New Story! Remember that time I said I was gonna take a break? HA! Well I guess I took a little break.
So here we have a hybrid (pardon the pun) of two things I love. Klaroline and Sherlock Holmes. Since I'm working on some original stuff, writing this fic has allowed me to double up my research efforts because some of the stuff here I can apply to my more personal projects.
First, let it be known, you do NOT have to be a Sherlock Holmes fan to enjoy this fic. This idea was born after I started watching/becoming obsessed with Elementary..but I'm a lover of the BBC series, the American series, the books, the films, etc. So I'll be appropriating a lot into this fic. But there will be a fresh plot. It won't just be a retelling of a mystery we've seen on the show or in the movies.
Second, I've never written crime/mystery before. So I'm stretching my legs into parts unknown. Bare with me!
Third, there WILL be romance. Come on...it's me. If you've read my stories before, you know how I do.
So welcome new readers, hello old! Let's have some fun :)
*** General Disclaimer: I'm not a psychologist, detective, consulting detective, doctor or super genius. Most of my knowledge come from wikipedia and google and weird things I read online. I'm just a humble fangirl. I do not own TVD or Sherlock Holmes.
No one ever knows how he or she will react, staring down the barrel of a gun. It's a thing most people don't ever have to face. They read about it in books or see it in movies. It's an experience removed from them. Most people don't imagine that the last thing they'll hear is a click as someone decides their time is up. The last thing they'll smell is whiff of smoke and fire. The last thing they'll see is the wink of a bullet as it runs toward them like a train.
No. It'll never happen to them. They're safe. Those things happen to other people far away. People they don't know. Sometimes they see a story in the paper; someone murdered because of money, adultery, fear, revenge…their skin crawls and they say "oh how tragic" then continue to sip their morning coffee and nibble at a piece of toast that's just a little burnt. It's one of those things that no one ever imagines happening to them.
Until one day, it does.
"No," the man begged. "Please, you don't have to do this."
The day had started out normal. He awoke at the sound of his alarm, shaved, kissed his wife on the cheek, went to work, had a sandwich for lunch, thought about his weekend, got frustrated with his boss, breathed a sigh of relief when it was time to head home.
Before he could utter another word, the trigger was pulled.
The click. The smell. The world went into slow motion and sped up all at once. There was no more time to blink, to think, to say anything else. His life was over. Ending in a place he had never imagined it would cut off.
The silent bullet from the gun flicked through the air and ripped into his chest. The force of the pain knocked him back, sending him tripping over his coffee table, crashing through the glass.
His last thoughts were a mystery, his last words died in his throat, as his eyes glazed over. The last thing he would ever see would be the feet of his killer walking away.
A Murder in Bohemia
Caroline awoke with a start. Her back was aching and she could feel wetness, from drool, at the corner of her mouth. As she came to, she looked around and realized she was not in her bed. She wasn't even in her bedroom. In fact, she wasn't in any bedroom. She was in a lecture hall, the eyes of her classmates staring at her with mixed emotions…some amused, some horrified, some expectant. At the front of the room, from her seventh row seat, she also caught the irritated gaze of her professor.
She sat up quickly, wiping at the corner of her mouth.
"Miss Forbes," her professor shook his head with a sigh, "see me after class."
Caroline nodded and the lecture continued, her classmates returning their attention back to the front of the room one by one. Caroline slumped in her seat, knowing her face was beat red. Thanks to her unplanned nap though she couldn't follow what the Professor was talking about. The scribbling on the chalkboard didn't make any sense to her. The class laughed at some joke…a reference that sleeping Caroline had missed out on. Still, she made an effort to take diligent notes, typing furiously into her laptop hoping that maybe her visible effort would earn her back a few likability points with her professor.
Once the class was over, she packed up her things and made her way down the steps to the front of the room, where Professor Shane was waiting for her. The professor wasn't a stern man. He was actually very nice, which made Caroline all that more guilty for falling asleep in class.
Atticus Shane was younger than most of her professors, in his mid-thirties, with a head of unruly black curls. He was handsome in the nerd sort of way that many young academics were-a sort of squint and you can see his inner Brad Pitt sort of thing. Not that Caroline was spending any time fantasizing about the man, but she had overheard a couple girls in her class making comments about his attractiveness level. His eyes held that same amount of tiredness that she noticed in most teachers. A few wrinkles around the corners that gave away the mask of enthusiasm they often wore when class was in session. Those wrinkles didn't do anything to assuage Caroline's guilt over her accidental snooze.
Professor Shane looked up from his lectern, where he had begun to collect his own belongings, and met Caroline's eyes. She stopped, and attempted to give him the most apologetic look she could muster.
"I'm really sorry I—"
But he held up a hand to stop her.
"Miss Forbes I don't care to hear excuses," he said. He turned to the chalkboard and began erasing his notes. Caroline always thought it was weird that he still used the board, unlike other teachers who had embraced PowerPoint and technology. Shane was old fashioned for his age. "I've had you in my class before. I remember you from my Intro course a couple years ago."
"Yeah," Caroline confirmed, "Fall semester before last."
"Brilliant writing," Shane said. "I recall you being one of the best students in my class. You seemed to have a thorough grasp and interest in the subject. I was really hoping I would see you join the department as a major."
"Thank you." She smiled. This was going better than she thought it would.
"I can't say the same for your work in this class however." Just like a roller-coaster, Caroline's good mood plummeted as quickly as it had risen. "You've kept up with assignments and grades, attended lectures, but you seem to just be going through the motions. I don't recognize the same passion that you seemed to have possessed two years ago."
"I'm really sorry about falling asleep," Caroline attempted her apology again. "I've just been up late…I have this new job…"
Again, Shane interrupted her. "Caroline, I can forgive a slip up, but this doesn't seem to be a slip up. It seems to be a symptom of a larger issue."
