Chapter 21: Unfinished Business

You're not coming with us. The words rang in her ear like a million buzzing bees. She looked around the table, the Originals avoided her gaze but it was obvious they were on board with Klaus' plan to keep her away from New Orleans while they dealt with the problem. "Tell me you're not being serious." She said, her voice stern and fearless. "You could use all the help you can get."

Kol chuckled, "No offense darling but you're not exactly at our level when it comes to getting rid of unwanted company. How many people have you killed since you turned? One, two?" He rested his chin on his hands, staring at her from across the table with a playful look.

"Kol your input isn't necessary." Klaus' voice was grim as he rose from his chair and sauntered over to Caroline. "I'm sorry sweetheart but I can't possibly bring you along." His eyes glazed over, "A werewolf bite can kill you. I won't put you in that kind of danger." His siblings came to their feet in unison, walking out of the dining room and giving them space to speak privately.

"But your blood can heal me. Don't do this Klaus, I want to help you." She pleaded, her pools of blue becoming droopy and her features almost angelic.

His adam's apple bobbed in his throat as he swallowed down his unhappiness. "I'll come back for you as soon as all of this is over. I promise." He remained adamant with his decision. His hand rose up to caress the softness of her rosy cheek and he wrapped his finger around the strand of blonde hair that fell on the side of her face.

"No! Is that what you're planning to do every time things get rough? You're just going to lock me up in a glass case like some kind of porcelain doll?" A tear rolled down her cheek, her eyes watering even further. "You can't be afraid to let me fight along with you. I don't want to be a thing that you worry about. I want to be your partner." She stood in front of him, her hands wrapping around his face.

Klaus looked away as if considering her words but he was a stubborn one and no amount of begging would make him change his mind, not in this case. "I've already made my decision. You're staying here." He stated, "I won't lose you to some stupid power struggle. You're the most important person in my life. Call me selfish if you want, it wouldn't be the first time." Her hands fell to the side, letting go of his face. And Klaus' lips inched closer until they pressed against the softness of her flush skin. Caroline didn't do anything to avoid the kiss but she didn't do much to reciprocate it either.

He turned quickly, walking out the door and going in search of his siblings. Caroline's eyebrows crinkled, there was no way she was going to comply with his stupid rule.

"Mom, it's really not as horrible as it sounds." Caroline paused, "Okay. Maybe it is a bit too much to take in all at once but I promise you I know what I'm doing." She smiled, that grin that always lit up the room and made people weak when it came to resisting her charm.

Sheriff Forbes eyed her from the couch, her eyes wide and her mouth stuck in a semi-parted state as she struggled to understand exactly how all of this had happened. One minute her little girl was plotting to kill the one-thousand-year-old hybrid and hating every bit of his being and the next she's telling her they're in love. Compulsion wasn't even a factor and the whole time travel story made her feel like she was living in a science fiction nightmare.

"Aren't you going to say something?" Caroline asked, leaning against the doorframe with her arms crossed over her chest. "Look, I'm not asking you to all of a sudden like him. But I need to know that you trust me enough to believe that I will be okay." The blonde had wanted her mother to come along with them but she knew it was too soon to ask for so much.

"It's just so hard for me to grasp, honey." Sheriff Forbes spoke softly, almost inaudibly. "It all seems so rushed." Caroline couldn't argue with that—to everyone else it seemed very sudden. To her, everything had happened exactly the way it was meant to be.

The blonde flashed her a smile and paced to the couch, taking a seat next to her and bringing her in for an embrace. "Everyone else has already turned their back on me, I can't bear losing you too." She took a long, deep breath.

Her mother sighed, tightening her hold on her and nodding reassuringly. "I'll always be here for you. You're my daughter, Caroline. I'll always be on your side." The blonde beamed, breathing in relief at the sound of her mother's words. "Even if it takes me my whole life to warm up to him." Caroline smirked, now if only Elena and Bonnie had the heart to give her the benefit of the doubt and accept her choices.

She gave her mother one more hug and came to her feet as she inched towards the door. "I have to take care of one last thing before I leave." Her hand reached for her purse. "I'll be back in a couple hours."

