disclaimer | standard one, yo.
notes | so i wanted to get this posted before the finale basically ruined all of my klaroline feels. yes, it's multipart. no, you have not all lost your minds. yes, this is real life.
It might be impractical
To seek out a new romance
We won't know the actual
If we never take the chance
Caroline knows they can't take out Alaric on their own, not without killing Elena. And not turning her into a vampire killing her, but killing her killing her. Bonnie wants to desiccate him like she did Klaus (and she doesn't cringe when she thinks about him like that, she doesn't, she doesn't), and Caroline worries for the sharp glint in her eyes at the prospect of using the spell again, but there are bigger problems to deal with.
They don't have the muscle power they need and none of the Originals will help until they know where Klaus is, and Rebekah and Kol keep trying to murder Elena so then Stefan and Damon say they'll never tell them anything if she dies and nobody in this stupid town can negotiate like, at all, so she's stuck trying to placate everyone so nobody slaughters each other and seriously.
Seriously. She didn't sign up for any of this crap, okay?
But she knows they need Klaus, alive, to help them, even if it means risking Elena. They've been feeding her vampire blood for a week, ever since Matt's car swerved off of Wickery Bridge and they barely made it out. She'll become a vampire if it really gets that far. Caroline isn't worried; she's been secretly hoping for an eternal bestie anyways.
The problem is that Damon is, big surprise here, being an asshole and won't tell anyone where Klaus is, not even Elena. Stefan looks at Caroline sometimes like he wants to, but then Damon snaps his neck and drags him off to their Wonder Twin Bat Cave or whatever before he lets something slip, and she is just so done with this.
"Alright," she snarls, the hood of Damon's car crumpling beneath her fist, "I get that you want to protect Elena, I do, but how long do you think it's gonna be before the Originals just stop caring and kill her even without Klaus? And with Alaric running around stabbing everyone, it's only a matter of time before we," she gestures between them, "get staked. We need Klaus. We need the Originals, Damon."
Damon sneers at her, clambers out of the car, and crushes her wrist in his palm until the shattered bones pierce through her skin. She grinds her teeth and glowers at him.
"Touching speech," he drawls, veins darkening around his eyes, "but save it for your boyfriend. Oh, sorry, I seemed to have put him in a coffin and misplaced him." When she shrieks, he adds, "and the next time you touch my car, Barbie, I'll rip your hand straight off."
"Stop being so fucking stubborn," she seethes, fangs sliding painfully along her gums. "Think about the bigger picture, you dick. The world doesn't revolve solely around your single-minded mission to protect Elena from everything you think she can't handle, including breathing."
"Uh," he snorts and she wants to punch him so badly, "actually, newsflash, yeah, it does."
Caroline huffs, drags her arm away from him and shakes out her hand as the bones begin to set and heal. "I know you don't think much of humans," she says, quieter than before, "but she's a lot stronger than you give her credit for."
Damon stares at her, jaw ticking, with his eyebrows pinched together in thought. Then, tensely, "goodbye, Blondie."
She growls as he drives off, kicking up dust behind him. Plan B it is.
Tyler meets her and Elena at Bonnie's, the one place neither the Salvatores nor the Originals have been invited in. Bonnie has been quieter, more withdrawn lately, ever since the spell. Here, in her house, that's somehow amplified.
"You want me to what?" Tyler's eyes flick to Elena, who is stone faced on the couch. It's her plan, and Caroline is actually kind of proud of her. "Tell me I did not just hear that."
"You have to bite Damon," Elena repeats slowly, fingers knotted in her lap. Bonnie smirks a little at her other side. "Klaus' blood is the only cure for a werewolf bite. They'll have to wake him up."
"You're assuming I can get close enough to a hundred and fifty year old vampire to bite him." He turns to Caroline. "Did I piss you off or something? 'cause I can't think of any other reason why you'd want me to do this."
Caroline rolls her eyes. "Oh, my God."
"I'll help with Damon," Bonnie says, almost smiling. Caroline imagines her blowing up Damon's entire brain or something just for the hell of it and shoots Elena a worried look. Elena sends her one right back. "Once he's down, all you have to do is bite him."
"Feel free to dig your teeth in a little," Caroline adds, and at Elena's startled expression amends, "he basically turned my wrist into dust last week, so."
