Wow! I'm so sad to say it, but this is the end. This will be the very last chapter of Prowl. I can't even begin to say how much all the reviews and follows have meant to me. You are an incredible group of readers and I love being able to share my version of Klaus and Caroline with you. Thank you all so so much for leaving the reviews. They make me smile. They turn a bad day into a great one. I wish I could hug every single one of you.
I hope you like the ending. I'm not planning on jumping right into another long fic after this, it might be a while before I can think of another multichapter idea. I have an original story I'm working on when I get spare time, but of course I still want to stay involved in this community. Expect some more oneshots and drabbles from me in the near future. And if you have any suggestions, I'm all ears.
Once again, thank you so much. Please leave a review to tell me what you think.
One Year Later.
Caroline woke up first. Klaus felt the sheets pull across his body as sleep drifted just out of reach. He watched her as she pulled on a sweat shirt with her back to him. He briefly considered reaching out and running his hand across her back, but he stayed still. She moved carefully, picking up her shoes in one hand and keys in the other, walking softly on her toes.
She dodged the squeaky board in the floor and looked over her shoulder as she left the room. He kept his eyes closed until he heard the front door close.
Slowly, he got up and walked around the room. He went to the bathroom and tapped along the tiles in the wall until he found the hidden one. She may have found out about the extra bedroom, but he still had a few secrets.
The tile popped and he pulled out the tiny box. He turned it over in his hands a few times, then opened it. He spent a minute looking at it, and put it back in the hiding place, fitting the tile neatly back into the wall.
He walked around the living room, absently glancing at all the photos on the walls. They were blank white walls a year ago. Now there were photos of them. The first trip to Paris, to Bora Bora, to India. There was the weekend in Wales, the day at the ocean and the haunted castle tour they took in October. She was completely enamored with all the castle ruins in the U.K. He would always joke that she would like nothing more than for him to build her a castle and knock half of it down.
One of his paintings hung over the fireplace. It was a bit more abstract than his usual work, a bleak looking landscape. Six months ago she had managed to convince him to try painting things other than people he had killed. It hadn't occurred to him to bother painting for the hell of it. It had become something he did to keep the demons at bay. So he was trying, slowly, stumbling through it. She thought his first attempt was amazing, and immediately insisted on clearing the mantle to hang it. He was a bit embarrassed by it. He kept trying to do better, but she insisted on keeping the first one. She said it was important.
Her laptop was left open on the coffee table. There were five tabs open. All of them were sites on information about dogs. That had been her latest mission. She kept hinting, with the subtlety of a frying pan to the face, that it might be nice to get a dog.
So far he had resisted. It would be impractical and messy, and the flat wasn't big enough for a dog, and they were always going away on trips.
At least it wasn't a baby. He was nowhere near ready for something like that.
A dog, perhaps. He had never had one growing up, only horses. But animals were nice. Loyal.
He could tell by the way she hinted at it, it wasn't just about having a dog. It was about it being theirs, together. They had been together for almost a year and a half, and she was looking for a sign that things were made to last. He hadn't given her any indication that they weren't. He told her every day he loved her and whenever she hesitantly asked, he would remind her again that he was happy with how things were. No, he didn't want to see other people. Yes, he was happy about living together. No, she didn't need to do anything different, he had no complaints at all. She was a living saint for putting up with him.
But she didn't know about the box hidden in the bathroom.
And it had been sitting there for over a month, while he worked up the nerve. Dating, living together. That was one thing. The question he hadn't quite found the courage to ask, that was an entirely different thing. And as much as she hinted at wanting a commitment, he was afraid that once she was offered it, she would snap out of it and go. She would realize that forever was a very long time to spend with someone like him. Too long.
The door opened.
"You're snooping again." Caroline said, setting the bag on the counter. She looked at her laptop screen, lit up.
"It's not snooping if you leave it out, sweetheart."
She collapsed on the couch next to him.
"You were supposed to be asleep. I got breakfast from the place you like. I was going to surprise you with breakfast in bed."
"I knew where you were going the second you got out of bed."
"Liar! You were still asleep when I left." she protested.
"You're not as sneaky as you think you are."
"Well, just because you saw me leave doesn't mean you knew where I was going." she said.
"And where else would you sneak off to first thing in the morning without waking me or so much as leaving a note?" he challenged.
"Maybe off to see my other boyfriend."
