"My clothes won't let me close the door,
These trousers seem to love your floor."
Drabble #10 (of 10) | To Sleep, Perchance to Dream Pt. 2
Five Months Later (Winter Break)
"You have to admit, this is becoming a habit," he says as a cork goes flying across the living room.
Caroline runs into the room with two flutes in her hand and passes one off to him.
"I'll never admit to anything. Be careful with that," she scolds, ignoring his infamous puppy dog eyes as he fills the glass with champagne. "I don't want you to break anything."
"I've already popped the bottle, sweetheart. Nothing's broken," he assures her with a gleaming smile far too sweet. It fits funny on his face.
He hands her a glass full to the brim with sparkling wine and grabs the other flute for himself, dumping not nearly the same amount into his own glass. Caroline frowns at him, but he takes no notice of her.
Klaus puts the bottle down on the coffee table and raises his glass above his head. "To friendship," he suggests.
"To friendship," she agrees, clinking their glasses together. The answering chime sends a shiver down her spine.
He drops his arm and plops on the sofa, patting the spot next to him in invitation. Caroline groans and shakes her head, but sits nonetheless. Running through her mind is a mirror image of them on the bench outside the Grill, talking of hopes and dreams before he turned all psycho Klaus on her.
They take sips of their drinks in silence, but she secretly enjoys how utterly not awkward it feels.
When Klaus came to see her during the summer, she never thought it would become a regular thing. But it turns out that without all the supernatural drama, they make a pretty good pair.
At first, it was extremely painful. They had to sort through so many different emotions they had stored away in neat little boxes. Verbal sparring matches and sometimes actual sparring matches occurred until the pent up anger and frustration had waned enough for them to sit and have a casual conversation.
Sometimes he stays for an entire night, but never more. Mostly it's a few hours. They'll sit and watch a movie or he'll read some old book while she studies. Sometimes they just talk. She likes those times best.
Stefan is the only one who knows of the arrangement (not by their choice, he walked in on them one evening) and occasionally joins them for drinks. Matt still thinks it was a one time thing and nobody else is aware of anything.
They still remain each other's dirty secret, but it makes their meetings all the more thrilling.
He never tells her when he's going to appear outside her dorm room or outside her home in Mystic Falls. She doesn't understand how he knows where she is at all times, but supposes it's best not to find out.
"I assume Stefan won't be drinking with us tonight?" Klaus inquires, refilling his glass halfway.
Caroline shakes her head. "Busy with Elena stuff."
She swallows a large gulp of her drink, the alcohol slamming into her stomach in bubbly waves. She wishes vampires could get drunk for longer than a few minutes. It would make life so much more interesting.
"Of course," he chuckles. "How's winter break this year?"
"I don't know why you ask me these things. You know exactly how it's going."
"True," he concedes, "but I want you to tell me," he says, pointing his glass at her.
Caroline throws her head back, hitting the soft pillows. "It's fine, I think. Nobody's died."
"That's your measuring stick for how well something is going? When nobody dies, it's well?"
Lifting her head, she narrows her eyes at Klaus. "The alternative is much nastier."
He puts his arms up in mock surrender. "Okay, sorry, you're right. It's going perfect if no one's passed away."
Speaking of death always hangs a dull light over them. She is aware now of much of his history. At least, the parts he's been willing to share.
She knows of his child, and of its subsequent death at the hands of his enemies. She gasped when he mentioned it, started filling up with disgust and shock, but how could she possibly be upset with him when he collapsed in a heap of sobs on her chest as he spoke, showing her (her!) the utmost vulnerability?
"You know," she says, enjoying the momentary buzz of alcohol as it warms her body and her inhibitions, "I'm actually glad you broke your promise."
Klaus raises his eyebrows. "Is that so?"
"Yeah." She takes the final swig of champagne and tosses her glass to Klaus, giggling when he catches it without hesitation. "You're like my bestie or something now."
He smiles teasingly. "Your bestie?"
"Ugh, come on. You know…best friend. My best friend," she explains with an annoyed huff.
Klaus laughs at her immaturity but his eyes are intense as he responds, "You are probably the closest I have ever come to having a best friend in quite some time, Caroline. And we aren't even destroying cities together."
Caroline swallows thickly at his admission, but soon she has another glass of champagne in her hand and that's enough to distract her from the emotional atmosphere.
