Repeating the Past
Summary: AU TVD5, Originals: Second chances don't come often, and never for Klaus. But his life and "nature's loophole" have destroyed what little hope he had left until the Other Side takes pity on him. But can Klaus put aside his impulsiveness and true nature to win the girl when she never wanted him the first time around?
Disclaimer: 'Vampire Diaries' and 'the Originals' belongs to Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec. No money is made off this fanfiction.
This only is denied to God: the power to undo the past.
– Agathon (448 BC - 400 BC), from Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics
Klaus was a man of very few regrets. As an immortal being, it was important not to have regrets, but goals, as regrets merely hindered vampires and left them vengeful, murderous killers with no regard for hiding their true nature from a very easily compelled public – but a public that nonetheless outnumbered them significantly.
However, if Klaus had to count the number of regrets he had in his life, they would be as follows: firstly, his mother, the first time around; secondly, daggering his siblings instead of working things out, particularly Kol, whose death remained a gripping numbness on his soul. Then, thirdly, convincing Tyler to bite Caroline on her birthday and using her, initially, as a way into the Founding Families council; and fourthly, falling in love with Caroline but not fighting harder for her, especially at the beginning when he actually stood a chance with her and before he made some seriously bad decisions. Lastly, sleeping with Hayley, and thus leading to her pregnancy and his son's birth.
His son, Klaus found, was actually tied with 'sleeping with Hayley' as his top regret.
Because, at first, his son wasn't bad, or a regret.
He gurgled a lot, and slept a lot, and expelled a disgustingly large amount of smelly waste for something as tiny as he was, and Klaus found that the icy barrier around his heart – where only one blonde had ever made herself at home in – thawed. He stayed up and placed his son on his shoulder to burp him, remembering when he had done so for Rebekah and Henrik a thousand years ago; he shushed his son and told him Norse myths to get his colicky cries to stop. It was strange how Klaus easily slipped into the role of fatherhood, a baby in the crook of his left arm and his right, blood-soaked from ripping out the heart of one of Marcel's vampires.
Elijah was ecstatic with the boy; even Rebekah enjoyed his stinky company. Elijah would take him out on their plantation estate and have picnics with him, reading to him from Dr. Seuss books and Rebekah would shop and dress him in onesies and take hundreds upon hundreds of photographs on a newly bought digital camera. Even Hayley proved useful for the first few months after the boy's birth, but made no other effort than regular feedings or any attempts to bond with her son.
It was strange how that changed once Royce was able to speak.
While "Da" was his first word – to Klaus – his second was "no," when Rebekah tried putting him down for a nap, and the word unfortunately stuck. It stuck throughout his terrible two's, and into the terrible three's, and soon, Royce was spoiled, selfish, and in possession of a temper that was worse than Klaus's even when he was rampaging.
When, at seven, Royce had stolen into Rebekah's room at their house in California and ripped her entire wardrobe – which consisted of several hundred thousand dollars' worth of high-end fashion – to shreds, Rebekah's shrieks were heard straight down the beach. When she tried to punish him (which was no TV for a month and then carrying all her replacement shopping), Royce said, "no." When Elijah intervened, Royce's temper exploded and he began screaming, "NO." When Klaus stepped in, roaring in his son's face, Royce roared back "no" and hid in his room.
Klaus didn't like people talking back to him. His son was human, with a dominant werewolf gene that would trigger at his first kill; and despite whatever had led Klaus into making his Hybrids once upon a time, the older his son became, the less interested Klaus was in providing his son with an extended life, or if rumours about Katherine Pierce were true, a Hybrid life.
Certain that his son's temper tantrum was a one off, the Originals, Hayley and Royce moved from California to Italy, hoping for a change in environment, which would improve Royce's personality. It didn't. After several weeks of slamming doors, growls, broken dishes and pottery, ripped and shredded blood bags, Klaus returned from a hunt to find Hayley teaching Royce how to fight.
"It'll bleed some of the aggression from him," she had said, her brown eyes glittering with maliciousness. Despite the proof of their liaison in front of them and constantly binding them together, they never got along and Royce was merely a reminder of Klaus's past. Hayley, compelled by Elijah to remain with the family and help with her son (never his, a voice would whisper to Klaus, he doesn't have a son, he has an heir and that was it), spent time with Royce and while the Mikaelsons encouraged it, Klaus was beginning to regret it.
