kind of," Caroline admits, shrugging her shoulders. "Anyway, we are heading out. Here." Caroline passes over the cash.
"Thanks," Cami says, taking the bills before looking at them. "Give me a second to get your change."
Caroline waves her hand. "Don't worry about it. Klaus is paying."
"Should I just give it to him directly?" Cami asks, blue eyes blown wide.
Caroline shrugs her shoulders again. "Nah, probably not. He didn't ask for change. Besides, it's probably not worth his time to stuff coins back into his wallet. I doubt he'll even notice."
Cami stares at her, as if not sure if she should believe what she just heard or not. "Are you certain?"
Caroline nods. "Yeah, I'm sure he won't care. Have a good day, Cami!" She waves a bit, turning around to see Klaus standing by the door, expectantly waiting for her. She starts to make her way over, waving at Cami as she yells her grateful goodbye, before hesitating and moving over to Marcel before going to straight to Klaus. She puts a hand on his arm when he doesn't immediately look up at her, too lost in troubling thoughts.
"Caroline?" Marcel murmurs, surprised to see her standing there.
"I know it might not have seemed like it just now," Caroline admits. "But Klaus was really hurt when he realized that you were still alive and didn't think to inform him." Marcel opens his mouth, no doubt to defend himself when Caroline shook her head, squeezing his arm a bit before looking into his eyes. "My past with Klaus is turbulent and I'm sure it's safe to assume yours isn't picture perfect either, but even you should understand how much he loves you. His anger comes from a place of hurt, not hate. He refused to be used against you and despite the fact that he's so angry right now isn't because he's forgotten his love for you, in fact, I think it's because he remembers it very well."
Marcel lowers his dark eyes for a moment, looking at her hand on his arm before nodding slowly and looking back up at Caroline and there is a sadness in his eyes that gives Caroline the impression that maybe the love and hurt are working both ways. "I get it. I know Klaus well. I knew that once he found out I was still alive, and it wasn't from me, he wasn't going to take it gracefully."
Caroline smiles softly, finally pulling her arm away. "Give it some time, then you two really should talk. I don't know exactly what happened that caused this fissure between the two of you, but I think that you owe it to each other, and yourselves, to at least see if this relationship is worth saving. We're talking a hundred years ago. Whatever was so bad back then... could it really be so important now?"
Marcel lets out a little sigh, nodding his head slowly, admitting quietly, "Maybe not." Caroline nods once to herself before turning and heading toward the hybrid, who was frowning at her but not saying anything when Marcel calls out to her once more. She pauses, glancing over her shoulder to stare at him. He studies her for a long moment as if starting to understand something before a small, thoughtful smile works its way across his lips. "Thanks for coming today, Caroline."
"I guess I'll see you around, Marcel," Caroline says sweetly. With that, she makes her way over to the ancient hybrid, thanking him as he holds the door open for her before following her out.
They walk in silence for a while, heading back in the direction of Klaus's car. Surrounded now by so many humans, the smell of them filling her nose and the sound of the blood pumping in their veins awakens the vampire side in Caroline so strongly that her eyes shift without warning. She ducks her head low, hoping her long blonde hair will cover it as she grabs tightly onto Klaus's arm and buries her head into his shoulder to help hide it. Klaus doesn't look at her but somehow seems to know without words and picks up the pace.
Then Caroline says, so softly she knows that had Klaus not been hyper-focused on her, he probably wouldn't have heard her, "I'm thirsty."
He nods his head, gripping her hand tightly in his own in a form of reassurance that she appreciates and murmurs, "I know, love."
"Well, considering you guys aren't giving each other the cold shoulder and Klaus isn't using one of Marcel's bones to pick his teeth, I'm sure it's safe to say that all went well?" Stefan asks as they walk in through the front door. Bonnie looks a bit repulsed by that, her nose crinkling at it, but shakes her head, dismissing it before looking over at Caroline as she makes a beeline to the kitchen.
"Are you okay, Care?" Bonnie asks, chasing after her.
"I'm okay!" Caroline calls, digging out a blood bag and nearly forgetting her manners and tearing it open with her teeth. Thankfully she didn't but it was dangerously close to it. She's definitely going to have to be more careful, especially if being pregnant could make her ravenously hungry. The last thing she would want to do is hurt or even kill, someone while in a frenzy.
