Here it is...the final chapter.
Warmth covered her skin as beams of sunlight invaded the room. Caroline opened one eye, slowly, and then the other. Her limbs were still wrapped around Klaus and his arms were snaked around her waist and head tight enough that she was sure they had somehow fused into one person. She shifted a bit and tried to pull back.
"Not to be a huge downer," she said, "but why am I not dead again yet?"
Klaus had let go of her just enough so that she could look at him, her eyes full of confusion and a flicker of guarded hope.
It was full morning and they had been laying together for more than an hour, holding a dreadful breath and waiting for her final moment to come.
But it never had.
Klaus ran his fingertips across the skin of her arms, and she noticed the dried trail of tears down his cheeks.
"Perhaps dawn was an arbitrary time?" He didn't want to get his hopes up for anything.
Caroline lifted a brow. "When has a spell ever included anything that wasn't exact? Hmm?"
She pulled further away and rolled out of the sheets, heading for his wardrobe.
"Where are you going?" Klaus asked, but before she answered, she emerged in a set of her own clothes that had been stored away with his things.
"Get dressed," she ordered. "We need to get to Bonnie's. Either something went wrong with the spell or something happened to Bonnie and we need to figure out which."
Klaus sat up, the bed sheet falling around his waist. "Or we could wait a while longer."
Caroline opened her mouth to respond but closed it again. Instead, she climbed back onto the bed and scooted over to him. Her hand cupped the side of his face, a gentle move of her thumb erasing the evidence that this evil original hybrid actually had a heart. "I'll take all the minutes we have," she told him, "but the veil has to go back up. Dropping it in the first place was a huge risk that puts everyone in danger, including you, and I won't let you be in danger."
She pressed a kiss to his lips.
Klaus scoffed. "What danger?"
"Well, how about a thousand years worth of vampires and werewolves and witches that you've murdered who are still angry and looking for revenge?"
Klaus pursed his lips in consideration. He let out a sigh. "Perhaps you're right, love. We should see about Bonnie before some angry undead supernaturals decide to pick a fight."
Klaus dressed, though he was unwilling to let Caroline out of his sight, in case she was wrong and she did suddenly disappear back to the land of the dead. He took her hand as they went down the stairs of the mansion, threading his fingers together with hers.
He opened the door and Caroline found herself nearly tripping over Stefan, his hand stretched out, reaching for the knob. His brown eyes widened in surprise when he saw her.
"Caroline? You're still here."
"Yeah," she answered. "What are you doing here? I thought you'd be with Lexi."
"I was," he told her. "We were together all night, but she disappeared an hour or so ago." His sad eyes flicked to Klaus. "I figured you'd be in need of a drink."
Klaus looked over at Caroline who met his stare. She looked back at Stefan. "What about Alaric? Jenna?"
"Damon headed out to Elena's this morning after…" Stefan's throat tightened. "They're gone too."
"So everyone went back but me?" Caroline murmured to herself. Her head snapped between the two men. "We need to find Bonnie."
Caroline slid down in the back seat of Klaus's SUV to remain out of sight as he drove to Bonnie's house. Even though Klaus was reluctant to mess with what seemed like good fortune, he pressed his foot to the floor. As he drove, he filled Caroline and Stefan in on what had happened the night before at prom, and how spent her friend had been at the end of it all.
Hearing the full story just made her worry more. What if Bonnie had used too much energy? Or what if Silas's power had been too strong for her? What if Silas hadn't really been dead, but instead he had come back for revenge against Bonnie in the middle of the night?
Her spinning thoughts had dragged her from the car and she hadn't even realized they'd pulled into Bonnie's driveway. Caroline sat up and reached from her door when her lock snapped shut with a resounding click.
"Klaus! Unlock the door!"
"Hold on one minute, love," he warned. "You're supposed to be dead. Let's be sure the coast is clear."
Caroline huffed but knew he was right. Her knee bounced impatiently as Klaus and Stefan scanned the nearby area for prying eyes, their senses reaching out to the inside of the house.
Caroline didn't miss the dark look the two of them shared. "What? What is it?"
The shake of Klaus's head was so slight it didn't look deliberate, but before Caroline could ask about their secret conversation, Klaus was telling her the coast was clear.
