Disclaimer: I don't own anything or make any money from any of it, and all of it belongs to those who created The Vampire Diaries.

A/N: Just so everybody knows, were going completely AU from here on out. I'm a massive whovian; I'm fickle about time travel. I believe that altering the course of events would lead to an entirely different time line, so as of this chapter onward, the plot on TVD is still here but completely different. I've altered things about Silas and Amara, about the cure and so on and so forth. Obviously Silas is different considering this is my take on him (though I really love the one on TVD and am including bits of him in the story) so I hope you all enjoy this next chapter. This chapter has adult themed scenes, and some scary moments. It was scary for me at least, I wrote the chapter and those scary bits scared me a little, but I have a vivid imagination.

Ok, so enjoy the chapter!


Sunlight filters through the drapes and Caroline could care less. She likes to watch it play across Klaus's skin as she slides the pads of her fingertips across his sternum. It has been so long since she could touch him like this, admire the muscles beneath his skin and press her lips against his ribs, showing tenderness in butterfly kisses across his chest. She plays with his fingers, slides her own through his and then runs her hands down his arms and over his shoulders, all the while knowing he is watching her watch him with reverence. Her body ached with loneliness still, ached to bury herself beneath his skin and bring about such a unity they would never be parted again. She wanted to consume him, to breathe him in and hold him in her arms. She slides her teeth across his shoulder and he jumps at the touch, which makes her giggle in between tiny nips across his shoulder leading all the way up to his throat. A thousand years old and she can still make him squirm like the young man he once was when they'd first made love.

"Are you quiet done exploring?" he chuckles and then inhales sharply when her teeth nip at a particularly sensitive part of his anatomy. Caroline's head pops out from under the covers and she rests her chin on the lower part of his sternum before answering.

"Nope," she smiles cheerfully, "I've got some catching up to do."

His eyes dilate a fraction as she slides her tongue across his skin before disappearing beneath the covers, yelps when her teeth make contact with slowly hardening parts of his anatomy once more. "I don't seem to recall you having such a taste for rough play," he gasps out, his fingers curling in her hair as she pleasures him with her mouth and her tongue, touching on every nerve and hidden spot that makes him grit his teeth, the wolf surfacing in his eyes.

"Oh good you two are awake I-oh my gawd!" Rebekah says as she sticks her head through the bedroom door and then promptly yanks her head back and leaves the room before anything more horrible could be burned into the back of her mind.

"She can't talk right now Bekah," Klaus calls after his quickly retreating sister; "you know it's rude to talk with her mouth full after all."

"We are getting our own place when this is all over with," Caroline's voice sounds from beneath the covers as she lets out a groan of irritation, "a thousand years and she still hasn't learned personal boundaries."

"Bekah likes having free reign," Klaus shrugs, "I don't think she really likes having any one of her brothers being unreachable at any point."

"Or she just forgot how often you and I like our privacy," Caroline chuckles lightly.

Later that morning Caroline appears in the kitchen while Rebekah is busy rummaging through the cupboards. Caroline watches her for a moment and quirks an eyebrow in curiosity "Lose something?"

"Coffee," Rebekah hums aloud, "can't find any."

"Top right shelf," Caroline chimes in as she gathers her strewn clothing from across the apartment, "I'm going to shower."


Meanwhile in New Orleans…

Bonnie Bennett wasn't much for sleeping in. However this morning she needed to be up early and it was the one morning that she actually wanted to sleep in. Hopping out of bed she gets dressed and zoomed downstairs, snagging food out of the pantry shelf that Kol must have filled while she was still asleep. He was nowhere to be found, so she simply assumed he was out doing whatever Kol does. She wanted to reach that apothecary before the new shipments run out; it was a little shop Kol found for her while he was out on a stroll one night while hunting. He warned her to keep her magic at a minimum; there were unruly types in the French quarter that did not care for witches. As of late Kol has been overly protective, he did not like her going out into the city alone but since he wasn't there, she'd have to make due by herself.

New Orleans is busy, crowded streets and jazz music blaring from every corner, the sweet smell of food wafting in the air. She loved how busy it was, how warm the atmosphere was around her. The cobblestone streets beneath her feet make her smile; it was like walking through history here, every corner she turned architecture, art, music, the sights and sounds of century's worth of history glaring at her from every corner, crying out for her attention.

It was beautiful.

She stops off for breakfast at one of the local restaurants, sips a cup of coffee while admiring the crowded streets. When the waitress brings her the food she stiffens automatically, that tingling sensation in the back of her head that tells her the person before her is not only human, but a witch as well.

"Here is your order…" the woman trails off, gazing down at Bonnie with disbelieving eyes, "I um…" she starts and then pauses again, sets the plates down in front of Bonnie before rubbing her tattoo covered shoulder. She opens her mouth to say something but a woman in the kitchen stops her, "Sophie…I need you to bring another carton of milk up from the cellar please!"

"I'm coming Jane-Ann…just…give me a second…Hi," Sophie begins as she looks down at Bonnie.

"Hi…"Bonnie smiles, sips her coffee and looks up at the other woman, "Um…are you…"

"Yeah…and you?" Sophie asks with a quirked eyebrow, "Um…yeah…no…I mean yes I am…but…I'm not from here."

"I know…I think I'd remember you…there's not many of us in New Orleans," Sophie comments lightly, "visiting family?"

"Yeah," Bonnie lies easily with a nod, she isn't sure who this girl is or who she works for, she doesn't want to risk Esther catching wind of her presence in New Orleans.

