Title: Ship of Fools
Fandom: The Vampire Diaries
Summary: He's not Stefan and he will not immortalize his anguish with ink upon the pages of books. No, he'll keep his memories locked up inside. That way when it does hurt, he can take out memories of her, all shiny and beautiful and glance at the loveliness that could have been his.
Like ships in the night
You keep passing me by
We're just wasting time
Trying to prove who's right
And if it all goes crashing into the sea
If it's just you and me
Trying to find the light
- Ships in the Night, Mat Kearney
After the dust has settled, after the bloodshed and the tears, and after he tries to redeem himself, but is not forgiven, he reckons it's time to leave.
There are lines you can't cross after all and it would be silly to think that he could just be accepted into the Scooby Gang just because he saved their lives once or twice. Not when it meant he had also killed one or two along the way.
It doesn't matter. He doesn't belong with them. But most of all he doesn't belong with her. They've all made their opinions about that pretty clear.
She's Vampire Barbie, a name endearingly bestowed despite her annoyance with it, and she's all sunshine and smiles and pep talks. On the other hand, he's an abomination, a beast, a monster and he doesn't deserve her.
Whatever. That's fine with him. She makes him weak, she makes him indecisive and worst of all she makes him care. And he's better off not caring. He's fine alone. That's the way it always was and always be.
Except he finally got a taste of it. That horrible one syllable "L" word that always gets choked up in his throat.
He reckons he'll get over it eventually. He's not Stefan and he will not immortalize his anguish with ink upon the pages of books. No, he'll keep his memories locked up inside. That way when it does hurt, he can take out memories of her, all shiny and beautiful and glance at the loveliness that could have been his.
He gestures to the bartender to give him the bill. It's about time he gets a move on. He's pretty sure they are all very anxious for him to leave town. The bartender comes back and hands it to him. He quickly drops several bills down on the counter and turns to leave when he sees her.
He's surprised he didn't notice her before. She has a tendency to take out all the air in the room whenever she enters, in fact he's feeling a little short of breath already. He shakes his head and trains his face into a scowl of annoyance as she approaches him. It would not due to appear like a lovesick puppy dog. He has a reputation to maintain.
She smiles at him softly as she reaches his side.
"I was hoping I would catch you before you left."
He raises his eyebrow up at her condescendingly. "Oh? I would've thought you would be at the bon voyage party with the Salvatores and the Gilberts celebrating my departure."
"Yeah, well… the planning committee screwed up our budget for parties so it got cancelled."
He smiles in spite of himself. She was always one to answer his sarcasm with her own brand of snarky quips.
"I'd offer to buy you a drink, but I'm on my way out."
"That's kind of why I'm here."
"I don't do good-byes, Caroline," he drawls in his most obnoxious tone.
Her eyebrows knit together into a frown as she realizes he's going to be difficult.
"Well, maybe I don't want to say good-bye," she snaps. "Maybe I hate good-byes. Maybe I loathe them! And maybe—maybe I want you to stay."
Everything she says comes out in a rush and she's flushed a pretty pink
"I assure you that is a highly unpopular opinion. Your friends have all but packed my bags for me."
"I don't care what they think."
"Of course you do."
Of course she does. She's Caroline and she's insecure and neurotic and a total people pleaser. And despite the brave front she puts on, he knows that at the end of the day she will replay everything in her head and berate herself for every flaw and imperfection. Criticize herself for all the things she lacks and how she doesn't measure up. She never notices the way they all look towards her as their beacon of light, their pillar of support. She doesn't notice the heads she turns or how her one smile is capable of changing his entire day or that her tears can reduce his resolve to shreds. She doesn't know that out of everyone in the whole world in all the time that he's been alive she is the only one that can affect him the way that she does.
"It will tear you up inside, the way they look at us. The way they will judge you and resent you for my continual presence. And in the end you will start resenting me as well for being the cause of their hatred."
He gets up from his chair so that he can have the height advantage over her.
"And what makes you think I'd want to stay anyways? What do you think this silly little town could possibly offer to make me want to stay?"
"Well, I just thought that…"
"What? That I'd stay for you? Did you honestly think that just because I've shown some mild attraction to you that it would be enough to make me want to settle down in this god forsaken place and get domesticated?"
She slaps hard him across the face. Her bottom lip trembles as she fights off the angry tears threatening to spill down her cheeks. All eyes are suddenly on them as everyone in the restaurant pauses in their conversations and turns in their direction.
"You're an ass! And I hope you never come back!"
She turns on her heels so fast that he's surprised she doesn't topple over and fall in her haste to be out of his sight.
Good. She hates him now. That's easier to work with. He hates himself too.
A cough breaks him from his morose reverie and he turns to see Stefan behind him.
"You going to need ice for that?" Stefan gestures towards his face, "Sounded like she put her weight into it." He's smirking and if they weren't in a crowded restaurant Klaus would want to throttle his occasional friend.
"Shut up, Salvatore. And no need to walk me out. I'm already leaving."
Klaus turns away from the younger Salvatore, but Stefan pulls him back by the shoulder.
"Hey. Hold your horses, will you? I have something to say."
Klaus replies with a bored look.
