A/N: Hey, guys! So it's Friday the 13th... which can only mean a double update, of course. I updated this story and my other fic the dangers of boarding school. Whoop!
Really sorry about the lack of Klaroline in this chapter, but I hope the Katoline will help? But I promise boatloads of Klaroline next chapter!
Also, you guys should know that AP testing is drawing closer for me which means less opportunity to write in the next few months, but I promise to do as much writing as I can.
Huge thanks to Lindsay (Mrslackles) for the amazing beta job! (I love her beta skills 3)
I hope you like it!
Chapter Nine: Running to Your Past
Outside, Klaus, Rebekah, and Caroline had formed some sort of triangular circle in front of the diner. Klaus stood to her left while Rebekah was at her right.
They had all piled out of the diner after Rebekah had revealed the information she'd been able to gather. They had rounded up Elijah and Katherine, only for the Originals to insist- Klaus and Rebekah's acute annoyance- he buy Katherine's meal to go before they left.
Caroline had smiled to herself. The way Elijah cared so deeply for someone, even as terrible of a person as Katherine, was really sweet. Elijah was far softer than Klaus, which caused her to question how he had come to care for a vampire like Katherine. Love worked in strange ways.
"Well, as long as Elijah is going to continue acting like a pathetic knight in shining armor, we'll continue to form a plan without him," Klaus chided. Caroline gave him a knowing look. He had some nerve criticizing Elijah's romantic gestures when he'd done far worse. She could tell that Rebekah was thinking the same thing, but she'd probably learned over the centuries when to choose her battles. Klaus avoided Caroline's gaze, probably because he already knew which expression currently resided on her face. "Caroline, you and Katerina will go to the nearest hotel to rest from the journey. Rebekah, Elijah, and I will go investigate the address and find out why this person is sticking their nose in places it shouldn't be."
"I'm sorry, what?" Caroline snapped. "I don't need a nap, Klaus. I need to find a way to save my best friend."
Klaus sighed and then turned to her. "You won't be saving anyone if you're exhausted. It was a long journey."
"Yeah, but I don't see you resting at some hotel." Caroline folded her arms over her chest. "What the hell is going on?"
"Katerina is human and if she is not to fall behind, she needs to rest. As long as she remains useful, she is to be kept alive and protected. Is that not what you want?"
"Why can't Elijah just stay with her then? Besides, I think he could protect her a lot better than I could if Silas were to show up," she reasoned. She couldn't help the gnawing feeling that Klaus was holding out on her. "Klaus, I can help. We're in Georgia. I know a lot about this place."
Klaus lifted a brow. "And why is that?"
"My dad used to send postcards from Georgia all the time before…" Caroline's eyes darted from side to side before dropping to the ground. She couldn't dwell on those painful memories now. But this place certainly did nothing but cause poignant emotions to come flooding back to her.
Katherine raised her hand. "Well, Katerina isn't going anywhere with Elijah, so looks like you're out of luck, Blondie."
Caroline rolled her eyes. "Okay, seriously, Katherine? Now is not the time for your soap opera of a relationship drama. This is serious."
Katherine stood toe to toe with Caroline, staring the blonde down. "You wanna know what's serious, Carebear? Imagine the only man you've managed to genuinely trust in the last five hundred years of your life choosing his brother over you. The same brother who slaughtered your entire family because you chose to live. [And on top of that,] the girl you hate the most in this world forced you to revert to the feeble life form that made you shudder every time you remembered that it was your origin. She literally stole your life, your immortality, and even your happiness, while you have to live every day of your life like a street rat, just trying to grab whatever scraps you can get your hands on. And you have to pass by clocks every day, a constant reminder that your life is just ticking away. Tell me, Caroline. Would you want to spend even a second with the person who caused you all that misery?"
Caroline's heart clenched. She'd figured that Katherine's transition back into a human had to have been rough, but she wasn't expecting it to be that horrible. After all, it was Katherine. She always found a way to survive. And it seemed now she'd gone to lengths that Caroline had never pictured her resorting to. Nevertheless, she'd known it had been an ordeal for her and Katherine putting a description to that time brought home the woman's struggle to Caroline's mind.