"I'm Sophie, Sophie Deveraux," Sophie supplies easily.

"I'm Bonnie," Bonnie smiles up at her, "Nice to meet you."

"You're not staying long are you?" Jane-Ann cuts in as she approaches the other two women, "It's not safe for outsiders in the quarter."

"Oh no," Bonnie shakes her head as she digs into her breakfast, "Not long…just visiting family and then I'm out of here."

"Little tip Bonnie," Jane-Ann says quietly, "Stay out of the French quarter."

When the other woman leaves Sophie's smiles down at Bonnie sheepishly, "Sorry…my sister is a little paranoid."

"Oh?" Bonnie asks with a quirked eyebrow.

"Yeah…it's been rough in the quarter lately what with Marcel-…" Sophie is cut off my Jane-Ann, her voice sharp like a knife through butter as she addresses Sophie.

"Sophie," she hisses menacingly, "We don't talk about it with outsiders."

"It's alright," Bonnie says as she senses the tension in the restaurant and quickly shells out the money to pay for her food. She grabs a few more bites and downs the rest of her coffee before getting to her feet, "I'm just gonna go…keep the change."

She is gone before the two women can protest; Sophie's voice in the distance as she turns to Jane-Ann with an irritated look, "Nice."

She finds the shop she is looking for, wanders in like a leaf blown through the door caught on the wind. The store owner glances up and smiles, waves her on so that Bonnie can look around. "I need a certain herb," Bonnie tells her and shows the other woman the paper she has it written down on.

"I think I might have some of that in the back," the woman frowns and glances down at the paper, "That's pretty scarce…why do you need it?"

"I um…it's for my grams," Bonnie lies again, flashes the other woman with a dazzling smile.

"Ok," The woman says after a short pause, her eyebrows raised with faint confusion, "Give me a minute."

When she returns she hands Bonnie the herb to which she pays for before turning to leave. The woman catches her by the arm, her expression hard and worried, "Whatever magic you intend to do with that, don't do it in the quarter."

"What…why?" Bonnie asks, bewildered.

"They will kill you if you do magic in the quarter…so whoever you came here to visit…you need to tell them goodbye and you need to leave, don't ever come back here do you understand me?"

"Alright," Bonnie says now slightly alarmed by the fearful expression on the other woman's face. Bonnie has been doing magic in the quarter already; she's been doing quite a bit actually. On the walk back to the house she is nervous now; every street corner holds terror for her, as if someone were coming after her. It is now that she is acutely aware that she is being watched intently, by random eyes all over the city.

Kol was right.

She should have never left the house without him.

"Hey!" Calls a familiar voice, running up the street towards her, "Hey…" Sophie repeats as she stops in front of Bonnie, blocking her path down the sidewalk.

"Hi…" Bonnie smiles, feeling oddly uncomfortable around all these witches suddenly; they were starting to seriously give her the creeps with all the secrecy.

"What are you doing with that herb?" Sophie says quietly, pulling Bonnie off to the side.

"How did you know I bought-…" Bonnie trails off as Sophie cuts her off.

"My friend who owns the apothecary down the street from here said a witch she'd never seen before came in and bought herbs, she described somebody that looked just like you." Sophie pants, clearly out of breath. Bonnie imagines she must have run all the way here, clearly looking a combination of angry and scared all at once.

"So?" Bonnie shrugs, "What's the big deal with me using magic in the quarter? I've been using it for a few spells…I just ran out."

"It was you?" Sophie shakes her head in disbelief, "Marcel has been ran-sacking our homes day and night, terrorizing our families because someone was using magic in the quarter without his permission."

"Why can't I use magic?" Bonnie says in frustration, irritation welling just under the surface, "why do you people keep hounding me about this?"

"You don't know?" Sophie asks with a quirked eyebrow, "Even outsiders know about the laws in New Orleans."

"I'm not from around here," Bonnie sighs, "I'm from a long way away."

"Witches can't use magic in the quarter without Marcel's permission, if we break his laws he'll punish all of us," Sophie explains easily.

"Who is Marcel?" Bonnie snaps in frustration, "Why are you people harassing me about using magic at all? Nobody has the right to tell me I can't use my magic."

"I'm Marcel," says a deep voice from behind her.

Bonnie turns and comes face to face with a tall man with smooth olive colored skin and deep brown eyes. He smiles down at her, the smile though friendly was a little unsettling, "I heard we had a new witch in town and I wanted to come greet her personally myself."

"I'm leaving," Bonnie says pointedly, "I just came to visit relatives…I'm not staying."

"Interesting," Marcel nods, "and who might these relatives be exactly? Somebody has to get punished for your law breaking…they should have told you about the laws I have for this city."

"What gives you the right to control these witches anyways?" Bonnie snaps irritably as she glares up at him.

"Our magic is ancestral," Sophie cuts in, "If we leave…we lose our magic…we have no choice but to stay here and obey his laws."

"I set these laws to keep this city safe, nobody comes in our out of this city without so much as a hello to me first…so who are you?" Marcel asks pointedly, giving a sharp look to Sophie as he does so.

"I'm Bonnie….I came here with someone…they're probably missing me…I need to get back to them," Bonnie says as she shifts her gaze between the two people, "Look I'm sorry…I didn't know about your laws."

"Bonnie," Kol's voice cuts in and she could almost feel the relief pouring over her tense shoulders.

"Kol," Bonnie breathes, "I'm so glad you're here."

