Gentle fingertips lightly danced over Caroline's shoulder blades and down her back, drawing delicate designs and she reveled in the delectable touch even as it pulled her from the depths of sleep. Peacefulness settled over her like a down blanket, warmth radiating from deep inside, spreading luxuriously throughout her limbs. Content, she fought against wakefulness and the inevitable expulsion from a heaven she never could have imagined.
Complete for the first time in her existence she fought the return to reality. Only, the touches continued, teasing, coaxing prickles of pleasure that erupted all over her flesh. Slowly, her eyelids fluttered open. Deep blue eyes stared directly back at her, tenderness and devotion in their depths. Entranced, she dreamily caressed the face she recognized.
Wait. This can't be right.
She was in bed with Klaus. In a dizzying rush, the events of the previous night blurred together, painting a picture. They made love and normally that term would have made her groan at how ridiculous it sounded. Seriously, who really made love? This time she couldn't lie to herself, not with the brutal truth right before her eyes. Together, they made mind-blowing, earth shattering love. A promise from centuries ago at long last fulfilled.
"It's true, isn't it? What you showed me last night? The past?" She managed to whisper.
Klaus nodded, smiled even. A smile of happiness, sweet boyish shyness. The truth revealed at last seemed to have changed him, set him free. "It took centuries, but you have been returned to me. My beautiful, Caroline."
Returned to him. She once lived a whole different life. Loved and ultimately died for him. How she wanted to deny it, denounce it all as lies. The enormity of it all made her head ache.
She lifted her hand from his face and he took it within his own, kissing each of her fingertips with his soft lips. A small moan escaped her mouth. Flames sparked under her skin, stoking a fire that could easily consume her again.
What happened in the past between them was just that, the past. She had to believe that. Anything else denied who she was now. Caroline Forbes, Miss Mystic Falls, vampire and head cheerleader. Their lives, their experiences were so very different that she couldn't allow them to intersect. Which meant last night should never have happened. Lowering her eyes from the intensity of his gaze, she pulled her hand from his lips.
"Last night…I-I shouldn't have done this." With her actions she only complicated things further between them, allowing him to believe the lie that something could exist between them.
"Shouldn't have done what, love?"
The sharp edge to Klaus's tone cut through flesh and muscle, slicing deeply into her heart.
"I shouldn't have slept with you. I was overwhelmed by everything that happened, what you showed me, and I made a mistake."
The happiness in his face slipped into oblivion. "Last night was not a mistake."
"How can you say that? All it has done is complicate things even more." Caroline sat up, pulling the silk sheet to her chest. She swept her hand in the air over the two of them. "This…this can't be. We can't happen."
"I hate to disappoint you, but this most certainly can be and we will happen," Klaus growled, flaming fury in his eyes.
"I'm not that girl now. The one you loved from the past. She doesn't exist anymore. Whatever we once had, we don't have now. It's over." Each word hurt, draining away the most pure and true happiness she had ever experienced. Yet, it needed to be done. She had to end this before he was even deeper in her heart.
"Is that what this is about?" Relief softened his features. "Don't you understand that the girl from the past is you? I want you no matter what incarnation you are. We belong together. That is why we have been given a second chance."
Caroline couldn't believe that even if she wanted to, desperately even. Fairy tales of soul mates and forever love didn't exist anymore for her. She had experienced too much heartache and suffering and as things stood now there would be even more to come. Klaus would never give up Elena, and Damon would never give up his desire to see the hybrid staked.
"What little time we had together has passed," Caroline replied with a soft sigh. "It's been centuries and I am with Tyler now." Tyler who was safe and comfortable, who willingly tortured himself and put her first.
"You weren't with him last night when you were moaning and panting in my arms," Klaus bit out.
"You're disgusting." She yanked the sheet off the mattress to cover up her nakedness. Getting up off the bed, she searched for her discarded prom dress.
"You don't have anything I haven't seen before and will see again, sweetheart."
Casting him an angry look she picked up her dress noticing at once that it couldn't possibly be worn again. It was a complete mess, blood stained with all the buttons ripped from the back of it. "Where are your shirts?"
"Why should I tell you? I think I prefer you this way. Naked and available to my touch," Klaus replied silkily as he moved to sit up. The comforter that covered him slid down his chest to pool at his hips and Caroline inhaled sharply at the sight, unable to keep her gaze from lingering over his perfect form.
