Edited by Tati and MyLadyElise.

Posted in March 2012 it begins after 3x15 and Caroline's attempt to distract Klaus at the Grill so an attack can be made on Kol. It is AU from that point on.

Re-edited and posted again August 2015.

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A blur of lush colors invaded his dreams. Swirls of silver embroidery on a vibrant blue velvet gown, spun-gold curls fluttering over delicate rose tinted cheeks and eyes that darkened to emerald when 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. Bloodlust colored his vision red, his mouth greedily opening in the blissful anticipation of the kill.

"Niklaus."

The breathy sound of his name falling from her lips, snapped his fangs back into place. With a soft rustle of fabric she fell into his arms, her slight weight strangely recognizable when her body melted against his. Desire and lust sinuously slithered into his blood. Her lips skimmed his neck with fluttering, butterfly touches. Instinctively, his arms enfolded her into an embrace, his cheek resting against her hair.

It was Caroline. And, it wasn't. This Caroline was human and the heady smell of her blood tantalized his darkest nature. With painful agony, he held back. She was not prey and he had no desire to have her suffer the usual fate of being drained to a dry husk. For some reason, she belonged to him. He already knew that in time he would claim her, forever tarnishing her bright light when he brought her over to his world. For now, he was content to woo her. He never enjoyed proper courtship, until now. The process both delighting and entertaining him.

Klaus did not question the dream. It was oddly familiar even if he was dressed in clothing five hundred years old. His gaze drifted around him and he recognized his location. The small rose garden of Whitehall castle. He 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 erected around his heart rusted and bent, filling him with a sense of joy.

Swept away, he didn't notice it at first. The stillness of the air around him, the tingling sensation crawling up his spine. It hit him almost too late. He embraced Caroline tighter, panic roaring in his head. A flash of light and color blinded him revealing a woman. Klaus recognized her for what she was. Growling he bared his fangs, thrusting Caroline behind him to protect her.

"Witch!"

The woman before him grinned. Dressed elegantly as one of the Queen's ladies in black and silver, the whites of her eyes glowed. 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 demanded, tension coiling tightly in his belly.

"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."

Confusion and fear radiating off Caroline in waves and worry shot through him that she would step away from him and face down the witch for answers. Something he could not allow. She needed to be protected from both the truth and the witch's harm. He would not have her hurt or suffer. She meant too much to him now.

"I will give you one chance to walk away before I afflict you with such torment you shall pray for the inquisitor's rack. Tell me, 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.

Staring down the witch, satisfaction filled him at the fissure of fear circulating in her blood.

She took a step towards him and he tensed, waiting for her next move. Magic swelled around him, suffocating him as she drew her power from the earth. Klaus coiled his muscles to pounce, to rip the harridan's head from her body. With a flick of her wrist, he froze in place. Every bone in his body solidified into an unmovable force. Sharp talons of fear clawed at his insides at his and Caroline's danger. Such raw power from a witch was unknown to him. The source she channeled must be as ancient as he was.

"Niklaus!" Caroline screamed.

Caroline ran 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. He needed to protect her and he could do nothing.

"Run, Caroline." Screaming inside, he willed his voice to be calm. He 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 advanced on the witch, only the slight trembling of her fingers betraying her fear. "Why are you doing this? What are you?"

The witch took a step towards the Caroline, her face morphing into an almost sympathetic look. She reached out to touch Caroline's cheek. "Poor child. You don't even know of the evil that seeks to corrupt you."

Caroline roughly shook off the witch's touch. "What are you talking about?"

"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 going to save you from a fate worse than death."

"You are insane," Caroline bravely scoffed, taking a step back from the woman. "The only fate you are saving me from is time alone with the gentleman I love."

Caroline turned to face him at her declaration. Her flushed face and shy look striking a dagger right into Klaus' heart. While he tried not to compel her, he always was half afraid he had. How else to explain the affection she developed for him?

The witch ground her teeth at the tenderness between them. "Go ahead and ask him if he is a vampire. I shall force him to tell you the truth."

"How can I take as truth anything you force out of him?" Caroline asked, her tone defiant.

"Niklaus Mikaelson, show your true self."

Once more, the magic shimmer in the air around him. Against his will, his face metamorphosed. His fangs elongated, the veins popping around his eyes. "I will skin you alive before this day is through," he spat at the witch when 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. Caroline looked up at him, almost through him. Even under her horrified scrutiny he would not ever be ashamed of what he was, of his true nature.

