I have come to the conclusion that I enjoy beating up Tyler too much. So please excuse the self indulgent story that spawns purely from how my whump!fangirl would like Tyler to return.

It's not 2x20 compatible but I started it before the episode aired and I enjoyed writing it too much not to post it. Obviously it's a combo of chpt. 1 and what happened in cannon, combined with my above-stated love for Tyler whump.

I also wanted it to be a bit more dramatic since I thought they were both a bit too calm throughout the episode. Between the revelation Matt's trying to kill Caroline and the fact that Tyler showed up WITH JULES, I wanted someone to get dramatic.

Here's to wish fulfillment.

Caroline had long since given up trying to contain her vampire face.

Matt had left after kissing her on the lips and telling her he loved her. Each time he did that she felt her heart break a little more. He didn't know what she was. He had no idea. Even though they had a fantastic time at the dance, even though she felt beautiful and he swayed her perfectly to the music at the end of the night she had barely made it inside after her good night kiss before the tears started.

She had never felt more alone in her entire life.

Damon and Stefan wouldn't understand. Well maybe Stefan would, after all he'd used his blood to save Elena. But Matt had realized Vicki was killed by Vampires and she knew that even if Stefan saw things her way, Damon would kill him. The thought of it alone forced a miserable sob from Caroline's throat as she buried her face deeper into her knees. How was she supposed to fix this? Of the two other people she had told, one she had to compel to forget and the other-the other was gone.

Caroline tightened her arms around her knees. Tyler was gone. Not a word, not a note, nothing. Just like that. When she told him to leave she hadn't meant forever. Oh she was plenty mad, maybe she hated him a little bit, but he'd slammed her against a car and stood back while his friends tortured her and then pushed a gun to her head. Even so, the last thing that Caroline had expected was for Tyler to run away like a dog with his tail between his legs. A faint, miserable smile tugged at her lips as she thought about the face Tyler would make if he heard the dog analogy.

Then she thought about the face he would make if he saw her sobbing on her bed, unable to banish her vampire face.

Caroline blinked, tears still rolling down her cheeks but sobs blissfully seeming to slow in her chest. Raising her eyes, Caroline lifted her head until her chin rested on her knees. She hated how easily her thoughts turned to Tyler. It felt somehow wrong to think about him. Not just because of what he had done but also because even though she had known him her whole life it wasn't as if they were particularly close. And it had been her who told him to go away, not realizing that he would take her advice so literally. That he would go much further than just of her porch, that he would leave the entire state in his wake.

Her eyes went to her phone, sitting on her nightstand. Tyler had given it back and she had kept it instead of giving into the desire to get a new phone and change her number. But Tyler hadn't called, something that both relieved and annoyed her. She was relieved because she had no idea what she would even say to him if he called and, well, she was annoyed because she kept clicking to his number and chickening out, telling herself that he wouldn't pick up anyway. Figuring she could not possibly feel any more miserable than she already did, Caroline thumbed through the familiar listing and pressed the send button.

It only rang twice before the call was answered.

"Hello?" the voice that came though was most definitely not Tyler's.

"Hello?" Caroline sat up, a stab of fear going through her, "who is this? How'd you get this phone?"

"This phone was found in the parking lot three days ago. Do you know who owns this thing? It's been ringing off the hook."

"Yes," Caroline sad, "wait, three days ago?" she struggled to her feet, "I'm sorry, um, where are you?"

"Vermont," came the reply.

The stab of fear turned into a hard knot of dread. Tyler's phone was in the parking lot of a store in Vermont three days ago. Why had he only gotten rid of the phone then? He had been gone for a while. It made no sense for him to just one day decide to ditch the phone. Unless, unless he didn't just get rid of it. Unless something had happened. Thanking the man on the other end, Caroline gave her address and convinced him to send the phone to her. Glancing over her shoulder at the clock, she frowned at the hour before flipping open her phone and texting Matt to see if he had heard anything from Tyler. Though if the store clerk was right and his phone had been ringing off the hook, she doubted Matt had heard anything from him.

No-one had heard from him.

Chastising herself, Caroline ran a hand through her hair. She should have called him. She should have put aside the hurt and the anger and she should have hit redial until he got so annoyed he picked up. She was more than capable of pestering someone until she got her way, especially if it was a boy and even more if it was a boy who knew she was mad at him. But no, she had stuck by her anger and now she had a terrible feeling that Tyler was in trouble.

Worse, she had no way to contact him.

Just because he had been a complete asshole didn't mean she had to be one as well. If push came to almost-dying-shove, she liked to think she would be the bigger person and step in. But that was impossible if she couldn't find him. In the age of cell phones and facebook, it seemed ridiculous that she had absolutely no idea where the boy she had known most of her life was. Mentally she ran through the list of people she could call before quickly dismissing them, knowing that the Salvatore brothers were probably very low on the list of people Tyler would call.

Pacing the confines of her bedroom, Caroline let out a frustrated breath before dropping onto her bed. Her stillness only lasted for about a minute before she pushed herself up and strode over to her closet, pushing aside her clothes and reaching into the back. The oversized t-shirt and basketball shorts were in a tight ball from when she had thrown them back there in anger after Tyler had skipped town. Fingering the soft cloth of the hanes t-shirt, she fought the urge to hug them. Tyler had to be fine. She was just being silly. And the smell of him was not making her feel sad at his absence.

Frowning, Caroline lowered the clothing and sniffed. The smell was strong and it was not coming from the clothing in her hands.

The clothing in her hands wasn't full of wolfsbane.

Dropping the bundle Caroline raced down the stairs as fast as she could. Her mother was out on patrol so she used her vampire speed to get to the foyer. She could see a massive shape in the shadows of the porch. Shoving aside the desire to pause, to hesitate, Caroline raced over to the door, the sharp scent of wolfsbane driving her forward. Something was wrong, the dropped phone, the herb, all of it was so wrong. She should have been read for what was on the other side of the door.

But nothing could have prepared her for the state Tyler Lockwood was in.

Bloody, bruised and bigger than she remembered, Tyler was doubled over her door, gasping for air. His dark shirt was damp with sweat and she could smell the sharp tang of blood and something else, something more acidic that seeped through the fingers he pressed to his stomach. There were cracks in the paint from where he was gripping the door. His eyes were shut tightly as harsh, labored breaths escaped his lips.

"Tyler?" she barely recognized the breathless sound that escaped her lips.

Slowly his head rose and it took all Caroline had not to step back. The eyes that locked with hers were a bright, brilliant amber and Caroline knew that if her eyes had not already darkened with the desire for blood than they would have changed at the sight of them. Her befuddled mind worked backwards, counting the days to the last full moon. It was close but his transformation was days away. Which meant the amber was because he was hurt. Badly hurt. His lips parted and Caroline's senses reeled as blood slipped down his chin.