But Caroline still remembered that this was the same old Katherine. Of course, she would blame everyone else before considering convicting herself.
Caroline was opening her mouth to counter Katherine's reasoning, when they all suddenly felt a presence rejoin them. She turned, along with the rest of them.
Katherine said his name- her emotional turmoil evident in just that one word- then turned away from him, her raging dark eyes burning holes in the cement below her feet.
Caroline felt pity for Elijah. He stood there forlornly, holding the curled up white paper bag that contained Katherine's meal. He looked broken, staring longingly at the woman he'd loved for the past five hundred years. He wanted to give her the sun and the moon, but she refused to even meet his gaze.
It wasn't his fault, Caroline knew all too well. Elijah had the choice of being selfish, or being selfless, and so did Katherine. The only difference was that Elijah chose right, while Katherine chose wrong. But he would surely blame himself for what Katherine couldn't accept the blame for.
"Enough of this folly," Klaus interrupted coldly. "Elijah, you're coming with me and Rebekah. Caroline is taking Katerina to rest at a hotel." He yanked on Elijah's arm, abruptly snapping him out of his daze.
Elijah's eyes still lingered on Katherine, even as he disappeared inside the car.
Caroline's eyes flicked back and forth between Elijah and Katherine. She didn't want to stay behind, but she couldn't ask Elijah, or Katherine to endure that kind of painful torment. She would know what Klaus and the others had found soon enough. The hotel could quite possibly provide her with useful resources for their mission in the form of an internet connection, plus buy her some time to devise a plan to save her town.
Klaus, Rebekah, and Elijah had reached their intended destination and were cautiously examining the dwelling. The house was fairly large, a two story building, lined with red bricks. There was a swing set in the front yard, a clear indication of present offspring.
"Well, this doesn't look very nefarious." Rebekah noted, knocking on the solid red brick wall.
"Neither do you," Klaus countered.
"What exactly is your plan, Niklaus?" Elijah inquired. "Find the man who asked of Silas, and then torture him?"
"I thought that compulsion would be more time efficient, Elijah, but whatever gets the job done, yes."
Elijah nodded. "Let us split up then."
The three Originals resorted to their usual method of warfare, diverging into three different paths to ensnare the enemy. Elijah and Rebekah circled around the outside of the house, going left and right, while Klaus entered through the front door.
The door swung open soundlessly, and Klaus peered around the house, which was very large, and positively minuscule by his standards. His idea of a large house began with a mansion inclusive of an outdoor pool and a garage with space for several expensive cars. The interior was lit by the blinding sunlight that filtered in through the windows and Klaus's ears twitched as they honed in on his surroundings. He sensed his siblings movements from outside, but detected nothing from the inside.
He pulled out his phone and quickly sent Elijah and Rebekah a message to come inside and that it was empty.
It appeared he would have some time to plan out exactly how he would use this man to his advantage, along with how he would kill Silas himself.
Caroline angrily paced back and forth in the middle of the hotel room she had booked for them all. The second the Originals got here, she was going to give Klaus a piece of her mind and tell him that the next time he was looking for a babysitter she'd shove Nanny Mcphee in his face. If he even got that reference. Hmph.
"Do you mind?" Katherine spoke, her arm resting over her eyes. "Some of us are trying to get our beauty rest."
She glared at the human, not giving a damn if Katherine knew or not. "Klaus, Rebekah, and Elijah are out there doing God-knows-what. All our asses are on the line. How can you sleep at a time like this?"
Katherine sat up now, sitting cross-legged in front of the vampire. "Caroline, I can't remember the last time I had a good night's sleep in the last five hundred years and do you wanna know why? Because every time I closed my eyes- my creatively brutal imagination- usually a good thing except for this case- came up with a brand new way that a certain psycho hybrid would inevitably kill me. But I've been sleeping like a baby since Klaus agreed to a temporary truce, so you'll have to understand why I'm acting so reckless."
Caroline sighed. "Okay… you're right. I shouldn't be taking my anger out on you." She strode across the room. "I guess I'll just go downstairs and see if I can find a laptop that I can do research on. There's gotta be something online that's useful-"
"Caroline, wait," Katherine called, and she halted. "We should go find them." She jumped to her feet and moved to put her shoes back on.
