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Light The Way

Story: Light The Way Storylink: Category: Vampire Diaries Genre: Romance/Drama Author: Muffintine Authorlink: Last updated: 02/23/2014 Words: 34744 Rating: T Status: In Progress Content: Chapter 1 to 15 of 15 chapters Source: Summary: [discontinued] AU. "I may have bought your body and power, Caroline Forbes. Your affections, however, I have every intention of earning." Klaroline.

*Chapter 1*: Part I

Don't own the characters. Never will. Everything else is of my own creation. . . . Part I . Caroline hears her mother's shrieks for mercy long before the door bursts open and the Collectors' frames fill the doorway. They are dressed casually, easily forgettable except for the distinguishing red arm bands that encircle their upper left arms; a telling black crow is stitched perfectly on the outward turned end of each band, marking them for what they are. Dread pools in the pit of her stomachshe has been found out. The first of the two Collectors' steps forward. He's a handsome man with gentle eyes and an easy aura. "Lady Forbes?" he inquires, his voice is oddly soothing for someone who's here to take her away from everything she has ever loved. "Please," Caroline begins, finding her courage suddenly, "Lady Forbes is my mother. Miss Forbes will do just fine," she finishes, thankful when her voice doesn't tremble. As if on cue, her mother enters the house, fear etched into her brow. "Nopleasedon't take my babyshe, she's all I have!" The other Collector grabs her mother harshly by the shoulder, preventing her from advancing further. "This doesn't concern you Elizabeth Forbes," the second Collector says, tone apathetic, cold and increasingly unnerving. Caroline swallows the lump in her throat and holds her mother's gaze. "It's okay, Mama. It'll be okay." "Miss Forbes," the Collector closest to her says, "there have been whispers that you may possess magic." He pauses, brown eyes locking with hers. She sees sympathy in their depths; almost as if he wishes he were wrong and that the whispers were just idle gossip. "I" "It would be unwise to lie to us, Caroline," the Collector at the door says, smirking. Caroline frowns at his blatant use of her Christian name. She glares openly. "Stefan," the first Collector says suddenly, "Stefan Salvatore." He extends his hand in greeting; she simply stares at his up turned palm and makes no attempt to grab it. His smile falters. "And this," he gestures to the Collector standing in the doorway, holding her mother with an iron grip, "is my brother Damon. We mean you no harm." Damon rolls his eyes and slumps against the doorframe. "Could you hurry this along Stefan? I haven't got all day." Stefan holds Caroline's gaze. "It's rumored you possess light magicwhich is very rare. Is there any truth to it?" Caroline stares at him for a long while and then, without a word, holds out her hand, palm up. A small orb of light forms there, swirling brightly and filling with an assortment of colors. It is bright and beautiful and she thinks it ironic that it symbolizes her undoing. Damon whistles. "I'll be damned." Stefan frowns. "I see," he says quietly. He looks to Caroline and his eyes have gone hard, detached. "I assume you will come willingly?" Caroline looks to her mother. "She will be unharmed?" "Of course."

"You give me your word?" Stefan's gaze never wavers. "I give you my word." He takes her by the arm then and leads her out of the house. Caroline cannot muster the courage to look at her mother as she walks away. She only looks forwardher life will never be the same. She will be taken to a secure location where the full extent of her powers will be evaluated before she's to be auctioned off and wed to the highest bidder. After all, magic can only be passed down the bloodline by the mother; no matter how powerful the father might be. This has led the government to take extraordinary measures in keeping the elite and wealthy happy. The lower class is cattle to be culled; their wishes hardly matter. The carriage sits idly at the edge of the cobblestone road. As Caroline walks towards it, Stefan opens the carriage door and allows Caroline to step up and inside quickly, the door latching shut behind her. Only once inside does she see her; there is a woman sitting opposite of her and she is beautiful in every sense of the word. Her hair is long and chestnut colored, the perfect tone to compliment her soulful eyes; even if they are somber in resignation. She smiles tiredly at Caroline. "Elena," she greets. Caroline attempts to smile back, but fails. "Caroline," she whispers, her own name almost getting caught in her throat. Elena reaches forward and clasps Caroline's hand in hers. "We are stronger than this," she says with such conviction Caroline wants to believe her. "We will be okay." "We will be okay," Caroline repeats, squeezing Elena's hand in return. She keeps Elena's hand in hers for just a moment longer before she pulls away. The carriage starts to move with a lurch and she knows they are well on their way. She takes the time to wonder how this came to be. She had been quiet about her powers since the moment they manifested two years ago. The only person besides her mother she had dared to tell was Matt. Surely Matt had not betrayed her? "Caroline," Elena says, breaking through her depressing thoughts. "It will do you no good to think of such sad things." Caroline blinks, clearly startled. "How?" "You have a beautiful souland a strong one; therefore your emotions are more heightened to me than most." Elena sighs softly. "My magic is the gift to feel what others feel. And in return, I can give freely happiness and joy to anyone I wish, except myself. It is more of a curse than anything, really." "Oh," Caroline breathes. She sees the sadness in Elena's eyes thenthe utter loneliness. And she wants to make it better. She wants to make this sad, lonely girl who is so much like herself, smile. "Your magic isn't a curse," she says before she can stop herself, "it's compassion beyond what anyone could ever hope to imitate. Surely you are an extraordinary person to be able to handle such a thing." Elena blushes and shakes her head. "Even kind people have evil thoughts," she says lightly but a ghost of a real smile dances on the edge of her lips. "But thank you, Caroline." Caroline smiles then, too. A real smile. "Watch!" Eagerly, Caroline holds out both of her hands, palms up. Two orbs, one pink and the other green appear over each of her hands, slowly breathing life into small figures. She hums a low, soft tune and the two figures of light begin to dance, swirling about each other before being absorbed into one bright, beautiful light and fading. "Your magic is light," Elena exhales, "how beautiful." She smiles. The rest of the carriage ride is spent in companionable silence. . . .

The boarding house is hugeby far the fanciest and most expansive building she has ever entered. Paintings hang high on the foyer walls and the stairwell leading to the second floor has exquisitely carved banisters. At her side, Elena looks equally impressed. "Miss Forbes? Lady Gilbert?" Stefan's voice jars her slightly. Right. Her life is no longer her own. It's Elena who speaks in a tone that is unusually cold. "Yes, Lord Salvatore?" Caroline almost misses it, the way Stefan winces at the use of his proper title. She looks to Elena in wonder, but her peer is looking forward now, face set in stony determination. "Lady Bennett will see the both of you," he says. "She will assess your abilities and your marital worth. After which, you will be escorted to your chambers. You are the last two to arrive in time for the Spring Ball." "Ball?" Caroline asks. She hopes her girlish excitement isn't shining through. She has always wanted to attend a ball and, well, if she has to spend the rest of her life married to a man she doesn't love she might as well have a little fun. Stefan smiles fondly at her. "It is to show you off your potential. Many prominent men will be present." "And when will we be sold off like cattle?" Elena snaps suddenly, words stinging like acid. Stefan's features darken. "The bidding takes place at Midnight." Caroline bites her lip. The tension between the two of them is thick enough to cut with a dagger. She thanks the heavens when Damon rounds the corner and scowls at them. "What are they still doing here?" He asks, quirking a brow. At Stefan's silence, he sighs. "Well, since you're too busy brooding, brother, I'll just have to take them myself." He smirks at Elena and Caroline. "Ladies?" Elena starts after him without much prompting and Caroline follows suit. Damon leads them through a maze of hallways, each one more beautiful than the last. After walking for what feels like a century they finally stop in front of a large mahogany door. Damon straightens himself and plasters on the silliest smile Caroline thinks she has ever seen. He lifts his arm to knock, but the door creaks open before he can. "Come in," a voice calls. As they enter, Caroline spots her almost immediately. The woman before them is exotic in her beauty, cinnamon colored skin and hair tinted the color of coffee. The room smells of spring and daises and sunlight. At once, Caroline feels at home. She sees Elena visibly relax as well. The woman fixes her gaze on them; it is expectantly warm. "Caroline, Elena," she greets. "Please, have a seat." She gestures to two embroidered chairs placed at the center of the room. "I am Lady Bennett, Bonnie, if you prefer." She smiles, grabbing a tea pot off the table positioned in front of the chairs. She pours two cups and sets them across from each chair. Both girls slide into the chairs, eagerly helping themselves to the refreshments. "Odd," Bonnie murmurs as she turns to face Damon with a knowing glint in her eye. "I was expecting three." All of a sudden, Damon's face sours. Bonnie laughs. "Don't be so hard on yourself. Katherine is a slippery one." Elena gasps, dropping her teacup in shock. Damon looks too her, his eyes narrowing. He opens his mouth to say something, but Bonnie cuts him off. "I think it's time you leave, Damon," Bonnie says, her smile thin and meaningful. "Whatever you say, witch." And then he is gone. The door shuts with a slam.

Bonnie waits a beat, eyes narrowing. When she turns to face them, her attention is on Elena, not Caroline. "It was foolish to sacrifice yourself for such a selfish sister." Her features soften. "But rest assured, I have no intention of aiding in her capture." She takes a sip of her tea and grins as she sets her teacup back down. "Though your inner strength will serve you well." Elena's shoulders relax only slightly. "But you, Caroline, you will need to be careful." "What?" Caroline's heart quickens. "You have the power of light; the ability to bring it to places where it has never been before. But it's not just your magic that is full of light, it is your whole existence. You could melt the coldest of hearts, if you so choose. However, there are those who would hate you for bringing the light where it does not belong. So you must be careful." Caroline blushes. "Why are you telling us this?" "Because," Bonnie begins, taking a seat opposite of them, "I am a witch. My magic is a virtue of mother earthyet I need assistance. Spells and brews to help me to my goals. It's my job to protect precious beings such as yourselves. You are pure magicyou just feel and want and urge and the magic comes to you. There are peoplecreaturesout there that mean you harm." "Creatures?" Caroline prods curiously. "Vampires," Elena supplies. Bonnie takes a sip of her tea. "Apparently, your blood is quite addicting." Caroline pales. "But I thought vampires were just a myth." "Myths often originate from truth," Bonnie muses as she bends slightly to dig into a small pouch on her hip. "You both need be careful of what men take an interest in you at the Spring Ball." She pulls out a bracelet and necklace "Wear these. They are made with vervainit will protect you from compulsion, but will do little else." Caroline gladly takes the bracelet and slips it on over her wrist. She stares at if a moment. "Thank you," she whispers. Elena just as eagerly slips the necklace around her neck. "You two shall always have a friend in me," Bonnie whispers as she reaches forward to clasp both of their hands in hers. "And you in us," Elena replies. "Now," Bonnie stands, "I shall lead you to your chambers. You will be dressed tomorrow morning and briefed over proper etiquette. I wish you both the best of luck." Caroline stands, Elena at her side. They both follow Bonnie out of the room and to their respective chambers. Neither manage to sleep a wink. . . . Thanks for reading! I love feedback! So, drop a review if you are so inclined. I should update by the end of the week. Constructive criticism welcome. Follow me on tumblrneuroticsourwolf!

*Chapter 2*: Part II

Oh wow! I'm blown away by the response to this fic! Thank you so much guys! I really appreciate every single one of you! And so, without further ado, here is the second installment. I own nothing except my ideas. . . . Part II . The gown is flawless. It's colored a deep red; crimson, like blood. It flows down and around her feet, hugging her every curve. Her hair has been styled with a hot iron, curled and positioned to frame her face. A splash of color has been added to her cheeks and her lips have been stained cherry red. She looks like perfection even if she does not feel like it. Elena stands at her side, her own pearl white dress depressingly beautiful. Five other girls surround them, though Caroline does not recognize any of them. They are equally as stunning. "Girls," Madeline, the old, too-proper woman in charge of them, says, "smiles! Frowns are no way to catch yourself a handsome husband!" Her voice is shrill and chipper and really, Caroline would give anything for the woman to drop dead. No one should be this happy about auctioning off young women. "Miss Forbes, tut, tut, I don't see you smiling!" Caroline forces a smile, but glares as she does so. Annoying womanoh the things she'd do! "Now, remember what I told you: Don't speak unless you're spoken too. You may wander around, private rooms are available to well, you know," she giggles here and Caroline has to stifle the urge to vomit, "but nothing too improperno man wants to marry a harlot." She looks straight at Elena, purses her lips briefly before her sickeningly sweet smile is back. "Don't say anything vulgar or that could be taken as you are unhappy with your predicament! Are we ready, sweethearts?" Silence greets Madeline. "Well, onward!" She ushers them out of the preparation room, leading them down winding hallways to the ballroom. Soft music drifts down the corridors, growing louder with every step. Caroline's heartbeat quickens. As they reach the entrance, Madeline stops them in their tracks. She pats the first girl gently on the back, prompting her to step forward. Trumpets rumble. "Gentlemen," Madeline shouts as she and the girl enter the ball room, "may I present Lady Annabelle Pearle*!" Annabelle stumbles forward, eyes cast downward. "Her magic is that of Truthfor no lie may go undiscovered by her." Madeline gestures for Annabelle to go forth and mingle. Reluctantly, she does. The rest of the girls are a blur. Caroline is so busy personally freaking out that before she knows it, Elena is being introduced and it is her turn. Madeline presses her hand to the small of Caroline's back, urging her forward. "And lastly, but surely not least, may I present Miss Caroline Forbes, the woman with the magic of Light." Caroline takes a step forward, barely keeping her stride steady. She has to be confident. This is no time to be a scared little girl. She is strong and she can do this. She can. The ballroom is well lit, almost blindingly so. Several men in sharp suits and tuxedos have their eyes trained on her. She stifles the urge to cast her eyes downward and instead stands tall, walking across the room with a purposeful, prideful saunter. She still has her dignity, after all. She spots Elena by the refreshment bar, looking flawless and strong, a glass of wine clasped tightly in her hand. Caroline turns with the intent of joining her when a man is suddenly blocking her path.

"Oh," she huffs, barely managing to keep from barreling into him. "Watch where you're going you stupid" the man stops short, truly seeing her for the first time. "Wow," he breathes as a wolfish grin spreads across his lips. He holds out his hand. "Tyler Lockwood, though you can call me Tyler, if you want." Caroline scowls. Surely this man isn't pulling out the stops on her after he's called her stupid. "It's a pleasure, Lord Lockwood," she replies stiffly. "Lady Caroline, was it?" He says, and she knows he is going for seductive though he comes off more ridiculous than anything. "Miss Forbes, actually," she bites back. "Dance with me?" "I'd rather not." Tyler grabs her roughly by the wrist. "I think you might want to dance with me." "I think you may want to let go of me," Caroline grounds out. She knew some of them would be forceful, but this is too much, seriously. Tyler's face darkens, his pupils dilate and his eyes begin to turn a rich gold. Caroline gasps in shock, taking a step back. "Lord Lockwood," a voice interrupts, "I believe Miss Forbes is not in the dancing mood." "Che," Tyler growls, his eyes returning to normal. He releases Caroline from his grasp and stomps off without another word. Caroline turns to her savior in surprise. He is a tall man, dressed to the nines, with perfect chestnut locks and a finely chiseled face. She clears her throat. "Ah, thank you." The man chuckles softly. "No need," he says, "it was a pleasure." Elena appears by his side abruptly. "Thank you, Elijah," she says. Caroline finds his name is quite befitting for someone who saved her from the displeasure of stumbling around the dance floor with that arrogant fool, Tyler Lockwood. "You know him?" Caroline asks in genuine surprise. Elena smiles wearily. "The Gilberts' are old family friends," Elijah supplies. Though, the way he looks at Elena, Caroline suspects that perhaps old family friends is not exactly what he wishes they were. "Oh." Caroline looks to Elena then and her curiosity is piqued. From the moment she met her, she felt a close connection with Elena. However, what does she really know about this woman who she calls a friend? The more time she spends around her, the bigger the web of enamored men that surround her seems to become. And then there is this man Elijahwho she calls by his Christian name, indicating an extreme closeness. Elena frowns, as if she knows what is going on in Caroline's mind, and leans in close. "It will all make sense later, I promise you," she whispers. After pulling away, she looks to Elijah and then back to Caroline. "I'm sorry," she says, "but I need to have a private word with Elijah." Caroline nods. Elijah smiles once again. "It was a pleasure, Miss Forbes." "Ah, same," she replies, smiling up at him. The two walk off, arms linked. Caroline sighs and walks over to the refreshment table. Once there, she grabs a glass of wine. It is going to b e a long night, she thinks.

Taking a sip, she scans the ballroom for any nook or cranny to hide in. That's when she spots him standing by himself across the way. He's leaned up against one of the large windows with an incredibly bored look on his face. What really strikes her fancy, however, is that he is alone. No one seems to be bothering him, all keeping and absurd amount of distance. Swallowing her last bit of wine, Caroline makes her way over to him. He peers at her as she gets closer but she walks right past him, stopping only a few feet away. They lock eyes for a moment and she sees curiosity there, but nothing more. After a few minutes, Caroline finds men are too afraid to approach her at her new perch, which thrills her to no end. It takes a while, but the man with the lonely face does finally approach her. "You don't shy away from me," he says, slightly amused. "I know not if it is because of ignorance or misplaced courage." "I am quite sure," she snaps, affronted, "it's neither. Whoever you are, I'm sure I am quite capable of handling you." The man cocks his head to the side and grins. "Perhaps you are, love." "Caroline Forbes," she bristles; because while he may be handsome and in possession of a very sexy accent, he has not yet earned the right to call her love. He chuckles. "I know." Caroline flushes, suddenly remembering thatof course! he would know. She had been announced to all the men in attendance, after all. "Red is quite the fetching color on you, Miss Forbes," he murmurs, fixing his eyes on her face. Caroline gets the feeling it is not her dress which he's referring to. "Compliments before your own introduction?" she chides, rolling her eyes. "Well, aren't you just a regular charmer." "My apologies," he says, chuckling a bit to himself. He turns to face her then and gently grabs her hand. He leans forward to place his lips against the smooth skin of the back of her hand. He pulls away with a smirk on his lips. "Niklaus Mikaelson, though I would prefer it if you call me Klaus." Caroline cannot help it, she laughs. Klaus' features soften. "Might I ask you to indulge me with a dance?" She almost says no. She has been dodging potential suitors all night, but he stirs something within her that she cannot yet explain. "Only one," she says. He smirks, grabs her by the hand and leads her out on to the dance floor. The music playing is soft and slow, a lover's melody. It doesn't surprise her when Klaus pulls her in close against his body and they begin to move. He is oddly warm and inviting and she relishes in the feeling of his body pressed intimately against hers. He is a great dancer, leading her around the dance floor with ease, never missing a step. They move in tandem, twirling and whirling; it makes her light-headed with delight. "You are not form around here, are you Miss Forbes?" Klaus asks suddenly. Caroline shakes her head. "No, I'm not." "That is probably for the best," he murmurs, twirling her around and then and pressing her flush against his front. He leans in close, his breath hot on her ear. "This placethese people, they would corrupt your beautiful soul." Caroline's cheeks flush. "And what about you?" He chuckles enigmatically at her question, darkness sweeping across his eyes. "I am the worst of them all." It's the way that he says it that breaks Caroline's heart. There is a deep seated loneliness to his words, an aching that she finds herself identifying with. She looks up at him and their gazes lock. "I don't find you scary at all," she admits. "No?" He exhales in amusement. "That is a grave mistake, love."

The song ends abruptly and Klaus breaks away from her. He gazes at her with a conflicted expression for a moment, as if he wants to stay by her side, but something is keeping him from doing so. A dark cloud is cast over his features as he spots something in the distance. Caroline follows his line of sight and finds her eyes settling on Elijah and Elena, who both look back with disagreeable expressions. "Until another time," he says aloofly. He's gone before she can say anything to stop him and his absence leaves a fierce aching in her chest. Elena rushes over to her immediately. "Caroline," she says, concerned. "Why were you talking to him ? Do you have a death wish?" Caroline blinks. "What are you going on about Elena?" "Niklaus Mikaelsonwhy were you talking to him?" She pauses to consider this. "He looked lonely," she admits finally, "and he was easy to talk to." Elena looks around quickly to make sure no one is eavesdropping. "Caroline," she says a bit forcibly. "Klaus is a vampire! Not to mention, the most volatile of the lot!" Her heart constricts. "What? But" "Promise me," Elena says, desperation in her voice, "promise me you won't go near him again tonight." "Elena" "Please." Caroline bites her lip and then lies to Elena for the first time. " I promise." Elena opens her mouth to say more but Madeline's high pitched voice interrupts her. "Gentlemen," she shouts, "the bidding will start in approximately ten minutes. Now is the perfect time to prepare!" She giggles obnoxiously. "Girls, if you would please come to the front of the room!" Caroline palesthe moment she fears has come. Elena grabs her hand. "Shall we?" Caroline nods and follows Elena to the forefront of the room. . . . So I had a few reviewers ask who Elena will be paired with. I have not decided yet. I ship Stelena, Delena & Elejah. But depending on where this story goes, that is who she will end up with. Anyway, feel free to leave me some feedback! Constructive criticism is welcome as well. I should update soonby Friday, hopefully. * I don't know Annabelle's actual surname, so I just made one up. Follow me on tumblrneuroticsourwolf!