"Okay," Klaus announced, lifting the lock. "You can go inside."
Caroline barreled out of the car and toward Bonnie's front door. It was locked, but she knew exactly where the Bennetts kept a spare key. Two seconds later, she had the little bronze key out from under a fake rock and in the lock of the door.
The heavy oak whooshed open and Caroline rushed inside, looking around for Bonnie.
"Bonnie?" Caroline called out. She rounded out of the entryway and into the living room. Her heart leaped into her throat when she saw Kol, standing in front of the fireplace, and Bonnie seated on the couch. The breath that she had been holding left her as she realized her friend was alright.
Both of them looked up at Caroline as she ran forward and crashed into Bonnie, wrapping her arms around the witch's body.
"Oh my god," Caroline gasped, "you're okay! I thought something had happened to you when the veil didn't go back up this morning. But Lexi and everyone else went back and I was still here and I thought I was the only one. But," he eyes went to Kol, "Kol is still here too?"
She took a breath and let her questions hang in the air for Bonnie to pick out and answer. Bonnie had saved the two of them. The ending of their story would be happy after all. But Caroline couldn't understand why Bonnie looked so sad. There was a distinct pull at the corner of her eyes and even though her lips were tilted up, she wasn't smiling.
The witch ran her hand over Caroline's golden hair. "The veil did go back up this morning. Just like I spelled it to do."
"Caroline," Stefan was standing the doorway of the living room, staring at her with his head cocked. "Klaus can't come in because he's never been invited," he held out his hand, pointing the direction of where Kol and Bonnie were. "Who are you talking to?"
Caroline blinked at him. "What do you mean who am I talking to? Can't you see—" the words died in her throat. She looked at Bonnie and then up at Kol, who shrugged.
"I guess the cat's out of the bag," he quipped.
Caroline looked back at Stefan. "You can't see them?"
Caroline shook her head slowly, and turned back to Bonnie. "What is going on?" she asked, her voice laced with trepidation. "Bonnie, what did you do?"
"I did a spell."
"What kind of spell?"
"A healing spell."
"What kind of healing spell?"
Bonnie bit her lip.
"For goodness sake," Kol snapped, throwing up his arms. "She did a spell to bring you back from the dead."
"That's not exactly true," Bonnie corrected. "Remember when you got attacked in New Orleans and I did the spell to heal you?"
"Yeah," her eyes flicked up to Kol, "but you said it takes the energy of the caster and passes it to the person who is wounded. I wasn't wounded, I was dead!"
"That's what I told her."
Caroline gaped at Bonnie, who had the sense to look a little sheepish. "I had to try."
Caroline started to smile. "Bonnie Bennett, you could have died! I know you think you're invincible and all-powerful sometimes but seriously!" Kol let out a derisive laughed and Caroline shot him a look, realizing that there was still something else Bonnie wasn't saying. She swallowed the dread lodged in her throat. "That still doesn't explain why Stefan can't see you."
Stefan remained in the doorway, shifting uncomfortably, and switching his gaze between the conversation he couldn't hear in the living room and Klaus who was trapped on the porch.
Bonnie looked back up at Kol, who shook his head. "No, you can tell her the next part."
"Oh, now you want to be quiet?" Bonnie quipped, then looked back at Caroline. She took a deep breath. "Stefan can't see us—me—because we're dead."
The air was sucked from the room and Caroline went still. There was a loud ringing in her ears all of a sudden and she wasn't sure she heard her friend correctly.
"What did you say?"
Bonnie grimaced. "Turns out, not so invincible and all-powerful after all."
"You're dead? Really? How?"
"It was all too much," Bonnie explained. "The spells, dropping the veil, Silas's power. It took its toll."
Caroline shook her head violently, grabbing Bonnie's hands. Tears welled in her eyes. "No, you can't be dead. You shouldn't have brought me back."
"Caroline," Bonnie said, squeezing her hands back. " Please don't cry. I'd do it again in a second. You didn't deserve to die."
"Neither do you."
"Yeah, I'm not happy about it," Bonnie admitted. "But like I'd said. I do it all over again if it meant saving you. You're my best friend, Caroline Forbes."
"Bonnie. . ."
