Fallen Chapter 15

A.N. OMG, guys. This is it. There's one more after this. It's almost done! Things are pretty fast paced here, so make sure to hold on tight!

On another note, The Klaroline Awards are underway once more over on Tumblr! For any of you familiar with them, they're an amazing opportunity to show recognition and pride in the Klaroline fandom, and I'm super honored that I was nominated again this. Fallen has been nominated for best Crime/Mystery/Thriller fiction, and I've somehow snagged a nomination for best AU/AH author. So to everyone who nominated me, thank you so much! It's truly an honor. So, please make sure to go over to the klaroline awards . tumblr. com, and vote for whoever you think should win. There are some AMAZING nominees this year, and I feel so honored to be in the running with them. This is such a great way to share love and recognition in our fandom, so please make sure you go and let your voice be heard!

Now...onto the action! (Thanks to Becky, Miranda, and Katie for their input, and to Jane, aka girlwiththerubyslippers, for giving me her reaction as well.)


"I'm sorry, sir, but I can't just patch you through to the Chief without more details."

Matt could practically hear his teeth grinding as he maneuvered his truck through the packed city streets of New Orleans, the cell phone wedged between his head and shoulder as his palm pressed angrily on the horn as yet another graggle of bead decked pedestrians cut in front of him.

"Look, if I had more details, I would tell you," he reiterated again, his fingers gripping the steering wheel until his knuckles turned white. "I don't know who I'm supposed to talk to, or where my sister is in the city, or where the hell I'm even supposed to find the fucking police station. But I am telling you that if I don't talk to someone, my sister is going to end up dead."

The woman on the other end of the line sighed. "Sir, I understand that you're upset and that this situation is clearly very severe, but without any kind of address or last name, there's not much more I can do but to patch you through to one of our officers. You can make a statement, and when they've investigated your claim-"

Her words were cut off as Matt tossed the phone into the passenger seat with a growl, his blue eyes scouring the crowded streets as he ran a hand through his hair. Adrenaline was rushing through him, his head pounding as he edged the truck further down the street.

What was he even doing?

He had no idea where he was even supposed to start. Tyler had a good two hours on him, and even breaking every speed limit known to the country wouldn't have allowed him much time to catch up. Tyler could have already found her. He was a detective-trained to find people, to piece things together to solve a mystery.

Matt could already be too late.

Angry tears burned his eyes as he slowed the truck to a stop behind the car in front of him. He cursed himself for never finding out more about where Caroline was. Their conversations for those few minutes every week hadn't awarded him many details to her new life, other than that she'd gotten a job, made friends, even started seeing someone. But they were all useless details when he realized he had no place to look in a city that seemed to be thriving with life at that very moment.

"Screw this," he muttered, throwing the truck into park and shouldering open the door, ignoring the shouts and honks coming from the cars behind him as his feet landed on the cobbled pavement. He scoured the lines of cars ahead and behind him, barely giving them a second glance as he pushed his way into the crowd.


"Who gets a wedding license in the middle of the night?" Bonnie murmured as she traced her fingers along the edge of the paper in her hands.

Kol's arm slipped around her waist as he fell into step with her, nudging her cheek with his nose as he grinned. "Clearly two people who happen to know someone who shagged one of the city clerks and just happened to be able to collect a favor."

Ahead of them, Rebekah scoffed, glaring at him over her shoulder. "Stuff it, Kol," she sneered, her blonde hair swaying around her shoulders as she crossed her arms over her chest, easily dodging a juggling street performer as he crossed into her path. "If I'd left all the big details to the two of you, the entire wedding would be in upheaval. You should be thanking me for saving you the headache for later." She shrugged, wrinkling her nose. "And Alexander and I barely had sex."

Bonnie snorted. "Isn't that like being 'kind of pregnant?'"

"Oh, sod off, Bennett," Rebekah retorted, turning to glare at the snuggling duo. Her booted feet stumbled along the cobblestone as she collided with someone in front of her, her arms instinctively reaching out to steady herself even as a sturdy pair of hands settled against her hips. "Oh, I'm sorry," she apologized, righting her footing and looking up at the man she'd crashed into it.

