Who: Caroline and Tahiri What: getting together Where: Tahiri’s place When: after Christmas Status: COMPLETE
Caroline had never been so happy to have Christmas over and done with before. Between it being Hope’s first Christmas and Henrik’s first one and then the dragon and Yule and a billion other little things it was nice to have some normalcy back in the house. Even if the dragon and the goat weren’t going to be going anywhere. She was trying not to worry too much over what Martha’s tests would reveal once they were done. Birth control was going to be needed though and her vampire metabolism could definitely make that an issue. Ugh. She really should have worded that wish a little better.
But she wasn’t going to think about that right now.
She was going to hang out with Tahiri and the twins for a bit...and somehow not look at the babies and think about birth control. Obviously this hadn’t been her brightest idea either. But she missed her friend and wanted to spend time with her and her children.
“I come bearing gifts!” Caroline called out as she knocked on the door, bags with a few goodies for Jaeden, Jayna, Tahiri and Jacen inside of them. Nothing extravagant but things that had reminded her of the four of them.
Christmas had been a mixed bag of emotions for Tahiri. Chaos with the balancing of two six month old babies starting to show the first signs of Force powers as well as the fascination with the twinkling lights. The sadness of the anniversary of the battle and Jaina’s death. The faint exasperation of all the ‘traditional family’ ideals that Christmas seemed to promote when she herself in no way had a traditional family. All in all though, she was happy to be there and she had her babies. Motherhood wasn’t something she had looked for, but she relished it now.
At the sound of Caroline arriving, she grinned, using the Force to open the door while she balanced Jayna in one arm. Jaeden was asleep, though probably not for too much longer, the twins had a habit of waking within minutes of each other.
“Believe me, a woman who doesn’t communicate through nursery rhymes, totally the ideal gift for me these days!” Tahiri carefully hugged her friend around the bags and the baby. “How are you? Over the madness of Christmas yet?”
“I am definitely all Christmas spirited out now and very thankful that we have like three hundred and sixty-five days until the next one.” Caroline set the bags down and made a silly face at Jayna, smiling as the baby laughed at it. “How are you though? And the twins? I saw that Jacen wished for coffee so I’m guessing sleeping schedule is still all up in the air for you guys.” Twins had to make that even more difficult than one baby did. Though she had a feeling that twins with the Force were even more hectic.
Caroline knew that she was talking a mile a minute and took a breath to try and curb herself. Though Tahiri had said she was happy she was getting to speak to an actual adult so she doubted that her friend really minded the fast talk.
“Can I hold her?”
Actual grown up words coming from another woman was something close to heaven and Tahiri grinned at it, and at the way her daughter responded with giggles. “I am tired, but fine. The two little monsters are adorable menaces. Sleep is a thing I used to have and think back fondly on.” She answered the questions in order before shifting Jayna in her arms to hold her out to Caroline.
“Please do, I think she wants a cuddle with Aunty Caroline. But don’t let those innocent eyes fool you, she decided last night that Mommy really didn’t need to sleep at all and really wanted to play all night, didn’t you, gorgeous.” The amusement was clear in her voice, and despite her words, Tahiri didn’t look all that tired. Benefits of her Vong side, and her training in the Force, she could endure far more than most. And really, she did enjoy every moment with her children. And even the cat, though she shot a look at the grumpy tabby as he jumped off the chair. “And that one is more trouble than both the twins. Move, Kyp.” She nudged him out of her way with her foot, though she had become fond of the animal.
“Thinking of coffee, want some?”
“It’s a scientific fact that mommies don’t get sleep once they have children. Especially if they have twins.” Caroline smiled at Jayna, bouncing her lightly on her hip as they headed toward the kitchen. Her long hair was quickly put into the baby’s mouth for munching and Caroline had to carefully pull the strands out much to the six month old’s dismay. “Sorry, Auntie doesn’t want munched hair. But look.” She tugged on the ribbon that attached the pacifier to Jayna’s clothes and plucked the thing into the baby’s mouth. “See, much yummier, even if my hair is all fruity scented.”
