Disclaimer: I don't own anything that you recognise. Unless you, too, have a crazy ass passion for Klaroline and will probably kill yourself if they don't get together. In which case, yes. We share that.

Summary: Basically, a bit of a follow up after Klaus is all 'you betrayed me' and burns the pictures of Caroline. Told from Caroline's POV, the following weeks (including my own ideas about what could have happened to Rick—WHO ELSE IS FREAKING OUT PEOPLE!)

Nb: UNABASHEDLY KLAROLINE, BITCHEZ. Plez enjoy.

...

Kin

...

The pictures stop coming. So do the obscure (and probably super expensive) gifts that had an uncanny way of appearing on her pillow. Everything and anything that she'd ever related to his annoying habit ceased, and for all she knew, he could have disappeared.

But it's more than that. Not only is he not giving her anything anymore, but he has taken everything that he'd given her in the past. The drawings vanish as quickly as they appeared, and the dress that had hung in the back of her wardrobe for a few days leaves with it.

/

For obvious reasons, Caroline is initially glad at this turn of events. To be honest, her life is a complicated one, and she doesn't need some all powerful hybrid obsessing about her. Not when she has Tyler to worry about (who's out trying to deny said psychopathic immortal all for her) and no after her dad has just died. Not to mention, she's the one who has to teach Abby how to deal with her baby vampire cravings, since neither of the Bennet witches want anything to do with Damon or Stefan.

It's only after a couple of days that she lies down in her bed and realises that she can't just pull the painting out from under her bed and look at it.

Honestly, it had fascinated her. How could his destructive hands—hands that had broken necks, ripped out hearts, brought men to their knees—create something so beautiful? How could those hands portray her in a way that made her feel almost content with who she was? (Only for a moment, though, you understand. Klaus isn't magic. He's not going to send all of her insecurities away with a simple swipe of a pencil).

It had been something that was hers. Something that no one could take away. Not Elena, with her compassion that reached often times ridiculous levels, and not Bonnie who's 'holier-than-thou' attitude was only increasing by the day. Not even Katherine—the woman who had literally squashed her life out of her—could take this from her.

Well. Maybe someone could take it.

Because Klaus apparently had no difficulties returning to her room to take it back. The message was clear. Whatever it had been that had entranced him was gone. The illusion smashed, his ideal of her ruined. She had made the mistake of manipulating him, and he wasn't someone to easily cross.

She tried not to think about how he had an invite to her house. There was really nothing at all protecting her from him.

Still, whatever.

He was the bad guy. He'd killed Jenna and Elena and tried to kill Jeremy and turned Tyler into a hybrid and made Stefan go crazy insane. This was him mess—and he would be the only one to blame when he had to inevitably fix his own mess.

So yeah.

Her conscience is clear.

/

She spends the following four days with an empty space inside her stomach that she can't quite place. It's not heartache—she knows, because that's right there anyway, and has been there since Tyler left. But the hole that his absence has left in her heart has nothing to do with the other feeling.

It swashes around in her stomach and she thinks that maybe this is the vampire version of nausea. Maybe Klaus snuck into her house and poisoned all her blood bags, to watch her deteriorate slowly, she thinks errantly.

But no. That isn't it.

Because this isn't the type of feeling that be bottled in a flask with a skull and crossbones sticker to mark it. This is a destructive hole, a weight in her that she can't expel. But she can't figure out what it is, let alone begin to consider how to get rid of it.

Unfortunatley for Caroline, it's growing larger by the second.

/

She ends up in front of Klaus's mansion with a scowl on her face and a tongue lashing to match no other verbal beat down at the ready. She only hesitates momentarily when she arrives (even in the middle of the day and without the grand decor that had covered it for the ball, it is an amazing house, and she feels a little intimidated) before she gets back into it.

No. This is the hybrid who ruined her life—who scared and terrified all of her friends on a daily basis, messed up Stefan's head royally and sent her boyfriend on a search to find himself for her. He did not reserve the right to feel angry with her for participating in a plan to save her best friend.

No way.

She knocks on the door harshly, her fists banging against the wood, rather than her knuckles.

The door opens.

