A/N: Like I said, my non-internet life is not a thing that is happening. And I hate Thanksgiving so I may very well be updating again tomorrow. I'll enjoy this steady stream of accomplishing something because once school starts again, it'll stop.
Since his breakup with Elena and Caroline's yet to be official breakup with Tyler, Stefan has been spending a lot of time with her. Where Caroline goes, Stefan isn't far behind. Tyler knows about this and even if he wanted to talk to Caroline, he wouldn't approach her with Stefan. Bonnie reminds him that it's actually a pretty good idea if they want to split them up in the near future. Stefan will talk to Bonnie while Caroline is with Tyler. It's more than perfect actually.
But Tyler can't do it yet.
Bonnie doesn't mind much. Not yet anyway. It gives her an opportunity to figure Stefan out. And neither of them is in a hurry. It has to be perfect for their sakes. And perfection takes time. She drops in on Stefan and Caroline. Stefan minds it, she can tell. But he pretends he doesn't because Caroline likes it when Bonnie is there. No matter what happens, Caroline always likes it when Bonnie is there. It reminds her just how important it is for her and Tyler to remain discreet. Sometimes Bonnie thinks she can live without Elena, who so easily lives without her. But Caroline still clings to Bonnie and for that, Bonnie is grateful.
"I'm not gonna talk about Tyler anymore," Caroline says as she chews on her straw. "I'm gonna wait for him to come to me. If he wants to talk, he can come to me."
Neither Bonnie nor Stefan reminds her that she's said this before. Two times in fact.
They still don't say anything when Caroline asks Bonnie if she's talked to Tyler recently. Bonnie lies and says she hasn't though she isn't sure why she does that. Granted her and Tyler have never been close but it's not that weird if Bonnie talks to him. But she thinks it's better to feign disinterest when it comes to Tyler, just in case. She's beginning to feel like they're in a spy movie or something.
Bonnie wonders if Caroline and Stefan have talked about Hayley and Tyler. She wonders what Stefan's response has been. Does he defend Damon? Does he justify it because they had to "protect their friends?" Why is it that no one else's friends are protected? Why wasn't Tyler's friend protected? Why wasn't Abby?
Abby is complicated. Bonnie doesn't think of her as her mother, not really. But she thinks of her as someone that is part of her. Sometimes Bonnie can't determine if it's because of genetics or if it's because of magic. She tells herself it's the magic that makes her feel connected to Abby instead of something more. She has stopped expecting an apology for what happened.
Welcome to Mystic Falls, where there's no apology necessary when it's for Elena.
Tyler runs into Bonnie later. It's weird to see her out and about after what they decided. He wonders if he should stop and talk to her but then he thinks that may be weird. They still aren't friends. They're just helping each other. And in the distance Tyler sees Caroline's blond curls. She's walking down the street alongside someone who is definitely Stefan Salvatore. His blood runs hot.
Bonnie bends her steps toward him. He doesn't know what he expects her to say but "You should talk to Caroline" isn't anywhere near the potential phrases.
"Didn't we just talk about how I don't want to speak to Caroline right now? Remember how you said that was okay?"
"Yes but I think you should anyway. She wants to talk to you."
Tyler isn't sure how his teaming up with Bonnie means that she gets to tell him what to do now.
"Tyler," Bonnie says. "Just call her. If you're mad at her then tell her that."
"Would you like me to tell her how we're going to kill her new best friend, too?"
Bonnie makes a face. She isn't amused. "Call Caroline. She misses you."
And that's it because Bonnie is walking away.
Tyler sits on a bench in the square and calls Caroline.
Bonnie goes back to Whitmore that afternoon. She considers asking Shane some questions about the best ways to go about killing vampires but she already knows the answer to that: a well crafted stake. And adding details makes her nervous. Instead they practice her magic some more. They've moved beyond lighting candles, though Bonnie sometimes lights them all just because she can. And she likes the way Shane looks at her once she's done it: like she's something he's never seen before and doesn't want to look away from. No one has found her magic that awe inspiring since Jeremy, not even the people that benefit from it the most.
Shane says he wants to get her back into the habit of doing small things. He says it's like a muscle, her magic. The more she works it, the stronger it'll get. She hasn't had a nosebleed yet and Shane assures her that if they stick on the path he has planned for her, she won't ever have one.
As Bonnie levitates the burning candles, she imagines doing the same with a stake and driving it into Stefan's heart.
It's a nice image.
"I know you have class tomorrow," Shane says as Bonnie starts gathering her things, "so we're not going to be seeing each other. But just work on it. You're good."
Good enough to kill the Salvatores.
Welcome to Mystic Falls, where it seems that's all you have to be to survive.
Tyler doesn't know where Caroline's been all day and he doesn't ask. He doesn't ask why she's hanging out with Stefan. She sits down next to him and they sit there for awhile, looking at the grass and not talking. Finally, Caroline speaks.
"So. Where've you been?"
"I've been here," Tyler answers.
"You haven't returned my calls."
"If you weren't going to talk to me, why did you ask me to meet you here?" Caroline demands. Because I've been avoiding you and Bonnie told me I should. He's seen Caroline's angry face plenty of times and she's seen his. Usually he wants it to go away because Caroline angry with him means he's done something horrible. But now he doesn't care like that. He should be angrier than her. He is.