A pair of bright blue eyes were blinking down at her, and she tried to keep the surprised appraisal from crossing her face as she took in the handsome face they belonged to. He was well built, broad shoulders and strong arms, with a head of blonde hair and a faded scar dotting the top of his upper lip. She felt her heart skip slightly when his eyes connected with hers, and her fingers curled slightly into the flannel material covering his shoulders.

His eyes softened slightly as they took her in, and with a clearing of her throat, Rebekah stood to her full height, pulling her hands away from the stranger's shoulders and swiping her hair away from her face. "I wasn't watching where I was going," she said, cringing inwardly at how breathy her voice came out.

The blonde man nodded, glancing down to where his hands still rested against her waist, and quickly pulled them away, taking a slight step backwards. "It's fine," he said, staring at her a moment longer before turning his head, his teeth catching his lower lip as his eyes scoured the crowds around them.

"Um...are you lost?" Rebekah asked, drawing his attention again, and she smiled, her hands sliding along her sides as she shifted slightly on her feet.

"Oh, here we go," Kol groaned quietly behind her, and she gritted her teeth against the insult that was on the tip of her tongue. She heard Bonnie shush him quietly, and she shook her head, turning her attention back to her handsome stranger.

He was staring at her again, regarding her closely, and then his lips parted with a frustrated sigh. "I need to find the police station."

Rebekah frowned, quickly scanning over his person, noting the lack of torn clothing or visible blood, before lifting her gaze to his face once more, tilting her head as she smiled. "Well, you're in luck then. I can actually take you right to it."

The man's eyes brightened, and he took a step towards her. "Any chance you get me in to see the Chief too?" he asked hopefully.

"He's my brother, as a matter of fact, so I think your odds are quite good."

"Why do you need to see the Chief, mate?" Kol inquired as he moved towards Rebekah. He was all too familiar with that tone his little sister's voice had taken, not to mention the starry look in her blue eyes. It never took much to make Rebekah fall. A strategically placed smile and a well dropped compliment and she was putty in their hands, and Kol felt that instinctual protectiveness settle in as he took in the way she was gazing at their new arrival.

The blonde's gaze moved towards him, and his throat bobbed as he swallowed around his words. "My sister's in trouble," he said quietly, fists clenching at his sides. "I need help finding her."

"You don't know where she is?" Kol asked, ignoring Rebekah's hissing of his name and the nail she was digging into his side.

"She's somewhere in the city," the man replied, shaking his head as he closed his eyes briefly. "Look, it's complicated, and I really don't have time to get into it. I have to find Caroline, and I need to talk to the Chief, so, please could you just point me in the way?"

The trio frowned for a moment, Rebekah and Kol exchanging a glance as they heard Bonnie step closer, and they looked back at the blonde stranger. "Caroline?" Kol asked, watching as the man nodded absently, running a hand down his face. "Caroline Forbes?"

Blue eyes snapped towards him, widening in surprise as a quiet scoff escaped his lips. Forbes, he thought, shaking his head. I'm such an idiot. "You know her? Caroline? Do you know where she is?"

"Matt," Bonnie finally said, squeezing in between Rebekah and Kol. "You're Matt. Caroline's brother. Right?" She watched him nod, watched as his shoulders seemed to slump, and she noticed for the first time the panic and desperation that were in his eyes. Her heart stalled in her chest as she realized there would only be one reason her best friend's brother would be in the city. And as she met his gaze, she knew her assumption was right.

"Oh my God," she murmured, the color draining from her face. "He's here."


"Would you quit grumbling? I think your lackey can handle the exhibit for a few minutes. And really, you can use the break, buddy. You turn into a bit of an obsessive maniac when it comes to these art shows," Stefan chuckled, glancing over at Klaus as the older man walked briskly next to him. He only smiled when his friend glared at him, shaking his head as he watched Klaus stuff his hands into the pockets of his jacket. "Look, just relax. We're just going to pop in, grab Cami so she and I can actually see each other before this holiday weekend from Hell really gets under way, and then you'll be back to schmoozing art dealers and stroking your clients' egos before you know it."

"She was due to meet you an hour ago, mate," Klaus remarked with a smirk as they turned the corner, dodging a wobbling group of college students bedecked in multicolored beads and feather boas. "Perhaps she's finally grown tired of your dancing around the true status of your relationship. Why she's probably moved onto to some Freud spouting grad student by now, leaving you to wonder why you waited so long to actually admit you care for her."

