A/N: This is the story that came to my mind out of the blue. It won't be long - more or less 5 chapters, unless I find some other ideas or sub-plots to include in the main plot. This chapter is shorter because it's more like a prologue.
It is my attempt at writing something more dramatic. See how I fail miserably ;)
(Guess what? If you leave me a review, karma will reward you. Let me know what you think.)
Something is going to fall like rain
Her heart is barely beating.
"Promise me you'll take care of Ben."
"Please, don't let them find him."
When her heart stops, hot tears roll down Caroline's cheek.
I'm sorry for your loss.
She was a good girl.
He's been through so much in his life.
Poor kids. So young.
I'm taking Benjamin with me to New York.
We'll be watching over you, don't worry Care.
You two are safe.
But do not imagine we do not know
Nor that what you hide with such care won't show
At a glance.
Nothing is done, nothing is said,
But don't make the mistake of believing us dead:
I shouldn't dance.
Benjamin reminds her of his father's kindness and good nature. He has also his mother's innate sense of good and evil that always astounds Caroline. He has his father's eyes, blue but in no way cold. He has his mother's hair, dark chocolate brown. Unruly hair like his occasional unruly behavior. He is a good boy but he tends to be so stubborn sometimes. Like his mom used to be.
But when he smiles he looks so much like his father. He has the most warm, sweet smile in the whole world. Caroline knows this because she loved his father once, too.
She was glad when Benjamin's parents got together. They were her best friends, they had been through so much together, and as humans they could have led a long, happy life. They were about to get married but Benjamin's birth made them put the wedding off for the time being. There was no need to rush things, after all. Klaus was gone, the danger was gone, the Originals went MIA, too. Caroline felt safe with Tyler and didn't even thought that in the world full of supernatural beings a completely human tragedy can still happen.
Yet, the car crash happened. It's ironic how history repeats itself. The Wickery Bridge, ominous and threatening, eventually took away the life it hadn't taken years before. And Ben's dad was the collateral damage.
Caroline is sitting on the balcony of her pretty decent condo in New York, looking at the setting sun, with a glass of wine in one hand. Benjamin is sleeping peacefully after another busy Saturday in the park. They both love spending time there, Ben enjoys playing outdoors and getting some fresh air, while the green all around her reminds Caroline of the woods in Mystic Falls.
How long has it been? Ten years or so. Last year Ben blew off nine candles, this year he'll have one more to put out. Ten peaceful years in New York. Ten sad anniversaries of his parents' death.
"Did you know them well?" He asks one day.
"Yes, they were my best friends," she answers, fighting to keep a tear from falling.
She wants to be more like an older sister to him, but he needs a mother figure, and after a long inner debate she assumes the role, hoping his mother has nothing against it wherever she is now.
Caroline loves Ben more than anything in the world. That's why Tyler leaves her.
"I can't do this, Caroline, I tried so hard, but I can't." He says.
"Don't make me choose." Her hand wriggles out of his.
Tyler remains silent for a moment, then he leaves the apartment without a word. He never returns.
"You're the prettiest girl in the world," Ben hugs her when he finds her crying in the kitchen, "don't worry. You'll find a prince you deserve." That moment a six-year-old boy seems so grown up and serious.
"I already have one," she winks at the boy with her eyes still puffy from crying, then regains her composure.
She decides not to fall in love again.
And she keeps her promise since then.
Never in her life has Caroline Forbes thought she would be raising a kid on her own. Many things have changed since she took Ben in her arms and left Mystic Falls. She has learned to value Ben's interest over her blonde vampire self.
Ten years of changing diapers, teaching him how to walk on his own, playing with him in a sandbox, teaching him how to read, telling him funny stories about his parents, watching cartoons, cheering him up on his first day at school, comforting him when he's sad, encouraging him to make friends.
But also it's been ten years of learning how to manage her blood thirst around him, and ten years of seclusion. She knows other mothers from the park and the playground of course, but she doesn't have real friends in NY. Without Tyler and their tiresome on-and-off relationship, she's all alone.
Thanks to the Salvatores she's got the money to raise Ben without having to work.
It's only her and Ben, and a metropolis that ensures them anonymity they need. The privacy she needs for Ben's sake.
Caroline takes a slow sip from the glass when her phone rings.
"Stefan? Hey." She smiles. The Salvatores take care of Benjamin like it was their own flesh and blood. This is what love and sentiment for Ben's mother does to them. Ben likes uncle Stefan and uncle Damon, although he doesn't see them often. It's too risky. Caroline doesn't want to tell him about the vampire thing for now, it would be too soon for the kid. One day he'll know. Hopefully he understands. Hopefully he forgives them.
"Caroline, how are you two?" Stefan's voice sounds concerned.
"Good. Ben's doing an amazing job at school. What's up?"
"I don't know how to break it to you — " He starts but soon enough Damon cuts in,
"— Klaus woke up from his beauty sleep and he's out of his coffin and he knows about the crash!" Caroline hears Damon's nervous voice.
Time stops. She freezes. The phone almost falls down on the floor.
It's impossible. It's as unrealistic as Caroline dyeing her hair black.
Out of question.
Her heart sinks.
"Caroline? Are you still there?" Stefan pushes Damon away and she hears a loud sound of a body hitting a wall, Son of a—!
"Listen, he's furious about the doppelganger bloodline ending, he doesn't know about... you know what. Everything's under control."
Caroline lets out a breath she doesn't even know she's been holding off.
"You should lead the life you've been leading so far, don't let the paranoia get you, ok?"
She likes the caring Stefan. Damon handles everything roughly, in the extreme manner, while Stefan soothes the pain and steadies her nerves.
"I just wanted to warn you. And remember, if anything happens, we'll be in the Big Apple before you could blink."
"Thanks." She sighs.
But she isn't feeling any better, though. He's back, probably seeking revenge, and Caroline hopes against all odds that he won't hurt the brothers.
Not only is she worried about them and Benjamin, she's also worried about herself. Something is telling her — it's basically screaming at her — that Caroline's absence in Mystic Falls won't go unnoticed. She'd better hide the sketch that still hangs in her bedroom.
The sky is darkening like a stain,
Something is going to fall like rain
And it won't be flowers.
— W.H. Auden