"Oh my God, Tyler!" Caroline shook off her stupor, reaching forward and pulling the injured werewolf into her house.

Immediately his hot blood began to soak through the thin fabric of her t-shirt, sending her already fragile sense reeling. She could feel his labored, wet breaths as they escaped his lips, sending more ruby flecks down the fabric and through her hair. Caroline sagged to the ground, turning him so that he was laying in front of her, propped up against her chest. She knew that if she laid him down there was a chance he was going to drown in his own blood.

She forced herself to look at his injuries, not to think about how sweet his blood would taste. Reaching blindly above her, she grabbed the nearest fabric she could find. Balling up the old sweater without a second thought, Caroline grasped Tyler's hand with her own. His fingers tightened over the ruins of his skin and shirt, though Caroline cold see his fingers were doing a poor job of staunching the bleeding. Carefully she grasped his hand, slowly sliding it away from the wound. Something that was far too easy considering his unusual strength. Replacing his fingers with the fabric, Caroline pushed down, eliciting a sickening groan from the werewolf's lips.

"What's wrong? Why aren't you healing?" Caroline demanded, her voice rising in fear as the pale fabric of the sweater turned quickly red, "who did this to you?"

"Wolfs bane," Tyler managed to get out, "they injected me-" his body convulsed, more blood spilling from his lips.

"Okay, just hang on," Caroline looked around, knowing her phone was upstairs. The house phone was in the kitchen. She could get to it but she was going to have to be fast, "I'll be right back," she said, picking up his hand and pressing it over the sweater, "hold on-"

"Wait-" Tyler's hand grabbed hers, his grip feeble, "I'm sorry," he said, his neck straining as he tried to look at her, "I'm so damn-"

"It's okay," Caroline said, giving his fingers a squeeze, "don't worry about that right now okay?" she carefully lowered him down and bolted for the phone, grabbing it off it's cradle and bolting back, sliding her body underneath Tyler's, sitting up up to help him breathe. Quickly she punched in Stefan's number, her fingers flying over the keys as her other hand pressed against the sweater, "pick up, pick up-"

"Caroline," Stefan's voice came through the line, "I was about to call you-"

"Tyler's here," Caroline cut him off, fighting not to cry into the phone, "he's badly hurt and, um, they gave him Wolfs bane and he can't heal," her voice trembled as her fingers tightened over the sweater pressed to Tyler's stomach.

"Alright, listen to me," Stefan said, his voice smooth and confident, as if this was an every day occurrence, "I'm going to be there as soon as I can. I want you to keep him conscious, for as long as you can. Can you do that?"

"Y-yes," Caroline nodded, listening to the confidence in Stefan's voice, "can I give him my blood?"

"I don't know," Stefan said, "wait until I get there."

Caroline nodded, hanging up the phone and putting it down before pressing her hands to Tyler's stomach once again. Her eyes moved down the length of his arm, taking in the blood that slipped down his tan skin from the numerous wounds. Caroline's eyes narrowed, one of her hands leaving his stomach and brushing the blood away on his forearm. Her stomach twisted at the neat puncture wounds crowded together on his forearm.

"When-" she began, "Tyler, when did they-"

"Three days," he choked out, "outside of vermont, they-" he cut himself off, a groan escaping his lips as his back arched, his head pushing into her shoulder.

"It's okay," Caroline said, one of her hands coming up to press against his forehead, stabilizing his neck, "help's coming," she closed her eyes as the smell of blood increased, "it's almost here. I promise. Just hang on, just for a little bit-"

It seemed like hours before Stefan got there. Tyler grew paler in her arms as more blood slipped from his wounds. It seemed impossible that so much blood could come from one person, let alone someone who had spent the past three days being fed on by vampires. She tried to keep Tyler talking but half the time what he was saying was lost to the necessity of breathing. Every rise and fall of his chest was a struggle but every rise and fall meant he was still alive.

A light breeze from the speed of his movement was all the notice Caroline had before Stefan was crouched next to her, his face immediately shifting to a vampiric one before going back as her reigned it in. His eyes swept over Tyler's form, the look on his face doing little to ease the knot of worry in Caroline's stomach. Her fingers tightened against the fabric of the sweater as she looked desperately up at the older vampire. His eyes studied Tyler for longer than she would have liked but Caroline didn't speak for fear of distracting him.

"What do we do?" Caroline demanded the moment his eyes rose to hers, "can we give him blood? He's a werewolf, will he accept it? Will it work?" her voice rose in fear, "What-"

"Caroline," Stefan cut her off mid-tirade, "I want you to hold him steady, alright?" Caroline nodded, shifting her grip as Stefan leaned forward, "Tyler," he called the werewolf's name, drawing his bleary gaze, "you aren't healing," he said, "my blood can help you," Stefan raised his wrist to his mouth and bit, breaking the skin, "you've got to drink."

Even as miserable and bloody as he was, Tyler gave Stefan a look that said he'd rather die than do it. Caroline tightened her arms around his body, resting her chin on his shoulder and silently praying that he'd let Stefan give him blood. That it would work and the young werewolf wouldn't bleed to death on the floor of her foyer.

It was difficult to get Tyler to drink the blood, mouth still filling with his own but slowly it slid down his throat. Caroline held him, praying that the blood would do its job. That he wouldn't start screaming and die. But y some miracle the blood took and before long his breathing was steadier and the thready pulse began to pick up a stronger rhythm. The heat of his skin increased as his body continued to recover, guided by Stefan's blood. If it had been anyone else she would have been terrified at how hot his skin was, but it was Tyler and she knew his high body temperature was a part of what he was.

Stefan's eyes caught hers and the concern in them was anything but reassuring. Caroline closed her eyes and focused on Tyler, listening to the steady thump of his heart and the measured rise and fall of his chest. After witnessing his first transformation, she knew when he was recovered enough to regain some kind of coherency. Moving her hand from his chest, Caroline reached up and touched his forehead, smoothing back his hair in a gesture she knew he secretly loved.

"Tyler?" she prodded gently.

She felt him tense against her, his muscles contracting as he moved away leaving her feeling cold once the incredible heat of him was gone. Slowly the werewolf moved, pushing himself to his feet. He swayed but managed to keep upright as Caroline and Stefan followed his movements. Caroline fought not to look down at the blood that spread across the floor, but it was impossible to avoid it. Especially when Tyler was covered from head to toe in the stuff.