Stefan laughed, the badge pinned to his chest gleaming under the streetlamps as he turned his body to face him. "You know what, just because you've got your perfect little love soiree with Caroline doesn't mean you're suddenly the expert on how relationships work." He shook his head, running a hand through his tousled hair. "She was on her own tonight after that new bartender left. She probably lost track of time."

Their steps slowed as they came upon La Guerison, Stefan reaching out and tugging on the door handle, glancing over at Klaus with a knowing quirk of his eyebrow as the door easily pulled open. Klaus rolled his eyes, following the deputy into the establishment, his eyes adjusting to the dimmer lighting as they perused the empty bar.

"Cami?" Stefan called out, his boots tapping against the floor as he ventured further into the room. "Cam?"

Klaus winced playfully as he followed his friend's steps, clapping him on the shoulder when they received no response. "It's not looking good for you, old friend," he whispered, grinning. "She's already skipped town and left the looters to the bar."

"You're hilarious," Stefan deadpanned, shaking his head as he headed to the bar, slapping his hands against the polished mahogany, brow furrowing when he spotted Cami's neatly folded apron near the other end. He frowned, craning his neck to glance at the closed door to the stockroom. "Cam?"

Klaus' footsteps echoed as he came up behind him. "Perhaps she just forgot to lock up."

Stefan glanced at him, opening his mouth to reply, but his words froze on his tongue as his ears picked up a muffled sound from behind the closed door.

"Why don't you try calling her again—"

"Shh," Stefan cut him cut, lifting a finger in the air as he moved closer to the door. His hands instinctively shifted to his holster, the palm of his hand resting against the butt of his gun. He waited, tilting his head towards the door, and then he heard it again.

A shuffling, followed by a moan.

Stefan easily slipped his gun from the holster, glancing over his shoulder to see Klaus watching him with a wary eye, his cellphone already in his hand, and he sent him a nod, tightening his hand around the gun.

He drew a breath, slowly easing the stock room door open, his gun trained ahead of him. Seasoned eyes narrowed as they saw the disarray that greeted him. Metal shelving was tipped on its side, broken bottles of whiskey and various kinds of alcohols littering the floor. The glass crunched under his boots as he inched further into the room, glancing furtively at the man behind him to indicate he should stay put.

The shuffling caught his attention again, and Stefan tightened his grip on his gun. "Police!," he called out, his voice echoing slightly against the cement walls. He stopped next to an overturned cart, listening for any further movement, his fingers flexing against the trigger. Silence greeted him, and he drew a breath, stepping around the cart and training his gun ahead of him.

Panic clutched at his chest when he spotted the figure lying sprawled amidst a sea of glass.

"Cami!" he shouted as he dove for her, his gun clattering to the ground. He sank to his knees next to her, ignoring the bite of glass digging into his skin through his pants, his arms grasping at the unconscious blonde. "Cami, oh God. Klaus!"

He heard the door to the stockroom fly open as his hands stroked the hair from Cami's face, his fingers tapping gently at her cheek. "Cami, come on, baby, wake up," he pleaded, his eyes frantic as they took in the bruises already forming along the young woman's skin. Her right cheek was split open, a thin trail of blood trickling down the side of her face and into the hair beneath her head. Large, ugly bruises adorned her neck, the unmistakable shape of finger prints forming, and Stefan felt a surge of rage intermix with his fear.

Behind him, he could hear Klaus speaking into his phone, catching the words "attack" and "ambulance," and he fought against the sting of tears he felt behind his eyes as he leaned down towards the woman who had come to mean more to him than he'd been ready to admit. "Cami...Cami, come on."

His hands slid to her shoulders, gently shaking her, and when she moaned quietly and her head shifted, he couldn't stop the relieved breath that slipped past his lips.

Cami's brow furrowed, her lips parting as she moaned. She shook her head, her arms lifting weakly, and Stefan grasped one of her hands in his, bringing the other up to her cheek and murmuring her name.

Her eyes cracked open, a gasp escaping her as she spotted Stefan above her. "Caro...line," she croaked, wincing.

Stefan shushed her, looking back at Klaus as he heard him step closer. The other man was nodding towards his phone, and Stefan sighed as he turned back. "Cami, you're gonna fine, okay? An ambulance is on its way."

The blonde shook her head, fighting to pull herself into a sitting position. She clutched at Stefan's arms as they wrapped around her back, helping her up. "Caroline...where's Caroline?"

