Disclaimer: I own nothing, sadly.

Summary: What if Caroline is turned the night before her 18th birthday, and instead of having Stefan to turn to, she gets a bit of a pep talk from a certain hybrid with a devilish smile.

A/N: There are a few inconsistencies I've chosen to overlook in writing this. Much of that has to do with the altered timeline. Since in my story Caroline's turning (beginning of season 2) and her 18th birthday (middle of season 3) occur at the same time, there is a huge chunk of time that is essentially erased and re-written. Point being, while the characters reactions and some plotlines may intersect, this story is AU in nature. Hope you like it…

Where the Lonely Ones Roam

Won't you come out

We could paint the town red

Kill a little time

You can sleep when you're dead

Cause it isn't over yet

Get it out of your head…

"I'm a monster..." I cry out for what seems like the millionth time today, my mother's favorite vase shattering against the fireplace almost simultaneously. I move toward the pile of broken glass, not noticing the sliver of sunlight peeking through the blinds. It sets my skin on fire in an instant, and I can feel the pain radiating over my body as I shield my face and pull the curtains shut. I want to run, scream, hide...anything to take my mind off of what is happening to me, but I can't. It's like I'm frozen in place, paralyzed by the fear of what I've become...what I've lost. I'm not Caroline Forbes, Mystic Fall's golden child, anymore. Brilliant, beautiful – albeit slightly neurotic – cheerleading captain Caroline Forbes ceases to exist. She is gone. I am gone.

I can feel the tears pooling behind my eyes, waiting for me to open the floodgates, waiting for me to give in...to give up. Under normal circumstances, I assure you I would never surrender, at least not without a damn good fight. Sadly, though, nothing about this situation is normal. No, normal was thrown out the window a few hundred miles ago when I woke up this morning with gross veiny eyes, fangs and an insatiable urge for human blood! Gross!

"Oh my gosh," I gasp, remembering the sickly sweet taste of blood and the mortified look on that poor nurse's face as I drained every last bit of blood from her lifeless body. "I'm a murderer," I tell myself, and before I know it I'm sliding down the wall in defeat, hugging my knees to my body as if doing so will make it all go away.

There is a knock at the door, and I pull my head up off the floor. "Go away," I grumble, trying to ignore the intrusion. "I'm not in the mood for company!" The knocking stops momentarily, and I foolishly assume I'm in the clear. And then it's back, and I'm immediately chiding myself for being so gullible. "Damnit," I curse under my breath when he sees me.

It's dark outside, but with my new vampire senses I'm able to make out even the tiniest of details. Score 1 for Team Vampire, I think to myself before taking another look. He's tall – maybe 6'1" or so with broad, muscular shoulders and curly, dark blonde hair. I tilt my head and scrunch up my nose, studying his features and trying desperately to put a name to his face. Despite my best efforts, I come up short. I don't recognize him at all, which is very odd. I know for a fact I would remember if I'd seen him before. Trust me. The man standing on my doorstep is not the kind of man you go forgetting.

"Are you going to invite me in, sweetheart?" I hear him ask, his British accent undeniable. "Or must I beg?"

It isn't until I see the massive smirk on his face that I notice I'm gaping. I recover quickly, and replace the open-mouthed stare with a hard-nosed glare. "Well, that depends, are you here to kill me?" I ask defiantly, but a part of me is secretly hoping he is here to end me. At least then I'd have something nice to look at before it all does black.

"On your birthday?" He lets out a soft chuckle and responds somewhat disappointedly. "Do you really think that low of me?"

"I don't think anything of you." I correct him. "I don't know you, remember! And how the hell do you know it's my birthday?"

"An educated guess?" He points to the "Happy 18th Birthday, Caroline" banner hanging up on the wall behind me.

"Oh, yea that..." I gulp, feeling like a gigantic ass. "Turns out I won't be needing that stupid thing after all." I look up into his eyes. He seems to read my mind, and a part of me senses that he feels my pain too. It is all too much to handle, and its then that I feel the tear slip down my cheek. Not wanting to cry in front of him, I bolt for the stairs and head to the safety of my bedroom. Only when I'm certain I'm alone do I breakdown in full-blown, heaving sobs.

I couldn't have been in my room for more than five minutes when he waltzes in uninvited. How the hell did he do that? I can feel him approach, but I don't turn to face him. "You should leave." I warn him, frantically, knowing what happened the last time I was in a confined space with someone else. "I'm a monster..."