The drive to the Salvatore crypt was paved with ice and snow, Caroline couldn't think of a better location to meet Elena and Bonnie than the place where they had celebrated her 18th birthday. She remembered how miserable she had felt that day until they made her realize that being a vampire wasn't the end of her life but the beginning of a new chapter. Her smile widened at the though of her first real encounter with Klaus. She hadn't given it much thought since then but thinking back, her 18th birthday was one of the warmest memories she had and was hoping Elena and Bonnie cherished it enough to show up and meet her. The car turned into a clearing in the woods, plowing through the white fluff that blanketed the narrow path. In the distance she could see the ruins of the mausoleum, the only building in a sea of trees and brush.

Caroline's strides were quick as she reached the entrance. The enclosure was dark and empty, currently only occupied by her. She walked inside, her eyes wandering over the walls and her fingers running along the inscriptions of the tombs. It was eerie and yet something about it made her feel serene. Her ears perked up at the sound of voices outside. I can't believe I let you drag me into this. Bonnie's voice came through like a radio transmission. The sound of their footsteps were still far away. We can't just turn our back on her, Bonnie. She's our friend. Elena's words made Caroline simper, her stomach flared up with excitement. Friends don't betray one another the way she did to us. Caroline felt her heart sink knowing that perhaps Bonnie's friendship was a lost cause. The footsteps became louder until they echoed inside the building. The two brunettes stepped into the doorway, appearing as silhouettes in front of the light coming from outside.

Elena stepped inside first, Bonnie remained by the door. "Hi, Caroline." She said in a low voice, carefully walking inside but opting to stay away from the blonde.

Caroline's mouth lifted from one corner, a minute smile gracing her face. "I'm glad you guys came." She muttered, leaning back against the wall of plated tombs. "Don't worry, I won't try to convince you of anything, I just want to let you guys know that I'm leaving town for an indefinite amount of time."

Bonnie's eyebrow rose sharply at the news, her lips quivering before she spoke. "So not only did he rip you away from your friends, now he's also taking you away from your mom—from the town you've called home your whole life."

"It's not like that Bonnie." Caroline replied, "There's something going on, I don't want to go into details, but I want to go. I want to help him."

Elena furrowed her brow, "Help him with what?"

The blonde sighed before filling up her lungs with air. "It's complicated. You know how things are when it comes to the Originals." She walked closer to her, "I didn't want to leave town without saying goodbye. I know things between us will probably never be the same but you guys are still very important to me." She pursed her lips, waiting for them to say something.

Bonnie rolled her eyes, Caroline's words sinking in and hitting that soft spot in her heart. She paced towards them, her face still expressing discontent at the fact that Klaus was the reason for everything going awry. "I may hate him but you're still the same Caroline Forbes—albeit with some serious issues." She finally cracked a smile. Her eyes were warm, "And I was kind of in a witchy high that day on the island." Her words tried to excuse her actions, explaining why she'd been so hesitant to quit her torture even after Elena begged her to reconsider. "I just want you to be happy, Caroline."

"We want you to be happy." Elena corrected her. "Just don't send us pictures or any kind of reminder that you're with him." She said only half-jokingly. "I'm not ready for that sort of thing."

Caroline couldn't help grinning. This had gone better than she could've expected. "I won't." She replied, "But all bets are off if I ever receive a Christmas card from you and Damon." Her mouth twisted in contempt, causing Elena to chuckle lightly.

"What am I going to do with you two?" Bonnie muttered, feeling like she was getting the worst deal out of all this.

The three continued their chat, Caroline evading the subject of Klaus as much as possible and instead focusing on what she was planning to do with her life outside of Mystic Falls. She had so many places she wanted to see and people she wanted to meet. The more she talked about it the more excited she got about the possibilities. They took a stroll through the woods, remembering the good old days and laughing at the memories of their childhood.

Caroline looked at her watch, determining it was time to return home before heading back to the Mikaelson mansion. She wanted to get as much information on the ins and outs of this whole New Orleans operation before she dove into it. Besides, if she complied with everything, Klaus would be less suspicious of her motives.

After saying goodbye to Bonnie and Elena, she hopped in her car, the biggest of smiles plastered on her face. Everything was going according to plan. She had talked to her mother, made peace with Elena and Bonnie, and convinced Klaus that she would be staying behind. A devious giggle burst from her lips imagining his face when she showed up in New Orleans unannounced. He thought she was some delicate flower who needed to be kept away from danger. Well, she was going to show him how wrong he truly was.