He regretted it when Rebekah's puppy – a gift for her birthday and an apology for Royce's ongoing attempts to annoy everyone in the house by destroying their things – was found mangled, its throat ripped and its neck clearly broken.
Even Elijah was disturbed that his son – whom they all loved and raised with a loving hand but firm guidelines – had committed such an act. Worse was that Klaus discovered him with the dog in his hands, blood covering his entire front t-shirt and running down his chin.
"Why?" Elijah asked that night, during a family meeting once Royce cleaned himself up in his bathroom.
The seven year old, who turned his blank, brown eyes – such like Hayley's – to his uncle, shrugged and replied flippantly, "Why not?"
"Because it had done nothing to you!" responded Rebekah bitterly, hands tightly clutching her biceps, struggling to not reach forward and strangle her nephew.
Royce rolled his eyes. "I'm a wolf. I hunt. It's what I do."
"You're not a wolf yet," Klaus had growled, and made a mental note never to let him become one. His pup would challenge him immediately for the position of Alpha, and while Klaus knew he would never become an Alpha, he had no desire to deal with the pain in his ass that was becoming known as Royce Mikaelson.
Hayley didn't stop training Royce, but Klaus soon had eyes on them. Rebekah had enough of Royce's behaviour after the puppy incident, and made her way back to Mystic Falls and Stefan. The remaining Originals returned to New Orleans and by the time Royce was a petulant teenager, his mood swings were beyond erratic and he was a dangerous, moody, and hormonal teenager with the strength of a vampire in an un-triggered wolf's body.
When Klaus dealt with Marcel and took New Orleans back in a bloody, weeklong coup, his only thought was that he could now focus on finding Caroline and spending more time with her; his enemy was gone and his city was safe.
Unfortunately, upon his return to their original plantation, where Royce was born, Klaus found Elijah, bloodied, wearied, sitting on the front wraparound porch with his hands hanging loosely between his legs.
The eldest surviving Original lifted his head, and Klaus was startled to see how defeated his brother looked.
"What happened?" Klaus asked, stepping forward tentatively, and casting his eyes around to see where his vampire guards were.
"Royce," replied Elijah tiredly.
"What's the brat done now?" asked Klaus.
Elijah just looked at Klaus, holding his gaze for several beats before softly admitting, "I was wrong to push you into this. I should've listened to you in those first few days when we learned about the pregnancy."
Klaus felt something near to horror fill him as he wondered what Royce – and by extension, Hayley – had done now.
Elijah continued, lowly, "He triggered his werewolf side hours after you left."
Klaus sighed and rubbed a hand against his chin. "Who? Who did he kill?"
Here, Elijah just blinked, as if he could barely believe it, and for Klaus, that was worrisome enough. After all, he had daggered his siblings countless times over the centuries.
"He killed Hayley. He ripped the heart out of his own mother. Said she had taught him everything he needed to know and that she was a waste of space from that moment on," answered Elijah. "We were sitting down at the dining table when he just reached across and – when he was done, he just sat back in his seat and turned to me and said, 'Pass me the salt, Elijah.'"
Klaus decided then and there, that he would never let his son anywhere near Caroline, and that he would remain by his side until the teenager grew into adulthood and died naturally, or until he made a glaringly obvious mistake that would end his life by another vampire's or wolf's hands. Klaus, who fondly remembered his gurgling baby boy, could not kill him – someone else would have to.
But he could watch over him and keep the damage minimal.
Or, so he thought.
Royce quickly became a burden, who wanted to learn his father's tricks and abilities. Klaus constantly refused and Royce's temper tantrums soon became legendary serial killings that took them all over the world.
The teen's temper was worse than Klaus's; and in the end, a desperate Klaus consulted a group of witches in Zambia who took one look at Royce, shuddered in fear, and told Klaus had he had no son – he had an empty child.
Royce was empty. He was empty of compassion, and love, and wonder and filled with hate, rage, destruction. Even at his worst, Klaus never lost himself fully to the rage because he knew he would never come out of it; and after he met Caroline, she tempered his storm. Royce had none of that, and as he grew older, and crueler, reminding Klaus of Stefan in his Ripper days, Klaus became further disenchanted with his brat, whom soon became his spawn in his mind. Shortly thereafter, Klaus refused to consider Royce his son, despite his son's constant introductory opener of, "Oh? Have you met my father, the Original Hybrid? Yes, I'm his son, a trueborn Hybrid."
