"You can't possibly be serious." Caroline Forbes glared at her verbal assailant, completely baffled as to why they were here in Mystic Falls.

"Come on Caroline, it'll only be for a few days. For me?" Stefan Salvatore handed his best friend another glass of whiskey as he poured himself another. Both vampires had come back to Mystic Falls recently; Caroline home for winter break and Stefan… Well, Stefan always had time to visit when Caroline was there. Stefan realized the predicament he was placing Caroline in, mostly due to the fact that she had participated in some scandalous behavior last year and from the way she told her story, she definitely wasn't ready to come face to face with an original hybrid anytime soon. "I know you don't want to see him, but Rebekah has been insisting I come visit, and I can't think of anyone else I'd rather take with me than you. You know you'll have a lot of fun."

Caroline rolled her eyes before throwing her head back as she consumed another shot of whiskey. Stefan poured her another drink, knowing his only option might be to get her drunk before she willingly agreed to travel with him to New Orleans. Truthfully, Stefan wouldn't have even attempted to ask her for such a request, but Caroline was different than she had been last year. Stefan could see it. Ever since she'd admitted her feelings for Klaus to their small group of friends, Caroline had drifted. Perhaps it was Elena and Bonnie's less than lukewarm reception after Caroline came clean about her attraction to Klaus, but Stefan knew that Caroline was unhappy with herself. If anyone knew about being unhappy with yourself, it was him. Stefan had spent most of his vampire lifetime pining over Katherine and then Elena, once she started dating Damon and it sucked to constantly wonder what could have been. He didn't want the same for Caroline. She was too full of life, too vibrant to be squashed down to nothing over her deep feelings for Klaus. And to know she didn't seek out the man who held her heart because her friends didn't like him? Stefan wouldn't allow that to happen.

"I don't know Stefan. After that whole crazy sex incident between us, I really thought I'd hear from him, you know? I mean, not even a peep in a year? I don't think Klaus really wants to see me again. He's probably moved on already." Caroline took another drink, sighing in defeat as she leaned back into the couch inside the Salvatore manor.

"I'm sure it's not like that Caroline. He promised you he wouldn't come back here, so he's probably giving you your space." Stefan had it on rather good authority that Klaus Mikaelson had never moved on.

"Where are Elena and Damon anyway?" Caroline grabbed the bottle of whiskey off the coffee table, taking a swig of the bottle. She was going to need more than a few drinks if she really planned on considering Stefan's offer. Leave Mystic Falls and chase after Klaus in New Orleans? The thought was crazy as hell.

"Probably off in Italy somewhere. Damon's determined to show her the world, you know."

"There's a whole world out there waiting for you. Great cities, and art, and music. Genuine beauty. And you could have all of it. You could have a thousand more birthdays, all you have to do is ask."

The thought flashed into Caroline's mind unbidden. Hadn't Klaus promised to show her the world if she'd wanted? Instead of following her heart she'd turned him down, countless times. And for what? She'd wanted to remain loyal to Elena and Bonnie, but Elena was off enjoying the world with Damon. That told Caroline right off that Elena was doing what she wanted, no matter how it made her friends feel. Caroline loathed Damon, but Elena didn't seem to care. Caroline took another drink, the whiskey settling deep in her stomach. Why did she even care what Elena thought? It was Caroline's life, not hers. Didn't she deserve to have some enjoyment? After another drink, Caroline decided that hell yes she did. She knew just where to find said enjoyment.

"So New Orleans?" Caroline asked after a few minutes of comfortable silence.

Stefan tried not to seem to anxious or excited as he sat forward on the opposite couch and nodded in Caroline's general direction.

"New Orleans." He agreed. "What do you say, Caroline? Up for a little road trip?"

"When do we leave?"

They both lifted their drinks, clinking them together before taking another swallow.

What the hell had she been thinking?

