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"Tell me, exactly, how this is supposed to help."

Caroline rolled her eyes, barely sparing her best friend of nearly three decades a backwards glance as she finished scribbling their information on the entry forms.

"This, Stefan, is because you are in a rut. A rut that has lasted far too long, and just seems to get worse every time we pay your brother and Elena a visit." She popped the cap back onto the pen before setting it back on the table, smiling up at the bespectacled woman who reached for the forms. She turned on her heel, blonde curls bouncing against her shoulders. "And while I have no doubt that after all these years you don't care for Elena like you did, you still get extra moody, which I've attributed to the fact that you are lonely and in need of some serious fun. So that, Stefan, is how this is supposed to help."

Stefan sighed, his ever youthful face dropping in defeat. He never could say no to her. Especially not when she was wearing her familiar Miss Mystic Falls expression. No power on this Earth stood a chance against her in that second.

Crossing his arms over his chest, he turned, his eyes warily scouring the crowded bar and overly enthusiastic populace. "Speed dating?"

Caroline grinned.

"Speed dating."


So in theory, speed dating sounded like a great idea.

Flirt a little, chat a little, maybe if everything plays out ok, go home with some nameless person and forget everything for a bit.

Clearly she didn't count on every freak and nutjob in the whole of New York City rearing their crazy personas and kinky habits.

"I mean, really, when you think about it, it makes sense," the man sitting across the table from her, his balding hairline and Jeffrey Dahmer-esque glasses doing nothing to dispel the paranoid crazy that was pouring off of him in waves. "The government is ALWAYS watching. Camera phones, ATM security—hacked so they can see your every move. And the money you touch everyday? Laced with a fine substance that lets them keep track of your fingerprints no matter how often you wash your hands or anything. I mean, anyone who says any different—,"

The buzzer signaling the partner change dinged, and Caroline plastered a bright smile on her face when Mr. Paranoid Conspiracy Theory reluctantly moved onto the next table. Once he was out of earshot, she let out a relieved sigh, her eyes wide as she looked down the line of tables and met Stefan's gaze.

Her best friend was glaring at her, an aggravated frown on his face as he slipped into the chair opposite an older woman with bleached blonde hair whose over-botoxed face was leering at him as if she were the hunter and he was the prey.

If she only knew what kind of hunter was actually lurking behind Stefan's pretty face…

Caroline winced, shooting him an apologetic smile. She was silently wondering if the stress of this horrible plan was enough to bring about a long since appearance of the Ripper when the next man in ever moving line slid into the seat across from her, and she bit back a sigh.


She froze.

Thirty years wasn't long enough to make her forget that voice. She doubted there was an amount of time imaginable that could possibly make her forget the way that voice had sounded in her ear. The way her breath would catch and a shiver would course down her spine at the way her name seemed to tumble from it.

It was a voice she'd dreamed about for years, and one she never thought she'd actually hear again.

Turning her head slowly, her eyes widened at the sight of him across from her, that familiar smirk that used to stop her breath in her throat on his face.

He looked the same. Though given the fact that they were both eternal and ageless, it wasn't much of a surprise. Though the mess of blonde curls atop his head were a little longer, she was pleasantly surprised to see that much of everything else was the same.

His broad shoulders were still clothed in his grey Henleys, a dark jacket overtop it. A tangle of necklaces were draped around his neck, disappearing into the V of his shirt. His eyes, still such a vivid mixture of blue and green, were alight as he stared at her, his smirk widening when he caught her gaze looking him over.

Caroline shook her head, breaking her obvious ogling, a faint blush creeping across her cheeks. "Klaus," she finally said, forcing the surprise off her face and attempting an impassive expression. "What are you doing here?"

His smirk widened, his shoulders shrugging as he glanced around the bar. "Just passing through," he crooned, turning back to smile at her. His eyebrows arched on his head. "Rebekah has a bit of a soft spot for the Big Apple. She was in need of some entertainment, and I was somehow accosted into attending this." He waved a hand in the air, his lip curling in slight disgust as his eyes glanced around.

"Rebekah?" Caroline frowned.

"She's on down the line," Klaus said, nodding. "Throwing quite a pouting fit at her apparent lack of fish in the sea. That is until she caught sight of Stefan a few moments ago."

Caroline twisted in her seat, craning her neck to peer down the line of tables and chairs. She saw Rebekah sitting a rows down, her long blonde hair pulled back into a French braid. The man sitting in front of her was mindlessly gabbing away, but her blue eyes were focused solely on Stefan. Switching her gaze to her best friend, she saw his attention was equally caught by the Original, a fact that certainly didn't go unnoticed by the scowling botoxed cougar in front of him.

She shook her head, an unwilling smile pulling at her lips.

"You look ravishing, by the way."

She turned back to him, her eyes meeting his. They were so familiar—still so full of adoration and hope and expectation. She couldn't deny that she was delighted to see that thirty years hadn't diminished that. She laughed under her breath, rolling her eyes.

"Immortality did always suit you, Caroline," he continued, leaning forward and resting his elbows on the table.

"Still doling out the compliments, I see," she replied, brushing a strand of blonde curl out of her face. "I'm surprised to see you here, actually. Last I heard, you were ruling the roost down in New Orleans. Being all King of the Bayou, and whatnot."

Klaus' eyebrows arched, a smug smirk on his stubble covered face. "You've been keeping tabs on me, love?"

She scoffed. "No." His smirk grew, his chin lowering as his eyes peered over at her, and she laughed, shaking her head. "Fine, maybe a little. You know, keep your enemies close and all that. And anyway it's probably barely a glitch compared to whatever intel you've been keeping on me."