Caroline waves at Bonnie as she slurps down a blood bag, barely stopping to take a single breath.
Klaus walks over to her, reaching into the fridge to grab another one, holding it between his hands as Hayley and Elijah come into the kitchen from one of the side rooms together. Klaus tells them how it went with Marcel and as soon as Caroline cleared the first bag of blood, Klaus takes it from her and passes her the second one, not even pausing in his story. Caroline was too hungry to even pretend to question it. She gobbles down the second one in time for Klaus to finish with his recap.
She emerges from the blood bag, gasping for air with an, "Oh my god, I thought I was going to die."
Hayley gives her a worried look. "Are you okay?"
Caroline nods, throwing away the blood bag and wiping the bit of dribble off of her chin. "I'm sorry about that. The hunger just hit me like a freaking freight train. I knew I was starting to get hungry but oh man, that was bad."
"You're going to have to be more careful," Bonnie says, worriedly, as she crosses her arms over her chest.
"No kidding," Caroline murmurs. "That was definitely a close one. I was okay while we were in the bar, but as soon as we left and we were out in the street, that's when it really hit me."
"Are you alright now?" Hayley asks.
Caroline nods. "Yes, I am so much better. Thanks." She rubs her stomach, letting out a little sigh before turning to Klaus. "Okay, how is Jelly Bean?"
Klaus's eyes fall to Caroline's stomach, tilting his head slightly to listen for a few long moments, a small smile working its way over his face. "Jelly Bean sounds good. Nice and healthy."
"Speaking of," Bonnie says, uncrossing her arms. "I think it's about time we schedule an appointment for you."
"I'm a pregnant vampire," Caroline huffs. "Don't you think it's all going to come back weird?"
"I know you're a pregnant vampire," Bonnie says, simply, "but your baby is human. We need to have you see a real doctor so that we can make sure that everything is going okay. Its heartbeat might be strong, but that doesn't mean everything is going well. We should just see an OB just to be sure."
"I know," Caroline says, rubbing at her forehead. "I need to call and talk to my mom. She needs to know."
Bonnie nods slowly. "I hate to be the one to say this, Care, but I would do it sooner rather than later if I was you." Her look of sympathy was definitely unwelcomed. Caroline has been avoiding this reality for far too long and as horrible as it is, the insecure and childish part of her wants to still pretend that the Mystic Falls part of her friend group doesn't know about her sweet little Jelly Bean because she would have to explain it again, the how and why.
And Caroline is kind of a coward.
"I know. I should just do it now and get it over with," Caroline says, trying really hard to talk herself into this.
"You don't want to tell your own mom about your baby?" Hayley asks, clearly confused. "Why not? She's your mom?"
"She is, and I love her, but she's going to absolutely loath the idea of me having to stay here for decidedly at least four months, but she's also going to have to accept that not only did I break the Locked-Knees Alliance with all the ladies of Mystic Falls by sleeping with Klaus," Elijah, Stefan, Bonnie, and Klaus cracked at least a smile at that while Hayley's eyebrows ticked up toward her hairline, "but somehow his Hybrid Magicalness - and no, that isn't a euphemism for anything - got me pregnant in the crossfire - also not a euphemism."
Once more, Caroline's clownish baby daddy had the nerve to look proud at his accomplishment. Not that he aimed to get her pregnant, but he is definitely seeing this as a win on his part. Not that Caroline absolutely hates it or anything. Having Stefan and Bonnie accepting it all has really helped her feel better, but she knows it's going to be hard to tell Elena, Matt, and oh lord, Tyler too if she can get ahold of him, but her mom is going to probably be the hardest to tell. Her mom, who has always been super protective of her because she knew about the monsters out there and wanted to protect her from them.
Well, not only is she one of those monsters now, as a vampire, but she is pregnant by one of the oldest there are.
"I get that it's scary because she's your mom, but she's going to be a grandmother, she deserves to know," Bonnie says reasonably. She offers a small, crooked smile that is reassuring, which Caroline knows is the point.
"I know," Caroline mumbles. She sucks in a deep breath before looking over at Klaus. "I'm going to give her a call, then we can go out afterward, okay?"
Klaus nods as Caroline steels herself for this conversation. She moves away from the kitchen, digging out her phone as Elijah says smoothly to his younger brother, "Another date, brother?"
