a/n: I'm officially the worst.

I'm sure at the moment you don't want to read my explanations because they're all just poor excuses for my horrible behavior. So you can just skip this and get onto the reading if you don't care. I foolishly decided to take on a heavier load this semester so I haven't had time to write and whenever I do have time, I waste it and procrastinate on tumblr. I'm sure some of you understand how that site can suck your soul and steal your life away. For those of you who follow me, you may have also noticed a bit of a love/hate relationship I have with TVD and Klaroline at the moment. There's really no other excuse other than me being a terrible person. So for those of you who still care, here it is.

Thank you to my friends, my faithful reviewers, and my silent readers for still sticking with me.

And special thanks to my wonderful friend Sunny, for encouraging me to write. Without her, this chapter would have probably been posted months later. Go follow her on tumblr! Her url is givemelovelikeklaroline. :)

She knew.

Before they even said it, she knew. She knew it the moment her nausea returned after Klaus healed her. She knew the moment the bile became too much to squelch. Her ignorance just chose not to believe it.

Her eyes cast down at the empty plates on the table, hiding from Elijah's pitiful stare, hiding from Klaus' concerned stare.

Gently, Caroline began to shake her head. A slight innocence took over her features.

"No," she whispered softly, more to herself than to the other men in the room. A childlike pout formed on her mouth as her bottom lip began to quiver. The tightness that created the knot in her throat as she swallowed angered her.

Her easy breathing quickened and she could feel herself losing air. She began to hyperventilate. The slow and gentle shakes of her head accelerated, becoming more intense. "No," she said, louder now. She balled and opened her fist before finally slamming them down on the table, breaking the porcelain plate beneath her.

Elijah sighed and continued to stare at her pitifully, glancing down at the broken plate. The blood from the scratch on her hand, trailed from the plate and onto the table.

"Caroline." Klaus whispered, taking a step closer to her, watching as she took one step back.

Caroline stared down at the broken glass beneath her hand, slowly shaking her head. "I'm sorry." She said barely audible, shaking her head once more before turning on her heal and running out to the hallway.

How is this happening? She thought to herself.

She was pacing somewhere outside of the mansion and found herself in the open grass between a garden and a large pool. She grabbed her heart, breathing deeply, trying to relax her body, but she needed to move. She saw spots when she fled from the dinner table. Their faces, Elijah's and Klaus', were pitiful and she couldn't bear to see the looks.

Too much.

It was all too much all at once. Collapsing onto the ground, she ran her fingers through her hair.

Their history, had been one she'd never heard. Heartbreaking, sad, inspiring. Brothers to the end. Fighting against their murderous and destructive mother. But they were monsters. Her eyes avoided his the moment he told her the truth about Esther. It was tragic really. They had eternal lives, a gift that every mortal would hope for.

But perhaps she was the lucky one. She may have been an only child and she may not have completely understood the dynamic between siblings, but that didn't mean she didn't understand family. In the end, she would give up her life to protect her mother and father, in the same way that her parents would sacrifice theirs on behalf of her safety. They were monsters, yes. But were they really all that different?

And as much as it should have, it didn't change the growing ache she felt in the pit of her stomach for Klaus.

What would her parents say? She was recklessly becoming enamored with the one thing she was taught to hate.

And she was dying.

She would be dead in hours, minutes, maybe even seconds, yet she still had no way to contact them.

Move. She thought to herself after having sat on the grass for too long. An hour must have passed by since she came outside. Her great control had always been a known quality throughout her life. No one knew her as the girl who sat around. Caroline Forbes made things happen and she would not sit on the grass and feel sorry for herself for another minute.

Pushing herself up off the grass, she steadied herself as the yard around her began to spin. Caroline placed her cold palm to her forehead and shut her eyes tight as she walked slowly to the doors of the mansion.

She blinked as her view came into focus and quickened her pace to the back doors. When she opened the glass double doors, she found herself in a large room. The crackling noise and the smell of burning wood turned her attention to the fireplace. Someone had recently been in here.