Then he would rip their spines out through the gaping hole he'd make in the front of their torsos.
How had he made such a creature? Did the Fates truly hate Klaus so much that even in Nature's Loophole; they would allow a monster such as a son the gift of life?
Then, thirty-four years after he'd last seen Caroline at her high school graduation, they crossed paths.
Somewhere in Brazil
Whoever said vampires didn't sweat, or feel the effects of the environment, was clearly lying or had never lived near the Equator. Caroline Forbes, eternally seventeen but in truth going on fifty-two, had long since left her teenaged life drama behind after she graduated from Whitmore.
Silas had his own agenda, and Caroline was done with Elena's inability to pick between Stefan – who might have been her epic love – and Damon. Instead, Caroline said goodbye to a Tyler who never returned to Mystic Falls via Matt, whom she also said goodbye to, and compelled her way onto the first group of young, optimistic and ideological twenty and thirty-somethings working for Habitats for Humanity. She ended up in Vietnam and began what was her first of many humanitarian efforts.
She built houses; she built water wells and schools; she helped a group of doctors from W.H.O. during a cholera epidemic in Africa; she joined a disaster relief group off the Indonesian coast after a tsunami; Caroline wondered what was the point of being immortal if she didn't do anything for humanity? To leave some type of lasting mark? Maybe that house wouldn't be there in twenty years; perhaps that school she helped build would be torn down for something else in fifty – but at least for the people in the community, it would mean something for them, right then and there.
She was currently working on building a school in a remote part of Brazil, working with a group of young idealists from her own organisation – the Elizabeth Forbes Charity. Her crowning achievement was being able to share the first, successful school building project in Thailand results with her mother at a large banquet in London, England. Although she pretended to be her mother's great-granddaughter instead of her daughter, Caroline had flushed in the glow of her mother's approval.
Being a vampire didn't mean destruction and death; at least, it didn't for Caroline.
Not three years later, Liz had passed away. Caroline, however, continued with her efforts as well. Which led her to Brazil, where it was humid, hot, and sticky.
"Ugh," groaned Caroline, lifting her arms above her head, her daylight ring glittering in the sunlight. "I just want to take a siesta."
A willowy young woman beside her laughed.
"I'm serious, 'Pheli," continued Caroline with an eye roll, "It was never this humid in Thailand or Java."
The willowy girl, black hair covered by a large, wide-brimmed hat, shot a look at her friend. "Oh, act your age. It's not like it's truly affecting us anyway."
"That's because you're used to it," grumbled Caroline, pulling at her soaked white ribbed tank top and glancing down at her pale legs, peeking out from comfortably loose khaki shorts. She wore sturdy hiking boots and thick socks. "You're a local."
"I am," agreed the girl with a grin. "But I never complained about how cold Greenland was when we visited last year, so suck it up."
"I turned you," responded Caroline moodily. "You should be nicer to your Maker."
"That's so pop culture and not PC, I won't even respond," the girl continued.
"Ophelia," warned Caroline, shooting her friend a dirty look, which had no effect on the girl.
The black-haired Brazilian instead shook her head, tugging the hat further down. Being a very young vampire, she wasn't quite used to the ability to day-walk with her Lapis gem. With her hands on her hips, she surveyed the crowded market, eyes travelling from vendors under brightly coloured hand-woven blankets, people haggling in Portuguese, to the open courtyard and fountain across from where the two women stood, as well as where their rented bus was parked.
"Look, can we just find Julio and purchase the stuff we need?" asked Ophelia slowly. "I don't like being around too many people, Care. It tests me."
Caroline smiled tightly, understanding that her friend, a young vampire of barely two, still had serious bloodlust cravings, although under Caroline's tutelage, she wasn't doing too poorly.
"Sure. You go purchase the tarps," instructed Caroline, nodding her head to a single vendor in her eye line. "I'll wait here for you."
Ophelia nodded and, squaring her shoulders back, she tossed her head and strode confidently towards the vendor. Caroline watched proudly, enjoying Ophelia's bursts of confidence as she handled her transition to vampire well.
Soon, after Ophelia began her haggling with Julio as well as their fast-paced arguments of packaging techniques, Caroline turned back to the vendor they had stopped at and began looking over the jewelled wares he was selling.