The car zoomed through the desolate highway, gray skies up above and a wintery chill making the trees roll back and forth along the road. Caroline's finger brushed against the car stereo, clicking it on and tuning it to a different station. She'd only been on the road for a couple minutes when a cloud of dust appeared in the distance of her rearview mirror. She narrowed her eyes, noticing how quickly it appeared and disappeared. Her mouth twitched at the sight of a lone dark speck that seemed to be growing and moving in a zigzag motion across the highway. "What the hell..." She muttered to herself, unable to make out the object. It continued its trajectory, approaching the car at high speeds until her vision was able to decipher what she was looking at. Her heart began to race anxiously at the sight of festering canines and the glow of its golden spheres. The werewolf scurried towards her, causing her to press down on the accelerator even harder. She turned her eyes back to the road ahead of her, instinctively stepping on the breaks when she saw the pack standing in her way.

The car slid on the wet road, twirling her around like a carnival ride and skidding into a tree with force. Caroline's vision was blurry, her head pounding from the hard blow. She looked around, the hood of her car was crushed beyond repair and smoking like a vapor machine. Her head was just clearing up when she felt the vehicle shake. A loud thump echoed in her ears as she noticed the werewolves surrounding her. They ran into the wrecked car, trying to break their way inside. Her eyes counted at least ten, although it was hard to keep track of them as they moved incessantly. She tugged at her seatbelt, ripping it from the seat and freeing herself. There was blood on the steering wheel but she couldn't feel an open wound anywhere. Caroline figured that whatever cut she might have had it had already healed. The wolves continued their attack, jumping on top of the car and pouncing on the cracked windshield with their clawed paws. She knew she only had seconds before they broke through, it was do or die.

Her feet swung over on the seat and she pushed away, moving to the back and away from the windshield. She was contemplating her next move when she heard the glass shatter into a million pieces. The veins under her eyes formed in an instant and her eyes glowed red with anger. She growled like a vicious animal at the wolf climbing over the front seat. With a powerful kick she shoved him away and then burst the door open, running as fast as lightning to safety. Her restless feet were halted by a gray wolf, larger than the rest. The alpha. Caroline thought, watching helplessly as it launched itself on her, its teeth sinking into the side of her neck. She screamed in excruciating pain. The burning sensation of the venom spread over the wound, making her neck feel like it was on fire. The claws of another wolf dug into her back, propelling her forward like a rag doll. The last thing Caroline felt was the hard, icy surface of the snow-covered floor as her face hit the ground, and then everything around her went black.

The voices were distant, her mind still sputtering as she failed to recognize the sound of those around her. Her eyes opened feeling drowsy and her body aching from the venom. Caroline brought her hand up to her neck, examining the bite and trying to figure out how much time she had left before it overtook her. She bit down on her lip, scared of what she would feel at the end of her fingertips but to her surprise, the wound seemed to be well on its way to recovery. Her eyes wandered around the cell, she recognized the location—the Lockwood cellar. There was a lock on the iron bars, the scalding effects of vervain quickly seeped through her skin at the touch. A guy with ginger hair, not much older than her, peeked his head from around the corner.

"The bloodsucker's awake." He announced, his voice sounding more docile than the ones she had been hearing.

Three others marched forward, the taller one staring at her with dagger eyes. "How did you do it?" He asked. Caroline stepped away from the bars, seeking refuge on the stone wall behind her. "I said, how did you do it?" He growled. His hand reached for a long iron rod, one he used to prod her like a dead animal.

Caroline screamed, feeling the end of it sinking into her leg. She was still too weak to move any faster than the normal human being. "I don't know know what you're talking about." She mumbled, her voice cracking with every word. Her body slumped over against the wall, furthest from the man who was accosting her. "Someone will come looking for me." She began, "And when they find me you're going to be very sorry."

He laughed in a condescending tone. "That's the plan sweetie." Caroline flinched at the word, twisting her mouth in disgust. "We know who that someone is and we want him to come looking for us. It's about time he and his family paid their dues." A scowl took over his face.

Caroline huffed, "Good luck with that."

She watched as one of the other werewolves gave him a pressing look. The thought of them doing anything more to her made her shiver. "My friend here can you hurt you in ways you can't even imagine." He put his arm around him. There was something different about that werewolf that she hadn't noticed before. Her eyes flickered over to his hands, noticing the black veins snaking underneath his skin. Caroline knew then that the man she was looking at wasn't a werewolf but a witch. "He's a warlock." The alpha of the pack spoke as if correcting her thoughts. "Now, try not to piss me off."