"Kol Mikaelson," Marcel says with a look of awe on his face, followed by bewilderment, "last time I saw you, Klaus had you daggered in a box."

"I'm sorry have we met?" Kol asks politely, stepping up beside Bonnie protectively.

"Marcel Gerard," He says with a nod of his head politely, "I'm Klaus's protégé."

"My brother made you did he?" Kol muses aloud, "Funny I don't recall him mentioning you."

"How is Klaus?" Marcel asks with a raised eyebrow, "I kind of thought he was dead."

"Oh no," Kol shakes his head, "He's alive and well."

"Rebekah…" Marcel says as his smirk fades.

"Is alive as well, as are the rest of my siblings…well…save for Finn of course," Kol shrugs lightly.

"But I thought when Mikael…" Marcel shakes his head with a frown.

"No afraid not," Kol smiles wearily at him, "However I was asleep during that fiasco so I have no idea what happened."

"So…you know the witch then?" Marcel says as he motions towards Bonnie.

"Yes, she's with me…I apologize I wasn't aware of your laws here, I was having her do a few tracking spells for me," Kol shrugs casually, his smile was pleasant enough but his eyes dared Marcel to challenge him.

"Hey," Marcel shrugs, "It's all good…I'll let my boys know to back off and leave you two alone…I just ask that you take your magic outside of the quarter, it doesn't look good for moral you know…people will start to question my authority if I allow anyone to use magic in the quarter."

"Oh course," Kol says politely as he entwines Bonnie's arm with his and starts to turn and leave, "Lovely to meet you." Bonnie is all but dragged along behind him; she can tell he is angry with her.

"I told you not to wander into the quarter without me," he says quietly, irritation in his expression.

"I needed herbs and you weren't home Kol," Bonnie shrugs faintly, "I'm sorry."

Marcel watches them leave, and then glances back at Sophie, "Tell Jane-Ann I send my humblest apologies for the rousting here lately, it was an honest mistake."

Sophie nods and leaves, gritting her teeth all the way back to the restaurant.

Back at the house Kol is clearly furious. Bonnie keeps quiet, disappears into another part of the house as she rummages through her things for a book she needed. He comes to stand quietly in the doorway watching her, leaning against the frame casually, "My apologies…I shouldn't have yelled at you."

"It was my fault," Bonnie shakes her head with a sigh; "I shouldn't have gone out there without you."

"That being said I'm not sure how much longer we can stay here," Kol frowns, "I don't trust Marcel."

"Well clearly he doesn't trust you either," Bonnie muses aloud.

"He doesn't know me," Kol grins at her; "If he knew me he'd have me thrown out of this town already."


Back in Mystic Falls…

Dear Diary….How do I begin?

Elena Gilbert stares down at the journal in her hands and lets out a long sigh. Her gaze flickers towards Damon, who stares intently into the flames of the fireplace in the living room with a tumbler half full of bourbon in one hand.

Damon.

Guilt was starting to claw up from every pore in her body. She could not undo what she has done, cannot fix what she has broken. Once upon a time she was better than this, she wasn't the kind of person to tear siblings apart, and she wasn't this person that she sees in the mirror now. She'd promised herself she'd never do this, but when the love she fought so hard not to feel threatened to overwhelm her, that she'd risk running naked through rush hour traffic just to stop Damon from leaving Mystic Falls forever, she had to do something about it.

She couldn't have turned away from him even if she'd tried; she couldn't stop herself from loving Damon. The idea of breaking his heart now was unbearable, but she knows what this is doing to Stefan. Stefan has been gone for days now, they don't ask where and he doesn't tell them. It is a horrible mess she's gotten herself into, and as she gazes at Damon she begins to question herself.

Is it wrong to love him?

She was the woman who fell in love with both brothers, unable to choose between them like Tatia before her. Perhaps this was the fate of doppelgangers? Perhaps it is in her nature to be so indecisive, to love too many and too much.

"Hey," Damon interrupts her thoughts and she shuts the diary, running a hand through her hair as she sighs.

"Yeah?" Elena asks, quirking an eyebrow at his uncertain expression.

"I'm not supposed to tell you this," Damon says after a long pause, his expression wavering between worry and uncertainty, "but I'm going to tell you anyways."

"Tell me what Damon?" Elena asks, walking towards the fireplace where he is seated.

"Caroline's alive," he says quietly, "but you can't tell anyone."

"What?" Elena suddenly brightens, blinking rapidly down at Damon, "You've seen her?"

"Klaus told me," Damon sighs as he sips from his tumbler, "she's an original now."

"What?" Elena shakes her head in disbelief, "how?"

"Remember how we all thought Esther zapped Caroline off into the wilderness?" Damon asks as he glances up at Elena, "We'll…she went into the wilderness alright…she went to the dark ages."

"So…she's alright then?" Elena concludes, "She got caught up in Esther's spell when she created the originals right?"

"Yep," Damon nods, popping the P loudly as he speaks, "Caroline has been wandering around for a thousand years waiting for us to be born and become vampires before she could come home."

"We have to tell Stefan," Elena replies quickly, "he deserves to know…she's his best friend."

"Secrecy is emanate Elena," Damon points out; "She is the key to undoing all of Esther's plans."

"I'm calling Bonnie," she announces irritably, grabbing her cell phone as she goes. Damon watches her and sighs, downing the last of his bourbon before getting to his feet.

"She already knows," Damon winces mildly, watches the flash of anger and hurt across Elena's expression.

"You kept this from me? You…and Bonnie both?" Elena demands, glaring at him.