Klaus beams at Caroline when she glances back at him. She rolls her eyes as she pulls her phone out of her back pocket and steps out onto the front porch, taking a moment to collect her thoughts before typing in her mother's number. She tries to control the sinking in her gut and the nervous shake of her hands in anticipation when Liz picks up the phone with an easy, "Hello?"
"Hey mom, it's Caroline," Caroline says, cringing a bit in worry. "I'm just checking in."
"Hey, Caroline. You caught me at the perfect time, I'm on my break so I've got some time to talk," Liz says. Caroline can hear the smile in her mother's voice. "How is it going in New Orleans?"
So Caroline takes some time to update her mom on the goings-on in New Orleans. About how it's structured and what's been going on. She tells her about how they met with Marcel in the morning and kind of how that went.
"Sounds complicated," Liz admits a few moments after Caroline went quiet. Caroline sits down on the step, running her fingers through her hair. Liz, and her amazing mom senses, waits until Caroline has collected herself for a few moments longer before she says, softly, "There's more, isn't there? You want to tell me something?"
"It's nothing bad," Caroline blurts, feeling like a little kid again, having to own up to something that she wasn't sure she wanted to say. Liz doesn't say anything, just waits patiently for Caroline to build up the nerve. One day, Caroline hopes that she can have Liz's uncanny mom's ability to just know when to hold on and b patient when she needs to be.
Caroline sighs softly, looking out over the wide-open front yard before saying, "I have to tell you something, and you have to promise to listen all the way through without getting bad at me."
"I'm listening, Caroline," Liz says softly. "I can't promise that I won't be mad, but I'll be less mad hearing it from you."
That doesn't necessarily make Caroline feel any better, but it's going to have to do. "Okay, I'm not sure how to say this other than to just say it." Caroline sucks in a deep breath before quietly saying, "The night of the Mikaelson Gala, I had sex with Klaus. Unbeknownst to both of us, he got me pregnant because neither of us used protection because well, we're both vampires. Well, he's a hybrid, but either way. The witches of New Orleans somehow knew about it, which is why they used me to get him here."
Liz is silent.
Caroline waits a moment, then two, then three, before anxiously wringing her hands together. "Mom? Please say something. You are freaking me out."
"I..." Liz says slowly. "I'm just trying to understand. You're pregnant? Are you serious? How?"
"When Klaus broke the werewolf curse on him, it must have allowed him to... you know? Have babies. Well, I'm the first person he's slept with so... I guess he magically overrides my inability to have babies. So, yeah," Caroline says, rubbing at the back of her neck. "I'm sorry we kept it from you, mom. We really didn't know until we got here and we've been trying to work through this craziness since then."
Liz sighs and Caroline can imagine her mother running her hand through her hair and Caroline suddenly wishes that she was sitting in front of her mom. Face to face, having this conversation. Yes, this was definitely an in-person conversation to have. She wishes she could take her mother's hands and look her in the eye. She wishes that she could hug her mother right now because while she's excited and happy about Jelly Bean, she's scared out of her mind. As much as she knows Mystic Falls needs its sheriff, Caroline wished she had Liz there with her. To tell her what to do and how to be a good mom.
Despite their differences and the way that Caroline treated her, Liz was the best mom.
"So you're really going to have a baby?" Liz asks softly. "You really are pregnant?"
Caroline smiles sweetly to herself. "Yeah, mom. I haven't gone in for any appointments yet, but Klaus can hear the baby's heartbeat. I'm going to go in soon, I'm sure, and I'll call you as soon as I learn more."
Liz lets out a long, drawn-out breath. "Wow... this is just a lot to take in. I want to see ultrasounds. Go and see an OB-GYN as soon as possible, Caroline. This is very unorthodox, to begin with, your situation. The women of your father's family have a tough time carrying babies as it is, I can't imagine what carrying a supernatural baby would be like."
Oh, well, now she tells Caroline. That would have been a nice thing to know. Caroline had always wanted to be a mother, so it would have been nice to know that she was going to have a tough time carrying babies.
Then again, Caroline can understand why she never said. Caroline turned into a vampire and the chances of her ever being a birth mom vanished. Or, so she thought. Then of course Klaus comes around and blows up their way of life - which she's not mad about at this point.
