Attempt 585 - Edited by my favorite beta Sophie :)
Klaus turns out to be engaging in a game of misdirection when he arrives in Mystic Falls with Elijah instead to New Orleans like everyone else believes. Elijah initially wishes to avenge Katherine's death by killing Caroline, but Klaus is able to manipulate him into sparing her. Klaus shares with Elijah all that is going on up to this point. After delving in Elijah's mind, Klaus finds out that Elijah was compelled by V, deepening his mistrust of her. After sending Elijah off to New Orleans to save Rebekah and Hayley, Klaus goes to Caroline's side. He witnesses Caroline's heartfelt exchange with her dying mother who doesn't wish to turn into a vampire. After a sexual tryst between the two, Klaus and Caroline come to find the physical manifestation of the Vow has left them, making them believe the Vow is broken, much to Klaus' dismay. Klaus, before leaving, comes across the Book of Life that V gave Caroline to read, which turns out to have the history of Mates belonging to the past Allvaldr of Klaus' family line. In it, they find out more about V and the date of Caroline's death. Klaus takes the book to look more into it, not before hearing from Elijah that he has found Hayley and Rebekah. As they talk, the Salvatores and Elena bump into Elijah where they share information about Esther's return. Klaus wastes no time to tell Elena to return to Mystic Falls so she can assist in saving Caroline's life. Klaus sees it as an opportunity to finally turn Caroline into an Original, but Caroline is reluctant, sharing with Klaus her concerns about doing the ritual. The two come to a compromise in which Caroline agrees to let Bonnie do the spell as long as Klaus promises never to dagger her. On his way back to the mansion to get the white oak stake for the spell, Klaus finds himself thrown back into the past, with V being the last face he sees. In the past, Klaus comes across Manning and his brother Dante along with their wolf pack that wastes no time trying to kill Klaus.
A/N Hey! I'm back! Thanks to those who took the time to review, who ask me on Tumblr what the hold up was (Sophia Chase, justanotherfiveminutes, nikscaroline, yes, your hassling worked ;) ), and of course, to those who follow/favorite. This writer adores you all :).
So, after taking in all the reviews of the last update and tallying them up, I have decided to do Option 1 BUT!
Worry not Option 2 advocates! I have heard you as well. Both past and present events will happen simultaneously. The how you have to wait and see but hopefully it works.
***Important! It has been recommended by reviewer Emma to have the second arc be published separately into a sequel of this fic. I'm considering it because then I can give the story a more ominous title (yes Seralina, I haven't forgotten your review from way back when) and have a clear distinction between the arcs, etc., but I'm not sure. Either way, this is the last chapter of this arc, and I'd be honored if you guys would take the time to send it off with reviews sharing highlights or general comments about the arc overall, this chapter, or thoughts on the potential sequel. As you know, I will do my part and answer all reviews!
A huge thanks to those who started:
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Here's the last chapter of the "Present" Arc! Answer to guest reviews on the bottom!
The moment I'm capable of physical feeling, I'm opening my eyes, taking in V standing in front of me with her red gold tresses, leather jacket and high heeled Jimmy Choos.
Here we go. Attempt 585.
She whirls at my voice, her eyes widening.
Good sign, I think, approving of how open her expressions are on her face. Much like the future V I left behind when I first went to 970 and unlike the cold Serub who trained me for 18 years.
She quickly assesses me, taking in my Nordic battle armor, and I see her go rigid, quickly putting together what is happening.
"You are not the Caroline of this time."
I shake my head no, my waist length blond hair brushing against my cheek as I do so. If the brown leather tights and corset, steel braces, fur laced boots and gauntlets I wear aren't a dead giveaway, I don't know what is. But glad to see we are already at this part of the conversation. That saves me some time.
V takes a deep, shuddering breath at my answer. When her eyes meet mine, she is furious. "I had hoped I was wrong. That you wouldn't be so foolish to manipulate time and reality!"
Very far off, there is twinge of discomfort at V's outburst, but before it can evolve into an emotion, I squash it like a bug.
I don't do feelings anymore. Haven't done it for years. Not since...
A flash of his cold, stormy blue eyes staring down at me at my most helpless moment goes through my mind and I fight to shake off the emotions that are to eager to come with it.
No use feeling things now. Not when I am so close to my goal.
"Sorry you feel that way V, but I'm pretty sure you don't have any brighter ideas. This is the only option left. Unless we kill him," I say nonchalantly, not giving any attention to the clenching in my chest as the words leave my mouth.
"If we do not kill him, the Dark Mistress, Death, has won. If you are what I think you are, then you have seen it for yourself!" implores V. "He..."
