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Trapped in an Iron Grip

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"I hate you!"

"No, you don't."

"Fine, I hate what you did to me!"

"Now, maybe you do," Karl leaned in and gave you a peck on the lips. "In a month you certainly won't."

You pouted up at Karl and crossed your arms. "And how do you know that?"

"Because you fell in love with him the last time we were in this situation," Karl said, smirking as he pointed to the room your son disappeared into.

It's been seven years since you got out of the village and life was great. You and Karl started dating and your feelings for each other only grew. After about two years, you were able to win your biggest MMA fight in the US and Karl decided to propose to you when you were receiving your trophy. That had to be one of the happiest days of your life. The other was when your son was born three years ago.

It was a relatively difficult pregnancy considering that you were sore the entire time and constantly throwing up. Klaus really took his toll on your body but you loved the kid to bits. On the day he was born, Karl was doing metalwork in the garage for Chris and his team while you were training Savanah, who decided to pursue MMA. Your water broke when you were guiding Savanah through some routine combinations, she had to call the hospital while you were pacing and practicing your breathing exercises.

Karl rushed to the hospital when you called him from the ambulance, apparently, he was also very tempted to make the car he was in fly over there. That's what Ethan told you when you got out of labour. You didn't let Karl live it down for weeks.

When Klaus was born, Karl couldn't stop marvelling at him. Many times, you would catch your husband gazing down at his son with so much love that you thought it could rival Ethan's love for Rose. A day after Klaus was born, Karl was slowly rocking him after you fed the little guy. You sighed and leaned against your husband's shoulder when you told him that his son looked like a 'Klaus'. Karl cried when you suggested that to be his name and kissed you, agreeing that Klaus was a perfect name.

"Yeah, yeah," you groaned and leaned back into the couch, "still doesn't change how I feel now."

"That's the price of pregnancy," Mia said your name as she handed you a plate of your latest cravings, mangos. 

"Shut up, you haven't been pregnant in almost eight years," you shot back, taking the plate. "Besides, you didn't have a magnetic field surrounding your stomach."

Karl rolled his eyes as he stole a piece of mango from your plate. "I thought that I put up a stronger one to keep the metal away."

"Sure, but then you decide to be an asshole and make spoons stick to my stomach," you said, taking a bite of your mango. 

Being pregnant with Karl Heisenberg's children was a difficult feat when you remember that the magnetism runs in his blood. It shouldn't be a surprise that his kids would have his powers, especially since both you and Karl were infected with some variant of the Megamycete. Speaking of, it turned out that your life would be prolonged like Karl's. The scientists that Chris trusted did a few experiments and they learned that you had a similar healing factor to Karl and that you would age like him, if not a little faster. They said you two could easily grow old together when you asked. It was sweet.

"Mama! Papa!" Klaus ran into the room with Rose hot on his tail. "We made something!"

"Can we show you, Aunty?" Rose said, barely acknowledging Karl.

Turns out, Rose remembered everything from the village. Doctors said it had to do with the mold in her system and her powers. Rose was always a little cold towards Karl but has started to lighten up to him during their training sessions. Karl has helped the situation by giving her space to work things out on her own and if she wanted to talk to him, he'd be there to listen.

"Let's see it," you said and patted the spots next to you.

Rose ran up to you and sat down on your left while Klaus pointed for his dad to sit next to you. He always did love sitting on Karl's lap when Klaus could. You think the dad bod that Karl developed helped. You would constantly use your husband as a pillow or a chair simply because of how soft he was.

Karl sat down while Rose called for her dad to join all of you in the living room. Ethan walked into the living room and stood behind the couch, rubbing Rose's head as he took his position.

You and Karl moved out of Ethan and Mia's house a while ago so you could start your own family and not be interrupted when doing anything. Of course, since you and Ethan didn't really feel comfortable being separated from any member of your family, you've all decided to do Sunday suppers. Every week, either the Heisenbergs or the Winters would host each other for a small supper and game night. It eased both you and Ethan to see each other and your family's okay, but it did concern your spouses and your therapist.

