Disclaimer: I don't own anything that you recognise. Klaus and Caroline are just my OTP and I can't help but mess with them. Lyrics go to 'A Fine Frenzy'. Song is called Almost Lover.

...

"I should have known you would bring me heart ache,"

...

In the end, Elena finds a way. It shouldn't surprise Caroline, to be honest. Elena has two vampires on her side, who just happen to be two of the most determined people that she's ever met in her entire life. She's got Bonnie, a witch with the power of hundreds of her own ancestors behind her, who for some reason is always happy to help Elena. Don't get her wrong, Caroline is glad that Bonnie's there to help. Elena is their best friend and there is nothing that Caroline wants more than for Elena to get the normal life that was pulled from both Bonnie's and Caroline's grasp. But still, Bonnie's gram, mum and boyfriend were all gone because of Elena. (Jeremy, if you think about it, as well as the witch boy who'd been working for Elijah).

It makes sense, though, that in the end their little gang manages to kill an Original vampire and still manage to thwart the four other siblings, as well as the Original witch.

Elena had always trusted Elijah. Caroline had always thought it was a little stupid, but she began to understand as she grew close to him. There was something about them, their intelligence, their personsas—the sheer size of their experience and cunning made it easy to believe in them.

So Elena had been adamant. Elijah would not die for Klaus. As far as she was concerned, none of the other originals had to die for their brother's sins (which, let's face it, was a little unfair).

But they find a way. With the help of Bonnie and her ancestors, they break the bond that Esther has created. Katherine has found the white oak tree, and brought back a stake, and in the end, it's Stefan who thrusts the wood into his chest.

Caroline feels almost physical pain as she watches. He doesn't die the same way his father did. Maybe it's the hybrid in him, but he actually bleeds, a cry on his lips as his gaze finds hers. She watches as he dies. His body doesn't disintegrate, or anything. It's still there—a real corpse (which affects Caroline more than she likes to think because they're vampires. They don't do corpses. They do the clean up quickly and quietly.)

Oh god. How can she be expected to think about him like that, when all she can think about is the promises he won't be able to keep and the kisses he won't ever give again.

She is the last thing he sees, and similarly, he is the last thing that this Caroline Forbes wants to see.

It occurs to her as her friends glare at her, on the opposite side of the battlefield, that without him, she has nothing.

/

They put him in one of his coffins. There was one for every member of his family save for him so they put him in Rebekah's.

She can't think about it.

/

Rebekah is the one to convince her to leave. They'd grown close in the time that Caroline was with him. A sense of strange camaraderie had developed knowing that they were the only two girls that he trusted and would stay with.

Until Bekah disturbs her, Caroline has been curled up in his room. It's pathetic, she's sure, and she's never felt that she would be one of these girls, but for the moment, she can't bring herself to care. She both loves and hates her renewed sense of smell in here. He's everywhere around her, and she loves the feeling of being around his smell, but every time she opens her eyes, she remembers that the smell will fade, and he will never come back to her.

(Well, not anymore, right? Because he's gone. For good, this time).

She's wearing one of his shirts—a grey, long sleeved tee that is just so like him that it makes Caroline tear up to see herself in the mirror—when Rebekah knocks on the door.

"We're leaving," she says. Caroline can see that his scent affects her as well, and she watches as his sister stiffens slightly from the other side of the door.

Caroline is happy to pack a bag. She takes the shirt that she is wearing, and the necklace that he used to wear around his neck. Everything else, she leaves behind. She is allowed to mourn, she tells herself, but she will not waste away for him.

She decides to say goodbye. She won't be coming back, not in this lifetime anyway, and she doesn't want her last encounter with her old friends to be one of hate.

Bekah's done with the Salvatores—even, Stefan. She has no qualms about leaving, and thinks that goodbyes are trivial. After all, they killed him. Until them, he was the only one who never left her, and it was as Elena said. Rebekah loved blindly and impulsively—but as with everyone, nothing was stronger than family.

The loss of him is enough to spur both the blonde vampires away. Kol comes with them—his relationship with him had always been a mix between love and hate, but his loss is enough to make Kol drop the attitude (for a while, at least). Despite his bravado, Kol is and always has been the youngest of the Originals, and despite their problems, he's always loved his family.