Her head suddenly shifts up in a gasp, her eyes rolling into white while I take step back, uncertain of what was happening.
Well. This is different.
A full minute goes by and with another gasp she stumbles forward, breathing heavily. She looks up at me, her expressive hazel green eyes turning hard and cold.
Noting the difference, I quickly assess I'm dealing with another V now, the one I left in the past has followed me I see, her persona screaming at me so hard, I stiffen.
"How..." I mutter, not pleased by this new development.
"We are both metaphysical objects that are not bound to a specific time or reality, dear Caroline," she responds, straightening up, now exuding her regular know it all confidence I just love (insert a dose of eye roll and sarcasm here please. Thanks). "Just like this book," V continues, raising the Book of Life in her hand as an example. "But unlike you, I do not physically have to transcend time and space. A master's technique I have not revealed to you. Purposely, I might add. It works much like an instant download."
I purse my lips at that, unhappy. My mind racing as to why this is even happening in the first place.
She sets the book down, her eyes turning gold.
"Taru,"* she whispers to it and it disappears.
She turns to me, her eyes normalizing again and her voice coming off stronger than I've ever heard, with emotion, I catch. This makes me smile, because I think this is the break I've been waiting for. For the first time in 18 years, I start to hope, but hope is a feeling and I can't feel. I need not to feel.
"Your ride has ended," says V sternly. "Return with me now. This is a fool's errand. You cannot kill the Dark Mistress. Let us go back to the original plan."
I laugh at her. "Go screw yourself V. I'm not going back until I'm done..."
"...With attempt 585? I tell you now, you will reach 1,585 and the result will be the same."
My eyes narrow at her. "I don't think so."
Her jaw clenches in anger, confirming my suspicions and boosting my confidence. I start to circle around her, much like when Klaus zeros in on his potential prey.
"Always assess your enemy love if you have the time. Seize the higher ground," I hear his voice whisper in my mind.
My stomach twists painfully at the memory.
Don't feel, don't feel... I say to myself in a desperate mantra.
"I know now why I've always failed," I say softly as a distraction, her eyes following me in clear trepidation as a slow smirk grows on my face and I see now that Klaus was so right when he talked about her back then. "You're frustrated at me right now. Angry. Nervous even."
"She may have been an angel," Klaus had said, "But now she's a werewolf and werewolves for all intents and purposes are still human. And what happens to humans when they turn? Werewolves that turn to hybrids?"
V stiffens at that and opens her mouth to retort, but her eyebrows furrow in confusion. "I..." she shakes her head. "How? I'm not supposed to...feel. That is a human emotion," she says, looking at her hands as if seeing them for the first time.
This V knows nothing about what it means to be a human, never mind a hybrid. Only how to control werewolf impulses, no more.
Bad for her. Great for me.
"You should of never come here," I tell her. "I would of kept trying forever, you're right, and I would never beat V the hybrid who had a thousand years to master her humanity, her hybrid abilities. But you, in this body that is so unlike the werewolf one you're used to with a level of humanity you can't control..."
I let out a mirthless chuckle and stop moving, letting my vampire features flourish. "You can't beat me."
In a flash, I'm on her and she defends herself the best she can in her "new" body, but I had 18 years to hone and refine mine.
With her heightened emotions due to being part vampire, she's lost her objectivity, her ruthlessness.
This is the advantage I needed. That I longed for.
Within a minute, I have already lasted longer than the 584 times I have taken V head on. Usually 30 seconds or less and I would wake up back with Manning and Dante back on the ship.
Not this time.
A roundhouse kick comes my way and I use my cheerleader flexibility to do a cartwheel backwards, kicking her in the face. Staying low, I kick her feet out from under her with a spin. As she falls, I'm punching through her chest, the impact making her fall on her back and leaving me hovering over her on one knee, my hand clenching around her heart.
She doesn't scream. Her bulging eyes the only thing giving away her pain as they gradually bore into mine.
"Go on. Do it," she urges. "You've come this far. Turned off those pesky human emotions and saved the memory of the worst one. Do not falter now."
My face crunches in confusion at her words. The worst one? What emotion? I don't...
"You may not feel it but it propels you forward even in your current state," she explains and I can see the pity in her eyes then. "Why else have you tried to steal my power to kill the Dark Mistress 584 times?"
And the realization of what that one emotion she is referring to freezes me, makes my eyes grow wide, my breathing come out more harshly.
Love. It's the love I have for him that drives me. And it is so strong, even with my humanity off, I don't have to feel it in order to honor it.