"I promise," she said, "it's a one time thing."
"You're considering graduate school I assume?" Caroline nodded. In another year she would be finished with her bachelor's degree. It had taken her almost six years just to obtain that. Working full time and going to school full time had been a difficult venture. Not to mention, finding ways to fund her education. Between financial aid and scholarships, she was able to scrape by every semester, but it usually meant only being able to take a couple courses at a time or making up their difference over the summer.
Which was why she was standing in the middle of a lecture hall in June. A new source of funding had allowed her to take this extra course, which would put her that much closer to her degree.
"I recommend that you think long and hard, before you decide to commit any more time to this field of study," Shane said.
"What do you mean?"
"You can't just go through the motions when it comes to philosophy or psychology, you need to be active. It's a competitive area, especially when you enter the graduate level of study. It's not meant to wander through aimlessly."
"I know," Caroline said, "I realize this. But I've been studying for six years. I think I know what I'm doing and what I want out of my academic career."
"Can I ask what brought you to this path of study?"
"It interested me."
"Interested you," Shane repeated with a click of his tongue, " 'passion, though a bad regulator can be a powerful spring,'" He set the eraser back down in the chalkboard tray and walked back to where Caroline was standing by the lectern. "Emerson," he said, explaining his quote. "You should be more excited about what you study. I don't see that excitement from you-that passionate curiosity-if you don't feel that passion then perhaps this isn't the place for you."
Caroline fixed him with a determined gaze. She had heard it before. People saw her blonde hair, blue eyes, and bright smile and assumed she was lost when she was at the library perusing the reference section. Her fellow classmates would look at her and think that she should be with the fashion majors or some other quote-unquote girly major. Men she had dated always assumed that she was a yoga instructor or dancer or inspiring actress. No one guessed that she was a psychology major, with a minor in philosophy.
In was frustrating, but Caroline was used to being underestimated.
It just stung a lot more when someone she halfway admired was doing it.
"Don't doze off in my class again Miss Forbes," Shane said, punctuating his command with a pointed look.
Caroline nodded, taking the tilt of his head and the look in his eye as the end of their discussion and made her way out of the classroom.
It was a hot summer day in the middle of Chicago. Caroline slipped on a pair of sunglasses as she made her way onto the street, messenger bag slung over her shoulder. Attending Williamson University was unlike other college experiences she assumed most people her age had. For one, the University was in the middle of a city, surrounded by tall skyscrapers and busy people. Most students exited their classrooms and walked across a grassy quad and were surrounded by people playing Frisbee and chatting about sorority life. Here, she left her classes and walked out onto the bustling sidewalk, passing businessmen with their expensive coffees, cabs honking in anger at the traffic, and a few bums begging for spare change.
She could hear her cell phone ringing from inside the pouch on her bag's strap and flipped it open to retrieve. A look at the caller ID told her it was her friend, Lexi Branson, calling.
"Good morning," Caroline said, her voice cheery, not reflecting any of the worry that was still plaguing her from her conversation with Professor Shane.
"Afternoon, you mean," Lexi replied. "What are you up to?"
"Just got out of class, headed over to Lincoln Park to meet my new client."
"Oh," Lexi said, "I was gonna see if you wanted to grab lunch. I guess I missed the window."
The window. That was what they called their time in between jobs. It meant the window of time in which they were actually allowed to have their own lives and do whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted.
Caroline would have loved to go join Lexi for lunch, but she couldn't. She was due across town in thirty minutes to meet her new client. Lexi was one of the only people, aside from Caroline's mother, who knew what she did for work. It was difficult to keep up a social life in between her job and her classes. She was also contractually required to keep most of what she did confidential. So telling people that she wouldn't be able to see them for almost six weeks on end at odd times throughout the year made the endeavor of maintaining friendships rather difficult. Lexi was the one person she could usually speak to about it, because she was in a similar line of work.
They were both sober companions.
It had started about two years ago. Waiting tables wasn't making Caroline enough money and she didn't have the time to commit to a temp job or anything else full time. Lexi, a friend from a study group mentioned her work as a sober companion.
"I think you would be great at it Caroline," Lexi had said, "you're kind and compassionate and patient. Plus having a psychology background doesn't hurt. You'll be able to denote behaviors and react to them and help your clients through them."
Caroline had become even more intrigued when Lexi mentioned that she made $700 a day for six weeks of work. She did the mental math and realized that would give her enough to pay her bills and still be able to take classes.
The timing was perfect too. Lexi was able to set her up with her first client, the brother of Lexi's current client at the time. She explained that it was sometimes ineffectual for family members to have the same sober companions, because it could create conflicts of interest.
Caroline had had a few different clients since then, male and female, all with various forms of addictions. Some of them had relapsed, while others had moved on and continued to thrive in their recovery. Lexi had explained to Caroline that it wasn't always a measure of her success of failure if someone relapsed. In the end, a person could only do so much. It was her responsibility to be that buffer between rehab and the real world that most addicts needed.
Caroline hopped on the blue line train, heading north, to meet her new client. She would be living with him for the next six weeks. Sometimes it was odd, living with a complete stranger, especially when it was a man. Caroline had taken the initiative to protect herself. She hadn't had any clients yet who had displayed physical types of aggression toward her, but she knew it was always a possibility. After her first experience as a sober companion, she decided it would be wise to perhaps invest in a small tube of pepper spray to carry around with her, just in case. Fighting wasn't really her thing, so she bypassed the idea of a self-defense course.
These thoughts brought her back around to her new client. He was a heroin addict, with a history of violent behavior and paranoia. His brother, who had hired her via email correspondence, had explained to her that rehab had been part of his sentencing after he nearly beat a man to death with a metal chair.
"My concern is that my brother has no true interest in leading a sober life," he had told her, "I'm hoping that you can help assess this for me while also encouraging him to stay clean."
