A/N: I wanted to write something where Caroline was the one who went through the hallucinations instead of Elena, and this is what came out. Enjoy :D

-xxx-

Caroline had only killed one person in her entire life, and despite how much she loved the power at her fingertips and the cool rush of blood as it coated her throat, the emotional turmoil just wasn't worth it. She never wanted to kill anyone again. But if she didn't, then Elena would, and the last thing Caroline wanted was for her friend to experience that kind of all consuming guilt.

So now here she stood, in front of the man who held her friends captive in the Grill and threatened the people she cared about. The anger she felt was rolling off her in waves. This man tried to kill April, Jeremy, Matt. Even Tyler!

Caroline sunk her fangs into his neck, causing him to drop to the ground. "Stay the hell away from my friends," she snarled at him, blood dripping down her face.

"You're the biggest monster your friends will ever meet," Connor replied with just as much ferocity before pulling out his stake and jamming it into her stomach. She let out a groan and yanked it out, the pain ebbing as the wound healed quickly.

"You missed," she said before wrapping both hands around either side of his face and jerking his head swiftly to the left. His neck made a sickening snap and he dropped to the ground by her feet, dead.

-xxx-

Later that evening, Caroline tried to distract herself by placing some tea on the stove and flipping through the channels on her television. Liz was out performing her sheriff duties, as usual, which left Caroline alone for the night. Nothing interesting was airing at the moment, but the Sham Wow infomercial provided much needed background noise to keep her thoughts from wandering to the hunter.

It didn't prove to be a great distraction, however. After several minutes, the screen went fuzzy, and white noise reverberated throughout the house.

"What the hell?" Caroline asked, standing up and walking towards the TV, tapping the top of it with the heel of her hand in hopes that it would fix itself.

Just as she began to slightly freak out—the whole thing seemed like the beginning of a horror movie, for crying out loud. Anybody would be afraid, even someone invincible like her—the screen switched back to normal, but instead of a Sham Wow advertisement, the news was playing.

"Authorities say that the body was found in a cave, the neck snapped and covered in blood..." the reporter began.

Caroline frowned. The whole point of watching TV was to get her mind off of her recent kill. She had no interest in watching news coverage of it. She tried switching the program, but every single channel number she pressed into the remote only led her back to the same broadcast.

"Upon further investigation, it has been confirmed that high school student Caroline Forbes was behind the attack."

Caroline dropped the remote and stumbled backwards, her eyes wide and her undead heart racing in her chest. "Oh, God..." she whispered. That's it. She had a wanted level now. Everyone knew she was a vampire. Her mom would lose her job, the both of them would have to pack up and leave everything behind. This was the end for her.

"Feeling guilty?" came a voice from behind her.

Caroline whirled around, ready to pounce on the stranger had broken into her house, but no one was there. Her eyebrows scrunched together in confusion and worry. Her tea—which, quite honestly, she had almost forgotten about—was ready, the high-pitched squeal of the kettle making her jump.

She turned back to the television where the Sham Wow infomercial was playing. It was as if none of it had even happened. Maybe it didn't.

-xxx-

Caroline couldn't fall asleep after that. She tossed and turned, glancing at the clock every five minutes until she just couldn't take it anymore. She kicked back her covers and climbed out of bed, heading towards the kitchen for a snack. Who cares if it was 5 o'clock in the morning? She was hungry.

She had just reached the fridge when she heard the same voice she had heard earlier when the TV had been acting up.

"Can't sleep?"

Caroline whipped her head around, hoping to catch whoever it was before they disappeared again. With a frustrated sigh, she saw that they were gone. But when she turned back around, she saw Connor leaning against the counter next to her. She gasped and jumped back.

"It makes sense," the hunter continued. "Guilty conscience and all."

Caroline shook her head, her blonde curls bobbing. "How are you alive?"

"I'm not," Connor responded, pushing himself away from the counter and starting towards her. For every step he took forward, she took one backward. "My body is rotting away in an unmarked grave, thanks to you."

"So you're a ghost," Caroline realized. "You're haunting me."

