Few people are privileged enough to know what it feels like to lose someone they truly love. It's one thing to hear from word of mouth of their passing, but it's an entirely different circumstance when they see their loved one dead, right in front of their eyes. There is a chemical that is released into the body when someone goes through a traumatic experience, it essentially numbs them for a few minutes, slows their heart rate, deafening them to any kind of sound. That's why so many people look momentarily paralyzed when confronted with fear or death. It's their bodies way of softening the blow that is sure to come in the passing minute or hour; it's their minds way of preparing for the pain, one that time can only cure, if that.

Rarely do people consider losing someone a gift, because in grief their true selves are revealed. It's like passing through a wardrobe, or falling down a rabbit hole; it's as if you've entered a whole other world you weren't aware of. The rain has stopped, the clouds dissipated, everything is clear and shiny. The pain is still there, as it always will be, but there is a trigger in your mind that goes off, it instantly wants to repair itself; which is where denial comes into play. After your mind goes through the five stages of grief, what no one knows, is that there is a sixth stage: lucidness. When someone begins to reshape the world around them, seeing things in a different light, clearly. Their words and actions begin to reveal their true character, and it's that stage, lucidness, when they become the new them. Some might even say a better version of themselves, and some a worse version.

It began to rain, not heavily, just enough for someone to notice. But Caroline didn't as she watched what remained of the man she loved turn to ash, parts of him catching in the soft breeze that drifted off like dandelion seeds in the wind. She wanted to catch all the pieces, to build him back up, because watching him burn had ignited something inside of her. It was like watching your life flash before your eyes, but instead she saw all the things that mattered to her, and he was there, all of him. She hadn't even gotten a proper goodbye; all she had was this slow aching in her heart that was beginning to build. She could feel the numbness wearing off, as her heart beat begin to quicken, the adrenaline making her shake. It was going to be too much. She had always kept her heart at a safe distance from him, not allowing herself to even consider the fact that she loved him, that she did love him, even now. But seeing him die had yanked that part out of her, and it seemed that tears, screaming and begging wasn't enough to bring him back. It was like she skipped all the stages and headed straight for lucidness. She saw her love for him, and it burned inside and outside of her now, she felt it so strongly that the thought of him dead made her new world an unbearable thought.

Caroline couldn't even focus on Katarina, who was choking silently a few feet away, her stabbing Klaus with the wooden stake had done something to her; like an unseen force was somehow killing her, slowly. After a few moments of struggling, Katarina was still; her eyes were open, as they stared up at the darkened sky, trying to figure out where their mistake had been.

The rain began to beat down harder, turning Klaus' ashes into a murky liquid that started to wash away. Caroline stayed where she was, sitting upon the tear-drenched soil, until every last bit of him was gone. And for a brief moment afterwards, Caroline didn't quite know what to do with herself. Adi had clearly betrayed her, Klaus was gone, the entire kingdom wanted her dead, and her own home kingdom thought she was already dead. She had nowhere to go, and no one to go to.

Caroline felt the burning from the ginger root slowly wear off; either that or a new kind of pain was taking its place. Either way she felt well enough to move, despite her nerveless legs, and the heaviness of her dress that had soaked up the puddle of rain around her. She stood, steadily above the body of Katarina, and the place where Klaus' had been moments before. It was just her.

"Caroline," she heard someone call to her. She didn't know if it was coming from inside her head, or if she was just hallucinating. Either way she still looked around, slowly her eyes grazed over the labyrinth of trees, trying to find the source of the voice.

"Here," the voice said, suddenly behind her, making Caroline jump. She turned around, her hands curled into fists like she was about to put up a fight, when she made eye contact with Rebekah Mikaelson.

Rebekah and Caroline had been friendly with each other in the past, but when it came to Caroline's near death due to her mother and Kol, the blonde vampire was no where to be seen. In fact, it felt like Caroline hadn't seen the delicate but vicious girl in ages.

"I have been looking for you," Rebekah said, grabbing Caroline's hands and shoving them down to her side.

"You have?" Caroline asked, her voice breaking due to the large amount of pressure she was holding within herself. She begged herself not to release a sob; it took everything to keep it down.

"Nick told me he gave you the key to escape," she said, her voice high and chipper. "He also told me that if he did not find you before he left that I should tell you to meet him at Olanders Corner, which is located just outside of the kingdom."

Caroline breathed deeply, she tried to rehearse in her head how she would tell Rebekah about Klaus, but the words wouldn't come, as if her mind refused to form the sentence necessary to tell the truth.

"He left early this morning," she said.

"Clearly you did not get the message because you are still here," Rebekah said with a sigh, she then looked past Caroline at Katarina's dead body. "I see you took care of that one."

