The One Where He Commits to Her
Klaus hadn't committed to many things in his 1000 yearlong existence. He committed to breaking the curse and freeing his wolf side. He committed to creating his own master race and building his hybrid army. But in a thousand years that's all he had ever committed to. Until Caroline. Now he was committed to keeping her happy, to keeping her with him.
The room was silent as they stared intently at each other, Caroline perched on the edge of the couch and Klaus seated in the chair across from her. He tilted his head slightly to the right, his eyes still locked on hers and Caroline let out a soft sigh of frustration.
It was Caroline that finally broke the deafening silence.
"I can't." She whispered.
It was the answer Klaus had expected but the words falling from her lips still felt like a crushing weight.
He posed the question again, hoping he hadn't actually heard her answer, hoping that whispered 'I can't' had been nothing but a figment of his imagination. "Come with me to New Orleans, Caroline."
The room fell back into silence for a few more tense moments before she repeated herself. "I can't." Caroline whispered, her tone more than a little sad. "My family, my friends, my life is here."
This thing with Klaus, whatever it was, was still new and raw and confusing. She couldn't rely on it, let alone abandon her life for it no matter how much a small part of her wanted to do just that. Caroline knew what she wanted and she wanted Klaus. But she also knew she wasn't the old Caroline Forbes who would drop everything on a dime to run away with a guy.
Klaus dug his fingers into the arms of the chair and swallowed back a frustrated growl. Elijah needed him in New Orleans and he couldn't turn his back on his brother again. Not when Elijah was the only brother he had left. But Caroline was here and Klaus feared that if he left now that would be it – out of sight, out of mind. He'd worked so hard to get this far with her – to gain her trust, her affections – and may have all been in vain.
Klaus stood up and for a moment Caroline thought he was going to leave in a huff but instead he strolled over to the couch and sat beside her, nestling her body against his side. She curled up against him, breathing in his addictive scent and relishing the sense of safety his arm wrapped around her shoulder provided. Klaus trailed his fingers up and down the smooth skin of her arm – he could spend hours just touching Caroline and never tire of it. And he would have to get his fill of touching her now before 900 miles inevitably came between them.
Sighing into his chest, Caroline finally broke the silence. "Where does that leave us?" She asked, afraid of the answer she'd get but needing to know anyway.
Klaus' fingers continued to trace idle patterns on her arm as he thought about their predicament. They had an endless supply of time and things changed with time. Her mother, her friends, her life – all the things keeping her tied to this godforsaken place would eventually fall away. And for Caroline, Klaus would gladly wait. He'd wait a year, he'd wait a century. Rather than answer her question, Klaus posed one of his own.
"Do you ever think about the future? What do you see?"
Caroline glanced up at him and tried not to be rendered speechless by the penetrating look in his eyes. "You. I see you."
Klaus internally let out a sigh of relief – he hadn't realized the full extent of the power she held over him until those words fell from her lips. Klaus was consistently shocked by the depth of his feelings for her and even more astonished that she returned at least a modicum of those feelings.
Before Caroline could register what was happening, his hands were buried in her hair and his mouth came crashing down on hers. As always, his lips were soft but demanding as he licked and bit at her bottom lip. Caroline moaned into his mouth and Klaus pulled her top lip into his mouth and sucked gently. His tongue caressed hers and Caroline took a small swipe of his mouth and then bit down gently on his lower lip. A small groan erupted from his throat and Caroline relished the sound.
When Klaus finally managed to pull away from her addictive lips, he stood up and held a hand out to Caroline. She walked him to the door, both of them moving slowly as if the extra few seconds of delay would change anything.
"I'm leaving tomorrow morning." Klaus said, pulling Caroline into his arms as they stood in front of the door. A very small part of him still hoped she would change her mind and show up on his doorstep in the morning but Klaus knew that wouldn't happen, knew that it was selfish of him to even ask.
With her arms wrapped around his waist and her face buried in his chest, Caroline muttered "you could spend the night here."
"If I stay tonight, I'll never leave." Klaus replied, running his fingers through her hair.
Silence descended again as they stood there like this for a few more moments before Klaus finally pulled away. Caroline watched from the doorway as he left. The dejection that overwhelmed her as he got into his car and disappeared from view was unexpected and far more intense than she had anticipated. In the back of her mind, Caroline was reminded of that song about not knowing what you've got until it's gone.
