While the immediate threat to his daughter had been taken care of, Klaus was resting on his laurels. Well, not really. He was taking care of Hope. Elijah was angry with him – for good reason. Oh, Klaus knew that he had hurt his brother in the worst way possible by killing his lover and allowing Haley’s pack to be cursed yet again. His brother felt betrayed. Did Klaus feel guilty? Hardly. He did what was necessary for his family, for his daughter.
In time, Elijah would come around. He’d see reason.
Freya was a breath of fresh air. She only knew of Klaus’ secret because she had followed him when she first came back into their lives. There and then, she cast a few new spells for extra protection, for which he’d been grateful. If he had to be honest, it was time he’d go back to Myriam and see how she and her girls were doing.
But he had Hope now. She was the center of his life, and she was the best thing ever. He was completely in love with his little girl; nothing else mattered.
He had never expected Myriam to call; she was a strong and resourceful woman and didn’t need his help. Nor was she one for making social calls, so he was immediately intrigued. “Myriam, how wonderful of you to call!”
Klaus was amused when he heard her huff on the other end of the line. “I get it you have your own crap to deal with, but you need to get your ass over here right now.”
He tsked. “A little demanding, are we?” He watched as Hope rolled over and snatched her teddy bear from the edge of the blanket. “You can’t expect me to drop everything for a quick shag; that wasn’t our arrangement.”
He immediately sat up from his relaxed position. “What happened?” Klaus demanded as he didn’t stop looking at Hope.
“She hasn’t been feeling well lately, and she just had a client who assaulted her.”
Klaus let out a growl, causing Hope to look up to see what her father was up to. “I’ll be right over.” He disconnected the call and called for his brother.
“What is it, Niklaus?” Elijah sounded pleasant enough, but there was a sharp edge to his voice as was the norm these days.
“I need you to watch Hope for a while,” he said as he grabbed his coat.
Klaus merely eyed his brother.
“Very well. Whatever you’re going to do without being able to take your daughter with you, have fun.”
Klaus could hear the disdain drip off his brother’s voice and chose to ignore it. He quickly made his way over to Débauche, using his vampire speed to blur through the streets and around tourists. Whoever hurt her was going to pay. Granted, this wasn’t the first time she, or someone else, got hurt. But for Myriam to call him, things were more dire than usual.
Last year, Bella had gone through depression as well, she had a tendency to do that, and it wasn’t even related to her past for the most part. Normally, either himself or Myriam would simply compel someone when that happened, tucking the reasons away in the depths of their own minds, but Bella was special. She couldn’t be compelled, and no one was able to read her mind.
He darted up the fire escape at the back of the building and let himself in on the third floor. The door was securely locked with a code pad, and he had access to it. He went downstairs first, to talk to Myriam and assess the situation. He didn’t have to look far, she was in the security office with someone who looked like he’d been hit a couple of times, but he was quiet. Myriam probably compelled him.
“Is this the bastard?” Klaus said as he stepped into the room, furious.
“Don’t kill him,” Myriam said kindly and stopped Klaus from entering further. “He’s a famous singer.”
“I don’t care.”
“He’s also under the influence, but we have this under control. His bruises are Bella’s doing,” Myriam looked up to him and made him look at her before slapping him in the face. “And you’re an asshole. You actually couldn’t find the time to pay us a visit sooner?” She slapped him again. “Fucker.”
Klaus scowled. “I was busy, and you’re doing fine on your own. You’re well protected.” She slapped him again and pulled her arm back for another, but he caught her arm before she could hit him. “It’s complicated.”
“Bull,” she said furiously before sighing. “She’s in her apartment.”
He let go of her arm and looked at the asshole in the chair. “Make him pay.”
“Klaus, I have my way dealing with people like him, don’t worry, he’ll give us some free publicity,” she smirked as she pushed him towards the door. “When you have time after Bella, see me.”
He made his way back upstairs and gently knocked on the door. “Bella, love?” he asked gently, he could hear her sob on the other side of the door.