Because of the torture both of you were put through in the village, you were constantly paranoid about the dark, flies, deep water, and, oddly enough, old castles. Your time in Castle Dimitrescu was something you had yet to tell Karl and Mia about, but they both knew that it wasn't good. Luckily, the therapist has been helping your entire family work through each of your separate trauma. Mia with her imprisonment, Ethan and you with the entirety of the village and the Lords, and Karl with all the decades of masking, hiding, and conspiring against an abuser who claimed to love him like a mother. Rose has even said that she might want to talk about a few things that she remembers with the therapist too. 

Things weren't perfect, but there was progress in your lives.

You watched as Klaus climbed onto Karl's lap and held his hands out to the dining room. Karl rubbed his son's arms in encouragement as a small, metal platform wabbled into the living room. On the metal platform was a book that you vaguely remembered.

"Good job, Sweetheart," you praised Klaus as the platform with the book landed in your lap. "You're getting really good at your control."

"You'll be just as powerful as your old man in no time," Karl added on, planting a small kiss on Klaus' head.

You looked down at the book and read the cover, internally cringing at the title. It brought back some less than pleasant memories of the night you and Ethan were taken to the village.

"The Village of Shadows," you read out loud, causing every adult to turn their head to you. "Klaus, Rose, where did you two find this?"

Turns out that the book had a lot more meaning to Miranda when she was disguised herself as Mia than you or Ethan could have thought. Karl explained to you that Miranda thought the tale of the little girl and her parents would be the key to bringing her daughter back. Miranda told every Lord the tale and explained why she needed them to perform experiments with the Cadou for her. It did make sense, the Bat Lord was Lady Dimitrescu, the Dark Weaver was Lady Beneviento, the Fish King was Moreau, and the Iron Steed was Karl. Miranda was the witch who came to be when all the Lords disappeared.

"I found it in an old box in the attic at home," Rose said a little sheepishly. "I remember that lady reading it to me before I was broken in four. I told Klaus the story and we both thought it was stupid..."

"And we fixeded it," Klaus exclaimed, tapping his hands on the book. "Please read it, Mama."

You looked at Karl, Mia, and Ethan for confirmation. You were alright with reading the story, but you wanted to make sure that they were okay too. Your family nodded and you opened the book.

"Long ago, a young girl went with her mother to pick berries for her father who was hard at work. But the forest greeted them with a dark, cold silence, the bushes empty. Yet, determined to find the berries, the rascal broke free from Mother's grasp and vanished into the trees.

"Mother's worried cries faded fast as the girl ran on; over vine, and under branch and into the forest deep. Feeling strange eyes upon her, the girl recalled Mother's scary bedtime tales and her throat became bone dry. Then, the Bat Lord appeared! He greeted her warmly and bit his own wing.

"'Come, child. Quench your thirst,' he said. So she drank the thick, dark blood and smiled with joy.

"Passing through a graveyard, menacing storm clouds loomed and the air turned bitingly cold. The girl was shivering in her thin clothes. Then a Dark Weaver appeared, and with a click of his fingers, crafted mist into a beautiful dress.

"'Come, child, warm yourself,' he coaxed. So she clothed herself and smiled with joy.

"Across waters deep and ominous she went, hoping a boat she found would carry her home. But hunger's grip tightened and her heart grew heavy. Then the Fish King appeared and offered one of his many fins.

"'Come, child. Eat your fill.' So the girl ate and smiled with joy once more.

"Continuing on, she soon entered the forest's dark heart. Then an Iron Steed appeared, bearing a beautiful, golden gear. The creature said nothing as the girl approached... and snatched what she thought was another gift.

"The horse grew angry and summoned the other monsters.

"Terror filled the girl's heart as a wild wind rose about the beasts. Suddenly, a witch appeared- dark, yet regal.

"'Gifts we gave, but more you took,' she snarled. 'So more, in turn, is due.'

"In a blink, the girl was trapped inside a mirror..."

