Note: Especially dedicated to honeybunnykay. Thank you for being so patient with me. :)

-o-

Chapter 5

Dusk

I want you to remember this.


BANG!

The large, stalwart doors guarding entrance to the Greek chamber flew open, and with it -

"Kol - "

The god of wine and celebration bolted into the room, with haste and urgency more than that of the messenger of the gods himself. The young man had a dreadfully distraught expression on his face as he clung to his startled mother, grasping the goddess' arms with his shaking hands, holding onto them tightly as though they were his lone salvation from the flames of hell.

"Mother –" Kol's eyes were wild with fear " – you must help your son – "

Esther beheld her child, confusion set deep in the goddess' mist green eyes; yet seeing how truly terrified Kol was, she said none more and proceeded to gather him into her arms, soothing him as a loving mother would soothe her frightened child. She could feel how Kol's heart pounded madly inside his chest - something entirely out of character for the typically easygoing god of celebration. Since Esther bore her chestnut-haired youngest son a long, long time ago, the only fear Kol had ever allowed himself to know of was the fear of running out of fine wine during a celebration.

And this for good reason. The gods of Olympus were immortal; there were too few things left to fear when one needed not heed the inevitability of death.

"What happened?" Esther asked, cupping her son's face into her hands, a gesture meant to bring him to calm.

"It's Nik, mother, he is going to kill me - "

"You must not speak such things, Kol. Niklaus is your brother, he will never –"

"He will kill me, mother, I swear to you he will kill me!"

Esther sighed in resignation as her son clung to her arms even more urgently. The Lady of the Hearth knew how dearly Klaus held his younger siblings despite the apathetic disposition the god of light usually took, but then again his fair-haired son had always been of irascible temper and this did not fare well when Kol's recklessness bade him to insist on fooling around his older brother despite admonitions from the latter. Once, Kol hid Klaus' golden lyre 'for fun', and this earned him nothing less than an arrow to the gut.

Again, gods were immortal and could not be killed. But this did not mean that they were invulnerable. The Greek deities in reality had a weakness against wood, and once the ligneous stem of Klaus' arrow buried itself into Kol, the god of wine was promptly felled to the ground clutching his stomach.

"What have you done to earn your brother's ire this time, Kol?" Esther asked his son. "Have you hidden his lyre again? Placed a wreathe of flowers on the antlers of his –"

"No, I've done nothing to rile him, Mother, I was just… I-I was with a nymph."

A frown creased the queen goddess' smooth brow. "A nymph?"

Kol nodded, drawing his lips together in an expression of equal incomprehension as his mother, fear still evident in his shaken voice. "I asked if he fancied joining me in drink to pass the day, but he said he had things to do so I let him be and headed to Alcaeus for merriment with Isobelle's nymphs. There I acquainted myself one of her new daughters – she said she was part of Finn's retinue. She was beautiful but she was too timid and it was a shame, Mother… so I compelled her inhibitions off that she might join us in celebration without reserve."

"I don't understand how –"

"Well we were drinking and it must have been the wine… but I kissed her and she kissed me back and she was too sweet to refuse - so I took her to one of the chambers…"

Esther sighed again. Oh, her dear son was debauched in more ways than a mother's shame could bear; but Kol was the god of indulgence, how could she find him at fault if he gave in to the urges of lust? The ones deserving of condemnation were those who succumbed to the desires of the flesh for the selfish –

The goddess shook her head, willing herself to banish thoughts that had none to do with the matter at hand.

"And what happened then?"

-o-

Ten minutes ago…

A thousand years of existence and he had never known anger like this.

Rage burned white hot as it tore its way through every vein and artery in the sun-god's trembling body, his teeth gnashed hard enough to shatter, fists clenched brutal enough to bleed. His vision dripped of splattered carmine, murderous intent shooting up his nerves, and truly Klaus felt that his head was about to explode.

There she was – Caroline – his Caroline. The girl who obstinately denied him her body even when he had granted her the kindness of pleasuring her first. The girl who chose to save herself for a lowly mortal human over bliss from the god of the sun himself, declaring that the only man she would ever give herself willingly to was the bastard prince of Rome.

And where was she now? In the arms of his own fucking brother, her hands digging into Kol's shoulders as her flushed face rolled into the crook of his neck, moaning like a filthy common whore while Kol worked his hand between her thighs.

A heavy, maddening sound akin to battleaxes soldering in the forge hammered in Klaus' head, banishing all rational thought from the god's wrath-engulfed mind. Fury roared in his chest like a furnace of a million burning coals, red and amber and citron all at the same time, sparks crackling with ruthless violence that flared into blaze anew, smoldering his body with even more rage-fueled heat. He wanted her, god fucking dammit! He wanted her and worshipped her and lov –

The last thread of reason that bridled his self control snapped.

A growl of livid anger was torn from his throat as he sped into the chamber, one hand immediately finding its way around his brother's neck while the other flung the Corinthian princess down on the floor. Caroline cried out rasply as she fell to the ground, limp body robbed of all strength as it throbbed from Kol's ministrations, but Klaus paid no attention to her whatsoever. His eyes were trained only on Kol, hand mercilessly choking his brother by the neck, slamming the god of wine up against the wall with force brutal to bring the plaster cracking in five different places. The crystal vase adorning the narrow Hellene table nearby fell to the floor with a fateful shattering sound, shards of broken glass scattering to harshly reflect the light from the heated midday sun.

"N-nik –" Kol struggled to say, bringing his own hands up to his neck in an effort to ease Klaus' hold.

But the sun-god would not allow it.

"How fucking dare you –"

"Nik- you're - hurting me - " the younger Greek god labored to cry out. His brother's answer was none of kindness; instead he tightened his grasp ever more in a cruel gesture of absolute abhorrence.

