Author's note: This picks up right after the opening of The Vampire Diaries' episode 6.16 and then follows my own AU where Caroline goes to New Orleans where her story crosses with The Originals' episode 2.15. SPOILERS FOR BOTH EPISODES FROM THIS POINT FORWARD.
I know a lot of really horrific stuff happens later in episode 6.16 which is really fun to see Caroline's character do for once, but we're skipping all of that. I'd like to play around with humanity-less Caroline on my own for a bit; I promise it will be just as wicked, especially because Klaus will be there for a lot of it. ;)
Caroline was camped out at Scull Bar, reveling in the almost old-saloon type decor that kept the lights nice and dim but in still cheery. Caroline wasn't feeling cheery, she wasn't feeling anything. Nevertheless, she had wanted something different than a typical dingy bar scene tonight. Something a little more upbeat.
"Hello! I'm empty!" Caroline called out, not caring how rude she sounded, to the clearly busy bartender. "Fill please."
"I think you've had enough," the bartender told her softly.
"Ha," she deadpanned before pointing to her face. "Look at my face. This is me straining to care less about what you think." She took a moment to fake a look of concentration. "Nope! I can't."
She laughed and the bartender actually did too. Must have been a sucker for a pretty blonde, like every other man in the world.
"Okay, I'm gonna call you a cab," he said, kindly, but she grabbed his hand the second he tried to turn away.
"Here's the thing, my mom just died and I just put her dead, cancer-riddled body into the ground four hours and thirty-two minutes ago," she said.
"I'm so sorry for your loss," he replied, his demeanor switching instantly.
"Oh no no no, I don't care about that," she explained, gesturing wildly, "I'm just saying that my feet have been crammed into the world's most uncomfortable heels for an entire day and your tequila is the only thing that seems to be helping."
"Okay," he said, with a defeated sigh. "I'll grab you another drink."
"Thank you!" she said, sitting up in triumph when a male body stepped up beside her. It had been mere hours since she'd snapped Elena's neck and turned off her humanity. And so far, she was having one of the best nights of her life.
"Caroline Forbes," the young man said, "The girl from the swimming hole."
"Liam, the boy I totally forgot existed!" she replied, turning to him and propping her head on her hand.
"Ouch!" he laughed, "I was just about to tell you how sexy you looked."
She laughed, barely concealing an eye roll. "You are drunk!"
"Slightly buzzed, getting my ass whooped in shuffleboard upstairs."
"Oh, lucky you. I spent all day at my mom's funeral. God you're cute! Are you a doctor yet?" she asked, ignoring his stunned face.
"Hang on, your mom just died?" he asked.
"Do you want to get out of here?" she returned.
"What?" she asked. "Girlfriend? We all know you're not dating Elena Gilbert."
"Why would I be dating Elena?" he asked, even more confused.
"You wouldn't," she answered with a laugh. "But, even if you were, it wouldn't matter. Because nothing matters… Not. A. Thing." She punctuated the last three words by walking her fingers up his chest seductively.
His breathing hitched in his throat. It was clearly working. And fifteen minutes later she was throwing him into a wall before launching herself onto his lips. It wasn't the best kiss she had had by any means, but he was serving his purpose.
And then, as he was kissing her neck, her instincts started showing. Humanity already switched off, she didn't hesitate as her fangs automatically descended and she grinned up at him wickedly. His eyes widened in terror at the sight of her face.
She bit, ignoring his screams and struggles as she drained him. This was the most satisfied she had felt in months.
Whispers of about the presence of a beautiful, blonde and, above all, young vampire were rapidly making the rounds of New Orleans within hours of her arrival. It was why Caroline hadn't bothered to make an attempt of finding out where Klaus even lived. He'd find her; she was sure of that.
Not that she was even here specifically to see him, of course. This was purely about logistics. Not only was this the best city to live in for a life of debauchery and pain-avoidance, no one here would dare mess with her while Klaus was around. He'd mess with her, that was likely unavoidable. But when Caroline thought back to their tryst in the woods… Well, there certainly wasn't anything wrong in a few romps with the most sexually experienced vampire in history. No strings-attached and everything without her humanity on.