"Would a ghost do this?" Connor asked, not giving her a chance to say anything before he had her in a chokehold.

But Caroline wouldn't go down without a fight. She was strong enough to fight him off. Grabbing the arm he had wrapped around her neck, she ripped it away from herself and twisted it over her shoulder, using all her strength to flip him so he was on his back. She thanked her lucky stars that her mother left early for work every morning and wasn't here for this. Connor—correction: Connor's ghost—wouldn't hesitate to hurt her if it meant hurting Caroline.

As soon as she got the upper hand in their fight, the hunter disappeared, leaving Caroline out of breath and more confused than ever.

"What is happening?" she asked under her breath.

-xxx-

Six hours after her struggle with Connor's ghost this morning, Caroline's phone buzzed with a text message from Hayley.

Heads up: Klaus is at Ty's. Time to initiate Operation Fake Break-up.

Caroline smiled, grabbing a cardboard box and throwing some of Tyler's belongings in it before hopping in her car and heading towards the Lockwood mansion.

It wouldn't be easy fooling Klaus. After all, he's spent all his life wary of everybody and everything that's crossed his path. He barely even trusts his own family. Who's to say this plan won't be a total bust? He would see right through the lie.

Needless to say, she was worried. Not for herself, but for Hayley and Tyler. She knew that Klaus would never hurt her, but she couldn't guarantee that he wouldn't hurt them. But for now she would have to set aside her worries and go along with the plan anyway, hoping that Klaus wouldn't get suspicious.

Once she got to the front door, she used the hand that wasn't carrying the box to knock. As soon as Tyler opened the door, she pushed her way in, ready to put her acting skills to good use.

"I brought your stuff. Old laptop, your jersey, the charm bracelet." She put emphasis on the last one, reminding him of the birthday present he had given her.

Tyler closed the door and stepped in front of her, blocking her view of whoever was behind him. "Care, this isn't a good time—"

"Just take it," she cut him off, shoving the box at him. He took it and moved out of the way, giving her a clear view of Klaus, Hayley, and some of the other hybrids.

"Caroline," Klaus said, setting his bottle of alcohol on the nearest table and approaching her slowly. "By the break-up drama unfolding before me, I assume you've met Hayley?" His voice didn't sound triumphant, like she expected it to. Instead he sounded...sympathetic.

She crossed her arms and remained silent.

Klaus nodded. Her silence was enough of an answer. "Well, normally I would leave you three to work out your issues privately, but I learned upon my arrival that you were the one that killed the hunter."

Caroline frowned, feeling the need to defend herself. "He was trying to hurt my friends. Why does it matter to you if I killed him?"

Klaus lowered his gaze, his deep blue eyes staring intensely into hers. "Because when one kills a hunter, there is a bit of a consequence."

"What kind of consequence?"

Klaus squinted at her. "Tell me, sweetheart, have the hallucinations started yet?"

"How do you know about that?"

Klaus glanced at Tyler for a second before his eyes darted back to Caroline. "I'll tell you when we're alone. For now, I need to you come with me."

Caroline uncrossed her arms. "Why should I?"

"I have all the answers you're looking for," Klaus answered. There was a desperate edge to his tone, as if he really wanted to help her and was willing to kidnap her in order to do so. Which is exactly what he was planning to do if she didn't cooperate.

"I'm not going with you," Caroline told him firmly.

Klaus breathed in deeply. "Fine. You've left me no choice."

Before she could even get a word out, Klaus grabbed her and flashed out the door, heading in the direction of his mansion.

-xxx-

"You can let go of me now," Caroline complained, yanking her arm from Klaus's grasp as he led her into his room, one of his hybrids shutting the heavy door behind them.

Klaus dropped his hand and watched as Caroline took in the room, awestruck. He noticed her eyes lingering on his bed for longer than was appropriate. "I apologize for the lack of windows, it's to preserve the art" He gestured to the many sculptures set up in the room. "And of course to prevent you from taking off your daylight ring and burning yourself to death in the sun."

"Why the hell would I kill myself? I would never do that," she protested.