Caroline eyed the cat who always seemed to eye her back before it scurried away to go lay somewhere else for a bit. “But yes, I’d love some coffee.”
She would keep Jayna occupied while Tahiri made them both some. Caroline was thankful that the twins didn’t seem to have hit that stage where all they wanted was one of their parents. She had a feeling that her friend was grateful for that as well. Trying to juggle two kids at that stage would probably be a bit of a nightmare. “Did you make a wish yet?”
“Oh, I’m not sure, she thinks hair is very yummy. And necklaces, and earrings and anything else she can get her mouth around.” Tahiri grinned over, amused at how well Caroline could handle the baby girl. Really, she was a natural, both twins did adore her so much.
She moved into the kitchen to switch on the coffee maker, not sure how Jacen’s wish would even work without him around. And she wanted the caffeine hit too much to bother to wait. All while keeping her senses open and in tune to Jaedan, just in case he stirred. Really, the Force was such a blessing, she didn’t have to physically keep her eyes on the babies at all times, she could just keep the link open and know how they were.
“I did!” Tahiri actually looked quite proud of her wish as she gestured to a small trash can in the corner of the room. “Put anything like dirty diapers or the cat litter or similar in there and it’ll instantly vanish. No worries of cleaning up later or dealing with smells or anything. I went so weirdly practical this year.” And every year really. Last year had been for money, the year before for recharging blasters. “How about you? Wish yet?”
Caroline couldn’t help but laugh at what Tahiri had wished for. It made sense, had to make her friend’s life a thousand times easier, but it was still funny to hear that Tahiri had wished for a magic trash can. “Practical kinda seems to be what you need right about now. Especially something that’ll cut down on the dirty diaper smell.” It was never a good smell, add on vampire senses and Caroline was really not a fan of those at all.
She leaned against the counter as she repositioned Jayna to her other hip. “I did, yeah. Nothing like yours. Or I guess one day maybe I’ll be wishing for the same thing because I’ll eventually need a magical trash can. Though probably by the time the wish is actually like used you won’t need yours anymore and I could like borrow it. Though you might still want it for litter.”
Caroline paused, realizing she’d been rambling again. “I wished for fertility so maybe one day Klaus and I can have a child of our own. Not anytime soon. I’m not ready to like be pregnant and he’s not ready to have another kid right now but I just wanted the option to be available.”
Tahiri raised an eyebrow as she listened to Caroline’s wish. On most it wouldn’t be much of an expression, on her face it showed her clear surprise. “Well, assuming it’s a couple of years before you need it, once the twins are done with diapers, the trash can can be all yours.” Since it was unlikely that she and Jacen would be doing the children thing again. The twins hadn’t been planned in the first place, after all, and they were far from a normal couple, as shown by the references Jacen still made to his long gone wife.
“So how do you feel about the idea? Children and all that. And that baby that showed up, and Klaus having a child with someone and all the rest.” She gave Caroline a pointed look as she poured their coffees into mugs and carried them to a small table by a sofa, gesturing for her friend to follow.
“And be honest with me, remember, Force powers,” she tapped the side of her own head with a rueful smirk. “No point in lying to a Jedi.” Which, okay, wasn’t strictly true, Jedi could be fooled as well, but Tahiri was also well trained in spotting lies after so many years of dealing with them.
“It’ll definitely be a few years.” She was going to make sure that it didn’t happen any time soon. How exactly was a bit of an issue that she needed to wait for Martha to help figure out, but it would be figured out. Accidental babies happened and there was never going to be a one hundred percent chance to stop that from happening, but she was going to at least limit her options as best she could.
