you think your dreams are the same as mine
Disclaimer: I do not own The Vampire Diaries
Note: Because I am a sucker for reaction fic, and because I refuse to believe that all of his feelings have burned.
She visits her father's grave almost daily, now.
Caroline had lied to Klaus, that night of the ball; her one regret is being clichéd and not knowing what she'd lost until she had to let it go. She barely sees her mother these days, although there is a strange comfort in how normal that actually is for them.
Abby has taken to vampirism surprisingly well. Caroline takes Bonnie's mother into the woods and teaches her control of every new, sharper faculty. It makes her think of Stefan, much to Caroline's own chagrin. Of course it doesn't help matters that her skin still pricks sometimes when the sun beats down on them at high noon.
She's seen neither the Salvatores nor the Mikaelsons in over a week, and she's not sure for which she's more grateful. Bonnie is more withdrawn now than she ever was, and Caroline can barely bring herself to be hurt when Matt's truck begins taking up residence in the Bennett driveway.
Bonnie deserves, at the very least, the company and comfort of the person who has remained relatively unchanged in their lives thus far. Caroline doesn't know if Bonnie and Elena have spoken since the night Abby was turned, nor does she ask. This is between her two dearest friends; she will not interfere.
Unfortunately for her, all this simply leads to Caroline, alone at her kitchen table with the last sympathy casserole, a glorified mac and cheese. It was her dad's favourite food, which spurns a small container's worth at his graveside, eaten in the moonlight. But it had started to taste like a sheet of cardboard mixing in with her tears.
So now she's here, unable to throw out the rest since her mother might need it, whenever it is she comes home. Unable to be otherwise distracted, Caroline's mind wanders unbidden to Klaus. The last time she'd laid eyes on him was in the midst of shepherding a dead (unconscious) Abby from the abandoned witch house.
He is alone, his silhouette slinking through the woods, looking at once as though he might collapse and as though a dark, powerful force is going to burst from his skin to slay them all. Her pity is a solid weight in her chest even as she tries to ignore it.
Their eyes meet for the briefest of moments before he blurs away into the night, and Caroline wonders what he saw.
She does not owe Klaus anything.
The silence is beginning to press down on her, sinking into her bones and makes some deep part of herself hurt. Caroline feels it so strongly now, the solitude, the loneliness, the pang of loss. Her eyes are caught in a flash of light as a car drives by the house and headlights reflect off the photos hanging visible in the hall.
Though it's too dark now to really see the photos, she memorized their contents long ago. Her family, before. Herself, Elena, and Bonnie, before.
Before all of this. Before this constant ache in her gut that can only be quelled by blood sliding down her throat, before she had seen enough death to last her all of the lifetimes yet to come. Before everything.
Caroline isn't sure why the next logical course of action is to blur across the kitchen, grab a frame and hurl it at the opposing wall, but that's what happens. That pang from before has swelled into real pain; it fills her up, crashing up against her ribs and heart until she can't breathe, not that she should technically need to because she's dead, but it hurts and it's not—crash fair—crash—
Until she stands there, shaking with uneven breath, surrounded by shards of glass that may as well be stardust. Caroline can feel tears clawing at her throat, which is more frustrating than anything. So rather than give in, she grabs a dustpan and tries to pick out the largest pieces.
And there is a voice.
She is not quite fast enough. Glass slices into her hand as she jerks to her feet.
His hand is already wrapped around her wrist, the rest of him uncomfortably close. This is it, Caroline thinks dully, looking at last into Klaus's eyes. This is the moment before she dies.
"What do you want?" she snaps, pleased at the sharpness of her tone. Caroline's palm has already begun to heal though droplets of crimson remain. Klaus's eyes slide from considering her to considering the appendage in his grasp; something in Caroline's stomach turns.
Even though nothing about the movement is jarring, her heart still leaps as Klaus guides her still open hand towards his lips. His tongue flicks against her skin. Caroline shivers in spite of herself, unable to stamp down the sudden intimacy of—whatever the hell this is now.
"I should really just kill you," Klaus says, sounding...conversational. It's infuriating. His grip on her isn't painful in the least, but she knows how easily her bones could be crumbled to dust. "I'm not sure why I thought you were worth my time."
She will not give Klaus the satisfaction of seeing her fear.
"But then again." His eyes lock hers in a grip of their own, searching for something Caroline's not sure he'll ever find. "You really didn't know, did you? What they were planning?"
"Elena was in trouble," she says, in lieu of a real answer. "It's all I needed." Caroline screws her face up with the most contempt she can muster. She thinks of that smile he'd offered her so plainly on the bench, and how quickly it had become danger, rage, fear. Fear for Kol.
It was foolish of her to forget how dangerous he really is.
How much he must really, truly, love his family.
Klaus has to go, Caroline realizes, before all this confusion succeeds in ripping her in half.
"What do you want?" she asks again, feeling the desperation scratch her vocal chords.
She feels trapped. She hates it. She hates it because it hadn't felt this way before.
"I want to know you."
Caroline is so over this charming first date routine. But even then, all she has is, "Why?"
"Because you haven't tried to push me away yet."
Why is she so slow tonight?
Caroline steps back reflexively, and is yet again surprised when Klaus releases her arm without complaint. She takes advantage of the moment to look at him properly; in a long sleeved white shirt and jeans, a cord around his neck, this might be the most dressed down Caroline has ever seen the strongest of all immortal beings.
There is a sudden urge to laugh, bubbling dangerously close to being uttered.
Klaus, in her kitchen, in jeans. It's unreal.