"Impossible. I killed him weeks ago." he joked. "What's in the bag?"
"I thought you knew everything. You tell me."
"Not the pancakes." he grumbled. "Rubbish breakfast for Americans and -"
"No, grumpy, I went to the place you like and got you that nasty thing with the black beans you like so much."
"Black beans are perfectly suitable for breakfast, and they're much better than that cartoon character sugar cereal you eat."
"Well, where I come from, black beans go with rice. And they're for dinner, not breakfast."
"And since I assume you aren't eating a sensible English breakfast, what did you get for yourself?"
"Crepes with nutella and a latte."
"You always order crepes."
"Viva la France!" Caroline laughed. "Blame yourself for that one. Ever since you took me to that cafe in Paris, it's been my favorite breakfast food, because it reminds me of our first trip together."
"It's all fun and games until someone gets diabetes." he scoffed.
"You're seventy. You know that? You're the grumpiest old man I've ever met."
He shook his head and tore into the bag of food.
He arranged the boxes and cups on the coffee table in front of them, and noticed the logo on the boxes.
"You went all the way across town for this." he said.
"It's your favorite place." she said.
"I meant for breakfast."
He sighed and set down his fork.
"If we leave after we eat, we can be there by lunch." he offered.
"Oh let's go to Paris, we can be there by lunch." she joked, mocking his accent.
"They didn't build the bloody Chunnel just for us to stare at it!"
"We never take the Chunnel anyway; You always insist on flying!"
"Would you rather sit in the car for five hours?"
She rolled her eyes and nudged the laptop. "Speaking of French things."
"What is that wrinkly little rat on your computer screen?" He asked.
"It's a French bulldog, and I've been doing my research and I think it would really suit our lifestyle and-"
"No, that's no bulldog. That's a rat."
"It's small, so it wouldn't mind living in a flat, and they're really good companions."
"And what's wrong with a proper English bulldog?"
"English bulldogs are ugly." Caroline said.
Klaus crossed his arms.
"In a cute way." Caroline added. "So ugly that they're cute. Kind of like English men."
She giggled at his outraged face and took another sip of her latte.
He waited until the latte was safely back on the coffee table before lunging forward and pinning her against the couch.
"Oh, really?" he challenged. He found the ticklish spot on her side and had her squirming around the couch. "Really, so ugly we're cute?"
"No, no!" she gasped, trying to catch her breath. "Stop, I can't..." she trailed off into giggles. "...breathe" she finished.
"If you can laugh you can breathe."
"You win! English bulldogs. You're cute. Stop!" she giggled.
He stopped tickling her. He leaned his head down and rested his forehead against hers.
"You're never going to give up on this whole dog thing, are you?" he asked.
"And that little rat dog would make you happy?"
"You make me happy."
"But the dog too?"
"The dog would be nice."
He groaned and leaned his head on her shoulder. "Let's just go to Paris. Spend a night or two. Then we can talk about the dog thing again."
"Can't." she said.
"I don't have work." he pointed out.
"But I do." she said.
"I thought the thing with mother and organizing the files wasn't until next week."
"It is. I'm uh, doing other stuff for work today."
"Caroline." he warned.
"Ok, I knew if I told you ahead of time, you would try to sabotage it, and you have to trust me to-"
"To get yourself killed?"
"It's low risk."
"Very. Hardly anything at all, just something to keep me busy."
"I thought we agreed."
"We did. Nothing above moderate risk, and I have to have you with me or at least two of your family members."
"Yes, and I saw Kol and Elijah yesterday. They're not in the field until next month."
"That's because I'm not going with Kol and Elijah."
He furrowed his brow.
Caroline checked the time on her phone.
"I have to run." she said.
"I could tie you up to keep you from going."
"You could, if you really like sleeping on the couch that much."
"So are you. I love you. I should be back before midnight."
"I love you." He mumbled back, watching her hurry out the door.
He turned back to the computer and looked at the little creature on the screen. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad. He picked up his phone.
"They're in the second hallway." Liz said. "Separate rooms, a guard outside each, portable metal detectors hidden in the doorway that leads to the hall. Cameras everywhere, even the rooms, so the second you do it, you have to get out. Not through the doorway, but up in the ceiling. Remember, get in, inject, lock the door as soon as you plunge the needle, then step on the table and get up and out through the vent."
"Couldn't they just get their happy endings at a Chinatown walk up like normal people?" Rebekah huffed.