She'd thought a lot about where to go next after she'd finished off Liam. Well, not that hard actually. She'd thought about what would be the most fun and New Orleans had been the natural assumption after Mexico City, but Caroline was terrible at Spanish. She'd compelled herself a train ticket out of Virginia on the express. Three hours and a couple crappy beers later, she was in NOLA, loving the warm air and sunshine.
She'd walked into what had appeared a primarily human bar in the French Quarter after taking a cab from the train station. She didn't have much with her, just a small vintage leather wardrobe suitcase in a garish baby pink. She was decked out like Lolita to match — hair done up in two, bouncy pigtails, large white sunglasses, tight short-shorts and a neon-pink crop top, precariously balanced on top of some dangerously high strappy sandals.
She compelled the bartender at the bar to keep the drinks coming without asking and to throw in a dozen raw oysters while he was at it. Within seconds, whoever must have been the single vampire also in the bar had the humans mostly cleared out. Just a few lingered, clearly pets or witches.
Caroline rolled her eyes, annoyed. She knew she'd be noticed fast but she hadn't expected it to be this fast. Was she stupid to hope she could have had a few days head start in the city before Klaus rounded her up? She slurped down her last oyster unceremoniously and hopped down from the bar, making her way out briskly but casually.
Instead of ducking into another local haunt, she headed south towards the French Market to walk around. She took her time sampling whatever she felt like as she happened upon it, compelling vendors quickly and quietly. Chocolate, some plantain chips, a bright blue snowcone. Fingering through a selection of woven handbags with voodoo imagery, Caroline felt eyes on her.
She turned at vamp speed, catching the eyes of a young woman just before she turned away and disappeared into the crowd. Something about the girl had exuded paranormal and Caroline suspected she may have been a witch. She'd had enough of those lately in her old life… and she had no idea what New Orleans covens were capable of. Caroline dropped the bag she had been holding and left the market. The Mississippi River was just beyond the market and she felt she could use a walk.
She'd only walked for a bit, choosing instead to lie out on a grassy bank in the park and watch the boats go by. Some of them looked like steamboats but she didn't know if they were real or not; she didn't think they really used steamboats anymore.
It was strange, not having humanity. After seeing Elena and Stefan living like that, she'd thought all she'd want to do would be drink, have sex, party, and feed. To be fair, that was almost all she wanted to do but… feeling nothing, just sitting around and watching the world didn't feel too bad either. It was hard to get bored when you didn't feel anything.
Eventually, though, dusk began to set in and she began to feel a bit peckish. It was still too light out to take anyone on the street… but perhaps she could round someone up and get them back to a hotel. She wouldn't have to kill them. If she did it would probably just help Klaus find her faster. That is, if he doesn't already know where you are, she thought. If he's not already watching you right now.
The thought made her shudder, an involuntary action that made her prickle with annoyance at having a feeling. She wasn't supposed to have anxiety anymore. She took a moment to compose herself, focus on the switch within her, and sink further into the void.
When she felt cool and unaffected again, she stood-up and dusted herself off before heading back towards the Quarter. It didn't seem worth it to attempt to find a place free of vampires or wolves — the city was crawling with them. And they were all whispering, some outright pointing at her. At first, mostly what should would catch them whispering were snippets like "the blonde," or "do you know who-?" or even a simple "Forbes?"
But now, in the evening, she was hearing the same name all around her, again and again. Every time she turned a corner or popped her head into a bar to check it out, she heard it again. A local would duck their head down towards a friend or raise a glass in front of their mouths to whisper about her… and she'd hear the name. It was like a chant following her through the city: Klaus, Klaus, Klaus, Klaus.
She may have shut her humanity off but she wasn't an idiot. All this buildup was wreaking havoc on her anxiety. Maybe New Orleans was a bad idea. Maybe she would have been better-off going to a completely new city if she wanted to get away from her old friends.