Klaus stares at her for a moment, and Caroline's breath is momentarily taken away by the emotion in his eyes.

The door slams close, and Caroline is left to face the wood and wonder what in the hell that even means.

/

She goes to Elena's after she's finished with Abby's lessons for the day. The elder Bennet woman had years of self control on Caroline and it looked like the process was going much smoother for her. (Not smooth, though, because this is a witch who's just been turned into a vampire, and how could she really be expected to deal with it?) But it's only been a couple of days, and Abby is going much better than Caroline did. For one, she hasn't killed anyone.

The hardest thing about this arrangement, Caroline thinks matter of factly, is that Bonnie still refuses to talk to Elena. Or mention Elena. Or really, think about anything to do with Elena or the vampires that had been trying to protect her.

It's been up to Caroline in the recent days to figure out how to keep the mess together, until her two friends decide they can fix it. So sure, now that she's finished helping Abby, she's going to go and help Elena, who really can't afford to lose friends right now (not when there's a certifiable psycho on her tail, Jeremy's god knows where, both the Salvatores are ignoring her and Rick's officially missing).

It's no surprise really, that when Caroline arrives at the Gilbert house, she spends an hour just sitting on the couch with her friend, trying to stop the brunette from crying. In the end, she lets Elena rest her head on her knees while she cries, and is happy to stroke Elena's hair out of the way. It's what best friends exist for, she knows, and it's about time Elena finally stopped trying to be so tough and actually let loose.

"You're a good friend, Caroline," Elena says, her voice a little hoarse from the crying even though she's stilled slightly and is now just deeply breathing from her spot. Caroline smiles, and pulls her hair back.

"Someone's got to be," she says frankly, and the words make Elena smile a little sadly.

There is a moment's pause.

"How is she?" Elena finally asks, as Caroline stiffens slightly. She's reminded of exactly how in the middle she is right now, and how Bonnie had actually glared a little earlier, when Caroline had told her where she was going. Caroline knew that it was just because of how recent everything had been—Bonnie didn't hate Elena.

Still, Caroline isn't going to lie. She's done with lying. She's turning over a new leaf, she's decided, because lies only complicate things way more than necessary. And extra complications were really not what they needed right now.

"She's not handling it very well," she sighs softly, her fingers lifting strands of Elena's hair and beginning to errantly plait. "But they're both getting through it." She pauses; when she notices Elena's head cringe from its spot. "Hey," she says her voice louder now. "You don't get to blame yourself for this one, Elena."

Elena's eyes move down and she refuses to meet the blonde's gaze. Caroline grits her teeth and readjusts herself, leaning forward.

"This is not your fault." She says, her voice soft, but her words hard. There is no room for argument here. She knows that Elena finds a way to blame herself for a lot, and it's probably pretty easy in this situation, but there is no way that Caroline is going to let her friend go through this when it wasn't even her fault to begin with. "If anyone is to blame, it's Elijah."

Of course, this was exactly where she didn't want this conversation to go. The originals, as a group, were the most annoying people on the planet right now, and for just an hour, Caroline had been keen to try and forget they existed.

But that doesn't mean she's not wrong.

"He's the one who put you in that tomb—hey, why don't we blame Rebekah?" Caroline offers. "She's a bitch."

(Sure, there may be a little personal judgement in that statement, but hell, the blonde one-thousand year old had been hitting on her boyfriend when she first met her. She'd gone on to make a first impression of snapping her neck, and threatening to kill Elena. It certainly wasn't a great track record).

Then again, there is one more person to blame for all this. It's easy, because he's always been the bad guy, but for the moment, Caroline's not sure how Elena will react.

She's saved for the moment by Elena's sad sigh. "I stabbed her in the back, Caroline." She says simply. "I'd be pissed if it were me."

Caroline scoffs. "Oh she totally got you back for that—she slept with Damon, didn't she?" Crap.

Caroline winces as her motor mouth leads her to stumble across the name of the very person she'd been trying to leave out of the conversation. There is an awkward silence, while Caroline figures out what to say (because she is not opening her mouth again without thinking about it, damnit) during which all they can do is silently pretend that they both don't know what Rebekah sleeping with Damon would get to Elena so much.