"Oh, but you'll want to," Klaus said. "I did. The problem is, I'm immortal."

Caroline seemed to relax slightly. "You told me about that. The night you saved me from the werewolf bite. You said that you thought about ending your life before."

Klaus smirked. "You have a good memory."

Caroline shrugged. "It's not every day an immortal hybrid tells you about his thoughts of suicide. Did you really expect me to forget?" She paused. "So wait, if you went through this, how did you make it stop?"

His expression darkened. "I didn't. I suffered for 52 years, 4 months, and 9 days. I was tormented in my dreams and every waking moment...relentless, never ending torture. It was the only period of my life where I actually felt time, and then it eventually just stopped."

Caroline imagined going through this for half a century, trying to grasp what Klaus had experienced. She couldn't help but feel sympathetic, but she wasn't going to show any tenderness towards him. No way. She wouldn't give him the satisfaction of knowing that his pain affected her too.

She shifted her focus back to the situation at hand. "Do you have any idea what could've made it stop?" There had to be something. Anything to make Connor stop appearing.

Klaus shook his head sadly. "I'm afraid not."

Caroline took a seat on the edge of his bed, her head hanging in defeat. Klaus stepped toward her, wanting to comfort her in some way but not wanting to overstep his boundaries.

"We'll figure out something, Caroline," he reassured her, leaving Caroline to wonder what he meant by we. Was he referring to him and herself? Or was he going to team up with her friends and come up with a plan? She guessed the latter, since she would be locked up in his bedroom. She could only hope that her friends would want to work with him to relieve her of these hallucinations.

Caroline remained silent, so Klaus backed away and knocked on the door. His hybrid that was guarding the room opened it for him, but before he left, he stopped to say, "A bit of warning; the hallucinations tend to appear in strange forms."

-xxx-

Klaus came back a few minutes later, throwing a duffel bag beside her on the bed. She hadn't moved from the position he left her in earlier. "I brought you clothes and a toothbrush. I don't know how long you'll be in here, but I want you to be comfortable."

Caroline nodded. "Thanks," she said quietly, lifting her head to look at him directly. But it wasn't Klaus she was looking at.

"Tell me, Caroline. How did it feel to drain the life out of me?" Connor asked.

Caroline hopped off the bed and stumbled backwards, trying to distance herself as much as she could from him. "Go away," she demanded, trying to be as calm as she could manage.

Connor got up too, approaching her slowly. "Did you know I had a family, a brother, parents...?" His voice cracked on the last word.

Caroline's eyes softened. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I was only trying to protect my friends—"

"The only thing your friends need protection from is you. Because you're a monster, and you deserve to die."

Caroline squeezed her eyes shut. "No," she protested firmly.

"Caroline, it's me. It's me, you're safe," she heard a familiar—and comforting, though she would never admit it—voice say. It was what he said to her when he saved her from Alaric in the school. It was the exact thing he said that made her calm down, and that made her feel safe.

Caroline opened her eyes to see Klaus standing only a couple inches from her. A tear ran down her cheek, and he placed his palm on the side of her face, wiping it away with his thumb.

"No one's here. It's just us. You don't need to be afraid."

Caroline leaned into his touch, feeling her breath slowing. She didn't care that it was Klaus who was comforting her. She just needed someone, it didn't matter who.

After a moment, Klaus reluctantly pulled away. "I need to go talk to your witch," he informed her.

He tried to walk away, but Caroline grabbed his arm, forcing him to turn back to her. "Please don't leave me alone," she begged, her eyes pleading.

Klaus looked genuinely sorry. "I have to, love, if you're ever going to be free of this," he said, his tone apologetic. Caroline dropped his arm and watched him go. Before he left, he called over his shoulder, "It'll be over soon, I promise."

As soon as he was gone, Caroline turned toward one of the seats in front of the bed to see Connor standing there.

"No, it won't," he said menacingly. "It'll never be over. I'm going to be with you forever, a constant reminder of what you did to me."

"Leave me alone," Caroline ordered through clenched teeth, brushing past him to go stand in front of one of Klaus's sculptures.