The werewolf seemed to be finding the floor very interesting, shame written all over his face. The part of her that had been so furious at what he had done was suddenly eclipsed by the worry she felt when she thought he was dying in her arms. Hesitantly she took a step forward, only to see him shift his weight as if to move back away from her. Caroline bit her lip, looking over at Stefan who seemed to be staying out of it. Tyler had come to her for help but now, now he seemed to want to be anywhere else in the world.

"Tyler?" she tried again, desperate to get some kind of reaction out of him.

Slowly his eyes rose up to meet hers. The bright amber they had been was gone and in it's place was the warm brown eyes of the boy she had known since she was five years old. Something in her tightened at the sight of the despair she saw in them. The kind of despair she had only seen once before when he was turning into a werewolf. Their gazes held for one impossibly long moment.

Then his eyes rolled up and he collapsed.


The smell of 'vampire' ushered Tyler back into wakefulness.

It was a smell he had gotten far too aquatinted with in the past three days. The fact that he wasn't pressed into the wires of the cage he'd called 'home' was what made him pause. He was laying on a leather couch, the smell of animal hide a bit too comforting for his liking. He could feel the warmth of a fire nearby, the sensation of the flames dulled somewhat by the blanket tucked securely around him. Judging from the feel of the fibers he could tell he was in a t-shirt and basketball shorts, a far cry from the clothes he had been wearing which were becoming more and more stiff with his dried blood.

Opening his eyes, Tyler looked at the dark wood above his head. Blinking, he let his gaze drift over to the fireplace before going back to the wood. He felt off. Not weak, not strong, just odd. Frowning he tried to think back to his last clear memory. The last clear thing he could think of-

The sting of a needle in his arm, the feeling of wolfsbane moving through his veins as he screamed and begged for it to stop. The sickening feeling of something plunging through his skin, cutting so deep that he thought he could feel the burn of his own stomach acid eating at his organs.

Tyler bolted upright, his body jerking to end the memories as they crashed into him with the force of a ten ton truck. Continuing the motion he staggered to his feet, backpedaling until his back struck the mantle of the fireplace.

"Oh my God, Tyler!"

Which was apparently enough of a sound to bring Caroline running at full vampire speed. Tyler's eyes widened as he looked at the sight of the Vampire. In all the scenarios he had run through in his head of how she would respond to his eventual return to Mystic Falls, her looking stunned and maybe a little relieved to see him was not one he had considered. Though frankly he'd take anything over her slamming the door in his face and telling him to go to hell.

"Are you alright?" he demanded, seizing full advantage of her temporary relief before the anger set in.

"Am I alright?" she sputtered, surprise written all over her face.

"He didn't hurt you did he?" Tyler demanded, stepping forward.

Caroline looked at him as if he had grown another head but all Tyler could do was search her for injuries. He had been keeping track of time since he ha been captured but there were gaps. Gaps like the one between him being stabbed and waking up in a place that was not the back of a rapidly moving truck. Tyler stepped forward, moving past the couch and over to where the Vampire stood. All he could smell was Caroline, no injuries and only the slightest whiff of vervain.

"When did he give you vervain?" he demanded.

"Huh? No-one gave me vervain. I'm taking it to build up tolerance," she said, the shocked look on her face not waning, "how did you know I've been taking vervain, I'm swallowing it-" she stopped and shook her head, "Tyler what's going on? Who do you think is giving me vervain?"

Tyler continued to look at her. She was fine. Willingly taking vervain but otherwise fine. More than that she looked at him as if she was relieved he was alright and not surprised to see him. Which meant he had probably showed up on her doorstep looking less than fine. He fought the urge to swear. The last thing he had wanted to do was show up on her doorstep needing rescuing. Again. Something must have shown on his face because Caroline took a step forward.

"Tyler," she said, "what's going on? Who do you think is trying to hurt me?"


For a second Caroline was certain she heard him wrong. The idea that Matt wanted to hurt her was crazy. She had been keeping the secret for both of them, telling herself that it was better he didn't know. That it wasn't wrong to lie to him. But if he remembered, then he had been lying the entire time too. And Matt didn't do that. Matt was a good guy, a great guy. He wouldn't lie to her and he certainly wouldn't hurt her.

"What?" she looked at Tyler, fighting not to laugh at the crazy accusation, "Tyler, Matt doesn't even know what I am," she said, "why would he hurt me?" he opened his mouth but Caroline found the anger she had pushed aside and glared at the werewolf, "no, you know what, save it," she said, "I don't want to hear it. You think you can just come back here and hurl accusations around-"

"He called me Car," Tyler said, cutting her off.

Caroline's eyes widened, her lips parting to defend Matt but Tyler barreled on.

"He called me," Tyler repeated and Caroline looked away, "he's been taking Vervain, he knows what you are," Caroline's lips shut and Tyler continued, "he was saying some weird shit about how he was going to take care of-" he hesitated before continuing, "of you," Caroline's eyes met his, "he told me to call his mom if he didn't call me, he told me what to say to her-"

"No," Caroline shook her head, taking a step backwards, "no, no you're lying! Matt's a good guy, he wouldn't-" she shook her head, "he wouldn't do that!"

Tyler looked at her, torn between relief at her safety and anger at the disbelief he saw in her eyes. She didn't believe him and though the rational part of him said that her reaction was understandable, the other part of him wanted to shake her until she realized he was telling the truth. He forced the desire back. The closer it got to the full moon the more difficult it was to control himself. Caroline looked at him, anger and desperation in her eyes and Tyler's stomach dropped to his toes.

"Caroline when did you compel him?" he questioned. Caroline shook her head and Tyler realized it was a while ago. Long enough that he had pretending for a while, "Car-"

"Just, don't," she shook her head, "there's got to be a reason for this. Someone must have compelled him or threatened him or done something to him," she smiled, "Tyler it's Matt. He wouldn't do that," Tyler was silent, "he wouldn't," she repeated.

"Damn it Caroline," Tyler swore, "he knows what I am!" Caroline stared at him, "he's working with the Founder's Council and he knows what I am. What you are. Our mom's are on the Council!"

Caroline pressed a hands to her mouth, shaking her head in disbelief at the impossibility of the situation. Matt working with the founder's council, her mom knowing she was a Vampire-she had compelled them both to avoid a situation like this. The only way she could think of it happening was if Matt went to her mother after she healed him and she gave him the vervain. But that was weeks ago. Weeks. Her mom, Matt, they had been lying to her, playing her while she acted like an idiot. Like everything was normal while they plotted to-to-

To kill her.

Desperately she looked up to see Tyler watching her carefully, tension written along every line of his body. He was worried about her reaction and worried and Tyler Lockwood were two things that rarely went hand in hand. Even so a part of her cried that it couldn't be true. Matt was a nice guy and her mom was a good person and the fact that she was Caroline had to count for something with them. Lowering her hands, she took a deep, unnecessary breath and looked at the werewolf.