"Oh that's exactly what I intend to do." Klaus snarled, himself almost choking in the thickness of the venom that his rough voice seethed with. "I ought to rip you to bloody pieces, you pathetic –"

"- what di– I don't under –"

Kol's eyes met his brother's, and the wine god's hazel orbs widened in terror. Nik's eyes were blue, Kol knew, they've been blue for a thousand years and have never been any other color – but now his brother's eyes were swirling into burning brown, not the citrine or gold of compulsion but a blazing color of bronze that Kol had never in his life seen before. Klaus' pupils narrowed into slits of ink black, tapering veins spreading out from the vertical center and fanning out into his irises. Bloodshot veins appeared beneath his eyes, taking a sinister maroon color, and then and there Kol knew that it didn't matter if he was immortal – Klaus was going to kill him if he didn't escape.

His heart was leaping in his chest as he willed his eyes to move and search his surroundings – Oh fuck, where I am I going to find wood, please, let there be some kind of wood here – but it was all for naught. The bedposts were made of wood, but they were too far from his reach, while the surface of the table nearby was built far too large and too thick for Kol to tear a makeshift stake from.

"Broth –" The god of celebration attempted to plead, but again he found himself strangled even harder, cutting off what little air he was left to afford to breath.

Klaus' face twitched in warring anger and hatred as he growled at Kol, pearlescent teeth flashing. It might have been fear flooding his senses, or perhaps the alcohol from the wine he indulged in earlier, but Kol swore that Nik's teeth, his canines, they were –

"Don't call me your brother!"

Kol closed his eyes and winced in desperation. He needed to get out of there, he needed to do something, he needed to do anything –

He flexed his arm wildly and reached for whatever object he could get his hands on. His fingers grasped the sharp end of a metal object from the table – a candelabra.

It was as good as a weapon as Kol in his current situation could have, but Greek gods had no weakness against metal and Klaus would have no difficulty drawing out the silver fixture if Kol stabbed him with it. The god of wine flinched, knowing very well that the armament he had found for himself was truly next to useless. Should he just drop the candle holder? From where Kol was, it seemed better to distract Nik with the clanging sound than to attempt to stab him with a weapon he knew Klaus was not vulnerable to, if the risk of drawing more ire from his already irate brother should Kol stab him was not enough in itself.

Klaus forced his brother harder against the wall, hoisting him higher so Kol rose up the ground even when he tried to flex his feet. He could feel how the younger god strained against his hold, but even the knowledge that he was hurting him could not appease the torrent of anger than had washed over Klaus' entire form.

This was the man who took what he wanted, the man who was given what to him was denied.

The sun-god's anger knew no beginning, no bounds, no end.

He was going to kill him, oh he was going to kill him and Caroline both.

Kol trembled as Klaus roared at him once again. Without letting go of his hold on Kol's neck, the god of the sun reached down for the Hellene table's thick leg, ripping it from under the furniture with ungodly strength, sending the table tumbling in imbalance, the rest of the ornaments it housed shattering on the floor near his feet –

The younger god's heart battered frantically now, beads of sweat making their way down his horror-stricken face. No, this was not his brother, this was an animal, a fierce, brutal, savage beast out to kill him –

I'm sorry! Kol thought one final time, closing his eyes in an expression of both fear and remorse as he summoned every ounce of courage which remained in his sore body to raise the candelabra…

…and stab it into his brother's side.

"Aagh!"

The hands on Kol's neck let go in an instant, and the god of wine took the window of opportunity to speed into the balcony, all while putting two trembling fingers in his mouth and whistling to call for his winged horse Alegron. Klaus would regain his strength any minute, he needed to get out of there –

"Caroline!" the god of wine called out.

Certainly he could not leave her there to answer Nik's wrath on her own!

The nymph was still on her knees, slumped on the ground, and Kol could see how her pale hands trembled as she eyed the god of the sun a few feet away from her, thrashing in pain from the candelabra pierced in his torso. Kol's head throbbed with too much adrenaline to notice that his brother was in agony from the metal article jabbed deep into his flesh; indeed, escape was the only thought his mind could process.

The sound of flapping wings filled the air as the roan stallion bade its way towards his master.

"Caroline, come! We haven't much time!"

She looked at Kol with a look of pure terror in her genteel face. Her lips gasped open, but no words ever came out.

Why won't she move?

"Caroline!"

The girl's blue eyes began welling up and it did not take long for a lone teardrop to make a solitary trail down her terrified face. She knew she had to leave, she knew that only death awaited her in Alcaeus if she did not go – but her body would not let her. Something cold and inexplicable and primal bid her to stay just where she was.

Kol saw Klaus struggle to stand up and swore helplessly. If Caroline couldn't save herself –

- then he would have to leave her behind.

-o-

Shock, fret, disbelief and desperation whirled together in Queen Esther's mind as she listened to her youngest born recount what had happened, and for a moment, she could neither move nor speak.

Klaus… Was it even possible…

"What happened to your brother?" the goddess asked, her heart now pounding as wildly as her son's. A dizzying sense of dread slowly began to flood her thoughts, though reason desperately fought to remain in control of her mind.

"I don't know!" was all that Kol could answer. "I had to escape, Mother, Nik would've killed me if I didn't –"

"The candelabra that you stabbed him with – was it silver? Tell me, Kol, was it crafted of silver?"

The god held his head in his hands and cringed in frustration. "I don't know, it could have been, it was gray but…"

Esther closed her eyes. She felt weak; lightheaded… sick. Her son had not a reason to cloak his words with falsehood, but she had to refuse him belief. No, it simply could not be. Kol was, by account of his fear, mistaken. Niklaus was a Greek god - he was vulnerable to wood and to vervain, he held the power of compulsion over mortals. No other being in Greece nor out of it possessed the very same strengths, the very same weaknesses.

