a/n: I don't really know where this came from. One minute I'm giggling over Klaroline, the next I'm feeling all levels of nostalgia for Matt & Caroline. Idk, I just needed to get this out of my system.

Review and tell me what you think? :)

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like arms of dazzling gold

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Red lips, blue eyes, silver laughter and golden smiles. Caroline Forbes is a swirl of colour come December, from the pinks of her cheeks right down to the bright mugs of hot chocolate warming up the room.

Hunched shoulders, frozen hands, gray parkas and heavy boots. Matt Donovan isn't much of a winter person.

"What's gotten you in such a good mood, Care?"

It's the snow, she'll say, so bright and white it would burn right through your eyelids if you close your eyes.

With tree branches heavy with ice and the ground dotted with their footsteps, she'll twirl down the streets and chirp out Christmas carols at the top of her lungs, because it's great to be alive. So great to just suck in all that cold air and blow it out in great plumes around you, to scrape your fingers through frozen windshields and leave a wet trail behind, to scratch your names into the ground and watch the wind blow it away.

There's something so forever about winter, she'll say. The way the cold just settles in your bones and never wants to go away. Your bed gets so warm in the mornings you want to stay there til you're gray and old. Every hot shower you take, you want to last a lifetime.

He reaches for her hands but she dances away, and snowflakes fall all around them as he tries to catch up with her words, her words singing out Winter's here, winter's here and it's here to stay. Winter's here and I don't ever want it to go away.

I don't think it'll ever go away, Matt.

So c'mere, you. Warm me up, won't you?

There's something to be said about Caroline in the Spring. Her eyes glow like the dawn sky and she lowers her nose to sniff the flowers he's picked for her, all daffodils and primroses and bluebells. She's a little less frenetic, a little more complacent in the spring, her turquoise hemlines never too short and her purple cardigans always unbuttoned at the top.

He doesn't like March, hates March. Hates how he has to spend less time in the field and more time in the library to study up for finals, hates how the sudden influx of people at the grille after their months of hibernation means more hours spent with a crumpled notepad in one hand and a pen that's almost always out of ink in the other.

He tells her this one day while she's watching him wipe down the last of his tables, and she laughs. He finds it unnerving and sends her a scowl.

"Lighten up, Mr. Donovan," she giggles. "You're wound up way too tight."

Mr. Donovan's my dad, he'll say. I can't remember him; don't even know him, so just call me Matt. I'm plain old Matt.

Plain old Matt who isn't a vampire, doesn't possess any supernatural powers, isn't the best in history but fares well in math, always chosen after Tyler in their play practices, always having to speed up his car to catch up to Stefan, always second to Elena, but that's alright—it means he's the first one Caroline looks for when he walks into the room.

They do a lot of searching in the spring, because they're never in the same room together. When she needs to vent about how uncoordinated her girls are in the new routine, he's in detention for handing his 20th Century American History paper in late (again). When she can't study and needs him to play with her hair, he's at the Grille, taking orders and wiping up spills. When she just misses him, plain old misses him, he's never around to notice.

"Plain old Matt." She licks the tip of her finger and raises an eyebrow, daring him to do something about the edge of her satin flats that's ghosting his calf. I like the sound of that, she says.

It goes well with Caroline, she says.

Matt Donovan. Caroline Forbes.

I like it.

Matt and Caroline.

Caroline and Matt.

He finds her hand when they're walking home and she doesn't pull away this time, and he holds it the whole time he's etching their names into the tree in front of her window where she'll always find it.

Caroline eats strawberries in the summer, with Nutella in the mornings and whipped cream at night. She eats them in between kisses and he helps lick the stains off her fingers when she leans back against the grass, sated and content. Her hair flashes golden and her eyes burn bright, determined to drown out the sun.

He breathes better in June, sleeps better in July, wakes up energized in August. Caroline's always breathing right along with him; nose nestled in the crook of his arm at night, blinking up at him when her eyes open in the morning light.

"Good morning, beautiful."

She smiles like it's the first time anyone's dared said it.

They walk hand in hand down the street, hands swinging to and fro to go with her hair curling in the warm breeze. She wears flip flops to show off her rainbow toes, painted a newer, brighter colour every week, and she matches her moods to the denim shorts she wears.