"Do you have any idea how lucky we got with this?" Esther asked. "Two leaders of the Five, in one place. And an upscale Swedish massage parlor at that? A place that's both secluded in the mountains and run almost entirely by blonde women?"
"So how does it work?" Rebekah asked. "they don't have pictures of the girls who work here?"
"Of course they do. But it's a three-inch binder full of headshots of blonde women in their twenties. You two will blend right in." Esther pointed out. "Meanwhile Liz and I will patrol from outside."
"We've been over this a thousand times." Caroline said. "Let's go before we run out of time."
Klaus walked in and almost tripped on Kol.
"What are you doing on the floor?" Klaus asked.
"Oh, don't mind him." Elijah said, walking into the room. "He's been depressed ever since his other half ran off to visit home."
"Kol finally found a woman willing to put up with him for more than 48 hours?" Klaus asked.
"Jeremy." Kol grunted. "At least my dear friend from Mystic Falls is coming back tonight. The same can't be said about that fickle boy of Bekah's. Cheers to having to put up with her next pick."
Elijah gave Kol a pitying look and pulled him up off the floor.
"I need the jet." Klaus said. "Where's mother?"
"With the Jet." Kol said.
"And should I presume Caroline is with her?" Klaus asked.
"She is." Elijah said.
"And where would that be?" Klaus asked.
"You know the rules." Elijah said. "We tell you where she is, and you're bound to swoop in and try to rescue someone who doesn't need any rescuing."
"Well that's an expected inconvenience. But how an I supposed to get where I'm going without the jet?"
"Looks like someone's flying commercial." Kol smirked.
Caroline walked down the hall in her white uniform, carrying towels and massage oil. She paused where the guard stood at the door, and pretended to be confused.
"Isn't this Mr. MacArthur's room?" she asked innocently.
The guard nodded. "Mr. MacArthur is a very important man. I hope you'll understand I need to pat you down for weapons before you enter the room with him."
Caroline tried to look surprised, and nodded as if she were a little embarrassed.
"I guess... " she trailed off.
"Just.. arms out." the guard said. He picked up her towels and tucked them under one arm and used the other to pat her sides. He shook out the towels. "Alright, you're clear."
Caroline nodded, grabbed her towels and walked into the room, closing the door behind her. She couldn't lock it, that would arouse too much suspicion.
Galen Vaughn. The head of the European branch of the Five lay before her, wearing nothing but a towel. He had made the mistake of coming here with his close friend Connor Jordan, head of the North American branch of the Five.
"I'll be right with you, Mr. MacArthur." she said quietly, reaching for the syringe tucked in her bra.
"You're an American." he mumbled sleepily.
"Oh yes." she agreed.
He sat up quickly, staring her straight in the eye.
"You don't really work here." he said.
"Um. well." Caroline started.
He stood up.
She panicked and grabbed the syringe, hoping to hit on the first try.
He knocked her on her back.
The syringe hit the wall and exploded.
His hand landed around her neck and started to push down. The world was fading to grey and black and everything sounded far away.
Then something that looked like an angel fluttered down from the sky and landed on Galen Vaughn's back.
Rebekah locked the door just in time to stop the guard from bursting in.
She looked at the scene. The syringe busted, Caroline rubbing her neck and coughing for air, Galen Vaughn out cold.
"Mine's dead. Why isn't your's?" Rebekah asked snottily.
"I messed up. Forgot the accent." Caroline muttered.
"Amateur." Rebekah huffed. "Now our cover's blown and we have 90 seconds to get out."
She picked up Galen by his chin and looked at his face. "Too bad, this one's quite cute." she said.
Then she put a hand on either side of his jaw and snapped his neck.
Before Caroline could even catch her breath, Rebekah was pulling her up on a table, through the vent in the ceiling, and out of the building.
Bill Forbes stepped out of the elevator and unlocked the door to his apartment. Someone else was waiting in the darkened room.
"I've been expecting you." he said, not bothering to glance at the figure sitting in his armchair. "How about a drink?"
Bill didn't wait for an answer. He moved to the bar, leaving his back to the shadowy visiter, and poured two glasses of bourbon, then went to the kitchen for some ice.
"You going to sit in the dark all day?" he called over his shoulder. "Turn on some lights, Mikaelson."
Klaus straightened up.
"How did you know who I was?" he asked.
Bill made his way from the kitchen, flicked on the light, and looked Klaus up and down.