*Chapter 3*: Part III

Thank you so much for all of your kind words! You guys are my inspiration! So, this one is for you guys! :) Enjoy! . . . Part III . The clock chimes midnightthe time has come. "Gentlemen, gentlemen, let us settle down, shall we?" Madeline giggles as she presses her hand to her breast. She looks as if she is the recipient of some sort of award as her cheeks are flush with false modesty. And, perhaps, she does get some sort of sick pleasure from the attention she receives. Caroline doesn't understand, nor does she wish to. "Now, just a quick brush up on the regulations! Each of our darling girls will be introduced once again. All bids will start at one thousand pounds and go up from there. The winner has the honor of a dance. Afterwards, they may escort their lady to the appropriate carriage. Or, if they wish, have guards fetch them in the morning!" Madeline pauses to clap her hands together. "Great! Let's get started!" She turns to face Annabelle. "Lady Pearle?" Annabelle looks up, eyes puffy. It's clear she has been crying. Madeline tuts at her, grabs her by the arm, and drags her in front of the rest of them. "Lady Annabelle Pearle, our lovely lady of Truth. One thousand pounds!" Madeline yells. Several men raise their right arms. "Two thousand?" Two arms drop. "Five thousand?" One arm remains. "Five thousand going once going twice" Madeline grins. "Sold, to the lovely gentleman in the green tie!" "No," Annabelle whispers, "please, please, please" "Oh, hush," Madeline admonishes, her perky features darkening. "There are ways of dealing with naughty girls." Annabelle's lower lip trembles, but she grows silent. The man approaches, slips his arm around Annabelle's waist and leads her out onto the dance floor. A soft melody begins to play and they twirl and twirl and twirl. Caroline looks away. She can no longer bear to watch. It ends quickly and then they are gone. Her stomach coils in fear. Soon. Soon she will meet her fate. Elena grips her suddenly. Caroline looks to her in question but then she feels it, the soft warmth blooming within her chest. It grows brighter, spreading through her body and lighting her blood on fire. She feels lighter, happier. All of her worry fades. The anxiety is gone. She gasps, all at once realizing Elena has given her one last gifta small measure of happiness. "Elena" she croaks somberly. Elena shakes her head, managing only a small smile.

And then Madeline is by Elena's side, taking her by the arm and dragging her away from Caroline. Her heart clenches in her chest and though it hurts her to watch Elena go, the peace she has given her is still there, encircling her heart and whispering quietly, it's okay, it's okay. Caroline lurches forward, intent on reaching for her friend, but the girl next to her grips her and pulls her back. "Don't," she urges. Caroline stills reluctantly. "Lady Elena Gilbert, our woman of Compassion," Madeline says. "One thousand pounds!" Almost half the men in attendance raise their right hands. "Five thousand pounds!" Not one drops their hands. "Ten thousand" "Fifty thousand pounds," Elijah interrupts, his voice smooth and purposeful. As he makes his way through the throng of men the expression he wears is solid and sure. Elena seems to relax as he nears. Madeline clears her throat. "Yes, well, fifty thousand, going once," she pauses to look around, but all the other men have dropped their arms, disgruntled expressions in place, "going twice sold!" Elijah advances, takes Elena by the hand and leads her out onto the dance floor. He pulls her in close, whispering something in her ear that causes her to smile. They dance slowly, each matching the other step for step. They are comfortable with each other and it warms Caroline's heart to know Elena is with someone who will care for her properly. The dance ends and they move towards the exit. Elena grabs Elijah by the arm and they pause at the exit. She meets Caroline's eyes and she knows. Elena has asked to stayjust for a bit longer, so she might find out if Caroline is safe as well. Madeline appears in front of her then, grabbing at her arm and Caroline wants to cry becauseb ecause none of this is fair. It doesn't feel real. Her life is some sort of twisted joke. Here she stands, her fate resting on a few coins and some man's whim andand it's ridiculous. She has never decided her own fate. She has always done what others have wanted of her. Tried so hard to gain approval from those who wished not to give it. But, damn it, she does have control. She does. "Miss Caroline Forbes, our shining star, the woman with the power of Light. One thousand pounds!" As she walks forward, she holds her head high, scanning the room. Tyler Lockwood is smirking at her, his hand held high. There is challenge in his eyes and Caroline knows he means to win her. She cannot let this happen. Her eyes search for a certain pair but when she finds them, her heart drops. Klaus is at the very back of the crowd, right arm pressed firmly against his side. He is sipping on his champagne, looking wholly uninterested. "Five thousand!" He looks to her; their gazes lock. "Ten thousand!" He tilts his head to the side in slight acknowledgement of her. "Twenty thousand!" She knows her gaze is pleading, hoping, begging and perhaps that is low of her, but she cannot bring herself to care. "Thirty thousand! Going once" Tyler looks triumphant as his hand is the only one that remains.

"Going twice" Caroline closes her eyes in resignation. She thought But she had been wrong. "One hundred thousand pounds." She gasps, recognizing his deep timbre immediately. "One hundred," Madeline trails off, obviously at a loss for words. The shock on Tyler Lockwood's face is only a small pleasure. Madeline clears her throat. "Sold, to Lord Niklaus Mikaelson." Klaus advances towards Caroline, stopping just before her. He holds out his hand, inviting her to take it. "Miss Forbes," he greets. She just barley holds back a smile as she takes his hand. "Lord Mikaelson." He pulls her towards the dance floor and as they near the center he slides his hand gingerly to the small of her back. He clasps her other hand tightly in his and begins to lead her in circles. "Thank you," she says suddenly. The warmth disappears from his eyes, detachment replacing it. "I would hold off on the gratitude, love," he says loftily. She peers at him curiously. "That is quite cryptic," she scoffs. Klaus smiles slow and dangerous. "I am not a simple man, Miss Forbes." She cocks her head to the right and follows his fast footwork with ease. "Is it because you are a vampire?" He chuckles. "So you do know." Respect shines in the light of his eyes. "And yet you do not fear me?" She considers this. Does she fear him? Because, yes, he could have bought for a quick, tasty little snack; but somehow she doesn't believe that. She sees a lonely man; a man who wants companionship but who is too prideful to admit it. And she doesn't fear him. Though, she knows, she probably should. "There are worse things in life than death," she murmurs. "Wiser words have never been spoken," Klaus replies. The music begins to fade and their feet slow. He stands there for a moment in the silence, just gazing at her. He brings his hand up to brush it against her cheek, softly caressing it. "You truly are a gem." He smirks to himself. "Come along then, Miss Forbes." Elena and Elijah are still standing near the exit. "Elijah," Klaus acknowledges as they walk past. Elijah frowns. "Niklaus." Caroline meets Elena's gaze. She is shaken by the genuine fear that shines in Elena's gaze. But then she is gone form view and there is nothing she can do about it. There's a cocky confidence to Klaus as they exit, winding though the many corridors of the boarding house before finally coming to the foyer. Stefan is there. He looks surprised to see Klaus. "I didn't expect you to," he trails off, eyes darting to Caroline. Klaus simply smiles. "If I always did what people expected, Stefan, I would have been killed a long while ago." Stefan chuckles, shaking his head. "Your carriage is ready." He opens the front entrance and guides them to the waiting carriage. It's larger and fancier than the one she arrived in. Klaus steps in front of her and opens the door. He helps her up and then climbs in after her. He leans out of the carriage slightly and addresses Stefan, his voice dropping an octave. "Do keep an eye on that impulsive brother of yours. He has

been spending too much time with the Bennett witch." Stefan nods and then bows. "Of course." Klaus shuts the carriage door. Caroline cannot hold back anymore. "You know Lord Stefan Salvatore?" She asks. "He is an old friend, yes. I trusted his father with the Salvatore Boarding House many years ago. It seems Giuseppe passed on his own Collector duties to his sons. Mores a pity, Stefan could go places if he wished." Something twists in the pit of Caroline's stomach at this new information. "You were in charge of the Collectors?" It comes out as more of a whisper than anything. Klaus gets that distant look in his eyes once again. "That was a long time ago." Caroline frowns, furrowing her brows in anger. "How can you condone what they do? What they did to me?" "The world is not a kind place, Miss Forbes," Klaus says coldly. "We do not always get dealt the cards we wish for. If you want to survive in this land, you must be selfish and clever; more clever than those who would seek to destroy you." She shakes her head. "That is no way to live." "Perhaps not, but compassion and sympathies will only get you killed." What kind of life must he lived, she wonders, that such sad thoughts are so prevalent? She cannot help but wonder what will become of her. Caroline doesn't know much about vampires, only that the bracelet on her wrist will protect her from compulsion. And this man before her, she feels a connection to himbut, that does not mean she wishes to marry him. Caroline bites her lip, fiddling idly with the vervain bracelet. "Did the Bennett witch give you that?" Klaus asks unexpectedly. Caroline blinks. "Yes. What of it?" "She is a smart one, that witch," he murmurs, more to himself than to Caroline. "Although I never intended to compel you, it will serve my purposes for none of my brethren to be able to as well." He looks at her curiously, dark green pools swimming with amusement. "I may have bought your body and power, Caroline Forbes. Your affections, however, I have every intention of earning. Dirty tricks such as compulsion are a lesser man's idea of love." She is surprised by this, but also comforted. Her peace is short lived, however. Klaus flashes forward suddenly, his face only a breath away from hers. His hand is clutching her chin tightly. "But, betray me, love, and you will wish that I had killed you. I am a man of creative punishments." The next moment, he's back on his side of the carriage, aloof expression in place. Caroline shivers. What has she gotten herself into? . . . Whew! That took a bit longer than I thought it would, but I'm glad I finished it on time! I will try to have the next part up by Tuesday, but I make no promises. I have a busy weekend ahead of me at work. As for Damon and Stefan, they will play a bigger role in the story, but for right now I am going to focus on Klaus and Caroline's relationship. They barely know each other, after all. Elena and Elijah should make several appearances throughout this time as well. Anywho, reviews are love! Constructive criticism welcome, as always. Follow me on Tumblr for progress updates~! neuroticsourwolf.

xoxo :)

*Chapter 4*: Part IV

Sorry for the wait you guys! I had a very busy week and was not able to get around to writing this as soon as I would have wished. Again, thank you for your continued support! This story would be nothing but my own musings without each and every one of you. So enjoy! Don't own anything except my own ideas. Characters are property of L.J. Smith and The Vampire Diaries TV Production Team. . . . Part IV . Caroline feels like she is at sea, rocking back and forth, the soft of lure of the ocean whispering her name, soothing her. Around her is a blanket of warmth that protects her from the violent sea jumping up at her and nipping at her feet. Jagged cliffs surround her. Sharp rocks are plentiful in the small harbor, gleaming in the light of the moon as water rushes over them. For only the light may lead the ships safely into the harb or. She gasps. Light surrounds her suddenly. Her orbs are dancing, colorful and bright. Caroline. She turns, hearing her name. But only the wind howls in reply. She opens her mouth to speak, but not a sound escapes. The sky is twisting now, contorting and she feels as if she is falling. Light the way. Falling. Only you. Beneath the sea. Sinking, sinking. Safe. And she can breathe. The world is so bright at the bottom. Is the she source? Be Safe. There is a cave ahead of hershe moves forward, walking on the ocean's floor with ease. With Purpose. She is almost there, just a few more feet Caroline Caroline Caroline Caroline "Caroline. Caroline" Her eyes flash open as she gasps for air. Her eyes fill with tearsbut why is she crying? Her heart beats wildly and it takes her several moments to realize she is being held flush against another body. A strong, male body. She feels herself begin to calm and her body instantly relaxes. She lets herself rest there for a moment before she pulls away, wiping the tears from her face. This is when she notices the carriage is alight with bright, shining lights. She feels their warmth as they are tied strongly with her soul. They pulsate, stationary in the air, not dancing as she usually prefers them. She blinks. "Oh," she breathes, all at once willing them from existence.

The darkness is blinding. She allows her eyes times to adjust. Klaus is still near her as she can feel the heat radiating off his body. She shifts awkwardly to face him. "Sorry," she mumbles, embarrassed. His expression is a gently curious one. "No need for apologies, love," he says as he leans forward to brush her hair from her eyes. "What were you dreaming of?" "I," she pauses, pursing her lips together, "the ocean." He pulls back and Caroline's breath hitches. She already misses the warmth of his fingers against her cheek. It's a realization that causes her face to flush in embarrassment. She looks downward, clasps her hands together in her lap and bites down on her lower lip. It takes her a moment, but it finally registers that the carriage has stopped moving. Caroline flicks her gaze upward hesitantly. Klaus is staring at her, eyes dark and swimming with something akin to desire. He parts his mouth, drags his tongue across his lower lip and then smiles. "Beautiful," he breathes, but his tone makes her uneasy. "What?" "Your light," he tells her, the desire in his eyes growing. Black veins form, crawling upwards toward his eyes, pulsating as they seep into his now-golden irises. Caroline feels as though she should be frightened, but it's not fear that coils in her stomach; it's fascination. She stares, wide-eyed. "Your eyes" she trails off, fisting her hands in her dress. All at once, his face is back to normal, but he looks beyond disturbed. "Pardon me," he says, anger flashing momentarily across his features. He gets up suddenly, opens the carriage door, and exits with inhuman speed. Then, just as suddenly, Stefan is standing before her, extending his hand. "Miss Forbes," he says, "allow me to help you down." She scowls at him, but accepts his offer without too much protest. "Where has Kla" she catches herself. "I mean, where has Lord Mikaelson rushed off to?" Stefan hesitates. "Hunger seems to have gotten the best of him, Miss." For a moment, she's confused. And then the dark, pulsating veins and golden eyes suddenly take on a new light. "Oh," she whispers. That's right, she reminds himself. Klaus is a vampire. Caroline shivers. "Follow me, Miss Forbes," Stefan says, breaking her concentration. She nods and turns to follow him. For the first time since she exited the carriage, she allows herself to take in her surroundings. The manor that appears before her steals away her breath. It is impossibly large, white in color with vines that crawl their way up the walls, reaching for the sky. She follows Stefan up the cobblestone pathway, marveling at the many living sculptures that line the walkway. As she nears the door, the soft sound of waves greets her ears. She looks around, befuddlement taking root in her face. "The house sits atop a cliff," Stefan informs her abruptly. "Truly?" "I will show you tomorrow when you have rested." The look Stefan gives her is meaningful, but she cannot help but hope she will catch a glimpse of the far-off ocean. Caroline tries to peer around the house, to no avail. However, something flashes in her memory of waves and light; ghostly voices and an underlying feeling of sadness. And, just as quickly as it has come, it vanishes, leaving her grasping at straws. Torches light the porch, drowning out the brightness of the stars and the paleness of the moon. Caroline finds that she is disappointed slightly by this. Stefan opens the grand doors and gestures for her to enter. The foyer is marvelous, but too dark for her liking. A beautiful chandler hangs at the ceiling's center, but its candles are not lit. She stares at them, smiles, and in the next instant the candles light themselves, glowing brightly from their perch.

Stefan looks alarmed at first, but only half-laughs when he spots Caroline's devious smile. "It was far too dark in here," she sniffs, playful smile disappearing. He chuckles lowly at her antics. "I shall lead you to your rooms now, Miss Forbes. I will fetch you in the morning for breakfast." At the mention of food, Caroline finds she is quite famished. "Must it wait until morning?" She tries not to sound too desperate, but she hasn't eaten in a dayrefusing that which they had tried to feed her at the Salvatore Boarding House. "I'm afraid Lord Mikaelson doesn't keep regular food in stock," Stefan says, grimacing a bit at the expression of understanding dawning on Caroline's face. "However, I am quite positive he will hire a small kitchen staff to keep you satisfied." Caroline frowns. Perhaps she was too hasty in begging Klaus for his hand? Had Elena not implied he was a murdererthe worst of them all? And here she is, in his manor, being told he doesn't keep food around that is fit for human consumption. She bites back the snippy, curious, "Does he keep human blood donors around, then?" As if sensing her thoughts, Stefan rests a hand on her shoulder. "Lord Mikaelson is not wasteful." Caroline does not find this the least bit comforting. She falls into silence then, following Stefan through the winding corridors to her room. "Your rooms, my lady," he says, unlocking the door for her. She screws up her face at the my lady comment but lets it slide. She nods at him. "Thank you." Stefan frowns slightly at her. "Don't go wandering tonight," he says in warning. "The manor is quite large and it wouldn't do for you to become lost." Caroline glares, miffed. "I have a great sense of direction, thank you." With that said she disappears into her room but not before slamming the door in Stefan's face. She sighs, slumping against the door. The room is quite large with a king sized bed with a canopy that has the most exquisite pink silk sheets and ornate pillows. A vanity is positioned next to the large window. The curtains are pulled back and light from the moon is freely streaming in. Caroline smiles to herself and makes her way over to the bed. A night dress is lain out for her that is cream white in color; surprisingly it fits perfectly. She manages to get out of her long, beautiful red dress with ease and lays it atop the chest at the edge of her bed. After slipping into the night dress she crawls into the bed and falls asleep with unnatural ease. . . . Caroline finds herself wandering the halls against Stefan's expressed wishes. But, if this is to b e where she will spend the rest of her days, who is to say she cannot explore the manor's inner workings? She nods to herself, feeling empowered b y her decision. She laughs a b it to herself, closes her eyes, and wills two b right shining white lights to appear b efore her. They twirl ahead of her, circling one another. The dark hallway takes on a less ominous air and Caroline lets herself relax. Several paintings adorn the corridor walls. They are lavish, sometimes of landscapes, other times of women and men alike. They all carry the same, unique b rushwork and have an overlaying sadness to them. She pauses mid-stride to look at one in particular. It is of a woman with decadent olive skin, dark chestnut hair and almond shaped eyes that have an undeniab le spark. Her smile is tight, as if she is hiding a great many secrets. The most enthralling property is her likeness to Elena. The painting is old, worn and weathered, b ut the woman definitely b ears an uncanny resemb lance to her b rief friend. How odd, Caroline thinks, reaching forward the stroke the painting b eneath her fingers. She feels a sudden shock flow through her fingers, the tips lighting up like lightening. Caroline gasps, stepping b ackward. The painting shudders, sparking and cracking horrib ly. The image contorts and the women in the painting's

head turns, eyes settling on her. Her mouth opens. "Caroline," the painting-woman says. Caroline stares in horror. It has finally happenedshe has lost her mind. And then the world is swirling and she is falling through the floor and everything is so very, very dark. Caroline wakes with a jolt, heart hammering in her chest. Sweat lines the outer layer of her skin as she grapples at a decent intake of air, feeling dizzy. Moments pass before she's finally able to muddle through her racing thoughts. The dream is already slipping away and she reaches for it, hoping to capture even some small part of it. But it is gone, only a painting and the ghost of a cryptic smile remaining. She slips out of her bed and shivers. Her evening dress is short and the night is cold. She grabs a small quilt set on the seat of her vanity chair and drapes it over her shivering body. She warms almost immediately. Caroline places her hand on her door and stills. She feels compelled to leave her room, but Stefan warned her not to go wandering about at night though, by now, it's surely the early hours of the morning. Still, she cannot sleep and if there is one thing Caroline isn't used to, it is being cooped up in a room against her wishes. Caroline exits her room with new found courage. She holds out her hand, intent on providing her own light when she thinks better. Biting her lip, Caroline spots a torch hanging just outside her door. She walks to it, fights to get it out of its place holder and smiles triumphantly when she pulls it free. Slowly, she begins down the corridor and, as she comes to the end, she feels the unexplainable urge to look to her right. No picture hangs there. There is only the darkened wallpaper where a painting once hung. Caroline feels oddly relieved, though she cannot fathom why. Shaking her head, she continues on. At the end of the hallway a door has been left ajar, a soft light escaping from the small opening. Curious, she starts towards it. She's as quiet as she can manage; as she nears she can just barely make out voices. "sorry so late" "problem service Lord" Caroline stops at the cracked door, leans in and peers into the room. She is surprised to see Klaus, sitting languidly in a red velvet chair, looking more relaxed than she has ever seen him. Standing in front of him is a small waif of a girl who looks to be no older than herself. Her hair is long and black as night. She is dressed in a simple outfit, a uniform of some sort. And she is pretty, which makes Caroline's heart drop. Surely Klaus did not have some sort of lover, only buying her out of some misguided pity? Her heart shutters and Caroline places her hand on her chest in an attempt to calm it. Klaus gets to his feet, circling the girl until he stops behind her, brushes her long hair out of the way and bends down to smell her neck. It is ridiculously intimate and Caroline does not like how her heart constricts painfully. Such things shouldn't bother her. "Thank you, love," Klaus growls so lowly Caroline almost doesn't hear him. Caroline gasps as his eyes go dark, black veins appear and his canines elongate. He bites down in a flash, breaking skin and letting crimson blood spill from the girl's neck. His arms encircle her and she only whimpers softly, making no attempt to escape. Moments later he releases her; his golden eyes glow in the firelight, and he hums in ecstasy, fangs gleaming with freshly drawn blood. The girl falters, but does not fall. Klaus reaches up to touch his lips and wipes away the excess blood apathetically, licking the tips of his fingers clean. He looks uninterestedly back at the girl. "You may leave now," he says nonchalantly, as if he hasn't just ripped a bleeding gash in the innocent girl's neck. The girl nods and turns to leave. She pushes the door open, just missing Caroline's nose. Caroline drops her torch in a panic, only startling the girl slightly. Barely fazed, she continues on, only a small measure of befuddlement floating about her face.

