This is a little one shot where Caroline helps Klaus to remove the pieces of the stake lodged in his back. I hope you're gonna like it!

Thanks to Matt-on-Matt for betaing.

Klaus was livid. Silas had beaten him. Not only did he have the white oak stake (Rebekah would have some serious explaining to do) but he had staked him. Him. Klaus, the Original Hybrid had just been defeated by some vampire who had been rotting in hell for the past two thousand years. How was it possible? How had things gotten so totally out of control?

Silas was in possession of the only thing that could kill him. A bunch of wooden pieces were currently embedded in his back. The spell of the triangle had been performed. The other side was on the verge of being opened. Caroline had killed twelve people.

Klaus groaned at the thought of Caroline. She had let her emotions get the best of her. She had chosen to save her friend over the witches. The look on her face when she had realized what she had done was heartbreaking. And he had denied her when she sought comfort from him. Klaus had regretted his harsh words as soon as they were out of his mouth, but he couldn't take them back. And honestly, he was not sure that he wanted to.

Seeing Caroline so obviously distressed had pained Klaus, but he needed to be harsh to her. He was tired of letting Caroline incessantly hurt him. She had spent the whole day berating him about the massacre of his hybrids, and she had ended up being the one responsible for the last sacrifice. It was kind of ironic. Caroline had tried to justify her gesture by saying that it was to save her friend, but the result was the same. She had killed twelve people. Maybe now she would think twice before judging him. Maybe now she would realize that sometimes, the end justifies the means. The lesson would be learned the hard way, but Caroline needed to acknowledge that nothing was all good or all bad. Some of her actions were as tendentious as his, and she needed to be honest about it. It was too easy to stamp him as the bad guy when some of her choices were just as dubious as his.

Caroline's denial infuriated Klaus as much as her self-righteousness. He knew that she was drawn to him. He could feel it. And she had partially admitted it tonight. She had acknowledged being attracted by the idea that someone like him cared about her. But she had taken the words back right away, and Klaus had felt the sting of pain. Her stubborn refusal to stop holding back with her feelings was maddening.

But right now, Klaus had more important matters to deal with than Caroline. Like extracting the pieces of the stake lodged in his back. There was no way he could do it alone and there was nobody to help him. Suddenly boiling with rage for everything that had gone wrong tonight, Klaus took his anger out on his surroundings. He was in his living room and he started with throwing all the bottles and the glasses of the bar against the wall. Relishing the crashing sounds, he turned his rage on the furniture, stubbornly ignoring the pain in his back. The armchairs didn't resist their flight across the room; neither did the couches and the coffee table. As he was about to reduce the main table to pieces, a low voice came from the door.

"Are you redecorating?"

Klaus stopped his movements and turned his head to the voice. Caroline was standing at the door of the living room. She looked as distressed as she had several hours earlier when she had run from him. She was nervously twisting her fingers and she looked uncertain.

Klaus let go of the table which he was still holding and turned his back to her.

"Go away, Caroline. I'm not in the mood."

He heard her sigh and make two little steps into the room.

"I've just killed twelve people, Klaus," she whispered shakily.

"Yes, and we have established that I'm not the good person to comfort you so what do you want?" he replied emotionlessly.

Caroline sniffled and he knew that she had started to cry. He kept his back to her, not sure he would be able to handle her tears. The sounds alone made him want to take her in his arms and comfort her. But he couldn't. He couldn't give in to her now when she would only revert to her usual hatred regarding him as soon as she didn't need him.

"I'm not at your disposal, Caroline," he growled. "You can't treat me the way you do and expect me to be here for you when you need me. Go away."

But Caroline didn't make a move to go. She stayed frozen in the middle of the room, silently crying and hugging herself. Klaus finally turned to look at her and he swallowed at the sight of her. She seemed broken. A mix of guilt, pain and desperation showed on her face and it seemed like this time, she wasn't strong enough to handle it.

"Why are you here, Caroline?" he asked tiredly. "You made it pretty clear that I wasn't worthy of you, and that you see me as a terrible person that can't be saved," he quoted. "So what do you expect from me?"

"I don't know," Caroline whispered; her head lowered on her feet. "I don't know."

His anger suddenly rising again, Klaus dashed to her and gripped firmly her arm to push her to the door.

"If you don't know, you'd better be out of here Caroline. I'm not in the mood and I have more urgent matters right now and..."

"You are the only one I can talk to!" Caroline suddenly shouted, struggling to get free of his grip. "I can't tell my mom that I just killed twelve people. Stefan is taking care of Bonnie. Tyler is gone and Elena doesn't care. I'm alone. I've got nobody left. You're the only one I can talk to."

Caroline abruptly kept quiet with a shaky breathe and turned her back to Klaus, unable to look at him. Klaus froze on his spot, taken aback by Caroline's outburst. He would have never expected such a display of vulnerability from her, especially in front of him. He heard her struggle to compose herself and she finally turned to face him again.