Stefan frowned, hearing Klaus quiet behind him. "Caroline?"

Cami was shaking now, hands clutching at Stefan's shirt. "He was...he was looking for her. He had a poster-a picture. He said...he said he was a detective. He...he…"

Klaus felt his heart stop in his chest. "Tyler," he whispered, meeting Stefan's gaze as the younger man glanced at him, realization in his eyes.

"He wanted to know where she was...where he could find her," Cami croaked, slumping against Stefan's chest as she fought to breathe through the pain in her throat. "He wanted to know...Klaus' name. He saw them together."

Klaus' grip tightened around his phone, the voice of the operator barely a blip in his ear as he ran a hand through his hair.

Cami sobbed, shaking her head. "I tried not to tell him. I tried, I tried, I'm so sorry."

Stefan pulled her against him, shushing her quietly, his hand already reaching for the speaker mic on his shoulder.

The sound of something hitting the floor behind him snapped his attention to Klaus, and he watched as the older man rushed towards the door, his cellphone forgotten on the floor. "Klaus!"

Klaus glanced over at him as he pushed open the door, the frantic fear written plainly on his face. "He's found her, Stefan!"

Stefan cursed under his breath as he watched Klaus disappear through the door, shifting Cami delicately in his arms as he lifted the mic to his mouth. "This is Deputy Salvatore, I need a bus to La Guerison and to be patched through to the Chief, now!"


Caroline was trembling as Tyler's hands slid from her hips up to her sides, his breath hot and heavy against the back of her neck.

His unshaven face was scratchy against her skin as he nuzzled her cheek, his lips turned up in a smile as he laughed. "I finally found you...you have no idea how hard I've searched for you, Care."

He lifted one of his hands from her waist, gently brushing her hair away from her neck, and Caroline clenched her eyes shut, her grip tightening around the glass in her hand.

"You changed your hair," he whispered, his lips brushing against the shell of her ear. "You know how I've always loved your hair...but I gotta admit," he laughed, tracing the curve of her neck with his lips. "Blonde has always been a bit of a fantasy for me."

His lips pressed against her pulse point, and Caroline flinched, arching her neck away. His hands snapped to her waist again, fingers bruising as he jerked her back against him. She cried out, her face crumbling, shaking her head as his hands loosened and began to rub soothing circles against her stomach.

"I'm sorry," he whispered, pressing a kiss to the side of her neck again. "I'm sorry. You know my temper, Caroline…"

Caroline's eyes opened, sliding to the kitchen window, watching the flashing lights and strains of music that seemed so far away. "Tyler…"

He pulled her further against him, one hand tangling in her hair as the other remained wrapped around her waist. "You left me."


"I woke up and you were gone. Do you have any idea how worried I was, Care?" He hummed as his lips trailed up her neck again, coming to rest just below her earlobe. "How furious I was? You stab me and then you disappear?"

She shook her head, feeling the trickle of tears as they steadily made their way down her face.

"You disappear," he says, almost conversationally, as the hand on her stomach starts to shift upwards, her skin crawling with every inch. "You disappear across the fucking country...and when I finally find you...you're with another man." His grip tightened. "Klaus."

Caroline froze, heart thundering.

"Do you have any idea what that was like for me, Care? To see you with him?" His fingers tangled themselves in her hair, pulling her head to the side with a jerk, and she winced, a sob escaping her lips even as he pressed the side of his face against her own. "I spent every day missing you. Wanting you back. Thinking of a million ways to say I'm sorry and to get you to forgive me. And the whole time...you'd been fucking somebody else."

Caroline grabbed at the hand that held her hair, crying. "Tyler, please, just…"

"Just? Just what, Caroline? Just...ignore it? Ignore the fact that you broke our vows? You tarnished everything we had by climbing into bed with some bastard with a kid, and I'm just supposed to forget all of it?"

She froze against him, eyes wide as they darted to the ceiling.


Declan was still upstairs. Oblivious to everything that was unfolding, snuggled in bed, waiting on her to come back with his drink.

Her eyes dropped to the glass in her hand.

She'd been gone too long. It was only a matter of time before he came looking for her, wondering where she was.

She had to get away from Tyler. She had to get to Declan, get him away, far away before Tyler could hurt him.

