A/N: This was supposed to be a drabble, but it turned into a bit of a monster. Oh well.
I tried to keep away from fanfictions and spoilers for the past few weeks because I had this story in mind and I didn't want to risk being swayed by the other Prom stories out there (which led to a painful withdrawal, I'm going to spend the next 3 days reading Klaroline fics to recover), so I'm sorry if this has been done before, any similarity with other stories is coincidental
It may look like it starts out as Forwood. It's not. My heart belongs to Klaroline
Une dernière danse – Kyo
Everything has changed – Taylor Swift feat. Ed Sheeran
I see a darkness – Johnny Cash
Hm. Weird mix, but I think it works quite well with the story :)
Disclaimer: still not mine
As she stands in the corner with her untouched drink in her hand, she can't help but think of how unfair the whole thing is.
She usually doesn't like wallowing in self-pity. She knows how many people have it so much worse than her. Besides, who has the time anyway? She's always too busy dealing with the newest crisis to just stop and think about everything she's lost.
But tonight, as she watches her classmates dance and laugh and drink and have fun and she doesn't have anything better to do than swallow back her petty jealousy at how carefree they all look – even Stefan seems to be having fun with the Original Sister – she allows her usual bright smile to falter for just a moment.
She doesn't want to be alone. Hell, she'd probably settle for a dance with Damon just to feel two strong arms around her. Just to be reminded of what it feels like to be able to depend on someone. Not that she'd ever stoop so low as to depend on Damon, but the illusion would suffice for a few minutes.
Her eyes find Matt and Bonnie swaying to the music a few feet away and she gives them a small smile, but it falls from her face as soon as they turn away from her. Seeing Matt reminds her too much of the place he's moved in not too long ago and of the hybrid that should be living there.
Oh how she misses him.
She swallows hard and straightens her posture. She will not cry at her Prom. No matter how miserable she is right now, she's waited too long for this to let a temporary weakness ruin her perfect makeup.
"Never thought you'd be standing in the shadows at your own Prom."
She freezes. The words aren't that unexpected. Everyone here knows her well enough to make that kind of comment. No, what makes her breath catch in her throat is the voice. This voice she thought she'd never get to hear again. She doesn't turn around for fear that she's dreaming and the slightest movement will wake her up and he'll be gone. She hears a low chuckle behind her when he understands why she's still frozen in place and he moves to stand in front of her, his smile brighter than she's ever seen it as he takes her glass from her to place it on a nearby table. She releases the breath she's holding, his name falling from her lips in a barely audible whisper.
The dam breaks at the familiar nickname, tears spilling over her incredulous laughter as she throws herself at him and his arms wrap around her. She buries her head in the crook of his neck, finding comfort in his familiar scent, only now noticing the tux he's wearing. She pulls back just enough to be able to look him in the eye, still not completely convinced that he's not going to vanish in a puff of smoke.
"Oh my god, what are you doing here? Is it… is it safe? Klaus is…"
"He's the one who told me to come."
Her jaw almost hits the floor at that.
"Yeah," Tyler says, shaking his head, clearly as lost as she is.
"But he… It could be a trap. You shouldn't…"
"How do you know?"
He winces and she frowns, waiting for him to explain.
"Turns out he never lost me. He knew where I was all along. He didn't need me to come back here to kill me. He could have done it weeks ago."
"I guess he figured a life on the run was a fate worse than death."
It makes sense, and that's probably what Klaus tells anyone who dares ask. But she knows better.
"And he contacted you to tell you you could come back?"
"Yeah. Only for tonight, though. If I'm still here tomorrow…"
He doesn't finish his sentence. He doesn't need to. She doesn't know why she let herself hope for even one second that everything was alright again. Of course Klaus wouldn't just forget about everything that happened and let Tyler live a happy life here with her. Still, having him here tonight is better than nothing. Remembering the look the Original gave her when she asked him one last time if he was going to let Tyler come back into town, Caroline shakes her head, wondering when he took the decision to grant her this wish. Was it before or after he led her to believe there was no hope? Does it even matter?
Her thoughts are interrupted when Tyler leads her to the dance floor and she gives him a bright smile.
"Care, I didn't just come for Prom."
"Okay…" she says, her voice hesitant.
"I want you to leave with me."
"Come with me when I leave."
She looks deep into his eyes, wondering how many times he's going to steal her breath away tonight. Only right now, it's not hope that has her completely speechless.