Quickly, she averted her eyes and stalked over to a carved wooden wardrobe. Rifling through it she quickly found a soft, blue button down shirt. Digging though a drawer below the shirts she found a pair of boxers. While the clothes were big and would hang on her, they would have to do until she got home. With haste, she dropped the sheet and donned the clothing ignoring the heat of Klaus's dark gaze upon her.
"I need a ride. Can you have one of your hybrids drive me home?"
"I don't think you have thought this out very well, love," Klaus replied, a cruel smirk on his face. "You're not going anywhere. You are mine and now that you remember your feelings for me there is nothing to stop us being together. I have been most patient with you. More patient than I have ever been before in a thousand lifetimes and I am not going to let you go."
"So you would keep me here, ensuring my hatred of you?"
Klaus rose from the bed, pulling on his pants he prowled over to her. Caroline backed away from him until she hit the back of his bedroom door."
"You don't hate me. You couldn't if you tried."
He was so very close to her, his scent enveloping her, woodsy with a hint of the magic she could taste in his blood and her body trembled and it wasn't with fear. Caroline pressed herself even tighter against the door as he brushed her hair back from her shoulders exposing her neck. When he brushed his lips over the same spot he bit and drank from during their lovemaking, she shuddered uncontrollably. Blood pounded in her ears and her eyes practically rolled back in to her head. It took every ounce of strength she had not to throw her arms around him and smother him with kisses. She wanted to taste him, drink him in, while he thrust into her once more.
"Don't do this," Caroline whimpered.
"Don't do what, love?" Klaus murmured against her skin, unable to hide his triumph at her submission.
Caught in his spell, she couldn't speak, only react. Throwing her whole body against him, she shoved hard. He flew across the room and landed on the mattress, cracking the wooden bedframe with his fall. Caroling whipped around to open the door, only to have it slammed shut in a haze of movement, a hiss of wind. Swallowing, she turned around to face him once more. The mighty lion against the lamb, she had forgotten how very fast he could move, how ineffectual she was against him.
"Don't you tire of this game?" Klaus sighed. "I know you want me. I can smell it on you, hear it in the rush of your blood through your veins."
"Maybe I do, but that isn't enough," Caroline countered with a stubborn tilt of her chin.
"Then tell me what it will take to have you? What will be enough?" With tenderness he cupped her face in his large, hands. Staring into his eyes, seeing the yearning that he didn't bother to hide, she glimpsed a vision of a possible world, one in which they maybe could be free.
"Elena…you need to give her up. No more blood from my friend. No more hybrids"
Klaus's hands fell to his sides, the warmth in his eyes freezing to ice and she shivered, knowing his answer before he even said a word.
"That will never happen."
"See, that is just one of the reasons that we can't be together." Tears of desperation gathered in her eyes, for with his words he damned himself to his own death. Elena would never be safe otherwise.
"You have no idea what you are asking of me, love," Klaus answered, compressing his lips into a thin line.
Caroline wiped at her eyes with the sleeves of his shirt that hung over her thin wrists. "Then there is nothing left to be said between us. I can't be with someone who feels this need to create some ridiculous hybrid army to feel powerful. You already are the strongest. The alpha male. We all get that."
"I need my hybrids. I waited centuries to be able to create them, to have my own kind around. Their existence is even more important now that there is a deranged witch out there trying to kill you and destroy my life. Can't you see that? I need them to keep you safe."
"Have you forgotten that they can be brainwashed and compelled to kill? I almost died at the hands of one of your hybrids."
"No, I haven't forgotten," Klaus lashed out.
Sweeping her gaze to the floor, Caroline carefully considered her next words. "Isn't it possible that the Sire bond could be broken. That they all could turn against you?"
"Your hybrids can't keep me safe anymore than my friends can."
Klaus laughed and the sound wasn't pleasant. "You really think the Salvatore brothers can keep you from harm? All they care about is Elena. They will use you for any means necessary to keep her alive."
The truth of his words hit Caroline in a suffocating rush. Hadn't she evidence of that just the night before with Damon? They had no issues using Klaus's infatuation with her to get her to murder him and free Elena. They didn't even consider how killing him would affect her. How deeply it would scar her and not just because it was Klaus. Other then the human life she had taken when she first turned she hadn't murdered another being, living or dead, since then.