"Alright." Bill said, setting the drinks on the table, and sitting down at the opposite chair. "Let's talk about Caroline."
"How did you know I was here to talk about Caroline? Or who I was? The lights were out."
"Yeah, about that." Bill said. "Next time you might want to turn them on. It's a little B-movie villain. Not your best work."
"You've heard of me?"
"Everyone in our line of work has heard of you."
"I hope not all bad."
"Some bad, some more than bad. But then, Liz and I talk. Recently, there's some good mixed in."
"But then, you did put my family through hell, blew up an airplane with my only child on board, rip her away from her home, and throw her in the middle of a war."
Klaus nodded and set his drink down. He touched his pocket. Maybe not. Maybe better not to say anything.
"You were going to take my only child, and turn her against her own family." Bill said. He took a long slow sip of his drink. "But that's all changed now, I guess. This truce is unprecedented. We all say it's temporary, but you and I both know it won't be. By the time we get rid of the Five, and the Silas threat, we'll be used to working together. There'll be trust, friendship, marriages. It'll be impossible to go back to the way things were."
"Marriages?" Klaus asked.
"Yes. Starting with yours." Bill said.
Klaus opened his mouth to say something, but shut it again. Bill Forbes was smarter than he anticipated. He should have known better.
"I might be more of a pencil pusher than a gun slinger like my ex wife, but I'm no dummy. My daughter's boyfriend of over a year, who I have never spoken to before, shows up unannounced in my home, alone. You're either here to kill me, or ask for my blessing."
"You're right. I would like to marry Caroline. I'm planning on asking her soon. Do I have your support?"
"And why do you think you should have it?"
"I can keep her safe. I can provide for her. I'd like to think I can make her happy. But most of all, I love her, very much."
Bill leaned back and nodded, taking it all in.
"You know, people talk about why you're such a good killer. How you can possibly get out of the traps you've been in, how you can steal from the most feared men so flawlessly. Do you know why, what most people think is so different about you? It's that you don't feel. You're numb. You have no emotions and you don't care."
"I'm glad people think that about me. It makes my job easier."
"Is it true?"
"Mostly. Or at least it was. Before Caroline."
"Now? Everything is different. I have never felt so much fear. I'm constantly thinking about what could happen to her, or how people could use her to get to me. And I feel strange when she's not around. I make decisions based on what I think she would like."
Bill sat in silence and thought it over.
"Oh, all right. I guess the least I can do is make sure you picked out a ring she would actually wear. Twenty odd years of birthdays and Christmases, I can spot something that's my daughter's style from a mile away. You included."
Klaus let out a sigh of relief. He reached for his pocket to find the ring.
"You're not really the person everyone assumes you are, are you?" Bill asked.
Klaus shrugged. "I don't really know."
Bill chuckled. "Oh, Caroline. Patron saint of the lost cause. I bet she loves finding something human in you."
"She's the only one who could have."
"And you siblings? Does she get on well with them? She always begged me for little brothers and sister, but her mother and I, well, you know the story."
"She enjoys spending time with them; I think the lot of them like her better than me. Especially my little brother Henrik. The two of them have a special connection."
"Caroline has a way of finding the people who need her the most." Bill said. "Now let's see that ring."
Klaus handed him the box and waited for Bill to tell him it was all wrong, that Caroline would hate it. A blue stone instead of a diamond was a bit of a risk. The two birds engraved on the inside of the band were probably stupid. He chided himself for not going with the most traditional option.
"It's perfect." Bill said. "It's exactly what she would want."
"Do you think she'll say yes?"
"I guess we'll find out."
"You think I'm missing this? I'm coming with you. Stay right there, I need to find my passport."
"Your brother in unbelievable." Caroline said.
Kol glanced up from his phone. "Oh, you're here. Which brother?"
"You know which brother. I feel so guilty for sneaking of on a maybe not so low risk mission, and I come home to pounce on my hot boyfriend-"
"Gross." Kol interrupted. "You have the worst taste in Mikaelsons."
"Ugh. Anyway, I get home, and he's not there! Left some stupid note about being gone for a few hours and how I should come over here and hang out. And he's not answering his phone."
"Clearly he must be with his other girlfriend. You'll just have to use my body to get your revenge on him."
"I need a glass of wine. Where's your mother? I wanted to say hello."
"Off with your mother. Off getting matching tattoos and lesbian friendship necklaces."