They both know she's not ready to leave Mystic Falls behind. Her friends, her mother, her life are all here and no matter how much she loves him, she can't just abandon them, especially with everything that's happening. As much as she doesn't want to say goodbye – again – she has to stay here.
"Caroline, I love you. You don't know how hard those few weeks without you have been. It's…" He trails off at her glare and admits, "Okay, you do. But what I mean is…"
"I know what you mean. But I can't. I love you Tyler, you know that, but…"
"May I cut in?"
They both freeze at the accented voice. She knew she'd see him tonight, it is his house after all – since they had to relocate Prom thanks to Elena's latest prank – but did he have to interrupt them now? She scoffs at her own thoughts. Of course he did. Noticing how tense Tyler is, she gives him a reassuring smile before turning around to face the Original Hybrid. His extended hand brings her back to the last time she danced with him at the decade dance and she rolls her eyes at him. Yet as hard as she tries to keep it in check, a small smile tugs at the corner of her lips and she thanks whatever powers are up there that Tyler can't see her face right now.
How would she even begin to explain the tentative truce that's formed between her and his worst enemy even after he almost killed her? She doesn't even understand it herself.
Sensing that she's still hesitating, Klaus tilts his head to the side.
"One last dance, love."
Right. Last one. He'll be leaving tomorrow. Some things to take care of in New Orleans apparently. The Originals are all going and they're taking the cure with them until they reach an understanding. She idly wonders if they'll ever get a chance to dance together without his imminent death or departure looming over them. And suddenly the thought that this is probably going to be their last dance occurs to her and the wave of regret that comes with it catches her completely off guard. Without further hesitation, she places her hand in his and sends a quick look over to Tyler, silently telling him that she'll be right back and that they'll be finishing their conversation.
As one song ends and another one begins, an acoustic guitar can be heard and she recognizes the chords before the singer even utters the first words.
"Oh you have got to be kidding me," she mutters under her breath, drawing a soft laugh from her dance partner as he pulls her closer to him.
"May I remind you that you chose the playlist, sweetheart?"
"Yeah, yeah, I know," she concedes as he starts moving in time with the soft beat.
Still. Bad timing. And okay, it's hard to find any song that doesn't have some kind of romantic undertone, but still, those particular lyrics are a tad too much for her to handle while she's pressed up against him and feeling the warmth of his hand on her back. Yet when he twirls her around just as Ed Sheeran joins Taylor Swift for the chorus, she can't help but relax before easily finding her place against his chest again, one hand clasped in his, the other resting against his shoulder.
"I'm sure it goes without saying, but you look absolutely stunning."
She gives him a shy smile at the compliment, for once not scoffing at him. It's always nice to hear and she's somewhat annoyed at Tyler for not mentioning anything when he saw her, though with everything that's been on his mind, she knows she really shouldn't be blaming him.
"Thank you. For Tyler, I mean."
He acknowledges her gratitude with a nod and surprises her yet again.
"You should go."
"He asked you to leave with him. You should."
She's floored, to say the least. So much so that she misses a few steps even though they're just slow dancing. He stops for a beat, waiting for her to recover, before resuming their dance. Too bad it's not a complicated tango or something, she'd at least have an excuse for her sudden case of clumsiness. An image of Klaus dancing the tango flashes before her eyes and she can't help but snicker at how ridiculous it is before she reminds herself that he's probably spent decades in Argentina and mastered it and the image turns more sexy than funny. Huh, how does he manage to be so annoying even in her imagination?
A soft pressure against the small of her back brings her back to the real world and she brings her attention back to him to ask the only question that really matters.
"All that's left for you here are friends who don't deserve you and weekly threats to your well-being. After everything, are you going to tell me you still don't see the appeal of just leaving everything behind?"
"No, I get why you think I should leave, even if I disagree. What I don't get is why you're telling me to go with Tyler of all people. It's… Well…"
"Out of character?" he supplies.
He shrugs, but she can see the smirk that's begging to break out and she braces herself for whatever bullshit he's about to spring on her.
She laughs out loud at that.
"Right. We never actually agreed on that, and even if I decided to buy it, which isn't going to happen… Tyler, seriously? You despise him. Why would you try and push me in his arms?"
All trace of humor desert him as he looks at her and she shivers under his intensity. They're so close that she knows he can feel it, but thankfully he doesn't comment.
"Because you love him. You've reminded me of this little fact way too many times for my liking. Either he is your 'epic love' and nothing I do will ever truly keep you away from him, or he's not and I need you to figure it out on your own. And you can't do that if you're constantly idealizing what you two used to have instead of being confronted with the imperfections of this relationship."