The goddess let out a deep breath, gathering what wisdom and courage remained in her shaken form. Kol looked at her pleadingly, entirely convinced that only his mother's intercession could spare him from his brother's wrath.

"Listen, Kol." Esther finally said. "Gather what belongings you need and meet me at the fountainhead. I will have Slater take you to Samos, in Caria. Stay there until your brother's anger has waned, I will have Slater fetch you back when you may return. Eat, drink and be merry if you wish, but for your sake, my son, do nothing that might turn your brother's attention to Samos."

She watched her son nod in gratefulness and immediately depart from her chambers, a look of grim anxiety clouding the lady's features. She still believed him to be mistaken – for her sake and for the sake of everything she held dear, Esther had to believe that Kol was mistaken.

But suppose he was not…

The queen goddess rose to leave the confines of her room in favor of finding the messenger of the gods. First she had to ensure the safety of her youngest son – and then she would tend to Niklaus herself.

-o-

His face twisted into an expression of helpless agony, trembling lips parting to let out a guttural groan of pain which resounded hauntingly throughout the entire room. Caroline herself shook in the forced absence of fear and panic as she watched Klaus writhe on the floor, the silver candlestick which Kol stabbed him with impaled deep into the lateral of his stomach, staining the god's amethyst robes with the sinister dark red of blood.

Wiping away the tears that stung in her eyes, she slowly stood up, bracing her back against the wall for support. Her body throbbed – whether from the pleasure that Kol gave her or from the fear that swam quiescent inside of her, she did not know – but she quivered further as her feet touched the cold surface of the marbled floor.

She struggled to ignore the discomfort of her body as she took a hesitant step toward her captor. Caroline didn't even know why she was trying to get to him – for all intents, she should've taken the chance to escape, should've gone with the god of wine when he called for her, should've bolted out of that wretched island and out of the despicable sun god's grasp. But she did not. An urge too powerful to deny washed over her body as a divine wave would devour a mortal, bidding every nerve and fiber in her body to earlier stay just where she was, and now to go to the wounded sun-god. She would've fought this urge with the ferocity of a Spartan had she been herself, but Kol turned her inhibitions off, and now she ran on pure instinct. Whatever her body told her to do, she did so without reserve.

She fell to her knees when she reached him, on the floor, the fabric of her chiton gathered around her in a sea of soft pink touching the god's own purple vestments. Caroline swallowed thickly, her compulsion-hazed mind disabling her from noticing how Klaus' eyes widened when she began to lift her trembling hand in an effort to grasp the candlestick and –

"What did you do, you horrid bitch!"

Hayley stormed into the room, tearing her way toward Caroline and seizing the mortal by her hair to violently drag her away from Klaus. The nymph threw her forcefully on the ground, earning a sharp cry of pain from the human as the brunette inadvertently trampled her foot in the latter's haste to get back to the sun-god's side.

"My Lord, what did she do, oh, if I knew what she was up to I would have –"

Klaus groaned in pain again, and Hayley bit her lip in, summoning every ounce of courage in her body to fight the panic she felt as she sighted the silver candlestick jutting out of Klaus' gut. The god gasped breathlessly, laboriously, the agony of his brother's attack bringing him more pain than he could ever remember in his immortal life.

The nymph grit her teeth in a gesture of unwavering resolve as she grabbed the end of the candleholder impaled in her god's flesh. A sickening squelch was heard as Hayley pulled the metal stake out of Klaus' body, the candleholder dropping onto the floor with a distinct clang.

"My Lord," Hayley immediately put an arm around the god to help him get up. "Are you –"

Klaus pushed the nymph away with an impatient shove of his arm, never even letting her finish. Caroline swallowed again as she watched the deity stagger back up to his feet, panting heavily as he forced himself to lumber towards her direction.

"You…" Klaus snarled, voice low and cold but still seething with anger. His chest rose and fell in rapid succession, eyes narrowed into rage-lit lines of sprawling blue once more, with not the faintest trace of the bizarre brown that made his brother recoil in fear. His hand found the captive princess' neck and grasped around it tightly, forcing her to look at his burning eyes.

"You…You denied me your body, and yet you gave yourself to my brother like a willing meal –"

Caroline struggled to free herself from the god's hold, coughing out incoherent words as she fought for air to breathe. Klaus would not relent, every muscle in his body intent on ending her life –

- but then her empty eyes shifted upward to meet with Klaus' sky blue orbs, and immediately the god saw the void that misted over her blank eyes.

"He compelled you…" he gasped at the realization, his grip on her neck loosening instantly.

Hayley's eyes widened. The nymph clutched at the skirt of her own chiton, knuckles turning as white as her ashen face. Lord Niklaus couldn't find out that it was she who came up with the plan for Caroline to escape, no, he could not!

"My Lord, she –"

Klaus let go of Caroline, and the mortal stumbled back to her knees. Hayley clamped her mouth shut.

The Corinthian princess shuddered breathlessly, a grotesque sensation of empty unease turning in her stomach as her mind dealt with the compelled suppression of the fear her body was filled with. She lifted a hand up to touch her aching neck, where a bruise the shape of Klaus' hand had bloomed, marring her pale complexion with faint marks of dreadful blue-violet.

The deity was now shaking his head in frustration, his own hands trembling from both guilt and disgust.

"The bastard… he compelled you… I should have known…"

Caroline's lips parted slightly, breathlessness gnawing on what little lucidity was left of her as Klaus went down on a knee and planted both hands on her shoulders to keep her from turning away from him. The brought his face as close as he could to hers, meek and shielding; their bated breaths melded as he rested his forehead unto hers, closing his eyes as his nose nuzzled hers in a gentle gesture devoid of all derisive arrogance and mocking seductiveness that he had always been so full of when he spoke to her.

