Here is a two-shot I'm writing to try and deal with the latest episode, because writing fic is how I deal with disappointment. I feel like I must warn you: this is the first time I write Klaus's pov. It was like pulling teeth and I am not really happy with the results, but I at least at to try. Next part we'll be back to my usual Caroline's pov.
Still - I hope you'll find something in here that you will like. :)
He has never particularly enjoyed driving, but it's enough of a mindless task that he can tolerate it. Could have rushed through the woods across this godforsaken country instead, he knows. It'd have been faster, after all. Would have blown off some steam—run and hunted and fed.
But not with her.
He doesn't understand why she's accepted his offer to accompany him—
(He doesn't understand one single thing about her, not even the parts that he sees more clearly—)
—but he's glad, in spite of himself.
(There'll be time to figure it all out.)
His heightened reflexes would allow him to drive three thousand miles straight without sparing one glance at the road—his attention solely focused on her, as ever she grants him with her agonizing company. Her scent flaring his nostrils; the sunrays caught in her blond hair burning a hole through his chest. There's hand around his heart, squeezing so hard sometimes he thinks this too is a ploy—somewhere the witch may be chanting to get him cold and frozen as a rock.
What he couldn't give sometimes, around Caroline—so his heart would stop beating, and so she couldn't hear, the tell-tale bugger.
(Her hands are fidgeting on her lap, knuckles white and reddened tips.)
He can see her, desperately wish for the numbness that will not come. Eyes vacant but twirling with nerves, when his stare bumps into hers, and she sighs. Squirming and breathing fast and distracting him from the thought of how much he wants—
Mistrust doesn't surprise him, when it hits; suspicious minds and all. So he tilts his head and pretends to have an interest in the road laid down before them, hands tightened at last on the wheel. He asks, "Is that why you came, love? To keep me occupied?"
Perhaps not the witch chanting to get him down. Perhaps just Caroline and her broken heart, stabbing her own entrails because that is love, all the people have always told him. Love is pain and sacrifice—but Klaus is sure, there has to be more to it, hasn't it? Otherwise no one would ever bother with the fall.
She doesn't dignify his accusation with an answer, and he goes and maybe loves her a little harder for it. So what is he to do but keep on pushing? He keeps his eyes far and away as he insists, "You think you can distract me so well, sweetheart, that I will forget my obligations?" He smiles it out and away, the shooting pain coursing through his lungs. "Or worse," his voice bends, almost soft, "do you think you can bewitch me so deeply that one day I will no longer want him dead?"
But her voice is too raspy with the weight of the tears she has cried for him; scratches him like sandpaper—so he cuts her off with a grunt. "You shouldn't sell yourself so cheap, Caroline."
"I don't," she whispers, the words so voiceless that the rasp is gone. "Not anymore."
And just like that—
—he wishes, as every time, that he hadn't said a word.
When they finally stop for gas, he calls Elijah to check in on him.
"If this is a trick, Niklaus—"
He watches her through the glass windows of the shop, stocking herself up with junk food and multi-coloured candy. She smiles politely to the girl behind the counter, and for a second the midday sun shines brighter. But then she turns around, her eyes catch his as they are bound to (you creep)—and the light fades out.
Every time, it seems.
So Klaus insists: "It's not a trick, brother." He wishes Elijah could see him now, that the bitter devious smirk would crawl through the phone line. "You'll be happy to know I am on a path of redemption, and you happen to have caught me in a streak of clemency, with what your perfect timing as always."
This is Klaus Mikaelson, big bad original hybrid—learning to extend his mercy upon those who have affronted him.
It's a tragic tale of woe.
Elijah wouldn't doubt him for a second, if only—
—if only he could see him now.
Two hundred miles from Philadelphia—
"You're gonna kill her anyway, aren't you?" she asks, breaking the endless silence as her teeth tear the head off a surely uplifting bar of bright pink candy.
It's an endearing sight, and so he can do nothing to help the smile tugging his lips upwards, no matter how hard he tries. It's her words, too, and the honesty beneath his answer, "That's why you're here, love."
Well, besides the obvious reason, too. He enjoys her company. She's the sweetest torture he could have ever imagined, inflicting unusually upon him—and it's the painful bits that feel more righteous underneath his steel-hard skin.
"Then you shouldn't have bothered," she chews, shrugging—so unladylike, "I don't give a damn that you kill Katherine."
