Here it is! Two Lost Souls is officially over :(
I've had a few questions/requests for missing scenes and companion stories. I'm not ruling it out, but if it does happen, it won't be for a while, I need to take a break.
One last time, thank you all so much for your support, favorites, follows and reviews, you can't imagine how rewarding it is to know that people are reading and enjoying my writing :)
"What did you do to Stefan that day you figured out he'd always known about me and Damon?"
Klaus lifts an eyebrow, surprised that she decided to go that far back in their little game of truth and to ask him something so trivial. She shrugs his silent question away, most likely because she's not sure why she asked either.
Maybe just because she was running out of ideas. They've been at it for hours, and there are only so many things you can ask the other participant when you've been living together for a century and don't particularly make it a habit to hide things from each other in the first place. To be honest, he's not even sure why she suggested this game for their first quiet evening at home in weeks, since she knows she can ask him anything, anytime and he'll tell her the truth, just like he knows the same to be true for her.
His guess is that she's feeling nostalgic. They had to cancel their long-planned trip to Peru because of some rumors going around New Orleans about rogue vampires that Elijah, who had been left in charge while they were traveling around Europe, asked them to help him with – Klaus to deal with the vampires and Caroline to placate the human council, since she's so adept at it. They've made it a habit over the past hundred years to go back to their cabin in the Andes regularly, but it's been almost two decades since the last time and he knows she misses it.
"Broke a few of his bones," he answers concisely.
"What were you expecting?"
"I don't know. More pain, I guess."
"Not nearly as much fun when the victim feels like he deserves it. To be honest, I had a few hours of torture planned, but I quickly figured out he was torturing himself enough. I just took out most of my anger on him, but punishment wasn't necessary. He's always done a great job with that all on his own."
She snickers at that, her expression a mix of amusement and fondness.
"Yeah, that's Stefan for you."
She misses her friend too, as evidenced by the soft tone of her voice. They haven't seen him and Rebekah in a while, and Klaus makes a mental note to check in with his sister soon and make plans to meet up once the situation has been dealt with here.
"Since we're on the subject of the Salvatore brothers, when did you realize that I'd released Damon of his compulsion?"
"Not until a few years later. Elena never told me and Stefan that he'd come back to her, probably to get back at us for not convincing you sooner, and everyone else thought we already knew. But then Stefan sought him out and he found out that he had been free to do as he pleased for years. God, was he pissed. I think that's the main reason they're still not talking, Stefan never forgave him and Elena for not telling us."
Klaus gives a thoughtful nod. While Stefan can be forgiving, he can also hold a grudge, unlike his best friend. Caroline and Elena aren't as close as they used to be, but they're on speaking terms, though it took decades before they reached that point, mostly because of Elena's stubbornness.
He didn't release Damon of his compulsion until 2022, when he heard that the doppelganger was in a happy relationship with someone none of them had ever heard of and he knew that having Damon back would create an unprecedented chaos in her love life.
He's always loved messing with other people's lives, particularly people who have tried to kill him several times.
He didn't tell Caroline that he'd finally granted her wish because he so enjoyed the creative ways she always thought of to try and convince him to reconsider Damon's punishment… Until one day she stopped trying and he knew that she'd figured him out. They never really talked about it afterwards, mostly because neither of them cared much about it anymore. It might be a cliché, but time really does have a way of making you see things under a new light. Most of his anger at Damon had finally vanished knowing how miserable he was, and Caroline had figured out that she'd always valued Elena's friendship more than Elena had ever valued hers.
"It's your turn, love," he reminds her when she's been silent for longer than usual.
"I think I'm all out," she laughs. She finishes her wine in one long gulp and places the glass on the coffee table before lying down with her head resting on his lap, looking up at him with bright eyes and an even brighter smile. "Can you believe it?"
"Not for a second."
"Well, believe it, because I… Oh, wait, I've got one! Your birthday, 2018. Or was it 2019? Elijah gave you a business card, and I've never seen you more grateful over a gift. A freaking business card. You and Elijah disappeared for a few days afterwards, and when you came back, you were as relaxed as I've ever seen you."
Klaus chuckles, knowing full well that this is a mystery that drove her mad back then, until she decided that he'd tell her in due time and she shrugged it off and all but forgot about it. Until now, it would seem.
"What's the question?"
She rolls her eyes at him for making her say it out loud when he clearly knows what she wants to ask, but she complies anyway.
"What the hell was on that card?"
"An address. And it was 2017, love."
As expected, this makes her roll her eyes once more, both at the vague answer and at his correcting her.
"I'm gonna need more than that."
"There was a witch I had been looking for for some time. I needed someone to perform a very specific spell for me, and she was the only one I knew of who could do it, but she had been off the radar for about 40 years due to a rather nasty fallout with her coven. Elijah found her in Thailand. That's where we went."