"She genuinely cares about you, you know. And she's probably the only person here, other than me, that believes you are capable of being more than a complete jackass mass murderer. So I wouldn't be going around torching bridges if I were you."
"Thank you, Stefan, for those pearls of wisdom," he smiles. "But I prefer to get my over sentimental, sappy life lessons from fortune cookies and with a side of orange chicken."
"Look… while I agree with everything you said and about how it won't be easy if you stay…"
"Don't you know that eavesdropping is rude?"
"You'd be surprised," Stefan continues ignoring his snide comments, "But everyone is not as completely repulsed by your presence as you think they are."
"Oh well if they're not completely repulsed," Klaus mocks.
"We're not all heroes here and everyone has made their fair share of mistakes. I know I have. And since I've been forgiven for some truly comparable sins… I think you deserve a chance as well. You did save my life once or twice. Even if you did sacrifice Elena in a ritual of fire and then kidnapped me, make me drink blood, torture people and take really long boring road trips to the middle of nowhere."
"You're really never going to let that one go are you?"
Stefan just smiles and shakes his head.
Klaus grits his jaw and heaves a sigh.
"She's a moron for thinking I'm capable of being a better person than I am."
Stefan shrugs. "When we love someone we always think the best of them."
Klaus glances up at him, a little startled that Stefan would imply such an impossibly outrageous thought aloud.
"You should talk to her before you go. Really talk to her. It might make you feel better to play the villain, but Caroline doesn't deserve your harsh words as her last memory of you."
He rubs his face and sighs for the second time.
"I've grown soft," he mumbles, his voice full of disgust.
Stefan chuckles and clasps him on the back.
"It's not so bad."
"So what now? I go chasing after her, apologize and she hugs and kisses me and we walk off into the sunset?"
"Well knowing Caroline there's probably a higher chance of her beating you over the head before there's any hugging or kissing. But yeah, an apology might be a good start. She's probably on her way to the boarding house to rant to Elena about what a jerkface you are. You could probably catch her before she gets there if you-"
Stefan doesn't get to finish when a gust of wind against his face and the sudden empty space before him signals Klaus's departure.
He exhales a sigh of his own and hopes that the sheriff didn't spike the coffee today. He's going to need to use his compulsion powers to erase the memory of Klaus's non-farewell from the minds of the patrons of the Grill.
She was livid. She has always known he was an asshole, but for some stupid reason she thought underneath that prickly maniacal exterior he wasn't all that bad. She beat against her driving wheel with her fists and pressed harder on the accelerator.
As if all of her ill intentions had conjured him, suddenly he there he is. In the middle of the road.
She somehow manages to swerve quickly to the left at the last moment, narrowly missing the irritably handsome hybrid by a hair's breadth and straight through the fencing lining the sides of the road.
She unbuckles her seat-belt and throws the car door open. He's already there by her side with an extended hand.
"Are you alright?"
"Do I look alright?" She shoves him away and makes her way towards the front of her car to inspect the damage.
It's minor, but the impact was enough to leave a nice big dent on her Ford Fiesta.
"What kind of maniac would appear in front of a moving car like that?" She screams at him.
"It's not like the crash could've killed either of us," he shrugs nonchalantly.
"Yeah, but what if there had been other people on the road, you jerk!"
"Tell that my car!"
"You're making this very difficult. I'm not here to apologize to your vehicle. That would be stupid."
"You're stupid!" She shoots back, ignoring how immature she's being. Her hands are on her hips and she's ready to tell him off like he so rightly deserves. "How dare you just show up and just expect me to-"
He sighs exasperatedly and then silences her with a kiss. A kiss to end all other kisses. One that would leave her breathless and at a loss for words.
The "loss for words" part lasts all but five seconds before she pushes him away and then slaps him across the face for the second time in the last twenty-four hours.
"And we back to square one, I see," he drawls rubbing his face.
"What the hell was that?"
Just leave it to him to not even let her be properly mad at him.
"That was a kiss. And a pretty damn good one from the state of your lovely swollen lips," he grins.
"Y-you!" She's flustered and blushing and so completely irritated with him. "You're impossible!"
She buries her face in her hands and shakes her head.
"Why are you even here? I thought you were all gung-ho to leave," she scowls at him in annoyance.
It's the answer she expected, but somehow she's feeling ever more dejected than before.
"Well then just go," She averts her eyes from his and chews on her bottom lip. "I thought you didn't do good-byes anyways."
"I want you to come with me."
She frowns at him and shakes her head.
"I... like you." An understatement if there ever was one. "I didn't mean what I said earlier… well I did. Just not the part about you. I just… I can't stay here. This place is not for me and I know it's your home, but…"
She looks at him with those wide, doe eyes of hers and he thinks if he drops his guard he could get lost in their sky blue.
"But what?" she whispers.
"But come with me."
She blinks at him, her eyebrows once again knitted together in concentration. "Just pick up and leave everything and everyone I know. That's a pretty big decision to make based on just an 'I like you'," she scoffs.
"Do you need me to say it? Is that what it'll take?"
"No," She sighs. "I need you to mean it."
He takes a step forward and brings his hand up to her face. He rubs circles against her cheek with his thumb.
"You're foolish to care for monster like me."
"Love makes fools out of us," she answers.
"Yes… yes it does."
And this time when he kisses her she doesn't push him away.