Elena barely even reacts. Her hand curls into a fist where it rests on Caroline's knee, and she closes her eyes.

Because essentially, this is Damon's fault. His hands were the guilty ones—the ones that snapped Abby's neck—the ones that he'd torn open to feed Abby his own blood.

Elena knows what she's thinking. "You can't blame him," she says, not willing to let him take the fall for this. "He did it for me."

Caroline shrugs, and some of the bitterness that she always feels when Damon is mentioned spurs her next response. "Yeah, well, sometimes, you have to really think about whether or not killing your girlfriend's best friend's mum is the greatest way to get what you want."

The words come out cold and callous and Caroline is reminded why Bonnie is usually the one who does the comforting.

"Damnit," she mutters. "I'm sorry—that came out wrong."

Elena is still for a moment. "He's not my boyfriend," she says softly. "He should have just let me take care of it."

Caroline sighs. Along with her compassion, Elena's self-sacrificing streak was strong and angry. Elena's told her all about what happened down in those caves with Rebekah, but it's only fair to think that even with her words, Rebekah would have eventually torched the place, with Elena still inside. Truth be told, Elena really wasn't that great at negotiating.

And that's the reason they're in this whole mess to begin with. The situation that they'd been put in was an impossible one. There was no way to get out of it without the damage. Without bridges being burned (although, come on, Klaus and Caroline had never had a bridge) and people being killed.

"Can you imagine what Bonnie would have gone through if she found out that you had died to save her and her mum?" Caroline asks softly, the words ringing out in the silence like verse. They spring off the walls and hover in the air, giving both the girls' times to really think about it.

Caroline takes a deep breath now. "Look, Elena. Damon is in love with you—and I don't know what to think about that, let alone what you think about that. But he was faced with the idea of losing you and he dealt with that the best way he could."

A pregnant pause.

Elena exhales softly—part sigh, part sob. "And he wouldn't have had to do anything if I hadn't left with Elijah."

Alright, Caroline thinks. Time for some extra measures. She moves her hands and grasps Elena's shoulders slightly, pulling her up into a seating position. Once Elena is upright, she twists on the couch and turns to look the doppelganger in the eye.

"Look," she says seriously. "This is one of those things that no one can fix quickly. Bonnie pretty much just lost her mum, and she can't step away from that grief at this point. This is her family, Elena—and you, more than most, understand how important that is."

Elena watches her with sad eyes, but nods. Elena has always been way too perfect for her own good, and in addition to looking perfect enough to model for something after crying her eyes out for an hour, she's smart. She gets it.

"Matt forgives his mum every time that she comes back into town. Tyler cried at his dad's funeral, even after everything he did to him. Stefan and Damon have taunted each other for a hundred and sixty years, and would still die for each other. You sent Jeremy away to keep him safe. I forgave my dad for torturing me for days. That's family, you know?" she smiles slightly, and sighs. "It's more important than any other relationship in life, and right now, Bonnie needs time to focus on that."

That's about the time that she has her epiphany.

Oh.

A couple of minutes later, after both the girls have cried a little, and Elena's excused herself to go wash her face and find a happy romantic comedy for the two of them to watch, Caroline leans back in the couch and thinks about her revelation.

/

Heading to Klaus's mansion for a second time might not be the wisest thing that she can do, but now, she finally understands that hole in her stomach—and it's been growing more now that she knows what it is.

She loved her dad enough to forgive that he tortured her for days. He held her in sunlight and took away her ring and taunted her with blood and vervain. If it had been anyone else, she would have been done with them instantly. But no, it was her father, and she was happy to forgive him if it meant she got to keep him.

(Which it didn't, since he's gone and been murdered by that psycho, but that isn't the point). He was her Dad, and she loved him and she couldn't imagine a time where she didn't love him.

It hadn't been hard for Caroline to know that if her dad had taken that human blood and changed with her, he would be the most important person in her life. Not only would he have been her father, but he would have been a companion. A constant in a life that she couldn't end, and the only family she'd ever have again. And she could only imagine the fury that would come from her hands if someone hurt him.

She thinks to the flash in Klaus's eyes right before he turned back to look at the bar. "Kol."