What is it, Render Caroline Speechless Night?
"You…" Her voice trails off and she shakes her head, trying to gather her thoughts in order to form a coherent sentence. "You're letting me go and hoping I'll come back to you?"
"I never really had you, did I?"
"You know what I mean. You're telling me you'll be waiting for me."
"Go with him, Caroline. You know you need to get out of here. This town will destroy you."
She can't deny it. She's seen too many of her friends lost to the dangers of Mystic Falls. Those who aren't dead are just shells of their former selves.
"And you're not going to try and convince me to go with you instead?"
"Louisiana is going to be even more dangerous than Virginia for the next few months. I don't want you anywhere near New Orleans."
"You need to stop with the whole being noble thing. It makes it really hard to pretend I'm not going to miss you."
She feels him stiffen at her words and she averts her eyes. She doesn't want to see the mixture of shock and delight in his at her admission. Unfortunately, her avoidance technique means she's now looking at Tyler over Klaus's shoulder and a number of things register all at once. A new song is coming to an end. Tyler looks furious. Her body is close enough to Klaus's to be deemed inappropriate. Her hands have traveled from their safe position on their own volition and her arms are now wrapped around his neck. And Elena is standing next to Tyler, clearly having the time of her life as she stares at her knowingly with a quirked eyebrow.
Following her gaze, Klaus winces, understanding their time together has come to an end. He releases his hold on her and she gives him an apologetic smile. She pulls away from him, but before she can take a step in Tyler's direction, Klaus's hand shoots out to grab her wrist and she looks back at him questioningly. His eyes lower to his free hand, indicating that she should look down too. When she does, she notices that he's handing her something. A vial filled with a dark red liquid. It takes her about two seconds to realize what this is.
"Yes," he interrupts, clearly not wanting the others to know about this. "Take it."
Frowning, she obeys anyway, her fingers closing around the small object, keeping it concealed in the palm of her hand.
"Just in case."
Realization dawns on her.
"You don't trust Tyler."
"I don't trust his new friends."
Her frown deepens. It seems the 'enemy' knows more about her boyfriend and his whereabouts those past few weeks than she does. There's not much she can say with the others listening in on their conversation, so she gives him a small nod and a quiet "Thank you" before walking away. She stops by her abandoned purse and slips the vial of his blood in it before joining Tyler and Elena. Barely throwing a glance at the bitch that currently inhabits her best friend's body, she grabs Tyler's hand and leads him outside. There are too many prying eyes and ears in this room for the conversation they need to have. She can feel the fury radiating off of him and she knows it's not going to be pretty.
They find a secluded corner in the Mikaelson's garden and Tyler rips his hand away from hers as soon as she turns to face him. She crosses her arms in front of her, bracing herself for what's to come.
"What the hell was that?"
"What happened while I was away?"
She's suddenly transported back to the night he asked her a similar question when he found Klaus's drawing in her room. Shaking away the memory, she shrugs.
"I know you haven't been away that long, but a lot has changed. Klaus and I are friends. Sort of."
He narrows his eyes at her.
"That was not a friendly dance, Caroline. You were all over him."
"I got carried away, okay? He's a good dancer. Just because we danced two songs instead of one…"
"You were on that dance floor with him for four fucking songs, Care. And you didn't even realize it? God, it's even worse than I thought."
"No! It's not like that. Look, Tyler, it was nothing. We just had a lot to talk about before he left and…"
"Right. Like the fact that you're going to miss him."
She cringes at his bitter tone. Damn, how did she manage to forget that they were in a room full of people with supernatural hearing? Something suddenly snaps inside of her. She's tired of being ashamed of her feelings. She's been fighting them tooth and nail for as long as she can remember, and now that she's finally admitted them to herself, it's getting harder to pretend that there isn't some kind of connection there. Taking a deep breath, she looks Tyler straight in the eye and keeps her voice steady.
"You know what? Yes. I am going to miss him."
She thinks about justifying it, telling him that she's grown closer to Klaus but that it doesn't mean that she loves him any less, explaining that she's seen a side of the monster that's not that bad, that she thinks that being friends with the Original might not be the terrible mistake it seems to be, but she keeps her mouth shut. It would only make her look guilty, and she refuses to feel guilty anymore.
Tyler's reaction is exactly what she expects.
"You can't be serious! The guy killed my mother, for God's sake!"