Caroline sat next to the younger Salvatore brother in his new Jeep Cherokee, trying to ignore the slight pounding in her head as she slowly came awake. Who knew vampires didn't automatically cure themselves of hangovers? She'd invest all her money into that cure if she could. Caroline sat up, groaning softly. What were they even doing in Stefan's car? The last Caroline knew, they were going to New Orleans in a few weeks time, not immediately after she'd found herself highly intoxicated.

"Stefan, what's going on? Where are we headed?" Caroline asked, although she already knew the answer.

"Well, after you got drunk, I decided to move our plans forward a bit. What other possible way could I have gotten you to New Orleans?" Stefan's smug face was really starting to get on Caroline's nerves. The rising sun had her covering her eyes with her hand. She couldn't remember the last time she'd been up to watch the sunrise.

"But I already told you last night that I would go with you." She griped at him before pulling down the visor in front of her. She checked her face in the mirror, anxious about the fact that she had mascara smudges under her eyes. Not to mention her hair was frizzing and tousled and not in the good way. "How long have I been in this car?"

"Since we started drinking at around 7 and you were passed out at about midnight, I'd say we've been driving for about 5 ½ hours. Oh, and I've been speeding like a madman, so we're pretty damn close to the French Quarter." Stefan threw his blinker on before merging onto another highway.

Caroline glanced around the spacious vehicle until she sighted her purse. Grabbing it, she ripped the thing open, finding her small kit reserved for emergencies. If nothing else could be considered an emergency, then this definitely was. She pulled out floss, quickly going to work before she used the baby bottle of mouthwash. She pulled out a small damp cloth of make-up remover, saying a slight prayer to the Neutrogena gods when her raccoon eyes were effectively taken care of. Next came the small brush to run through her hair, an eyelash curler, new mascara, primer and eyeliner, a bit of blush and finally some lip tint. Satisfied that she looked passable, Caroline flipped the visor back up, barely catching Stefan's open mouth in the reflection of the side mirror.


"I had no idea so many things fit into that tiny bag. Kind of reminds me of Hermoine in Harry Potter." Stefan smiled slightly before focusing back on the road.

"I don't suppose you brought me another change of clothes?" Stefan shook his head. "Well then, I guess you get to answer my question, Salvatore." She used his last name, letting him know she was less than pleased with this new arrangement. "Why exactly did you kidnap me in the middle of the night to haul me to New Orleans when I've already agreed to come?"

"I know you, Care. You might admit to me and yourself that you wish things had worked out differently between you and Klaus, especially if there's alcohol involved. But as soon as you sober up and give yourself a few days to think things through, you would have found a million reasons as to why you couldn't go with me. You know it and I know it. This was the best way." Stefan stated matter of fact.

"The best way would have been to bring me a change of clothes." Caroline sniffed her top before grimacing to herself. "Seriously Stefan, I smell like stale whiskey and Doritos. Did I have Doritos last night?"

"An entire bag. It was kind of hilarious."

"Oh I'm sure." Caroline crossed her arms over her shirt protectively, finding it hard to believe she was on her way to New Orleans. She doubted Klaus was expecting her. Would he even want her there? It had been nearly a year since she'd seen or heard from him. Did he even care about her anymore? Sure, they'd had a few 'wam bam thank you ma'am' incidents the day they'd been together, but maybe that had been all he wanted. What if she went to New Orleans to see him and ended up making a complete fool of herself? Caroline Forbes was many things, but a fool wasn't one of them.

Noting the nervous expression on Caroline's face, Stefan exited the highway and stopped at a local gas station. "Caroline, I'm sure everything will be fine. I wouldn't drag you down here with me if I felt otherwise. Tell you what, I'm going to take a walk and grab some food in the nearby woods, and you sit here. You have Klaus's number and your phone is in your purse. Send him a text or call him. See for yourself that he misses you."

Without waiting for a reply, Stefan exited the vehicle, shutting the door quietly behind him as he disappeared into the tree line.

Give Klaus a call? Call Klaus? Caroline nearly scoffed at that. Like she would bother calling Klaus. She sat in silence for a few more seconds.

She didn't have to call Klaus and sound like a fool on the phone if she didn't know what to say… but she could always text him.