"Okay, I will, mom," Caroline says, grateful that Liz was taking this so well.
"So..." Liz says slowly after a moment of silence. "How is Klaus dealing with all of this? Are you guys getting along, at least?"
"Yeah," Caroline says, running a hand through her hair. "We're getting along really well. He's been looking out for me and making sure I'm okay. He's really good about checking in on me and taking care of me. He's been.. he's been really good."
Liz hums to herself for a long moment. Someone says something on the other line to which she replies, "Okay, give me a moment." Then to Caroline, she says, "I've got to get back to work, Caroline, but as for Klaus, I'm glad that he's being nice to you and looking after you. I suppose it's the least that he can do. But we need to talk more later, okay?"
"I know," Caroline says softly. "And we will. I love you, mom."
"I love you too," Liz says affectionately.
After they hang up, Caroline takes a couple of minutes to stare out over the open yard, really taking in the quiet before saying, softly, "I know that there was a lot of drama between the two of you, but were you ever close to Esther?"
Klaus steps out the front door and lowers down onto the step next to her, licking his bright red lips slowly. He must have just fed. "For a time, perhaps. For all her misdeeds, Esther did love her children. She did try to do what was best for them... just so long as it was also what was best for her. I think at the heart of who she was, Esther wasn't bad, but she keeps falling into this vicious cycle of thinking that only she knew best, or Mikael was too scary to deny."
Caroline looks over at Klaus. "Was Mikael ever... you know? Bad to her? Like hit her and stuff?"
Klaus blinks slowly, teleporting back in time to the days when he was human. "No," he says softly. "She was a good wife. It doesn't mean that he didn't abuse her in a different way. No, physical hitting was reserved for me and me alone. None of my brothers or my sister were subjected to it. A push or a shove, perhaps, but that was it."
"So he was just terrible to you, and for no reason?" Caroline asks softly. "And Esther just let him?"
Klaus nods slowly. "I think she tried to protect me, in her own way. But so long as it didn't compromise her perfect family. In some ways, even she was defenseless to him, I think."
"That can't be," Caroline gasps. "Esther was like this kick-ass, powerful witch. I don't care how good of an ax-throwing, boat-rowing, hunter of hunters Viking he was, she could toss him into the next century if she wanted to. I get being scared. I also get loving someone so much you'd forgive them for hurting you. But you are her son. And for as far as he knew, you were his too. I just will never understand why she would sit back and let it happen."
Klaus shakes his head, letting out a sigh. "One of the greater mysteries of Esther. She claims great love for all her children but refuses to accept punishment for her own actions."
"When my dad found out I was a vampire, he kidnapped me, threw me into a dark room and tortured me," Caroline admits. Klaus turns to stare at the side of her head, surprised. "He hated vampires and wanted to ensure that I could go against the nature of what I became. He would pour sunlight onto my back without my daylight ring and torture me with vervain. Every time my eyes would shift at the sight of blood, he would torture me more. It broke my heart because he was my dad and I loved him. Even as he hurt me and tortured me... he was my dad." Caroline looks over at Klaus, feeling pain and sadness both at what happened and losing the man who raised her. "Was it like that with Mikael?"
Crinkles appear between Klaus's eyes as he presses his lips tightly together. "I suppose we are more alike than I thought, Caroline."
"My mom found me, told my dad that I was still their daughter, and if he ever hurt me again, she'd kill him. My mom, who also just found out that I was a vampire, the very thing she's been protecting Mystic Falls from. My dad was unable to accept me was what made my mom accept m, oddly enough." Caroline smiles thinly. "It's not going to be like that for Jelly Bean."
Klaus shakes his head. "Certainly not. No one shall ever hurt our daughter."
Caroline laughs, laying her head on his shoulder. "No, people will always hurt them, because that's the world we live in. But we are going to do better than our parents. Jelly Bean is never going to worry that his father is going to hurt him or that her mother is going to betray her. Jelly Bean is going to be as happy as possible, surrounded by the Mikaelson clan and by team Mystic Falls. It's going to grow up happy and healthy, knowing that mommy and daddy might not be perfect," she smiles up at Klaus's soft expression, "but we are going to do our best, no matter what, to make sure everything is okay."
"I couldn't agree more. Jelly Bean won't have to recover from its childhood."