"I know! I know, okay? And I still hate him for this. And for driving you away. And for every terrible thing he's done. But it's…"
"It's what, Caroline? It's okay?"
"No! Damn it, Tyler, are you gonna let me finish just one freaking sentence?!" she exclaims. He gives her a dirty look but motions for her to continue, the gesture part mocking, part irritated. "You don't know what I've been through these past few weeks. You don't know what I've done. You don't know…"
"Then tell me!"
"I killed twelve people!" Her shout stuns him into silence, either because he's not used to her raising her voice or because of what she just confessed, she can't tell. "And I'm sure they all had families and friends and boyfriends and people who are going to miss them just as much as you miss your mom. I had a choice to make and I made it and it made me realize that the lines aren't as clear as we've been pretending they are. We've been living in a black and white world for so long that we forgot about the shades of grey. You know why? Because it was convenient. Those fucking shades of grey, they make everything more complicated and we had enough complications as it was. But I can't ignore them anymore. Because if I do…" Her voice breaks a little at what she's about to say, but she swallows back her tears. "If I do, then I'm in the black, Tyler. And yes, he might be like billions of shades darker than we all are, but I have to believe there's hope for him. Otherwise…"
She trails off, unwilling to complete this depressing thought. If there's no hope for Klaus, if it's all black or white, then she's just a terrible person too and there's no hope for her either. How is she supposed to deal with that?
"I know this isn't what you expected when you came back here and I'm sorry. But there's nothing I can do about it."
They're both silent for a while, until Tyler shakes his head and runs his hand through his hair in defeat. To her surprise, he doesn't throw any more accusations.
"We clearly need a few hours to cool down." She raises her eyebrows at that. She's perfectly calm, thank you very much. Before she can object however, he adds, "I'll come see you at dawn, before I leave. You can let me know if you've decided to come with me then."
With that, he walks away, leaving her to go back to her lonely Prom.
He's nursing a drink and watching with an amused smirk as Rebekah runs around her room, throwing things in a suitcase, claiming that she'll never be ready on time. Prom ended a couple of hours ago and she's been even more insufferable than usual since then. He's about to tell her not to worry about it, she can always buy anything she needs once they get to New Orleans, even though he knows that all he'll get in answer is an appalled "and leave my favorite Louboutins behind?!", but the sudden sound of the front door slamming shut prevents him from commenting on her obsessive behavior or on the fact that she should have packed days ago. He sees his sister tense up and she throws him a look, silently asking him if he's expecting company, but he just shrugs. They both listen with interest as heavy footsteps climb up the stairs. The scent hits his nose before the intruder reaches the door and he jumps to his feet, his body taut, ready to pounce.
"I thought you had more sense than that," he taunts before the boy even appears in the doorway, ignoring Rebekah's silent questions.
Tyler walks into the room, his hands held up. Despite the supposedly peaceful gesture, Klaus doesn't let his muscles relax for even a second. He will never underestimate the stupidity of Tyler Lockwood.
"I need to talk to you." This catches Klaus's attention and he motions for him to continue. "I need you to let me stay in town for a while."
"Now why would I do that?"
Deciding that this is boring, Rebekah resumes her previous activities.
"For Caroline." Klaus lifts an eyebrow at that, intrigued, and Tyler elaborates. "I need more time to convince her to come with me. Just a few days. Look, I heard what you told her. I know that you want her to leave just as much as I do. Give me a chance to change her mind."
The Original Hybrid snickers and shakes his head incredulously, noting that though Rebekah is pretending not to be interested in their conversation, even she's reacting to the absurdity of what the boy just said as she's rolling her eyes at him.
"Do you even know her?" he asks rhetorically. "Her decision is made. A few more days aren't going to change anything. You do know how stubborn she is, don't you?"
"Yeah, but I can make her…"
"No, you can't. You've had your chance, mate. She will most likely come to you once the dust has settled, but for now, she's staying here, and there's nothing you or I can do about it."
"Well, that's not strictly true, is it?"
His eyes widen slightly as he takes in what the boy is suggesting. It's not that the thought hasn't crossed his mind, but he didn't expect Tyler to bring this up. He's basically telling him that he wants him to manipulate his girlfriend in the worst possible way. Deciding not to make it easy on him, Klaus casually takes a sip of his drink.
"I don't know what you're talking about."
Tyler narrows his eyes at him, not liking the fact that he's making him say it out loud. Yet he complies.