Caroline didn't even look back; her mind was still turning, trying to comprehend the past half hour.

"Come now," she said, grabbing Caroline by the arm. "Let us get you out of here and onto Olanders before my mum sees you are out and about."

Rebekah was about to pull Caroline along behind her, but the blonde human yanked her arm back so forcefully she almost fell backwards. Rebekah turned around bewildered, studying Caroline closely.

"I can not go with you," Caroline said, her voice small.

"What do you mean?" Rebekah asked, raising an eyebrow. "You must, Nick is waiting for you, and my mother will have your head-"

"No," Caroline said, more forcefully than she wanted. Rebekah just stared at her, trying to figure out exactly what had happened out here in the dense forest. Caroline looked like she were in a daze, there was something off about her.

Caroline tried to think up her reasoning for not wanting to go with Rebekah, there was the obvious reason she couldn't go to Olanders, but her mind wouldn't allow her to say the words. Then there was the other reason; one that had formed in her head once she found out what Adi had done to her.

"I do not trust you," Caroline said, slowly licking her lips. And how could she, Adi had lied to her about everything, even her Alistar prediction could have been off, perhaps the flower had been meant for Klaus all along. Even Bonnie had betrayed her, the one person she even remotely could have called a friend. Although Caroline had forgiven Bonnie, she still couldn't bring herself to fully trust anyone anymore. This was part of the new her.

"You can not get there on your own," Rebekah said, flailing her arms. "You need me as a guide."

Caroline didn't say anything; she just stood there, staring at Rebekah feeling her patience grow thin. But in that moment Rebekah must have sensed exactly what was off about Caroline because she was looking past the young human and down at Katarina.

"How did she die?" Rebekah asked, pursing her lips.

Caroline opened her mouth, trying out the words, but they were caught in her throat, hugging the sides of her oropharynx.

"Caroline…" Rebekah said, moving in closer, so she could feel her breath. "How did she die?"

Caroline didn't want to say it, but she knew Rebekah deserved the right to know; so she lifted her right hand and made a stabbing motion toward her heart, tears beginning to creep through her eyelids.

"White oak stake," Caroline mumbled out. "Through his heart."

That was all she had, but that was all it took for recognition to flash across Rebekah's eyes.

"No," Rebekah said, and Caroline was reminded of that word and how she had repeated it over and over until it had no meaning anymore.

"I just saw him-" Rebekah said, bringing her hands up to her lips.

"It had some kind of affect on her," Caroline said, trying to focus her thoughts on Katarina rather than on Klaus. "It killed her instantly."

Rebekah then broke down, right there in the middle of the clearing, her hands covering her face as great sobs escaped her. Caroline couldn't watch, she had to turn away, a great big wave of pain crashing over her in that moment.

No. She wouldn't allow it.

"Stop," Caroline said, her voice firm. "Stop it."

Rebekah looked up at the blonde, her eyes full of hatred.

"How dare you tell me to stop mourning the death of my brother," Rebekah said, standing up, her finger pointed out toward Caroline. "You have no idea-"

"What is at Olanders?" Caroline interjected, shifting her weight from foot to foot, trying to wake up her body. "Why did-he- want me to meet him there?"

Rebekah studied Caroline for a moment, contemplating her response, then she seemed to finally decide on something.

"I do not know," Rebekah said, sniffling, as she stood up taller.

Caroline didn't believe this for a second, but she didn't plan on pushing Rebekah especially considering she was a very strong and very old vampire that could kill Caroline in a matter of seconds. She would find out on her own terms.

"I am leaving," Caroline said, willing her legs to work, she moved past Rebekah.

"For what?" Rebekah asked, tears still in her eyes. "He is not there."

"But whatever he wanted me to see is," Caroline said, reaching for something in her bodice. "Oh and I do not need your help."

She waved the map Klaus had given her long ago in front of the vampire's face, she had managed to keep it hidden against her breasts for some time now, and it would at least get her outside of the kingdom, and from there she would find this so called Olander Corner, and from the sound of it, it seemed like some kind of pub.

Caroline didn't wait for Rebekah's response as she turned to go. She had to keep her mind busy somehow, she couldn't allow herself to think about him, she needed a task and this was the perfect one for her. There was obviously something important at Oldaner Corner, and if there wasn't, it at least got her out of the kingdom if she needed to head home.

"Caroline," Rebekah said, her voice softer now. Caroline looked over her shoulder, seeing that Rebekah was now standing over the place that Klaus had died, probably seeing the remains of the ash. "He loved you, even after everything, he really did."

Caroline immediately turned away, she wouldn't allow herself to hear anymore, she didn't think she could bear it.

Don't lose faith; even the bad is all part of the story. Imma take good care of your guys. LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK SO FAR! Tumblr URL: ninasbun