You trailed off as you smiled at the out-of-place colours your son and niece used to rewrite the story. There were a lot of grammar mistakes, the kids were eight and three, and they drew in another character along with the girl's parents.

"Her parents and aunt, though, had searched all day and, at last, arrived. With rampant rage, Father and Aunt fought the Witch while Mother's loving touch shattered the dark enchantment. But the Witch was strong and Father and Aunt yelled at the Witch.

"'She did nothing wrong.'

"'She's just a kid!'

"'Let the child be.'

"'She isn't yours to take!'"

You turned the page again and noticed a new character springing out of the Witch. It was the Iron Steed and it was missing its golden gear.

"Mother bore the child to safety while a figure sprang from the Witch. The Iron Steed had broken free from the Witch's curse and wished to aid the Father and Aunt. 

"'For too long you have kept me as a toy,' The Steed growled and stomped its hoofs, 'more, in turn, is due.'

"With the help of the Iron Steed, the Father and the Aunt destroyed the Witch and burnt her dark forest to the ground. Once the Witch disappeared, a glow overcame the Iron Steed as its hoofs turned into hands and feet while its snout shrunk. A man stood in place of the Steed, weak out of exhaustion. Out of thankfulness, the Aunt helped the man to his feet and all of them walked out of the forest.

"The reunion between the family was a happy one as the Father hugged his child. As thanks, the family gave the New Man a home where he was wanted and loved.

"The burnt down forest serves as a reminder to always keep your family close and to be safe when picking berries alone."

There was silence as you closed the book, but it wasn't a silence of discomfort. You loved the ending to the story the kids made, it was perfect.

Karl wrapped an arm around you while his other arm held his son close. You could see a bright smile cover his face as he kissed your cheek and your son's. He rubbed your arm as Karl pursed his lips.

"That was a perfect ending to the story, you two," Karl said as Klaus turned to face him. "Much better than the original."

"Really?" Rose looked up at you with stars in her eyes. "It's that good?"

"Absolutely," you agreed and leaned into your husband's touch, "so much better than the original. The drawings are incredible too."

Ethan picked Rose up and pulled her into a hug between him and Mia. "You two are incredible writers."

"Uncle Karl, Aunty," Rose said your name as she looked at you and Karl, "will you read it to the baby?"

You paused and stared back at Rose while you felt Klaus climb across your lap and take Rose's spot. Rose has never called Karl that before, she barely even acknowledges him unless she's thanking him for a gift or asking him a question. Karl was also star-struck at Rose's words and was grinning like an idiot.

"I don't see a problem with it," Karl said, looking at you. "What do you think, Butterblume?"

"I think that we can make that a possibility," you said before jumping a little at a small jolt of pain. 

The baby kicked! You realized and grabbed Karl's hand. Carefully, you placed Karl's hand on your tummy and motioned for your son to do the same. Klaus put his hand against your tummy and you all waited for the baby to kick again.

Karl jumped up and moved in front of you when your baby kicked again. He knelt down and put both hands on your stomach before planting a small kiss on it. Karl started to rub circles with his thumb on your stomach and whisper little phrases in German but you couldn't quite make them out with how quiet he was.

Your son definitely had a large reaction to the kick, he jumped and stared down with his hand still on your stomach. Klaus was practically vibrating out of excitement as bounced up and down on the couch.

"Was that the baby, mama?" Klaus asked. "Was that my baby brother?"

You laughed and went to answer when Rose spoke up, beating you to it.

"You're getting a baby sister, Klaus," Rose said crossing her arms. "I know it's a baby girl, I felt it when I touched Aunty's tummy earlier."

If it was anyone else, you would just laugh and say that everyone had to wait and see but Rose wasn't anyone else. You and Karl decided that you wanted to see what the baby would be the day it was born, that is what you did with Klaus and it worked out. Rose sounding so sure of the baby being a girl had you believing that she was right.

"Rose," you said as you and Karl glance at her, "can you actually tell if the baby's going to be a girl?"

Rose and her parents moved around the couch and Rose nodded, looking a little ashamed. "Yes, I'm sorry I ruined the surprise..."