Immediately, her eyes were drawn to an opal coloured stone, smoothed down into the shape of a wolf. It was small and delicate, its head thrown back and mouth open mid-howl. She fingered it, running her own fingertips down the smooth stone, and remembering some of her own experiences with wolves in the past.
"It's quite beautiful, isn't it?" a haughty, American voice drawled from beside her.
Caroline looked up in surprise; the American wasn't part of her group and the village they were in was far off the tourist trails to generate interest in people other than explorers and charity groups. The man himself was tall and thin, with dark brown hair with a slight curl to the ends; his cheeks were high and hollowed, his nose long, and eyes a dark brown tinged with cruelty and madness. He was older than Caroline physically, who was still stuck in the body of a seventeen year old – this man was at least thirty, with small, faint crow's lines at the corners of his eyes and the slight tinge of a few strands of grey in his dark hair.
He wore a button-up shirt and light coloured linen trousers, clothing that would immediately set him apart as neither a tourist nor an explorer, but more of a business man. In a strange way, he remembered her of a long ago vampire who wore only suits. But, his clothing didn't hide the powerful flex of muscles underneath or the few white scars that peeked through the color of his shirt or under his rolled-up sleeves.
"It's nice," replied Caroline slowly, eyeing the man. He wore no jewelry, but his presence screamed predator; Caroline was thinking werewolf.
"Do you like wolves?" he asked, turning his dark eyes on her. Caroline suppressed a shudder. The eyes – their almond shape and the exaggerated quirk of his eyebrows – reminded her of someone from her past. Someone she did her best to forget.
Caroline, in response to the question, shook her head. "Not really."
"Shame," he continued, his eyes running down her body. "I could change your mind."
Her eyebrows jumped up. "Excuse me?"
The man shifted closer. "You heard me."
Caroline immediately put the wolf statue down and took a step back, closer to the fountain and away from the vendor in case things got nasty.
"I think you have the wrong impression," said Caroline steadily, eyes darkening as she felt her bloodlust slowly rise from the pit of her stomach to settle heavily in her chest. She had learned long ago to control her anger and desire for blood, but she could easily call upon it when she needed to.
The man's eyes flashed yellow, and Caroline knew she had him pegged correctly. "Do you know who my father is?" the words were snarled from his mouth, his teeth clenched as the threat formed.
"Lucius Malfoy?" snarked Caroline, rolling her eyes.
A brief look of confusion filtered across the man's face – goodness, didn't these children even read Harry Potter anymore? She wondered – but his snarl quickly returned and his hand rose.
Her eyes widened. Surely, he wasn't... in front of everyone...?
As his hand swept down, it froze inches from her cheek, one that Caroline was not going to turn away, giving the man pleasure in seeing her cower in front of him. Instead, her eyes focused on the strong hand that tightly gripped the man's wrist, her saviour's skin turning white as he tightened his hold in anger.
Caroline's eyes followed the hand up a thin-sleeved Henley, and the tension eased from her body as she recognised the only man she had ever known to wear a Henley as armour. He still wore his necklaces, although there were a few more than when she had last seen him, and his hair was still the same. His eyes, however, were tired and weary.
"Hello, Klaus," smiled Caroline, tilting her head to the side as she surveyed him.
Klaus removed his hand from gripping the other man's wrist, ignoring the man as his eyes met hers. A smile, a small one, spread across his lips. "Hello, sweetheart. Miss me?"
An involuntary laugh escaped Caroline's lips. "It has been awhile. What brings you to Brazil?"
The man beside Klaus huffed, angry at his blocked move. Klaus's eyes immediately shifted to him, and that was when Caroline saw it: the same height, the curl to the hair, the way both men held themselves –
Years back, some time after Silas, Stefan and Caroline met up in Sydney and both, under copious amounts of alcohol at a Walkabout, confessed secrets long kept from their days in Mystic Falls. And one that Stefan revealed was that Katherine set the Originals up to New Orleans to keep them busy and away from her, by convincing several witches and an easily manipulated Hayley to become pregnant with Klaus's child. Caroline felt like she was slapped in the face with that news; but then as the years passed, she realised it hadn't mattered. Katherine died, along with Jeremy for a final time, evading Silas and the warlock soon disappeared, leaving Klaus without the ability to make any Hybrids. His child – son or daughter – would eventually grow old and die. Hayley would grow old and die. And Caroline would remain.
