After going through a horrible dry spell, I though I would get back on track by writing my OTP Steroline and came up with this ;o) Bonus points for my fellows Buffy fans who spot the Slayer slang ;o)

For those reading my Daroline COTS, chapter 15 will be posted tomorrow. (Yeah, I can't believe it either)

Thanks for reading this, and as usual reviews are greatly appreciated.

Oneshot, post 3x22.

Caroline loved Elena. She really did. She would never plunge a stake through her best friend's heart.

Well, probably never.

She had been helping Elena with Stefan's assistance, and it hadn't been easy. Despite her proclivity to put herself in danger and having some sort of weird death wish, when directly confronted to it it turned out that Elena didn't want to die. And with that pesky amplified feelings thing, all those annoying traits of hers were now a hundred time worse. However she also was the center of attention, which she obviously liked very much. Caroline knew that those thoughts towards her childhood friend were uncharitable, but she was kind of fed up with the guilt-a-palooza going around since Elena's turning.

Matt and Jeremy felt guilty for kidnapping her and taking her on that fateful ride.

Stefan felt guilty because he had saved Matt first even though it had been Elena's wish.

Damon felt guilty for not being there, even though he had promised Elena that he wouldn't leave her anymore. The fact that Elena had once again chosen his brother over him didn't seem to have penetrated his brain, and Caroline really wanted to kick him in the shin about that. (ok, not only his shin but another part of him that had obviously been misplaced for a while now.)

Meredith felt guilty for giving Elena vampire blood.

Rebekah was nowhere to be found, which was wise of her since everybody wanted to kill her. Oddly enough, Caroline didn't. She was the one without a sibling, yet she understood Rebekah's actions in a way. She had been grieving and had retaliate the only way she knew how.

At first Damon had been no use, furious at his brother for saving Matt first. Then Elena had yelled at him with a good reason this time), and he had finally calmed down. Being at each other's throat with Stefan wouldn't make things better, on the contrary. The last few months had proved that they were much stronger as a unit. But even then, they couldn't help but clash over the best way to train Elena, as their method were nothing alike, even though Stefan was not on the animal diet anymore. Caroline had to play the referee, as they both had good and bad ideas, and the tricky part was to agree with one without alienating the other. God know she needed both of them for this.

She had even convinced them, by some miracle, to let Elijah help as well. She had always suspected the Original to harbor some feelings for Elena, and he had really seemed crush when told she had died. She was convinced that Elijah's calm and reflective behavior would do a world of good to the brunette. Sometimes, when Caroline was watching Vampire Elena, there was a glimpse of Katherine's personnality peering through and it scared her. Elena had never wanted to be a vampire, but she was strong and adapting as she had no choice. But she would rather stake herself than becoming like Katherine.

On top of that, Caroline had her own business to take care of. Since Alaric was no longer a threat, Klaus had returned to his own body and retired to his mansion, mourning the betrayal of his sister and the loss of his doppelganger. Caroline had been super pissed at first, before realizing that he could have taken serious advantage of the situation yet he hadn't except for that kiss in the cave. If anything, she was grateful for that. Also, she had kind of freaked out when remembering what she had been about to do with Tyler, leaving Mystic Falls, her life and her friends behind without a second glance. She knew now that this had probably been triggered by Klaus's words about her 'small town life', but truth be told, she liked this town and this life right now, and she wasn't ready to say goodbye.

As a result, she had distanced herself from Tyler, needing to be on her own for a while to figure out what she wanted in the future. But right now she couldn't imagine a future without her mom and her friends in it, more specifically Stefan.

And then there was Bonnie's behavior. Caroline had also been mad at her for not warning her about the spell, but what Bonnie had done had saved their lives after all, so Caroline had let it go. But since then the young witch had seemed quite cold and detached, and Caroline had had no time to discuss it with her. She even had the distinct feeling that Bonnie was avoiding all of them.

So that had been her life for the past 3 weeks.

She was exhausted.

The one good thing to come out of this mess had been her renewed friendship with Stefan. They had spent the last few days together, most of the time, even though they were rarely alone. Yet they had managed to find a few moments here and there to talk. Stefan had told her about his time with Klaus, how he had missed Elena at first, but after some time he had realized how he had missed Caroline too, and how he regretted letting their relationship fade away. He had apologized for not being there through her whole dad's ordeal, promising her that from now on he would remain by her side through any trouble she might encounter.

She had been stunned by that speech (it actually sounded more like a confession) and suddenly she had seen him in a whole different light – or rather an old one that she had buried deep inside a long time ago. And she had been caught off guard by the goosebumps on her arms and the butterflies in her stomach, not so much caused by his words but by the way he had looked at her while saying those words. She had never seen that look on his face before.

At least not directed at her.

Tonight Damon was on Elena duty, and Caroline had decided to spend the evening with Stefan at the Boarding House. Or, to be more correct, he had asked her to come over. And now they were sitting side by side in front of the fireplace, sharing Damon's bourbon in a comfortable silence.

Stefan was the first surprised to discover how much he needed Caroline's presence lately. He needed her strength and her luminous smile, and he wondered how he could have lived without it all that time. Now, sitting beside her, he couldn't help but admire her gracious profile. She was obviously very tired, but she never complained, putting up with everyone's antics with her usual good mood.

She was taking care of everybody. Who was taking care of her ?

Their hands brushed, and she looked at him, and that was all it took. The next minute she was in his arms and he was kissing her like his life depended on it and she responded to his kisses with a passion matching his own.

Caroline was the first to back off, whispering, "We can't. She chose you."

He took her face in his hands, giving her a look that made her shiver. "She chose me. Maybe I didn't choose her."

She let a breathy gasp escape, and Stefan understood the magnitude of what he had just said. Only a few weeks ago, his whole world revolved around Elena. What the hell had happened?

Caroline Forbes had happened.

They both sat back, knowing that this was probably the worst possible moment to get involved that way. Too soon, too complicated, too many people would get hurt. They agreed on this with a simple glance exchange, but smiling as one hopeful word crossed their mind.