Caroline is surprised by the kinship within their group. Especially considering their past.

Not surprisingly, they don't let her through the door of the house. Stefan and Damon provide a united front before Elena, not permitting her to even cross the threshold.

Caroline understands though, so she talks to Elena across their shoulders. She can see the young girl, Elena Gilbert with all her perfection and her compassion and her admirers, and she feels bad for being just another complication in her life. Bonnie is there too, by Elena for emotional support or something.

All four of them hear her speech.

It's a good speech. Almost as great as the ones she gave Matt when she was convincing him to give her a real chance. She tells them that she's sorry it happened this way, and that she didn't side with him because she wanted any of them to get hurt.

She gives a little shrug. "I think I loved him, you guys." She says simply.

She can see the disappointment in Elena's eyes melt in to shock, as Bonnie gasps a little. Damon's eyes narrow and Stefan rolls his. Of course, she thinks. Because they can be caught in their own little love triangles, and Elena can send Jeremy away without giving him a choice, but love is just not an option for him.

Or her, for that matter.

"I think you should leave," Damon says stonily, after her words sink in.

Caroline shrugs once more. "Sure," she says, and again, their reactions interest her. If the looks on their faces mean anything, it was that they weren't expecting it to be that easy. "We're all leaving."

It's at about this point that Elena pushes Damon and Stefan aside. Displaying her blind faith in people, as well as a little bit of human stupidity, she steps forward. "What?" she asks.

Caroline smiles sadly.

"There's nothing left for me here, Elena," she says, her lips thin. "You guys hate me and he—" her voice falters a little, and Elena is shocked to see that there are real tears in Caroline's eyes. The young vampire takes a deep breath. "He's gone."

She takes a step backwards, ready for this to be it. Elena takes a step forward, following her, but Stefan is quick to make sure that she doesn't move too far.

Caroline goes to end the speech. "I just wanted to say that I never wanted any of you to get hurt. You're all my friends, and I love you all—even you, Damon—and I hope that this isn't the last time I see you guys."

She glances at the two vampires and knows that it won't be. Stefan and Damon have been around long before her, and she's comforted by the thought that at least they will still be there in a hundred years (if she's still around then, that is, and no one else comes looking for trouble—which, let's face it, was unlikely).

But looking at Elena and Bonnie is like a punch in the gut. Elena, sure, may become a vampire one day. That seems to be where her relationship with the Salvatores is heading. But Bonnie? Bonnie is a witch, and vampires are something that she hates with every bone in her body. This could very well be the last time she see's her.

Bonnie seems to get that, as she too pushes her way past the vampires. Before Caroline can stop her, the young witch has her in an embrace.

"This doesn't mean I forgive you," Bonnie whispers harshly in her ear. "But I'm not going to let you leave without a hug."

Caroline smiles, and can't help the tears pooling in her eyes as she steps away.

"Where will you go?" Elena asks, a little shakily. Caroline notices how her body is leaning towards one of the brothers and decides that she knows which one Elena will end up with—even if none of them knew at this point. Still, it's nice to see that natural moment right before Caroline cuts all ties with them.

If her decision to leave wasn't enough to do it, her next sentence certainly is.

"Rebekah and Kol are going to show me Europe," she says quickly. Instantly, Elena has taken that step backward, Damon and Stefan are tense again, and Bonnie looks murderous. Caroline smiles, knowing that this is really the end of it. "I'll keep them out of Mystic Falls," she says with a third and final shrug. "I promise."

She smiles at all of them, before she runs away, speeding off and vanishing. She can't bare the judgement in their eyes again. Rick is dead—and even if that has nothing to do with the originals, and everything to do with that psycho doctor—she hadn't chosen the best time to swap sides.

/

They go to Lyon, first, in France. Rebekah knows someone there who is happy to take the coffin that they kept him in. They hide it in a mausoleum on church ground—knowing that the irony would both amuse and irritate him. It's a nice way to connect with him, she thinks.

She wonders what he would think of her travelling the world with his siblings. Maybe, she thinks, he's happy, because she's keeping at least part of his family together. They're bound together by their shared love of him, and that is all he'd ever wanted. To be loved, that is.