Seven Months Later (Summer Break…again)
"Remind me again why I let you talk me into doing this?" Klaus asks nervously as he approaches the swing hanging over the water. He reaches out and grasps one of the ropes tethering it to the roof of the dock and brings it towards himself. He is dressed in typical swim wear, blue trunks and bare torso, but there is no way Caroline has been ogling him when he isn't looking. Because that would be wrong.
She grapples with her camera, struggling to see what any of the buttons are through her sunglasses. "Because it's fun. I did it and I didn't hurt myself."
"I'm not scared of getting hurt," he says, but Caroline catches the tingle in his voice and puts her camera on one of the beach chairs, taking a few steps in his direction.
"Klaus." He looks at her stoically, his knuckles turning white as his grip tightens on the rope. "It's a swing that just so happens to hang above the water. You jump off when you get high enough and you have fun," she stresses, patting him on the back. "Come on, we've been here three days and you've yet to get in the water. We're at a lake, Klaus. You're meant to swim."
Klaus eyes her curiously, taking a step in front of the swing and hopping on. He holds the ropes firmly, but doesn't lift his feet off the dock floor.
A month ago, when Klaus visited Caroline to help her study for finals, she mentioned casually that she wanted to take a vacation during the summer holidays. Nowhere fancy, just somewhere relaxing and secluded where they could enjoy being friends without the stress of hiding. After finals were complete and she was home for break, Klaus knocked on her door while her mother was at work and said he'd booked them a rental home on a lake for four days.
Stefan agreed to be gone for those four days as well so her and Klaus could escape without anyone becoming too suspicious about Caroline's sudden disappearance. With her mother's approval, she hopped in her car and drove to the lake house only to find Klaus had beaten her there.
Today is their last day.
She's spent most of the time in the water, enjoying the weather and the company, but Klaus hasn't even stepped in the lake once. This is her last ditch attempt to get him to face his irrational fear of water.
"I can push you in if you'd like," she suggests jokingly, knowing exactly which buttons to press to get him to do something. Why he needs to be enthusiastically motivated into getting in the water, she doesn't know, but what else are friends for if not to help you get over your greatest fears?
"No, no," he assures her. "I'm fine."
Klaus looks at her one last time as if he's going off to war and she walks to her camera with an exaggerated eye roll, picking up the device and getting it to the right setting so she can take a video. She points it at his back, admiring the way his muscles ripple in response to the tense hold he has on them, and presses the record button.
"Are you recording this?" He asks, twisting his head to peer at her.
"Uh, no," she fumbles. Quickly, Caroline brings the camera down, pretending to polish the screen. Damn Klaus. Stefan will kill her if she doesn't get this video.
"I probably shouldn't believe you, but I will." He turns his gorgeously pathetic face away from her and bounces back on forth on his heels as if he's testing the ground's stability.
"You can do it, Klaus!" She calls to him, lifting the camera again. "You're the most powerful creature in the world, you can jump off a swing!"
That seems to be enough prodding. Before she knows it, Klaus has kicked off the dock and is steadily gaining speed on the swing, swaying through the air like some graceful butterfly. Caroline follows him with her camera, laughing silently at the determination in each of his pumps as he gets himself higher and higher.
"All right, Klaus, let go!" She shouts excitedly, snorting laughter as he flies off the swing and lands in the water without so much as a splash.
Ending the recording, Caroline haphazardly throws her camera and her sunglasses on a chair and does a running jump into the lake. When she resurfaces, she finds Klaus in front of her, a proud smile dancing on his lips.
"You did it!" She squeals, hugging him fast. His half-naked body is slick against hers and he smells like lake water mixed with the citrusy shampoo he uses.
"It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be," he reveals, squeezing back.
Caroline ignores the heat flooding in her belly as she responds, "It never is."
They disentangle themselves and swim to the ladder. Klaus lets Caroline go first and she pretends not to notice him staring blatantly at her as she climbs out of the water. He follows close behind and soon they're both on land, drying their bodies.
"I'll miss this," he says looking across the lake. The sun is just starting to set, lighting the sky up with bursts of purples and pinks. He's not just talking about the view.
Everything they say now has double meaning, especially when it's time to say goodbye.
Caroline goes to stand next to him, wrapping her towel tight around her body, and leans her wet head against his solid arm. "Me too."
Two Years Later (Graduation Day)
The abandoned house is empty, she notices sarcastically, pleased that for once she has beaten Klaus to their meeting place. Caroline shuffles through the rooms to find the lounge and casually sits on the sofa. Her graduation dress shifts up her thighs, but she doesn't bother pulling it down.
