Summary: "I may want to give you the world," he growls, "But I'm not above ripping apart everyone else in your life to do it." Klaus pays Caroline a house call after the Mikaelson Ball. Oneshot.

If you could only see the beast you've made of me
I held it in but now it seems you've set it running free
Screaming in the dark, I howl when we're apart
Drag my teeth across your chest to taste your beating heart
My fingers claw your skin, try to tear my way in
You are the moon that breaks the night for which I have to howl

Howl - - Florence and the Machine

"Why do you suppose we only feel compelled to chase the ones who run away?" The Vicomte de Valmont - - Dangerous Liaisons

A gentleman is simply a patient wolf - - Lana Turner


Caroline curses herself for getting up to answer the door, knowing (sensing, smelling) what she'll find on the other side. The sight of him still shakens her even when she's expecting it, the devil at her door in a dapper suit.

"So, you're stalking me at my house now?" She tries to sound contemptuous, cutting, but her voice trembles, a thin vibrato that betrays her fear. She crosses her arms, trying to look imposing, but the action merely shields the rapid thrumming of her heart in her ribcage. She knows he can hear it.

Klaus leans casually against the doorframe, dark gold curls tousled over his brow. He's still wearing his black tuxedo from the evening's dance, but the bowtie is loosened slightly, the parted shirt collars exposing the ivory hollow of his throat. He smiles disarmingly, eyes raking over her, and Caroline realises quite irrationally that she's wearing heels with pyjamas (why does it matter what she's wearing?)

"Walk with me," he says.

She feels light-headed; she hasn't drunk for hours, and talking to an insane Hybrid (whose blood she has already tasted) while ravenously hungry seems like a very bad idea. "It's late, I've had a really long day, I'm tired – oh, and you're a raging psychopath." She smiles sweetly, all innocent blue eyes and slippery sarcasm. "The answer's no."

He spreads out his hands entreatingly. "I just want to talk, love."

"Well, I don't want to listen." Her fingers clench against the varnished door, itching to slam it in his face. She doesn't dare. He can enter the house any time he wants.

Klaus's azure eyes darken to obsidian, like storm-chased clouds rushing across the sky. His voice deepens to a growl, the low roll of thunder. "You're being awfully rude considering my generosity towards you this evening. Now, you are going to come outside, or so help me, I will kill the next person who walks past. And the person after that. And – well, it should be quite a bloodbath by tomorrow morning, don't you agree?"

Caroline swallows hard. "You wouldn't," she whispers.

Sharp canines flash in the moonlight, his mouth a slant like a razor cut. His rasping voice is low, dangerous. "Do you really want to test me?"

She flashes him a glare of heated loathing beneath the fringe of gold lashes. And reluctantly steps outside, the click of her heels sharp against the patio. A red smile unfurls across Klaus's face, the look of an exultant predator.

"There's a good girl."

The night is still and calm, soft moonlight bathing the portico with an elusive silver glow. The perfect night to take a stroll with a murderer. Caroline wraps her arms around herself, shivering a little in the cold nocturnal air. Beside her, Klaus's still figure is deceptively sophisticated and graceful in his formal attire, hiding the bloodthirsty beast lurking beneath. She gazes at the carven line of his profile, the strong contours and elegantly sloping curves, and asks stiffly, "So, what do you want?"

"I came to return this." He extends a hand. Caroline glances down at the silver bracelet in his palm (that she had flung off her wrist in contempt), the finely-cut diamonds glittering under the light of the moon.

"Well, it looks like you had a wasted journey," she says carelessly. "I don't want it."

"Wrong answer, love," he says softly. And there's that hint of danger in his voice again.

She snatches the bracelet from him ungraciously and snaps it on her trembling wrist. "There. Happy now?"

"It's a start." His eyes a blue sea. Turbulent as a wild storm. Caroline shifts uncomfortably under his intent gaze because he's looking at her like… like she's beautiful. For a moment she sees herself through his eyes; porcelain skin and hair of spun gold and eyes like sapphires (like something out of a painting). His fingers brush against the delicate skin on the inside of her wrist, tracing the filigreed silver that burns cold (such a contrast to his searing hot touch). His voice is low, a soothing lullaby to her strained nerves. "Something this beautiful should be worn by someone worthy of its beauty."