"And hey! We'll still be able to see one another. You have the sight now, just like Jeremy. So, I'll be able to see him, too."
"Bloody brilliant," Kol muttered, crossing his arms and falling back against the wall. Bonnie shot him a look, but then returned her attention to Caroline.
Warm tears were sliding down her cheek. "This isn't fair. We're supposed to graduate high school together and go to college together and grow up together."
"I think we gave up that future a long time ago," Bonnie replied.
Caroline sobbed and sniffed, but Bonnie was right.
"It still isn't fair."
"No, but we'll figure it out," Bonnie assured her. "We always do. And in the mean time, you get to be a vampire again. If you want to."
Bonnie nodded. "You're human now, which means you can change again. Or not. It's up to you."
"What's going on? Bonnie?"
Caroline's head spun as she heard Jeremy's voice coming from the front of the house. His footfalls sounded frantic as he barged in and reached the living room.
"What's the matter? What happened with the spell? I thought you were putting the veil back up?"
Caroline realized that Jeremy could see both Bonnie and Kol because he could see dead people. He was in the same place Caroline had been when she had walked through the door just minutes ago. Next to her, Bonnie let out a shuddered sigh. Caroline couldn't meet Jeremy's eye. The throw pillow next to her on the couch became very interesting.
"This is about to get interesting," Kol remarked, though the comment didn't hold it's usual mirth. In his eyes, Caroline could see that as light hearted as he was trying to be, Kol was hurting.
"We should go," Caroline said, standing. "All of us should go." She sent a pointed look in Kol's direction before turning to Stefan. "Tell Klaus I'll be right there."
Stefan nodded and disappeared and Caroline listened to Kol grumble as he followed. As she passed Jeremy she gave his arm a little squeeze and looked back at Bonnie. She didn't envy the conversation that was about to happen. She'd been having a similar version of it just a couple hours before.
"I'll see you around?" Caroline asked.
Bonnie tilted her head. "Yes, I promise."
Caroline nodded and left the living room. Instead of heading right, toward the front door, she pulled a left and headed towards the kitchen to leave through the back.
She jumped a little. Kol was standing just on the other side of the kitchen wall. She looked down and saw his hand near her arm. He was touching her, only he wasn't, his hand went through her body like nothing. It made her shiver.
She stared at his hand. "Why can I touch Bonnie but not you?"
"A spell," he answered. "Bonnie can still do a little magic it seems. Parlour tricks mostly. She was keeping herself corporeal long enough to say goodbye." He flexed his fingers and dropped his arm with a long sigh. "I guess this really is the end of the line. No second chances." Her brows knit together. She and Kol weren't close, but they'd had their moments. "I can't say I'm not envious of your good fortune."
Caroline snorted, glancing back in the direction of the living room. "I can't say that I'm able to celebrate it. Not when my best friend had to die instead."
"You know Bonnie," Kol said, "you can't talk her out of saving her friends. No matter what the cost." Caroline looked up at the dead vampire and wondered if maybe some of his sadness was directed at Bonnie. Kol had once told her his own love story. If he had the ability to be that selfless once, perhaps it could happen again. "You both have that in common."
"What are you going to do?" she asked him.
"Oh, I think I might find myself a nice sorority house to haunt," he replied, flicking his brows up and down. Caroline wanted to roll her eyes, but she just didn't have the energy.
"Will you keep an eye on Bonnie?"
"Oh," Kol exhaled, shoving his hands into his pockets, "she doesn't need me. She'll have the lad in there. And you."
"We don't even know how this is going to work yet?"
Kol shrugged again and Caroline recognized the dismissal. "Will you keep an eye on my sister?" At that, Caroline raised a brow. "Nik will let her rot now that she's human. Or he'll kill her even though he still got you back," he let out a cold laugh. "Everyone got what they wanted in the end and the sibling who tried to warn you all got stuck with the punishment." His eyes flashed like lightening and she caught a glimpse of the Kol she had first met centuries ago. The one who was a vicious killer with a volatile temper, who drew blood first and asked questions later. His words made her wince. Still, his anger wasn't misdirected.
"I'll make sure she's okay," Caroline reassured him, because it was all she could do.
She blinked and Kol was gone. Nothing but dust motes and sunbeams remained in his place. He had gone back to the other side, back to the limbo he was destined to exist in for the rest of time.