"What was the spell?" she asks predictably.
He shoots her a look that clearly says that he's very much aware that this is her second question on the matter and that he could make her wait for her next turn before answering, but he decides against it. It's not like he's trying to hide this, not anymore. He was when Elijah first gave him the witch's contact information, because he didn't think she was quite ready to know yet, but he knows that today, she is. She has been for a while.
"It broke me off from my bloodline. That's why I had to go see her personally, she needed…"
"Wait, wait, wait," she says urgently, sitting up and clearly struggling to process what he just told her. He chuckles, having expected her to cut him off before he got to the end of his tale. "What?!"
"The bloodline link. She severed it. So that if I die…"
"I won't," she finishes for him, her voice full of awe.
"Why did…" she starts, before apparently deciding that she doesn't really need to ask him why he did it and trying again, "I mean, is it…" but she trails off once more.
He's enjoying seeing her at a loss for words. It's a situation she never used to find herself in too often to begin with, and it's even rarer now that she's lived over a century and has seen so much of the world. Clearly noticing his amusement, she grabs one of the couch's cushions and throws it at him, making him laugh as he easily catches it. He's lost count of the number of pillows and cushions she's thrown at him over the years. He sees the corners of her mouth tug up, but she manages to hide it quickly and to scowl at him when he shakes his head at her antics.
"You always knew this was a problem for me, love, I don't see why you're so surprised that I've taken steps to ensure your survival should the unlikely situation arise."
"Right. 'Cause it's not like your death would destroy me or anything," she reproaches with a meaningful look, to which he just shrugs. His death is still highly improbable, but this spell made him feel better. Something seems to occur to her then. "Hang on. You said she severed the bloodline link. As in, the whole bloodline? Not just the link between the two of us?"
"Yes, the whole bloodline," he confirms. "Believe me, I would have loved to find another option, but there was none. It was either that or she couldn't perform the spell. That's why I was so secretive about it. I didn't – don't – want the likes of Damon Salvatore to hear that they could now kill me without ending their own lives."
"Besides," he continues as if it's no big deal, "I figured you wouldn't be too happy outliving me only for all your friends to follow me to the grave, and since most of them are from my bloodline, it was for the best. There's…"
Her mouth on his cuts him off. She's become a lot quicker and stealthier over the years, so it comes as no surprise that she managed to catch him off guard, but he reacts quickly, arms coming around her to trap her against him. She keeps the kiss soft and sweet and soon leans back to look at him.
"I love you."
He just kisses her again. He doesn't say it nearly as often as she does, but she's always been okay with that. They both know where they stand in regards to their feelings, she just tends to be more outspoken about hers – whispering it against his skin when they make love, throwing it over her shoulder when she goes out, following it with "but you're being an idiot" when they're fighting, saying it on the phone before she hangs up – which isn't exactly a surprise.
"Your first 'I love you'," he says, following his train of thoughts since it's his turn to ask a question.
She smiles in remembrance, and he feels his own features soften as well.
"What about it?" she asks when he takes a bit too long to elaborate.
"You looked like you regretted it at first. I never doubted you meant it," he adds quickly when he sees her about to protest. "But before you said it again, there was this… hesitation, like it had slipped out without your consent."
"Do you have any idea how much I hate your memory? Seriously, who remembers this kind of stuff after a hundred years?"
He smirks and arches an eyebrow at her. She's always prided herself on her memory and with good reason, but his is exceptional – it comes with being eleven centuries old and being used to cataloguing everything and constantly scheming – and even if it wasn't, this moment would be burned in his mind forever.
"Did you ever think for even one second that I could forget the slightest detail about that night?"
"Huh. No, you're right. Wait, what was the question?"
His smirk turns into a grin. As stubborn and single-minded as she can be, she has a surprisingly hard time following a train of thought when she's inebriated. It's a trait of hers he's become accustomed to over the years, one that he finds quite endearing.
"What was going through your mind that night? Why the hesitation?"
"Just my usual control issues. I wasn't supposed to tell you like this."
It was perfect in his mind, but he's well aware of her tendency to plan important moments down to the smallest things, and as far as important moments go, this one was rather monumental. He's curious as to what she deems inappropriate about the way she let it slip.
"I just… I knew that we needed to talk about Lyam and I didn't want the first time I said it to be associated with painful memories. It felt like…"
It's his turn to cut her off with a kiss, and the way she instantly melts into him has him smiling against her lips and easing her back against the couch so that he can hover over her and feel the whole length of her body beneath his. Burying his face in the crook of her neck, he presses a feather-light kiss on her pulse point and whispers against her skin.
"Caroline. Those words were the only reason I managed to get through the memories. There couldn't have been a better moment."
"Oh. Well, that's good."