"Hardly," is his smug response.

"Seriously," I try again. "It's not safe for you to be around me."

To my dismay, he still doesn't move away. Instead he moves closer; I can see the shadow forming as he leans over, inspecting me like a damaged toy. I hear the shear amusement in his voice, and I realize…he is actually enjoying this.

"You really have no idea who I am, do you?" He wonders aloud, not expecting an answer but I give him one anyway.

"Duh!" I shout in frustration. "We've covered this already; now get out of here before I do something I'm going to regret later…like drain you dry!" As soon as the words leave my tongue I'm wishing I'd kept my mouth shut. I have no clue why I am even discussing this morbid, fantasyland shit with a perfect stranger; but nonetheless, I do my best to punctuate the severity of the situation by letting out a fierce – or what I consider fierce –growl.

My theatrics only seem to add fuel his fire. He lets out a hearty laugh, as if he's never heard anything more ridiculous in his life, and scoots down next to me.

"You need to feed." He eventually explains, matter-of-factly, holding out his wrist for me to take.

I hesitate, even though I can literally feel the blood pulsing through his veins, driving me mad. I pull the covers over my head when I feel the bloodlust wash over me, trying to hide the hideous transformation taking place on my once so delicate face. What the hell is wrong with this guy? Does he have a death wish or something?

He seems to feel my inner turmoil and decides to push on. "You don't have to worry about hurting me, sweet Caroline; you couldn't…even if you tried. I'm a Hybrid."

"A Hy-what?" I ask. "Is that like a flying Transformer or something?"

He lifts up his eyebrow in confusion. "I'm not familiar with this Transformer creature you speak of, but I assure you I am much more powerful and dangerous than you are, my dear. I am a Hybrid – the worst kind of monster – I've got some vampire, some wolf and a good 1,000 years of wreaking havoc on this earth." He smiles, reminiscently, and for the first time I notice the depth in his eyes – a mix of emotions I can only begin to imagine. A wave of pure terror consumes me, but he breaks me out of my fear-induced coma as he slides his wrist closer and grazes my cheek. "More importantly," he imparts on me, "you will not survive the night without blood."

The pain in my throat builds, burning hotter and hotter the closer his wrist comes to my mouth. My newly formed fangs slip out with a menacing force, and I cup my mouth in embarrassment. It provides enough distraction that I can pull my thoughts away from the blood in front of me and quickly shove my face into the pillow next to me.

"What's the point?" I whimper into the pillow. "I should be dead right now."

"And I could let you…" He counters. "Die, that is, if that's what you want, if you really believe your existence has no meaning." He pauses, waiting for some sort of reaction. I tilt my head to the side, slightly, so that I have one eye on him. He continues after brushing a stray piece of hair behind my ear. "I thought about it myself once or twice over the centuries, truth be told. But I'll let you in on a little secret: there's a whole world out there waiting for you, great cities and art and music, genuine beauty…and you can have all of it, you can have a thousand more birthdays. All you have to do is ask."

I don't know which part of his little speech makes the difference. Altogether, it is probably the sweetest thing any man has ever spoken to me, which is depressing in its own right considering the man in question has no ties to me, no motivation that I know of to share such intimate details. I realize then that in my weakest, darkest moment it's not my mother or father, not my boyfriend, nor either of my two best girlfriends sitting by my side, but a perfect stranger…him. It crushes me to admit that, but I am grateful. I'm grateful that tonight I can fall asleep with the comfort of knowing someone still cares.

With sleepy eyes, I lift my head and ask one last question. "What's your name?"

"Klaus." He answers softly, releasing his wrist from my mouth and wiping the remnants of his blood from my lips with an ancient looking handkerchief.

"Klaus." I repeat the name to myself, trying to burn it into memory before dozing off. If I never see this man again, at least I'll have that.

Lyrics are from "Where the Lonely Ones Roam" by Digital Daggers.

A/N: Okay, so here's the deal. I'm not sure if I'm going to keep this story a one-shot or continue on. I feel like I'm cheating on my other two stories that I've pitifully dragged on for too long. But the inspiration and motivation just aren't in the right place with either of them right now – probably because I've got Klaroline on the brain lately! So anyways, let me know what you think. I already have a few chapters written, but we'll see.

And for those of you who are missing bad-ass Klaus, fear not…he is in there.