She could hear crying in the other room and decided to make her exit through the back door.
Klaus tapped his thumb against the steering wheel of the SUV. His foot tapped out an alternate rhythm against the floor by the gas petal.
"Are all hybrids this jittery?" Stefan asked in the passenger seat next to him.
Klaus's head snapped in his direction and the look he gave him froze any further sarcastic intentions Stefan had.
"Where is she?" Klaus asked.
"She said she was right behind me," Stefan replied.
That had been almost ten minutes ago. The frustrating thing was that he couldn't go inside the house, nor could he ask anyone inside if they'd seen her. According to Stefan's account, Caroline had had a full-fledged conversation with Bonnie and Kol, but Stefan was only able to make out one end of it. He'd mentioned something about the Bennett witch possibly dying in an attempt to bring Caroline back from the dead.
It would certainly explain why she hadn't disappeared in his arms that morning. Unless she was gone now…
His eyes slammed shut as he attempted to control his panic and his hand gripped the wheel, hard enough that he could hear the structure start to creak and protest.
"Easy," Stefan warned. "Look, if she really is back, she probably went to her mom's or Elena's. She's fine." Stefan leaned forward in the seat trying to catch his eye, but Klaus refused to look at him. "Let's go have that drink, give her some space. Her best friend just sacrificed herself so that she could live. She's gotta sort that out."
Klaus let out a loud breath through his nose and turned the ignition over, throwing the gear into reverse and peeling out of the driveway.
He hated when the Ripper made sense.
Back at the mansion, Klaus led Stefan to his drawing room, and the vampire set them both up with a couple of glasses from the armoire. Klaus chose to keep his hands busy, grabbing a brush and attacking the much-neglected piece that was still sitting in his easel. He realized the last time he'd touched the painting was the night before Caroline had gone in search of the cure. It seemed like ages ago.
The two men were halfway into a bottle of Glenlivet when a feminine throat cleared in the doorway. Klaus dragged his eyes from his creation, settling his brush in the glass of turpentine on the table and focused on the new presence in the room.
Humanity didn't exactly become his sister. He heard her labor breaths match her stuttered heartbeat. There were purple bags under her eyes, a paleness to her skin, and her golden curtain of hair lacked its usual bounce and luster.
Her shoulders remained squared and her chin held high, even if her eyes did dart nervously between himself and Stefan, seated on the sofa.
Rebekah gave her hair a little toss and stepped into the room.
"I want to speak to my brother," Rebekah announced. "Alone."
Stefan and Klaus met eyes and the vampire shrugged at him, heaving himself from the sofa like it was a great effort and leaving the two of them alone in the room.
"Try not to kill each other," he advised as he left.
"Come to gloat?" Klaus asked, moving over to the bottle Stefan had left on the table. He was going to need more alcohol for this conversation.
"Gloat?" Rebekah repeated.
"You've got what you wanted," he clarified. "You wanted to be human, and now you are. I take the effects of Silas's blood haven't worn off with the morning."
"No, they haven't," Rebekah confirmed.
"Then Bonnie was right."
"How did she know? In fact, how did you know?"
Klaus explained Bonnie's short-lived case of omniscience after she had taken hold Silas's powers for herself and how she had declared that Rebekah would now be human for the rest of her days.
Rebekah brightened. "Does she still have his power?"
"No," Klaus replied. "It seems Bonnie Bennett won't be doing much of anything anymore. She's dead."
He was surprised at the amount of regret he heard in his voice. He didn't much care about the witch, he wouldn't mourn her, but she had been useful and talented. It was a shame to see her go, even if her gifts did allow him to keep the person he cared most for in the world.
Klaus looked up and noticed Rebekah's dejected frown. "Were you hoping she could help you out of your little predicament? Having second thoughts about being mortal?"
"I'm bloody scared, Nik!" Klaus could see how much it pained his sister to admit it. He set down his glass and stepped toward her.
His hand reached for her, but instead of offering her a comforting touch, he wrapped his palm around her chin, pressing his fingers into her cheeks. "If you're asking me to feel sorry for you," he spat through clenched teeth," you're begging at the wrong door. You deserve weakness, you deserve misery and hell, don't think I've forgotten about your selfish betrayals. I should end your life here and now." Klaus tilted his head, drinking in the fear behind her eyes like sweet syrup. "But you don't deserve the mercy of a quick death."