"Car-" he began.

"No, just-" Caroline shook her head, "I can't-" she looked up at him.

He nodded, understanding all too well how fucked up the situation was. Matt was a nice guy. He was still the decent human being that both of them pretended to be. The idea that he had been lying for weeks, that he was planning to hurt Caroline, it was enough to send both of them reeling. Slowly Tyler leaned back against the leather of the couch, fighting the urge to bolt the house or at the very least to pace back and forth like a caged animal. Caroline stepped further into the room, her fingers lacing together in a nervous gesture Tyler was more than familiar with even as the worry left her face.

"Your phone's on its way here," she said finally, breaking the silence with the most normal piece of conversation she could think of. Tyler looked at her incredulously, "I called you, right before you got here, the guy on the other end said he'd send it."

"You called me?" he asked.

"Yes," Caroline said, "I got worried," she added. He still looked at her as though the fact was surprising, "why is that so hard to believe?"

"I thought you hated me," he said, shifting his weight uncomfortably.

Caroline opened her mouth to tell him that while she was livid, furious and wanted to wring his neck, hate was a bit of a strong term. But as she looked at him shifting his weight uneasily, his eyes moving as if he wanted to run as far away from the room as he could, she realized that Tyler Lockwood probably had never had a girl care enough to be so angry but eventually forgive him. Tyler was a one night stand kind of guy. He was the kind of guy who still stiffened when she hugged him. Somewhere deep inside Caroline felt the hard anger she'd been carrying around loosen.

"I was upset," she said, fighting not to smile when his head flew up and hope flared in his eyes, "but I didn't hate you. And I didn't expect that you'd go so far when I told you to get out of my house."

"Yeah," Tyler scratched the back of his neck, "I didn't think I'd get that far either."

"Why did you go?" she asked after a moment of silence.

"I had to go," he said, "after what I did, to you and to Elena, I couldn't stay here when it was so easy for me to hurt everyone," he looked down, "I left with Jules because she was the only werewolf left."

Caroline stiffened at the mention of the female werewolf's name, her mind going back to the musky winnebago, to the cage where Brady had sat there and riddled her with bullets like it was nothing. Like she was nothing. Something must have shown on her face because Tyler didn't let the silence stay.

"We went up north," he continued, "the colder and more secluded a place, the more likely there are to be werewolves," he shrugged, "the cold helps. So does the open space."

Caroline nodded as if that made perfect sense and Tyler tried not to think about how he had freaked out when the other werewolves had told him that they didn't change locked up in basements, half out of their minds with Wolfsbane. They changed in the open, they ran in the open, up in areas where it was so cold and isolated no humans came in. They perpetuated the myth of ghosts, their own screams helping to further the rumors. He thought they were crazy but they thought he was the insane one, taking Wolfsbane, living around people and keeping a Vampire with him when he Changed.

Well, they may have thought he was crazy but Caroline had an entire Pack up near Alaska who thought she was pretty much the coolest Vampire next to a Werewolf-sympathizing Original.

"How was your second time?" she asked finally.

Tyler shrugged, unwilling to comment on his second Change. He had been drunk for the entire week leading up, drunk and furious as he prayed that there would be a way to prevent the change. But come the full moon he had dropped like a ton of brings. No wolfsbane, no chains, just the constant, molten burn of the change, punctuated by the snapping of bones and the feeling of fur pushing through his skin. It was only after that he realized how helpful Caroline's cold touch was during the transformation.

"Hard," he said finally when she continued to look at him, "I didn't take the wolfsbane. I was more lucid during it," he stopped, "it lasted longer."

"How long?" she asked with interest, "last time it was only about two hours."

"I changed back just before dawn," he explained, "wait, two hours?"

"Yeah, just about," Caroline said, "then you changed back, I waited another hour and took you home," she looked at him, fighting the completely irrational urge to smile at his obvious discomfort and surprise, "it took you a few hours to wake up."

Tyler gaped at her. Her words made sense but it was still embarrassing as hell to think that he'd been unconscious for that long after becoming a werewolf. He told himself the burn on the back of his neck was not a blush. It took a hell of a lot more than a pretty girl fighting a smile to make him blush. When the blush reached his cheeks, a giggle escaped her lips before she clapped her hands over her mouth.

"Laugh it up Forbes," he said with a shake of his head, "I stayed conscious the second time."

"Sorry," Caroline said, lowering her hands with an apologetic smile, "I just think before this the only time I ever saw you unconscious was that Freshman football game when you got tackled by those seniors."

Tyler grimaced, somehow not feeling any better about the situation. He had gotten tackled, knocked unconscious and had to be carried off the field. He'd been so humiliated that after locking himself in his house for the weekend, on Monday he'd pummeled three people before walking through the doors partially to get himself suspended so he wouldn't have to face everyone and partially so that everyone would know he was tougher than them. Even if he did have to be carried off the football field on a stretcher.

"Tyler?" Caroline stepped forward as Tyler's gaze seemed to go far away, "what is it?"

"You remember what I did on Monday?" he asked. Caroline nodded, "the others said that the anger's part of being a werewolf. That if you don't activate the curse the anger just builds without any kind of check until you turn out like my Dad."

Caroline looked at him carefully. Tyler's gaze was on the floor but slowly rose to glance at her. Tyler rarely spoke about his father, even after the man died. Caroline had seen firsthand what kind of relationship Tyler had with his father, even if the werewolf never wanted to talk about it. Unconsciously she took another step forward, slowly closing the distance between them.

"But you triggered the curse," she said, "so you won't be like that."

"No," Tyler said, bitterness edging his voice, "instead of being an abusive asshole I'll just be a murderer-"

No sooner had the words left his mouth than Caroline closed the distance between them and wrapped her arms around him. In spite of the honesty in his words she was still unwilling to let him think of himself in those terms. As always he stiffened in her embrace, the feeling of being hugged still alien to the young man. But as always, after a moment his arms came up to hesitantly wrap around her slight frame, taking care not to squeeze her too tightly though they both knew it would take a lot more than that to hurt her.

"You're only an asshole some of the time," Caroline said, drawing back with a smile.

"Look, Caroline, about what happened with Jules and the trailer-" he began, "I should have trusted you. I was so-hell, I don't know, excited maybe-to have other Werewolves around I was an idiot. After what you did I shouldn't have let them hurt you."

"You're right," Caroline said, her gaze hardening, "you shouldn't have. And you shouldn't have just run away like that," she continued.

"You told me to get out of your house," Tyler pointed out.

"I didn't mean that you should leave the whole state without a word to anyone!" Caroline cried, "do you have any idea how worried I was about you?"