"You're going to just stand there?" the man snarled, eyes narrowed at Klaus. When Klaus didn't respond, he continued, "What, so you think you can just come over here and tell me what to do? She's just some blonde bit of fluff, and no one will remember her—"
The Original Hybrid merely narrowed his eyes. "Royce."
His father's command did nothing to stop the rant. "I mean, c'mon, I haven't fucked anything in days, you won't let me—"
"Royce," his named growled in warning. "Another word and I'll tear out your liver."
But the man rolled his eyes with a loose-mouth scowl that was so reminiscent of Hayley that Caroline visibly cringed. "For an Original, you are all so dull. She looks hardly worth your efforts, father, even if you do know her..."
"Treat Caroline with respect, Royce. I mean it," threatened Klaus.
"Caroline?" Royce's eyes lit up in maliciousness as he turned to her, looking her up and down in a different manner. "This is the vampire mother hated so much? The one she delighted in upsetting?"
"Shut your mouth, Royce and behave yourself in front of Caroline."
Caroline recognised the compulsion; Klaus didn't even need to look his son in the eye to form it, although Royce certainly felt the effects and scowled angry as it settled over him. Caroline soon realised it wasn't necessarily a compulsion, but half of a sire bond that came from being a hybrid. Even if Klaus's son wasn't a natural hybrid – made with doppelganger blood – but born, there was still an active sire bond that lingered as parental control. Caroline felt reassured by its existence.
"It's been awhile," said Caroline instead, completely ignoring the born hybrid beside Klaus. He wasn't a threat now.
"Quite some time," replied Klaus, easily.
The two shared a smile. It was easy, falling into a conversation, filled with silences that weren't awkward but rather comforting, realising that there was so much in their past that made them both ridiculous and silly and why did they even fight so hard against each other?
"What brings you to Brazil, sweetheart?" asked Klaus, squinting his eyes against the bright, midday sun and glancing around, as if searching for someone. "Is anyone else here?"
"Here? Like who?" asked Caroline, wrinkling her nose. "Ophelia's talking to Julio about the tarps we need, and I think Carlos is back at the bus, but Meaghan is probably herding everyone out of the restaurant..."
"I meant from Mystic Falls," clarified Klaus, frowning at her list of names. "Elena, Damon? Or Bonnie? Maybe even Tyler?"
Caroline stifled a laugh. "I saw Rebekah and Stefan about three years ago in Milan, Klaus," she began with a grin, "But I haven't seen Tyler since the night you killed his mother. Matt and Bonnie both passed away over a decade ago, and I have no idea where Damon or Elena are. Jeremy and Katherine both died ages ago, when Bonnie entombed Silas."
Klaus's mouth dropped open slightly, at the influx of information, a large amount his sister failed to pass on despite their regular phone calls to each other. "I... see..."
The silence spread between the two, and they ignored Royce's snort.
"What brings you to Brazil?" asked Klaus, finally, fighting the urge to shift on his feet. He was over a thousand years old, and yet Caroline continuously reduced him to his bumbling, virginal human self.
Caroline's smile was brighter than the sun. "I began working with Habitats for Humanity after college, but now I run my own charity organisation, the Elizabeth Forbes Charity. We build schools and houses for communities around the world. We help wherever we can, really."
"That's fantastic, Caroline," breathed Klaus, purposefully using her name instead of a nickname. "And to name it after your mother? She must be so proud."
"She was," affirmed Caroline, and seeing Klaus's face, she hastily continued, "Old age. But she was proud nonetheless right to the end."
"That's wonderful, sweetheart."
"Oh, please," groaned Royce, rolling his eyes and turning away from them to face the vendor, who found his two potential buyers had completely ignored him for several minutes; now, he eagerly engaged the older man with rapid-fire Portuguese, most of which went over Royce's head.
"Are you staying long?" asked Klaus, clasping his hands behind his back in a familiar pose that had Caroline's heart racing.
She found herself responding by crossing her arms and jutting a hip out – his smile extended from his lips to his eyes as he too, recognised the familiar poses they were making. "A couple of weeks. We're in the middle of prep work right now, and we only come into town every few days. It was really chance that we met up."