She's not gullible. She knows he's showing his best side before her, that just because he can be cultured and charismatic, it doesn't make up for the fact that he's a ruthless killer. It doesn't matter that he's passionate about art or music or – or whatever else he does when he's not trying to kill her friends. She's seen what he's capable of, and the tiny glimmer of humanity he's shown her is not enough to shift her opinion of him. All the cities and galleries and opera houses in the world aren't going to change that.

The strap of her top slips down over her shoulder. Caroline pulls it back up with shaking fingers. She finds herself longing for the shawl she had worn to the ball earlier in the evening, because she is far, far too exposed before him like this. She shakes her hair from her face, meeting his captivated gaze directly. "Just to be clear, you're not fooling me with this act."

Klaus raises his brows innocently, his face serene and beautiful in the moonlight. There are crinkles at the edges of his eyes, dimples set in the lines around his mouth. Almost offensively human. "What act?"

"This –" she exhales in frustration – "being all courteous and – and charming! It's not going to work on me, no matter how many pretty drawings you do or expensive presents you buy me –"

"It's been a long time since I courted someone, Caroline. My methods might be a little… outdated."

"Yeah, I noticed. Your idea of a pick-up line is telling me how your father killed your horse."

He leans forward, his voice so raw and entreating that – just for a moment – she almost believes him. "Then tell me. Show me what I can do."

The insecure, neurotic little girl inside her still thinks he's pretending. That's he's doing all of this as part of some diabolical master plan (smiling that calculating smile, always ten steps ahead). Because she's never the first choice when it comes to men. She was a puppet to Damon. A rebound girl to Matt. The only person who's ever loved her for herself is Tyler, and her heart contracts a tiny bit because she misses him so much –

She draws a deep breath, trembling with resolve. "You can leave town and never come back."

"Would that really make you happy?"

She sighs, throwing out her hands in aggravation, turning on him accusingly. "Do you know why I was up so late tonight? Because I was missing Tyler. My boyfriend."

"He left you," Klaus points out darkly.

"To protect me. Thanks to your weird mind-control thingy on him, I almost died –"

He tenses, sharp and elegant in his black suit. A brief flicker of something (pain? Guilt?) passes across his lowered face. "I never wanted you to be involved in all this. Trust me."

"Trust you?" She laughs, shrill and disbelieving. "Trust is earned, not forced."

"I could keep you safe, Caroline," he whispers hoarsely. "No one would ever touch you. I would kill them first."

Caroline looks at him uncertainly. She remembers being tied up, being tortured, being shot with Vervain… she is sick of always being a victim, a plaything. She thought all that would stop when she became one of the monsters. Unlike Elena, she doesn't wear the Salvatore brothers as a suit of armour. Now Tyler's gone, she's on her own.

Perhaps he sees something falter in the icy demeanour she's been maintaining around him. Because he's moved closer in a blur of air, his breathing heavy and laboured. He reaches out a hand to touch her face, but she snatches herself away from the searing force of those burning fingers, aware of a tingling sensation in her blood (heat, hunger –)

"No touching," she snaps. Tyler, only Tyler is allowed to touch her. She aches at the thought. It's been so long –

"You didn't seem to object when you were dancing with me earlier."

Caroline wants to slap him for the drawling arrogance that creeps into his voice – that damn cultured voice – but merely clenches her fists, feeling her cheeks burn with anger (embarrassment). Fire flares beneath the skin, making her face glow like a sunset (an inferno).

"You know, you're quite exquisite when you're angry," Klaus says.

A shower of golden curls falls over her shoulders as she tosses her head. "Is that why you keep annoying me?"

"Ah, so I'm getting under your skin." He sounds pleased. Darkly satisfied, and she hates his ability to turn everything she says or does into a suggestion, an invitation. Hates the fact that she's intrigued by him in spite of herself. She would rather drink Vervain than let Klaus know just how uncomfortable he makes her.