"So Father Leonard was right. You do exist." Caroline shook her head. "But, I don't understand. You could have had anyone you wanted, taken whatever you wanted. Why did 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?"

Wonder hovered over Caroline's face and 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. Even paralyzed he swore he moved into her touch. Exhaling shakily, she 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.

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, pity coloring her voice.

Klaus fought the urge to speak up and tell her that he loved and savored every never-ending year of his life.

The witch's harsh laugh cut through the night. "You think he doesn't revel in his existence? No, that is not punishment at all. 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. I rarely ask for names," he drawled, regretting his bravado the second he saw the flash of dread in Caroline's eyes.

The witch shrunk within herself at his words. The magic that held him in place wavered. Once more he gathered his strength around him in preparation to strike. Already he calculated exactly how much damage he could inflict without actually killing her.

Shaking her head, the witch rose up before him like a phoenix from the ashes. From within her dress she removed a slender stake 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."

Fear thundering in Klaus, he struggled once more at the magic that held him in place. There was little that frightened him more than the forever darkness of slumber somewhere in the in-between.

The witch tapped the tip of the stake on the finger of her other hand. "But now, I think such a punishment not worthy of you. You deserve so much more."

"I will not let you kill him. No matter what he has done," Caroline shot out, eyeing the stake in the witch's hand.

"Foolish girl. You can't stop me," the witch answered with a laugh.

Caroline jutted out her chin stubbornly. "Try me."

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 sky. Hundreds of voices swelled in the air, repeating the same words over and over again. The witch turned her gaze to Caroline.

Fury mixed with fear forced its way into his chest. Completely powerless, he still fought at the magic bonds holding him in place. Even though he knew the worst the witch could do was kill Caroline, 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. Rage burned in him and he envisioned the lifetime of torture he would inflict on her.

The witch smiled, the look sending unease rippling through Klaus. Grabbing Caroline's arm, the witch yanked her in front of him.

"Klaus!" Caroline screamed, fighting the witch's hold.

"She is an innocent," he snarled. "Hurt her and you damn your soul to hell."

The witch pulled Caroline closer, fighting the girl's struggles. "It is worth the price."

The heart that Niklaus liked to pretend he did not have clenched with pain at Caroline's distress. He tried to calm her with his gaze. Staring into her eyes, the green depths darkened with fear, he wordlessly promised her it would all be over soon. He would ensure after such a traumatic death, her birth into his world would be one befitting of a queen.

Stark whiteness flashed before him, lightening cutting the sky in two. The brightness was too much to bear for Klaus. Forced to close his eyes, he focused on Caroline's cries and gasps as her breath left her body. Each sound becoming a promise to her of the suffering he would inflict on the witch. Something strange and wet tickled his eyelids and he forced them open, refusing to acknowledge his weakness. Fury racked through him at Caroline sprawled in a heap on the ground, her skin translucent and white. He reached out with his senses. The absence of her heartbeat, the stillness of her blood in her veins, cut right into his heart.

"You think you have won, old woman?" he roared. "She will live again as a vampire. And you will pay for taking the death that was mine to give."

"No," The witch replied, cackling with glee at him. "You will not remember her. I will make you forget you ever knew she existed. When you regain your memory, you will only see the corpse of a stranger and feel nothing."

"I could never forget her or what has happened this day." Klaus glared at her. Already he could feel her thick neck between his hands, taste the bitterness of her witch's blood. "I will eviscerate you for what you have stolen from me. For the pain you caused her."

Ignoring him, she continued her curse, "For the rest of your years you will know a hole of emptiness that will never be filled. No matter how hard you try. "

She walked towards him, painstakingly, like every footfall caused her pain. She bled magic with every step. Placing one cool hand on his forehead she mumbled something in Latin and everything went black. He fell through darkness. Fell through time.

Klaus sat up abruptly, his eyes wide open. He was in his leather chair in his office, in front of the fireplace. Within the the dying embers of the fire were remnants of the sketches of Caroline he once so prized. It all made sense now, his fascination with Caroline, the way she made him him feel things. Things that someone with such an evil and hardened heart as him should never feel.

"You have lost, witch," he shouted at the moonlight streaming through the window. "I remember everything."