"If I didn't compel her to be with me, what makes you think I'm going to compel her to be with you?"
"Fine, don't. Don't make her leave with me, just make her leave. You said it yourself, this town will destroy her."
He takes another sip of his bourbon, making it look like he's considering it for a moment and he sees the hope in Tyler's eyes. Smirking at the boy's foolishness, he shakes his head.
"I thought you wanted to protect her!" Tyler exclaims, clearly frustrated.
"I do. It includes protecting her from me. I am not going to take away her free will. I may disagree with her decisions, but I'm not about to start making them for her. Would she still be the woman you love if she just upped and left when her friends need her?"
Out of the corner of his eye, he sees the look Rebekah throws him at that, her expression one of puzzlement and wonder. He gets why she's surprised. He's not exactly known for being selfless, yet here he is, letting Caroline make what he thinks is a mistake instead of taking what he wants from her. He can only hope that he won't regret it.
"I think you need to leave, mate. Before you make things worse for yourself."
"What do you mean?"
"He means if you keep insisting, I may never forgive you," another voice speaks up from the hallway as Caroline makes her presence known.
Klaus smirks at Tyler's deer-in-the-headlights look and he takes a few steps back to enjoy the impending confrontation from a distance. Rebekah drops all pretenses and steals his glass as she settles down on her bed to watch the scene as well. He throws her an annoyed look and grabs the nearby bottle, sitting down next to her and listening with interest as Tyler recovers.
"Care. How long have you been here?"
"Long enough," she replies, her voice chilly and emotionless.
However, the tears that have gathered in her eyes render her attempt at being cold rather useless and Klaus fights the urge to reach out to her, knowing that this is between her and Lockwood.
"Don't bother," she snaps. "Compulsion, Tyler? Seriously? How could you…"
"I just spent the past three hours listening to Stefan telling me how powerful Silas is and how even Elena fucking tried to kill you! That's how I can! I'd do anything to keep you safe. Don't you get that?"
"No, I don't! I told you what happened to me when I was human." Klaus's ears perk up at that. He's always known how she feels about compulsion, but he hadn't realized she had a personal reason for her opinions on the matter. Before he can interject and ask a few choice questions, she adds, "You know I can't go through this again. You know I'd rather die."
Her voice is barely above a whisper on those last few words, but they only seem to enrage Tyler more.
"I can't allow that. Damn it, Care, I can't lose you!" Unexpectedly, Lockwood turns to face him, suddenly remembering that they're not alone in the room. "Do something! Talk some sense into her."
Klaus raises his hands in a clear 'don't drag me into this' manner and Caroline gives him a grateful smile while Tyler looks about ready to kill him. Let him try, he thinks with a wicked smirk. The one thing that would make this better is the mutt giving him another reason to tear his heart out.
"Look, Tyler, Klaus is right, I'll find you someday. But right now, I can't."
The Original Hybrid's smirk turns into a full-blown smile. Any sentence that starts with 'Klaus is right' is a victory in his book.
"Caroline, listen to me…"
"Oh, bloody hell!" Rebekah mutters irritably. It's enough of a warning that Klaus could stop her, but he doesn't. Before Tyler or Caroline can react, she's standing behind the hybrid and she's snapped his neck. She lets his body fall to the ground with a satisfied grin and rubs her hands together. "There. Much better." Klaus can't help but notice that Caroline doesn't seem as upset as she probably should be. Actually, she seems… relieved? Before Klaus can reflect on that, Rebekah throws Tyler over her shoulders. "I'll go drop him off somewhere with a warning. You better not leave without me. And I'm doing this for you, so I expect my bags to be fully packed by the time I get back. Don't forget the Louboutins."
Klaus gives her a nod, amused and grateful for his sister's behavior. She's doing this to give him some alone time with Caroline. How uncharacteristic of her. Just as she's about to leave, he catches the worried look on the baby vampire's face and he calls his sister back.
"Bekah." He waits until she turns to face him. "Don't hurt him."
She rolls her eyes and leaves without giving him an answer, but he knows she'll do what he so reluctantly asked of her. Turning back to Caroline, he silently offers her the bottle but she just shakes her head as they both wait for the telltale sounds of Rebekah's heels to fade away. Once they're alone, Caroline crosses her arms on her chest and asks the question he's been expecting.
"You knew I was here right from the start, didn't you?"
She tried to be quiet, but he has a thousand years on her and Lockwood, of course he heard her.
"And if you hadn't?"
"Does it matter?"