"Look I'm sorry alright?" Damon says, easing the phone gently out of her hands, "I should have told you…but Klaus threatened to rip out all our tongues if we told anyone."

"But…" Elena says, brushing a loose strand of dark hair behind her ear as she starts to pace the Salvatore house, "This is a good thing though right? I mean she's alive…she's safe."

"Yeah…" Damon winces again, hating to have to be the one to give her the downside to this, "There's a little more to the story than any of us realized. Klaus's little obsession with her stems deeper than any of us thought."

"What, is he holding her hostage or something?' Elena frowns, anger flaring in her eyes.

"No," Damon chuckles lightly, "Not exactly….he's married to her."

"What?" Elena nearly shrieks, dropping the decanter of Bourbon she had just picked up from a nearby table, intent on pouring herself a drink. The glass shatters upon impact across the hard wood floor, bourbon sloshing at her feet mixed with glass shards.

"Let me just explain alright?" Damon says, seeing the storm brewing in her eyes.

"Did he force her?" Elena starts, ranting loudly as she storms across the house, "I'm going down there myself…I'm bringing her home!"

"No!" Damon snaps, frustrated that she isn't listening, "She's been married to him for a thousand years!"

"Oh…." Elena stops, looking particularly bewildered, "You mean…she married him…while she was there…but what about Tyler?"

"She broke it off with Tyler a while back," Damon shrugs, "I mean she had too…she was married to Klaus…she hasn't seen Tyler in centuries."

"How the hell is this even happening?" Elena says with a sharp inhale of breath, her eyes widened at the implications, "wow…" she says after a long pause, a smile cracking her lips. She isn't sure whether she's going completely bananas or she's angry, "Do you realize how many times Klaus must have nearly killed Tyler over this whole thing?"

"Yeah," Damon says with a nod, "he's lucky to be alive."

Elena drops down on the couch and watches Damon sit down beside her, the two of them staring into the flames. After a short while Damon glances at her, pulling her up against him, "So….since when are you all…avenging angel for Caroline Forbes?"

"Since I realize how big of a mess I've made of things," Elena grumbles into his shoulder, "I keep…causing all these problems….I'm like a magnet for trouble…I feel like I owe it to her…she's always been there for us."

"Yeah," Damon frowns as he stares into the fire, "I suppose we all get our comeuppance in the end."


Meanwhile In New Orleans….

Dinner was food Kol brought from the quarter, fresh gumbo and cold beer. Bonnie eats with earnest while Kol watches her from across the old wooden table in the dining room, his feet propped up on the table with a book in his lap. Occasionally he'd glance down at the book and turn the page, reading a few lines before glancing up to watch her again.

"What?" Bonnie smiles, tilting her head to one side.

"You seem very pleased," he comments lightly.

"I am," Bonnie nods, "I love shrimp gumbo."

"I know," Kol says without looking at her, flipping another page. This statement shouldn't seem odd but it does. Bonnie frowns, ponders it a few more seconds before ignoring it all together. He catches the expression on her face before he smirks a little and adds, "I can tell by the way you eat with such gusto."

"Oh," Bonnie laughs and wipes her mouth, blushing brightly, "I'm sorry…I'm just really hungry."

"Maybe after your finished we can go for a walk by the river…I know it's lovely out there right now," Kol suggests and then adds at her curious look, "You just look a bit…out of sorts…is all…I figured you'd need a turn about the city perhaps."

"Yeah," Bonnie nods with a small smile as she sips her beer, "A walk sounds good."

As it turns out, a walk was exactly what she needed. Her arm entwined with his, he leads her down the riverside, the stars glittering brightly above them. "How are you doing with locating my mother?"

"She's as evasive as ever," Bonnie sighs with a shrug, "I can't do magic in the quarter anymore, so were going to have to pack up and move base camp before I can start again."

"Let me handle that problem," Kol says without looking at her, "We need to stay in New Orleans."

"Why?" Bonnie frowns, "I don't see why we need to be here in order to track her…I mean…even if we find her what then?"

"Then I rip her head off," Kol says without any sarcasm, his face suddenly so cold and hard it gives Bonnie shivers.

"Oh…well…that would do it," Bonnie says with a half-smile, trying very hard not let onto the fact that he's creeping her out.

"We should get back," Kol says after a long silence, "You need to focus on finding Esther."

"Alright," Bonnie nods, "but I think I'll pick up again in the morning if that's alright…I'm exhausted."

"Yes of course," Kol nods, leading her back towards the house, "Can't have you fainting on me can I witch?"

"Bonnie," she corrects easily, smirking at the teasing way he addressed her.

"Bonnie," he mimics with raised eyebrows, smirking down at her as they walk.


New York City…

"Caroline," Rebekah grimaces for the second time that morning, watching her sister's focus stray away from the task at hand, "you promised."

"I'm know I'm sorry…" Caroline sighs, rubbing her face, "I'm just paranoid I guess."

"You're getting as bad as Nik," Rebekah points out.

"I know," Caroline shakes her head, inspecting the bright orange dress in Rebekah's hands, "not that one."

"What's wrong with this one?" Rebekah frowns, holding the dress up to herself.

"You'll look like a traffic cone, that's what," Caroline laughs lightly.

"Oh sod it," Rebekah grimaces and hangs the dress up, "let's go do something else. I just want one day…one day where we're not running for our lives."

"But running for our lives is what we do best," Caroline says mockingly, rolling her eyes with a smile on her lips, "Ok so what do you want to do?"