It was an odd case. Caroline hadn't worked with someone before who didn't actually, on some level, have some desire to beat his or her addiction. She wondered if that was at all true about her client. After an awakening experience of nearly killing someone and a long stint in a rehab facility, certainly something must have sunk into his psyche. At least…she hoped.
Caroline got off the train and headed down the platform, looking at the map she had pulled up on her phone. Chicago was a diverse city, where almost every neighborhood had it's own personality. Sometimes, though that personality didn't make any sense. She found herself in one of Chicago's "hipper" neighborhoods, its denizens skewing younger. Here she found more tattoos and wilder fashions than she did around her lakeside apartment. Vintage shops and record stores were located right next to trendy, clean, fine dining restaurants. Graffiti'ed walls grabbed her attention and the sidewalks were littered with discards fliers for new local bands playing at a nearby basement venue. Yet, around the corner, were quaint neighborhood streets where mothers strolled along with their children and kids played hopscotch on the sidewalk.
She walked for a few blocks, taking a final left turn, until she stopped at the address she had been given.
221 B White Oak Lane.
Caroline wrapped her hand around the black iron gate and pushed it open, walking toward the front door. The house looked old, standing by itself on the street filled with duplex homes and apartments. The paint on the outside was chipping, a weird blue-green-yellow color. Dead flowers slumped in the flower pots underneath the windows. A tall tree stood in the front yard, casting a large shadow over most of the home. Caroline could see white curtains covering the upstairs windows.
She hopped up the steps of the porch, which stretched across the length of the first floor and stood in front of the door; smoothing down her hair, and straightening the lightweight denim jacket she wore over her flowered dress.
She rung the bell and waited for an answer. No one came to the door. Elijah had told her that his brother would be arriving from the rehab facility, just before the lunch hour. The facilitators would wait for her to arrive, before leaving the two of them to get acquainted. Then Caroline would move a few things in that evening.
Another bell ring and no answer. She checked the time on her phone. She was a bit behind, but perhaps they were running late also? Hopefully that didn't mean that there had been any complications. She decided to call the facility and ask.
"Mr. Mikaelson left our facility yesterday," the attendant on the other line told her.
Caroline shook her head. "What do you mean he left yesterday?"
The attendant explained that he had broken himself out late in the evening and because they were short staffed, they had no way of going after him. That was just great, she thought. Her client had been alone for more than twelve hours. He could be anywhere, doing anything. He could be using. There went her tuition money for that semester.
Just as she was about to give up the door swung open. On the other side was a tall, slim girl with cropped dark hair. She slipped on a pair of sunglasses as she slid past Caroline.
"Excuse me," Caroline said, "but can you tell me…"
She let her sentence trail off. The girl was already down by the gate and far enough away for Caroline to know that she was being ignored. She turned back to the door, which had been left open. Thinking about it for only a second, she pushed the door open and stepped inside.
The interior house was large. It was as plain and old looking as the outside, giving off a feeling that Caroline could only think to describe as brown. Once she walked through the small foyer, there was a staircase immediately to her left. Past it, she heard the sound of music coming from what she supposed might be the living room. A few pairs of combat boots lined the corridor wall next to the stairs. A jacket hung over the bannister and a discarded t-shirt rested on the steps. The walls were decorated with a yellowing, faded flower wallpaper. It reminded her of a tea-stained stationary set her grandmother had given her as a teenager. Grandma Forbes had never been very good at picking out gifts.
To her right, was a large doorway, which she stepped through and found herself standing in the living room. It was scattered with different tables, all filled with papers, objects, light bulbs and…was that a skull on top of the fireplace mantle? In front of the mantle, in a weathered green easy chair sat a man, shirtless, with his eyes shut. In his hand was a white paper cup Caroline recognized from being from the coffee shop down the street.
She regarded the man for a moment, studying him. He was long limbed and lean, with just a hint of muscle. It was typical of most drug abusers to have certain gauntness about them, but it was clear that his had begun to disappear after being in rehab and going through detox. He had started to put weight on again, but not necessarily muscle.
Over his chest and arms were a series of tattoos. Birds…a group of swallows spouting forth from an elegant feather and flying across his left side and then there was a panther on his bicep.
He was barefoot, wearing only a pair of black jeans.
Caroline cleared her throat, not wanting to startle him, and decided to break the silence. "Niklaus Mikaelson?"
He didn't respond, but the corner of his lip twitched. Caroline assumed that his lack of denial or surprise at her appearance meant that he was the man she was looking for. "I'm Caroline Forbes. Your brother Elijah hired me to be your sober companion."
"Velkomin kæri minn, vinsamlegast fjarlægja fötin." His eyes remained closed as he spoke.
"Ó þú talar ekki íslensku?" He continued. "Hvernig ... ekki átakanlegum."
Undaunted, she straightened her shoulders and stepped closer to him. Music from a record player in the corner continued to play. It wasn't anything Caroline recognized, but it sounded like punk. Niklaus set in the chair, with his eyes closed, taking sips from his cups.
"I"m Caroline Forbes," she said, "Your brother Elijah hired me to be your sober companion. I spoke to your rehab facility this morning they said that you left sometime around midnight, which means you've been on your own for more than twelve hours. I'll need you to take a drug test."
She was digging around in her bag for the small swab kit that she always kept with her. One swipe inside of his mouth and she would know if he had used between then and the time he left rehab. She walked forward to hand him the swab, thinking that he would acquiesce without a fight, but he continued to ignore her with his eyes shut.
"I need you to swab this inside your cheek," she said.
He didn't move.
"If you continue to avoid it I can only assume that you've used."
Niklaus still didn't move. He licked his lips, taking another sip of his coffee, using the cup to hide his smirk. Caroline could tell he was toying with her. The smug turn of his lips said it all. Elijah had warned her that Niklaus would be difficult. She said he was intelligent-like beyond genius level—and he loved to dangle that fact in front of anyone and everyone. Caroline didn't mind that. She was used to everyone feeling like she was dumber than they were.
