Notes: This one is for Tay aka peachyforbes. She prompted me with: "kc + our mutual friend dropped out of this trip at the last minute, so hi i guess we're spending the next two weeks together" and I LOVED it. Anyone who knows my attempts at writing knows that AUs featuring Klaus and Caroline with flirty, semi antagonistic, banter are pretty much where I like to live. The plan was to stick it into my collection of standalones but, since it failed at being a drabble and will be several short-ish parts, it gets it's own entry. Title is from the Sam Roberts Band song because the lyrics: "Honey, don't point that gun at me/You know I only want to be your friend" were kind of perfect. Please tell me what you think!
Without A Map
DAY ONE: DEPARTURE
"Hello?" Caroline answers her phone with a (fully justified!) level of annoyance. She has planned this trip to perfection and everyone, except for her obviously, is running late. She's been sitting in the airport lounge, silently fuming for twelve minutes. And that is just not acceptable.
"Hey Care," is the cautious reply she receives.
"Oh, hello Stefan. So nice of you to call. Instead of, you know, showing up at our preapproved meeting place at the specified time."
Stefan trails off and a trickle of worry bleeds into her irritation.
"Don't kill me, Caroline."
Caroline relaxes slightly as, if something was actually wrong, Stefan wouldn't be worried about his slow, excruciating, creative, death by her hands.
"Literally every time you've said that sentence in the ten and a half years I've known you I have, in fact, wanted to kill you after you stopped hedging long enough to use your words. So spit it out, Stefan."
Stefan sighs heavily on the other end of the phone, "Rebekah got up in the middle of the night and fell down the stairs."
Caroline feels her mouth drop open in shock, "Oh my god. Is she okay?!"
"She's fine, for the most part. Cranky, because she tripped over the accessory suitcase that I was supposed to bring downstairs before we went to bed last night."
"Uh oh. Doghouse."
"Yep. But she also has a concussion. And a broken leg."
Caroline's heart sinks as she grasps what he's trying to tell her, "So then you're not just running late."
"Stefan…" Caroline whines. She's not proud of it, but the reality of the situation is sinking in. Because there was another party running late. One she needed a buffer to deal with comfortably.
"We got in touch with the cruise line already and they were pretty understanding. I sent them proof of Bekah's injury and they're going to refund most of our money. Our flights are cancelled too. And I called Klaus."
Caroline lets out a pained groan and slumps down in her seat. An elderly woman shoots her a dirty look and shuffles down a seat. Caroline can't really blame her.
Stefan wisely ignores her and continues speaking, "…he'll be there in a few minutes. He's bringing coffee."
"Bribery," Caroline notes dryly, "smart."
"I thought so, love."
Speak of the devil, and he shall appear.
Caroline tilts her head up to glimpse the devil in question. His perma smirk (that really highlights the dimples, damn him) and stubble are in place. Jeans, Henley, necklaces? Check. His hair's a bit longer than it had been the last time she'd seen him. She really hates that he's so freaking attractive.
Caroline closes her eyes and count to ten. When she opens them, half hoping this is a weirdly vivid dream, Klaus is still standing in front of her, watching her with mild amusement painted across his features. So she's not dreaming. Because while Klaus occasionally appears in her dreams (shut up, he's hot, and she can't help it if her subconscious is less than discerning about personality, okay?) he's usually naked.
She shakes those thoughts away and forces herself to be gracious, "I'm here Stefan. Klaus just showed up. Take care of Rebekah, and I'll see you when I get home. Be prepared to sit through slideshows. Lots of slideshows."
Stefan chuckles, "I wouldn't expect anything less. I am sorry, Caroline."
"It's not your fault. Well, I guess it kind of is. But I imagine two weeks of Rebekah's wrath will be punishment enough."
Klaus lets out an amused chuckle, and sits down next to her.
Stefan lets her comment slide, so she assumes that Rebekah's within earshot, "Try to have fun. And be nice."
Caroline is offended, "I should be nice? I'm always nice."
The noise Klaus lets out is disbelieving and she barely restrains herself from jabbing an elbow into his ribs. Only because violence in one of the largest airports in the U.S. was probably not smart. A strip search would just be the icing on the cake that is the disastrous start of her first out of the country vacation.