"What?" Caroline looked at her, puzzled. "I thought you were tired."
"I took an hour nap, what more do you want from me?" Katherine stood in the dresser mirror and shook out her luscious curls with her fingers. She checked her radiant face for any imperfections and was satisfied when she found none. "Are we gonna do this or what?"
Caroline was stunned by the doppelganger's radical change in attitude. She did have a pretty good idea of why Katherine was so reluctant to catch up with the others, though. "You hesitated before, to go back, because of Elijah, right?"
Katherine scoffed, and Caroline knew that the other girl was trying to be brave. She was good at it, just not that good. "Please. Don't try and make this any deeper than it is. I'm simply looking after myself. I suddenly remembered that the only one who I can depend on is myself. I don't need a team of Originals to rescue me." Caroline nodded, admiring Katherine's inner strength. Katherine Pierce was many things, but one thing she was not was a damsel in distress. "Plus, you seem like you're in a real hurry to get back to your boyfriend and I wasn't in the mood to hear you whine about him for another few hours." She opened the door and strutted out of their suite.
Caroline's face stayed fixed in a confused expression until she understood Katherine's meaning of "boyfriend." She had initially thought she was referring to Tyler, but it hadn't made much sense in the context. Her blue eyes widened and her cheeks burned hot. She meant Klaus. She'd called Klaus her boyfriend.
The vampire quickly snapped back to reality and chased after Katherine who was down the hall by now. She followed the brunette into the elevator, and Katherine pressed the button to take them to the lobby.
"So listen… we need to talk about a few things," Caroline stated.
"Okay…" Katherine lifted an eyebrow. "Look, Caroline, if you're going to ask for my blessing to catch Klaus cooties, or something else that will make me feel uncomfortable, it's none of my business."
She gaped at the other girl and her cheeks flushed an even deeper shade of red. Was this girl seriously trying to kill her through sheer embarrassment? "Katherine," Caroline warned. She exhaled softly. "Look, before, when I told you that Klaus and I had sex, you do realize I was being sarcastic, right?"
"Bullshit." A haughty expression appeared on Katherine's face. "I think I know the sound of an orgasm when I hear one- several actually." She flashed Caroline a teasing grin.
Caroline's stomach twisted into knots, vivid and explicit memories flooding her mind. Now, knowing Katherine knew of a good portion of the thoughts running through her mind, all she wanted to do was hide under her pillow.
Katherine furrowed her brows like she was concentrating intently on something. After a moment, her eyes widened at Caroline, like she'd just discovered the juiciest scandal ever. "I heard several orgasms… several female orgasms… Caroline orgasms… I didn't hear any Klaus orgasms…"
"Masturbating to dirty thoughts of Klaus when he was sleeping right down the hall? Caroline, you naughty girl." Katherine smirked triumphantly. "Does he know?"
"Katherine," Caroline hissed. The elevator dinged when they hit the lobby. Caroline dragged Katherine out of the enclosed space by the arm, holding her tightly against her side as she lowered her voice. "It's not what you think, okay?"
"You're right," Katherine admitted. "Turns out sweet little Caroline has kinky fantasies about getting naked with a monster like Klaus- not at all the vanilla sex I would've bet you'd be into. Because from what I heard, that wasn't straight up missionary-"
"Katherine!" Caroline urged. "Look, I'm probably going to regret this so much later on, but I'm going to tell you something that I haven't told anyone yet. And you can't tell anyone, especially Klaus. Promise me, Katherine."
The doppelganger eyed her warily. "Why? Is this in anyway going to put me in danger? Because if Klaus finds out that I knew something and didn't tell him, this will be the moonstone all over again, and I've officially run out of lives, Caro-"
"Relax!" She interrupted. "Klaus won't blame you. Just trust me, okay?"
"Fine." Katherine relented. "You have my silence, for now."
Caroline sighed in relief. "Okay… I'll tell you." She gulped. "Last night, I had a dream… about Klaus, sort of."
"What do you mean 'sort of'?"