Lesson learned; never ask Rebekah what she wants to do…

They end up across town, exploring the museums and artwork. Caroline has seen most of it, and she is certain so has Rebekah. It seems like they must repeat these motions, these human actions that require them to relive human history in all its violence and beauty. Caroline hasn't been human for over a thousand years now, can barely remember a time when she was human. Part of her aches though, part of her worries in the back of her mind that Esther will attack them at any moment.

"Caroline," Rebekah scowls at her, "have you been listening to a word I've said?"

"What?" Caroline blinks, "Oh yes…I'm sorry…I was just…"

"Looking for my mother in the rubbish bin?" Rebekah supplies as she rolls her eyes.

Caroline frowns and glances down to where Rebekah's gaze rests, finds that the trash can lid was firmly in her grip. Caroline drops it quickly, blinks down at it bewildered.

Why the hell was she messing with the trash can?

Caroline steps back, stares down at the mess she's made and quickly picks up whatever she's managed to dump out already, stuffing it down into the plastic bin haphazardly. She walks away quickly, tries to ignore the panic welling in her chest. It was unlike her to do such things, unlike her to lose focus like that. Was it the stress getting to her or was Esther messing with her?

Does Esther know?

If she knows then the jig is up, and they'll have to run. Terror is threatening to swallow her whole while Rebekah is in the background scowling at her. Finally she catches her by the arm and shakes her from the trance, shaking her head at her, "You're letting my mother win by having a panic attack in the middle of a museum in broad daylight. My mother isn't going to jump out of that rubbish bin and attack you Caroline."

"Are you sure about that?" Caroline smirks at her, tries very hard to ignore the feeling of dread in the pit of her stomach as the two of them walk further down the long white hallway, admiring the artwork. Caroline is immediately drawn to The Magic Circle painted by John William Waterhouse in 1886. Caroline recalls this painting when it was first put up for display over a century ago. The woman in the painting looks nothing like Esther, and yet for some reason her behavior reminds her of the day they were all made into vampires. As she leans closer to inspect the cauldron in the center, the gold light illuminating that small piece of the portrait she could swear she could feel the heat of the flames beneath the gold pot.

redimio sanctus niveus nemus quod sustineo lemma…

Caroline blinks, narrowing her eyes at the portrait; she could have sworn she just heard something. As she watches, it almost seems as if the woman is moving, but it is slow like someone walking through quicksand, the paint smearing more with each movement, stirring like water in a pond, the color swirling with the movement of the witch.

quod utor vox of sol solis constrictum is alica…

"Rebekah…are you seeing this?" Caroline thinks she hears herself say aloud, but her tongue feels thick in her mouth, and her words are mumbled. She watches the woman take a turn around the gold pot in the center of the circle, her voice sounding oddly like Esther's. It seems as if she could fall into the painting itself, press her hands into it like sinking her fingers into water. It was as if a portal to the past had opened up in the middle of an art museum in New York city, and Caroline was apparently the only one that noticed.

She is touching the painting without even realizing it, doesn't know how her hand even got to there. She doesn't recall thinking about doing this, but knows that she cannot pull her hand away now. She hisses in pain, feels a burning sensation along her forearm. When she looks down there is a shape burning into her skin, the shape of a tree.

The white oak tree.

Caroline

Esther whispers and Caroline's head snaps up to look at the witch in the painting, the witch who isn't looking at her but she knows instinctively that this woman is speaking to her.

Caroline

"Caroline?" Rebekah's voice cuts through the fog in her mind and she glances to her left, sees the panicked expression on Rebekah's face, "why are you hissing at a portrait?"

"You didn't see….didn't you see…you had to have seen…" Caroline says as she glances back at the portrait, which is perfectly normal; a perfect normal portrait in a perfectly normal museum where ancient thousand year old witches did not reside.

"Alright…were leaving," Rebekah says and grabs her arm, all but dragging out of the museum towards their car.

"I'm sorry," Caroline babbles as she is lead along towards the car.

"I can't bloody take you OR Nik anywhere!" Rebekah huffs irritably.

When they are in the car, Caroline stares at the dash while Rebekah drives deeply lost in her thoughts. Her arm is stinging madly and she cannot recall why, so she rolls the sleeve up and gasps upon seeing the red mark there, "my arm!"

"What?" Rebekah frowns and looks down at her right forearm, a surprised look on her face, "where did that come from?"

"It's the white oak tree…" Caroline murmurs, her thumb sliding over the burn mark as it slowly heals and disappears.

"So…that little nervous breakdown in the middle of the museum wasn't just you flipping out was it?" Rebekah frowns at her.

"Take me home," Caroline whispers, panic etched across her face.

"Way ahead of you believe me," Rebekah replies easily, stepping on the gas as they speed off towards Klaus's apartment.

When they arrive Klaus is reclining on the sofa, a book in hand. He glances up at the two as they arrive, immediately noticing the haggard looks on their faces.

"What happened?" he says in that tone that tells Caroline he is either leaning towards tearing someone's head off or whisking her away from New York and hiding her somewhere.

"Caroline had a nervous breakdown in the middle of the museum…of course…the portrait apparently tried to attack her," Rebekah explains easily.

"You saw the damn tree Rebekah!" Caroline snaps at her.

"I saw it…but….where the hell did it come from?" Rebekah asks bewildered, "how did it get there?"