"But my brother—"
"I don't particularly care about your brother, either—"
"But the cure—"
She turns to him with a sudden, unexpected smile. Lifting up her feet, she bends her knees into her chest and leans back against the car window, so she's fully facing him now. "Keep going, come on," she presses, waiving the candy bar at him. "The list of things and people I don't give a crap about is growing exponentially these days. All thanks to you."
"Exponentially," he grins, extending his hand over the gearbox so she passes on the bag of gummy bears. "Well, at least you are no longer playing dumb."
And so she is not—
—for she does not deny the charges.
It's the middle of the night, and the roadside diner they stop at is empty except for them.
It's dim and quiet and peaceful, and somehow he doesn't find it all that hard to breathe, at last, twenty miles this side of the border.
(They eat only to take a break from the road.)
There's a cooler filled with blood bags in the trunk—a courtesy he extended for her sake, believing foolishly she would appreciate the nice gesture and take it as a peace offering. In the end it cost him an eye-roll and a half-hearted scoff, but it's keeping them nourished in between the candy bars and greasy burgers she devours like she actually could use the calories, burnt talking to him.
Like she craves the sugar high to lift her up, at least.
It seems to work, for she—
"Were you serious," she asks him, feeling unexpectedly conversational, as grease and sugar the balm that quiets the perennial heartache—, "about Elijah loving Elena?"
The endgame of this journey remains the endgame of all journeys, for these people. Who gets to save the doppelganger first. Too bad, he supposes, that Elena Gilbert no longer wants to be saved at all.
Elijah will have to wait another five hundred years to be redeemed.
Klaus, on the other hand—
—he takes a sip from the black, watered-down coffee like it can do something for his emotional distress, other than turn his stomach upside down with nausea. He fixes his eyes on Caroline's neon-lightened silhouette, as only that keeps his hungry gaze away from their waitress's pulsing jugular. It would be so easy, he can only wish. Charm her into arching her neck just the right way for his fangs to sink into her flesh without an itch of a pain. She'd enjoy it; he can, at least, guarantee thorough satisfaction. He wouldn't dream of killing her. He'd heal her and make her forget—replace the memories of his monster face with enticing dreams that would wake her panting every morning for as long as she lived.
Pity. Each and every little thing he is trying to let go of.
If only Caroline's smile would reach her eyes—
—it might be worth it, one day.
He nods in acknowledgement, and concentrates his senses on her—all on her, so he forgets about the waitress. Caroline is, after all, the most beautiful thing he has seen in over a thousand years, isn't she? Which pointedly reminds him—
"I am sure you are no stranger to the mysterious allure of the Petrova doppelganger," he finally replies, coffee spoon twirling mindlessly in his cup. "I personally believe it was the witches' evil trap."
"Lucky you are immune."
He appreciates that it is not a question, despite the sarcasm; sometimes, strangely, her old insecurities come out to hunt him, and it catches him off-guard. Because where was he, that was so important that he hadn't met her yet? It's a troubling thought that sakes him so bad he sees red, but it isn't dripping from his hands, so he doesn't know what to do with it. Now though, it makes him smile, because who is laughing now, mother?
Funny how Caroline might have saved him, after all—and not in the way those fools for love will tell you, that love, of all things, will set you free.
He beams at her. "It's a delightfully twisted story, like only witches are capable of," he story-tells, the smile unyielding across his lips despite the bad taste of terrible coffee spreading down his throat. "Before I turned I was smitten with this girl, you might've heard. An exquisite beauty, I thought then, but I hadn't seen anything outside my small hunting village, so what did I know? Perhaps Rebekah's right, after all, and my mother did love me in spite of her shame, but I wouldn't go trusting Rebekah in matters of the heart, take my word on that. She loves everyone andanyone, and so she thinks the rest of the world is just like her." He feels the smile faltering, threatening to fall off his mouth and into his coffee cup, so he returns to the right side of the tracks. "Anyway, I say perhaps my mother loved me after all because it seems like she certainly underestimated the hardness of my heart. She apparently believed that I might restrain myself from killing the doppelganger, if she looked anything like the girl I once loved." He shakes his head in disbelief. "That I would spare the familiar face, and choose to live forever cursed instead."
It's a sad story.
Even Caroline looks affected, chewing on her chips like a bored child chews on a pencil topper in the middle of a lesson. Head tilted, she lets the words slip out as her eyes look up to his. "Your brother's heart wasn't so hard, was it?"
