A/N: In which I realize DJ is completely right—it's like I'm physically unable to write a oneshot with a clearcut happy ending, which is why she dared me to write... Delena. With lots of angst and happytimes. Watch for that shit, yo. ALSO: great, burning, heaving love to DJ for all the help she's given me in my plight to finish this.

This was written for simply-aly at for Tenshinrtaiga's Klaroline Comment Ficathon over at LiveJournal.

Prompt: Klaus/Caroline—When you're all alone, I'll find you. / I'm not sure I got the prompt down to a T, though...

Anyhoo. I'm experimenting with new things this week (mostly because I have writer's block for my multichaps). Dark!Klaroline and... yeah. Just. Shmexytimes. Can you tell I'm new to this?

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louder than a burning room

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In her room, he's idly flipping through one of her Twilight books, offering a wayward comment and an unapologetic smile every so often. He reads bits and pieces to her, mocks Edward's reluctance to give in, and does all this with a sparkle in his eye. Absolutely dripping with deceptive innocence.

In her sheets, he's ghosting her thighs with feather-light breaths, touching and exploring and bruising with lithe fingers, burning through her skin with his kisses like cigarettes. Her back presses into the mattress and she hates her hands for not stopping its trail down his stomach, hates herself for enjoying it all the same. It's overbearing and all-consuming but then he kisses her right there and it's all sorts of wrong, but the sear of his lips is just—

so—

right.

In her head, he's everywhere: cutting corners, shrouding her vision, stringing and jerking her wits like some kind of manipulator and his marionette. Demanding and derisive, with that calculating smile of his playing on his lips.

Damon offers to stay with her the night Esther's spell fails spectacularly.

He's giving her all sorts of reasons like "He's going to come for you, you know", "He can snap you like a twig", and it's harsh and scary, but enough to show her that he cares (in his own Damon way).

When his rant's over, she just shakes her head, wrapping her fingers around what little warmth her mug of tea's providing. "I can handle him."

Even as he's standing to leave he's watching her with guarded eyes. "If you're sure," he says, the question still lingering in the air.

"I'm sure."

Despite himself (or maybe because of it), he pulls her into a tight hug. "I'll be back in the morning, Blondie."

She doesn't say a thing, just closes her eyes. It's over before she can even be sure it's happened.

"One more thing." Before he shuts the door behind him, he looks back at her, nose wrinkled like it's an afterthought. "Take a shower, won't you? You reek of age-old hybrid."

She feels rather than hears his presence, and before she can run he's already looming up behind her like a monster from childhood's past. With the thin robe wrapped around her shoulders and her skin still warm from her shower, he snakes his arms around her and snaps her to her feet, her wrists are locked in place against his chest.

"No use struggling, little one." He smirks as she bares her teeth at him, trying to jerk away. All mirth disappears from his eyes as pulls her closer, their noses just a hair's breadth away from brushing together.

"Did you really think it would be that simple, Caroline?" he snarls through clenched teeth, gripping her wrists so tight she feels they might snap like glass in his hands. "Did you really think the Salvatores could find a way to be rid of me so easily?"

He has that look in his eyes, that murderous look, the same look he gets when he's about to throw her down against his bed, rip her clothes to shreds, kiss her until she sees stars—

"Answer me," he growls, and she's brought back to the room, cheeks flaming and head ever so light.

He clearly has the upper hand in this, so she fights back with the only way she knows how. Leaning in closer, stares him down, lifts her lips into a smile. "They already have."

The way he slams her into her own wall is enough of a demand for an explanation, but she holds her ground, her own nails digging into his knuckles and manages to feign indifference through a breathy laugh.

"They know," is all she says.

He presses harder against her. "Know what?"

"Your little weakness."

Klaus freezes, and the world stops spinning.

"I'm the itch you can't scratch—the devil you can't pay off." She watches his eyes closely as she says this. "The only thing left to do—the only thing you can do—" she tries not to let it, but her voice catches anyway, "is to kill me."

Where anger had resided in them before, his eyes are now a blank canvas of blue. He's not saying anything, but Caroline thinks the slight twitch of his hands speak volumes.

Still trapped between his chest and her wall, she asks, "And you can't, can you?" She licks her lips, her breath cold on his lips. "They're right, aren't they?"

Whoever said silence was golden, Caroline thinks, should go fuck themselves. The air was thick with it, constricting her chest and making her all too aware of the smell of spicy berries and sandalwood that seems to perpetually waft around him, how his hands seem to burn right through the delicate skin around her wrists, how his eyes never move from hers.

Silence, she thinks, is louder than a burning room.

"Don't flatter yourself," he finally says, voice crackling with the effort not to slam her right through the wall. He finally takes a step back, but he squeezes her wrists one last time, enough to tell her it isn't over; enough to make her gasp in pain—and then he's gone.

Boneless, Caroline slithers to the floor.

