Author's Note: Here we are, at the end of the road. This is coming out quite a bit later than I expected so I do apologize (vacation is making it a bit hard to find time to write!) I've had such a good time writing this, I've appreciated every single review and thank you so, so much if you've stuck through until the end. Here's the epilogue, quite a bit shorter than the rest of my chapters, but I felt like I needed something to cap off the story, so I hope you enjoy!
Disclaimer: In all seriousness, nothing's mine.
"Are you just about packed then?"
Caroline zipped up her suitcase and faced Elijah, who was leaning against the doorframe. She noticed his smirk upon seeing the three suitcases she had laid out on the bed, and blushed slightly. Preparing for a summer vacation to the City of Love required an extensive wardrobe; you couldn't blame a girl for preparing.
"That was the last of them!" she chirped, dragging all three suitcases off the bed.
"Let me help you those," Elijah offered courteously, and came forward to grab two of her bags. "I wanted to say a proper goodbye before you and Niklaus flew off."
Caroline smiled widely, feeling a rush of affection for the oldest Mikaelson. He was a good guy to have around and on your side; easily countering Klaus and Rebekah's impulsivity, his calm and level-headed nature often smoothed out whatever disagreement cropped up in the household.
(And with three Originals under one roof, there were a lot of disagreements.)
Over the past ten months or so, Caroline had gotten to know Elijah pretty well, after her and Klaus had settled into a tentative relationship, he had seemed quite determined to know her better; 'welcome her into the family' as he had put it. She'd been thrilled. Klaus had been suspicious. Rebekah had been irritated at being ordered to show up to dinner every Sunday night, and Stefan just wondered why nobody had rolled out the welcome wagon for him.
(Needless to say, those first few Sunday dinners were very interesting. But eventually, they all got into the spirit of it – even if Rebekah and Klaus still complained.)
Elijah took her bags to the hallway but paused and looked back at her. "It's going to be odd to have the house so empty while you and Niklaus are gone," he said, a little sadly. "I fear it's going to be too quiet."
"We'll miss you too Elijah," she said with a smile, "but you'll have Rebekah and Stefan around, won't you?"
"Not if they end up going to Mystic Falls next week. Stefan did say something about wanting to speak to his brother again. I suppose the peace will be worth losing four roommates."
"Technically, I don't live here!" Caroline said quickly. It was a weak argument at this point considering she had taken over one of the expansive guest rooms after she'd finished her first year in the dorms at Tulane, but she'd insisted that was just because it was easier to store her stuff in New Orleans than shipping it back to Mystic Falls for a few months. Besides, she and Klaus were leaving for the summer, so she would barely have any time to actually live in the mansion – but that was what she wanted. She had eternity after all; there was no need to be the girl who rushed things with her boyfriend. Not that he saw it that way, of course.
("Caroline, your dorm room is the size of a shoebox, I don't know why you don't just stay at the mansion and –"
"Because it's my shoebox and I like it! And could you please stop breaking in through the window when you visit?")
Bringing herself back to the present, Caroline refocused on Elijah, who was watching her with an amused smile. "If nothing else, if you were here permanently he might be less… 'on edge'. He worries about you constantly, you know."
"He's too overprotective," she said with a roll of her eyes. "He should learn to lighten up."
"Perhaps," he said thoughtfully. "But for what it's worth, my brother's homicidal tendencies have lessened slightly – what's that for?" he asked in response to her skeptical gaze.
"Elijah, did I, or did I not come home last week to Sophie Devereux ranting about how Klaus had killed another witch because he thought they were plotting against him?"
Elijah sighed, running a hand through his hair. "Well, he's not perfect. But believe me when I tell you that he's better. You make him better."
Caroline blushed and looked away, grateful for the compliment even if she didn't know how much she believed it. "It works both ways, Elijah," she said quietly. "He makes me better too."
And it was true, when she stopped to think about it. She was happier, more confident. She'd always thought that she was the one out of her friends to accept being a vampire, but after the last year, she realized that she had finally become comfortable with it. And that had scared her, initially. But Klaus had been there, and he'd understood, and at the time it had meant the world to know that no one would judge her, shun her, or try to change her.
Yeah. It definitely went both ways.
Elijah was picking up her suitcases again and she followed suit. "Whatever you do for each other, I'm glad to see you both happy. I can't believe you actually talked him into leaving for an entire summer, how did you manage that?"
Caroline smirked to herself. "Well, I might have brought up some old promises he made ages ago to take me away. He caved pretty easily."
What she didn't add was that she had chosen a couple of weeks ago when they were both in bed to bring up those promises, but Elijah didn't need to know the details of how she'd gone about that. Still, he seemed to realize that something was missing because he turned back to her with a dubious look.
"That's all you had to do? Nothing else?"
She smirked. "Elijah, do you really want the answer to that?"
(Let it be known that that was the only time Elijah Mikaelson had ever blushed.)
"Still, I didn't think Niklaus would ever feel comfortable leaving his 'kingdom' for any length of time."
"Well, I can't promise that he won't show up suddenly at three in the morning due to separation anxiety, but I'll do my best."
Elijah chuckled, and together, the two resumed their way towards the large staircase.
"Did I really need to see that?"
Klaus leant against the archway leading into the large kitchen, smirking while watching with great amusement as Stefan and his sister pulled away hurriedly. Stefan had the good sense to take a step back from Rebekah, though he looked smug, while Rebekah just looked ready to kill.
"Nik, must you be ass?" she asked in a low growl. It only served to widen his grin, irritating his sister while her and Stefan rekindled their romance was always a joy. Though Caroline had reprimanded him on more than one occasion, he never took it to heart. Besides, despite his annoyances, Stefan and Rebekah had found their happiness. Begrudgingly, he allowed himself to admit that he wasn't completely opposed to the idea.