Her matter-of-fact statement following his highly emotional confession makes him chuckle and he raises himself up just enough to be able to look her in the eye.
"Yes. That's good," he mimics. "Now, your turn."
"After you tortured and compelled Damon, you told Rebekah and I that Elena and Stefan might get back together now that he was out of the way. Were you just trying to rile up your sister?"
He shoots her a look that makes it clear he doesn't even want to know how her mind went from her first 'I love you' to this. It never ceases to amaze him how after so long spent together she still manages to be a puzzle to him every once in a while.
"It's always so easy, don't you think?" he says in answer to her question, waiting for her eyeroll.
And here it is.
"And you wonder why we haven't seen her in four years?"
He just shrugs the rhetorical question away and pushes himself off of her to sit back up, tucking her against his side as he thinks about his next question.
"New Year's eve 2042, Vancouver," he says eventually, and he doesn't need to ask the question to make her cringe. Before she can say anything, he adds dutifully in a bored voice, reciting a lesson learned by heart a long time ago, "Yes, total immunity for everyone involved."
She giggles at that and snuggles closer to him, letting her head rest on his shoulder.
"You've already guessed most of it, haven't you?"
"I'd like to hear it from you."
"There's not much to it, really. When we were out celebrating with Bekah and Cami, we stumbled upon a wolf pack. Your sister may have flirted with one of the guys and he may have reacted badly when he tried to take things further and she told him that she was spoken for."
"And when you say he reacted badly, you mean…" he prompts.
"Yeah, okay, they attacked us," she finally admits before rushing to add, "But there were only eight of them and it wasn't even a full moon, Bekah could have handled them alone without breaking a sweat."
He throws her a look that tells her he knows that she's just trying to placate him and speaks his guess out loud.
"But she didn't have to."
Caroline winces before shaking her head.
"I kind of gave her a hand. But honestly, it was nothing. I had your blood in my system and she had my back."
"I should certainly hope so, given that it was her fault you were put at risk in the first place."
"Oh my God!" she exclaims exasperatedly, but with a hint of laughter in her voice. "I wasn't at risk, I was just…"
"Fighting lethal enemies at her side," he finishes for her. "And protecting Cami in the process, I assume, since she certainly didn't have my blood in her system."
She rolls her eyes.
"Cami can hold her own in a fight."
"Not as well as you can."
"Well, no. She wasn't taught self-defense by the three most powerful creatures on the planet. But she's not helpless either. Remember what she did to Pierre when she found out he'd helped us take down Marcel?"
He remembers quite vividly. Pity is not a feeling that comes easily to him, but even he was not indifferent to Pierre's pain that day. Cami had readily accepted Caroline's role in Marcel's demise because her sire had always made it clear whose side she was on, but Pierre's sneakiness and betrayal was something that Cami couldn't forgive, especially considering that she learned about it right after she confessed to Caroline that she was thinking about taking her relationship with Pierre to the next level, having finally gotten over the death of her lover in the war for New Orleans.
They never saw Pierre again after that, but Cami fit surprisingly nicely in their little group, first as Caroline and Stefan's friend, then as Rebekah's. The three blondes and their girls' night traditions have been responsible for a number of diplomatic incidents over the years, the brawl with the wolves in Vancouver only one item on a list that is getting a bit too long for Klaus' taste, as amused as he often is by the stories.
He won't deny that Caroline's way of making it up to him helps a great deal in calming him down every time he feels the other girls have put her in unnecessary danger.
They stay silent for a while after that, and if Klaus didn't know better, he'd think that Caroline is about to fall asleep. But the way she's studiously avoiding his gaze tells him that she's gathering her courage for something. He's intrigued – she hasn't had a reason to be nervous around him for many, many years – but not overly concerned – he's familiar with her habit of making a bigger deal out of things than she needs to, so he knows that whatever is on her mind can't be that bad.
It suddenly occurs to him that this might be the reason she suggested this game. There's clearly something she wants to ask him but she doesn't quite know how to go about it, and this is a perfect setting. Knowing that she's going to need some encouragement, he takes her hand in his and intertwines their fingers, her eyes finally meeting his in the semi darkness.
"Just say it."
She nods, a silent motion for him to give her a moment, and he complies, rubbing slow circles with his thumb against the back of her hand while she gathers her thoughts. When she speaks at last, her voice is even, betraying very little of her inner turmoil, and he gives a half-smile as he recognizes the habit she took from him, detaching herself in order to be able to get through something unpleasant.
"I know how much you loved Lyam. I'm wondering if you ever think about trying again."
"If I… What?"
His startled reaction manages to draw a smile out of her, her satisfaction at being able to render him speechless obvious in the way she pointedly cocks an eyebrow at him, her way of retaliating after he enjoyed her reaction a little too much when he told her about the witch in Thailand.
