HERE IT IS! My last chapter. Enjoy.
Caroline could feel a soft breeze touch her face; her long bangs tickling her eyes. She rolled over, feeling her warm silk sheets rub against her skin. She didn't need to open her eyes to know she was back in her bedroom. She could hear the rain pounding onto the earth outside her open window.
Her throat was dry and scratchy; as if she desperately needed something to drink. When she finally opened her eyes, she could tell that it was late morning. She had no idea how long she had been dead for. It was in that last split second before dying that she remembered Klaus had given her blood to heal her broken bones. So now she was in transition, again.
Caroline couldn't bring herself to sit up, she didn't have the strength. She knew Klaus was dead, after all, she had left him there with Tatia armed with the stake and Mikael ready to take him down. Caroline sighed loudly, she had tried so hard to change the past, so much so that it had consumed her; and in the end, everything that she had been working toward, to save Elena, to save the vampire race, to save him, had been for nothing.
Caroline heard a soft knock on her door, and then it cracked open slowly; her mom poked her head in a moment later.
"Caroline," Her mother said, tapping the door lightly. "If you don't start getting ready soon, we're going to be late."
Caroline frowned at the ceiling.
"Late for what?" Caroline asked, not moving an inch.
"The family tea at the Lockwood house!" Her mom said, barely smiling. "You're the one that insisted we go."
Caroline nodded at this, although of course, she never remembered suggesting such a thing. Then again, she didn't know who she was in the present, for all she knew her old shallow self could still be dating Matt, and Elena could still be dead.
Her mom closed the door after giving her one more warning to hurry up; slowly Caroline sat up. She definitely felt weaker; her arms felt limp and her legs were aching.
She looked at her tired eyes in the mirror, knowing that if she didn't feed soon, she would die. Then, she realized that she would die either way. Klaus was dead, which meant that the vampire race was extinct. The minute she transitioned into a vampire she would surely die an hour later. She would have to willingly face her death; she had no choice.
So she summoned up all of her courage, and stood. Walking over to her closet she slipped on a summer dress and gazed outside, admiring the sun that broke through the clouds, creating a streak of sun light that made its way into her room. She zipped up her dress and put on make-up. She fluffed her hair, and slipped on some flats. She took a hard look at herself in the mirror. She looked exhausted, and defeated; she stepped closer to the mirror looking into her eyes, past the dead gaze and dark circles, she thought she saw a small glimmer of hope.
If Caroline was going to die, she wanted her last few hours to be surrounded by people she cared about. So she walked down the stairs in a haze, pausing as her mom slung her purse over her shoulder, commenting on how pretty Caroline looked and then they were out the door.
T-H-E V-A-M-P-I-R-E D-I-A-R-I-E-S
One of the things that Caroline had grown used to doing every time she re-entered the present, was looking for change, if any change at all; and as her mom and her drove past all the houses, and Mystic park, she realized that the outer appearance hadn't changed but what had, laid beneath, in the crevasses of the town.
They pulled into the Lockwood driveway a moment later, the lawn and interior of the house looked to be full of people.
"Alright," Her mom said a moment later as they parked. "Let's go." She said it as if this was the last thing of earth she wanted to be doing in that moment.
Caroline got out of the car and followed her mom's lead. They walked up the driveway and began to climb the house steps.
Caroline took in a deep breath, prepared for the worst.
The first person she recognized was Bonnie, her hair was pulled up and she had on a yellow dress. She was smiling at her father, and Grams. It was good to see that at least Bonnie's family was still somewhat intact.
Caroline then saw Matt, who was shaking hands with a few of his friends on the football team. Caroline then scanned the crowd, her eyes landing on Tyler.
When Tyler spotted her he began to walk toward her, and she wondered what their relationship was like in the present. Once Tyler was in front of her, he lightly tapped the side of her arm and thanked her for coming, and then he was off greeting other people. Caroline frowned, they weren't even friends, this made Caroline sad, but she continued to push through the mass of people.
"Caroline!" She heard her name yelled, the voice was so familiar and shocking that at first Caroline thought she was still dreaming.