If Klaus only has his brothers and his sisters, and they are offering to forgive him for all his misgivings then she can understand why he would get so angry. Sure, his brother was involved in a plot to kill Elena. But on the other hand, she was involved in a plot to kill his brother.

Reaffirming her epiphany, she lifts a steady hand and knocks on the door three times.

The door opens.

(Caroline notes that originals are really swift in answering their house callers). Unfortunatley for Caroline, its Rebekah.

When the blonde vampire realises who it is that's standing in front of her, she lets out a wounded sigh and shifts her weight to one leg. Keeping a firm grip on the door that she's opened, Rebekah lifts her other hand and rests it on her hip.

"What do you want?" she asks, almost lazily. (Really, would it be too much to ask that the originals treat her like she was more than just a fly?—okay, no wait. She's already had an original treat her like that. And no matter how much she's missed the drawing of her and the horse, she's not exactly to move back to that level of creepy).

Caroline squares her hips though. Come on, she urges herself. She is Miss Mystic Falls. She doesn't have to take this crap from—oh, hell no, is that bitch smirking at her?

"I really don't see what he saw in you," Rebekah comments airily. "You're really nothing special."

Ouch. Caroline is disturbed to find that she's less worried by the actual insult and more worried by the past tense 'saw'. Did that mean she'd finally managed to get the original off her back?

Caroline smiles thinly at Rebekah, hoping to hide the flinch from the verbal jar. "Nice to see you too, Rebekah," she says, her false way to sickly sweet to be seen as sincere.

Rebekah turns her head to the side for a minute and considers Caroline, before she straightens again.

"You made a mistake, you know." She says after a minute. The words send a cold shiver down Caroline's spine, but she doesn't say anything. She lets Rebekah continue. "I told Elena that he has no tolerance for those who disappoint him—how do you think he feels about those who use him?"

The words are so cold that Caroline physically recoils slightly. Use him? She hadn't used him? Sure, she'd distracted him—but that hadn't exactly been hard. All she'd had to do was turn him down and she'd known that he would follow her and—oh.

Right. Use him.

Caroline frowns, trying not to think about how she feels about that. She wasn't someone who used people. Not since Damon had used and abused her. Surely, this was Klaus, her sanity argued. He deserved it.

No one deserves that.

She swallows shakily. "I thought you hated him," she says, changing the subject.

Rebekah quirks a single brow, and shrugs. "He's my brother," she says. "Of course I hate him."

Caroline's never had a brother, so she's not entirely sure how to respond to that question. Sure, she's seen Jeremy and Elena together—but they'd never really been some of those bickering siblings. They just had real fights. She doesn't really know what to do until Rebekah moves again.

"But," the original continues. "I also love him, which is why I'm telling you to get the hell out of here."

There is a pause, and Caroline frowns. "You did tell me tha—?"

"—Get the hell out of here."

/

She decides that she needs to apologise. Not for defending Elena or anything, and certainly not for refusing his advantages. But for using him, and for manipulating him, and for trying to kill his brother, she'll apologise.

Now she just needs to figure out how to get the message to him, seeing as he obviously doesn't want to see her.

It's not like she could just buy him jewellery that once belonged to a princess, or anything.

/

They find Rick. It's been two weeks since they've heard from him, but apparently while embedded in his self-destructive state, Damon has been searching high and low for his best friend (everyone else has been helping, of course. Even Stefan helped. Caroline was only out of the search because she was in charge of helping Abby).

Anyway, the Salvatores were the ones to find him. Handcuffed to a kitchen drawer, Rick was practically unconscious when they found him, with an infected bullet shot to the leg that was slowly killing him the natural way. Stefan had no qualms killing off Rick's assailant—Dr. Psycho who had kept him in her house while she tried to figure out how to make sure he didn't tell anyone that she was actually a psycho serial killer—but had decided just to knock her out for now. Caroline was already looking forward to getting her hands on the bitch that had murdered her father.

Caroline spends an extra amount of time at the hospital though, staying away from Meredith Fell. Maybe it's like that revenge kick that Rebekah's on—hurting the doctor now was too easy. Something in her mind told her that she needed to wait—think of something that was good enough for her revenge, before she got to it.