"Well, I'm pretty sure you can already figure out we had sex… like a lot- but that's not the point." Caroline tried to keep a level head and her tone even, but the provocative facial expressions Katherine was making only increased how flustered she felt. Whose side was she on again? "But it turns out that the whole dream was orchestrated by Silas… Having him show up at the end and then threaten Stefan and all of you was just the perfect way to end the dream." Her voice revealed the bitterness she had felt when Silas had had the nerve to threaten those she loved.
Katherine's eyes snapped back to Caroline's, surprise unsettling over her face. Her eyes searched the blonde's like she was waiting to find some type of mockery, or insincerity.
"What are you doing, Caroline?"
"What?" She honestly had no idea what Katherine was going on about now.
"Don't think that I can't see exactly what you're doing." Katherine's face hardened. "Let's not try and pretend like this is something more than it really is. This is a business transaction. So do both of us a favor by not trying to pretend like you actually care what happens to me, because we both know you don't." She stormed out of the hotel, harshly pushing against the revolving door.
Caroline was left speechless. Where the hell had that just come from? She quickly ran through the recent events that had just unraveled in her mind in an attempt to pinpoint exactly when she had set Katherine off.
Nothing shot out at her with blaring red sirens.
She quickly recomposed herself and followed Katherine out.
Katherine was flagging down a taxi when Caroline joined her once more.
"Okay, do you wanna explain to me what the hell is wrong with you?" Caroline climbed into the cab with the human. Katherine reiterated the address that they had seen Rebekah acquire, and then stared out the window in silence.
The idea of actually caring about Katherine as a person had completely gone over Caroline's head, in all honesty. Someone like Katherine has never registered into her mind as friend material and typically, Caroline never wasted her time on people that she didn't see potential in establishing a deep relationship with, friend-wise. But then again, she'd once believed that Klaus Mikaelson wasn't capable of deep, real feelings, and today, a part of her was wishing she had been right.
A radical idea suddenly popped into Caroline's mind. She pondered it for a moment. Did Katherine… was it possible that… No. It couldn't be. Katherine Pierce only cared about one thing. Survival.
"Be honest, Katherine. What is this really about?" Caroline pressed. Her eyes burned into the back of Katherine's skull. She wouldn't drop this until she heard the words come out of the brunette's mouth.
Katherine reluctantly rolled her head back around to face Caroline. "I know your type, Caroline. I know the lengths your friends would go to to save each other. I know that you would hang me out to dry if it meant getting your little witch back. I've been screwed over far too many times over the years to let a baby vampire outwit me. So save the nice girl act for someone naive enough to believe it. The only people you care about saving are Stefan and Klaus, let's be honest."
She froze. Katherine's words struck her hard. Of course she wanted to keep Stefan safe, he was her best friend. But then there was Klaus. She fervently wanted to say that his death meant nothing to her, but she couldn't even bring herself to entertain the thought. She'd sought him out for safety for God's sake. She'd actually come to a point where she associated the words "Klaus Mikaelson" and "safety" in the same category. Denying that she would care if he died would be absurd and cruel now, no matter how many people the truth would hurt.
And Katherine… she honestly didn't know about Katherine. Would she be disheartened to see Katherine Pierce finally get what she deserved? After all, she'd suffocated her with a pillow to trade Caroline's life for her freedom. Looking at it objectively, Katherine had just been trying to survive, but looking at it subjectively, Katherine was a selfish bitch.
Katherine had done terrible things in her long five hundred years, and now she was human. She was vulnerable and still a person. The person that Caroline had spent the last few days with non-stop. Not much time had passed between now and the moment Damon had dropped her into her dorm, but it felt like it had. She'd seen things in Katherine that she never would have guessed were locked away in that cold heart of hers.
She'd seen it through Katherine's interactions with Elijah. She never would have tried to cut him so deep if she weren't already hurting. If her heart could be broken, then it could still love in return.
"Katherine…" she started. "You're wrong."
The other girl's eyes snapped back up, her reflection staring back at Caroline in the mirror. Quickly realizing her mistake, she averted her eyes once more and remained silent.
It wasn't until her eyes met the reflection of Katherine's wide brown ones that Caroline understood that something had changed in their relationship. This didn't mean she trusted Katherine not to stab her in the back when everything was said and done. But there was something there that wasn't before.
