This was written for goldcaught on tumblr. She requested this for her birthday, and I wrote it!
Please note, that I have borrowed the world that Nalini Singh created in her Psy/Changeling series. There will be a lot of terminology from those books, so I apologize in advance for any confusion. I adore those books, and if you haven't read them, you should!
Sometimes Caroline still dreamed of cages.
She'd wake to the brightness of her new room, claws shredding her sheets, her wolf a wild thrum against her fear. Like a child, she'd curl under the sheets and remind herself that she was safe; even in this foreign land, with its clipped accents instead of the warm drawls she'd grownup knowing. Loneliness left her cold, hands reaching for the pack that was just... gone.
But only sometimes.
Mostly, she hid her aching heart as best she could. Caroline knew she carried too many shadows, and God, she knew she should accept those careful invitations. A pack trying to ease her into their ranks, their smiles reserved but game. And she wanted it. Needed fur against hers, warm skin and the smells of home. But a stranger's touch left her panicked, and this new pack left her wolf bewildered, uncertain. There was no father to stroke her hair, family to chase her through the woods and no cuddles to ease the sting of bad dreams.
Touch hunger clawed at her gut, but she ignored it.
Then Klaus came home.
"Please tell me these meetings are done," Kol demanded as he stepped into the infirmary. "The pack needs you here."
Klaus ran a hand through his hair and sighed heavily. "Yes, I'll send one of the lieutenants for anything else. Probably Elijah, if just so he can stare blankly at them until he gets what he wants."
"Which you should have done anyway," Kol said as shut his office door. Moving to his desk, he rifled through a drawer before coming up with a candy bar that he tossed at Klaus. "Here, eat it. If Rebekah asks, you never saw it."
"She'll skin you alive if you're stealing her candy stash," Klaus warned even as he bit into the sweet.
He'd been back in the den for four hours, working through reports. Construction to extend the East Wing into additional tunnels, as well as securing additional territory. There was a lot to consider. Enzo had kept the majority of his reports very concise, but he'd have to read through them tomorrow. Rebekah had plenty to say regarding the Juvenile's training, and he'd gotten an earful from the maternals about spending some time in the White Zone with the pups and pre-teens.
He'd ducked in the infirmary to hide.
"Good," Kol said cheerfully, tossing his feet onto the desk. "I need you to check on Caroline."
Klaus stared a little blankly at his brother, trying to picture the wolf. "Caroline?"
Kol's face was uncharacteristically serious. "One of the survivors we rescued from that rogue Psy facility."
"Is she a problem?" Klaus questioned, trying to remember if he'd actually interacted with her. He'd helped with that raid, anger a tight coil in his chest at the memory of finding the changelings in cages; the heavy metallic scent of Psy grating on his senses. Psy might be human, share similar genetic makeup as human and changeling, but the hundred years of no emotions had done those gifted psychic minds no favors.
"Problems? No, but we have a maternal dominate who's been so badly abused she's only comfortable letting the pups close enough to touch her. She's a time bomb."
Klaus rubbed his face, to give himself a moment to absorb the information. The maternal changelings were the heart of the pack, the steel spine softened by open affection and love; his eyes and ears to the pulse of his people. Changelings needed touch, particularly Dominates and Soldiers, but to abuse a changeling so badly that her wolf was shying away from touch; that she was maternal - openly affectionate to her bones, and dominate…
Kol was right. She was a time bomb. One that had been deeply traumatized, and now being asked it integrate with a new pack.
"I'll check on her."
"Good, everything else can wait. Henrik will be excited to see you," Kol said with a smile. "He's been staying with me while you've been gone."
Klaus paused. "I thought he was staying with Rebekah and Enzo?"
Kol's smile widened, eyes dancing; the wicked glint that had made him the bane of the pack's existence for years on full display. "I'll let him explain. I'd never ruin the fun."
A series of rapid knocks, and Caroline jumped. She swallowed, and her wolf pushed against her skin as she pressed her palm against her heart and breathed deeply, trying to calm her panic. Another set of knocks, these a little more insistent and she felt annoyance stir in her chest. The annoyance was directed at herself. she was a wolf, not a chicken. Squaring her shoulders, she wrenched the door open, feeling a little like herself for the first time in ages.
The changeling outside her door was beautiful.
Wild curls, sharp cheekbones and a jaw softened by full lips, everything inside Caroline crawled to a standstill. He was blinking at her, as if he couldn't quite believe what he was seeing, his wolf crawling like old copper into the blue of his eyes - alpha. This was the Alpha.
His head tilted, lips parting as he drew breath, and something hot flared behind his gaze. Mouth running dry, wolf perfectly still beneath her skin, Caroline finally moved.
She slammed the door.