No, she resolved firmly in her head. Starting off fresh in a new city wasn't ideal, at least not yet. She wasn't going to be an idiot like Elena had been with her humanity off. No, Caroline could control herself thank you very much. If she wanted to kill she wouldn't get caught. But she couldn't be learning the ropes of pure vampirism and relocating all by herself at the same time. This was for the best… what was the worse Klaus could do? He wouldn't even be able to handle her like this; she was like a dog let out of a cage right now. Totally.
Caroline was feeling significantly more confident when she finally settled on a bar just outside the French Quarter at a place called d.b.a. There was some serious blues pouring out of the place which she could see had a stage inside. Smiling she compelled her way past the bouncer and grabbed herself a German beer from the bar which apparently specialized in what looked like every beer made, ever. Chugging half of it, she danced right into the room with the show, where a trumpet player was tearing apart the fabric of space on a solo.
His solo ended and she clapped and cheered right along with everyone else feeling so glad she had decided to come and wondering why she hadn't taken up Klaus on an invitation sooner. This city was absolutely amazing.
The club was full of humans and the thrum of pounding blood was echoing in her ears right along with the occasional whisper. Someone had just started a solo on the French Horn, though, and she let the music carry her back to the bar for another beer instead of luring out a human quite yet. There would be time for that later and, truthfully, the meal she'd made of Liam was still warm in her veins.
"I'll take the Albanian pilsner," Caroline called to the harried bartender who, because she'd earlier compelled him as well, hoped to compliance immediately.
He set out a frosted glass for her on the counter and turned back to grab the beer.
But the moment he turned, the air in the bar seemed to still. Though the music kept playing, it seemed to slow in time along with everything else. The whispers were louder now. Caroline didn't even bother to turn around, she knew what was coming. Although, part of her wondered if she might actually be frozen to the spot. For everything everyone had ever told her about turning off your emotions, no one had ever mentioned a scenario where it felt like their every nerve was on fire with anticipation. She told herself it was her survival instinct prevailing.
"Actually sir," a low, rumbling accented voice said from behind her. "Could we get two glasses of champagne?"
Then he was beside her, looking down at her both cocky and confused. She hadn't known such a combination was possible, not to mention so adorable. He was very close to her, too close.
"I think all they have here is beer," was all that she could think to say.
He let out a rakish smile when two fluted glasses of the bubbling wine were set in front of them.
"Caroline, my dear, it is a surprise to see you here," he responded, offering her a glass which she accepted. They both took a sip and he paused to rove his eyes over her form. "You look… positively good enough to eat."
She was shocked at the instantaneous aching want that pooled in her lower abdomen when he said that but she made every effort to appear wholly unaffected. He looked good enough to… well, a lot of things. She refocused, away from his loose grey henley and black dress pants, and regained some control of her shift away from humanity. She felt considerably less anxious now, but she took another sip of her champagne, just to be safe.
"So, to what do I owe the pleasure of your visit?" he asked her, sweeping a hand over her shoulder to brush some hair away from her face.
The move almost unsettled her but logically she understood its motivation. He was marking her, albeit very subtly. After seeing Klaus Mikaelson be even somewhat affectionate with someone, no one in the city, or likely anywhere right outside of it, would touch her.
But she wouldn't be the only one made to feel off their game in this moment. She knew very well the effect she had on Klaus.
She stepped forward, looking up at him from beneath her lashes and placed her hand demurely against his chest. He was breathing heavily and let out an extended sigh when she touched him.
"Who says I'm here to see you?" she asked, and removed her hand before turning back toward the bar. He let out a low chuckle, sounding somewhat miffed.
"I'll bite," he conceded. "What brings you to the city?"
"I'd really prefer not to talk about it," she responded flatly, swigging down the rest of the champagne and setting down the glass. "Thanks for the drink, it was a gas running into you!"
She twirled around and briskly walked in the direction of the door, amidst the noticeable looks of shocked humans and vampires alike.
"Caroline," the growl came from behind her within seconds of her exiting the bar. "Do not make me make a scene."
"I can't make you do anything honey, it's all up to you how you act!" she trilled.