"Elena?" Caroline asked, her voice didn't sound like her own.
Less than a second later, Elena squeezed through a group of people and came up to Caroline, wrapping one arm around her friends shoulder and pulling her in.
"I'm glad you and your mom decided to come. My mom told me that if she ended up not coming with you, you could join our family." Elena said with a laugh.
Caroline paused, mouth open wide.
"Your mom?" She asked, she could hardly believe her ears.
"Uh yeah, over there." Elena said, pointing behind her; and sure enough, as Caroline peered over people she saw Miranda and Grayson Gilbert clinking glasses with a couple of friends. But how? Caroline thought to herself. They should have died on the Wickery Bridge.
Then Caroline brought her hand up to her mouth, the bridge. Her and Klaus had burned it down. They never repaired it, therefore when they picked up Elena from the party, they didn't take that way, because there was no bridge to take. Caroline swallowed hard, although she couldn't help but feel her heart soar.
She hugged Elena again, tighter. She was alive, they were all alive.
"Jenna's here too?" Caroline asked, although Elena shook her head.
"She couldn't come because of school, but-" Elena started but Caroline waved her off, smiling.
Elena looked at her friend oddly.
"Caroline are you ok?" Elena asked, and Caroline contemplated telling her that she was dying; but of course she wouldn't, it would just be something she didn't have the energy to tell, so she nodded instead.
"I'm so glad you're all here," Caroline decided to say in the end. They were all alive, which meant that maybe Caroline hadn't completely failed after all.
Caroline looked down at the floor, and then she looked at back up at Elena.
"I have to go," Caroline said, finally, although there was a smile on her face.
"Why?" Elena asked, following Caroline as she walked toward the door.
"I just want to say goodbye to someone," Caroline said, although she knew this made no sense to Elena. But she ran down the smooth steps and down the driveway. She would walk; after all, the empty spot where the Wickery Bridge used to be wasn't too far away.
T-H-E V-A-M-P-I-R-E D-I-A-R-I-E-S
When she got there, she saw that she had been right; they hadn't even touched the area. It was exactly as she had remembered; only there weren't pieces of burnt wood everywhere.
She walked right up to the edge of where it should have begun, and she peered down into the water, trying to picture Klaus.
So she had saved everyone, everyone that should matter to her, but what about her and Klaus and all that they've been through? She loved him, and she knew this because she still felt the pang in her chest whenever she said his. Maybe she was selfish for wanting to be with him, but that's what made her feel human, and maybe she deserved to be selfish now.
Caroline lowered herself to the ground; her hands touching the area where Mikael had killed her. Maybe she was saying goodbye not only to him, but to herself. Her family and friends were safe, and that's all that should matter; but Caroline didn't want to die, she had barely begun to live. Was this what her punishment for messing with time was? Or was it because she fell in love with him?
Suddenly, Caroline heard movement in the trees behind her; she whipped around suddenly.
"Caroline?" She heard a familiar voice say.
Then pushing aside the bushes Caroline saw Stefan emerge, in his hands he had a rabbit squirming wildly.
When Caroline saw him her breath caught.
"Stefan?" She breathed.
"What are you doing here?" They both said at the same time. Stefan smiled at her, and pointed to himself.
"I grew up here," He said, with a laugh. "Just came back to visit."
Caroline shook her head. "You're supposed to me dead." Stefan seemed shocked by this.
"Ouch," He said, although he wasn't smiling. "It's good to see you too."
"I mean," Caroline said, she was at loss for words. "Klaus died…"
Stefan seemed confused by this because his eyebrows furrowed.
"You don't know?" He asked, stepping toward her. Caroline sighed loudly.
"What?" She asked, panicked. "Know what?"
"Klaus is alive Caroline, I mean, he lives here." Stefan said, pointing behind Caroline. "Not too far from here."
"What?" Caroline asked, looking behind her, then back at Stefan. It wasn't possible, he should be dead, there was no way he could have gotten away without Mikael catching him immediately.
"Yeah, he's been here for a few years, him and Rebekah." Stefan said shrugging. "I actually came here to visit her, and to come back home." He said, opening up his arms to all of Mystic Falls. "But then I saw her."