“Go away. You can’t stay away for a while and then swoop in to be a hero!”
Klaus sighed, his fist resting against her door. “Let me in so that I can explain. I will tell you why I have been kept away, but I doubt very much that you will believe my story. I – I just could not have stayed away when Myriam called to tell me you were in trouble,” he pleaded, his voice soft. “Are you hurt?”
“Like I said, no need for you to swoop in and play hero!”
“I’ve seen the guy,” Klaus said almost proudly. “You certainly don’t need me to be your hero with you being one yourself!”
“Exactly. Now leave.”
“I can’t do that, love,” Klaus realized that she wasn’t going to open the door for him, and he wasn’t going to force the door open. He sat down against the door and sighed. “Are you hurt?”
Bella kept quiet. Of course, she was hurt, what kind of nonsense question was that? She wanted to open the door, hug him tightly and allow him to tell her that everything was going to be alright, but she didn’t want him to see her like this. She was a complete mess right now and no, this was not going to happen.
It had been two months, two whole months, since he last visited. It was with his sister Freya, as she caught him sneaking off. His appearances had been scarce even before that, but two whole months?
“The events that happened in the last two months are too many to be the truth, but they are,” Klaus spoke, not missing a beat. He spoke quiet enough for just Bella to hear and not that his story carried down the hall. “I already told you about the miraculous return of my siblings and my parents, didn’t I? Well, things have come to a messy conclusion. I want to tell you all about it if you’d just let me in.”
“I could break down the door.”
She was right about that. Had it been anyone else, he would have bust through that door as if it was a piece of cardboard, but with Bella… he was gentle. Maybe a little too soft, but she was here for a reason. “Very well, I shall stay here as long as needed.”
He had just put Hope to bed when Freya bounced inside, knocking something over in the process and waking the baby again. “Freya…” Elijah sighed as he returned his attention back to the baby.
“Good to see you, Elijah, how have you been?” He said mockingly, almost with a sneer. He had a severe dislike for his brother after what he had done, and Elijah found it comfortable to wallow around in that for a while. In the past, he had easily forgiven his brother for his transgressions, but his latest actions had been unforgivable. “Sorry for waking the baby, Elijah, I shall not do that again.”
Freya huffed. “Well, you’re chipper. Who took away your toys, Elijah?”
“I would have imagined that Niklaus’ unexplained absences ceased to be after getting what he wanted, but I’ve been mistaken,” he muttered, pushing the pacifier back into Hope’s mouth. “At least the trips where he couldn’t bring a child along to.”
“Even mommies deserve a break,” she sat down on the table and looked at her brother. “Surely you must understand that.”
“He acted as if time was of the essence!” Elijah cried out, causing Hope to spit out her pacifier again and started to cry. Frustrated, he picked her up out of her crib and soothed her. “I know that our lives rarely have any moment of serenity, but there was no reason for him to take off as he did.”
“Are you sure about that?”
“Of course I am certain, I know my brother. If there is something wrong that could impact all of our lives, he’d either run straight towards it or take a few steps back to quietly observe,” he spat. “No, something else is going on, and I hate it.”
Elijah let out a breath. He often forgot that Freya wasn’t Rebekah and that she had missed a lot of important details of their lives. “I know my brother better than anyone else. We don’t always get along, but I know him. He’s irresponsible. A child! Whenever he gets a crazy thought in his head, he runs with it! Like-”
“Like how he was critical in defeating Dahlia by creating so much destruction,” Freya finished the sentence. “I know.”
“He calls it collateral damage. He’s… Would you allow a car mechanic to perform an open heart surgery?”
“Oh come on, Elijah, he’s not that bad.”
“Niklaus only cares for himself. He considers himself to be at the top of the food chain, and we’re here to take care of him, to make sure that he doesn’t get moody and does stupid things.”
Freya let out a sigh before hopping off the table and started to collect Hope’s things. “You’re wrong.”