So she distracts herself with Rick. It's a bit boring to be honest—the infected wound is enough that he needs to have his leg removed—which means that he's pretty much under anaesthetic twenty four seven. All she needs to do is be there to talk to him in the seven minutes that he's away and lucid each day. They've been fitting him a prosthetic while he sleeps, but it will take at least six months of heavy physical therapy before he really learns how to walk with it.

It's a good distraction. She's not teaching vampires how to kill bunnies, and she's not caught between her conscience and the original vampire whose feeding guilt into her like it's on a stomach pump.

Instead, she's sitting with a friend, trying to make sure that he's okay.

Damon is around surprisingly often, and she finds that it doesn't bother her. Instead, it's a nice chance to talk to the elder Salvatore away from everyone else. While Elena is with her pretty much all of the day, she leaves at the end of the day—leaving the night watch to the two vampires.

He's still annoying of course, and he still calls her 'barbie' and 'blondie' and a bunch of other nicknames that make her want to punch him in the face. But it's nice to see how concerned he is for Rick, and Caroline finds herself smiling every time she catches his watching his sleeping friend nervously.

It's also a good time to talk about how this facade he's trying to put on is fooling a grand total of no one.

"You should just drop it," she tells him. "You're just kind of regressing."

Damon's eyes flash, but not in the super dangerous way she's learnt means 'run for the hills'. Just in a sort of irritated way, as though she's reminding him of some unpleasant truth. Which, you know, she totally is.

"You don't know what you're talking about, Blondie." He snaps at her, before looking back to his friend, content on ignoring her.

Fine.

Clearly he doesn't want to talk about himself. She decides that now is a good a time as any to get to asking him the question that's been burning in her head for a while now.

"Why did you choose me to distract Klaus?" she asks for a minute. "If you'd sent in Stefan, it would have been so much more controlled."

Damon regards her for a second, his blue eyes flashing (and he looks super hot doing it, by the way, which is annoying.) Then he shrugs. "I killed Bonnie's mum to make sure that Elena was alright. I guessed that if Klaus liked you that much, you were the least likely to get killed."

Which was a nice sentiment.

/

Caroline wonders what he might think if she found a way to sneak into his room, and left a drawing on his pillow. Granted, it would probably just be a stick figure in a skirt, accompanied by an air bubble that said 'Sorry!' in big, loud letters, but it was the thought that counts, right?

/

Tyler calls. He's panting, and there is a strain in his voice that only means he's been in pain and it breaks Caroline's heart a little. "I'm not coming home," he tells her desperately. "I can't do this Caroline. But I'll stay away from you, I promise. I'm sorry."

She goes to the bar and orders herself a drink. She's not ever too keen on compulsion, but for the moment, all she wants to do is forget about her life for a bit.

She barely even notices when someone slides into the seat beside her. She only really picks up on Kol's presence when she turns her head to see him chuckling at her.

"You are really not what I expected." He tells her, because what the fuck is that supposed to mean?

She rolls her eyes and takes another long draw from her drink before setting it back on the table. She wants to just bury her head in her hands and close her eyes and cry, but at this point, she's sitting next to the most volatile of originals (apparently) and she doesn't think it's very smart to just ignore him.

So she says what's on her mind. "What the fuck is that supposed to mean?" If she'd said it with a harsh inflection, she could have expected to offend the youngest original. But she isn't angry or annoyed by the question—and it comes out tired and bored, like maybe, just maybe, the answer will be enough to finally push her over the edge.

Kol watches her for a minute before he shrugs. He gets a drink without having to compel anyone—even though he looks younger than her (kind of, barely). He rests his elbow on the table and turns slightly, not looking at her as he responds.

"You know," he says, ignoring her questions. "I always knew that Nik would find a girl eventually. But I figured she'd be just as annoying as Tatia was." He pauses for a meaningful second, probably debating his words, while the only thing in Caroline's head is a steady string of 'who the fuck is Tatia?' But he continues. "I didn't expect it to be you."

Despite the unconventional reaction she's having to hearing about this Tatia chick, Caroline scoffs. "Your brother barely even knows me," she brushes his words off. "I'm not his girl."

