Hello guys! This fic is my own version of this season's ending for Klaus and Caroline and as such it is based on the following hypotheses:
1) Hayley and Katherine are working together; they've managed to get a hold of the cure, and now they'll try to broker a deal with Klaus: their freedom in exchange for the cure.
2) Tyler is coming back to Mystic Falls at some point.
3) Klaus and Caroline will have sex right before the prom.
4) Klaus will leave for New Orleans right after the prom.
This fic is canon complaint and as usual, just a way for me to make sense of canon and come to terms with it—even with the parts of it that I really wish wouldn't happen. Still, I'm a canon-compliant fic writer, and this is how I deal. However, I try to make the best of all the curve balls canon may throw us, so I hope you guys will find something in here to enjoy.
Thank you so much for reading!
It's impossibly easy for him to trail down the Lockwood boy.
It has to be, right? The boy may be a hybrid, but he's still a pup. Klaus has been hunted himself for over a thousand years; hunted down so many others, too. He knows all the tricks, all the short-cuts, and Tyler Lockwood has barely half an hour on him, once the spell cast by the Bennett witch dissipates.
So Klaus tracks him down.
He follows and watches and waits. Asks the right questions and keeps tabs on him when the search for the cure derails him into small town Pennsylvania.
He's almost missed the Lady Petrova. Can't say the same of the werewolf girl but, as if turns out—both come conveniently in handy. He's a man of business with a quick hand and so he finds himself on his way back home soon enough.
He keeps the ace up his sleeve, hands clean for once.
He knows, the information on the Lockwood boy's whereabouts will serve him well one day. Klaus can be a patient man and keep a cold head on his shoulders when needs must. He will not kill him yet, for obvious reasons, but that doesn't mean that he won't enjoy every last second of having him leave in fear, fleeing, never settling. Forever alone and forever scared.
The punishment, Klaus is a firm believer, should always match the crime.
He's finding out—predictably, he'll concede—that he's a man rather possessive in his affections. So he rather enjoys the torture until—
—the morning after; for the fates are cruel such as they are.
And this, oh damn, is the tragedy of love, if you ask Klaus. The little that he's learned in the short time he's been afflicted by such a lethal condition.
He finds himself with no choice but to go meet the boy after Elijah informs him of the situation. Centuries before due time—he sees Tyler Lockwood again. For indeed he finds himself with no choice but to brood and ruminate, but eventually grant the reluctant pardon that is indebted to the rebellious creature that Klaus crafted with his own hands—
—for the sake of the girl who's poisoned his rotten soul.
"You're letting me go back to Mystic Falls?" the boy asks, full of arrogant scepticism.
Klaus gives him credit for the careless reckless courage. He isn't running and he hasn't wet his trousers; he hasn't even gone too far yet. He stands in front of him, unafraid, and dares raise a conceited eyebrow in cynical mistrust. Meanwhile the busy city bustles outside, dim neon lights seeping through the half-closed blinds. Klaus doesn't find it in him to even smile malevolent. The cure has gone down Silas's throat, restoring the balance of the universe; the werewolf and the doppelganger have been forgiven—quid pro quo. An eye for an eye.
He should be a free man, should he?
But the courtiers are revolting. His kingdom trembles beneath the ground that he treads. The waters are rising over the shores and soon, soon, the rivers will flow bright and red with blood.
No one can know about Caroline.
No one. Not now. Not until—
Klaus's eyes rise sluggish, exhausted as he sucks in Tyler's impatient glare. Still, he wills his dark pupils to dilate and dictate: "You will protect Caroline with the sorry excuse of an immortal, nearly indestructible life that I gave you," he compels, voice low and firm and full of barely-repressed anger—his mind has been wiped blank, because he know, he knows—he can never fully take back what he is giving away.
But Tyler is a hybrid. His hybrid. Just a pack of compelled vampires to keep an eye on her are not enough. But Tyler—
—all the men and monsters in the world will never be enough to keep her safe, for as long as she remains out of his sight. He knows. But no one can know that she exists, this young insignificant small-town vampire who has found lodge inside his dead heart—until his throne has been secured.
In the meantime, the boy—
—the boy scoffs, and he sounds imprudently ecstatic. "You think I need compulsion to protect my girlfriend?"
Klaus turns away from him.