Yup. She thinks. He's watching over her (probably from Hell, if that's all to be believed) and he approves.

Kol suggests that they go to Paris but Caroline refuses. She doesn't want to see Paris—not when it was the first place he promised to take her.

She will tackle that bridge only when she absolutely has to.

/

They find the white oak tree. Neither Rebekah or Kol have any particular care for Katherine Pierce, and Caroline has been itching to get the upper hand ever since she'd been suffocated in that hospital bed. After many hours of torture, Katherine relents and exchanges the whereabouts of the tree for her life.

They make her watch as they burn it down, and break her neck one more time just for extra measure.

When she wakes, they make sure to tell her that will be watching her, and if they ever hear of the damn white wood again, she will be the first they find.

Katherine's eyes catch Caroline's the second before she flees.

"I knew you'd do well," she has time to whisper on the air before she is away. Kol offers to catch her again, so that they can do more damage, but Caroline forgets it.

Caroline would do well, she thinks. She'd prove it to everyone in her life that ever underestimated her. She wasn't vampire barbie any more—never again. She was a vampire no more than three years old, who walks with Originals. She is not to be trifled with.

/

She makes sure that they stay away from all the places that he talked about. She knows that it's foolish, but she doesn't want to go to Rome or Paris or Tokyo. Instead, she's happy to go to places like Barcelona, and Rio, and Figi.

Honestly, what would she do without her sunlight ring?

/

They're in Turkey when they run into some werewolves. The animals are no problem for either Kol or Rebekah, who can easily swat the dogs away from them. They were designed to be better than the wolves in every way, weren't they? And these younglings pose no threat to them—sure, the bite can kill them, but none of the dogs are quick enough to get that close.

Caroline, on the other hand, is an easy target. She's still a young vampire (comparatively) of about twenty of thirty years, and if the werewolf gets near her, she's going to die.

She considers letting it. (Didn't he once tell her that he'd thought about it once or twice? How dare he consider it? If he had, he would have never met her. Would he have said it if he'd known what would happen to him?)

She get's close—too close. The wolf is launching at her, fangs bared and she realises that there is no way to go back on this decision now, when Kol appears from nowhere and swats the dog away as if it were a fly.

"Don't be a moron," he tells her, serious for a rare moment in his life. "He wouldn't want this."

Kol wouldn't know anything about what he wanted. They spent their time arguing (at least that's what she saw in the short time she witnessed them together). But she feels grateful that she's not dead the next morning, and tells them that she's happy to leave now.

/

Stefan meets them in Prague. So Elena has made her decision then, Caroline asks him, to break the awkward silence.

Yes. It was Damon. Stefan doesn't seem too bothered by this, and shrugs when Caroline asks about it. "He deserves to have someone love him like she does," he says simply. "And if she didn't want me, I wasn't going to stop them being happy."

She wonders if Klauswould have done that, had she chosen Tyler.

She thinks he probably would have, only with a little more self destruction in his path.

But she hadn't chosen Tyler, so it didn't matter. She'd chosen the Original, and they'd killed him.

Still, Stefan ends up tagging along with them. It wasn't intentional, apparently, that he found them. He gets along well enough with Kol, who's decided to put his brother's murder behind him in favour of peace (after he's kicked Stefan around a little bit).

Rebekah is more of a challenge to the youngest Salvatore, but he doesn't seem disappointed to be reunited with her. She's a stubborn soul, and she always has been. She views him with contempt and hatred for the first couple of years, before she realises that he's staying this time. Elena is in the past for him, and she's happy to accept him back.

(Their reunion—the real one—is long, and loud and Caroline just wants to block the noise out. But vampire's hearing is too good to be stifled by a pillow pressed to her head and it's impossible).

Oh, and Elena's a vampire. She was turned a couple of years ago, Stefan says on the first night that they meet again. Damon turned her when she found out that she wasn't able to have children. She was older than them (even if it's all relative at this point.) Caroline and Stefan had been frozen when they were seventeen, never to reach the real birthday (eighteen). But Damon was turned when he was twenty six* and Elena was turned when she was about twenty five, so they suit each other.