You still want her, he realized. For a reason that even he could not explain, he still wanted her, even though she had known the touch of another man. Gods, he had never wanted anything this much in his entire life – he wanted her so much that she made him lose himself in anger at the mere thought of her being with someone else.

The blonde felt an ethereal heat rising from him, torrents of the blistering intensity overwhelming her senses, flooding her thoughts –

"Sleep, my love." The sun-god whispered.

"Please, no more, I can't take it anymore…" She whimpered against him, the thought of another wave of compulsion enough to make her feel violently ill.

He tilted his head ever so slightly and pressed a chaste kiss upon the edge of her lips, with a tenderness that Caroline had never known from him. His words burned against her skin even as she closed her own eyes in submission, the heat around her smoldering hotter and hotter, as if she were swimming in the molten flames of Vesuvius itself.

"Sleep, Caroline… I'll take care of everything. I promise."

Once again, Caroline blacked out.

-o-

"So the chief priestess of Klaus' temple told Tyler that Caroline is with the goddess of the hunt, and yet Rebekah just told us that she has not befriended any mortal woman during the feast much less invite her to join a hunt. I don't know about you, but I'm taking Bekah's word here. She's not exactly Ms. Congeniality – let's face it, Stefan, she's a bitch."

The Roman god of the sun eyed his older brother disapprovingly, but the latter merely shrugged and bought to his lips once again his favourite cup of wine.

Earlier that day they had sought audience with the Greek goddess of the moon, whom the priestess of the sun-god's temple in Athens claimed to have invited Caroline of Corinth to join her company and learn the art of the hunt. Stefan had his qualms the moment he heard Tyler relate such news; to put it more tactfully than Damon, affability was not a trait Rebekah was known for. But he gave the priestess the benefit of his doubt, thus deciding to speak to the goddess himself.

Now he sat on one of the divans in his chambers in the royal palace of Rome, mulling over what best to do next. He could not understand why the priestess would lie – nor why Rebekah would lie, if the priestess did not. The only thing he was certain was that no matter what truly happened to Caroline, there was a Greek deity involved.

"The priestess could be lying for her master." Damon observed.

Stefan's lips curled into a small smile, though one filled with unease. "The Greek god of truth commandeth his servant to bear false message. How encouraging."

"Look, didn't Tyler say Caroline disappeared following a rain of fire?"

"Klaus is neither foolish nor reckless, Damon. He wouldn't have taken the future Queen of Rome in such a brazen manner."

"Why is his priestess lying then? We've spoken to Rebekah, we know that Caroline isn't with her."

The Roman god of the sun sighed. "I suppose there's only one way to find out."

"And that is…?"

"We head for Olympus."

-o-

The queen goddess of Greece uttered a silent prayer for safety, briefly glancing back over her shoulder before proceeding to make her way through the halls of the Olympian palace in brisk, hurried steps. No more than a minute hand's shift had passed since she saw her youngest son depart for the Island of Samos, and now Esther intended to leave for Alcaeus herself to tend to her other son.

She did not know when she would see her youngest child again, but willed herself to believe that the situation was but a trivial matter blown to disappointing proportions and that both her sons would be home with her again soon. Yet in the back of her mind, dread and unease reigned, echoing the same question over and over again throughout her consciousness.

What if Kol was not mistaken?

If what Kol said was true, that Klaus -

"Mother."

Esther let out a gasp, taking a startled step backward as she came face to face with the very son for whose concern she was about to go to Alcaeus for. Niklaus, lord of the sun, stood ably in front of her, arms behind his back, a small smile forming in his lips as he eyed his thoroughly surprised mother.

"I seem to have startled you, Mother – my apologies." Klaus told her calmly, his face bearing not the slightest trace of the wrath that Kol had so feared.

"N-niklaus," the goddess said, forcing herself to return her son's smile. "It's alright, my son. I've been lost in my thoughts of late, I simply did not see you..."

"I wish not to waste your time, Mother. I came only to ask if you know where I might find Kol; I'm afraid there are matters he and I must discuss immediately."

Esther gazed right into her son's blue eyes. The god of the sun was the god of verity; it took much to make him take falsehood for truth. But the fact that Klaus was searching for his brother...

"He was here merely minutes ago – I believe he mentioned something about going to Thessaly?" Esther claimed. "He said there was a celebration there, that he would be gone for the week. Frankly, though, I thought he appeared shaken. Did anything happen?"

Klaus' eyes narrowed, the pools of sky-blue fixed intently on his mother's mildly puzzled face. Dare she lie to the god of the truth? She was Klaus' own mother... but then again, she was Kol's mother as well, and doubtless Kol was closer to the queen goddess more than Klaus ever was, nor wanted to be, for that matter.

The goddess seemed truly baffled about what Kol said, though. Perhaps his swine of a brother had enough decency to leave their mother out of this mess?

"Nothing that should concern you, mother. It's just a -"

"There you are."

Both mother and son turned around and were greeted by the sight of the fair-haired goddess of the moon. Rebekah of the dark skies appeared almost pleased as she latched an arm into her older brother's, her smile bedazzling though somewhat leery.

"You'll have to excuse me, mother, I need to steal Nik for a moment... one of those 'sun and moon' things, you see." Bekah said sweetly.

The queen goddess smiled at her daughter and nodded, leaving the two to back to her chambers. Soonest as she was out of sight, Rebekah immediately abandoned her dulcet pretense and dragged his vexed brother unto a corner.

"What are you up to?" the lady deity demanded crossly.