"No," Tyler said after a minute, "i mean, Christ Caroline, we've never been close enough for you to be so pissed off at me."

"I've been mad at you before!" Caroline protested.

"Yeah but I never cared that much," Tyler shot back.

Caroline glared at him, a gesture Tyler seemed all too happy to return, though thankfully his eyes remained distinctly amber free. Caroline fought the urge to point out that they had known each other since they were kids, that the idea he didn't care at all was totally insane. Worse, she had to restrain herself from pointing out that when he did care, she wound up in a cage riddled with wooden bullets and vials of holy water.

"You never cared? That's your excuse?" she demanded crossing her arms before gesturing, "nice, Tyler, you know the fact that we became close a few months ago doesn't change the fact I've known you since I was five!"

His hand caught her arm, his grip warm and firm and way more gentle than Caroline thought.

"Wait, that-that came out wrong," he said, "of course I cared-" he stopped, frustrated, "just-"

Just not like he did now. Not when he thought she was blonde, obnoxious Caroline who loved too much without realizing people didn't love her back. She was the girl who turned Matt into a 'we' person, the girl who his mother kept lamenting someone else snatched up.

"I didn't know you then," he said, his fingers tightening around her arm, "not like I do now."

Caroline held his gaze before nodding her agreement.

"And I'm sorry for what I did to you," he continued, "what i let them do to you. No excuses. I was an asshole and I made a huge mistake that wound up hurting you. You're the last person who deserved that crap after what you did for me."

"Tyler-" Caroline began before hesitating at the earnest look in his eyes, "okay," she said finally.

"Okay?" he demanded, "you're just going to forgive me like that?"

"Tyler you showed up half dead on my doorstep after I had a conversation with a store clerk in Vermont that if I wasn't already dead I'm sure would have given me a heart attack. So for right now, you're off the hook. But don't think I'm not going to find a way to get you to make it up to me."

Tyler looked at her face, trying to figure out if she was lying before nodding.

"But just for the record," she said, "I didn't hurt your Uncle. I was barely even a Vampire then."

Tyler's eyes narrowed at her words, his mind going back over that time. His father's death, Mason's return, finding out about the curse. All of it seemed to blend together in a chaotic mess. In spite of that, he could pinpoint Caroline at everything. Always in the periphery, the blonde girl with a big heart who never seemed to quite get what she wanted. Dependable, almost-perfect Caroline Forbes who might have been the only girl in Mystic Falls his mother approved of. The only time he couldn't picture her was at the funeral. She had still been in the hospital-

She'd been in the hospital because of the car accident that he had caused.

In the hospital, injured enough so that for the first hours they had all been scared after Sheriff Forbes had come out and told them the doctors would do everything they could. Everything that would probably not be enough. But she had healed. Miraculously, they had said. Suddenly the room seemed unusually hot. Uncomfortably, Tyler paced before stopping and looking at her.

"Caroline when did you become a Vampire?" he asked, a strangled note in his tone.

Caroline looked up at him, her eyes guarded and Tyler wondered if he had crossed some kind of Vampire taboo. A soft sigh escaped her lips and he realized that he didn't give a shit if it was taboo or something. If it was the car accident where he had been driving that put her in that position, he wanted to know. He had to know.

"You have to promise me you aren't going to freak out, okay?" Caroline said and his stomach dropped. Tyler nodded, "you remember the car crash? When the Founder's Council used that device?"

"Wait, the car wreck where I was driving?" he demanded, his voice making Caroline think that his earlier promise not to freak out was about to be broken.

"Yes, but its not a big deal," she said, wishing she hadn't said anything. Horror flared in Tyler's eyes, "it was the Gilbert Device," she said quickly, "you didn't have any control over it," she looked at him anxiously.

Tyler looked at her, the sick feeling in his stomach growing. He had been driving. He'd watched her collapse and listened to the bad prognosis at the hospital. Before either of them knew about Vampires or Werewolves or Witches, he'd just been the idiot who lost control of his car and nearly gotten his best friend's girlfriend killed.

Except it hadn't been 'nearly'.

She'd been in the hospital because of him. She'd had Vampire blood in her system because of him. Katherine had a clear shot at killing her because he'd lost control of the car. Tyler looked at her before looking away, unable to meet her eyes. There was no air in the room. He couldn't breathe. All he could hear was the dull echo of his own heartbeat and Sheriff Forbes's voice telling him that the doctors would do everything they could.

"Tyler it was Katherine," Caroline said, "Katherine and the device. It wasn't your fault."

"Wasn't my fault?" Tyler rounded on her, "I was driving. I lost control-you only had the blood in your system because I got you hurt enough to need it," Caroline looked down, confirming what he was saying, "holy shit," he shook his head, the weight of what he had done crushing him, "I can't-" Tyler started for the door.

"Please don't go!"

Though everything in him wanted to run, his feet stopped at the high, frightened demand. Slowly he turned his head, just so that he could see her out of the corner of his eye, making sure she knew he wouldn't run away while she was speaking. He'd killed her, he at least owed her that much.

"My mom is trying to kill me. Matt's been lying to me for all this time and he-he wants me dead too," her throat tightened, "if you leave-" her voice broke, "if you leave then I'll-" she gasped, "I'll be-"

He crossed the room faster than she would have thought possible and gathered her in his embrace. It took nothing more for the tears to break free as she buried her face in his chest and sobbed helplessly. He shoved aside the fact that the girl in his arms had always been the one to initiate their embraces, that he had never actually comforted a girl in his life. That he had never cared enough before to bother. Instead he tightened his arms around her slight frame and tried to figure out what he could do-short of leaving her house, tracking down Matt and Sheriff Forbes and beating them until they couldn't hurt Caroline anymore.

Over the crown of her head, he saw Stefan step into the hallway. The older Vampire glanced at the pair of them, his eyes softening before he crossed the hallway leaving them in private again. Tyler unconsciously tightened his arms around Caroline as her breath hitched before the sobs took hold of her again. It seemed like hours before the sobs were reduced to sniffles and even then she kept her face buried in his chest-something Tyler hoped was part of what girls did when they cried. Her head turned slightly, pressing her cheek to his chest. His arms tightened further, closing the small space created by the shift in movement. A soft sound, not quite a sob but not quite a sigh escaped Caroline's lips and Tyler could only hope he was reacting in the right way.

"Caroline?" at the soft inquiry of her name, Caroline pulled back and quickly wiped her cheeks before turning to face Stefan, "I put you in the room at the end of the hall," he said before turning to Tyler, "I have a room prepared for you as well."

"It's cool if I stay?" Tyler asked, surprised at the older Vampire's offer, "after-" he trailed off.