He pushed her away, letting her stumble back. It was a cheap shot. If she had still been a vampire, she would have been lashing back at him, scratching at him with her nails, snarling his name along with a string of curses and insults. Now she had no power. She was nothing but weak and human.
"I'm not the only one who has been selfish," Rebekah cried. "Who took care of you when you mourned Caroline centuries ago? Who cleaned up your messes when your rampages threatened to expose us? Who will take care of you now? Elijah has that doppelganger bitch and Kol is—"
"Dead!" Klaus shouted. "Because of you! Because of your selfish need to find the cure."
"I wasn't the only one who was trying to seek out Silas and the cure! You had your reasons, Nik. Don't stand there and think I'm too stupid to know why you wanted to find the cure all along." Spiteful tears ran down Rebekah's cheeks. "You'll really turn your back on your own flesh and blood?"
"It's not a difficult thing to do when you've made it ever so easy."
Klaus turned his back to her then and pretended to focus on his painting. He heard Rebekah gasp.
"Fine," Rebekah snapped. "I hope you burn in hell and misery."
Klaus turn back to her and raised his glass. "Enjoy your life, Rebekah. It will be painful. It will be brief. And I'm sure it will be very, very lonely."
With a dead eyed smirk, he threw the liquid down his throat, and watched her turn and leave in a whimpering huff.
Stefan let out a low whistle as he entered the room again. "That was brutal."
"She'll whine to Elijah next," Klaus retorted. "And if our brother is feeling charitable, then he'll show her sympathy. I'm done with her."
"I've been there," Stefan remarked. "It doesn't last."
"Your family is kinder than mine."
Stefan shrugged and took back his spot lounging on the sofa. "So, let me get this straight, you're punishing Rebekah because her betrayal is in essence what caused Caroline to die, only Caroline isn't dead anymore."
"Irrelevant," Klaus countered, "even if the consequences of her betrayals have been negated it doesn't erase the fact that she was deceitful in the first place."
"Rebekah has suffered too," Stefan reminded him. "She lost a brother, too. And she's human now."
Klaus raised an eyebrow. "Which, as I told her, was what she wanted all along," he sighed, sick of arguing. "You wanted to drink, so drink. I didn't ask for your input in my family affairs."
Stefan raised a hand in defeat, but said no more, turning his attention back to the scotch.
Klaus could still hear his judgments, though. He imagined Elijah would have the same opinion. He knew that he tended to place blame on whichever person seemed the most convenient. And he would ignore the tiny niggling voice in the back of his mind that he shared in the responsibility of the fallout from the hunt for the cure and the battle against Silas.
Caroline had managed to make it to both Elena's house and her mom's house without being seen by a single soul. Both trips had been full of mixed emotions and she was exhausted. All she wanted was to climb into bed with Klaus and bury her face in his chest until she could decide what the hell she was feeling.
She arrived back at the mansion just as the sky began to turn orange. As she stood in front of the door, she looked down at her hands, sucking in a large breath. She'd been alive again for a whole day and she still felt like she was going to turn into a pumpkin and be sent back to the other side.
She also didn't feel like herself.
Bonnie said she was human but that she didn't have to be anymore. It was up to her.
So, before she could cry or sleep or anything else, there was one thing left that she needed to do.
Caroline gripped the ornate brass handle and thrust it open, walking inside the house.
The sounds of Klaus and Stefan's voices were coming from inside the drawing room. Caroline made her way toward them.
Both men were standing there waiting for her. One looked relieved, welcoming, and warm. The other was cold, angry, and a little scary. Caroline gulped.
Stefan set the glass tumbler down on the table and walked toward her. He wrapped her in a big hug. "Glad to have you back," he told her, squeezing her tight.
Caroline shut her eyes and ignored Klaus, hugging him back for a moment. "Good to be back," she replied.
She meant it, in spite of everything that had happened. Caroline was grateful beyond words to have a second chance at living.