The record clicked, the song ending, and the needle moving away. Niklaus stood up then, almost knocking into Caroline, and startling her with his sudden movement. She was about to step away but stilled herself, not wanting to show fear. His eyes were still closed as he stood over her and as much as she wanted to move away she remained still and calm. But that didn't mean her heart was beating like a rabbit against her chest.
She could smell faint hints of aftershave on him. His jaw and chin were clean. Caroline imagined it was probably the first time he had been able to shave in months. Because of his particular case, he was not allowed to have any razors in his possession while in rehab.
His eyes opened and met hers. They were the color of the ocean before a storm, dark blues and swirling grays. Lightning striking in the distance, warning you that it was time to get out of the water and seek shelter; the waves become more forceful, trying to drag you into their depths, the wind whipping against your sea-salt soaked body, giving you a slight chill.
"Well," Caroline shifted, brushing her hair off her face, "he opens his eyes."
"Allt betra að sjá þig með."
Choosing to ignore him and his weird speech, she held up the swab for him to take. Instead he brushed past her and went for the record player in the corner. She let out a silent huff.
"Okay fine, if you're going to be difficult…"
Caroline reached over and picked up the cup from the end table. She took the lid off and poked her nose inside of the cup, sniffing its contents.
"Now that we've established that this isn't alcohol…" she set down the cup but kept the lid. In one swift motion she swiped the area where his mouth had touched with the swab and then set it down. Niklaus watched her swab the lid and then snap the swab into the drug test device. A moment later it beeped. She met his gaze and gave him a smile.
"Congratulations," she said, "you're drug free." She put the device back into her messenger bag. "I'm going home to retrieve my things. Then I'll be back. If you aren't here when I return, I'll call the cops. It will be in violation of your parole to run away again. I'm willing to overlook the first offense, but not the second. Don't make me regret it."
She pointed her finger at him, giving him a stern look. Niklaus just watched her with the same impenetrable gaze that he had been giving her since he opened his eyes. When he didn't say anything, Caroline dropped her hand, turned and left.
Niklaus turned his attention back to the record player, his gaze sliding to the view outside the window, seeing Caroline's gold curls bouncing as she pulled on his front gate and left.
That evening, Caroline settled her things into Niklaus's home. Of course, he made no moves to make her feel welcome or show her around. Caroline took it upon herself to become acquainted with her new temporary home. Her room was upstairs. It consisted of two full sized mattresses piled on top of each other for a bed and one small nightstand and lamp. Under the window there was also a set of dresser drawers—a hulking old wooden thing that was scratched to high hell.
Caroline had brought her own pink comforter from home and a set of sheets. She made her bed and then unpacked the clothes she had also brought with her and hung them in the closet. Thankfully, there were hangers, and they were wooden too which was a surprise. It wasn't the nicest of homes, but she could make it work for the next six weeks. It could have been worse.
Later on she was downstairs, making herself some dinner. The kitchen was fully stocked. Caroline assumed that Elijah was to thank for that. There was plenty of food along with dishes, pots, pans, plates, and everything else one would expect to find in a kitchen. The cabinets were opened, displaying the mismatched mugs and glasses and plates.
Caroline fixed herself a sandwich with ingredients from the fridge and poured herself a mug of soda and sat at the dining table that was haphazardly placed in the area between the living room and the kitchen. In front of her was a book for Professor Shane's class. In her effort to display some of the "passion" Shane was suggesting that she lack, Caroline decided to study extra hard for the next class. He would see during his next lecture. Her hand would fly up so often to give her opinions or argue his points that he would take back everything he said.
She munched her sandwich and read while she chewed. Part of her wanted to take the modest dinner and book up to her room, but the point of companionship was to engage with her client.
Engaging with Niklaus, was proving to be a challenge.
He had been in the living room when she returned from retrieving her belongings, and then he went to his room and shut the door, not making a peep for several hours. At one point, Caroline wondered if he might have jumped out the window, but then she heard footsteps. He was pacing. He was in the room, so she shrugged it off and went about her unpacking.
Midway through an essay about Hobbes and Machiavelli, the bedroom door swung open. Caroline looked up to see Niklaus standing in the doorway, now wearing a grey Henley t-shirt and a smile on his face. It was the type of smile that kids wore when they had outsmarted their parents and found out where their Christmas presents were being hidden.
"Let's go," he said.
She swallowed her bite and opened her mouth to speak, but he turned and headed for the door. Caroline watched him dash toward the door, grabbing a pair of discarded combat boots from the wall by the stairs.
"Go where?" She asked standing up and following him. But he didn't answer.
Caroline had about two seconds to slide on a pair of flats and grab her purse from the place she had hung it on the stairs before Niklaus was out the door and heading toward the gate. She shut and locked the front door and ran after him trying to keep up.
Part of the companionship, the difficult part, was that she had to go everywhere with Niklaus. No matter when, no matter where. This was why she was unable to have much of a social life. She couldn't make plans or dates because she was required to follow her client around on his social and professional engagements. Her commitments during those six weeks would nine times out of ten come in second to his.
It was a quarter past eight as Caroline followed Niklaus down his street and around the corner, to a busier street. He held out his hand and flagged down a cab, opening the door and gesturing for her to get in. When she hesitated he let out a huff. It seemed he had no patience for her stalling.
"Two-two-five, West Chicago Avenue," he said to the driver as they were pulled into traffic.
"Will you tell me where we're going in such a hurry?"
Niklaus cut a glance at her, looking down at her feet and then back up at her head. "Did my brother mention anything about what I do?"
Caroline thought. Elijah had been brief on his description, only giving her need to know facts. "He said you were a detective."
"Consulting detective," he corrected.