"Hardly." Caroline lifts her chin, every inch the bratty princess she has spent seventeen years convincing her mother she really is. "That expensive dress you gave me? Well, I threw it in the trash. That's what I think of your gifts."

That's a lie. The silken, periwinkle blue gown is actually hidden in the darkest corner of her wardrobe, but she has no intention of telling him that. She presses on, her voice tight with real anger, "All the presents in the world aren't going to make me forget what you've done to my friends."

Klaus's gaze is hooded, secretive, amused. "Loyalty," he murmurs. "Such an admirable quality. You'd die for them… wouldn't you, love?" He leans forward, whispering softly, "Do you think they'd die for you?"

She flinches and looks away. Damon and Stefan couldn't give a damn about her. So intent on protecting their precious Elena… a warm rush of shame overcomes her. No. Elena is her friend. Her best friend (but you always liked Bonnie better, didn't you? a nagging voice whispers and she hates herself for feeling that way.)

"I know how it feels, Caroline," he says insistently, some age-old resentment burning in the depths of his eyes that she really doesn't want to know the story behind. "To have the people you care about most in the world turn their backs on you. I've been there. You and I have more in common than you realise."

She scoffs. "Please. I'm nothing like you."

"Oh but you are, love. Passionate. Selfish." His tempestuous gaze darkens to slate and she shivers at the raw hunger in his expression. His fingers entwine around a wayward curl, and she gasps in pain as he yanks her head closer to his. "Ruthless when it comes to the people you love."

She narrows her eyes, her head swimming at his closeness, the scent of his skin (pine needles and old, old blood). "Like you love anyone. You don't even know the meaning of the word."

"Perhaps not. But I know desire, and hunger, and craving. It's what we are, sweetheart. I can show you, if you like." His breath is hot and sweet on her neck. He is far too close. "If you dare."

Her coldly polite voice comes out a pitch higher than she had intended. "No thanks."

Klaus releases her, and she stumbles away, wavering slightly in her heels. She can still feel the press of his fingers on the surface of her skin, the heightened electricity of his touch. She takes a deep, calming breath, trying to gather her frayed nerves together.

"Just because you saved my life it – it doesn't mean I owe you anything – "

"Oh, but it does. You see, love, I don't do anything without a price. And one day, you're going to repay me."

"When hell freezes over," she mutters.

His abrupt bark of laughter makes her jump – she'd been half expecting him to tear her throat out. "You can't fight me forever, Caroline." The dim light glances off his canines. He begins to circle her (drawing in for the kill), speaking slowly all the while in his calmly crazy manner. "I'm prepared to tolerate your stubbornness while it amuses me. But don't mistake me for my honourable brother. There's only so long I'm going to play the gentleman with you, sweetheart. I'm accustomed to getting what I want."

"And…" Her voice wavers. "What do you want?"

"I want to give you world," he says softly. And suddenly he is the eager young man who had shown her his paintings and told her that life is worth living. His hair is shining gold, eyes blue as a summer sky, and for a moment Caroline forgets to breathe.

Then reality breaks through. She's not Elena Gilbert. It's not her job to redeem broken people or have supernatural creatures fighting over her. All her life she's hated playing second best to Elena, and now she's being offered everything Elena has, Caroline realises she doesn't want it. A bitter laugh bubbles inside her at the irony of it. I didn't ask for any of this.

Klaus's ruthless expression – a hunter scenting its chosen prey – tells her she might not have much choice in the matter.

Something inside her breaks at his merciless persistence. Her father's gone. Tyler's gone. She's a grieving mess of a girl and it's becoming harder and harder to keep fighting. But she has to. She has to stay strong, not be the weak, shallow little girl that constantly gets pushed around. Remember Jenna, she tells herself firmly. Remember Stefan and Tyler.

