AN: Update! Huzzah! I'm binge writing this weekend, mostly on this story. My tentative plan is to complete this. Whether or not that happens, remains to be seen. For now, have a new chapter.
Fourteen. Ho Hey
"So show me family, all the blood that I will bleed. I don't know where I belong, I don't know where I went wrong." ~Ho Hey, The Lumineers
Caroline eyed Silas coolly, her mindset immediately switching from seductress to calculation. She was in a vulnerable position, pinned beneath Silas like this. She had one of her guns tucked beneath the shirt, but she was unable to reach it in her current situation.
That meant she had to rely on her wits and her words.
God, Caroline hated having to do that.
"I was trying to determine the most advantageous use of it," she replied at last, giving as much of a shrug as she could. "For me, of course."
"That isn't exactly aiding your desire for my trust, sweet. In fact, it makes me rather suspicious."
"Obviously," Caroline replied acidly. "If you would let me up, then I would be willing to negotiate with you."
"Negotiate?" Silas sneered, raising a dark brow. "What makes you think I'm the least bit interested in negotiation?"
"Because you're more than interested in me," Caroline purred back, wrenching her arms free from his weight and shoving Silas away from her. Caroline wasn't a fool, she knew by the way Silas allowed himself to be pushed away so easily he was interested in what she had to say, so Caroline settled herself on the edge of the bed and crossed her legs. "How did you know? That I had the cure?"
"I have spent the past several weeks amongst your friends as Miss Bennett. Do you really think, in all that time, I never heard the location of the cure?" Silas picked himself up off the floor and dusted off his clothes, never removing his calculated gaze from Caroline's own.
"Hmmm… I didn't consider that," Caroline replied, resting her elbow on her knee and her face in her palm. "Foolish of me. I should have" – and it rankled a little, that she hadn't considered that possibility – "no matter. This just means we get to business quicker. I have the cure, you want the cure. Now we come to an agreement."
"I would be far more willing to trust you, if you handed it over," Silas replied, leaning against the wall. "One might say it would remove all my doubts."
"One might say so, and one might be incredibly stupid," Caroline responded agreeably. "One who is smart, however, might point out what wonderful leverage that cure is. Trust is a two way street, Silas, and I trust you about as much as you trust me. So I'll be keeping the cure for a little bit longer."
"I could make you give it to me," Silas replied, his expression shuttered and guarded as he considered her.
"How?" Caroline shot back. "Torture me? Done that. Kill my loved ones? First off – wouldn't care, second – already done. Kill me? Then the location of the cure goes too, and you're stuck racing the Scooby gang for it. And they know me much better than you do, so do you really think you'd find it first?"
"Clever girl," Silas murmured, rubbing his chin. "So, we are at an impasse it seems."
"Not at all," Caroline replied breezily, leaning back on her arms. "Trust me, tell me what you have planned, and if I can give it my approval, then I'll hand over the cure so you can… what do you want the cure for? I thought your sweet little lover was mortal and forever out of your reach."
"So it can't be used against me," Silas replied easily. "Why does anyone want the cure? And the issue is that I don't trust you with my plan. But there is a way you could earn it."
"How?" Caroline asked, leaning forward. She tried not to seem too eager, but she had to admit it was difficult when such an offer was on the table.
"The white oak stake. The one that was spelled to never be destroyed. Find it, give it to me, and I will both trust you, and ensure that you live when I kill Niklaus Mikaelson. You will retain your free will and have your place as queen in my new world."
"So… betray everyone who I ever cared about, hand you a weapon that could, not only kill Klaus, but also me by association, and trust that it won't go down that way?" Caroline tapped her toe and frowned. "Yeah, not happening."
"You still feel loyalty to them? You disappoint me."
"No, I feel loyalty to me. And I won't be your lapdog, Silas. Break the bloodlines, free me from those ties, and then we'll talk."
"Get me the stake, I'll break the bloodlines."
