One-shot for Leonie, for Valentine's Day.
"You can jab that button as often as you want, love, it's not going to make the lift magically start moving."
Caroline closed her eyes, gritting her teeth at the annoyance she felt at the sound of the lilting British voice that spoke from behind her. She could remember when that voice could send shivers down her spine just speaking her name. She could remember the way her lips used to tilt up in a lovestruck smile when it used to whisper sweet nothings in her ear—promises of faraway places; great cities, art, music and the million things she used to dream of. She could remember waking every morning, and just yearning to hear that voice.
And now she wanted nothing more than to be as far away from it as possible.
She sighed, crossing her arms over her chest and finally turning to face him. "You know, instead of just standing there, you could actually try doing something productive. Like getting us out of this stupid elevator."
Klaus smirked at her from his place in the corner, his hands in the pockets of his jacket as he leaned against the railing, his legs stretched out, ankles crossed. "What would you suggest? Give you a little shimmy through the escape hatch so you could climb the cables to safety?"
"Well, if it means leaving you to plummet to your death in this steel death trap, then yes."
He laughed, shaking his head. "And there's that pleasant disposition that I've missed so much these last few months."
Caroline rolled her eyes, turning her back to him and glaring down at the offending button panel. She thrust her hand out, her finger pressing into the glowing button, a groan escaping her lips when the elevator remained at a standstill. She blew out a breath, tossing her blonde curls out of her face as she turned to face Klaus again. "What are you even doing in this building?"
He shrugged, pursing his lips. "I could ask you the same thing, darling."
"I was visiting Bonnie," she said, glaring at his casual use of the pet name. "Not that it's any of your business."
"No, you made that perfectly clear with the divorce papers, Caroline," Klaus replied, the smirk slipping from his face as his gaze hardened. He watched as she shifted on her feet, her eyes dropping to the floor under the scrutiny of his gaze. He shrugged, letting out a sigh. "And not that it's any of your business, but Kol happens to live in this building now."
Caroline lifted her head, frowning. "Since when does Kol live here?"
"A few weeks," he replied, meeting her gaze. "A fact that perhaps you would have known if you'd bothered to pick up the phone one of the thousand times I called."
She scoffed, shaking her head. "You know what, don't even act like I'm the bad guy in this whole thing, Nik. You know as well as I do that this is your fault."
Klaus straightened to his full height, pulling his hands from inside his jacket and crossing his arms over his broad chest, his gaze narrowed as he stared at her. "My fault?" he asked. "So the complete dissolution of our marriage, Caroline; everything that we have spent the last five years accumulating. That's all my fault?"
Caroline pressed her lips into a thin line, tilting her head to the side as she shifted on her feet, her nails cutting into the material of her sweater.
"You packing up and disappearing when I'm not even home, nothing there to greet me but a note saying it's over and your bloody wedding band on our bedside table…the feeling of my heart being wrenched from chest; that's all my fault, love, is that what you're saying?"
He took a step towards her, his gaze fiery and furious, and Caroline found herself taking a step back. She admitted she had taken the coward's way out. She hadn't waited for him to get home so she could confront him. She'd thrown all of her clothes into a suitcase and scribbled a note through her tears, sliding the diamond ring off her finger before flinging it onto the table and fleeing from the apartment.
She'd known that if she had waited to speak to him, to hear his side of the story, she wouldn't have stood a chance against his pleading blue eyes and dimpled grin. He would have convinced her to stay—wove some intricate lie to make her feel reassured.
"I saw you, Nik," she accused, stumbling a bit when her back met with the cold steel of the elevator wall. She watched as his steps ceased, his head tilting to the side as he looked at her curiously. She sighed, running a hand through her hair. "I saw you with Tatia. You can try to deny it all you want, but it doesn't change the fact that I saw the two of you in your office that day." Her voice cracked as she finished her sentence, the hot sting of tears burning her eyes as she laughed harshly, shaking her head.
She could still see it so clearly. Eager to surprise her husband at lunch with a home-cooked meal, her heels clicking against the tile of the art studio as she'd made her way down the hall. She'd even managed a pleasant smile at his secretary Greta, a girl who'd spent far too long making moon eyes at Nik for her taste, but she'd let it go. He praised her abilities, and always reassured her with a smile and kiss that she was the only one for him. She'd shrugged off Greta's smirk that day, her catty announcement that he was "a bit busy for a domestic visit."
She had rolled her eyes, cursing the pretty brunette under her breath, and made her way down the hall. His office door had been partially open, and her face had spread into a dazzling smile as she'd poked her head around the corner—
And saw her husband wrapped in the arms of Tatia Petrova.
Her heart had plummeted in her chest, and she couldn't seem to catch her breath as she watched the brunette pull Nik closer, her arms wrapping around his shoulders while his gripped her hips, every one of her breathy moans feeling like a dagger in her heart. She briefly recalled turning and racing down the hall, dropping the basket of pasta and strawberries on Greta's desk before she raced for the exit, the assistant's laughing voice calling after her, "Should I tell him you stopped by?"