Her fingers tightened around the glass as she swallowed the lump in her throat. She drew a shaky breath, forcing her body to relax against Tyler, turning her head and letting her nose trace against his cheek. "I'm sorry," she whispered, opening her eyes to see his wild gaze peering back at her.

She remembered when his big brown eyes could make her melt every time he looked at her. She remembered just lying next to him by The Falls, spread out on a blanket, staring into his eyes and imagining the bright future they had ahead of them.

But as she looked into them now, she didn't see any of that.

She was truly looking into the eyes of a monster, and the frenzy she saw in them struck her to her core.

Caroline sniffled, letting her free hand fall to her stomach to rest against his own. "You're right, Tyler...I'm so sorry." She watched his jaw clench as his eyes searched her face. "I shouldn't have left. I shouldn't have made you so angry."

Tyler continued to stare at her, his gaze unwavering, and then the grip on her hair loosened, his hand cupping her head gently as he pulled her closer. "You always make me so angry," he murmured, using the arm around her waist to slowly turn her to face him.

She fought not to flinch when his hands cupped her cheeks, his thumbs wiping away her tears as he took a step towards her.

"You just never learn, Caroline...you never listen."

She nodded, swallowing her fear. His hands slid from her face, fingers caressing her neck as they came to rest on her shoulders.

His gaze was scouring her, a hungriness to them as they looked her over. "But I can help you learn...you know that." His eyes were glassy as they met hers again. "God, I've missed you, Care."

She forced herself to smile, nodding as she settled her free hand against his chest. "I've missed you too, Ty."

A grin spread across his face at hearing the endearment from her, and he laughed, ducking down and pressing his lips to hers.

Caroline whimpered as his lips moved against hers, his tongue swirling into her mouth. His arms were slithering around her, jerking her close, and she braced her hand against his chest, wrapping her fingers in shirt.

He was growling against her mouth, his teeth biting at her lip, and as his hands began to slip beneath her hooded sweatshirt, Caroline acted, lifting her free arm and with all her strength slammed the glass against the side of his head.

Glass shattered, spraying the ground around them as Tyler yelled, slumping forward. Caroline shoved him away, scrambling backwards as his large frame tumbled to the ground. She sobbed as she clutched her hand to her chest, gritting her teeth against the sting of the shards embedded in her palm. She stared down at Tyler, his form unmoving, and then she moved, jumping around him, wincing as the heel of her foot landed amongst the glittering shards.

Her feet thudded and slid as she raced towards the staircase, her hand grasping at the wall as she rounded the corner. As she reached the foot of the stairs, she let out a gasp as her gaze landed on Declan peering down at her from between the banister rails, his brown eyes wide and frightened. "Caroline?"

There was a shuffling from the kitchen, and Caroline raced up the stairs, wincing as every step sent a burning flame up her leg. She reached the top, kneeling down until she was eye level with the boy, and she smiled, reaching out with her uninjured hand to stroke his hair. "Declan, buddy, I need you to be brave for me okay?"

She tried to keep the panic from her voice, her eyes darting back towards the bottom floor before shifting back to the scared little boy in front of her.

Frightened tears were in his eyes, and as his lip trembled as he asked, "What's going on? I'm scared."

Caroline nodded, biting her lip against the sob that was lodged in her throat. "I know, Deck, but it's going to be okay. I promise, I promise it's going to be okay." She reached out, enveloping him in her arms. His hands wrapped around her neck as he buried his face in her shoulder, and she closed her eyes with a sigh as she lifted him into her arms, rising to her feet. "Just hold on tight, okay? We're gonna go and find Daddy, and everything's going to be okay."

His frightened whimper was his only reply, and Caroline quickly made her way down the steps, clutching tightly to him as she peered around the corner. The house was silent, the faint strains of music being the only sound that slithered through the windows.

Declan's legs wrapped around her torso as she hurried through the hall, her grip tightening as she whispered reassuringly to him.

"I want Daddy," he cried quietly into her neck, and Caroline nodded, pressing a kiss to his temple as she shifted his weight in her arms, gripping the handle to the front door and pulling it open quietly. The creaking of the hinges seemed like a screech to her, and she winced as she rushed them through the door, the cement of the stoop cool beneath her bare feet.

She made her way down the front path, her eyes frantically searching the drive, cursing to herself silently.