"What can she possibly mean to you? She is human, mortal. In a hundred years she will be dust and ash.".
"Maybe so, but she is my best friend and she doesn't deserve to live out what remains of her life perpetually bleeding for you," Caroline retorted, her cheeks heating with frustration as she recalled once again his disregard for all human life.
Klaus took her hands in his, running his thumbs over the blue veins in her wrists. "Caroline, after what you have been through in the last twenty-four hours you should feed again. Besides now is not the time to be making decisions. Come back to bed and we'll talk. Work things out together."
His rich voice so calm, so persuasive, tempted her. To be gathered in his strong embrace, protected and sheltered from the hideous decision Damon was forcing her to make. Yet, how could she spend time with him, knowing his death might be near, even at her own hands?
"I can't." Caroline attempted to pull her hands from his and he refused to let her.
"So what? You walk away from everything we have, ignore your love for me?"
"Yes," she hissed.
"So you admit it?" His eyes brightened, a satisfied gleam within.
"I-I…didn't mean it," she stammered, shaken by his conclusion, her guilty admission.
"Yes, you did," he purred. Klaus looked so pleased with himself, the cat having captured the canary at last.
"You are misreading things. Tricking me. There is nothing between us, nothing except a shared past that I would sooner forget."
A muscle clenched in Klaus's jaw. "Don't say that."
"Why," she asked flippantly, knowing she poked the devil. "None of it means anything to me. Your Caroline is dead. She doesn't exist anymore and you mean nothing to me."
"You lie," Klaus ground out just before his mouth crashed into hers.
Caroline tried to yank her head away, but he gripped her face with his hands holding her in place. He kissed her brutally, his lips hard against hers as his tongue thrust into her mouth. It was a kiss of possession, one that sought to prove her words wrong. She stood her ground, wildly fighting not to react, but already she could feel herself submitting to his will. Her body sagged against the door, her breasts swelling, growing sensitive as he pressed his chest against hers. When he lightly cut his tongue on the tip of her barely recessed fang, giving her taste of his blood it was her undoing.
With desperation she kissed him back, her hands clawing into his shoulders. Her need for him, his taste, the release only he could give took over her and she ground her hips into his. Klaus needed no urging, he lifted her up and she straddled her legs around him. Her body burned, an inferno raging inside of her. His blood in her mouth, every inch of her form pressed to his, desire escalated to a tortured peak.
"Caroline! Where are you?"
Cold washed over her. She recognized that high-pitched, panicked voice easily. Elena was here. Caroline's feet flew to the ground, her mouth leaving Klaus's. He groaned and tried to capture her lips again and she quickly moved her head so he caught only her cheek. Once again she thrust him from her, her hands on his firm, muscular chest. Only this time he seemed to be expecting it and he was unmovable.
"Caroline! Are you okay? What has he done to you? Get your hands off me."
Elena had to be downstairs and while Caroline didn't think Klaus's hybrids would harm her friend, she wasn't about to risk it. "Let me go."
"We weren't finished, love."
"I can't deal with this right now. Elena is downstairs."
"Then tell me when you will be ready to deal with this?"
"I don't know." Caroline didn't think she would ever be able to deal with what existed between them. However, at this moment, she needed to get out of his bedroom and his house as soon as possible. She needed time to herself away from him and his calculated seduction, a chance to harness the strength to fight him. Especially if her hand was forced and she had to forever extinguish the light in his eyes. "Please give me some time. Everything that's happened…it's all so new to me. I don't know how to deal with this."
Klaus leaned in close, his lips hovering over his healed bite mark along her neck. "You could make this so much easier. Just accept that you belong at my side."
Oh, God. What he could do to her. "Give me time," she croaked.
"I have waited long enough, sweetheart."
"Caroline!" Elena yelled again, nearing hysteria.
"Just let me go for now. Give me some space. I need to think." She offered him her most coaxing look, her smile one of sugar and syrup that few could deny. "Please, Klaus."
He stared hard at her for a long moment before jerking his head in acceptance. "You have until tonight. Then we are working this out."
Caroline nodded. Less then twelve hours to decide what her next steps were. Not nearly enough time.