Stefan pulled away and said a quick goodbye, leaving her alone in the room with Klaus. His mouth was still turned down and one look at the two bottles on the table told her he was angry at her for running off without saying anything.
"You can't be mad at me," Caroline began.
Klaus tilted his head at her. "Wrong opening, sweetheart."
"Fine, but you have to listen to me," she took a deep breath. "What was the first thing that you did when I came back from the island and you found out I was human?" Klaus squared his jaw. "You ran. You avoided me for days."
"So this is payback?"
"No, God, you are so frustrating sometimes," Caroline's foot gave a little stomp. "I just needed to sort things out. And lucky for you I did it a lot quicker than you did. So, you're welcome."
"And what exactly did you sort out?"
"Well I went to see my mom, and she was thrilled. Freaked out at first, but happy. We agreed that I can't stay in Mystic Falls anymore because everyone else thinks I'm dead," she folded her arms across her chest. "Then I went to Elena's and told her what was going on with me and with Bonnie and how college is probably going to be a little different than we originally planned. I'm not even going to be a real high school graduate."
"What are you planning?"
"Hold on, I'm getting to that," she replied. "What I sorted out was that I can't spend the rest of my life feeling guilty that Bonnie is dead, because it was her choice. I understand that and I respect that. It's like Kol said, I would have done the same thing. I'm not saying that I'm not devastated. I love Elena, but Bonnie was my best friend in the entire world, even when I was nothing but a vapid, shallow bitch. And after we're done here I fully plan on going upstairs and crying for at least a good hour and I expect you to hold me while I do."
Klaus's lip gave the barest hint of a twitch. "I'm not very good in the comfort department, love."
"Tough," she shot back. "You should have thought about that before you chose to fall in love with a vampire who chooses to hold onto her humanity."
"If you think I had any choice in the matter," Klaus retorted, "you are sadly mistaken."
Klaus sauntered toward her, his anger evaporating with every step. Caroline saw the intent in his eyes, but she held up a hand. "Hold that thought, because that brings me to my next point," she said. "I want to be a vampire. And I want you to change me." That made Klaus pause. Caroline bit her lip. "I know that means you'll have to kill me. If you don't want to do that part maybe Stefan—"
She was cut off when Klaus flashed forward and stoppered her words with a kiss. Caroline moaned into it, even though his lips were closed, enjoying the warmth and relief of his lips. "Nonsense," he said against her mouth. "It will be my privilege to turn you, from start to finish."
Caroline smiled, lifting her arms and wrapping them around his neck. She laced her fingers around the back of his head and brought his head down again to press their lips together once more. She drank him in, enjoying the fact that it wouldn't be the last time they did this. There would be thousands of kisses between them. Not only a thousand kisses, but a thousand nights, a thousand days, a thousand arguments, and a thousand memories. It was everything she could have ever asked for and more.
Klaus pulled back and leaned his forehead against hers. "So, once you're a vampire again love, what shall we do first? Paris to celebrate? Rome perhaps? Or somewhere warm? Beaches . . . sand . . . no clothes."
He dipped his head and kissed her pulse point, lightly sucking at her skin and feeling her blood rush beneath. Caroline laughed, her eyes crinkling at the corners. "Well, I have something a little closer in mind."
"Mhmm," she hummed. "I'm sure you'll like this plan."
3 MONTHS LATER
Marcel awoke with a start. It had been almost two centuries since he had woken up in cold sweats, afraid of things that go bump in the night. Now it had been two months of the same thing every night. A harsh breeze blew in with the moonlight through his curtains and he sat up in bed, letting the sheet pool around his waist. His bare skin was sticky from the summer heat.
He cursed the noises from the hot streets and the smells of booze and merriment that wafted into his bedroom.
Had he always hated the Quarter this much during the summer? Or did he just hate it now that he was losing control. Everything was slipping through his fingers and the more he tightened his grip, the more he lost. Marcel Gerard was nothing more than a hermit and he felt like he was slowly losing his mind.
A flash of memory from the dream invaded his vision and his gripped the sides of his head, willing it away. He was tired of seeing her die night after night, waking up hot and shaken and questioning whether he was dreaming something real. Guilt was not an emotion Marcel felt. He had learned from the best that guilt was worth less than nothing. Decisions were made and consequences were dealt with.