Caroline spent the majority of the night tossing and turning, her mind filled with an endless cycle of arguing. Part of her wanted to go to New Orleans with Klaus. Sure her life was in Mystic Falls but she couldn't be Miss Mystic Falls forever. Sooner or later she'd have to throw off the security blanket that this familiar place provided and just go for it – why not go for it with Klaus in New Orleans? The other part of her chastised herself for even considering leaving. Her mother's life wasn't eternal like hers. Eventually Liz would be gone and Caroline would be left regretting every moment she could have spent with her mother but didn't. The other part of her argued that she was using Liz as an excuse. She was afraid of what her life would be like outside of Mystic Falls so she hid behind the notion of needing to stay in this small town until Liz was gone.
By daybreak, Caroline had gone back and forth in her head a million times. When she finally climbed out of bed, she rushed over to her closet and pulled out her suitcase. Klaus would have already left but it wasn't too late to catch up to him. If anything, she could surprise him in New Orleans. Caroline wore a wide grin as she raced around her room packing. Her mind was already painting brilliant pictures of the future. Her and Klaus – first New Orleans, then all the great cities of the world. There was no hesitation left in her, only anticipation. This felt right. It was the right time.
Caroline heard movement downstairs and called out "mom?" but there was no response. Liz had been working the night shift at the Sheriff's office and Caroline knew her mother wouldn't take too kindly to her decision but the sooner she told her, the sooner Caroline could leave. She'd been making her way to her bedroom door when it flew open and something was tossed inside. Before she could react, Caroline felt her eyes begin to water and she coughed wildly. By the time she deduced that it was some sort of vervain gas, Caroline had been hit with something else and now the burning sensation had made contact with her skin. It spread all over at a rapid pace and had her withering in pain.
The last thing Caroline saw was a blonde man dart into the room and tackle her back onto the bed.
"It's nothing personal."
The words rung in her ears before there was a blow to her chest and all the pain stopped.
Klaus had only made it a quarter of the way to New Orleans before he realized he couldn't do this. Elijah was his last remaining brother and he had no intentions of forsaking that bond but somehow, Caroline had also become a part of him and Klaus couldn't leave her either. They would figure something out, divide their time between Mystic Falls and New Orleans if need be. If Caroline thought they had a future together Klaus wasn't just going to sit idly around and wait for it to start. And he certainly wasn't going to give her time to change her mind.
He reached Caroline's house and when no one answered the door, Klaus let himself in. Feeling more than a little off kilter, he raced up the stairs and into Caroline's bedroom. Caroline's body lay there on the bed, spread out like Jesus on the cross, and a stake was buried deep in her chest. In a flash, Klaus was on the bed and cradling her in his arms.
He tried to reason with himself, tried to remain calm. He'd had this nightmare before a dozen times. Klaus was going to wake up and she was going to be fine, just like all the other times. But this didn't feel like his nightmares. This felt terrifyingly real. Her skin was cold and hard, that sickly grey hue sending tremors down his spine. The acrid smell of rotting flesh filled the room was a new addition to the nightmare as well. And the shouting coming from downstairs, that was definitely real.
Klaus was still willing himself to wake up when the door to Caroline's bedroom burst open again.
He recognized the shouting voice as the human boy's – Matt.
"Caroline." This time his voice was tearful, hopeless. "Jesus, Caroline."
Matt leaned out the door and finally gave into his urge to vomit. He'd gone by the Gilbert home this morning to find Elena and Damon staked the same way. Immediately following that he'd gone to the Salvatore home to get Stefan only to find him dead to. Part of him had known what to expect coming to the Forbes home but still he had held out hope. Now Caroline was dead to – the shock was wearing off and the pain was creeping in. Soul crushing, unbearable pain.
"They got," Matt slid to the floor, tears streaming down his face, "they got them all. They're all gone." He didn't know if he was talking to Klaus or just needing to get the words out – needing to voice it so that it hit home that it was true. All his friends were dead.
"Get out." Klaus' voice was low and dangerous at first and Matt just sat there, unable to move. "GET OUT." He roared this time and Matt scurried out of the room. He had to pull himself together. He had to find Bonnie.
Klaus tightened his arms around Caroline's limp body, pulling her closer. He ran his hands along her skin and it took him a moment to realize the repeated whispered 'Caroline' was coming from his lips. It took him even longer to realize the moisture on his face was coming from his eyes. Klaus knew a lot about pain – about inflicting it, about bearing it – Klaus and pain had a long standing relationship. But the feeling that overwhelmed in that moment went far beyond pain. It went far beyond anything he was capable of describing.
He shifted again on the bed and for the first time, Klaus noticed the open suitcase lying on the bed. It was half filled with clothes haphazardly thrown in. She'd been coming to him. Caroline was on her way to him when this happened. Their future together – she was ready for it.
Klaus hadn't committed to many things in his 1000 yearlong existence but he was committed to Caroline. He was committed to bringing her back. And making them pay.