"I'm sorry," she mumbled. "I shouldn't have come. I'm gonna go." Caroline headed to the door but something suddenly clicked on her mind. Something she had noticed when Klaus was turning his back on her but that she hadn't acknowledge at the moment.

"Why is your shirt coated in blood?" she asked.

Klaus groaned.

"I had a little encounter with Silas after you left me in the woods," he explained bitterly. "Thanks to my dear sister, he had the white oak stake and he used it as a warning. He even left some pieces inside of my back to be sure I got the message."

Caroline stared at him in shock. "Silas staked you?" she repeated.

Klaus nodded. "Exactly. I'm sure you're sorry that he missed the heart but don't worry. Maybe next time," he said resentfully.

Caroline scoffed and she suddenly seemed to feel better. Klaus was giving her something else to think about. Something to fix. She was a fixer. That's what she did to keep herself together.

"Could you lose the attitude for a second?" she scolded. "Take your shirt off and lie down on the table. Thank god I got here before you destroyed it too."

For the second time in less than five minutes, Klaus seemed totally taken aback.

"Excuse me?"

"I said take your shirt off and lie down on the table," Caroline repeated. "How do you plan on taking the pieces off your back alone? You need somebody to do it and I'm here so..."

Klaus couldn't help but be amused.

"So you came here to pour your guilt all over me and suddenly you decide to help me instead?"

Caroline shrugged. "Maybe seeing you in pain will distract me from my guilt for a couple of minutes," she said half joking.

Klaus smiled lightly, impressed by her capacity to handle things. Caroline was so much stronger than she thought she was. It was a shame that she couldn't see it. Deciding to indulge her, Klaus went look for a pair of pliers and handed it to Caroline.

"You're gonna need these, love."

Klaus then removed his shirt and lay on the table, flat on his stomach, his back on full display for Caroline. She slowly approached the table, taking in the view in front of her. Klaus' back was strong, the muscles clearly outlined under the skin. The width of his shoulders was definitely alluring and he had a tattoo on his right shoulder blade. Even from this angle, he oozed strength and power. Caroline shook her head to snap out of her thoughts. She was not here to stare.

Klaus twisted his arm behind him and pressed his palm at the right place. "Here. You have to dig with the pliers and retrieve the pieces."

Caroline nodded but couldn't help but cringe. It wasn't going to be pleasant. Leaning against Klaus' back, she cut the flesh and plunged the pliers inside the wound, making Klaus groan. Caroline retrieved the tool with only a small piece of wood and she winced when she inspected the wound.

"It looks like the wood had exploded in your back. I'm gonna need to remove all the small pieces one by one," she explained.

Klaus shrugged. "It's not like I had a choice," he grumbled. "Do it."

Caroline went back to her task, plunging the pliers inside Klaus' back and gradually retrieving the pieces. After several minutes, she groaned in frustration. "I can't see anything," she exclaimed. "The angle of the pliers is not good."

"I can sit," Klaus offered but Caroline shook her head. "No. Actually the only thing that could help..." Caroline's voice trailed off and she bit her lips, clearly hesitant. Klaus frowned.

"What is it, love?"

Caroline suddenly seemed to reach a decision and she took a deep breath. "If you make the smallest comment, I will abandon you to your fate," she warned.

Before Klaus could answer, she blurred from where she was and positioned herself on his lower back. She sat on it, folding her legs under her with her knees on each side of his waist. Klaus couldn't help the shocked sound that escaped his lips but he wisely chose to not make any comment. Not really comfortable with the way her body was now pressed against Klaus' lower back, Caroline nonetheless relaxed a little when Klaus stayed silent. The angle of view was much better and she started to use the pliers again.

The pain that Klaus had felt until now miraculously disappeared. The feeling of Caroline's body against his was divine. Her folded legs were warming his sides while her silky hair brushed his back every time she leaned forward to plunge the pliers into his flesh.

Klaus thought he would gladly endure any kind of pain if it meant that Caroline took care of him like this every time. Caroline leant further and her breasts brushed his back. Klaus bit back a moan and tried to focus on something else. Now was really a wrong time to get turned on. Totally unaware of his inner turmoil, Caroline scrupulously kept retrieving the pieces, lost in her own thoughts of the day.

"I'm sorry," she said suddenly after a long moment of silence.

"About what?" Klaus asked, snapping out of his fantasy. Caroline was incessantly moving against him and it didn't help him to calm down.

Caroline hesitated but she shrugged.

"I've been a bitch today," she admitted hesitantly. "I spent the whole day taunting you about your hybrids and I ended up being the one to massacre the witches. Even I can see the irony of it," she added bitterly.

Klaus hesitated. He could hear by her voice that the guilt was eating her but he needed to be honest.