"You want to get rid of me? Kill yourself. Then you'll be free."

Caroline shook her head, still refusing to turn around and look at him. She crossed her arms. "No. Klaus will find a way out of this. And in case you haven't noticed, he always gets what he wants."

"Like you?" Connor asked, causing Caroline to tense. "You've been so resistant, Caroline. What happens when you finally fall for him? Your friends will hate you."

"I'm not talking about this with you," Caroline said.

"Fine," Connor conceded. Suddenly, his voice changed. He no longer sounded like the hunter. "Then talk to me, Care."

Caroline turned around to see Matt standing where Connor was only a second ago. "Matt?" She took a few steps toward him, but he backed away from her. She frowned.

"That's close enough."

"What's wrong?"

"What's wrong?" Matt repeated. "You're a monster, Care. You kill people. You killed that guy at the carnival, you killed Connor...you almost killed me."

Tears clouded Caroline's vision. "I didn't mean to. It was an accident."

"Was killing Connor an accident?"

"He was trying to kill you! You and April and Jeremy! And he almost did kill Tyler!"

"So you're saying he deserved to die?" Matt asked. Caroline was silent. "Wouldn't that mean you deserved to die, too?"

"Please, Matt, don't—" Caroline pleaded, but Matt cut her off.

"Don't what? Tell the truth?" he choked, his throat thick with unshed tears. "I loved you, Caroline. You were an amazing person, and I was so lucky to be with you. But then you became this...this thing, and now I can't love you anymore. No one can love you. You're a monster."

"Stop it, Matt!" Caroline yelled.

"Stop me yourself!" he shouted back.

"By killing myself? Is that what you want me to do?" Tears streamed down her face, and she frantically wiped them away.

Matt seemed to calm down. He took a few hesitant steps toward her. "Yes," he answered softly. "That's exactly what you should do. It's for the best."

Caroline whirled around, unable to look at him any longer. "NO!" she yelled, covering her ears so she wouldn't have to listen to him encourage her to commit suicide. She stood there for a while, not hearing anything. She turned back around slowly.

Matt was gone. She was alone.

-xxx-

"What do you want me to do about it?" Bonnie asked.

Klaus had just met with the witch at the Gilbert house. The Salvatores and their beloved doppelganger were there, too. It was an uncomfortable alliance, but it would have to do. After all, this was for Caroline.

"Fetch your grimoires and enchantments and try looking for a spell to end this," Klaus answered.

Bonnie rolled her eyes. "You know I can't do magic."

Klaus walked towards her until he was towering over her, his eyes dangerous. "Then I suggest you find a quick solution to that problem before Caroline succeeds in taking her own life." Bonnie remained unaffected, staring up at him calmly.

"She can't do it, Klaus! We'll have to find another way," Elena interjected.

Klaus leaned away from the witch, never taking his eyes off her. "What do you propose we do then?"

Bonnie turned to Damon. "I can ask Shane for help. He knows everything about everything."

"Professor creepy?" Damon asked.

Bonnie rolled her eyes but nodded her head in confirmation. "He's setting up an exhibit at the school tonight. I can ask him about it there."

"Damon and I will go with you," Elena said, casting a glance at Damon who only shrugged.

"You all do your thing. I'm going to talk to Tyler, tell him what's going on," Stefan said.

Klaus smirked. "Perfect. I'll go check on Caroline."

-xxx-

Caroline sat in one of the leather seats in the room, hugging her knees to her chest and waiting for the next torturous hallucination. And one came, eventually, although it wasn't one she was expecting.

"Caroline?" Elena asked.

Caroline's head shot up and she saw her best friend standing in front of her, looking concerned. "Elena."

Elena glanced around the room, taking in all the artwork and crystal chandeliers. "You're in Klaus's bedroom," she stated.

"He locked me in here," Caroline explained.

Elena tilted her head to the side. "What do you think of it? His room."

Caroline narrowed her eyes. "Why?"

"Come on, you have to have imagined yourself in here before. Is it what you thought it would be?"