"Yeah, you see, this here? Now we're at an impasse." Caroline frowned, continuing to tap her toes to some silent beat. "Okay, how about this… I get the stake, but I don't hand it over until after you break the bloodlines. Leverage, like the cure."
"Or I could take on your visage, infiltrate your group, and take the stake for myself. Then I kill Niklaus and get what I want from you anyway."
"Good plan – fatal flaw. They have friends from the other side. Friends whose minds you can no longer access. How do you plan to get around that?" Caroline smiled beatifically. "So, we're back to my offer. Take it or leave it, but for now I'm hungry."
Caroline hopped off the bed and sauntered passed Silas. As she moved, his hand darted out to grab her wrist, and when she looked back he looked furious, pissed that she had gotten the upperhand, but the next words out of his mouth made her smirk.
"You have a deal."
Caroline had been many things in her day – cheerleader, queen bee, and baby vampire, just to name a few, but one thing she had zero experience with was breaking and entering. Doing so with the Mikaelson manor would be particularly challenging due to the over-abundance of vampire that could be found there.
And that was why Caroline found herself perched in a tree watching the ostentatious house, trying to calculate the best route of entrance without attracting any undue attention.
"What are we looking for?" a voice whispered in her ear, and Caroline whipped around, her hand going right for Kol's throat. He caught the appendage, his grip bruising as he prevented her from doing him any harm. "That's just rude, Sweetheart. Don't you know better than to attack the ghosts who want to help you?"
"You've already played your part. Thanks to you my humanity is no longer the annoyance it once was." Caroline turned back to the house, watching it through narrowed eyes. "How did you know I was here?"
"I know everything, Darling," Kol replied airily, and Caroline rolled her eyes, which simply caused him to grin. "Oh ye of little faith. I have been alive a long time, Caroline. And in that time I spent many an hour with witches. I know tricks."
"That was a very good job of not answering my questions. No matter, I don't care anyway."
"Kol?" Another voice interrupted the two, and Caroline looked down to where Jeremy had appeared at the base of her perch. "Dammit, Kol. We don't have time for this. I know you're here!"
"Up here, little Gilbert," Caroline said with a sigh, tossing a branch down at his head. Jeremy craned his head back, looking up at them.
"Care?" he asked in confusion. "What are you doing here?"
"Being nefarious," Caroline replied, letting herself fall from the tree limb, landing with bent knees. "What else would a psycho traitor bitch be doing?"
"Galen told everyone you had betrayed us all. I kinda wished I could tell them all it was a lie… but it's been explained to me in excruciating detail what would happen to me if I did. Literally excruciating. As in broken bones still hurt, even when you're a ghost."
"I think you're expecting me to care," Caroline replied, not bothering to look at Jeremy as she spoke. Instead she tapped her lips thoughtfully and wondered if she could somehow make her way into the attic. "I don't know why. No humanity, remember?"
"You and my sister both," Jeremy grumbled. "It's a pain, to be honest. But since you could care less about my pain, we'll go back to my earlier question. What are you doing here?"
"I'm here for the white oak stake," Caroline replied, turning to the two ghosts who flanked her and eyeing them thoughtfully. "I bet one of you could get it for me."
"And help you kill my siblings?" Kol demanded, his countenance losing all hints of the devil-may-care attitude he wore like a cloak. "I turned off your humanity to make you useful, Miss Forbes. If you're not going to be so, I can easily compel you to turn it back on."
"Seriously, you guys really need to get past this whole emotions thing. Once you do, it makes life way simpler. Think, Kol. We need Qetsiyah, which I assume Bonnie has told you, but I won't get to Qetsiyah until I have that stake. Silas knows I have the cure. If you want me to be able to shove it down his throat, then we need a way for me to gain his trust without handing the cure over. The stake is that way."
"He'll kill my siblings," Kol growled, glaring at Caroline. "He'll kill Klaus."
"If that was an attempt to get me to care, it failed horribly. I don't care about anyone anymore, much less Klaus. Look, if it helps, I won't let it get that far, okay? Silas will be dead before he gets the chance to use the stupid thing."
