Title: someday this'll be a story.
Rating: light R
Spoilers: second season general. Post the expected battle with Klaus.
Pairing: Damon/Caroline. Past Caroline/Matt, Caroline/Tyler. Implied Caroline/Stefan. Implied Damon/Elena
Summary: Mostly she hates that she doesn't feel anything for anyone else and still manages to hate him.
Author's Notes: This just...what? I started writing and then I stopped writing and well, this happened.
She leaves when the bodies aren't quite cold on the ground. The war with Klaus is over and Elijah has kept his word and Elena is still alive by the end of it so probably they've won. But her mom will never refuse to let her stay out late again and she'll never be jealous of Matt looking at another girl and she'll never really get to know whether her what if with Tyler could have been a story someday.
She doesn't understand what the big deal about being on the winning side is when it feels so much like losing anyway.
Elena tries to make her stay.
"Caroline," she says, and stops, like it'd never occurred to her that Caroline would still be standing there, listening beyond the first word, "Caroline."
Elena's skin is paler, her eyes shining with the promise of eternity. She's still more beautiful than Caroline. She's always going to be more beautiful than Caroline.
She remembers the sandbox Tyler pushed her in when she was nine, she remembers Elena's dolphin earrings which she'd "borrowed" and never returned, she remembers Bonnie teaching her about football because she'd heard that Davis Parker in her math class liked football and Caroline liked Davis Parker, she remembers Matt kissing her like he wasn't thinking of Elena, she remembers Stefan telling her that she reminded him of his best friend (she always reminds people of someone else), she remembers four-year-old Jeremy lisping that she was the second prettiest girl in the whole world and he would marry her if Vicki Donovan didn't want to marry him, she remembers her mother telling people that Caroline was her daughter when she won the spelling bee in sixth grade.
She remembers because she's a vampire and she's going to remember till she tries to forget and she keeps forgetting to forget.
Bonnie helps her pack. Sensible clothes, jackets and scarves and shoes for the weather in nowhere. And when she isn't looking, Caroline adds in her purple gown and the silver shirt which actually sparkles in the sunlight. And that yellow dress which Damon used to hate and she's always loved.
Bonnie doesn't notice. Bonnie doesn't look at her anymore. She doesn't mind, she doesn't look in the mirror anymore either.
"We're family, you know. You could stay. We need you."
She thinks she might be a little bit in love with Stefan Salvatore.
She could stay. (She doesn't).
Damon is the last person she sees in town. He's standing next to her house in his big fancy car with his big fancy shades like he has any right to be there. To see her like this.
"Always knew you couldn't handle it, Blondie. Bet you're wishing now that I'd staked you that day at your eventful christening in the world of the undead."
She doesn't look at him, doesn't rise to his taunts, because if she can't help him being the last person she's going to see here, his voice is definitely not going to be the last sound she remembers, fuck him.
He stands there watching her and she hates it. Hates that he can still make her feel shallow and stupid, and useless after all this time. Hates that she has his blood running through her veins. Hates that she doesn't feel anything for anyone else and still manages to hate him.
He takes off his shades, letting those goddamned beautiful eyes rove over her body deliberately, making her skin crawl, "hasta la vista."
"No," she says, because she's been flunking Spanish since seventh grade but she knows this. Because this is more important than not remembering him as the last person she ever talked to in the place where she's lived and died, "No, Damon. We'll never meet again."
He tilts his head in the way he always does, like she's young and stupid and she fucking hates him. "Forever's a long time, Caroline. We're going to meet again."
She leaves Mystic Falls and she doesn't cry. She's Caroline fucking Forbes and she doesn't cry.
Two miles out of her former hometown, she throws away her gown and silver shirt into the first body of water she finds. She's not girly little Caroline anymore.
She compels her way into college.
She goes to some Community College in the backwaters of the world. The men, and quite a few women look at her ever so often, like they can sense there's something different about her, and isn't it just so typical of the entire freaking human race that they're attracted to her when really they should be running away screaming. She sleeps with all those who ask and holds the title of 'slut' as magnificently as anyone who's ever been knighted.
Three years she carries her books around and resists the urge to bite into the neck of the leggy brunette who sits in front of her and looks like she'd have been a Caroline in her school before the drugs. Stefan would be proud. She gets the second highest in her year in 'Feminist Theory' and she laughs at the irony alone because nobody knows her enough to understand and laugh along with her.
She graduates because her mom wanted her to. And isn't that most precious, dumbass, Hallmark-esque reason in the history of fucking forever?
She goes to Vegas because everyone goes to Vegas and she's nothing if not a cliché.
It's beautiful and sparkly and so alive and she thinks the Caroline she used to be would've liked it. Loved it, in fact. Belonged there. She mostly just stands out in her three-day-old pair of jeans and unconditioned hair and she doesn't care anymore.
"You won't remember this." She tells the guy later, "You went to the Casino and met a girl you liked and after dinner she had to leave. Then you went back to your room and slept off."
"The hotel bed-sheets are pretty soft," he murmurs obligingly, his eyes frozen over (those eyes that looked like Matt's, and she hadn't been able to resist because really she's not Stefan. She's stupid, shallow and useless and not strong enough to resist), the blood on his neck clotting. Damon would be so proud. The thought makes her sick.
She bites into her wrist and offers him bleeding hand. She owes Stefan that much.
Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world he walks into hers.
He's sliding into the stool next to her, before she even has a chance to register. And he's just as achingly beautiful as he was five years ago, and she hates him just as goddamn much.
"It doesn't have to be now," she says because she can ignore him, but she's being mature about this, "our meeting in forever could have waited for about five hundred years. At least."