"I am going to have some hybrids follow you home and stay with you. I need to make sure you are safe."
Klaus attempted to kiss her goodbye, but wise to him, she twisted her head away from his mouth. This small act of rebellion brought a chuckle to his lips. "You will be mine, " he murmured against her cheek.
Caroline flinched at his solemn vow. Hurrying as fast as she could from his room she flew down the stairs. Reaching the main floor landing, Caroline found a very upset Elena surrounded by several hybrids, one of them had even gone so far as to have his hand wrapped around her friend's arm. At her appearance, they looked to her for instructions.
"Let her go," Caroline directed.
In unison, the hybrids stared at her and then looked to a tall, dark-haired young man standing at the edge of the group. He was dressed in a black suit and seemed to be in charge.
"Do as she says." The hybrid jerked his thumb at his subordinates. "Klaus said she was to be obeyed as long as she wasn't putting her life in danger."
Abruptly released, Elena with a look of disbelief smoothed her hair and clothes. "They follow your orders now?"
"I guess so?" Caroline blinked nervously. "Let's get out of here."
"You don't tell to tell me twice." Elena glared at the hybrids still within standing distance. Grabbing Caroline's hand, she marched her out of the Mikaelson mansion and out into the circular driveway where her car was waiting.
Climbing into Elena's vehicle, Caroline felt a burning between her shoulder blades, that weird sense that someone watched her. Turning her head, she saw Klaus standing at the upstairs window gazing right at her. Noticing the pleased smile on his face, a chill ran through her. Until tonight, he had said. Keenly, she now recognized every second that passed, every particle of sand that slipped through the hourglass.
Pulling out of the driveway and unto the road, Elena remained silent as they joined the rest of the traffic. Unable to contain herself anymore, she spoke up, "I knew I should have stopped him from taking you to his place last night. I'm so sorry. This is my fault. I swear we will make him pay for ever touching you."
Caroline looked up from the hem of Klaus's shirt that had settled down past her knees. "What?"
"It's okay if you don't want to talk about this. I get it. You're probably in shock. I just want you to know I am here for you. We all are."
The grim determination in Elena's voice, surprised Caroline and she turned to look at her friend. She didn't know what kind of reaction she expected to have from Elena at finding her half-naked wearing Klaus's clothes, but this wasn't it. Her friend clearly thought she had been taken advantage of, that Klaus had hurt her. This was so far from the truth it made Caroline want to giggle.
"I don't think you understand. This isn't what it looks like."
"Oh, thank God," Elena whispered, her shoulders shaking with relief. "I thought that you and Klaus – that he forced you and you were together…like together."
Caroline forced back the hysterical laughter bubbling in her throat at Elena's reaction to the possibility that something sexual happened between her and Klaus. How could she possibly tell Elena the truth when the very idea would cause her friend such distress?
"I feel so silly now." Elena turned to glance at Caroline a relieved smile on her face. "When I saw you standing there in Klaus's clothes I just assumed that something had happened between you.
Biting her lip, Caroline stared back at her friend, trying to think how best to tell her that her assumptions were completely justified. "We need to talk."
By the time they reached the Forbes house, she had shocked Elena to silence.
Caroline stepped out of her bedroom, freshly showered and dressed casually in jeans and a black silky camisole. Elena still sat on her bed where she had left her to go shower. She thought her friend might have left with the amount of time she spent in the shower scrubbing away all traces of Klaus. Rubbed pink and raw from an hour bathing, Caroline assumed once she removed all evidence that they were together she would feel clean and free again. She was wrong. Klaus lingered in her thoughts still, his touch shadowing her skin, his fangs piercing the vein in her neck.
"Huh?" Her friend looked up from the lacy bed pillow she studied intently. From the mushy, distorted shape of it, Elena must have squeezed it repeatedly the whole time Caroline showered.
"Are you okay?"
"Sure. I mean why wouldn't I be?" Elena attacked the pillow again. "One of my closest friends just tells me that she is the reincarnated love of my worst enemy. Oh, and she slept with him even though he might have killed her."
"Klaus would never hurt me."
Elena stared at her, knitting her eyebrows together.
"Well…not intentionally," Caroline conceded.
"How do you even know he is telling you the truth about this reincarnation business? What if he compelled you and it is all a big lie? What then? Maybe this is all part of some big plan to get back at us – hurt me?" Elena tightened her grip on the pillow until the stuffing burst through a tear in a corner seam.