"What's consulting detective?"
"Does blood make you squeamish?" He asked, ignoring her question.
Caroline gave him a confused look. "Um, no. I guess not anymore than any other person."
"That would be a yes then," he replied. The cab took a sharp turn at a stop-light, causing her body to shift closer to him.
"Does that have anything to do with where we are going?"
"Yes," he said, looking out the window. He seemed keyed up, giddy even, which was such a change from his passive attitude earlier that morning. Nothing else was said about where they were going or what they were doing and his questions about blood made her a little nervous. But she chose to look on the bright side…at least now he was speaking English.
Fifteen minutes later, Caroline still didn't have any information about where they were going, what they were doing, or what being squeamish around blood had to do with anything. The cab stopped, outside of a high rise downtown, and Niklaus paid the cabbie as Caroline stepped out onto the street.
She looked up, craning her neck to see the sign illuminated above the door.
"The Bohemian," she said reciting the name of the building. The letting was sleek and thin-blocked, but the capital-B was fancy with extra curls curing reaching out and curving around the rest of the name. It was an apartment building; an expensive apartment building judging by its location and shiny appearance. Caroline stared up, guessing that there must have been around twenty or so floors. It was then she noticed the cop cars parked on the side of the street. There were four of them, one that was still flashing its lights. Policemen were making their way in and out of the building's revolving door.
"What are we doing here?" Caroline asked.
"Come along," Niklaus replied, leading her toward the door.
He walked through the lobby of the building, going straight for the elevator. As they waited, Caroline overheard a conversation between the doorman, and a man she realized was a detective.
"No one suspicious entered the building?" The detective was asking.
"No, no." The doorman replied. He was an older man, in his late 50's Caroline assumed, dressed in a black suit. He ran a thoughtful hand through his beard. "A few dinner deliveries passed through, but that's pretty common. But nothing on the twenty-third floor."
"We'll need the names of these deliveries."
Caroline didn't hear the rest of the questions. The elevator dinged and she followed Niklaus inside. He pressed the button marked "23" and Caroline watched the door close, the dotted number lights beginning to increase as they ascended.
"Please," he interrupted, "call me Klaus."
"Klaus," Caroline said, "what is going on? Are we here because of the police?"
The elevator announced their arrival and the doors slid open. Just down the hall, the police were surrounding a single apartment, and Caroline had a feeling that was where they were going. She followed behind Klaus as he walked toward the commotion.
"I'm here to see Captain Saltzman," Klaus said when one of the cops attempted to stop him from entering the scene.
"Klaus? It's alright Harmon, let him in."
The cop, Harmon, let Klaus and Caroline pass through the door and into the apartment where all the commotion was happening. Klaus approached the man who had granted his access. Caroline assumed that this was Captain Saltzman. He appeared to be around the same age as Klaus, scruffy, with light brown hair that stuck out in every direction, a few strands flopping down into his eyes. He was dressed well enough, in a suit, blue colored shirt, and tie, but the way it all fit made it look like these weren't clothes that made him comfortable. Caroline watched him adjust the knot of his tie.
She looked around the apartment, noticing cushy cream-colored carpet and bright walls. Bright abstract paintings of flowers hung on the walls. There were fresh flowers everywhere, in vases that no doubt came from Crate & Barrel. It was an apartment that anyone would fantasize about. Every perfect thing in its perfect place. With a few exceptions: caution tape was strung around, and little yellow markers were scattered about the room numbering different areas. There was a broken vase in the middle of the floor and she remembered seeing a crushed mirror at the beginning of the hallway.
"What are the observations so far?" Klaus asked the detective as he snapped a pair of latex gloves onto his hands.
"Kyle Jones. Aged forty-two. Found dead with a GSW to the chest. Appears to be a break-in homicide," he replied, "smashed décor, broken mirrors, scattered possessions. Mrs. Jones came home and found her apartment like this, Mr. Jones laying on the floor of their living room. Bled to death on the carpet."
"No one called to report a gunshot?"
"All the surrounding tenants claim they never heard any gunshot. The neighbors say they never even heard a struggle."
"What was stolen?"
"We haven't ascertained that yet," Saltzman said, "Mrs. Jones is too distraught by the death of her husband to catalogue her possessions so far." He seemed to notice Caroline then, lingering behind Klaus. "Who's this?"
Caroline came to attention. Part of the contract with Klaus was confidentiality. She wasn't allowed to reveal the true nature of their relationship, unless he did so himself. Therefore, Klaus was permitted to introduce her to his friends and coworkers however he saw fit. Most clients preferred to call her a friend or colleague.
"Caroline Forbes," Klaus introduced. "My new housekeeper." Caroline fought the urge to roll her eyes. She hoped that wasn't his way of subtly hinting that he expected her to start cleaning up after him. Caroline took the detective's outstretched hand.
"Alaric Saltzman," he introduced.
"That's a mouthful," Caroline replied.
Alaric laughed. "Yeah I have my grandparents to thank for that. You can call me Ric."
While they talked, Klaus was weaving his way around the apartment, studying each corner as other policemen walked about and cataloguing information. A few of them regarded him with annoyed or confused looks, but none of them made any attempt to derail or engage him. Caroline could hear quiet chatter in the living room, a few sniffles punctuating the conversation. She followed behind Klaus and stepped into the living room and that's when she saw the corpse, spread out on the floor.
Her eyes swept over the bloody chest wound, the lifelessness, the foggy-open eyed look of nothingness. The glass table next to him was broken where he had fallen into it and his legs were curved at an odd angle from the fall. Caroline's stomach rolled and she turned around, crashing into Ric in the process.
"That's a dead body," she said into his chest.
"Yes," Ric said, sounding a little confused.
She closed her eyes, trying to get the image out of her head. Ric gave her an awkward pat on the shoulder and then moved away.