"What are you talking about, Elena?"

"I'm talking about you and Klaus. My best friend and my enemy. There's a chink in your armor, Caroline. Anyone can see it. You're giving in."

Caroline shook her head. "No, I'm not."

"It must be nice," Elena continued. "The oldest and most dangerous vampire in the history of time chasing after you like a lost puppy. He's seen a thousand years' worth of beautiful women, and yet he wants you."

"Where are you going with this?"

"Did you know he was in love before? Only once, while he was still human."

Caroline scoffed. "I don't care about his love life."

"Would you care if I told you she looked just like me?"

That got her attention. Caroline's eyes widened. "You mean she was a doppelganger?"

Elena nodded. "The original Petrova. Her name was Tatia." She paused. "It makes me sad that you're always second best to me. I'm always everyone's first choice. Stefan's, Damon's, Matt's—"

"Why are you being like this?" Caroline asked.

Elena sighed. "I'm so sorry, Caroline. It must suck, being so insecure all the time. It makes sense, though. You're never anyone's first choice. Not even Tyler's."

"What?"

"Do you really believe Hayley is just a friend? That she helped him break the sire bond and that was it? You can't honestly be okay with her living with him." Elena's expression was sympathetic, but all Caroline wanted to do was smack her across the face.

Suddenly, the door opened, stopping Caroline from saying anything she might regret later. Klaus walked in, and as soon as she saw him, Elena disappeared.

"Klaus," she breathed, her voice heavy with relief. She stood up to greet him. "Did you find anything out?"

"Bonnie's working on it. How are you?" He searched her face for some sign that she was alright, but she only shook her head, more tears forming in her eyes.

"It's terrible, Klaus. I don't know how you went through this for so long." Despite everything Elena said, she was still opening up to him. Pathetic.

Seeing her so upset made Klaus do something he hadn't done in a very long time. He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her into a hug. She let him, clutching onto his shirt and crying into his shoulder.

"I just want it to stop," she cried.

"It will," Klaus promised. "It'll be over soon."

Their embrace was interrupted by Klaus's phone ringing. Caroline untangled herself from him and backed away, angry with herself for letting him hug her. What was she thinking?

Bonnie explained the situation over the phone. It turned out that the Gilbert boy was a potential and he needed to kill a vampire, ending Caroline's hallucinations and becoming one of The Five.

"We need to use one of your hybrids," Bonnie said.

"Not a chance. Given that my blood source has now been cut off and I'm not able to make any more, the ones I have left are more valuable than ever," Klaus replied.

"Please, Klaus. It's Caroline we're talking about here."

Klaus was silent for a moment, his eyes darting over to Caroline who was looking anywhere but at him. "Fine," he agreed reluctantly, hanging up before the witch could say anything else. "It looks like your prayers have just been answered," he said to Caroline.

"Thank you," she mumbled. "For giving up your hybrid and stuff." She hated that he was doing this for her. It made it that much harder to hate him.

Klaus nodded. "Hang in there," he told her as he turned around and headed for the door.

-xxx-

Tyler waited fifteen minutes after Klaus left before he sent Chris in to approach the hybrids guarding the door of the room where Caroline was staying.

"Klaus just called," he heard Chris say. "He said to go meet Stefan Salvatore."

"Why?" one of the guards asked.

"Something about the doppelganger. I can take it from here."

As soon as the hybrids were gone, Tyler met Chris at the bedroom door and took the keys from him. "Thanks, man. I owe you one."

"Just be careful," Chris warned before turning on his heel and heading in the other direction.

Tyler shoved the key in the lock and twisted it, opening the door slowly. "Caroline?" he called out. He stepped further into the room and saw her on the floor, hugging her knees to her chest. Her head whipped in his direction, her eyes wide with fear.

Instead of Tyler she saw standing there, it was Connor again. She slid away from him, and he held up his hands to show her that he wasn't going to hurt her.

"Caroline, it's me."

For some reason, that didn't comfort her the way it had when Klaus said it. "Stay away from me," she warned as she stood up, holding out a hand as a sign that he should stay back. But he didn't listen. He kept coming towards her, offering words of reassurance that did nothing to make her feel safer.