It's then Caroline looks wildly to Klaushe's caught her! He stares at her, expression blank. "Miss Forbes," he says evenly, voice like acid. Whatever words she might have said dry up in her throat. He bears his fangs, blood dripping from his mouth and sliding sluggishly down his neck, staining the inner collar of his shirt. "It would be wise to leave." Caroline turns by her heel and flees. . . . Well, this chapter probably brought on a lot more questions than it answered sorry about that guys! Oh, and while I am thinking about ita reviewer a while back asked if Elijah is a vampire. The answer is, yes, he is. Though, there IS a reason Elena does not fear him, and it does have to do with her history with him. I can't say more or I will spoil the plot! Yikes, haha! Anywho hoping to have the next part up on Friday. Follow me on tumblr for updates~! neuroticsourwolf! xoxo :)

*Chapter 5*: Part V

This took a lot longer than I anticipated. I had a family emergency last week and was unable to get this all typed up until today. You should all think Mother Nature for that one! A freak storm knocked out my power and all I had was my laptops' three hour battery and Microsoft Word to entertain myself. Haha, well, enjoy my sweethearts. :) I own nothing except my own ideas. . . . Caroline stumbles blindly down the long corridor, breath haggard and mind racing. The image of Klaus' blood stained lips replays itself over and over again. Monster, she convinces herself. He really is a monster. Her heart constricts, hammering haphazardly within her chest. No, she reproves herself, tears pooling in her eyes. He's not. He saved me. She stops suddenly, pressing her back against the hallway wall where she slides down, her whole body wrecking with sobs. And it is not that she fears him, for was the girl not ultimately unharmed? It is that she is ashamed of herself ashamed of the intrigue she felt. It confuses her, twists up her insides, leaving her feeling perverse and sick-minded. Caroline pulls her knees to her chest, trying to make herself as small as possible. Silence encompasses her. After minuteshours?she hears footsteps in the distance. They grow closer and sure enough the soft glow of a torch reaches her. "I did tell you not to wander around at night, Miss Forbes." Caroline looks up. Stefan is standing before her, soft reproachful gaze in place. "I-I" She looks away, ashamed of the state of her face. "Lord Mikaelson instructed me to find you," he says softly, crouching down to meet her gaze. "He is concerned." She buries her face in her arms. "Normally, he would have fetched you himself, but I advised him otherwisewas I wrong to do so?" Carline peeks up from under her arms. "No," she whispers. And while a part of her is thankful a bigger part is disappointed. Did she want him to come for her? Was she ready to see him like that? Why did he confuse her so? Stefan extends a hand. "Shall I show you the way back to your room?" She takes his hand and he pulls her to her feet. He drops her hand almost immediately but Caroline finds she doesn't miss the warmth of his hand. The way back to her room seems forever away and, when she finally does spot her worn door, she enters and quickly collapses in her bed. Dreams elude her. . . . "Miss Forbes," the soft, silky voice calls, luring her from her slumber. Caroline rolls over, peeking out from under the sheets.

The small waif of a girl from last night appears before her. The two punctures on her neck have been neatly bandaged up. She is smiling. "Breakfast is ready," she says, pulling the covers off of Caroline. She presents a beautiful cobalt colored gown. On the right side hand embroidered white lilies are stitched perfectly into the stunning silk fabric. They crawl up all the way to the waistline where they disperse. It is much too beautiful for her. "I I cannot wear this." The girl blinks at her. "But you must," she urges. "Lord Mikaelson picked it out especially for you." She smiles, scooting in close and adding shyly, "he said it matches the color of your eyes." It seems Klaus is a man only ab le of giving complements second-hand, Caroline thinks snippily. As she focuses on the girl once more her gaze falls to the bandage on her neck. It strikes her suddenly that she does not know the young woman's name. Curiosity piqued, she asks, "Might I ask you for your name?" "Tammy," she answers automatically. Caroline sighs, strokes the edges of the dress and then looks to Tammy. "Help me into it, won't you?" Tammy nods enthusiastically. "Of course, Miss Forbes!" Without further urging, Caroline rises from her bed. Tammy helps her into the dress easily. It fits like a dream, hugging her every curve yet managing to remain comfortable. She smiles at Tammy. "Thank you," she says, meaning it whole heartedly. "Shall I lead you to the dining hall?" "That would be wonderful." The corridors are much different in the morning light, Caroline notes. The walls seem to come alive with color and even the boring, dull portraits of long-dead ancestors seem more alive. Caroline walks with a bit of trepidation in the pit of her stomach. Will Klaus be waiting for her there? Are vampires even able to consume regular food? She shakes the thoughts from her head. As they round the corner she spots Stefan. His smile is tight-lipped. "Good morning, Miss Forbes." He turns his attention to Tammy. "You may go, Tammy. Thank you for rousing her." Tammy smiles. "Of course, Lord Salvatore." She bows before scurrying off. Caroline frowns. "I was going to ask her to join me." "Servants do not eat with nobility," Stefan says, though the way his mouth twitches, she gathers he disagrees with the rule. "How unfortunate," she grumbles. Pushing past Stefan, Caroline marches into the dining hall. A long mahogany table that could easily sit twenty-or-so people appears before her. A single empty plate is lain at the head of the table. She gasps at the amount of food that adorns the table top. "Seriously? Isn't this a bit much?" Caroline manages as she stares in wide-eyed wonder. Stefan does that infuriating half-smile-and-laugh of his. "I suppose it may be, Miss Forbes." She almost rolls her eyes but manages to stifle the urge. She looks to Stefan and smiles deviously. "Well then, Lord Salvatore, might you indulge me with breakfast?" His mouth screws up into an unpleasant smile. "Thank you for the offer, but" "It's quite rude to turn down a Lady," she chastises. Stefan sighs as if he finds her off-putting. "And here you had me believing you weren't a Lady, Miss Forbes."

"It's also rude to contradict a Lady," she snaps as she sits gracefully in the chair he has pulled out for her. Stefan opens his mouth to reply but promptly shuts it when the dining room doors open abruptly; Klaus saunters in, his footsteps loud and purposeful against the marble flooring. He barely gives Stefan a second glance. "Leave," Klaus says coolly with a wave of his hand. Stefan looks to Caroline hesitantly before bowing and doing as he is told. Klaus takes an empty seat a few chairs down from the head of the table. He doesn't look to Caroline immediately but the silence makes her twitch. He looks to her suddenly, gaze sharp. "Good morning, love," he says. The deepness of his voice surprises her slightly causing her to flush. She clears her throat awkwardly. "Good morning," she returns, thanking the heavens she doesn't stammer. Purposefully avoiding his eye contact she reaches forward to scoop eggs and a few fresh slices of tomatoes onto her plate. He is staring at her. She can feel the heat of his gaze against her skin. She looks up at him sharply. "Hungry?" she asks innocently. "Ravenous," he rumbles. Her heart quickens. Klaus grins. "My, my, your heart is beating faster than a frightened jack rabbit." He smiles, all teeth. "Has something startled you sweetheart?" Caroline flushes and rips her gaze from his. "No," she murmurs before stuffing a too-large mouthful of egg down her throat. She doesn't miss the way his lips quirk upwards in satisfaction. As if on cue, Tammy enters the dining room with one cup of dark liquid clutched in her hand. She sets it down in front of Klaus, bows, and then goes to stand just inside the door. Klaus sighs and takes the glass into his grip. Caroline stares blatantly. Blood, she thinks. It's b lood. Klaus frowns at her. He brings the glass up to his lips and, just as he's about to drink, he pauses. His eyes lock with Caroline's. "Bourbon," he clarifies. The next instant, he's downing his drink with a sated smirk. "Yes, why would you drink blood from a glass?" She murmurs aloud, eyes snapping to Tammy. "Not when you have such a fresh supply at your disposal." And perhaps it is rude of her and she shouldn't be saying such rude things to a man who could drain her dry in under a second. The good-natured smirk is gone from Klaus' lips. "Ah," he breathes as his eyes darken. "So you do have some fire, then." Caroline sits up straight, staring him down with defiance. Her hands absolutely do not shake slightly in fear. She flushes when he stares right at them. Nothing seems to go unnoticed by this enigma of a man. His intense gaze never wavers and she begins to feel uncomfortable. It is as if he is somehow able to see through her, into her soul and thoughts. "I admire you, dearest Caroline," he purrs her name, shocking her with the intimate usage. "You have an instinctual fear of meyet, you exude a courage that is quite reckless of you. I admire you for it, nonetheless, love." She knows not whether she should feel threatened or honored. She forces a smile. "You aren't very good at giving compliments, are you Lord Mikaelson?"

He chuckles. "Genuine ones? Perhaps not. Deception is easier than the truth, sweetheart." "Maybe for a wicked heart," she replies hastily. He considers this. "And if my heart is the wickedest of them all?" The question, posed as innocent and playful pulls at something within her. Because it's just thatit isn't innocent and playful at all. It's a front for loneliness and pain this manmonsterstranger tries and fails so hard to hide. Caroline relaxes. "Even a wicked heart can love," she whispers. "Is that so?" He replies. His expression remains a neutral, unreadable mystery. Caroline squirms in her seat. She eats the rest of her breakfast in silence, trying desperately to ignore the way Klaus is staring at her. As she pushes her plate away, her stomach satisfied, Klaus gets up swiftly form his chair. He looks to her expectantly. "Follow me," he demands. Caroline frowns, but doesn't disobey. Klaus is quite a bit taller and a fast walker so it takes her power-walking-almost-running to catch up with him. She lags behind slightly, half-afraid of where he is leading her. He has been slightly verbally antagonistic to her, but he has never actually harmed her. Not yet, a small part of her brain whispers. She forces the thought from her brain. The final hallway they turn down leads out on to a grand porch held up by large concrete pillars. Beyond the porch lays an expansive garden, brimming with bright and warm colors. Caroline gasps as Klaus walks out amongst the flowers. She stays just at the edge of the porch. He pauses to look over his shoulder. His eyes beckon her. Taking a hesitant step forward, Caroline lets herself fall into the world of beauty. There are so many flowers, she doesn't even recognize them all. But they breathe with life, flowing and calling to her. She feels her heart swell with the vibrancy. "Oh," she gasps, feeling the beginning of tears prickling at the edges of her eyes. "It's beautiful." Klaus lounges up against the nearest stone wall covered in gorgeous ivy. "These are my private gardens," he says. "You may come here any time you wish." Caroline looks to him and, for the first time since she saw his vampiric side, she truly sees him as the lost soul he is. No being that has the ability to raise such a beautiful garden could be truly evil or black hearted. She smiles at him. A true, genuine smile. "Thank you," she says. And she means it with every fiber of her being. He gestures to steps the lead up and around a large stone structure. She leads the way, walking up wearily. What she finds, however, takes away her breath. The structure is a large platform build atop a cliff, over-looking the ocean. The smell of sea salt assaults her senses suddenly. Marble tiles adorn the ground, curious ivy weaving its way across. Surrounding the outer edges is an assortment of rose bushes, all so breathtakingly beautiful. Caroline scampers over to the first bush happily. She reaches forward suddenly, intent on bringing the rose closer to her nose. What she finds, however, is immediate pain. Gasping in shock, she recoils and looks to the blood pooling on her forefinger. She frowns at the pain. Klaus appears at her side in that moment. "Roses are extraordinarily beautiful flowers," he murmurs, taking her hand in his to inspect the tiny prick. "But if you're not careful, they'll punish you for enjoying their beauty. Nothing in this world is without its thorns, love." Caroline laughs lightly. "I will try to look past your thorns, Lord Mikaelson." His expression softens. "Please," he says, "call me Klaus."

Klaus brings her pricked finger to his lips, enveloping it and sucking softly. Caroline gasps. Their gazes lock. Her heart quickens. He pulls her finger from his mouth, leaving a trace amount of blood on his lower lip. He drops her hand and chuckles to himself. He brings his thumb to his lip, presses against it and wipes the excess blood clean. Making sure to hold her gaze, he brings his bloodied finger to his mouth and sucks it clean. She finds herself speechless, her own pricked finger long forgotten. Klaus smirks. "Come along, Miss Forbes. The good weather does not look like it will bode well." Caroline stands there for a moment in stunned silence. Finally, she gathers herself and follows him back into the manor. . . . Really wanted to try and develop Klaus and Caroline's friendship in this chapter. And fiery Caroline made an appearance which is always fun. Hopefully I'm keeping them enough in character! Anyway, may be another chapter of their interaction before I get to any plotty-goodness. (haha) I will try to update as quickly as possible. As always, review! Constructive criticism welcome. Follow me on tumblr! Insipidhappiness! I also have a livejournalwhere I will be archiving this story as well. Feel free to friend me. My username is Muffintine. xoxo :)

*Chapter 6*: Part VI

Sorry this update took forever. A lot of things in real life prevented it. But, here it is, at long last! Enjoy! I own nothing except my own ideas. . . . Lightening cracks and thunder resonates throughout the manor. It startles Caroline, causing her to jump a little. She flushes in embarrassment; dread of thunderstorms is a child's fear, after all. Klaus spares her a glance, his lips twitching upwards in silent amusement. She frowns, the pink tint of her cheeks darkening. "The storm will pass quickly," he says, no affliction in his voice. Caroline casts her gaze to the floor, refusing to acknowledge how his statement has calmed her. He smirks to himself and quickens his pace. Caroline hurries to catch up. They end up in a hallway unfamiliar to her. Its atmosphere seems lighter, however, than the rest of the manor. A single door lays to their right and Klaus opens it, gesturing for her to enter. She does so. The room is well lit with candles lining the walls a dozen at a time. Paintings of all shapes and sizes adorn the walls. Each is different, but all have a story to tell. Some are dark, heart wrenching even. Others are lighter, full of soft happiness and joy. They seem to conflict one another even though it is clear the same artist painstakingly crafted each and every one. "Are these," Caroline begins breathlessly. Klaus laughs humorlessly. "I once heard a man say paintings are a window into the soul of the artist...," he trails off, cocking his head thoughtfully. "I wonder, love, what do my paintings say about me?" He looks to her then, his gaze burning. Caroline shudders, the deep timbre of his voice rumbling through her entire body. She looks away from him and settles her gaze on the myriad of paintings. One in particular catches her eye. The subject is a murder of crows flying into the burning sun. Only one lags behind, its wings clipped. It sits on the grass, encased in shadows and strikes her as so terribly lonely. "That you are alone," she says and then gasps, bringing a hand to cover her mouth. She looks to him, apologetic. "Sorry," she whispers, "I wish it unsaid." He advances towards her then, a dark and thoughtful expression encompassing his features. Caroline stumbles backwards, tripping slightly and slamming her back against the wall. Klaus corners her and leans in close, his face only inches from hers. "I find your honestly refreshing," he growls, his bottomless blue eyes soaking her in. He smirks softly and leans in, pressing his lips to the nape of her neck. He inhales and then exhales slowly. Caroline's heart begins to pound as fear and excitement simultaneously pulse through her. Klaus brings his hands up to encircle her waist, pressing her body closer to his and she jumps at the contact. "You should be afraid of me," he whispers as he drags his teeth across the skin of her neck, "but I find myself wishing you wouldn't be." Thunder rumbles through the manor, shaking its very foundation. Caroline gasps, eyes dilating as the dozen of candles in the room are suddenly blazing brighter. The flames grow taller and fiercer with each passing second. Klaus pulls away reluctantly, glancing interestedly at the blazing candles. "Your powers are bit unstable, sweetheart," he notes absently. Scarlet paints Caroline's cheeks as she flushes with humiliation. "I never had the opportunity to practice," she murmurs furiously. Klaus lifts his hand to her cheek and caresses it softly. "And now you have plenty of opportunity," he murmurs. He stares at her for a moment longer before breaking away. It leaves her aching for his warm touch and that loss causes her heart

to throb painfully. The brightly burning candles all go out simultaneously. Blackness blankets the room. Caroline hears Klaus shuffling around and one by one the candles are relit. "Sorry," she says sheepishly. He motions for her to take a seat on the velvet-lined chair positioned in front of the fireplace. She does so without question and watches as Klaus saunters over to the fireplace and begins to rouse a small fire. Caroline holds out her hand, bringing to life a small shining globe of light. It floats through the air until it comes to rest just above the firewood. There it sparks and shudders before covering the firewood and starting a blaze. "I used to start all the fires for my mom," she says softly when Klaus turns to look at her. Something dark flashes across his face at the mention of her mother and he turns away from her. "Did you love your mother?" he asks suddenly. Caroline blinks. "Of course," she replies curiously. "And she was a good woman?" "She is." "And she loved you?" Caroline frowns. "To the best of her ability." Klaus turns to face her then and something within his eyes looks as if it is dead. "Even if it is a mother's job to love their children, not all are as kind as yours." The way he says it chills her to the bone. "And your mother?" she inquires. "Did she love you?" His face is blank for a moment before it contorts with silent rage. "I believe she tried to." Silence coats the room. "Then she did not try hard enough," Caroline whispers unexpectedly, resolutely and with determination set in her face. Klaus looks to her, a strong fondness held within his eyes. He crouches down next to her, taking her hand into his. "I wish to truly know you, Caroline Forbes." Caroline bites her lip. "Why?" "I find you intriguing." She wants to laugh. He is the one who is intriguing, not her. She is just a simple country girl who happens to have magic. A magic that is valued for its rarity though she knows not why. "I am hardly that," she says, "sorry to disappoint." Klaus smiles. "You underestimate yourself, love. No matter, over time your worth will become apparent, even to yourself." Caroline squints her eyes. "Do you always speak in riddles?" He smirks. "Not riddles, lovely, just truths that have yet to come to light." She rolls her eyes and laughs softly. "Right." It strikes her suddenly that she has fallen into comfortable conversation with Klaus, who, only the night before, she had come to think of as a monster. It is only now that she realizes while he may be a creature of fable, a monster per se, he isn't. Not really. He has a gentle side to him and for reasons she cannot yet discern, he is allowing her to see it. "Do you miss your home?" he asks abruptly, tearing Caroline away from her thoughts. Her response is immediate. "Terribly." And she does. She misses her mom and their modest cottage. A small part of he misses Matt, but a larger part chastise her. He may have been a good guy, but he was all wrong for her. But she knows she can never have that life back. It was all wrong for her in many ways. She belongs here now and that is that. One should never argue with fate.

Klaus' features are unreadable. "I see," he says. His eyes trail to the clock that hangs just above the fireplace. Time has passed quicker than she anticipatedit is evening now. Caroline's stomach growls and she flushes appropriately. "You should eat," Klaus says. "As should I." She grabs him by the arm. "Promise you won't hurt anyone." "I don't make promises I cannot keep, love," he says candidly. "Oh," she whispers, loosening her grip on his arm. "I will send Lord Salvatore to fetch you," he says as his glaze lingers on Caroline for a moment longer than necessary. "I advise that you don't wander off." And just like that, he is gone. Caroline sighs and lets herself sink back into the chair. She places her hand over her heart and frowns. Things have gotten so twisted up and confusing and she no longer knows what is right and wrong. Perhaps it doesn't matter, she thinks and closes her eyes. A few moments later, she is asleep. . . . "Caroline," a b reathy voice whispers. She twitches, b ut does not open her eyes. All she sees is the darkness. "He is coming. They come in warning. Be careful." Her eyes flash open and Elena stands b efore her, solemn expression in place. "Elena?" The woman laughs. "No," she says. Caroline knits her eyeb rows together in confusion. "But" "There is a lot that will not make sense. But you must trust your instincts. Protect yourself." Caroline opens her mouth to reply b ut suddenly her world is spinning and contorting and she is left gasping for air. . . . She jolts awake, eyes wide and gasping for air. Stefan stands before her, surprised expression in place. "Lord Salvatore?" She asks in confusion. He nods. "Are you alright Miss Forbes?" "I," she trails off. Stefan places a hand on her shoulder. "Did something frighten you?" She shakes her head. "No. Just a silly dream."