Seeing blood was one thing. It wasn't the blood that was making her squeamish, it was the fact that she was standing in the middle of a real murder scene, with a real murder victim behind her. All around her there was a real life episode of CSI going on. Even though Caroline was no stranger to the idea of murder and death, seeing it up close was a whole different thing.
"Mrs. Jones," Klaus said, taking a seat in front of the distraught woman on the couch. She was young, red haired, possibly in her late twenties. She was dressed in a black pair of stretch pants and a pink hoodie, her hair up in a bun like she had just come from the gym.
"Andrea," the young widow sniffed.
"Andrea," Klaus said, "where were you earlier tonight between the hours of five and seven."
"Yoga," she told him, "with my friend Jane. We have Yoga every Tuesday night at six. A trainer comes to her apartment."
Klaus's eyes flicked to Ric who nodded. "We questioned Mrs. Jane Smith, who lives down the hall."
Klaus nodded and returned his attention to Mrs. Jones, who was rubbing at her wrist. He noticed a small bruise on the inside of her wrist.
"When did you injure your hand?"
"Earlier," she said, "at yoga."
Without asking, Klaus took her hand and looked at her bruise. He turned her wrist toward the light studying it carefully.
"You should get some ice for it," he instructed gently. Andrea gave him a smile and went toward the kitchen. Klaus waited until she was out of the room to speak.
"This wasn't a break in," he stated to no one in particular.
"We didn't figure," Ric replied, "considering that there is absolutely no damage to the door."
"The way things are broken, it's all methodical," Klaus replied, "destruction in all the right places. It looks like a film set."
"You're thinking the wife is our primary suspect?"
Klaus pursed his lips. "Angry spouse, isn't a large leap considering her wedding ring."
"Wedding ring?" Caroline chimed in. "What do you mean?"
"These pictures," Klaus said walking over toward the wall where the fireplace was located, stepping over Mr. Jones's corpse in the process. "Mrs. Jones has lost a considerable amount of weight since they were taken. Maybe 30 pounds. Enough to shrink her ring size. It was too small for her finger, she kept twisting it around. Why wouldn't she have had them resized? It means she doesn't wear them that often."
"Maybe they just don't go with any of her outfits," Caroline said.
"Not these types of women," Klaus countered, "they enjoy any chance to show off a flashy diamond engagement ring. Captain, what apartment did you say this Mrs. Smith was in?"
"Two doors down on the right, apartment 2304."
Klaus spun away and headed for the door, Caroline behind him. He stopped in the hallway and faced her, just before the reached the door to apartment 2304. "What did you notice that was strange in there?"
"Aside from the murdered corpse laying in the middle of the living room?" Caroline said. "They had terrible taste in decorative pillows."
Klaus smirked. "Mrs. Jones. She was sniffling, but she wasn't crying. She was sitting in a room where her dead husband lay feet away, but she was coherent enough to speak to me. Yet she told the detective that she was too upset to notice if anything was missing."
"You think she was faking it?"
"You're a psychology student," Klaus said, "what are the symptoms of shock?"
Caroline sighed, attempting to dig out facts she had learned in Psych 101. "Dizziness, disorientation, flushing, sweating, trembling…"
"Did you notice any of these symptoms with Mrs. Jones?"
Caroline thought for a moment. "No," she replied finally, "but symptoms can wear off within a few hours."
"While she is still in the presence of her dead husband?"
He had a point. Klaus knocked at the door of The Smiths', apartment 2304. A few moments later, a woman answered, who was dressed similarly to the way Mrs. Jones was dressed, only she was blonde haired instead of red.
"Can I help you?" She asked looking between Klaus and Caroline.
"I'm Niklaus Mikaelson with the Chicago Police Department, this is my associate. We just wanted to ask you a few questions."
Klaus was polite enough when he chose to be, Caroline realized.
"I already answered your questions," she said, "I prefer not to talk about it anymore."
"It will only take a minute," Klaus urged.
"Let them in, Jane."
Mr. Smith appeared behind her, and Jane reluctantly opened the door further, allowing Klaus and Caroline into the apartment. It was a similar set-up to the Jones's but much more pristine. Mr. and Mrs. Smith led them to their living room and offered them both a seat on their white couch.
"Do you guys have any leads yet?" Mr. Smith asked Klaus as they sat.
"It's only been a couple of hours, Mr. Smith—"
Klaus smiled. "It's only been a couple of hours Daniel. We are still gathering facts."
Caroline realized Klaus was affecting a similar attitude that he had been using with Mrs. Jones. It was calmer, more polite and patient…Not the acerbic Klaus that she had been experiencing all day.
"Well anything we can do to help," Daniel said, "although I'm not sure how helpful we can be. I was at work late, Jane called me after they called the police and I came straight home."
"They?" Klaus asked, his glance cutting to Mrs. Smith.
"Andrea and I did yoga together here and then she went home to get dinner ready. After she found her husband, she ran over here screaming her head off and we called the police."
Klaus stood up then, and began to pace the room, his hands clasped behind his back. Caroline watched him from her seat on the couch, as his eyes took in the pictures on their walls, the patterns on the vases over their fireplace, the exact hue of the paint on their wall.
After a few moments, Klaus nodded. "Right," he said, "thank you."
Out in the hallways again, Klaus walked to the corner by the elevators, confirming that up toward the ceiling there was a small black camera watching over the coming and goings of the twenty-third floor residents. He punched the elevator button and the two of them stepped inside.
"If there are security tapes, those tapes should corroborate Mrs. Smith's story," Klaus said as the elevator descended toward the lobby.
"So you think she's lying now too?"
"I think it's best never to take someone at their word," Klaus replied. "Did you notice the way they were responding?"
Caroline thought. "Mrs. Smith was quiet, unfriendly. Mr. Smith seemed helpful though. Nice."