"Whatever do you mean, Bekah?" Klaus scoffed in reply.

"Don't 'whatever do you mean' me. Why is your priestess declaring that I invited some princess to join my hunt?"

His jaw tightened upon hearing his sister's words. "Who told you - "

"You're not the one asking questions here, Nik. I am." Rebekah irritably retorted. "Why is your priestess saying such things? Don't tell me you abducted some mortal girl and now you want the finger pointed at me!"

"That's ridiculous. Why would I -"

The goddess shook her head in exasperated disbelief. "So it's true then. Where is she, Nik? It's been days since the feast in Athens, you have to have gotten what you wanted from her already, whatever that is! Just let her let go, or if you don't want to, then tell your servant not to imply me onto something I have nothing to do with!"

Klaus swallowed dryly. Someone other than Tyler has been asking about Caroline, then, and this someone was either fortunate or intelligent enough to go to the moon goddess' temple and gain her audience. Now how to sway his pigheaded sister to do his bidding…

"I should be asking you the same question." The sun-god finally replied, tilting his head to send his sister a grim look portending a challenge. "Where is Iphigenia?"

"Dead. Sacrificed by the Greeks so they might sail from Aulis, if you don't remember."

"Don't feed me bull, Rebekah. I know that she's alive. So why don't you do the same, let her go. Or if you don't want to, then stop pretending that you accepted the offering of her life."

Rebekah glared at her brother, fierce blue eyes narrowing into anxious slits. "What do you want, Nik?" She spoke low, her voice almost a hiss.

"A mutually beneficial agreement. For the next five days, should anyone else ask, affirm that Caroline is with you. For the next human lifetime, should anyone ask, my oracle will affirm that Iphigenia is dead." Klaus laid out.

Rebekah groaned. Perhaps it would have been better if she just let Iphigenia die when she was sacrificed after all. Mikael himself had demanded for the girl's life as an offering, sending Rebekah to end the girl's life herself, but the goddess took pity on the girl and instead made her priestess of her temple in Tauris. She could not tell her father that she disobeyed his command, and thus kept Iphigenia's life secret.

She thought that she did an act of kindness, spared the girl's life and removed her from her own people who deemed the war more important than her life. But now her own brother was using this kindness against her. Fucking hell.

"Tell me first – why are you keeping this woman?"

Klaus briefly flicked his tongue to wet his lower lip. "Nothing that should worry you, my dear sister – I have plans for her."

"Then you might want to rush your plans. I accept the agreement you propose – but I must tell you that two people have already heard me deny knowledge of her whereabouts."

"What?"

"They spoke to me this afternoon before I found you. You cannot find me at fault for that."

"Goddamned -" Klaus cursed under his breath, lifting a hand to rub his throbbing temples. "Who are they?"

"Stefan and Damon, your best friends from Rome."

-o-

She awoke at the strike of midnight.

The full moon afforded the Princess of Corinth a knowing grin as heavy-lidded eyes fluttered open, consciousness steadily rousing somnolent senses to full waking. A thousand loyal stars shone dutifully in the company of their argent mistress tonight, lending light not only to the blue-black sky but likewise to the verdant land below, allowing mortal eyes to perceive their surroundings with little if not completely no assistance from either candle or lamp.

Caroline slowly opened her eyes, a sluggish moan escaping from her lips and into the soft comfort of the pillows cradling her head. Moonlight spilled from the open balcony west of the chamber, filling the room with a faded luminescence. Her eyelids flickered as she began to look around, blurred vision clearing, until she saw that she was somehow back in the same room where Isobel had sheltered her when she first came to the Isle of Alcaeus.

It took but a few moments for the realization to sink itself into the princess' awareness. She had failed to escape by way of the god of wine and celebration - she was still in the island, captive, confined…

…yet somehow this thought did not seem to matter as much as it used to.

Of course, she remembered almost listlessly. She had been compelled.

But was it not strange, Caroline thought, that the god of wine had compelled her inhibitions off, yet she was not throwing herself out on the sea in the unconstrained effort to escape? Instead, there she was, she laid in bed in her chambers, relishing what comfort the hospitality of the nymphs could give as though she was not used to such luxuries back home in Corinth. After all, Kol never compelled her to forget about escape – he merely bade her to forget about her inhibitions.

Did it mean that if she were not to think of reason or consequence… then she wanted to stay in Alcaeus?

She sought to shift herself sideward, wriggling to find a more restful position under the covers that warmed her sore form. But then Caroline gasped, suddenly becoming aware of the weight draped around her upper body.

No, it was not merely the thick fleece blanket that embraced her, there was something else – it was warm, it was strong, it was lithe corded muscles…

…Was it… an arm?

She felt something stir behind her, about the same time an odd sense of heat began pooling in the pit of her stomach. Caroline swallowed hoarsely as firm, warm chest slowly pressed itself against her back, her bottom finding itself cradled snugly between toned thighs.

The arm around her body leisurely snaked its way up, brushing sensually against the delicate peaks of her breasts. Instinct reached her swifter than intellect; Caroline closed her eyes, her head lolling quietly further into the pillows as the hand continued to skim against the fabric of her chiton, with just the right amount of pressure to –

Oh, that felt good, so good

"You're awake."

Hot words were mouthed against the curve of her neck, and her entire body tingled as she felt a stubbled jaw graze the skin just below her ear. Lush lips tormented her with soft, fleeting kisses all over her shoulder, none of them rough or hurried despite their brisk nature; each kiss was gentle, languid, carnal.

Caroline smiled dreamily, meaning to nod in affirmation, but a lewd moan was torn from her throat when a strong hand suddenly slipped into the low neckline of her chiton and kneaded the fullness of her breast. She squirmed involuntarily, her body instinctively arching itself to press her chest closer to its delightful tormentor, rasp whimpers further wrested from her lips as sweeping fingers rolled her roseate tips into flush attention. The heat in her stomach kept on building and a lovely ache slowly began to make itself known between her legs.