"No, they're getting massages."
"Are you kidding?" Caroline laughed.
Kol shrugged. "They thought it would be ironic and funny. I heard you choked this afternoon. Literally."
"Sorry I'm not as good at killing people as you are."
"Eh. It was Galen Vaughn. Even I would have had trouble with that one. Nik's going to be furious when he finds out."
"Rebekah managed to finish him off. And that was after she got to Connor Jordan."
"Two down, three to go." Kol said.
Elijah walked into the room.
"What's the meaning of this?" he asked.
"You caught us." Kol said. "Caroline and I are having a torrid affair."
"No, I mean, Niklaus. He's up to something." Elijah said.
"Up to something?" Caroline asked.
"He managed to convince the whole family to be here, at the house. Even your mother, and the Gilberts are here. Yet Niklaus has yet to show up."
"Clearly he's going to blow us all up." Kol suggested.
Elijah narrowed his eyes and walked out of the room.
He walked through the house and made his way to the Garage. The light was on. He opened the door to turn it off. Klaus was standing there, having a hushed conversation with a strange man.
When they spotted Elijah, Klaus darted in front of a medium sized box, trying to cover it with his body.
"Close the bloody door." Klaus hissed.
Elijah stepped in the room and closed the door behind him.
"What's the meaning of all this? Who is he?"
"I can't breathe." Klaus muttered.
"If you can talk, you can breathe." Elijah said
The box yelped.
"What the bloody hell is in the box? Did you kidnap a baby?"
"No!" Klaus responded.
"Bill Forbes." Bill said, offering his hand to Elijah.
Elijah shook his hand, and mid-handshake, it all clicked.
"Oh god. Niklaus. You're going to. You're going to ask her?"
"If I can managed to get the words out." Klaus said.
"And the box?"
"French bulldog. She's been leaving photos of them around for months."
"You're bribing her to say yes by buying her a puppy?" Elijah asked.
"I'm not proud of it! I just... If it would improve my odds, why not? And she really wanted one, and this is the longest I've ever managed to say no to her about anything, really."
"Are you going to do it in front of everyone?" Elijah asked.
"No, I don't think I can manage. Plus I think she would like if was more private." Klaus said. He looked to Bill for confirmation.
Bill gave him a reassuring nod.
Henrick popped in the room.
"Nik, why did you text me to meet you in - oh. Uh. Hi, Mister."
"Hello." Bill said. "You must be Henrik."
Henrik narrowed his eyes. "I guess. Who are you?"
"Caroline's father. I'm Bill."
"Does she know you're here?"
"Listen, Henrik." Klaus said. "I have a very important job for you. In a few minutes I want you to tell Caroline there's something you want to show her in the stables. You make sure she comes with you and no one else, ok? Then when you get to the stable, tell her you forgot something inside and she should go into the stable and wait for you there. Make sure she does this. Do you think you can handle it?"
"Is someone's head in that box?"
"Why does everyone? No. It's a surprise for Caroline. Ok?"
"Alright." Henrik said, eyeing the men suspiciously. He clicked his camera on as he left the room.
"Henrik, why do we have to do this now? Bekah's making desert." Caroline protested.
"And you actually want to eat something she made?" Henrik said.
"I want to smile and thank her, and then spit it in a napkin when she's not looking."
"I promise, you need to see this."
"Still not telling me what it is?"
The arrived at the stables.
"Alright, where is this mystery thing?" Caroline asked.
Henrik patted his pockets.
"Oh, I forgot... something."
"Alright, let's go back and get it. Just don't let Bekah see us, or she won't let us back out." Caroline said.
"No you stay here, it's easier if I sneak back alone."
"Henrik, it's fine, I'll go with you."
"No really. Stay here. I'm better at stealthy."
"Alright, fine." Caroline said. She watch Henrik turn the corner and she walked into the stables.
She sat on a bale of hay and looked out at the rows of horses. Most of them were sleeping.
There was a slight rustling on the other side of the stable.
"Henrik?" Caroline called,even thought she knew he couldn't be back yet.
She paused and listened.
The rustling noise came back.
She looked around to see if one of the horses was moving.
Everything was still. The noise was coming from around the corner.
Caroline took a deep breath to steady herself and stood up.
She found a sharp hoof pick on the wall and grabbed it, heading towards the noise.
Her breathing got more shallow as she prepared to turn the corner.