At the thought of Tyler, something of her raw, instinctive courage returns, straightening her spine, levelling her challenging gaze against his. She shakes her head, bright blonde hair falling over her shoulders in a brilliant mane. She is Caroline Forbes. The captain of the Cheerleading squad, the head of the Prom Committee, Miss Mystic Falls. The most popular girl in school. Her manicured nails bite into her palms as she assumes a look that can melt Freshman girls to tears. The Bitch is back. She smiles cuttingly at the thousand year old Hybrid, her voice dripping with condescension. "Well, that's too bad. Because I don't want to be a part of any world that has you in it."

Before she sees him move (before she thinks him move), Klaus strikes. The smooth guise of the gentleman has fled entirely; he is pure energy and fury. Handling her with a frightening ease, his blood-dimmed eyes insane. This isn't the suave, eager-to-please Klaus who has been wooing her all evening. It's the millennia old eyes of Niklaus she looks into, cold and wild and cruel, so completely beyond her understanding. He's no longer a man or a Vampire or a Werewolf, but a predator. Every survival instinct in her body, every primal impulse towards self-preservation is warning her to flee. Her nerve endings tingle, her heightened senses overwhelmingly aware of him. He smells of pine and cologne and the air before an electric storm. That rage white-hot and endless. Age and blood and sheer, limitless power churning in the cerulean depths of his irises and Caroline realises she truly is frightened of him.

"I may want to give you the world," he growls, "But I'm not above ripping apart everyone else in your life to do it."

Her bright hair spills over her shoulders as she wrenches, struggles (futile) –

Her hands grip his shoulders as he pulls her roughly to him, hips locked against hips. Lightning bolts through her blood, strange and startling, and she can't breathe for hatred of him.

"Stop it – get off me –"

"Manners, love. There's no need for this –"

Her gaze falls on his full lips and unconsciously, she wets her own nervously. Something like a snarl sounds in the back of his throat. His fingers lock around her wrists like manacles (far stronger than the ones that used to hold Tyler in place) and her blood is throbthrobthrobbing. He's breathing, hard and furious, an unmistakeable hunger in his darkening gaze as his head moves a fraction –

Caroline squeaks. "What –what are doing – "

"Hell just froze over," Klaus growls, and lowers his face to hers.

His lips are soft but his kiss is hard, bruising. Violent, bestial – well, he is half Werewolf, she reminds herself with more than a hint of hysteriaher wrists writhe in his iron grip and she wants to scream in hatred and anger, but he's trapped her mouth with his, swallowing her furious cries, her useless gasps for air. She feels like she's caught in the vortex of a hurricane, the eye of a storm, his charged blue eyes all-consuming, drowning out the world. Deeper than Compulsion, paralyzing her self-control. The sheer, raw strength in his hold is terrifying, tight enough to snap her in half, his body a rigid line against hers, all quivering bone and molten muscle. More powerful than any creature she's ever met, elemental, a force of nature. And she's just a baby blonde Vampire – how could she have hoped to stand against him?

The moment he tears his mouth away, Caroline snatches a gasp of air, glaring up at him with a fury to match his own, hot enough to melt metal. "You –"

The rest of her intended tirade ends in a cry as Klaus bends his head, savagely biting down on the strained tendons of her neck, just hard enough to hurt (to thrill), though he doesn't draw a single drop of blood. He doesn't need to. He's staking a claim, marking her as his. There is no hint of love or tenderness in his murderous gaze. This is about control and possession. Warm, strong hands framing her face, the tense, thrumming heat of his body against her own –

Until he goes flying across the patio.

There's a satisfying thud as he slams against the front door with a force that's preternaturally fast. Caroline presses her hands to her face, resisting the crazy urge to laugh. With every ounce of strength she possessed, she had whirled around, sending a terrific punch straight to his face. The second's respite gives her a moment to breathe, to recover (she's scorched and frozen, dizzy from the onslaught to her senses). She glares at him across the porch, trembling with adrenaline and fear and – he's going to kill me for that –

Klaus draws himself up, breathing heavily. Mussed hair tumbling across his forehead, his jacket falling off one shoulder. But he's looking at her as though he's impressed, lips turned up at the corners to form a horridly jagged smile.

"You're strong," he whispers roughly, cobalt eyes gleaming with wicked amusement. A blur of speed and he's slammed her hard against the wall, pinning her in place with the force of his body, all coiled and predatory muscle. "I'm stronger."