"That's very confident," Klaus laughed.

One perfectly shaped eyebrow lifted as she smirked. "Are you denying it?"

He shrugged. "In my considerably long life, I've learned that it pays to keep track of people who may prove useful to me. Old habits die hard, after all." He looked at her. "How did you enjoy Paris?"

There was an undertone to his voice, a mix of regret and longing. She was reminded of that night so long ago, when he'd promised her everything in the world. "Rome, Paris, Tokyo." He had promised he would take her anywhere. He had promised her the world.

And not for the first time, she wished she had taken him up on it.

The buzzer sounded again, and Caroline felt a wave of disappointment as the men in the line stood to move to the next table. She tried to keep the distress off her face as she sunk back into her chair, letting out a sigh as a young dark haired man wearing a bomber jacket stopped next to her table, a grin on his face.

Her distress was short lived, however, when Klaus merely looked up at him, his eyes dilating as his gaze met the newcomers. "Move along, mate. We're not done here."

Normally Caroline was against compulsion in any situation that didn't absolutely require it. But as the dazed man walked past their table and Klaus' gaze returned to hers, the reprimand that would normally be on her lips was replaced with a sense of hunger that was mirrored in his own eyes.

"Did you enjoy Paris, Caroline?"

His voice was low and husky, his gaze intense as his eyes bore into her own. They were endless, she swore, their deep blue depths swirling with unspoken emotion that spoke volumes in itself.

She took a breath, steadying her nerves. Her head dropped, blonde hair curling around her face, and then she lifted her gaze, shrugging one shoulder and offering him a smile. "It was missing something."


Her back slammed into the wall, a low moan escaping her mouth when his lips attacked the curve of her neck. One of his strong hands was tangled in her hair, the other gripping her hip tightly as he pressed himself against her. Her hands were raking through his blonde curls and across his shoulders, pulling him closer.

"Klaus," she breathed, rolling her eyes when she felt him smirk against his skin.


"It's quite a coincidence, isn't it?" Stefan asked, smiling at Rebekah as he leaned against the bar.

"We weren't following you, if that's what you're insinuating," the blonde replied, her lips curving into a smirk. "Thirty years, and still so full of yourself, Mr. Salvatore."


Klaus wrapped his arm around her lower thighs, lifting her up onto the countertop and settling himself between her. Her legs wrapped around his waist, her hands cupping the sides of his neck as her lips dueled with his.

Her every scent was surrounding him. That familiar aroma of lavender and vanilla that had haunted his senses for decades. Every fantasy he'd had over the years paled in comparison to how delicious her smooth skin felt under his hands.

His hands trailed up the expanse of her thighs, his fingers brushing against the hem of her dress, and he felt her smile against his lips, her hands tugging him closer as her hips slid closer to the edge of the counter.


"Still. It's gotta mean something. Us running into each other after all these years. Of all the bars, in all the cities, in all the world…"

Rebekah rolled her eyes, a bubble of laughter slipping past her lips. She refused to admit just how delighted she was to run into him here. So delighted that she wasn't even bothered that he was here with that little waste of a vampire Caroline Forbes. So delighted, even, that she barely gave the fact that her brother's attention had been immediately diverted by the young blonde vampire a second thought.

"And what, exactly, could it mean?" she asked, peering up at him from under lashes.


Their breath mingled together, his fingers laced through hers against the mirror behind her back. Her soft moans and breathy sighs were a chorus in his ears.

His own lips were against her ear, his stubble scratching against her skin as his voice whispered to her.

"You're stunning."

"You've consumed my thoughts every second, love."

"I can give you everything, Caroline."

"Let me give you the world."

His body sent tremors through her own as his every word sent shivers down her spine. With every whisper and every movement, she knew she would never be able to deny him now.


The crowd was dwindling, the music dying down, and Stefan found himself pressing a gentle kiss to Rebekah's cheek, his fingers trailing a delicate pattern down her arm.

He pulled away, smiling down at her, reaching out and brushing a stray bang out of her eyes. "I'll see you tomorrow, then."

Rebekah nodded, her teeth capturing her lower lip as she smiled. "And then some, hopefully."

He laughed, kissing her again, and then turned, making his way towards the front of the bar where he saw Caroline's familiar form fussing with the hem of her dress. His brow furrowed, a knowing smirk appearing on his face as he took in her disheveled hair and smudge eyeliner. Her cheeks were a rosy pink, her eyes just a tad too wide, her smile just a tad too bright. He slowed his steps and glanced over his shoulder, a laugh escaping his lips when he spotted a similarly disheveled Klaus making his way towards his sister, a smug smirk on his face as he shrugged while Rebekah rolled her eyes in disgust.

He shook his head, crossing his arms over his chest as he turned back to face Caroline.

"Hey," she said brightly, her hand running through her hair in an attempt to tame it. "You ready to go?"

His eyebrows rose on his face, his lips pressing together tightly to hold back the smirk and laughter he could feel bubbling inside him.

"We never have to do this again, Stef. Seriously. This was like…super lame. So…" She stared at him, her smile widening when her gaze shifted to something just over his shoulder, and he didn't even have to look to know Klaus's gaze was equally riveted. He finally laughed, shaking his head when her eyes met his again. "What?"

He stepped around her, bumping his shoulder against hers.

"Who's the blood slut now?" he teased, laughing when she reached out and shoved his shoulder. He took her hand, and laced her arm through his, casting one last look over his shoulder and shooting Rebekah a wink.

He would say Caroline's plan for a fun filled evening had worked out after all.