"Let's talk about how Damon found you curled up in a corner of your room this morning," Stefan deadpans, watching her take a sip of her coke. Where the Stefan of Mystic Falls Past had been subtle and tactful, Ripper-Stefan doesn't beat around the bush.

"Let's talk about how your effort to care, while kind of cute in that Oh look at me, I'm so sexy-dangerous way isn't as convincing as you think." She raises an eyebrow at him and sets her drink down, begrudging Damon for immediately coming to the right conclusion—that Klaus indeed had come for her when she was defenseless (um, hello—she hadn't even have time to dry her hair) and alone.

But now that she thinks about it, the crack in the plaster of her wall was sort of telling.

She stuffs another forkful of salad into her mouth, focuses on the crunching noise instead of the glare Stefan's sending her way. The sooner they finish lunch, the better. The rest of their meal passes in silence, with the only sounds being made the chink of her fork against her plate and the impatient tapping of Stefan's fingers.

He watches her sullenly as she pays her half of lunch and catches her wrist as she stands to leave.

"For your sake, I hope this infatuation Klaus has on you is enough to keep you alive," he says gruffly.

"Isn't that why you decided to use me as bait in the first place?" she snaps, and pulls her hand away. Her wrists are still sore from last night. "Collateral damage were the exact words you used, if I recall."

He bristles, and takes a deep breath to calm himself. "All I'm saying is," he says carefully, "is that he had every intention of killing you last night. You shouldn't let your guard down."

"No, we don't want him getting in my head now, do we?" she says sweetly, tapping his forehead lightly before heading out the door.

"I could kill you, you know."

His voice tickles the hair on her arms with the breeze that came with him; she looks up from applying her lipgloss to see Klaus in the reflection of her mirror, his flat of his index finger brushing her hair away from her bare shoulder.

What is it with this Klaus and his inability to walk in on her when she's fully dressed?

His lips in her ear, he whispers, "I could trap you in the winding tunnels that run under our very feet, seal you in without air and blood for weeks on end." He brushes her hair off her neck and ghosts hot kisses down her shoulder. "I could throw you to a pack of werewolves and wait for your screams as they tear you limb from limb."

His fingers play at the edge of her towel and she suddenly finds it difficult to swallow. He runs a sharp nail across her collarbone, and she hisses a line of bright red cuts through her skin. "I could tear out your heart while your friends watch."

His hand hovers over her breasts, still covered with her slightly damp towel. "Or I could do it right now."

Her voice comes out in a whisper. "So do it." She puts down her lipgloss, brushes her curls out of her mascaraed eyelashes, ready for a night out with the girls. "Otherwise you're starting to sound like a broken record," she says as she slowly revolves in her seat to face him, and with the slightest of sneers, adds: "Nik."

She expects him to get angry, flip her vanity or something, but she certainly didn't expect him to flip her. With his knee between her legs, his elbows trapping her shoulders, and her hair fanned out over her pillows, she wants to scream—but Klaus' hand effectively stops that.

"Too easy," he says huskily, and he moves to untie the tight knot of her towel and ends up a jagged tear in his unwavering hands. She wants him off of her, doesn't want to feel that wanting tug in her stomach the way he's working his teeth down her neck, wants to remember what Stefan's said about not letting Klaus into her room, into her bed, and especially not in her head, but his lips are hovering over the dip in her collarbone and damn him to hell, she wants him to move faster.

"I hate you," she chokes out, but her fingers scramble to snap the buttons of his shirt open, feverish and trembling.

"Null and void," he smirks, and when he tips his head to kiss her, she kisses him back because he might just be right about that.

She's almost afraid to be in the same room as him.

It's the way he blends so easily into the shadows, filling her with a false sense of ease and sending her crashing back to the reality of his face looming up behind her. "You're not alone," he says, and she'll shiver. "You're never alone."

It's the way he holds her afterwards, like she's about to fall apart—and she always does, because the only thing worse than fucking Klaus is trusting Klaus, and she's effectively done both while keeping up a smile for her friends. With his arms around her and her head on his chest, she's almost glad his heart no longer beats, because the sole fact of being comforted not by Evil Hybrid Klaus, or Gentle Klaus, but Klaus with a Heart might break her further.

It's the way he tells her the things she desperately needs to hear, that she's beautiful, dangerous, unleashed; beautiful, strong, full of light. He'll tear her down then build her up again, with words whispered in her ear and soft kisses down her back, with promises of the world when all she wants, all she ever really wants, is just him.

But most of all, it's the way he looks at her like he's capable of snapping her in half, to hear her scream in his ear as tears out her throat, to watch from a pedestal as she writhes at his feet, to drink her blood from a golden goblet.

Or the way he looks at her like he wants to take her against a wall, to make her scream in an entirely different way, to feel her legs wrap around him, taste the wine of her lips and the sharp of her tongue; leave his mark on her even when the bruises are all gone.

She can't tell the difference.

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brb dying from embarrassment. thoughts?