i'm on the edge with you
He decides he wants to keep her when she tells him to go to hell.
Klaus is surprised, really, at how the Salvatore's have once again managed to charm a town, to charm her, into fighting for them. Mostly he just finds it highly amusing, but she's pretty, and he likes pretty things. He gets rid of them one by one, squashing whatever hopes of victory they had. He crosses them off methodically. He's studied them for quite some time. There's a doppelganger. There's a doppelganger's brother. There's a baby vampire. There's a witch. There's two vampire brothers who put everyone around them in danger. There's Katerina Petrova. There's a man who fancies himself a vampire hunter.
And then, there are none.
She watches her friends burn and knows she's next, but somehow, she survives. She looks at him with those big blue eyes and it reminds him of winter mornings he used to spend with his father and brother, and he can't stake her and toss her into the fire because there's something in her eyes and there's something in the way that she shows no fear even though this is surely her last stand. He asks for her name. She spits it.
"Caroline." he rolls it around with his tongue. "Caroline." he says again, almost amused.
"Go to hell." she snaps, her fangs protruding from her gums as she fights against her restraints. He'd taken great care with the chains, twisting them to keep her in place, but only tight enough to do so. He doesn't want to mar her pretty skin. She's fought against the chains, and in doing so, she's managed to rub her wrists raw.
Tutting, he rips the chains away from her body, and as expected she streaks for the locked door of the rundown building he'd corralled them all in. He rolls his eyes, flashing after her and slamming an arm in her path. She crashes into his arm, and he catches her chaffed wrists in one of his hands.
"Do not mistake me for a Salvatore, Caroline." he says, his fangs flashing in the dim light, "I will not hesitate to destroy you."
The girl nods meekly. She's not so brave, after all. But then he sees a flash of determination in her eyes, and he knows he made the right choice in keeping her alive. He could teach her great things. Great, but terrible things.
He releases her wrists, and she stumbles backwards, rubbing them absently. She tilts her head at him, her eyes flashing. "What's a girl gotta do to get some blood around here?" she asks, and he can't help the toothy grin that spills over his face.
Naturally, she's angry.
It's understandable, really. After all, he did murder all of her friends a few days prior.
She requests animal blood at least twice a day and he balks every time. Vampires! Drinking animal blood? It's unheard of. It's ludicrous. It's ridiculous. He slits the throat of a drug addict in an alley and spills a little human blood into her cup of bunny blood. She drinks it without complaint, almost as if she can't taste the difference and he wonders just how much she knows about being a vampire.
He takes to calling her 'baby' because that's what she is. She knows nothing. And he will teach her.
To her credit, she never asks why he decided to spare her life. If he didn't know any better, he'd say she was almost grateful. But it works because he doesn't really know why he spared her either.
She takes everything in stride, and never complains.
When they leave Mystic Falls, all she asks is that she's allowed to say goodbye to her mother, and that she can take a few of her belongings with her. He obliges because she's been such a good little prisoner.
Standing in her room, listening while she gives her mother a teary goodbye, he takes a look at his surroundings. She really is a little girl, though technically, he's only a good four years older than her at twenty one. But he's out-aged her by thousands of years. Pictures of her and her little friends are tacked on the walls, t-shirts and shoes litter the floor, her bed is unmade, her desk is covered in makeup and hair products. He's struck again with just how young she really is.
Baby comes in to find him snooping through her pictures, and she says to him, "That's Jeremy, Elena's little brother. He used to have a crush on me. You slit his throat." she says this almost idly as she rifles through her jewelry box.
He takes her to his home in Spain.
It's a lovely manor, one he spent a few summers in as a child. He chooses this place because of the spilling backyard and the gardens.
"You'll become a real vampire here." he says, and she rolls her eyes.
"I am a real vampire." she argues.
"Tell that to Bambi." he quips, smirking.
Baby throws her hands up, growling before marching off to her designated wing.
She doesn't drink from a deer again.
"My name is Caroline!" Baby snaps one day, many months after they had come to Spain.
He looks up from his book, glass of bourbon in one hand, as he lounges on the couch in front of a blazing fire. She's across from him, legs crossed as she sits in front of the flames and paints her nails. He blinks in confusion.
"You're always calling me 'baby'." she explains, "And my name is Caroline."
He lifts an eyebrow, "You don't like it when I call you 'baby'?" he asks.
Her eyes flicker to the floor, and her cheeks heat up. "My name is Caroline." she repeats.
He knocks her legs out from under her and tells her she's a ridiculous excuse for a vampire.
Her chin wobbles, and her legs give out before she can scramble to her feet as he flies at her again. He knocks her across the grass, and she lies on her back, staring at the sky. Tears stream steadily down her face and he's disappointed. He kneels down beside her.
"I thought you were stronger than this." he says, sighing.
"You killed my friends." she snaps back, her voice cracking.
"I've lost my friends too." he says, and she looks at him, tear tracks crawling down her cheeks. "And Caroline, those people-your friends-they didn't appreciate you like I do. They didn't see the beauty, the wonder, the perfection that is you. They did not see you." he breathes, and he doesn't know why he's telling her these things.
He doesn't know why he reaches out and brushes her tears away. He doesn't know why her breath hitches and she turns her face into his palm.
He doesn't know, and neither does she.
She gets back up, and knocks him to his feet for the first time since they started training.
She begs him to let her go out. Alone.
She begs him to let her go shopping, begs him to let her see the sights.
He relents. He doesn't think she'll come back.
She's gone for a week.
One day he finds her seated at the breakfast table, coffee mug in hand, as if she'd never left.
She meets his eyes, and says, "I couldn't stay away. And I didn't have anywhere else to go."
She doesn't leave him ever again.
He takes her to Madrid for her nineteenth birthday, and she balks when she realizes she's been with him for two years.
He lets her wander around by herself, and she even shops for him because his taste is terribly lacking.
It gets to the point where he's not letting her do anything. She simply does what she wants.
Leaving never crosses her mind.
Baby convinces him to get cable, and then she introduces him to the wonder of televised sports.
He forgets to call her Caroline when they're watching a soccer match, and she doesn't correct him as he says, "Baby, Spain is definitely going to take the World Cup this year."
She's a better fighter than he gives her credit for.
She knocks him flat on his back one day, and she pounces, landing on his chest, legs splayed on either side of his abdomen. Her hands are perched on his chest, and she's staring down at him, her head tilted to the side in confusion as if she can't remember how she got there.
"Caroline." he says, and she blinks rapidly, shaking her head back and forth.
She climbs off of him and disappears into the manor.
Later that night, as he's walking to his room, she appears out of the shadows, her tiny hands shoving him against the wall.
"I don't understand." she says, "How are you doing this?"
He shakes his head. "I have no idea what you're talking about."
"Is this some Original crap?" she keeps going, "Because all I want to do is rip your clothes off and-"
He cuts her off with his lips.
They tumble into his room, her hands grasping at his short hair, his hands wrapped around her middle. She fits against his body perfectly, but he doesn't have too much time to ponder that as she tugs him forward. They spill onto his bed, their clothes disappearing and suddenly she's not a little girl.
"Baby." he breathes against her neck as she arches up into him.
Her hand wraps around the side of his neck. "I like it when you call me baby." she says softly, her lips curving into a smile.
The next morning he wakes to Caroline's body wrapped around his.
He trails his fingertips down her naked spine, and her eyes slowly flicker open. They stare at each other for a moment.
"Huh." she murmurs.
"Huh." he agrees.