She looked around the room and saw multiple canvases next to a desk covered in artwork. Closing the doors behind her, she maneuvered around the couch that was in front of her to eye the art. Some were covered in paint, some with charcoal, and some with pure, black ink. The art ranged from landscapes, to animals, to women.

One in particular caught her eye. Her fingers made their way to the drawing and the girl that stared back at her, stared with a polite smile. She could have been looking in a mirror. There was no denying that this was her. When she lifted the drawing, she saw another beneath it. There was no smile this time. In fact she wore a sad look on the second drawing. She looked somber, haunted. But she looked beautiful. Caroline wondered if that was truly what she looked like.

"Your lips."

She hastily dropped both pages immediately as soon as she heard Klaus' voice behind her. She readied herself to apologize when she processed his words. "My…" She trailed off with a questioning stare.

"Your lips. I made a mistake when I was sketching your lips." Klaus smiled cheekily and rubbed the remaining paint off of his hands with a white towel. His stare enchanted her, with his lips slightly parted and his eyes on her mouth.

Instantly, she blushed and turned back to the drawing. "They're beautiful." She whispered.

"They're nothing compared to the inspiration." He said, causing the red to flush to her cheeks once more. "How are you feeling?"

"Fine." Her smile faltered and she shook her head slowly. "Not fine. Far from it, actually."

He pressed his lips together staring at her with a look she swore could be defined as sad. "I wanted to come after you but Elijah thought it'd be best for you to have a few moments to yourself." He dropped the towel on the arm of the couch and hesitantly took a step towards her. After she'd heard their story, he didn't know how close she would have wanted him.

"You didn't think I'd run?" The step she took towards him countered his thoughts. She couldn't help herself when she was around him. It was as if they were gravitated towards each other whenever it was the two of them in a room.

He took another step and smirked finally stopping in front of her. "The thought crossed my mind, but we're the only ones who know what's happening to you. It'd be foolish of you to run. Then again, we are experts when it comes to tracking so it wouldn't have mattered either way." Klaus raised his fingers and brushed the stray strand of hair behind her ear. He didn't pull away and kept his palm on the hollow of her neck.

They stood silently for a moment and she shut her eyes tight. "I'm beginning to feel," She paused searching for her words, "I feel dizzy, weak." She breathed out.

"I know." He whispered. It was alarming. The pain she saw in his eyes was never an emotion she expected to see from him.

"How long till I," She couldn't bring herself to say it and he knew it.

His finger lightly curled around a strand of her hair. "A few hours. Perhaps a day."

She opened her eyes and stared at his pleadingly, "You have to take me back."

He exhaled and pulled his hand away. Though he was no longer touching her, they were still close. "No."

She pushed herself away from him and rubbed her forehead as she paced. "Please. I have to say goodbye to Elena, I need to write my mother and father, I need to do something other than sit here and wait for my death!"

"You're not dying." He said abruptly

Caroline opened her mouth to speak but hesitated, wincing as she fell to the couch clutching her head with her elbows on her knees. "Oh," She winced as a searing sharp pain shot from her neck to her head. "It hurts!" She cried. She began coughing up blood, dirtying her white uniform.

Klaus sat down next to her. Comfort had never been his forte but since he met Caroline, it was all he wanted to do whenever he saw her hurting. With other humans, he was usually the one causing the pain but with her, he wanted to take it away. He raised his hand and began rubbing circles on her back. He reached for the towel he placed on the arm of the chair and held it out for her to hold.

Caroline continued her violent coughs. When they started to calm she looked at the patterns on the carpet below her. "My mother, my father, they won't," She began in between breaths. "I'm their only child."

Klaus kept quiet, softly massaging up and down her back, waiting for her to continue. "I only wanted to help others in life. I wanted," Caroline breathed deeply holding back the tears that watered here eyes. "I wanted my life to matter." She turned to look at Klaus, "I don't want to die." She cried quietly. The tears she had been holding in began to fall and she felt the hot water touch her lips. She wasn't sure if it was her blood or her tears.