"I'm not going to hurt you," he said.

Caroline reached under the bed and pulled part of it off. She rushed towards Connor—or Tyler, technically—and attacked him, stabbing the metal rod into his stomach. He let out a grunt of pain, and while he sunk to the floor Caroline made her escape.

-xxx-

She didn't know where she was going. She just let her feet take her to wherever she was going to end up. Connor walked beside her, as well as Matt.

"Ready to die yet?" Connor asked.

Caroline ignored him.

"It's for the best, Care," Matt chimed in. "You're a killer. You don't deserve to live."

She didn't respond. She was at the school now, on the front lawn where she spent all those years decorating and planning for events and dances. She didn't know why she was here, but she was.

Caroline looked around for Connor and Matt, but they were gone. She was alone again.

"Why am I here?" she whispered to herself as she took a seat at one of the benches.

"I think you know," answered a voice that made her heart jump.

She started crying again when she saw who was sitting beside her. "Daddy?"

Bill smiled sadly. "Hi, Caroline."

"Wh-why are you here?"

"Because I know what you're going through, and it's okay. Look around you, sweetie. This is where you spent most of your human life. You were a cheerleader, the captain of the dance committee, you were dating the quarterback. You had it all. And then you died, and you were supposed to stay dead."

Caroline sniffed. "I'm a monster, Daddy. I've killed people."

Bill lifted a hand and smoothed down her hair. "I know. You've done terrible things. Things you're likely to do again if you don't do something to stop this."

"I can control myself, I promise," Caroline cried.

Bill shook his head. "You're strong, but you're not that strong."

"What am I supposed to do?"

He took her hand and placed it in both of his. "You know what you're supposed to do, Caroline."

She nodded and gazed at their hands, slipping hers out of his grasp and twisting her daylight ring around on her finger. She glanced up at her father who nodded his approval.

"It's the right thing to do," he said. "It's for everyone's protection, including your friends."

"You're right," Caroline agreed, pulling her ring off. "Everyone was right. I don't deserve to live." With one last lingering look at it, she tossed it to the side, not looking to see where it had landed in the grass. She held onto her father's hand, sitting in silence as she waited for the sun to rise, bringing death along with it.

-xxx-

"You let her escape?!" Stefan exclaimed into the phone.

"I didn't mean to," Tyler insisted. "She attacked me! I couldn't do anything!"

Stefan's eyes darted to Klaus, who—little did Tyler know—was in the room, listening to every word of the conversation. His expression was dark, and it was lucky for Tyler that he wasn't there or else Klaus would've ripped his head off.

"I'll find her," Stefan promised. "Don't worry."

"No, you won't," Klaus growled as soon as Stefan hung up. "I'm going to find her and I'm going to bring her home. You get Jeremy and make sure he kills one of my hybrids before the sun comes up."

He flashed out of the house before Stefan could respond. He couldn't waste any time talking to him while Caroline's life was on the line. Now the only problem was finding her. He would search all over town for her if it came to that. Every street corner and every single inch of the woods. She would not be taking her life today.

-xxx-

"Wait a second," Caroline said. "I can't leave Mom by herself. She needs me, and so do my friends."

"Your friends don't need you," Bill argued, "and neither does your mother. She may seem like she's okay with you being a vampire, but she really isn't. She'll never be. She was taught to hate your kind, and so was I. And your friends? They've never cared about you, Caroline, so why should you care about them? All they've ever done was use you for their own selfish needs. You're better than them, sweetie. Show them that you're better."

"How is this showing them that I'm better?" Caroline asked, gesturing to the sky that was getting lighter by the second.

"Because it'll show them how brave you are. It'll show them that true courage isn't doing what's best for yourself, it's doing what's best for others. And this is the right thing to do. You know it is. You're dangerous to everyone around you."

"You're right," Caroline agreed, trying to hold back more tears but failing miserably. "I'm sorry I was such a disappointment to you, Daddy."