She kisses better in the summer, too. Something about the change in the air, she says.

Like I've finally found you, she says.

Like how Holly and Paul must have felt when they kissed in the rain, she says.

Because when I'm with you, she says, it feels like I'm free-falling off the side of a building. She says this with the stars reflected in her eyes one night, with their hands wound tightly together. She says this with her cheeks tainted pink from the gravity of her words. She says this with her lips stained red from all the strawberries.

He leans in, leans in close, brushes his lips across her soft lashes, counts the freckles that appear on her nose only in the summer heat, and helps kiss the red away.

Caroline's an enigma in the fall. She deems ponchos uncool but wraps herself in them when they sit on her porch, doesn't want to eat desert because she's trying to lose weight but opens her mouth wide when he feeds her bits of his pumpkin pie, looks absolutely delicious in her spicy chocolate sweaters when she's trying to have a low-key evening.

He likes how the sky glows in September, likes how the air is so cool and crisp and new. Likes how his shifts at the Grille always falls into place with his nights with Caroline, likes how Ric never gives them enough homework to bring home, likes how his hand fits perfectly around her waist as they tread through the dried leaves on the way to school.

They shove each other into the neat piles of leaves that practically beg to be kicked around when lunchtime rolls around, and he tugs on her hair and she shrieks into his hear when he dumps a sky's worth of orange and red leaves over her head. It's when they're tired of running, too winded to laugh and just lying there in the piles of leaves that she raises a soft hand to graze his cheek.

"I'm really happy," she realizes out loud. "I want you to know that."

He looks back at her and he nods and he tugs her red scarf closer his and heart swells.

They walk home together; his cheek nestled in her hair and her fingers tracing circles in the back of his neck.

Tyler offers them a ride home the next day, and Matt agrees because he needs to get to the Grille early and the orange shoes Caroline's wearing today hurts her feet.

Just this once, she says, slipping into the backseat.

They're in the car, Matt grumbling because Caroline's making him put his seatbelt on as Tyler guns it to ninety. The radio's too loud and Tyler's laugh is too sharp, and the three of them see the cat running across the street just as Caroline's pulling her on her own seatbelt.

Tyler swerves the car into the tree.

He's out of the car first, cursing and apologizing and wringing his hands and just fuck, what the fuck was that cat. Later, with blood running down his forehead and head pounding away, Matt wakes up.

Caroline doesn't.

Liz explains that Caroline's injuries are a little worse than they seem. Liz explains that she's suffering from some internal bleeding. Liz says that it's alright, she's sure everything's going to be fine.

But the thin of her lips and the shine in her eyes tells Matt otherwise.

Liz thinks Caroline's not going to wake up.

Matt's doubtful, but Damon says it'll work.

She's not going to make it on her own, Damon says.

Vampire blood, he says, will heal her.

Without it she's not going to wake up, he says.

Matt has his heart on his sleeve and it's beating a mile a minute at the thought of cold winters, lost springs, empty summers and autumns that sting without her.

Do it, he says.

Caroline wakes up.

Matt kisses her again and again, promises to run out and buy her all the strawberries in the world, says he'll just go home for a while to grab her the frayed old rainbow blanket she likes to sleep with, says he'll be back before she knows it.

It takes longer than expected to find her blanket, and the line at the supermarket is way too long for a Thursday evening.

When he gets back to the hospital, Stefan has a funny look on his face.

Caroline has stains on her lips, but not from strawberries. She hugs him, but not without twisting her face up into a grimace. She laughs, but it doesn't reach her eyes. Her cheeks are white, and no matter how hard she tries or how much she breathes her breath remains cold. She'd kiss him, she says, but she's not sure she can control her fangs just yet.

Matt feels the world crumbling and falling and wasting away around him.

Red lips, blue eyes, silver laughter and golden smiles. Caroline Forbes is a swirl of colour in January and March and June and September and December and any month of the year; from the pinks of her cheeks right down to her bright dresses that light up the room.

At least, that's how he likes to remember her.

Sitting on his porch, with a crumpled notepad in one hand and a pen that's almost always out of ink in the other, he tries to draw a picture of what Caroline is, and how she used to be. Tries to match them up in his mind, tries to find warmth in her smile.

Fails.