Klaus laughed. "More like divine intervention, sweetheart."
Caroline retorted, "You wish!" before laughing, too. After their chuckles tapered off, they fell into another silence, one that stretched and filled with all the things they never said to each other.
The two turned, leaving Royce sulking by the vendor, to see Ophelia making her way towards them. She visibly hesitated a few feet away, glancing warily at Royce with his petulant scowl, to Klaus, who remained blank-faced.
"The bus is ready," she said, turning to Caroline, glancing back at the two men. "Are you ready to go?"
Caroline nodded. "Thanks 'Pheli." She turned back to Klaus, a small, sad smile on her face. "I'm glad I saw you," she said quietly, reaching out and gently squeezing his arm.
A smile lit Klaus's face, and his body subconsciously leaned into her touch. He too, reached forward and gently cupped her elbow. "I'm glad I saw you, too."
"Rebekah and Stefan have my number," said Caroline, glancing back at the small, white, but mud-speckled bus that turned its engine over when the driver saw her look. "Get it from them, will you? Don't be so much of a stranger in the future."
"I won't be, I promise," replied Klaus, feeling his heart practically burst with happiness. He glanced at the bus over Caroline's shoulder. "All the best, Caroline."
Caroline grinned, slipping out of his grasp as she turned. "You too, Klaus." Her fingers gave a delicate wriggle of the fingers. Ever the polite Southern Belle, she finished her conversation by turning to a scowling Royce and smiling politely. "Royce."
The older Mikaelson – physically, not mentally or immortally – bared his teeth in response, ignoring his father's sharp glare. Caroline, herself, did her best to ignore the man's behaviour.
Caroline didn't look back as she walked towards the bus; she could feel Klaus's heavy stare on her back, could feel the heat of his eyes lingering on her bare sun-kissed skin, but she couldn't bring herself to turn around. When you're immortal, you have eternity, and she knew she'd see him again. There was no time for goodbye's between them.
Settling into the air conditioned mini bus next to Ophelia, Caroline kept her gaze firmly towards the front, watching over Carlos's shoulder as he drove out of the town and then into the jungle, moving quickly from asphalt and stone drives, to dirt and then mud.
"So, who was that?" whispered Ophelia, finally bringing Caroline out of her silence.
"Someone I knew from long ago," she replied.
Ophelia grinned. "Yeah, I got that, Care. But I mean... he was cute. How did you know each other?"
"Klaus?" laughed Caroline. "My friends and I tried to kill him and his siblings, so many times. And he tried to kill us. But I guess there was always something else between us."
"So he's a vampire too?" she asked quietly.
Caroline nodded. "And a werewolf. A Hybrid. The Hybrid, when people talk about him."
"He looked at you like he was the Big Bad and you were Little Red," commented Ophelia idly, glancing at her painted nails before looking at Caroline from beneath her lashes.
"He always did," answered Caroline steadily, not hiding from the truth. "And I looked at him the same. But... there was always something else between us: my boyfriend, his jealousy; my friends and his siblings; then, distance and time. Maybe it wasn't meant to be."
"Or maybe it was," commented Ophelia with a shark-like grin. "After all, it took you this long to see each other again, right? And you haven't been around those friends of yours in years. Maybe the time is now."
Caroline shook her head. "It's never time. And it never will be."
As the only vampires in the group on this leg of the charity's trip, Caroline and Ophelia tasked themselves with patrolling the camp they made beside the community school they were building in a remote part of Brazil, far from civilisation and far from any phone reception. The two remained together, leaving Carlos and Julio in charge of setting up the camp for dinner with the rest of the six volunteers, who were all in high spirits with the project they were about to start.
Ophelia didn't bring up Klaus again, sensing that it was a delicate topic for Caroline – one filled with what ifs and regrets – and instead began teaching her some Portuguese phrases that would be useful for Caroline to use while they remained in the country.
The two girls were giggling and playfully shoving against each other with their vampire strength when a howl cut through the air. Caroline immediately tensed, turning to the sound instinctively while Ophelia dropped into a crouch and barred her fangs.
"There aren't any wolves in Brazil," she said with a frown. "And that was no jaguar."
Fear entered Caroline's eyes. "Klaus," she breathed, catching Ophelia's eye. Then, she was flying through the air with her vampire speed back to the camp.