"You like it." The cool, calm voice behind her drawled with slight amusement.

Caroline inhaled, long, drawn out, deep. Her breathing was winded now, and it became even more shallow as the hand on her chest continued to plunder her heaving breasts. It rubbed, tugged and squeezed at her nipples, knowing exactly what it took to make her cry out shameless mewls and moans. She was turning and twisting as though a woman maddened by the scorch of the sun, in the effort to offer more flesh and in turn be afforded more pleasure.

Without her inhibitions, it was impossible not to succumb to the temptation.

She squeezed her eyes shut, lifting her hand up to her chest and tangling them with her tormentor's in a bid to make him stop before she lost her mind. The hand obliged, not bothering to challenge her, but the tapered fingers gradually laced together with hers, and soon the teasing began again with a thumb gently tracing lazy circles on the soft planes of her palm.

Gods, what decent woman is reduced to shivers by a mere thumb brushing against her palms! The princess thought with overwhelming shame, but she was helpless against the skillful way the thumb forced shudders from her body.

She slowly shifted to her side, until she was finally able to turn around entirely. Her frail hand, still entwined with her tormentor's, felt the solid wall of a strong, firm chest, sinewy and comfortingly warm. Her mind had a vague idea of what was happening (again), and if it were true…

Her head moved on its own accord, tilting itself probingly, stirring from side to side, seeking those delightful lips which nuzzled her neck and wanting to feel their heat in her own mouth. She was not disappointed; the blonde heard a faint chuckle before rich lips captured hers, another hand cupping her face to draw her closer. She wasted no time and stroked the lips with her tongue, a wordless request for access; and access she was granted as the lips parted to allow her within, tongues quickly melding into an ungainly but no less sweet dance of primal pleasure.

Her hands felt around the planes of the chest in front of her, touching and pressing and stroking until she felt an appreciative smirk spilling into the kiss. Caroline's lips curled feebly, her body now sweltering, smothered by the fever-pitch need for…

She opened her eyes.

It was Klaus.

Of course. Klaus was touching her, holding her, kissing her – and she wanted it. Oh, she wanted him.

He savored every inch of her mouth, sweeping her away by the feel and touch and taste of his tongue, persistent yet calm, strong yet gentle. The fires of lust continued to spread through every vein in her body, banishing what meekness she had left after the god of wine stripped her inhibitions off, bidding her to offer herself wholly to this man who wracked such pleasures on her inviolate form. Molten heat slowly began to pool between her legs, tension swirling in to bring the heat in her gut boiling into a feverish malady; she wanted him to have her, wanted him to take her, further than Kol ever –

He pulled away from the kiss, and a smug expression rendered itself onto his face as Caroline groaned in displeasure. He lifted a hand, running his fingers gingerly, explanatorily, across the lips he just ravaged.

"Had enough of kissing, Caroline?"

Panting for breath, the blonde gazed at her captor in confusion. "W-what do you –"

She was able to say none more as Klaus suddenly grabbed at the neckline of her chiton, and in one abrupt motion tore the flimsy fabric of the garment apart impatiently with his bare hands. The ripping sound hung stridently in the still silence of the chamber, never stopping until the tear had run all the way to the chiton's waistline. The upper part of the garment was for all intents shred into two.

She saw Klaus smirk, arrogantly admiring his handiwork. Exposed entirely for his pleasure was creamy flesh of her chest, running to the valley between her breasts, down the tautness of her stomach. Caroline's heart raced, an atypical sense of thrill shooting up her head as she felt the cool breeze drift against her bared skin. Was he going to –

"Later, love. I have better things in mind for you right now."

He shifted his body to hover above her, leering cockily as he began to press his lips unto the crook of her neck. Caroline held her breath in, lips parting into a narrow gap as she felt him move lower, down to the feminine curve of her chest. The peaks of her breasts distended further, anticipating his hot, wet mouth… gods, please let him take them in, feast on them with the hunger of a dying man, plunder them with his tongue until she screamed…

…but it never came.

The Corinthian's brows creased into a hesitant frown as the god's kisses trailed lower, descending further to her abdomen, to her stomach, lower still to her waist – and then she heard another ripping sound, this time from the slit of her chiton.

And before she knew it, Klaus was gazing at the tantalizing nest of blonde curls that lay between her legs.

Caroline gasped. She felt large hands grip her sweat-glossed thighs, hastily spreading apart her quivering legs. Klaus said nothing, but she felt him smirk once more as his breath lingered swelteringly against the wetness of her inner thighs.

"Klaus –"

"Caroline…" he cooed, voice dripping with want, almost feral. "Let me please you."

"Klaus – oh god –"

His tongue slid against her drenched flesh, stroking slowly, leisurely, sending a burst of wanton need coiling tightly in Caroline's gut. She gripped the sheets at her sides, her head tossing from side to side as Klaus continued his relentless assault of her core, sweeping up and down, skillful tongue dipping into her folds to drown her in raw lust. The Corinthian lurched forward, a keen wail rolling low from her throat and echoing mockingly throughout the silent chamber as she desperately tried to thrust her hips further unto his mouth. But Klaus held her down with a stronger grip on her thighs, pinning her against the bed.

He drew his head away slightly so he could meet her gaze, the canny rise of his brow enough to send her a silent but forceful message. He was in control.