"Caroline," came a voice from behind her.

Caroline whirled around to see Klaus standing there, watching the scene in front of him. She stood up and took a few steps toward him. "Klaus. How did you find me?"

"I was searching all over town when I heard your voice."

Caroline looked at the sky. The sun would rise any second now. "I never understood why you cared about me, Klaus. But whatever the reason...thanks, I guess. It was nice to feel special for once."

What the hell was she saying? Was she thanking him again? She wasn't supposed to be this open with him. Deep down she knew that she would never be saying this out loud if it weren't for her current mental state.

"Caroline—" Klaus began, but he stopped once he saw her hand. "Where's your ring?"

Caroline didn't answer.

"The sun is almost up," Connor said, appearing beside her. "This will all be over soon."

Caroline wasn't afraid anymore. She had accepted that she was going to die, that she deserved to die. It didn't matter what anyone said anymore. She had made her choice.

"Caroline, you need to come with me. I can keep you safe," Klaus told her.

She ignored him, watching as the sun began to rise in the sky.

"Damn it, sweetheart, will you listen to me?!" Klaus nearly shouted.

Caroline looked at him one last time, her face emotionless. Klaus started towards her, ready to kidnap her again, but as soon as he took one step in her direction, something changed. She gasped, feeling the air shift and a weight being lifted off her shoulders. Jeremy must've made his kill.

Everything felt lighter. She was free. Free from all those horrible hallucinations and from all the thoughts that made her want to end her life. It was like waking up from a bad dream.

"Klaus," she breathed.

Klaus relaxed and walked towards her again, but he tensed up when he saw that the sun had risen and she still wasn't wearing her ring. She stared at him wide-eyed as her skin began to sizzle, the sun burning her and marring her beautiful complexion.

He didn't have much time to think, so he grabbed her and ran full speed into the school, the locked doors no match for his strength. He pulled her into a part of the hallway that had no light streaming in. It reminded him of the time he saved her from the history teacher.

"Stay here," he demanded, racing back outside to look for her ring. It didn't take him that long to find. It was lying on the ground right next to where she had been sitting. He sped back to where he had left her and slipped it on her finger, not even waiting for her approval before he pulled her in for another embrace.

Caroline hesitated before returning the hug. Who cares if it was Klaus she was hugging? He just saved her life again and she was just glad to be alive.

-xxx-

When Caroline woke up, she wasn't sure where she was at first. The only thing she could register was the clarity she felt in her mind. Everything that happened the day before felt like a nightmare, but it didn't feel like she actually lived it.

"You're awake."

It was then that Caroline noticed Klaus leaning against her window. She mentally scolded herself for not being afraid like she knew she should be. Instead, she felt relief.

"Hey," she whispered. It was quiet for a moment, and then she said more loudly, "You saved me."

"It wasn't the first time," Klaus reminded her, moving forward to take a seat on the edge of her bed.

"Still...thank you." She chuckled. "That's the fourth time I've said that to you in only twenty-four hours."

"That's four more times than anyone else has said it to me," he joked.

"You're making it really hard for me to keep hating you." Okay, now she didn't have any excuses for being this open with him. She was telling him this because she wanted to, not because of some curse that was messing with her mind.

Klaus smiled genuinely, which was a first. "Then don't."

Caroline sighed. "I have to. That's why even though I'm extremely grateful for everything you did to help me...nothing can change."

Klaus's smile disappeared. Instead of responding, he just got up and started for the door, but her voice stopped him.

"Wait!" she called, but she didn't know why she wanted him to stay. She had nothing else to say to him, and he had nothing else to say to her. "It's just that...it's complicated."

"It really isn't, love," he said. "Your relationship with Tyler is over and my offer still stands." She didn't reply. "It's your decision."

When he was gone, Caroline couldn't help but think that her hallucination of Elena was right. There was a chink in her armor, and as much as she hated to admit it, she was giving in.

-xxx-

A/N: I hope you enjoyed reading this one shot as much as I enjoyed writing it! Reviews are love, so please don't hesitate to tell me what you thought! :)

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