Cami would tell him that the dreams meant he was harboring some unconscious guilt. She would psychoanalyze him and make him talk, then will away the nightmares with kisses and sighs. Or she would have done, had she known anything about the world he had ruled over, the secrets he had kept from her. The secrets that destroyed them in the end.
He looked over at his clock and saw that it was just a couple hours before sunrise. His thick arm stretched over and grabbed the phone on his bedside table, scrolling to Cami's name, before pressing his thumb to it.
It dialed once before he heard the three heart shattering tones and the message that the number was no longer in service. It had been that way for almost three months now. Cami had left as soon as she had the strength to run.
Marcel grit his teeth and pressed the phone to his head. He swore to himself he would find her one-day. He would find her and make her understand that running only put her in more danger. That everything he did, all the secrets he kept and deals that he made, were for the greater good.
Something flickered in the corner of his eyes and he tensed, all senses on alert.
Someone was in his bedroom. Someone not friendly.
The curtains shifted again and his hackles raised, eyes catching a glimpse of an intruder. He moved toward the French doors of the balcony to shut them. The gold latch clicked and the curtain stilled and he heard a trilling laugh.
Marcel whipped around at the sound. His mouth fell open and his eyes went wide and white at the sight behind him. It seemed like one of his nightmares, but he knew he was wide awake.
The woman stood there, dressed in white, looking as fresh and innocent and radiant as the day she died. Everything about her was the same as the night Silas had drained the life from her. But now, instead of seeming sweet and innocent, she seemed vengeful and deadly.
Marcel had wondered how Klaus had fallen so in love with a girl like her, but if this was what had laid underneath her sunshine smiles and bright eyes, this darkness, he understood what had drawn the original toward her.
The vampire was still as stone, shocked frozen as the wraithlike woman moved toward him.
"What's the matter, Marcel?" Caroline asked him, her voice ethereal and icy. "You look like you've seen a ghost."
Klaus chuckled under the balcony below. Glass shattered above and he heard a few painful grunts from the former vampire king of New Orleans.
"She certainly has a flair for the dramatic, doesn't she?" Elijah remarked, throwing another body onto the pile of Marcel's guards they had collected.
Klaus licked the blood from the corner of his lip. "That she certainly does."
He'd be lying if he didn't admit that he was surprised when Caroline suggested her revenge plan to him. Klaus had no idea his girl was capable of such violent pursuits, but he liked to think perhaps he was rubbing off on her. Especially now that it was his Original Hybrid blood running through her vampire veins. It made her stronger than the average vampire and faster.
To her friends, Caroline would always be the bright and peppy girl they'd always known. Klaus knew her inner darkness, the part of her only he was allowed to see. That was the depth of their love. She gave him her darkness, he showed her his light, and they kept one another's secrets.
Elijah had been happy to join in on the carnage with Klaus while Caroline threw Marcel around. She had only had one rule, they weren't allowed to hurt Marcel's girl. Apparently, Caroline had taken a shine to Cami while they had visited and decided she was innocent in everything. While Klaus argued that it would be the most effective way to get back at him, Caroline shook her head.
"A man like Marcel cares about his power," she told him. "That's where we'll hit him."
They let him stew in fear from Elijah's threat for a few months, before making their way back south. By the time they got there, most of the work was done for them. It seemed Marcel was losing control thanks to the new power the witches had been provided for helping Silas. And Cami was long gone.
The thought of the Devereaux sisters and their coven made Klaus's jaw clench and he knew one day those witches would pay for their crimes. When the time came, he would be making all the rules. There wouldn't be anyone spared or left alive.
Elijah threw the last of the bodies onto the pyre and lit it. Klaus smirked in satisfaction and turned to make their way down the street.
"Shall we grab a drink?" Klaus suggested. "Let Caroline have her fun?"
Caroline appeared at his side in less than a blink, linking her arm through his.
Klaus raised an eye at her. "Already?"
Klaus smiled down at her and pressed a kiss to her forehead. Elijah chuckled beside them. "I believe you've had an influence on her, brother."
"As if," Caroline protested. "If Klaus were in charge, he would have killed Marcel months ago. I was the one who came up with the plan to get Damon to teach me his little mind dream trick thing to mess around with Marcel before we decided to attack. I gave him some pretty messed up nightmares. You would be very shocked."