Caroline lay Jayna down on the floor under one of the play mobiles before she sunk down onto the couch beside her friend. “I wanted kids before I was a vampire. Like I wanted the whole nine yards. Marriage and kids. A dog. And then becoming a vampire happened and that dream got pushed really far away.” She took the coffee cup and blew on it as she tried to formulate everything into words. “It sucked to lose out but it was okay. It was just one of those things you gave up for immortality. And I really like being a vampire. I didn’t want to trade that away.”
She set her coffee down on a coaster and leaned back against the couch. “And then Hayley showed up with Hope and I’m still reeling from it. I tried really hard to be okay with it. Like Klaus didn’t cheat. He wouldn’t. I know that. He loves me and that’s one thing I would never doubt. Back home when they sleep together he and I aren’t together. But it hurts that he has a daughter by another woman and that’s just something I have to deal with. I tried to hide that from him. Didn’t work so well.”
Tahiri listened as Caroline spoke, no judgment or similar on her face, just open interest and concern. The whole idea of marriage and children dreams as a young girl was not something she was familiar with in the slightest admittedly, her own upbringing on Tattooine being far too weird for that, but she understood that for many girls, it was something they wanted. And to have it so snatched away by becoming a vampire in the way Caroline had must have been hard, even with the benefits being immortal could bring.
“Have you spoken much with Hayley?” She could guess how difficult it must be, even without the aspect of any cheating or betrayals. “I’m going to guess that there is anger mixed in with the hurt and then frustration that really you don’t feel that you should be angry because no one did anything wrong as such, but you feel it anyway, and that’s okay. It really is. You shouldn’t blame yourself for feeling all the crazy emotions you’re feeling.”
She curled her legs up under herself on the couch, leaning against the back and wrapping her fingers around her mug of coffee. “So how did it go when Klaus figured out how you’re feeling about things?”
“No. I haven’t talked all that much with her. I’m polite whenever she is around but I don’t really know what to say.” That would take time. Caroline could remember how awkward conversations had been between her mother and her dad’s partner at first. They still had been a bit toward the end but it had gotten better. Eventually. Time to adjust had been needed.
“It went okay. He understands and says that I do not have to be okay with it. That he gets that it’ll take time or whatever and to not like hide how I’m feeling from him. That Hope is always going to be in our lives--which duh--and so is Hayley but that he loves me. That it won’t change.” She looked over at the baby on the floor, not bothering with her coffee any longer.
“I just don’t know where I fit right now. Like do I try to do things with Klaus and Hope? Do I try to do things with just Hope? Klaus and Hayley are still trying to figure it all out so like I don’t want to interfere because I know its new for them. But I’m going crazy not knowing what to do. Like she’s got a mom, I do not want to replace or anything, but I’m going to be in her life. I’m going anywhere so I should get to know her too, right?”
She sighed and looked up at the ceiling, feeling more lost than anything. “I don’t know.”
Tahiri offered a smile of sympathy. Because she could, in a way, relate. She wouldn’t have a clue how to handle things if Allana or Tenel Ka ever returned to Lawrence. Well, really she did know. She would be cast aside.
“What does your gut tell you to do?” She tilted her head with a scrutinizing look. “You’ve got good instincts, Caroline, you have since the day I met you. So don’t think about things, don’t pause or hesitate, just tell me the first answers that come into your head.”
There was a pause before Tahiri went on, ready with the fast questions for Caroline to react to. “What do you think of Hayley, what do you want to develop with Hope, where do you see your ideal future with all this working out?”
“I don’t have any issues with Hayley. We got along okay back home after a few little bumps on her first meeting.” Though really what was she supposed to have thought about some girl that Tyler had just forgotten to mention he’d lived with and had helped him with the whole breaking the Sire bond thing? It was understandable that there had been some tension before things had smoothed out between them all. “I don’t see why we can’t here.”
As for Hope. “I’d just like to get to know her. To be able to tag along to the zoo or the pond or whatever sometimes. Not every time. But I don’t like how its all me not actually being involved at all kinda thing. I know it takes time. I was Hope in this kinda situation before. The whole having two families that are one family. Not quite the same way because there is nothing exactly similar to this.”