He doesn't want to look at the boy when he says—"Love fades"—as a means of explanation; but he can't resist the urge to turn his head one last time before abandoning the abandoned building. At last, he doesn't find it so hard to smirk with as much malice as he can gather in half a second. He makes sure his eyes are gleaming with malevolence when he adds: "I hope."
All day long, he hasn't been able to rinse off the taste of her on his tongue.
A fast twirl, a slight misstep, and Caroline trips and falls right into Klaus's arms. He spins her around with familiar grace, his strong arm anchored over the small of her back as his free hand twines in hers.
He pulls her in and she stomps on his foot without notice or palliative. "What are you doing here!?" She hisses, eyes glaring daggers. "We agreed that you wouldn't be showing your evil face at my prom and—"
His eyes are wide and serious and Caroline trembles. Perhaps because he's right here, his chest pressed to hers and they haven't been this close in a few hours, since he allowed her to sneak out of his bed and pretend like she didn't know he was very much awake—being for one oh, so considerate in his usual creepiness. Perhaps—perhaps it's not that at all. Perhaps she only trembles because his voice sounds so sad and serious; nothing like the light-hearted tone ringing through his words when he showed up at her house, before even breakfast time, all wide smiles and flirty winks as he promised her a drama-free prom night; because apparently that's how nice Klaus is after he gets laid. She deserved a night just to herself, he said. She deserved to have fun with her friends and squeeze out every drop of enjoyment she has left of her teenage high-school life.
One night. Careless and uncomplicated. One night to pretend she hadn't done what she had done, barely twenty four hours ago—
What the hell is he doing here?
The unvoiced question must be clear as daylight in her eyes, because before Caroline can notice that he's moving, or before she can begin to really freak out—they're not dancing anymore, or looking as if, and his hand has moved up to grab her forearm and he's dragging her out and away from the crowd. He doesn't flash her out of the gym, like she's half expecting him to, but by the time they've reached the deserted bleachers she is sure that they might have walked at a slightly-faster-than-human pace.
He stops moving with a jerk, eyes frantic and nervous—and so the freaking out begins.
"What's going on?"
She shakes his hand off with a violent shove of her arm because the tight grip of his fingers on her skin is making her flash back; despite the rush and the nagging voice in the back of her head telling her, this isn't good this isn't good this isn't good —that Klaus has come to find her in the middle of prom, and now her night of fun and oblivion and denial and pretending like she didn't just freaking fucked him last night… is over and done for. Now he is here right in front of her and all she can do is think of it. Her back pressed to a quaking column in his ridiculous mansion, and her stupid childish summer dress rolled up on her waist because whatever happened to graceful and seductive was lost in the pull of his hands trailing up the insides of her thighs, his fingers hard and long and so fucking hot inside her underwear before she was even ready to start processing the mess she was getting herself into.
—his eyes are finally still, holding hers in. He won't let her look away, the bastard, and she's actually freaking blushing, and he—
—he isn't even wearing a suit.
"I know I said I wouldn't bother you tonight," he speaks at last, lips twitching apologetically. "But…" His voice vanishes unexpectedly, and Caroline frowns, beginning to genuinely worry. The mad thought that maybe he's just going to say something cheesy like, he can go through another minute without having her again crosses her mind and despite the momentary ew, it comes as a strange kind of comfort. She's starting to worry about the alternative, especially when his eyes fall to the ground and he breathes in before continuing, "Something's come up, Caroline. I'm leaving town. Tonight."
She tries to combine a smile of cautious relief and a frown of legitimate puzzlement, and it comes out in the form of a weird silly sound climbing up her throat. "O-kay?" She decides to stick with the smile. "Where're you going?"
Not that she cares, mind you.
Just—it's the natural flow of a polite conversation and Caroline is a great conversationalist. She can't really help herself from asking but now she's wishes she'd found a way because his eyes are still evading hers and he's flinching away, muttering under his breath—"Not sure I should tell you that"—and then—
—she is curious, okay? But she knows better than insisting so she nods, still politely cold an detached because Caroline was never that great at one-night-stands with evil original hybrids who might or might not be in love with her, so—she doesn't press him, and instead only whispers, "Okay."
His eyes look up to hers, at last; he tries a smile, but it cracks and falls somewhere in between his lips and his only half-enthralled gaze. Caroline gulps down the lump in her throat and waits for him to say, "I… I won't be back. Not in the foreseeable future, I'm afraid, and I—well, it's considered bad manners to leave without saying goodbye," he stutters, sort of pathetically. "I'm sorry I crashed your party, I won't keep you—"
He's actually turned away and he's dodging her before he's done talking and Caroline can't for the life of her believe his nerve. So she moves without thinking and flashes, grabbing his elbow and using the momentum of her speed to manoeuvre him into looking at her. Because he so doesn't get to drop a bomb like that and then walk out on her without any sort of explanation. Excuse her entitlement, but c'est la freaking vie.