"Nice," Klaus repeated, "too nice. Like someone who is unsure whether or not they've done something wrong."
"So you think he did it?"
Klaus looked at her. "No, that would be too obvious."
"Nothing seems obvious to me," Caroline said.
"Then why are you trying to fit everything into an obvious little box?"
The elevator doors opened and Klaus strode towards the security guard at the desk.
"I need to see the security tapes for the twenty third floor," Klaus replied.
"They would be in the manager's office," the doorman told him, "I just see the ones for the lobby, the street, and the elevator's."
"Then I'll need access to the manager's office."
"Just one moment. Ms. Westin was called in after the police." The doorman picked up a phone and dialed some numbers, informing Ms. Westin that the police needed to ask her some questions. A few moments later he hung up.
"Down that hallway, third door on your right," he pointed.
The door they were heading to opened as they reached it. A woman, wearing a crisp blouse and pencil skirt greeted them. "Hi, I'm Olivia Westin. The manager of The Bohemian."
"I'll need to see security tapes from the twenty third floor," Klaus requested ignoring the woman's outstretched hand.
She pulled her hand back and smiled. "Come into my office," she said, "this is a matter of some delicacy."
"There are no security tapes for the twenty third floor," Ms. Westin revealed once they were seated.
"But there is a camera by the elevators," Caroline interjected from her seat.
"There are actually no security tapes for floors 22-25. The cameras are there merely for show," Ms. Westin pulled a piece of paper from a file in her desk drawer and passed it to Klaus. "Our residents on those floors signed this waiver. They are quite aware of the special condition."
Caroline leaned toward Klaus looking the form Ms. Westin had handed to him. It was a release form that stated the resident signing was aware and comfortable with the lack of security cameras on their floors. It protected the building from any sort of prosecution in the event that the lack of cameras resulted in any sort of incident.
"But why just those floors?"
"Because they're swingers," Klaus stated. Caroline looked at him, about to let out a laugh. He had to be joking. But then she saw the look in Ms. Westin's eyes and knew he had hit the mark.
"How did you know that?" Caroline asked, stunned at how he came to the conclusion.
"No other explanation for why these particular floors would be roped off so to speak, all of their residents perfectly at ease without the added bit of security. The only time people don't like being watched over is when they have something to hide," Klaus leaned over toward her then. "The bruises on Mrs. Jones's wrists are typical of someone who has been handcuffed and struggled, considering her station in life I would doubt that she has recently been arrested. What's more her submissive attitude, eyes cast down, reacting to the slightest hints of an order. I suggested that she put some ice on her bruise and she immediately stood, without question and went into the kitchen."
"Typical submissive behavior," Caroline interjected, earning a surprised look from Klaus. "I took a sexuality seminar a couple years ago. So her husband was a dom? How does that make them swingers?"
"Mr. Jones was nurturing a similar bruise on his own wrist, but his was covered by his watch. I only caught a glimpse of it when he reached out his hand to invite us inside. Identical bruising would suggest that they had the same dominant partner."
Caroline's brow furrowed. "Who?"
Back in the Jones's apartment, the police were finally wrapping up their work. Klaus was in the corner, speaking to Ric about something. Caroline lingered near the foyer, pacing a circle over the carpeted floor. At that moment, the paramedics came by, with Mr. Jones's body on a stretcher. She shuddered, backing away to get as far as possible from the body. Her eyes caught the dead man's hands, and the skin of his wrists peeking through the edge of his collared shirt. No bruises, she thought.
But that made sense. If Mr. Jones was Mrs. Jones's dom, he wouldn't have bruises. Dom's were sometimes known to venture out and experience what it was like to be a submissive, but most of them didn't make a habit out of it. Caroline had learned that in her seminar. Also, women were just as likely to be dominants as men were. In fact, men in power positions were often excellent candidates to be sub. It was the irony of the personality type.
Caroline made her way to the living room, where Ms. Jones sat. She felt bad for the woman who had lost her husband in such a cruel way, but then something Klaus had mentioned to her before stood out. The way she seemed to be reacting to everything. It wasn't typical of a person in shock, which she should be. Caroline didn't even know the man, but just being on the crime scene set her nerves off.
"What did your husband do?"
Ms. Jones smiled. "He was an alderman."
Man in power, that could make him a sub or a dom.
"I'm sorry this happened to you," Caroline offered.
Caroline saw her straighten a picture on the mantle. She recognized Mrs. Smith in the picture, her arm around Andrea.
"How long have you two known each other?"
"We met when we moved into the building." Caroline knew that she meant because they were all swingers. "Jane is amazing. She's one of the strongest people I've ever met. She's been through so much."
"What do you mean?" Caroline replied, "If you don't mind me asking."
"She had a hard time growing up," Andrea explained, "her father was abusive, an alcoholic, she spent some time in social services because of it. I can't imagine growing up like that. But now she's such a positive person, always helping with charities and shelters. I admire her for taking her pain and turning it into something positive."
Caroline smiled. She glanced over at Klaus, who was finishing up his conversation with Ric. She crossed over to him.
"Jane Smith is the dom," Caroline said, keeping her voice low.
Klaus's eyes flicked up. "Pardon me?"
"I was just talking to Andrea. The way she talks about her friend, the dreamy look in her eye, it's not the way someone talks about a friend it's almost…worshipful. And you said both she and Mr. Jones have matching bruises. Coincidence?"
Klaus grinned. "I don't believe in coincidences."
Two hours later, the murder was solved. As it turned out, Jane Smith was a dom, both to her husband and Andrea Jones. The relationship had started between Jane and Andrea after the two couples had come together at one of the building's semi-annual swinger parties. There were rules though, about repeating partners, so Jane and Andrea were keeping their affair a secret. When Kyle Jones discovered his wife was cheating on him, he threatened to divorce her and without a pre-nup, she would be left out in the cold.