"It's okay." Caroline touched her hand to Elena's, gently removing the victimized pillow from her friend's stiff fingers. "I promise, for once this isn't about you."
"How do you know that? He wants to take my blood from me, my home and now one of my best friends."
The bleak fear, the hopeless look in Elena's eyes ripped a hole in Caroline's heart, one that couldn't be fixed, sewn back together like her pillow. Klaus was doing this, had done this to her friend.
At the lack of response from her friend, Caroline scooted down next to her on the bed. "I swear, if anything this whole reincarnation thing, my connection to Klaus, it has helped us – helped you."
"How do you know it's real? That he isn't lying about your past life? That getting you into bed isn't some trick of his?"
"It's hard to explain. Just….just trust me… I — he…."
Caroline's reluctance to continue struck a chord within Elena, waking her from her spiral of self-destructive thought. "You can tell me anything. I won't judge."
"Thanks." She offered Elena a weak smile. "It's all so overwhelming at times I find it hard to believe any of it's real, but it is. I know it."
"Because I remember it, all of it. It's a truth that is carved so deep into who I am, my very soul, that to deny it is to deny my existence." Caroline dug her nails into her jean-clad legs. "I tried to fight it for so long, the dreams, the longing, the connection I have with him. Last night, I needed to understand the emptiness I have always known, the reality that existed beyond my grasp, and Klaus unlocked the door."
Caroline paused, her throat thick with unshed tears.
"What did you see?"
"A whole different world. A Caroline who was me, but wasn't. I saw her whole existence. I knew her pain, her terror, her love as she died for Klaus at the hands of a witch."
"Oh, Caroline," Elena replied softly. "I don't know what to say."
"I don't either."
Elena settled her arm around Caroline's shoulders, a gesture of love and comfort. "What are you going to do?"
"I wish I could control Klaus. I tried to get him to agree to stop this obsession he has with creating hybrids and your blood, but it is useless," Caroline replied with a bitter laugh. "He thinks he's protecting me, but his hybrids can be brainwashed against him. I have seen it happen."
"It doesn't matter." Caroline laid her head on Elena's shoulder. "What does matter is that I think he feels like they are his chance to finally belong somewhere. That forcing their loyalty will give him what we have: family, friendship and love. Only it will do the opposite and leave him more alone than ever. That is what we need to be afraid of."
"I don't care if he is alone. Forever. I can't think of a better scenario," Elena replied with disdain. "He certainly doesn't deserve you. If anything he is going to get you killed again like before. It's his fault what happened last night to you."
Caroline lifted her head up to look at her friend. "He saved my life."
"It's his fault Bonnie got possessed in the first place."
"How did you kn—"
"Easy," Elena interrupted, "Last night, Bonnie started to remember bits and pieces from the possession. Really weird stuff about a witch which kind of makes sense now"
Caroline grasped Elena's hand. "What exactly did she say? Can she talk to the witch?"
"I don't know?"
"We need to get her to remember everything. From my memories the witch will do anything to kill me again. I need to talk to her, get her to stop. That and figure out how she broke the Sire bond with one of Klaus's hybrids."
"What? Like Tyler is trying to do?"
"Exactly." Caroline released Elena's hand and walked over to her closet, removing an olive green jacket from a hanger. "We can use that knowledge to help Tyler and most importantly, stop Klaus. If the Sire bond were easily broken, his hybrids easily brainwashed, why would he want to keep making them? They could turn on him at any second, becoming too much of a liability."
"What are you doing?"
Caroline shrugged the coat on. "I'm going to see Bonnie."
"No." Elena jumped off the bed. "No, you're staying right here."
"What? Why?" Caroline stood in front of the mirror on her dresser, finger combing her still damp hair.
"You almost got killed last night by Bonnie. Remember?"
"It won't happen again. Bonnie won't let it, now that she knows the signs." Fishing around on her dresser, Caroline located the lip-gloss she was looking for.
Elena stood in front of the door, her hands on her hips. "I am not letting you go anywhere. Not until I know for sure you are going to be safe."
Shrill ringing erupted from the entryway where Elena had dumped her purse when Caroline went to shower.