"Hey, what's going on?" Her eyes narrow when she feels an unexpected surge of anger beginning to boil beneath her skin. "Is this because of what happened last night? Because if it is, I have to ask. In what kind of messed-up world it's you running for the hills and not me who's—"
Immediately his hands find her waist and he pulls her closer—so close and so fast that Caroline's words catch in her throat and her heart misses a beat and again her mind flashes back to him and her on his bed; muscle memories overwhelm her: the touch of his fingertips, light as feathers but so insistent. The taste of his tongue down her throat. The rush of his blood pouring into her mouth. The feel of him inside her, above her, around her… everywhere she dared look and breathe and touch.
"Caroline…" Her name caresses her mouth as he rests his forehead against hers, the hold of his hands tightening as if he too is remembering. Caroline is sure he is, and she hates it, that despite how hard she screams to herself that it was a mistake, her traitorous inhuman body will never agree.
So much for getting him out of her system.
"It's not about that, love," he whispers, his deep voice back to sounding like fine velvet on her skin, dark and bittersweet like chocolate fudge on her tongue. "I understand that you needed—"
A supernaturally good fuck?
To connect emotionally in the cheapest fastest easiest way possible with a soulless monster?
To feel wanted? To be loved?
To ruin her eternal life forever by willingly complicating her already-pretty- messed-up-indeed-thank-you-very-much disaster of a relationship with the one man she will never outlive or outgrow or manage to actually shake off?
Or maybe just—
She needed him, and not just anyone. That's the new and improved version of needy Caroline for you. Give her credit for lack of clinginess and sexual initiative and a head held high while she snuck out on him.
He pulls away like he can read her mind. "An old protégé of mine has gone off the rails," he says, voice cool and neutral because he is talking business now. "He's crowned himself King of my kingdom, and now he and a few disloyal high-rankers are scheming to bring me down."
"Bring you down?" Caroline blurts, blatantly more shocked than she would like to admit to. "You mean like, they're trying to kill you?"
He smiles, finally; perhaps pleasantly surprised that she almost sounds worried for his sake. "Well, I turned Marcel personally. I'd like to think he's better informed than that if he's trying to be king of anything. I suppose they just mean to overthrow me, hurt me somehow. Two of my brothers are dead, my plan to create an army of hybrids backfired on me," he shrugs, his eyes conveniently flickering away from her at the mention of the hybrids fiasco. "Vampires talk, Caroline. I suppose they believe it's easier to get me in a more… vulnerable position these days."
"How?" She frowns, her stomach lurching because her stomach in an asshole. "You used the cure to kill Silas and—"
He smirks. "There are many powerful witches in the Old South, love."
"So that is where you're going?" she jumps; not far, she realizes as an uninvited traitorous smile pulls at her lips. They're already in the Old South. "I was suspecting something more like, the Old World."
He tilts his head, grins a tiny little soft smile, and leans closer. "I can't give you anything more specific right now, sweetheart. You understand, don't you?" His face grows serious in a millisecond; jaw set and eyes hard and thundering like storm clouds. His hand reaches up to her face, one long finger curling around a loose whirl of blond hair. "No one can know you exist, Caroline."
It hits her like a rock crushing down on her chest.
The tip of his finger is tracing a long sow line down her neck and she remembers, she can still feel: hands fierce and relentless fisted on her hair as he kissed her, long and hard and deep, melting her dead flesh inside out until she felt herself disappear underneath the weight of his chest pressed tightly against hers. No one can know you exist, Caroline. She opens her eyes to his now, and she locks her gaze on his moonlit blue eyes—and she knows it's coming. She's been here before. Resisting is pointless, she knows that, but when tears pool in her gaze she still hopes stupidly that they will deflect the power of his rocklike eyes.
But then she remembers, with a whimper—
—there's vervain in the water.
He can't take the memories away.
The echoes of his hands on her skin, his taste on her mouth, the pressure of his tongue between her thighs—will haunt her. Forever. She will never get him out now and she wishes—oh, how she wishes that the thought of always remembering didn't elate her the way it does. In spite of the fear surging through her veins.