"Lord Mikaelson has instructed me to take you to dinner," Stefan says as he holds out a hand to help her out of the chair. Caroline gladly accepts and is pulled to her feet. She follows Stefan out of the room in silence, wondering what her dream truly meant. It makes her weary. As they walk, side by side, Caroline looks to Stefan and frowns. He had seemed so kind when she first met him and now he only holds her at arm's length, seeming openly put off by her. "Do you not like me?" She asks in a small voice. Stefan stops walking, startling her. She slows and turns to face him. He seems conflicted. "I do not dislike you, Miss Forbes," he says, but something about the way he does is wrong, but Caroline cannot quite place it. She laughs humorlessly. "You make it quite hard to tell." He frowns then, runs a frustrated hand through his short chestnut locks and looks to Caroline, guilt plain in his eyes. "I feel responsible," he finally manages. "Responsible?" "For the fact that you are here instead of with your mother," he admits. "I have made many mistakes in my life, Miss Forbes, but bringing you here tops the list," he laughs, the sound broken and heart breaking. Caroline places a hand on his shoulder. "Why?" she inquires. Stefan looks at her now and it is pity that lies within his gaze. "I am unable to tell you more, but you will understand soon enough." He pulls her into a short embrace, shocking her. "But you are strong, Miss Forbes, so I have faith everything will work out." He pulls away from her then. "Caroline," she says. "My friends call me Caroline." Stefan grins softly. "Then you must call me Stefan." She laughs. "Of course." All of a sudden the smile falls from Stefan's face, replaced by narrowed eyes and a worried frown. "What's wrong?" He looks to her. "Do you know how to get to your room from here?" "Uhwhat?" Caroline says, bewildered. "II suppose." "Go there. Now." Caroline blinks and Stefan is gone. She finds herself alone once more. Heaving a sigh, Caroline starts down the hallway towards her room. Three turns down, she finds she hasn't a clue where she is. "Seriously," she mumbles to herself. "Who built this manor? Was it really necessary to include all these twists and turns?" Frowning, she takes another right and finds herself suddenly slammed up against a wall. The impact steals away her breath and blurs her vision. "Well, isn't this disappointing," she hears a woman say. Caroline struggles and slowly her vision clears. A blonde woman stands before her, hand clasped firmly around Caroline's throat. Slowly, black veins crawl up her cheeks and sink into her eyes. Her eyes darken as her canines elongate and she leans forward. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Caroline," she growls and then lurches forward, sinking her teeth into Caroline's neck. Caroline lets out a blood curdling scream. . .

. Annnnd that's all folks! Until next time, at least! The plot will heat up next chapter! And Kol shall make an appearance as well! Updates should resume to their normal weekly routine. Leave your thoughts in a review! As always, constructive criticism is welcomed. :) Follow me on tumblr! Insipidhappiness~ Also, feel free to add me on LiveJournal. My user is Muffintine. xoxo :)

*Chapter 7*: Part VII

This chapter was a bit more difficult to write. I think it is because I am not used to writing Rebekah or Kol. I do hope they are not too terribly out of character. Anyway, thank you for all of your reviews last chapter! They warm my heart! :) Don't own. Never will. Anything you don't recognize, I own. . . . Fight! Caroline's mind screams at her as agony rips through her body like a blazing fire. Fight, or die! In quick session, Caroline pushes her hands against her attacker's chest and a white hot light flashes, shocking the woman. She immediately jolts backward, ripping her fangs from Caroline's neck. Caroline stands there for a moment in shock, her neck throbbing and blood soaking her dress. She stares in disbelief. She then looks to her hands in surprise and then back at the blonde woman who seems to be recovering quickly. Caroline doesn't think. She turns and runs for her life. She trembles, almost stumbling several times as her vision blurs in and out. The blood loss has left her weak, but desperate. She has to get away. Caroline turns around another corner, clipping her shoulder. She gives a whimper, but continues on in a confused haze. In one bout of lucidity, she recognizes where she isclose to the Dining Room. "Help," she rasps, leaning against the wall and leaving a trail of smeared blood. All of a sudden, she is grabbed forcibly by the hair and whipped around to face the blonde woman once again. She screams in horror, trying to shake herself free. The woman gives a nasty sneer. "I underestimated you," she says coldly. "It won't happen again." "Please," Caroline begs and struggles half-heartedly as the woman drags her along. "Begging never got anyone anywhere," she snaps cruelly, giving a yank of Caroline's hair. Caroline yelps. "Why are you doing this?" Caroline asks hopelessly, wincing. The woman cocks her head the right in consideration. "Because you are in the way." Caroline feels woozy, the effects of her blood loss almost overtaking her. She falters, almost falling to the ground. The woman finally relinquishes her grip on Caroline's hair, instead opting for an iron grip on her upper arm. "Now, let us go see my dearest brother." Brother? Caroline's head is swimming. She follows helplessly. The woman throws open the doors to the Dining Hall and saunters in. "Oh," she groans immediately. "It's you." Caroline struggles to focus, to no avail. "Rebekah," she hears Stefan say in surprise. "Stefan," Rebekah returns evenly, bitterness evident in her voice. "What a surprise." His breath hitches and Caroline knows he has spotted her, a bloodied disoriented mess. "Caroline," he breathes. "Rebekah, what did you do?" Rebekah smiles cruelly. "Nothing not within my nature." Stefan grits his teeth. "That is not an acceptable excuse. Let her go." "I would much rather see Nik first. We have some business to discuss, you understand?" "Rebekah," Stefan growls as he takes a menacing step forward.

"Oh, Stefan," Rebekah laughs. "Do you honestly believe I have anything to fear from you?" Stefan lets out a feral growl and runs forward, lightening quick. Rebekah catches him by the arm, Caroline still clutched tightly in her other grip, and throws Stefan across the room. He tumbles into the dining table, breaking a few chairs. He grunts in pain but gets to his feet just as quick, broken wooden chair leg in hand. "You're a baby, Stefan," Rebekah remarks. "Best put that down before you get hurt." He charges again, this time the makeshift stake poised to strike. Rebekah catches his wrist in her hand and leans in close. "Sorry, lover," she whispers before twisting his arm down and forcing him to stab himself in the shoulder. Stefan screams in pain. Caroline gasps at Rebekah's side as she watches in horror what transpires. "Too easy," Rebekah whispers. She pushes Stefan backwards and watches curiously as he falls to the floor. She turns her back to him then and yanks Caroline along who, by now, has been reduced to tears. Turning her back to him is a mistake. Stefan rips the stake from his shoulder and jumps to his feet once again, ready to strike. Another figure enters the room like a hellfire whirlwind, knocking Stefan to his knees. "You should know better than to turn your back on someone so desperate, sister," the newly arrived man says. Rebekah scoffs. "I'll leave him to you then, Kol." Kol smirks. "Do be gentle," she says. "I don't think Klaus would be too pleased if you did away with his favorite toy." She looks down at Caroline and smiles heartlessly. "Come along then, sweetheart." "Stefan," she protests weakly as they exit the wrecked Dining Room. Screams and horrible sounds echo behind them as they continue down the hallway. As they go further into the manor another ruckus becomes more apparent. Two voices are raised and exchanging expletives. Caroline is only just able to make out Klaus' voice. He sounds angry; angrier than she has ever heard him. Rebekah tightens her grip on Caroline as she pauses at the door. She gives Caroline a sharp glare. "Don't do anything stupid," she warns before pushing the door open and yanking Caroline through the doorway. Klaus stands in the back of the sitting room, his hand clasped tightly around another gentleman's neck. He has the long haired man pinned to the wall opposite of them. There is murder in his eyes and a silver ash-tipped dagger clutched in his raised hand. "Hello, Nik," Rebekah says playfully, interrupting any harm he might have done. "I see you and Finn have had quite the reunion. All of this nice furniture ruined. How unfortunate." "Rebekah," Klaus breathes, his eyes immediately falling to Caroline who is whimpering softly at her side. His gaze instantly darkens and his lips twist into a snarl. "What have you done?" He growls warningly, his voice a deadly calm. "When were you planning on telling us you bought such a boring pet?" Rebekah smirks. "I'm surprised you let her live this long though, honestly," she remarks. "After all, you know what he will use her for." "Release her," Klaus snaps, tone acidic. "Now." "And if I don't want to?" Rebekah asks stubbornly, cocking a brow. Klaus tightens his hold on the dagger. "Don't be a brat, Rebekah," he says dangerously. "Let Finn go, put that ridiculous dagger away and I'll think about it," she returns, smirking proudly. Rage fills Klaus' face. "Who do you think you are," he spits, "to make demands under my roof?" Rebekah glares and jerks Caroline upright, lowering her head near her neck. "I'm the one with the advantage here," she hisses, "lest you forget." Caroline recoils and searches for Klaus' gaze. She catches it and it shocks her how much rage is surging within them. Even though she is hurt and terrified out of her mind, it reassures her slightly.

Klaus grits his teeth, but never takes his eyes off Caroline. "If you harm her any more than you already have, I will end you." "Do away with your baby sister?" she scoffs. "Even you wouldn't dare, Nik." "Do not pretend to know what I am capable of, Rebekah," Klaus says, his tone dangerous. In the next instant he has driven the dagger through Finn's heart. His skin pigmentation grays and the light goes out in his eyes. Klaus releases him and his body falls to the ground with a sickening thud. "Niklaus," Rebekah growls breathlessly, "what have you done?" "Nothing I have not promised I would do," Klaus counters. "Now, give me the girl and you may remove the dagger yourself." Rebekah hesitates. "Now, Rebekah," Klaus demands. Rebekah gives an aggravated sigh, relinquishes her grip on Caroline and pushes her to Klaus' feet. She's quick to fall at Finn's side where she rips the dagger from his heart. Klaus walks calmly over to Caroline and bends down, bringing her into his arm. "Shh, love, it's okay, it's okay," he whispers gently. Caroline sobs openly in his arms, shaking violently with relief. "S-Stefan," she croaks as her tears soak the right shoulder of Klaus' shirt. "He's hurt..." Klaus frowns and turns an inquiring gaze to Rebekah. "What did you do to Stefan?" Rebekah rolls her eyes. "Kol," she calls calmly. A beat. With a slam, Kol enters, Stefan slung over his shoulder; lifeless. Caroline's eyes widen at the scene. "What," she gasps. "No, no" Klaus places a comforting hand on the back of her head. "He's fine, love," he whispers. "He's fine." Kol drops Stefan's body onto the floor next to Klaus and Caroline and then goes to stand next to Rebekah and Finn's lifeless, gray body. Caroline pushes away from Klaus and reaches for Stefan, running her hand up his shoulder and resting it on his neck. No pulse greets her fingertips. Tears once again spring to her eyes. "He has no pulse," she says softly in devastation and pulls her hand away as if she has been burned. Rebekah peers at her curiously from the other end of the room. "That is because he is a vampire," she mocks. "Surely you knew that?" "What?" Caroline exclaims. Klaus glares, slowly untangles himself from Caroline and gets to his feet. "Silence," he snaps at his sister. "You will not upset her further." Kol grins manically at Rebekah's side. "She's a tasty looking thing," he remarks. "Such a shame Rebekah got to her first." Caroline shivers and scoots closer to Stefan. She pulls his lifeless body into her lap and bites her lower lip, fighting back her tears. She has to be strong. Klaus is here now. She is safe, at least for now. "If you value breathing, I suggest you speak no further, Kol," Klaus snarls. Kol laughs and something about the sound of it is off. It sends shivers down Caroline's back. "Now," Klaus begins evenly, stalking towards his siblings with contempt. "You will tell me why you came, or you will end up like Finn; a dagger in your heart."

Rebekah sighs in annoyance. "Oh, do calm down Nik," she says flippantly. "We were only having a bit of fun with your human pet. Don't pretend you aren't going to kill her eventually." Caroline's grip on Stefan's shirt tightens, her worst fears falling out of Rebekah's mouth with ease. Klaus spares a glance in her direction. "What I have in store for Miss Forbes is none of your business," he says, easily diverting the conversation. "I shall repeat myself only once. Why have you come here?" Rebekah glances wearily at Caroline. "He knows about her," she says simply. A thin line forms on Klaus' lips. "I see," he says darkly. "So, brother, what do you say? Let her run through the forest," Kol winks, "make a chase of it?" Caroline winces visibly. Klaus glares sharply. "I thought I told you to silence yourself," he says not bothering to hide his contempt. Kol scowls. "And you used to be such fun." "Shut it, Kol," Rebekah hisses. At Caroline's side, Stefan stirs, groaning as he comes back into consciousness. He looks around wildly but relaxes slightly when he sees Caroline is beside him, mostly unharmed. Klaus turns, walks briskly over to Stefan, and helps him to his feet. Klaus turns to face Rebekah and Kol once more. "We will discuss this matter tomorrow," he says. "I don't think you understand," Rebekah begins. "Mikael" "Don't," Klaus says, cutting her off. He turns to Stefan. "Stefan, fetch Elijah immediately. This will undoubtedly interest him." Stefan rubs the back of his head but nods, sends a reluctant gaze Caroline's way and then quickly exits the premise. "Brothers, sister," Klaus begins in parting, "until the morning." He turns to Caroline, who is still sitting on the floor, her face a tear-stained mess. "Come, love," he says gently, extending a hand. She takes it and he pulls her up into his arms. They exit the room, leaving his siblings behind. A few paces in, Caroline's legs give in and she almost falls to the floor. Klaus catches her under the arm and steadies her. "Sorry," she whispers. "Woozy." Klaus frowns. "You shouldn't be walking," he comments, giving her a thoughtful look. After a beat he leans forward and swoops her up into his arms; one arm under her legs and the other around her upper back torso. Caroline gasps in surprise. "I-I can walk," she protests weakly. Klaus smirks softly. "You room is not far. Rest," he demands. And so she does. Caroline lets her body relax in Klaus' arms. She rests her head against his chest. No heartbeat greets her ears but she does not find it disconcerting. Quite the opposite, in fact. The soft rise and fall of his chest lures her to a calmed and comfortable state. Before she knows it, they are at her door. He shifts her weight and easily opens it. He comes to stand just before her bed and lays her down gingerly. He sits on the edge of the bed and simply stares at her for a long while. "What happened today will not happen again," he promises. He sounds so sure and determined; Caroline cannot help but believe him. "I'm okay," she replies, her voice small. He frowns. "You're weak," he notes, dragging his fingers across the two wounds on her neck. "We can't have that," he smiles half-heartedly. Klaus's eyes darken and his teeth grow to sharp points as he brings his wrist up to meet his lips.

He bites down without hesitation and rips into his flesh. Crimson blood pours out, covering his forearm. He positions it in front of Caroline's mouth. "Drink up love, before it heals." Caroline hesitates. "Will I turn into a vampire too?" she asks weakly and with a touch of fear. Klaus chuckles lightly. "No, lovely," he says. "It will only restore your strength and heal your wounds." "Okay," she relents and leans forward, eagerly taking part in Klaus' blood. It tastes like copper and has a warm, thick consistency to it, but Caroline finds she doesn't mind. She pulls away after a few moments. Klaus smiles fondly. "Sleep well," he whispers, placing a soft kiss on her forehead. He stays with her until she falls asleep. . . . Okay so, yes, Stefan is a vampire. Yes, his transformation is fairly recent. Yes, Elijah is Klaus' brother. No, Damon is not a vampire. Hope that clears up any questions you may have! Next chapter we get some Elijah and Elena and possibly some Bonnie! :) Leave your thoughts in a review! As always, constructive criticism welcomed! Follow me on tumblr! Insipidhappiness~ Also, feel free to add me on LiveJournal. My username is Muffintine. xoxo :)

*Chapter 8*: Part VIII

Sorry for the wait you guys! Here is the next chapter! Hope all of you enjoy! :0) Don't own. Never will. Anything you don't recognize is mine. Not beta'd. All mistakes are mine. . . . Caroline awakes to the soft brush of fingertips across her forehead. They are light and slender, soft; so unlike the rough texture of Klaus' own fingers. She feels at peace, oddly enough. Her whole body is flowing with the swirling feeling of happiness. It is a distant feeling that creeps up inside of her and nestles into the open most part of her heart. Slowly, she opens her eyes and lets them adjust to the dim lighting of the room. Elena sits at her side, content smile in place. "Good morning," she says pleasantly. "Elena?" Caroline murmurs hoarsely as she rolls over slightly. "Let's get you changed," she says suddenly, trailing her hand across the bloodstained shoulder of Caroline's ruined dress. Elena's face is guilt ridden as she stares at the stains and then to Caroline's healed neck. "I'm sorry you have suffered," she apologizes weakly. "There is no need for an apology," Caroline promises as she slips off the edge of her bed and pulls Elena to her feet with her. "I am ultimately unharmed." Elena frowns. "How?" "Klaus," Caroline begins and then blushes immediately, correcting herself, "I mean, Lord Mikaelson fed me his blood to heal me." She smiles. "I did not know their blood had such properties." The look of shock that takes to Elena's face startles Caroline. "You've ingested his blood?" she whispers worriedly. Caroline's face creases with worry. "Yesis that a bad thing?" "Not if you stay alive," Elena explains. "How one becomes a vampire is not simple. It is ritualistic, in a way. One must drink from a vampire, die with the blood in their system and then partake in human blood when they awaken." "Well then," Caroline says playfully, "lucky for you I have no plans to die. Now, wipe that worried look off your face." "Caroline" Caroline brushes off her concern. "So," she begins, "if you're here, that must mean Elijah is here as well?" A tender expression spreads over Elena's face and a touch of red heats up her cheeks. "Yes," she says amicably. "I begged him to take me with him. I have been worrying for you ever since the auction." Caroline takes Elena's hand in hers. "I am fine," she assures her. "Lord Mikaelson has been very kind to me." It is not a lie. He has clothed her, fed her and made a true attempt to know her. Whatever fear she may feel for him has dwindled to a minuscule amount. She still has her worries, of course, but after last night He had protected her against his own family. The memory of the anger in his eyes causes her to shiver slightly. Never in her life had someone been so angry on her behalf. Elena looks doubtful. "Please, Caroline," she says, "don't feel the need to lie to me." Caroline cocks her head slightly. "I am not lying," she protests. Elena still looks as if she does not believe her.

"I understand why you fear him," Caroline says, her mind flashing to fear that had coursed through her during Rebekah's attack, "but there is one thing I do not understand. From what I gather, Elijah is Klaus' brotherdoes that not also make him a vampire? A monster?" "He's different," Elena argues. "You know not the horrors Klaus has committed." "Then tell me," Caroline suggests even as a part of her wishes she woudln't. "I cannot," Elena says, shaking her head vigorously. "Trust me, you do not wish to know." "If I do not know, how will I protect myself?" Caroline counters. "If you believe him to be such a danger to me, should I not know what he is capable of?" "Caroline" "Listen to yourself, Elena. You call Klaus a monster; you warn me to stay away from him. And yet, he takes me in; he saves me from men who would have hurt me and all he has shown me is kindness and beauty. He protected me against his own flesh and blood" Caroline breaks off, tears beginning to prick at her eyes. "and yet you wish for me to hate him for things I know nothing about?" Elena's eyes darken and she looks away from Caroline, closing herself off. "He turned Stefan," she says, her voice hard. Caroline's head is swimming with confusion. "And that is why you hate him?" Tears of her own have started to pool in Elena's eyes. "I once loved Stefan," she whispers, her voice cracking. "I loved him with all of my soul. But, my sisterKatherineshe claimed loved him as well. The problem was, she also loved Damon and so she strung them both along. She played with their hearts and their minds. For you see, Caroline, while I have the magic of Compassion, my twin sister has the magic of Seduction. And she was reckless!" "Elena" "Please, Caroline," she begs, "let me finish." Caroline nods. "I was blinded by my love for Stefan and I wished him to be free of Katherine's hold. I knew he was a collector and the son of Giuseppe. But, I thought if I could just clear his head he would come to love me in return. So I used my magic to counter Katherine's, but such a great sadness overtook him. He wished to never be influenced by magic again," Elena chokes on her own tears before continuing. "So he sought out Klaus, who he knew was a vampire that would turn him. After that, he was no longer the Stefan I knewthe one I loved. He told Damon about both of usabout our magicand Damon, in anger attempted to have us collected. Katherine managed to escape. But I didn't. The Stefan I loved is gone because of him. He killed his own father and so many others. Klaus infects people, Caroline. He infects them with bloodlust and rage and darkness I don't want that for you." "Oh, Elena," Caroline whispers as she reaches forward and brings Elena in for an embrace. "I'm so sorry." Elena leans into her as her whole body wrecks with sobs. Caroline doesn't know what to feel. Her chest feels hollow and her mind muddled. But, there is one thing she is sure of. While Elena may think Stefan a monster, he had fought for her; had shown her a distant friendship. He is not a monster. That much she knows. Whatever he may have donewhoever he may have hurt, it is not her place to judge. And, if she cannot think Stefan a monster, how could she ever come to think of Klaus as one? "Don't worry, Elena," she breathes. "Even the smallest light still shines in the darkness." Elena laughs, though it is a sad and broken sound. "Everything will be okay," Caroline reassures. "Elijah is kind to you, is he not?" "He always has been," she says slowly, wiping the tears from her eyes. "Good. Hold on to that. Do not worry for me." Elena places her hand on Caroline's shoulder. "I will always worry for you," she says. "I consider you my friend." Caroline smiles. "You are my friend as well, Elena. Nothing will ever change that."