In my shock, I feel her hand touch my cheek, my body growing warm for a moment. I look down when the feeling disappears and find myself in a petite leather jacket, pants and boots, my Nordic medieval battle armor gone. "Now the Dark Mistress will not be able to propel the version of herself here to the time or reality you came from. Even if she kills you. This will be it. No more do-overs. No more closing the loop. Either you win or you die."
I swallow hard at her words, and I remember the first time I had to "close the loop." It being the reason I turned off my humanity in the first place.
"Now," says V. "Make attempt 585 count."
I bite my lip and keep my feelings neutral. I let my power as a Nephilim go loose, my light flowing till its burns through V's soul like a supernova and consumes her essence. When I feel myself about to burst with the overwhelming energy, I let go and use the remaining energy to ricochet me forward through space, till I feel a similar energy to the one I have just absorbed from V.
The Dark Mistress.
When my eyes open, I see the sign marking Bourbon st., and begin to follow the sound of screams echoing through the night before a familiar voice stops me.
"You're really going to do this aren't you? You only have a 50% chance of beating her," says V, no, Alessia in my mind.
"You killed me?" she says, cutting off my thought. "No. Not even you with your light can you accomplish that, but as the dominating essence of this body, you can mute me. Shut me out."
"And you'd let me?" I ask incredulously. I may have absorbed her but if she is still present, she can put up a fight, resist me...
"Yes," she responds.
"Because you're my...friend."
I feel the warmth of Alessia's feelings then, her memories of our time together spilling in my mind. I know the feeling behind that statement is genuine, surprising me.
"And the path you walk, is hard one to walk alone. I would implore you to turn around, but now I am in your mind. Even the part you've lock away I can see, feel. I know now why you won't abandon him."
I swallow deeply, my heart stirring to be touched by the moment.
"I am with you," says Alessia strongly. "If you'll have me."
I nod in quiet appreciation, speechless, and thankful that she's still willing to help me despite what I've done to her, before I flash off full speed to where attempt 585 will end.
Alessia's energy, added to mine, enhances my abilities and I'm literally drunk on the power; it's so much.
I feel the Dark Mistress' energy before I see her, finding her laughing manically inside a blonde woman who looks like a mixture of Esther and Rebekah. The Salvatores, Elena and even Elijah are crippled before her magic, in obvious pain, while Esther holds a weakened Rebekah against her. Meanwhile, a red head and brunette hold an irate, pregnant Hayley hostage as she screams Elijah's name in desperation.
I act, quickly closing the distance to the Dark Mistress in a millisecond. I jump out of my body, taking spirit form to tackle the Dark Mistress out of her possessed vessel. She recovers quickly from the surprise attack and throws me off her, righting herself as I land on my feet. I slide to a stop, standing up.
There is chaos all around us as the Salvatores and Elijah quickly recover, moving to attack the young blond who is looking frantically around in confusion, no longer possessed. The red head and Esther, the only ones who can see us it seems, stares at us in shock, while the brunette wrestles with Hayley.
I faintly hear Elena cry out my name and I spare her a quick glance to see her running to my empty body, concern etching her features along with bewilderment. I tune out the conversation and whatever it is that happens next. I really don't care about anything else but my grand prize, my target. After 584 times of trying, she is within my reach.
My eyes lock on to her red ones and I take in her face that is the exact replica of V's except for the paleness of her skin. Her dark mist, filled with her dark souls shroud and curl around her like a shield.
"Hello Death," I say.
A slow smile spreads on her face, her tongue darting out to lick her lips and sharp fangs. "Sweet Caroline," she says in that echoing accent of hers. "Tell me. Why have you come? I have no quarrel with you."
"But I do with you."
She nods in understanding. "Ah. And what about him? I haven't touched him," she says all innocently.
I clench my teeth and summon all my strength to hold back the dam of emotion wanting to break through.
"Relax Caroline," says the soothing voice of Alessia. No emotion or she gains a foothold."
I take a deep, controlling breath. She's right. I can't lose it. "I would really appreciate it if you don't play dumb," I say. "I'm not the Caroline you met a few days ago."
Interest soaks on her face and her eyes turn pupiless red, taking me in from head to toe. "You're right. Your soul looks awfully delicious. But there is more isn't there?" Her red eyes return to normal, her mouth dropping. "My goodness! Did you absorb Alessia?!" she lets out a mock gasp, bringing her hand to her mouth in pretend shock. "Somebody's been a naughty little Nephilim! Well. That explains things. Listen dear Caroline."
She takes a few steps towards me with a smile and raises her hands in a placating gesture. "I know how it seems but..."
"You took him from me," I say, coldly cutting her off and letting my light flow, purifying part of the dark mist that covers her. Her smile falters.
"Let him go," I demand.