What was her ideal future? She wasn’t even sure really. “I guess I just want to know that I’m allowed to interact with her?” Because she didn’t really know anything at the moment and not knowing drove Caroline crazy.
Tahiri frowned slightly, sipping at her coffee. “What makes you think you’re not allowed now? Because you should be, you deserve to be. You may not be Hope’s mother but you are, in effect, her step-mother. And that means you’re going to be in her life.” It was a complicated situation, but supernatural aspect aside, it wasn’t that uncommon or unheard of.
“Have either of them said you’re not allowed to interact? Or is that something you’re imposing on yourself?” She watched Caroline closely, trying to work out the answer even before her friend replied.
“The way I see it is this. It could be worse. Hayley is not a rival for Klaus’ affections, because it seems neither of them are, or indeed have ever been, interested in that sense. So Hayley won’t be doing anything like holding Hope hostage to try to get Klaus to be with her. And yes, maybe down the line there could be complications like discipline and the details of day to day raising of the child, but frankly, she’s a baby right now. These things are so not an issue yet.” She glanced at her own two with a smile. “I love them both, so much, more than words can express, but really, it’s not like they really do much all day. As long as they’re fed, changed and cuddled, they’re happy, and Hope can’t be that different in age. I mean really, are we even at the stage yet where things like first words or steps could be a possibility yet?”
It was self-imposed because she didn’t want to step on toes and she knew that wasn’t fair to any of them. She also knew that Tahiri was probably correct in her assessment. She really had lucked out in some ways even if it was all something she still didn’t quite know how to process or what exactly to do with.
“No, I don’t think it’s anywhere near that kind of stuff yet for her.” She wasn’t really all that sure though because she hadn’t been spending time with the little girl. “But I guess you’re right about that.” She looked over at Jayna though who was happily entertaining herself and sighed.
“I guess I have to suck it up and talk it all out with Klaus. Let him know what’s going on in my head. I was just kinda hoping my head would stop being mutinous.”
Tahiri smiled gently and leaned over, taking Caroline’s hand in her own. “Caroline, I say this with all the love in the world. Man up. You’ve got this. You’re going to be part of Hope’s life, and you’re all going to have to get to grips with that and frankly, it’s better to get patterns established now than wait until she actually starts doing stuff that involve complicated decisions.”
The difficulties would be later, things like how many treats to have or how to handle temper tantrums. “Your head thinks too much, that’s the problem. Comes as part of the emotional package you guys have to deal with and I get that. Also you’re still young, and having to deal with being a step-mother, that’s a big deal. So be less harsh on yourself.”
Though the Jedi knew things like that were easier said than done. “Besides, aren’t you already handling something far more complex with Henrik? I know the timing of his arrival was horrendous, with Rebekah being in Hell and all, and if things had been different with that, he’d probably be living with her most of the time rather than a couple of days a week. And that’s before you even bring Elijah, his complicated choice of fiancee, or Kol and his demon lover into the equation.”
“I’m not sure that would actually be the case. The two he’s closest to have a big rift between them but circumstances changing I’m not actually sure which of the two he’d have decided to live with in the end. He could have always chosen Elijah or even Kol before deliberately choosing between Klaus and Rebekah to try and not cause a rift. But stressors caused everything to fall apart so none of them were really available to do what was needed.” Which sucked for the kid and while it was definitely getting better Caroline remembered what it had been like to not be sure of what was happening with the adults in her life when everything was falling apart.
“And honestly, it feels way easier to me with Henrik.” Probably because the kid was old enough to get a say and easily voiced his feelings.
“But okay, enough about me and my insane number of issues. What’s new with you?” Though she wasn’t exactly sure what all there really could be new in her friend’s life. Not with the craziness of raising twins, but she wanted to ask, wanted to hear what was going on with Tahiri even if it was an endless list of bottles and diapers.