Whatever it is, i can handle it, she thought. I'm trained for this.
She turned the corner, holding the pick, ready to strike.
There was no one there.
Then, a tiny black and white puppy stumbled out of one of the empty stalls.
She looked around once more and took a few steps closer. She kneeled to the ground and the little puppy wobbled on its stubby legs to get close to her. It nudged her leg and tripped over some straw as it curled against her.
"Do you like it?" Klaus asked.
"Where did you come from?" she asked.
"You never did managed to mind your surroundings."
"Is this... is it for?
"You? Yes. it's yours. Or ours, if you'd like that. She is. They said it was a girl."
Caroline just stared at the dog. "She's a french bulldog."
"That's what you wanted, wasn't it?"
"Yes, she's perfect." Caroline said, picking up the puppy. "I didn't think you would ever say yes. You said they looked like rats."
Klaus sat down and put and arm around Caroline, watching her smile at the puppy. "I guess this one isn't so bad. Because she's ours."
Caroline was smiling and making faces at the dog as it tossed over in her arms, kicking up its legs.
"She should have a name." Klaus suggested. "If she's ours, she should have a name."
"Something tough and scary?"
"How about something that reminds you of where you came from?"
"Mystic. Like my town?"
Caroline kissed him.
"Sweetheart, it's nothing."
"No. You know how much this means to me."
Time passed far too quick. They sat there, playing with the eager little dog that would jump from one of them to the other. Klaus absently touched the box in his pocket. This was the right moment. He had never been so content as when he was like this with her. She looked happy. She was happy with him.
"Oh, I completely lost track of time." she said. "Bekah is going to kill us if we don't get back to the main house soon."
"I need to say something first."
"You don't like the dog?" Caroline asked.
"No, no, the dog is great. Here, just, let's see. Would you stand up?"
She gave him a confused look. He held out his hand. Caroline cautiously placed her hand in his and he gently pulled her up. The puppy dashed off to jump on a nearby pile of hay and fell asleep immediately.
He took a step back from her and looked her over, as if he was posing her for a painting.
"Yes, that seems right." he said to himself.
He paced around the room, looking her over from every angle, seeming to work himself up something big.
"Klaus, you're kind of freaking me out."
"Right. Let's see." he said, thinking hard, trying to remember the right words.
"Are you sick? You don't look so good." she asked. he nodded that he wasn't.
"Are you nervous?" she asked. "Is this what nervous looks like on you?"
"Caroline" he said, taking her hand. "If it were not for a string of very unfortunate events leading to both of us being on that plane, I would never have met you. This, what we have, I don't think I could find it with anyone else, not if I lived for a thousand years. There is no one like you."
She was taken aback by it. He had shared how he felt before, but never so bluntly, so intensely, out of nowhere.
"I fell the same way," she said "I really do."
"I need you to know this. Caroline, you saved me from myself. You pulled me out of the hollow life I was living."
"Klaus, where is this coming from? Is something wrong?"
"No. Everything is right, for the first time. I love you. I will always love you."
He pulled the box out and got down on one knee.
"Why are you down the-" Caroline started to say, then she caught sight of the box. "Oh." she whispered.
"Caroline Forbes." he started.
A fat tear fell from her right eye and trailed down to her chin. Before she would wipe it away another fell, and then another.
He opened the box. "I promise to always-"
Her knees gave out and she curled up against him, unable to stop the tears.
He set the box on the ground next to him and wiped away her tears.
"You're supposed to stay up there." he said. "That's how this thing goes. I did research. You stand up there, and I'm down here."
"I can't. I can't believe you're actually doing this. I don't think I can stand up right now."
"Because I'm really happy."
"I don't understand."
"It doesn't make sense. Please, keep going."
He moved his thumb across her cheek, and she leaned into his hand.
"Will you marry me?" he asked, holding up the box. He opened it to reveal the ring.
"Yes." her voice cracked. "Of course I will."
Before he could offer her the ring, she had knocked him on his back, kissing him over and over. He curled her to the side and pulled her close. They caught their breath, holding on to each other.
Klaus patted along the floor until he found it.
"Wow." She whispered. "This is too much."
"You don't like it?"
"I love it. But it must have been too expensive."
"Didn't spend a cent."
"Tell me you didn't."
"The collection of Crown jewels is quite extensive. As far as I know, the Queen hasn't noticed this one missing. Could take a few generations before they even realize it's gone."
