I came out of writing hiatus because well... inspiration. I'm not quite sure about this one, but it's something, right?

He's always been able to see the tiny chinks in her armor, that outer shell that she shows to the world. He can see her for what she is; a strong girl who'd been through a lifetime of hardships.

Maybe that was why he was always drawn to her from the very first moment. He saw the shield yes, but the look in her eyes...

It was the same look he saw in his own.

He shouldn't have let himself get close to her, not after knowing that. But he couldn't stop himself, didn't want to stop himself, not when he got to know her, and by the time he'd decided he needed to remove the threat of weakness from his life, it was too late.

She could not die. The thought was unacceptable. Unbearable. And he would not allow it.

For a moment, her protection was all that filled his mind. How to protect her. And then he got an idea.

Unfortunately, his presence was a danger to her continued existence.

He would make the world fear him, quake at the sound of his name. He would become too powerful for anyone to even think of lashing out at him, in any form. But especially through her.

If he had to, he would love her from afar until eternity. But she would last through eternity.

What he hadn't counted on was the ingenuity of the boy he'd raised. The vampire he'd formed and led. Marcel took his time, seeming to play right into Klaus' game. But Marcel had held the upper hand the entire time, and Klaus had fallen for his game.

Know your enemy. Find their every weakness. Crush it, and you crush them.

The words flashed through his mind, cutting, and he cursed himself, cursed himself for thinking it wise to impart his own brand of wisdom onto someone else. Another rule. Trust no one. He'd broken one of his rule's, and his punishment seemed to be having to watch her- lovely, Caroline, love, what are you doing here?- on the arm of his greatest enemy.

He cursed himself a fool. All the little tells had been there, right in front of him. Spread out over four years of planning and plotting and treachery. Lies and deceit and death, all seeming to lead up to this one moment. This one horrible, fear inducing moment. Because for the first time, Klaus saw that for all his carefully laid plans, he could still lose the one person he could not stand to be without.

"Ah, Klaus, have you met my friend?"

And Klaus built his walls up, shuttering himself in.

Don't show weakness.

"No, I haven't." A cold smile adorned his handsome face, and he made to walk away, her small hand on his arm- and oh he wanted to savor that touch- stopping him in his tracks. He turned, pushing her hand off of him. "I'm sorry, darling, but I don't know who you are, and quite frankly I don't care. I will however, remind you to keep your hands to yourself."

She sputtered, and he could see her fighting back tears.

He ignored the flash of pain that brought. It was for her own good. He would do anything to protect her, even if it meant hurting her. Marcel could not know the depth of his weakness.

If he had to compel the entire vampire community, every man, woman, child, werewolf, or witch to leave her be, to hold her life in the highest esteem, he would.

(He feared that he'd reached near obsessive tendencies, but he would not stop. He needed her. She saw him for what he was. Called him out on it. And somehow could still give him a look…. the kind of look that made him want to strip her bare and make love to her for hours. Days. Weeks. Eternity wouldn't ever be enough.)

He wasn't ready though. He needed time, supporters, and her sudden presence- her hard stare at his retreating back- that threw a chink in his plan. A chink he could not allow, not with her life on the line.

She knew him. She knew him because she could be just like him if she wanted to be. If she let herself.

That terrified her.

If she was with him, would the darkness she fought so hard to keep at bay rise to the surface?

So she knew that when he walked from her like she was nothing, he had a plan. She'd give him an earful later- maybe she wouldn't talk to him for a good couple of years again- but she could see the look in his eyes.


Play along, Caroline.

And so she would. But she wouldn't make it easy for him.

For months she hung off of Marcel's arm, pretended to dote on him and want to be with him, even as she saw Marcel pretend to not know that she and Klaus had met before that stupid party.

She never spoke to Klaus. Never graced him with her glance. But she stayed in the city.

It annoyed him, she could tell. He didn't want her there; it was dangerous, she could see that. But she couldn't leave. She'd never been one to run just because there was danger.

She imagined herself an implant. And in a way she was.

She snuck messages to Rebekah. Until she was caught.

"So that's what you've been doing."

She tried to move fast, to rip the paper to shreds.

It was ripped from her grip.

"The originals were right about one thing. You young vampires are arrogant."

She was trapped, no where to run, and fear built up. Hands on her neck. The familiar sound of a crack!

Darkness was a comfort from the fear.

He has your girl.

Moments could mean so much.

Seeing her for the first time.

Saving her for the first time.

Dancing with her.

Her sharp tongue telling him off.

Her smiling at him.

Drinking with him.

Realizing that he loved her.

Thinking she would never love him.

Helping him when he was in pain.

Allowing him to help her with something important to her.

Inviting him to her graduation.

The feel of her cheek against his lips.

All those moments boiling down to one.

He has your girl.

And what could he do with words such as those?

Did he risk losing it all? His power. The few followers he'd obtained. New Orleans. The respect of the vampire community.

For Caroline?

She was worth it, of course she was. But which option would result in her death.

Rushing there exactly like a fool in love to save her?

Or pretending he didn't care?

It didn't matter.

He would save her and slay whoever thought to take her from him.

"Let her go Marcel." He fought down the need to rip the head off of every vampire in the room. Save her first. Kill later.

"Why? Do you care for her? A baby vampire? The great Niklaus Mikaelson, reduced to saving someone, at the expense of humiliating himself. Oh, I never thought I'd see the day."

Marcel held the upper hand.

Let him kill her. It won't be by your hand, and no one will ever hurt her again. No one will use her against you.

No! It's alright to feel, it's alright to want something. Rebekah's words, his thoughts.

"Let. Her. Go." She was in pain, he could see it in her eyes, the vervain-laced ropes the cause.

"That's not how this works."

Marcel tugged the ropes.

Caroline screamed.

Klaus never wanted to hear the sound again.

"Whatever you want, I will do. Let her go."

"Really? Whatever I want, huh? Well, darling, what do you say to that?" Another tug. A small whimper. Klaus fought to maintain control even as his fangs dropped in anger. She could not be hurt worse. He recognized who held the power.

"Don't Klaus, don't worry about-" a vampire had stepped forward from the crowd, shattering one of Caroline's legs. Before Klaus could respond- because that move pushed him near over the edge- Marcel had removed the vampire's head from his body.

"We're negotiating here, people! We don't hurt the girl more than necessary to prove a point. Now, Klaus-"

"Spit it out, Marcel, before your miserable head joins his."



"Yeah, you know. Leave, now, and never come back and all that shit. You want the girl, you leave. I don't care if your siblings leave, but I don't want you here."

Was she worth it?

Revenge. His power. His city. He'd be giving them up for her. It really wasn't a choice.

She was worth more than it all.

A/N: This was almost angst and then it wasn't.