"You made a choice, Caroline, and now you have to live with it. People are not all good or all bad. They just made decisions to protect themselves and the ones they love. That's what you did today and it doesn't mean that you are bad. It means that like anybody else, you are ready to do terrible things to protect your loved ones. Things are not black or white, Caroline. People do what they need to do. You just learned it the hard way today."

Caroline didn't answer and Klaus wondered if he had pushed too far. The pliers pierced his skin again and he felt her breath on his back.

"I'm almost finished," she whispered against his skin. Klaus shuddered at the feeling and cursed himself for it. Her breasts brushed his back again and this time he groaned. She had to stop doing this. Otherwise he was going to flip them on the table and crush her against him. Klaus felt Caroline's hand hovering hesitantly on his back and she finally placed it somewhere.

"What does it mean?" she asked, softly stroking the skin. Her hand was on his shoulder blade and he knew she was talking about his tattoo.

"Oh, yes, I forgot that geometry is not your strong point," he answered teasingly. If she was trying to break the tension from his little moral lesson, he was ready to indulge her.

Caroline smiled, grateful for his attempt to lighten the mood.

"I am the one with a pair of pliers in my hands, Klaus, so if I was you I'd be extra nice to me."

Klaus chuckled.

"It refers to the supernatural power of triangles in Ancient Egypt," he explained. "It's based on how the triangle is the strongest of all shapes. Basically, it's a symbol of strength."

Caroline snorted. "I should have guessed. Another demonstration of the alpha male thing."

Klaus laughed and Caroline laughed along with him before becoming serious again.

"Klaus?" she said hesitantly.

Klaus felt the change in her voice and frowned.

"Yes, love?"

Caroline focused on his back again, leaning to remove the last pieces and trying to find the courage to talk.

"Thank you," she whispered eventually.

"For what?"

"Even when you are mad at me for triggering the apocalypse, you still dig twelve graves so I don't have to do it myself," Caroline mumbled.

Klaus couldn't help but smile.

"You're welcome, love. You see what you can make me do."

Caroline smiled, digging once more in the flesh of his back. Klaus groaned and Caroline soothed the skin with her hand.

"I lied to you today, you know," she started again.

"About what?" Klaus asked curiously.

Caroline hesitated and put the pliers aside. She was done with the pieces of wood.

"I was honest when I said that I was attracted by the idea that you cared about me. I lied when I told you that I wasn't attracted by it anymore."

Klaus stayed silent, instinctively feeling that she wasn't done talking. Caroline absent mindedly started to stroke the flesh of his back where the wounds were starting to heal.

"I like the idea that you care about me and it's time I'm honest about it. The only thing that was holding me back to admitting it was that I always considered you to be the bad guy. And somehow you are. You did terrible things. But so did I. What happened today made me realize that I have no right to judge you. I made a decision to save my friend, the same way you made the decisions you needed to save your family. And if I needed to, I know I would do it again."

Caroline paused and kept stroking Klaus' back, drawing slight patterns on the skin. Klaus didn't dare move, even if she was done with removing the pieces of the stake. She seemed more comfortable talking to him without seeing his face and he was in no rush to have her body part from his.

"You were right to reject me earlier," Caroline continued slowly. "I can't expect for you to be here for me when I need it if I treat you so badly the rest of the time. I took you for granted and I was wrong." Caroline's voice started to shake and Klaus sighed.

"Get up, Caroline, please," he asked gently.

Caroline complied and slowly got down from the table. Klaus slid off of the table but remained leaning against it. He took Caroline's hands in his to pull her closer.

"I didn't want to be cruel, Caroline. I just needed you to realize that you can't keep using me the way you do and still expect for me to be here when you need me. You need to decide what you want, Caroline. You need to be honest with me and with yourself. Either you like me, or you don't. Either you can give me a chance, or not. But don't use me when you need me and get rid of me after."

Caroline nodded, softly stroking his hands.

"I'm sorry, Klaus" she whispered. "I'm sorry for today, I'm sorry for lying to you, I'm sorry for taking you for granted. I am attracted to you but everything is so messy right now. I just can't wrap my mind around the fact that I killed twelve people and probably triggered the apocalypse."

Caroline's eyes were bright with tears again and Klaus let go of her hands to stroke her cheeks. He could see that she was desperate for his touch and he wouldn't deny her again. Not when she had just been so honest and so open with him for the first time. He was confident that things were about to change between them.

Klaus slightly tugged on Caroline's hands to make her step forwards and he wrapped his arms around her. A deep sigh of relief fell from her lips as he finally allowed her to be cradled in his arms. Klaus pulled Caroline tightly against him, one of his hands buried in her hair and the other one soothingly rocking her. Caroline clung desperately to him, relishing the feeling of his strong body against hers.

Klaus lowered his face and pressed a kiss on her cheek.

"We are going to find a way out of this, love. Together. I promise."

Thank you for reading. Please let me know what you think, reviews are my only salary :-)