Caroline twists ferociously in his hold, wincing at the pain of his fingers digging into her athletic frame like sharpened daggers. She pushes back against him, feeling the metallic buttons of his dinner jacket graze through the thin cotton covering her chest, and the claustrophobia of being trapped against him renders her breathless and savage, a low growl forcing its way from her throat. Out of her mind with confusion and fear (and the beginnings of a low, burning hunger), her hand flies to his throat, but he apprehends her, swatting it away easily and bearing down on her like an irresistible tide. She can no more fight him than she can fight the ocean. His breath slides along her mouth, hot and metallic.

"Can't resist, can you?" he murmurs, his voice losing some of its distinctive precision as she struggles furiously against him (and she feels a heady rush of power that she can do that, affect him). Soft lips graze her earlobe, and an insufferable warmth travels down her neck, making her spine tingle. "But you disappoint me, love – is that the best you can do?"

Anger rushes up inside her, hot and mindless. Instinct takes over. The sudden tang of blood, sweet and sharp on her tongue and – he bit me ohmygod his bite kills – but then realises the taste of it, like – like sunlight and metal and wild electricity, it's not her blood but his. She bit him and – I… I did that…

She's breathing hard, her eyes glazing over with bloodlust (no, oh no…), but she can already feel the transformation shifting in her face and the sheer, overpowering hunger –

Klaus smiles, lips bright with his own blood. "Go on. Have at it."

And Caroline surges forward to attack. Her tongue sliding over his lower lip, lapping him up, drinking him, slick, hot, and she feels Klaus groan against her, and realises dimly that his hand is buried in her mass of golden hair and he's holding her to him, urging her on softly. "That's it… that's it…"

She lets out a noise in protest – somewhere between a whimper and growl – when he pulls away.

"Don't be greedy, love," he chides her huskily. "You've had your taste. Now it's my turn."

His lips melt over hers, draining her, sweet and surging, and while a part of her is raging and screaming and fighting him off with all her strength, another part of her has to admire his powers of manipulation. Because the heady flavour of his blood is singing in her system and the wild desire to hurt him is mingling with other, conflicting desires. She's itching inside her own skin, wanting to break free, shackled yet exhilarated. Intellect fights with her baser, more primal urges, because the taste of him has got to her, fuelling her hatred and anger and wantwantwant. He deepens the kiss, bloody tongue teasing her own, goading her into a response. She clenches her teeth and hisses as his thigh moves between hers in a rough, heated rhythm that rips a burning path through her lower body, right down to her core. She tells herself it's only because she's missing Tyler, it's been so long since she's had any kind of – his eyes smoulder, steel-strong fingers sliding lower, sparking trails across her hips, and all thoughts of Tyler burn away to ash, because Klaus is –

Her head falls backwards as he begins to kiss his way down her jaw. Her fingers are lost in his burnished curls that she's still tugging, but no longer to hurt (well, not entirely) but to beg yestherepleasepleasemore. She can feel the scrape of his stubble against the soft skin of her throat, a tantalising friction burn, and she shifts impatiently, wanting, needing –

Plaster dust showers down in a white cloud as Caroline spins them both around, crashing his body to the wall (fully aware that she can only do this because he allows her to) with a force that would have crumpled his spine, had he been human. She can feel his wolfish smile against her skin, every inch of him pressed against her, taut and strong. "There's my girl."

Her head is still reeling from the blood she's consumed. Panting, mindless. She tugs at the cravat around his throat, seeking bare skin, the beat of his pulse (to feel it beneath her tongue). Her fingers grab at the beads hanging around his neck, pulling his head closer, wanting the liquid hot pressure of his mouth on hers again. He makes her savage, wild. Urging her to taste her darker impulses under the refined guise of culture and civilization –