Rebekah scowled at him for a moment longer. "Considering how you and Caroline act, I'd say we're quite entitled to behave however we'd like," she said, with a flip of her hair. "Aren't you supposed to be on your way anyhow?"
Klaus nodded. "I'm just waiting for Caroline to finish packing, she'll be done soon."
"You guys need a ride to the airport?" asked Stefan.
Klaus nodded, "Thanks mate, I was just about to call a cab." The gesture was thoughtful, and though he was inclined to believe it was offered out of Stefan's friendship for Caroline, his relationship with the Salvatore had also improved slightly over the year. Granted, they'd never be the same kind of friends they'd once been…but they were civil. And that counted for something. Besides, if he showed any hostility towards Stefan, Caroline and Rebekah would never have forgiven him.
The three made their way outside down the path towards Stefan's car, Klaus taking in a deep breath of the Louisiana air. He already felt a slight sense of homesickness, even though they would undoubtedly be returning within two months. Still, he knew a break would be good. The past ten months had solidified his position in his city, the witches had successfully banded together and backed his coup and Marcel's forces had been slowly diminished to a farce of what they once were. The Steward had fallen and the rightful King had taken back the throne.
Of course, if the King's Queen asked for a short trip to Paris, then a vacation was in order.
"So, two months?" asked Rebekah, leaning against the car. "I suppose it'll be good to get rid of you."
"Be sure to mind your manners Bekah, I always know what's going on," replied Klaus with a dark grin. His sister remained unfazed, simply shooting a smirk at Stefan, who chuckled.
Their attention was diverted when Elijah and Caroline came through the front door, the former giving advice on what they should be doing in Paris.
"Now, I know Niklaus prefers the Musee d'Orsay because he thinks the Louvre is too crowded, but be sure to spend at least a day there. Spend some time in the countryside too, it's beautiful."
"Thanks Elijah, I'll remember that," Caroline replied, giving him a quick hug and a peck on the cheek. Turning, she saw Klaus coming up the drive, his brow furrowed. No matter how many times she reassured him, she knew he'd always be a little jealous when her attention was directed at anybody other than him, and she suspected that Elijah was a particular sore spot. A thousand years of insecurity didn't go away over such a short span of time, she reminded herself.
Beaming, she zipped towards him, squealing when he grabbed her around the waist and spun her around. Leaning her head down, she kissed him, feeling his grip tighten and she pulled back, smiling as he pecked her quickly on the lips and set her on her feet.
"God, you two are sickening, you know that?" Rebekah's voice jolted them from their moment, and she strolled towards the couple, linking her arm through Caroline's and pulling her towards the car.
"Now, seeing as how you're giving me a Niklaus free summer, I think it's only fair I give you some tips. There's a boutique at the intersection of the Champs-Elysees and Rue de Berri, go in there and mention my name, they will roll out every design debuted during Fashion Week, including the ones that are supposed to be one of a kind."
"All of that, just by mentioning your name?" asked Caroline, impressed.
"No compulsion necessary," Rebekah replied with a proud smile. The two girls had formed a tentative friendship during the past few months, despite everything that had happened between them, Klaus had been right – they did have a lot in common. And it was nice to have somebody to shop with.
"Try to make sure he doesn't end up running back here by Friday," said Stefan, coming up and giving her a tight hug.
"Have some faith," she said rolling her eyes, knowing that the state of New Orleans was exactly what Klaus was talking about with Elijah right at that moment.
"Brother, I trust you can take care of the city while I'm gone?" asked Klaus with a sly smile as he helped Elijah with Caroline's bags.
"New Orleans will be fine for the summer Niklaus, try to enjoy yourself, won't you?"
"Oh, you can be sure of that," Klaus replied, looking fondly at Caroline.
Elijah followed his brother's gaze and hid a small smile. Klaus shook off the look of endearment and turned back to his older brother.
"Now, don't be afraid to use drastic measures if the witches act up again, the Devereuxs think they've got most of them in line but I don't trust some of the wilder ones. Good luck brother." He clapped Elijah on the shoulder and the two of them loaded every suitcase into the car's trunk.
After the car was loaded, and Stefan had climbed in the driver's seat, Klaus and Caroline said their final goodbyes to Elijah and Rebekah before settling in the backseat.
"So…Paris?" Caroline asked, turning to Klaus with a shy smile.
"Paris," he answered, lacing their hands together and leaning towards her to give her a kiss.
"Still here!" said Stefan, and they both rolled their eyes.
Turning towards the window, Caroline watched New Orleans roll by, keeping Klaus' hand in hers. They could save their affection for later, she didn't mind. The rest of the summer, the rest of the year, the rest of the decade – they had a long road ahead of them.
So there we have it! Funnily enough, I'm currently on vacation in Los Angeles, so I'm going through all the places I imagined Klaus and Caroline going through, and it's a lot of fun. Really hot though!
Oh, and this chapter doesn't specifically have a song attached to it, but I did listen to 'A Thousand Years' by Christina Perri as well as 'Till Kingdom Come' by Coldplay.
Again thanks for all the feedback I've gotten (especially the guest reviewer who talked about Klaus' characterization, I'll definitely keep that in mind when I write him next!). I will never get over how blown away I was by the reception I got for this fic, but one last time, please let me know what you think! If you've been reading but waiting until the end to review to make sure I didn't have Hayley magically appear with a baby on her hip, let me know now if you liked the ending! (Unless of course, you would have liked Hayley to show up. Not sure what I can do about that, though.)
You can follow me on Tumblr at hummingbirds-and-champagne, and feel free to leave a drabble request, I'm always looking for ideas so I can practice writing these two!
Again, thank you so much for reading. Have a good night!