Tyler sits down next to her, almost cautiously. "So why am I not biting Stefan?"
"Because he wants to tell m— us, where Klaus is." Caroline bites her lip and hopes no one catches her slip. They don't. She continues, "he's less likely to try and jump in to save Damon than Damon is to try and jump in to save Stefan. If we present it like an ultimatum, Damon can't get all bitchy and act like Stefan betrayed him or whatever the hell he does."
"And what about after Klaus," Tyler makes a face and Caroline folds her fingers neatly under the hem of her skirt so no one sees them clench tight, "heals him and shit? Assuming he does, 'cause you know he hates Damon."
Bonnie frowns. "What do you mean by 'after'?"
"I mean after he's healed and he decides to kill all of us in our sleep with his bare hands," Tyler groans, burying his face in Caroline's shoulder. "This might actually be the worst plan to ever come into existence."
"I know," Elena murmurs, her lashes thick and slightly damp against the dark hollows beneath her eyes as she glances down. Caroline squeezes her knee. "But it's the only plan we have. I'll take care of Damon, don't worry."
"What, like you did at that motel?" Tyler sneers a little. "I'm so relieved."
Caroline smiles sweetly at him as Elena tenses next to her, her spine snapping straight. "Remember how much I didn't date you when you were a douche bag?"
"Sorry." Tyler actually looks apologetic. "This is just all kinds of fucked."
"Welcome to Mystic Falls," Caroline deadpans. "Did you just move here or something?"
Somehow, despite everything, Elena finds it in her to laugh.
The first thing Caroline thinks when she sees him is seriously? You couldn't even try to be unattractive while dead, you bastard? because there's always this little voice in her head when Klaus is involved that she just can't control, regardless of the situation.
Then, collecting herself, she thinks, I'm so sorry, Tyler. What is wrong with me?
Her hands feel heavy. Outside, Stefan is rhythmically tapping his knuckles against the tomb wall. The beat sounds a little like the song that had been playing on the radio when they'd driven here. Her and Tyler's song. She hiccups. Stefan stops.
Klaus looks strangely at peace, and it makes her angry just to see him, knowing what they lost to get here. What she had to lose to do this.
"It wasn't supposed to be like this," she starts, kneeling next to his coffin. Her fingers shake around the blood bag, curling in tightly until she's afraid she'll ruin it. "He was supposed to be here too, we were going to do this together, it wasn't—"
She's crying. She hates herself for crying, but not as much as she just hates herself. She flips the cap on the bag and leans over him, blonde curls spilling onto his cheek. "It wasn't supposed to be hard," she whispers.
She presses his mouth open with one hand and starts to pour.
Here's what happens:
Tyler jumps Damon in the parking lot of The Grille, easy. Bonnie's chanting next to him, and as Damon claws at his temples, Tyles sinks his teeth into the fleshy part of his arm and growls a little.
Caroline is watching with Elena from her car and thinking, that's kind of hot when it's not me.
Then, as Damon crumples to the pavement swearing, Stefan rushes out, eyes wide, but nowhere near as shocked as he should be. "What the hell, Tyler?"
This is the part where Tyler is supposed to negotiate Damon for Klaus. This is supposed to be a piece of cake. This is not how it goes.
"Turning on your own kind now? You're an abomination, Lockwood."
And it's almost slow motion, the way Alaric appears. The way his hand disappears into Tyler's chest as Stefan starts yelling and Bonnie tries to cripple him with another spell, the veins in her arms turning black and crawling like spider webs up her neck. Caroline is running across the lot before she even realizes it, crying and screaming and Tyler no no nononono TylerTylerTyler please
Stefan slams Alaric into the ground with surprising force but not enough speed. Tyler's heart slides out of his hand. Alaric laughs.
Caroline doesn't stop screaming.
Klaus' eyelids flutter once, like butterfly wings, before he actually wakes. Caroline backs away from him and presses her face to her knees. Her shorts are smeared with dirt and moss and there's dust and who knows what else clinging to the gold of her hair. She's thinking about how Stefan probably could have left his old bromance in a more accommodating place when he sits up and rubs his neck.
"What in the bloody hell—" he pauses as she tips her head up to him, mascara running in thick black streaks down to the gentle curve of her jaw. "Caroline?"