Elena chuckles. "First things first, let us get you out of this awful dress." Caroline laughs and leads Elena to her wardrobe. Several dresses hang there, all of them more beautiful than anything she deserves. She allows Elena to pick, for she hardly cares what she wears. The dress she chooses is a simple yellow dress that fits her like a dream. She has just finished changing when there is a soft knock on her door. Elena answers it. When it is Stefan that stands on the other side she flinches slightly and moves out of the way quickly. Caroline frowns. Stefan acts as if he does not see Elena. "Caroline," he says, "I am to bring you and Lady Gilbert to the sitting room. There is to be a discussion and Elijah was adamant both of you were there." Caroline nods as Stefan motions for them to follow him. Caroline links her arm with Elena's and leads her after Stefan. Elena has taken on a reserved expression and her body has gone ridge. The air is thick between the two and Caroline so desperately wishes she could fix what was broken between the two of them. As they near, loud voices become apparent. "She's a liab ility, Elijah, certainly you agree" "No, Rebekah, she's just a girl with the misfortune to follow in Tatia's foot" "You dare to mention her name" "Look what you did Elijah, now you've gone and upset" "Do shut up, Kol" "All of you quit squabbling like child" The arguing ceases the moment they set foot in the room. The silence that greets them makes Caroline sweat. Everyone has turned to face them, most of their gazes accusatory. She seeks out Klaus' warm gaze and finds it immediately. He is standing across the room, leaning up against the fireplace casually. As soon as he catches her gaze, he visibly relaxes. The anger seems to drain right out of him. "Caroline," he says, a touch of a smile on his lips. "Come here." She leaves Elena's side reluctantly and makes the trek across the room wearily. Her gaze darts to Rebekah for a moment, who smiles smugly at her. She looks away quickly and hurries to stand at Klaus' side. He does not put his arm around her or grasp her hand in his. He simply stands there and returns his gaze back to his siblings. It is strange, Caroline thinks, how comforting it is just to stand at his side. Here, she knows she will come to no harm. It is Elijah who speaks first. "We should tell her about Tatia," he says, looking straight at Caroline. "She has a right to know." Darkness washes over Klaus; it causes his whole demeanor to change. "No," he growls. "Oh, what's the matter Nik?" Rebekah chimes. "Don't want your little harlot to know about the woman you claimed you would love for all of time?" What? Caroline thinks, her heart falling into the pit of her stomach. She feels the small measure of distance between her and Klaus grow cold. "Rebekah," Elijah says coolly, "it would be wise to say nothing further." Finn nods. "I agree with Elijah," he says, "on both accounts. She should be told." Caroline looks at Finn curiously. The last time she saw him, after all, he had a dagger in his heart and had turned a horrible gray color. Klaus glowers at them all. "What is in the past," he growls, "should stay there." "The reason history often repeats itself," Elijah says somberly, "is because men refuse to learn from past mistakes." "Mother is dead," Klaus says firmly. "She has been for a long while. There is not history to repeat, b rother." "You don't know," Rebekah says suddenly. She looks so genuinely surprised as she gazes at Klaus with a measure of

pity. Klaus looks sharply in her direction. "Do enlighten me, sister. No one likes a tease." It is Kol that replies. "Mikael," he says simply, "he wishes to bring her back." "What," Klaus hisses. "It's true," Elijah confirms. "For life to be created and to prosper you need..." Finn trails off, looking in Caroline's direction. " light," Caroline finishes for him in a whisper. Across the room, Elena looks just as shocked. "He won't stop until he has her," Elijah says to Klaus. "You know that." Klaus grits his teeth. "Enough," he snaps. "We will speak no more on the subject." He takes Caroline's hand in his, to her surprises, and beings to lead her from the room. She stumbles after him awkwardly, almost tripping twice. "Nik," Rebekah yells, "stop being a child. You know we cannot let him bring her back. You have to kill her!" Klaus comes to an abrupt halt and Caroline looks to him in fear as his face steels with rage. "Well then," she hisses, "if you won't, I will!" Rebekah lurches forward with murderous intentions. However, Klaus turns with a flash, grabs her by the arm and twists it behind her back before slamming her into the nearest wall. "Dearest sister," he whispers roughly into her ear, "you are trying my patience. Touch so much as a hair on her head and I will make you deeply regret it." "Klaus," Elijah interjects. Klaus releases Rebekah. "Handle this," he says with a wave of his hand. "I don't have the patience to." He turns and walks back to Caroline, grabbing her once again by the hand. He all but drags her out of the room, walking with an angry and purposeful gait. There is such rage pulsating through him it scares her. After a while he slows and turns to look at Caroline. His expression is unreadable. Caroline sighs, feeling all of the energy being slowly sucked from her. "I am going to die, aren't I?" she asks softly in resignation. Sorrow flickers across Klaus' face at her question. "Not if I can help it," he whispers, bringing a hand up to stroke Caroline's cheek. "What happened to Tatia?" she inquires as their gazes lock. "She died," he answers simply. "And your mother?" Klaus is silent a long while. He leans down, his lips just a breath away from hers. "I ripped out her heart," he growls harshly. And, before she can react, he crushes his lips against hers for a bruising kiss. . . . Yessssssss! Their first kiss! Haha! So I couldn't fit Bonnie into this chapter, but she will definitely be in the next. Also, shit gets real in the next chapter. Hope all of you enjoyed! Constructive criticism welcome as always. Feedback is

appreciated! I changed my URL on Tumblr so now you can follow me at: candisaccola Add me on LiveJournal! My user is Muffintine, same as on here! :)

*Chapter 9*: Part IX

Woah! Another update so fast! I'm on a roll you guys. Haha. The story is finally getting somewhere, lol! THANK YOU SO MUCH for all of your reviews. Every single one of you mean so much to me! Don't own. Never will. Anything you don't recognize is mine. Enjoy! . . . Caroline has only been kissed once before in her life. It had been on the hot summer afternoon the eve of her sixteenth birthday. She was sitting by the river's bank with Matt Donovan. They were laughing and talking when it happened. Matt leaned forward, cupped her face in his hand and gingerly pressed his soft lips to hers. It was quick, chaste and he pulled away almost immediately, red faced. It had left her lips tingling and her heart yearning for more. This kiss, however, has none of the innocence of her youthful dalliance. Klaus' lips move against hers roughly, without forgiveness. His breath mixes with hers as he breaks away only briefly to bring his hands to cheeks, stilling her face. He nips and bites at her lower lip, eliciting a soft mewl from Caroline's hot and heavy mouth. And, for a moment, she is one with him, their lips moving in tandem and feverous want. Her mind is muddled by desire that resonates throughout her body. It terrifies her. By now, he has backed her up against the corridor wall, pinning her there with his hips. He forces her head to tilt upwards, opening her up to him. The kiss deepens; all swirling tongues, soft lips and breathy moans. He has bruised and bloodied her lips but as he pulls away, leaving Caroline gasping, it is still the most spectacular thing she has ever experienced. He stares at her, deep pools of blue harboring a thousand different emotions, all of which elude her. I ripped out her heart. The words echo in her mind, settling with a rush of understanding. Klaus killed his own mother. She cannot find the strength within herself to understand. Caroline's mouth twists angrily as she glares at him, eyes hot with a burning rage. "How dare you," she whispers shakily. "How dare you!" She raises her hand and swings; her open palm slamming against his cheek with a resounding smack. As she pulls back Klaus catches her hand by the wrist. There is murder in his eyes. "You are the one who kissed back, sweetheart," he says menacingly, his grip on her wrist tightening. She winces but her anger does not waver. "Elena was right," she replies. "What kind of man kills his own mother?" Caroline gazes at him; she doesn't want to understand what could lead one to murder their mother in such a way. "You shouldn't speak of things you know nothing about, Caroline," he reminds her through gritted teeth. His presence has gone from comforting to seductive to frightening. Caroline tries and fails to yank her arm from Klaus' iron grip. "Let go of me," she demands. "Are you frightened?" Klaus growls in question, leaning in close, a dark shadow crossing his features. She doesn't dignify his question with an answer; she simply stands there with a defiant glare. Klaus chuckles hollowly. "Your courage is misplaced," he tells her. "For, what would you do if I decided to end you, right here, right now?" Caroline stops breathing, her breath hitching in her throat. Trepidation fills her to the core as she stares into the cold

eyes of the man who had just previously promised no harm would come to her. Klaus moves forward suddenly, slamming his fist into the wall behind her head. "Well," he snarls, "I'm waiting." "I," she trembles, courage faltering. He pulls back just as suddenly. "You have a reservoir of power at your fingertips," he says lowly, cocking his head to the side and looking at her with thinly veiled derision. "Yet, even when you are trembling in fear, you do not tap into it." Klaus uncurls his fist and turns away from her. The anger that had so fervently vibrated through him only moments before is gone. "I will not always be there to protect you," he says. He looks over his shoulder one last time and it is only then that she realizes it is not anger his eyes, but pain. Without another word, he calmly walks away from her. Shame washes over her in waves. Why can't I ever do anything right? She wonders miserably as she watches Klaus' retreating back. Absently, she touches her fingers to her lips. She can still feel his lips against hers. . . . Klaus avoids her for the next two days. As does his family. Even Rebekah keeps a respectful distance. Elena is her only comfort. However, even she gazes at her with worry when she thinks Caroline is not looking. Today, she sits in the garden by herself, only the singing birds to keep her company. I will not always b e there to protect you. The words reverberated through her memory with such clarity it causes her heart to ache. She knows he is right. What does she really know about her magic? Sure, she can create small fires, make light dance, but is that all? She has never tried to understand it out of fear. Fear of capture and of herself. Heaving a heavy sigh, Caroline holds out her hand. She feels the familiar pull of her magic as light rises forth from her palm and hovers there it, flickering with vibrancy. She stares curiously, willing it to change from white to blue to green to red to orange and finally back to the original hot white. Caroline closes her eyes and holds out her hands parallel to one another. She concentrates, thinking of lightening and swirling storm clouds. A spark of electricity runs through her, jolting her eyes open. She gazes down at her hands and gasps in wonder. Several bolts of cracking and popping lightening now connect her two hands. She pulls her hands further apart and the bolts grow with the distance. With a swish of her hand, however, the lightening dissipates with a soft crack. She gets to her feet immediately, excitement growing in the pit of her stomach. As she holds out her right hand, once more thinking of lightening, it begins to glow faintly and then erupts in a burst of energy. Lightening crawls up her arm, originating from her fingertips and only stopping at her elbow. Caroline turns to a nearby marble pillar, one of the many that line the garden walls, and walks towards it. After a moment of hesitation, Caroline presses her palm flat against it. The pillar rumbles horribly, cracking almost immediately. Caroline feels a rush of energy leaving her body with such speed it knocks the wind out of her. She stumbles backwards as dizziness overtakes her. When her vision steadies, she looks back to the pillar and gives an audible gasp. Multiple cracks run through it like roots, scorch marks branching out from each one. The structure shudders before completely collapsing into a pile of rubble. A wide grin spreads over her face. She has done it! She giggles to herself and stares at her hand in wonder. She can protect herself if she wants. It is comforting, after so long, to know that she has a way to defend herself from those who would harm her. Her mind immediately falls to Klaus,

to their kiss and to his admission that it was he who killed his mother. She still doesn't know why he murdered his mother but it shames her that she never tried to understand. Had Klaus no tried to get to know her? Had he not told her the truth about her magic? Made her see she needed to be able to protect herself? And yet, she returned the favor by shutting him down. It strikes her suddenly that she should apologize; make everything alright between them again. After all, despite his darkness, his anger and violent nature, she misses him. The past two days have been wretchedly lonely. She wants to know the man beneath the monster. And, perhaps that makes her crazy. But she doesn't care. "Caroline," Stefan says suddenly from behind her. She turns with a startled expression. Stefan is staring at the broken pillar curiously. "Did you do that?" he inquires. Caroline nods slowly. "Impressive," he praises. "I've been practicing," she replies. Stefan looks at her, a soft understand in his eyes. "Lord Mikaelson will be pleased." Caroline blinks. "Yes. Do you happen to know where he is? I need to speak with him." "I will take you to him later, but first," Stefan pauses, looks around and then begins again, "you have a visitor." "A visitor?" "Yes, she's waiting for you in the foyer." Stefan turns and walks inside the manor; Caroline follows suit. . . . In the entrance way stands Bonnie, ever the picture of exotic beauty. She is dressed in a blue silk dress of a design Caroline has never seen before. It compliments her cinnamon colored skin in a way that leaves Caroline slightly envious. Beside her stands Damon, dressed impeccably. He appears quite put out; as if he'd rather be anywhere but the manor. Bonnie turns just as Caroline enters and rushes to her, taking the blonde's hand in hers. "Caroline," she says, her voice strained with worry, "you're alright!" "Of course I am," she replies, smiling brilliantly and squeezing Bonnie's hand in assurance. "I told you this is a waste of time, Bonnie," Damon says, raising his eyebrows as if to make a point. Bonnie scowls and turns slightly to face him. "This will only take a moment," she assures before finding Stefan's gaze. "Would it be alright if I took a walk with Caroline? I have an important matter to speak with her about." Stefan nods. "Not a problem." Bonnie narrows her eyes. "I want to speak to her alone," she clarifies. "So don't follow us." Damon chuckles behind Bonnie. "I'd listen to her, brother. She has such a violent temper. Trust me. I've been on the

receiving end of it." Bonnie rolls her eyes. "Only because you are an incorrigible idiot," she returns playfully. Caroline giggles quietly at their antics. "Come, Caroline," Bonnie beckons, linking her arm with Caroline's and all but dragging her out the front entrance of the manor. They walk on the cobblestone path that by-passes may of the living sculptures and leads to an over-grown labyrinth. Weeds peak out from beneath the pathway and it looks as if no one has traversed there in years. "Oh," Caroline says softly. "I've never been to this part of the grounds," she comments, soaking in the simple beauty of it. Abruptly, Bonnie comes to a halt. She fishes a small pouch out from under her dress and yanks it loose. She opens it and pulls out a long steamed herb. "Would you light this on fire for me?" Caroline nods, takes the herb in her hand and starts a small spark. "What is it?" she asks. "Sage," she replies. "It does not work as well in open air, but it will muddle our conversation enough for now." Caroline's brow creases in worry. "Has something troubled you?" Bonnie's eyes fill with a deep sorrow. "I have been having dreams," she says, just barely above a whisper. "Horrible nightmaresthe things I've seen, I desperately wish I could wipe from my memory." "Oh, Bonnie," Caroline breathes. "I'm so sorry." "My dreams are never normal, Caroline. They are fragments of the futurebut the future isn't something set firmly in stone. It can change because of one person's whim. And lately you have been all I can dream about. I keep seeing you bleeding and bleeding and bleeding and there is absolutely nothing I can do to help you. It has me scared, Caroline." A moment passes as the reality of what Bonnie is saying settles in. By now, Bonnie's hands have started to shake and a true fear has taken root in her eyes. Caroline takes her hands in hers, steadies them and smiles warmly. "It's okay," she says softly. "That is not going to happen. I'm safe here." Bonnie does not smile. "No, Caroline, you don't" A twig snaps, distracting both girls. They turn simultaneously to look for the disturbance. A man stands before them, only a few yards away. He is tall, an older gentleman; his mouth is set in a frown surrounded by cruel lines. There is something familiar about the shape of his empty sky blue eyes but Caroline cannot quite place it. Bonnie lets out a shaky breath. "Mikael," she whispers in pure, unadulterated fear. . . . Yeah, it was probably cruel to end it there. No worries, next chapter should be up by Wednesday! :) One of my favorite scenes is coming up soonso needless to say I'm eager to write the next couple of chapters. As always, constructive criticism welcome! Also: I really appreciate reviews. I love feedback, and knowing what I'm writing is being read is small pleasure of mine. I know a lot of you don't review because you don't know what to say SO... just copy and paste this: Dear Muffintine, How could you? How could you? Another cliffhanger? What is up with that? Love, Your name.

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*Chapter 10*: Part X

I am seriously blown away by the response last chapter. I don't deserve all of you! I would just like to apologize for not having this up sooner. Also a few people had some questions about Bonnie's magic. She doesn't have one-she is a witch. In this universe, that means she wasn't born with magic but she consults mother earth and is able to practice some magic through spells and brews. Alright. Hope you enjoy the chapter! I own nothing except what you don't recognize. . . . "Hello," Mikael says lowly, eyes transfixed on Caroline. "I have been looking everywhere for b oth of you. What a stroke of luck, finding the two of you here. " Bonnie steps in front of Caroline, a shake in her step. "Run, Caroline," she breathes as she tries to put up a brave front. "No," she replies, shaking her head. She is so sick of running; of being that scared little girl. Not this time. No, she is going to fight and she is going to win. Mikael smirks and takes a single step forward. "You should listen to your little witch friend," he murmurs playfully, a dark edge to his tone. He stops briefly, his nostrils flaring. "Ah, sage," he breathes. "I assume no one will hear your cries for mercy?" "Sanguinem, mentis, vena, ruptis, et nunc," Bonnie begins to chant as she closes her eyes. Her voice echoes in Caroline's mind, startling her. It is loud and clear; forceful and determined. "Is that the best you can do?" Mikael mocks, unscathed. Bonnie gasps, her eyes flashing open and a single line of blood dripping slowly from her right nostril. She wipes it away angrily. "I've just begun," she promises, contempt clear. Mikael flashes forward; in the next instant, his hand is wrapped tightly around Bonnie's throat. Her eyes are wide in terror as he leans in close. "You are nothing," he whispers as he tightens his grip and takes a sick pleasure in watching Bonnie claw at his hands, struggling to breathe. Caroline gasps. "Bonnie!" Her eyes roll into the back of her head and after a moment Bonnie stills in Mikael's grip. He releases her and watches nonchalantly as she falls in a lifeless heap on the ground. She doesn't move. Caroline is panicked. She rushes to Bonnie's side and falls to her knees next to her, frantically searching for a pulse. "Oh god, oh god, oh god," she says as her voice trembles. A faint beat greets her fingertips. She relaxes slightly before the rage begins to overtake her. Anger like she has never felt before courses through her, vibrating, feeding her strength. She gets to her feet and turns to face Mikael. He is standing near, watching her curiously. "Well?" he says smoothly. "What will it become peacefully or end up like the witch?" "You're a monster," she spits. Mikael chuckles ominously. "Call me what you will," he says, "but you will leave here with me." Caroline straightens out her arm, her eyes never leaving Mikael's. She feels the burn well up inside of her and with a crack, lightening rushes down her arm, enveloping it. It crackles unbearably, twisting and winding around her arm, all the way to the elbow. "No," she says evenly. "I won't be." Mikael looks mildly impressed. "Very clever." He is the first to move, quicker than she anticipates. He goes straight for her throat, but she counters, grabbing him by the forearm. The lightening transfers from her arm to his, seeping into his skin, ripping and tearing at it. Mikael lets out a

yell and releases her, stumbling backward. Scorch marks cover his forearm in spades. He cracks his neck, hissing slightly in pain. Slowly, however, the wounds begin knit back together and soon all that remains is his flawless skin. Mikael looks at her now, slight irritation in his gaze. "You've got a bite," he admits. She doesn't reply but instead keeps an intense gaze fixed on him. She cannot afford to mess up. One miscalculation and it's over for her. They circle each other for a while, neither making a move. "You don't look a thing like her," Mikael comments. Caroline refuses to let it distract her. "Tatia, I mean," he says. That catches her attention. "It is curious that it was not either of the doppelgangers that inherited her power," he says, accent thick. "Though, magic is a fickle mistress so I'm not surprised, truly." Caroline narrows her eyes. "Your efforts to distract me aren't going to work." Mikael cocks a brow. "No?" He strikes then, kicking her feet out from under her and catching her by the opposite arm. She swings wildly, but he grabs her just below her armpit and jerks her upright. He smacks her across the face, causing her bottom lip to bleed. In her shock, she loses hold on her light and it fades with a pathetic pop. "Sweet dreams, Caroline," he whispers into her ear before he wraps bother hands around her throat, effectively cutting off her air supply. He lifts her off the ground and she struggles helplessly, her consciousness growing weaker by the minute. A black haze grows around her vision. The last thing she sees before everything goes black is Mikael's laughing eyes. . . . It smells of death and decay. The scent assaults her senses with such violence Caroline jerks awake. Blackness greets her. The soft, repetitive sound of water drip, drip dripping is her only clue to her whereabouts. From what she can discern she is in a cavern of some sort. A few candles line the wall allowing just enough light for her to make out the two figures positioned in front of her, sitting side by side. As her eyes adjust to the dim lighting she recognizes Bonnie, whose head is slumped to the side; crusted blood smeared across the front of her face. What shocks her is the contraption she is strapped into. It is wooden chair with several leather straps. The straps wrap around her neck, elbows, upper arms and her ankles, securing her to the chair. The armrests stop at the elbow, causing the forearm and wrist to be suspended over two silver bowls. "Bonnie?" Caroline calls weakly. She notices for the first time that she, too, is strapped into the same restrictive contraption. The figure besides Bonnie stirs. "You'd have better luck with a wall," she says candidly. Caroline's eyes snap to the speaker and she gasps. "Oh god, Elena!" Elena sighs, rolling her eyes. "Wrong," she snaps. "Katherine. It's a pleasure, I'm sure." Elena's sister. The one would seduced both Damon and Stefan; who left Elena and saved only herself. What is she doing here? "By the confusion currently plastered all over your face I'm going to take a wild guess and say you're wondering what I'm doing here," she says. It is clear that she is bored of the conversation already. "Um, yes," Caroline replies.