"I'll get you in," Jeremy said, interrupting the argument that was ready to break out between Kol and Caroline. "I don't know where the stake is, and I'm guessing Kol doesn't either, but we'll get you in and distract everyone else long enough for you to find it" – when Kol turned his glare towards Jeremy, the Hunter rolled his eyes and gave a long-suffering sigh that said he was too used to dealing with Kol's tantrums and getting sick of it – "she's right, Kol. We need this Qetsiyah. You and Bonnie seem so sure that Caroline is the only one who can pull this off, so maybe we should try this amazing little thing called trust?"
Kol mutters under his breath, but Caroline didn't pay him any attention. Her eyes are on Jeremy and she surveyed him closely, thinking that he'd grown a lot, matured, since vampires became a daily fixture in their lives.
"Get me in and I'll do the rest," she assured him. She looked back at the house, adding, almost as an afterthought. "Sorry that you're dead. You didn't deserve that."
She didn't notice the surprised looks Jeremy and Kol gave her at her words, already too focused on the next step in her plan.
Kol was up to something.
Klaus didn't know what it was, but both his brother and the young Gilbert had disappeared for nearly twenty minutes, only to reappear. Together.
And not trying to do each other harm.
If there was one thing Klaus had come to realize about those two, it was that they were always trying to "kill" each other. Kol had arrows sticking out of him, put there by Jeremy, more often than not, and Jeremy had his neck snapped by the Original at least three times a day.
So their apparent camaraderie was setting off alarm bells in Klaus' mind.
"You're looking in all the wrong books, Elijah," Kol said jovially, taking the large tome Elijah was scouring away. "There will be nothing to help us with hell on Earth in here. I spent quite some time with this family – a bunch of fools if there ever were."
"No crap," Jeremy muttered in reply, but the words seemed more robotic than usual, almost robotic, "they must have been idiots if they spent time with you willingly."
"Then what does that make you?" Kol asked with a smirk. "My stalker from the other side."
"You're freaking keeper. God knows you need one," Jeremy shot back. Their argument was getting attention from the others in the room as well. Elena was smirking as she watched the back-and-forth, and a similar expression was on Damon's face. Bonnie looked exasperated and resigned, but with a look approaching fondness as she shook her head, the look of someone who had seen this same scenario play out over and over again, and had simply come to accept that this was how she lived now.
But Klaus just frowned at the pair. Oh, they often argued like this, but with more bloodshed. By now, one of them should have gone for the other's throat. That it hadn't happened made Klaus uneasy. With Vaughn's news of Caroline's defection, Caroline who was the most loyal of them all, the Hybrid's already innate sense of paranoia had sharpened, becoming, according to Rebekah, beyond ridiculous.
Perhaps she was right, and Klaus was seeing betrayal where there was none, but at least if you suspected everyone was out to get you, they would never succeed. And Kol and Jeremy weren't acting as they should.
Klaus scowled at the pair, acting for all the world as though he were simply annoyed with their antics, and headed for the door. Such an action should have been viewed as normal behaviour; Klaus' mood had been getting increasingly worse with every day that passed without Caroline, and he tended to leave any room as soon as someone not Elijah or Rebekah entered, but today Kol didn't seem inclined to let him.
"Where are you off to, Nik?" he asked jovially, but it wasn't the normal careless tone that characterized Kol. There was an edge to it, and once again Klaus and all his paranoia picked that edge up.
"Away from you and your petty arguments with the younger Gilbert. In case you haven't noticed, we're all rather on edge due to an immortal madman. We don't have time for your games, Kol."
"Of course, of course. I keep forgetting you're infatuated with the same girl as old Silas. Jeremy and I will cease our… petty argument, though I would argue that my death is hardly petty, and go back to assisting you. Have you tried looking through these books over here? The Cairns family might have some useful information."
Just yesterday, Kol had denounced the Cairns line as a bunch of useless fools with more piss than brains. Klaus narrowed his eyes at his brother and, in a flash that had the rest of the room's inhabitants either cursing or blinking around in confusing, had Kol pinned to the wall.