"Yeah, I mean, there's nothing keeping you from…"
"Finding a wolf girl to impregnate?" he cuts her off, his voice incredulous and a bit harsher than he intended.
She doesn't let it upset her. She knows she just shocked him, and it seems she was expecting him to react with irritation, as he's prone to do when blindsided.
"Well, I wouldn't have put it like that, but yes."
She doesn't say anything else after that, probably because she wants to let him mull over it in case he had never considered it before and he wants to now, but he's more concerned with what could have possessed her to consider it. Quickly recovering, he tugs on her hand until she gets the hint and she moves to sit in his lap, her hands finding their natural place on his shoulders while his rest at her waist.
"Caroline," he starts carefully, "Did I ever give you the impression that you're not enough? That I want more than what we have?"
Her eyes widen and she shakes her head frantically.
"No! No, Klaus, that's not what this is about. That's not why I asked."
"Why, then? How long have you been thinking about this?"
"Don't worry, I haven't been obsessing over it. Surprisingly," she adds with a grin as an afterthought, since they both know it's in her nature to overthink things. "It's just something that crosses my mind every once in a while. It's really never crossed yours?"
"No," he answers honestly. "I know it's an option, but I've never been tempted, and I never will be." She just nods pensively, and he lets one of his hands travel up to bury it in her hair. She's letting it grow back after keeping it short these last few years, and he usually finds the consequently messy style utterly sexy, but for once, the ever-present urge to tug on it and expose her neck to his lips is the furthest thing from his mind, his only focus the still vaguely troubled look in her eyes. "What brought this on, love?"
"Nothing specific. I just… Children are the one thing we all had to renounce when we turned, and I'm okay with that, I swear, this isn't some kind of existential crisis or whatever," she says with a smile, and he believes her without a shadow of a doubt, trusts her enough to know that she would tell him otherwise. "But you're different. You have a choice. And I don't want you to feel like you have to make it depending on what you think I'd want. I need you to know that I'd find a way to be okay with it."
"I know," he says quietly.
She looks so surprised that he has to smile.
"You've made it quite clear over the past century that you'd find a way to be okay with just about anything that could make me happy, sweetheart," he reminds her, punctuating the statement with a soft, drawn-out kiss.
She nods in confirmation
"Okay, but if you ever…"
"Caroline," he groans, letting his head fall forward until his forehead is resting against her shoulder.
He knows exactly where this is going and he knows that she's not going to let it go until she wriggles a promise out of him. As expected, she pulls his head back up to make him look at her.
"No, listen. If you ever do want it, don't feel like you have to hide it from me, okay?"
"I haven't hidden anything from you in decades," he points out.
"I know. But I also know you'd want to spare my feelings about this. So just… Promise me you won't."
He breathes in deeply. He knows exactly where he stands on this issue and he knows that he's never going to change his mind, but she won't rest until she's certain that he won't close himself up to the possibility for her sake. And really, what's one little promise that he knows will be easy to keep if it can put her mind at rest?
She sighs in clear relief, and for the first time, he understands exactly how important this is to her, how badly she wants him to know that she really would find a way to deal with it if he ever wanted to father a child.
"Your turn," she says abruptly, smiling brightly in a glaringly obvious attempt at levity.
Shaking his head, he wraps his arms around her and pulls her closer to him, his way of silently thanking her for the offer that he knows cost her so much. Her body instantly sags against his, the tension leaving her now that the difficult topic that was on her mind is out of the way. He chuckles when he hears her swallow back a yawn as he stands up with her securely in his arms and starts walking towards their room.
"That's enough for today, love. Remember you have a meeting with the council tomorrow. We can't have the queen showing up looking exhausted."
"Ah!" she scoffs, making him release his hold on her so that she can walk on her own, evidently less tired than he'd thought. "You just want your beauty sleep because you and Elijah have to deal with the vampires. We can't have the king showing up looking less threatening than his brother."
Her assessment makes him smirk.
"You know me too well."
"No kidding," she shoots back with a smirk of her own. She enters the bedroom and closes the door behind him once he's followed her inside. "That's what happens when you're stuck with someone for a hundred years."
"And more, love," he reminds her as she collapses on the bed without bothering to take off her clothes, proving that she is indeed as tired as he'd initially thought and that she just wanted to give him a hard time in retaliation for using her exhaustion as an excuse to go to bed when he actually needs sleep just as much as she does.
He follows her lead, though he does get rid of his shirt first, knowing how she likes tracing the lines of his tattoo to lull herself to sleep when she's particularly tired. As soon as he's settled, she snuggles against him and brushes her fingers over the first bird, bringing a small smile to his lips at this new proof of how well he knows her. She stifles another yawn, making it hard for him to hear her next words, but he does, and he doesn't miss her contented tone either.
"Yeah. Much, much more."