So he concedes her point with a brisk nod. "Yes, I suppose you're right, and Rebekah is wrong, after all." It was never him who should have opposed the sacrifice of the doppelganger out of foolish, foolish love. For the longest time, that would have been the greatest laugh. Klaus didn't feel, and Klaus didn't care. And so he wouldn't hesitate to break his curse—
—but oh, Elijah had been so foolish. So weak.
(Their mother was so clever.)
Elijah had fallen in love with the girl. All over again.
And so here they are now.
"Personally, I do not understand it," he confesses truthfully, his eyes still on Caroline, riveting; illustrating the certainty behind his convictions. "They are different people who just seem to share a pretty face and a rather unfortunate magnet for all forms of personal tragedy. It must be a curse, I am sure."
—Caroline does not agree.
It's clear in the way her back straightens and her whole body clenches, pulled together around her stomach where he imagines it hurts the most. She declares: "It's not a curse," her voice so low and seemingly dead, like she is casting a terrible spell herself. "If it was a curse, you wouldn't be immune. It's just human nature," she shoots, straight to the heart. "We soft-hearted fools have the bad habit of refusing to let go of the people that we love."
With the carefully-aimed bullet, the ghostly hand is back, so tight around his heart. This time it doesn't constrict and freeze; it tugs and tugs and he can feel it, each beat, as the good-for-nothing muscle is slowly ripped out of his ribcage.
He swallows down the already familiar pain, and doesn't say another word.
It's almost morning when he finally asks her.
There's a fine line of light purple, stretched long and endless right where the mountainous landscape touches the receding night sky. It's beautiful and promising and so he asks, because she's just waking up and he hasn't forgotten for a second—each and every single moment of the night a couple of nights ago, when she slept and he watched her over the deep hollow of her shoulder, nested so tightly into his chest.
"Why didn't you leave with him?"
Arguably, the mercy extended by his almighty hand was highly conditional. He wouldn't have dreamed of letting Tyler Lockwood go, not even for a short while, had he dared take Caroline with him. But still—
He wants to know her reasons.
So he watches her intently, as she yawns loudly and pulls herself together, tucking her legs beneath her as her head comes to rest on the fogged-up window pane. She closes her eyes and whispers, "He never asked me, and I never offered. You would either let him go, or you wouldn't, but he was leaving anyway."
That's hardly a question to any of the many things he wants to know, desperately wishes he could understand about the things that Caroline does, and doesn't do. "You came in to ask me to let him live—"
"As I said, you would either let him go, or you wouldn't. He was leaving no matter what."
It maddens him with frustration, every little thing that she refuses him. So he strikes, the only way he can that will not send her further away. "You should have gone with him," he says, and oh, how much and how hard he means it. If only she had left with Tyler—it would have been so easy, all these pesky decisions he wouldn't be making on an hourly basis, against the instincts screaming from every fibre of his being. "You and Tyler wouldn't be the first, love." On the run. Because of him. "He's the only other hybrid in this world, and you're resourceful. Perhaps you would have made it long enough to get your hands on the leverage, like Katerina—"
She cuts him off with a spit of fire: "I didn't want to go with Tyler—"
—the blow paralyzes him; punches the breath off his lungs—
"—and I don't want to run from you."
And then he notices, dark veins pulled tight around her gorgeous bloodshot eyes. And so he turns his eyes to the windshield, searching for a nearby rest area or a deserted back road. The conversation has made her hungry, it seems; and who is he to ever deny her?
She's still sipping idly from her blood bag when they cross the sign. Ten miles to go before they reach the hidden-away small town where his brother and the doppelganger should be waiting for them. Elijah, Katerina, and the cure; and with them, Klaus's final and greatest compromise.
His time alone and confined with Caroline is running out, and he finds himself strangely, and pathetically, at a loss for words. It's a foreign feeling, among many, tht he isn't yet used to; and so it makes him bite his own tongue insistently, drawing blood—perhaps so he does not utter his thoughts like a love-fool slave.
Her whisper reverberates in the car as low and trembling as the words she spoke on the recent fateful night that he watched her life rot away in her veins, burnt away by the venom that has poisoned his own body for over a thousand years. He almost flinches like a young and feeble boy, cowered by the overpowering rage of his father.
"—I thought that maybe it'd be okay, that I didn't want to leave with Tyler, if only I could save him in return. That if you showed mercy, then it'd be okay I just can't let you go."
He doesn't want to hear—
The last time she gasped out a confession just like this, he was henceforth doomed.
She won her life back from him, and with tomorrow, he gave himself away.
