Caroline's eyes quickly took in Klaus' painting, their heightened sense absorbing every last detail from the deep gradations in the greys to the choice of subject. But even though she could practically see into the painting, its beauty, the care with which it was painted, wasn't what touched her the most.

What truly moved Caroline about it was the loneliness that seemed to permeate each and every brush stroke. It was there, a palpable emotion that seemed to emanate from the frozen edges of the snowflake. And somehow, Caroline knew that even if she hadn't been the one to accept his donation, she'd have known it was his. In the little time she'd spent with Klaus she'd found the emotion deep within his eyes and his words more than once.

She wanted to believe that that didn't matter to her, and for the most part, it didn't. It really didn't. But there was some tiny part of her, buried somewhere so deep that she couldn't find it, that wasbothered by this.

And she hated herself for it.

Hated that she could have any feelings for the worst creature she'd ever met.

Hated that she felt something for someone other than Tyler.

Hated that he had treated her perfectly on their "date."

Hated that she wanted to wipe away Klaus' loneliness…

He'd taken her comment on his painting as a compliment and she hadn't meant it to be one. But she let him have that little bit because her words had made him smile and it was the least she could do; because even she couldn't deny that he seemed just a little more civil, a little more alive when he was around her. And if she could give him that, when that was all she could give him, then she would let Klaus have it.

It was far from what one would call a Christmas gift, but she gave it to him nonetheless.

Squeeka Cuomo's Notes
- Erin: Thank you so much for the beta. *hugs*
- Reviews are love.