He asked questions Caroline couldn't possibly answer, it was almost like he had set her up to fail. The sound of her screams filled the underground compound. The shrieks of pain bounced from wall to wall as her eyes welled up with tears. Her brain felt like it was going to burst, the power this warlock was using on her was different than the one Bonnie had used to inflict her with pain. Caroline was sure that her head would explode any minute. The alpha opened the door to the cell, slipping inside and leaving it open behind him. The blonde considered making a run for it but the pain she was experiencing was draining her of all her strength.

The man stood in front of her, grasping her face with one hand and applying pressure. "Tell me why you're not affected by the werewolf venom." His eyes glowed, more animal than human. His gaze was devious, Caroline could tell he was taking great pleasure in seeing her suffer. He stared at her eyes for a minute and then his other hand played with the collar of her jacket. "You're quite pretty for a bloodsucker. I can see why Klaus is so taken by you."

Caroline shivered in disgust, using all her strength to push his hand away from her. "Go to hell."

He hummed, "Okay. I'm going to give you one last chance to tell me why you seem to be immune to a werewolf bite. And if you don't–" he paused, "Then I'll have to resort to other methods. And trust me when I say, you won't enjoy it as much as I will."

The blonde became enraged and mustered up the power to spit on his face. His hand was quick to come up and smack her, so hard she went deaf for an instant. Caroline didn't have enough time to recover before he took a hold of her chin and briskly snapped her neck, rendering her unconscious once again.

The smell of blood brought her to as it reached her nose. It was pungent, saturating the air around her enough that she could almost taste the iron on her tongue. Slowly she began to gain her sense of hearing. There were groans, pleads, but most of all broken bones and the sound of flesh ripping and splattering all around. Caroline's eyes opened, focusing on a decapitated body in front of her—the warlock. His eyes still open and his mouth covered in blood. She gasped at the sight, coming to her feet and taking in the sight before her. Klaus had the alpha by the neck, torturing him for a while before finally plunging his hand into his chest and tearing out his beating heart. The lifeless body fell to the ground with a thump. All around there were scattered werewolves, ripped heads and chests with holes the size of fists. The Originals for the most part looked pristine, except for a few blood splatters on their clothes and the red blood on their hands.

Caroline held on to the bars of the cell, watching in silence as they checked to make sure the werewolves were all dead. Kol had a pleased smile on his face while Rebekah just looked annoyed to be there. "Maybe they went rogue, maybe it's a sign of what's to come." Elijah stated, kicking one of their feet aside as if it were a rock.

Klaus turned to Caroline, blood running down the corners of his mouth. He brought up his sleeve to wipe it off, she could only imagine him biting into them before actually finishing them off. The fury that had been in his eyes moments earlier disappeared when he met hers. A crooked smile surfaced on his face as he approached her, pulling the cell door open. Caroline lunged into his arms, burying her face in his neck and kissing the exposed skin. He clutched on to her as tight as he could without causing her any pain. It had been so long since he'd felt this vulnerable but having her in his arms, safe and sound, made all his troubles worth it.

Rebekah offered her a cup of tea, smiling at her so genuinely that Caroline thought for a minute that perhaps she was still unconscious in that cell and just experiencing a dream. "Well don't look at me like that. I can be nice you know." The Original noted. "For some reason my brother is crazy about you and if we're going to be living in close proximity for a while, I've decided it's best to be on good terms."

Caroline didn't know what to say. She smiled, wrapping her fingers around the warm cup of tea. "Thank you," was all she could muster. Klaus walked into the living room. He had changed out of his clothes and by the looks of it had also taken a shower. Rebekah shot both of them a look and swiftly left the room.

"You fell asleep in the car." He announced, "I've never seen you that tired before. Not even after we—" he stopped, a devilish smile on his lips. Caroline couldn't help but giggle. He loved seeing her happy, the lightness she brought to every situation gave everything he did and said a completely different meaning.

"Maybe that means you're not giving it your all." One of her eyebrows raised flirtatiously. After a moment she sipped on her tea and moved on to a more serious subject. "How did you find me?"