Kol looks at her as though she's missing something huge. She doesn't have any idea what it might be though, so she just waits for him to expand. He doesn't let her down.

"We've lived for a thousand years, Caroline. Do you really think we don't know who a person is the second we meet them?"

And with that uncanny statement, he finishes the rest of his drink. He swivels in his chair and faces her.

"Now listen," he says solemnly. "My brother has been moping around the house for days because of the part you played in the attempt on our now shared lives. And while few things entertain me more than him being miserable, one of those things is our arguments. And he's in such a place that he's on no effort to humour me. Do you see my problem?"

Really? Caroline thinks. Klaus's alleged mood annoys him because it means that they aren't arguing? The sibling-like sentiment on that idea makes Caroline frown, because for a moment, Kol and Klaus stop being an all powerful original vampire and the first hybrid and are just brothers who thrive on arguing with each other and enjoy their verbal spars.

Kol flashes her a cheeky grin, reaching out and pressing a hand over Caroline's. She freezes as she witnesses his boyish face transform. Despite his youthful features, as he falls serious, Caroline can suddenly see that he is, in fact, a thousand years old. There is an age in his eyes that Elijah wears constantly, that Klaus hides behind everything but his anger and that Rebekah has never shown (and, well, she's never met Finn, has she?)

He stills.

"Listen to me," he says. "You need to understand that I have never seen my brother make himself vulnerable—at least not since we died. He's always been smarter than that."

There is a sudden silence—and Caroline feels as though the entire Grill has fallen quiet. It hasn't, instead it has just faded into the background—useless to her as Kol speaks.

"You need to understand what that means for you," Kol tells her, "and also that I bare no such attachment to you." Caroline frowns, not sure what that means, until he continues. "If you ever manipulate that power again, I'll kill you."

There is a beat of continued quiet, before the boyish face returns. He flashes her a grin, pulling his hand away from her and slipping off the stool. "See you around, Sticks," he says to her.

/

Is Sticks her? Because she's already dealing with 'Blondie' and 'Barbie' from Damon, and has put up with the 'sweethearts' and 'loves' from Klaus. Honestly, she doesn't need any more vampires in this town coming up with weird nicknames for her.

/

The third time she approaches the Mikaelson house, she is prepared. She's even done a bit of recon and made sure that Kol has taken Rebekah out of the house. She squares herself in front of the door for a second, preparing herself for the moment that's coming, before she lifts her hand and steadily raps her knuckles, thrice against the door.

When he opens it, she gives him no time, pushing past him.

(Yeah. That's a story for the next generations. She pushed past him).

"Caroline." He says, his voice observant (and slightly amused) as he closes the door behind her. "What are you doing here?"

His voice is still deliciously British, a part of her head observes, while simultaneously feeling upset at the distinct lack of pet name. But, she reminds herself, she is better than that. She is not some hormonal woman here to assault him—she is a young woman, who knows what she's doing, and is here to apologise for a mistake. And it's not because Kol threatened her, or because she's secretly in love with him.

It's because she feels bad, and until she tells him why she was in a plan to hurt him and his family, she's not going to feel better. If he deserves anything then a lot of it is negative. This is one of those few positive things, where this time she was in the wrong.

She was the Meredith Fell to her Dad. In the same way that Meredith had savagely killed her father, and hurt Rick to the point where he have to have a leg removed, she had planned and plotted to kill his family.

She didn't know Meredith's motives and she didn't want to know, so even if she was only doing it for Elena, it still warranted an apology.

So this is exactly what she tells him.

"I am here to apologise." She says grandly, spinning on her heels. She dumps her bag on the floor by her feet as she squares herself to look at him. He is wearing a cotton navy blue long sleeve shirt, with a couple of buttons up near the neck undone, showing off his collarbone, over a pair of dark black jeans. He has one hand in his pocket and looks brilliantly unremarkable as she watches him.

(Unremarkable in the serial killer way, she means. In the way that she would have never guessed he was the big bad here to kill them all. Because his appearance itself is definitely worth some remarks. His smirk alone is enough to warrant some remarks.)

(If anything, he is a good looking man).

He smirks slightly hearing this, and opens his mouth to speak, before Caroline interrupts him.