"Of course," Stefan said, "Tyler, I understand how difficult it is to become a Vampire, I imagine it's the same for being a Werewolf. I don't fault you for reaching out to your own kind or acting irrationally during that time. We've all done that."

Tyler looked at Stefan and wondered how he could have thought the young man was sixteen. He looked positively ancient standing there, like someone with enough experience to be able to forgive another person for almost killing them. It was shocking and humbling, especially since for a long time Tyler thought they were the same age. Keeping his hand on Caroline's waist, he summoned his courage and looked at the vampire.

"Matt knows about you and about me," he said, "he's already told Sheriff Forbes and the Founder's Council. He called me to tell me he was going to try and kill Caroline but I'm guessing they'll try to come after you and Damon next."

The flicker of surprise in Stefan's eyes was unmistakable but one look at Caroline's still teary face the older Vampire pushed it away, once again looking very calm, very assured and very old. As if it was every day that people conspired to kill him.

"You'll stay home with Elena tomorrow," Stefan said, "if they're going to try anything it will probably be at school."

"Huh? No!" Caroline protested, "I have to be at school in case Klaus tries something on you."

"We'll figure something else out," Stefan said, shooting her down, "we can't risk you-"

"I'll go with her," Tyler spoke, not fully understanding what was going on, only that Caroline needed someone to be with her, "Matt knows what I am but he doesn't get it. Not really," he shrugged, "and I beat him up once before."

"Tyler," Caroline began, "no. You-" he looked over at her, "you don't understand what's going on."

Tyler looked over at her and Caroline couldn't look away. A part of her desperately wanted to explain everything but she remembered what happened the last time. Even with Tyler's unusually warm arm wrapped around her waist, she was certain the moment she told him he was going to run away again. Caroline didn't know if her bruised, undead heart could take something like that again.

"I'm not going anywhere," the werewolf said firmly, "and after what happened earlier, I'm already involved with this. So what's going on? Does this have something to do with that curse they need to kill Elena for?"

"It's not just Elena who needs to die for the curse to work," Caroline said before Stefan could reply. The older vampire closed his mouth as Tyler focused on Caroline, "come on," she said, leading him back into the living room.

The story came out clearly, punctuated with Caroline's familiar gestures and emotions. A part of Tyler felt detached, like this was some gossip she was cluing him in on at school. A story where he'd nod and pretend to care because if he didn't Caroline would yell at him and even if they had never been close, Tyler had never particularly liked seeing the blonde girl upset. But this wasn't gossip. This was a very old Vampire trying to break a curse that would mean the death of many people, not the least of which was Elena Gilbert who was just about the last person Tyler could think of who deserved to die.

When the story finished he sat there, trying to take in everything Caroline had just told him. The blonde stood in front of the fireplace, her fingers twisting themselves into knots as she stared at him, half certain he was going to freak out wolf-style and run for the door. Maybe this time he'd leave the whole country behind. But Tyler remained firmly on the Salvatore's leather couch, his fingers clenched around each other. Caroline bit her lip, looking between him and Stefan anxiously before Tyler let out a breath and his hands relaxed.

"If I'm the only werewolf in Mystic Falls, won't that make this whole break-the-curse thing easier?" Tyler asked.

"It's a good bet whoever grabbed you works for Klaus. Now that he's made it clear his intention is to break the curse, no matter where you go there will be a certain amount of danger until this is over."

"Which means you shouldn't go," Caroline said firmly.

"Car-"Tyler began before falling silent and nodded.

"She's right, it's best that you stay here. The older Vampires here are able to Compel the younger ones, like Caroline, Damon and myself. But there' a good chance they won't be able to Compel you."

"They can't," Tyler said, "one of the Werewolves i met up near New York ran into one of the old Vampires. Originals he called them. The Vamp tried to compel him and failed," Tyler frowned, "but if this Klaus guy is in Alaric's body then he doesn't have to be invited in."

"That's right," Stefan confirmed, "we have no reason to think that Klaus would have any interest in your mother," he added at the stab of fear in Tyler's eye, "Right now he's just here to get everything ready for the next full moon when the ritual can be performed," he hesitated for a moment, "but if he's provoked then things might be different."

"What are you saying?" Tyler asked.

"I need to know if any other werewolves are going to show up," Stefan said.

Tyler sternly told himself it was a perfectly rational question. After how quickly things had gone to shit last time, it made sense Stefan would want to know what to expect. Unfortunately focusing on the rational side of thing didn't lessen the overwhelming desire to pound the Vampire and remind him that if he had left Mason alone nothing would have happened in the first place.

A soft, cool hand laid over the fist he hadn't realized he was making as Caroline sat on the couch next to him. Her leg was pressed against his and even through the thin fabric of her pajama bottoms he could feel the cold temperature of her skin. He forced himself to think about that, not about the desperation to pummel Stefan or the knowledge that this situation was only going to get more fucked up.

"Yeah," he said finally, "they're going to smell the Vamps who took me. It won't take much for them to come here," he hesitated before speaking, "I can get rid of most of them," he continued, "the ones who'll stir up trouble. But some of them have to stay. They've got just as much a stake in this as the Vamps do."

Stefan opened his mouth before closing it, considering his words carefully before he finally nodded.

"Alright. But they need to be willing to work with us," Stefan said. Tyler opened his mouth, "I'm serious Tyler," Stefan said sternly, "Klaus is adversary enough and I will not let you bring people into this town to hurt Elena."

Tyler looked at the anger in Stefan's eyes, surprised to see how even the threat of someone hurting Elena was enough to infuriate him. It was far too passionate to come from a seventeen year old's lips. Then he remembered what it was like to see Caroline in the cage, her own blood staining her t-shirt from where the others had tortured her and suddenly it didn't seem too passionate at all.

"Only the ones who are willing to work with Vampires," he agreed, glancing over at Caroline who smiled even though the worry stayed in her eyes, "I'll tell whoever else shows up to get lost."

"Thank you," Stefan said.

"What are you going to do about the Founder's Council?" he asked, hating the way Caroline stiffened beside them.

"Chances are they're taking Vervain. We'll cut off their supply and wait until it's out of their system. Then we'll Compel them to forget."

"Even my mom?" he asked.

"Yes," Stefan said, "if you want to tell your mother what you are, that's one thing. But having her knowing what my brother and I are, what Caroline is, that's something we can't have."

"Do you think you want to tell your mom?" Caroline asked.

"I don't know," Tyler said.

He'd been so relived to know there was a reason his father was the way he was, why he was the way he was, he thought his mother at the very least deserved that. But his mother was the only parent he had left and as much as he wanted to tell her the truth, the idea that she would hate him because of what he was made him feel sick.