Casually opening the stainless steel fridge, Klaus grimaced at the cheap bottle of wine he found. "Trust the simple-minded humans to have no taste." He threw it nonchalantly over his shoulder, ignoring the shatter behind him.
Elijah frowned, disapprovingly, from his seat at the table. "Just because you intrude a man's home doesn't mean you are allowed to lose your manners."
"I'm sorry, Elijah, but your statement lost all credit the moment you said 'invade a man's home.'" Klaus continued to sort through the fridge, judging their potential victim on their choice of grocery products. "Besides, I'm not one for manners to begin with."
"I would imagine that Miss Forbes would be quite displeased with this behavior." He unfolded the newspaper in front of him, his eyes glued to the printed words.
Klaus's hand tightened around the steel door, enough to leave a dent. Eerily calm, he closed the door and turned to Elijah. "My relationship with Miss Forbes is none of your concern. It would do you well to remember that."
Elijah closed the paper, meeting Klaus with a small, triumphant smile. He should've known that his brother was just trying to get a rise out of him. "What exactly is your relationship with Miss Forbes. I do recall seeing her accompany you at Mother's ball."
"Leave it alone, Elijah," he warned, and tried to leave, but Elijah stood to his feet, blocking his path.
"You care for her." It wasn't a question; it was a fact. Klaus felt like he was under the burning spotlights of his brother's eyes. He tried to suppress his emotions. The last thing he needed was Elijah's pestering in addition to the constant stress of Silas. "She doesn't seem as fond of you, though." He chuckled.
The hybrid gritted his teeth. "We're not discussing Caroline." Klaus shoved past his brother and stormed into the next hall, with Elijah right behind him.
"Oh, yes, we are," Elijah stated with conviction. "I've been waiting far too long for this day. God help me, Niklaus, we are discussing this until we are both blue in the face."
Klaus halted and narrowed his eyes at Elijah. "Do not mistake me for Finn nor yourself. Speaking of which, one must wonder- how pathetic does a man have to be to pine after a mortal who does not love him?" Klaus sneered. "Perhaps you should concern yourself with your own affairs, brother." Elijah's entire body tensed, his eyes burning with fury. He could see the hurt and fear consuming his brother. Perhaps he should have felt regret and perhaps he did, but it would teach his brother not to poke his nose into sensitive subjects.
"You know nothing of love, Niklaus. I pity you."
Klaus balled his fists. Elijah knew nothing of what he knew, and the last thing he needed was anyone's pity.
"Ahem." The sound of Rebekah clearing her throat crept around the corner. She appeared in front of them, a hand muffling the screams of a terrified middle-aged man. "If you boys are done with your pissing contest, there's work to be done."
Klaus and Elijah both peered down at the human Rebekah had caught.
He could practically taste his lunch.
Caroline and Katherine jumped out of the cab and came up the driveway. The blonde froze when she caught sight of a familiar license plate.
No. It couldn't be. Impossible.
"Look." Katherine pointed to a spilled, bag of groceries. It was laid out in front of the car door that had been thrown open. "The Originals certainly don't waste any time."
Caroline gulped, then burst through the front door with the license plate still at the forefront of her mind.
The sunlight that spilled into the room felt like they were blaring speakers; painful against her senses. She scrunched up her nose like everything in this room burned.
Soft murmurs carried from down the hall, and she sped towards the sounds.
"Klaus!" Caroline gasped and muffled her scream, slapping her hand over her gaping mouth. Tears immediately formed at her waterline and they threatened to spill onto her cheeks. The possible scenario of what might have happened had she not followed the Originals made her stomach churn.
There was a middle-aged man, who was obviously compelled to remain seated on a wooden chair. His face was a mix of blue and purple bruises and fresh blood. One eye was swollen shut and his lip was cut severely. This didn't even account for the deep, precise slashes along his arms, dangerously close to his veins.
Klaus was crouched down straight across from him, a crystal glass of blood in one hand and a bloodied kitchen knife in the other. Drops of blood had dripped down from the knife and onto his fingers and stained his sleeves, but it didn't seem to bother him. His already red lips were kissed with a hint of blood that he'd already been indulging in. A lazy smile had adorned his lips, he was on a blood high. At least he was, until he saw as much as felt Caroline's terror.
