The Aftermath

by poopaw

"You shouldn't have come here."

Caroline internally debates on whether to laugh, to cry, or to rip his heart out and walk away.

(At this point, she wonders, can she even walk away at all?)

"I don't understand, Klaus."

She looks at him and wonders what happened. Physically, he looks the same – if not, better than ever. But even as he tries to hide it, she can feel that something's changed. He has always been an open book to her. It's one of the few things she chose to remember back in Mystic Falls, during the nights where she found herself unable to deny what she was feeling for the powerful creature. He never hid himself when it came to her, never tried to fool her into falling for a man he could never be.

However, now?

Now, she can't even read the cover of the book.

Klaus sighs quietly under his breath and whooshes out of the room in an instant. Caroline finds her eyes closing tiredly and as an effect, her hearing becomes louder than ever. She notes how he hasn't strayed far enough – just a few rooms north of the front door. She hears him pour himself a glass of whiskey.

If he didn't want to talk to her, he would've left the house. Surely, he'd have known that it would have taken her plenty of time to track him down in a city she's never been. But the fact of the matter is that he stayed. And she'll take what she can get.

After all, she has to see this until the end, if only to remove all the grand what ifs from her mind.

"You never answered any of my calls or my text messages," she crosses her arms over her chest and leans on the doorway. His eyes bravely meet hers and there is something very unnerving in the way he refuses to show any emotion other than nonchalance.

Klaus shrugs. "You made me promise to never come back. How could I keep my word if I kept tying myself back to you?"

Again, she cannot stress enough how much she hates that he is a man of his word.

"There was an emergency and I needed your help. Elena was missing – but wait," her eyes narrow. "You already knew that, didn't you? Because you helped Stefan. You deliberately ignored me to help him solve the same goddamn problem."

The memory still clings to her mind – a little reminder of the surprising amount of hurt that had come barging through her mind and straight to her heart when she had heard his voice for the first time in months, only to have been rejected a few seconds later. The relief was astounding but the damage left afterwards was immeasurable. And no matter how hard she is trying at the moment, she cannot help but feel a little angry. Droplets of wrath were slipping past her armor one by one – much like the blood of the innocent she had slaughtered in an attempt to placate her erratic emotions.

Caroline knows she should take the route of rationality. There would be less bloodshed between the two of them. After all, two hotheaded vampires were never an ideal situation. Add fuel to the fire and take note of the fact that one of them is an Original vampire and a werewolf while the other is a neurotic former head cheerleader, class president, and Miss Mystic Falls?

Obviously, there was no more lethal combination than the two of them.

(She ignores the little voice in her head that comments on how she had just compared being the Original Hybrid to being head cheerleader, class president, and Miss Mystic. Clearly, she has not lived long.)

But much like any vampire, they are controlled by their emotions. That's why vampires like Damon, Stefan, and even Elena have chosen to turn it off at least once in their lives. There is freedom in turning it off – freedom from your emotions and your innermost thoughts and desires.

Too bad she still has full control over her emotions and she can't help but feel all of them – hurt, relief, anger, sadness, and happiness all at the same time. And she cannot stop alternating between each emotion every few minutes.

"Does it even matter? You have your doppelganger back, don't you?"

Klaus turns his body away from her and faces the window. Her eyes take in the view and she unwittingly releases a soft and amazed gasp. She takes note of the beautiful backyard with its acres of freshly mowed grass. How beautiful are the lives of the Originals – so indestructibly cultured and blessed.

However, much as she would like to enjoy the view presented before her, there are more pressing issues at hand. Issues such as when she was human, she did not have the humility to allow other people to ignore her. And as a vampire, this remains the same. In an attempt to restore their old dynamic, Caroline pushes aside all of her anxiety and fear in order to force her body between Klaus' own and the glass window.

A hair's breath away from the devil himself.

"That is so not the point, Klaus!"

(If she had been any more immature, she would have stomped her foot on the floor like a child.)

"Let me make myself clear, Caroline. I do not care what the point of this conversation is." She watches as his grip on the glass tightens. "You shouldn't have come here. You should've taken the hint about – oh, I don't know. Ten missed phone calls ago?"

Caroline hates that she couldn't control the flinch that came with his biting words. She wasn't used to having him so hostile. She has seen him kill people in front of her but that side of him was something she usually wasn't on the receiving end of.

"I don't understand why you're acting this way," she keeps her eyes locked on his, making sure that he knows how serious she is. Her resolve is strong but there's only so much rejection a girl can take.

"In case you are unaware, love," she uncontrollably shivers at the pet name. It is the first time she hears the word roll of his tongue in almost a year. "There is a war brewing in New Orleans and you just walked into the house of the number one target. Do you understand now?"

Caroline crosses her arms over her chest and sticks her chin up. "I've survived in much worse situations, Klaus."

His scotch glass comes in contact with the wall in an instant. Her eyes bare witness to his beautiful blue eyes suddenly merging with the most beautiful shades of gold. His lips release an animalistic snarl and she doesn't need to spare his mouth a glance to know that his fangs have emerged.

She should be scared but if anything, all she feels is amazement.

The Originals have always been beautiful. Blessed with their incredible statures and sharp features. Obviously, there was a reason they were the most superior vampires in the world.

However, Klaus has always been the most exquisite of them all.

"Not like this!"

His voice reverberates throughout the entire mansion. The chandelier above them shakes at the powerful decibels. The nerves on his neck are protruding and his fists are balled to his side. She has only seen him this angry only a handful of times – when his original plan to become a hybrid failed, when Finn was murdered, when Ester betrayed his family, when Mikael came back, and when Kol was murdered as well.