As she and Ophelia burst through the leaves of the nearby trees, ducking under vines, Caroline stumbled to a stop, her eyes locked on the figure of Klaus's son casually licking his fingers clean of blood.
Ophelia's gasp beside Caroline made the blonde's bloodlust rise. Their entire camp was slaughtered: body pieces lingered around a crackling and popping fire, while Julio's severed head rested and tilted sideways in a cooking pan. And Royce stood amongst it all, his dark eyes locked on hers in challenge.
"I'm older than you, wolf," snarled Caroline, stepping forward and motioning with a single gesture for Ophelia to remain where she was. "And I had no fight with you."
"I have one with you," the werewolf replied, stepping forward too. "After all, you made my father weak. A true Hybrid has no place for love."
"Love makes us powerful," laughed Caroline daringly, taking another step forward and letting her fangs drop as inky black lines began to spread from red-tinted eyes. "But what do you know about love, boy?"
Royce snarled as well, his eyes tinting yellow and his canine's popping from his mouth. He was more werewolf in nature, despite being a trueborn hybrid, but he lacked the dual set of fangs his father had, and the control.
Just as Royce leapt, he was intercepted by a large wolf, which slammed him into the hard ground with a dangerous growl. When Royce made to sit up, attempting to throw the wolf off, the wolf snarled and shoved the man down into the mud again, snapping its teeth near the man's neck. Royce, recognising the danger, turned his neck and submitted to the Alpha.
After a few more warning growls, the wolf backed off the man and then shimmered, paws turning into hands and feet and its fur shrinking into its body to reveal a very manly, naked Klaus, who was staring down at his son in fury, his chest heaving.
"You are not to look at Caroline," snarled Klaus, his eyes locked on Royce. "You are not to talk to her, to touch her, to think about her. You will go out of your way to avoid her and her friends and family, to leave them alone from this moment forward. You will apologise for your disgusting behaviour and psychotic display, even if an apology from you is worthless. Do. You. Understand. Me?"
Cowed, at the rage his father displayed, Royce lowered his eyes and clearly answered, in a timid voice as the compulsion and sirebond rooted, "Yes, father."
But Caroline was still shaking in anger and lust as she did her best to reign in her emotions. Once heightened, it took some time to come down from it.
"WHAT THE FUCK, KLAUS?" escaped her mouth before her mind caught up.
The vampire/werewolf hybrid turned to the only woman he loved, and realised, in that moment of his son's stupidity and jealousy to ruin something else Klaus loved or admired, that he had lost Caroline. Briefly, earlier, he may have had a chance – but now – his son ruined it. Like he ruined everything else.
"Caroline," began Klaus, stepping towards her and imploring her with an extended hand his sincerest apologies. "Please—"
"No!" burst out Caroline. "Thirty years, Klaus! Thirty years without bloodshed and craziness and vampires and werewolves! For thirty years I've been away from it, away from the politics. And even when I had come across other vampires or werewolves, we left each other alone! They left me alone! And for the first time in thirty years, I see you again and not even four hours later, there's bloodshed and death and destruction!"
Klaus's mouth tightened. "Sweetheart, it wasn't my fault—"
"Oh, wasn't it?" she sniped, glancing at Royce who remained in the mud and his eyes diverted.
Klaus bristled at the implication. "Well you certainly weren't lining up for me, Caroline, so don't bring that up now!"
Caroline laughed, long and bitterly. "We can never escape the past, Klaus." She looked sad, tired, and weary.
Ophelia began to move hesitantly towards her Maker, the woman she stuck beside as she learned to be a better vampire. "Caroline?" she whispered. "What are we going to do?"
Klaus watched with tired eyes as Caroline's shoulders slumped and she turned to her friend, who had yet to retract her fangs. "I'm going to teach you how to clean up," sighed Caroline, closing her eyes tightly, turning away from the baby vampire to the mess of their camp. "I'm going to teach you how to hide dead bodies, to turn this into an animal attack and not a supernatural event."
Ophelia nodded, even if Caroline didn't see it, and caught Klaus's pained eyes. He slowly turned from her and Caroline, back to his son.
He reached forward, yanking Royce to his feet roughly and pulling at the arm in its socket, but the man knew better than to cry out. Palming the back of his sons' neck, despite being near in height, Klaus turned back to Caroline and eyed her.