"Sure. Please provide the reality you hail from and I'd be happy to accommodate," she quips.
"Nice try, but I know for a fact you consumed more than one version of hybrid Klaus. Release them all."
Her eyes narrow at my severe tone and her smile dissipates. "I don't appreciate creatures who are beneath me ordering me around," she growls.
"I'll do what I want. Because you're giving him back to me."
"No," she snaps, clearly losing patience with me.
"You self righteous speck of dust," she spits out. "Feeling almighty because you're high on Alessia's juice but I tell you now, your plan to save Niklaus has one fatal flaw. You've based it all on incomplete information. See, unlike Alessia, I remember EVERYTHING. Ask her what she remembers. She's floating around in there isn't she? Go on! Ask her."
She folds her arms and gives me a smug smile. "I'll wait."
I pause, uncertain, but I'm already thinking it and Alessia is in there...
"Know what?" says the Dark Mistress. "Let me guess. She remembers nothing before Lucifer's Fall, does she?"
"I...I do not," Alessia admits in my mind quietly and I feel her rising panic.
"Stop!" I snap at her mentally. "I can't deal with your emotions and mine! Keep it together!"
"What's your point?" I say to the Dark Mistress.
Her smile broadens. "The point is she does not remember our true identity, rendering her version of the incantation to kill me, us, incomplete. It will not kill me."
I feel my heart fall in my chest, devastation threatening to flip my humanity switch on.
"You're lying," I whisper.
"Am I? Why would I lie to you? An insignificant mortal, trying to create a new order of things because she can't handle the truth. You've lost."
I shake my head fervently, my hands flying to my head, not wanting to listen.
"Caroline," warns Alessia. Stay strong. Do not let yourself feel."
"You're just saying things because you're about to die," I growl at the Dark Mistress, glaring at her.
"About to die? Sweet Caroline..."
She raises her hand to her chest and what looks like three iridescent wings spring from her back. With a snap of her fingers, the wings shatter into feathers that catch the moonlight like prisms casting off the light in an array of colors. They float about around her, taking one gingerly in her fingers, analyzing it.
"My spirit form is my most powerful, didn't you know?"
"It's true," agrees Alessia in my mind.
"Seriously? Not helpful," I snap at her.
"Here's the cold hard truth," butts in the Dark Mistress. "You do not know the full incantation to kill me..."
"Debatable," I mutter.
"...Your 585 attempts to consume V to smite me and save Niklaus has been for naught. A waste of time."
I clench my teeth, ready to snap at any moment. "No."
"You never had a chance," she says maliciously.
I shut my eyes. "Stop..."
"He was wrong about you. You aren't strong. You aren't full of light. It's an illusion."
"You're wrong," I hiss, feeling my vampire features flourish, my fangs dropping as the fury rises in me, about to knock my humanity switch down like a domino...
"Caroline..." comes Alessia's soft voice, far off. "You cannot give in. She wants you to feel. Don't listen..."
"Admit it dear," says the Dark Mistress, her smile sinister. "You've failed him. As expected from a little girl whose always been second best."
I don't know who moves first, but I release the full energy of my light on her to shut her up, right when her feathers sail in my direction like knives.
When they collide, my light turns them into ash, sending her dark mist running when it reaches it. When the dust clears, the Dark Mistress is rushing through it in black medieval armor, cold and calculating with a long yet elegant blade, pitch dark like obsidian. It has decorative cracks in it that glow like molten lava, its energy rippling the air as it threatens to cut my head off. I duck and dodge every swing, but it isn't long until I find out that I am back at square one, fighting an opponent without a weakness. I have Alessia's strength, her knowledge, her energy, but the tables have turned. Now I'm the one with the advanced body with no knowledge of how to handle it, giving the Dark Mistress the edge she didn't even need.
I'm going to lose. I know it.
A second later, she punches into my chest to reach for the essence within my soul. I cry out in pain as she struggles to push further in, the Dark Mistress burning alive at contact, but she's determined to go through the pain to destroy my essence.
No. Not without a fight.
Desperate, I grasp her face and hold tight, letting what I have left of my light loose. Her head sizzles under my grasp as she continues to push through my chest while the incantation pours out of my mouth, praying she was lying earlier about it not being complete. I almost want to laugh in triumph when I see her wince. The words coming out my mouth strong and fast, making it a race to see who can take out the other first.
When the last word is about to tumble out of my mouth, I feel her fingers reach their destination, making me gasp.
"I win," she whispers. "Time to die."
I close my eyes, defeated, waiting for the end to come.
When I open my eyes again, I find myself at the bow of Dante's ship, back in my Nordic battle attire, witnessing an all out brawl going on. The scene, all too familiar.