"Okay," she says, still listening to the voice that is insistent of danger. She'll play along, for now. "How do you suppose we do that?"
Klaus smiles, and it's so damn close to that grin from the bar that Caroline almost forgets herself. He steps around her to the table, where her laptop sits open and iTunes paused on her most melancholic playlist.
"Really? Setting the mood?"
He lets out a noise that may be a chuckle and what the hell is she doing? "I thought we might put all that training of yours to more use."
Caroline cannot hold back the snort. "My kitchen's a little small for a waltz don't you think?"
She recognizes the opening notes of her favourite Snow Patrol song almost immediately. As her brain tries to frantically process this new moment against the background this old, dear song, Klaus steps up again and offers her his hand.
"Oh I know, I thought we might just...what's that term?" The smile stretches across his face, and as Caroline watches something change in his eyes, she finds herself wanting to believe it to be true. That Klaus isn't just an omen of doom and death and heartbreak.
But that's probably just a bad delusion, now isn't it?
She has to say it slowly in order for the words to make sense. "You want to slow dance."
"Yes." Klaus's apparent delight is just making all of this worse. At Caroline's obvious hesitance, his lips curve. She's reminded of a slinking panther. Careful. "Indulge me."
So she does. Caroline takes his hand which Klaus guides to rest on his own shoulder, and just before she loses focus when his hands find her waist, she marvels at how soft his shirt is.
And so they turn in slow circles around her kitchen floor. After at least a minute, when Caroline contemplates relaxing the tiniest bit, Klaus speaks.
"Does it bother you?" he begins, and that tempting laughter reels its face again.
"Does what bother me?" That you've caused enough death to last all of my forever? That my best friends aren't speaking? That I hate and pity you at the same time and it's really annoying?
That you're making me dance with you when you probably just want to snap my neck?
"That your mother is never around?"
"It's nothing new."
Klaus's head tilts. "That's not what I asked."
She's forgotten, amazingly, how persistent he is. At least, when it comes to this strange apparent fascination he has with her. Everything else Caroline just chalks up to an overwhelming sadism.
"It's better this way," she says, still avoiding the question. "She wouldn't approve of anything my life is now."
"And yet she still invited me into your home in order to save your life. That's more than I can say for Esther."
Caroline has to look away at that. He's right after all. For whatever reason, the least she can do is not throw it in his face. Esther, not Mother. She can't imagine what it must feel like to be hurt so badly you call your own mother by her first name.
"I think she feels badly," she says, letting the words tumble out with little resistance. "After…"
"After you were turned?"
"No, I…" It's a miracle Caroline can still move her feet; Klaus's grip is sure and his hands are warm and something in her throat feels like it's swelling shut. "My-my dad, he uh…"
Shame. It's crawling up her spine and sealing the words in. Caroline cannot bring herself to explain the horror she suffered to the most powerful, dangerous being on the planet, and she doesn't know why, because out of all the people in her life he is probably the one who cares the least.
Klaus ducks his head to catch her eye. "He what?"
Caroline is reminded very acutely of the night in her room: his gentle tone, what sounded like the most brutal of honesties. She has to close the door on trying to figure out what all of this means. It's just too much.
She hasn't spoken of this in so long that the pain becomes as fresh as it was that day in the dark. "He-he tried to...fix me. He chained me to a chair, made me inhale vervain—showed me blood bags and he'd...let the sun in when I couldn't—when I—"
Caroline shakes her head, trying to rid herself of the memories. Tears prick at the corners of her eyes. Klaus is suddenly rigid in her arms. She tenses too, suddenly hyperaware of how close they are. When did that happen?
"Your father did that to you?"
The hairs rise on the back of her neck. Even though she's afraid to, Caroline looks Klaus in the eye and nods. She's surprised at the fury she finds there, burning behind his eyes like a barely tamed fire.
"And you...you forgave him."
Klaus's utter lack of understanding seems so laughably genuine that Caroline almost wishes she had a camera to preserve the moment. But then she remembers: Mikael. It's no wonder Klaus is so screwed up, she thinks. Look at his parents.
His eyes slip from hers as he tilts his head back with a smile. Caroline frowns, feeling slighted.
Klaus shakes his head, that disbelief still lingering in his expression. But then he looks at her again, and Caroline's heart does something strange and painful inside her chest. "You're even stronger than I thought."
She lets out a breath, a tiny huff of laughter, and glances away. She will not be pulled in. "Yeah, right."
Caroline is completely unprepared for Klaus's fingers to catch her chin and lift her eyes to his. She cannot stop the sharp intake of air that slaps hard against the back of her throat.
"You are," he says, firm and somehow absolute like she imagines the white oak tree from a thousand years ago. But even that could be destroyed, in the end.
So what does that say about Klaus?
They're locked in some sort of strange staring contest now; Caroline cannot for the life of her read what may be hiding in Klaus's gaze, and it's actually a little frightening, because he looks about as confused as she feels now and oh my god is he leaning—
The song is over.
Just like that, they're back in her kitchen: two people who should do nothing more but repel the other, close enough to trade heartbeats that neither should even be able to give. Caroline clears her throat and steps away.
The now familiar shift in Klaus's expression is like a gate sliding closed. Something that feels a little too close to regret curls in her gut.
"Goodnight, Miss Forbes."
He's gone before she can even take in a breath to reply.
"Caroline," she says to no one. "It's Caroline."
And I'm shaken
Then I'm still
When your eyes meet mine
I lose simple skills
Like to tell you
All I want
Author's Note: I just ship it so hard, you guys. Thoughts?