Working up what little courage she was feeling, Caroline dug around her purse for her cellphone before turning the thing on. Her HTC One X came to life and after a few seconds she was creating a new text message.

What was she supposed to say? Did it really matter?


The message sent, sending Caroline a little flutter of excitement in the pit of her stomach. She figured it would take a few minutes for a reply, if any came at all. A few seconds later her phone pinged. Caroline looked down, hoping it was Klaus but under the assumption a friend had texted her instead. She didn't want to get her hopes up, after all.

Missing me, love?

Caroline snorted and rolled her eyes. Typical Klaus.

Funny, Klaus. I was going to ask you the same thing.

She sent that reply back, heart thundering in her chest. Was she seriously trying to flirt with an original hybrid via text message?

Her insecurities got the best of her when a minute or so went by without a reply. Oh God. He really was over her. Of course he was, she did make him promise to never come back into her life, hadn't she? Why would he even bother to spend another day pining over her when -



Caroline stared down at the message for what felt like hours, relief pouring through her. One word. It had only taken her one word and she was a complete goner. All her insecurities melted away and she found herself more than anxious to get the road trip back in motion.

Klaus Mikaelson sat at the bar owned by Sophie Deveraux, drinking more than his fair share of booze, his son Marcellus on the stool next to him.

"You two really need to get out of here," Camille called from behind the bar, cleaning glasses and wiping down most of the bar area. "We've been closed for two hours already."

"Yes, yes," Klaus called back. "Unfortunately for you, we are celebrating the recent demise of a certain witch." Klaus grinned again, relishing in the final death of Celeste, Elijah's former lover and plaything.

His phone vibrated in his jacket pocket. Klaus nearly growled in frustration. Couldn't he enjoy a night off without the world turning to hell once more? Sometimes it wasn't worth it to be King.

Pulling out his cell phone, Klaus nearly dropped it when he saw who was trying to reach him. The exhilarating Ms. Forbes. What a pleasant surprise.

Opening the text message, Klaus simply read the word Hey.

Immediately his mood reached a new high as his smile spread across his face.

"I haven't seen you this pleased about something since you returned from Mystic Falls," Marcel commented lightly as he handed Camille his glass and helped her pull the chairs from the floor and onto the tables.

"Well, there is a reason for that." Klaus replied humorously as he sent a reply back to the woman he was convinced was the love of his life.

"And you're texting? I didn't even know you knew how to do that?" Marcel joked.

"One can learn many a things in the pursuit of love." Klaus joked back. When his phone buzzed again, he was more than ready to see what she'd written him.

Funny, Klaus. I was going to ask you the same thing.

Klaus smirked, rather enjoying the little text dance of theirs. Caroline. Klaus had been trying to block the image of her naked out of his mind for months, the thought of her kiss nearly driving him mad a time or two during the war he'd been fighting in New Orleans. It was hard to believe Caroline had been the one to seek him out after nearly a year of silence. The silence had been killing him, admittedly, but he'd made her a promise to leave her in peace, let her live her life without him. Smiling to himself, Klaus was happy to know she'd been thinking about him.

"So you're chasing after some girl huh? I'm assuming she's the main reason you went to Mystic Falls last year?" Marcel waved to Camille as they both exited the bar, the men heading back to the compound. Since the war had ended, they didn't bother to walk Camille home during the early hours of the morning. No one would bother harming her.

"Indeed." Klaus stared intently at his phone, debating on what to say to her in reply. Impress her with some sonnet, quote one of her favorite romantic movies perhaps?

No, Klaus thought to himself. She wasn't the kind of woman to swoon at notions such as those. At least not from him.


His response was short and sweet, and more importantly, straight to the point. His little vixen wanted reassurances? He'd give them to her.

"How come you've never mentioned her?" Marcel's intrigue only made Klaus smile more profoundly.

"Well, at the time we were enemies. I wouldn't risk her for anyone or anything, not even you."

"Man, you do have it bad for her."

Klaus grinned and threw a companionable arm over Marcel's shoulder. "You have no idea."