"This is a royal ring?"
"I thought you deserved nothing less."
"And you're sure you want to spend the rest of your life with me?"
"Longer, if at all possible."
A camera flashed. They looked up into the rafters and there was another click and flash.
"Henrik." Klaus muttered. "I should have suspected as much."
He dusted himself off and got up, offering Caroline a hand up. Caroline went to collect the puppy while Klaus looked up into the rafters.
"I guess the whole lot is on tape?" He shouted up.
"Every embarrassing detail." Henrik shouted back down.
"Splendid." Klaus muttered.
He took Caroline's hands, tracing the ring with one finger.
"You can still change your mind. If you want. You don't have to wear it, if you don't want the family to see."
"Oh no, Mikaelson. You don't get rid of me that easy. I have a feeling that by this time tomorrow, Rebekah will already have her bridesmaid dress picked out."
"I have one more surprise for you back at the house."
"It can't be any bigger than this one."
"You have a visitor."
"Katherine stopped by?"
"She's here too, but there's someone else. Someone I picked up while I was out running errands."
"Who?" Caroline asked.
"You'll just have to come inside and see for yourself."
With a mischievous glint in her eye, Caroline cradled the puppy closer and ran towards the house. Klaus let her get a head start before catching up to her just as she flung open the back door. Bill Forbes was standing there.
"Daddy?" she whispered. "I didn't think you'd ever speak to me if you knew where I was, who I was with."
Klaus gently took the puppy from Caroline's arms. She took a step toward her father.
"How did you get here?" she asked.
"Your boyfriend can be very persuasive. And Care, your mother and I, when we first heard you we with this family of your own free will, we thought we lost you forever. But she came around, and somehow she and Esther are working side by side. I stuck it out longer, refusing to bend to the change. You can imagine how much your mother loved pointing out the hypocrisy, given my own personal life. But slowly, I realized, that I don't want to lose you for anything. I'll find a way to be ok with this. I'm just glad you're safe and happy."
Caroline flung herself at him, attacking her father with a hug.
"Thank you." she said.
Bill pulled away from the hug and took her left hand, looking at the stone. He winked at her.
"You already knew." she whispered.
"Why do you think he brought me here?" Bill asked. "But the rest of them don't know, only his brothers Henrik and Elijah knew he would ask."
" 'Lijah knows what?" Kol asked.
The rest of the family gathered in the room, followed by Liz, Katherine and Jeremy.
"Yes. what's going on?" Rebekah asked.
Caroline looked to Klaus.
"You tell them." he offered.
"We're engaged." Caroline said, holding out her left hand.
The family crowded around, Henrik taking Mystic from Klaus arms while the rest of them swarmed the couple, wishing their congratulations.
She felt like she was living in some kind of scene. The night didn't feel real. Her parent were in the same room. The last time she saw them together, she was eleven and they were fighting about custody. She had a puppy that had decided she was it's mother. She had a fiance. She was going to be somebody's wife. Her mother was laughing and drinking wine with Esther Mikaelson. A women she had only recently learned was the most feared and powerful women in the criminal underworld, and the enemy of her family.
The Silas takeover and the problem facing down the Five had created new struggles, but the positive outcome had been unexpected. The Mikalesons and the Council had actually joined forces when faced with a common enemy. If they managed to continue working together after the Five were eliminated, they would have an army so great and powerful that no one would dare challenge them. Their monopoly on crime would extend to every continent.
It was only a year and a half ago that she had no idea any of this even existed. Now everything had changed.
Kol yanked Caroline out of the room before she had a moment to snap out of her thoughts.
"Kol, where are we going?"
She followed him up the stairs where he dragged her down the hall to Bekah's room.
Bekah was already waiting inside.
"Finally!" Rebekah smiled. She picked up Caroline's hand to examine the ring. "That's a rock. How much do you think he spent on it?"
"He stole it." Caroline said.
"I should have known. I hope it was from someone important."
"British crown jewels."
"Long live the Queen." Rebekah motioned for Caroline to sit next to her on the bed. "So did Kol tell you about the tradition?"
"Just that I had to come here."
Elijah and Finn slipped into the room. Finn was holding a bottle.
"Alright, everyone, I left Sage downstairs with the baby, and he's getting cranky already, so lets not make this an all night thing."
"It took a few hours when it was you." Elijah said.
"Well I wasn't around for my turn, I don't know how these things work out."