Where did they go? They had no car, no phone, no way to call anyone.

They were alone.

They had to run, she realized as she raced down the drive, the gravel digging into her feet with every step. The Mikaelson estate was isolated, no near neighbors on either side, but if they could just make it the few miles towards town; towards the crowds. If they could just get near enough to yell for help, for someone to hear them-

A hand suddenly wrapped itself into her hair from behind, gripping tightly and yanking her back. Caroline screamed, her feet scrambling on the gravel. She kept an arm tightly around Declan as she reached the other behind her, trying to pry Tyler's fingers from their purchase, but he only yanked harder. She thrashed against his hold, Declan's crying ringing in her ears as his tiny hands continued to clutch at her.

"Dumb move, Caroline," he growled behind her, grunting as she kicked at him blindly. He dropped his hand from her hair to the hood of her sweatshirt, bunching up the fabric and using it to pull her against him, hearing her strangled gasp as the material tightened around her throat. He pressed his lips to the back of her neck, reaching into the waistband of his pants and closing his fingers around the butt of his gun. He pulled it out, pressing the metal to the side of her face, and he felt her still instantly. "Dumb...dumb...move."

Caroline's eyes were wide as the metal of his gun glistened beneath the moonlight, and she pressed a hand to the back of Declan's head, keeping his face pressed against her neck as his cries muffled against her skin. "Tyler, please…"

"Tyler, please," he mocked, letting go of her hood and grabbing a hold of her arm. His fingers dug bruisingly into her skin as he tried to turn her to face him, but Caroline thrashed again, her elbow jabbing into his stomach.

Tyler grunted as the wind rushed out of him, his body doubling over. His hand still grasped Caroline's arm, and the sudden movement caught her off balance as his weight shoved into her. Her feet scrambled against the gravel as she felt herself falling. The world moved slowly around her as she watched Tyler suddenly straighten, his teeth a vicious gash across his face as he reached towards her. Her back hit the ground at the very moment Declan screamed, his tiny hands clawing at her neck as he was wrenched from her arms.

"No, no, Tyler, don't!" Caroline begged as she scrambled to her knees, watching as her husband stumbled back a step, Declan's tiny legs thrashing against him as he cried and held his arms out towards Caroline. Tyler was wincing, lifting the hand that held his gun to the side of his head, growling as he shook the boy in his hands when he continued to put up a fight.

Tyler's eyes narrowed when he pulled his hand back, jaw clenching at the red that stained his fingertips, and he scoffed as he turned his attention back to Caroline.

"Tyler, please...please, don't hurt him, he's just a boy." She locked eyes with Declan, her heart breaking as she saw the plea for help in his wide, scared eyes, and she sobbed, shaking her head. "Please, Tyler."

Tyler was staring at her, the gun hanging loosely in his hand as he waved it in her direction. "All I wanted," he said, panting, "was for you to come back home. To come back home, and start all over, so we can make it right. And this is what I get?" He lifted his hand to his head again. "You bash my head in, and try to run again? Fuck, Caroline. I gave you everything! I gave you everything I had and this is what I get?"

Caroline pulled herself to her feet, blinking through her tears. "No, Tyler," she sobbed, shaking her head. "You stole everything from me. Everything that I was, and could be, you took from me." She watched as his eyes flashed in the darkness, and she held out her hands. "You stole it all, Tyler. Please...please don't steal him from me, too."

"Him?" Tyler asked, lifting Declan further against him, laughing in disbelief when the boy whimpered and cried in his arms. "Is he what's keeping you here, Care? Is it the kid? Because we'll have one-fuck, we'll have ten of them. Whatever you want, if you'll just come back with me."

She nodded, her eyes trained on Declan, trying to assure him that he would be fine if he just held on a little longer. "Okay. Tyler, just...just let him go. And I'll come back with you. I promise, just...just let him go, please."

Tyler laughed then, shaking his head with a cruel, mocking smile. "You promise? Like you promised to be faithful? To stay by my side, to honor me, to be my wife?" He lifted his gun then, pointing it towards Declan, and Caroline screamed, stumbling towards him. "Your promises are empty, Caroline."

"Tyler, stop!" she screamed. "I'm the one you want to hurt! He didn't do anything to you, you don't want to hurt him, please! I'll go back with you, I won't ever run again, I swear. I swear, Tyler, please."