"It does to me."
"I wouldn't have agreed. If I was going to compel you, I would have done it already. Believe me, I've thought about it."
"I suppose I should thank you for not doing it," she says, her tone part bitter and part genuinely appreciative.
He decides to ignore the bitter part.
"You could thank me by leaving this town."
She gives him a reproachful look, making it clear that she doesn't want to get into this argument with him, and he sighs, settling the bottle on the bedside table and standing up to take a few steps towards her. He watches her as she lets out a deep sigh and runs her hand through her hair. She got rid of the pins that were holding it up in a loose bun before she came. He likes it better this way. She's still wearing her prom dress and the contrast between the formal attire and her disheveled hair and lack of makeup is strangely alluring. He's guessing that she was getting ready for bed when she found out that Tyler was headed here – probably from Stefan – and she decided to follow him.
"You know, out of everyone I know, I thought Tyler would be the last one to suggest compulsion. And I definitely never thought you'd be the one to try and convince him it was a bad idea."
"Yes, well. I meant what I told him. You wouldn't be who you are if you weren't so loyal to your friends. That being said, I hope you know that if you plan on waiting until there are no crises to take care of before you decide to get away, then you will never leave, especially if you keep hanging around the Salvatores."
"I know," she admits. "I just… I feel like I'm not done here. I'll know when I'm ready. Hopefully, it will be before this town destroys me," she adds with a small smile, only half joking. "And if it's not, Tyler will just have to deal with it."
"And I'll just have to kill everyone who will have had a hand in your demise."
She glares at him. She knows it's a promise, and he can tell that even though she's annoyed at him for suggesting violence as the first response to this hypothetical situation, there's a part of her that's flattered that he cares so much. It's amazing how expressive she is really, and how easy she is to read now that he's gotten to know her and that they're not playing games with each other. Well… Not the betraying and killing kind anyway.
"What happened to you?" he asks seemingly out of nowhere, because his train of thoughts has reminded him that he doesn't know everything about her yet. At her confused look, he clarifies, "When you were human. The compulsion."
"Oh. I'm afraid that's a story for another day."
Her reluctance to answer only confirms his suspicions. She's been used by a vampire. He'd love to find out who it was and make them suffer, but they don't have much time left and he thinks there are better ways to spend it. He'll figure it out eventually.
"So, New Orleans," she says conversationally. "Have you been there before?"
He laughs at that.
"You could say that. I helped found the city. What?" he asks when she shakes her head at him.
"Nothing. Sometimes I just forget how old you are."
"Ouch," he replies, his hand going to his chest in a mock display of hurt.
"I've been a vampire for like ten seconds compared to you and I'm already tired of everything changing so fast around me. I don't know how you do it."
"You get used to it. You realize that change can be for the better, although I'm sure you're going to argue with me on that point."
She gives him a small smile and shakes her head.
"No, I'm going to take your word for it. I have to, I mean, if I let myself believe that the next thousand years are gonna be anything like these past few months, I might as well stake myself now."
He knows she's joking, but that's something he can't let her say, especially since he can't help but wonder if there's some hidden truth to this offhand comment. In a flash, he's in front of her, fingers gripping her upper arms hard enough to leave bruises that will heal in the next few seconds, eyes flashing gold as he unsuccessfully tries to rein in his anger.
"Do not talk like that. You have no idea how much restraint I'm exerting to leave you behind knowing I may never see you again. It's bad enough that you're willing to die for your friends, do not let me think that you would take your own life, or I'll be forced to lock you up, free will be damned."
Anyone else would be reduced to a pleading, sobbing mess when confronted with this side of him. Not her. Though she's understandably taken aback by his outburst, she doesn't look the slightest bit afraid. She rolls her eyes at him.
"Jeez, calm down. I was just kidding."
He grits his teeth and closes his eyes until he can feel himself getting his emotions under control. When he opens them again, he sees her features have softened.
"I know. Just… Don't."
"Alright," she promises, her voice matching the softness of her gaze.
His hold on her loosens as he relaxes, his hands sliding down her bare arms in a barely perceptible caress. He can feel the blood rushing through her veins beneath his fingertips and he quickly brings his hands back to his sides before the temptation becomes too much. Before he can take a step back however, she raises her hand to his cheek and he leans into her touch, holding his breath as he waits for her next move.
"Thank you. For not killing Tyler tonight. I know you wanted to. Hell, I almost wanted to," she adds, chuckling.