"Bloody hell, Nik!" Kol growled, grasping Klaus' wrist to try and remove it from his neck. "What is wrong with you?"
"Me?" Klaus hissed in return. "Nothing, brother. You, however? Not that is a very different tale. What are you plotting behind our backs?"
"Nik, stop it!" Rebekah said, coming up to his side. Elijah joined her on his other side, and Klaus ignored them both, but Rebekah was never one to be ignored. "Your paranoia is getting ridiculous! I know you're hurt by Caroline's betrayal, but she is not herself. Her humanity has been completely turned off. You have to stop seeing enemies everywhere because of her. Honestly, I could wring her irritating neck!"
Klaus had ceased to pay attention to Rebekah at Caroline's name, because Kol's eyes had flickered at the name. Klaus narrowed his eyes, tightening his grip and leaning forward.
"What do you know?" Klaus demanded. He felt Kol's throat move as he swallowed beneath Klaus' grip, but he stayed defiantly silent, just meeting Klaus' gaze levelly. "I may not be able to kill you, Kol, but I can hurt you. Or even better, I can harm young Jeremy" – both of their gazes moved to Jeremy, whose eyes widened almost comically and he stumbled back away from them both – "yes, I think that's what I'll do. I know you can handle my creative methods of torture… but Jeremy? I'm sure I can get something out of him before his mind breaks."
"Woah, woah!" Jeremy argued as both Salvatores and Bonnie positioned themselves nearer to him. Even Elena's smirk had faded, replaced by… not concern exactly, but something. Tyler had also tensed, and Klaus almost wished the Hybrid would attack him, would give him an easy target for his rage. "Look man, I get that everyone is a little tense these days, but I can't help you, okay? I don't even know what you think you know!"
"I think the two of you were acting far too friendly… and that it has something to do with Silas. So, Jeremy, tell me what you know. Or I start removing pieces of you. You're dead, they'll grow back, but the losing with still be painful."
"That is enough, Niklaus!" Elijah thundered, stepping between Klaus and Jeremy, his gaze severe. "You have been on edge for weeks, and taking it out on everyone else. You need to cease. Now. Let Kol go and go… hunt, or something. You are of no use to use or Miss Forbes like this."
"Of course, you would take anyone's side but mine," Klaus hissed at his brother. "Fine, go ahead. When we are all dead and subservient to Silas' whims, I'll be sure to say I told you so."
Klaus released Kol and stepped back, spinning on his heel to leave. For a brief moment, he thought Kol or Jeremy might try to stop them again when their gazes flickered to each other, but both seemed to think better of it and allowed him to leave. Whatever their agenda had been, they obviously had decided they'd pushed him enough.
Klaus was almost to his art studio when he smelled her perfume.
It was still light, almost citrusy, with a hint of something floral that he had always found appealing, even before his infatuation had begun.
Before he had time to even think through his actions, he had flashed into Elijah's room and had her pinned to the wall. She looked up at him with startled eyes, but his were focused on her hand, which he had pinned at the wrist.
She held the white oak stake.
"Is that what it's come to?" he asked, and he wondered if this sharp, agonizing pain in his chest was what heartbreak felt like. He once thought he'd known that feeling, with Tatia and her inability to choose between brothers, but that was nothing compared to this. It was like comparing a sprain to the agony of a severed limb. "You warm his bed and kill his enemies?"
"You've been listening to Galen's tales," Caroline tsked and shook her head as much as she could with his arm pressed to her throat. "And here I thought you would want to hear my side of the tale."
"Then tell me it," Klaus replied. "Tell me your tale. Tell me you didn't betray us all. Lie to me if you must, but tell me what Vaughn told me isn't true."
"You want me to tell you that I'm still girly little Caroline, filled with light and hope," She said, allowing her muscles to relax under his hold. "You want to believe that I'm still that girl you placed on a pedestal and erected a shrine of art to. But here's the truth, Klaus – I was never that girl. I used you to save myself and my friends, just as I'll use Silas to keep my life. You and he are no different to me – his price was just higher than a pretty smile and a false expression of empathy. "
Klaus tightened his hold on her, forcing her to drop the stake and cutting off her air, more to stop her words than to stop her breath. This Caroline, this empty shell of the woman he had been so enchanted by, knew the exact words to stab that knife a little further into his heart.