"We can arrange that," Both Klaus and Caroline turned to look at the door to see Elijah. "My apologies, if I may interrupt," Elijah spoke calmly as he took a step into the room. "Niklaus, how much time has passed since you healed her?"

Caroline stared at Klaus questioningly and he kept the impassivity in his eyes. "Three days. The blood should be out of her system by now."

"What does that mean?" Caroline asked quickly looking between the two brothers.

Elijah looked at Klaus for a moment before finally continuing, "You could live as a vampire. In order to become one, a person must die with vampire blood in their system. If your choice is to live, we can arrange that."

Her brows furrowed together and she shook her head fiercely. "I can't be a vampire!" She shouted which only made her cough more. Caroline stood up from the couch quickly.

Elijah glanced at Klaus who jutted his jaw out angrily. "Then you'll die," Klaus said, standing up with her. "And if I heard correctly, you just announced that you didn't want to."

Caroline shot him a look and glared at him. "How dare you?"

He smirked and tilted his head. "I'm only stating the facts, Sweetheart."

Caroline grunted and took a step towards him, punching his chest with the little strength she had left. This side of him was insufferable. "It isn't simple! My family would hate me. I'd be a monster." She whispered as her punches slowed down.

Klaus narrowed his eyes at her, "We're back to that, are we? Do you really find me so monstrous? An innocent girl like you displayed quite a lot of affection for this monster just moments ago."

"Niklaus," Elijah said carefully.

She scoffed, shaking her head, "This isn't about you, Klaus!" She shouted, feeling the heat raise to her cheeks.

Caroline had spent minutes screaming at the idea. They spent longer screaming at each other as Elijah calmly watched the two of them. Her first thought was no, absolutely not. She was not about to become the one thing her parents hated. How would she hide it from them? They would never accept her and sometimes her mother had difficulty accepting her as she was now. What if she harmed them?

She would no longer be able to be a nurse according to Elijah, at least. Her bloodlust as a vampire would be too strong. She wouldn't be able to be around the injured with her lack of control. It only made her wonder why they were able to control it until Elijah explained to her that with time comes control. With time, comes power, strength, and knowledge. Being the oldest vampires in history meant that they were the strongest; they were the most knowledgeable, the most powerful, and the most feared.

Klaus grew more frustrated by the minute. He wanted her to choose to be a vampire. They were only just beginning. Whatever emotions they shared, were so new to him and he wasn't ready to give it up. Perhaps he never will be.

She was an infectious disease, latching onto him and refusing to release him from her spell. A spell he didn't want to be released from. A part of him thought it would be best if he were to allow her to die, to stop himself from getting further attached. His feelings for Caroline were foolish, but he couldn't bring himself to let her die. Yes, he wanted to give her a choice, but that only meant he had to offer her the endless possibilities that the world had to offer.

Their arguing went on for just a few minutes until she grew tired and weak. She nearly collapsed in Klaus' arms, stopping both of their arguing immediately. She was growing weaker by the minute and she could feel that she didn't have much time left to spare. They all knew it.

She was lying in bed now as the nurse they compelled pressed a wet cloth to her sweaty forehead.

The door shut quietly and she glanced up to see Klaus by her side in seconds and the nurse quietly exited the room, leaving the two alone.

They stared at each other for what seemed like hours though it was only seconds.

"Leave." She whispered finally, though her eyes begged him to stay.

Klaus' jaw went tight and his eyes flashed with quick rage. She was still pushing him away. "No," he said, sitting down next to her on the edge of her bed.

"I don't know yet, Klaus. Please, just leave." She sighed, closing her eyes to avoid his gaze.

"You don't want me to," He whispered, squinting down at her.

And he was right. She didn't want him to leave. She was alone, afraid, and she trusted him more than she should have. All she wanted was for him to be by her side, to feel his warmth. She wanted to be in his arms, wanted his comfort, and she wanted him to assure her that everything would be fine. But she knew he couldn't, so she settled for this. She settled for just him sitting beside her, staring at her with those eyes that so easily reeled her in. The eyes that didn't tell her what she wanted to her, the eyes that told her the truth. He was worried.

