"Run out of wood?" Klaus looked up to see Caroline watching him from the doorway. Watching him burn the drawings he'd made of her since the night of the ball. None of them were perfect. The curve of her smile was wrong and he couldn't get her eyes just right. So he was burning them and it had nothing to do with her betrayal earlier in the evening. Or at least that's what he was fooling himself of.

"What are you doing here?" Since he wasn't making a move to rip out her heart, Caroline stepped further into the room until she could feel the heat of the fire that was consuming images of her. She could read into the moment, she was certain, and find some poetic symbolism like in Romeo and Juliet. And maybe that symbolism would tell her to run, that this was a bad idea and she shouldn't be flirting with death.

"I came to apologize," she said, because that's why she was here, to apologize for the betrayal he was trying to burn out of his mind. Burn like the drawings the fire was greedily eating up. He wanted to forget about it because he didn't like being wrong and he'd been wrong to think Caroline wouldn't manipulate him and use him in an effort to save her friends. He'd been wrong to think she wouldn't be his weakness and she had been, she had weakened him, and he'd been wrong to think it could be any other way. So he was burning drawings because he couldn't burn memories or weakness, no matter how he wished he could.

"The people I loved were being threatened," she said and she knew that wasn't an appropriate apology because she was always apologizing for things that weren't really her fault, that she couldn't change or fix, so when it was finally time for her to confess an actual wrong, she should be a pro at apologizing.

"Family above all," he said because he understood and she knew he did, which is why it didn't matter if her apology was a really shitty one. He understood and that's all that mattered.

"I wasn't planning on coming here," she said and she didn't care if he listened to what she was saying, she just needed to say it, "But then I thought about the look on your face when you realized Kol was in trouble. You weren't some evil hybrid anymore. You were just a guy concerned about his brother. That's the guy I want to apologize to. Not Klaus the Original, but Klaus the brother. I shouldn't have manipulated him and I'm sorry."

Klaus stared at her, a statue in the crackling firelight as it dawned on him how wrong he was. Yes, she'd betrayed him- him Klaus. Him Original hybrid. Him murderer. But she was standing before him and apologizing. To him. Him Niklaus. Him brother. Him whose only fear in life was being left alone. Had he always been this wrong?

"You understand the difference between me and the mask I wear," he said, "But you don't understand why I fancy you. You truly are a puzzling creature, Caroline Forbes." She shrugged, an easy raise of the shoulder before she snatched his sketchbook from his hand and stared down at the portraits of her that littered the page.

"I don't like your mask," she stated simply as she tried to figure out what was wrong with the drawings. There was something off about them and she couldn't figure it out. She should though, after all, they were of her and if anyone could spot an imperfection in her appearance, it was her.

"I can't get your smile right," he said and it clicked them as she saw his error, "Or your eyes." She looked up at him watched the light play on his face, wondering briefly if he'd teach her how to draw.

"Take your mask off," she said, "And I'll let you draw me." She dropped the sketchbook to the couch and settled down beside it, watching and waiting for him to decide. And then, like a curtain being cracked on a sunny day, a shy smile worked its way across his face and he joined her on the couch. She beamed at him and he returned the simple gesture as he flipped to a new page and began to sketch her.

"I used to want to be a horse when I was a kid," she said because hadn't he asked about her dreams? "But realistically, I'd like to see the ocean. I've never seen the ocean before." He watched her face morph and settle into her daydream as she imagined crashing waves and sandy beaches. That was the face he was going to sketch.

"I'd like to get your smile right," he said and she laughed at the sheer ridiculousness and simplicity of his wish, and hers for that matter.

And then, because he was Klaus and she was Caroline and for whatever reason she could understand who he was, but couldn't understand why he liked her so much, he said, "I'd like to see the ocean with you."

And then, because she was Caroline and he wasn't the big bad hybrid in this moment, she said, "I'd like that."


a/n: As always, Fave, flame, or faint.

Or go to the beach.