Caroline urged herself to calm down, letting her body fall back against the bed once more, chest falling and rising in eager beats as she willed patience back into her mind again. She needed this, gods in heaven, and whatever she had to do to get it -

The god of the sun rewarded her submission with a swirl of his tongue deep into her flesh, and Caroline mewled breathlessly as he began to kiss his way around her center. The heat he sent surging into her pleasure-hazed mind was unbearable, her heart pounded in her ears, and her tender body began that primal thrumming that she knew could end only in a decadent explosion of everything pent up inside.

She felt Klaus' lips curl into a smile as he raised his head, poising his mouth over the throbbing button crowning her now quivering flesh. Caroline could barely breathe, the ache in her core frantic, feverish, furious. She needed release, oh she would lose her sanity if she was held from it any longer, please, please, please!

And when Klaus finally flicked his deft tongue over her cli –

Caroline screamed, jolting herself awake.

Sunlight poured in through the open windows of the balcony, lithe curtains billowing as the morning breeze flitted through the delicate Grecian fabric. The sun had, by now, taken its rightful place as the king of the sky, high up in the heavens, surrounded by gentle wisps of his cirrus subjects. Calm waves rippled in the sea, playfully meeting with the white-sanded shores of Alcaeus, while birds chirped gaily atop the lush island's verdant trees.

The princess of Corinth gasped wildly for breath, running her hands through her hair as she swallowed throatily. Her heart was hammering in her chest, pounding out a primal, untamed beat that she had never known before, and she clutched at her bosom in an effort to calm herself.

What happened… She thought, her mind slowly emerging from the haze of sleep.

She was in her chambers, she recognized. Alone in bed, drenched in sweat, her whole, unripped chiton clinging to her damp skin.

It was a dream, she realized. It was all a dream.

"Had a good sleep, love?"

The Corinthian's eyes widened. There was no mistaking who the voice belonged to, and her head flicked up immediately to the direction of the deity who had spoken to her.

Lounging on the deep, wide, curving arm chair in the middle of the room was the god of the sun himself, Niklaus of the blue skies.

His fingers were laced carelessly together, aquiline blue eyes narrowed slightly as he observed the current object of his interests. On the table beside him was a slate of Greek parchment and a small piece of coal-black charcoal.

Caroline took in deep, labored breaths, her eyes never leaving the god's. Had he been there for long? Did he hear…

"You were making quite… interesting sounds in your sleep, sweetheart. A dream, perhaps? Pray, do tell me what you to dreamt of."

There was the answer to her question.

Caroline cleared her throat, and the soreness of her neck promptly made her remember events of the day past. He had choked her, she recounted, her hand gingerly touching her bruised neck. Klaus had been livid when he found her with Kol; he almost killed his own brother, if there was indeed a means to end a god's immortal life.

But now… there was not even the faintest trace of anger in his face, though he did seem nerved and fatigued. He merely looked back at her, mildly amused, and she felt a slight flush tinge her cheeks. She had not a hint of what he may be thinking at present, but it she supposed it was safe to say that his fury had been quelled.

Perhaps she could ascribe it to the fact that he realized she was compelled?

Well then.

She surprised him by rising from the bed and slowly making her way toward him, breathing still shallow, body still aching. She could feel the slickness of her flesh between her thighs as she walked, and yet her inhibitions forbade her to feel neither guilt nor remorse. She wanted what happened in her dream, didn't she? Just as much as she wanted what she was doing now?

Klaus said nothing as she stood in front of him, her flimsy chiton barely protecting her body from his penetrating gaze. The peaks of her breasts, in all their glorious tautness, beguilingly obtruded against the fabric of her dress, all but begging to be plundered. The god's aristocratic brow rose craftily when Caroline quietly slid across his lap, straddling him with her legs.

"You."

His lips curled into a broad smile, relishing the heat that he felt between her thighs. "I, love?"

"…I dreamt of you."

A squall of pride surged in to flood Klaus' chest. It had taken all the self-control he had in his body not to leap into the bed when he heard her moaning huskily, her body twisting torturously, seeking the pleasure that Klaus knew Caroline's mind was letting her taste. Part of him fumed with hatred, in all honesty – knowing that she was probably dreaming of his damned brother, the man who first made her know the pleasures of the flesh.

But now she was telling him that her dream was not of his brother… it was of him.

And yet he forced himself to stay motionless, to hold his face bereft of emotion. It was not a feat of simplicity, to keep at bay the lust that stirred in his own body as she sat astride him, mere layers of clothing keeping him from sinking himself deep inside her, the very deed that he had wanted to do since he saw her for the first time at the Athenian feast. But what good was it to be wanted by a woman only because she was compelled? Klaus was a god, immortal, almighty; he had much more pride than that.

"Is that what my degenerate brother compelled you to do?" He spat cruelly at her. "To want every man who comes your way?"

The blonde did not as much as flinch. "No… he turned my inhibitions off."

The god's jaw tightened, and it felt as if a stone had been lodged in his throat. If Kol did not compel her to want any man and merely turned her inhibitions off, then…

The sight of his raspberry lips parting open was too much temptation for Caroline to stand. It took but a second for the Corinthian to lean forward, her hand braced on Klaus' chest, her lips pressed against his. She seized his mouth with hers, slipping her tongue in, swirling the soft flesh into the heated oral crevice. Her hands fisted at the fabric of his robe, needing him as close as possible to her wanting body.

Klaus made no move to refuse her, instead matching the intensity of her kiss, smothering her with a crushing reply of mouth and tongue. She wanted him, goddammit, Klaus realized. Just as fucking much as he wanted her. She held herself back, for the sake of decency, of the so-called virtue, of arrogance, of pride – who knew and who cared? Beneath the pretenses of affection for that bloody Roman mortal and the contentions of being a proper royal woman, Caroline wanted him, and that was all that Klaus needed to know.