"Caroline…" Klaus rose back to his feet, stock-still. "What are you doing here?" He took a step toward her, and she took a step back in response.
She tried to blink away the tears that were blurring her vision. She couldn't even find the words to express how angry she was. Of all the things he could have done, she already knew this was the one thing that would haunt her the most.
"Caroline?!" the beaten man choked out, the words sounding painful.
"I'm so sorry, Stephen!" She sobbed as she rushed past Klaus, kneeling in front of her father's former partner. "I'm so sorry I let this happen to you, but I'm getting you out of here. I promise." She didn't even know how to comfort him. The only person she knew that had ever been tortured this much was… well, herself. Personally, all she had wanted was to be held and to cry on someone's shoulder for hours; however, she didn't know if Stephen was the same. Plus, he wasn't exactly in the best position to be touched. She would have just caused him more pain by attempting to comfort him.
His eyes looked terrified, lifeless. All she wanted was to take the pain away. Stephen wasn't like her dad, he didn't know about the supernatural. He was human in every way, free of the darkness that surrounded her life. She could heal him and then make him forget, walk away unscathed.
"What the bloody hell is going on here?" She heard Rebekah from behind her. "How does Caroline know our lead? And why are we letting her speak nonsense about letting him go?"
She closed her eyes, trying to reel in her anger. "Do you have any decency at all?" Caroline shot back up to her feet, staring Rebekah down with raging fury in her eyes. "Look at what you've done, what you've all done." Her arms gestured to Stephen, her eyes burning hotly at them all, her eyes lingering on Klaus. He appeared hurt by the judgment in her eyes, but she couldn't worry about that now, not when her stepfather was dying.
"Who is this man to you, Caroline?" Klaus kept his hard eyes fixed on Stephen.
She stared at all three of them. "Who is he? He is a good man, who doesn't deserve any of this. He is a man with two daughters and a broken heart… but in more simple terms, he's my stepfather."
A steel cage clamped onto Klaus's heart and it clenched around him like a spiked vice. Caroline was glaring at him like she hated him. She did hate him.
He hated himself.
Everything he was doing was to protect her and it seemed that all he was capable of was causing her pain. Even when he was trying to be the bad guy with a purpose, at the end of the day, he would always be the monster.
That was the one thing that would always have Caroline keeping one foot in and one foot out: her loved ones dying because of him.
He needed to talk to her and make things right. Surely, she knew that he'd had no idea who the man was. But if he had, would he have acted any differently if he had believed Stephen did know something he wasn't willing to share? Caroline's safety came before anything and anyone else.
"Caroline," he started, and she met him with that dagger-filled gaze once more. He winced at the way her eyes were able to effortlessly stab him in the chest. "We needed to get the information we needed from him."
"You lied to me, Klaus," she uttered. "You knew that you were coming here to torture someone, so you sent me off on doppelganger duty." She turned away from him. "If you'll excuse me, I have to heal my stepfather before he bleeds to death." Caroline bit into her wrist and shoved the wound to Stephen's lips.
Somehow, the disappointment and hurt in Caroline's voice stung far worse than her judgmental eyes. The last thing he ever wanted to do was let Caroline down of all people. She was the one person he had promised would never be hurt because of him.
Letting his eyes linger on her blonde locks, he led his siblings out of the room. She deserved space away from him and time with her stepfather. He would fix this, but after she'd cooled off.
Katherine finally made her appearance, popping out of the corner and he made no attempt to restrain an eye roll.
"What's going on?" the brunette asked. "I may not have super hearing anymore, but I'm pretty good at sensing scary Caroline."
The awkward glances exchanged by Katerina and his brother did not go unnoticed by him. Their longing gazes were really beginning to grate.
"Nothing of your concern." He tore out of the house in a flash, vaguely hearing his sister call after him. He paid her no heed. He needed to get out of there, needed to clear his head about Caroline and her stepfather, and he needed to self destruct.
It was what he did best.
Thanks so much for reading! Let me know your thoughts :)