“Just seems to me that you’re actually the one he’s chosen to live with, not any of the siblings,” Tahiri gave Caroline a look. “Not to speak harshly of Klaus, I actually like the guy, but if I was a kid and I found out my brother did things like stab my siblings and murder their lovers, I would be running a mile from him.” She shrugged, not wanting to make a big deal of it. “Me, I can’t judge Klaus, not after everything I’ve done in my life, and considering the man I love and all he’s done. But I’m also not a kid. It just baffles me a bit, that’s all. So I suspect you’re the one he wants to live with. You are a lot more stable than any of them after all.” Which was hardly a statement anyone could take offense to, they all knew it was true. The Mikaelsons, or Mikaelson Salvatore in one case, were known for volatile tempers and powerful emotions. Caroline was a vitally needed calming and stabilizing influence on them all.
She half laughed at the idea of anything new happening in her life. “My life is the same old, same old. The twins keep me busy, and awake. And Jacen is, well Jacen is Jacen.” Her expression became somewhat rueful. “You know how it is with him. I know he loves our children with everything he is and he does care about me. But even so. I’m not her.”
The woman Jacen still referred to as his wife. The woman Tahiri knew he would go back to in an instant if she ever came back to Lawrence. With Tahiri Jacen shared a home, a bed, children. But Tenel Ka would always have his heart.
It was a sad day when she was considered the stable one, though she knew Tahiri was probably right in her assessment. “Does that ever…” She didn’t really want to say bother. Of course it must bother Tahiri but Caroline wasn’t all that sure what her friend could really even do about it. Was there anything to do about it?
She knew that she wouldn’t want to live her life always compared to another but she couldn’t fault Tahiri her choice either. No one truly understood a situation until they were actually living it. “I don’t know how you do it but as long as you’re good then that’s what matters in the end.”
Tahiri knew what the unasked question was, just as Caroline would have known what the answer was. Yes, Tahiri was trained as a Sith, yes she was also part Vong inside. But she was still a woman with emotions and feelings and yes, she could hurt. But, just as physical pain made her stronger, emotional pain helped to build her into who she was, and she would, as ever, endure.
“I do it because there is no other option,” she shrugged. “The facts are what they are, so my choices are to live with that or to break and I have broken far far too often in my life. I refuse to do that again. Besides,” a small smile did appear on her face. “I have two beautiful children. Jacen is alive here, and regardless of anything else that defines our relationship, I am grateful for that because I do love him. I have financial security thanks to the Bauble last time around. There are far, far worse situations to be in.”
“There definitely are.” Caroline knew something about breaking, about being dealt harsh hands by life and working to make them build her up instead of dragging her down. Maybe it was why the two of them got along as well as they did. Her experiences didn’t quite measure up to Tahiri’s and the circumstances were definitely different, but not wanting to cave under all of that hardship was something she truly did understand.
“Okay, so enough talk over serious things. I say we drink our coffee--which so good--and enjoy this little break before your other one wakes up and starts demanding attention which then gets that one to start demanding attention and we won’t be able to look at one another for hours again.” She really didn’t know how Tahiri managed twins but she did seem to do it flawlessly, or at least as best as she could manage.
“That sounds like an excellent idea,” Tahiri held up her coffee mug in a toast of agreement. “And I am a pro at coffee, you should know this by now!” It was a vital thing, needed for functioning. How she had managed nine months of pregnancy without it, she still didn’t know.
Tilting her head slightly, she reached out with the Force, gently brushing the minds of her two babies. “I’m going to guess we’ve got maybe 20 minutes before Jaeden wakes up and then about another ten before Jayna decides her brother’s had too much focus.” Twins were hard work, balancing the pair of them together, but worth it. She smiled at her friend. “Thanks for coming over. I have seriously needed some adult talk.”