"I just wanted to say," she emphasises the first line, so that he knows not to talk over her. "That I am sorry about what happened the other night—when we tried to kill Kol."

She's gone straight to the point and it gets to him. She notices the muscles in his back stiffen, and watches as his hand twitches slightly. The smirk moved slightly as well. It's like she's reminded him why he was angry in the first place and he immediately cuts her off.

"I'm not interested in your apology, Caroline," he says. "You've made your side very clear."

And while the words are harsh enough to end a conversation amongst the leaders of men, Caroline isn't going to let that be the end of it. She stomps her foot (embarrassingly) but brushes it off as she moves quickly, setting herself in his path.

"I wouldn't have had to if you hadn't made the sides," she tells him strongly, standing in front of him.

He steps closer to her, getting all up in her personal space. She can feel his breath on her face, his face inches away from hers as he works that intimidating angle that he plays so well. She has to stop forgetting that this is hybrid, she tells her self. A Vampwolf. A Werepire. He's dangerous to her, and for some reason, she keeps on ignoring that.

It's probably the dimples.

Big bad villains aren't supposed to have dimples.

"What do you want me to say, Caroline?" he snarls, his breath hot. "That I'm sorry for making life in this town interesting? You should be thanking me—I can't understand why you're still in this stupid town."

As can be expected, his words make Caroline frown. Sure, she's allowed to make fun of Mystic Falls and go on about how much she hates it, but he's not. This is her town, for god's sake—and she'll still be here long after he's gone.

"Oh, stop deflecting and listen to me." She orders him.

Okay. She'll be here long after he's gone, if he permits her to live after he leaves.

He growls and glares at her.

Honestly, right now, it's not looking too good.

If she's signing her own death certificate, she thinks, that's too bad. Because she's here now and she's not going to leave without getting this stupid weight off her shoulders and out of her stomach. It's his fault that she feels like this—since when was she ever supposed to empathise with the bad guy?

"Look," she says, trying to change the subject from her earlier outburst and calm him down. She even goes so far as to rest a hand on his arm. He looks down at it for a moment, before looking back up at her with a raised brow. She plows on. "I can't apologise for trying to save Elena. She is my best friend, and she will be for a long time, and I can't just let your family have free reign with her because you're old. If there was any way for me to protect her, then I would have done it. If I had to be the one who killed Bonnie's mother, I would have done it. Only this time, I was the distraction."

That's riled him up, she notes nervously.

"You used me!" He shouts at her accusingly. "Do you know how long it has been since I let myself get that stupid?" It's a rhetorical question, Caroline assumes. Even if it's not, there's no way she's answering him. She doesn't want to die.

She stays quiet, and Klaus lets out an angry groan. "It won't happen again," he says. "I promise you."

How can he make the word 'promise' sound for ominous?* She wonders.

She thinks about everything that he's already said to her. That she's full of light and that he wants to know about her and there is a world full of genuine beauty and decides that no matter what it means for her psyche, she does not want that part of him to leave.

She shrugs a little helplessly. "Don't do that," she pleads with him. "Don't just cut yourself off—not when you were just beginning to show you were human."

Klaus scowls. "I'm not human, Caroline. I'm not even close."

But it's not going to be that easy. She's not going to let him make it that easy. "Fine," she says stubbornly. "You're not human. But you still have your humanity."

There is a pause, during which he watches her, before he looks to the ground for a moment. "You're wrong."

Caroline shakes her head defiantly. "Nope. I'm not. You still have your humanity—I've seen it. When you were telling me about the world, and about travelling and about your art."

He let out a savage snarl and moves quickly, throwing one of his own vases into the wall. Caroline jerks back in surprise. "Well, look where it's gotten me?" he shouts at her. His mood swings are sudden and a bit terrifying, but she's holding steady. Atta girl, she tells herself. You're doing well. "You stabbed my brother."

Technically, she hadn't been the one to do the stabbing. But she thinks that now is probably not the time to point that out.

"I'm sorry," she says instead. "I know how important family is, and I'm just kind of learning how important yours is to you."

Klaus shoots her a look. "You can't even begin to understand," he snaps. "They don't even understand. They think I just killed them to keep them out of the way."

