The battle in New Orleans had been brutal. What was supposed to be only a few months of conflict resolution, turned into three years of constant power struggle. Hayley and Tyler had rallied up enough support from other werewolf clans that it made it difficult for the Originals to keep everyone on check. And with the witches on their side, it wasn't an easy task to overcome. Every night ended in a massacre until the werewolf population began shrinking, slowly diminishing until the few stragglers didn't have any other option but to flee to safer grounds. Caroline never did find out what happened to Tyler, last she had heard, he'd taken off to South America in search of others like him. Not surprising to anyone, as soon as things began getting worse, Hayley was the first to make a run for it, leaving everyone else to fend for themselves.

Rebekah had gotten her wish granted and soon after leaving New Orleans, they all made their way to Italy. Klaus showed Caroline all of the hidden gems of each city, and they made Florence their home for a few years before moving on to Venice and eventually other parts of Europe. She learned how to feed from humans, although hesitant at first, and gave in a little further to her natural instincts. By the time of—what would've been—her 25th birthday, he surprised her by flying her mother and friends to London. Caroline had cried tears of joy at the sight of having everyone together again. She'd had what most people would consider a fulfilling life so far, the difference was that she was just getting started.

The years had made her grow wiser, stronger, and much more fearless. And while the innocence and fragility of the old Caroline still remained within her, she'd transcended into a vampire who was feared and respected by those around her. She was no longer known as just Klaus Mikaelson's girl, she was a woman who evoked admiration and fear, like every great leader should. Caroline walked around, revered like the queen she was born to be.

"They're all waiting for you." Rebekah's voice came from behind her as the door silently opened. "Everyone's dying to meet the new lady of the house."

Caroline's hands remained on the granite window sill, her gaze falling over the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean. A light sea breeze caressed her face and made a couple of loose strands float before her eyes. She turned around, her long fitted dress molding her body and accentuating her narrow waist.

The Mikaelsons had continued their yearly tradition of throwing an elaborate and lavish ball to reinforce alliances and form new ones. They were already known in various parts across Europe as one of the most influential families to ever set foot on the land. They were practically royalty. Caroline and Klaus had married not long after her 25th birthday, another luxurious affair that had brought everyone together. And now, after being back from their honeymoon a few months later, the highest societies of Athens wanted to meet the infamous twosome.

Rebekah beamed, "You look amazing!"

"Thank you, so do you." Caroline smiled wide, fixing her hair a smidgen before making her way to the door.

The Original went downstairs first and Caroline allowed enough time to make her grand entrance. Her heels clanked against the marble floor as she prepared to make her ascend down the staircase. She held on to the curved railing, watching as everyone on the floor below looked up at her with amazement. There was a cheeriness to her that was contagious, in that respect she would always be the life of the party. Her eyes scanned the room for his face, catching sight of his loving gaze and simpering in return.

Klaus walked to the foot of the stairwell, his eyes intently watching as she stepped down slowly. It felt as if time had stood still for Caroline, which wasn't uncommon when it came to him. Her heart thumped in her chest incessantly, just like the first time he'd aroused those feelings in her. In that moment, as she closed the distance between them, Caroline realized that the man she had pushed away so many times, the one she had tried to keep at bay, was the only man who had truly ever made her happy. He was the only man who could fulfill her every need and love her in every way possible.

She reached the bottom step, placing her hand on his waiting palm. One by one people rushed to meet them. It was captivating how eloquent he was, he had a quality about him that made people want to pay attention. Caroline always admired that about him and it was one of the things she loved the most about her husband.

As he guided her to the dance floor and they joined the rest of the guests for the dance, her mind drifted off to everything that had transpired between them. The orchestra began playing and he twirled her around, pulling her in closer by the waist, just like he had done so long ago. She rested her head on his shoulder, breathing in his scent and basking in pure bliss.

"I love you." He whispered into her ear.

Caroline pecked his lips, "I love you."

Klaus had managed to enter her life and inch his way into her heart without her even realizing it, until it was too late for her to push him away. He had become a part of her, and filled the void that had been hollow and vacant all her life. Caroline's love for him had grown in the dead of winter, during a time when everything around them was withering, and in a town that had now become only a distant memory.


A/N: A zillion thank you's to everyone who's taken the time to review my work. You guys have no idea how happy each and every one of your comments made me. Sorry I made you wait months to finally conclude this story. I'm the worst, I know. You're all awesome! xoxo