Tyler stared at her, his jaw tight, teeth clenched, and Caroline felt her heart stop in her chest as the gun slowly turned away from Declan, pointing towards her. She held up her hands, feeling the tears course down her face as she looked at Declan once more. She wanted to tell him how sorry she was she came into his life, how sorry she was that Tyler ripped away everything that was normal and safe for him. She wanted him to know how much he meant to her, and how much she would miss him. That everything would be okay, and that she loved him more than she ever thought she possibly could.

She watched as Tyler snapped his mouth shut, his grip on Declan loosening as he slowly bent down, settling the boy on his feet. HIs eyes never wavered from Caroline, and she gasped when he gave Declan a shove, his tiny body flying to the ground as Tyler took a step towards her.

The next few moments happened faster than she could comprehend.

A large body launched itself at Tyler, and they crashed to the ground in a flurry of arms and shouts, a loud crack echoing against the night sky as the gun went off, the bullet ricocheting off into the night.

Caroline moved quickly, racing to where Declan was curled on the ground, his body shaking with his sobs. She pulled him into her arms, curling herself around him as she moved backwards, her head whipping towards where Tyler was wrestling with his opponent.

Her eyes widened when she realized it was Klaus delivering a punch to Tyler's face, and she clutched Declan to her chest as the sounds of sirens assaulted her ears. The struggling men were illuminated in a sea of red and blue lights, tires skidding against the ground as Caroline lifted Declan into her arms and she whirled around.

She nearly sobbed in relief when Elijah and Stefan lept from the car, guns drawn as they hurried towards them, two other marked police vehicles racing into the drive after them.

Stefan reached them first, his eyes searching her for any wounds, brows raised in question, and she shook her head, turning back towards the scuffle behind her.

Klaus was dodging a punch Tyler had aimed at his head, a small trail of blood trickling from his split lip, matting the blonde stubble on his chin. His cheek was already split open, the blood forming an angry slash across his face as he blocked another blow.

Tyler's face was streaked with blood as he recoiled from Klaus' hit, snarling under his breath as he stumbled away.

"Tyler Lockwood," Elijah's voice boomed as he trained his gun on the hunched over detective. "This is the New Orleans Police. We have you surrounded: drop your weapon on the ground and put your hands where we can see them."

Caroline gasped and flinched when a hand snaked around her elbow, and she whipped around to see a uniformed officer standing behind her, ushering her back towards one of the cars. She absently let him lead her away, craning her neck to see Tyler straightening to his full height again, wiping his lip on his shirt sleeve. Less than two feet away from him, Klaus stood crouched, arms out at his sides as he glared at the other man.

"Lockwood, drop the weapon. Put your hands on your head," Elijah repeated, cocking his gun as he slowly inched towards them.

Tyler cracked his neck before he glared at the chief of police, his eyes ticking towards Stefan before peering behind them and landing on her.

Caroline shivered, running her fingers through Declan's hair as she held her Tyler's enraged glare. There's a madness in them she could see from there-a snap of sanity almost, and she waited with bated breath as a smile slowly stretched across his face.

He chuckled then, shaking his head, wiping absently at the blood on the side of his face.

She watched as the small force of officers crept closer, her head twisting to catch sight of Klaus as they blocked her view. She could feel his eyes on her, even as stood on her tiptoes to look over the towering forms, and she sighed in relief when her gaze met his. He was staring at her, a mix of relief tinged with anger on his face as his eyes slid towards the child in her arms. She watched as his jaw tightened, as he turned back towards Tyler, hands clenched into fists at his side.

"Lockwood! Drop. The. Gun." Elijah shouted. "Now!"

Tyler looked at him, swaying on his feet as he stumbled back a step, his fingers flexing around the gun in his hand. He tilted it slightly, slowly turning his gaze towards Caroline again. He lifted his brows, eyes wide as he shrugged. "I never lose, Care," he shouted.

Caroline froze, tightening her arms around Declan.

Tyler's eyes narrowed. "You know that."

He lifted his arm, aiming the gun towards Klaus, and Caroline's lips parted in a silent scream as a chorus of "Drop the gun!" erupted from the crowd of officers.

Bang, bang.

Two shots rang out, cracking in the night.

Caroline screamed, watching helplessly as Klaus and Tyler jerked violently, their bodies falling to the ground.



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