“It is admirable that you wish to see the good in people, I can understand that you want to see the good in your family, but Niklaus…”
“Is a good man and I am going to prove it to you.”
“First things first, you’re going to call Camille and ask her to look after Hope for a couple of hours,” Freya said as she cleaned things up. “Either here or at her place, your choice.”
“Forgive me, but why?”
“I’m going to show you a side of Klaus we don’t get to see all too often,” Freya murmured as Hope had calmed down in Elijah’s arms. “I only know about this because I followed him before, as I’ve followed you around before I made myself known to you.”
He blinked at her, confused, before calling Camille and entertaining his sister. What could go wrong?
After Camille had arrived, Elijah followed Freya through the streets of New Orleans. His curiosity grew as she took them to the far edge of the Quarter. He’d been on this street quite a few times, even used one of the bars as a meeting place, a neutral ground, for discussing some politics and he was surprised that they were heading to Débauche. “If Niklaus is drinking his sorrows away, don’t bother.”
Freya stopped and looked at him. “Do you trust me?”
“Well fine, but you’re going to have to trust me on this, and you have to keep quiet. If you’re not keeping quiet, I will use a silencing spell on you, got it?” She shot at him, causing Elijah to look at her in surprise. “I’m going to cast an invisibility spell on the both of us because I want you to see, and not to be seen. God forbid, Klaus will kill us both on the spot if he sees us.”
“If we’re going inside, I know what’s there.”
“Oh, I’m sure you do.”
“It’s a bar. And there’s a strip club attached to it. No doubt there’s a brothel upstairs, the ladies keeping my brother’s sexual appetite under control.”
Freya’s eyebrow rose, a smile pulling at her lips. “Perhaps. But just wait until you see and decide for yourself. It may not be all as it seems,” she answered as her eyes glanced up to the third floor.
He sighed and nodded. “Very well, we’ve come this far.”
“Being quiet is of the essence,” Freya repeated. “Especially your thoughts. You have to calm your thoughts. It’s possible for you to do so, yes? That nobody can hear your thoughts?”
“Good,” she took his hand and muttered a spell before she started to walk towards the club, not letting go of him. They walked through the door and narrowly avoided bumping into guests that were leaving. Freya smiled at Elijah as she kept pulling him towards the end of the hallway and waited for a closed door.
When a man exited, she went inside. Elijah had no choice than to follow. They entered into a lounge, with a hostess, before silently climbing the stairs to the next floor, where, just as he expected, was a brothel. He suspected it was a brothel, seeing as a half naked girl was walking towards another area and returned with a pitcher filled with ice before disappearing into one of the rooms again.
Elijah was surprised by the silence that was on the level. Granted, these days brothels did a lot to battle the noise, but this was taking it one step further. Freya pulled him through another set of opening doors and climbed another set of stairs. When they arrived at the top floor, she pulled him across the space where Elijah could already hear his brother quietly talk. Rounding a corner, he was surprised to see his brother sit against a door, staring into nothingness as he spoke.
“Only because you’re insisting on doing it this way,” Klaus sighed as he ran a hand through his hair. “I promise you, it will sound ridiculous, but that’s what is expected of me, especially by Elijah. He finds me monstrous and dramatic. Overly impulsive. But while he was crafting his own plan to defeat my aunt, I knew that there was only one possible way to do it, and I went behind his back. Unfortunately, my plan involved causing enough doubt and mayhem to be believable, and I killed my brother’s lover. At the same time, I compelled my lieutenant not to let my sister leave his sight as she was in a different body, but I did that so Rebekah would return to us as an Original. I pretended to kill our dearest friend… I made a right mess,” he then let out a snort. “You should have seen me; it was glorious.”
It was quiet for a while before a voice sounded from the other side of the door. “Somehow I doubt that.”
“Well, Elijah now hates me.”
“When doesn’t he hate you? You always take his love interests away from him.”
“I do not!” Klaus objected.
“That Katherine person. The way you told the story made me think that your brother truly loved her, and you wanted to use her to lift your curse.”