Throughout the entire graduation ceremony she saw him sitting a few rows behind her mother dressed in a very elegant suit and had to stifle laughter each time Klaus ducked his head to keep out of sight. It is not as necessary now to keep their friendship a secret, but they still hold on to the dangerous high that accompanies their late night meet-ups.
Stefan already told them before the ceremony started that he was leaving for a little vacation and would be unable to join them in their celebration. Caroline thinks seeing Damon and Elena together and stable is eating him more than he's willing to admit.
She's slightly tipsy. Being a legal adult in the eyes of the world apparently means a graduation party with as much alcohol as a liquor store. But she's old already, far too old to indulge in such trivial, college graduate activities. As Klaus always tells her, when you're an immortal, like us, time moves differently. Maybe not for you, not now, but soon you will begin to realise just how slow the hours crawl and you'll begin to wonder why you've spent so much of your life trying to live too fast.
She understands more than he gives her credit.
"You beat me," a voice whispers. Caroline whips her head around in search of the source, but sees nothing.
"If you're trying to frighten me, it's not going to work. And we both remember what happened last time," she warns him, rising to her feet. She wobbles in her heels a bit and kicks them off.
Breath hits the back of her neck, freezing her in place. The air is warm suddenly and sweet-scented.
The body behind her laughs, the vibrations shaking her. "Why you thought a baseball bat was a good idea, I'll never know."
Caroline rotates to find Klaus' bright, teasing smile and giggles at the memory. "You should learn not to sneak up on a sheriff's daughter. I'd been waiting to use that bat against an attacker for years."
"I'll bet, but I wasn't attacking you," he emphasises for the umpteenth time since that fateful night when he crept inside her dorm room while she was cramming a last-minute study session only to have her beat him with an aluminium baseball bat.
"Not the point. You scared me, and I reacted. You should be proud of me," she proposes, patting his arm. Klaus grabs at her hand and silently leads her away from the lounge. Caroline knows better than to ask questions, following him wordlessly until he stops when they enter the kitchen.
Dropping her hand, Klaus leaves Caroline standing as he rummages through the refrigerator she thought for years didn't work, pulling out a rather fancy looking bottle of champagne.
"Now," he says, "I know you've already drank a bit tonight, but I thought it wouldn't be a Caroline and Klaus get-together without some of this stuff." Klaus starts peeling the foil quickly and before she can really comprehend what he's said, there's a loud pop and the cork soars into Klaus' prepared grip.
"I have to agree," Caroline laughs, moving to gather a couple of glasses. She finds only plastic cups in the old cupboards, but supposes it's better than nothing. They're vampires, a little bacteria won't kill them.
"It must be gift time by now!" Caroline whines, throwing her empty cup at Klaus' head. He's too fast and she's a little inebriated though, and she winces when the cup lands loudly on the wooden floor.
Her body is thrown over the worn sofa, her dress wrinkled and stained with spilled champagne. Not her fault, Klaus got a little excited during their game of monopoly and knocked over his cup. Klaus sits on the floor by the empty fireplace, facing her. He wears a forlorn expression at the mention of presents as if the word is poison.
"What?" She asks, her face contorting into a painful scowl.
Klaus chuckles humourlessly, getting to his feet and walking over to where she's struggling to sit up. He soothes her back down and lifts her legs so he can sit, placing them delicately over his thighs once he is settled. He runs his hand once up her smooth shin, landing on her knee. His skin is warm over hers. Inviting.
Sober again, Caroline, for once, cannot find anything to say. The atmosphere has transformed from playful and fun to way too dramatic. She doesn't like it.
"Klaus, what's the matter?"
He glances at her briefly when she says his name, but averts his gaze immediately. Apparently a random spot on the floor is more interesting than her.
"I knew I was going to have to tell you sooner rather than later," he says after too much silence. Her ears ring as his voice drifts inside her head.
"Tell me what?"
Caroline dislikes freaking herself out, especially when she considers the fact that she's fucking undead and not much should scare her. But when Klaus looks like he does now, defeated, and when she doesn't know why, she can't help herself.
"Oh, Caroline," he murmurs. Too sadly, too heartbroken. "How long have we been meeting like this?"
"Two years, eleven months, two weeks, five days," she answers without hesitation. He shoots her a confused look and she shrugs. "Not that I'm keeping track or anything."
