Edited by Tati and MyLadyElise. Since this was posted in March 2012 the story begins after 3x15 and Caroline's attempt to distract Klaus at the Grill so an attack can be made on Kol. It becomes AU from that point on.
Klaus dreams of the Elizabethan Court in 1599
It began as a blur of lush colors. Swirls of silver embroidery on a vibrant blue velvet gown, spun-gold curls fluttering over delicate rose tinted cheeks and eyes that darkened to midnight as he moved in closer. Already, he could smell the fragrant, rich blood quickening in her veins. His fangs descended to savage the frail human morsel offered up to him like a gift. Slipping greedily into the blissful haze of bloodlust, he was shocked when only the breathy sound of his name falling from her lips, caused him to snap his fangs back into place. With a soft rustle of fabric she fell into his arms, her slight weight strangely recognizable as her body melted against his. Desire and lust sinuously slithered through him as her lips skimmed his neck with fluttering, butterfly touches. Instinctively, his arms enfolded her into an embrace, his cheek resting gently against her hair.
It was Caroline, and yet it wasn't. This Caroline was human and the heady smell of her blood tantalized his darkest nature, but he held back. She was not prey, and could not be made to suffer the usual fate of being drained to a dry husk. Rather, she belonged to him. In fact, he already knew that in time he would claim her, forever tarnishing the bright light within her as he brought her over to his world. For now, however, he was content to woo her. The process of proper courtship, something he had never thought to enjoy, now delighted and entertained him.
Klaus did not question the dream. It all felt oddly familiar even if he was dressed in clothing five hundred years old. His eyes drifted around him and he recognized his location, the small rose garden of Whitehall castle. He had often dined on ladies of the Elizabethan court there. Instead of pondering this new revelation, he gave into the sensual and exquisite pleasure of having a willing and – dare he believe – a loving Caroline in his arms. Away from reality and the eyes of his family and followers, he allowed himself to be swept away into a sea of vulnerability. The iron cage he had erected around his heart began to rust and bend, and he was struck by a sudden feeling of wrongness. He embraced Caroline tighter, his panic growing as a form appeared before him with a flash of light and color. He recognized her for what she was and bared his fangs as he thrust Caroline behind him, protecting her with his body.
The woman before him, dressed elegantly as one of the Queen's ladies in black and silver, grinned cruelly at him. In the moonlight he could see the whites of her eyes darkening as she pointed one thin, bony finger at him. "Did you really think you could be allowed such a gift? You who knows only how to destroy?"
"As if you are so different?" he growled.
"I shall pay for my deeds in time, Vampire. But you, an aberration of nature and a blight upon the living, will never know such penance."
Klaus sensed the confusion and fear radiating off Caroline in waves and already he could feel her poised to step away from him and face down the witch, something he could not allow. She had to be protected at all costs; he could not even begin to comprehend a life without her anymore.
"I will give you one chance to walk away before I make you suffer such torment you shall pray for the inquisitor's rack. What exactly is the punishment for witches these days? Death by stoning, or is it fire? " Klaus's taunting words hung heavy in the air and, to his satisfaction, he felt a fissure of fear circulate through the witch's blood.
Unfortunately, he realized how little effect his threat ultimately made when she took a step towards him. He could feel the magic swell around him as she drew her power from the earth and surrounding space. Klaus moved to pounce, to rip the harridan's head from her body, but with a flick of her wrist, he froze in place. He struggled as every bone in his body solidified into an unmovable force. Sharp talons of fear clawed at his insides as he realized his and Caroline's danger. He had never encountered such raw power from a witch. The source she was channeling had to be as ancient as he was.
"Niklaus!" Caroline screamed.
Klaus felt her move to stand in front of him, putting herself between him and the witch. Panting, focusing all his energy into his body, he sought the strength to move, to protect her, but it was useless.
"Run, Caroline." Even though he was screaming inside, he willed his voice to be calm, lowering his tone to the deep hypnotic timbre that he knew would compel her. Only her emotions, taunt and wild, refused to be tamed.
Caroline stared down the witch bravely, only the slight trembling of her fingers betraying her. "Why are you doing this? What are you?"
The witch took a step towards the young girl, her face morphing into an almost sympathetic look as her hand reached out to cup Caroline's cheek. "Poor child. You don't even know of the evil, the darkness that seeks to corrupt you."
Caroline roughly shook of the witch's touch. "You speak nonsense."
"I speak the truth. This suitor that is so sweet and gentle with you hides the deadliest and foulest of creatures beneath his charm." At the look of disbelief on Caroline's face, the witch continued. "He is Vampire, defiler and destroyer of all that is good and pure in this world, and I am about to save you from a fate worse than death."
"You are insane," Caroline bravely scoffed even as she took a step back from the woman. "The only fate you are saving me from is time alone with a gentleman I have come to love."
Caroline's flushed face as she turned to give him a shy look struck a dagger right at Klaus's heart. Even as hard as he had tried not to compel her, he had always been half afraid he had. He had found no other reason to explain the affection she had developed for him.
The witch ground her teeth at the tenderness between them. "Go ahead and ask him. I shall force him to tell you the truth."
"How can I take as truth anything you force out of him?" Caroline asked defiantly.
"Niklaus Mikaelson, show your true self."
Once more, Klaus felt the magic shimmer in the air and slowly his face metamorphosed, his fangs elongating, the veins popping around his eyes. "I will skin you alive before this day is through," he spat at the witch as Caroline's eyes widened with dread.