The humiliation and utter pain had been overwhelming, and she could feel the tightness in her chest once more as she fought back her tears, raising her chin to stare defiantly into her husband's eyes.
He was staring at her, a look of shock and disbelief on his face. He sighed, a look of realization dawning in his eyes. "You were there, the day Tatia stopped by?"
Caroline nodded, her lips curling up at the mention of the pretty young artist that her husband often worked with. "Yes, I was. So you can just save whatever lame story you're cooking up in your mind, Mikaelson, and just—"
He caught her off guard when he laughed suddenly, throwing his head back as his hand ran through his thick blonde curls. His shoulders were shaking as he sighed, taking another step towards her as he met her confused gaze, a dimpled smile on his face. "You didn't see what you think you saw, Caroline," he said softly, moving until he was barely an inch away from her.
She scoffed, pressing her back against the wall as she tried to evade his familiar scent and the immediate sense of safety she felt at his body towering over her. "Oh, really? I didn't see that slut Petrova shoving her tongue down your throat and groping every inch of you she could reach?"
"No, you did see that," Klaus said, tilting his head to peer into her eyes better. "But what you didn't see was me push her away and demand she leave."
Caroline frowned, looking up at him. "What?"
"She caught me off-guard, love," he said softly, reaching out to tuck a stray curl behind her ear. "We were discussing her upcoming showcase and before I could blink she was on me. Whispering some nonsense about latent desires and shared glances. But the second I caught my bearings, I shoved her away and ended our partnership." His blue eyes searched her face, a sigh escaping his lips as they seemed to devour her every feature. "I told her the only woman I could ever desire was waiting for me at home, and she paled in comparison."
Caroline stuttered, shaking her head slightly as she took in what he was saying. She thought back to that day, picturing the way they'd stood against his desk, Tatia's body pressing itself closely against his, her lips moving a furious rhythm against his own…
Even as he stood motionless, his hands tight on her hips as he…
"You were pushing her away," she said finally, her voice barely above a whisper. His gaze remained fixed on hers. She sighed, closing her eyes. "You weren't kissing her at all."
His breath ghosted against her face as he laughed softly, his forehead leaning gently against her own. "How could I, Caroline?" he asked, his voice low as he implored her. "Don't you know, love, that you're everything to me? How could I possibly even glance at another when you are who consumes my thoughts every moment?"
Caroline shook her head, feeling a tear slip from her eyes and letting a quiet sob escape her lips when his hand cupped her cheek, his thumb wiping it away as he pressed a kiss to her forehead. "I just thought," she whispered, the feel of his arm wrapping tightly around her waist and tugging her closer sending a delicious shiver through her. She sobbed. "Oh, God, I'm such an idiot."
Years of insecurities and always being second choice poured over her, and she sighed shakily, opening her eyes when she heard his laughter in her ear.
"You're a bundle of insecurity and emotion, Caroline, but you're certainly not stupid," he said, smiling down at her as she sniffled, her hands tentatively sliding up his chest as her fingers curled into the fabric of his shirt. "Though how you could ever imagine that any other woman but you could possibly sate me begs me to question your sanity." She laughed, shaking her head, and his heart swelled with the sheer sound of it. Oh, how he'd missed her. Every quirk of personality, every insecurity and flaw she deemed unattractive but he found positively stunning in her. "Caroline, how could you ever doubt me? Didn't I prove it enough that I'm nothing without you? That without you, my life means nothing?" He dipped his head, pressing a kiss to the corner of her mouth as his hands cupped her face gently. "You're everything to me, Caroline."
Caroline shook her head, letting out a mix between a sob and laugh as she raised her teary eyes to meet his. They were shining down at her, alight with more love and devotion than she could ever imagine seeing someone direct towards her, and she wanted nothing more in that moment than to take it all back. Her rash decision, her rush to judgment, her damn insecurity that nearly cost her everything she'd ever wanted. She looked at him, her shoulders lifted in a halfhearted shrug. "I'm crazy," she sobbed, smiling up at him when he grinned.
"And I'm crazy about you," he whispered, pulling her flush against him as his lips finally captured her own, and he relished in the quiet moan that greeted him.
Their lips moved against each other at a desperate pace, months of longing and passion and a million other emotions that seemed to fuel their fiery reunion. Klaus realized, not for the first time, that he never felt more at home than he did when he was in Caroline's arms.
They stumbled when the elevator suddenly lurched to life, and they glanced over to see the numbers of the floors decreasing as it continued on its way down to the lobby. They both let out a relieved sigh before Klaus turned to her again, pressing his lips to hers.
"The earth literally moves under our feet when I kiss you, Caroline," he said. "What woman dare stands a chance against that?"
He smiled when she giggled, her arms coming up to drape around his shoulders, and he kissed her again, wrapping his arms tightly around her.
Through Hell and high water, he would never let her go.