Before she knew what was happening, his arms were around her in a vice grip and he'd vamp sped her to another part of the city. They were back in what appeared to be the French Quarter but she wasn't sure where. It looked residential, so he probably lived nearby. She couldn't help where her thoughts flew to next…
"I think you'd be surprised at exactly how much you could make me do, Caroline Forbes," he whispered into her ear, his voice still thick. She felt his mouth quirk into a smile against her ear. "I like it when you call me honey."
She wrenched herself out of his grasp.
"What's the big idea?" she demanded. "I said I wasn't here to see you!"
"Yes but you and I both know you owe me an explanation of why you're here then," he demanded. "May I remind you that the last time I saw you, you made me promise never to see you again?"
Caroline kept walking, not caring that she didn't know where she was going, figuring that she could compel anyone to take her anywhere when she finally managed to shake Klaus. But, her high heels were killing her again and she slowed to a more comfortable speed. He was still tailing her, step for step, no matter what speed they were at anyway. Caroline rolled her eyes and laughed up at him.
"The last time we hung out? That's what you remember?" she laughed, making fun of him.
He allowed the ghost of a smile to grace his features but grew serious again. "I assure you, Caroline… I remember all of it vividly."
There was the feeling again, that aching pull in her stomach. She wouldn't deny herself forever, she had no reason to care who she slept with these days. But, for the time being, annoying Klaus and getting away with it to the clear chagrin of every other vamp in town, was entertaining her infinitely more.
She smelled someone smoking grass down an alley way. She smiled and turned down the street.
"Hey man," she greeted the bum in the alley, her eyes widening in compulsion, "Let me get a hit of that, okay?"
"Sure, lady," the clearly drunk older man slurred, handing her his joint.
Just as she'd inhaled, a hand clamped roughly around her upper arm and pulled her back to the street, joint still in hand.
"What are you doing?" Klaus hissed at her, staring her down hard.
"Quit harshing my vibe man!" she quipped and took another puff.
Klaus rolled his eyes, "If that's what you wanted, I'm afraid you came to the wrong city darling," he said and kept walking, pulling her along with him but gently.
Instead of responding she blew a couple smoke rings into his face. He rolled his eyes again and kept walking.
"Just finish that quickly, will you?" he asked.
"I'll do whatever I goddam please," she muttered, mostly to herself.
"Yes, you clearly think you can, don't you?" he laughed back at her. "But you seem to be coming along fairly willingly now. Someone's moods are awfully capricious tonight."
"It's the grass," she explained. "Chilled me out enough to realize, I just got here and I'd probably be more comfortable crashing for the night in whatever huge mansion you've got set up here than a shoddy hotel I compel my way into."
"Oh, but there are some very nice hotels here that you could compel your way into. The Hotel Monteleone has a spinning cocktail bar that looks like a carousel," he suggested, calling her bluff.
"Yeah but your place is probably closer isn't it?" she asked in her best whiney voice.
Klaus smiled. "Indeed it is. You are, of course, welcome to stay as long as you wish."
"Well if you're offering!" she said, laughing. "Just tonight would be great, doll."
"As fond as I am of your using pet names with me, darling," he said, linking his arm with hers when she drunkenly stumbled on a cobblestone in her heels, "If you're going to enjoy my hospitality I really must insist… why are you here?"
Caroline still didn't answer. She was just outright ignoring him, so he pushed ahead for her.
"You think I don't have any inkling what's going on?" he demanded, leaning down to whisper harshly in her ear as they passed a group of drunk tourists. "I've known you were here from the moment you set foot into the city. I've been getting updates on you all afternoon. They tell me that you're compelling humans as you see them, taking what you need and paying for nothing. More people have seen you sniffing out humans, looking at all of them like potential prey. They say that you're clearly starving."
They were approaching a huge mansion, now. It was surrounded by an iron gate, with an engraved sign marking the home as The Abattoir. Klaus stopped them just short of the gate to keep talking to her, his hands still locked tightly to upper arms like he was afraid she'd run away.
"You've always eaten animals, Caroline. None of this sounds like you," he pressed. "You've turned it off, haven't you? Your humanity."