Terrified, Jane and Andrea formulated a plan to set up Mr. Jones's murder and frame Daniel Smith for it. Afterwards, the two of them would flee the country-with their money-in case anything was discovered about the real murder. Unfortunately, for the two of them, it was solved long before they had a chance to run.
"Glad to have you back," Alaric had said to Klaus, shaking his hand before they headed home.
Klaus and Caroline arrived back at the apartment, just as the sun was peeking over the sky. Caroline yawned. "I guess it was lucky that you figured out the whole sex scandal thing about the building. Otherwise, the wrong person would have gone to jail and Thelma and Louise would be halfway to Mexico."
"It wasn't luck," Klaus replied, "it's called deductive reasoning."
"Well, it seems like a good skill to have," Caroline said, "I'm impressed."
Klaus took off his boots and threw them back to their place by the stairs as Caroline set her purse down on the dining table.
"You did it earlier," Klaus replied, "you just didn't realize. Your deduction that Ms. Smith was Ms. Jones's dom. That was clever."
"It was a guess."
"Based on facts."
"Like I said, a lucky guess." Caroline walked to the stairs, slipping out of her shoes, and placing them on the shoe rack by the door. "I'm going to sleep. If I don't I'll never wake up before noon."
But as Caroline climbed into bed, she realized she couldn't fall asleep. She was too keyed up. Then she realized something. It was a hypothesis she had about Klaus, based on the facts she knew about him already and what she had learned that night.
Wrapping her robe around her pajamas, she went back downstairs, once again finding Klaus in his easy chair listening to music on the record player.
"You didn't break out of rehab," she said to him.
Klaus opened his eyes and looked up at her. "Yes I did."
"No, I mean before now," Caroline said, "you could have done it at any time, yet you didn't."
"Well it was part of the deal my brother's lawyers made for me."
"The deal was for four months, you stayed for six." Caroline took a few steps closer to him. "You act like you don't care, but you do want to be sober. You want this to work."
"Well now that you've psychoanalyzed me, I'm sure you feel much better being able to fit me into a nice little box."
"It's not psychoanalysis," Caroline replied, "it's deductive reasoning. Based on facts."
Klaus smirked at the way she threw his words back at him, standing up and walking toward her. "Well then, perhaps you'll allow me to do a little deductive reasoning about you Miss Forbes. Based on facts only of course." Caroline flicked her eyebrows up, challenging him to get on with whatever it was he was about to judge about her. She had heard it all before.
"You received basic information about me but my dear elder brother took the care to provide me with some information about you." He stood over her now, his stare meeting her's. "You come from a small town in the Virginia. You're an undergrad psychology student with minor in philosophy… But you've been studying for six years which means you're not wealthy enough to take the class load of a typical undergrad. Your choice of double majors are interesting…psychology and philosophy, two academically challenging fields."
"Why? Because I'm just some ditzy blonde?"
" No, because neither are typically fields in which you find a former Miss Mystic Falls, cheerleading captain, social chair, and volunteer for the Mystic Falls beautification committee."
Caroline's forehead wrinkled. "How do you know all that?"
She had provided Elijah with information about her education background and previous employment, along with references, as he requested. But she didn't give him any personal information, nor did he request it.
"Your gait, the exact sway of your hips, the almost floating quality to it suggest former beauty queen. The placement of your hands on your hips when you stand, balled into a fist instead of palm flat against your torso, that's a classic cheerleader's stance. It's not habitual for most people. Your level of confidence and the way you speak to other people suggests you are accustomed to leaderships positions. Naturally all these qualities would add up to the likeness of you being cheerleading captain and social chair of your high school, perhaps even vice president of student council. Not president of course because we have to be humble somewhere. Please stop me if I'm wrong about any of this."
Caroline was rattled. She shifted her shoulders, now hyper aware of how she was standing, what she was doing, even what her eyes might be revealing. The worst part was he wasn't wrong...about any of it.
Klaus noticed her discomfort, smiling at the small victory of seeing her squirm under his keen eye, and he continued.
"Of course not everything is deducible from mere observation. Upon further research I discovered your Facebook, and found it odd that someone who was once so social has less than fifty friends on a popular social media website and her last activity was more than ten months ago. So I have to ask myself, what happened to this bright shining beacon of light that caused her to run away from her home, turn her back on her friends, and pursue a lifestyle that seems to be the complete antithesis to what she had been molding for herself all along?"
The end of his speech was met by a hard look from Caroline. Her mouth set into a firm frown. Klaus smirked at her, seeing his victory. "You're an intelligent woman, Caroline Forbes, but I won't fit into one of your pretty little boxes. I can't be categorized and filed away like the rest of the world."
"Neither can I," Caroline shot back.
"Well, aren't we a pair," Klaus stepped around her and headed towards his room, "Goodnight, Caroline."
1) Klaus is speaking Icelandic for those of you who want to type it into google translate. I wanted to use Aramaic, but it's a language written in symbols, so it wouldn't quite work on the page. I thought Icelandic would be interesting enough for him to show off. And also sound unusual to Caroline's American ear. But he's says:
-"Welcome my dear, please remove your clothes"
-"Oh you do not speak Icelandic?" He continued. "How ... not shocking. "
-"All the better to see you with."
2) Yes I know it's unlikely a murder would be solved within a few hours (or maybe Klaus is just that good). But I'm taking liberties the same way TV does. This was basically a prologue to introduce you all to the characters and the situation. The next update will be the introduction of the crime plot that will be the arc of this story.
3)Please comment! Let me know if you're excited or "meh" at this point. First chapters are always boring I suppose.
Shout out to my beta team, Kady (Klausykins) and Becky (a-little-blonde-distraction). You guys help turn my aslkajdlksjdlkas into articulate words :)
Thanks for reading. I hope you guys stick with me for this one!
Follow me on tumblr at Hybridlovelies