It surprises Caroline to think that Elena is out there now, living her life with Damon. She is as immortal as Caroline is now, and there is every chance they could run into each other again.

/

They go clubbing in LA, and she gets asked for her ID. Of course, it's easy to get a fake for vampires, but Caroline is pissed about her eternal seventeeness already, so it's easier just to compel the bouncer to shut up. She drinks a few shots and dances with Kol.

When she wakes up the next morning in his naked arms, she realises that this is really not the place for her any more.

Kol regrets it as much as she does—but still manages to laugh a bit about how he got his older brother's girl. The same sentiment tears Caroline up inside. She loved Klaus, real love, and she knows it now that she's older. They knew each other for eleven months—the first four filled with threats, the following three during which he peppered her with gifts and compliments and the next three filled with passionate sex, kissing and promises. Kol is the first vampire she's been with since him and it makes her sick.

She decides to leave. Kol does as well, but they go their separate ways. Rebekah makes them promise not to vanish entirely—they are her family, and if Klaus taught her anything it was that they needed to stay a family for him. Caroline is flattered to be called part of his family, and agrees to return, to visit soon.

For now, it's time for her to go see those places that he would have taken her.

/

Paris is first. Genuine beauty is what he said, and it's so much more than that, that Caroline can't find a way to express it. She wanders the art museums, learns the language and climbs the Eiffel tower twice. She imagines what he would have said as they walked around the world, and the thought actually makes her smile.

He said he had some painting hanging in museums. She doesn't want to think about which are his.

/

It's on a cold Paris night that she curls up in front of the fire and really thinks about him. The night when she made her decision and went to him, telling him that if he wanted a second chance, she was happy to give it to him.

The night had been filled with awkward space. Between their words, their sentences and even between them. She'd sat on the couch, trying to relax and finding it impossible, while he'd sat on the floor, leaning against the wall beside the roaring fire with his drawing pad on his lap.

She searches through her things and finds the shirt of his. She doesn't wear it often—worried that his scent will vanish—but that night, she pulls it on and curls up into a ball. She watches the street from her window and wonders if there is anyone else out there, missing someone as much as she misses him.

/

Rome, is next. She goes to the Colosseum, learns the language, and eats the pizza. She's still drinking from blood bags (something that she's never stopped doing since leaving Mystic Falls).

She is strolling along the cobblestone streets when she wonders if he came by here in the past. If he'd roamed these streets, dressed in a toga and following the ancient Roman social traditions. She can still remember when Alaric told her that they used to share bathrooms, and just chat while they got to business.

She imagines him, sitting in a large room, crapping, while chatting to the Roman Emperor, and the thought makes her laugh out loud.

Still, she gets a letter that night, sent to her small apartment, and she finds that Bonnie has died. It makes sense—it has been about sixty years since Mystic Falls—but it hits her like a punch to the gut. The same feeling she had when she was hugging the witch goodbye. The funeral is in Mystic Falls, held by her son and daughter—and their families.

Bonnie had been a grams to someone else, Caroline thinks warmly and she decides that she must put the past behind her to say goodbye to her friend.

/

It's no surprise that Elena is there. Caroline is beginning to suspect that Elena was the one who sent the letter to her in the first place. Damon is with her of course, and it looks like the sixty years they've spent apart from Caroline has done something for their perspective.

Elena greets her with a hug. "I'm so glad you're here," she says sincerely.

Caroline is a little put off by her appearance. She is older after all, about twenty five. She stands with Damon so casually that it makes her jealous. Elena has had sixty years with her true love, and still had the promise of a lifetime.

Damon seems to sense the resentment in her eyes and frowns. (He's always been quite perceptive.) But he doesn't talk about it. Instead, he shrugs. "It's good to see you again, barbie."

She punches his quite hard in the arm, but it's with a fond smile. He brushes off the movement and they turn their attention to the funeral.

Again, it shouldn't surprise Caroline that Bonnie's daughter and son are witches. They block them from the entrance to the church in the same way that Damon and Stefan had blocked Caroline from seeing her when she left.

"You're not welcome here." They say simply.