The Original paced over to her, sitting beside her on the couch. The weight of his body made Caroline drift towards him, his heat making her feel increasingly warm and protected. "Elena called me." Caroline's eyes widened in shock. "After giving me a lecture and reminding me of what a horrible person I am, she made me promise to keep you safe." His eyebrows furrowed, as if Elena's petition was so redundant it confused him. "Then she said you had returned home a couple hours before but there was no sign of you at your house. That's when I knew there was something wrong." The blonde smiled, the cup of tea barely touching her lips.

She placed it on the center table and inched even closer to him. Her hand brushed against the stubble on his face—god, how she loved the feeling. It felt like it had been forever since she'd touched him like this. Their heads moved gently into each other, noses feathering against one another before their lips met. Their connection was pure and sweet, and their movements were slow as they savored the moment, each realizing exactly how much they meant to the other. Caroline pulled away, smiling into his mouth and then going in with more eagerness. She giggled as he lied on top of her on the couch, her legs parting to accommodate him between them. The weight of his body, the scent of his skin, the feel of his mouth on hers, it overtook all her senses. It was so easy to get lost in the feeling.

"Should we come back later?" Kol asked, causing them to reluctantly pull apart. Caroline's cheeks flushed lightly.

Klaus grumbled, pushing himself back up and straightening out his clothes. Caroline ran her hands over her hair as the siblings walked into the living room in unison. By the look on their faces, they had a serious announcement to make. It was no surprised that Elijah—being the oldest—took the floor. "We took care of the werewolf problem today but we need to decide what we're going to do about the threat in New Orleans."

"Why can't we just go to Europe instead?" Rebekah chimed in, "Why should we care about a swampland in the south?" Caroline raised her eyebrows, the Original sister had a point.

Klaus came to his feet, his legs striding to the side of the room with Kol and Elijah. "We can't just flee to Europe. If this thing in New Orleans really is the start of a revolt, we have to eradicate it before it gets out of control. We take care of the problem and then we can think about going overseas." He shot Caroline a warm smile, knowing she would love it there.

"Fine but only if Italy is our first destination after all this is over." She suggested. The brothers looked at each other and nodded.

Kol played with the zipper on his jacket, as if the conversation was boring him to death. Caroline could see that he was one to be reckoned with, he didn't care about trips to Europe or even New Orleans, he just wanted to be part of the action—whatever that action might be. They were all so different and yet so similar at the same time. The realization of forming part of their little dysfunctional family filled Caroline with both fright and excitement. Elijah was always so proper but not someone you'd want to ever cross. He'd wipe anyone out with class and without hesitation. Rebekah, she was a boat load of crazy all on her own. But the thought of one day growing closer to her calmed Caroline's trepidation.

"There's one thing we haven't addressed yet." Klaus spoke, "Caroline was unaffected by the werewolf venom."

They all looked at one another, none providing an explanation for why that could be. Caroline finally rose, calmly clasping her hands and pressing her lips together. "I've been thinking a lot about that." She began, "The werewolves were very interested in knowing why and the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it wasn't anything I did." The Originals were perplexed, with the exception of Klaus who had an idea of where she was going with this. "It was something we did." She looked at him.

Rebekah scrunched up her nose, raising her hands in an effort to get her to stop talking about the situation. "Okay, we get it. No need to go into details, please." Elijah's lips curled into an unassuming smile.

"Sex?" Kol blurted out. This was the first time Caroline had ever actually seen him be impressed by anything. Rebekah grumbled under her breath.

Klaus glanced at Caroline, completely sure of what she was suggesting. "It makes sense, before the–" he titled his head, "Marking, Caroline was just as susceptible as any other vampire. It must have something to do with our blood being in each others' systems at the same time we–" Klaus spared his siblings of last part. "Your immunity to the werewolf venom has to be a result of being marked." He said to Caroline.

"As much as I would love to know more about what marking is, I think I've got a pretty clear picture. Clearer than I wish I had." Rebekah mumbled. "But now that that's settled. What's the plan, Nik?"

Klaus brought Caroline to his side, placing his hand around her waist and giving her a tender look before speaking. "Now, we go to New Orleans and make every supernatural being there regret the day they decided to cross the Original family."

Please take a quick second to review. xoxo

I did want to make a note about the following chapter. I feel like this story has reached its end in regards to the premise (as a matter of fact, it kind of went longer than I intended). Continuing with a NOLA storyline would turn it into a completely different thing. So, I've decided to wrap everything up in an Epilogue instead. I feel like any NOLA stuff would require a sequel and at the moment I don't have it in me to start a new chapter fic. I hope you all understand.