Elijah was surprised that whoever this girl was, that she knew their story.
“It was his own fault. He falls for the wrong women.”
“What about Hayley?”
“Hayley would have only toyed with Elijah, broken his heart. It was best that I did it for him instead. He hates being angry at women, but he does a good job of being cross with me.”
Elijah swallowed at that. While Klaus didn’t have a first hand in Celeste’s death, it was his fault that Elijah had lost her.
“Accidental. How was I supposed to know that she was gathering with her witches? All I did was spread a rumor that the witches were responsible for the dead bodies we’ve left scattered around. That’s it.”
A sigh could be heard from the other side of the door. In all honesty, even Elijah was surprised to hear his brother talk so candidly about his life with a stranger. Not even Camille had been able to reach his brother like this girl, this woman, seemingly did. “Okay, so what happened after defeating your aunt and cursing the mother of your child into being a wolf?”
“Rebekah left, with both her bodies, presumably in search for a way to bring back our fallen brother, make good on her promise. Elijah stuck around, but only because he felt an obligation towards Hayley and Hope. Freya… she’s proven to be a fresh breath of air. It’s nice to have a sibling who doesn’t judge.”
“And you’ve spent the last two months with Hope?”
“And nothing else? Nobody else?”
Klaus smiled at that. “Why would I want to do that when I can go and see you?” He shifted when he heard some movement behind the door and watched the door open. He got to his feet and looked at the woman. She had tearstained eyes, bruising around her neck and she was wearing a torn onesie.
“I don’t want you to see me like this, Klaus,” she whispered, her eyes downcast. “This is not the person you like.”
“But I do,” he said tenderly as he pushed back her hair and observed the bruising. “My pocket sized warrior princess,” he smiled proudly at her before kissing the top of her head. “Allow me to give you some of my blood, love,” he said as he slowly walked inside the room. “There is no reason for you to physically ache.”
Elijah blinked when the door closed and looked at Freya, who had a soft look on her face.
“Come,” Klaus’ voice sounded. “I’ll even draw you a bath.”
“I told you I don’t need you to be the hero.”
“But I’m not. I’m merely someone who helps you to take care of yourself. You’re the hero. I already told you that. I think that even Rebekah would be impressed by the bruising you left on that tosser’s face.”
Elijah didn’t want to go, but Freya tugged him along to the fire escape exit. It was surreal to hear his brother talk the way he was doing to that woman. Of course, he was gentle with Hope, but he had so many questions in his mind that it was spinning.
When they were a safe distance away from the club, Freya decloaked them, and she started to walk back to the compound. “Débauche is the hottest thing in town, so I’ve heard. It’s run by an amazing woman, who decided to set up a women’s shelter right on top of it. And not just an ordinary shelter at that. That woman Klaus talked to? She has some supernatural issues and is living there.”
“Surely you notice a pattern with your brother,” she said with a chuckle. “Whenever someone gets treated wrongly, he jumps in to save them.”
“No, he doesn’t.”
“Oh no? What about Marcel?” Freya countered. “On top of that, like yourself, Klaus always treats women with respect, mostly. Until, of course, they prove that they’re complete idiots. The manager of that bar? She was also saved by Klaus.”
“For how long has this been going on?”
“I don’t know; I didn’t ask. A very long time, I think. Klaus has everything under control in there. The best security there is, modern and magical, considering it is such a huge building and the type of abusers the women seek shelter from.”
Elijah was quiet as he tried to process this new information.
“You’ve got some answers. Do with this information as you see fit, but please, Elijah, don’t take this away from Klaus too. He’s good at this kind of stuff, and it’s nice to see him do something like this. To try to make something right by using his resources and his own experiences.”
“I would never-”
“You probably don’t mean to, but you have. Just like Klaus has done to you. You two don’t notice it, but you like to scupper each other’s plans and lives as if it’s nothing,” Freya countered as she looked at her brother. “Stop ruining each other’s lives. Your animosity will be your undoing one day.”