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Where There's Smoke

Chapter 7: We Didn't Start the Fire

We didn't start the fire, it was always burning since the world's been turning...No, we didn't light it, but we tried to fight it. (Billy Joel)

San Fransisco, California


"Oh my poor eyes," Klaus groaned, shielding his face with his hands. One thing he wasn't counting on was seeing his little sister scantily dressed and pawing the familiar brunette that had been hitting on Caroline last week. He'd set up in front of her television for his favourite program thinking she'd be at work not expecting his sister and this guy to walk out of her bedroom half dressed and petting each other far too heavily for his liking.

"What the hell are you doing here, Niklaus?" Rebekah cried, pulling her short robe tightly around her chest.

"Not expecting a show that's for sure, there goes my bloody appetite," he scowled, finally removing his hands and using them to push his half-full cereal bowl across the table.

"You must be Klaus, I've heard a lot about you," Enzo greeted, extending his hand.

"I'd rather not touch something that has been so recently in contact with my sister," Klaus replied. "Hang on, what have you heard? Don't listen to Rebekah, I'll have you know it's all vicious lies."

"Like I'd even bother," Rebekah drawled, rolling her eyes. "We were a little too busy to talk, especially about you, if you know what I mean."

"Oh for the love of God, Rebekah, I don't need any more visuals, trust me."

"Serves you right for breaking and entering."

"Actually my roommate told me about you," Enzo shared. "You frustrate her immensely."

"I think you're going to have to narrow it down, Enzo," Rebekah responded. "He has a tendency to rub most people the wrong way."

"No, I reserve that right especially for you, dear sister," he bit out. "Who is this roommate of yours exactly?"

"Caroline Forbes," Enzo answered, rendering Klaus speechless for a moment as the events from the party rushed back. They certainly seemed extremely cozy, especially for roommates. "You know blonde and..."

"Feisty and opinionated," Klaus finished gruffly. Ever since the party he hadn't been able to think about anything else. He'd blamed it on her annoying ability to pique his interest, how she did it Klaus had no idea. She was far too uptight for his liking but something about ruffling those perfect feathers was extremely appealing.

"Sounds like someone is a little bitter that Caroline has a brain and can see straight through his womanising ways."

"I'll have you know that..."

"As much as I'm enjoying this warm and fuzzy family moment, I should really be getting to work," Enzo quipped.

"You might want to put a shirt on first, lover boy," Klaus suggested, gesturing to the discarded item of clothing on the floor. Why hadn't he noticed that before? It would have saved him a lot less trauma. All Klaus wanted to do was enjoy his day off in peace not catch his little sister doing things she shouldn't be doing, even if she was a grown adult.

"Are you always this cheerful in the morning?"

"He's always this cheerful no matter what time of day it is," Rebekah smiled, pulling him in for a quick kiss before ushering him towards the door. "I'd say it was fun but I'd be lying."

"That's not what you were screaming the last few nights, gorgeous," Enzo chuckled knowingly before closing the door behind him.

"I feel so dirty, I'm really going to need a shower."

"Well, you've already made yourself at home so what's some extra water," she joked. "You deserved it anyway, what the hell are you doing in my house?"

"How quickly you forget. You let yourself into my house just last week."

"I'm also observant enough to know whether you're home and have company," she scoffed.

"Speaking of company, what's with the brunette?"

"None of your business, pretend you never saw anything otherwise I will put your naked baby photos up on the fire station pin board," she promised. Klaus knew she'd go through with it so decided to stay silent on the matter, that and the fact he really didn't want to know the gory details either. "Why are you eating my food and using my utilities anyway?"

"I needed to get away from Kol, there's only so much unwanted and mindless chatter I can handle when I'm trying to watch my favourite television shows. He keeps saying he's moving out but yet he's still mooching off my hospitality. Plus I can only take so much whining about Bonnie, his ego is not taking the rejection too well."

"Bonnie from Cupid Inc?" Rebekah baulked. "I didn't realise they knew each other. Anyway, I'm pretty certain she wants a guy that has a higher mental age than her four year- old son."

"She has a kid?"

"Apparently," she replied nonchalantly. "What's happening with you and Caroline anyway?"

"Nothing," Klaus wasn't going to give Rebecca the satisfaction of mentioning their rock climbing outing planned for tomorrow even though her touchy roommate probably already had. He was still annoyed about their orchestrated meeting at Kol's party. He'd found it odd she was there but when Kol explained Rebekah was one of their clients, it all began to make sense. "But that reminds me, it was kind of a coincidence that she happened to just show up at Kol's party, care to explain little sister?"