"It was just one night," she whispers to herself, pretending he can't hear her.
In response he lets go of her hair and takes a step backwards. "Maybe," he half-agrees, his voice faltering through an awkward cough, "you can make yourself believe that… with time."
She can't see his expression because she refuses to open her eyes. She nods in assurance, eyelids clenched, squeezing the unwelcome tears back in. "One night and like, two dances."
He chuckles, and again she feels his hands relapsing, too weak to resist. This time they close on her hips and he tugs her closer—so close that she has to rest her hands on his shoulders so they aren't trapped in the collapse of their bodies. His dark low laugh brushes her lips when he says. "We both know it was a lot more than that, Caroline."
She doesn't nod. She doesn't sigh. She doesn't cry. She forces her voice to come out clear and steady when she asks him, eyes still squeezed shut, "What now?"
"Now…" His fingers are mindlessly doodling above her hipbones, as he rolls between his knuckles the soft silky fabric of her dress. She bites down the urge to arch her back and encourage his hands upwards, one last time. Instead she keeps her eyes closed and exhales when he finally sets her free. "Now you stay here, sweetheart. Graduate high school, go to college, if you want. Be with your mum, have fun with your friends. Live your life, Caroline. You'll be okay, I promise you."
She finally manages a nod, and then her eyes are wide open and the tears are falling before she can do anything to stop them. His eyes are dark and moist, too—and when at last he steps away, one hand still clings to her elbow, refusing to let go completely. He whispers, "I'll let you know when it's safe"—
—and at first, she doesn't understand what he means at all.
It's just—it's so hard to concentrate on what he is saying when she feels so overwhelmed by the dizzying effects of déjà-vu. She's wanted a life free of Klaus since the very second that she started wanting him in her life, desperately, and now it is finally happening. She should be relieved and grateful but all she feels is this terrible, soul-devouring emptiness. Like she's a pumpkin and someone is carving out her flesh and bones for Halloween. She feels like she's been here before—saying goodbye for her own good; letting go with no regrets. Her dad. Tyler. Klaus. It's a privilege, they all say—that she got the chance to say goodbye.
But into whose evil arms will she fall down now?
I'll let you know when it's safe.
He's almost walked away when she reacts, again flashing to him, again grabbing his arm and forcing him to look into her eyes when she asks, all in: "What do you mean?"
His smile is beautiful and tragic. "I'll wait for you, love."
—he turns away and Caroline can't do anything but pull him back in, twist him around like they're back on the dance floor, and press her mouth to his, open and fierce and tasting like the salt of her tears and still like him, from last night. He kisses her back just like she remembers—like she won't be able to ever forget now; all hands and teeth and bruising lips, so hard and fast and desperate that she loses herself somewhere in the empty space where she ends and he begins. So she just lets him do until he's satisfied and panting and, in the end, when he finally allows her to pull away, she's shaking like a leaf, heart pampering madly against her ribcage—and he's drunk each and every tear that she's ever cried.
"You can't just say something like that," she mutters when she regains her breath. I will wait for you. It's not even the first time that he has let her know that he's in for the long run and she better catch up someday—but it's different now that she's had a taste and he's in her veins and she knows she cannot ever forget. Even if he found a way to compel her. She's looking into his eyes now, abysmal as they are, and she knows—she knows—that she will always remember. So she insists, this close to pouting. "You just can't."
He kisses her forehead and pulls away slowly. "One night, two dances, and a kiss," he smiles, so tender. "Goodbye, Caroline."
And just like that—
—he disappears into the night.
Caroline wraps her arms around herself, shivering as if with cold.
Rebekah leaves two weeks later, the day right after their graduation.
Caroline hears from Stefan, who has the cheek of granting himself one last night of fun and pleasure and almost-love with an old-time romance, to say goodbye the proper way. Caroline wrinkles her pretty little nose in mock disgust and rolls her eyes at him, because imagine that—easy no-strings-attached sex with an original, right? But still she finds her way into Rebekah's room right after she's closing her suitcase, ready to leave and guess what?
She's got no excuse.
No wonder that Rebekah has the nerve to laugh in Caroline's face. "Came to say goodbye? How polite of you, Caroline," she snarks, tossing her hair glamorously over her shoulder the way Rebekah does. "Never thought you cared so much about me."