"It's late," Stefan said, once again sounding older than Tyler was used to thinking he was, "you're still recovering," he said looking at Tyler, "you need to rest."

Tyler nodded, slowly getting to his feet. He turned towards the bedrooms that Stefan had pointed out before stopping and turning around.

"After what I did, why'd you save me?" he asked.

"Like I said," Stefan said with a faint smile, "we were all human once."

Tyler nodded, though it was hard to believe that Stefan Salvatore had struggled with anything-including becoming a Vampire. Caroline smiled at Stefan before walking over to him.

"Come on, I'll show you where you're sleeping," she said, leading him down the hallway.

Tyler followed her down the hallway to the bedrooms. He knew that Stefan and Damon lived in a boarding house, but plenty of old houses in Mystic Falls had been different things at one point or another. Apparently the Salvatore house was getting a lot closer to it's roots, though he doubted that whoever owned the house before Damon and Stefan could think that it was going to house three Vampires and a Werewolf. Caroline stopped outside a door and turned to face him.

"This is you," she said, "and that's me," she added motioning to a door nearby.

"Okay," Tyler said. Caroline smiled and turned to go, "Car, are you okay?" he asked.

"I'm alright," Caroline said bravely. Tyler opened his mouth but she barreled on, "you need to rest. We'll figure everything out in the morning."

Closing the door, Caroline turned and pressed her back to the wall and slid down, drawing her knees up to her chest. Tyler was back, back and willing to work with them. Matt and her mom were trying to kill her. The mix of emotions made her head spin as she hugged her knees. She wanted to focus on the fact that Tyler was back. He was back, he was sorry, and she realized she didn't hate him like she'd thought. But all her mind kept going to was the moment before she left for the 60s dance when Matt had refused to kiss her in front of her mother. Their eyes had held for just a fraction too long and Caroline had thought it was just in her imagination.

But it wasn't.

Her throat tightened as tears threatened her once again. Burying her face in her knees, Caroline fought the desire to cry. She had cried so much, she knew if she kept it up her face was going to be all red and splotchy in the morning. Everyone would know she had been crying. She fought back the desire as her breath hitched and her body shuddered with the restrained sobs.

The door opened and Caroline shoved the threatening tears aside.

"Really, Stefan, I'm fine-" she began before trailing off.

"You're a terrible liar Caroline," Tyler said moving into the room, "you always have been."

Caroline bit her trembling lip.

"I can lie," she said defiantly, though he gave her a look that clearly said she could not, "this is so stupid," she said swiping at her cheeks, "God, I don't even know why I'm still crying!"

"Matt's an idiot," Tyler said. Caroline gave him a watery glare, "he is," Tyler said defensively, "after-" he stopped, shaking his head.

"After what?" Caroline asked, her heart doing a odd flip as Tyler looked away.

Slowly Caroline pushed herself to her feet, her heart thudding in her chest. If there had been pockets in his short Caroline knew he'd have shoved his hands into them. He was nervous. Caroline almost smiled. Tyler was rarely nervous and much like being scared, he hated being it. She hated seeing him scared, especially about something he was powerless to fight, but seeing him nervous was actually kind of cute. Big, hulking Tyler Lockwood who fought first and asked later was looking borderline bashful.

"Tyler?" she prodded.

"I talked to Matt before I left," Tyler said quietly.

"Yeah, he told me," Caroline said.

Tyler's stomach plummeted for the thousandth time that night. Matt had told her. Told her everything? She knew he fell for her, that he thought she was incredible? Tyler felt sick. He'd never said those things to a girl before and he certainly never thought that she would hear it from someone else. Caroline was looking at him like it was no big deal and Tyler wondered if it was possible to die from humiliation. He should remembered it was never a good idea to do those big, emotional gestures. Especially not through a third party like Mystic Fall's newest asshole Matt Donovan.

"Look I didn't mean-" he began before stopping, "no, I mean, I did-" he stopped again as she looked at him blankly and Tyler thought maybe she was pissed off that he confessed his feelings and booked it with the werewolf who tortured her, "I'm sorry if it weirded you out."

"Huh?" Caroline looked at him, surprise on her face, "Tyler what are you talking about? Matt just said-" she trailed off, confusion sparking in her eyes as she slowly pushed herself to her feet, "he just said you said goodbye," she finished.

"Damn it," Tyler swore.

He wasn't sure if he was happy or pissed off at the fact Matt hadn't told her about his stilted confession. He was sure as hell pissed that he he had essentially opened the door to telling her. Living away from Mystic falls had made him forget how quickly things happened there. Caroline looked at him nervously, her eyes moving over his face as if she could see what he was thinking.

"Tyler?" she prodded.

"I told Matt to take care of you," Tyler said, "I thought he was a good guy and that you-" he glanced away before looking at her again, "you deserved someone like that."

Caroline let out a hollow sound that could have been a laugh as Tyler grimaced. At the time the words made sense. But at the time they had thought Matt was a good guy and not a world class asshole. Caroline tilted her head to the side and smiled gently.

"That's actually really sweet," she said. Tyler raised his eyebrows, "well, I mean, not now, but that was before he even knew I was a Vampire."

"That's total bullshit," Tyler said, his voice dark, "being a Vampire doesn't change who you are," he stopped, "ok maybe it does. But that doesn't give him the right to b a dick," Caroline opened her mouth, "why are you defending him?"

"Vampires killed someone he loved," Caroline pointed out softly.

"And you thought I'd understand where he was coming from," Tyler finished, anger in his tone, "just because vampires killed someone he loved doesn't make it alright for him to hurt you!"

Caroline's head flew up at the anger in his tone and for a moment she couldn't tell if he was joking or not. He seemed to have absolutely no sympathy for what his best friend was going through and even if she was the one Matt was technically trying to kill, the willingness he had to throw his best friend aside made her own temper flare.

"Oh really Tyler and what does?" she demanded striding forward, "does he have to, to what? To find out that I lied to him?" her vision blurred with tears "that the words of some chick whose been here for all of two seconds matters more than mine?" she was shouting but past the point of caring, "what? What makes it alright for him to hurt me?"

"Nothing makes it alright!" Tyler shouted back.

"Then why did you come to my house?" Caroline demanded.

"Because you're the only person I feel safe with!"

"How do you think I felt?" she shrieked, her hand connecting with his chest in a desperate battle for something concrete to hold onto, "in spite of everything I felt safe with you and now every time I look at you all I see is that cage!" her hand drew back, burying itself in his chest agin, "you ruined it!" she shouted, "how could you?"