"I remember someone chanting…Latin….there was a voice that sounded like Esther's…I swear that spell was familiar…I've heard it before somewhere," Caroline frowns, dropping down into an arm chair across from Klaus.

"Can you repeat it?" Klaus demands, turning to face her, "Can you remember the words?"

"redimio sanctus niveus nemus quod sustineo lemma …" Caroline repeats with a frown on her lips, straining to recall the rest, "quod utor vox of sol solis constrictum is alica."

Klaus stiffens, his eyes narrowing as he glances back at his sister before looking at Caroline, "and you understand the implications of this spell?"

"I think I do yes," Caroline nods, "My Latin is shaky but I think it's something to do with the sun and the white oak-….oh no…" Caroline says wide eyed as she looks up at Klaus, "That spell was…"

"To crown the sacred white tree and sustain them," Klaus drawls quietly, "and use the power of the sun to bind this spell."

"The spell mother used to make us vampires," Rebekah finishes for them somberly.

"So what's her game?" Caroline frowns, "why is she doing this?"

"Scare tactic maybe?" Rebekah suggests, leaning against the arm of the sofa Klaus currently occupies, "maybe she's just messing with us."

"Not our mother's style Rebekah," Klaus shakes his head, "If she wanted Caroline dead she could have easily killed her by now…so what is she up too?"

"I am so done with this," Caroline groans as she rubs her face, "I'm going to take a nap, you two carry on as you were." She leaves them to work things out on their own, doesn't want to listen to any more talk about Esther any longer. Esther was a name that was burned into her brain by centuries of paranoia. All she wanted was to not have to worry about that crazy witch anymore. When she finds her way into Klaus's bedroom she strips down to her tank top and underwear, crawling into his spacious bed before falling asleep shortly after. She is exhausted, and she sleeps like she hasn't slept in a long time.

"Mom?" Caroline asks and she knows she is dreaming.

"Caroline?" Liz says, smiling at her daughter, "I'm so glad your home!"

"Mom…I'm not home…I'm in New York…" Caroline frowns at Liz, watches her pull fresh cookies from the oven, "since when do you cook?"

"Since you left…" Liz shrugs, "I needed something to keep me occupied so I learned to cook."

"Mom I'm so sorry…I never meant to leave you like that…it's just that-…" Caroline doesn't finish that sentence, doesn't get the chance too. Liz's voice rings clear through the kitchen and Caroline is stunned by it.

"Esther…yeah I know…she came to talk to me," Liz smiles at Caroline brightly.

"Esther spoke to you?" Caroline looks panicked, "Mom…don't talk to her…stay away from her…and don't let her in the house do you understand me?"

"She came to tell me about your wedding…I can't believe you went and got married and never told me Caroline," Liz scolds her lightly, "I still want a do-over…I think you and Klaus should have another wedding."

"Mom," Caroline says slowly, taking the tray of cookies from her hands and tossing them onto the counter behind her so she could gain her mother's full focus, "Mom what did Esther tell you?"

Suddenly she is afraid that she is speaking to her mother's subconscious, that Esther has been visiting her mother in her dreams and telling her terrible things. What if Esther hurts her mother? What if her mother gets killed because of her?

"She told me not to worry, that she was going to fix everything," Liz says, looking confused, "why are you so upset Caroline?"

"I'm not upset Mom," Caroline frowns, shaking her head, "I'm just worried about you."

"Or maybe you're worried Esther will find you…" Liz says, tilting her head. There is an unnatural glint in her eyes that makes Caroline nervous, "Maybe you're worried that she'll use me against you. Maybe…maybe you should focus on finding Esther."

"Mom…just…sit down ok?" Caroline says, pushing her Mom gently down into one of the kitchen table chairs. Caroline turns, pulling a glass from a nearby cabinet and fills it with water. "Mom," Caroline begins with her back to her mother, "I need you to just calm down ok? Know that I'm coming to keep you safe…and I'm gonna hide you somewhere nobody will ever find you…and then I'll stop Esther…and we'll save everyone and everything will be ok."

"Is that what you think?" A very different voice says.

When she turns, a very different face greets her, a very familiar face at that, "Stefan?" Caroline says, shocked.

"Hi," he says with a sassy smile, his eyes glittering with mirth.

"Sorry love," Klaus says, his weight shifting the bed and stirring her from her sleep. Caroline blinks sleepily and looks at him, lifts her head up so he can slide his arm under her head and she can curl up against him. It is dark in the room and she wonders how long she's been asleep.

"How long was I asleep?" Caroline asks groggily.

"Couple of hours… it's nearly midnight," Klaus replies, his fingers stroking her hair as she yawns and presses up against his side. Caroline smiles against his ribs, sliding her tongue along his side towards his left nipple.

"Are you sure you're up for that?" Klaus chuckles in the dark, "I still haven't finished making up for lost time you know."

"Can't a girl marvel at the beauty of her husband without having to play tackle football with him?" Caroline giggles against his skin, pressing butterfly kisses to his chest as she leans up on one arm, staring down at him.

"Considering our history and my inability to keep my hands to myself when it comes to you…no," Klaus smirks up at her, sliding his hand along her cheek. She bends low, pressing her lips against his. It has been so long since she could just kiss him like this, since she could slide her tongue along his and taste him in her mouth. When she pulls away she stares down at him, his blue eyes looking up at her, full of emotion that he hides from everyone else. She could see her beloved Niklaus in him, could see the human man she'd fallen in love with. Grazing the pads of her fingers she loves the feel of the stubble on his chin, enjoys the way his beautiful lips kiss them gently. Rising up she straddles him, watches him smirk at her bold actions.