This brings a half-hearted smile to his lips.
"He's lucky to have you. And not just because you're the only thing keeping me from tearing him apart."
There's not much she can do but nod in acknowledgement of his comment and he takes her hand in his, pressing a soft kiss to her palm before pulling away from her, breaking the moment.
"Now, I hate to do this, but I still have many things to take care of and I'm supposed to leave in a few hours," he reminds her as he walks to Rebekah's walk-in closet, trying to figure out how so many clothes and shoes are supposed to fit in the two suitcases his sister has laid out on her bed. And which ones the Louboutins actually are.
"Can you spare a few more minutes?"
Her hesitant voice has him frowning as he turns back to look at her but he nods anyway.
"Of course, love."
"What did you…"
She holds up a hand to cut him off and walks to the other side of the room, turning Rebekah's stereo on and fiddling with the buttons until she finds a radio station playing a song that suits her needs. She then moves to stand in front of him and offers him her hand.
"One last dance?" she asks with uncharacteristic shyness.
He raises an eyebrow at her even as he pulls her to him. Like he'd ever say no to a dance with her.
"Another one? It seems every dance is supposed to be the last one."
"Last one until the next one?" she suggests.
He can definitely live with that. They dance quietly for a minute, letting Johnny Cash's voice fill the silence, but when the chorus comes, he decides he needs to speak up if he doesn't want her to overanalyze the lyrics. Darkness and love are two things he doesn't need her to dwell on right now.
"So… You and Tyler?"
He both hears and feels her sigh against the side of his neck and instead of pulling away like he half expects her to, she burrows herself deeper into his embrace.
"One fight doesn't mean we're over."
"I know that."
"I'm angry. I'm mad as hell, actually. But you were right. I need to be with him to figure out what we are. Since you won't let him stay in Mystic Falls and I'm not ready to leave yet, that's not gonna happen for a while. Once everything is over here, I'll go find him."
It's not like he thought that her fight with Tyler was going to make her run to him for comfort, but hearing her confirm it hurts more than it should. Since neither of them is paying attention to the song anymore, they stop dancing and just stand there, unwilling to let go yet.
"But you should know… What he asked you to do, it's… It's not something I can get over with easily. I don't know if I can, to be honest."
She must feel him tense at that because she lifts her head from its resting spot against his shoulder to look at him.
"What are you saying?"
"I…" She shakes her head, letting out a frustrated sigh. "I don't know."
"Caroline. Are you… giving me a chance?" he asks cautiously.
"No. Yes. Maybe?"
"Those are the three options," he quips.
"Shut up!" she huffs, her usual confidence reappearing now that he has given her the comfort of their familiar banter. "I really don't know, okay? I'm nowhere near ready to start something with you when I don't even know where I stand with the guy I thought was the love of my life until 5 minutes ago!"
"But it's not a definite 'no'."
A resigned sigh falls from her lips when she realizes he's not going to let it go.
"No, I guess not."
"I can work with that."
"I bet you can," she grumbles, but he thinks he can detect a note of affection underneath the annoyance.
This is what makes him decide to push his luck. Tucking a hand under her chin, he gives a gentle tug so that she has to raise her head. He lets his gaze flick down to her lips, making his intentions clear and giving her more than enough time to push him away. Quickly catching on, she gives him a sad smile.
"One kiss isn't going to help me make up my mind."
"I know. I just want to take this away with me."
After one last hesitation, she gives a single nod and her eyes flutter shut as his lips descend on hers. He feels her breath hitch at the first contact and when his tongue darts out to taste her she wraps her arms around his neck, bringing her body closer to his. The hand that's resting against her cheek slides along her skin to the back of her neck, holding her in place while his other arm snakes around her waist. Satisfied with their position and now convinced that she's not going to change her mind, he nibbles at her lower lip to coax her mouth open. She complies with a moan that has him tightening his hold on her as his tongue invades her mouth.
He tries to keep it slow. Really, he does. But when a strangled sound rises from deep within her chest and her hips jerk forward, grinding against him in a way that has him hardening in seconds, there's nothing he can do but push her up against the nearest wall and let her feel exactly the effect she's having on him.
Her reaction is immediate. Her nails dig into his shoulders through the fabric of his shirt as she arches into him, trying to pull him impossibly closer.
He knows he should stop now, be a gentleman and put an end to this before it goes any further. But he can't get enough of her. Her body is molding into his, soft curves pressed against hard muscles, and her skin is soft and warm under his touch, and her lips taste like her, sweet and spicy all at once, and most of all she hasn't punched him yet.