I had been sent back to 988.
Alessia. It had to be her. She must of sent me back just in time.
If my emotions were on I would cry, but I find my switch is firmly off again.
Well. Time to close the loop.
I robotically grab Manning's hunting bow and the arrows made out of white oak from the deck.
Good-bye attempt 585. Hello attempt 586.
I zone in on Klaus, fighting both Manning and Dante simultaneously. He dodges the swing of Dante's ax, and punches him the gut. Manning comes in and goes to backhand Klaus, but Klaus stops his arm mid swing, twisting it. The sound of it breaking and Manning's painful yell resonates in the air before Klaus kicks him hard, his body sliding across the deck. Seeing an opening, I draw the bow, and aim, Klaus now dealing with a raging Dante.
As I wait, I can't help but admire Klaus' grace in battle, how he clearly enjoys the fight. He's smirking, his eyes flashing gold, the veins pulsing under his eyes...
His hybrid eyes.
I drop my aim about to put the bow down, but think better of it.
It's not possible. One in a billion chance literally. He may look like my Klaus but they all end up being different. There is always something off, which is why I decided the best way to save my Klaus would be to kill the Dark Mistress. Thanks to the metaphysical rendition of the Eternal vow, there would always be a Klaus that would swap time periods with me. They all came from different realities, none of them ever powerful or wise or ruthless enough to do what needed to be done.
But they still looked like him.
Wearing his dimpled smile, all of them having the same intense stare that used to make my heart flutter.
My vision gets blurry and I blink rapidly to clear it. So annoying.
There is a far off voice trying to be heard behind my humanity switch, the Caroline who loved Klaus. The Caroline who would die for him. The Caroline who couldn't hurt, never mind kill him.
I had to shut her up 584 times before.
I will do it again.
I will close the loop.
I will kill him.
I will walk to his desiccating corpse as it bursts into flame and I will feel nothing.
And then start over my mission to kill the Dark Mistress again for 586th time.
Resolved, I watch Klaus hurl Dante, leaving himself wide open.
He looks up, his eyes meeting mine, widening.
Like a reflex, I immediately take the shot for his heart. Not caring...
A/N So...That happened. Eager to hear your thoughts on this chapter and about the arc as a whole! Hope to have the next chapter/prologue to the sequel (remember, which it will be is up to you guys), before the New Year (fingers crossed)
*Translation - Sumerian word for "return" according to history-worlddotorg/sumerianwords2dothtm
Answer to Guest Reviews:
Emma - Thanks so much for your feedback and for reading! I have a lot of plans for how klaroline's relationship will grow now they are in the past. I really hope I don't disappoint but I appreciate you enjoy my writing and want to read more. I genuinely hope that I can complete this as, like you said, finding complete klaroline fics are hard to come by and I'd hate for this to become one. I don't know what the future holds, but I hope I finish this story too. I hope you noticed that I put your recommendation to make the arc separate fics up for all the readers to decide. I think it's a good idea but we'll see what happens.
Klaroline lover - I hope you are happy that option 1 was the one that was chosen. I'll try to not end the story before its time as long as people want to read it. Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!
Guest - As long as TVD or TO writers stop pooping on Klaroline, I hope to keep writing Klaroline fanfiction for awhile. But I won't lie, I do lose inspiration, especially when Klami have make out scenes in TO that make me want to vomit *shudders in disgust*. Still trying to Mr. Clean my mind of the scene. Thanks for the reading and reviewing!
Guest 2- I gotta say, my heart dropped when I saw you voted for option 3 and I started to brace myself for more votes like yours. Luckily, you were the only one. Thanks for taking the time to weigh in though.
Pat - You got your wish! The story will continue with an option 1&2 fusion, though option 1 will be the dominant perspective. Hope you enjoy it. Thanks for reviewing!
abby - Writing in general is not easy, but like all things in this world, practice makes perfect. I struggle a lot with filling in the details to get to the main plot scenes I want my readers to read and that I'm eager to write. It can lead to writer's block, low motivation, which is why I find I need extra help to get through those humps which is where reviewers like you come in. Taking the time to share your thoughts or recommendations with a writer helps so much. At least, it helps me. I'm so grateful you have stuck with this story so long and continue to enjoy it. It means a lot. You got your wish with option 1. Hopefully option 3 doesn't ever happen.
Salsmy - Looks like you are not alone not being happy with me for even offering option 3. Sorry. Option 1 has prevailed and I hope you continue to enjoy reading this. Thanks for taking the time to weigh in despite losing your password. Appreciate it!
Guest 3 - So happy you love it. This story continues so no worries!