Klaus shakes his head at her. "And how long do you think you could go without seeing me?"
Something, her dead heart maybe, cracks, spilling blood and acid and horror. She tries to get up, but he holds her down, leaning over her. His eyes, those damn eyes, are swimming.
"What do you mean?" She demands through gritted teeth, her own eyes pricking. "What the hell are you talking about?"
"Shh," he lulls, pacifying her worry. She hates how can he do that now. How he knows her so well that he has the ability to calm her even when she wants to be scared. His eyes close and when he opens them, they're clear. "A war has begun in New Orleans. Marcel, he can't control his people anymore. He phoned me just before I arrived for the ceremony. I need to go back."
Caroline stares unblinkingly at him, her mouth slightly unhinged. Without thinking, she reaches for his clean-shaven cheek. He flinches and she has to smile. The past three times she's done this it's always been followed by a slap. Only after she smoothes her thumb across his skin does he bow his head into her hand.
"It's not your battle," she reminds him. He gave up the fight for New Orleans a few months ago, he doesn't have to do this.
He nods, but there are still words sizzling on this tongue. "No, but it is my kingdom, whether or not I wear its crown. I must fight for it."
"How long will you be gone?" Her voice sounds crazy even to her own ears. What is it about people—vampire or otherwise—that makes them so immune to their own feelings? Why does it have to be so much more than true that you don't realise how much you care for a person until they're out of your reach?
Klaus leans in, pressing his forehead to hers, his warmth seeping into her skin. It's a bittersweet comfort, something he does when she's unhappy or thirsty for blood, but now it feels like a permanent farewell. "I don't know. If Marcel's word is anything to go by, it could be a long while. It's a supernatural war, love. Not easily mended with threats and bloodshed. They will fight until it is over. Until there is a clear winner."
"I'm done with school—" she starts to say, but Klaus cuts her off before she can finish.
"—No, you are to stay safe. I cannot die. You can."
"Well, it isn't that easy to kill me," she defends, tightening her hand around his jaw and forcing him to look her in the eye.
"You don't understand, Caroline. Here, in Mystic Falls, you and your friends work in tandem despite your differences. There are no divided factions. You live in peace and harmony together. Out there, in New Orleans, it is us against them. The vampires, the witches, the werewolves. There are no good guys in a war like this. They will not think twice before running a stake through your pretty, little heart if you stand in their way," he informs her, growling as he approaches he end of his warning.
"I can fight. Just because I'm a girl—"
"—Love, this has nothing to do with your gender. I've seen you fight, you're clever and brave. This is about keeping you safe."
"I don't need you to keep me safe!" She complains, pushing him off of her and whooshing to stand.
He follows her up, tugging her arms and pulling her close so their noses almost touch. Her veins throb beneath her skin as he speaks. "I can't let you walk into a battle like this unprepared."
"Then train me," she spits, yanking her arms from him.
Klaus smiles bitterly, placing his hands on his hips in anger. "What happened to us, Caroline?" He asks and she is not sure she understands him. "What happened to you denying me at every turn?"
"What are you talking about?" She cries, frustrated.
"You!" He shouts, then quieter, "You and me. I begged you to follow me before, asked you multiple times only to have you turn your back. And now you're more than willing to join me. It's a battlefield out there, sweetheart."
"I like fighting."
"You like danger," he corrects spitefully. "You like the thrill that comes with almost dying. I can't lose you, not now. Not after all this."
"I'm not a porcelain doll, Klaus. Don't treat me like I'm going to break," she hisses, venom springing off her tongue. "And don't think that being my friend gives you the right to tell me what to do!"
Klaus rushes for her, his hands clapping either side of her face painfully. "You think we're friends?" He croons and she realises that for the first time in years, she's afraid of him. Of what he could do to her. It brings back memories of before high school graduation, when he showed up in town as the baddest of the bad, willing to kill anyone for the slightest reason. "We've never been friends."
"Then what are we?" She snaps, feeling his index fingers hovering over her temples. One press and she'd be on the ground, writhing in pain, unable to die.
"We're those people in the horrid romantic comedies. We're Some Kind of Wonderful and The Lizzie McGuire Movie."
"You've seen The Lizzie McGuire Movie?" She can't help but ask. Not the time, Caroline. So not the time.