"Wasn't it?" She lied. Klaus really shouldn't have been surprised given her relentless efforts to matchmake him and his brothers in the past. "And before you ask I won't take Kol."

"I thought you and Elijah wanted us all to play happy families?"

"Yes, at your place," she reiterated. "You are the one who has to work with Kol, maybe it's a good idea to spend some time with him?"

"What? So I can kill him?"


"I didn't ask him for him to work with me, in fact you know my views on that subject. Kol is far too immature and inexperienced to deal with something as dangerous as firefighting."

"And you've told me and anyone else who'll listen that numerous times," Rebekah shot back now busying herself in the kitchen with the coffee machine. "You need to realise that this isn't just some phase anymore. Kol is a firefighter, end of story."


"Don't you think it's time you stopped criticising and started encouraging Kol?"

"Says the girl who doesn't have to put up with our brother twenty-four seven."

"Look, I know why you're hesitant," she faltered. As soon as she said it Klaus knew what she was going to say and if there was anything he didn't want to discuss it was that.

"I'm going to get going," Klaus jumped up quickly before she tried to psycho analyse him again.

"Is it so hard to believe that Kol wants to make a difference after what happened all those years ago, you know exactly like you have?"

"That's not why I do it," he mumbled.

"Oh that's right, it's because you couldn't care less about anyone and have a stupid death wish," she argued.

"As fun as this has been I've got places to be."

"Yeah just runaway Niklaus because you do that so well," she shouted as the door slammed shut. He leaned up against it and ran his hands through his curls contemplating his next move. That all too familiar feeling of dread enveloped him and Klaus knew he needed to blow off some steam. He couldn't think of a better way to do it than rock climbing.


"You realise I know your number, right?' Elijah asked as he walked through the financial district, cell phone in hand. He'd just come out of a meeting to find three missed calls and an email waiting for him.

"Exactly why I hoped you'd answer the first time, you know professional courtesy and all that," Katherine muttered and Elijah could tell she was frustrated. When they'd spoken at Kol's party he hadn't expected her to actually follow up so soon but he was starting to realise that was just how Katherine Pierce was programmed. "I managed to get you all those extra conditions you required."

"And I appreciate that."

"So, does that mean you'll take the job?" She asked, her voice rising excitedly in pitch.

"I'm still weighing things up." If Elijah was being honest he was trying to stall. Not only was he still apprehensive about what the job would entail, he wasn't used to someone taking such an interest in his life, Elijah did everything alone after all. It was the way he liked things. This fiery brunette had come in and thrown him off kilter, something completely foreign to him.

"I thought that might have changed your mind."

"I don't make rash decisions, Miss Pierce," he offered, feebly.

"Something I'm starting to realise," she sighed, "Is there anything else I can do to help you make this decision?"

"You really have done more than enough," Elijah replied, sincerely. "I'm sorry I've been so unavailable."

"You're a busy man, something I understand. I'm hoping you will at least consider this very generous offer. I know the money isn't your main consideration but surely the beautiful scenery might sway you?" Elijah was silent for a moment, wondering what she meant. If it was her then he concurred with that beautiful scenery assessment.

"An office?"

"No. This is one of the biggest wine export companies in the world Elijah, they send their product to hundreds of countries fresh from the vines of the gorgeous Nappa Valley. If you didn't take advantage of that fact and pay a visit I'd be disappointed in you."

"I'm sure it's a lovely place," he mumbled.

"You've never been to the Nappa Valley?" She baulked, her surprise evident. "Don't you like wine? If not then I'm not sure we can be friends anymore."

"On the contrary, I do. Especially a nice full bodied shiraz."

"Okay, so how about a visit then this weekend? Maybe the scenery might be just what you need to help make this very important decision," she suggested. "I even promise not to mention the job at all."

"That I find hard to believe given it's your favourite topic of conversation," he drawled.

"I'll have you know I can talk about anything and at great length," she boasted. "So?"

"Just the two of us?" Everything inside Elijah's body was screaming no given his simmering attraction to the bossy brunette he shared a working relationship with. Maybe if they had company he wouldn't feel so tempted to act upon those pesky feelings.

"Of course not," she shot back, quickly. "Uh, my friends love wine, in fact I'm pretty sure they'll come along without needing any further inducements."

"I suppose I could be amenable to that," he agreed, thinking he'd invite his siblings. He was trying to get Kol and Klaus to get along so maybe some alcohol would help with some brotherly bonding.

"Great, I'll set it up."