"Niklaus? This is true? You're a vampire?"
Her small voice tore at Klaus, but he refused to lower his eyes as Caroline looked up at him, almost through him. He would not now, not ever be ashamed of what he was, of his true nature.
"So Father Leonard was right. You do exist." Caroline slowly shook her head. "But, I don't understand. You could have had anyone you wanted, taken whatever you wanted. Instead, you chose to be with me?"
Klaus didn't even need to think before speaking. "How could anyone blinded by such genuine beauty wish for anything else?"
A look of wonder hovered over Caroline's face and slowly she walked towards him the train of her gown trailing behind her. With the tip of her finger she tentatively caressed the curve of his face and, even though he knew he was paralyzed, he swore he moved into her touch. Then with a shaky exhale; she tentatively stroked one of his fangs. If he could have shivered he would have. She could not know how sensitive fangs were, how maddening and sensuous such a touch was.
"What an absolutely disgusting display," the witch forced out.
Reluctantly, Caroline turned once more to face their attacker. "Let him go."
"Not just yet. He must pay for his crimes."
"What are these crimes you speak of? Is it not penance enough that he must forever live like this? Walk among us knowing he shall never die?" Caroline asked her tone colored with pity.
Klaus wanted to speak up and tell her that he loved and savored every never-ending year of his life.
The witch laughed harshly. "You think he doesn't revel in his existence? No, that is not punishment at all. As for his crimes, ask him about Beatrice? What he did to my daughter."
"You will have to give me more information than that, Witch. There have been so many over the years, and I rarely ask for names," he drawled. He regretted his bravado the second he saw the flash of horror in Caroline's eyes.
The witch seemed to shrink within herself at his words. The magic that held him in place wavered, and he once more gathered his strength around him in preparation to strike. He was already planning exactly how much damage he could inflict without actually killing her when the witch rose up before him like a phoenix from the ashes. From within her dress she removed a slender stake that he could see was covered with a fine layer of white powder.
"I had thought to end your days in the same manner with which you dispatched some of your own family." Klaus struggled once more at the magic that held him in place. There was little he feared but to be banished forever to the darkness of slumber somewhere in the in-between frightened him.
The witch tapped the tip of the stake on the finger of her other hand. "But now I think such a punishment is not worthy of you. You deserve so much more."
"I will not let you kill him, no matter what he has done," Caroline said grimly as she eyed the moving stake in the witch's hand.
"As if you could stop me," the witch answered with a laugh.
Caroline jutted out her chin stubbornly. "Just try me."
"Foolish girl." The witch replaced the stake within her dress. "It really is unfortunate, Vampire. You are forcing me to take from you that which would ultimately be your redemption."
Klaus wanted to laugh at the witch's words. What did he care for redemption? Such a word was meant for the weakest of all creatures, humans. Vampires did not have such constraints. They were Gods among men, witches and werewolves.
The witch raised her hands in the air and a low humming rose up from the ground. Wind seemed to come from nowhere, the air slashing at Klaus's cheeks. The sky darkened, heavy clouds eating the light from the sun. It was then he heard chanting, hundreds of voices repeating the same words over and over again. He watched in anger, completely powerless as the witch grasped Caroline's arm. Even though he knew the worst the witch could do was kill her, he did not want her end to happen like this. Caroline's death was supposed to be his gift to her. He was to be both her executioner and the merciful angel who brought about her birth into his darkness. The witch was taking everything from him, and as soon as her magic tired her, he would give her a lifetime of torture.
"Klaus!" Caroline cried out in fear, as she struggled to get away from the witch.
"She is an innocent," he growled. "Hurt her and you damn your soul to hell."
The witch pulled Caroline closer. "It is worth the price."
The heart that Niklaus liked to pretend he did not have clenched at Caroline's distress. It would all be over soon, he wordlessly promised her. He would ensure after such a traumatic end, her birth into his world would be one befitting of a queen.
The world went white as lightning cut the sky in two. The brightness was too much to bear for Klaus, and he was forced to briefly close his eyes. Slowly he opened them, ignoring his weakness – the wetness in his eyes that came from knowing that for Caroline the end had come. Still, he was unprepared for the sight of her sprawled in a heap on the ground, her skin so translucent and white. He reached out with his senses and felt the absence of a heartbeat, the stillness of her blood in her veins and he roared with anger.
"You think you have won, old woman, but she will live again as a vampire and I will make sure you pay for taking a death that was, by all rights, mine."
"No." The witch shook her head sadly. "You will not remember her. I will make you forget you ever knew that she existed. When you regain your memory, you will only see the corpse of a stranger and you will feel nothing."
"I could never forget her or what has happened this day," Klaus snarled. "I will eviscerate you for what you have stolen from me, the pain you caused her."
Ignoring Klaus, she continued her curse, "For the rest of your years you will know a hole of emptiness that will never be filled, not matter how hard you try. "
She walked towards him, slowly, as if every footfall caused her pain as her magic slowly left her. She placed one cool hand on his forehead, mumbled something in Latin and everything went black. He was falling. Falling through time.
Klaus sat up abruptly from his leather chair in front of the fireplace, the dying embers the only remnants left of the Caroline sketches he had once so prized. It all made sense now, his fascination with Caroline, the way she made him feel whole. "You have lost, Witch," he shouted at the still moonlight streaming through the window. "I remember everything."