Caroline knew he was talking about Elena.
"Elena?" Caroline asked, and Stefan seemed surprised by this, but he just nodded. "She knows you?"
"Barely," Stefan said, shrugging. "I'm just getting to know her."
Caroline took in a breath, trying to wrap her mind around the fact that Klaus was alive, and he was here.
"Where is he?" Caroline asked, her voice sounded desperate.
Stefan smiled, he then gave her verbal directions, and Caroline realized that he had taken up residence in the same place she remembered. Caroline then walked up to Stefan, and wrapped an arm around his shoulders bringing him in close.
"Thank you," She whispered. "For everything." She was referring to the last time he had helped her, by giving Klaus her note. Stefan looked confused, although then his features softened.
"I may not know you well Caroline," He said, chucking. "But I can tell you're one hell of a girl."
He paused, nodding; as if he knew something she did not. "I can see why he waited for you."
Caroline laughed at this, bringing her hand up to her forehead. For the longest time, all she had wanted was to be wanted. She wanted to be somebody's number one; and maybe she was still his. But there was only one way to find out, so she gave Stefan one last smile, and then she took off running.
Despite her weak disposition, Caroline pushed herself faster. Of course she would feed, but for now, her mind was consumed with the thought of Klaus. He was here, he was alive, they all were.
As the house came into view, it's white exterior momentarily blinding her as she made her way up the steps. She had never felt more exhausted, or more exhilarated in her life.
Caroline didn't bother knocking. She walked right in, and smiled as she saw that everything was in its place; nothing was covered up or packed away. It made the area feel permanent, it made Caroline feel permanent, and for once she felt as if she weren't going to disappear.
As she slowly made her way into the living room, taking it all in, she spotted someone in the corner of her eye.
"You look like hell," Rebekah said, although as Caroline turned she saw that Rebekah wore a smile.
"Well, I'm kind of dying." Caroline said, although she wasn't interested in what Rebekah had to say, she wanted to find Klaus.
Rebekah nodded at this. "I know, Nick told me everything." She said, then after a beat Caroline began to move again, searching.
"Here," Rebekah said, following after Caroline. Caroline looked behind her and Rebekah who she saw was holding a cup of blood. "You don't want to look like death when you see him."
Caroline frowned, but walked over to Rebekah, taking the glass of blood in her own hand.
"Why are you being so nice to me?" Caroline asked, swishing the blood around. "Last time I checked you hated me."
Rebekah seemed to consider this as she watched Caroline sip the blood, and then begin to gag and cough as her teeth began to forcefully break through her gums.
"Because you're the reason my brother is still alive, how could I hate you for that?" Rebekah said, Caroline winced and groaned as her teeth fully extended. She took more blood. "I'm still not your biggest fan." Rebekah said, shrugging. Although Caroline saw something in her eyes, respect.
"But I see how happy you make him, how happy you still make him, even after all this time." She said, licking her lips.
Caroline's teeth had retracted, and she could feel her face begin to adjust. She could feel the veins under her eyes begin to disappear, and her face return to normal. It felt fuller, and healthier; she felt stronger.
Rebekah didn't say anything else as she turned and walked away; although Caroline couldn't help but smile. Rebekah was soon off her mind as her thoughts were brought back to Klaus. She hunted the dining room, and then the kitchen. Pausing in the library, Caroline suddenly smelt it. The subtle, yet lingering fragrance of paint. It drifted up from the open window of the library, and she knew he was outside.
She ran downstairs, and as she reached the base, bringing herself closer to the backdoors; she saw him. His hand was holding a brush as he stood back and looked at his canvas. It had smudges of paint here and there, although nothing substantial yet, but it was a work in progress.
Caroline opened the door, and stepped out onto the back deck, waiting for him to take notice of her.
He didn't turn to look at her at first; instead he kept his eyes on his work, although Caroline could see a slow smile creep onto his face as if he could feel her presence.
"You know love, I've been waiting for you," he said finally, his words lingering in the air. The same, yet different all at once. He didn't seem surprised by her appearance; it was as if he was expected it.