"It's alright, Rose," Karl said with a smile before he looked up at you. "Guess we're going to have to scrap that list of boys' names."

"What list?" You laughed and put your hands on Karl's. "Karl, darling, we've barely thought of any names."

"It's been eight months," Mia said out of surprise. "How the hell do you two not have a name for your baby yet? Ethan and I figured out Rose's name when I was four months along."

It wasn't your fault that you and Karl have been so busy lately... well maybe it was on your end. You offered to help Canine train Savanah so she could try to get into MMA by giving her a training regimen and helping her in person when her dad brought her to town. You've even started coaching other soon-to-be fighters in your area, giving them tips and tricks in between your training time. You loved showing them what you knew and a few have already grown into promising, young fighters.

Karl was asked by Chris to do some metalwork for him and his team so he would spend a lot of time in the home forge that Chris was able to get for him. The metalwork often meant a lot of sleepless nights in Karl's workshop and you had to force him to go to bed at times. Karl has always been invested in his work and using his knowledge to help stop people like Miranda before they do too much damage has only fueled that passion. Karl has made stronger and faster weapons and vehicles along with prosthetics that connect with someone's nervous system so amputees can have a higher range of mobility. Those are the projects that Karl constantly upgrades and perfects throughout the years.

As for you and being an MMA fighter, you were nowhere near ready to leave that. You loved the community and all the friends you made through it too much. You and Karl did have a discussion about it and, while Karl didn't completely understand, he fully supported you and said that he can easily take care of the kids when the time came. Besides, the man loved watching you kick ass and he said that your kids would like to watch their kickass mom when the time came.

Yeah, you loved that man.

"So we've been busy, same thing happened with this one," Karl said as he patted Klaus on the head. "We'll see what comes to us when our little girl is born."

You nodded and smiled at your little family. Things did start off rocky, especially when you told Ethan and Mia that you and Karl were going to try being in a relationship, but things smoothed out. Karl and Ethan bonded over their engineering expertise and started to help each other with builds that Chris needed. Karl even used Ethan's modern expertise to make him a prosthetic for the part of Ethan's hand that he lost in the village. Mia took a little longer to warm up to Karl but they started to get along when she caught him playing with Rose, making sure to not use his power since he knew how uneasy it made Mia.

"Alright," Ethan rolled his eyes at both of you, "but do you at least have an idea?"

You and Karl shook your heads but Klaus obviously knew what the baby's name should be.

"My baby sister will be called Kelly," Klaus said with a nod, "because it sounds good next to my name and I get to name her because she isn't a boy."

"He gets that from you, you know," you said to Karl, raising your brow in amusement. 

"I know," Karl said, his voice muffled because he decided to bury his face in your stomach to try and get closer to the baby. "It's wonderful isn't it?"

You rolled your eyes as you ran your left hand through his hair, the light of the room caught onto your wedding ring and you smiled at it.

The wedding was really small, only your parents, sister, Ethan, Rose, and Chris were invited. It didn't help that Karl's family wasn't exactly alive but you did plan a small surprise. You knew that Karl missed them a lot so you had three empty chairs set up, one for each member of Karl's family. You even borrowed the picture Karl showed you back in BSAA HQ and photocopied it three times, putting an enlarged version of his mother, father, and sister at their chairs. You even made sure to include an altar with the full photo on display and some candles around it as a memorial to the Heisenberg family.

That had to be the most you've ever seen Karl cry in one evening and he made it well known how thankful he was for the memorial.

You looked around at your family before settling your eyes back on your child and your husband. Klaus had found his way to your side and laid against you while Karl was rubbing circles on your baby bump. 

Ethan, Mia, and Rose decided to check on diner considering that you were a little preoccupied with being a pillow for your son and husband. Husband... you just couldn't get over that word. You were a Heisenberg and Karl was now your husband.

"Ich liebe dich, Karl," you said as you looked down at Karl Heisenberg.

"Ich liebe dich auch, Meine Liebe," Karl whispered, straightening up to kiss you, "Frau Heisenberg."