Hey all, sorry that you guys are having to wait two weeks instead of one but I'm offically at University now so I'm swamped with classes and studying and clubs and stuff, I hope you all will understand and enjoy the chapters when they come rather than having rushed chapters. This chapter is shorter than other because it leads to a big long scene and I didn't want to cut that in half, so you get one shorter chapter followed by a long chapter rather than two medium sized chapters in which you have to wait two weeks to see the end.
Thanks again for all the support, it's absolutely wonderful!
Klaus and Caroline remained like that for a while, her tears eventually subsiding to shudders in her chest then finally down to a calm breathing. He looked down at the blonde cowering into his side and sighed heavily as the rain began to slow with her breathing. She didn't speak; she stared at the damp green grass with immense concentration so Klaus didn't disturb her.
What did disturb them was the ringing of Klaus' phone. He pulled it out from his jacket pocket, shifting the pair of them and looking down at the number. It was not one he recognised, but something compelled him to press answer regardless. He did so and held the device to his ear, giving a curt greeting that implied he was busy and then a "Who's calling?"
He knew that voice and so did Caroline. It was a voice Klaus hadn't heard in a decade and Caroline hadn't heard in a century. The blonde straightened up from where she had been leaning against him, shock in her eyes. She swallowed thickly and gave him a look, an authority look that tried to push him around. Caroline mouthed 'give me the phone' but Klaus ignored her and spoke into the device with a mock cheer in his voice. "Stefan, it's nice to speak to you again. I assume Rebekah gave you this number." He commented, his eyes still on Caroline.
"Where is she?" Stefan asked.
"Rebekah? I wouldn't know, I thought she was with you." Klaus shot back. Caroline was sat watching him and chewed her nails as the conversation continued, Klaus feigning that he wasn't sittingwith the girl Stefan was after. If he closed his eyes, he could imagine that he was sitting in a bar somewhere and it seeped into his voice. He closed his eyes and took Caroline's free hand to anchor himself to her and the reality.
"My, my, you haven't upset her again, have you? Have you tried Vegas? That's usually her first port of call when you two fight." He commented casually, opening his eyes again and pretending he wasn't looking straight at the girl he knew Stefan wanted to talk to.
"You know who I mean, Klaus, I don't want to play games." Stefan replied tersely as the blonde shifted uncomfortably in her spot and mouthed for him to hand the phone over once more but Klaus returned his look of 'no way in Hell'. "I can hear her breathing. Put her on the phone."
"That could be anyone; there are billions of people on this planet. And I don't take orders. Remember, Stefan?" Klaus returned flippantly.
"Put her on the phone or I'll cut the red head's fingers off one by one."
"I don't know any redheads." Klaus insisted softly, not wanting to jump to conclusions just too quickly though he could see the panic in Caroline's eyes. She knew that Stefan could very well mean Saoirse or one of the thousand other ginger or red heads in New Orleans. Caroline couldn't have gone the last hundred years without talking to more than one red head. But Stefan was smart; he must have figured out Caroline's circle quickly and gone for the one who would get her attention the quickest. The big sister character, the sweet, innocent Irish woman.
"Well, I found her walking down a street in New Orleans, quite distressed; I have friends here who say she's Caroline's number two. She's red haired, freckles, blue eyes, Irish accent, and a tattoo on her inner wrist that reads…" Stefan clicked his tongue and there was a small sound of a struggle that made Caroline flinch. "She didn't want to show off but it reads 'be halfway to Heaven before the devil knows you're dead.' Still don't believe me, Caroline?" He asked.
A lot of different things happened at once. Klaus and Caroline's eyes met with shock in hers. She recognised that tattoo. It was Saoirse. He saw her recognise this threat; register it, a threat against her pseudo sister, her best friend and anger flared up in her eyes. She swiped the phone from Klaus and he didn't stop her, letting her take the device from his lax grip. She stood up, her heels sinking into the mud and held it against her ear, looking unnerved.
"Don't you dare hurt her." Caroline nearly shouted down the phone, half-angry, half-distraught. Klaus watched her, an odd mix of the Queen and the scared little girl from way back when. She took a deep breath and pinched the bridge of her nose, closing her eyes to stop the tears. "Stefan, please don't hurt her. I'll do whatever you want, just please. She has nothing to do with this. She doesn't even know and she-"
"She knows now." Stefan's voice came through the line, clear to Klaus' fine hearing. Caroline stopped dead and her eyes snapped open once more. Klaus just watched on, he'd never been so willing to bend to someone's will for someone he loved or even cared about. Not even his own siblings. Stefan had threatened to throw them into the ocean and he'd flinched, but only at the last minute. A part of him would have let Stefan do it. Caroline was putting her life on the line for her friend in a blink of an eye. She was getting nothing out of this, save for Saoirse's safety and nothing else. "We had a long chat. I told her everything, Caroline. Elena; your hiding, the vampires you killed, Damon. All of it. Must be a hard thing to hear your best friend killed her previous best friend."