"Caroline," he croaked, clearing his throat once she looked at him. "You won't – you don't –" He swallowed. Seeing her for the first time in thirty years was amazing, however brief it was, and he would have to live with that. There would be no "maybe in a hundred years" for them. Not now. "You won't see me again, sweetheart. Or him. I promise. I'll compel him and you'll be rid of us forever. I won't – He won't – we won't hurt you again."
Caroline did not respond, just turned away from him, and began moving towards Julio's severed head with a trudge to her steps. Ophelia scurried to her side and glanced from under her lashes at Klaus and Royce before she too, determinedly ignored him.
Klaus swallowed the taste of bile in his mouth and vamp-sped himself and his son away from their camp, deep into the jungle without care and thought. Finally, over an hour away, Klaus turned to his spawn and wondered who he pissed off so much that his immortal life was one giant joke.
"Your temper tantrums will end," ordered Klaus quietly, looking at his son. "There will be no more killing, no more senseless violence from you. You will not have my attention by those acts any further. You drove my siblings away –your aunt, uncle—, and you killed your mother. Your petulant behaviour ends now. You have ruined enough, Royce."
And with a powerful blow, Klaus knocked his son unconscious and lifted his dead weight over his shoulders in a fireman's hold, walking through the night until he reached the nearest town with hotel and international phone connection. He booked the first flight out of Brazil to Italy, where Stefan and Rebekah were, and dumped his son in their hotel room, on the bed with a heavy heart.
Once a confirmed call from Rebekah came back that, their flight was booked, and Elijah would be waiting for them at the airport, did Klaus collapse on the other bed in the room, and shut his eyes. Before sleep took him, he thought of Caroline's face – and lamented that in almost all the times they interacted, she was disappointed or disgusted with him.
Sleepily, his last thought was: he would've given anything to change that.
"The Loophole did not work. He is worse."
"Klaus has changed."
"His son is dangerous. The mother was reckless. The siblings, useless."
"We must fix this."
"The Loophole was the last fix we made. Should we risk another?"
"He has changed."
"But has he changed enough?"
"He is no longer the same vampire, consumed with revenge and fury and bloodlust. He is tired now. He would kill himself if he could."
"Does he regret?"
"Does he repent?"
"Does he love?"
"Will he remain as such?"
"There is but one way to find out."
Fingers interlaced and hands clasped on his chest as he lay above the duvet on the bed, Klaus opened his eyes, taking in his surroundings quickly. He heard no other noise; Royce was not hollering in anger; there were no screams from another being tortured by his son; it was quiet and peaceful.
It had been years since he was in a place so quiet.
He slowly sat up, eyes scanning the room, lingering on the dresser in the far corner and the knickknacks on a desk under a window. Several American literature books and two hard cover textbooks rested on the desk, as well as a laptop. The curtains fluttered as a gentle breeze entered the room. Klaus's eyes caught on a single, framed photograph on the desk, in a spot of honour.
A round-faced man with brown hair was smiling widely at the camera, his arms wrapped around a much shorter brunette with long, straight hair parted in the middle. Klaus recognised the woman, immediately. She was integral to breaking the curse on him: Jenna Sommers, Elena Gilbert's aunt.
A glance at the bedside table had Klaus reaching for the mobile phone, unlocking it and staring at the weather app and time and date on the main home page.
"Impossible," he breathed, eyes wide in the stolen body.
The date/time read, April 12, 2010, with the weather app set for Mystic Falls, Virginia.
Klaus was back in Mystic Falls, before he broke his mother's curse and became a Hybrid. His siblings, bar Elijah, were daggered in coffins; Stefan didn't remember who he was; Silas was desiccated and entombed in Nova Scotia, and Katarina Petrova was still a vampire. Hayley was somewhere in the Appalachians, and Royce wasn't even a thought.
He was in the past. Somehow, something happened to bring him back – or he was having a very vivid hallucination. But, if it were true... and it was 2010 again...
Whoever said you can't repeat the past was wrong. And Klaus had every intention of using his future knowledge to his benefit.
And maybe even do the things he really wanted this time around. After all, he was still a selfish man – and he always got what he wanted.
"You can't repeat the past."
"Can't repeat the past?" he cried incredulously. "Why, of course you can!"
– Nick Carraway to Jay Gatsby, "The Great Gatsby"
To Be Continued...