"I do want to talk," he sighs. I just don't know what to say. Caroline knows what he thinks. She knows why he's angry. He doesn't know what else to tell her other than his emotions are still there.
"Well, let's talk. I'm so sorry about what happened to Hayley. I didn't want that. I know she was important to you but-"
"No buts," Tyler says. "There are no buts, Caroline."
"I know," she says quickly. "I mean that….I mean-"
"Don't say it."
"Say that thing about protecting our friends. I can't listen to it again."
"I was going to say that I understand. I wish I could have stopped it. I tried and so did Elena."
"Don't talk to me about Elena either."
Elena isn't his friend. He knows Caroline loves her and that means Tyler must also love her. That's what you're supposed to do. You're supposed to love the people that your loved ones love. He's been doing it. But he's the only one. And maybe he should hold his tongue when it comes to Elena, with Caroline and with Bonnie. With everyone it seems. Matt's probably in love with her. He never really stopped. She's Jeremy's sister. Damon and Stefan are as obsessed as you can be with another human being.
Elena is untouchable.
Tyler thinks he may be starting to hate her.
"Then let's talk about us," Caroline says. "Are we still…us?"
"I don't know. I don't think I've changed. Not that much."
"But you think I have."
Because you have. He doesn't think Caroline gets it. She doesn't understand how jarring it was to hear her say Chris wasn't important, not as important as Elena. He doesn't think she sees what the problem was. What the problem still is.
"I get it," Caroline says. "You think I don't but I do. I'm on your side, Tyler. I promise you I am."
When Hayley died, when Tyler found her body heartless and cold, Caroline touched him and he felt sick. Caroline has always been able to sympathize. She held him when he changed for the first time, wanted to feel his pain for him. But now he doesn't know if she still does. That day he questioned whether or not Caroline felt anything at all.
"Do you want to break up?" she asks.
No. I love you.
"Then what do you want?"
Stefan and Damon as piles of ash. But you can't help me get that.
"When you say you're on my side, what do you mean?"
"I mean that I'm not going to let anybody hurt you," Caroline says. "Or anyone you care about."
"They're your friends."
She knows who he's talking about.
"Damon is not my friend. Stefan is...Stefan. He's saved my life before" And taken plenty of others, Tyler thinks. "But you're my boyfriend. I love you."
Tyler knows it shouldn't be enough. And it isn't enough to change his mind. He'll still meet with Bonnie later, they'll still conspire to kill both Salvatores, and he'll still hide that from Caroline. But he loves her and she says she's on his side. He wants to believe her and Caroline has a way of wrapping around his heart and squeezing. Caroline clings but in a way that makes him cling back. So he kisses her.
After Bonnie reunited with Caroline and Stefan, Caroline left because Tyler called (Good job, Tyler) and Bonnie was left alone with the younger Salvatore. She remembers when she preferred him to Damon. She still does really. If she had to pick, she'd pick Stefan though the distinction is becoming harder and harder to make. Damon is loud and obnoxious but he's never lied about what he is. Damon knows he's a monster. Stefan likes to say he isn't.
"How are you doing?" Stefan asks. The sun is shining. Bonnie imagines it burning Stefan.
"I'm good. How are you?"
At least Stefan handles these breakups better than his brother. They don't have to worry about Stefan going on a rampage and draining all the girls from school. Bonnie worries about that anyway but not because he broke up with Elena.
"I'm okay. Have you talked to her? Elena?"
It's a dumb question because even though Stefan and Elena are broken up, they still talk. The rate of conversation between them is probably around the same for Bonnie and Elena. But she says she has anyway. Because she did. Yesterday. She makes a mental note to text Elena later.
"She told me about Hayley."
Stefan pauses for a moment and gets that look on his face that says he's feigning guilt. Maybe it's real guilt. But Bonnie assumes it's fake because they'll be telling the same story in a week or two. That is if Stefan's still alive then. She thinks she and Tyler should talk about a timeline. Perfection takes time but they could put this off forever if they kept waiting for that.
"Caroline told me that Tyler is taking it hard," Stefan says.
"How else is he supposed to take it?"
Bonnie knows she didn't react much when Abby was turned. She knows she barely reacts to them anymore. There was a time when she would have set Damon on fire, ripped his brain apart. She would have done the same to Stefan. Somewhere along the way, that girl disappeared. But Bonnie feels her coming back. With a vengeance.
"I talked to Damon."
"Everyone talks to Damon. Never seems to do much."
"Elena talked to him, too."
Bonnie shoots him a sidelong glance. She tries to think of a time when that has worked. She comes up blank.
"Are they official yet?" Bonnie asks.
"I could ask you the same question."
"Well, don't because I don't know the answer."
Welcome to Mystic Falls, where you don't know until you know.
Bonnie's cell starts buzzing. It's Caroline. Fixed things w/Tyler. See you later. :)
It buzzes again. The next text is from Tyler. With Care. Meet me at cellar. Midnight.
Bonnie decides that if Caroline isn't going to come back, she doesn't want to spend anymore time with Stefan. She makes up an excuse. Gotta go. Will be planning to kill you later.
A/N: I used to ship Caroline and Tyler in S2 by the way. I really do like Caroline despite her massive fail last ep. The writing fails all my faves.