So now he refuses to hear, and he refuses to think of what he hadn't known, before the ending of this journey. Focuses instead on the tragic irony of their situation, the words grinding their way out of his clenched teeth. "But you don't believe that I showed mercy."
Her head turns violently to him, her teeth barely letting go of the bag before she blurts, so angry, "Is also a head start, what you've promised to Elijah?"
He sinks his eyes into her, and shakes his head. "My sister has wanted to be human for over nine hundred years, Caroline. It is time I release from the coerced oath I made her swear before my mother's grave."
Caroline dares huff, unmoved. "Which conveniently for you means we'll lose the one and only chance we have to kill you."
"Conveniently," he concedes, knowing for a fact he'll always be better at sophisms just like this. "Which means I will owe my life to Katerina. Quid pro quo, love."
"So no mercy, then," she smiles, looking so sad that he has to look away. "Just like Tyler."
Just like Tyler, he nods. "He, not unlike Katerina before him, took away the one thing I had spent centuries longing for."
"You could force the cure down her throat, couldn't you? You'd be safe, you'd undo her original transgression, and you'd have as many hybrids as you could make."
"And so I would undo, and thus forgive, Tyler's affront?" He turns his eyes back to her, smiling in pride and desire and admiration. How much and how long he'd worship at her altar, were she to ever allow him. "I've thought about it, I won't lie. But family above all, Caroline. I owe it to Rebekah, for the pain that I've selfishly caused her over the centuries, and I'm indebted to Elijah for his loyalty, as he would have handed me over the woman he loved so I could kill her; there is honour in revenge, after all. And yes, I believe that Elijah could easily learn to love a human doppelganger from afar—would hardly be the first time now, would it?—but I'm afraid I would have to drain Katerina dry on the spot or, believe me, she'd find a way to turn herself back in a matter of seconds."
He hasn't seen so many people over the centuries, possessed with the unyielding courage needed to turn oneself. But even among the uniqueness of the doppelgangers—Katerina was always the most special specimen. If only circumstances had been any different, he knows, they might have become such great friends, he and she.
But circumstances are what they are—and his life has played itself out to crown him first and bring him down here, and now—
—with Caroline's baby-blue eyes glistening with furious, unshed tears of want and hatred and impotence as she curses him. "I will never forgive you," she promises, in blood (cross her head and die). "If you kill Tyler, I will never forgive you."
"And yet," he mutters, almost to himself. "Here you are."
(She loves me. She loves me not. She loves me. She loves me not.)
One single tear falls down her cheek. "It's not okay," she whimpers—
—and he cracks open, once again; rocklike melted into quicksand.
He parks right in front of the little cardboard-like house with the rotting yellow swing, just as Elijah's directions had instructed. Swallowing the habit, he doesn't waste a glance inspecting the property, examining the surrounding area for exists and blind spots. He trusts Elijah's judgement, and that is why he's here; so as he turns the key off the ignition, his hand finds the handle—but Caroline stops him, her small brittle fingers curled around his forearm, and he realizes, painfully—
—this is the first time she has touched him since she woke up in his arms. Alive again against all predictions.
"What happens now?"
He frowns at her, genuinely puzzled because he's certain that he's made the plan clear several times already. "We take the cure from Katerina and we bring it to Rebekah."
She raises an eyebrow, and for a second it seems to him like all is forgiven. How big a fool he is, isn't he? To his credit, she even rolls her eyes at him—"If your brother isn't stupid, he won't trust you."
He smiles, takes her up on her challenge and covers her hand with his. "As I said, that is why you're here, sweetheart. You'll make sure that I don't go back on my word."
It's a part of his design to be reformed. In fact, it is the only part that exists, of any reform plan whatsoever: Caroline holding his hand through every (bad) decision that he makes even though he regrets them beforehand, be that mercy or quid pro quo. Of course, she has a point. Elijah doesn't know, cannot even suspect that Klaus might ever be so foolish so as to care—
—and perhaps that's why, in spite of the unexpectedness, Klaus isn't very surprised when Elijah opens the front door of the foreclosed house with a tight smile, only to reveal inside an entire party of people.
Waiting for them.
Thank you so much for reading! Drop me a line if you have comments or suggestions or anything you want to tell me.
I'll try to have Part 2 up before Thursday, but I can't make any promises. Regarding the last chapter of WAI, well - Chapter 5 didn't get a great response, so I'm trying to come up with something cool so the ending doesn't bore people to tears. I'll take a bit yet.
Thank you again for all your support! I hearts you!