Katherine chuckles humorlessly. "As am I." "You don't know?" Anger flashes briefly across Katherine's features. "All I know is I escaped the Collectors, only to be snatched up by this bastard," she blows a stray hair out of her face. "Honestly, he is b arb aric." Caroline knits her brows together. "Can't you uses your, um, wiles, to persuade him to let you go?" Katherine gazes at her as if she is the single dumbest person she has ever encountered. "My sort of magic doesn't work on vampires," she informs her sourly. "Do you know what he is going to do to us?" Caroline asks in a soft whisper as she bites nervously at her lower lip. For the first time, Katherine looks sympathetic. She opens her mouth to reply and then shuts it just as quick, letting her eyes fall to the floor. Soft footsteps sound from behind Caroline, echoing throughout the cavern with their foreboding intentions. They stop just behind her and the hairs at the nape of her neck stand on end. She can feel his presence behind her, looming and intimidating. "Making friends already are we, Katherine?" Katherine remains silent. Mikael walks around Caroline's chair, sparing her a sidewards glance as he comes to stand in the middle of the three women. "Good," he breathes, voice deep and terrifying, "you're awake." It is then Caroline notices the knife grasped loosely within his grasp. Long, slender and so very, very sharp. The hilt is made of wood and a myriad of symbols are carved onto its surface. Mikael brings it up to his lips, closes his eyes and kisses it before dragging it vertically across his parted lips; he draws blood. Caroline inhales sharply in fear. He only laughs. "Shall we wake up your witch?" he asks, taking slow, even steps in Bonnie's direction. He leans down beside her, taking Bonnie's face in his hand. He positions the knife against her cheek, pauses, and then presses until bright scarlet blood seeps from the fresh wound. Bonnie awakes with a jolt, eyes wide with fear. "Good morning," Mikael says, completely devoid of affection. Caroline struggles against her restraints. "What do you want with us?" she asks desperately. Mikael doesn't answer. Instead, he takes Bonnie's right wrist in hand. He proceeds to violently slash his knife across the thin skin of Bonnie's wrist. She screams in pain, struggling frantically against the restraints holding her tight against the chair. In quick session, Mikael moves to her left wrist and repeats the motion. Blood spills ungracefully into the two silver bowls that sit under her wrists, eagerly drinking up the thick substance. Bonnie is crying now, tears pouring down her face in torrents. They mix with the crusted blood on her face; she is the picture of misery. Caroline cries with her. "It's going to be okay," she tells her as her voice cracks. "Everything will be okay." Mikael laughs. "You are truly nave if you believe your own lies, Caroline," he snarls as he moves to Katherine, his knife still gleaming with Bonnie's blood. Katherine glares. "Do you worst," she dares with a snarl. "It shall be my pleasure, doppelganger," he says without emotion. He leans next to her and slashes both her wrists in turn. Tears well up in her eyes, but Katherine doesn't let out a single cry of pain. She lifts her eyes to meet Caroline's; only defiance swims within her deep brown irises. At last, Mikael turns to Caroline. He pauses for a beat in front of her, eyes black. Behind him, Bonnie whimpers, the light in her eyes gradually starting to fade. He crouches down in front of Caroline so that they are eye level. "Would you like to hear a story?" he asks lightly. Caroline only glares, tears still fresh in her eyes. She doesn't want to hear another word leave his lips. "We weren't always vampires, my family and I. We were humans once. We were the most powerful family in the kingdom; people coveted us. You see, every one of my sons, my daughter and regrettably Niklaus, had wondrous magic," Mikael moves closer, so that he is only a breath away from Caroline. His eyes fall to her wrists. He grabs her right one gingerly and simply holds it for a brief period. "My wife, Esther, wished for them to be happy, to pass on their gifts. So she began

the tradition of collecting young women with powerful gifts. She wished to wed her sons and continue the line of magic." He lifts the knife in his opposite hand and drags it across Caroline's skin delicately as to not breach it. "One particular girl stood out; Tatia. She had the magic of light, just as you do. Niklaus and Elijah both wanted her, despite the fact she had already had a daughter. Though, this was a petty fight, it would have worked itself out eventually but then Henrik was murdered." As he says the last word, he plunges the tip of the knife into Caroline's flesh, eliciting a horrible scream from her lips as he slowly, painfully, drags it from one side of her wrist to the other. "Please," she begs, choking on her own tears of pain, "stop!" "Henrik's death drove Esther mad. She couldn't bear to lose another child. So she did what she thought was best. She used her magic, her gift of knowledge, to tap into spells and brews; magic loaned to her from mother earth. She needed something to sustain life for infinity and she found it in Tatia's light. She sacrificed the girl with a without a shred of remorse. She used her blood to make us vampires, creatures of violence, hate and the night." Mikael moves to her other wrist. He strokes it absently, taking pleasure in the way her body trembles in agony. "She fed us Tatia's spelled blood that night at dinner and then murdered us all. We awoke as beasts, monsters. And when Niklaus found what Esther had done to the woman he loved, he ripped out her heart," he growls, slashing Caroline's second wrist open. Her blood empties freely into the waiting silver bowls. The pain is almost too much. Her heartbeat has started to quicken and the agony that pulses through her is unlike anything she has ever experienced before. It is crippling. Bonnie has since quieted, her eyes glazed over. Katherine still fights, looking on strongly into the distance. "What is the point of all this? Revenge?" Caroline asks weakly. Mikael doesn't answer. Instead, he walks back over to Bonnie. Calmly, he wraps his hands around the knife. He squeezes and rips the knife out of his hand. As his hand bleeds, he holds it over each silver bowl, allowing only three drops of blood to fall into each. He moves to Katherine and repeats the action. Lastly, he does the same for Caroline. Caroline can feel herself growing weaker. Mikael looks up and his cold gaze meets hers. "I am going to bring her back," he whispers finally. "Who?" she asks, breath shaky. "Esther," Mikael says, a crazed smile taking root in his features. . . . Yup. Katherine finally made an appearance! Don't worry, most of your questions will be answered next chapter. I would just like to thank all of you for reading! Seriously, you guys are the best! Constructive criticism is welcomed, as always. I adore reviews! If you like what you read, but don't know what to say just copy & past the following: Dear Muffintine, You torture like a pro. But poor Caroline. Klaus will save her right? RIGHT?! Love, Your name.

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*Chapter 11*: Part XI

I'd like to thank everyone for waiting so patiently for this chapter! I hope you can enjoy it! It was a bit difficult for me to write, mostly because it is more plotty than fluffy. (And we all know fluff is more fun to write!) As always, you guys have been such a great support system while I have been writing this story! It is your love and encouragement that keeps me going! So thanks you guys! Without further ado. Don't own. Never will. Anything you don't recognize is mine. :) . . . Mikael has long since disappeared from Caroline's sight. She fights to stay conscious for a long while before she finally gives in to the soft slumber her blood loss craves. When she awakes again, her wrists have been bandaged crudely and the silver bowls are missing. Her mind is fuzzy and she just barely manages to stay awake. It feels like a century before she can focus her eyes on Katherine. Caroline opens her mouth to call out, but only a raspy whine escapes. Her lips are parched and her throat is raw from screaming. Katherine is looking at the cave's ceiling as if she is in a trance but when she hears Caroline she looks to her sharply. "Back from the dead so soon?" she remarks, her own head dipping slightly as she winces in pain. Caroline nods and looks to Bonnie worriedly. "Your witchy friend will be alright," she says, "for now." Caroline clears her throat. "How long have I been out?" she inquires, the sound of her own voice startling her. It is hoarse, raw and cracks horribly. Katherine cocks her head to the side. "An hour," she replies, "maybe two." "Where is Mikael?" "Preparing," she whispers. "Preparing?" "It is no easy feat, my dear, to bring the dead back to life," Mikael's deep baritone interrupts. He flashes in front of Caroline, cocky grin in place. She gasps, wincing away from him. "Still weak from the blood loss, hmm?" He leans in close, taking a whiff of her hair before retreating and bringing his wrist to his lips. He bites down, opening up a wound of fresh blood. "Fancy a drink?" Caroline recoils with a disgusted grimace. "No reason to be ill mannered, Caroline," Mikael chastises as he turns to face Katherine. "And you, doppelganger?" "I'd rather bleed to death," she sneers. He laughs. "Suit yourselves." He trains his eyes on Bonnie who is still out cold. He leans down next to her and presses two fingers against her throat. He waits a beat. "Good," he says, "her heartbeat is still steady." Mikael rips into his arm once again and presses it against Bonnie's parted lips. "What are you doing?" Caroline cries, struggling against her restraints. "That's right, witch," he whispers, ignoring Caroline completely, "drink up." Bonnie stirs slightly before she begins to unconsciously drink Mikael's blood. Her body knows she needs it, but her mind is not her own. Her eyes flash open; they are dull and empty as she feeds. A low hum sounds from deep within Mikael's throat as he watches the young witch drink from him. "Ah, ah," he says loftily as he pulls his wrist away from her mouth suddenly. "That is quite enough." Caroline glances to Bonnie's wrists that are, like her own wrists, bandaged crudely. Mikael unwraps the bandages

gingerly, making a pleased noise as he watches the wound knit itself back together. "Excellent," he purrs, a catlike grin forming on his lips. Slowly, Bonnie begins to regain her strength and conscious mind. She snaps out of it suddenly and begins to thrash wildly against her restraints. "Sanguinem, mentis, vena, ruptis, et nunc," she begins, her tone taking on an almost demon like sound as her eyes flash briefly. Mikael gives a growl of agony, throwing his hand up to cradle his head as a hollow pain descends upon him. He glares at Bonnie and lashes out, slapping her. "Quiet," he snarls. He slams his hands down on her elbows, eliciting a yelp of pain. "Bonnie!" Caroline calls helplessly. "Go to hell," she seethes through bloodied teeth. He leans in close, his eyes dilating. "Now that no vervain is left in your system," he whispers harshly, "all I need is for you to do is sit still and shut up." Bonnie's body stills automatically, her eyes glazing over and her mouth clamping shut. "Bonnie, don't listen to him," Caroline says desperately, trying to break her friend out of her trance. Katherine remains stoic; it is only her quick witted brown eyes that give away her muted displeasure. She is up to something. Mikael leans forward until he is in direct eye contact with Bonnie. "I am going to unstrap you now," he says, voice like silk. "You aren't going to fight me. You will follow me into the other chamber and you will perform every spell I put in front of you. Do you understand me?" "Yes," she replies, voice soft and compliant. "Good," he rumbles in reply. A second later, Bonnie is unstrapped. She stands on her own accord and looks to Mikael as if she is a lost animal in search of her master. Mikael caresses her face as a satisfied smirk twists upwards and embeds itself in to his features. "This way, witch," he says, directing her past Caroline. "Bonnie!" Caroline yells urgently, trying and trying and trying to catch her friend's eye. "Don't listen to him, please! Bonnie, look at me!" Bonnie glances at her, confusion flitting briefly across the shadow of her eyes. Mikael grabs Bonnie roughly by the shoulder, turning her slightly to face him. "Caroline no longer exists. You do not see her, you do not touch her, and you cannot hear her. She is no more," his eyes dilate, contorting with horrible intentions. "Now," he breathes, "tell me who Caroline is." She blinks. "Who?" she whispers as befuddlement dances across her face cruelly. "NO! BONNIE! BONNIE!" Tears pour from Caroline's eyes in torrents as she struggles to get free, to reach for her friend; her friend who no longer knows who she is. "Wonderful," Mikael says and aims his twisted smile in Caroline's direction. He pushes Bonnie onward, but lags behind, resting his hand on Caroline's shoulder. "Don't worry dear, you are the first person Esther will want to speak with." And just like that, he vanishes. Katherine speaks suddenly. "There was nothing you could have done," she says softly, showing her first sign of genuine compassion. "He compelled her." Caroline is half crazed out of her mind. "He's going to kill her," she mumbles, rocking back in froth in a vain attempt to free herself from the leather straps. "There was nothing I could do to stop him. Nothing" she trails off, her eyes wandering about the cave. And that's when she spots them, her small measure of hope. Twelve twinkling candles line the wall, flickering weakly as they struggle to exist. Just like her. She is weak from the blood loss, too weak to create her own lightbut not too weak to manipulate it. Hope bubbles in her chest. She can do this. She can save herself, save Bonnie! Her eyes dart to Katherine, who is peering at her curiously.

"Well," Katherine says sardonically. "Are you going to sit there all night with that stupidly happy expression on your face or are you going to share yourno doub tmarvelous escape plan?" "The candles," she says simply. Katherine turns, her eyes widening a fraction; she looks impressed. "What are you waiting for?" she quips. Caroline exhales and closes her eyes. She looks deep within herself, quickly finding that soft spark within her soul that allows her complete control over any sort of light. It vibrates within her, branching out into her limbs and warming her body. It calms her. When she opens her eyes, her whole demeanor has changed. She is calm. She is powerful. Caroline shifts her eyes to gaze at the candles. She feels the familiar pull of her magic as she wills all twelve flames to separate themselves from their waxy base. The flames swirl upwards one by one and merge into one giant, burning ball of light and power. It takes effort on her part to pull the flame towards her. As it nears, she separates it into two flames and they come to hover over both the straps holding her elbows in place. The flame burns through the first straps and the rest with amazing speed. At last, she is free. The first thing she does is rush to Katherine's side, unstrapping her restraints and freeing her. Katherine has the decency to appear grateful. "Thank you," she says with genuine gratitude. She falters slightly when she gets to her feet. Caroline steadies her. "We have to get Bonnie back," Caroline says, grasping Katherine's hand in hers. "You'll help me, won't you?" Any gratitude left swimming in Katherine's eyes disappears completely. "You freed me," she begins, "and for that, I am thankful. But you are a silly little girl if you think you stand a chance against Mikael. Your witchy friend is good as dead. It would be wise to leave now and save yourself." "What are you saying?" Caroline breathes, her heart tightening in fear. "I'm saying it is not always a bad thing to be selfish." Caroline's face hardens. "You want me to leave her." Katherine nods cautiously. "That would be the idea, yes. She would be enough of a distraction" "No," Caroline says venomously, cutting Katherine off. "I will not abandon my friend." Katherine sighs. "I will not stop you if you wish to throw away your life so callously." "You are a coward," Caroline snaps, releasing Katherine from her friendly grasp. "You abandoned your own sister at the drop of a hat. It was foolish for me to even think you would be willing to help me." "You don't know the first thing about me," Katherine sneers and turns away from Caroline. "Elena is too good for you," Caroline says as she glares at Katherine's back. "She still loves you, you know. Even after you left her to be collected for the mess you created. "Enough," Katherine growls as her voice trembles slightly with emotion. "I do not want to hear another word about how great my sister is. I know, okay? I know she is the one who inherited the golden heart, whilst I got stuck with a black hearted coal. But you know what? I am selfish. And it's kept me safe so far. So get off your pedestal, Caroline. Lecture me all you want. In the end, it is not I that will be a lifeless corpse." With that said, Katherine turns by her heel and stomps off in the opposite direction than Mikael had left. She never once pauses to look back at Caroline. Caroline sighs in frustration, tears prickling at her already tear-stained face. No, she tells herself. Breathe, Caroline. You are strong enough for this. You can do this. She nods to herself and starts after Mikael; she is careful to tread lightly as to not give up her element of surprise. As she rounds a corner in the cavern, following the flow of air and the faint scent of magic, she sees a soft light. She is going the right direction. Her footsteps slow as she creeps closer, more cautious than ever of her surroundings. She stops at the edge of the cavern and peers into the open chamber. Bonnie's voice greets her ears, low and ritualistic. She is murmuring Latin, summoning magic from mother earth. A coffin sits before her, a pale woman with long, blonde locks lies within. Her skin is a horrible gray color and Caroline senses that no life resides within the body. A giant, open wound rests right where her heart had once been.

Esther. Mikael stands to the right of the coffin, a large silver container clutched in his grasp. Bonnie's chanting grows louder as she thrust her hands up in the air and blood begins to leak from her nostrils and ears. Mikael takes this as some sort of cue, pouring the container's contents on top of Esther. Red. The substance is crimson red. Blood, Caroline realizes belatedly. Mikael is pouring blood on top of his beloved. Her blood. Bonnie's blood. Katherine's blood. The blood concoction pools around Esther, encasing her. Bonnie steps forward, leans into the coffin and dips her arms into the blood, chanting faster and with more fervor. It is as if the cave is suddenly shaking. It vibrates with magic and Bonnie's voice contorts, as if a thousand witches are speaking at once. I have to stop this, Caroline thinks . But how? The blood begins to bubble and boil. It moves towards Esther's chest and sinks into the gaping hole, filling it completely. Her skin begins to color in consequence, life rushing into her. As the last of the blood disappears into her chest a loud crack sounds throughout the chamber. Bonnie jolts backward as if she has been electrocuted. Caroline falls to the ground in shock, her own heart shuddering. It feels as if her heart beat is no longer her own. It beats, but she can feel so much more. What did he do to me? She wonders, steadying herself. She presses her fingers to her chest and focuses on remembering how to breathe. Mikael is at Esther's side the next instant, grasping her hand in his. He whispers something in her ear Caroline cannot quite make out. She snaps out of her trance and focuses her gaze on Bonnie, who has not yet come to her senses. While Mikael is distracted, she runs to her friend's side, dropping down next to her. She grasps Bonnie's face in her hands. "Bonnie," she whispers hurriedly, "you have to snap out of thiswe have to go!" Bonnie looks on through her as if she doesn't exist. It dawns on her that her fiend is still being compelled. If she cannot communicate with her, how can she ever hope to escape, Bonnie in tow? Leaving her is not an option. Caroline grits her teeth as she gets to her feet. Mikael is still distracted by Estherif she could disable him in some way then maybe, just maybe she would have some hope of escape. Caroline glares at Mikael and thrusts her hand forward. From deep within her, she summons and awful flame from the dirt surrounding Mikael. It flashes upwards and licks angrily at Mikael's legs. He growls in livid agony as his arm burns. He pulls back, finding himself trapped in a circle of flamesEsther on the other side of the wall of flames, just out of his reach. "You wretch!" Mikael spits, glaring hatefully in Caroline's direction. "Release Bonnie from your compulsion," Caroline demands as she takes a step forward. "Nice try, princess," he sneers. Caroline twists her hand, intensifying the heat of the flames. "Uncompel her!" Mikael simply laughs; the sound of it is maddening. "It's only a matter of time until she wakes," he says, tone light. "You may want to start running." Right after Mikael speaks, another horrible shock runs through her body and goes straight to her heart. It leaves her gasping. For a second, her heart stops. The pain is unbearable.