"You are ravishing," Klaus breathes hotly in her ear, murderous fingers dancing a seductive pattern along her thighs. "When I saw you tonight wearing that dress, all I could think of was how much I wanted to tear it off you." His voice, sly and rough-edged, caresses her body and her knees weaken beneath her, and she's no longer a powerful supernatural being, but a seventeen year old girl, breathless and trembling as though at the end of a first date… a crazy laugh vibrates in her chest. They're outside her house for God's sake –

She mumbles something to that effect and feels his wicked laugh reverberate against her lips. Well if that's all you're worried about, love… Must preserve appearances…

The world rushes away beneath her feet and suddenly it's dark and she realises they're in her bedroom – she can't tell which way is up or down, only that he's leaning over her (my bed… I'm on my bed…) Lying down, powerless and vulnerable, pale gold hair a halo around her face. The blood rushing dizzyingly to her head, Caroline looks up, dreading what she might see.

His mouth is a bloodstain in the midst of his beautiful face. The curve of his brow and cheekbone catching the gilded rays of the moon streaming through her window as he bends his head over her, savouring her like a delicacy he has been wanting to sample for millennia…

Hopelessly, she braces herself for his kiss, and almost jumps out of her skin when his mouth lands on the flat plain of her stomach.

"Easy, love," Klaus breathes calmingly, smoothing a hand over her skin, leaving nerve endings crackling in his wake. "No one's going to hurt you…" His eyes turn midnight blue and he grins sadistically – "Unless you ask me very nicely."

Her head falls back on the pillow as his lips blaze a trail downwards, the sharp scrape of his canines leaving just the right tinge of pain to lance through the pleasure. A hot exhalation on her exposed skin and his voice is a warm, throaty mantra (you're beautiful… vibrant… perfect…), his artistic hands making quick, light movements across her thighs as though she's a sketch he's lovingly bringing to life... And this – the idea that he could be sweet and loving - frightens her far more than the Klaus that can rip her heart out at any moment. Caroline chances another look at his face and isn't nearly ready for the longing she sees there. His eyes are blue stars, comets, and – he pins her entire body with his weight, both caging her and setting her free – she's falling through space and time… she's going to crash and burn, to die…

His delicate, ruthless fingers trace the lace edges of her underwear and she shivers… oh no, she doesn't want this… doesn't want this at all… she wants…

"Tyler," she breathes aloud.

Klaus's body tenses as though turned to stone.

Seizing the opportunity, Caroline scrambles to an upright position, flushed and dishevelled, drawing her knees up to her chin. She suddenly flashes back to another Vampire in her bedroom, another time (this could have gone a completely different way…), when she had been young and foolish and terrified and just wanted him to go –

"Leave," she whispers. Tears burn at the back of her eyes. "Please."

Klaus snarls, crouched over her, dark-eyed and intent. "Not bloody likely."

"I love Tyler," she whispers. "I want to be with Tyler."

The harsh sound of her breathing and the perspiration on her skin feels like a betrayal.

"Oh, Caroline," he says at last, shaking his head. He's sitting on the edge of her bed, his expression cruel, mocking. "Sweet, lovely Caroline. Already queen in your small, provincial town. How long do you think it will be before you want something more? Before you get tired of young Mr Lockwood?"

"Never." She throws it at him like a challenge. The single word hangs heavy in the space between them. Klaus unfurls himself from the bed with prowling grace and in the blink of an eye he is at her side, scorching blue eyes boring into hers.

"One day, you're going to run out of lies," he rasps. "And when you do…"

The ghost of fingers brushing over her cheek – she flinches, poised to recoil, but he's already gone. She sits up on her bed, shivering in the cold breeze that comes in through the open window, stirring the curtains. The silence in the room is a crushing weight, deafening.

Caroline walks over to the vanity. Picks up a powder puff and dabs at her eyes, smearing away the traces of tears. Flicks her blonde hair back over her shoulders and manages a dazzling smile at herself in the mirror, determinedly ignoring what feels like a caressing breath of air on the back of her neck.

She leaves another message for Tyler and tells him she loves him.

Author's note: I'm certain Julie Plec gave us the episode Dangerous Liaisons solely so we could go forth and write fanfic and make youtube videos.

I stole a line from Gossip Girl. Guess which one. And then review, review, review.