"Because that was exactly my point," Klaus sighs, dropping his hands. He'd never hurt her, she knows, but sometimes she wonders if someone who has spent so long being so bad can truly ever care about anyone. Let alone her. "We've been good at fooling ourselves for quite some time, love, but I'm leaving tomorrow. I do not enjoy feeling regret, and I fear that if I abandon you without saying this, I'll regret it."
"Then say it," she chokes.
"I can't," he groans, completely feral.
"Come on, Klaus," she goads. "You're not a coward. Confess to me. You've done it before."
There is a beat of nothingness. Of stillness. Of risk.
Then, everything is fast.
That is the only word she can use to describe what happens next. Fast, fast, fast.
One second they are glaring at each other and the next his mouth is bruising, wholly consuming, hers.
It takes a second for her to respond, but after a few scared moments of trying to figure out what the fuck happened, she relents, moving her lips against his knowingly, savouring the familiar, breathtaking taste.
Fingers thread through her hair as he sucks on her lips, coaxing her mouth open with one tingling swing of his tongue. She—maybe foolishly, maybe not—lets him in.
She never knows when it comes to him.
In her mind, she's laughing at herself. And at him. They're both so stupid and so blind.
Stefan teases her about Klaus all the time, about the connection they share. She ignores him because it's a terrifying thought. He's so dangerous, but as Stefan reminds her, she's also quite dangerous when she wants to be.
There is pain in the kiss, sweet-tasting pain that sits on her tongue and slides down her throat and settles in her blood. It shouts at her over and over again, saying the same thing, blinking red warning lights: there is no going back.
It is dark inside the house, everything is still. Klaus sleeps on the carpet with a blanket hanging loosely over his naked body. There's something undoubtedly creepy about the way she is staring at him, but he looks so peaceful and she wants to memorise him like this. She wants to remember him like this.
Her eyes drift momentarily to her discarded, ripped dress. Maybe she can cut a piece of it and start a scrapbook of all the items of clothing Klaus has destroyed of hers. It would be a large scrapbook.
"What are you thinking about?"
Caroline shivers as Klaus' hand trails down her bare back, hitting each notch of her spine. His body is fire behind hers, licking her with white, burning flames.
"How much I'm going to miss you," she says honestly, turning around. "Hey, no fair," she pouts, pointing to his fully clothed form.
Klaus rolls his eyes, but there's a smile hidden there somewhere. "I told you I had to leave when we were finished."
"Oh, yeah." Caroline walks into Klaus' arms, naked and sad and wondering why, why, why.
"Does this mean you've decided not to come with me?" He asks hopefully, pressing his cheek to the temple just hours ago he was threatening to crush.
Caroline buries her face in his dress shirt. Buttons poke her nose, but it doesn't hurt nearly as much as her head does. "For now," she mumbles. "I've got loose ends here."
"And when they're tied?"
Lifting herself away is hard (he smells so good, so much like the home she never thought she could ever have), but she does it and peers up at Klaus' watery eyes. "I like fighting," she repeats. "And I also kinda like you. Like, a lot. Seriously," she says, and he smiles and then laughs.
Caroline pulls on his neck, bringing his head level with hers, begging for him to hear all of her unspoken words. "I'll come find you," she promises.
And she kisses him, letting his lips and his breath and his soul devour her.
"I've been working on my backwards walk,
There's no where else for me to go
Except back to you just one last time,
Say yes, before I change my mind."
A/N: Well, that is that. It's over, save for a few bonus chapters that will eventually come out. In the next hour or so, I'll be publishing a new story that helped me get over my writer's block, and if you're interested in darker, AU/AH stories, come check it out. Shameless self promotion, but I'm excited about it, so why not share?
Okay, I think I just have to say thank you. To absolutely everyone who has read this from the start and to those of you who only just found it. If you liked it, hated it, loved it, thank you. It's been a pleasure getting to explore these random scenarios with you as an audience. You definitely make it worth while. THANK YOU, seriously.
"Backwards Walk" is a great Frightened Rabbit song, taken off an album entirely about a bad break up, and our lovely couple are basically a break-up song in their entirety, so I thought it was fitting.
I really, really hope you enjoyed the end. I had fun trying to think of three different stories to tell with these guys where they actually had a somewhat normal relationship, and I believe the ones I picked aren't too bad. It's so unbelievable, but that's what I love about fan fiction.
10 down, 0 to go. I can't tell if I'm happy or sad...
Until next time, nonetheless,