He grabbed the towel and wiped the trace of blood that she had running down her chin. She was so pale, so different from the healthy girl he first met.

"Why are you making me do this?" She asked him, the tears welling in her eyes.

He sighed as he spoke, throwing the towel aside and resting his palm over her leg, "I'm allowing you to make a choice. A choice I never had the option to make."

"And if I choose to die?" She asked.

"I'm hoping I can make a convincing argument." He smirked at her and a soft smile fell on her lips. They sat in silence and he contemplated lying next to her, to hold her frail body in his arms but repressed his urges and settled for just sitting beside her.

"If you had the choice, would you have stayed human?" Caroline began tracing lines in the back of his palm. The palm that rested so lightly over the blanket on her thigh.

He released a heavy breath and pressed his lips in a tight line before answering. "No."

She stopped tracing lines on his hand and slowly pulled away turning to look him in the eyes, though he kept his eyes on the wall in front of him, "Why not?"

There were a thousand answers that ran through his head. Nine hundred of them would have only scared her away. So he went with the one that mattered most in this moment. The one that he knew she would accept. He turned to look at her, staring into her eyes with the intensity that he wished would help her understand. "You don't exist in the world that I was born in.

She smiled softly with her eyes closed, breathing slowly and deeply, struggling to find air. "Give me a different reason." She whispered slowly.

He sighed and looked to the wall above her. "Mikael was always larger, stronger." He hesitated as he began telling her the story he had never voiced out loud to anyone before.

"I once lived in fear of him, in fear of many around me. When we became vampires and I activated the curse, I became the strongest. I became the most powerful creature on the planet. I no longer had to hide from Mikael's threats. I could protect my family against him."

Klaus could see the pity in her eyes as he spoke. He saw her eyes flash as she considered it. It was the idea of being able to protect her family that caught her attention. When she closed her eyes again, he continued, "There's more to it than power. There's a whole world out there and it could be yours. The endless possibilities could all be yours."

They were both so focused on each other that they didn't notice the two men standing quietly by the door watching the scene unfold in front of them.

Elijah cleared his throat and they both turned to look at him to see Stefan standing next to him.

"Stefan." He said, as he stood up slowly. "I thought I told you to keep an eye on the doppelganger."

Caroline wondered what he meant by that. Katerina had run from them after the curse was broken. Had they found her again?

Stefan hesitated before speaking, "You did," He said slowly. "She's missing."

She opened her mouth to ask about it but Klaus stepped out into the hallway with Stefan just as she was about to speak.

They stood right outside the door, speaking in whispers too quiet for her to hear. She watched Klaus with his arms crossed, looking angry, and Stefan looking nervous. Elijah stood to the side, with a calm look as always, speaking quietly along with them.

She thought of the world Klaus just offered. She was in France now, far away from home. After the war she would be able to do so much more, see so much more.

As Caroline watched them converse in frustrated whispers, she wondered if becoming a vampire would mean she'd have the problems that they seemed to have. They seemed to always be in constant trouble or maybe this was just now and not every day. Her mother and father always searched for trouble as well. Maybe this could be their insurance. She could protect them. They hunted vampires when they weren't working. She learned that Klaus cared for his family, Elijah was noble, and Stefan was humane despite all being vampires, but she knew that not all vampires were good. Just like this war had proved that not all humans were good.

She struggled to keep her eyes open as she watched them. Klaus stole a quick glance at her before turning back to Stefan.

Her breathing became slower and slower and she was tired, oh so tired. Her eyes dropped shut slowly, losing sight of everything around her. In the dark, she lost it. Everything in her. Her mind, her desire to live, and her will to fight. She lost it all. She lost her hope and she lost her light. "I'll do it." She whispered as she danced on the lines of death. "I want to live." She whispered hoarsely. I want to fight, she thought.

And just as she felt herself slipping away, she felt his familiar arm press lightly against her lips. She felt the warm, copper taste hit her tongue and found herself slipping further and further into a sleep she feared she wouldn't wake from.

a/n: Hopefully I didn't disappoint too many of you. Constructive criticism is always welcome. :)