Caroline is shaking her head instantly. "No, no," she says quickly. "I understand better than that."

There is a moment of silence during which he calms and looks at her. There is still an angry expression on his face, but he is giving her a chance now, and she's not going to waste it.

"Elena sent Jeremy away," Caroline begins. "She sent him away for his own good, because she knew that having him here was too dangerous. Last time she had him compelled, he only just forgave her. He won't forgive her again. But she did it anyway, to make sure that he was out of harm's way."

He pauses, and watches the way his face softens, knowing that she's hit the ball right on the money. She's gotten it. She does understand.

"That's what you did for them, right? While Mikael was still out to get rid of you all, you kept them safe. Because you had a plan that wouldn't work if they were all out."

At the end of this sentence there is not just a pause. There is a stretch of quietness, during which there is not a sound from outside or inside. Were she with Matt, or Jeremy or Elena or Bonnie there would have at least been a heartbeat to heat. Here? There is nothing like that. Just simple silence as Klaus regards her.

Then he speaks and she starts.

"You really can't see it, can you?"

Which is a little off putting, to be honest, because she'd thought she was correct in every way. It's only when she's frowning, a little insulted, that he chuckles.

"You understand everything about my family. You understand me better than I can these days, and you make me feel like I can have a better life—one where I'm not running from anyone. I'm with just my family and we're happy." He pauses again before frowning. "And yet you can't see why I like you so much?"

Wow.

Okay, he needs to get worse at making those speeches. She swallows thickly, feeling her face flood with the stolen blood she'd drank that morning, and she coughs awkwardly. How did he manage to turn her apology into another compliment for her?

"I should go," she declares awkwardly, as a smirk erupts on his face. She turns on her heel and reaches for the bag that she dropped earlier. Fishing in it, even while she moves closer to the entrance, she pulls out a plastic container. "I can't draw," she explains, in a rush as she presses the box into his hands, "So I made you these instead."

He pulls back to reveal muffins. Now that she sees them, she flushes slightly as she realises that she's literally just gifted the most deadly person in the world with some of her homemade banana muffins. He seems to find this as amusing as she finds it awkward, and chuckles.

"Thank you, sweetheart." He says softly.

Caroline scurries out of the house like she's on fire, the sound of his chuckles spinning in her head, pleasantly mixing with the word 'sweetheart' exactly as it sounded rolling off his tongue.

Oh, man. That was a bad idea.

/

When she returns home that night, after a detour to the Salvatores to steal some of Damon's blood supply and then to the Bennet's so that she can give the stuff to Abby, she notices that her window is slightly open.

Sitting on her pillow is that same picture—the one with her face and the horse—but beside it is a new piece of paper.

He's drawn her sitting down, a muffin in her hand and a smile on her face. Underneath it all, the words Genuine Beauty give it a title—no longer referring to the world as the beauty, but to her.

Thanks for the muffins, love

She feels a swelling in her chest slightly, and suddenly realises that not only has her visit affected the hole in her stomach but the other one as well (you know, the one that Tyler left when he called to tell her that he wasn't coming back)—(there is no way she's saying hole in her heart. That's too lame for her)

(Not that she's talking about her heart.

Or that Klaus is filling it).

Oh, this is so not good.

...

A/N:

* lol. that rhymes.

OKIZZAY, I think this is the first Klaroline oneshot that doesn't have a kiss in it. Which is a bit sad, because I want Klaroline smoochies, but also good for me because that means I actually have the ability to write substantial stuff.

I hope. (OH GOD, PLEASE REVIEW AND LET ME KNOW).

I'm thinking that this might be the first in a series of one shots, however. Still working on the idea, but let me know if you're interested. It'll probably be a progressive group of shots that gradually bring our favourite couple together. Just sort of simple ones, fun things to play around with, you know? Give me ideas for the sort of things you might want to see? (Trivial little arguments and such).

Also, apologies for sticking in a little bit of Damon/Elena in there. They are my other TVD pairing, however—even if I don't ship them NEARLY AS HARD AS KLAROLINE.

KLAROLINE RUUUUULLES! Woot, woot.

Plez review and give me ya thoughts.

Cheers, boiz.