The comment and the implication ringing beneath leave Caroline pissed and frustrated, with nothing to say but the truth. And so she chooses to cut the crap because there's no point, really. She asks, voice relaxed and unaffected. "New Orleans?"
Two words. It's all it takes.
Perhaps it's true what Stefan always says about Rebekah's big softy heart, because she seems to take pity on Carline almost immediately. Shrugging with an easy smile, she pulls the gigantic suitcase off the bed without a hint of an effort and walks closer to Caroline. "Elijah called," she explains, matter-of-factly, "Things have settled there, it seems. Fires' been put out and Nik's enemies are back in their rightful place of obedience and eternal servitude," she rolls her eyes. "Story of my life, really."
Caroline almost smiles at that. "Good," she says, swallowing down a breath of relief that she wasn't anticipating. It's not like she ever doubted that—
"It's not safe for you to be there, though," Rebekah adds quickly, eyes wide like maybe she's said too much, too fast. She sounds like a scared bratty five year old when she exclaims, "You can't come!"
Caroline feels her eyes pushing to jump out of their sockets. "What!?"
What in the world might have given Rebekah the idea that she wants—
He and Caroline are trying but—
He appeared at Caroline's doorstep two days after the prom. She had been frantic the minute she saw him, terrified that this was it—he was going to die. Rebekah was still in town and Caroline isn't stupid. She can put two and two together and she has no doubt that Klaus promising that she'd be okay entails more than a pair of eyes watching her every move. It's creepy and disturbing and she hates him for it almost as much as she hates him for leaving after branding her with a thousand vivid memories of him crawling in her skin—which is totally her fault, but not the point.
Tyler had hugged her tight and assured her that it was fine, Klaus was letting him go. She had hugged him back just as tight and missed the arms of another around her and now—
—they are trying.
Caroline wouldn't dream of leaving with Rebekah. She'd never do that to Tyler—or to herself. Besides, Klaus told her that he'd let her know—
"My brother's position is a bit delicate still," Rebekah explains reluctantly, immobile in the middle of the room and shifting from one foot to another. She points to Caroline like maybe she can make her understand the gravity of the situation without so many words but, when Caroline only huffs in annoyance because why in the world is she having this conversation with Rebekah of all people?—she sighs. "You have to understand, Caroline. In a thousand years my family's faced many ordeals but we've never found ourselves in a situation quite like this before. Nik falling in love with a young fragile vampire is just not something we ever thought we'd have to deal with and now we have to find a way to protect—"
"Okay! Hold your horses there, will you?" Caroline interrupts her, one hand raised as if, in spite of her sass, she was actually begging for mercy because if Rebekah doesn't shut up now and starts minding her own business, she is going to cry or scream or run away or something. "I just wanted a quick update on the Louisiana front and hey, glad to hear things are working out fine. Great. I'll go now, then. Drive safe, okay? Oh—" she adds at the last minute, remembering, "I am not fragile, got it?"
She doesn't wait for an answer.
She's practically out the front door, fuming—when Rebekah apparates into the lobby, startling the daylights out of Caroline. "Sure you don't want me to pass on a message?"
Caroline gapes like a fish for at least a couple of minutes. She opens her mouth to say no, thank you very much, stay out of my life, but then she thinks better of it and closes it. Then she opens it again, a silent reproach tilting on the tip of her tongue because really, who does Rebekah think she is or what does she think she knows or—ugh. Caroline wants to punch her in the face but hey, the girl's finally leaving town, isn't she? With her and her brother gone, maybe things will go back to normal and quiet for a while (yeah, sure). Caroline is glad and hopeful about that. She and Tyler are trying and an eternity is a really long time to figure out who she is and what she wants in life and whether or not she is willing to live without Klaus for as long as forever takes.
It's too soon, Caroline knows. It's far too soon.
So she forces herself to calm down and leave aside her rightful indignation and her not so rightful mortification at every little thing that Rebekah is assuming, and offers a kind and sweet smile of goodbye. "Just tell him I'm glad he got to keep his throne."
She's glad that he's okay.
Message received, Rebekah nods briskly, eyes twitching sort of deviously when she returns Caroline's smile before closing the door behind her.
"See you soon, Caroline."
Caroline can only roll her eyes, huffing, "Seriously?"—all the way to her car.
What do you think, guys?
As always, thank you very very much for taking the time to read. Don't hesitate to leave me a review or pm me if you have any comments!
And if you want to read more, check out the multi-chaptered sequel to this story: Mardi Gras