When her hand connected with his chest, she wasn't thinking about control or the fact that with little effort she could break every bone in his body. She wasn't thinking about the fact that she had promised herself she wouldn't do this to Tyler tonight, that they had both been through enough. She couldn't yell at Matt or her mother or any other piece of the messed up world that seemed to have turned it's back on her. There was only Tyler and even if it was in the most fucked up way imaginable, for the moment it was enough.

Enough, until the sound of something snapping reached her ears.

Caroline's eyes widened as a stifled groan managed to escape Tyler's clenched jaw. She jumped backwards, her hands flying up to cover her mouth as she looked with horror at the werewolf's pushed-in ribcage. Any normal human would be on the floor but Tyler was still standing and from the tightened look of pain on his features and the white knuckle grip he had on the bedpost, he would have let her continue to hit him without a second thought.

"Tyler-" she began, "I'm-"

"Wait," he gritted out, his eyes opening to reveal an amber color for the umpteenth time that night.

Caroline watched as his ribs shifted with an equally audible snap, the look of pain on his face receding as the injuries healed themselves. Within minutes he was back to normal, but those were more minutes he had to devote himself to healing. Healing because she had managed to somehow get him injured. When his head slowly rose up, the amber in his eyes remained, a testament to how close he had been pushed that night.

"Tyler," she shook her head, "Tyler what are we doing?" she asked, her throat still tight.

"We're-" Tyler began before hesitating.

Somewhere in his head he had been asking himself the same question all night. He was sure if things hadn't gone to hell right before he clumsily pressed his lips to hers, he'd have been asking himself the same thing months ago. He had no business being with Caroline Forbes, not as the peppy, pretty girl who had stolen his best friend away and certainly not as the Vampire who had been ridiculously stupid and brave and stayed with him when he turned into a wolf the first time. Who didn't care that he was the school jerk who hated for people to see had emotion, let alone that he was swamped with guilt and fear.

Even the other werewolves who seemed impressed by her bravery had been worried about him and the way he spoke about her. Vampires and werewolves were enemies, dating back to some ancient blood feud almost as old as the species themselves. Maybe one of them had been destined to fuck it up from the very beginning.

"I've been checking my messages," he said, "my mom's begged me to come home, Matt's checked in on me, Elena did too. And yeah, I felt like an asshole not calling them back but I had to figure out what I was," he looked at her, "but when Matt told me you were in trouble I pulled an illegal u-turn before he was done confessing to get back here," he shook his head, "and yeah, this is fucked up. And I get why you're mad at me," he continued hesitantly, half hoping she'd tell him he was wrong, "but the only time any of this was worth it was when I was with you."

Confessing feelings was another thing that went on the list of necessary skills that Tyler was shit at. But he'd managed to get the words out of his mouth without getting angry or maiming something, so he figured it was a step in the right direction. Or he would have if the blonde girl hadn't been staring intently at the floor, apparently unable to look at him. Suddenly Tyler found himself irrationally wishing he hadn't been such a coward with Vicki, so that he'd have something to go on instead of flying blind like he was now.

"Even with the other wolves?"

The inquiry was soft, tentative and tinged with shame but it was about the most wonderful thing Tyler had heard since he came into the room.

"Yeah, Car," he said with a grin she couldn't see, "even with the other werewolves."

Caroline looked up at him, her eyes meeting his and for the first time in a very long time, she felt like a normal teenage girl. A hundred cheesy movie lines ran through her head, even though the situation couldn't have been less movie-like if they tried. Everything was out in the open. Everything they had lied about, everything they had done, everything that tore them apart only to have them find their way back to each other. And even though she had tears in her eyes and was certain Tyler saw her as even more neurotic than before, a smile tugged at her Caroline lips.

"Okay, then we make it work," Caroline said.

"Huh?" Tyler looked confused, clearly not expecting her to agree so readily or really at all.

"We make it work," Caroline said, injecting a note of firmness into her tone, "but you've got to promise me that you aren't going to beat up Matt and that you aren't going to run away again," abruptly she stuck her hand out.

"Are you serious?" Tyler questioned, looking at her hand and then at her face, not sure if he found her willingness to agree or her clear expectation of him shaking her hand to be more unbelievable.


"Okay, okay," Tyler said, not willing to push his luck before reaching towards her hand, "no lies," he added quickly, feeling like a five year old a slumber party, "not even to protect," he continued, shoving the feeling aside.

"No lies, no running and no beating up Matt," Caroline repeated, her hand still out there.

Tyler slowly reached out and wrapped his too hot hand around her cold one to seal the deal.

The heat that rushed through his eyes was instantaneous but the pain of his irises shifting color was minimal compared to what usually followed the rush of heat. Swearing he looked down and tried to pull his hand away but her fingers tightened around his.

"No, wait," she said, "look."

He looked up to see her own features give way in response, the darkened veins swelling around her eyes as darker red filled them. Her lips parted as her jaw opened to accommodate her elongated fangs. Tyler swallowed thickly, surprised in spite of himself to see the look on her face. He'd seen her in her true Vampire face before but she'd always been hissing at him. Here she seemed in full control of everything, it just looked like she was wearing some kind of mask.

"Does it hurt?" he asked.

"Only my jaw," she said her speech slightly impaired thanks to the fangs, "my eyes get itchy though."

Their hands remained locked together, sealing their promise even long after it was time to let go. When Caroline felt his grip start to hesitantly loosen, she released his hand, figuring she had made her point about their true nature being shown to one another and neither running from it.

"Do you want to do that every time?" Tyler asked, "because my eyes don't-" he motioned upwards, "it's just close to the full moon."

"Right. And it's been a really long night," Caroline said, "but no, my Vamp face doesn't want to come out every time we make contact."

Tyler nodded, not sure why he was so relieved at the idea that every time she touched him Caroline didn't think he was a total threat to her safety. Promise not to run or no, she'd still admitted to him that when she looked at him she saw the cage where she'd been tortured. Because he only felt the urge to go werewolf when it was close to the full moon, even though she could kill him any time she wanted too.

"Now," Caroline said, "you need to rest," she continued. Tyler opened his mouth, "yes, Tyler," she said sternly, knowing he was going to protest, "the healing helps but it's not everything."

"Yeah," Tyler said finally, knowing that she was right even if sleep was the last thing on his mind, "goodnight Caroline," he said.

"Tyler?" she stopped him as he reached the door, "I'm glad you're back."

He turned around to look at her.

"Me too."

God I wanted them to kiss so badly! But their emotions were all over the place enough without the making out thing. Plus given how she got upset at him for what he did, I didn't think she'd be jumping his bones or that he'd let her.

Anyhoo I've got a 2x20 compatible oneshot that I'll probably put up within the next few days. Not as a continuation of this one, though I might do a third shot of if there's interest.

Hope you enjoyed it!