Caroline sighed again, like a petulant little girl, and stared at the ground instead of into his face.
"So what if I have?" she asked, defiantly, eyes blazing. Oh, she definitely wasn't planning to turn it back on any time soon, that was very clear.
He nodded and slowly, almost carefully, let go of her shoulders.
"I just needed to know from you," he said quietly. "I won't make you tell me why."
She looked up at him, not quite believing her luck. If her humanity had still been on, she thought she very well may have been touched. As it was, she was just glad the inquisition had ended.
"Shall we?" he asked, gesturing towards his enormous mansion.
"Whatever," she said with a huff, and pushed the gate open herself.
So he'd been exaggerating when he said he knew exactly when Caroline had arrived. When he was first alerted to her presence, no one could say for sure how long she'd been in the city but they suspected only an hour at the most. She still had a suitcase on her.
It was Marcel who had come to him, though he couldn't confirm or deny if it was her. He hadn't even gone to see if it were her actually, which greatly perturbed Klaus, even though he knew very well that Marcel had never seen the girl.
He had been painting, a rare moment of relaxation given everything that was happening to threaten Hope. He'd refuse to let his so-called returned sister, Freya, into his home and Elija was still in Algiers with the recent introduction of Jackson into the household. He had a lot to think about and a lot of parts to keep moving in harmony to make sure his daughter remained safe. But for now, it was better if he didn't stew on anxieties he could do nothing to quell.
And then Marcel had shown up.
"Klaus," he called out abruptly, making him very nearly smudge his painting. His shoulders stiffened in anger, ready to snap but Marcel kept going. "There's rumors going around the city. They say your girl is here."
Klaus whirled around, still angry. "My girl? What in god's name are you talking about?"
"Caroline Forbes," he said simply and deadly serious. "There are rumors she's in the French Quarter. Several vamps that have passed through Mystic Falls in the past have claimed to recognize her. A couple of wolves too."
"Who is she with? And where is she?" Klaus demanded.
"She was last seen leaving Pat O'Brien's and I put the word out to make sure someone keeps following her," Marcel assured him. "But she's alone. Hasn't been seen talking to anyone except for humans she compels. Apparently she's been using compulsion to get everything in site, isn't even being discreet about it."
Klaus frowned and thought. That didn't sound like Caroline. Of course, being in New Orleans didn't sound like Caroline either so he didn't have a clue what could be going on.
"It has to be a mistake," he told Marcel. "I'm almost sure of it but keep me up to date, just in case."
Marcel nodded, almost surprised that Klaus hadn't acted more decisively — everyone knew how he felt about that girl, even though no one understood how his feelings had become so extreme. Klaus, for his part, couldn't stop thinking on their last encounter. She had only made love with him because he had agreed he would never seek her out again. He'd known they would invariably run into each other again in the future without actively looking for her but he'd never guessed she might look for him. And definitely not so soon. It couldn't be her.
He'd read to Hope after her nap and tried not to think about her. He opted against telling Hayley what he'd heard, considering the bad blood he knew there was between the two of them over that Lockwood boy. The name still made his blood boil. But there was no use getting anyone worked up over nothing, especially himself.
And then Rebecca had shown up.
"Klaus, Caroline is here," Rebecca said. "I just saw her in the French Market."
He'd just settled into a chair with a glass of whiskey to help himself stop thinking but once he heard his sister's words he was bolt upright. His drink sloshed in his hand.
"Are you completely sure?" he asked in an eery state of calm.
"I followed her myself for fifteen minutes before she noticed me," Rebecca confirmed. "Even then she obviously didn't recognize me…" She gestured to the body that was not her own. "Klaus you should have seen her. She's dressed like a prostitute and looking at every other human like she might devour them on the spot. Marcel and I both have eyes on her. Elijah has been alerted too."
Klaus gulped down the rest of his drink in one go and slammed the glass down onto the table, not even noticing when it broke as he began to stride swiftly out of the room.
"I will be leaving shortly to find her," he told Rebecca. "No one is to approach her but she is to be surrounded at all times. I want the city on alert, Marcel better make damn sure that any vampire I pass on my way out can tell me where she is."