"I thought we were going up a mountain?" Caroline asked, peering up at the constructed wall in front of them. Klaus smiled at her assumption, trying not to stare at just how amazing her figure looked clad in fitted, black lycra. When he'd suggested rock climbing, Klaus didn't take that into consideration and knew he was going to find it difficult to concentrate.

"I may want to throw you off a mountain every now and again," he joked. "But thought it would be kind of irresponsible to take you outdoors on your first attempt. Mission Cliffs has some of the best rock climbing walls on the West Coast. Plus there's a great bar down the street."

"I didn't agree to a drink just rock climbing, it's not like this is a date or anything," she scoffed.

"You wish, princess," he replied. "I just figured I might need some alcohol after having to put up with you for an extended period of time."

"Charming," she growled. "Let's just get this over and done with, Mikaelson."

"I love it when you talk dirty to me," he teased. "So, how are you with heights?"

As it turned out, Caroline wasn't a big fan of heights. She spent a large chunk of time clinging to the wall not moving like a frightened spider. If Klaus was being honest he felt sorry for her and even suggested they call it a day but if there was one thing about Caroline it was her stubborn determination. He wouldn't admit it aloud but Klaus thought it was pretty damn sexy.

"You can do it, love," he encouraged from below, trying to ignore just how taut her ass looked in that particular position.

"What have I told you about calling me that?" Klaus had to stifle a laugh, trust her to scold him while hanging precariously from a wall at the same time.

Okay, here I go," she mumbled, reaching up for the next foothold. After starting off shakily she finally got her rhythm moving steadily up the wall. "Not sure why I was so scared, this is easy."

"Someone's Little Miss Cocky," he chuckled, secretly glad that she was finally getting the hang of it, he'd certainly had his doubts. Before she could continue boasting, Caroline's hand slipped and she fell from the wall in her harness. Klaus moved quickly, positioning himself beneath her and catching her fall. Given her harness he didn't really need to but something had driven him to do it anyway.

As she dropped into his embrace and he cradled her closely, Klaus noticed her creamy skin was flushed and he could feel her heart racing against him. "Are you alright?" She didn't respond just nodded slowly, her blue eyes unflinching. Klaus was trying to ignore just how good she felt in his arms and that heavenly jasmine scent that was infiltrating his nostrils. He wasn't sure how long they'd been standing there like that but the inquisitive glances of onlookers were telling him it was probably a while. He put her down, albeit reluctantly.

"Well, that's what you get for being cocky," he coughed. "We can go now if you like?"

"Hell no, I want to do it again," she replied enthusiastically. "And as for being cocky, it takes one to know one."

Klaus wasn't sure what Caroline Forbes was doing to him but he'd be lying if he said he didn't like it. After a successful climb to the top, they made their way to the Flying Pig Bar he'd mentioned having that drink she'd refused earlier. What a difference a few hours made.

"I can see why you love it," Caroline mused, taking a long sip of her drink. "That was an amazing feeling. You know I think I'm ready for that mountain now, the higher the better. Sign me up."

"Sounds like someone's experiencing the rush."

"Is that why you do all of these extreme sports?" Caroline asked curiously. "For the exhilaration? Are you one of those adrenaline junkies?"

"You could say that although if you ask Rebekah she'll tell you it's a death wish," he said, thinking back to their conversation yesterday.

"Is that why you fight fires?" Klaus wasn't expecting that question, especially straight after mentioning that death wish part. He had a rehearsed response that he recited when people asked him about his choice of profession about giving back to the community and civic duty but for some reason he didn't use it.

"I guess I want to help people who aren't able to help themselves," he murmured, thinking it was the most genuine response he'd ever given to that question. "I know if it were my house I'd want to be able to save the people I loved."

"Sounds like you're speaking from experience,"

"Not really," he denied. "I've just seen more than enough fires in my lifetime." Klaus never spoke about it because it was easier, even if Rebekah didn't see it that way. "Plus it helps that I have a generous set of lungs and a high tolerance level to smoke. Oh and I also like cats."

"You like cats?" She asked, a huge grin crossing her face. "Maybe I misjudged you, Mikaelson."

"It wouldn't be the first time, love," he smirked knowingly.

"Now, I'll have someone on hand to rescue my cats, you know if they get stuck up a tree."

"You realise we don't actually do that right? It was a joke."

"So, what you're saying is that if my cats were stuck and I called you hysterical and upset that you wouldn't come to my aid?"

"There'd have to be something in it for me, you know like a nice home cooked meal," he suggested.

"Would you consider take-out? Cooking isn't really my strong suit."

"As long as you refrain from putting it in the microwave this time."

"I'm never going to live that down, am I?"

"Never. So, how about another drink and I'll give you a tutorial about what you can't put in the microwave?"