"Klaus –"

"I courted you despite rejection after rejection, and you told me you would never be able to forget all of the horrible things I have done! You even asked me to free your precious werewolf boyfriend and I did as you asked! Do you know how many people I've spared in my entire existence? Just about all of your friends and no one else, all because of you," he spits out angrily. "Your friends murdered two of my brothers – my family, Caroline! And when you pleaded with me, I conceded. When I left, I asked you to come away with me and you refused."

She watches as the walls he's built comes crashing down one by one before her very eyes.

"Then, you made me swear to stay away from you forever. You told me to leave you alone. And to make you happy, I agreed," Klaus' voice is coming down now. No longer were his words laced with anger. His words are now laced with fatigue that only a person who has been alive for almost a century can have. "Now, you come to me, in the middle of the most ruthless battle I have ever been a part of, and you ask me why I turned my back on you when you needed me the most."

"Klaus," she whispers, unable to say anything more than his name.

"What more do you want from me, Caroline?"

(Just you, she finally admits.)

The silence that follows after his outburst almost feels choking. She wants to say something – anything, just as long as it'll make everything between them better. But it feels like there are no words that can salvage them. He stands before her, quietly seething in rage and frustration.

"I don't want you, Caroline," he finally admits it. His eyes are darting to every corner in the room, refusing to meet her eyes as he finally comes to terms with what she's been afraid of ever since she decided to buy her plane ticket to New Orleans. "I want you to leave. Now. Don't come back."

"You can't just say that," she whispers quietly, her hand coming up to wrap itself around his wrist. "You can't just promise me the world and then, tell me you don't want me anymore. You can't tell a person you're their last love when you don't intend of sticking around long enough to be her last goddamn love."

He was worth losing relationships for. She was prepared to lose Tyler, Bonnie, Elena, and Stefan for him. What she wasn't prepared for, however, was the excruciating pain that came with the package of him refusing her. It feels like someone is clawing her chest wide open.

"You had sex with me in Mystic Falls, Klaus. You appeared out of nowhere, once again solving my problems for me – as you have done before, as you have done time and time again. But this time, when you left, it still felt like you were everywhere! You made me want you in a way that I never wanted to feel! And I didn't know why I couldn't just turn off what I felt for you. And it hurt so much because I couldn't deal with it. I couldn't come to terms with what was so obvious to everyone else. And in the rare moments that I did try to deal with it, you were never there! I called and I texted and –"

Caroline feels the tears prick in her eyes and she lets him go. She lets him go because the haze in his eyes still isn't letting up. She can't read him like she used to and maybe it's time to draw the line.

"You had sex with me while Hayley was pregnant with your baby. You promised to be my last love. You made all these grand gestures that for some reason, I believed in. In the back of my mind, even when I still loved Tyler, I believed all of your words. And yet, here you are. A father to a lovechild with the woman I absolutely dislike. Here you still are, in New Orleans, even when I kept reaching out for the past twelve months," she says softly, the exhaustion evident in her voice and her posture. "And here I am, god help me. I am still here, despite all of it."

A traitorous tear slips past her eyes and finally, his eyes soften.

Klaus takes another glass of scotch and she watches him drink twice before he finally musters up the strength to speak. She dares not to break his concentration, not when he's finally shown her the side of him she knows so well.

"Marcel was my prodigy. I treated him like my own when I found him decades ago. And despite this war, I have never exerted the effort I normally would have if I was dealing with a foe," he tells her, flashing her a little broken smile.

"But a few months ago, he had crossed the line. I wasn't – I wasn't in town when it happened. I had been out with Elijah, running errands for our family accounts, while Bekah was god knows where again. And I don't know how but Marcel found out," he says, shrugging his shoulders.

She observes the tension in his body. What had happened to the big bad Original Hybrid?

"And they plucked her from this very house," Klaus gestures the majestic building that had taken her breath away, just a minutes ago. "They waited for me to come back and when I realized she was missing, I brought hell to the entire town. But it wasn't enough to jar him. I was at the plaza, decapitating Marcel's men, when he had appeared out of nowhere. It happened so, so fast."

Caroline finds her eyes watering because she thinks she knows where this story is heading.

"The next thing I knew, Marcel's hand was pushing through her belly and her screams were piercing through my ears. He held her – my daughter, goddamn it," his voice breaks a little. "He held her in his arms as he stood on top, looking at me in victory. I couldn't even retaliate fast enough because it was too much. And it's all my fault and I just can't –"

While she was admittedly not the mother's biggest fan, Caroline would never wish death for anyone who was bearing child. Maybe she had secretly fantasized about one day torturing the werewolf a little, just a bit here and there. But never her death – and subsequently, she never wished for Klaus' child's death.

The unshed tears in his eyes do not go unnoticed. He is allowing her a peak into the man she had known was always there. He was never fully a monster in her eyes. After all, she hadn't been lying when she had said that anybody capable of love is capable of being saved.

"I don't want you here, love," he whispers. His eyes are pleading silently. Give up, please. "Because if Marcel finds out about you and everything you mean to me –"

Caroline stands still as Klaus walks towards her. For the first time since she arrived, he is the one reaching out to her. His hands hesitantly cradle her face and she cannot help but lean in to his touch. The weight of the truth is painfully pushing down on her heart. He is asking her to leave, not because he doesn't care for her anymore.

"I cannot lose any more than I already have, Caroline."

Oh, how the mighty have fallen, she thinks.

AN: And there we have it. Longest one yet. One last chapter after this, I promise. Then, I'm done. Thanks for the support, my lovely friends.

(This has always been the plan, if you're wondering. But I never could write it properly because the past chapters have always had this sort of light feeling and writing the reason why Klaus was MIA was always so heavy.)