"Bekah already gave Klaus a talking to. He's promised to be on his best behavior."
Caroline turns her head to eye him up and down. He raises a challenging brow when their eyes lock again, "I'll believe that when I see it," she tells Stefan before hanging up.
Klaus holds up one of the paper cups, silently offering it to her. She takes it and mutters a thanks before she sits back in her seat and shoves her earbuds in. She needed to process and it was way harder to be nice to Klaus if she had to listen to him talk.
"You have got to be kidding me!" Caroline's voice has been steadily rising in pitch over the last half hour since they had received swipe card to their suite. As she surveys the room and it's very large, very plush, very singular, king sized bed, it reaches a level of shrillness that makes Klaus wince.
Their seats on the plane had been several rows apart and he'd hoped that her temper would have mellowed during the flight. She had been fairly quiet in the car over to the ship, so he'd been cautiously optimistic, but things had gone terribly wrong once they'd checked in. It seems there had been a mix up in the cancellation and Klaus and Caroline's single rooms had been given away, leaving them with the suite Bekah and Stefan had booked for themselves. Caroline had protested vehemently, but the harried staff member running the check in process had been unable to help them. Not that Klaus minded overmuch. In fact he half suspected Rebekah had done this on purpose, as an odd sort of favor to him.
Caroline's stopped dead just inside the entryway and he nudges her forward a little so that he can enter too, "Not bad," he comments, looking around. It's an understatement of course, Rebekah's tastes were almost exclusively high end and the room reflected that. Klaus sets his bag down and sits down on the edge of the mattress.
"Not," Caroline grits out, "bad? Not bad? If you think I'm sharing a bed with you you've got another thing coming."
Klaus leans back on his elbows, refrains from commenting on the way her gaze lingers on his abdomen where his shirt has ridden up, though he notes it. It is nice to have confirmation that she's still attracted to him, after all. "First of all, sweetheart, it's a big bed. If you want, you can order all the extra pillows your little heart desires and form a barricade. We're both adults here, are we not?"
Caroline's lips thin as she continues to try to kill him with the power of her mind.
"And second of all, I seem to remember you singing a very different tune at Rebekah and Stefan's wedding."
A noise comes from her throat that is very nearly a growl. She whirls, her slightly deflated blonde curls flying, and stomps out of the room. Klaus is certain she'd have liked to have slammed the door, but it's weighted in such a way that makes it impossible.
Klaus flops back onto the bed. He'll be paying for that for a day or two, he's certain. Bringing up that particular event was something that just was not done, but he'd not been able to help himself. Caroline Forbes was a woman who felt things deeply, and wore every emotion on her lovely face. And he liked the look of just about all of them on her so very much.
She'd tried everything. Asking politely, reasoning. Threatening. Flirting. And still Caroline had been unsuccessful and was making her way back to her room. Except it wasn't her room. It was their room. And Klaus was probably still in it.
Caroline clutches her armful of pillows more tightly, because hey, it wasn't a half bad suggestion for all that he'd been mocking her. Turning into the corridor where the suite is located, she takes a deep breath as she nears it, before she throws her shoulders back and marches into the room, head held high.
Her show of bravado turns out to be completely unnecessary as Klaus is face down on the bed, sound asleep. He's shirtless, and she sees jeans and boots discarded haphazardly along the side of the bed. The blankets are bunched around his waist and she really, really hopes he's not naked.
They're going to have to iron a few things out if they're going to be cohabitating on this cruise and that was not going to be a clothing optional conversation. In fact, this was not going to be a clothing optional space, period. She was going to need to set some rules. First, proper night time attire was to be worn in bed at all times. Second, she knew very well that he had not been born in a barn. Would it kill him to pick up after himself? Third…
Klaus stirred, interrupting her mental list. He shifted and stretched and Caroline couldn't help but be appreciative of the smooth muscles around his shoulders. She hadn't known about the tattoo on his back.
He kicks the blankets off and sits up. He's not naked, thank god.
He notices her presence and blinks at her sleepily for a moment before standing up. Caroline whirls around, giving him her back, and he laughs behind her, low and husky with sleep.
"Relax. I'm decent enough. It's nothing you've not seen before, love."