She wipes at her cheeks with the sleeves of Tyler's old jacket and looks back at him stonily. "Tyler died so we could wake you up," she tries to keep her voice even but it breaks on his name anyways, and Klaus' lips thin, "so you better help me kill Alaric."
(Later, she'll realize she'd said 'me' not 'us' and had meant it, fiercely. She'll wonder if he'd seen that in her. She'll wonder if that's why he'd agreed so easily, like he didn't even need to think about it.)
He cracks his neck, eyes slanting towards her. "I see no reason why I shouldn't; that hunter is a danger to my family as well."
"Okay," she whispers, because that's as close to a yes as she is going to get, and straightens her clothes. "Let's go, then."
She avoids eye contact and makes it two steps before his fingers catch her wrist, thumb pressing against the spot where her pulse had once beat steady. She inhales hard, wills herself to ignore the warmth she's always felt around him. This isn't the time— there will never be a time—
"I'm sorry," he murmurs, and she glances over her shoulder to see him and the softness in his eyes, the one she'd only ever seen directed at Rebekah or he— "Caroline. I'm sorry."
Even though she's sure he doesn't mean it, she starts to cry for what feels like the hundredth time, folding into herself. The hand he isn't holding is curled limply against her chest. He stands without letting go of her.
"This isn't happening," Caroline gasps. Her throat is raw, and she's covered in blood from elbow to wrist. None of it is hers. "This— this can't— Stefan, tell me this is a nightmare please."
Stefan and Elena are both supporting Damon, who's already covered in a thin layer of sweat. His head lolls forward briefly, then jerks up again. "Shouldn't have bit me," he's mumbling, "stupid, stupid plan— I am the only one with good plans—"
"Shut up," Caroline whimpers, pressing her forehead against Tyler's cold one, "just shut the fuck up, Damon."
Elena reaches out tentatively, like she's dealing with a scared animal. Absently, Caroline thinks, maybe she is. "Care," she smoothes her red fingers out from their tight fists, rubbing the joints until her knuckles loosen. "Care."
"Why does everyone keep dying." Caroline sniffles. "This isn't fair. It wasn't supposed to— he got turned into a vampire for fuck sake's, he wasn't supposed to die—"
She feels rather than sees Stefan and Elena share a look. Damon is still muttering to himself. Bonnie comes back from the car, where she'd had to phone the police, stricken. "Your mom just told me the council knows you're a vampire."
Caroline's dead-still heart lodges somewhere in her throat. "Oh my God."
Bonnie crouches down quickly and squeezes her shoulders. "Care, it's going to be okay; we just need to wake up Klaus and—"
There's that glint again. Caroline pulls away abruptly and threads her fingers through Tyler's stiff ones, lips trembling. "I don't wanna."
Bonnie's voice is sharp. "You have to; you're the only one he'll actually consider listening to instead of just killing."
Caroline chokes on a hysterical, wet noise she hasn't made since her dad ran out. Stefan pries her away from Tyler with a gentleness rarely seen since before Damon had been bitten the first time and flattens his palm out against the small of her back. "Shh, just take deep breaths."
She almost laughs. Looks at Tyler instead and starts crying again. Stefan coaxes her back towards her car and sits her on the hood. She stares at the dip of his collarbones to avoid looking anywhere else. "Hey, I'm up here."
She flicks her eyes towards him, then back down. He sighs. She meets his gaze this time.
"I know I haven't been doing a very good job of keeping that promise I made you," his voice is low, calm and soothing. His fingers work along her hairline in slow strokes. "But I'm going to fix that. I'm going to fix this, Caroline. I won't let you be hurt anymore."
It's a little late for that, she thinks bitterly, but says, "what're we gonna do about Tyler?"
Stefan kisses her temple as Elena stumbles over to them and wraps thin arms around her. Caroline realizes she's shaking, too. "'Lena."
"We'll figure something out," she says into her neck, determined. "This ends now."
"But first," Stefan glances over at Bonnie, who's whispering over Tyler's body and glaring at Damon. "We need to wake the beast."
Caroline, for reasons she might only ever understand centuries later, bursts into tears again and can't find it in her to stop.
Days later, when the dust has settled, she will still remember the smell of the tomb and the gentle pull of Klaus' fingers through her hair.