Where did this even come from? AU.
Title from turn to stone - ingrid michaelson.
hearts too big to fit our beds.
One very cold day in February, with the snow falling down in sheets, Caroline dies.
There are no tears or furrowed brows, no beginning of something tragic. Just solemn sighs and chills creeping down spines.
Caroline feels nothing. And Caroline feels everything. All at once, she lets out a giggle.
Damon pulls her back from the edge.
"I thought I'd lost you." He murmurs against the soft skin of her cheek, arms wrapped tightly around her, a small smile on his lips.
It's warmer the next time; spring. Maybe April or May. Caroline dies lying in a field of flowers. She breathes in deeply, the smell of every flower settling deep inside of her.
There's a small smile on her lips. Her fingers slowly stop plucking at the shards of grass at her fingertips and her toes stop wiggling.
It's then that he knows it's happened.
She's gone for a while that time.
She reemerges in his life, settles steadily into his schedule, careful not too take up too much of his time.
One glance in the right direction and she's in front of him, kissing his cheek and smiling, I miss you on the pinkness of her lips.
He is not shocked and he is not upset. Damon is grateful – hopeful that she might not leave again.
Until she does.
It's something quite like poetry when she's in his arms and takes her last breath. Her hand goes limp in his and there's concern in his features only for a slight moment.
He kisses her forehead and lays her down to rest.
It's months before she shows up again. One minute she's breathless in the middle of his bed, sheet pulled up to just below her breasts, and he's thinking what do I do with her?
"Just leave me be." She tells him, a playful smirk on her lips.
He thinks that's too awful; isn't sure he'll be able to handle it properly.
So, "Just don't die on me," he says.
He remembers then; walks out of the room with the lights shut off and the door a breath away from being closed.
The next minute she's gone. He does not know where or how. Just that she was right, she will find her way.
Months pass after she dies in his arms. He does not spend them in sorrow. He simply spends them wondering and lonely.
She's on his doorstep the next time. Her hair's longer and lighter from the sun and she goes on for days – her legs and her tan and her smile and her everything.
"What're you doing here?" he asks with a short breath. And this is shock on his face.
"Oh. Don't tell me you've forgotten about me." She teases him.
"No, of course not," he smiles. "I'm just surprised."
That night in bed he asks her to please not die on me again. And she promises not to do it at night, naked, in his arms.
Caroline dies again in the fall. With too many witnesses and too many gasps and a waterfall of tears.
Damon has to tell everyone it's okay.
He does not talk to her for the first few hours that she's come back. "No one understands when you tell them your girlfriend's dead but not really, Caroline."
Her gaze drops to the ground and there's a small pout on her lips. She apologizes excessively – voice small and tears in her eyes. She makes him promise that he's not mad at her.
"I'm not mad at you." He promises.
Damon remembers when it first began. He remembers vividly the first time Caroline died.
He remembers the tears and the last, strangled breath she took, eyes closed tight and pain in her features. He remembers her reaching for him, maybe, and he remembers how he kept saying her name over and over again – her name rushing passed his chapped lips, mixing in with the salty tears streaming down his face.
He remembers. And will, until the day he, too, dies.
But he also remembers, though not as clearly, the moment she awoken. He remembers her fingers gripping around his hand tight where he'd never let go. He remembers words slipping passed her lips but not what she was saying. He does remember tears and disbelief.
Mostly, he just remembers that Caroline died and then Caroline came back to him.
And she's done it ever since.
He often wonders if it's a glitch, if this is the universe telling him it doesn't have everything figured out. Or maybe, he thinks, it's the universe telling him it can easily take just as it has given. And therefore Caroline is given to him in the shortest, sweetest moments and then taken away from him in the next.
He'd ask her what she thinks about it but he's sure she doesn't really know either. She tells him – only this – that she can control who she keeps coming back to, that's all.
In a hurried breath, because she does not like talking about it, she tells him that if she could, she'd never leave, she'd always stay, and it'd always be him.
He knows that. "You keep coming back to me."
She tells him she doesn't know who else would take her like she is.
Caroline dies in September. He pulls on the back of her shirt to keep her from falling forward, chuckles softly when she stumbles, and eases her to the ground once she stops breathing.
He thinks it's better this way – catching her when she falls. Much better than already having her when she does.
After she's stepped back into his life, determined to stay for a while, he asks her, "What's it like?" And because he can't turn everything off with a giggle here and a sweet smile there, curiosity gets the best of him. And he just has to know. Because he cannot pretend for too long.
"It's like sleeping and never waking up. But then I do." She tells him without hesitation and he's thankful for that. Thankful for her understanding that he needs to know certain things, that he too wonders and this is his life that she keeps gladly interrupting.
"Where do you go?" He looks down at her from his spot on the bed. "When it happens – where do you go?" The wonder in his eyes makes her avert her gaze for a moment. But then she's looking back up at him from her position with her head on his chest.
"I go to all different kinds of places. I can go anywhere I've ever imagined going," she says softly. Then she presses a butterfly kiss to his chest.
"Mostly though?" She continues, "I go to wherever you are."
And she's always made him feel something akin to heartache. "I love you," he says peppering kisses to her hair, thinks maybe that will suffice for everything he'd really like to say.
Caroline dies once then she dies twice and a third time, tears welling in her eyes and falling in streams over onto her cheeks.
"What's happening to me?" She cries.
Damon tries, but fails, to help her.
Caroline falls into a deep dark abyss, crying, searching, shouting his name.
Damon wakes up suddenly. His breath's caught in his throat, he's choking, and sweating, and his arms flail and he cannot calm down.
A hand gently falls onto his arm and a reassuring voice tells him to calm down. With tears on his cheeks, he turns to her, "But I- I was dead Caroline. Dead."
She smiles softly, kindness in her eyes, "And now you're alive, Damon. You're alive. You're here with me now." Her voice falls to a small whisper at the end and she squeezes his arm affectionately. "You're okay now. We don't have to be apart again."
"No?" He asks. She shakes her head with a smile on her face.
"I'm alive." He says. And when he kisses her, she can feel his smile too.