Henrik came in the room carrying a stack of shot glasses.
"Oh no, you're not joining in." Rebekah said.
"Bekah, I'm not a baby! I drive now! And Kol brought me on the mission to the Congo."
"Which he shouldn't have done." Rebekah protested.
"Oh, you can't baby him forever." Elijah said. "How about this. Henrik, your glass gets filled halfway each time. Fair?"
"Fair." Henrik agreed.
Elijah lined up a row of shots, pouring one only halfway.
He handed one to each sibling and one to Caroline.
"We started this tradition with Finn, the night he told us he was going to marry Sage. The rest of us, except for Henrik, who was a baby, all got Sage away from Finn and we took turns telling her embarrassing stories about him, taking a shot for each story. Every sibling gets one, and I've been saving my Niklaus story for years."
Caroline smiled, then she remembered something and the smile quickly disappeared.
"We didn't do this with Tatia." Rebekah whispered. "None of us considered that to be real. We all knew he could never go through with it."
"Promise?" Caroline said.
"Promise." Rebekah agreed. "Now, you have to promise you'll still marry my pigheaded big brother, even after you hear about all his most embarrassing moments."
"Promise." Caroline agreed.
"I'm first." Elijah said.
Kol made sure Caroline knew how to do shots like them. Glass hits the table, tap glasses to each other's, glass taps the table again, and down it. They took their first drink and Elijah began.
Two hours later the giggling mess stumbled back downstairs to raised eyebrows.
Klaus pulled Caroline close to him on the sofa and she stumbled as she landed on his lap.
"You smell like you drank the whole bar."
"I .. hic... don't know what you're talking about."
"Oh god." Klaus said. "They did the thing, didn't they? Did Elijah tell you about the thing with the bathroom, because I can explain."
"A lady ... hic... never tells."
Klaus groaned and leaned his head against hers.
"I can only imagine which story Kol picked." he said.
"It was a really good one."
"Lets get you some toast and tea."
"Alright, coffee. I think mother has some for when you and Katherine come to visit."
It was another hour before Caroline was herself again.
"How about one more secret before the night is over?" Klaus offered.
"Are you going to tell me another embarrassing story about your awkward years?"
"I don't know what you're talking about. I never had any awkward years. Come with me."
They went back up the stairs and into one of the the hallways. Klaus went into a library and motioned for her to follow. He tapped along a row of books
"This is all strictly family knowledge, but you are family now, so I want to show you."
He pulled on a book and the shelf swung our, revealing a dark doorway build into a stone wall.
He stepped into the darkness and held out his hand. "Do you trust me?" he asked. This time she didn't even think. She just reached for him and plunged into the darkness.
He guided her through the steps down, and then up and then up some more, following a spiral staircase up until she could see a sliver of light.
Klaus found a latch and pushed up the trap door, picking her up so she could reach into the light and pull herself closer to the night sky.
They were out on one of the balconies that jutted over the third floor. It shot over the side of the house at an odd angle.
"So this is how you get up here." she said.
"My father never cared much for the library, and there are many secret passages in the house. This was the one I used when I needed to get away, but still wanted to be able to hear if someone needed my help."
Caroline looked around . The bushes and scaffolding obscured them from view at almost every angle. A single window into the house looked down through the opening into the main parlor of the first floor. They could see the rest of the party going on without them, their families and friends laughing together.
"I used to come here to be alone." Klaus said. "It was where I would go to try to figure things out. To be away from everything, but I could still watch. I would watch my mother sitting in there, reading a book, drinking tea. I would sit here and look down every few minutes until I wasn't sure she was safe and I would go back down there."
"Why did you bring me here?"
"Because I don't want to come here alone anymore. I want you with me."
Caroline leaned closer to him.
"And the next time you do something like face down a leader of the Five, would you mind bringing me with you?"
"How did you know?"
"I always find a way to know. Galen Vaughn, Caroline? You could have been killed."
"I knew if I told you, you wouldn't let me go."
"And you're right. It was too dangerous."
"I'm getting better."
"Not good enough to go without me. Not again."
"I want to be as strong as you. I want to be able to take care of my self."
"And I want you to never have to."
"Are you sure you want to spend the rest of your life with me?" Caroline asked, in a flickering moment of insecurity.
"Even longer." he replied.
And then he kissed her to say what words couldn't. Even if he could live for a thousand years, a life with her still wouldn't be long enough.