So he cleaned himself up and went out to round her up in a matter of minutes. People were so curious as to what was actually about to happen, Klaus doubted he needed to tell anyone to keep him updated. Every vamp, and even some wolves, he passed were more than eager to share their knowledge of Caroline's whereabouts. The poor girl certainly didn't have any loyalty here, save himself. And his family, if they knew what was good for them. Still, he knew she must be desperate.
Finally he'd tracked her down to a jazz club just outside the Quarter. He could swear he felt his own blood pounding as he entered the jazz filled bar.
Then there she was, as usual, a splash of light amongst the dark. She was dressed like a mouthwatering strawberry tart, in shorts and a crop top that left very little unexposed. Her hair was in two cheerleader ponytails and he had the sudden desire to grab one of them and hold her down. He had seen men staring at her from all sides when he entered the club, but everyone had backed off as far as possible once his presence was noted.
Within seconds of confronting her, he could see she'd turned her humanity off. There was no sparkle in her eyes, none of the fierce righteousness that made Caroline herself. It broke him to the core and he was shocked by the intensity of the ache he felt for her, the longing to have her back as he remembered. And then a new thought resonated. What had happened to her to make her do this?
Luckily, after serving many years as friends to the one an only Ripper, Klaus knew better than anyone how to handle a vampire without their humanity. A first timer would be even easier. He started off slow and appealed to a base instinct: sex.
He'd give her credit, she was good, very in control. It didn't seem like her first time. She was proving to be a handful too, pushing Klaus to the limits of his patience by evading questions simply by pretending to be fun and flighty. It was a good act to anyone but him, he could see how dull her eyes really were.
She had ultimately agreed to spend the night back at The Abattoir, with a surprisingly minimal amount of effort. He knew that this was certainly selfishly motivated but… the idea that Caroline's selfish desires brought her closer to him couldn't be an entirely bad revelation.
"Well," Caroline said as she entered through the door he held open for her. "This is way less creepy than your place back in Virginia."
"Thank you, Miss Forbes, for whatever kind of compliment that was," he said, closing the door and stepping up next to her.
"You know, what kind of gentleman are you Klaus?" she asked.
"I beg your pardon?" he asked, genuinely perplexed at this turn in the conversation.
"I've been carrying my own luggage all the way around the city. You're a terrible host," she insisted without a trace of irony on her face.
If any part of him wanted to be mad, it simply wouldn't come out. Perhaps it was the fact that he was so truly glad to see her, no matter the circumstances… and perhaps it was because having her humanity turned off apparently turned Caroline Forbes into a caricature of spoiledness. He did his best not to laugh knowing that, no doubt, at some point soon in the future these petulant demands would not seem so funny.
"You're right, of course," he said dutifully and took the tiny pink suitcase from her hand. "Let me show you to a guest room."
"Klaus?" a voice rang out from the room beside them. "What is she doing here?"
Caroline's face transformed into the portrait of rage at the sight of Hayley. Jackson was next to his new wife holding Hope in his arms but Caroline clearly did not notice either of them.
"Oh, you picked the perfect day to run into me, bitch," Caroline hissed while elongating her fangs.
Before Klaus could drop the pink suitcase to reach out a hand to stop her, Caroline had launched herself at Hayley.
Hey guys, hoped you enjoyed that! I've had this seedling ever since we learned that Caroline would be turning off her humanity. I like where the show is taking this but… it makes more sense to me that a humanity-less Caroline would seek out both a city of debauchery like New Orleans AND Klaus rather than stay anywhere near her old group of friends if she really planned to keep her humanity off. So that's the direction I'm taking this. I plan to loosely follow the upcoming episodes of The Originals, if it fits in with what I have planned. If not, we'll go a bit AU. I'll always alert at the start of a chapter if there are spoilers.
Another note, this story will have lemons. They may pop up as early as next chapter. So either next chapter or the following, this story will be bumped up to M and stay that way. So, please add me to your alerts if you'd like to see the next chapter, which should be up shortly! Would love to hear your thoughts.