She spins back to face him, dropping the pillows and stabbing an accusatory finger in his direction, "Stop bringing that up! We agreed…"
He cuts her off, "You demanded. I don't recall agreeing to much of anything."
"I think not talking about, not thinking about, the incident," she says, stressing the words as she always does in her head, "has worked just fine for the past two years. And I think that we should continue to not talk about, and not think about, the incident."
"Speak for yourself. I think about the incident all the time."
"Well I don't." Caroline retorts. Kind of a lie, but he would never, ever, know that.
Klaus stretches his arms to the sides, unashamed at his near nakedness, and Caroline fights to keep her eyes from drifting down to what's barely concealed by the black boxer briefs he's wearing. She can feel herself losing the battle so she busies herself with collecting the pillows from the floor and very thoroughly shaking them out.
"Oh? So you don't think about how you plied me with drinks, danced with me, flirted with me, even though you claimed not to like me?"
"Not a claim, Klaus. A fact."
"So you've said. Over and over again. Still, your protestations of dislike didn't stop you from blatantly propositioning me. Or mauling me in the elevator. Or shoving your hand down my trousers against the door of your hotel room."
"I don't remember you complaining!" Caroline can't help but cry out in protest, throwing her hands in the air.
He looks at her like he thinks she's insane, "Why ever would I protest? The fiery blonde I'd found fascinating since I walked in on her berating the string quartet at Rebekah's engagement party was finally giving me the time of day."
Caroline falters for a moment before turning away from him, "We're not talking about this," she repeats firmly.
He's behind her suddenly, hand on her elbow to turn her towards him, "But we are. Finally."
She fixes her gaze on the wall over his shoulder. All that skin he's displaying is distracting, to say the least.
"You wanted me that night. I was too drunk to question my good fortune. But then you passed out, after coming on my tongue."
Caroline lets out a strangled noise and slaps a hand over her face in mortification.
"Now, I wasn't entirely thrilled with the turn of events, if I'm being honest. I was very hard for you, love, and it wasn't exactly comfortable."
"Oh god," Caroline mutters. She can feel her face flaming.
"But," Klaus continues, ignoring her embarrassment, "I took off your shoes and tucked you in, left you a note, and went back to my room. I'll not tell you what I did next, as I'm rather alarmed by the color you've turned, and I'd hate to make it worse."
Caroline drops her hand so she can glare at him, only to find him smiling at her fondly. "Ah, there she is," he murmurs, touching a fingertip to her cheekbone gently. "I went to sleep that night looking forward to seeing you in the morning. I was going to ask you out on a proper date, you see."
Caroline's eyes widen in surprise. It was well known that Klaus wasn't exactly the dating kind.
"But I was met with the blackest of scowls, and the most coldly perfunctory replies that you could get away with, over breakfast. And ever since then you either flee at the sight of me, or I'm treated to your wit at its most cutting. Why is that, Caroline?"
He looks genuinely curious, blue eyes soft and boring into hers. Caroline wavers for a moment, helplessly drawn to him while he seems so beguiling.
But that's what Klaus does. He uses the genetic lottery he'd won to his advantage, entices with the accent and pretty words. But Caroline will not fall into that trap.
She pulls her arm out of his grasp, and he drops it without a protest, a resigned look creeping into his open expression, "I said I didn't want to talk about it, Klaus."
"Caroline…" he says, a touch pleadingly.
"No," she cuts him off, "I meant it. We're stuck together for the next twelve days. Let's just try not to kill each other, okay?"
"I know I can manage that. Can you?"
"Probably. But maybe I'll do some googling about international waters. Those are a thing, right? If I'm going to shove you overboard I want it to be in a place where it's not illegal."
He shoots her an unamused look, "You're very funny, Caroline."
"Oh, lighten up. Even if I wouldn't go to jail there's Rebekah to contend with. Pretty sure she's scarier than prison, actually."
He snorts, but doesn't disagree. "So…" Caroline says, drawing the word out. He motions for her to get on with it. She lets out a deep sigh, "Truce?" she asks, holding her hand out to shake.
He eyes her skeptically for a second before clasping her hand in his larger one, "Truce," he agrees.
"Excellent," Caroline says, clapping her hands together. "Because I think we need to lay some travel bud ground rules…"