"In a hurry are we love?" Klaus muses, his hands resting on her hips.

"I just don't want you going anywhere," Caroline grins down at him.

"Isn't that supposed to be my line?" He laughs and she loves the sound of it, loves the genuine happiness on his face.

He is only wearing boxers and through the thin material she can feel him hardening beneath her, his hands sliding up her smooth pale waist towards her petite breasts. He rolls his hips and she grins at his impatience, bends low again to slide her tongue along his throat and whispers softly against his skin, "now who's getting antsy?"

In response her tank top is torn from her body and she blinks at his audacity, his eyes glittering gold in the dark, "You know me…I'm moody," he grins at her wolfishly, bends up to slide his tongue along her cheek. This spurs the animal in her, the vampire clawing to the surface. She's no wolf but she still has instincts, instincts embedded in her the moment she became a vampire. It's odd how these things work, how he can trigger such animalistic violence in her the moment he tears her shirt from her body. She won't let him flip them over, she presses down on his shoulders with all the force she can muster but he knows what she wants, her hips grinding against his as she pants heavily. She leans back, letting her blond hair fall back over her shoulders while her breasts are on full display before him. His warm hands cup and tease them, other parts of his body getting harder beneath her.

Her fingers trace the lines on his chest and arms, remembering old scars that once were before he became a vampire. Scars that Mikael has given him, and this reminds her that time has destroyed what is left of her beloved, but here in this darkness she can still see him looking up at her, sees the awe in his eyes as he touches her body and loves her with his soul.

"To ever have earned the love of one such as yourself," he murmurs as he catches her left hand and kisses the fingers tips, pressing her palm to his cheek, "is an honor."

"You thought I wouldn't love you?" Caroline frowns down at him, sees the broken fear in his eyes as he recalls memories from centuries ago.

"I thought no one would…I am a bastard….and as you recall, that wasn't particularly an honored term back then," he tells her as she stills her movements and presses her right hand to his other cheek, meeting his gaze, "You are not a bastard…you are my husband…the love of my life…and you are mine just as I am yours."

"Always and forever?" he asks with a hint of a smile on his lips.

"Always and forever," she repeats with a nod, bends down to kiss him as his hands curl around her waist and pull her closer. When they break apart Caroline shimmies her way out of her underwear before Klaus can rip those too, reminding him firmly that she hasn't a spare set of clothes here in the apartment. Boxers are next and considerably easier to remove, her fingers curling around his length. She wants to make him feel wanted, to make him feel beautiful. She wants to wipe away the pain in his eyes and on his skin and make him believe he is worth something, that he isn't a bastard and that he is loved.

She teases him when she releases his length, slides the core of herself along the length of his cock. He grips himself and stills her movements, looking all the more impatient as he guides himself into her. She rides him and he looks on with wonder, his eyes slowly closing as he grips her hips and drives himself harder into her, randomly babbled words of encouragement and love rolling from her lips when he does this. When she is close he flips them, raises her legs up onto his shoulders and angles deeper. He knows this position would be her undoing, would make her scream and when she does he grins to himself, is pleased that only he can do this for her. When he finds his release he fills her with him, watches her wide pleasure glazed eyes look up at him intently as he slides the tip of his cock along the seam of her core, marking her…making her wetter for him again. Sliding his finger along her wet body he gathers some of the moisture onto his finger and raises it to her lips, inhales sharply at the sight of her sucking it from his fingers tips with a naughty look in her eyes, sliding her tongue down to the very base of his finger and back up again.

"I've missed this," he murmurs, "touching you…being close to you."

"Me too…" Caroline sighs happily, "lets never fight again."

He laughs as he rolls off of her and lays beside her, gathering her into his arms. She lays her head on his chest and smiles joyfully, pressing kisses to his chest as he replies, "I doubt we'll be able to manage that….you'd go mad if you didn't have the last word in every conversation we have."

"I'd go mad?" Caroline laughs, "Who has to mark his territory like I'm some piece of land you've invested money into every time a guy smiles at me…which inevitably leads to you murdering random people and us screaming at each other?"

"We'll if people would keep their eyes and hands to themselves it wouldn't be a problem would it?" Klaus smirks down at her.

"That baker didn't deserve being thrown through a wall Nik," Caroline frowns up at him.

"Oh were on that again are we?" Klaus laughs, "He was caressing your bloody hand Caroline!"

"He was just handing me the change for the money I spent buying a loaf of bread Nik," Caroline scowls up at him.

"Lucky he was a vampire then wasn't he?" Klaus muses, "I didn't like him touching you like that."

"You are impossible," Caroline grumbles into his chest.

"I was a tad drunk that night," he points out, "You'd given me too much plum wine."

"I hadn't given you any plum wine, you took mine!" Caroline laughs.

"Well we all know what happens when you drink too much Caroline," he says as he wiggles his eyebrows.

"I did sort of break the bed last time," Caroline nods, "It was an accident though…"

"You forget your own strength too," he adds, "and you tend to strip naked before you even make it to the bedroom…we had guests…I wasn't about to have you giving them a free show."

"Oh," Caroline says with a roll of her eyes, "so you opted to show off instead?"

"Yes," he answers without hesitation, shrugging, "you enjoyed it."

"So did half of Venice," Caroline says with narrowed eyes.

"I wasn't singing THAT loudly," he rolls his eyes.

"The hell you weren't!" Caroline laughs.