Damon's nostrils flare, but Elena holds him back as Caroline steps forward. She's been living with Originals for years, she remembers, and picked up their confidence along the way.

"We aren't here to cause any problems," she says softly. "She was our friend and we would just like to say goodbye."

The speech isn't as great as other ones in her past and it almost doesn't work. What does work, however, is the framed picture that one of Bonnie's grandchildren errantly brings to Bonnie's daughter.

The child frowns slightly at Caroline, who watches her with a smile, before she lifts the photo. "You're old." She says, sticking a finger in her mouth and biting it. Then she pushes the photo in Caroline's grasp.

The young girl is pulled away almost instantly, but Caroline has never been interested in hurting anyone. Instead, she's transfixed by the photo.

Her, Elena and Bonnie. A photo taken only a couple of months before Elena's car accident. Nothing supernatural in their lives at all. Elena didn't know that she was adopted, or that she was a doppelganger, Bonnie thought witches only existed in Harry Potter and Caroline hadn't eternally fucked up her love life by falling for an Original vampire.

The photo is enough to convince Bonnie's children to let them in. They watch the service from a distance, not wanting to press their boundaries, and once the service is over, they each have a separate moment with her coffin (god, Caroline hates coffins).

Damon talks softly to Bonnie, but Caroline can hear him call her 'Sabrina' (presumably a 'teenage witch' reference). Elena cries to the wooden box (closed casket, that god) and Caroline says that she's so sorry for letting Bonnie down.

They part with a promise to see each other again. Elena says that she doesn't want to just hear in a letter than she has died, and then have to say goodbye to someone who can't hear her.

Caroline feels the same way, but is then left to wonder—if Elena didn't send the letter, then who did?

/

She's in Tokyo (and yes, she's learned the language) when she gets the next letter. It tells her to go to the site of the white oak tree, and wait, during March.

As if that makes much sense.

Caroline gets in touch with Kol, for back up, and they meet there.

They wait for hours before something finally changes. Katherine arrives, and presses a necklace into her hands—and holy crap is that Elena's necklace? Rebekah's necklace? The Original Witch's necklace?

"Tell him that I'm done," Katherine hisses. "I'm out of his debt or whatever. He doesn't have anything over me now."

Caroline shares a look with Kol and doesn't dare to hope. Katherine rolls her eyes, holding out a knife and snipping off a lock of her hair. She presses the knife into her hands, and cuts her hand letting some of the blood drop onto the hair. She ties it around the necklace and shrugs. "At midnight, burn it in the ashes of the tree."

Then she's gone.

/

They do. If this means what Caroline can't bear to hope it means, then they're not taking any chances. They do it all well, and on the night of the equinox (midnight, to be precise) there is a flash of blue light, and then nothing.

Caroline waits for a few minutes before realising that maybe Katherine has just fucked her over again. Jesus, when will she stop being so gullible?

Kol rests a hand on her back. "We should probably go," he begins to say, but he's interrupted.

"Brother, can I ask why your hands are on my Caroline?"

/

Caroline spins around and there he is, in all of his brilliant glory. Kol stares at him in shock for a moment, but he recovers when he hears Caroline's shout of glee. She launches herself at him and hugs him close before she hits him on the arm.

"What did you do?" she demands of him.

He watches her with a sly grin before he kisses her briefly. "Caroline," Klaus says slowly. "Sweetheart, of course I had a plan."

...

"Almost Lovers always do,"

...

A/N: Not entirely sure how I feel about this one shot. I was working on getting inspiration for my multichip fic, and decided to just write something like this. But I feel that I wasn't very good to Caroline's character at all.

Hum.

Well, let me know. Please review. (Also, the next chapter of 'The Guilty Ones' should be out within the next day. If you haven't read it, go give it a chance. It's also hopelessly Klaroline) ;)

* Not sure how old Damon is when he was turned—I'm better with the books on those type of facts—but if any one would like to let me know? I couldn't find it on Wiki/Google :/

OH. And if anyone's confused: Not really sure about what Klaus's plan was or whatever, but I figured that it could involve the white oak tree and something of one of the doppelgangers and boom, bang, no questions asked. He's back.

x