So he takes and takes and then takes some more, because he knows it's too good to last and if this is his only chance, he's going to make damn sure that he gets as much as he can. And she gives and gives and keeps giving, because it's just who she is, until her head abruptly jerks back and he opens his eyes in surprise at the unexpected loss of contact.
Any words he might have thought of die in his throat as he takes in the black veins, dark eyes and protruding fangs. Recognizing the reason for her sudden bloodlust, his lower body instinctively rubs against hers. Knowing that she wants him so much that she can hardly keep the cravings at bay is almost enough to push him over the edge.
"Caroline," he all but growls, ready to attack her lips once again.
He freezes, watching in fascination as she closes her eyes and takes a few deep breaths, succeeding in suppressing her hunger. He takes advantage of those few seconds to get his own body back under control. Things got out of hand way too fast and he knows they need to be smarter than that. Once her face is back to human, she looks up at him, her lips pulled up in a self-conscious smile.
"Don't be," he commands, leaning down to plant a tender kiss on her slightly parted mouth. "That was beautiful."
Blushing, she lowers her eyes, clearly embarrassed at her loss of control.
"Don't hide from me. Not now."
Her eyes snap back up to his at this, heeding the challenge in his voice. She seems to study him for a long moment, though he's not sure what she's looking for. After what seems like hours, her body relaxes as she leans back against the wall, her hands leaving his back to rest lightly against his chest.
"Klaus, I… This doesn't mean…"
"Don't you dare say it doesn't mean anything."
She glares at him, clearly not happy with his interruption.
"No, I'm sure it means something. I just don't know what."
He sighs. If that kiss wasn't enough to convince her that there is something between them, he doesn't know what will.
"I think you do know what it means. You're just not ready to accept it yet."
Instead of the instant rebuff that would have followed that kind of statement only a few days ago, she bites down on her lower lip pensively before conceding, "Maybe." Before he can so much as raise a triumphant eyebrow, she quickly adds, "I'm still not leaving."
He chuckles at her stubbornness.
"Of course not. I told you this wasn't about your decision. And though I would love for things to turn out this way, I'm not expecting you to come running to me once you finally decide to get away from here."
"Okay," she nods, visibly relieved.
He feels like he should be offended that she so obviously doesn't want him to expect anything from her, but he did tell her that he'd give her time and that's what he intends to do. He's going to leave with the flicker of a possibility, which is more that he'd hoped for.
The footsteps he's been hearing for the past 30 seconds or so reach the doorstep but he doesn't bother backing away from her. He just calls out, "Come in, Bekah."
"Am I interrupting?" his sister asks when she takes in their proximity. Before either of them can answer, she notes disapprovingly, "My bags aren't packed."
Klaus smirks at her, still not letting Caroline out of his embrace.
"I got sidetracked."
This earns him two simultaneous eye rolls.
"I can see that. And I hate to break whatever the hell this is, but I'd like to point out that you're in my room and that this is kind of disgusting. Could you maybe take it elsewhere?"
Caroline slips away from him at that and Klaus shakes his head in an attempt to fully come back down to reality. Right. Packing. Leaving. He briefly wonders if the timing could have been any worse before deciding not to dwell on it. Eternity is full of opportunities.
"Is Tyler okay?"
Rebekah shrugs at Caroline's question, both of them ignoring Klaus's annoyed look at the name.
"I don't want to know, do I?" Caroline asks after a beat.
"I should go."
With a nod in Rebekah's direction, she heads for the door. Once she reaches it, she stops briefly and throws him a look over her shoulder.
"Just in case… If you end up leaving New Orleans, let me know, okay? I'd hate to show up there only to find out you're God knows where."
She flashes away without giving him a chance to analyze the implications of what she just said. Rebekah's hard nudge to his ribs is what snaps him out of his surprise and he throws her a glare but starts helping her pack nonetheless, his eyes constantly going back to the spot where the baby vampire disappeared.
He's looking forward to their next last dance.
This is totally how it's gonna happen. I know it… Ahem. A girl can dream, right? :)
To all the Tyler lovers out there, I apologize if he seems out of character. I'm not used to writing him. We all know how impulsive he can be and I really think in the heat of the moment, he would suggest anything if it meant keeping Caroline safe. It doesn't mean he would have gone through with it. I don't know. Anyway, let me know if you liked it. Or if you didn't. Constructive criticism is always welcome!