Caroline couldn't stop smiling, although it was small. She also didn't say anything for some time, watching him closely, taking in the moment.
"You remember?" She asked, shifting her weight from foot to foot; her feet pressing down hard on the wood beneath her.
Then for the first time he turned to look at her, his eyes locking with hers as they narrowed, as if he were having a hard time seeing her, or as If he were trying to make sure she was really there. Then his eyes softened, and he put on a sad smile.
"I remember," He whispered.
Then Caroline half ran to him, and in one easy motion he dropped the brush, and wound his arms around her waist bringing her up to meet him.
She hugged him hard, burying her face in-between his shoulder and his neck.
"How?" She asked, although it came out more as a croak.
Klaus placed his hand behind her head, and brought her down so that she could look into his eyes.
"Mikael had me held down," Klaus said, sighing. "He was ordering Tatia to kill me; screaming at her."
"She just stood there though," He said, looking past Caroline into the distance, remembering. "The stake was in her hand, and she had the perfect shot."
Caroline shook her head, she didn't understand why then, why not kill him.
"Then it was as if something clicked in her head," he said, looking down. "Her demeanor changed suddenly."
Caroline took a step back from Klaus, watching him closely.
"Instead of looking at me with hatred," He said, shaking his head. "She was looking at Mikael."
"She was looking from him to your dead body." He said, taking Caroline's hand. "I think she was angry at him for killing you."
"She killed him instead?" Caroline said, as Klaus nodded. "So she actually listened to what I said; her killing you would kill Elena."
Klaus considered this. "Maybe," he said, shrugging. "Or maybe she realized that the side she was playing for was actually the bad side."
Caroline shook her head, she didn't understand. "He killed you sweetheart, and you were innocent. You weren't the intended target, and I think that slightly pissed her off, to know she was the assistant of the bad guy; a man who was killing innocent people for his own selfish reasons."
Caroline looked past Klaus, trying to remember Tatia from that night, trying to picture her anger toward Mikael for killing her. So Tatia had been good in the end, Caroline had to admit she had pegged her for more of the Katherine type at one point, but in the end, she turned out more like Elena.
"I thought I was dead, that it had happened so fast that I hadn't even felt it," Klaus said, turning away from Caroline. "But then I felt Mikael begin to fall on top of me. I pushed him off easily, watching him tumble to the side, his chest catching fire. I took one look at Tatia, and then she was gone, and I haven't seen her since."
Caroline nodded at this, hoping that Tatia was ok, wherever she was.
"It took me a moment," Klaus said, looking down at the ground. "To realize that you weren't actually dead, that you had drank my blood." He looked as if this memory were uncomfortable to him; it made him squirm.
"I knew you would wake up in transition, but I knew you wouldn't wake up in that time period." Klaus said, walking away from Caroline.
"So I waited," Klaus said, laughing at this. "I traveled for a bit, until you got older. Then I came back."
He turned to look at Caroline, his eyes sad.
"I made a home for myself and my family," He said, gesturing to the house. "Meanwhile watching you grow up, waiting for the day you would remember me."
Caroline smiled at this, picturing Klaus waiting impatiently.
"And now here I am," Caroline said, her voice slow.
"Here you are," Klaus said, walking over to her, grabbing her hand in his and kissing it quickly.
"And you remember me," She said softly as Klaus took her chin in his hand.
"And you're no longer my disappearing girl," Klaus said, smiling down at her.
Caroline tucked her head under Klaus' chin, resting it on his chest, listening to his silent heart.
"No," Caroline said, closing her eyes and smiling. "Now I'm just your girl."
Their hands intertwined perfectly, like all the constellations, as he drew her in close, whispering about the past, the future, and everything in between. Caroline then raised her head, smiling at him as he bent down, pressing his lips softly against her own; embracing all her desire's, fulfilling all of his, and binding their hearts together.
Thank you all again for reading this story, it means a lot. I had so much fun writing it; it makes me sad to think that it's over. Maybe I'll write another story about them again someday. Cheers everyone; and thanks again!
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