Klaus could see the despair in her eyes behind the tears. It was out there now, her deep dark secret had been revealed. Something she had worked so hard to keep secret from the people she loved was exposed, her secret shame. Well, perhaps Klaus was her new secret shame, but you get attached to these things after 150 years.
"Elena asked me to do it, Stefan. Neither of you two would do it, she knew that. She trusted me." Caroline managed softly, her voice breaking as she spoke. "This isn't about Elena; this is about us, you and me. Please let Saoirse go, and I'll do what anything you want me to do. Just tell me where you are and I'll come to you." She promised once more. Klaus stood up, watching her wearily.
"So, what? You can have Klaus as your bodyguard the whole time?" Stefan shot off.
"Klaus won't be there."
"Oh, he certainly will." Klaus interrupted, a few feet from her so he knew Stefan would hear that. She looked at him angrily and glared for a few seconds. "I have no intentions of letting you wander off and talk to a man who wants to kill you. I told you that I would protect you. Do you think I was born yesterday?"
"Everyone knows you weren't born yesterday." Caroline sniped sarcastically.
Klaus snatched the phone back from Caroline's grip before she could say another word. She made a noise of protest and reached for the phone again but he put a hand on her sternum to keep her back and gave a firm shove to remind her to back off as he spoke into the phone. "And whilst we're on the subject, stop pointing the finger at Caroline for Damon's death because I was the one who killed him, Stefan. He tried to poison her with werewolf venom, one of the most awful fates you could wish upon a person and by the state of his mind; I think I did him a favour. I can show you the grave if you wish, Caroline even yelled at me for it. She didn't want him to die; she was willing to die herself." He assured the Salvatore brother sincerely. "There aren't many people like that in this world, Stefan, they should be treasured."
There was a brief silence where three of them had nothing to say. Caroline looked up and caught his eyes, her chest lifting and falling as she breathed. Their eyes met as his words lingered in the air; he'd admitted that she was a treasure, something precious, something worth preserving.
"And for that reason, Caroline won't be within a mile of you unless I am there. And whilst on the subject of good-hearted people, you will be returning Saoirse to where you found her because she has a very protective male companion who is 100 years your senior who will rip you limb from limb if you hurt his precious angel. And I've had enough of revenge seeking lovers and brothers for the next century. Revenge gets cold after 150 years." Klaus reminded Stefan.
"I don't trust her." Caroline flinched at these cold words coming from someone she had once cared about and who had returned that. "And I certainly don't trust you."
"You'd be a fool to. But you forget that you seem to have taken up residence in my sister's heart so you are untouchable."
Stefan chuckled darkly down the phone, and the blonde and the hybrid locked eyes once more. She was still pretty angry looking but there was a hint of confusion in her eyes as to what he found so funny that he was chuckling. They got their answer a moment later. "And I suppose Caroline has taken up residence in yours?" It was a statement really, not a question and they both knew that. Caroline turned away as her cheeks went red, probably glad Stefan couldn't see them right now.
"If you want to talk to Caroline face to face, you're going to have to do it in front of me." Klaus insisted darkly after a few seconds had passed, completely dodging the subject matter that Stefan had raised in the last sentence. Because the answer was an un-resounding yes. "I'm sure that the pair of you can catch up and you'll see that you have no reason to swear revenge against her or harm her in any way." He added as Caroline turned back to Klaus, her cheeks almost back to normal and she sighed heavily.
"If I don't have any reason to harm her, then why are you going to be there?" Stefan asked curiously.
"Because I want him to be..." Came Caroline's voice before Klaus could shoot off some comment about how the Salvatore brothers were, well had been, unreliable and not on the top of Klaus' most trustworthy list. Her voice was small but strong and it spoke a thousand more words than were heard. She was saying she trusted him to protect her, she was saying she wanted him to stay by her side, she was staying that she felt safe with him nearby. "Tell us where to meet you and we'll be there tonight. Safe conduct, just give me Saoirse and I'll tell you everything you want and need to know." Caroline bargained, her voice becoming more hardened and Queen like with every syllable uttered. Klaus smirked proudly at her, even more so when Stefan named off an address and told them to be there tonight before hanging up.
Klaus looked at the phone that was ringing out that familiar hang up tone for a second as he processed the last few minutes of information in his head. Caroline ran her hands through her hair and swore lightly under her breath, muttering to herself about getting back to New Orleans before the night was out. Hearing the worry rise in her voice, Klaus took her shoulders in his hands to keep her calm. "I will get us there, don't worry. All right?" He assured her in a soothing tone. Caroline nodded and took a breath in and a deep breath out. The temptation nagged at Klaus' brain and he couldn't fight the question that rose to his lips a moment later. "Do you really want me there?"
He expected hesitation, blushing and maybe an admission if he was lucky. That was his expectation of her response when he played it in his head. But that didn't happen. Instead, she didn't hesitate or even flinch. Caroline looked him in the eyes and nodded once, her eyes watery from the stress of her phone conversation and this confession. On top of that, her friend was being held hostage, which must be at least a little distressing. She just nodded and kept her eyes with his, absolute honesty behind hers. "Yes."