"I think I know who that is." Caroline flashed her friend a teasing smile in the mirror before applying pink lip-gloss to her mouth.
"We all know who that is," Elena grumbled. "I checked in when I got here. What more does he want?"
"To keep you on a leash?" Caroline pursed her lips, smacking them together before tossing the pink gloss back into a pile of makeup on her dresser.
"That's not funny."
The ringing continued, insistent.
Caroline turned around to look at Elena. "Aren't you going to answer?"
Her friend bit her lip. The phone rang again. She shifted on her feet. It rang again. "Fine. I'll be right back."
Slipping on her leather boots, Caroline picked up her purse from the bed where she threw it before showering and took one last glance in the mirror before following Elena.
"Yes, I'm still at Caroline's," Elena mumbled into her phone. "No. She's fine. What? Why?"
Caroline hid a smile while Damon switched from nicely requesting to ultimately demanding that Elena come back to the house."
"Fine. I'll bring her with me."
With dramatic flair, Caroline shook her head repeatedly while mouthing no.
"Okay. Fine." Elena pushed a button on her phone, ending the call. "Damon wants me to bring you back with me to the house."
"What? I think it is a good idea. We can talk about all of this and figure out what we're going to do to keep you safe."
"I really don't want to deal with Damon and all of his questions right now."
"He can help." Elena coaxed. "If not, Stefan will know what to do."
The thought of dealing with the brothers right now, hearing from Damon how the only solution they had was for her to kill Klaus had her wincing with pain.
"Are you okay?"
Caroline barely heard Elena as she tried not to picture piercing him with the white oak stake Damon had saved for her. How Klaus would fall to her feet, betrayal on his face, his body cold and stiff. Excruciating pain exploded in her heart at the thought of the sparkling light in his eyes forever gone.
Pressing her hands to her chest, she leaned against the wall to steady herself.
"I'm fine. I must still be weak from the blood loss last night," Caroline explained, smiling wanly.
"No, you're not. You almost passed out. Let me call Damon and Stefan and have them come here. That might actually work better. They can stay with you and keep Klaus away."
Elena's set her hands on her hips once more. "Why not?"
Caroline recognized all the hallmarks of Elena's stubborn temperament in the way her chin poked out at her, the stubborn tilt of her mouth and her leaden stance. As much as she loved her friend, all she wanted to do was get rid of her and see Bonnie. If she could only contact the witch from long ago, maybe she could make everything stop and save herself and Klaus. She could keep the witch from killing her and find out how Klaus's hybrid servant was brainwashed. If she had those answers she might be able to use that threat to keep him from making anymore, setting Elena free.
"I don't feel really well. I think I need to lay down." Caroline walked back towards the bedroom, making sure to stumble slightly on her feet. This little action had Elena running to help her. Guilt swam inside of her, filling her stomach and sliding into her throat, but she resolutely swallowed it back.
"Here, just rest for a minute," Elena said, helping her into bed.
"Don't call Stefan and Damon."
"The truth is…you see the truth is…" Caroline sought a lie, one that was believable, only it was the truth that came out. "I'm not ready to talk about any of this with them yet. I need a little time to process all this."
"You know they only want to help and if we are dealing with Klaus and this witch we need it."
"I know. Just give me until tomorrow. We can have a big meeting with everyone then and make some decisions. For right now, I just want some time. Alone."
"Caroline…" While Elena's eyes softened, her face was still set in resolute lines of determination.
"Please." She cracked a pleading smile - a little one she knew would strike right at Elena's heart.
"You have to promise to let us all work this out tomorrow. No more secrets."
"All right, then." Elena patted Caroline's shoulder. "I will let you rest."
Just to be careful, Caroline waited until Elena's car drove down the street before she jumped out of bed. She promised no more secrets, but that promise would have to start tomorrow because today she was going to go see Bonnie and get the answers she needed.
I hope you enjoyed the update. I realize it was a long time coming and for that I apologize. I want to thank all my readers that have stuck with me all this time and I also want to welcome those that are new. :)
My thanks go to Maevelin for never letting me forget about this story and for encouraging me to come back to it after all this time. Writing this chapter has been a pure joy and reminded me of all the things that I love so much about Klaroline. I also need to thank QueenofKlaroline and Sci-fi Christian for their wonderful editing skills. They have been wonderful to work with.