Her loins brushed dangerously against the hardening length between his, and Caroline moaned, setting herself deeper into the kiss. Gods, he could take her right here, right now, on this chair, on the bed, standing up, any fucking where as long as she let him take her. Let his hands knead her breasts to strained attention, let his mouth draw liquid heat from her core until her thighs trickled with decadent wetness, let his cock bring her to heights she would never know with anyone else, have her scream his name in obscene pleasure over and over and over again –

He drew away from the kiss all too abruptly.

Caroline groaned, a protest of frustration. "Klaus… Don't tease…"

But the god raised his head, only narrowing his eyes in return.

"Have you sated yourself, love?"

"W-what?"

Klaus' eyes hardened. His hands swept down to hold her by the waist, carefully lifting her off his groin before he lost what sense of control remained in his lust-blazed body and took her right there like a rutting animal. He set her higher unto his hips, lifting one hand to take her chin and her head upward so they met eye to eye, the other hand retaining its possessive hold on her waist.

"I want you to remember this day, Caroline."

"Please, Klaus, I need – " She began, but he growled to cut her off.

The sun-god brought his face closer to hers, his breath delightfully warm against her skin. "Listen to me. I want you to remember this. I want you to remember how fucking much you want me right now, how you'd do anything short of begging to have me take you – hell, you'd beg if I asked it of you, won't you, my love?"

Caroline closed her eyes, horror and humiliation painting an expression of disgrace in her docile face. But she nodded. Without inhibitions to oblige her pride, or even the smallest ounce of decency in the royal blood that ran in her veins, she would do anything – anything he wanted, anything it would take for him to sate the burning desire he had awoken in her.

"Sorry for you then, sweetheart. Because I won't allow myself to take you, compelled like that, any more than I have allowed myself to take you by force."

And it was true. It had nothing to do with chivalry or nobility – it was all a matter of pride, and the sun-god, indeed, was a man who had much of it.

"And why would I? So you can renounce me later, when your compulsion is removed, and tell me that you laid with me only because you were compelled?"

Klaus laughed, voice low and cold, and yet the tempting baritone was still redolent of the heady sylvan noon. Caroline gazed into his cruel eyes of sea blue, still unable to understand.

"B-but I thought you wanted me… Now I'm here… yours for the taking…"

He smiled at her with blunt selfishness, bringing his lips against her ear. "No, Caroline. I will take you after I find my goat of a brother and make him rid you of your compulsion." He whispered to her, sultrily, conceitedly. "Admit it, love. Your affections for that dastardly Roman git are none more than shallow pretenses for the sake of the honour you mortal lot hold too fucking high in regard. But I think we both know what you really want, don't we?"

The blonde's eyes widened. Was he…was he seriously denying her?

"You want me, Caroline. And trust me love, now that I know that, you're not going to go anywhere. When your compulsion is removed, I want you to remember the need you burn with for me right here, right now."

"Klaus, please –"

"Hush, don't beg now, love. It won't earn you anything, not even scraps from your master's plate. You can do that when I finally take you. Though I doubt it will be required. Mark my words, sweetheart. I will fuck you till both of us are too sore to walk, and you are going to love every single second if it."

-o-

Hayley's face twisted into a hateful scowl, watching helplessly as the lord of the sun pressed a kiss unto his beloved human's neck, the lowly mortal breathing batedly as she took in everything that the god had just said. The burnette's features contorted into an expression of extreme loathing and disgust, brows creasing intently before slinking away from the slightly open door of the chamber and heading back to her own room.

Fuck that human whore! Why did Lord Niklaus wanted her so much? Hayley had saved him, pulled that candlestick out of his gut herself, and yet he only pushed her aside and still went to that slut, who barely minutes before was trying to get off the god of wine's hand. Ugh, the filthy mortal cow!

The nypmh's only consolation was that the god had not taken her despite her pathetic attempts to seduce him. There was hope – as long as Lord Niklaus was kept away from the fact that Hayley herself had tried to help Caroline escape and had a hand, though indirect, in the human's compulsion, she could still play her cards into a winning hand. She could still get rid of Caroline and earn the sun-god's attention for herself; after all, she had saved him once, and she was certain that he would never forget that. Hayley merely had to find, if not create, a suitable opportunity to take advantage of it.

Which brought her to her next train of thought. Lord Niklaus was without doubt to expend both effort and time in finding his brother. Hayley had to dispatch of the mortal before that happened. She couldn't kill her, if the god of the sun ever came to know of it (and gods always, always found a way to get what they wanted) it might mean death for the nymph herself.

No, she simply had to send Caroline away and make sure that she doesn't come back. Not because she couldn't come, back but because she did not want to come back.

The nymph narrowed her cat-like eyes, another shrewd plan taking shape in her mind.

-o-

A/N:

1. I've been getting a lot of asks about Hayley on tumblr (erica-dreams-in-colour). So I want to make it clear that no, she will not sleep with Klaus. Seriously guys, I'd cut my own arms off before I write Klayley smut! Her role in this fic is to be a foil to CAROLINE, not a foil to KLAROLINE. :)

2. Why is Klaus vulnerable to silver? Why is Caroline suddenly so drawn to him? Will she make another attempt to seduce him? When will we see Kol again? What will Stefan and Damon do? What is Hayley up to? Tell me what you think. :)

3. Stories next in the update list:

a. Only Red Flames Live Here Now (Chapter 8) – Would you hate me if I told you that Hayley will also be in the ORF starting the next chapter? Haha she's like my go-to villain right now. Spoiler: She's there for Forwood, not for Klaroline. :)

b. Logic Will Break Your Heart (Chapter 2-ish of I'll Carve You a Red River) – Klaroline. Marceline. Watcha Say by Jason Derulo. Guitars getting smashed. I like this fic. A lot.