Klaus stifled a laugh and Caroline nudged him in the ribs.
Elijah smiled in her direction. "I have no doubt that I would," there was a ring of his phone inside his pocket and he answered it. "Rebekah."
Klaus frowned at the name and Elijah grinned at him before turning and taking another route to take their sister's call.
"Are you ever going to forgive her?"
"I haven't killed her," Klaus replied. "That's as much forgiveness as she deserves."
"She's your sister. And she's human now which means her days are numbered. I know you miss her."
Klaus said nothing and Caroline let it drop. She'd been keeping an eye on Rebekah, like she'd promised Kol. Elijah had been providing for her and it seemed Rebekah was doing her best to live a human life. She was considering college. Matt had been helping her with applications. Her days were spent doing charity work with the Mystic Falls Beautification committee and planning luncheons and parties. Caroline had to admit she was a little jealous. It seemed Rebekah was slipping into the role that Caroline had always thought she was going to fill.
Then her gaze turned to Klaus, and her mood brightened. She slipped an arm around his waist and he smiled at her.
Maybe she wasn't so jealous after all.
They paused in front of a house and turned to stare up at it.
It was Klaus's home, the one that had been left in ruins, and burnt to the ground. Klaus looked up at it longingly. Even though it was the middle of summer and warm and sticky out, he felt Caroline snuggle into his side and rest her head against his shoulder.
"Are you sure you don't want to rebuild it?"
Klaus sighed. "Perhaps one day," he admitted.
He did think about it. The city was tainted with bad memories now, but he would never forget the time he and his family had thrived there. The city belonged to supernaturals and since he was the most powerful supernatural in existence, the city belonged to him. Marcel had never been meant to rule it.
"I think we should," Caroline agreed. "One day. And until then I was thinking…Chicago."
"Chicago?" Klaus questioned.
"You and Stefan liked it, right? Plus it's a big city, I can keep a low profile."
"It was a bit different in the 20s, love."
"Elena decided not to go to Whitmore so we can still go to college together," she explained.
"Still planning on attending college?"
"I'm not ready to give up on normal human things just yet," she replied. "Are you disappointed?"
He took her hand and placed a kiss on her knuckles. "Considering you were just tearing someone apart twenty minutes ago, I'd say you have one foot planted on each side of the vampire spectrum," Klaus said. "And I love you. Whether you choose to be human or vampire or something else entirely."
Caroline broke out into a sunshine smile. "Really?"
"Of course," he replied. "Nothing is ever going to change that."
Caroline stood up on her toes and kissed him, opening her mouth and letting her tongue slide against his. Klaus gripped her tighter, and carded his finger through her hair. The kiss became deeper and he gathered her up, arching her back, and drinking her in.
A loud whoop across the street broke them apart and a few teenagers were laughing and hollering at them. Caroline rolled her eyes, not that they could see, and Klaus set her back on her feet.
In that moment, he felt human. Not because he had a heartbeat or a life with an expiration date, but because he could appreciate the beauty of the small moment with her.
He looked down into her shining blue eyes and smiled.
Sometimes they were human. Sometimes they were vampires. Together they were unstoppable and strong and happy, and that was never going to change.
First, massive thanks to Alex (klarolineepiclove), Miranda (livingdeadblondegirl), Kady (klausykins) who were my betas on this fic. Thanks for correcting my grammar and pumping up my ego and fangirling with me!
Second, thank YOU dear readers! I wrote this sequel for you. I know that the Klaroline ship/fandom has been through a lot so thank you for sticking with my story and the alt-canon I created. I'll never forget the massive amount of love I received from Timeless and I hope this story helped continue that enjoyment a for a bit. I love you guys more than I can say. Thank you for reading and all your reviews and messages :)
Third, my goal was to wrap up Klaroline's story in this verse. I tip toed around Caroline's grief a little bit, but trust me there were a lot of nights of cuddling and crying and Klaus found that he was rather good a being comforter after all. Or maybe it's just for Caroline ;)
Fourth, Bonnie and Kol...in my head they continue on...so we'll see ;)
Again, thank you so much! This story wouldn't be here without you so give yourselves a hug from me.