She can feel her world turning on its axis as she falls to her knees. Her heart jars back to life with an excruciating shutter. Across the room, Esther's eyes flash open. . . . WHAT?! The readers cry, NO KLAUS IN THIS CHAPTER?! Sorry lovelies, but it just didn't fit with what I wanted to do. Caroline had to grow as a character, she had to save herself! But do not fret! Klaus WILL be in the next chapter. And there will be moments, but that is all I'm teasing for now. ;) As always, constructive criticism is welcome! Tell me what you thought! If you do not know what to say, simply use this helpful little template: Dear Muffintine, Another chapter without Klaus? You're too cruel! And now Esther's b ack from the dead?! What will b ecome of our heroes? UPDATE SOON! Love, your name. Follow me on tumblr~ my url is candisaccola! :) Love you guys! xoxo, ;)

*Chapter 12*: Part XII

Two years later; an update. Haha, just kidding guys. Hope you all enjoy. :) Don't own. Never have, never will. . . . Esther sits up, hand automatically coming to rest on the new patch of flesh that has grown in place of her wound. She blinks, inhales, exhales and turns her tepid gaze on Mikael. A soft smile warms her features as she takes him in. "Mikael," she breathes, sounding wholly nonthreatening. Mikael falls to his knees immediately and takes her hand in his, placing an affectionate kiss atop it. "My wife," he says, "you live." She smiles graciously as she pulls her hand from his grasp and moves to rest her fingertips just under his chin. She tilts his head upwards as she steps down out of the coffin; she brings his lips to briefly touch hers. "Thank you, my heart," she says as they part, "you have done well." Esther shifts her gaze to Caroline, who is still amidst the dirt, struggling to breathe. "I am honestly surprised," Esther declares as she pulls away from Mikael and saunters towards Caroline. "I always assumed it would be a doppelgnger that inherited Tatia's powers." She cocks her head slightly. "You are truly a curious creature." "What have you done to me?" Caroline gasps, digging her fingernails into the cloth of her bloodstained blouse. Esther crouches down, leveling her gaze with Caroline's. She moves to cradle Caroline's face in her hand. "You and I are connected," she says, stroking Caroline's cheek absently with her thumb. "Every beat of your heart gives birth to new life; as you live, so do I." Caroline jerks back. "What?" she rasps. Esther merely smiles and turns away. "Mikael," she calls, "bring me the witch." Mikael smirks and advances on Bonnie who has not moved an inch. He grasps her roughly by the upper arm and drags her to where Esther stands. Esther looks at Bonnie and her features soften. "Uncompel her," she demands with a flip of her hand. Mikael frowns. Esther speaks before he can protest. "She is of my kind; it grieves me that you have caused her pain. So do this for my sake, beloved, not hers." He nods and turns to Bonnie, holding her gaze with his. "Your will is now your own," he says as his pupils dilate with the pull of compulsion. Bonnie gasps, her eyes regaining their usual life. Confusion is alight in her eyes as she searches out for a familiar face. "Caroline?" she manages in confusion. Despite herself and the crazy situation she finds herself in, Caroline smiles in relief. "Bonnie," she returns, tears of relief gleaming in her eyes. Esther's voice brings both crashing back to reality. "Believe it or not," she begins, "I wish you girls no harm. Your pain was an unfortunate means to an end. Now that your part is done, you may go." She looks right at Caroline, a knowing look in her eyes. "Send my regards to my sons, most especially Klaus," she says. "Klaus?" Caroline repeats. "I'm sure he will not be pleased to learn the mother whose heart he so ruthlessly ripped out is alive in well." She says it so casually, as if she isn't even angry, that it startles Caroline. It is that calm that terrifies her. Anger makes revenge bloody and drawn out. Calm allows for planning and precision; whatever Esther is planning it will be swift, yet no doubt any less painful. "Just like that? You're just letting us go?" Caroline narrows her eyes. "Somehow, you do not strike me as that kind."

Darkness clouds Esther's eyes as she gazes at Caroline. "Perhaps you are a bit smarter than you look dear, but that mouth of yours will bring you nothing but trouble." "Was Tatia also an unfortunate means to an end?" Mikael storms forward at her words and smacks her harshly across the face. Caroline yelps at the contact. "You will show some respect, girl," he growls, arm poised to strike her once more. "Enough," Esther says with a soft sigh. She gazes at Caroline and then Bonnie, whose lips are pressed together in a thin line as fear swims within her eyes. "It is time for you two to go to sleep." "What?" "Dormis," Esther whispers, her voice taking on a ghostlike quality. Caroline's brain slows and her eyelids start to feel heavy. The cave swirls as darkness creeps into her vision and she feels her body hit the dirt floor before everything goes black. . . . The soft sound of waves crashing against land echoes on the edges of her consciousness as the smell of sea salt lingers in the air. At first, she believes herself trapped inside another confusing dream but someone is calling her name. "Caroline!" Someone she knows. "Caroline, wake up!" Her eyes crack open, the light of day assaulting her senses. The sky is so blue that it mesmerizes her for a moment. A blurred figure appears in her line of vision. Cinnamon. Beautiful. Bonnie. "Bonnie?" she whispers faintly. "Oh thank god," she cries as she pulls Caroline up out of the sand and embraces her. "I thought maybe you" she chokes on her tears, cutting herself off, "but you're okay. I'm glad. I'm really glad!" Caroline pulls back and smiles fondly at her friend. "I'm glad too," she admits. "We must get back to Lord Mikaelson's manor at once," Bonnie says, tears now dried and serious expression in place. Caroline blinks and looks around. She knows not where she is. It occurs to her that when Esther spelled them to sleep, she must have had Mikael transport them to a neutral location. This way they could not be tracked back to where Bonnie and she had been held prisoner. "Do you know where we are?" she questions. Bonnie nods hesitantly. "I believe so," she replies. "Lord Mikaelson's manor was built on a cliff overlooking the ocean." She looks out towards the vast sea and then skywards. "This section of the beach feels familiar." Bonnie extends a hand and helps Caroline to her feet. "Which way?" "I'm not sure." Bonnie frowns, gaze contemplative. Suddenly, her eyes widen in a realization. "I can perform a locator spell," she says excitedly, "on Elena's necklace!" "Necklace?" "When the two of you first came to the Salvatore Boarding House I gave you items filled with vervain to prevent compulsion. A bracelet and a necklace." Caroline's hand immediately flies to her wrist. Her face falls. "Mine is gone," she laments. "Mikael must have taken it off. How will we know Elena is still wearing hers?" "Elena may be quite found of Lord Elijah, but she is quite cross with Lord Stefan. She will not take it off while she resides

in the Mikaelson Manor." "What do you need to make the connection?" Bonnie holds out her hand. "Just your energy." "My energy?" "Grab my hands." Caroline does so. "Breathe. And think of Elena. Of her necklace. And how much you would like to see her." Caroline closes her eyes and lets images of Elena flood her mind. In all of them, her necklace sticks out, shining brightly. Her hands warm and she hears Bonnie sigh before a slew of Latin falls out of her mouth at such speed she understands not a word. Just as quick as it starts, it stops. Bonnie drops her hand and she opens her eyes. "Find it?" she asks. "Yes, it is not far," she confirms. Bonnie grasps Caroline's hand in hers and leads the way. As they walk, Caroline enjoys the feel of the cool sand against her feet, the salty scent of the air, the vastness of the ocean, and the multitude of wildlife. It is quite a shame, she thinks, that for the first time in her life she is able to visit the ocean and it is not at all how she pictured. Her heart tightens at the thought of stolen kisses and warm bodies. Perhaps she was not destined for such escapades. It leaves her with a heavy heart. She thinks of Klausis he worried, does he miss her, does he even care? She has not quite figured him out, but she does know he is lonely, just as she is. Even while he frightens her, she wishes to be near him, to know his touch, his smile, his laughter. Caroline sighs. Bonnie glances back at her. "We're almost there," she assures with a strained smile. Caroline purses her lips in reply. She has a nagging feeling in the pit of her stomach that Bonnie would not understand her feelings or condone them. Her thoughts immediately fall to Elenacould she confide in her? Surely not, for she sees Klaus only through red eyes of hatred. That leaves her alone with these foreign feelings that are beginning to blossom in her heart. It confuses her and makes her fervently miss her mother. She would know the exact right thing to say. But she can never see her mother again. "Just over that cliff face," Bonnie sounds, jerking Caroline roughly as she quickens her pace. Caroline follows after her, almost tripping several times over the shrubs and brush. The beaten path to the top is narrow, leading her to let go of Bonnie's hand and fend for herself. They climb for what feels like ages and when they finally break over the ridge, Caroline cannot help but sigh in relief. That is when she spots it, the ivy-covered manor she has come to know as home. She almost cries on the spot. "We're here," she gasps, relief wrapping itself around her like a warm blanket. She nearly tumbles backwards when, in a flash of dizzying movement, Stefan appears. His brows are knitted together in worry and confusion. "Caroline," he says, grabbing her shoulder to steady her. His gaze softens and trails to Bonnie next. "Bonnie. Damon will be relieved." Bonnie simply appears weary. "Take us inside, please." "That may not be such a good idea," Stefan says after a moment of hesitation. "And why would that be?" Elijah rumbles, appearing out of thin air. Stefan grits his teeth. "You know why." Had Elijah less decorum, he might have rolled his eyes. "So you would rather let them sit outside while their wounds continue to bleed," he says darkly, stepping forward to delicately take Caroline's ravaged wrists into his hands. He frowns deeply. "Come along Miss Forbes," Elijah says, ignoring Stefan. "Lady Bennett, you as well." They both nod numbly and follow him willingly into the manor. What greets them is shocking. Furniture has been thrown about as well as several priceless pieces of art torn to shreds;

the several gaping holes in the walls scream of pure, unadulterated anger. Caroline's mouth falls open in surprise who could have done such a thing? "Niklaus was displeased," Elijah tells them, a slight spark of irritation flaring in his expression. Caroline shakes her head. "Klaus did this?" "My brother is a very volatile man," he says, "and he did not take your disappearance well." Elijah's eyes meet hers and she is surprise to find it is respect that lingers there, but only briefly. "All of this," she trails off, "because he could not find me?" Elijah presses one hand on her back, urging her forward. "Rumors of Mikael's return have been plenty. Although he will never admit it, he feared you'd been taken by our father," his eyes fall once again to the bloody bandages wrapped around her wrists. "Though, it seems his fear was not quite unfounded." "Where is he now?" Bonnie inquires. Elijah spares her a sidewards glance. "He is with Lord Damon, out searching for the two of you." Caroline bites her lower lip. "When will he return?" Elijah's eyes darken. "Soon. Lord Stefan has, no doubt, already set off to fetch him" The sound of the manor's front door being thrown open with immeasurable force echoes throughout the hallways. "Where is she?" a masculine voice growls, short, impatient, worried. Caroline knows it is Klaus at once as she cannot help the anticipation the bubbles within her chest. For, so help her, she misses his heated gaze and knowing, sad eyes. The sound of various things being pushed out of his way sound loudly before the door to the room they are currently residing in bursts open. There he stands in the doorway, his long wavy locks in disarray, his skin as pale as she has ever seen it and his beautiful pasture green eyes ablaze with anger. As his eyes come to rest on Bonnie, an animalistic growl rips form his throat. He surges forward, knocking her into the nearest wall, his face just inches from hers. "You stupid witch," he snarls, struggling to remain calm, lest he rip her pathetic head from her shoulders. "I should kill you." Bonnie's eyes widen; fear paralyzes her. Elijah steps forward, eyes narrowed. "Brother," he says with a deadly calm, "release Lady Bennett." Klaus turns a sharp eye on his brother. "Silence yourself Elijah. I've no need of your moral idiocies today." It takes Caroline a moment to get over the shock of Klaus' abrupt appearance before her senses kick in. She strides forward with an angry gait, placing her hand on the arm that is holding Bonnie against the wall. "Let her go," she says softly, "she is just as much a victim in all of this as I." Klaus looks at Caroline then as if he were only seeing her the first time. A multitude of emotions flash across his eyes before his features noticeably relax; he releases Bonnie. She scrambles away from him, struggling to stay composed. Immediately, Klaus' eyes settle on the crude bandages that adorn her wounded wrists. He reaches to touch her but grits his teeth instead and pulls back. He glares at Elijah instead. "Leave us at once," he demands. Elijah looks as if he wishes to protest. Instead, he gives a sigh and flashes away. The silence that encompasses them in the wake of his absence is deafening. Klaus simply stares at her, eyes growing darker and darker by the second. "Come," he says at long last, "follow me." She does so reluctantly, following him through the maze of hallways until they come to a familiar door. His door. He opens it with ease and gestures for her to enter. Many candles line the wall, giving the room an amber glow. She marvels at his bed, lavish as it is, wolf furs lying on top; she wonders how warm they might be in the winter months. Her breath catches as she feels Klaus behind her suddenly; his body is barley a breath away, heat transferring between the two of them. He reaches around her, cupping her wrists in his hands. He moves around her swiftly then, pulling her to his bed and forcing her to sit on the edge. Gingerly, he removes the bandages without saying a word. His fingers shake, though she knows not from anger or fear. Once the bandages are off and discarded on the floor, he merely stares at the

deep, blaring red cuts etched into her skin. His jaw sets in a firm frown. "This shall not happen again, I assure you," he promises darkly. Feeling brave, she reaches forward, his eyes following her movements hotly as her fingers come to graze his chin. "I'm okay," she tells him. Guilt overtakes him as he brings his hands up to overlap hers, kissing her palm sweetly. "I find myself oddly fond of you," he admits honestly, eyes capturing hers fiercely. "There is something I need to tell you," she says suddenly, tone serious. He shakes his head. "Not now, love." She frowns. "Klaus" Klaus ignores her, releases her hand and brings his own wrist to his lips. He rips into the soft skin viciously and lets his mouth fill with the sickly sweet taste of his own blood. As he pulls away from his wrist, his eyes capture hers with clear intent. She gasps in silent understanding as he flashes forward, forcing his lips on hers, the metallic taste of his blood filling her mouth at once. She struggles at first, but his hands fly forward to keep her still, eventually forcing her to swallow all of the blood. They break apart gasping. The effects are immediate; she can already feel her flesh knitting back together. And, even as her heart flutters from the brief contact of their lips, she knows this happiness she is feeling cannot last. He must b e told. "Esther," she manages to say. "She is no longer dead." Klaus lets go of her as if he's been burned. All of the color drains form his face. "What?" he growls. . . . Whelp. Hope this chapter wasn't disappointing. Updates should get more frequent now that the TVD hiatus is almost over! Weekly inspiration! ;) I love feedback and constructive criticism is welcome! :) If you want to review, but don't know what to say, simply copy and paste this template: Dear Muffintine, You ab andoned us for long. And then you give us this. Klaus & Caroline, they could have gotten closer. But that b itch Esther got in the way. Sigh. Update soon? Love, You name. Until next time! Follow me on tumblr for updates and teasers! My URL is: candisaccola.

*Chapter 13*: Part XIII

Thank you so much to every single person who reads and reviews this story. You guys are my inspiration. Special thanks to Tanya and Lulu for cheer-leading me through this chapter and proofing it for me. Any remaining errors are mine. Without further ado, enjoy! Don't own. Never will. . . . Klaus' whole demeanor changes; his gentle gaze no longer lingers, instead replaced by a cold and detached stare. Caroline feels her heartbeat increase, nerves knotting in her stomach as she fights down her own fear. "Mikael," she continues, albeit a little shakily, "he took blood from Bonnie and I and a third woman, Katherine. He then compelled Bonnie to perform a spell and he, he ah, he poured our blood into a coffin containing" "Stop," Klaus snarls as his eyes darken. Her lips snap shut, eyes wide. A thousand different emotions flash across his black gaze, scowl growing weightier with each passing thought. "He revived her," he growls aloud before focusing a sharp gaze on Caroline. "What spell did he make Bonnie perform?" he demands, pressing firm hands on her shoulders, grip tight. Caroline's breathing hitches in fear. "I don't know," she replies, wincing. His grip tightens, nails digging into her soft flesh. "Think , Caroline," he orders through clenched teeth, "you have to rememb er," he snarls, shaking her now, eyes slightly crazed. "You're hurting me," she says, glaring now as she tries to free herself from his inhuman grip. He releases her, instead favoring slamming his fist into the stone blocks cemented above his fireplace. The stone gives way and cracks horribly before crumbling, falling to the floor with an anticlimactic thud. Klaus stands there a beat before shifting his gaze to rest on her, the intensity of the anger fostered there sending a chill down her spine. Caroline swallows nervously, heart pattering wildly in her chest. Klaus turns to leave the room then, bleeding knuckles already starting to knit back together. "Wait," she calls after him, sliding easily off of his bed. "Esther said something," she begins hesitantly. "I'm not sure what she meant but she said as my heart beats, so does hers. And when Bonnie spelled life back into her, the hole in her chest swallowed up our blood and my," she falters, fearing to look at him, "my heart shuddered." He stills in the door way, something akin to pained realization clouding his demeanor. "Sleep here tonight," he says, tone rough and perhaps, even a bit weary. She blinks, surprised. "I have my own chambers" He turns an unreadable gaze on her and the solemnly of it causes her heart to constrict. "Sleep," he commands. "I will fetch you in the morning." "In the morning?" she echoes. "Klaus, you have to tell me what is going on you can't just" but the door slams behind him, the sound cutting her words and with a whoosh of suddenly vacant air; he's gone. She stomps over to the door, intent on swinging it open only to discover it's locked. She gapes in shock. "What does he think I am?" she mummers to herself, "a traumatized invalid?" A soft sigh escapes her mouth as she gives up fighting with the chamber door and turns back towards the bed. Her eyes fall once again on Klaus' expansive bed, covered in valuable wolf furs. She looks down at herself and frowns at the tattered remains of what used to be a beautiful dress, covered in dirt, grime and her own blood. Surely Klaus did not expect her to sleep in such tatters? Though, she concedes, anger had clouded his thoughts, taking his mind like a storm. It is possible he didn't realize he'd left her locked in his room without a stitch of clean

clothing to wear. Her eyes wander over to the wardrobe nestled in the corner of his massive living chambers; she walks towards it. Opening it with a soft creak, she rifles through the many shirts made of heavy woolen fabric until she settles for a deep red shirt that looks two sizes too big. Slipping out of her tattered dress, she keeps her under-dress on if only for the sake of maintaining a small measure of modesty. Caroline shoulders the shirt on and nuzzles into it, inhaling the musk of Klaus' scent. Caroline wanders back over to Klaus' bed and climbs into it lethargically, dragging her fingers against the warm wolf furs. And just like that, her body weighs heavily as fatigue catches up with her. As she cocoons herself inside, heat surrounding her, she lets out a tired sigh before letting her thoughts wander. Klaus had looked impossibly angry when he'd left, brows furrowed and teeth clenched. She thinks on what she said to him and what it could mean. She mulls over Esther's words, playing them over and over again in her head. She ponders on how her heart shuddered when Esther awoke, beating wildly; how even now her body doesn't feel wholly her own. She feels like a stranger in her own skin. Suddenly, it all slots into place. Her heart is tethered to Esther's. As one lives, so does the other; as one dies, so does the other. Her heart drops into the pit of her stomach. It is all too much. She rolls over, willing herself to sleep where she can escape from reality, even if only for a little while. It is not long before dreams plague her. . . . It is Elena again. Except, she knows it is not her friend. "You must trust me, Caroline," she is saying, though she flickers in and out of existence, frayed around the edges. "Why? Who are you?" Not Elena smiles. "You know the answer to that." Caroline scrunches up her nose. "No I don't" b ut she is falling, whipping through the air like a ragdoll, hitting the water with b one crushing impact. She's drowning. She's drowning! The surface is right ab ove her, she can see the light. She fights against the current, swimming up, up, up; almost there, her fingers reaching out to b reak through the surface when something b elow grab s her b y the ankle and pulls her deeper; she thrashes wildly, skirts b illowing ab out her. Eyes wide, she looks b elow and screams, air fleeing her lungs. Mikael grins sadistically up at her as he pulls her into ob livion. . . . Caroline wakes up sweating, eyes wild and heart all but jumping from her chest. It takes a few moments of wild gasping to calm herself. She inhales and exhales shakily, warm light flooding the room. Klaus' scent assaults her senses with its intoxicating presence, calming her immediately. She pulls the wolf furs in close, breathing in the rough smell of him. She rolls over, closes her eyes and wills Mikael's sadistic grin from her mind. The moment she manages to get comfortable, the door to the chamber creaks open with a whine. She sits up immediately. Klaus is standing in the doorway, accompanied by a girl she recognizes as Tammy. Caroline winces visibly once she notices the fresh bites marring the girl's neck; Klaus has fed recently. That is all it takes for her to remind herself that despite his handsome appearance, he is still a vampire; a monster with a human face. This leaves her not quite sure how she feels about the heat blooming in her chest as he advances towards her.

