Based on a prompt by give-me-tvd on Tumblr: how about talking about Caroline without Stefan basically, like how she struggles to fix things without him. and how she thinks of him all the time and leaves him voice males, she cries in one of them. They talk about it all and about that voice mail and you take it from there.

When Stefan first leaves, Caroline begs him not to go. It's pathetic and embarrassing and she hates herself for it, but she has to try anyway. She needs him.

There's a moment, just after he says goodbye that last time, where he looks at her like she might have changed his mind. His expression is sad and meaningful in a way she can't quite read and he opens his mouth as if he's going to say something but stops himself. He gives her that sad smile of his that always breaks her heart, squeezes her hand and then turns away.

She doesn't realize just how vital he was to her until he's gone. It leaves her feeling utterly alone and as brooding as Stefan can be, he makes it easier for her to think that maybe everything isn't so bad—like he's the pessimist to her optimist. But without him, not even school can keep her from thinking about what she's lost—of Bonnie, of the future she once imagined with Tyler and even of stupid Damon. God, she'd even bring him back if it meant Stefan would return too.

She contacts him every way she knows how. At first, she wants to convince him to come back, but when it becomes clear he won't respond, she keeps doing it anyway. It comforts her: the thought that he's listening to the voicemails she leaves almost daily (because he certainly must be if his mailbox hasn't filled up by now). She talks to him as if the conversation is two-sided, updating him on the mundane details of her life because no one has ever listened to her prattling the way he always has.

And for awhile it's enough. But then Elena becomes obsessed with her Damon hallucinations and Caroline starts not to recognize this girl she's known her whole life. It scares her. So she calls him for the thousandth time and hopes this time he'll actually listen.

She starts off angry and a little bitter, but then the reality of their lives start to weigh her down and by the end she's barely able to speak through tears.

"You have to come back, Stefan," she pleads. "I don't know what to do. I need your help."

She goes to bed that night feeling miserable and helpless, finally drifting off to sleep after she spends hours telling herself that he won't come back even now.

But he does.

Caroline leaves her dorm the next morning and finds him standing there outside her building, hands in his pockets and looking at her in that concerned way he does.

"Stefan?" she says, unbelieving.

"I got your message," he says and smiles at her, not the big goofy one that means he's really happy, but the pained one.

Right. Of course he came back after hearing that, it's Elena.

They stand in silence a moment, the distance between them feeling full of something.

"Are you OK?" he asks softly, forehead crinkling in concern.

She doesn't say anything, just flings herself at him and wraps him into a hug.

"It's OK," he whispers into her ear. "I'm here"

"And you're not going to leave me again?" she asks, already feeling more grounded with his strong arms wrapped around her.

"No," he says and grips her tighter.

Her sigh of relief morphs into a sob of joy.