"Still as feisty", he notes, tilting his glass in silent acknowledgment of something. Then he drains it at a speed that's surely impressive even for a vampire, "oh come on, Blondie, don't pretend like you haven't been dreaming about me. About this."
He can't read minds, she knows that, he doesn't sparkle and he can't read minds but he can read her and it sucks (and in Twilight-terms that probably means she's not special. Bella's mind couldn't be read because she was special; Caroline Forbes has never been particularly special). She's dreamt about him every night since she left.
"That whole turning you thing comes with fine print apparently," he shrugs, answering the question she never would've asked because it involves admitting something she's pretending isn't there to admit. He casually turns to the bar again and she wants to hit him hard for every night she's woken up with the old memories and the new fantasies playing in her mind in an endless loop.
He doesn't notice, pretends he doesn't notice, whatever. He's hitting on everything in sight (seriously, that red-head in the seventies disco dress was so not attractive) and she knows he's partly doing it to aggravate her but she doesn't know why it is aggravating her.
She tries to flirt with other people, just to show him she can. No, just because she wants to. This has nothing to do with him.
"Hasta la vista", he says again, and she can tell by his grin that he remembers it used to annoy her.
It still does.
She's twenty-seven and she can just about manage to look seventeen with make-up (he'd once told her she looked fifteen without) and she still can't buy a drink without compelling the bartender and it's just that much more embarrassing.
And then he's there and she doesn't know why. But he's taunting her and she's drinking way too much because she wants to prove something that she can't remember at the moment.
Forty minutes later she's drunk and it takes the edge of her hunger for blood, but his eyes are so blue and seriously who the fuck thought this was a good idea?
She's tripping over her own feet over the tiles and it strikes her she hasn't been this graceless since she was that other girl a long, long time ago.
That girl at the reception desk of the generically named New York Hotel smiles too wide at him and bends down too low in her too tight shirt for the pen and Caroline resists the urge to do something stupid like putting her arm around his, because she doesn't do jealous. Not with Damon Salvatore. Not anymore.
"What name did you say?"
"Salvatore." He says and it takes her mind thirteen seconds to process that he's registering her under his own name.
"For-" she begins, because he has too many parts of her in the pocket of his stupid leather jacket, he doesn't get to collect her identity too.
"Separate rooms?" the girl asks hopefully, interrupting her.
"One room," says Damon. She makes a sound of protest somewhere at the back of her throat, "single beds."
This is probably what she wanted to convey through her sound of protests but she wants to change to a double just to rub the smug look off the skank's face. And since when is he the kind of guy who asks for single beds with a drunk girl?
"Good night, sir. I hope you and your…sister," Caroline knows better than most people the power of denial, "have a good stay."
He smirks like it's funny, and it's really, really not. "She's not my sister."
"…I'm her father."
Caroline laughs then, suddenly, unexpectedly and thinks she hates him a little more because he can still make her.
He stays on his side of the room and it annoys her because.
She dreams about him again. And tonight he's right there and all the frustration of ten years, of all the things she's forgotten to forget and all the dreams she can't control and everything adds up and she's falling down in the scales.
She goes to him. He's still awake. And she can't read minds or sparkle either but she knows the reason for the single beds now. It had to be this way.
"You raped me," she says, the ugly word burning acidic holes in her head, "fed on me. Abused me."
She stares at him, this man who's made her nightmares and fantasies for her entire lifetime in her undead world.
"I hate you."
He continues looking at her, the bastard, hands crossed behind his head, not offering any words of consolation, explanation, apology.
And then she's kissing him, fiercely, like she needs to know this isn't her mind borrowing from memories to create a reality that always breaks with the dawn. And he's kissing her back, his mouth hot and hard over her lips, her neck, her breasts and the bed is really much too small for this. He slows down when he reaches the scar on her back, the scar he left, and kisses it gently. And she's almost surprised to realize she's crying; the soundless, wordless apology that his mouth offers making it hard for her to take the breaths she doesn't even need.
His hands and mouth are everywhere, on her navel, between her legs, reminding her that she'd always wanted this. All the times she'd known she did and all the times he hadn't given her a chance to realize she did.
She doesn't forgive him. Can't forgive him. But he reminds her of who she used to be and she thinks she might love him almost as desperately as she hates him for it.
She wishes he could compel her to forget now. But the sun's rays don't warm her anymore and he can't.
"Did Elena leave you once and for all?" She's hurting him the only way she can, the only way she knows how, "realize that the redemption fantasies she's been building around you are only going to break over her head and fracture her skull?"
His face loses expression for a second and then he's looking at her, really, closely looking at her and can he please freaking stop looking at her? "How long have you been in love with me?"
She shrugs, "is it important?"
He turns around to look out the window at the New York skyline, "not really."
(She'd thought she'd left her heart lying bleeding on the ground with Tyler, with Matt. She didn't realize she hadn't even had her heart with her at the time).
He's gone before she comes out of the shower.
She looks at the paper with the single number on it and it's so, so stupid because please like she hasn't got the Salvatore Boarding House number carved across her brain, and really, he really fails at deep, meaningful symbolism. Or whatever.
She shoves it at the back of her purse, and picks up the room key. She could call the number, listen to Elena rant, listen to Stefan's quiet amusement, maybe talk to Damon. Go back, demand an answer to her unwilling confession, make him just as vulnerable as he'd made her; even though it doesn't matter, even though he doesn't love her.
But Matt had been in love with Elena too. And then he'd loved her. And he hadn't had a fraction of the time that she has right now.
Forever is a long time. They'll meet again.
(She thinks she'll go to Italy.)
Hasta la vista- until we meet again.