"Klaus," she manages, pushing back the furs and moving to slide off the bed. His eyes trail immediately to the woolen shirt she is wearing. A low, possessive hum resonates from deep within his throat as he runs a hand along the fabric. "This is mine," he states, eyes smoldering. "Yes," she squeaks, swallowing before she regains her spark. "You locked me in here in blood stained clothes. I made do," she huffs. He grins at her. It is slow and filled with more subdued heat than she'd like to admit. He leans down, stopping only when his face is inches from her exposed shoulder. He inhales audibly, his eyes half closed and lets out a pleased rumble. Caroline pulls back and narrows her eyes. "What?" she snaps, cheeks burning. "You smell pleasant," is all he says before he's half way across the room, ushering Tammy forward. She's holding a plain white dress; it is far less extravagant than anything Klaus has chosen for her before. Tammy smiles at her. "Good Morning, Lady Forbes," she says. "Miss Forbes," she corrects wearily, sighing softly. Tammy merely smiles in return. "Let's get you dressed, shall we?" Caroline's eyes dart to Klaus. He smirks and leaves the chambers without prompting. Tammy dresses her quickly, smoothing out the wrinkles in the dress and sighing in contentment when she finishes. "You look like an angel," she says, smiling proudly. "Thank you," Caroline replies, frowning slightly. "I wish you a safe journey," Tammy says as she curtsies. "Though I doubt any bandits would dare attack a Mikaelson carriage." "I'm sorry," Caroline begins, blue eyes narrowing, "but what do you mean journey?" Tammy merely looks confused. "Lord Mikaelson had me pack up your things while you slept. He said he was taking you somewhere safe." "We're leaving?" "Your presence is no longer required," Klaus says coldly to Tammy, seeming to have appeared out of nowhere. Caroline takes a step back in surprise. Tammy merely nods and exits the room without protest, leaving the two of them alone. "I don't understand," Caroline begins slowly, eyes skeptical. Klaus walks around her, eyes racking up and down her body appraisingly. "There is nothing to understand, sweetheart," he says with finality, as if she has no right to protest or ask questions. "We're leaving because it would be foolish to stay here." Caroline decides to go for obstinate. "Elijah knows of this plan?" He scowls, anger bubbling just beneath the surface. "He has been informed of Mikael's actions. This was his chosen course of action if you'd like someone to be angry with, love." He grabs her by the upper arm suddenly and begins to forcibly lead her from his room. "The carriage awaits us." She struggles against him. "Stop, stopKlaus, stop!" His grip tightens as he turns on her, his lips pulling back into a rather nasty snarl. "While I am enjoying your rather sudden spark of obstinacy, it would be in your best interests to do as I say." She meets his stare with fire in her gaze. "I deserve to know." His expression hardens, all emotion melting right off his face, instead replaced with a quiet, barely contained rage. "Do not force me to do something I'd regret, Caroline," he snarls, voice low and clear with intent. He does not make idle threats. A spark of fear ignites in her chest and it takes all of her emotional strength not to wilt under his gaze. "Klaus"

His gaze continues to bore into her as his face moves ever closer. "Now, shall we?" he says through gritted teeth, eyes daring her to disobey. She nods slowly and he is dragging her along again, feet quick and forceful. They round another corner, only to find Elijah standing there, expression expectant and grave. "Niklaus," he greets and then nods in Caroline's direction, "Miss Forbes." If it were possible, Klaus' expression twists even more in annoyance. "Move," he growls. Elijah's gaze is patient. "I wish to speak to Miss Forbes," he says, "alone, if you will." "I do not have the time or patience for your meddling, Elijah," Klaus sneers, dragging Caroline past him. Elijah's flashes before them again, eliciting a yelp of surprise from Caroline and growl of anger from Klaus. "Move," Klaus seethes, the veins around his eyes growing and pulsing with his rage. "Or I will remove you myself." Elijah smile is tight lipped. "It is not merely your life her existence threatens. You forget, Niklaus, Esther is our mother as well." His gaze settles on Caroline for a brief moment. When he returns his gaze to Klaus it is calculating. "Or would you rather I rip out her heart right now and be done with the matter?" Klaus moves with such speed that she almost misses it; one minute Klaus is holding her with an iron grip, the next he has Elijah against the wall, fangs barred and eyes a terrifying golden shimmer. "Touch her and I will kill you," he says, the words ripping from his throat with deadly intent. Elijah looks only moderately affronted. "Release me," he says offhandedly. "I never had any intention of harming Miss Forbes." Caroline swallows, wrapping her arms around herself. "Remember your place, Elijah," Klaus snarls furiously, fangs retracting as he backs away. Elijah cracks his neck and fixes the front of his tunic, expression strained with mild irritation. "Do try to be civil," he says, advancing towards Caroline. "Elena wanted to see her before you swept her off to some unknown location. You will forgive me if I thought it wise to indulge her." Klaus straightens, though his glare does not waver. "You've gone soft," he observes with disgust. Elijah's lips twitch, eyes flickering towards Carline. "As have you." Klaus sets his lips together in a thin, unreadable line. "Just get it over with quickly," he orders. He walks back over to Caroline and leans down to whisper in her ear. "It'd be unwise to trust whatever lies he is about to tell you." And just like that, he's stalking away, anger wafting off him in waves. Elijah smiles slightly. "Forgive my brother," he begins, "his temper has been getting the best of him lately." He stretches out his arm. "Follow me. Elena is waiting." Caroline links his arm with hers reluctantly, remembering his idle threat to rip out her heart. She finds herself incredibly nervous as she walks beside him, arms linked. This only serves to amuse him. She refocuses her mind instead. "Esther and I are linked, aren't we?" she inquires softly, remembering her thoughts on the matter from the night before. "I believe so," he replies. There is no hesitance; no deceitfulness there. He will tell her the truth if she asks. She nods and pauses. "Bonnie is alright?" "Lady Bennett was returned to the Salvatore Boarding House. Lord Salvatore escorted her home. Before she left, she was questioned." Elijah looks at her through a sidelong glance. "Would you care to know what conclusions she came to?" Caroline sighs wearily. "I suspect she told you that in order to stop Esther's beating heart, you have to stop mine." "You are quite quick witted, Miss Forbes." He even sounds a might impressed. She smiles sadly. "Quick wit is hardly useful when a witch tethers her life to yours." "Perhaps not," he concedes. "Though, it would seem, Niklaus holds more fondness for you than hatred of our mother. You are a curious thing."

Heat flushes her cheeks suddenly. She opens her mouth the reply, but Elena is there suddenly, bounding out of a nearby door and embracing her. "Oh my god, Caroline," she cries into her shoulder, hugging her tight. "I was so worried. I despaired at the thought of never seeing you again." Caroline returns the hug. "Ye of so little faith," she teases lightly, enjoying the sudden burst of warmth in her chest. She can feel Elena's magic filling her up, threading through her heart and nestling there, warm and light; happy. She pulls back, tears threatening to spill as she smiles. "Thank you." And she means it. Unshed tears shine brightly in Elena's eyes as well. She grabs Caroline's hands and squeezes them. "Please, promise me you will be careful." Elena shakes her hands. "Promise me!" "I promise." Elena turns to Elijah then and something shifts in his features; his cool mask of indifference slips, just a bit. Elena's expression is fierce in comparison. "How can you let him take her away?" she accuses. "It is for the best, Elena," he says, looking slightly weary. "We have discussed this." "I don't trust him," she huffs. Caroline places a hand on Elena's shoulder. "Even if you do not trust Lord Mikaelson, I do," she says aloud and finds she quite believes it. For all of Klaus' misgivings, for everything that frightens her about him, everything she does not understand she trusts him . And perhaps that is foolish; perhaps, in the end, he will be the one that ends her life. But in this moment, finite as it may be, she trusts him with every fiber of her being. Elena's face sours. Caroline laughs, still bubbling from the happiness Elena threaded into her soul. "And you trust me, do you not?" Elena's features soften and affection tinges her brown eyes "Of course, Caroline. Always." "Then trust that I will be okay." Elena nods, pulling Caroline in for another embrace. "Come back in one piece." "I will try." She laughs and the sound is good; real. "Goodbye, Elena." Elijah leads her away and she feels her heart grow heavy. She feels a bit lost as she walks the familiar path to the foyer. After a moment, Elijah slows. "Miss Forbes," he begins resolutely, catching her eye. "I believe it to be a gentleman's obligation to warn you of Niklaus' less than finer points." She blinks up at him. "Sorry?" "You said you trusted him," he states. "I believe that to be a mistake. Niklaus is many things but trustworthy is not one. He will betray you. It would be unwise not to expect it." She regards him for a moment. "You're wrong." She says it with such conviction, such belief, that the beginnings of a smile tug at the corner of Elijah's lips. "I wish I were," he breathes as they come to a halt in front of the lavish manor's entrance. "I bid you farewell, Miss Forbes," he says, bringing her hand up to meet his lips, leaving behind a chaste kiss. "May your journey be swift and without incident." He flashes away, the warmth of his presence still lingering. Caroline sighs and exits through the main entrance, shivering at the slight chill in there air, her thoughts lingering on the conversation she just had. A fog has rolled in overnight, blanketing the Mikaelson estate in with an ominous atmosphere. It does not take her long to spot Klaus, standing stone still, trademark scowl in place. He seems to relax as she nears, though she is still wary. He grabs the arm she had linked with Elijah, scowl deepening. "Was your talk insightful?" he sneers, lips rearing back in scorn. She wants to laugh, but she stifles the urge. "Are you going to tell me where you are taking me?" she counters. "No," he replies, wrenching open the carriage door and then helping her up. "You will know soon enough."

She does smile this time. "Your ambiguity is seriously infuriating." Klaus climbs inside after her and takes the seat opposite of her, closing the carriage door behind himself. As it clicks shut, the carriage starts with a lurch. "In all due time, love," he replies, aiming a knowing smirking at her. She sighs, though she is secretly glad he's at least seemed to have regained his arrogance. The ride stretches on in silence; Klaus merely sits across from her, eyes locked on her like a hawk. A variety of emotions fade in and out of their depths; want, worry, anger, and several others she is unable to discern. Finally, she breaks the ice. "I was curious," she begins cautiously, "about something Mikael said." Klaus' jaw tightens at the mention of his surrogate father's name. Caroline swallows before continuing. "He said you were human, before." "We were," he confirms, angling his head to the right to get a better look at Caroline. His face is unreadable and it makes her twitchy, but she continues. "He said you had magic like mine." Klaus doesn't appear surprised by this. "He told you the truth, love. I did, at one point in time, have magic." He leans in towards her, green eyes hard. "Vampirism and magic, you see, they don't play very well with one another. When mother turned us, our magic fled from our bodies, taking a part of our souls with it." "Oh." She bites her lower lip. "I'm sorry. ThatThat sounds horrible." Klaus presses his lips together and emits a low hum. "It was excruciating." She winces. "May I ask what your magic was?" she inquires tentatively. His eyes cloud over. "That is a conversation for another time, sweetheart." She cannot help the disappointment that swims within her chest. She doesn't have much time to ponder on it, however, as the carriage lurches to a halt. Klaus is already out of his seat, out the door, hand held up for her to grasp. Caroline grabs his outstretched hand and moves to step down but her leg gets caught and she stumbles forward, falling. Klaus catches her easily, holding her tight against his body. Her breath shudders and her heartbeat quickens. "I-I'm sorry," she stammers, red as a tomato. Klaus grins into her hair. "Easy there, love." She pushes away from him abruptly, face aflame. She looks forward, hoping desperately to distract herself. Caroline then promptly forgets how to breathe. Not even three yards away, stands her mother; Stefan at her side. . . . Gasp! Another cliffhanger? God, I'm horrible. Hope this chapter wasn't disappointing! Reviews are love. Constructive criticism welcome. I would like to have this story finished by the new year, but we shall see. Thanks for sticking with me this far guys! :) If you liked what you read, but don't know what to say: Just copy & paste the following: Dear Muffintine, Loved the Caroline/Elijah interaction! Klaus had magic?! HOW DARE YOU NOT REVEAL IT THIS CHAPTER?! He b rought her to her mother? What. No.

CONTINUE! Love, Your name. Follow me on tumblr~ my url is santaccola! xoxo, ;)

*Chapter 14*: Part XIV

Greetings from the afterlife. Just kidding! I know I dropped off the face of the earth for quite some timea lot of that had to do with real life, and another to do with my dwindling interest in klaroline and the vampire diaries as a whole. This chapter has been sitting on my hard drive for months, and after a bit of revision, I've decided to post it. It's rather short, compared to my other chapters, and for that I apologize. I thought long and hard about abandoning this story, and I simply couldn't do it. I do plan on finishing it, though I do not know how frequent my updates will be (I say, after not updating for nine months... yikes). I have, however, finished the outline, and know where the story is going. So I ask you to bear with me while I get down and dirty to finish this story. To everyone who's been with me from the beginning, to new readers, thank you so much for your continued support. I think you all are the absolute greatest. Don't own, never will. Enjoy. . . . "Mama," Caroline breathes, the words getting caught in her throat as she takes a hesitant step forward. And suddenly her mother is running towards her, pulling her into her arms and enveloping her in an embrace that holds a thousand unsaid words. Her mother is warm and familiar, smelling of flour, ash and strawberries. Caroline inhales, tears burning at the edge of her eyes. Her mother's here, in her arms, and she cannot seem to reconcile it as reality. "Caroline," Liz murmurs into her hair, tone soft and immensely grateful. "Caroline, my precious daughter, I thought I'd never..." she trails off, squeezing Caroline tighter. Caroline brings her arms up to wrap around her mother in return, hands sinking into the thick woolen fabric of her shirt. "Me either," she croaks in return, tears hot as they stain her cheeks. She closes her eyes and let herself rock back and forth in her mother's embrace, relishing the warmth and safe feeling of her mother's arms around her. A soft hand falls on her shoulder, breaking her out of her reverie. She blinks her eyes open again to stare up at Klaus. "Have your mother to invite us in, love," he says to her, tone grave and uncharacteristically unguarded. She nods against her mother and pulls away reluctantly. Liz is more unwilling than she. "Mom," she urges softly. "Invite Lord Mikaelson inside." Liz wipes away the tears staining her cheeks. "Of course," she sniffs, leading Caroline by the arm into her childhood home. "Come in, if you would." Klaus and Stefan trail in behind them, entering the small dwelling without comment. If they're disgusted by the homely little cottage, neither shows it in their faces. Her home is just as she remembers it; a simple open room with a fireplace, dining table, and two pallets shoved into the corner nearest the hearth. She concedes it may not be fancy or lavish but its home to herwas her home-and she isn't ashamed of it. She smiles gently and glances at Klaus, affection bursting within her chest. "Thank you," she says, meaning it with the whole of her heart. He merely inclines his head, but says nothing further. His face is like that of a stone wall; blank and unreadable. It's times like this she desperately wishes she knew what went on behind his dark eyes. She wishes to know him, his innermost thoughts, what his aspirations are, what his motives are. She feels bare before him, as if he knows everything about her, yet she knows next to nothing about him. It should be disconcerting, but she finds it merely frustrating, instead. Her mother notices her staring, and scowls. She then turns to glare venomously at Klaus. "So you are the reviled man who bought my daughter like she was livestock," she spits, the former warmth and gratitude gone from her face. Klaus chuckles humorlessly at that. "How eloquently put," he sneers in reply, eyes blackening. "How else should I phrase it?" she demands, all but slamming her hands on top of her flimsy table. "That auction you nobles partake in is b arb aric." "Mama," Caroline says, eyes narrowing, "stop."

"Stop?" Liz seethes through clenched teeth. "The last time I saw you, you were being taken away by strange men to be married off to some Lord who only wanted you to breed magic capable children. I thought I was never going to see you again." Her voice breaks, cracking horribly as she fights back angry tears. Across the room, Stefan's shoulders slump. He's gritting his teeth and looking away, shame etched into his posture. Liz's gaze is back on Klaus at once, who has remained ever the impassive statue throughout her rant. "And then you show up here out of the blue, my daughter in tow, with vague mentions of danger! To add insult to injury, you haven't even made an honest woman out of her, and you expect me to hold my tongue" Caroline's eyes go wide. "Ma," she shrieks in embarrassment. "We haven't, he hasn't, he wouldn't" she sputters in embarrassment, cheeks tinged red in utter mortification. It's Liz's turn to be surprised. "You haven't?" she says, incredulous. Klaus' ridged posture relaxes slightly as he smirks. "I don't take young women against their will, Lady Forbes," he says, tone wholly amused, if not a bit insulted. "That's a lesser man's game of power and control." "Lord Mikaelson has been perfectly gentlemanly," Caroline offers, carefully avoiding Klaus' gaze in favor of glaring at her mother. "Oh," Liz huffs, "well, in that case, it seems I may have misjudged you." "So it would seem," Klaus drawls, eyes shifting to rest on Caroline. She can feel the way his gaze burns into her, causing her pulse to race. She frowns at the floor. Liz pulls Caroline in close and it is all she can do not to roll her eyes. "Well, will you gentlemen be staying the night here?" she questions, quirking a brow. "There isn't much room... but I could make do, if need be." "That will not be necessary," Klaus answers. "We have made arrangements to stay at an inn in town." It's Caroline's turn to be surprised. "You're leaving me here, alone, with my mother?" Klaus cocks his head to the side, though the slight uptick of his lips gives away his amusement. "Will that be a problem?" "What if we run away?" she challenges, gaze burning. He grins at that as he gets to his feet, stalking towards her. "You won't," he hums, leaning down close to her ear. "And if you did, I would track you to the ends of this earth." A shiver climbs down her spine, slow and torturous as he pulls away. Damn him , she thinks as her cheeks once again flush bright scarlet. Liz stares at her, grimace set in the thin line of her lips. "Stefan," Klaus calls as he motions for his right hand man to follow him out. They start for the door. He pauses in the entranceway and turns to look at her and their gazes lock. He looks reluctant for the briefest of moments before his face is set in stone once more. "You will be safe here, Caroline. Stefan will fetch you in the morning," he states, as Stefan comes to stand behind him. She nods as they exit, Klaus' gaze never quite leaving her mind's eye. Her mother pulls her into another embrace the minute they're alone. "Caroline," she exhales, pulling back to cradle her daughter's face in her hands. "Please tell me you are alright. They haven't done anything horrible to you, have they?" she pauses, biting her lower lip. "Please tell me he hasn't fed from you?" Caroline brings her hands up to cradle her mother's. "Lord Mikaelson has been nothing but kind to me," she promises. Liz exhales shakily. "Oh, I love you so much," she cries. "It hasn't been the same without you." "I know, Ma," she returns. "I missed you, too." "Let's get you fed," Liz says, patting her daughter's stomach enthusiastically. Caroline smiles; she really had missed this. They talk until the sun goes down. She starts the fire easily and they bake bread, cuddling close to the fire's warmth. She

tells her mother a great many things, but omits all the bad. She tells her of the lavish manor she lives in, of the servants, of Elena and Elijah. She tells her mother how happy she is and, to her great surprise, she isn't lying. She is happy. The feeling is soft, burning at a lukewarm setting, but still ever present. It's odd, to think amongst all the bad, the good shines through brighter and more clear. "Do you love him?" Liz asks suddenly, the question heavy. It's a question Caroline quite honestly doesn't know the answer to. "I care for him," she replies, voice wavering. And isn't that what all over her inner turmoil has been about? Caring for a man considered a monster, who takes life, who kills, murders without remorse; a lonely, surprisingly gentle man. He frightens her, yet intrigues her. But, love? She doesn't know. The word carries far too much weight. To love someone is to give oneself over to them completely and, she isn't quite sure she can. She trusts him, cares for him, but love? That's a whole other beast in of itself. "I care for him," she starts hesitantly, "but II don't know if I would call it love." Her mother smiles at her, albeit a little sadly. "I see." A beat. "I suppose I should have asked a different questiondo you think you could ever love him?" Caroline blinks, bites her lower lip, and fixes her gaze on the burning fire before her. That question, at least, is easier to answer. "Given time," she says, barely above a whisper, "I'm sure I could." Liz hums, pulls her daughter in close and kisses her atop her head. "I'm glad." Caroline falls asleep like that, curled into her mother's side, the soft smell of home and happiness surrounding her. . . . Short, I know! I apologize. The next chapter is quite filled with action, heartbreak, and lots of other fun stuff. I'll try to get it written as soon as possible. As usual, comments and critique are absolutely welcomed. I really enjoy reviews, but I know sometimes it's hard to think of stuff to say! So simply copy & paste this template! Dear Muffintine, Glad to see you haven't died. This is a short chapter. I'm mad at you. Update soon, you cretin! Love, Your name. Follow me on tumblrmy url is dyobrienz~!

*Chapter 15*: Authoress Note

This story has been discontinued and will no longer be updated. Sorry to disappoint anyone who was a fan of this work. I've lost complete interest in Klaroline and/or The Vampire Diaries. Your support will always be remembered and cherished. I won't be taking the story down, just in case some people wish to reread Light The Way. Thanks for sticking with me! ~ Muffintine.

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