"I could kill you," he mused, hiding his pain with the façade of the monster that he had always donned so easily. "I could end it all now. You're right, that you're not that girl I fell in love with. So why allow you to continue to walk about with her face, causing pain to all of us that cared for her?"
"Then get it done with," Caroline replied, closing her eyes, as though resigning herself to her fate.
Klaus thought how easy it would be, to simply reach into her chest and rip out her heart as she had ripped out his. He thought of his words to Elijah so long ago – we are not weak,Elijah. We do not feel and we do not care – and he wondered when it was, exactly, that he had lost sight of that man, who had been able to say those words and mean them.
Because Caroline made him weak, made him care, and he cursed himself as a thousand different kinds of fool when, instead of killing her as he should, he loosened his grip to embrace her tightly, burying his nose in her hair and inhaling that scent that was distinctly Caroline.
"You have ruined me," he hissed against her hair, and for a brief second he really did hate her, every bit as much as he cared for her. Because he knew what was going to come next, had known it would come as soon as he released his hold on her.
Caroline did not disappoint.
He grunted in pain when the stake entered his chest, just below his heart and he fell to his knees. Caroline stood over him, her eyes cold and dead, but there was something else in there, lurking far, far beneath the surface – so far he thought Caroline probably wasn't even aware it was there. He wasn't even sure he really saw it, the slightest hint of her old light; it was possibly he was imagining it.
But he didn't imagine the way her hands caressed his cheeks as she moved them to rest on his neck.
"You're cruel, Niklaus Mikaelson," she said, and it caused Klaus to startle, the sound of his full name on her tongue. "Killing me would have been kinder."
And then, as she had once done to Silas, she broke his neck with a swift twist.
Caroline sat in front of the gravestone. It was the first time she had been to the graveyard since she had returned to Mystic Falls. She wondered who it was that had taken care of the burial; Damon, most likely.
Brave sheriff, loving mother
She will be missed
So incredibly cliché, but probably exactly what Liz would have wanted. Caroline thought it was apt, that sheriff had come before mother on her final epithet. She had tried, of course, to be both parents to Caroline, but sheriff had always come so much easier to her.
"This is an odd place to find one who claims to care no longer."
Caroline didn't respond to Silas immediately. Instead she just sat and stared at the stone a little longer, wondering what the point was. Liz was dead, and was having her here, remembered on a piece of stone that would fade, causing her name to be lost forever, supposed to offer some sort of comfort?
"I'm trying to figure it out," Caroline said at last, standing and looking at Silas. He was so incredibly attractive, with perfect bone structure and those oddly light eyes, and Caroline could understand how Qetsiyah had been so obsessed she had cursed him rather than let another have him. But she also knew the monster beneath that veneer – the monster that dug into your head and played around and enjoyed it. "I'm trying to understand what all of this was for. She's dead, Matt's dead, if you have your way we'll all be dead… and why? Because Elena Gilbert couldn't handle being a vampire? Or because we were so determined to force her back into her old box, her human box, that we couldn't just leave good enough alone? And now here we are."
"Here we are," Silas agreed. "You seem oddly sentimental, for someone who claims to feel nothing."
"I hate sentiment," Caroline replied. "Sentiment killed my parents. Sentiment is what got me here to begin with. Now let's finish it."
AN: I'm thinking there's only two or three more chapters and an epilogue left of this. Most likely two. So here's hoping I can get it finished. With how TO and TVD are currently going, fanfiction is kind of my hide away from reality.
So… yeah, Klaus totally let her snap his neck and get away. They're both in rather dark places right now. But at least you got some interaction between them! That hasn't happened since… God, it's been a long while.
Thanks to everyone who has reviewed, and please let me know what you thought of this.