"If you two would keep it down please," Elijah's voice sounds from out in the hallway, "Some people are trying to sleep…and Niklaus…please don't start another argument."

"Elijah?" Caroline sits up quickly, blinking at the bedroom door.

"Yes I'm here," he replies, "Niklaus called me after the little situation you had at the museum, I opted to come home."

"I didn't know you were here!" Caroline leaps out of bed, intent on hugging him.

"Naked," Klaus says in a singsong voice which halts her movements. She smirks at him and pulls on one of his Henley's which scarcely covers her thighs. She rummages in a draw for clean boxers and once she has those on she bolts out of the bedroom and slings her arms around Elijah's neck, kissing his cheek, "You should have woken me!"

"I wanted to but you looked quite comfortable, I hated to wake you," Elijah explains easily.

"Stealing all the light again brother?" Klaus says as he leans against the door frame.

"Niklaus," Elijah rolls his eyes and looks towards the ceiling, "pants?"

"Not like you haven't seen it all before Elijah," Klaus chuckles as he pulls on a pair of pants.

"Unwillingly I must admit," Elijah scowls at him, "mother did warn you about swimming in that pond."

"She warned all of us…didn't stop us did it?" Klaus chuckles.

"Certainly stopped me," Elijah frowns, pondering on incident that involved certain parts of his anatomy.

"Ok…this girl is going back to bed," Caroline says as she walks back into the bedroom, "Goodnight Elijah."

"Goodnight Caroline," he says with a nod, glaring at Klaus before he walks back down the hallway.

Klaus follows Caroline into the bedroom, stripping off his pants once more and tossing them haphazardly over a chair before crawling into bed beside her.

"Do you think I'm going crazy?" Caroline frowns as she curls up beside him, "maybe I'm just being paranoid?"

"I doubt it…mother would do something like this…just to make you think your losing your mind," Klaus shrugs.

"Bitch," Caroline grumbles with a half-smile.

"Indeed," Klaus agrees and kisses her forehead and lips, "go to sleep."

"Mmm," Caroline agrees as she closes her eyes, the two of them drifting off to sleep together.

In the morning Caroline climbs out of bed while Klaus is still asleep, gathering what she could find of her clothes before heading out into the hallway towards the bathroom. Rebekah is awake and in her room rummaging through her overnight bag. "Got any spare clothes I can borrow?"

"Yeah…I was just thinking about that…I think we need to make a run back to your house," Rebekah nods in agreement.

"We'll do that once I've showered alright?" Caroline asks with a nod.

"Sounds good," Rebekah agrees and then adds, "right," Rebekah waves her off, "Please try to keep it down in there this time yeah?"

"Alone," Caroline adds with a roll of her eyes and a small smile on her lips.

Alone in the shower indeed, Caroline muses as she steps into the hot water shortly after, scrubbing away the remnants of yesterday's events. Everything seemed a bit odd when she thought about it, the scarce trail of bread crumbs Esther leaving behind seemed out of place for the witch. Esther was careful but she wasn't nearly as paranoid as Nik. Closing her eyes she hums a soft tune and finishes showering, steps out of the warm water refreshed and clean.

Rummaging through the medicine cabinet above the sink she fishes out Nik's razor and shaving cream, leaving them beside the sink as a hint for later. She loves that stubble but when it starts turning into a beard he needs to shave. When she closes the cabinet there is a flash of color and she freezes in place, her gaze connecting with the one in the mirror staring back at her.

"Esther," Caroline breathes as the other blonde woman stares back from over her right shoulder inside the mirror. She whips around, her eyes searching the bathroom but she is alone. When she looks back Esther is gone, her fingers sliding over the glass as if it were an illusion.

"What the…" Caroline frowns, grimaces as a sharp pain shoots up her arm. She lets out a strangled cry and looks down at her hand; watches the veins under her skin swell and pulse as they slither up her arm like poisoned black vines up a tree. She tries to cry out again, tries to get so much as a scream out and finds she cannot speak. Her body is quickly starting to desiccate and she cannot stop it, hot tears pooling in her eyes as the pain becomes blinding. Esther is in the mirror again looking down at her, her dark eyes deadened with cold.

"Please," Caroline chocks out, shakes her head as she stares up fearfully at the witch.

Darkness was blurring the corners of her vision as her eyes slip closed, her body feels like lead. Her body screams for nourishment, her strength being sapped away from her against her will. She collapses unceremoniously, her fingers grazing the edge of the marble countertop as she tries to catch herself but to no avail. She is unable to move, the blackness around her vision dimming the world around her. She stares at the marble paneling of the bathroom counter and tries not to panic, tries not to give into irrationality when her life was in danger.

Humans ran like cattle in life threatening situations, they scattered like animals across the country side with no rational thought process. In order to survive you had to stop and think about what you're doing, and right now Caroline was fighting with every last ounce of strength she had to save herself.

It was no use.

She felt herself slipping away, drifting into the darkness until unconsciousness claimed her. When she wakes next she's lying on plush white carpet, the sound of birds chirping through the window behind her. She is in her mother's living room, she can tell by the color scheme of the room alone. What has her attention however is on the pair of dark boots directly in her line of vision, marring the perfect white carpet. When she follows those boots up to dark jean covered legs, layered dark grey Henley and a black winter coat, it is the face that shocks her. He smirks down at her, his wicked mischievous face full of dry amusement.

"Kol?" Caroline breathes in shock.

"Greetings," he begins dryly, a faint hint of a smirk on his lips, "from the dead."